This just in…

(Rooters) The Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow have come to a resolution on certain issues that threatened to derail the upcoming Great and Holy Council, slated for 2013. One of the sticking points was the issue of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Spokesmen in both Moscow and Istanbul said that both patriarchates have agreed that they would draw lots and the loser between them would get the OCA. Mark Stokoe, spokesman for the Central Administration in Syosset, could not be reached for comment.

OK, now that Monomakhos has had our fun, we’ve got important — and good! — news to report. The delegates to the AAC overwhelmingly passed a modification of the New York Plan. Instead of cutting Syosset down to $50 beginning in 2012, a resolution was drafted which would force the Metropolitan Council to cut the budget in increments so that by 2015, the per capita head tax would be fifty dollars.

Though not as dramatic as we hoped, it is a significant step in the right direction. Moreover, it passed by a two-to-one margin — 269 to 178. (On a tangential note, there were only 447 delegates who voted, about 150 attendees less than was previously anticipated. This was the least-attended AAC in decades.)

To be sure, the bad faith we have come to expect from Syosset and the Metropolitan Council can certainly derail the timetable. Let’s face it, their spiritual bankruptcy is reinforced by their intellectual inbreeding — all they know is what they know, and the Old Ways are the Only Ways. The Synod of Bishops for that matter can veto this resolution. If they do however, they will only drive more people away and the OCA doesn’t have that wide a margin for error. There are no guarantees and we at stately Monomakhos Manor aren’t popping the champagne corks yet. But anyway you look at it, this is a HUGE rebuke to the present Regime.


  1. Rebecca Matovic says

    Your reporting is inaccurate … the resolution as finally passed makes no requirements about the BUDGET level, but specifies that the ASSESSMENT be reduced after next year. In fact, the people speaking FOR the original $50 resolution seemed to be in a different place than you are — they were speaking about it purely as a funding source issue, encouraging the administration to move to a different system. And the provision that linked the resolution to the budget was dropped in a much-debated amendment that passed.

    • Hand-writing is on the wall. Either it will be reduced significantly each above-board, or people will see that they’ve been duped again and keep on voting with their feet. Either way, there’s less funding for Syosset in the future. The OCA has been on a glide-path to extinction for at least 20 years, probably even further back. The election of +Jonah so far interrupted this downward trajectory. It’s very possible that this AAC amped up the creative juices to turn this ship around (His Beatitude can’t do it on his own). We’ll see. One thing is for sure, the people are fed up with the Regime and its brutality towards +Jonah. I’ve been in trailer parks and I’ve seen more human decency than what was on display, not only here but in the recent past.

    • Thanks for blogging the council, Rebecca.

    • Vicky Bolts says

      Rebecca, Thanks for the news from the AAC. It was great to know what was happening.

  2. Nick Katich says

    Listen people. I was there. The resolution that was passed was $105 for 2012 to be “proportionally reduced” each of the following two years. That could mean 5 cents each year or 50 dollars each year . It was ambiguous with no specificity. It could even mean 1cent each year. There was an amendment proposed to reduce it “proportionately” to end up at $50 by year three. It failed.

    • Nick Katich says:
      November 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Listen people. I was there. The resolution that was passed was $105 for 2012 to be “proportionally reduced” each of the following two years. That could mean 5 cents each year or 50 dollars each year . It was ambiguous with no specificity. It could even mean 1cent each year. There was an amendment proposed to reduce it “proportionately” to end up at $50 by year three. It failed.

      If that causes the Diocese of New York and New Jersey to faced with bankruptsy, what will the MC then do?

      • Therein lies the rub. I’m glad you brought that up. The DONY/NJ has a precarious position as we noted on this blog last week. It gives close to 90% to Syosset, leaving 10% for its own financing. The DOS on the other hand gives 40% to Syosset (which is 30% too much, but that’s another story) and allocates the other 60% in-house. The majority of that going to Missions. As Milos Konjevich explained to us in the past, we have a cushion.

        It would be a tragedy for NY/NJ to file for bankruptcy. It’s going to have to get on the path to giving significantly less beginning next year. I’d say $75 per capita and the following year $50. That is unless Syosset wants to be left holding the bag.

        • Priest Basil Biberdorf says

          The DOS treasurer’s numbers indicate that DOS contributions to the OCA central church administration have ranged from between 14% and 34% over the past 5 years, with the worst year (34% in 2006) coinciding with widespread economic disaster in the United States, and the typical value at under 20%. Even if you think that’s too high, it’s a far cry from the 40% you cite.

          The NY/NJ distress at the assessment certainly exists, but the assessment is not the cause of the problem in spite of the assessment mechanism’s flaws. NY/NJ has a general cash flow problem that results from a declining census (looks like a reduction in another 200 members from the end of 2009 to the end of 2010).

          Bp Michael suggests the low census is a result of the assessment. Perhaps that’s true in some instances, but it’s hard to see families in metro New York City (including northern New Jersey), the heart of his diocese, really bleeding over $210 for a two-adult family. What’s that? Two months of a cellular phone bill? Putting it in perspective, if a two-adult family has $30,000 of annual income (a very low number for NY), a tithe is $3,000. Of $3,000, $210 is 7%, less than the tithe of a tithe ($300, 10% of 10%) being advocated in some quarters as the level of support for the central church administration. Realistically, incomes are much higher than that, so that percentage is even lower. The issue is people are leaving the diocese (if not Orthodoxy and Christianity entirely) and the remaining ones aren’t giving to the parishes. This is a spiritual problem that isn’t going to be fixed by a change in the assessment or a move to percentage support (which is a good idea).

          I’m skeptical that this post will get anything but hoots and jeers, but I challenge respondents to get correct facts and analyze them carefully.

          • Fr Basil,

            What are you talking about? As percentage of OCA budget or percentage of DOS budget? The DOS income going to the OCA has been as high as 48% in the last decade and has come down relative to growth because of the explosion of DOS financial growth since 2006. The OCA has suffered because it requires only a maximum amount of $105 per person as defined by Statute.

            If you knew the numbers you would also know that the DOS has committed and will commit to 25% of DOS income going to Syosset. That number has no maximum. As the DOS grows in financial strength, so too the OCA. Thus the power of no maximums, the under belly of the head tax model.

            The point is simple, the OCA has to take the lead from the DOS and the DOW. The Church tried in 1989 and got scared off. Sadly the powers that be are trying this again, hence the compromise. But what is different this time is that we will be watching and if the spirit of the move to proportional giving is abused by the MC, folks will speak up. You can be sure of that.

            • Priest Basil Biberdorf says

              I took the numbers straight from financial reports from the DOS treasurer, available at the DOS web site. Maybe it was higher historically, but I don’t see 48% numbers there. Do you have other numbers? If so, what’s the source? Can you provide them?

              I’m not defending the assessment in its head tax form. What I’m arguing is that, as near as I can tell, George M.’s numbers are not reflected in the DOS treasurer’s reports and, further, that the negative impact of the head tax is overblown. The head tax is the wrong way to go, and I was one of the many delegates who voted in support of moving to a different system. I did not support the idea of cutting the central church budget by more than half without any planning or forethought whatsoever. (Not to mention that the unamended NY/NJ proposal would CAP Syosset expenditures to a level not to exceed $50 per capita. As written, it excluded even the ability to make up the difference between original budget and $50 per head budget using FOS or other funds.)

              The head tax is the wrong way to go, but it’s also too small to have the kind of impact being attributed to it. The OCA has some deep systemic problems that are not fixed by tinkering with numbers on the margin.

              • In your parish, do you collect the head tax above and beyond what people freely give to the parish?

              • Gregg Gerasimon says

                Father Basil,

                I think a lot of the problem lies in the fact that for many of us “in the trenches,” we have no idea what the central church administration does or why we need to support it. A “head tax” is ridiculous — it’s like paying dues to a union that you’re a member of, and more often than not it gives the impression of simony, like we are paying for the abiliy to be “members” of a church and to partake of the sacraments.

                Tithing is definitely the way to go — and the CCA needs to admit that the Diocese of the South has it right about that. We tithe to our parish, which then tithes to the diocese, which then tithes to the CCA. I guarantee that with this model, broken down per parishioner, amounts would be well more than $100 per person.

                But transitioning to that model will take time. In the interim, it may be difficult to say, but the burden is on the CCA to acknowledge what exactly the “head tax” goes to support. How does the CCA contribute to the growth of the OCA as a missionary church in America?

                Are our “head taxes” supporting the upkeep and/or mortgage on the beautiful mansion in Oyster Bay Cove? It would be easier to support this if the Metropolitan lived there. Does he? I was under the impression that the last Metropolitan to live in the mansion was Metropolitan Theodosius. If our current Metropolitan lived there, then easier to support. Does he live elsewhere? If so, then are our assessments supporting not only the Long Island mansion but also his residence elsewhere? Why are we doing this? It’s the waste and irresponsible use of funds that is the problem.

                Are our “head taxes” supporting overseas trips for senior clergy and bishops to say hello to foreign hierarchs? I’m sorry, but these overseas trips are unnecessary. Why does our Metropolitan, his deacon and others need to go visit the Metropolitan of the Czech lands and Slovakia? How does this advance our American mission? Likely $10,000 or more spent on a trip that could have been spent on missions.

                Are our “head taxes” supporting church school programs, liturgical music publications, and missionary outreach materials that the CCA puts out? This is what they are supposed to support, but I’m not aware of any of this being put out by the CCA in recent years.

                The “burden of proof” is on the CCA to prove that our “head tax” is going to useful purposes, or we will continue to have a problem with any amount. Most of our donations to the CCA should be going to missions, to the development of church school materials, to liturgical music publications, to the military chaplaincy programs, to issues related to church life. They should not be going to ridiculous overseas trips, paying double or triple rent or mortage, or otherwise simply wasted.

                The numbers speak for themselves — look how much donations to the FOS have dropped in the past few years. Most of us have no problems giving to our local parishes because we know the people and we trust that the money is needed there and will be used appropriately. The same when we donate to charities — we are more comfortable and more likely to donate to charities where we know that the funds will be used well. But giving to a CCA that doesn’t seem to know what to do with the funds it gets, or worse yet, uses the funds inappropriately, is nonsensical.

                So in reality, it has nothing to do with the amount of the “head tax.” It could be $200, $9.50, or $39.99. Doesn’t matter. Even when we do transition to a tithing system, in the end, it has to do with trust. People will not tithe if they do not think that their funds are being used appropriately.

                The CCA needs to do a much better job of explaining to the faithful exactly what it does in Long Island and why it needs to be supported.

                Just my 2 cents.

                Gregg Gerasimon
                Wynnewood, Pa.

                • Gregg, Metropolitan Jonah does not live in Syosset because the Synod voted to divide the Diocese of Washington and New York into the separate dioceses, and decided that Metropolitan Jonah would be centered in Washington. They acknowledged that Metropolitan Jonah would then reside in Washington and keep his own office there, even though the chancery would be staying in New York.

                  The Syosset chancery does have an apartment inside for whomever happens to be the Metropolitan, but it was never adequate for Metropolitan Jonah because it has only one bedroom. Metropolitan Jonah prefers to live with other monks and keep his work life separate.

                  There are a number of reasons why the Syosset chancery is a burden to the OCA. It has a number of little perks like the Metropolitan’s apartment, abundant office space, and nice landscaping and all that, but in all of those cases, it’s more than the OCA actually needs. It is also very costly to maintain.

                  It’s also important to note that the Syosset area has one of the highest costs of living in the US, which drives up the salaries for everyone working there. The salaries of the OCA officers (four people) cost nearly a fourth of the entire annual budget. And it’s not that the employees are necessarily getting exorbitant salaries considering the cost of living, it’s a problem because the money to pay those salaries has to come from OCA members who live where that money is worth a lot more than the employees get out of it.

                  As for the overseas trips, it is Metropolitan Jonah’s responsibility as primate to maintain international relations, support the OCA’s image, and learn about and from other churches. Of course, this would cost a lot less if the other bishops did not have the strange urge to come with the Metropolitan when he travels. This is another way that expenses are driven up unnecessarily.

                  The reason the assessment reduction received so much support from people here is not just to help the transition to proportional giving, but also to send a message to Syosset that this kind of wasteful spending would no longer be indulged.

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                Priest Basil declares, “The head tax is the wrong way to go.”


                Wrong in so many ways.

                • Fr. Patrick, it wasn’t so hard when the Antiochian Archdiocese transitioned, was it? As I recall, they had a per capita assessment until the early part of last decade, and then gradually transitioned to tithing by asking for 8%, then 9%, and finally 10% of the parish’s operating budget less the building fund.

                  • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                    Helga asks, “Fr. Patrick, it wasn’t so hard when the Antiochian Archdiocese transitioned, was it? ”

                    For those of us raised as Western Christians, the exaction or expectation of money for either Church membership or sacramental blessings was enormously distasteful. Our very visceral reaction on this point is readily explained, of course, by certain bitter experiences of Western Christian history. Indeed, five centuries ago, the exchange of money for spiritual benefits was a major contributing factor in the splitting of Western Christianity.

                    For this reason, “money for membership” was one of the most painful prospects faced by the many Evangelical Christians who joined the Antiochian Archdiocese, starting in the late 80s.

                    Metropolitan PHILIP, who had an intuitive perception of this problem, made “dues” optional more than two decades ago.

                    Right from the start, the newer parishes of the past 20 or so years instituted parochial tithing as the means of supporting the Archdiocese.

                    So did some of the old ones. For instance, when I was made pastor of the Antiochian parish in Butler, PA in 1992, the first thing I did was abolish the custom of dues. I also abolished all financial arrangements for the Sacraments and other rites of the Church.

                    All Saints Church, here in Chicago, was received into the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1993. It has never had the custom of dues, nor any monetary compensation for the sacramental and ritual blessings of the Church.

                    Finally, a few years ago, the Archdiocese itself abolished dues completely.

                    It may be worth mentioning that when our family joined the OCA in 1988, not one word was spoken about dues. I never heard the expression a single time when I belonged to the OCA. Only within the past few months did I become aware that the taxation of its membership provided the support for the OCA.

                    • Fr, I never did either when I joined the OCA. That maybe because this diocese was started by +Dmitri of thrice-blessed memory, but I’m beginning to believe that the slow-motion implosion of the OCA since about 2004 or so has caused the Stooges in Syosset to go back to default mode of dues. If this is so, then the loss of vision is truly stunning.

                • Fr Patrick, as a Greek, whenever I hear “head tax,” I know what a Jew feels like when he sees pictures of Jews being forced to wear yellow Stars of Davids. I’m sure other Levantine and Balkan-descended Orthodox feel the same way.

            • Fr Basil,

              You can contact Milos Konjevich for the historic numbers. He has them going back for maybe a couple of decades. But as the income of the DOS goes up, the percentage of relative funds going to the OCA goes down. This is all based on the open-ended tithing the faithful give to the parish and the parish gives to the Diocese.

              This has to start at some point and the $50 was a stark way to get the attention. I believe it did its job. If we wait until all parishes have parishioners who tithe before this is pushed up to the diocese and to Syosset, it will never happen and the status quo continues. That is always the argument. But the DOS is proving this thinking wrong since not all tithe to the parish, but enough do so that all benefit.

          • Priest Basil, 2006 was hardly the “worst year” on record. During that year, unemployment was not even 5%, the budget deficit was less than $200 billion, and inflation was very low. And we were fighting two wars at the same time. The economic downturn did not begin until Oct 2008.

            For the life of me, I can’t see why anybody in their right mind is wedded to the present decrepit system of head taxes instead of tithing. And it is a crying shame that an autocephalous church is trying to go back to the bad old days of eparchialism.

            People should tithe to their parish, the parish should tithe to the diocese. If the dioceses want, they can tithe to Washington, DC, NOT Syosset.

            It’s really that simple.

  3. Is the text of this resolution as passed available?

  4. Well Nick if they think that they are going to slip this by the Church and it is NOT $50 by the next AAC at the latest, then there will be a full scale war and they will be lucky to get a tip from the diocese in 2014.

    Hear ye Syosset. You will be watched. You will be under a microscope.

  5. Matt Gates says

    Congratulations, George. Over the past few weeks, you have reported on, and provided a forum for public discussion of, a pressing issue that really matters, and one that’s been underreported elsewhere. It’s been a nice break from. It’s been a nice break from the baseless ad hominem attacks on respected bishops, the crackpot conspiracy theories, and the culture war psycho-babble. I commend you and encourage you to try it again.

    • Hercaleides says

      In case you missed it George, that was a backhanded compliment – albeit delivered with a lavender velvet glove.

      • George Michalopulos says

        It took me a minute there, but you’re right Herc. I kinda feel sorry for the Lavendar Mafia, they just had their heads handed to them.

        • Heracleides says

          You really think so George? Myself, I’m still trying to sort out what the fallout from Seattle is likely to be in the next few months. Judging by his recent comments, Stokoe certainly does not appear out-of-sorts as to its outcome. In fact, the joker comes across as positively gleeful about this whole +Jonah evaluation business. I’m still fairly pessimistic, but am certainly willing to be shown the upside of the AAC. Time will tell I guess.

          • Yeah, more good news out of Seattle: one of the resolutions that the good people of St Nicholas Cathedral in DC proposed was passed overwhelmingly. It was the “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday.” I’m not sure yet when it will be celebrated in the parishes of the OCA (I’m thinking June) but regardless, it’s a complete repudiation of Stokovism and the intellectual pretensions of Arida, Bobosh, Jillions, Vinogradsky, Wheeler, et al. You know, that entire “We Are the Legacy” nonsense that they trumpet.

            Also, listen to +Jonah’s speech again. It was a complete repudiation of the entire sexualist zeitgeist. It was also a massive rebuke to the centralizationist program of Syosset.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              What about the rest of the resolutions? I’m still seeing nothing at the OCA or AAC16 websites.

    • OK.

  6. Priest Michael Tassos says

    As someone who managed the finances in Syosset for a while, I can honestly say that it really is time to cut the assessments and to realign staff and responsibilities. When I was there, there was an acute need for certain positions because of all of the financial malfeasance. However, in my opinion it’s time to rethink everything in Syosset. It would cost significantly less to run the OCA from St. Tikhon’s or from Dallas, TX. I honestly can find no job that must absolutely be performed in Syosset, NY. Here’s a plan: Let the financial work be done at St. Vlad’s. Move the archives and official records of the church to St. Tikhon’s. Use existing staff at St. Tikhon’s, for example the receptionist, to answer the phones for the OCA chancery as well. Let the chancellor live around St. Tikhon’s. You could cut the costs in half. And to meet the official requirement to be domiciled in New York, use the address at St. Vad’s or rent an extremely small office somewhere on Long Island if you must.

    • Hear Ye. Hear Ye.

      From someone who worked in Syosset and now has the perspective of being outside the Northeast Bubble, the FORMER TREASURER OF THE OCA agrees with the consensus of the Church gathered in Seattle that to continue the current obsession with keeping the OCA in Syosset is fiscal madness. Bad stewardship.

      Thank you Fr. Michael.

      Are you listening Syosset. All options, ALL OPTIONS need to be on the table. Fr Tosi. Put you house on the market now. It will take a couple of years for you to sell it.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr Michael, thank you for your bold (and common-sense) ideas. Speaking for many of my readers (and probably for a majority of the OCA), I really appreciate your coming forward. Truth be told, I’m just one of the peanut gallery, but you actually worked in the belly of the beast so your words carry extra weight. Again, thank you.

    • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

      One of the reports which has been little reported on was a part of a presentation on the eventual future of the Syosset headquarters. According to the presentation, it is planned to sell the Syosset headquarters at some point in the future. A rather precise cost benefit analysis including the current (depressed) real estate value was included to explain why that was not being pursued immediately. A clear bench mark in real estate value of Syosset was set, that should trigger the process.

      While Fr. Michael Tassos, (to whom everyone in the OCA owes a great debt for his excellent service) presents a reasonable plan from a purely financial point of view, I would strongly oppose bringing either seminary, let alone the Monastery of St. Tikhon closer into the orbit of the central administration. I believe it would have an extremely deleterious effect on seminarians and monastics to yet further politically charge their environments.

      I believe that (any) Church administration is a very, very heavy Cross, and it is one which Fr. Michael Tassos helped to bear in the OCA. The weight of that Cross was placed on Met. Jonah “of a sudden”, and it was/is also borne by Fr. Alexander Garklavs, the members of the Met. Council etc. Critics of any of them ought to remember that before launching into extreme invective or tirades. It is also a weight which is somehow “attractive”. Monastics and seminarians are better spared both the weight and the allurement.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        I agree with you, definitely, about bringing the seminaries closer to the central administration. There does need to be some distance built in. At least, I’m glad to hear that Syosset will be eventually sold at some point in the future.

      • Well who would know about what you write since the coverage of the event was just awful.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        good points Fr. I think a transition stage which includes SVS and STS and the eventual sale of Syosset when the market turns around (if it ever does) would be the way to go. STS/SVS could serve as chanceries until that time when a site in Washington is found.

        What to do with the sale of Syosset?

        1. 25% to purchase property in Washington
        2. 25% to purchase investment instruments which can scholarship all seminarians
        3. 50% to purchase an independent pension plan which would subsidize 401Ks of all priests who presently don’t have one (and all future priests)

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I still don’t get the insistence on the District where living costs are notoriously high–many other places. not as high as NY but not nearly as high as many other central locations. I understand history and the claim to be at the table in the political capital. But, we are talking about instant communications (even two-way audio/video) and greatly shortened and facilitated travel, not unlike the ancient need to be situated in the first, second or third Rome. Most of all, we are not a state church and we do not need to be collocated with the seat of government. Actually, the most rational place for the Metropolitan to be is in a central location, close to an airline hub (to minimize travel costs), and with state-of-the-art communications.

          • Ken Miller says

            Carl, that’s a legitimate concern. However, the metropolitan still holds the title “Archbishop of Washington DC” so he has an obligation to remain in DC. I also think having the metropolitan and the HS at the same location is the best way to create a healthy administration.

            The half a dozen people who are currently employed in Syosset should be able to downsize to about 2000 sf of well organized office space, so there would be a lot of savings in terms of facilities. Also, even if you sell at a depressed price in Syosset, you would buy at a depressed price in DC, so it would all even out.

            As for cost of living, the first question is whether it is practical to ask those relocating to take a salary cut. If they are going to be paid the same, then there’s no reason to worry about cost of living. However, if salaries will be tied to the cost of living, then it is possible to drive an hour to an hour and a half outside of DC where housing costs are lower (such as Winchester, VA or Frederick, MD or some smaller towns that would be even cheaper), yet it is close enough to the metropolitan area to get all the benefits of the metropolitan area, including international airports.

            I don’t think it HAS to be DC, but I think the DC area ought to be seriously considered. I am heartened that the official plan involves relocating from Syosset, and as long as that process takes into account all the implications and as long as it respects the concerns of both the metropolitan and the HS, then I personally am content to let that process work itself out without pre-judging the result.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I think you are missing my point, for which I am to blame for I was not clear enough. There is no compelling reason for the Metropolitan to be the bishop of Washington, DC. Aside for the historical practice in the other local churches, there is not one theological and ecclesiastic reason I can think of.

              Indeed, the model in the United States is different, befitting its history and her rejection of a state church. The Roman Catholics have a Conference of Bishops whose leadership is elected for three year terms (I am aware of the fact they do have a primate who is the Bishop of Rome). The United Methodists have a Council of Bishops also, whose head is elected for a two-year term. The Southern Baptists of course do not have bishops and are staunchly congregationalist but they do have a President of the Southern Baptist Convention who heads the denomination and is elected at the yearly convention. The term is for one year, and a candidate can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. And, so on. I bring these churches up because, if there was a utility to have the various councils, associations and conventions based in the District, the three denominations I mentioned above would have headquarters in Washington right now. To take it closer to home, if the Greeks and the Antiochians thought similarly, don’t you think that their archbishops would not be in New York?

              So, organizationally, nobody but the OCA thinks that the bishop of Washington DC ought to be the primate–all of the other Orthodox “heads” in the United States are in different cities. Now, I understand the impulse to level the playing field somehow in the current play box of the Regional Episcopal Assemblies, where the OCA is seated last and not in the Executive Committee. I really do understand that having the OCA Primate in the nation’s capital–unlike all other Orthodox local leaders–does give a signal to the rest that we are not going to roll over and comply with the novel interpretation of Canon 28. But, this is a tactic, not a strategy nor a principle.

              • Ken Miller says

                You make some thoughtful points. However, if we are in the mode of re-inventing the organization of the OCA, one can also imagine an OCA in which the Holy Synod and the Chancellor do not weild the power that they currently do. I suppose any grand changes would have to wait until the next AAC to be considered.

                I think there is some merit to the way it is currently done. You alluded to some of them. Having our top primate located in the seat of secular power, while not motivated by being a state church, still increases visibility and makes us more relevant, both in the secular realm and within Orthodoxy. If the metropolitan were simply a “bishop’s bishop”, without his own archdiocese, it would be easier to get out of touch with the people and not fully understand the experience of other bishops. Letting the metropolitan have his own small diocese is perhaps the best of all worlds – it doesn’t take much of his time, but it keeps him grounded and fully understanding diocesan life.

                In my opinion, the metropolitan should be an unfettered spiritual leader, setting the vision, edifying the bishops, clergy, and faithful, and being the public face of the OCA to the world, but not having to get bogged down in administration. There should be a mutual accountability whereby the diocesan bishops are accountable to the metropolitan in doctrine and practice and the metropolitan is accountable to the synod of bishops. This mutual accountability helps to maintain the purity of the faith. I see no reason why day to day administration should be run by bishops at all. Once a budget and a set of programs are adopted, let a non-clerical administrative body implement the day to day nuts and bolts implementation of the church. It’s hard for bishops to nurture their souls (and those of others) when they have to devote their entire days to accounting and administration.

                Those are only my personal opinions, and I admit that I am probably the least knowledgeable person on the planet when it comes to canon law or church administration. There’s probably a lot of good reasons why it can’t work this way. I prefer to spend my time reading the fathers and let others worry about such things.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  My expectations for the Metropolitan are much more modest. Since I already have spiritual leaders in my priest as my pastor and my diocesan bishop as my arch-pastor, I do not need any other formal spiritual leader further up the chain in the Church Militant (please note my qualifier). I do not think that in the Orthodox Church there is such a thing as spiritual leadership that is above that of the diocesan bishop. Now, administratively that is different and I do expect the primate to do correctly the things that are his primary responsibilities/functions (and are different from his role as a diocesan bishop): (a) preside over the Holy Synod, (b) build up consensus in the Holy Synod, (c) supervise the CCA, (d) represent the local church to other local churches, and (e) as needed, pastorally intervene in affairs of another diocese–all in accord with the canons and the Statute. These duties are daunting enough for any one person; to also expect him to exercise spiritual leadership over the entire Church would be unrealistic, particularly because his range of initiatives are limited by the absolute requirement for consensus amongst the bishops. What I am saying is that if a Metropolitan has the personal charisma/authority to truly lead the Holy Synod, you would not hear anything of his initiatives or his proposals–the initiatives/ideas would be those of the Holy Synod and you would not really know how influential the primate was until after he passed on.

                  • Carl,

                    I might have missed it but are you a member of the OCA?

                  • Kraeff, I’ll take this as a tacit admission of defeat. You aren’t getting rid of +Jonah.

                    But now you are telling us +Jonah has got to shut-up.

                    “I do expect the primate…” — cute. We’ll be sure he get’s the memo.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      James–Please reread what I said; I have no doubt that the Primate (any primate) will speak as he will, in private or in public. To suggest otherwise is so ludicrous that I suspect your interpretation of my writings are fueled by enmity and anger on your part, for which I apologize. My point was a subtle one (perhaps too subtle for your drive by approach to discourse): A person with personal (as opposed to formal ) authority, lets others speak and take the credit. Such a leader is rarely an orator.

  7. Lola,

    The DC Cathedral Resolution on the Sanctity of Marriage passed. However other resolutions, such as the OCA pulling out of the NCC were successfully stalled by Kishkovsky as was the resolution asking all the Synod members to go through the same evaluation as Jonah. The Synod blocked that one. They pushed these to the last day and they ran out the clock. Old trick. Attempts to move these important issues earlier in the agenda we overruled by the Synod, so you knew at that point that they were playing games.

    However the Marriage Resolution was a stinging rebuke of the Jillions, Arida, Wheeler, Stankovich, Vinogradov pro-gay agenda. I believe in large part due to the coverage given here on Monomahkos. Keep it up George.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Other resolutions which were designed to hamstring the Metropolitan never saw the light of day. One of the most egregious was that the Chancellor reported to all the bishops rather than just the Metropolitan. This is so Mickey-Mouse that it’s pathetic. If a man is responsible to a committee, he’s not responsible to anybody. Completely unworkable. This being the case, this makes the Chancellor a power unto himself. The AAC never saw it so that’s good.

  8. Stankovich, what’s with that gay icon on your site?



    It looks like a knock-off from a Catholic site. Maybe it’s the other way around.



    I thought you guys were all about “legacy” and all that.

    • Ken Miller says

      That icon is absolutely sickening! Depicting that He who maintained perfect dispassion ever touched anyone in a lustful and sensual way is blasphemous in itself even apart from the sexual sin associated with same sex lust. I have never seen something so blasphemous and hopefully I never will! The title of the article has to do with male “sensitivity”, which I could not bring myself to read with that icon on the page. I don’t know anyone who has a problem with sensitivity in men. It is a wonderful trait. How perverse is it, though, when someone is so carnally minded that they cannot distinguish sensitivity from sensuality. One is from heaven and the other is from the pit of hell.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Thank you, Ken.

        Your description saved me the bother of opening that link.

        • It is one of those so-called icons from Monastery Icons, a non-canonical bunch of so-called monastics. They do icons of all sorts of folks.

          It made me sick too.

          • I thought “monastery icons” was owned by hindu/yoga people

            • Monk James says

              Something like that. If I recall correctly, they describe themselves as ‘gnostic orthodox’.

              A fellow in Nebraska sent a newspaper clipping to a friend of mine reporting that these people had been admitted as Freemasons to the local lodge.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. James,

      You will pardon that I was not able to respond to your question(s) in your due time; life is like that on occasion. I was occupied with counting the “new & unique” hits to our site since you began your comments. Funny thing, you know? It would have taken mere seconds to see an “image,” but, on average, visitors stayed on the site 5+ minutes; reading, I suspect. While some may not view your motivation a “cause worthy of a blessing,” regardless, I am grateful. It reminds me of the story of the Desert Father who, previously wealthy & powerful, became so angry at a beggar asking for food, that he struck the man with a loaf of bread and left him bleeding. In a dream, he stood at Judgment, and his only defense was a bold angel who noted that, despite intention, the beggar did eat. This revelation changed the Father’s life. Thank God for the unworthy gifts of “inadvertence,” I say. Without them, “who could stand?”

      Fr. Patrick, one man’s “bother” is another man’s opportunity. That particular post was in regard to my interaction with an otherwise “heinous” cast of characters, and how I am forced to struggle with the ambivalence of disgust and compassion. You might have learned something. Maybe not.

      • Well, glad to be of help but why do you have a gay icon on your site?

      • Congratulations on your additional hits. Please consider that those who read your material do not necessarily agree with it. I found much of it to be psychobabble, but I owed you the courtesy of at least reading it before commenting on that conclusion. So, you are welcome to my 5 minutes, as the joy that it brings you offsets the time I wasted.

        You believe you are cleverly walking a fine line between SSA and SSSA, but you are being used. Your discussion obfuscates rather than illumines the discussion.

        And the icon really is quite distasteful.

  9. DC Indexman says

    George M. This just in… Mark Stokoe throws in the towel. Can you please comment?

    • Jane Rachel says

      This is good news. Unless he says or does anything else that causes any more damage for all to see, hear, or read, there is no reason for me at least to say anything else negative about him at all. I am so glad about that.

  10. Stokoe refers to “+Jonah’s first Leave”. Do I take this to mean this won’t be the last?

  11. Today is indeed a good day with the departure of OCANews. I guess since Stokoe failed in his attempt to oust Jonah and with the constant review of every word written there by sites like this and OCATruth it proved too much for him.

    When OCAN was the only show in town, Stokoe wrote whatever he wanted and did so with impunity. His removal from the MC by B. Matthias signaled his demise and there is no doubt that he did not like the exposure when his emails concerning his plotting to remove Jonah were revealed. His unfailing support for Mark Maymon, a thief who stole emails that did not belong to him. He was Stokoe’s inside man in the DOS and the Antiochian Archdiocese and shows the type of person he was. He never went after Benjamin nor was he interested in the injustice done to the DC nuns by Melchesidek.

    The OCA is not a better place because of him. It is in far worse shape than it was in 2006 and it will be quite a fight for the OCA to regain a measure of its previous relationships with sister churches in the USA and abroad. So now he leaves, declaring victory. Well, he did not win. We all lost as a result of what Wheeler and Stokoe did for their selfish designs to even their scores and exact their revenge on RSK and others.

    Mark Stokoe is in need of our prayers because he will have to answer for what he unleashed on Orthodoxy in No. America.

    Good bye Mark Stokoe and good riddance! I am very glad to see you go.

    • Mark Stokoe deserves some credit. He previously brought attention to some scandals in the Church that needed addressed and allowed others to voice their opinions.

      But I have no idea why he decided to attack +Jonah–What came out of his attacks though, is a better sense of which clergy is on the right side of Orthodoxy, and which clergy wish to change/pervert Orthodox beliefs.

      • But I don’t think that that was his real intent, which I believe was his self-promotion and elevation.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Regardless of motive and outcome, I sincerely hope this decision will be good for all our souls, especially Mark’s. I’ve been more removed from this mess the past couple of months, and that has been necessary and beneficial for me and my family. I hope the same holds true for Mark.

          The way forward will involve trust.

          Ultimately our leaders are accountable and transparent to Christ.

      • Robert, I agree. There was something good about forcing the previous scandal into the light, although I’m not sure we’ve seen all of it.

        Even attacking Metropolitan Jonah has had some good effects, as you said. Imagine if the same battle had happened, only nobody knew about it? What if they’d quietly forced Metropolitan Jonah to retire, so that same-sex partners could be carried on with in secret? How many people would have been led astray? Perhaps God was willing to allow this terrible, painful event in order to prevent a worse cataclysm.

        As for why Stokoe is doing this, I can only hope his conscience has gotten the better of him. But it might be that he’s sick or dying, or some other such reason deserving of pity. Whatever the reason, we should continue to pray for him to repent of his public and private sins, and be able to offer himself as a worthy servant of Christ.

        • Monk James says

          Sincerely, and without being disingenuous, I’d ask just what ‘previous scandal’ our correspondent ‘Helga’ thinks was forced into the light.

          It’s important to be precise and not so vague as to allow that just any interpretation be ascribed to our words.

        • Harry Coin says

          Johns Hopkins, rated within the top 5% in every medical discipline in the entire country, to include psychiatry psychology and all the treatments in the pharmacy is right there in Baltimore. But no, only a place with the Vatican’s clergy known for dealing with, or not dealing with, sexual misdoing must be it and nowhere else. Really?

          What the OCA has given the public to see is that the bishop who himself had to be bailed out of the drunk tank (according to Bp. Tikhon Fitzgerald) deemed +Jonah’s first psychiatrist’s report not what he wanted, on the basis it was a good report. So now Jonah’s got to go somewhere that will send an evaluation to the synod. If it’s such a great place, why does the synod need in on his medical records? Not enough, is it to take him to the best place and let them work. No, they need copies of the report. Why? Do they share all theirs with +Jonah? Some real eye-openers among the prescriptions there I’ll wager.

          Meanwhile, the folk in Syosset get to stay in Syosset, the head tax collected doesn’t change, not so much as a vote on the NCC, and no more Manhattan declarations. And the Vatican’s staff gets to weigh in on whether the OCA leader does or doesn’t need ongoing evaluation. Genius. You could not make that up. Ought to be a book. And, *presto* OCANews doesn’t see the need to go on. Mark Stokoe back on the MC in due course, mission accomplished? Let’s watch.

          If it was about administration and office skills that’s what chancellors are for.

          Anyone who knows my history knows I don’t carry water for anybody just because they hold church title, much less an ordained young never married sort— such as we see in modern times who doesn’t live in a monastery. And the bit about marriage being something they ‘gave up’ is let’s say ‘dubious’ if as we saw living next to one’s unmarried photographer while being in leadership is any indication.

          So it’s not really in character for me to take this part. But fair’s fair. What event was so wrong +Jonah did that he deserved this? Nobody says. The OCA has given people to wonder if that’s because there really was no misdeed, they just like the status quo.

          President Richard Nixon went on television saying that people had to know whether or not their president was a crook. He got that part right. Why is it necessary the OCA must send their leader to this place of all places and then be advised themselves of the results? Why can’t his medical records be his own as are those of the rest of the OCA Synod’s? This has a very bad smell.

        • Alexey Karlgut says

          Helga says: “As for why Stokoe is doing this, I can only hope his conscience has gotten the better of him. But it might be that he’s sick or dying, or some other such reason deserving of pity. Whatever the reason, we should continue to pray for him to repent of his public and private sins, and be able to offer himself as a worthy servant of Christ.”

          Dear Helga, wishful thinking! As a matter of fact, Stokoe received a letter from Fr. Ray Velencia’s attorney informing him of the lawsuit being filed against him and Ocanews. Org for defamation and other charges, one day before AAC, last week. After few days of reflection and looking at evidence on his own website, and some in-depth conversations with the spouse, was shut down today. Stan Drezlo got similar letter as well as few others. I think this verifies the old adage, that if you stand up to the bully, he’ll turn coward and run away.

          • Jane Rachel says

            LOL. Father Alexy, I read your comments over the years. Thanks.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Fr. Alexey, I meant, thank you for your comments back in 2006 especially, which I read and appreciated because they helped me keep my head on straight about what was going on back then. (Here is the link to your comments that were then posted on You were straightforward and I thought, “yeah, that makes sense.” So all these years later you are still making sense. I don’t know anything about what happened with Fr. Ray Velencia and all that, though.

          • Fr, was it Chrysostom who said “It’s not fear of God that prevents the burglar from thievery but fear of dog”?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            So, Father Valencia’s attorney copied Father Karlgut, or Mr. Stokoe informed Father Karlgut (to include ther important nd relevant bit about in-depth discussions “with the spouse), or Father Valencia informed Father Karlgut, or Father Karlgut is omnipresent. I vote for the last possibility.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              ADDED: I forgot about another possibility: Bishop Mark stole the correspondence and gave it to Father Karlgut. (Small print disclaimer: This is sarcasm. Please see any dictionary for the definition)

              • Carl: Sounds like you may be hiding your real thinking behind sarcasm/humor.

                • And, what do you think that is, PdnNJ? Let me give you a hint: could I be pointing out a double standard or even hypocrisy?

                  • Carl, you are beginning to sound like Ashley Nevins.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    A bit of a double standard from somebody who gets impatient when no one believes him and yet doesn’t believe anyone.

                    • Fr Karlgut, you have no idea what you are talking about. Your own post could be viewed as defamatory, sir. Do your superiors know that you are communicating with Velencia? Are you impersonating a lawyer again? You people reading this site know this “prominent OCA priest” was booted from his position as OCA “investigator”, right? Why he still has a job, I do not know.

            • Fr. Alexey is a prominent OCA priest. People talk.

              • I get you Helga. Something like “Mark was a prominent OCA lay person,” “Bishop Mark is an OCA bishop,” George M. is the host of the popular Monomakos blog”…And, “people talk.”

          • Bp Mark Maymon should be nervous too after what he and Stokoe did to Fr Fester. Keep a clear and sharp eye folks. Maymon must NEVER become a diocesan bishop in the OCA or any other Orthodox Church.

            Jonah saved this creep when he was on the trash heap after being disobedient and defying Met. Philip. He showed his true colors then and why Jonah led with his heart and not his head, well it destroyed lives, wrecked havoc on St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas and St. Nicholas in DC. The ingrate wasted no time in stabbing Jonah in the back in Santa Fe and while he was the administrator in the DOS. Now he is living off the stipend of Bishop Nikon and a significant donor in the DOS, all the while traveling around the DOS and bad mouthing Jonah. Fester was thrown out of the OCA and his post as Dean of the DC Cathedral because of Benjamin, Nathaniel and Melchizedek settling scores with Fester and using Maymon, a most-willing accomplice.

            I have never met Maureen Jury, but from what I have heard here and other places, Maymon must have been really hacked off when she was elected to both the DOS diocesan council and the OCA metropolitan council. She is a member of St. Seraphim’s and saw first hand the bad leadership of Maymon.

            With Jury and Hatfield on the MC it can be a much different tenor and I hope they can temper the lynch Jonah mentality. Maybe they can even get support to send Hopko into permanent retirement from his made up “MC Chaplain” post. What a joke.

            The fight continues. No one can let up. The Syosset gang will try and do their best not to reduce the Assessment going forward. We have to make sure they do because that was the spirit of the resolution and the movement away from a centralized OCA to a local decentralized Church. They will use the Strategic Plan as their way to circumvent the reduction of the Assessment. Heck, no one really believes that this Strategic Plan can be implemented just like how many other “keep the money flowing to Syosset” plans they presented at previous AAC’s.

            We will find out real quick where Jillions lines up. He will either back Jonah on and off the record or he will line up with Wheeler, Stokoe, Kishkovsky and those elements of the MC and HS who can’t stand Jonah.

            There are lots of ears quite perked up and will be listening and you can bet if he tries to stab Jonah word will get to this website and others and it will be reported. Honest disagreements should be worked out in private between Jonah and his chancellor. If they can’t then the chancellor needs to resign. That is what is done in the real world not in the crazy upside down world of the OCA. Jonah is at the top of the Syosset organizational chart and the sooner that the Benjamin led move to strip Jonah of the most basic prerogatives as Metropolitan are overturned, the better.

            Keep them honest George. You do your part and we will do our part.

          • Fr. Alexey, perhaps it was wishful thinking, but one can still hope Stokoe will see this as a wake-up call to treat other people better.

          • Aside from your lack of credibility due to the reasons you were removed from your investigative position, your assertion is ridiculous and only aids the very (IMO) delusional Fr Velencia in actually believing he has some sort of real power – you do know he highly enjoys that delusion do you not? – if Mr Stokoe was running scared from Velencia’s legal threat he would have removed ocanews from the internet. He did not. He has suspended further publication, as in new items will not be published. All items published before now remain. But good try.

            • Sophie, whether MS removed his website because of pangs of conscience, a sense of new-found integrity, or because he was having a bad hair-day is of no concern to me. The fact that it is down is a significant victory for the voices of decency. Let us not forget that OCAN was used by various people in Syosset and the MC to settle scores and to get “news” out that furthered their own agendas. It’s going to be very hard for the Kishkovsky/Wheeler/Solodow/et al Axis to continue their stranglehold over the OCA without OCAN. For that we can all be grateful.

            • Sophie,

              You seem to know an awful lot about Mark Stokoe’s motives and thinking, even as you decry everyone else’s conjectures. Methinks that you are, in fact, Mark or one of his sock puppets.

              It is one of the blessings of George’s site that all civil discourse is welcome. So I read your contributions with great interest.

              I do hope you are able to dislodge the bee in your bonnet. Have a great day.

              • another one,

                I don’t think Sophie is Stokoe. I think she is Koumentakos or her sock puppet. There are only a couple of people with such a destain for Fr. Karlgut. One has his/her own website and the other is K.K.

                That is may guess, but it is only a guess.

                • You are incorrect on both counts. My name is as stated.

                  There are many people who know exactly who Fr Karlgut is and how he operates. Again, that is the reason he was removed from his investigative position. You just don’t see them here because this thing is playing out and has been playing out for years like an ugly political fight. Two sides seeing things in a vastly different way with lots of words and mud slinging but no action, no nothing. This is one side of the street, nothing more. You do yourselves a disservice by aligning yourselves with sorts like Karlgut, Kondratcik, Fester, but you will learn that yourselves over time if you keep it up, to the detriment of many, but thats life.

                  I will not come back because I dont want to add further to congratulatory back slapping over increased readership. You sound like Voices From Russia in the way you keep making sure we know how many people are reading. Its pathetic. Your motives are clear. I came for the first time when I was told that Fr Karlgut had found a new venue in which to spread his trash talk. He knows very well that if he posted that elsewhere people would be on him like white on rice. He has no audience in the wider OCA, no respect, because he has conducted himself in ways that resulted in LOST respect. I addressed it here. Believe what I say or not.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Let me put forth my own guess:

                  – Helga is Fr Brum.

                  – Amos is BK.

                  – Nikos is Fr Fester #2.

                  “That is may guess, but it is only a guess.”

                  • Heracleides says

                    Only guessing here, but my money is on Carl being Steven Brown. T’would explain sooooo much… 😛

                    • Shall turn the other cheek? I don’t think so as that would cause your fertile imagination to further proceed up …. Are you feeling sore because I left you out? Let me give you satisfaction then.

                      – Heracleides is Lucius Appuleius Saturninus reincarnated.

                  • Very good, Carl. I guess that would explain why I decried myself for voting in favor of the idiotic anti-Jonah resolutions in the Diocese of the West.

                  • Chris Banescu says

                    Interesting insights Carl! I’ve been thinking for a while now that Amos might be Robert Kondratick also.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                I agree. If Sophie is not Mrs. Steve Brown, then one must say of her, “Whatever is on Mrs. Steve Brown’s brain appears on Sophie’s tongue and lips.” Same needy style, too.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Who could have guessed that Father Alexey’s post would stir up such a storm of malice? I wonder, was it resentment on his producing a scoop? Look how many different bad scenarios they’ve made up to deflect attention away from a potent lawsuit in progress against Mrs. Brown!
            After all, Mrs. Steve Brown and Company made a mini-career out of potential lawsuits and IRS and FBI investigations which were going to finish off Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick and others which resulted in….zilch. Now, this Archpriest Alexey Karlgut reveals the first real suit, and it’s not against ANY of ocanews’s demons, but against their sacred cow!! Sophie seems to have yelled the loudest: what dog does she have in this fight?

            • There was another ‘real suit’ I think, Kondratick vs. OCA?

              Koumentakos vs OCA

              The pokrov duo vs some part of the OCA

              One thing the folks on this site really have given no time to at all is this: How does it come to pass that Met. Jonah managed to so concern so many on the synod? If you look at the OCA’s synod I think only +Nathaniel is someone that was there from the Herman/Theodosius time. All those new folks, the last thing they wanted I’m sure is to have big problems with leadership. It’s not like the new guy just ran afoul of ‘the old guard’.

              What’s the right thing to happen when a bishop who is given to be the first-among-equals on his synod can’t get along with 50%+1 of them, can’t get along with his office staff, seems to just sort of ‘go off and leave his synod to learn about big decisions later on’? Well, whether that person gets replaced rightly and with merit, or not, depends on whether he can respect being out-voted. If not, then he wants to be tzar/pope, not first among equals and needs a different job.

              I’ve known several people who gave really excellent speeches, and were great one-on-one. Working with a group, might as well ask a fish to drive a car.

              How we got from there to a facility for folk with grave issues, that I don’t get. On the other hand, the OCA still maintains in rank a deacon who went off and got gay-married. The EP/GOA maintains in rank a Metropolitan who sexually bothered their own parishioners of both sexes.

              Maybe the mistake is expecting such ongoing visible senselessness to make sense. Maybe the mistake is to focus on these administrative leadership issues and their inside-baseball doings while seeing this sort of thing go on at the same time. Like painting an X on the bottom of your boat to mark the good fishing spot. Sure. We’re not nuts. You know, good old canon 28. We like it, we don’t, pay no attention to what goes on among men behind the curtain. And remember, first, please– give generously. And, bring the kids!!

              • Harry, you asked, “How does it come to pass that Met. Jonah managed to so concern so many on the synod?” I’m guessing the answer can be said in one word: “Skeletons.”

                • Jane: The thing about skeletons is:

                  1. That those who know about them have power if, and only while, everyone else does not. Freedom is always one public / semi-public confession away, fear for self and future are the inhibitors.

                  2. People who are skilled in the dark arts of control-via-skeleton make puppets by promising, and delivering on the promise long term (decades), to protect the one they ‘own’ in exchange for loyalty and obedience. When you see unwelcome things happening for reasons given in public that strain credulity suspect this as the outcome someone you don’t know wanted.

                  3. The Euphemism for those with such defacto behind-the-scenes decision making power is ‘Patron’.

                  4. Those who control-via-skeleton are good at it. They are schooled in it. This isn’t their first barbeque. And, they are patient and have been gathering, watching, waiting, collecting, for a long time. Years and years. Back to the free-seed university days in many cases.

                  I’m still trying to figure out how widespread the practice is and the contents of this little spoken of legal document bishops require those they ordain to sign. What’s that about? Hmmm…

              • Carl

                The Metropolitan occupying the Primatial Cathedral for the first time in recent OCA history. So now the OCA has a new Metropolitan who is living in his own diocese and working from the appropriate Cathedral. Maybe, just maybe, the Metropolitan should also expect the chancery office to be positioned close to where he is located to effectively “administer” the OCA. Of course there are those that believe the Metropolitan should live close to the “expert administrators” in another Bishops dioceses in order to effectively work with his staff. Oh right they are not his staff, at least in the imagination of some, and counter to all statutes and canons.

                • Cite those statutes and canons please. BTW, the issue is not whether CCA should be still at Syosset but when the CCA function should be relocated per the decisions of the AAC.

                  • Article VI, section 4, subparagraph 16 of the OCA Statute: “The Diocesan Bishop shall reside within the limits of his diocese.”

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Thank you Remnant! OTH, you know full well that the Metropolitan wears two hats: as the Diocesan Bishop, he should indeed reside within the limits of his diocese. Wearing the hat of Metropolitan, he can fulfill those national-level functions at a number of venues–at Syosset, somewhere in the Archdiocese of Washington, at Seattle (during the AAC) or in foreign lands when he visits them. The CCA should be collocated with the Metropolitan but this is not an absolute requirement in 2011. He can keep in touch with the officers of the OCA who are at Syosset via phone, email and regular visits; after all, it is not the old days when it would have taken weeks to travel from DC to NY. Besides, the only point in dispute is not whether the CCA should be moved out of Syosset but when and how. To insist that it be done right now, just to suit HB, is the height of folly given the horrible housing market.

                  • The location of Syosset inside the Diocese of NY/NJ was not an issue until the creation of the Diocese of Washington in the early 1980’s. Before that the primatial see was New York. Thus when the Synod moved the primatial see to DC they should have also moved the CCA to that location. They did not and since then we have lived with this anomaly of a bishop living outside his own diocese. There was a brief interlude when NY/NJ and Washington were reunited but then Herman refused to move.

                    The gerrymandering of diocesan boundaries by the Synod in the early 80’s to create Washington was done to limit the influence of the Primatial See. Bishop Nathaniel was one the most vociferous voices in this campaign and it also opened the way for Bishop Pierre of France to come to the USA and take over the NY/NJ diocese. It was done under the guise that the Metropolitan should not have a large diocese so that he could devote himself to his primatial duties, however the real purpose was to reduce the role of the Primate.

                    The tradeoff was keeping Syosset in Syosset since, as now, it would be too much for the staff to move to another city. However what appears to be different now is that the Church members at large see the Syosset complex as an ever whiter elephant further taking a larger piece of a diminishing financial pie.

                    If form follows function then one can ask do the same OCA administrative functions of the 1970 or 80, or 90 still apply today? The body politic of the Church meeting in Seattle appears to envision an OCA that is leaner on the National level and more robust on the diocesan levels. Thus does the Syosset location still work? It now appears that a majority in the Church do not think so.

                    The Statue already says that the bishop must live in his diocese, thus one can conclude that the very location of the CCA in Syosset since 1980’s has been against the Statue. The AAC need not vote on this, it is rather for the Synod to stop ignoring this reality and direct the MC to sell the property and move it to Washington.

  12. Still no new wrap up?

  13. Heracleides says

    My take on Stokoe’s departure from the blogosphere, titled “Grafiti“, is viewable here:

  14. cynthia curran says

    The bloods and the crips are not that influential anymore, The big gangs particularly in the west are the Mexican Mafia which controls Hispanic gangs in several states and MS-13 an El Saldorian gang that probably the most violent in the USA. Being in the mountain areas or Texas or the West were hispanics somtimes outnumber blacks as much as 6 to 1 this is true.

  15. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    There are many who do not know Father Alexey Karlgut at all. Most of the people in the world do not know him at all. However, there are some of those same people who are baptized Orthodox Christians, partaking of the Holy Mysteries in God’s Church, who have made appalling judgments about him, not based on any fact or evidence at all, saving gossip published on the Internet. I know him pretty well. I met him when I went to St. Tikhon’s and was tonsured by Metropolitan Herman as a stavrophore (‘mantiya”) monk. He is a intelligent, devout, personable, and discreet. He, like many “newly arrived” Russians in America, studiously avoided association with ideologues of any sort or with cliques, claques or “alumni-protection” gangs of any kind.. He filled, for a while, the function of being a kind of “clearing house” for examining all allegations of sexual impropriety against clergy and lay folk in the OCA for the office of the Chancellor and for the Holy Synod. The job required no special professional training in sexual or other psychological pathologies, none at all. It only required common sense, honesty and the ability to rise above factional issues. In my experience, the closest I could come to naming a “fault” or “deficiency” in Father Alexey’s character or personality would be to say he tended to look for the best in everyone, and in the case of contradictory evidence, he would tend toward the one which did not require a “negative” judgment, all othr things being equal. I would designate his chief virtues as intelligence and sobriety: the former was a Gift, the other was a matter of character. You will note that what he has published here, unlike what has been published by his detractors, is free of judging others or their character or reasoning ability or past or bad breath, etc. However, we see that this sobriety has somehow enraged the partisan spirit of some who know him not at all, solely because what he has published is not tendentious. Nothing is more provoking, exasperating for the partisan, than someone who speaks the truth without qualifying it. I know that after Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick was given the bum’s rush by those bitterly opposed to him, blood-lust was not quenched by that act alone: anyone who maintained a peaceful and harmonious relationship with the Protopresbyter Had To Go.
    The concept, “Guilt by Association” became a kind of Maxim for those succeeding to “power” in Syosset. If someone happened to enjoy the affection or admiration of just toleration of the Protopresbyter, this was like the capital “A” that once identified an Adultress. “But he (or she) was associated with Kondratick,” became synonymous with being caught in flagrante delicto with a child in the shower, like the miserable Sandusky. The only way to survive became to come up with a negative crack about The Villain.
    Some may disagree with what I’ve written about Father Alexey. I’d like to hear what they claim the basis for that disagreement is. Anyone who says, “But he lost his position” should realize he or she has, in fact, said “Uncle.”

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Just a few posts above yours, Your Grace, we have Fr Karlgut refute your assertion that “You will note that what he (Fr Karlgut) has published here, unlike what has been published by his detractors, is free of judging others…” What I am referring to is his own post where he said: “As a matter of fact, Stokoe received a letter from Fr. Ray Velencia’s attorney informing him of the lawsuit being filed against him and Ocanews. Org for defamation and other charges, one day before AAC, last week. After few days of reflection and looking at evidence on his own website, and some in-depth conversations with the spouse, was shut down today. Stan Drezlo got similar letter as well as few others. I think this verifies the old adage, that if you stand up to the bully, he’ll turn coward and run away.”

      So much for a priest with a sterling reputation for being discrete and not judgmental, neither trait being something that can be applied to His Grace. OTH, it is clear that your own rabid partisanship has caused you to overlook Fr Karlgut’s obvious talents of discernment or perhaps some magical gifts of being able to transform himself into a fly on the wall. There may another reason why you have made this error but I will not get into it because it would make me too much like the good father.

      • Carl, I was wondering what happened to you. I was afraid that the self-immolation of MS may have sent you into a tailspin of depression. Glad to have you back, now with Stokoe silenced, we need to know what his camp is thinking.

        • I am mainly praying and hoping that something good will come out of this week. I hate to disappoint but I have no idea what “his camp is thinking.” OTH, if I were to choose between Helga, Amos, Bishop Tikhon, Fr Fester, Monk Silver, Mister Bob, and assorted crew on the one hand, and the persons that they have been reviling, I would have no hesitation in choosing the latter group. As for you, Jesse and Rod, I think that you all have been duped by Fr Fester, who also manipulated +Jonah. As far as I know, this is not Stokoe’s theory but the blogger who goes by the name of Spartian Geometrias.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            So, then, it’s clearly derivative thinking….What we said.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I simply agree with Spartian Geometrias that Metropolitan Jonah, George M and Rod Dreher, along with Jesse, Helga, Jacob, etc.. have all been duped by Fr Fester. He has made a very persuasive case at Please read all of his blogs before you make up your mind.

              I also think that the Quadrumvirate-in-Exile (Bishop Tikhon, Bishop Nikolia, Mister Bob, and Father Fester) are using Metropolitan Jonah’s woes as an avenue to get back in power and undo all of the reforms that have been put into place.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Well, Carl, that settles it! Someone named Spation Gematrias from the Planet Zebulon VI out in Deep Space Nine said that Metropolitan +Jonah, et al, have been “duped” by the Quadrumvirate of the Outer Rings of Romulus. Gasp! You know our secret! Now what do we do?

                OK, now that I got the yuks out of the way, I can go on record saying that I have never met, nor known Bishops TIkhon, Nikolai, and Fr Kondratick.

                And what “reforms” have been put in place? The ones that allowed Bp Mark Maymon to steal e-mails and still draw a paycheck? Or how about the ones that allowed MC members to leak like sieves to OCAN? Or bishops on the HC to do the same? Oh, I bet you mean “reforms” like the HS firing Garklavs and then continuing to pay him his same salary ad infinitum? Or how about the reform that caused Syosset to push poor Melanie Ringa out to present a dishonest budget which didn’t include the fact that the fired ex-Chancellor was going to continue drawing a salary?

                Yeah, Carl, that’s the ticket. Who’s being duped now?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Come on George; your feelings are hurt because someone has theorized that you had been duped by Fr Fester. In the greater scheme of things that is not such a bid deal is it? I mean many good men and women have been duped by this modern day clerical Swengali. BTW, we should give thanks for the courageous actions of His Grace Bishop Mark in daring to oppose the corrupt and corrupting Fr Fester.

                  Bottom line for me is this: +Jonah has been given another chance to redeem the promising qualities that had endeared him to many of us, to turn our disappointments into accolades again. I pray that this is exactly what happens.

                • George, Carl and Stokoe both seemed to miss the fact that Metropolitan Jonah never communicated directly with – much less conspired with – Bishop Nikolai or Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald). Since Stokoe has evidently been able to monitor Metropolitan Jonah’s email, cell phone, and text message communications for several months, this wouldn’t have escaped his notice if it had actually happened. Carl’s Svengali conspiracy is garbage.

                  What’s next, is he going to say Metropolitan Jonah’s speech in Pittsburgh was just him putting the Whammy on everybody?

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I have never claimed that the Metropolitan was the puppet master, although he is certainly smart enough not to communicate directly with the two retired bishops and the disgraced and defrocked former Chancellor. The point that I am making (not made by Stokoe) is that +Jonah was also duped by the master puppet master–Fr Fester.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Carl, would this be the same “master puppet master” that lost his position as Dean of the Washington Cathedral?

                      And no, my feelings aren’t hurt Carl. Although I am aghast that in a free society like America a Christian prelate is being punished by psychiatry. Things like this keep up Carl and pretty soon they’ll be coming after peons like us. You know, all because of Transparency and Accountability. That’s what America needs more of –T&A.

                    • The problem with yours and Stokoe’s scenario, though, is that not only did Metropolitan Jonah not communicate with them, he didn’t make any overt act in furtherance of any “conspiracy”. The closest Stokoe was able to come to establishing a conspiracy involving him was arguing that the assertive tone of Metropolitan Jonah’s private speech to the Synod was due to Fr. Fester’s influence, and that’s total crap. Metropolitan Jonah doesn’t need anybody to tie his shoes. He is perfectly capable of asserting himself on his own.

                      As for me having the wool pulled over my eyes, I’m not an idiot. I am pretty sure Fr. Fester (or maybe his matushka) has been posting on here, and I double-check things. I think the only person here who’s been duped is you.

                    • Carl: Without substantuated facts to back up the point you are making, that point is nothing more than another biased personal opinion of yours.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Finally, do you see how I have felt when y’all made unsubstantiated claims, particularly to support +Jonah and to demolish anyone who dared to criticize him? We’ve all used “biased personal opinions,” which is redundant, isn’t it? Isn’t a personal opinion biased by nature in any case? It really is not a matter of IF but of HOW MUCH.

                      I have got to say that I automatically downplay opinions masquerading as information when they come from persons who are not in a position to know. This principle is applied especially strictly to folks who do not use their real names.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Stop the presses!!! Did you just dismiss a man’s point because it lacked “substantuated (sic) facts to back up the point?” Are you kidding me, Private Joker? This entire site is anchored in unsubstantiated “facts.”

                      Mr. Michalopulos began this first day of the “involuntary commitment” (not to be confused with the immaculate commitment… I think) by declaring Fr. Chancellor Jillions is a “weak man.” Has he ever met Fr. Jillions? No. Spoken with Fr. Jillions? No. Even acknowledged my recommendation that he “man up” and confront Fr. Jillions if he has concerns? That would be, no. On what substantiated “facts” does Mr. Michalopulos make such a claim? “Innuendo” from someone else who has never met or spoken to Fr. John, after conducting the clumsiest of internet “background checks”, and by the “authoritative” revelation of his “association” with his brother-in-law of 25+ years!

                      Cheap, cheap, cheap, kids.

          • From many first-hand accounts from discerning and trustworthy priests and other individuals who have interacted with and have direct experience with Robert Kondratick and Fr Fester, manipulation, ego-stroking of key individuals and duping of others for personal power are common characteristics of both men.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Oh, Thor! That’s the old Archbishop Job Defense: “Father Bob bribed and duped me with his gifts of panagias.”

            • Of course none of these priests ever go on the record do they? Would you like to name them Thor since you seem to be so close to them and they confide in you? Would you like to offer up a quid pro quo or two to back up your claims? Have you ever met either Kondratick or Fester? Have you ever worked with either of them? Or is this just another drive by shooting post?

  16. Chris,

    Glad to hear you were not. I thought that they were so transparent and heavy handed. No more reply buttons so I posted here.