WAPO: Even the secular media recognizes a leader

Metropolitan Jonah Goes to Washington

Met. Jonah

From the Washington Post By Julia Duin

They appeared at the edge of the crowd on the Mall, a group of men seemingly out of a distant century. Their heads were crowned with klobuks, the distinctive headgear of Orthodox clergy. Sporting black cassocks and untrimmed gray beards, with golden icons dangling from their necks on long chains, these visitors stood out among the crowd clad in jeans and winter coats. The man in their center carried a bejeweled walking stick.

Metropolitan Jonah, 51, leads the Orthodox Church in America, the second-largest Eastern Orthodox body in the United States. He was there to rally the huddled masses waiting in the freezing air to begin the March for Life, the annual demonstration protesting the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide. His aim was to boost Orthodox participation in political issues. But his efforts to change the OCA would spark a ferocious reaction from his own bishops one month later. At issue is the very nature of Orthodoxy in the New World.

The tensions began with Jonah’s surprise election as head (or “metropolitan”) of the OCA in late 2008. The new leader, who is the first native-born convert to head the church, wasted little time instituting change. He put word out to his bishops and seminarians that their presence was expected at the March for Life, held every January. It was time, he would later tell a reporter, for the Orthodox “to step out in the public square” on a number of social concerns, including abortion. To encourage such stepping out, Jonah also decided to move the offices of the OCA from its isolated Syosset, N.Y., chancery to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Northwest Washington.

On the morning of the march, Jonah preached an uncompromising Gospel at the cathedral. “We need to see and call things what they are and not in some disguised politically correct language,” he said, dressed in resplendent gold brocade vestments, his salt-and-pepper beard making him appear like an Old Testament prophet. “Abortion is the taking of human life.”


The rest of the article is found on the Washington Post website.

About GShep


  1. P.S. It’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that this WaPo article may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for some of these bishops, some of whom have been bishops for longer than Metropolitan +Jonah. We can’t forget that we’re talking about ordinary men with ordinary failings here and jealousy is endemic to all people.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      This article was published after the Santa Fe meeting; therefore, I cannot fathom why it was the last straw unless you are factoring in your private conversations with some of our Synod members.

  2. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Yeah . . . it’s really interesting what jealousy does to people. Makes people do things they may regret later down the road.