An Open Letter to the Orthodox Church in America

The illegal and uncanonical ouster of Metropolitan Jonah from the primatial throne of the OCA is a sordid mess, one that grows messier by the day. We forget however that it the result of a conspiracy that was set in motion almost from the day he was elected as Metropolitan.

One of correspondents, Christine Fevronia, took the time to write a detailed account of the conspiracy and the continuing aftermath.

What follows is an abridged version of Christine Fevronia’s detailed analysis of the recent unpleasantness. As always, we here at Monomakhos thank our readers and correspondents for your support and your input. Especially in times like these. People like Christine Fevronia are true champions of Orthodoxy who rise to the occasion thus fulfilling the prophecy given our Lord and Savior Himself two thousand years ago.

The paper is 47 pages long but well worth reading. You can view it online or download a .pdf.

Below are the first few pages.

Read the essay online (47 pages) or download the essay (pdf).

An Open Letter to the Orthodox Church of America

Responding to the Synod’s Allegations about Metropolitan Jonah

Friday, September 7, 2012

What follows is a summary based on my understanding of the events that led to the OCA’s Synod demand that Metropolitan Jonah resign. This is the story as I have pieced it together, taken from various news sources and first-hand accounts from witnesses. What I have learned in my research is contained within the following pages.

My conclusion is that the reasons given by the Synod for the forced resignation of Metropolitan Jonah are based on serious distortions and misperceptions, rather than on truth. Please take some time to review the following detailed analysis of the facts.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this summary. I welcome all comments at my email address: This document is much easier to read in print, so if you’d like a .pdf copy, please send me an email. It is important to note that Metropolitan Jonah has had nothing to do with the creation of this document, nor does he know of its existence.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Christine Fevronia



Fr. Jonah was enthroned as Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of America in November 2008, the third such Metropolitan of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of America (OCA), preceded by Metropolitan Theodosius Lazor (served 1977-2002), and Metropolitan Herman Swaiko (served 2002-2008).[i]

Prior to his elevation as Metropolitan of the OCA, Metropolitan Jonah received two Master’s degrees (Master’s of Divinity, 1985; Master’s of Theology, 1988), joined Valaam Monastery in Russia, and was tonsured a Hieromonk in 1994. He served as Abbot of St. John’s Monastery for 12 years. He went from Abbot to Auxilary Bishop to Bishop to Metropolitan in just one month.

“In the spring of 2008, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America elevated Fr. Jonah to the rank of Archimandrite and he was given the obedience to leave the monastery and take on the responsibilities of auxiliary bishop and chancellor for the Diocese of the South. Metropolitan Jonah’s episcopal election took place on September 4, 2008, at an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops. Earlier in the summer, his candidacy was endorsed by the Diocese of the South’s Diocesan Council, shortly after he had participated in the diocese’s annual assembly. Metropolitan Jonah was consecrated Bishop of Fort Worth and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of the South, at St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX, on Saturday, November 1, 2008. On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, he was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, in Pittsburgh, PA.”[ii]

Prior to the All-American Council meeting in 2008, the OCA conducted various “town hall” meetings around the country sponsored by the Preconciliar Commission, and minutes from those meetings show the level of dissatisfaction with the OCA hierarchy prior to Metropolitan Jonah’s enthronement.

Metropolitan Jonah was given leadership of a church that was fraught with scandal and corruption. Financial scandals plagued the two former Metropolitans, and criminal accusations plagued his predecessor Metropolitan Herman and the staff at Syosset.

Metropolitan Jonah jumped into his new role with a great deal of travel, concelebrating Divine Liturgy with various hierarchs and clergy around the world. His outspoken conservative stance on traditional marriage and the protection of the unborn endeared many Orthodox Christians to him, not just from the OCA but from other Orthodox jurisdictions as well. He settled into the Metropolitan’s official residence in Syosset, New York, where the Chancery of the OCA is located. Within one year, he had transitioned from serving as the Abbot of a small monastery, to serving as a Bishop of the South, to serving as the head of the Orthodox Church of America.


Metropolitan Jonah began his tenure as Primate with a number of open and unresolved legal issues dealing with financial crimes and sexual misconduct. There were three specific instances of clergy sexual misconduct cases that Metropolitan Jonah was immediately faced with when he became the Metropolitan of the OCA. The manner in which Metropolitan Jonah decided to handle these three sexual misconduct cases was the grounds for the Synod to ultimately force his resignation.
The Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee (SMPAC) gave their perception on how Metropolitan Jonah handled these three specific cases. In their Memorandum dated February 10, 2011 they summarized:

…A main and central issue is the response of His Beatitude to cases of clergy sexual misconduct. His response often appears to be either indifference or in deliberate conflict with the decisions of the Holy Synod, with the OCA’s Best Practices, and with other established policies and procedures (including the Sexual Misconduct Policies). His Beatitude’s responses often seem to be based on his personal choices and ideas, rather than on sound pastoral, ethical, and legal considerations… In this Memorandum, we offer instances in which His Beatitude’s critical lapses in judgment and actions caused further deterioration in certain situations, caused potentially irreversible harm to all involved, and prevented a fitting resolution to the problem… The cases we have detailed in this Memorandum have been selected because they serve as concrete examples of what we have come to see not just as mistakes by His Beatitude, but rather as an unchanging pattern of deliberate behavior that has not benefited from lessons learned and will also negatively affect the OCA as a whole.[iii]

This Memorandum outlines what SMPAC deems to be clear evidence to show Metropolitan Jonah’s mishandling of three specific instances of clergy sexual misconduct. The three cases deal with: 1) Fr. Isidore Brittain, 2) Fr. Simeon Kharon, and 3) Archbishop Seraphim. I have been deeply disturbed to read the OCA’s accusations about Metropolitan Jonah’s handling of these three cases, as I have found nothing that indicates his actions were less than acceptable for all three cases—and certainly not grounds for termination.

There are few facts in the SMPAC Memorandum. There is a lot of verbage and carefully crafted rhetoric that gets the point across that the SMPAC is clearly upset with the Metropolitan. And yet, there is very little if no proof offered for any of their allegations. It is this point that disturbs me the most. The Memorandum seems to be a summation of their opinions about how Metropolitan Jonah has handled these three cases, without backup evidence or documentation shown to prove any of their allegations.

The SMPAC wrote on the first page of their Memorandum: “In order to generate a readable document in a timely manner, citations and footnotes are not included; however, all of the facts and observations contained herein are based on documentary evidence available in the OCA Chancery and/or on verifiable, trustworthy statements.”[iv] This is unacceptable for an official church document. Assertions of the nature made within the Memorandum must be verifiable.

There are virtually no dates in the Memorandum. This leaves the reader to wonder about the timeline of their presentation of events. It is nearly impossible to figure out the sequence of events as presented. Even Metropolitan Jonah, in his response to this Memorandum, describes how he disagrees with the timeline of events as presented. This is also unacceptable.

This is the document that fueled the Synod’s request for Metropolitan Jonah to either commit himself for six months to a psychiatric inpatient facility, or to resign. It is full of innuendo but short on facts, full of ennui but lacking in substance, overflowing with rhetoric but not containing the evidence for their case.

Regarding the structure of these two committees—the “Special Investigation Committee” (SIC), and the “Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee” (SMPAC)…

The SIC membership in 2010 who wrote the report to the Synod “Regarding Allegations of Misconduct by Hieromonk Simeon” dated November 16, 2010, was: Bishop Michael of New York (who had been made Bishop of New York and New Jersey in September 2009), Fr. Alexander Garklavs (Chancellor of the OCA), Fr. Gregory Safchuk (Chancellor of the Diocese of Washington, D.C.), and Dr. Nikita Eike (a psychiatrist who serves on the OCA Ethics Committee).

The SMPAC membership composition who, a mere three months later, issued their Memorandum “Report Regarding Handling of Cases and Allegations of Sexual Misconduct”, dated February 10, 2011, was: Chancellor Alexander Garklavs (also on SIC), Dr. Nikita Eike (also on SIC), Fr. Eric Tosi, Fr. Michael Matsko, Fr. Theodore Bobosh, Deacon Peter Danilchick, and attorney James Spencer.



Let us review the three cases outlined in the SIC Report and the SMPAC Memorandum together, and if I have come to the wrong conclusion, I humbly ask for correction.


Case #1: Fr. Isidore Brittain. Background

The first of three cases deals with Fr. Isidore Brittain, former priest of the OCA in Kodiak, Alaska. Mr. Paul Sidebottom had served at St. Herman’s Seminary (Kodiak, Alaska) as the Dean of Students, and was subjected to sexual harassment by Archimandrite Isidore Brittain and illegal termination of employment by Bishop Nikolai Soraich.

Because the SMPAC used this particular case as one of the grounds for its accusations against Metropolitan Jonah “that have caused us unease and even alarm”[v], it is for the sake of clarity that I offer a brief synopsis of that case.

Case #1: Fr. Isidore Brittain. Sidebottom Letter


Read the essay online (47 pages) or download the essay (pdf).


  1. Bravo! You have done a good work.

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Thank you. I posted this at http:\\ a little over one week ago, and the response has been overwhelming. I am grateful and also very humbled. When I posted this, I asked for corrections and clarifications, and there were just two corrections given to me: 1) Bishop Melchisedek graduated from St. Vladimir’s, not St. Tikhon’s–which was where he taught, and 2) Bishop Melchisedek should be referred to as “priest-monk” not “former monk”. I made those corrections and added some other information online at the blogsite based on reader feedback.

      Again, I welcome all comments, most especially corrections.

  2. Defend the Faith. says

    Thank You George for posting the link to the entire work of Christine. It is long, 47 pages, but it is very important that we read it in its entirety. It should be studied and delegates to the Parma Council should bring a copy of it and be prepared to ask questions, even if the Chair tries to stop any questions from the floor.

    But don’t wait until Parma. Syosset and the Synod should be peppered with questions which naturally flow from this report.

    • Disgusted With It says

      “even if the Chair tries to stop any questions from the floor. ”

      It’s already decided that the delegates will receive a brief lecture of “how it is” and then no discussion. End of story.

      Or are you prepared to fight?

      • Interested Bystander says

        “– and how to defeat it.”

        No, now we know the M.O. – How to defeat it? With a brawl? That would be unacceptable. How could one follow the rules of order and defeat this ‘you – shut up tactic’?

        • Disgusted With It says

          I’d suggest using the procedure. In the beginning of the meeting when they present the agenda for approval by the body, INSIST that your discussion of restoring +Jonah (or whatever it is you want) be put on the agenda as the first items. If the chair does not agree, then VOTE DOWN THE AGENDA. And keep voting it down until they add your items. (But be sure you’re prepared with specific items to add to the agenda.)

          You can’t hold the meeting without the agenda approved. Hold firm and eventually they have to add it, otherwise the whole meeting will never take place. That sure would be a problem, wouldn’t it?

          • I would suggest having numerous copies of handouts with the proposed changes to the agenda ready to be distributed before the vote on the agenda AND have someone video record the proceedings. Otherwise it is very easy to shout down any dissenters and approve the prepared agenda by a show of hands.

  3. John Christopher says

    It doesn’t inspire confidence when the document begins with an obvious error: Metropolitan Jonah was the *fourth* Primate. Metropolitan Ireney (Bekish) of New York was the first.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Nitpicking, much? Metropolitan Ireny was the only one not to have retired or resigned – he died IN OFFICE. Christina Fevronia seems to be the same age as me, and neither of us have memories of Met. Ireny – I converted after he had reposed in the Lord.

      • ChristineFevronia says

        You are right, Lola. I was born during the time period when Met. Ireney was at the helm of the OCA. This is sad, but I had never heard of him until today. It’s always been “Russian bishops, then Theodosius, then Herman, then Jonah.” I wonder why? I am going to learn all I can about him. Thank you, Lola. I hope to meet you soon. 🙂

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          You should read the account of his meeting with the Russian Patriarch (Alexei, was it not?) – it is a very poignant one.

          And I look forward to meeting you!

      • Mitropolit Ireney Bekish DID RETIRE in 1977 due to ill health and then lived at St. Cosmas and Damian’s.
        I remember him well, he was a “grandfatherly” type and very nice and he served beautifully with Protodeacon
        Nikolaj Polyanski. Those were the days……..when the “old-timers” still were with us…………..

    • ChristineFevronia says

      According to the OCA website: “During the 200+ year history of Orthodoxy in North America, there have been 18 ruling bishops and 3 primates for the Orthodox Church in America.” Apparently they forgot about Met. Ireney, too! But I just fixed that right now to reflect this (and hopefully someone in Syosset is reading this and will fix the OCA website too). Many thanks, John Christopher.

      I will be the first to apologize and take correction. Nothing in this report is a willful distortion, and I want to receive comments and corrections for anything I have written, which is why it is an “open letter”.

      Please feel free to send all comments to my email:

      • So the OCA has, in its brief autocephaly, had four Primates–3 of whom have been forced from office??

        No wonder, my former pastor in another Orthodoxo jurisdiction thought I should have had my head examined to move from his established parish into an OCA mission. Little did I know. It was in the heady days of +Dmitri and +Jonah, and +Dimitri said he had plans to plant a parish at every major crossroads in the South and was only waiting for the manpower to do it. And then all hell broke loose . . .

        Most disheartening. What is it St. Peter said? Barring repentance, judgment must begin with the house of God. At this penitiential council in Parma will the Bishops, Chancellor et al. arrive in sackcloth and ashes and eschew all the regal robes for the duration? or will they continue to make excuses and shed crocodile tears protesting at how sad they are that ++JONAH had to go?

        Enough of projection and deflection. Christ is in our midst, and we stand already before His dread judgment seat.

      • Dear Christine,

        About our first primate, Metropolitan Irenei, Archbishop of New York, I can only surmise that lack of knowledge of this wonderful man, whose hand I have kissed, comes down to the fact that the OCA archives are resident in a space in in a fromer country house in Syosset, NY and the OCA historian there also. Mr. Alexis Liberovsky has supplied the majority of the historic material on the OCA website. Which brings us to the webmaster of the OCA website, who should also be informed to supply basic information about our first hierarch. Who is the webmaster? Many of the former links on the OCA website have been changed, and some are inaccessible. For example, there used to be published participant lists for everyone who attended each AAC and in which capacity. For example, some clergy end up in the parish delegates. It is clear that some husbands and wives are participating as a kind of vacation when you see them both attending. The pages are no longer easy to find or navigate on, a problem of the web designer or webmaster.

        The archivist is quite personable and approachable:

        Alexis Liberovsky
        Archivist / Director
        PO Box 675
        Syosset, NY 11791

        Delivery Address via Fedex and UPS:
        6850 N. Hempstead Turnpike
        Syosset, NY 11791

        Office: 516-922-0550, ext. 121
        Fax: 516-922-0954

        Alexis Liberovsky has been the Archivist of the Orthodox Church in America since 1988. He currently also serves as Director of the Department of History and Archives, Secretary of the OCA Canonization Commission and Recording Secretary of the Metropolitan Council.

        He was born in Montreal, Canada, where he was raised in a Russian-speaking home. His family attended SS. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox (OCA) Cathedral, where, from an early age, Alexis was active as an acolyte, reader and subdeacon. Following graduation from Loyola High School in Montreal, Mr. Liberovsky enrolled at the renowned Saint Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, France, where he would later serve as president of the student body. Having defended his thesis on the history of the Orthodox Church in Canada, written in Russian, he received a Licence (M.Div.) degree from St. Sergius Institute in 1982. After pursuing further studies, focused on church history, at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood (Yonkers), NY, he was hired as OCA Archivist in 1988. He received archival training at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

        In his work as OCA Archivist, Mr. Liberovsky has managed and developed the growing historical collections of the OCA Archives, has provided historical information and documentation to countless researchers, and has published articles based on his own historical research in church and other publications as well as the internet. Concurrently with his duties as OCA Archivist, he has held other positions including: secretary of the OCA Department of History and Archives, member of the OCA Bicentennial Commission, secretary of both the OCA and the Joint OCA-Antiochian Archdiocese Canonization Commissions, Director of the OCA Office of History and Archives, member of the special commission for preparation for the election of the Metropolitan in 2002, consultant to the OCA Commission for dialogue with ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia). He has prepared a number of historical exhibits at All-American Councils and other significant events. Special projects he has coordinated or been involved in have included the preparations for the glorification of new American Orthodox saints, preparations and research for the election and enthronement of the OCA Primate in 2002, video productions, OCA participation in the Orthodox Encyclopedia being published in Russia, text and photo editing as well as translation and proofreading for numerous publications, supplying historical materials for the OCA website, preparations for the bicentennial of Orthodoxy in North America in 1994 and humanitarian aid efforts.

        Additionally, he has assisted dioceses, parishes and institutions in organizing their own archival collections. He has also lectured on historical topics in the US and abroad, thereby sharing the historical vision of the OCA. He is a regular contributor of articles on historical topics for the OCA newsmagazine The Orthodox Church. A particularly important aspect of his work as OCA Archivist is to provide, when requested, archival documentation or historical background reports for the Metropolitan, the Holy Synod, All-American Councils, Metropolitan Council and other OCA officials and administrative bodies to facilitate their decision-making processes.

        With fluency in Russian and French in addition to English and a working knowledge of several other languages, Mr. Liberovsky’s language skills have often been put to use in translation and interpretation for the OCA. Due to these linguistic abilities, Mr. Liberovsky has facilitated the organization of visits of foreign church emissaries to the United States and of OCA delegations abroad.

        In 2000, he was awarded an honorary citation by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, and in 2002, he received the Order of St, Innocent, Enlightener of Alaska (bronze medal) from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

        Mr. Liberovsky and his wife, Zinaida, are the parents of three adult children.

        A photo of the archives with Mr. Liberovsky pointing is here:

        He might be interested in your history material from your website for his collections.

        Past primates page on


        About Ivan Bekish, Metropoitan Irenei / Ireney, se Liberovsky’s short outline here:

        You will note that Metropolitan Irenei was Bishop of Tokyo and Japan, then a part of the Metropolia. Part of the agreement for the Tomos of Autocephally was that the American Metropolia would give up the Archdiocese of Japan to the Russian Orthodox Church.

        His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney (Bekish)
        Archbishop of New York
        Metropolitan of All America and Canada
        His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney (Bekish)

        (1892 – 1981)

        OCTOBER 2, 1892 Born John Bekish in Mezhirech, Lublin Province of the Russian Empire, in what is today southeast Poland.

        1914 Graduation from the Kholm Seminary.

        1914-1916 Psalm reader.

        AUGUST 1, 1916 Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Seraphim of Belsk. Appointed to serve in the military chaplaincy and as Assistant Rector of the Cathedral in Lublin.

        1917/ Awarded the nabedrennik and skufia.

        JULY 12, 1919 Appointed Rector of the parish in Guscha, Lublin Region.

        AUGUST 2, 1924 Appointed Rector of the parish in Lishnevka, Kovel Region.

        JUNE 22, 1925 Appointed Rector of the parish in Belskoye, Sarnen Region.

        SEPTEMBER 1, 1926 Appointed Rector of the parish in Poliza, Sarnen Region.

        DECEMBER 11, 1928 Appointed District Dean of the Second District of the Sarnen Region and awarded the kamilavka.

        1929 Awarded the gold cross.

        1934 Appointed Rector of the parish in Kamen-Kashirsk and elevated to the rank of Archpriest.

        MAY 1, 1934 Appointed District Dean of the First District of the Kamen-Kashirsk Region.

        JANUARY 1, 1935 Appointed to the Consistory of the Polish Orthodox Church.

        MARCH 1, 1935 Appointed District Dean of the Third District of the Pinsk Region.

        JANUARY 1, 1936 Appointed Assistant Rector of the Pinsk Cathedral.

        1937 Awarded the palitsa.

        AUGUST 26, 1938 Appointed Rector of the parish in Luninetz and District Dean of the Luninetz Deanery.

        OCTOBER 1, 1938 Appointed Chairman of the Luninetz Missionary Committee.

        1940 Awarded the jeweled cross.

        JULY 1944 Evacuated with his family from Pinsk and Luninetz to Germany, where he ministered to Orthodox faithful in displaced persons’ camps.

        OCTOBER 1947 Raised to the dignity of Mitred Archpriest and moves to Belgium.

        AUGUST 1, 1948 Assigned Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Charleroi, Belgium and later assigned District Dean.

        MARCH 20, 1952 Arrives in the US.

        MAY 8, 1952 Assigned Rector of Holy Trinity Church, McAdoo, PA.

        MARCH 31, 1953 Matushka Xenia Bekish dies and is buried in the parish cemetery in McAdoo.

        MAY 15, 1953 Elected Bishop of Tokyo and Japan, then a diocese of the American “Metropolia.”

        MAY 28, 1953 Tonsured a monk with the name Ireney and elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.

        JUNE 7, 1953 Consecrated Bishop of Tokyo and Japan by Metropolitan Leonty (Turkevich) and other hierarchs at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, New York.

        1954 Bishop Ireney is instrumental in reopening of Tokyo’s Orthodox Seminary.

        MAY 9, 1957 Elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

        JUNE 14, 1960 Transferred to the Diocese of New England and appointed Archbishop of Boston and New England and Special Assistant to the ailingL eonty. Concurrently, he serves for a brief time as Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada.

        1965 Following the death of Metropolitan Leonty on May 14, Archbishop Ireney is elected Locum Tenens by the Great Council of Bishops.

        SEPTEMBER 23, 1965 Elected and installed as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 12th All-American Sobor.

        APRIL 10, 1970 The Russian Orthodox Church grants autocephaly to the “Metropolia,” henceforth known as the Orthodox Church in America.

        JUNE 9, 1970 In conjunction with the granting of autocephaly, Metropolitan Ireney is granted the title “His Beatitude” by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, as is appropriate for the Primate of an Autocephalous Church.

        OCTOBER 20-22, 1970 Presides at 14th All-American Sobor/1st All-American Council, which formally and enthusiastically approves reception of autocephaly, in part due to Metropolitan Ireney’s total commitment to its attainment.

        1974 Due to failing health, Metropolitan Ireney requests the Holy Synod to elect a Temporary Administrator to carry out day-to-day governance of the Church. On May 15, Archbishop Sylvester (Haruns) of Montreal and Canada assumes this position, working together with Metropolitan Ireney, who continues to approve all actions and decisions.

        MARCH 9, 1977 Metropolitan Ireney announces his intention to retire, effective October 25, the opening day of the 5th All-American Council. Bishop Theodosius (Lazor) of Pittsburgh is elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. In , Metropolitan Ireney resides at SS.Cosmas and Damian Adult Home, Staten Island, NY, which he was instrumental in establishing.

        Parish History of his first parish in America from

        Parish Background

        Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of McAdoo was establised at the turn of the twentieth century, when thousands of immigrants from Russia, Poland and Austria began to settle in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region. Those men who found work near McAdoo soon bound themselves into a beneficial society in the name of the “Holy Virgin Protectorate”, a chapter of the national Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society in America.

        The early founders and their founders at first attended church services of various denominations, but soon exhibited a strong preference for the dogmas, teachings, customs and rites of the Orthodox Church. Not excluding the two Orthodox Churches in nearby Freeland, Holy Trinity Church in McAdoo became the only Orthodox Church in the vicinity of Greater Hazelton.

        Metropolitan Platon of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America fulfilled the wishes of these Orthodox believers by assigneing Fr Alexander Nemolovsky the task of establishing the new parish, and he together with his flock lost no time in procuring a modest frame church, formerly a Protestant Lutheran church from the neighboring town of Kelayres.

        The building was moved to its new location of South Tamaqua St in McAdoo by a large mule team furnished by the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Co. Shortly thereafter, these men also constructed a belfry next to the church edifice.

        A prized possession of the first church was an exact duplicate of the renowned icon of the Theotokos entitled Our Lady of Kazan, a gift of the first pastor and founder Fr Nemolovsky. This icon is in the church to this day.

        Fr Alexander’s pastorate was to be short. Eight years later he was elected to the office of Bishop of Alaska, in which rank he blessed Holy Trinity’s new rectory on May 30, 1913. Later, as Metropolitan Alexander, he was primate of the Russian Orthodox Church of North America. He died in Belgium in 1960.

        At the annual parish meeting on January 17, 1916, the members resolved to replace the frame church with a new brick structure. The plans for this first building in McAdoo to be built with structural steel were drawn up by a New York architect, John Bergenson; a local contractor, Hugh L Campbell, did the construction. In May 1926, Metropolitan Platon blessed the church interior, newly decorated with stenciling, frescoes, and icons. Serving with him were pastor Fr Peter Semashko and area clergy.

        In 1951, during the pastorate of Fr Michael Karas, Holy Trinity celebrated its golden jubilee. His Grace, Bishop Nikon celebrated the Divine Liturgy. New murals and icons painted by Michael Kupetz and Sofronios Afentakis were blessed. A choir from St Mary’s in Coaldale was directed by Seminarian Daniel Ressetar, who later became pastor at Holy Trinity.

        From 1952-1958, a time of scarcity of available clergy, priests who were displaced persons from Europe were assigned to Holy Trinity. Their missionary zeal for Orthodoxy was very pronounced. One of them, VRev John Bekish, was later elevated to the rank of bishop, and later, as Metropolitan Iriney, held the rank of Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

        In 1961, during the pastorate of Fr Daniel Ressetar, Archbishop Dmitry of Philadelphia consecrated a new Holy Table, designed and made by Mr Ignatz Mandrick, a parishioner who also built all of the white tables in the church. During the pastorate of Fr Joseph Martin (1965-1995), the inside of the rectory was extensively remodeled in 1966 and a new Iconostas was installed. The icons were donated by parishioners and painted by Mr Serge Bodasiuk of New York City.

        In 2000, the marbleized portion of the walls were repaired and repainted by Michael Kurtz, Sr. In 2001, in preparation for the Centennial celebration, roof work was carried out and the interior of the church walls were repaired and repainted.

        On July 8, 2001 the parish celebrated its cenetennial anniversary. Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia celebrated the Divine Liturgy. He was assisted by Frs Claude Vinyard (temporary priest-in-charge) Joseph Martin and Theodore Orzolek (former pastors) as well as other priests from local parishes in the deanery. The responses were sung by Holy Trinity choir, joined by several singers from Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre, under the direction of David Kessler, choir director of Holy Resurrection. At the end of the Liturgy, a Synodal Gramota was presented to the parish. A banquet followed at a local restaurant.

        Over the years, many spiritual projects and beautifications of the temple have been carried out, as the parish grew and prospered by God’s grace and under the guidance of many priests and bishops. Our Holy Trinity parish is proud that two of its pastors have become bishops and primates of our church: its founder Fr Alexander Nemolovsky and Fr John Bekish (later Metropolitan Ireney). Bishop Innocent of Hagerstown, MD was also a former parishioner of Holy Trinity.

        Many people have been involved with the life of Holy Trinity Church during its first 100 years. Many, both known and unknown, have given of their time and efforts to improve the Church life. May the Holy Trinity bless each and every one of these people; may those who have gone on to their final reward have heavenly peace and may their memory be eternal. To those who remain may Almighty God give us the strength and the courage to carry on the work which had begun over a century ago. With the establishment of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America in 1970, the mission of Orthodoxy has taken a new course. May the Holy Spirit ever guide us in the way we must follow.

        History of the Church of Japan on Orthodox Wikipedia: does not mention Metropolitan Irenei but does mention Archbishop Seraphim Sigrist.

    • Definition:

      nitpicking |ˈnitˌpiki ng | informal
      looking for small or unimportant errors or faults, esp. in order to criticize unnecessarily : a nitpicking legalistic exercise.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Thank you for your correction.

      • Dear Protodeacon gives a definition:

        nitpicking |ˈnitˌpiki ng | informal
        looking for small or unimportant errors or faults, esp. in order to criticize unnecessarily : a nitpicking legalistic exercise.

        I would like to counter the dear deacon’s definition by reminding him that the removal of small bloodsucking insects is a necessary task. As Frank Lloyd Wright proclaimed, “God is in the details.” He is indeed, I think. When I even remove the petals from a flower (I dry, for example, every petal of every flower that dear husband has ever given me and put resultant petals in a jar to remember their beauty), I notice that they are always unique but always in a Fibonacci sequence. Who but our God, great in Glory, could have designed something so complex in its regularity and sense?

        I got Lola’s intent, which is to point out how difficult it is to even document our own history in our own Church and how important it is to accomplish the task of preventing a false council within a short period of time.

        God is in the details. Whatever our dear Metropolitan chooses to do, whether he is blessed to continue his holy mission on earth as our spiritual leader, as is my hope and is in my prayers, or whether he is taken from the whole of our Church and made archbishop of another diocese besides my own, still able to have his sermons recorded in another location not so accessible to me, or whether he is blessed to start a new monastery, I am sure that the Metropolitan will continue to do God’s work.

        Has anyone thought of how expensive it is to hold TWO AACs? In this time, when the majority of us have family and friends with unemployment, temporary employment without benefits, jobs lacking healthcare that may disappear with two weeks notice, or are working under the real or euphemistic catchall as “consultants”, the OCA is not flush with material assets. At the very least, there should only be one AAC, and the laity’s and parishes’ funds paying for motels, hotels and transportation should be minimized with the goal of getting as much as possible accomplished at one time with the proper time of preparation.

        Before expending precious funds for an AAC trip, and certainly before participation, the least we should be expecting is town meetings with the chancellor and Metropolitan Jonah to allow people to air their concerns and to gather necessary information prior to an AAC at which they would be capable of making an informed decision. The town meetings before the resignation of Metropolitan Herman were very helpful, and could be made even more transparent with perhaps videos of those representing the OCA before the council and the members of the laity not videotaped for both privacy and the ability to openly air their concerns.

        All other offices to be filled, all other resolutions and business, should be in the same single AAC. Anything else is a waste of personal and parish dollars.

        The way the AAC is being organizes focuses its only task as having the laity and clergy put their stamp of approval on the uncanonical actions against our Metropolitan.

        If such an acclamation should occur, the laity will have spoken and will be accessory to the:

        1. False information given by Chancellor Jillions to the Metorpolitan in person which resulted in the Metropolitan resigning as “Primate”.

        2. Libel against the Metropolitan tying him to a supposed sex scandal and suggesting that he had pastoral control of an individual never in the OCA.This libel has never been recinded, news messages have not been sent out to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Herald Tribune, the Huffington Post online and other major newspaper and online news venues stating the falsity of the accusations against the Metropolitan and restoring his ability to make appearances and to lead and speak in Orthodox meetings.

        3. Marginalization of the Metorpolitan’s ability to move, as an acting bishop, within his diocese.

        4. An attempt to strip him of his archbishopric and his historic, canonical titles.

        5. Loss of income and position of the Metropolitan

        Note that the Metropolitan has done nothing wrong for which he should be removed. That being the case, the leadership of any canonical AAC would be his. The Holy Synod must acknowledge its error, must be forgiven, and must agree to true metropolitan leadership.

        We have a history in the OCA of providing strong backup for our metropolitans. Metropolitan Theodosius started his career as a bishop as the assistant bishop to Metropolitan Irenei. Because of his frailty, Metropolitan Irenei did not go to Moscow to receive the Tomos of Autocephally for which he had long spearheaded and worked, but sent the Bishop of Alaska in his stead, his former assistant. There was a time in which the major OCA seminary, its cathedral, its Metropolitan, church archives and functions were located in various places in NY which had and still has as large Orthodox population and still houises two rival Russian based jursidctions, the ROCOR and the MP., the first on 97th St. west side and the second on 99th St. east side.

        The next AAC should focus on reform , not removal

        Plese read this, on Diocese of Washington (OCA) from the Orthowiki

        Diocese of Washington (OCA) This article forms part of the series Orthodoxy in America

        The Diocese of Washington was established in 1981 to place the seat of the ruling hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America in the national capital of the United States of America. The diocese was disestablished in 2005 when it was merged with the Diocese of New York and New Jersey to form the Diocese of Washington and New York, and re-established in 2009.


        In 1981 under the decision of the 6th All-American Council, the Diocese of Washington was formed by splitting the territories of southern Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, and northern Virginia from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. The purpose of establishing the new diocese was two fold: to establish the see of the ruling hierarch of the OCA in the national capital of the United States as is the norm in other Orthodox Churches, and to provide a smaller diocese for the ruling hierarch to administer, making it easier to attend the duties of leading the OCA as a whole.

        St. Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, DC, The Cathedra [sic] of the Ruling Hierarch of the OCA

        In 2005 under the decision of the Holy Synod, the diocese was re-united with the Diocese of New York and New Jersey following the retirement of Abp. Peter, who was the ruling hierarch of the New York/New Jersey diocese. In making the change, the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Washington and New York, thus retaining Washington as the seat of the united diocese.

        However, in 2009, the Holy Synod reversed this decision, returning to the diocesan structure existing from 1981-2005.

        At the time of its establishment the Diocese of Washington contained five parishes, namely:

        St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC – the Metropolitan’s seat (Founded 1930)
        St. Andrews Church in Baltimore, Maryland (Founded 1940)
        St. Luke Church in McLean, Virginia (Founded 1962)
        St Mark Church in Bethesda, Maryland (Founded 1972)
        Holy Trinity Church in Reston, Virginia (Founded 1978)

        During the years of its existence as the Diocese of Washington the following parishes were added:

        St. Catherine the Great Martyr Mission in Hagerstown, Maryland (Founded in 1981)
        St. Matthew Church in Columbia, Maryland (Founded 1988)
        Christ the Savior Mission in Dagsboro, Delaware (Founded 2000) – formerly Fenwick Island.
        Ss. Cyril and Methodius Mission in Washington, DC (Founded 2003)
        Christ the Savior Mission in Stafford, Virginia (Founded in 2004)
        All Saints of North America Mission in Alexandria, Virginia (Founded in 2008)

        Bishops of Washington
        Ruling bishops

        Theodosius (Lazor) (1981-2002)
        Herman (Swaiko) (2002-2008)
        Jonah (Paffhausen) (2009-2012)
        Alexander (Golitzin) (2012 – ) temporary ruler, bishop of Toledo

        Previous bishops

        Before the Diocese of Washington was established, the titular Bishop of Washington was an auxiliary to the Metropolitan and resided at St Tikhon’s Monastery, visiting Washington only occasionally.

        Basil (Rodzianko) 1980
        Dmitri (Royster) 1970 – 1973
        Theodosius (Lazor) 1967
        Kiprian (Borisevich) 1961 -1964
        Jonah (Stahlberg) 1951 – 1955

        External links

        Diocese of Washington and New York [ In the original Orthodox Wiki as updated who whoever, a link is given to parishes of the Washington Archdiocese. Originally, the Wikipedia article referred to the Wiki article on the Diocese, still (but who knows for how long, get it while you can) located at

        My power keeps going out (this is DC, we don’t have underground cabling and so lose it days at a time), so I am going to post this here without spellchecking or typo checking

        Source for article [note to the minute current updating by whoever to the Orthodox wikipedia in an attempt to mold public opinion for recent Synodal decisions]

  4. Denis Rukobludov says

    According to, there is a disproportionate number of retired bishops. This seems highly irregular. Is there a site that explains the circumstances of each bishops’ retirement? Bishop Tikhon has been forthright about the events involving his retirement in this forum, but there is nothing I can find about all the other bishops.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      You are not going to like this. I am sure that I will be trashed by Bishop Tikhon. However, I can see the problem. It is folly to chose a Bishop with no pastoral experience in a parish. How can someone who has spent their entire priesthood in a monastery possibly understand the problems involved in parish and diocesan administration? How can a man who has never dealt with a Parish Council realize how hard it can be for even the best priest to deal with a Parish Council that views him as an hired hand and not as the leader of the parish? I would never vote for a candidate for Bishop who had never served as a pastor of a parish. No matter how spiritual or intelligent a man is, there is no substitute for practical experience.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr John, these are good questions, but I’m going to have to disagree with you. I mean no offense but I am going to answer in a counter-intuitive way. What we need now are precisely true monk-bishops. Men who take vows of poverty, are living the interior life, and cannot be controlled by fat cats who like to throw their money around. Men who don’t mind staying at the Motel 6 when visiting one of their parishes rather than those who like chocolates on their pillows at the Ritz-Carlton.

        I can’t speak for your jurisdiction but as a former member of the GOA I can honestly tell you, with my hand on the Bible, that most bishops in that jurisdiction have turned on a dime when the L100 types open their checkbooks. There are many GOA priests reading this blog who talk to me off-line and tell me how they were railroaded out of their parishes because of bishops who bow and scrape before the L100s but compensate for their weakness by lording it over their priests.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          We all have problems with trusteeism because of the way our parishes were founded. I hate to be cynical but I am not that sure that monastics are so pure that they cannot be corrupted by money. In fact, some of the most money grubbing people that I have seen have been monastics. When I was in the Houston area monks from a nearby monastery were constantly visiting my people raising funds for their monastery. Some monasteries in this country are palatial multi-million dollar facilities for a few monks and nuns.

        • “Men who don’t mind staying at the Motel 6 when visiting one of their parishes rather than those who like chocolates on their pillows at the Ritz-Carlton.”
          Better still, let a devout family put the bishop up for a night (maybe the priest’s, but not necessarily so, and it won’t be possible all the time, but when it is…).

          • Hear hear, Basil,

            An Orthodox family will not force the bishop to try to navigate the fast at the adjacent fast food restaurant. We’ve got to stay homey and practical to save our Orthodox Church. THat said, our stewardship campaigns could learn a few lessons from the Greek Archdiocese.

      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        Dear Fr. John, Does the abbot of a monastery have no pastoral experience? Or is it so different that it doesn’t translate to a parish? Is human nature different in a parish from in a monastery? Does a monk not have a father, a mother, and a family? Did he not grow up in the world? Was he not a member of a parish before going to the monastery? Has he not spoken over the years with pilgrims about problems in their dioceses and parishes? Are there not decisions to be made in monasteries that require the building of consensus?

        I much more prefer a man who knows the depths of his own sinfulness, who understands human nature and the motions of the heart, the relation of the thoughts to passions and sin, someone who understands the Church’s remedy for what is amiss in the human heart and who has learned to discern and submit himself to the voice of the Holy Spirit than someone ignorant or not fully versed in such things but who has abundant experience in the world. A true monk belongs in the monastery, not in the parish (and the canons back this up as you know). For him to live in the world, serving in a parish, does not normally assist him in his vocation. We have enough priests who are well-versed in guiding parish councils, building buildings, running programs, raising money, developing vision and missions statements and keeping the doors open who have little clue how to direct the healing of a human soul, who spend more time running meetings than they do serving services and praying.

        But knowing the human soul equips one to understand the passions that so often drive parish and diocesan problems. Humans have a remarkable ability to learn. With humility and the wisdom and discernment to find and to listen to good counsel, a monk-become-bishop with no parish pastoral experience can acquire what he needs to run a diocese quickly. Much of the running of a diocese will be accomplished by experienced priests who are chosen to serve as deans, chancellor, etc. The bishop formed in the monastery brings something special to the diocese to serve as spiritual father (not sugar daddy or CEO) and shepherd to the flock entrusted to him, something no one else can bring, as he combines spiritual authority with the practical authority of ruling his diocese. It is much easier for a godly man to acquire pastoral experience than it is for an experienced man to acquire true godliness.

        I’d almost agree with you to say that, all things being equal, let’s have a priest-monk with parish pastoral experience become a bishop–but again, that means the priest monk living outside of the monastery concerned with matters that don’t pertain to his vocation and the consequent loss of spiritual intensity and experience. No, let us have more true monks as bishops, not fewer!

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Unfortunately the way our Church works in the US we need a someone who is a good administrator. Of course we also need someone who is spiritually mature. Mostly, we need a man with some common sense. A Bishop who does not understand that a parish is not a monastery can be a disaster if he imposing all sorts of legalisms from monasticism on the priests and parishes under him can be a disaster. I agree that a Bishop who acts as an ecclesiastical CEO and treats the diocese like a business can also be a disaster. I claim no infallibility and could be completely wrong, but I believe that every candidate for Bishop should have had at least some practical pastoral experience in a parish. Above all a potential Bishop should not be ambitious. If I sense that a candidate wants to be a Bishop, I will not vote for them.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            The best candidates are those who run away screaming “I am unworthy”. Because then we are more sure that they don’t have a personal agenda to push.

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            Above all a potential Bishop should not be ambitious. If I sense that a candidate wants to be a Bishop, I will not vote for them.

            I’ll say a hearty amen to that!

        • BRAVO !

      • One need not be an ant to study ants and become an expert in ant behavior. I’ll go even further and say that even if one is not an ant, one may go to graduate school, earn a PhD partly through publishing a doctoral dissertation on ant behavior, publish monographs and lecture university students in ant behavior, and get insulted if someone questions your theories because you have all the best credentials, all without ever having to be an ant.
        And if, by God’s inscrutable Grace, one should be transformed into an ant, one might very well be one of the most successful ants to have ever lived and be a tremendous asset to any ant colony with which you might, also through God’s Grace, become associated.

        And I’m sure (Archpriest John W. Morris, please examine this for accuracy and scholarship) that one does NOT find any reference to experience with parish councils, boards of trustees, or anything “practical” at all in the qualifications the Great Apostle Paul listed for us.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Your Grace:

          Actually if we went by St. Paul’s list of qualifications for a Bishop, he would have to be married. I Timothy 3:2, ” Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher,” Sometimes I think that we should go back to the old Apostolic standard and have married Bishops. But the authority to make that kind of change is way above my pay grade. I still believe that a Bishop should have some real parish experience so he can understand how a parish works. A parish is not a monastery and cannot be expected to operate as one. Since I have a vote as long as I am pastor of a parish, I have a right to use my best judgment to decide which candidate receives my vote. Our system is different than the system in the OCA. We have no nominations. In the Antiochian Archdiocese the name of every priest who meets the qualifications is put on the ballot. One of those qualifications is that the candidate must have served in our Archdiocese for at least 5 years. I have had the occasion to vote on the nomination of a candidate to the episcopacy several times. Each time, I have voted for a priest who has had real parish experience. Just so no one will blame me, I did not vote for Bishop Mark.

      • Disgusted With It says

        Fr John,
        I completely understand your point about being in a parish, but the fact is that there are bishops who did serve in parishes and are still horrible administrators, pastors, etc. It ultimately comes down to the individual, if they actually learned anything in their parish assignment and how they worked with it. Serving in a parish could afford them the opportunity to learn how do deal with all those things associated with it, but it does not automatically make them qualified in my opinion.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          If a priest had been a horrible administrator or a bad pastor, the other priest who know him would know about it. Therefore, his reputation would be known before he became a candidate for the episcopacy.

      • If these comments of Fr John’s are with reference to Metropolitan Jonah, then he should know that in addition to founding and pastoring a monastery, he also founded at least four mission parishes in California. Furthermore as a layman he served as a choir director and parish council president in an established parish. He had a remarkable breadth and variety of experience in the Church – parishes, cathedrals, missions, monasteries, seminaries, college campuses, advanced graduated studies – America and Russia.

        In a broader perspective, what was the “parish experience” of the likes of St. Gregory Palamas or St. John of San Francisco?

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          I was speaking in general terms, not about a specific individual.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            I will add this about Metropolitan Jonah. If I were him, I would not want to be restored to office. Why would anyone want to work with a synod of bishops knowing that they are all against him? If he is restored, he should at the very least be able to hire his own staff at the national headquarters, so that they will work for him and not expect him to work for them. In my not so humble opinion, it seems that the Metropolitan of the OCA has too little authority. I seem to have read that while he was in office, he was not allowed to visit his old monastery. I cannot imagine that any Orthodox primate would have so little authority that he could not visit any parish or institution under his omophor. Some criticize Metropolitan Philip, but he has kept the Antiochian Archdiocese together as a united Archdiocese. If each Bishop has too much independent power, it could easily lead to chaos in the Archdiocese. I may be wrong on this, but I have the impression that each local OCA Bishop has the authority to introduce his own translation of the Liturgy, some in traditional English and some in modern English. That kind of division within one jurisdiction is not good. In fact as much as possible every Orthodox jurisdiction in America should have the same policies. That way laity who want to do something out of the ordinary cannot shop around among the jurisdictions for the best deal.

            • Father John, when we advocate for Met. Jonah’s restoration, I think it comes with the understanding that the problematic bishops and staff will resign, having been disgraced. So that’s one major problem of leadership taken care of. If he genuinely feels he does not want to continue as Primate, I would hope he would be willing to stay long enough to settle things down and consecrate new bishops, then resign on his own terms.

    • Bishop Tikhon has been forthright about the events involving his retirement in this forum…

      Unless I missed something newsworthy, we are no more privvy to the personal events and conditions that led Vladyka Tikhon to decide to retire than of any other Bishop.

      There’s nothing remarkable about this, it is all precisely as it should be. What is personal should be allowed to remain personal, the demands of gossip notwithstanding.

      • John Christopher says

        You did miss something. Not only has Bp Tikhon discussed his retirement here, he did so in a long encyclical to the clergy, monastics, and faithful of his diocese at the time of his retirement.

        • Thank you, John Christopher. I made it a matter of principle to discuss every important step in my life publicly throughout my service as Bishop. I believe that, first of all, every member of the diocesan council and every area dean was “privy to the personal events and conditions that led” me “to decide to retire.” I well remember, too, Archbishop John (Shahovskoy)’s announcement of his intent to retire and the reasons for it at a Diocesan Assembly at Christ the Saviour Church corner of Anza and 12th in San Francisco. It took no detective work. We were all “privy” to Archbishop John’s life and activity and reasons for retiring.
          Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk (retired Bishop of Voronezh) is another bishop who was famously forthcoming about his need to retire before he did so. Unlike mine, the Saint’s retirement was perhaps the most productive period of his lfie.

      • Denis Rukobludov says

        I did not want to pry into anything personal, just wanted to get a gauge on what led to these retirements due to the disproportionate amount – were they forced? If someone retires for personal reasons, that should be respected.

        • Denis Rukobludov says

          Additionally, I remember bishop Seraphim as being a bishop of the Japanese Church-MP. I do not know how he come into the OCA. It is also confusing to me as to why the OCA had dealings with Puhalo, as he was once a ‘cleric’ of the Denisenko-created “UOC-KP”. I would assume that Moscow wouldn’t have looked favorably on that move.

  5. An article on the American Orthodox Institute blog:

  6. For the Parma or Karma Council, I’m sure the powers-that-be are trying to figure out how informed or uninformed the people “out there” are, relative to the acceptance of what has been published by the Holy Synod and others, officially, relative to the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah and its causes. It may be, and I’m sure it’s plausible, they think, that only a few people, mostly people in the diocese of the South who “keep up on things”, even KNOW about the flaws in, for example, the Holy Synod’s STINKBOMB of a Statement. But probably some are sending out feelers and contacting associates to try and find the answers to a question LIKE this one: “Just WHO reads Monomakhos and might not accept whatever we want to speak of at the opening of the Council?
    What can we get away with? And so on. So, your parish priest may have already been contacted to try and figure this all out.
    I remember an All-American Council held in Chicago, where the ladies of Pokrov were able to have packets of material, with blue covers, handed to everyone of the accredited delegates at some point—coming in after breakfast or lunch, and so forth. This was arranged through insiders, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler was one of the main suspects at the time, always out for revenge. Perhaps Helga or someone could quickly put together somethign like the recent ssummary publshed here, and see that it is distributed in Parma. It would reqwuire careful planning however, and should include the Santa Fe conspiracy, the suppression of the Forsberg-Burke case, the suppression of Bishop Nikolai’s reports, the MANTON scandal, as well as all the dysinformative deeds relative to Metropolitan Jonah’s record

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Vladyka 007!

      May I ask you please, what is the “Forsberg-Burke case”?

      • + Mark Forsberg was retired for his escapades. He had a strong relationship with + Dimitri and therefore, BT didn’t want to go there.

        • George Michalopulos says

          What’s that supposed to mean? Archbishop Nikon has a strong relationship with Bp Forsberg as well and stays at his home in Miami quite frequently. For that matter, Arb Nathanael chided people in Dallas last year at the Sunday of Orthodoxy assuring everyone that things were on the up and up with the archdeacon. His exact words were that they were living “chastely.”

          • His exact words were that they were living “chastely.”

            Well, THAT’S a relief, isn’t it, George?

          • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

            It is well known in New England, even among non-Orthodox, that one of its bishops ran off with a novice from New Skete. That’s old news. Scandalous? Yeah a little bit. Not nearly as scandalous as the treatment of Metropolitan Jonah. Chaste? Okay. All men reach an age where they are chaste. As long as they are happy and not in active ministry somewhere, I personally don’t care. (I’m a lefty liberal remember)
            They live in a nice house in a little deed restricted neighborhood north of Miami. My cousin did some design work for them several years ago.

            What does all this have to do with the current crisis? I’m certain the Former Bishop of Boston is not on the ballot for election as Metropolitan.

            In the past the OCA looked the other way when unmarried clergy had discrete same sex relationships as long as there was not a major scandal. Unverified whispers and suspicions were ignored in most places.

            Bishop Tikhon for Metropolitan!
            If he writes his own press releases we’ll finally have some transparency as well as entertainment.

            • OUr brother Guy suggests: <>

              How sad, if true. It could explain how we have reached the point of decadence we have, where the Body of Christ is a sick as the general culture. Private sins do not require public denunciation, but they do require private action else the Body of Christ in the consecreated elements is, in fact, denied and we eat and drink to our own damnation.

              This is not the only sin, by the way, which is tolerated in our ranks. I know clergy who have not forgiven and sought reconciliation with each other for trespasses real or perceived. Their bishop and spiritual father should insist on it. Otherwise, the Eucharist is profaned and sin unrepented and unforgiven produces bad fruit in many unexpected ways and places. Instead, it would seem that too often those who should take action simply look the other way and tolerate the sin in our midst as Eli did with his sons. This is, however, practical atheism. How can it produce good fruit in the long run?

              How can we not weep for the world and for Christ’s church. May He present her to Himself as a bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Lord, give me tears of repentance. Forgive me a sinner.


            • So having gay bishops amongst the OCA episcopacy is OK? According to you it is. It is also well-known that Bishop Mark of Boston made a choice when he was the Albanian Diocese bishop to get rid of his deacon lover or retire. He chose to retire. Ask the Chancellor of the Albanian Diocese, the brother of Bishop Nikon.

              People have every right to make their own choices, but that does not give them the liberty to then continue to present themselves as Orthodox bishops or deacons.

              Come on Guido, the glove fits, we must convict.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Do I understand you to imply that after a Bishop had lived in an immoral relationship that he would have been allowed to remain a Bishop if he got rid of his lover? He should have been removed and laicized even if he got rid of his lover. We do not need gay Bishops.

                • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                  We do not need gay Bishops.

                  And yet we have them.

                  • Which tells you plenty about Orthodoxy and its claims to being the “Ancient Faith” – no doubt St. Paul is spinning in his grave.

                • He is still living “chastely” with his gay lover.

                • I was just thinking what a good thing it was for them to have even asked him to get rid of his lover at all. It’s not perfect, but at least that was something.

            • If past experience means anything, Bishop Tikhon (retired) would be far less transparent than anyone in current leadership.

              • Dear CQ, I don’t know you at all. I believe my life is an open book and there are no secret pages in it and no secret pages in the annals of my diocesan administration nor parish leadership. If you have some examples, please let us know: i might learn something, right?
                In my opinion, many evaluate me as overly transparent: given to revealing “too much information!” But, you paint a different picture. How can I correct what you see as my deficiences if you do not inform me ot them?

              • CQ Here is what I sent out to all the clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West prior to my retirement. I hope it answers any questions of yours relative thereto:
                April 2, 2006
                4th Sunday in the Great 40-dayer (Tessaracost)
                Venerable John, author of “The Ladder of Virtues”

                His Grace, Right Reverend BENJAMIN, Bishop of Berkeley, Chancellor
                Very Reverend Protopriest Ian MacKinnon, Vice-Chancellor
                All the Very Reverend Cathedral and District Deans
                The Very Reverend and Reverend Parish and Monastery Clergy
                The Humble Monastic Men and Women of our Monasteries
                All the Very Most Charitable Faithful of the Diocese of the West


                Having just been fortified with the Medicine of Immortality, as the Fathers characterized the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I’ve been, as it were, practically driven, as an ox or a cow is driven by a prod, to return to the Rector’s resi-dence of the Holy Virgin Mary, Rescue of the Perishing, Cathedral and activate the keyboard of that great missionary tool, the computer/word processor, in order to convey to all of you that I am filled to overflowing with gratitude to our Lord, and not solely for the heavenly and earthly Communion, but also for your prayers, whose power I felt this morning more than ever before in my life. As we often pray with the Psalmist, I thought: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He hath rendered unto me?”
                I feel that, responding from love and not any obligation of transparency or accountability (what an idea!), I should speak freely of myself in response to your Faith, Hope, and Love, since by them you have given me a renewed Hope. I informed the Diocesan Assembly a couple years ago that I had felt a marked decline in my standard of performance as Your Bishop and that I felt that I would need a Vicar in order to continue. You responded with total trust and, as the other Dioceses that together with ours constitute The Orthodox Church in America, as well as the Central Administration of The Orthodox Church in America, that is, the Holy Synod, well know, made it feasible that the Holy Synod could provide me with the blessing to have that Vicar who in his turn has been a great blessing to all of us and who can only increase in the Grace which God grants him through your prayers and those of all the Faithful that will benefit from his ser-vice in the future. However, in informing the Assembly, and through them you all, I neglected to be entirely forthcoming about the occasion of that “marked decline.” It was the dread Clinical Depression, possibly exacerbated or, rather, aggravated by the disappearance of youth. At the time of that Assembly, I was already undergoing one of several succeeding courses of treatment by my family doctor and a clinical psychologist recommended by him at that time. I must say that, just as massage may make a sufferer from cancer feel some relief from tension, etc., the courses of treatment, by and large, had no measurable effect on the pathology of clinical depres-sion itself. Finally, not very long ago, my family doctor, having reached the limits of the bounda-ries of what is appropriate, pharmacologically speaking, practicable resources for an M.D. in general practice, recommended me to a very fine man, a neuro-psychiatrist of great intelligence, kindness and good humor who was able to prescribe for me rather quickly, the right combination of medications. I feel that by your prayers and these new medicines produced by the brains and spirit of humankind for the benefit of humankind and enabled (whether man can see it or not) by the true Physician, a cloud of depression soon faded away, never to return, apparently, with the same force and effectiveness it once had. The only outward, that is, physical-material evidence that this change had taken place, was a return to a weight more consonant with my former somewhat slender physiognomy of all previous, and the acquisition of a new red Honda Element!
                I want to make it clear, however, that my main motivation in writing now is not so much in-forming you about myself as it is to act consistently with my writing the letter I sent out at the time Bishop Benjamin was arrested for driving after or during a drinking bout. That is, I want to make it plain that there is no shame in publicizing among the members of Christ’s Church one’s illnesses, diseases, sins, or other failings; in fact, it is expected. “Confess your faults, one to an-other,” says the Apostle James. We are each others’ keepers, physicians, and, above all, co-sufferers and intercessors with Christ. How foolish it is when we hide our failings or diseases, etc! Far from showing weakness or vulnerability to anything evil, such confidence, hope, and, above all, trust in God are essential paving stones on the Way, that is, the Holy Tradition of the Church. Confess, ask for help. Hear and give help. Without a ladder made of obedience, one may not be able to respond to Christ’s command to climb.
                We must be watchful, alert, and trust God, that is, stay on the Way, keep climbing the Ladder. When we are tested, tried, tempted by the likes of Judas, the first bureaucrat to call the Lord to account and question his disposition of offerings given in love , we must look to Christ, we must look to our Holy Tradition, even to Church history, if Patristic theology is “over our heads.” It is hard to even imagine (unless one is able, a la Mel Gibson, to imagine what was left out of the Gospel) a time or place in the history of the Church where the faithful were discussing account-ing, “transparency”, “accountability”. In the heyday of Constantinople, one heard that the natures of Christ were being discussed at the barber. Is America, then, to be the great “dumbing-down” grounds of the Church? There was and is only one Transparency that should concern any Christian: making Jesus Christ visible to others. There is only one Accountability that should concern any Christian, answering the questions who and where our brother is.
                I now intend, God willing, to retire soon after November, 2007, when I reach age 75. Right now some re-evaluations and reorganizings in my life must take place. I am trusting in God and hoping in you all that your love and prayers will continue to be the source of great blessings for all in the Diocese of the West and upon earth.
                As an intercessor who needs much improvement, I remain, commending you all to Christ’s limitless love,

                (signed) Bishop Tikhon

          • TwistAndShout says

            “Living chastely” is not enough. As holy Scripture says, we are to “abstain from all appearance of evil,” we are to be “holy,” “pure,” “blameless,” “righteous,” and “irreproachable” (I Thess 5:22; Eph 1:4 & Phil 1:10; Col 1:22; I Thess 2:10; I Tim 3:10; Titus 1:6-9).

            If someone has sodomized another person, they should not live together. That’s not “chaste.” We are to be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15).

            This is true for heterosexual couples, too. Living together, whether “chastely” or not, is unseemly.

            • They should have been, and should be, laicized!
              and not “sheltered”
              so that they could “work out their own salvation”
              in fear and trembling
              like all the rest of us sinners.

        • phil r. upp: you wrote “+ Mark Forsberg was retired for his escapades. He had a strong relationship with + Dimitri and therefore, BT didn’t want to go there”

          Where, phil r. upp, didn’t BT want to go?

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
      September 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      For the Parma or Karma Council, I’m sure the powers-that-be are trying to figure out how informed or uninformed the people “out there” are

      Your Grace, do you think that the parish delegates to the Parma council may be more informed, and questioning, than the average parish laity? I think “success” there on the “righting of wrongs” is totally dependent on them.

    • Dn Eric Wheeler says

      Dear BT,

      For the record, I do not have a vengeful bone in my body. The women that you speak of entered a public area of the hotel in Chicago and distributed a booklet, which among other things, pointed out how scandalously abysmal your response was to the events which transpired at the cathedral under your episcopal watch.

      Deacon Eric

      • Eric Wheeler formerly serving as a Deacon in the OCA wrote; ‘For the record, I do not have a vengeful bone in my body.” I wouldn’t know a vengeful bone if I came across one; nevertheless,
        Bobby Burns is always apt:
        “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
        To see oursels as ithers see us!”

        • Dn Eric Wheeler says

          Dear BT,

          You know darn well that I currently serve as a deacon in the OCA and am attached to St. Sergius Chapel in Syosset, NY. If you cannot even convey the truth in simple things, one has to question your competence in commenting on the work of the church at large.

          Deacon. Eric

          • Then (Dn.) Eric, why do you strut around SVS last weekend in a business suit and sign the guestbook Mr. Eric Wheeler? Would it be more proper to dress in a cassock, especially around seminarians?

            Your words prove that you have many vengeful bones in your body housed inside a prideful soul. You can try and rewrite your own history but you can’t fool the people who have seen you in action.

            Your antipathy toward Bp. Tikhon only proves how angry and vengeful you are. You can’t even bring yourself to address Bishop Tikhon properly. You should be ashamed of yourself for unleashing on the OCA what your brother-in-law now calls the devil’s work. I guess it was different when you were on the other side of the ball.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Here I go, here I go, here I go again,
            Folks, what’s my weakness? (FRIENDS!)
            OK, then, chillin’, chillin’, mindin’ my business,
            Yo, Fromm, I looked around and I couldn’t believe this,
            I swear: I stared! (Jilli my witness)
            The brother had it goin’ on with somethin’ kinda…uh
            Wicked, wicked – had to kick it
            I’m not shy so I asked for the digits

            I have witnessed you fumble, bumble, and outright stumble, but STRUT? A rooster in the SVS yard? No, sir. He lyin’. I’ve heard tell of ‘dem bones, ‘dem dry bones, even crackin’ a few of your bones (in the day), but vengeful? No, sir. He lyin’. I heard you fool some of the people some of the time, some of the fools part of the time, but foolin’ them what seen you in action? No, sir. He lyin’. And finally, I heard of the Petrushka, and the Novogodni, but you on the other side of the ball? No, sir. He lyin’.

            I always got your back (’cause my momma taught me that)

            • M. Stankovich, good friend of Eric Wheeler, wrote about Eric Wheeler:

              “I heard you fool some of the people some of the time, some of the fools part of the time…” and then he goes on to say in a sideways way that those who know Eric weren’t fooled. What does that mean? NOTHING?

              Who did Eric Wheeler fool? The entire OCA (except those who know him)?

          • Sorry, DEW! Last I heard you were NOT serving anywhere…regardless of where you might be attached.
            If you are now serving every Sunday and Feastday in some parish, give thanks to God!

          • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

            Protodeacon Eric:

            We have tread and stomped through some of the same New England snow, ice mud and pavement, though never at the same time. Sorry I have not had the pleasure to meet you personally.
            Many in the OCA owe you a debt of gratitude. Whether they know it or will admit it is an entirely different matter. You spoke truth to power and when they did not listen you helped to shine a light in the darkness.
            Yeah, you sure started a whirlwind of a scat storm, but I think in the long run the OCA will be better off for it. I’m probably in a minority here, but I don’t give an obese rodents behind.
            May God grant you many years in His faithful service.


          • Just Guessing says

            Wasn’t Dn Eric Wheeler the one who said, “the church will have to be destroyed in order to be reborn”? Sounds like a risky and unbiblical plan. When do we get out of the destruction phase?

            • Well there you go! Okay, the OCA is good and destroyed now. Now can we get rid of the people who destroyed it, and get Metropolitan Jonah back, so he can build something out of this mess?

        • Does my memory serve me correctly?
          Isn’t/wasn’t Dn. Wheeler one of those in the “We Are Your Future” group?
          Please correct me and I apologize beforehand if I’m wrong about that!

          • Just Guessing says

            I think the actual title was, “We Are Their Legacy,” a aptly presumptuous title, to be sure, but I think you captured the intent in your version. And yes, Dn Eric Wheeler was on the contributor list, along with M Stankovich and Fr Robert Arida. I think there was another contributor too. It flopped faster than a marriage to Elizabeth Taylor.

            • Fr. John Jillions and Fr. Alexis Vinogradov were in on it too.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Just Guessing,

              Since you took it upon yourself to drag me into this “skirmish,” allow me a moment’s latitude, shall you?

              I have had the God-given fortune, Just Guessing, of exposure and experiences with some of the most extraordinary figures, architects, preachers, scholars, clerics, and even faithful of our Orthodox Church in this generation. They did not come to me, they did not seek me, it is not to my credit, to my benefit, nor my prominence, nor necessarily for my salvation. I was just there; a listener gifted with a memory for the details of what I was taught, and a profound respect and gratitude for those who taught me. Simple no? One step above a savant. Further, God has blessed me with both an eagerness and joy in sharing my encounters and experiences, as I have tried to do many times here.

              The second point is that I am educated man; in fact, well-educated and, thankfully, well-supervised by experts in my field. I am practiced and experienced, and when I offer commentary related to my field, I am reasonably certain, reasonably confident that the information I offer is correct. However, from my first post here, I have asked for correction as to content; if I am wrong, if I have provided factual error, demonstrate it and I will correct myself. And so we end at We Are Their Legacy.

              If you have followed me so far, you will appreciate my suspicion of the word “flopped” as a personal insult, rather than a “learned assessment as to failure.” I must presume you never read the actual goals of the site, as you would have found them to be… sharing experiences of the extraordinary Orthodox Christian fathers of our time and addressing contemporaneous issue within the purview of my expertise (e.g. the genetic influences of same-sex attraction). Let me be emphatic: I personally terminated this project. Me. Why? Because I was sick of the fact that it had become part of the “machine of conspiracy”: I was personally referred to as a “shill,” of the “apparat,” an underminer of the church, enemy of the Metropolitan, on some “covert mission” for Gay, Inc. to advocate gay marriage, blah, blah, blah. More posts were devoted to my education than the exchange of Pascha greetings. Check the record. But it’s all good.

              Now, the site is gone. Without ever once mentioning the OCA, the former Metropolitan, the “conflict,” Mark Stoke, again, blah, blah, blah. I ask you: was there a correlation? Have gay marriage & the “gay agenda” been furthered? Any covert “missions” revealed? How about this: Why don’t you “just guessing” your way out of my face? You lack both the courage and integrity to insult me and my friends.

              • To quote the self-styled “savant”: “blah, blah, blah.”

              • Just Guessing says

                Feel free to take credit for the “failure” of your misguided website. I prefer to give credit to the mercy and sovereignty of God, because He will not be mocked. Pride goes before a fall.

                And please stop writing as though you’re scripting for some bad version of West Side Story. Honestly, no one needs to insult you or your friends.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Hmm. I am somehow always moved by the rich sanctimony of cowards. Please, step out here into the light. Come on. St. John Climacus says fear is pride, but you knew that. Stop throwing rocks from behind the wall and muster up some courage! Come on, who are you? You would stand firm like a fighter?

                  Seriously, pal, you are all bold and righteous with me because there is no consequence for “eatin’ your own guts,” plain & simple. If I went and stood in the corner every time some lézard wearing “men’s size small” postured, I’d be a statue. AND, I am strictly upper east-side, yo. Holy cow!

                  And please, take off those giant red shoes already. Do you think this is a circus? “He will not be mocked.” Aye!

              • Michael Bauman says

                Mr. Stankovich, from your first post here your have refused correction unless it was within the scope of your narrow and pre-conceived assumptions. You have reufsed to acknowlegde a wider crtitique as even valid since it calls into queston those assumptions.

                Anyone can be correct if they determine in advance that their assertions are the only ones which meet the criteria of correct.

                • I look at the comments of M. Stankovich and Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) as coming from “stylites” atop columns of their own construction and elevation, and from there, pontificating infallibly “from on high” their superior intelligence and experience down upon the rest of us “clods of the earth” here below.

                  • M. Stankovich says


                    It is disheartening to imagine you cannot find something positive in my memories, reflections, and tributes to the fathers of our Orthodox Church in this generation. How you come to be offended by them is unimaginable.

                    It would seem to me, PdnNJ, that you, much more than many, would be sensitive to the fact that so many posters here have “years,” not “decades” in the Orthodox Church, yet have more answers than questions; would presume even to instruct the bishops with an authority derived from books & the internet, rather than earned in obedience and instruction – forgetting their oath of allegiance and obedience in the Service for the Reception of Converts; and, in fact, disparage the Church’s tradition of the rule of obedience and instruction as “ethnic piety,” and “pride & pretension.” And somehow, they are shocked after only four years that they have “hit the wall,” with no rich foundation of labor or direction as a fallback. A lack of leadership, albeit with the best of intentions, begets the lack of leadership.

                    It’s not about you, PdnNJ, it’s not about me, and it’s not about Vladyka Tikhon. Why dog the message because the messenger is a jackass?

      • Dn Eric Wheeler says:
        September 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm

        I do not have a vengeful bone in my body

        I wish I could say that about myself and with the same self-assurance.


        how scandalously abysmal your response was

        I think I denote a bit of vengefulness in that.

        • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

          I mean not disrespect PdnNJ, nor am I singling you out specifically this is just a general question… and I KNOW I too am very guilty VERY often.

          Why do we snipe and pick at each other so?

          My Maternal grandfather a priest of Slavic ancestry (may his memory be eternal!) used to say:

          A Slav is only happy when he is suffering.
          A Slav is happier when he is causing another to suffer.
          A Slav is happiest when the other whom he is causing to suffer is another Slav.

          As a child I was pretty much insulated in a Russian and Ukrainian world. Not many converts in my home parish. Maybe a few Poles that inter-married.

          Now I have come to believe that once a convert to Orthodoxy has learned to point out the sins of others and has at least one jurisdiction that they don’t like only then are they FULLY Orthodox.

          Lord help me to learn to love the person I like the least half as much as you love me!

          • Occidental Guido (Guy),

            I think snipping has to do with pain. It is a way of expressing anger. If you can’t hit with your fists, you hit with words. Sarcasm and wise cracks even more so. Threats, pointing out the sins of others, self aggrandizing (making the other person little so we appear more large)…all tactics of public humiliation. It doesn’t matter if we use a pen name or not, the point is to tear down the other person and to dominate to make them submit to our point of view. Whoever doesn’t learn to let go of their ego in these types of discussions either derails them, gets kicked out, or leaves because the rest of the forum reviles them eventually. It is a cross-cultural phenomenon.

            Lord help me to learn to love the person I like the least half as much as you love me!

            I would add to that: Lord help me learn to love another at least as much as I love myself!

            God loves us no matter what. Our love is very limited. It is dependent on whether or not people do what we want. Our love is very small and finite in comparison to God’s love. Asking to love as much as God loves is glory on top of glory on top of glory (something to hope for). For now I’m going for something a little simpler.

            • Dear OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) and George P.,
              Sniping, sarcasm, and wise cracking can be used either negatively or positively, depending on intent.
              Decide for yourself which was my case in hoping to bring Dn. Wheeler’s attention to the “inconsistency” of his statements.
              Also, I was taught that
              love for one’s neighbor is love for Christ in one’s neighbor;
              I did not “hear” Christ in his statements.

        • PdnNJ. The reason he had to use “scandalously abysmal” was that he had used “abysmally scandalous’ on a previous occasion” and didn’t want to get caught repeating himself, thus, betraying a limited vocabulary!
          Watch for “delusional”. He hasn’t wielded that limp noodle in a while.

  7. In a move likely to cause apoplexy amongst certain clerics in Chicago and the left-coast, I’ve posted a new image titled “Restoration” which may be viewed along with my other images here.

  8. These petitions were released to be offered for the AAC in Parma..Look at the final petition.” A metropolitan to cooperate in working with the Holy Synod”. Thats preety interesting.


    Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our Almighty and Eternal God, Source of all
    wisdom and understanding, be with us as we prepare to gather in Council so that
    in our striving to serve and glorify You, we may be enlightened with right
    judgment and good purpose to the building up of Your Holy Church and to Your
    eternal glory, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

    Again we pray You, O Lord our God, giver of every good gift, look with favor
    upon Your Church and bless and guide our minds and hearts, and grant us by the
    grace of Your All-holy Spirit an increase in faith and understanding, so that in
    vigilance, fasting and prayer we are prepared for the holy work of this
    Electoral Council, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

    Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our God, send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and
    guide our minds and hearts so that, inspired by Your gifts of discernment and
    understanding, we may know and do Your holy will in the election of a
    Metropolitan for our Holy Church in North America, we pray You, hear us and have

    Again we pray You, O Lord our God, in Your holy and providential care for us,
    call forth for a Metropolitan of wisdom, understanding, sanctity to cooperate in
    working with the Holy Synod, the pastors and faithful of our Holy Church, so
    that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth
    working together in loving service to Christ our God and thus to one another, we
    pray You, hear us and have mercy.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Wow. What a shameless bunch they’ve become indeed.

      • Using the petitions of the Church to continue to demonize +Jonah is a horrible sin. That petition is anathema and should be removed. What is so amazing is that those in charge would think it is proper, honorable and that God will bless it. GOD KNOWS what has taken place. Either way, He doesn’t need us to tell him.

        If this is the caliber of people running the OCA, then there is little point in attending Parma or any function where it is represented.

        This is what we get when arrogant jackasses are in charge.

        • Disgusted With It says

          Yeah, thank God they gave us some petitions for Sunday liturgy. Everything must be all fixed now!

          Someone in Syosset or on the Synod must have taken good notes at the Karl Marx school of religion.

          “…Nothing to see here … Please move along.”

      • I found this expression to be particularly noisome: ” so that in
        vigilance, fasting and prayer we are prepared for the holy work of this
        Electoral Council,” Vigilance, fasting and prayer!
        Seems to me that might cause the earth to open up and swallow some of those making that utterance!

        And then this: “do Your holy will in the election of a
        Metropolitan for our Holy Church in North America, we pray You, hear us and have
        mercy…” Shouldn’t that be ‘in the election of YET ANOTHER (4TH) LIVING METROPOLITAN for our Holy Church in North America?’
        Perhaps they should announce that they are following the unwritten tradition: “Practice makes perfect, we hope!”

        • Denis Rukobludov says

          HA! OCA fasting is ok with dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays!

          • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

            Now,now,Denis,don’t be such a fundamentalist! Next thing,you’ll be telling us that marriage is between one man and one woman!

          • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

            Denis, I await to read your forthcoming book on perfectly keeping the fast and how you became a perfect Christian. I am sure it will help us poor slacking slobs to become as a holy and non-judgmental as you are!

            • Denis Rukobludov says

              I am not trying to be the judgemental, just find it odd that at the last Sts. Peter & Paul feast, presided over by bishops at St Vladimirs, that on a friday was served dairy at the trapeza after liturgy. Not a good example.

            • Denis Rukobludov says

              Slacking a fast at an official church function is same as endorsing it being ok. Somewhat like Pope or local Cardinal saying it is OK to ignore the fast on St. Patrick’s day if it falls on an official fasting day, but worse, because something like that can be expected by the Catholics.

              • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                I get what you’re saying to some extent.
                I’ve been to Antiochian Church events on that feature beef on Fridays and on Saturday evenings during fasts.
                I have known great public fasters that partake of a quarter pounder on the way from the monastery to post office.
                I will also admit that we in the OCA have more trying situations to resolve than St Vlads serving dairy on a Friday Fast. No?

                Perhaps we can collaborate on that book on self righteousness?

                • OccidentalGuido: Fasting days and seasons are simply part of our traditional Orthodox ascetic discipline and are one of the several ways in which we are very different from non-Orthodox Christians. It seems to me that fasting ought not to be dismissed because we have “bigger problems.” The whole ascetic dimension of the Church is, together with prayer and our divine services, an essential part of how we are formed, spiritually, and given an other-worldly view of problems and life in general. The fact that fasting has been slowly but surely relaxed is actually a serious departure from traditional Orthodoxy and is related to many of our other problems, problems that have occurred because we have resolutely insisted on being separate, different, and even “better” than the old world Orthodox.

                  Orthodox praxis is a vast and magnificent tapestry. As others have observed long before me, once you start pulling at one of the threads you end up unraveling the whole tapestry. We are doing a pretty good job of that in this country it seems to me.–Fr. Ambrose

                  • Food for thought about fasting from food:

                    St. Ambrose of Optina: “People have to answer greatly for not keeping the rules of the Church with respect to the fasts. People justify themselves by saying that they never considered it a sin to eat dairy products during the fasts. They repent and consider themselves sinners in every other respect, but they do not think to repent about not keeping the fasts. ”

                    I once read in the newspaper where an Orthodox Jew explained the ethos of keeping kosher: “If God is not the god of what I put in my mouth, then what is he god of?”

      • Just Guessing says

        The inclusion of a politically motivated petition to continue to demonize Met Jonah during the Divine Services is no surprise. Priests would do well to use the 2008 petitions (excellent advice from Helga).

        Next up in the OCA? Rainbow Sunday.

        • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

          They already do have the” rainbow book” catechism series by Fr Hopko

    • Reader Daniel says

      This last petition is interesting indeed, to put it politely. The presumption being that that last time, He called forth a Metropolitan of little wisdom, one who didn’t understand, and didn’t cooperate with our Holy Synod, pastors and faithful.

      And if that isn’t enough, it goes on…

      …that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth… Does anybody else find the following line somewhat pompous? This is for our “penitential gathering” in Parma? Our OCA Holy Synod approved this?

      This is off topic so forgive me, but on another note its frustrating that keeps churning out this You/Your, “common man” language, when the majority of our parishes use Thee/Thou, at least in addressing the Divine (yes, we all know the problems with this). Why do they do this? Indeed many parishes in the DOS, DOW and Alaska use thee/thou throughout. What puts out is not consistent with a couple generations of SVS, STS, and Soroka music. I assume that the powers that be in the OCA translation and music departments have decided to move forward by dumbing it all down. So the supposition is that the entire continent must use our new and improved “common man” language and if not, you can change it on your own time. Every week, the choir director has to change the language of the weekly hymns (at minimum tropars and kondaks) put out by (to address the Divine and to be consistent with the rest of our liturgical music) and it’s tiresome.

      A couple years ago, +Jonah blessed STS’s latest printing of the Sluzhebnik, in consistent traditional Thee/Thou language. It was an improvement over the former printings and gave some hope that things were headed in the right direction. I guess that’s over.

      Forgive me, I had to vent. Stepping down from my soapbox…

      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        Vladyka Tikhon, you would know: are these simply translations from Slavonic of petitions used in the Moscow Patriarchate for choosing a primate, or are they of our own native composition?

        Four petitions for electing a Metropolitan? And such wordy petitions, in comparison with the regular petitions of the litany. They smack of what Fr. Thomas Hopko speaks of as a fault in prayer: “Telling God what He already knows and then telling him what to do about it and how to do it.” Though they don’t fail on the first point, they certainly do in my judgment on the other two. But I’ve never liked the official petitions issued by the OCA for special needs. They’ve always offended my ear with their lack of force, precision, and clarity. They (someone–I don’t know who) issued three hopelessly wordy petitions to pray for a new bishop in the DOS–many moons ago. I wonder how many continue to pray those clunky compositions? For a church that loves to abbreviate so many things, is offering long special petitions really the way to compensate? These things cry out for a competent, spiritually-minded editor.

        In response to Rdr. Daniel, the consistent use of language like this on the OCA website renders their music and liturgical department utterly irrelevant to our parish usage. We set our own troparia and kontakia, as well as many other things. Why have these departments at all if they can’t serve all of us? And they offer nothing for Sunday Matins. Does this mean that the OCA considers Matins to be an irrelevant service?Their lack of support for it suggests that, and we see the service generally ignored in our parishes (for this reason alone ROCOR should hesitate to absorb us if it had the chance!) But we get by just fine without central support, and hope the committee that is supposedly working on what ministries should be done at what level of the Church does not assign this to Syossett as a department. We are grateful, at least, for SVS Press’s music books for Liturgy and Holy Week. Those, like the 1967 book, at least use Thou and Thee in reference to God.

        I’m cranky. These are perpetual sore spots.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          The last petition is appalling for many reasons, the least of which is its ignorant English. Does nobody at Syosset know how to write? “Cooperate in working with”? Folks, the word cooperate MEANS “working with.”

          • Fr. Dn. Patrick,

            That petition reveal a most insecure mindset of the OCA synod. When will they stop trying to shift the blame for their own actions and take responsibility? It is shameful and no petition offer to the GOD should be used as a weapon. It is shameful.

            • They act like they are going through a divorce, not acknowledging their own failings, just wanting out. Usually that’s the one whose most guilty and in denial . . .

          • It’s not good to read that stuff, Father Deacon. It just kind of eats away at your after a while.

            At least they had the common decency NOT to use the customary “fasting, vigils, and prayer”, but chose ” vigilance” instead of vigils, which might have been too much to swallow for even them!

          • For Fr. Justin and Dn. Patrick, for the sake of reference, here are the prayers that were prayed before the 15th All-American Council. I bolded the text of the fourth petition for comparison’s sake:

            Prayers for the 15th All-American Council and Election of the New Metropolitan of All American and Canada

            to be inserted in the Litany of Fervent Supplication

            Furthermore we pray that the Lord our Almighty and Eternal God, the Source of all wisdom and understanding, will be present with us as we prepare to gather in Council; and that in our striving to serve and glorify Him He will enlighten us with right judgment and godly purpose to His glory and the building up of His Holy Church.

            Again we pray that the Lord our God, the Giver of every good gift, will look with favor upon His Church and bless and guide the minds and hearts of His people being gathered by the grace of the Holy Spirit; and that He will increase in us holy conversation, vigilance, fervent prayer, and trust in Him, guiding our plans and deliberations with faith and knowledge of His will for us.

            Furthermore we pray that the Lord our God, Who raises up servants in every time and in every place as leaders for His people, will send His Holy Spirit upon us and so guide our minds and hearts that, inspired by His gifts of discernment and understanding, we may know and do His will as we prepare to elect a new Metropolitan.

            Again we pray that the Lord our God, in His mercy and providential care for us, will call forth for His flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church, and to unite His faithful people in a zealous confession of the Orthodox faith, in loving service to one another, and a bright witness to the glory of His Holy Name.

            For all clergy who object to the new petitions, I would suggest quietly substituting with the old prayers, or just substituting the fourth one with the old fourth one that I put in bold text. Most people will not notice, and the preceding three are essentially the same apart from the obvious. One notable difference between the two sets of petitions is that the ones from 2008 do not use the second person and do not have the “You” problem.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I completely agree Helga. The newest petition is an ecclesial travesty, well-nigh approaching heresy.

              • Well, heresy is all the rage today it seems. Some here wonder why their demands for answers remain ignored. The synod, MC and Jillions and crew are trying real hard to stay silent and not engage, so they can just mark time and hope they can shove this FRAME UP down everyone’s throat and move on! They were pretty successful in the DOS, so why not try it again?
                It is a little more difficult for Jillions because he insisted on (a blog of his own) on the OCA WEB site, in order to feed his inner celebrity. What a temptation! In the mean time gracefully handing over his work to the ever honorable +Bishop Mark.
                As for taking out the garbage, I know of no canonical method, except by starting a new jurisdiction and not paying the old one. They all can remain, bishops and administrators without work until God brings them home for an explanation.

        • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

          Dear Fr.Justin,
          I think you may be onto something when you write”Does this mean that the OCA considers Matins to be an irrelevant service?”Back in the day,when the service would have been in Old Slavonic or NT Greek,probably no one would have paid much attention to the words of the canon(s),assuming they were even read.
          I make it a point to read the canon at Matins(with the assistance of my son,the Reader) or Canons if it’s Sunday morning.In these canons the theology of the church is expressed,which might indeed be incovieniant for those seeking to blur the differances between,say,Orthodoxy and the Monophysites;or between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy in general.
          In at least one OCA parish I attended,instead of Matins before Liturgy,the priest conducted the adult education class in church,after having celebrated Proscomedia.He had removed his phelonion and put his riasson on over the remainder of his vestments to be in his “teacher mode.”Now I agree that adult education is useful and needed,BUT not in church just prior to Liturgy,with the faithful sitting around and exchanging chuckles,etc;as one might do with a beloved professor.Couldn’t this be done after Saturday Vespers in the parish hall or even,if needs be after Sunday coffee hour or some evening during the week?
          When my son began chanting for me,we didn’t do Matins most Sundays.I noticed he would chant/read portions from the Matins during the priests communion.I asked him why he did this when it wasn’t Matins time and he said,”but you don’t serve Matins.”Beginning with last years Nativity Fast,we remedied the situation.
          This way,I not only have the service for my own benefit,but(with rare exception),those folks who come early for Liturgy during the Matins aren’t tempted to engage in idle conversation in the church proper.That works for me.

          • I find Matins+Divine Liturgy on a Sunday Morning to be an awesome event, especially when serving as Deacon or singing in the choir.

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            You understand, Father Andrei. The canons appointed for Matins/Orthros are Christian commentary on the Scriptures and convey much of the Church’s dogmatic teaching. They also instruct us practically on the spiritual life. A parish that hears Matins only during Holy Week is gravely impoverished, and a priest who does not serve it on a regular basis, at very least for Feasts and Sundays is too.

            People can’t come to what isn’t offered, and if a priest doesn’t care enough to serve Matins, the most important of the daily services, alone or with one or two others for his own soul and to set the example for his flock, what hope is there for the people? And how can he effectively convey the fullness of the Church’s Tradition and teaching without being steeped in it himself?

            I made the decision (with the support of Vladyka Dmitri and by the counsel of my mentor) to serve Saturday night Vigils for our mission beginning our first Great Lent, even though the two main founding families gave me grief about it. Before that, we did Vespers and Little Compline with a canon or two as a placeholder for the fuller Vigil. I had a reader/singer willing to do it: what more do you need? Sometimes the two of us finished the service alone in the early years. I didn’t force anyone to come; but I encouraged everyone to come for at least part of it. Now typically 3 out of every 8 that show up for Sunday Liturgy are present for Vigil any given week and are glad we serve it. One singer has turned into a nice choir; one reader has turned into several who can competently read the canons.

            A few years after we started serving Vigil, after a local seasoned priest commented that he probably would not be able to serve daily Matins without referring to his seminary notes, I realized I was in the same boat and should remedy my deficiency by serving Matins at least a couple days a week, more during Lent. Weekday Matins, especially during Lent, turned out to be extremely therapeutic for my soul and for the few others who venture out for it. How the hymns of penitence on Mondays and Tuesdays resonate within, prompting repentance and imparting hope! How the hymns of the Triodion instruct in fasting, humility, and spiritual warfare! The end of Matins provides a natural time to hear confessions and reduce the throng at more popular times. The service helps keep this weak, sinful priest grounded. I’d be much the worse without it (which may not be saying much).

            • George Michalopulos says

              My reply to this is to implement what is the practice at the Cathedral in Dallas: Do the Vigil (Vespers + Matins) on Saturday night but only if you have two priests. When the Matins start, that’s when one priest comes out and hears Confessions. It’s deeply spiritual and unburdens one priest from doing both services then hearing a dozen or so confessions after a 2 hr Vigil.

              • Dn. Gregory Conley says

                Just a clarification….St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas serves Vigil every Saturday evening along with the eves of major Feasts (exceptions to this are extremely rare). We currently have only one assigned priest. Confessions are heard before and after Vigil.
                Dn. Gregory Conley

                • Priest Justin Frederick says

                  No George, I don’t agree with that at all. The priest needs to hear the whole service for the good of his own soul, and the people are better served, in my opinion, by hearing the service and making confession before or after rather than making confessions during it. Doing both services and hearing confessions is no great burden.

                  • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                    Fr.Justin,I suggest that sometimes the priest MUST hear confessions during the service,if there are long lines of people and he is the only priest.

                    When I served the Russian Cathedral here,I always served Matins on Palm Sunday in the morning because I knew I would have more confessions that day than any other time of the year.When I wasn’t doing something essential,like the Gospel or the litanies,I was hearing confessions.Unlike my present Serbian church,we would do 1st,3rd,and 6th hour between the two services.Once or twice,there were still people waiting at the end of the 6th hour,so I either had someone do the 9th hour or additional reading from the Psalms.

            • Wonderful, Fr. Justin. I now when we visited St. Maximos this impressed and blessed us. Thank you so much, and my our Lord continue to bless your ministry and your person and family. Thank you for your courage, faith and diligence.

              May He and His angels accompany you to Parma and invest you with His wisdom and zeal.


          • Fr. Justin: thank you for your quite traditional comments regarding the services, particularly the Canon in Matins. And yes, these Canons–now almost never heard in many parishes any more (or are heard in languages unknown to most of the faithful)–contain the very heart of Orthodox theology. They are indispensable to the formation of conscious Orthodox Christians! –Fr. Ambrose

        • Tikhon (the lay dude not the bishop) says

          Father Justin:

          This is my first time on this blog and quite frankly depressing. Reading this blog and others on the recent controversies has caused severe mental whiplash. I quite frankly do not know who or what to believe, so like you I am CRANKY!

          But finally I came across a comment with which I can agree wholeheartedly-use of Thee and Thou when referencing God. I was brought up as a Southern Baptist by my very, very Southern Baptist mother. Though she did not appreciate it, she is one of the main reasons I am Orthodox today. So when I walked into an Orthodox church one Sunday and heard the service not only in English (no offense to other jurisdictions) but in King James English [which every Southern Baptist of a certain age knows came from God Himself] I knew that I had finally found a home. It was many years before I was received into Orthodoxy but hearing the Liturgy in Engish and is the form I recognized helped me tremendously. I suppose that there are more momentous issues confronting the Church but the Thee & Thou still have a resonance I cannot fully explain. As to the main issue of this current blog I can only pray that we will all seek to discern God’s will and let His will be done. And if the laity cannot do that I would then settle for the bishops to be the shepherds that they are supposed to be. St Paul was pretty clear about how they should act and it is time for them to be about it.

          And that is all I am going to say about that. Wanted to introduce a little levity and then started preaching. So before I slip from preaching to meddling (may be too late already) I will end.

          Finally…since I have noticed more than one critique of the spelling, syntax, et cetera to be found on various posts…I hereby acknowledge that this post may have added to the clutter of errors-and not just grammar.


          • Tikhon (the lay dude not the bishop) says (among other things on September 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm):

            ‘….I came across a comment with which I can agree wholeheartedly-use of Thee and Thou when referencing God. I was brought up as a Southern Baptist by my very, very Southern Baptist mother. Though she did not appreciate it, she is one of the main reasons I am Orthodox today. So when I walked into an Orthodox church one Sunday and heard the service not only in English (no offense to other jurisdictions) but in King James English [which every Southern Baptist of a certain age knows came from God Himself] I knew that I had finally found a home. It was many years before I was received into Orthodoxy but hearing the Liturgy in Engish and is the form I recognized helped me tremendously. ‘


            Our correspondent ‘Tikhon’ might like to know that the OCA decided to use contemporary language in the services nearly thirty years ago in 1983.

            A couple of unauthorized reprints of our (almost) standard OCA book for the Divine Liturgy were produced since then, before corrections could be made, not only to the style but also to mistakes in translation.

            And ‘there’s the rub’. The KJV (‘Authorised Version’) is rife with errors and cannot be considered equal to or even adequate for orthodox liturgical use.

            Ultimately. as ‘Tikhon’ acknowledges, a preference for one or another style of English in the services is a matter of taste and ‘feeling’. Among us Orthodox, and especially in English, it cannot be said emphatically enough that preference for the KJV is usually the mark of a protestant upbringing, part of the baggage that such converts bring into The Church.

            These converts are not at fault and are not so much to be criticized for this characteristic as educated out of it.

            Please, let’s remember that our Bible was largely written in the most plebeian Greek (Hebrew is not an issue for us except as a point of reference) and that the greek original texts of our services — like the scriptures — use no words to distinguish formal and informal 2nd-person-singular pronouns in direct address. There are singular and plural forms, and that’s all.

            Whatever 21st-century people might think about what is ‘reverent’ or not, this distinction between ‘thou’ and ‘you’ is a matter of taste with no theological implications whatever.

            Altogether, though, I think we’d do well to abandon all attempts to produce a falsely antique style in our services, since it almost always comes off so badly when people do it to indulge their own preferences rather than for the sake of accuracy.

            • Priest Justin Frederick says

              But Monk James, the difference between “thou/thee ye/you” on the one hand and just “you” on the other is a matter of being able to distinguish between one and many (more than one) and not being able to. Greek distinguishes. Russian does. Slavonic does. Most languages do. Why should we settle for a form of English that does not? That loss of precision might well have theological implications.

              Also, the claim that the koine Greek represents ‘street Greek’ may be popular, but it is challenged, here for example.

              KJV is ‘rife with errors.” And the RSV is not? At least the KJ is based on the Church’s Greek text rather than a scholarly committee’s composite creation.

              • Priest Justin Frederick says (September 22, 2012 at 12:14 am):

                ‘But Monk James, the difference between “thou/thee ye/you” on the one hand and just “you” on the other is a matter of being able to distinguish between one and many (more than one) and not being able to. Greek distinguishes. Russian does. Slavonic does. Most languages do. Why should we settle for a form of English that does not? That loss of precision might well have theological implications.

                ‘Also, the claim that the koine Greek represents ‘street Greek’ may be popular, but it is challenged, here for example.

                ‘KJV is ‘rife with errors.” And the RSV is not? At least the KJ is based on the Church’s Greek text rather than a scholarly committee’s composite creation.’

                The distinction between 2nd-person singular and 2nd-person plural is no longer marked in English by 2nd-person pronouns and verbs alone, but is expressed by context. It’s difficult to imagine a context where adept users of English would find it impossible to make that distinction, although it certainly happens in colloquial speeh, hence NYC’s yiz, Pittsburgh’s you-uns, Atlanta’s y’all, and other such regionalisms.

                But these are examples in which there may be little — if any — context. Because the written word needs explicit contexts in order to be understood, it’s unlikely that 2nd-person forms in writing would be so ambiguous as to cause theological problems, unless that were the writer’s deceitful intention.

                Thanks to Fr Justin for the link to Michael Marlowe’s very interesting essay, where he supports my POV: that biblical Greek (especially the NT) is heavily influenced by Aramaic. That’s what I meant by ‘plebeian’ earlier. In the OT, only the five books of Moses and the four major prophets of the Greek 70 use a nearly classical Greek. The rest of the OT isn’t really Greek at all, but Hebrew in greek clothing.

                The RSV reproduces many of the translation errors of the KJV’s New Testament and makes a few new ones. I wrote nothing which could be understood as my regarding the RSV as an improvement over the KJV.

              • Priest Justin Frederick says

                An additional question I’d like to ask: even if the New Testament is in the proverbial language of the street (which it isn’t due to its Hebraicisms and the influence of Septuagint usages), the Hebrew of the Old Testament is anything but street language: it is most definitely a literary and poetic language. Should 3/4 of the Bible be rendered in an idiom alien to its original expression so that 1/4 of it may be consistent with its presumed idiom?

                I see I bungled my link. I hope it will be here (I’m getting strange results trying to enter lines):


              • Brian (the first) says

                I really don’t want involve myself in this debate other than to comment that this..

                …the difference between “thou/thee ye/you” on the one hand and just “you” on the other is a matter of being able to distinguish between one and many (more than one) and not being able to.

                …is an excellent point.and explains most of my personal preference. We have the Tradition to guide us primarily, so I don’t concern myself too much with minor errors. Nevertheless, part of that Tradition is expressed in language. I have no desire to get too deeply into a theological discussion for which I am not qualified, but I note that in a liturgical context, the subtle difference between saying, “…and we offer glory to Thee (singular, as opposed to ‘You’ [singular or plural?]), to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit” expresses significant truth about the priority of Person over nature in Triune God. In other words, it expresses more clearly that we believe in ONE GOD, the Father Almighty Who begets the Son and from Whom the Holy Spirit proceeds – not primarily one nature (who just happens to be in three Persons) as though the Persons were subject to the nature.

                Even so, as I said, it is the Tradition that guides, not the words; for if we carry this to its logical conclusion (based on language and reason alone), we would have to convert to Catholicism.

                “I say unto thee, thou art Peter…I give thee the keys of the Kingdom.”

                Concern over language matters, but it has its limits when all is said and done..

            • The lack in English of a discernible second person plural resulted in the clumsy, but intelligible at least, “you all” with its corresponding contraction “ya’ll”. I would rather hear “thee” and “thou” in church services than to address the Holy Trinity as “Ya’ll” !. Perhaps some ex-Protestants do cling to an unfairly denigrated “King James language” because of nostalgia for childhood habits. This ex-Prot, however, chooses it on linguistic grounds. (To placate the hardliners, I’ll call myself a convert, despite my decades as an Orthodox vastly outnumbering my years as a Protestant.)

              P.S. There is, of course, the alternative form, “You guys”.

              • Antonia says (September 22, 2012 at 8:43 am):

                ‘The lack in English of a discernible second person plural resulted in the clumsy, but intelligible at least, “you all” with its corresponding contraction “ya’ll”. I would rather hear “thee” and “thou” in church services than to address the Holy Trinity as “Ya’ll” !. Perhaps some ex-Protestants do cling to an unfairly denigrated “King James language” because of nostalgia for childhood habits. This ex-Prot, however, chooses it on linguistic grounds. (To placate the hardliners, I’ll call myself a convert, despite my decades as an Orthodox vastly outnumbering my years as a Protestant.)

                P.S. There is, of course, the alternative form, “You guys”.’
                By God’s love, maybe even several times a day, all of us are converts, no matter how young/old we were when we came to profess the orthodox christian faith.

                Still, a fondness for the KJV and its style is generally a characteristic of former Protestants. Former Catholics, former Jews, etc., don’t share this with them.

                ALSO: It’s helpful for us to remember that, in our prayers, we address the Holy Trinity as ‘You’ (singular), or ‘Thou’ if you prefer. See the Pentecost services for clear examples of this.

                And it’s also helpful to recall that the style of English we use in scriptural and liturgical translations into English is a matter of personal preference, not of necessity, and has no theological resonance at all.

                Our main considerations in the work of translation must always be accuracy, theological clarity, comprehensibility, beauty, and sonority/singability. The differences between antique and contemporary styles aren’t even on the meter, since they are concepts which depend entirely on individual taste and have no objective value.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  One of the things that gives Shakespearean and neo-Shakesperean English its unmatched sonority is the iambic pentameter of its structure. The meter also helps give it the ability to stick in the mind and sink into the soul as well as help people understand it.

                  You don’t have to use archaic words to use the style/form. You just have to be a good English poet who loves and appreciates the English language. An appreciate I find in starkly short supply amongst the academic Orthodox who are often seem to be falsely enamored with the ‘mother’ tongues.

                  It is part and parcel of the inability of the Church to penetrate the American mind and heart to any appreciable extent and why we remain and ethnically oriented Church. Is it then surprised that that ethnicity is then adopted by those of us in this culture?

                  I am not a ex-Protestant, nor Catholic, nor Jew. I find the Roman Catholic translations that I have read and heard to be clunky and without grace. Maybe the Protestant emphasis on the ‘hearing of the word’ has led them to use a language that is easier on the ear and easier to receive.

                  Let’s face it the call and response structure of the Divine Liturgy is not that drastically different from the Baptist/Pentecostal form.

                  While I am all for sobriety there is a difference between vibrant, living sobriety and dull somnamulence in which we are lulled by a sporific use of English that is no different that what we hear other places.

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Monk James, you write:

                  Our main considerations in the work of translation must always be accuracy, theological clarity, comprehensibility, beauty, and sonority/singability. The differences between antique and contemporary styles aren’t even on the meter, since they are concepts which depend entirely on individual taste and have no objective value.

                  This strikes me as very anti-traditional and therefore un-Orthodox. Would you not admit that the language people are already accustomed to using is a consideration, and that “antique” style may therefore be “on the meter”? That certainly seems to drive the preference of very many Orthodox Christians for antique liturgical languages not easily understood.

                  Would you not also admit the value (liturgical, pedagogical, and rhetorical) of familiarity, and of distinctiveness as an aid to familiarity. When quoting scripture, we often expect and desire that people will recognize that we are quoting scripture. The thees and thous help them do that.

                  It’s true that Roman Catholics and many Protestants today did not grow up using the King James, but it’s not true that they didn’t grow up hearing and recognizing it. Thanks to Charles Schulz, they have all heard and all recognize, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” They haven’t heard and won’t recognize, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy.” (Contemporary English Version) Yet the latter might rate higher on your meter than the former. It depends on you subjectively rate the beauty of each version, but isn’t the beauty of the former related to its antique style? People do often find antique things beautiful, for no other apparent reason than their quaintness.

                  In my experience, the people who complain the most about the King James are former Roman Catholics, and I suspect the reason it bothers them so much is that they were taught as children to disdain it as a Protestant Bible. I have yet to hear one of them make a cogent case against it.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    At the time that our Antiochian translations were published in the late 30s and 40s every Christian Church used King James English. Because of that and because the translators were former Episcopalians our translations use traditional English from the pre 1979 Book of Common Prayer. In our Archdiocese we have two generations of Orthodox who grew up using King James English. Thus, the desire to retain King James English is something brought into Orthodoxy from recent converts from Protestantism. Thus, using modern English would be a major change for everyone in our Archdiocese, convert and cradle Orthodox. As everyone knows, Orthodox do not like change. I have never heard a recent immigrant express any difficulty with understanding the King James English used in our Churches. There is really not that much difference except for a few thees and thous. After some discussion a few years ago, Metropolitan Philip decided against modern English and decreed that our service books retain the traditional language. I have a copy of the service book published by Archbishop Demetri and do not see much difference in the translation. The Liturgikon edited by Bishop Basil and Archbishop Demetri’s service book are the best English version of the services of the Orthodox Church.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Dn. Mitchell,

                    I gave you a “thumbs up” for your comments because you raise some very cogent points – I then went to check my blood alcohol content. It is negative, and I have returned.

                    My only caution would be that your same argument has been used historically to defend retaining the liturgical texts in Church Slavonic – and I emphasize the distinction between Church Slavonic and, say colloquial Russian or Serbian (the Serbs, though, having a notable command of colloquial translation) – in that it is not a spoken language. The ROC, in the extraordinary Council of 1917, thought it a priority to translate text to colloquial Russian. The persistent fallacy of the loudest opposite-coast mongrels mongols was they actually understood.

                    While I will not admit to “maliciousness” in intent, I will note that a prescribed Little Litany in the singing of the Canon during Matins concludes with, “For You are (Thou art) the” and the Slavonic says “tsar mira and the Savior of our souls, and to You (Thee) we ascribe glory…” If, as you say, we were to rely on familiarity, we would say, “For You are the Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6) Alternately, the phrase is translated, “For You are the King of the world, and while theologically accurate, is more associated with Titanic (now in 3D). Most importantly, however, posing this issue to “pro-Slavonic” enthusiasts simply as “proof of concept” was for nothing.

                    I would add that, while we should always strive for the ideal, we are aware of the sanctifying power of time – familiarity – and prayer itself. On the one hand, call to mind that it is said that the icon of the Theotokos so precious to the life of St. Tikhon of Zhadonsk was artistically “hideous.” On the other, in its forty-two year history, the OCA has no official translation of the text of the Divine Liturgy. But who among us, who has been around a while, cannot – perhaps verbatim – quote and sing from that worn black/white little book from memory?

                    Finally, the utter brilliance of Sts. Cyril & Methodius – to first learn the complex syntax of the source – and nearly identically recreate it in Slavonic is incomprehensible. They were scholars, linguists, poets, masters of aesthetics & acoustics, musicians, and most importantly, Saints of the Church. You cannot simply form a “committee” for such a task. This is not of men, but of God.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      I enthusiastically concur, mirabile dictu, with both you, Mr. Stankovich, and Deacon Patrick on this point and offer “thumbs up”! You had me, Father Deacon, when you cited Linus proclaiming the Nativity of our Lord in the unforgettable language of the KJV of the Gospel of St. Luke. Linus the “layman” can recite that Gospel passage in the KJV anytime as far as I’m concerned.

                      For our younger colleagues on this blog, the reference is to the iconic half-hour television cartoon titled, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which debuted on CBS in 1965 to considerable controversy even then. For each of the five Nativity seasons from 2005 to 2009 that I spent in Afghanistan or Iraq visiting our Orthodox troops from the USA and our Coalition partner nations, an informal showing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in a chapel annex on Christmas day was a key part of my mission.

            • Count me on the KJV appreciator’s bandwagon. If I recall correctly Archbishop Dimitri of blessed memory regarded it as the most liturgically accurate of all extant English translations…whatever it’s picadillic failings as a translation. To use a KJV/Shakespearian era diction when structuring a liturgy or a hymn or a prayer is not dabbling in an artificially constructed antiquity anymore than building a new temple with a big dome and brightened with traditionally crafted egg tempera icons.

              If we want pedestrian, lets forgo lampadas and candles for glow sticks and LED lamps. It’s only about having a light source right? Why burn incense when tropical breeze glade is so much safer and smells nice too…a few appropriately liturgical squirts over an icon while the choir lip-synchs a Dub-step version of “With the Saints Give Rest, O Lord” should get the job done…hey it’s current.

              Ridiculous right? We want timeless beauty in our icons, in our architecture in the tokens of our presence, and our offerings of light and fragrance. We want this in our language too. We do not want a level of language that is at home on the street. We want a language that participates in and contributes to the richness and beauty of the liturgy. It is early modern English, the English of the KJV and Shakespeare that has proven to be the most beautiful and most liturgically suitable phase of any English we are capable of understanding.

              Church Slavonic does the same thing for Slavic tongues…thought I suspect it would more resemble Middle English than Elizabethan era English as compared to modern tongues. It requires a little more effort to penetrate I suspect…but that would come with exposure and familiarity. KJV English is still readable at an 8th grade level by contemporary English speakers…its difficulties are few compared to Church Slavonic for the Orthodox in Slavic lands.

              In short what the Church wants is a liturgical standard of English, not a pedestrian, business, or academic standard. We want beauty and poetry built in, so to speak. KJV English fits that bill. It may not be perfect, but it is hardly less perfect than the Slavonic dialects that served as models for Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and hardly less perfect than the Koine Greek of the Apostolic era (Helenophiles, I know might beg to differ).

              KJV style language in the liturgy is no artifice. It is a rich and elegant expression of modern English, a form of English in which it’s highest linguistic beauties are realized. Southern converts of Baptist or similar upbringing are at an advantage here…the language is not foreign to us, not difficult to understand. It sounds like church to us. It’s beauty finds its place and blossoms in Orthodox liturgy. But this advantage is really no more than a question of exposure. Southern Orthodox raised under the pastoral care of Archbishop Dimitri are/will be no less familiar with it, and love it no less than we did. It will sound like church to them too, and that sound will be of one piece with the icons, the incense, and architecture of Orthodox worship.

              • Seraphim98 says (September 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm):

                ‘Count me on the KJV appreciator’s bandwagon. If I recall correctly Archbishop Dimitri of blessed memory regarded it as the most liturgically accurate of all extant English translations…whatever it’s picadillic failings as a translation…..’

                And lots of other things.

                Here we have an unusually instructive exercise in preference at the expense of objectivity. I won’t criticize ‘Seraphim98’s’ use of the english language at the same time as he expounds on usage. Most of his essay is a reductio ad absurdum and probably shouldn’t have a reasonable response, but I’ll try, anyway.

                The very notion of ‘Southern Orthodox’ is repellent to the nature of The Church, in which — according to St Paul — such distinctions are irrelevant and abolished by the intervention of Christ.

                If formerly protestant, baptist converts find KJV language reminiscent of ‘church’, I submit that they are exercising a preference for retaining their heterodox baggage rather than entering The Church for theological reasons which should transcend such considerations. Would they embrace Orthodoxy if we didn’t use pseudoelizabethan language?

                The KJV is NOT an orthodox text, and never will be. That version, and the style of its language, were NEVER orthodox. They weren’t even roman catholic.

                Abp Dmitri was a good man, a man of many parts, well worthy of love and respect on many different levels, and I wouldn’t assail his blessed memory.

                Yet, AbpD’s english-language liturgical translations are difficult to read and sing, sometimes confusing to the point of opacity, awkward, tortuous, rigid and sometimes ridiculous — even when they’re literally correct, which is not always the case and often less often a good thing.

                I’ve heard that his spanish-language liturgical work is much better, but I haven’t examined it, so I can’t say that myself.

                If we don’t pray in the language we speak and understand, God won’t understand it, either. That’s why orthodoxy rejected the ‘trilingual heresy’, and why we use local languages for our services.

                • Speaking from the perspective of the absurd…

                  Southern Orthodox: Based on your response, I guess you don’t get it. It’s a cultural thing (sometimes tongues rest lightly in their cheeks). Besides the South culturally is it’s own nation more or less, even if it is no longer it’s own state. If Orthodoxy has expressions particular to Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Belarus, and Poles…why is is such an affront to consider that in a land as big as the US (and Canada) there might not emerge regional distinctions reflective of local cultures? After all the culture of various first nation peoples are different from one another and from the various colonial cultures…the South has a scots irish backbone…three out of ten place names is a mac this or a Mc that. The Southwest has lot more spanish/latino culture, Alaska and pockets of the western seaboard have the Russian colonial culture, around the Great Lakes, lots of Germans and Skandanavians…in New England you’ve got English and Dutch…down in Lousianna you got Cajuns. As orthodoxy spreads and roots in North America it would be absurd that local culturally rooted variants did not arise. The South’s Orthodox culture is in the process of “arisin’ ” right now. Give it another century or two and we may well have ourselves a Southron Orthodox Metropolitan or Patriarch seated in Memphis or Hotlantana…and don’t be mad if some room is eventually found for shape note singing of metrical psalms.

                  KJV English is a cultural touchstone for a great many of us. KJV English may not be specifically Orthodox…but there is a lot in it that hails from times when it’s parent culture was. Get thee to a library and read the Dream of the Rood and set that text next to the Liturgy for the Exaltation of the Holy and Life Giving Cross and see how they intersect.

                  What language is by nature “Orthodox”. Was Greek Orthodox before the faithful spoke and wrote in it? Was any of the Slavic tongues, or Georgian? KJV English was the tongue of a Christian culture with an Orthodox past. It is the early version of the modern English we speak now…how Orthodox is that…should we totally abandon it for Old Church Slavonic or Koine?

                  And just because one recognizes the beauty of the diction of KJV English doesn’t mean one has to buy into any deficiencies of translation of the the KJV itself…it is a separate consideration.

                  And as for any rigidity and difficulty with the late Archbishop Dimitri’s translations…how does that mitigate agains his judgement on the character and usefulness of the KJV for the Orthodox? It would seem to me though he had a heart for beauty his skills in composition were more academic than lyrical. That is not a fault of language…any language. I dare say there those of King James time, both fluent in the English of the day and tedious beyond human endurance in their use of it…that does not mitigate against the brilliant use of it by the likes of the translators of the KJV, by Shakespeare, or John Donne.

                  You wrote: “If we don’t pray in the language we speak and understand, God won’t understand it, either.” 1. The language of heaven is silence. God speaks that pretty well.
                  2. God’s not stupid. He understands lots of languages…every one that ever has or will be spoken.
                  3. St. Paul spoke of the Spirit groaning in prayer within us, of praying in unknown tongues that nobody but God knows….but you suggest He gets confused by us speaking Modern English among ourselves and rendering our prayers in Early Modern English…which is still 96 percent or better understandable to Modern English speakers. What’s the word I’m looking for….ah…absurd, that’s it. absurd.
                  4. More to the point, for many of us converts from variants of protestantism in the South…KJV speech salts our conversation and metaphor….it is to a large extent the way we talk and a very common point of reference among us, even if it is not among English speakers elsewhere…my own little southern Baptist grandmother used the word “holp” mind you…”holp”…a form of “help” that ceased general usage in many parts of the English speaking world by the 16th century. Yet…it was still in use by my Grandmother in the late 20th…and hers was no affectation of book learning. Southern English is very conservative (like our politics).

                  You wrote: “If formerly protestant, baptist converts find KJV language reminiscent of ‘church’, I submit that they are exercising a preference for retaining their heterodox baggage rather than entering The Church”

                  So….what were the Slavs doing when they retained their pagan psanky and brought it into the Church? What were the Greeks doing when they borrowed “iconic” ruler poses of pagan Zeus to to show Christ enthroned as Pantocrator? What were the English thinking to call God God rather than Theos…or the Greeks in calling God Theos instead of Elohim, or Adonai, or Yah or some such? Talk about protestant thinking about “baggage”. I thought Orthodoxy baptized the good it found in every culture, orienting it towards the cross.

                  You wrote: “Would they embrace Orthodoxy if we didn’t use pseudoelizabethan language?”

                  I did. The first English translations of prayers I came across were genuinely cringe worthy constructions…clunky and artless, and I was of a mind to be willing to wait to die with my hands stretched towards the threshold if Orthodoxy rejected me to the end of my days (it only rejected me 3 years it turned out). There was no going back…I may not have been found worthy to be let in….well at the least I would be found at the gate in hope of mercy. I was ready to surrender anything asked of me. I sort of doubt I was the only one seeking Orthodoxy who felt that way on their way to the Church.

                  Also a point of order…what “pseudo” Elizabethan language…there’s nothing pseudo about it…its more like there is a special vocabulary reserved for prayer and Scripture that is close to but not the same as street English. It is the English of a suitable standard for addressing the things of God.

                  To illustrate how deeply this usage is a part of us and how associated it is with us of Church, I recall when I was 13 years old I was visiting with the family of a former baby sitter…they were Pentecostals…I was Southern Baptist at the time. I was clowning around with the boys and in faux dramatic seriousness I said…”I beseech thee..” The daughter of the family almost blanched and said, “Don’t say that…that’s in the Bible.” Meaning…don’t use “sacred” vocabulary to joke around.

                  Maybe it is a little absurd…and maybe so are we…but for us the language of the KJV (if not always the text per se) says Church to our ears they way incense says “Church” to our noses, and Icons say “Church” to our eyes. To hear it reminds us of the sacred. It lifts our hearts to the sacred. That somehow doesn’t strike me as a bad thing…much less an absurd one.

                  And with that, forgive me for being so argumentative with you, especially if I have transgressed any bounds of Christian decorum, or disturbed the peace of your heart.

                  • While I respect and understand ‘Seraphim 98’ in his disquisition here, I thoroughly disagree with him.

                    In its own way, this is no more or less racist and phyletist than the greek notion of homogeneia, the idea that there is a sense of the people whose unity and identity trump all other considerations.

                    The idea of ‘The South’ in America is a failed political mechanism, and should not, not ever, be brought into The Church.

                    • If I may comment a little further. I do not recall saying anything that could be construed that anyone’s sense of unity and identity trump all other considerations. I am saying that there is a distinctly Southern identity and to a degree a unity forged across our history. And I am saying wherever Orthodoxy is planted in the South a goodly portion of its converts will bear that identity and share in that cultural unity. To acknowledge the existence of a people is not the same thing as to demand all things be tailored to suit that people.

                      Secondly, “The South” is not a failed political mechanism….that was the Confederacy, love it or hate it. The South is a region which has a certain population, a certain settlement history, and a certain broad character that is consistent with its roots. And like it or not, the South is in the the Church because Southerners are in the Church, and if it please God more of us will come in as well.

                      It sounds like your narrative of who we are is something that is alien to us…the voice of those who wish us not to be. We have our own narrative, our own history of ourselves, and our own forebears whose memory, sacrifice and suffering, we honor. In that sense we are no different from any other nation… and that is a point worth making. It is not philetistic to acknowledge that we indeed exist.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      An excellent analysis Seraphim98

                    • Thank you Monk James for pointing this out. There are probably more than a few Southerners like myself who read Seraphim98’s words and cringe.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Your are right Seraphim98. I’m grew up a Yankee but I’ve lived in Louisiana (I used to deliver Coca Cola in New Orleans and down into Cajun country), Georgia, and North Carolina. The south has a character that has been shaped in the crucible of suffering — some of their own making and some imposed. It keeps them close to the knowledge that the things in life that mediate hardship have a sacred character and simplicity, like the people themselves.

                      And this is rooted in a deep faith that has shaped (and continues to shape) southern culture. They are in a sense a people set apart although not deliberately necessarily, but in the mysterious way that faith shapes culture and self-awareness.

                      You see it in the Southern writers too, Flannery O’Conner, even Tennessee Williams. It still exists, but outside the larger cities I think.

                      And I agree with your conclusion that Orthodox converts will reflect that heritage. There’s a congruency between the two. This could and probably will be a good thing.

                      Unrelated — Appomattox is holy ground. I saw that when I went there with my family the first time. A year later I made a trip on my own just to make sure the impression was correct (it was). Americans are largely unfamiliar with that concept (although they are drawn to it) and maybe one day the understanding will be clearer.

                    • Brian McDonald says

                      Monk James,

                      You said, “In its own way, this is no more or less racist and phyletist . . . ”

                      Can you please not play the race card unless someone actually says something racist? I think the “in its own way” was just a conscience-penny for you to hide behind so if someone called you to account–which they certainly should– you could say “I didn’t really call him racist.” You’re an intelligent man who often has thoughtful things to say. Therefore I’m quite sure you were quite aware of choosing a word that in our current cultural climate is expressly intended to shut people up. (See Obama, criticism of.) I thought Seraphim’s subsequent point that “I do not recall saying anything that could be construed that anyone’s sense of unity and identity trump all other considerations,” was spot on. I also think he was quite charitable in making no allusion to your slur.

                    • Priest Justin Frederick says

                      Dear Monk James, your dismissive comment about the ‘idea of the South’ being a’ failed political mechanism’ smacks of Yankee bigotry. The South has a distinct culture of its own, actually several distinct cultures, regardless of any failed political mechanisms. Do you really want to advance the claim that a Southerner must strip himself of his culture to enter the Church? That Christ and culture are incompatible? That Southern culture is irredeemable? Or are you saying Southerners possess no culture? I do hope that you are saying none of these things. But it sure sounds like you are saying one or more of them.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Hear, Hear! Fr! That much of our culture is distinctive because of suffering is true. and that much of that suffering we brought on ourselves because of slavery and Jim Crow is also true. But that is extraneous to the point. All peoples which have suffered in the past (and continue to do so) do so because of their own sins as well as outside aggression. Regardless, the “post-Christian” milieau that pervades most of the rest of America has not yet overwhelmed us in the South.

                      Sometimes in my darker moments I think that the entire period from the time of Reconstruction on has been perpetrated to erase the native Christianity of the South in much the same way that the aftermath of the Great War was used to eradicate Christian sensibility in Western Europe. Despite the sin of slavery, the folkways of the South were very Christian (albeit Protestant). Because this was recognizable, most European nations supported the South during the War Between the States. The Vatican did as well. After the War, when Jefferson Davis was imprisoned temporarily, the Pope made him a crown of thorns with his own hands.

                      Industrialization and the proletarian loss of humanity, as well as the harnessing of the American nation for internationalist schemes could not have proceeded had the South gained its independence (which many Abolitionists wished for). The program of the eradication of Christian aristocracy (and subsequently monarchy) in Europe was part and parcel of the demonic Cultural Marxism that began during the French Revolution.

                    • Of course there is a “southern culture”. I grew up in a mix of “southern” and “southwestern” culture (by virtue of living in Texas, which is a jumble of distinct cultures). Any U.S. culture has good and bad points, which were obvious to me as I grew up. One does not have to be enamoured of southern culture, but one one cannot dismiss the culture as a “failed entity.” Perhaps the writer means, but does not make himself clear, that he disagrees with the “South shall rise again” mentality. Stating that still might have attracted acrimony toward him; however, the point would have been clear that speech, manners, literature, music, cuisine, and the other elements of “culture” are vibrant and valid.

                      As for racism, in the broader use of that term, past and current history is rife with that across this entire country. Study the histories of Hawaiians, Chinese, Italians, Polish, Greeks, Cherokee, Inuit, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, Orthodox, . . . Dissertation materials are plentiful for discussing “racism”. Only facile thought limits this to “blacks against whites” and “whites against blacks”, which superficial attempt is what I detect in the dismissive slap of Southern culture and the outcomes of the Civil War.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Holy Cow! Abouna Ioannes endorses Flannery O’Connor, one of America’s greatest but unknown & unacknowledged fiction writers, a Roman Catholic from the Deep South. “Thumbs UP!” to you, Abouna. I have read everything available from this woman – diary & journals included – and she is a true gift from the South. A Southern treasure.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Seraphim98: “If Orthodoxy has expressions particular to Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Belarus, and Poles…why is is such an affront to consider that in a land as big as the US (and Canada) there might not emerge regional distinctions reflective of local cultures?”

                    Because Americans, espeically southeners are just uncouth.

                    Because homogeneity is everything.

                    That being said, it does not have to be Shakespearean or neo-Shakespearean English to be beautiful, poetic and uplifting. Unfortunately it seems when the KJV style is eschewed we get concrete or treacle in its place. To do better takes poets not academics or schlolars.

                    Shakespeare is not that difficult to understand because his words and style are so much a part of the modern English language in ways we seldom realize.

                    Monk James wants something other that neo-Shakesperean language. Pedantic and academic nitpicking will not produce it.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      As an amature translator I have to say that I have tried to hew very closely to the KJV style and language in translating my English version of the Septuagint. I have done this because I am in agreement with Bishop Kallistos Ware that the KJV style and language is better suited to the liturgical quality of the Bible being part of our liturgy and the way oue liturgy should be structured and phrased.

                      Now not everybody agrees with this (e.g. Monk James but also Archmandrite Lash officially appointed by the Ecumenical patriarch to translate our liturgical text into Modern Contemporary English).

                      If you want a truly contemporary English translation of the Septuagint then check out the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) translation by Professor Albert Pietersma. This English translation is extremely accurate and literal to the point of being wholly inappropriate for liturgical use unless heavly modified.

                      In my time I have come to the personal realization that only three English Bible translations are truly worthy of consideration by Orthodox Christians and should be used by us both biblically and liturgically:

                      1.) The King james Version (As currently presented in the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible w/Apocrypha);

                      2.) The Revised Standard Version w/Expanded Apocrypha; and

                      3.) The New King James Version (Via The Orthodox Study Bible).

                      Personally, I have made it known that I favor the RSV with Expanded Apocrypha as this was the English Bible version I grew up in and that was recommnded to me by priest in Florida in the GOAA and it has been my bible ever since. I even went through my college years with it as it was the preferred bible at Loyola University Chicago in many of its theology classes.

                      To this day its still the Bible I use and that most of the GOAA translations of the various liturgies use for their biblical text. The RSV is also the base text for the Septuagint Psalms and odes as translated by the Holy Myrrbearers Women’s Monastery up in New York State that I also use in conjunction with my RSV Bible.

                      The RSV with Expanded Apocrypha has the advantage of retaining much of the KJV English while updating many areas of that translation and bringing it into conformity with much of the known biblical knowledge and finding during the last century and this century (The NRSV really didn’t update anything and was IMHO a complete waste of time and money, and became the Bible for many Modernists. Again, IMHO). So for me its always going to be the RSV with Expanded Apocrypha.

                      Also, if you are a nut like me you can actually shell out several hundreds of dollars and obtain The Ancient Christian Commentary series that uses the RSV AND provides not only an awsome commentary based directly upon the Fathers of the Church BUT ALSO provides all alternative SEPTUAGINT translations of the RSV text and placed in footnotes and clearly marked off in the body of the text.

                      I have always wondered by the NCCC cannot issue or an Orthodox Jurisdiction cannot acquire the copyright to the RSV with the Explanded Apocrypha and just make the necessary changes, as was recently done in the Ancient Christian Commentary Series, but with our the expansive commentary? Oh well.

                      Now, having said all of that I recently obtained a copy of the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible KJV with Apocrypha and it is truly amazing. The old KJV text has been re-formatted, modern punctuation put in place and the entire text is so much clearler to read and enjoy that any Orthodox Christian that picks up and uses this English Bible can use it to the fullest extent possible both as a reading and study bible and as a Bible that so easily and naturally lends itself liturgically to our services. I would use the NCPB with Michael Asser’s Septuagint Psalms based on the KJV and C.T.O.S.’s Gospel and Epistle books, as well as Michael Asser’s soon to be released 2013 English translation of the Septuagint based on the KJV to truly make this an Orthodox KJV Bible.

                      Finally, we have the Orthodox Study Bible based on the NKJV. I have been critical of this English Bible, but after some private discussions with Fr. Patrick Reardon I have come to grugingly like and support this Bible. I still don’t like its English style, as I have never liked the NKJV English Style, but many do and I would even say that this Bible could be used liturgically, but I would leave that up to the Bishop and that particular congregation. The NKJV has been used for the Gospel and Epistle readings in the past so the Lental readings from Genesis, Esaias and Proverbs could be used without objection, its just not my cup of tea so to speak, but I know many Orthodox that like it, that’s helped them and so it could be used liturgically, but if I were to vote on it being used liturgically I would no, but that’s just me.

                      Now, there is the Orthodox New Testament (2 volumes) and Orthodox Psalms by Holy Apostles Covenant, which I happen to like alot, but I like translations like this. Don’t ask me why I just do. However, I know that many, MANY, Orthodox do not like these translations because that are VERY literal and wooden that to many they are unreadible, so not alot of widespead use for these translations.

                      So, again, for English Speaking Orthodox Christians I would recommend, not like I am someone special mind you, the following:

                      1.) The King james Version (As currently presented in the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible w/Apocrypha);

                      2.) The Revised Standard Version w/Expanded Apocrypha; and

                      3.) The New King James Version (Via The Orthodox Study Bible).

                      In these three English translations is a good balance between beauty of language and accuracy of text. Yet, for me my heart remains with the good OLD RSV with the Expanded Apocrypha used with the Holy Myrrbearers Septuagint translation of the Psalms.

                      Just my 2 cents.

                      PS Also pick up Michael Asser’s English Translation of the Septuagint based on the KJV next year (2013). I know I will. Bye.


                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Papoutsis,

                      I am very happy to see your endorsement of the RSV, as it was a translation supported and recommended by Professor Veselin Kesich, Ph.D. of St. Vladimir’s Seminary & Columbia University – recently departed this past spring after more than 90 rich, God-given years, may his memory be eternal!.

                      Secondly, I do not know if it was by his direct influence, but the Psalter from the RSV was the exclusive text used for all liturgical services at SVS for the many years I was there. Obviously, with continuous, daily repetition – familiarity, as I wrote above – I suppose anything will sound “good,” but the Psalter of the RSV seems to have a characteristic cadence and meter amenable to chanting and singing in English that hardly seems “coincidence.”

                      Thank you for the reminder.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Just listen to the lyricism of this passage from the KJV:

                      His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace.

                      How can that ever be improved?

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Mr. Michael Stankovich says:

                      Mr. Papoutsis,

                      I am very happy to see your endorsement of the RSV, as it was a translation supported and recommended by Professor Veselin Kesich, Ph.D. of St. Vladimir’s Seminary & Columbia University – recently departed this past spring after more than 90 rich, God-given years, may his memory be eternal!.

                      Secondly, I do not know if it was by his direct influence, but the Psalter from the RSV was the exclusive text used for all liturgical services at SVS for the many years I was there. Obviously, with continuous, daily repetition – familiarity, as I wrote above – I suppose anything will sound “good,” but the Psalter of the RSV seems to have a characteristic cadence and meter amenable to chanting and singing in English that hardly seems “coincidence.”

                      Thank you for the reminder.

                      You are welcome. The RSV with the Expanded Apocrypha was back in 1977 for English-Speaking Orthodox Christians, as I still believe it is, a true and accurate English translation of the Holy Scriptures. There are obviously certain quibbles about it from an Orthodox Christian point of view, but the Church has always corrected the RSV to conform with its received and established Biblical texts.

                      The only problem I have with the RSV really has nothing to do with it directly, but with the various Orthodox Jurisdictions in this country that could have very easily taken the RSV, instead of the NKJV, and conformed the RSV text to our own Biblical text, yet we failed to do this. I know that the publishers of the Orthodox Study Bible had connections with Thomas Nelson the copywrite holder of the NKJV, but still the quality of the RSV far surpasses that of the NKJV any day of the week and yet we went with an inferior translation in the NKJV and used this instead of the RSV which was our standard English Bible as English-Speaking Orthodox Christians since at least 1977.

                      In addition, when we were basically given our LXX alternatives in the RSV via the Ancient Christian Commentary series why did we not jump on this and issue or push to get issued an Orthodox Edition of the RSV that took our LXX readings into considerations, even as just listed footnotes, just like the Catholics have a Catholic Edition of the RSV? I believe I know the answers, but I want to see what others have to say as I could be wrong.

                      Again, for me its the RSV with Expanded Apocrypha duly modified to conform to our Biblical readings.


                    • Oh, George, hmm, how to break this to you gently–most Americans associate southern culture with . . ahem . . ‘dueling banjos.’

                      You said Southern culture “is distinctive because of suffering . . that suffering we brought on ourselves because of slavery and Jim Crow . .” I assume by “we,” you’re referring to the suffering of southern Whites, not southern Blacks? I’m well aware of the suffering of southern Blacks at the hands of southern Whites for the 100+ years following the Civil War, but the continuation of (suffering) poverty, illiteracy, etc., for southern Whites after Reconstruction, I dare say, was (is) not externally caused. Even today, how is it the southern states are always ranked at the bottom when it comes to education, literacy, longevity, infant mortality, income, health care, etc.?

                      Your statement that most European nations, including the Vatican, supported the South during the War of the Rebellion because of the South’s Christianity, puzzled me. I admit I had to look that up to find out that was Pius IX. That made me think of another Pius (XII), the Holocaust Pope, who accommodate Hitler. (I apologize in advance for using incorrect argumentation?)

                      You lamented the “Cultural Marxism that began during the French Revolution.” Marx was born well after the French Revolution and the term itself is a 20th century derivative? (I don’t think you’re saying we need to return to a monarchy that uses religion to reinforce its rule?) As always, thanks for letting me express my ‘juvenile’ thoughts or is that ‘facile’ thoughts? 🙂

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Logan, one reason, perhaps the main reason, that people have this jaundiced view of the South is the unrelenting propaganda that has come out of Hollywood for the better part of the last half-century. Make no mistake, there is a genuine hatred of Christianity and folk tradition from these people towards all Christian cultures. They leave us Orthodox alone for the most part because we’re barely a blip on the screen in America.

                      Besides, all groups have negative stereotypes which could be played to the hilt but they have never been given the sanction among our elites to deride them.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                The difference between Old Church Slavonic and King James English is that every English speaker can understand King James English with a little effort and education. I have never been told by a recent English speaking immigrant from the Middle East that they could not understand the King James language we use in the services. However, I learned that a Russian cannot understand Old Church Slavonic. I did ministry at a federal prison that held men who had committed a crime and then would be deported. I served a group of Russians. I bought what I thought was the Jordanville Prayer Book in modern Russian for the men. It was Old Church Slavonic written with the modern Russian alphabet. The men could not understand the prayers in the book. It took me a long time to find an Orthodox prayer book in modern Russian that the men could understand. I finally found one on E bay.

                • Jim the Virginian says

                  Father John,

                  That was exactly the reason that St. Tikhon, the Patriarch of all Russia, and the Holy Synod, had planned in 1917 to put the Liturgy into modern Russian: to conform to the Scripture, “Let every man hear in his own language”. Church Slavonic is at best the precursor of the Slavic Languages, and in reality is an archaic form of the Macedonian language as spoken by people in the area where Sts. Cyril and Methodius lived. Kiev and Moscow are far removed, and in fact modern Russian speech is much different than the archaic Slavonic.

                  However, this in many ways proves the point: the English of 400 years ago is already archaic, and in any case the KJV translation betrays the Protestant mindset of its sponsor, if not of its translators: we see that the Apostles “worshipped” Jesus, not that they bowed down low to him. Also, with time, language has changed so as to render meanings differently: we see that Jesus “demanded” of the Apostles; but that sense of “demanded” does not mean that he insisted forcefully, but instead hearkens back to the original French word “demander” which meant “ask”; hence, we understand that Jesus actually “asked” of the Apostles.

                  I have an even more essential question, though: must we use “special” language when we talk to God? Is our normal speech inadequate? Certainly, God is “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible,ever existing yet eternally the same”…but, must we use “God talk” for him to understand us, to accept our humble petitions? We see that the Latins had their doctrine of the 3 sacred languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Latin), and indeed Sts. Cyril and Methodius ran into trouble with the Germans who tried to enforce that doctrine.

                  If Elizabethan English is so lovely (in fact I enjoy hearing it), then who among us will use it at home? “Hast thou thine homework completed?” “Knowest thou, when it is that our supper shall be prepared?” I doubt it. Nobody speaks this way. I had relatives who were Quakers, and about 50 years ago the Quakers were just at the point of dropping the use of Thee and Thou and Thine in their speech. Perhaps the Amish still use these forms, but I think it comes from their use of archaic German. For that matter, why not use the still earlier form of English, and say the Lord’s prayer thus:
                  Fæder ure
                  Þu þe eart on heofonum
                  Si þin nama gehalgod.
                  Tobecume þin rice.
                  Gewurþe willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
                  Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg.
                  And forgyf us urne gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað
                  urum gyltendum.
                  And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge,
                  ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.

                  I note that the language problem is pretty well a UNIVERSAL problem for Orthodox Christians. The Slavs have Church Slavonic, which is difficult for most folks to follow. The Greeks have Koine Greek, which is archaic enough to be difficult for most speakers of modern Greek to follow. (I think that the Serbs, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Albanians, and Romanians may use their modern languages, as do the Antiochians…and am not sure of the Georgians). Among the Oriental Orthodox, the Syriacs, Copts, and Ethiopians all use archaic languages (I am not sure about the Armenians). And yet the Scriptures tell us that everyone should be able to hear in their own language. After all, faith comes from hearing.

                  An aside about South and North: the North was not without its Christian heritage, and especially its Puritan Protestant heritage. I have often marveled at how it seems to have vanished (especially because it is part of my own ancestry), and I have concluded that the original people largely moved out of New England, and were replaced by more recent immigrants who had other faiths. Still, at its core, New England was no less a Christian place than the South.

                  • It’s my conviction that this sentence is nonsense: “That was exactly the reason that St. Tikhon, the Patriarch of all Russia, and the Holy Synod, had planned in 1917 to put the Liturgy into modern Russian: to conform to the Scripture, “Let every man hear in his own language”.
                    First, the Patriarch of All Russia and the Holy Synod planned NOTHING in 1917.
                    Second, Saint Tikhon, before his election, was chairman of the pre-conciliar commission on liturgics. Every single recommendation considered by St. Tikhon’s commission was disapproved by him except only the recommendation to correct the calendar. He remained true to his convictions, and tried twice to impose the “new calendar” after his election, unsuccessfully.
                    And NO ONE, not the Patriarch, not the Synod, not the Council ever approved a Council of the Church of Russia anything like the All-American Councils of the OCA. As a matter of fact, at the 1917-18 Council NO parishes at all were represented save the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin: only dioceses and institutions were represented, and there was no attempt whatsoever to “balance” “lay” and “clergy” representation. What an idea!

                    As for Quaker English: they used “thee” indiscriminately”, even where thou was correct! They used such grammatical absurdities as, “That’s what thee thinks!”

                    One writer points out that the KJV was written at a time when even a committee could write good English, while another (T.S. Eliot, no?) said that the RSV was concocted by men who didn’t know they were atheists.

                    The worst thing about dispensing with the personal 2nd person pronoun was in cases like the “hospitalilty of Abraham” where three Angels visited him, and he sometime addressed them as “you” and sometimes as ‘thou”, providing a grammatically clear hint that the Angels were the Trinity….

                    The KJV is STILL the default Bible for most of Protestant Evangelical America, particularly in the South.
                    Billy Graham, one of the greatest communicators of our time, used to extemporize his prayers at the drop of a hat in vintage KJV English. I still recall his long prayer at Nixon’s burial…how those thees and thous rolled off his fluent lips and tongue, involving all, Christian or not, in his language!

                    • Thank you, your Grace! And welcome back! We missed you!

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      In light of this thread, it seems that the last person who spoke an English dialect using “thee” and “thou” has recently died.


                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      The loss of the distinction between singular and plural in second person pronouns also obscures the meaning of Exodus 33:16-17, where Moses asks God:

                      “[W]herein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us?”

                      God replies:

                      “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.”

                      The point, worth making in these days of Christian Zionism, is that Moses has found grace in God’s sight, but the people haven’t. They never do, as far as I can tell. Not once is it said in scripture that the whole people of Israel find grace in the sight of the Lord.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Yorkshire men still use thee and thou colloquially; Yorkshire women not so much.

                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      To Jim;The Serbian Orthodox Church does indeed use Modern Serbian;the Altar Gospel I have has the Serbian text on one side and English on the other.My deacon reads the Gospel in English for the liturgy,then I’ll read it in Serbian IF Serbian-speakers are present.Our Vespers and Matins are almost 100% English.Liturgy is done in English by the deacon;I’ve taken to doing some of the exclamations in Serbian,but others in English and Slavonic.After the Gospel lesson,the triple “Lord, have mercy” besides the above languages,will be in Greek,Romanian,Spanish,and even Finnish with my son leading the chanting.Once he actually did it in Chinese,we were celebrating the Chinese Orthodox Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion that day!
                      To His Grace:Master,Bless! Your Grace,as a German speaker might be interested to know that in the extinct Polabian language of Eastern Germany,the Lords Prayer began with,”Nos Fader”.This is strange,considering that in German it”s “Vater Unser”,same word order as in Greek and Slavonic.

                • lexcaritas says

                  Logan, you say: <> Not those of us who live and were reared here. That culture is as foreignt to us as to you.

                  Also, Pius XII was NOT Hitler’s Pope. This is scurrilious soviet-communist slander begun by the 1963 play “The Deputy” and continued in our time by Judson Cornwall. You should not be repeating it and making yourself guilty of the libel.

                  The facts of history are entirey contrary to this defamation. According to Rabbi David Dalin and the late Pinchas Lapide, as Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli saved 800,000 Jewish lives, hiding many of them in the convents and monasteries of Rome and its surroundings, and instructing the creation of thousands of false identity papers in various dioceses to shielf the possesor from deportation and almost certain death.

                  After the war, the Chief Rabbi of Rome came to Christ and converted to the Catholic Faith and took the name Eugenio in honor of what he had witnessed and received at the hands of this Bishop of Rome. His testimony, of which I own a copy, is quite moving. (Actually, he says his conversion began many years before when he was invited to study with a young Catholic friend in the latter’s home and wondered who the Man hanging on the cross over the dining room door was and why He was there and he noticed that the family acted differently in His presence.)

                  Christ is in our midst. May we glorify Him in all we say and write.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Lex, thank you for putting to rest this scurrilous lie about Pius XII. Shame on anybody who believes otherwise.

                    • fr. ambrose says

                      Pius XII was a great and good man, both as a humanitarian and a European leader. Given all that has befallen his Church since his death in 1958, he would have been justified in saying, with Louis XIV: “Apres moi, le deluge”! –Fr. Ambrose

                    • During WW2 in the Nazi Puppet State of Croatia about 700,000 Serbs were slaughtered
                      by the Croatian Ustashe just because they were Orthodox and refused to bow to the Roman
                      Anti Christ and join the Papist Pseudo Church. That happened with the full knowledge and blessing of cardinal aloizije stepinac, archbishop of Zagreb (his name doesn’t deserve to be capitalized) under the pontificate of pius xii. It is IMPOSSIBLE that pius was not aware of the actions of one of his cardinal archbishops. No bishop in the papist “church” would act without the blessing and approval of his supreme pontiff. If there is one thing the papists have in their “church”, it is order and discipline, practically nothing happens without the
                      “holy father’s”(yeah right) approval. Please, nobody tell me that it didn’t happen. I PERSONALLY know eye witnesses to the terrible slaughter of Orthodox Serbs by the Ustashe. . If you don’t believe, go ask any Orthodox Serb what happened during WW2. But then, what’s the use . Who cares what happened to the Serbs. After all, the west, lead by the US, bombed Serbia, helping the muslim kosovars, who so far have destroyed and desecrated over 150
                      historical Serbian Churches in Kosovo. Well, God Bless Mme Madeline Albright, Mme Hillary
                      Clinton, The honorable Mr. Holbrook and His Supreme Excellency and Presidential Majesty The Very Honorable Sir Bill Clinton. Well, I am obviously being sarcastic,
                      I wouldn’t let “them people” into my house. I would let Romney in. Like any good mormon,
                      he too, went from house to house as missionary.( in France, of all places) I would invite him in, light
                      my Censer and sing ” O Lord save Thy People………” I’ve really done that. Some years
                      ago, two mormon “missionaries came to my door. I pretended to be interested
                      and invited them in. I even brought out milk (“them” people don’t drink coffee) and cookies.
                      While they were enjoying their snack, I lit the censer and came out singing “O’ Lord save Thy People………..” you should have seen them run……..INCENSE DOES WORK!!!! TRY IT!!!
                      Orthodox Christians should not praise pius XII or any pope . I am NOT against the average Roman
                      Catholic. Most people are born into a Faith, and I personally believe, that GOD in His Love
                      for mankind, can save anyone He wishes . Who in his right mind could blame anyone for
                      being born catholic, protestant, muslim or whatever. The Romans have magnificent
                      Churches ( I LOVE BAROCK) and the muslims have beautiful mosques. My motto is:
                      “I respect yours, you respect mine and we all can get along”. But, unfortunately, throughout
                      history, “they” have been and still are persecuting us. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for
                      Signor Pacelli aka pius XII. But, if you like him and find him so great, fine, to each his own.

                  • lexcaritas says:
                    Logan, you say: Not those of us who live and were reared here. That culture is as foreignt to us as to you.

                    Also, Pius XII was NOT Hitler’s Pope. This is scurrilious soviet-communist slander begun by the 1963 play “The Deputy” and continued in our time by Judson Cornwall. You should not be repeating it and making yourself guilty of the libel.

                    Lexcaritas, not sure what you’re first sentence refers too? As far as Pius XII, when he was Cardinal Secretary of State he negotiated the Concordat with Hitler. The questions as to whether he was an anti-Semite, why he was silent on the Holocaust, and was the Catholic help to Jews the result of others and not Pius XII, have not been scholarly and critically answered definitively. Perhaps when the Vatican and other governments release all their WWII records we will know for sure. The term I repeated has not been proven false and there is substantial scholarly work supporting that conclusion.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      The concordat with Hitler was signed when all other nations were signing treaties with him. You forget that Hitler was a democratically-elected leader of a great nation when those treaties were signed.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      What most people do not realize is that the death camps were the most closely guarded secret of the 3rd Reich. Usually, the Germans document everything in writing in triplicate. However, the death camps were so secret that no one has actually found a written document signed by Hitler giving the order to build the camps. The actual death camps were in rural Poland. None of them were in Germany itself. Dachau,. Buchenwald and the other camps in German were terrible and millions died, but they were not death camps as such. Every effort was made to keep the existence of the gas chambers secret. At Auschwitz, the gas chambers were in Birkenau a separate camp separated from the main camp. A band played cheerful music as the victims were sorted between those who would live to work as slave labor and those who would die. They were told tht they were going to showers. They even gave them soap. The gas chambers had fake shower heads to continue the hoax. When rumors began filtering out of their existence, the British and Americans thought that it was only propaganda, because during the First World War all sorts of false accounts of German atrocities in Belgium were used by the British for propaganda. Thus, it is entirely possible that the Pope really did not know what was happening in the death camps. I know that the camps existed and have studied the documents from the Nuremburg and even interviewed one of the prosecutors at the trials, but I still find it hard to believe that any group of people could be so cruel as to kill millions of people in such an organized way.

                  • Catherine 9 says

                    True, what all 3 of you said [lexcaritas, George M. and Fr Ambrose].
                    Pope Pius XII was definitely holy and righteous.

                    Except for Pope Pius X who was Sainted, surely the best Pope
                    of the 20th century.

                    Yet many were believing all these atrocious charges against Pope Pius XII.

                    It was actually a nun, Sr. Margherita Marchione, who started
                    researching through the Archives and able to refute so much.

                    Her story is told in the amusingly named, “The Fighting Nun”,
                    Sr Margherita’s autobiography. It is slightly egotistical but
                    the part about her crusade to restore the good name of
                    this Pope is of value.

                • And yet virtually nobody in Russia would use a “modern Russian” prayer book. The relationship between Slavonic and Russian is too complicated to be described in a few paragraphs. Generally, a Slavonic prayer is roughly 90% understandable to a Russian reader without prior knowledge of the language, and the remaining 10% are very easily explained, after which all possible confuson disappears forever.

                  • fr. ambrose says

                    In my experience dealing with average Russians (I was a pastor in a Russian immigrant parish), considerably LESS than 90% of Slavonic is understandable to them. In fact, some of them cannot even READ it, much less understand it. Many Russian immigrants and children of immigrants in this country prefer to use the English language Orthodox prayer books for that reason. There are of course “churchly” Russians, who have grown up reading on the kliros and have a better than average education, but they are not many.–Fr. Ambrose

                    • Dear Fr. Ambrose,

                      I guess we are talking about very different groups of Russians. Of course, many immigrants’ children (but not all, of course) know their parents’ language at a very low level. They may be able to speak some but not write, etc. Slavonic significantly overlaps with the higher, advanced levels of modern Russian language. Take, for example, one of the most famous Pushkin’s poems, The Prophet. It is written, essentially, half in “common” Russian and half in Slavonic. Very, very few of Russian immigrants’ children in the US would be able to read it and figure out what it says and what it is about. Yet all Russian children study it in the middle school and most are required to learn it by heart (or at least that was the practice in the olden times of the Soviet Union). To those who went through regular school, the more-or-less standard Slavonic prayer book presents some difficulty, but this difficulty is easily overcome. However, if you are talking about other texts in Slavonic, such as the Book of Psalms, of the texts used in the Vigil, that would be a different matter. Also, your experience shows that most Russian immigrants cannot read in Slavonic. The same goes for most Russians in Russia. That is why all Slavonic texts are mostly published using the modern Russian alphabet, which everyone can read. A standard prayer book in Russia is in modern-alphabet Slavonic. You will have terrible difficulty finding a non-Slavonic modern Russian prayer book simply because nobody would buy or use it. The only thing that gets close to it as an “explanatory” prayer book that one can buy in many church shops, which has Slavonic texts + Russian translations.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I honestly do not remember enough of my college Russian to tell the difference between Old Church Slavonic and modern Russian. I need basic materials in modern Russian, but also need an explanation of them in English so that I know what I am using. I do the best that I can since some of the men to not speak that much English. Although, I cannot do that much since I do not speak Russian, I feel that I should be there to show them that the Orthodox Church cares about them. They have enough of a commitment in Orthodoxy to have asked for an Orthodox Priest to come visit them, even if he is only an Antiochian Priest who has trouble communicating with them. I think that it is important for the Church to minister to those who need it most, and I cannot think of anyone who needs a Priest more than someone in prison. I always wear my cassock and cross so that I at least look like an Orthodox Priest to them. If any one knows where I can get simple books in modern Russian on Orthodoxy, please contact me at

              • I couldn’t agree with you more, Seraphim98, Fr. Justin and Fr. Dcn. Patrick.

                There is nothing in English like the idiom that arose between the time of Coverdale and Shakespeare. They had an ear for the lyric and what the Scripture should sound like when read or chanted.

                The loss of the singular thee/thou has caused a loss of information and led to misconstruction of the urtext in some cases.

                If the idiom seems foreign to us in 21st Century America, the solution is simple: read the 1537 Coverdale Psalms (which are better yet than the 1611 Authorized Version) at a rapid pace daily for a year or two and they will come alive and become second nature.

                For fun, speak the idiom at home; use it in your prayers. Sing it. In every way, glorify God and honour the saints who have gone before us and on whose shoulders we stand by and retain a certain linguistic continuity with them. As Chesterton says, the Church is an organism in which the “dead” have a voice and a distinct place of honor. They are praying with us and cheering us on. Your comments have warmed my heart.


                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  There is an excellent edition of the Coverdale Psalms corrected according to the Septuagint text and divided into Kathisma and numbered according to Orthodox usage published by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. It also has the traditional prayers for each Kathisma and the 9 Biblical Odes.

                  • lexcaritas says

                    Yes, indeed, Fr. John. ++JONAH recommended it to me. Said it was blessed by ++Hilarion for use in ROCOR and that he was hoping to get the OCA Synod to approve it for use. I presume they didn’t like that idea of his either. 🙁


    • Michael Bauman says

      Is it just me or does this petition sound a bit like: O Lord, give us a Metropolitan to our liking not yours?

      • Michael, that’s exactly what it sounded like to me. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the petitions we used before, they just rewrote it in order to highlight Metropolitan Jonah’s perceived deficiencies. Stay classy, OCA bishops!

  9. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Does anyone know what this is all about?

    Phone and e-mail scam alert
    It has come to the attention of the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America that individuals, including some OCA clergy, have been receiving e-mails and telephone calls from an unknown individual or individuals presenting themselves as members of the Holy Synod of Bishops requesting emergency funds for various causes and asking that funds be directed to specified venues.

    These appeals are scams and should not be honored. None of the members of the Holy Synod are soliciting funds by e-mail or phone.

    Those receiving such calls or e-mails, or desiring additional information, are invited to contact Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, at 516-922-0550 or

    • Nope, but I like your good sense and the fact that you post your real name, Lola J. Lee Beno. It’s a nice name.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Thank you! I was named after my mother’s friend, who was murdered by the doctor she’d been having an affair with (she was a nurse). From what I was told, that case was never really given high priority since it was in the South, in Georgia, and cases involving black people were not given high priority.

        Of course, times have changed, although there are still too many cases of black women who have been murdered or disappeared going unsolved . . .

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Yes. I received a call from someone identifying himself as Archbishop Michael of the Greek Archdiocese. He claimed that he called me at the request of Archbishop Demetrios. I met His Eminence about 30 years ago when I was at Holy Cross for the Orthodox Lutheran Dialogue, but doubt very strongly that he remembers me or even knows that I exist. According to the story, a person had been in an auto accident in Monterrey, Mexico and had to be flown in an air ambulance to Tulsa.They needed about $450 to pay the expenses. I kept him on my cell phone while I went to one of my Greek speaking members. He spoke Greek to the man who immediately hung up the phone. I figured that if a man is a Greek Orthodox Bishop he will be able to speak Greek. He called me at least 4 more times that evening trying to get money out of me. At one point, he promised to have me made a Bishop. I pointed out to him that I am married. His story changed with each call. At one point he claimed to be calling me from The Ukraine. He usually claimed to be an Archbishop, but once slipped and told me he was only a priest. The thing that was confusing is that he knew the names of several Orthodox Bishops in Mexico. He slipped up and somehow my cell phone captured his telephone number. I sent it to Bishop Basil. The area code indicated that the call was from Bakersfield, California.

  10. I was speaking on the phone earlier today with someone who knows Bp. Benjamin well. We spoke about the mess that is the OCA Synod and later, while pondering the conversation in light of the approaching Parma “Council”, I believe I stumbled upon “The Solution” (for those easily scandalized, look away, look away!).

    • Heracleides, speaking to a fellow artist, I am glad you are around. TYVM, indeed.

      P.S. I vote “YES” to Heracleides. He sez it as he sees it. You may not like it, but you can tell him so. Do not edit Heracleides.

  11. Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

    Fyi a new post on the Orthodox Christian Laity website:

    Did the OCA Bishops Lie about Metropolitan Jonah?
    by Joel Kalvesmaki

    For the last two years, bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and key members of the OCA administration have waged a not-so-subtle war against Metropolitan Jonah, doing their utmost to oust him. That effort reached a milestone this summer, when the Metropolitan tendered his resignation.
    Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) has reason to be concerned: a strong advocate of its ideals—jurisdictional unity, spiritual renewal, lay participation in church governance, and transparency and accountability in church governance—has fallen.

    +Jonah has been an active proponent of jurisdictional unity, not just by being part of the Episcopal Assembly but by achieving real results: he was instrumental in effecting reconciliation and unity in the United States among the OCA, the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). The strenuous difficulties between the OCA and ROCOR go back decades (see an account at Orthodox Wiki), but under +Jonah rapprochement happened in only a few years. In lectures, sermons, and pastoral letters his call for spiritual renewal in the Church and in our country has been consistent and clarion. He encouraged reforms for greater accountability and transparency in the OCA. I have witnessed firsthand his refreshing candor in matters of church governance. As Vice-President of the primatial cathedral, I was at ease expressing disagreement with his decisions (it happened more than once, and on important matters) because he welcomed a free exchange of ideas, trusting that all of us in the church aspire to preserve Holy Tradition. Although he was not a skilled administrator, he knew how to delegate administrative responsibilities to competent people, laity as well as clergy, and he trusted them to do their work well. +Jonah has been one of the few bishops to attend OCL meetings, encouraging us to fulfill our mandate. A finer friend to OCL is hard to find among the bishops.

    In their recent actions, however, the OCA bishops and administration have brought harm, both to the faithful of the OCA and to their fellow Orthodox, here and abroad.

    The bishops are to be commended for breaking with their customary silence by releasing an official three-page statement on July 16, the day OCL issued its own call for an explanation. At the time, the official statement was refreshing. It did not merely accuse but supplied events, sprinkled with dates, places, and persons. The example that best illustrated the need for +Jonah’s removal involved the accusation of sexual misconduct by a priest. Such frankness was surprising. Allegations like these are usually suppressed or skirted in official explanations.

    But a number of persons have taken a closer look at the statement, found serious problems, and argued that it is riddled with fundamental errors of fact and logic. Over the last two months the responses have accumulated. Many of these have been posted as main articles or substantive comments on the blog run by George Michalopulos. (Caveat lector—the best critiques are mixed with the worst.) Now the lengthiest, if not most substantive, critique of the OCA statement has been compiled by Christine Fevronia.

    Collectively, these counterarguments portray the bishops as having misled or misinformed the public. At best they have made mistakes, at worst lies, about the few specifics discussed. The account given by the bishops to exemplify Jonah’s wrongdoing is riddled with factual errors. Once those and all other alleged errors are secluded, the statement is heavy on insinuation and light on facts. One cannot help but ask, was the statement merely a pretext to damage +Jonah’s reputation?

    The OCA’s response to criticism has been silence, a call for the church to move on and heal. The bishops have not answered any of the objections. Meanwhile their statement has become the basis for stories in the mainstream media that have cast +Jonah and the OCA in negative light (Philadelphia Inquirer [July 17]; Washington Post [July 20]; Newsday [July 22]; Chicago Tribune [August 31]).

    The longer OCA leadership ignores charges that they have lied, the greater the faithful will distrust them. I myself want to believe the best of my bishops, but they have not given me any reason to do so. In fact, the July 16 statement indirectly corroborates reports (hitherto rumors) that elements of OCA administration were for a long time secretly working to remove +Jonah. So this is the custom of the bishops? To devour their own? Who is next? Where does it stop? I have done my best to keep my two children from knowing what the bishops have done. I do not wish them to learn from the synod how to treat others.

    Members of OCL, no matter the jurisdiction, should be particularly wary of the attack on +Jonah and the way the OCA has presented it to the public. The ideals held by OCL have been offended. Where is the transparency and accountability? Where is the spiritual renewal? Where is the OCA’s regard for its sister churches, all of whom are affected?

    A prime concern of the OCL—jurisdictional unity—is at stake. The OCA is one of the few jurisdictions in America to allow the laity to participate in the election of a Metropolitan, and not a few OCL members have looked to the OCA as a model for a united Orthodox Church. But if the voice of the people, the “axios” proclaimed by all the faithful of the OCA in 2008, can be taken away by a select few, absent the laity and without cause or justification, then the OCL should fear the example the OCA brings to a united Church.

    Despair is not in order. I can think of two ways the leadership of the OCA could halt their downward spiral:
    Release a complete account, along with timeline and documentation, to supersede the July 16 statement. Come clean, admit mistakes, and address head-on all the events that have become the OCA’s worst-kept secrets. Do not hide behind the excuse of confidentiality. If it was fine to release anonymized but concrete details of a sexual-abuse charge, surely one can be forthcoming about other matters discussed in the statement that do not have the legal implications (e.g., ecclesiastical relations).

    Release a letter of repentance written and signed by the bishops and the OCA administration, explaining specifically how and where they themselves have erred. According to Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, the bishops, when they met in August, were of one mind that “we all therefore bear some responsibility for the events that have led to the election of a new metropolitan.” Let us hear about that responsibility. Be as detailed and forceful as you were in the July 16 statement. Expose and confess your errors and sins more eagerly than you have those of +Jonah. Show us how to repent.

    If the bishops and leaders of the OCA would exercise this kind of response, would they show a devotion for Holy Tradition, would they show in words and deeds contrition and humility, I would gladly make them role models for my family. Until then, whenever the bishops are brought up in conversation around my children, I must maintain an embarrassed, awkward silence.

    Joel Kalvesmaki is a member of St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA), Washington, DC, where he served as Vice-President in 2011.

    • This is an excellent essay that deserves greater visibility. George, would you consider posting it under a separate title?


    Telling lies, undermining trust and twisting the truth are the devil’s specialty, right from the beginning, as in Genesis 2-3. The Lord told Adam and Eve, “You may eat of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” (Gen 2:16-17). But the serpent comes to them and asks, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” (Gen 3:1). As I read some of the postings on the internet about the dastardly things that supposedly go on in our little church, it’s clear to me the devil is at work twisting, turning, leading people astray, as he did to with Adam and Eve and as he tried to do with Jesus.

    The spiritual forces of evil are very subtle, aiming to discourage, dishearten and divide. Be on guard and vigilant about what you hear, what you read and what is posted. “Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted…Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap” (Gal 6:1,7).

    How true these words are, but to whom is Fr. Jillions speaking? One would hope he is speaking first and foremost to himself, the Chancery staff and the Synod. Does it appear that he is trying to shape opinion and tamp down legitimate questions that people have about those in OCA leadership? Are asking questions seeking to discourage, dishearten and divide? Tell that to our Founding Fathers. One could also ask if the actions of the Synod and Syosset have done the most since the resignation of +Jonah to discourage, dishearten and divide.

    St. Paul is correct as Fr. Jillions quotes “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9).

    Indeed, Fr. Jillions we will not grow weary in well-doing and we will not lose heart. We will continue to speak truth to power and we will not abate in our determination to recover what was given to us and what we will answer for before the Throne of God.

    Asking questions is what a Conciliar Church is supposed to do. Right?

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Spot on, Nikos, for saying:

      Indeed, Fr. Jillions we will not grow weary in well-doing and we will not lose heart. We will continue to speak truth to power and we will not abate in our determination to recover what was given to us and what we will answer for before the Throne of God.

      I have yet to hear a single response about the specific questions a lot of us have raised about the distortions of truth in the Synod’s statement of July 16, 2012, in which Met. Jonah was accused of protecting a rapist priest. It has been two full months now since the Synod released that statement.

      Is “the devil at work” (as Fr. Jillions writes) perhaps in the following:

      1. Mislabeling Metropolitan Jonah’s forced resignation “retirement”, thereby taking away his diocese and future hope for an episcopal assignment? Or how about assigning a “locum tenens” to his diocese of Washington D.C., when he himself should still be the ruling administrator of his diocese, since he only resigned as Primate, not as Archbishop of Washington, D.C.?
      2. Stating that Metropolitan Jonah knew about a rape in February 2012, when there is very clear evidence given by the alleged rape victim and her godmother, that Metropolitan Jonah only found out about the allegation in mid-May 2012? And not only stating that–but to then not correct that lie to the public?
      3. How about the Synod’s comparison of Metropolitan Jonah to Jerry Sandusky, that evildoer who was indicted on 52 counts of child molestation?
      4. Or what about the public shaming and humiliation of our Metropolitan, who is now referred to in international media as “the church leader who protected a rapist priest”?
      5. How about the silencing of priests, clergy, and laity of the OCA who dare to raise these questions?

      You are right, Fr. Jillions: “Telling lies, undermining trust and twisting the truth are the devil’s specialty.”

      • Christine,

        The more they try and spin the truth, the more they get caught in the web of their own deceit. We need to stay strong and resolute. God will NOT be mocked.

      • Amen Amen Amen Christine!!

      • ChristineFevronia says

        And also…

        6. How about the departure of seven monks from St. John’s Monastery due to its spiritually compromised state–with an abbot hypnotizing monks and encouraging them to talk with demons, giving advice and blessings to people to pursue homosexual relationships, tonsuring a transsexual and making the monks live with him/her? Is the devil at work in that?
        7. What about Abp Benjamin’s giving of communion to an openly homosexual couple in the cathedral in San Francisco? What is that you are saying, Fr. Jillions? No? You believe the devil isn’t at work in these specific instances, but rather in the open questioning of these instances by the laity?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Niko, how these people can even look themselves in the mirror is beyond me.

      • George,

        When in live in the bubble of your own design you can put lipstick on any pig.

      • Because their consciences are dead.
        Otherwise they wouldn’t still be doing
        what they have been doing
        and seemingly plan to continue doing
        up through and beyond
        the Nov. AAC.

        • PdnNJ says (September 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm):

          ‘Because their consciences are dead.
          Otherwise they wouldn’t still be doing
          what they have been doing
          and seemingly plan to continue doing
          up through and beyond
          the Nov. AAC.’


          Yes, indeed. If these malfeasants ever had consciences, those consciences are numb and maybe even dead.

          It’s frustrating in the extreme to observe that our bishops, men entrusted with the guidance of The Church, are behaving as functional atheists: If they believe in God at all, that’s not obvious from their behavior.

          They care nothing for the love of God and the grace of Christ, but only for their own comfort.

          We need some sort of reformation. Not doctrinally, but in terms of moral accountability.

          It’s my hope that the 13 November AAC will require all but a very few of our bishops to retire before they do any more damage to The Church, our Lord Jesus Christ’s own Body and Bride.

          God works through us all, not just the bishops, and we MUST be able to shake off the yoke imposed on us by false leaders, and return to Christ with truly good men as our bishops.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      On the topic of Fr. Jillions, I will note that I have still not received a response to my e-mail to him pointing out errors in his Sept. 13 diary entry and asking him to make those corrections. The errors still stand and Fr. Jillions is apparently unwilling to even respond to questions about them.

      That attitude deserves neither trust nor respect.

    • Instead of going all paranoid about the Internet, he needs to pay more attention to the offal that is being produced by bureaucrats in non-internet announcements, circulars and gossip!

    • Chancellor Jillions should publish in writing just where telling lies, undermining trust, where the truth is being twisted, and the devil is at work twisting, turning, leading people astray, here.
      I would sincerely like to know that for my own personal edification and repentance.
      But If he won’t or can’t, or just can’t or won’t bring himself to do so, then I can only take what he says as meaningless.

  13. I’m thinking now, that one of the best things to come out of this debacle is that,
    the self-promotion of the OCA by its “leaders” (with its Metropolitan Council type of governance) as being the best model and umbrella for the unification of Orthodoxy in North America,
    has been thoroughly debunked by the actions of those “leaders” themselves. Now the unification of Orthodoxy in North America can at least proceed without that “elephant in the room,” and I, for one, would not be surprised or saddened if the EA were to now consider the OCA as under the MP with “maximum autonomy.”
    The Archivist of the OCA can then file it all away under the heading “Unintended Consequences.”

    • Just Guessing says

      I believe there are very clear signals coming from the EA that the OCA’s days of self-preservation are numbered. Bishop Alexander (apparently) gave a breathless defense of the OCA’s dying autocephaly to the Assembly which was politely ingored. The conclusion is that Bishop Alexander was being not-so-subtly introduced as the OCA’s next-best-hope to save the autocephaly as the favored candiate for Metropolitan by Fr Leonid Kishkovsky, et al. Though there is internal disunity on the Synod on who will wear the White Hat next, the autocephaly has become the golden calf that must protected, and Bp Alexander is supposedly the man who has the “chops” to do it.

      To me, it reeks of misplaced desperation. Saving the OCA’s autocephaly at this point will simply make them the next footnote below Aftimios Ofiesh’s American Orthodox Catholic Church.

      • Just Guessing,

        You are just that, “Just Guessing” and guessing wrong. The OCA is not in dire straights as you and others here wish to paint. Let’s get a real assessment of the major Orthodox in America today:

        The Greeks have many internal issues and scandals you may never hear about. Greece is financially bankrupt and people want to take more from the church. In America, they are one big HUBRIS ethnic club. If you aren’t Greek, you are a 2nd class citizen.

        The Antiochians are pretty much like the Greeks. They have done better with converts, but now with Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. in flames, the ethnic identity of the Arabs within the Antiochians will grow considerably. Hardly an American church.

        ROCOR is dead! The MP offers nothing. The Carps are dead! All the other ethnic groups are unto themselves.

        The OCA is operating like a true autocephalous should. With it’s Synod, it has and is cleansing itself. The OCA will be stronger with a new leader and offers both converts and cradle Orthodox a real American church.

        So, sorry, but the demise of the OCA is greatly exaggerated by people here who have no clue.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona. Interested?

        • There are none so blind as those that will not see.
          Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot.

        • Phil,

          How do you base your statement that ROCOR, the MP and the Carpatho-Rusyn diocese are dead? From what I’ve seen, they are (in the case of ROCOR and the C-R) the most missionary, evangelistic minded jurisdictions in America right now. I think you, my Christian brother, have developed ostrich disease (or are in love with the guys in Syosset.) Take off the blinders, man!

          • I agree, Demetrios, at least where ROCOR is concerned. That jurisdiction is thriving, growing, and doing well. And virtually no scandals either. And their relationship with Moscow is healthy, normal, and canonical; the Mother Church has not been heavy-handed with ROCOR, nor has it channeled cash back to Moscow. I don’t know where Phil is getting his information, but it’s inaccurate. l don’t know about growth or lack thereof in the Carpatho-Russian Diocese –Fr. Ambrose

        • Just Guessing says

          Phil, it’s not 1970 anymore and it’s time you face today’s reality. It’s a demonstrable fact that you’re absolutely wrong by every known measure.

          Let’s take some of the largest American cities as an example. Chicago: The ethnic Orthodox churches are filled to overflowing (Greek, ROCOR, Antiochian, Serbian, etc). The majority of the OCA churches in Chicago are half empty except for St Joseph’s. Los Angeles? The same story. Houston? New York? Washington? All the same. What’s the average population of a parish in the OCA east of the Mississsippi? 60-70 people, that’s it (and that’s probably generous). And what about institutions and programs? The OCA’s institutions and programs are paltry in comparison to the Greeks and the Antiochians. Where’s the OCA’s Antiochian Villiage? Where’s the OCA’s college? What about media ministries? Educational material? If it wasn’t for St Vladimir’s Seminary (and let’s face it, SVS is OCA in name only, and absolutely was NOT built by OCA money alone), what exactly could the OCA point to as an accomplishment in the last five to ten years? A multiplicity of investigations and firings is an accomplisment? Hiring a sex czar is an accomplisment? A declining population of support? Where is the accomplisment today? 1970 – yes, no doubt. Today – an unmitigated disaster.

          You need to get your head out of the sand and start to see the reality of this situation. People are clearly on to the shenanigans in the OCA, and they’re tired of it. I’m not drinking your koolaid. The OCA is going this path completely alone, and it’s leading right off a cliff.

          • Umm, for the record from the peanut gallery: SOC churches in Chicago are far from “filled to overflowing.” The two exceptions are Christmas Eve and Great and Holy Friday. (For those Holy Days, Church architecture would be much more practical if it managed to incorporate revolving doors and add a few more ashtrays.)

            And, without the free “traditional Serbian whiskey tea” distributed on Christmas Eve, there would be only one exception.

            • Just Guessing says

              That’s absolutely NOT true. Holy Resurrection has very good attendance, and two liturgies on Sunday.

        • “ROCOR is dead, DEAD, I tells ya!” shrieks Phil R. Upp, as he is dragged away by the nice men in white coats.

        • What should we think about someone who calls the Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox “Carps”?
          That tells me everything I need to know about where “phil r. upp” “is coming from.”
          He sure is “phil” of “it.”

          • Takes me way back, PdnNJ. I remember that one of the guys in the room next to mine at SVS was your now Father Paul Kucynda, whom many called “The Super-Carp” in those days. Vladyka Dmitri used to get a kick out of that one too! Oh, the memories!!!
            I remember watching a now leading OCA Archpriest actually deck another student, now an Archpriest in the OCA New England diocese, when the latter was desperately trying to get up the stairs to get close as possible to a student who is now a Bishop in a schismatic West Coast headquartered group! Pow! And down the stairs he went!

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
              September 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm

              Takes me way back, PdnNJ.

              All I get out of that “tidbit” of a story is that phil r. upp is probably an SVS Seminary student.
              And calling Carpatho-Rusyns “Carps” is a downright prejudicial statement.
              P.S. “your now Father Paul Kucynda”-?????

        • Go to if you like a really professionally put-together Orthodox web site. No other jurisdiction has ;produced anything this good. I believe that, among others, Archpriest John W. Morris will appreciate it. As for “phil r. upp” , as they say in Russian, “whatever’s in Thomas Hopko’s head is on phil r. upp’s lips.”

          • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

            That is indeed a wonderful and informative site Your Grace.
            I have been lost in its web so to speak, for hours without realizing the amount of time that has passed.
            I corresponded with one of the regular contributors, Michael Woerl, a few years ago. He has a vast knowledge of the ROCOR and is a very fair historian.

        • Archpriest J ohn W. Morris says

          The refugees will tend to come to areas that already have large Arab speaking parishes. Therefore, I doubt that they will have any impact on most of our parishes. We will probably have to establish new Arabic speaking missions, but we are not going to change that much. We will still be an American Church.

        • Dorothy Allen says

          Dear Phil:
          Unless and until you have done field research (i.e. visited various Orthodox churches first hand and spoken to the parishioners) in various jurisdictions and locations, your assertion is not believable. I live in a location where there are several OCA churches, several ROCOR churches, an MP parish, and a Carpatho-Russian parish, all within a half-hour drive from a central point. I have attended services at all of them and “belong” to an OCA parish which is probably the largest in my local area. Membership and church attendance at all of the non-OCA parishes has been growing and conversely declining in the OCA parishes. I attended a weekday service at a Carpatho-Russian parish at which there are (every Wednesday evening) more persons in attendance than the church parking lot can hold their cars. Likewise at services at the nearby ROCOR parish. On the other hand, for the most recent three Holy Days, attendance at the OCA parish that I attend, I counted the number of persons both for Vespers and for Liturgy — there were 11 persons one day, 15 the next, and 8 the next day, and that is in the “largest” OCA parish in the region. Where did the people go? Where I live, more and more persons are leaving OCA parishes and attending services at ROCOR and at Carpatho-Russian churches. Even though “on the books” some persons still maintain their dues-paying membership in their original OCA parishes, persons to whom I have spoken are, at this point, seriously considering officially joining the ROCOR and Carpatho-Russian churches that they have recently begun attending. Many persons are waiting to see what will happen in the next few months. The average parishioner is not very outspoken about these concerns on public forums, but I can assure you that they are neither uninformed, nor unintelligent, nor unable to decide for themselves what will be best for their spiritual health.

        • Gregg Gerasimon says

          Quoting above, as not-so-eloquently put, “ROCOR is dead!”

          This is probably the most ridiculous thing that I’ve read on here in a long time (and one reads a lot of ridiculous things on this site from time to time).

          ROCOR is thriving — yes, it may be small in America, but it is thriving nonetheless. Look at the quality put out in iconography, literature, Saints, their bishops, and even in planting missions. I know personally of a very large city in the south (of more than a million people) with one OCA parish, one Greek, and one Antiochian parish, in which the OCA parish has simply been stagnating in growth for years (for a variety of reasons) but really had the most potential to reach out to the community. The growth potential is huge, yet it has gone unfulfilled. ROCOR stepped in and began a 4th parish in the city recently (an English-language mission), which is now growing by leaps and bounds.

          Here in the Philadelphia area, many OCA parishes do not offer Saturday night vespers/vigil (St Stephen’s Cathedral, St Mark’s Church, and Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church excepted). I’ve been told that the reason is that the parish populations don’t live near the churches anymore, and folks commute quite a distance to go to church, thus it’s tough to do a long commute for both Saturday vespers/vigil and Sunday liturgy. But the ROCOR parish without fail always serves vespers/vigil on Saturday night.

          I’d be curious why the difference — I’m assuming that OCA bishops must allow some laxity in whether vespers is served or not, and that ROCOR bishops do not. Anyone know why the difference?

          But I’ll give phil r. upp the benefit of the doubt and assume that when he/she wrote that “ROCOR is dead,” he/she meant that it is “dead to the world,” but very much alive in Christ.

          And Vladika Tikhon, thank you for the link — a fantastic site!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Greg, I agree. Phil’s manic shout of ROCOR being “dead, Dead, DEAD, I tell you!” was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read anywhere in the blogosphere. He’s either thinking wishfully or dangerously deluded.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              ROCOR is far from dead. Neither are we Antiochians. I served an Antiochian mission in the Houston area 9 years ago before I was transferred to my present assignment. When I left ROCOR had two churchs in Hourston. I returned to Houston for the funeral of Fr. Matthew McKay. There were five ROCOR priests at the funeral. I believe that they have another priest in Houston who was not at the funeral. That is growth from 2 communities to 6 in a very short time. The OCA has been trying without much success to get something going in Houston for over 30 years. During that time we Antiochians have built 3 churches and started another mission in addition to the original parish in Houston, St. George’s.

        • Phil,

          Then just one question, if the OCA really believes that it IS THE LOCAL ORTHODOX CHURCH in the USA, then why are they even participating in the ACOB? Are they just giving lip service to this idea of all the canonical Orthodox bishops gathering but they really know it is unnecessary because the OCA is already autocephlous?

          Seems rather cynical of the OCA bishops, and a cynical bunch they certainly are not. 😉

          Just Guessing, you were not guessing. You were presenting a very accurate portrayal of how Bp. Alexander’s affected english accent presentation was accepted by the other bishops. It was polite, it was ignored and so is the OCA.

          However, I would love to hear Phil’s idea of how a “real” American Orthodox Church would act and look. Hopefully nothing like the current OCA, even Phil can’t believe that this model is the magnet to draw the unchurched in this land to the Faith. But if it is, please, enlighten us.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Even if the OCA is the local autocephelous Orthodox Church it still is answerable to the other autocephalous Churches of world Orthodoxy. The autocephalous Churches have decided that the problem of Orthodox unity in America should be resolved through the Assembly of Bishops. As an autocephalous Church, the OCA is required to submit to the will of the rest of the Church and to participate in the Assembly of Bishops. It would be a horrible thing is the rest of us were to form a united American Orthodox Church which is recognized by world Orthodoxy as the local American Church and the OCA is not included. Any real unity in America must include all Orthodox. That means that the OCA must participate in the Assembly of Bishops.

      • Disgusted With It says

        “… breathless defense …”
        Breathless as in “excited”, or breathless as in “lifeless”?

        Also — I forgot, what was the reason for which +Alexander was supposedly put on the “banned” list for becoming a bishop (which was eventually ignored)? Just curious.

        • Disgusted With It, the answer to your question is this. On the form on which the Father Confessor of a candidate for ordination is required to certify that he has heard the confession of the candidate and there are no canonical impediments to ordination, Archpriest Thaddeus Wojcik wrote that Alexander “has repented of all canonical impediments.”
          Upon learning of this, Metropolitan Theodosius removed his name from all further consideration by the Holy Synod in about 1992 or 1993.Later on, under Metropolitan Herman, when Alexander’s name was once again put forward by Seraphim and Job, Metropolitan Herman, getting the form out of the personnel files at Syosset and confirming its content, announced to the Holy Synod that Fr. Alexander’s name “is now permanently removed as a possible candidate.”
          I have no idea what happened during the incumbency of Metropolitan Jonah.
          This question can only be answered fully by the current “transparent” and wonderful OCA Synod of phil r. upp.

          • Disgusted With It says

            Thank you Your Grace. This current synod’s lack of integrity, or at least that of those on the synod who are “running the show”, is truly amazing.

          • Your Grace,

            This question was asked directly to the former Metropolitan and staff members of Syosset. It appears that that piece of paper of +Alexander’s permanent removal as a possible candidate no longer exists.

            Of course it is also quite clear that the synod nor Syosset ever bothered to contact either Met. Theodosius or Herman regarding Bp. Alexander’s status. It appears that all history of the OCA began after 2008 and all prior decisions of the Synod or the Church can and will be interpreted to fit the current needs of the Church for what is best for the Church.

            That would be Tradition, OCA style.

            And lest anyone think that the vetting process by the current OCA synod is totally up-to-snuff, consider this, on Friday, Sept. 21, Our dear Chancellor Jillions ended his daily epistle to us by stating……”After that brief theological interlude it will back to the Chancery for a conference call in the afternoon with the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee.”

            That little tidbit about the SMPAC meeting and the conference call had one agenda item of note – What to do with Bishop Matthias? A full investigation is underway, results of his “mental evaluation” ordered by the synod may already been delivered and the OCA has a ton of egg on its face because the vetting of Matthias was not complete, even to the admission of the synod itself which stated recently that ALL NEW candidates for the office of bishop will undergo psychological testing prior to being considered. However, I don’t believe that was applied to the apparent bishop-elect of Alaska David Mahaffey since the other agenda on the SMPAC conference call was an ethics violation that was filed prior to his nomination in Alaska. Might have been a good idea to check that out before the Assembly met or was the fix in for him like Alexander?

            I wonder if the paperwork exists for all of this too? Honestly, you can’t make this “stuff” up it just rolls out of the synod and syosset daily. Thanks for those Tidbits Heir Jillions.

      • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

        Aftimios Ofiesh’s American Orthodox Catholic Church.

        Careful. Those words are copyright protected. You may very well end up getting a cease and desist notice from Sudan TX.

  14. I think I’ve said enough here and often enough.

    The OCA has not been a light on a candlestick for a long time, beginning with the reception by the Holy Synod of the deposed former ROCOR deacon, Lev Puhalo (alias, Ron Haler, alias, Ron Buehler) as an Orthodox hierarch, from the Kiyyivv patriarchate; and continuing when a deacon addressed a personal letter directly to every member of the Holy Synod and, contrary to all decency and order, the Holy Synod proceeded to acquiesce to the demands of the deacon in that letter (and not one of the accusations levelled at various instances of the OCA, such as Metropolitan Theodosius and Protopresbyter R.S. Kondratick has held up under investigation Both the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council sat by, in an indecent and disorderly way, and allowed Metropolitan Herman to hire a criminal defense firm to discredit those he saw as his enemies and potential enemies), and further continuing further with a parody of a canonical church court to demolish the priesthood of a most honorable priest and defame his wife in the process, and continuing when they happily elected an inexperienced bishop who believed every word that crossed their holy lips and every proceeding they had ever conducted without question, to be the Primate. Despite great success in public speeches and sermons, the naive tyro Metropolitan innocently inquired into the cases of both the indecently deposed priest and a persecuted hierarch, whereupon the same Holy Synod was pushed and prodded by bureaucrats and hanges-on to once again, act completely without pangs of conscience and get rid of the tyro-Metropolitan, who was an inspiring speaker and a good boy. He resigned at their request, and has had lots of time to withdraw his resignation, but has not done so.

    If I were not a retired bishop and/or if I were a parish priest now, I can’t imagine that I would have been able to commemorate Archbishop Nathaniel during services. Thank God, I am spared that dilemma. Whether or not in the future I would consider it possible to commemorate the Primate of the OCA out loud, bare-headed, in Church, I can’t say.

    There is some intelligent opposition to the current state of affairs in the OCA in the contributing membership of this blog, but very little of it is not accompanied by political and ideological baggage which weakens it.

    I feel the OCA system looks hopeless. If, however, the Holy Synod would, as a bare minimum, explain what their reasons were for electing Metropolitan Jonah and how those reasons were ERRORS on their part for which the innocent tyro-Metropolitan has had to pay, especially through a mendacious and incompetent public STATEMENT by that Synod, picked up by the wire services, and follow that by asking for forgiveness, every one of them individually, there would be some hope for the beginnings of a period of restoration and healing.

    No Metropolitan who does not force the re-opening of the “case” against Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, will succeed, nor will the condition of the OCA under the leadership of his Synod improve in the slightest.

    Unless the election is followed by such an act, nothing will change.

    As a brotherly and Christian gesture, the Holy Synod of the OCA should ask hierarchs from ROCOR, GOA, and the Antiochians to appoint senior Archpriests as members of a commission to re-open and investigate the “trial” of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, and Archbishop Demetrios should be asked to chair the commission.

    This does conclude my active participation here. Even an outright lie or other falsehood expressed by ‘the usual suspects” will have to be addressed by others.

    And I prefer Facebook, which has no moral watchdogs.

    • But who’s watching over the moral watchdogs?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Hi, Anne Rowe!

        Nice to see your name; not necessarily here, but nice nevertheless!

        As near as I can tell, the “moral watchdogs” of late are self-appointed, while the Scripture would suggest “the Lord raised up judges,” (Judges 2:16), aggressively and devotedly shielding and protecting them. But as the Scripture quite frankly bears out, “the people would not listen to their judges, but they went a whoring,” (2:17) and if you like the rhyme, “and a whoring they did go.” But the Psalmist asks (Ps. 138):

        Where can I run from Your Spirit?
        Where can I flee from Your presence?
        If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
        if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
        If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
        if I settle on the far side of the sea,
        even there Your hand will guide me,
        Your right hand will hold me fast.
        If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
        and the light become night around me,”
        even the darkness will not be dark to You;
        the night will shine like the day,
        for darkness is as light to You.

        Facebook? Hmm. Not even with the T-O-R Browser. You’ll be found.

        Sometimes you get your jimmies rattled, but you just continue to muddle through. I could not stand up for 40-minutes after reading that the monk-snitch Tartuffe had dropped Mr. Kondratick as the provoquer de repentance for the OCA, to instead rally ’round the former Metropolitan. Mind you, I’m all for an “amended revelation,” but Holy Cow!

        In the end, “watch dogs” are dogs, more or less; toss them a steak and quietly walk by.

    • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

      Bravo Vladyko!
      Many years!

      I ask your blessing and prayers.


    • Your Grace, you said, “There is some intelligent opposition to the current state of affairs in the OCA in the contributing membership of this blog, but very little of it is not accompanied by political and ideological baggage which weakens it..”…”This does conclude my active participation here.”

      And mine too. The Fox News of Flyby journalism likes what he sees in the mirror, and only when he sees it too.

    • Your Grace,

      I have always appreciated your posts here and other places. I may not always agree but you certainly give everyone in cyberworld something to think about.

      On the subject of Robert Kondratick, how can you defend someone who systematically received almost $10,000 per week (the limit under which the IRS would be notified) for years? Yes, he did not write the checks to ‘cash” and take them to the bank, but he certainly had his wife Betty and Fr. Stavros Strikis take them to the bank and bring back the cash — which was put into his hands. Do you think this is an appropriate way to handle funds for victims of 9/11? Certainly, one could make a point about the money that was given away in Russia. But that was paltry in comparison to the money given by Archer Daniels to the “Special Account.” What about the exhorbitant credit card charges of which Betty was a recipient? I seem to recall some very expense hair cuts that were charged to the OCA and the OCA never received any reimbursement. Or how about the creative accounting for a house on Long Island that the former chancellor never claimed as a housing allowance?

      Sorry to say, I don’t agree with you on this one.

  15. Modernism, Ecumenism, and Feminism have crept into the OCA

    Currently inserted into parish Divine Liturgies are OCA Synod mandated prayer petitions for the election of a new Metropolitan. These 2012 prayer petitions reveal how modernism and ecumenism have crept into the OCA.

    Not only is there the modernistic use of You/Your, but also “He” has been deleted as politically correct to appease feminists. Is Christ’s manhood now an embarrassment to the OCA Synod? If so, the OCA Synod has subtly admitted to a Christological heresy that denies the manhood of Christ just like their Episcopalian and liberal Catholic counterparts who sing the song, “Her Name is Jesus.”

    Also notice that these prayers sound very similar to those used in the Novus Ordo of the Roman Catholic Church with the repeated refrain, “We pray You, … we pray You, hear us and have mercy.”

    Finally, one must ask: Who wrote these ecumenist prayers? Surely, it was not the Holy Spirit.


    Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our Almighty and Eternal God, Source of all
    wisdom and understanding, be with us as we prepare to gather in Council so that
    in our striving to serve and glorify You, we may be enlightened with right
    judgment and good purpose to the building up of Your Holy Church and to Your
    eternal glory, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

    Again we pray You, O Lord our God, giver of every good gift, look with favor
    upon Your Church and bless and guide our minds and hearts, and grant us by the
    grace of Your All-holy Spirit an increase in faith and understanding, so that in
    vigilance, fasting and prayer we are prepared for the holy work of this
    Electoral Council, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

    Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our God, send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and
    guide our minds and hearts so that, inspired by Your gifts of discernment and
    understanding, we may know and do Your holy will in the election of a
    Metropolitan for our Holy Church in North America, we pray You, hear us and have

    Again we pray You, O Lord our God, in Your holy and providential care for us,
    call forth for a Metropolitan of wisdom, understanding, sanctity to cooperate in
    working with the Holy Synod, the pastors and faithful of our Holy Church, so
    that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth
    working together in loving service to Christ our God and thus to one another, we
    pray You, hear us and have mercy.

  16. cynthia curran says

    Well, I agree that in the way the south rose again because housing is cheaper than the northeast. A lot of blacks have moved back to Georgia. Gwinnett County has a lot of blacks, asians, and Hispanics, it 27 percenr foreign born and defies the sterotype of the South white versus Black. When I was 12 California use to attract midwesterners but most now go to places like Texas. Orthodox are mainly in places like Chicago or the Pittsburgh area a different type of culture, the south is the heart of Protestantism unlike even states like Texas which has a lot of Catholics because of the Mexican population or Louisanna with the French background Roman Catholics.

  17. Michael Bauman says

    Upstream, Fr. John Morris says: “I know that the camps existed and have studied the documents from the Nuremburg and even interviewed one of the prosecutors at the trials, but I still find it hard to believe that any group of people could be so cruel as to kill millions of people in such an organized way.”

    Really, what about the estimated 50 million abortions in the U.S. alone since 1973?

    We seem to hold human life in even less regard than the Germans.

    If Pius XII was ‘Hitler’s Pope” what does that make of our bishops who give medals to supposedly Orthodox politicians who vote to allow and fund this abominable practice and if they speak out only do so tepidly even though no one really listens anyway?

    Is litugrical discipline and repentance routinely and consistently applied to those who abort their own babies or force their children to?

    What of the Orthodox who support Obama and his minions even though he is the most pro-abortion President in history? (please save me the “what about the poor”? nonsense).

    What about the rest of us who do nothing to stop it or help those mothers who wish to have their children but are in difficult situations?

    What about Orthodox men who are pomiscuous or divorce the wives of their youth and do little or nothing to support their children?

    Sorry, whatever the Pope did or didn’t due it is moot when compared with our own current culpability.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      I know that if a woman in my parish had an abortion, I certainly would put her under penance. Actually you make a good point about abortions. It is the same logic that says that an unborn baby is not fully human that led the Nazis to decide that Jews were not fully human. Actually, it was my studies of Nazi Germany that led me to become pro-life long before I converted to Orthodoxy. The Nazi’s also killed the mentally retarded and those considered too seriously ill to survive. Poison gas was actually used first in the Nazi euthanasia program to kill Germans. The Nazis killed at least 100,000 of their own people. So called Nazi racial science is one reason, why we cannot make moral choices on what is considered science. It is politically incorrect to say so, but Nazi racial science grew directly out of Darwinism.
      We should, however, remember that Hitler killed far more Orthodox Christians than he did Jews. The victims of the Nazi death camps did not only include Jews. Orthodox Christians were also gassed at the death camps. The Nazis also killed millions of Orthodox Christians during the war. Other Orthodox Christians were put in concentration camps that were not death camps. There is a very inspiring story about how the Orthodox clergy liberated at Dachau made vestments out of blankets and whatever they could use to celebrate Pascha in 1945.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Fr John, you say: “So called Nazi racial science is one reason, why we cannot make moral choices on what is considered science. It is politically incorrect to say so, but Nazi racial science grew directly out of Darwinism.”

        Exactly why we should not blilndly trust the science of today especially on homosexuality. While perhaps less evil, the science of today is just as much under the influence of the political correctness of the day and beholden to govenment money to exist.

        ….and Darwinism, neo-Darwinism and the science of evolution still hasn’t changed, it is still mysogenistic, racist and anti-Christian at it core.

        • Catherine 9 says

          Great comments, Michael Bauman !

          Also, I don’t buy the party line about the extent of all the death camps.
          There is PLENTY of evidence that this story was embellished LATER,
          for political reasons, to gain sympathy for a new country to be carved out
          of Palestine – for people who hadn’t LIVED there for many, many years —

          Try to not read the American press. It’s completely twisted into
          whatever fits with Zionist interests.

          Search for truly independent sources.

          I fear it’s this automatic-pilot buying into whatever one is
          indoctrinated with which has damaged the clarity of
          both Orthodox AND Catholics to be able to SEE TRUTH.

          Not just take in concocted lies, Such as about Pope Pius XII
          and nearly all the US foreign policy questions.

          I wrote for a prestigious international newspaper, so I can see
          this better than some.Especially the drastic deterioration
          over the past few decades in the amount of truth which
          actually can sneak through the heavy filtering.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            This is one subject that I have studied a great deal. The story of the death camps has not been embellished. There are very few events in history for which we have more documentation than the Nazi plans to eradicate the European Jews. We have official reports of Einsatzgruppen that record the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jews by roving bands of SS men who machine gunned them and threw them into pits. We have Rudolph Hoess’ testimony at Nurnberg and his autobiography that give a detailed description of the construction and operation of Auschwitz Birkenau. We have authentic accounts of the discussions of the Wannsee Conference when Reinhard Heydrich and his staff planned the Final Solution on January 20, 1942.
            I agree that the Nazi atrocities against the Jews has been used to gain sympathy for Zionism. But that is a different subject. The death camps existed and millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis, but the Zionists have committed serious crimes against the Palestinian people. It is one of the greatest injustices of history that the Palestinian people have been the ones to pay the price for the crimes of the Nazis against the Jews.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        I should also mention the Serbian Orthdoox killed by the pro-Nazi Ustashi government of Croatia. The Ustashi killed almost 1 million Serbian Orthodox during the Second World War. There is also some evidence that at least the local Roman Catholic authorities supported the massacre of Serbian Orthodox. It is possible that the Pope also was aware of the atrocities committed in the name of the Roman Catholic Church and did nothing to stop it. Significantly, Pope John Paul II declared Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb, who collaborated with the Ustashi a candidate for sainthood.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        Story of Pascha at Dachau:

        Pascha (Easter) in Dachau

        Dachau 1945: The Souls of All Are Aflame

        The Germans got many of their racist ideas from the American eugenicist movement (Margaret Sanger and crew). See a review I wrote years back:

        Book Review – War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race

        Here’s a review I wrote of a book that examines the influence of Darwinian sociology on the German intellectual establishment before the emergence of Nazism.

        Book Review — From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany

        All these books examine in more detail the ideas introduced by Fr. John Morris above.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Hitler also got many of his ideas of expelling the Jews from the example set by the treatment of the Native Americans. As a youth he was a fan of a man named Karl May who wrote adventure stories based in the American West. Young Adolph and his friends played cowboys and Indians when he was a child.
          It is also true that Hitler got a lot of his racist ideas from the eugenics movement that grew out of Darwinism and was considered scientific. Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to prevent the reproduction of those she considered genetically inferior. That is one reason why science cannot be trusted to provide moral guidance to society.

  18. cynthia curran says

    Well, I heard about what happen to the Serbs in World War Ii. Now I was unaware of the Cardnal and that John Paul II thought to make him a saint. Still, John Paul ii at least helped the movement against the communists, I know when he was in Poland he had to be careful. The Nazis caused a horrbile war over 20 million but I think the communists were able to do more damage since their politcal philosophy sounded more ideal. Maybe 60 million were killed by the communists regimes, that is one of the high figures, people can debate it if they like.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      We know that Croatian Franciscan Friers actively supported the massacre of the Serbian Orthodox. The major difference between Croatians and Serbs is that Serbs are Orthodox and Croatians are Roman Catholic. The leader of the pro-Nazi Croatian government Ante Pavelić declared “We will convert 1/3 of the Serbs to Catholicism, drive out 1/3 and kill the other 1/3. ” Cardinal Stepanic was the Archbishop of Zagreb and supported the Ustashi movement. After the war the communist government of Yugoslavia tried and convicted him for supporting the Ustashi and the forced conversion of Serbs to Roman Catholicism. He served a short prison term and was released due to international pressure. He died in 1960. Some charge he was poisoned by the communists. Pope Paul II declared him a martyr and gave him the title Blesssed, the first step towards canonization in the Roman Catholic Church in 1998. His canonization would be a major insult to Orthodox Christians.

  19. cynthia curran says

    Well, one of the worst regimes for torture is North Korea. The christians there are more likely protestant than Orthodox but I heard that a lot of people were sent to camps or killed. Some make it into China which is not as worst as North Korea. Most are unable to make into South Korea since that is cutoff a lot of troops manning the border between the two countries.