Well, That Was Easy

It is said that truth is the first casualty in war. If so, then it is hysteria which wounds it. And we are seeing Grade-A, screaming hysteria being displayed by Syosset and its band of devotees in the Blogosphere.

The obsession of some of our readers to believe anything at all in their quest to put lipstick on the Synod’s pig of a letter is by now laughable.

It seems that somebody in Syosset hacked into His Beatitude’s account to “prove” that Jonah “unilaterally accepted” a certain priest into the OCA. We have already dispatched that lie with alacrity. Undaunted in their belief in chimeras, they yet persevere. It seems that Jonah wrote an email on April 23, 2011, to Bishop Basil Essey of Wichita informing him about this priest. The Jonah-haters have latched on to this piece of information to prove that the priest was “received” into the OCA. In their bloodlust, they are now dancing like half-naked savages around the campfire with the scalp of their enemy.

Rather than take it apart myself, I’ll just post it for you so you can read for yourselves:

This was published on the Yahoo Orthodox Forum:

From: metjonah@oca.org
To: BPBasil@aol.com
Sent: 4/23/2011 7:25:59 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: Fwd: documents (1 of 2)

Dear Saidna Basil,

Wishing you a joyous Pascha! I look forward to greeting you at the Episcopal Assembly if not before.

Attached are the documents for [the priest].

He applied to the OCA, but we have declined to accept him. Fr Constantine Nassar in Oklahoma City was inquiring about him, so I thought to send you the documents. Fr Constantine called and expressed willingness to lend him a hand to get him through a difficult period in his life.

Some unfortunate things happened with him and the DC Cathedral community and OCA, which make it impossible for me to accept him canonically. He has been greatly slandered.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. For me this has been a very difficult Lent, as you may have heard. Please keep me in your prayers.

Kalo Pascha!

With love in Christ,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791-0675
(516)922-0550 Fax (516)922-0954

Notice, not once did His Beatitude say that this priest was in the OCA! He was not received, nor accepted, unilaterally or otherwise. Nor was there any allegation of a rape. I decided to boldface the relevant sentences so that the willfully illiterate can have somebody read these passages to them.

Now I know this is heartbreaking to some, because, you know, Jonah must be evil, because the Synod is infallible and can’t be wrong and all that, but the proof is in the pudding. Even a Jonah-skeptic’s own research proves that the Synod’s letter is false.

So I’d advise all those who believe otherwise to either put up or shut up. You lost. The two main charges against Jonah were falsified earlier in the week and evidence continues to corroborate tthese facts.

That was easy.

P.S. Many may have noticed that your comments are on moderation. That’s because I want no more commentary about the specific scandal that supposedly precipitated the Synod’s illegal and uncanonical coup against His Beatitude. I MEAN IT. If I see mention of this priest by name ANYWHERE or any further attempt to identify the scandal in question, I WILL REMOVE your post completely. That goes for any defamatory statements about anybody. (And by defamatory I mean statements that can’t be proven or are patently false.)
If you want to be party to a lawsuit then go start your own blog. Comprende?

P.S.S. Also, I want all commentary to be on-topic as much as possible. If I see that your comment is worthy but off-topic, I’ll ask you to redirect it to the appropriate blog entry.


  1. macedonianReader says

    A lot of people got what they wanted. Nice knowing you OCA we had some edifying times together.

    The quest for the American Orthodox Church continues.

  2. George, Thank you. Of course now we wonder WHO is hacking accounts again?
    Also, It grieves me greatly, the report that the OCA chancellor is on a quest to convince all who will listen that, +Met Jonah is insane and will have to agree to a mental institution? Can this be real? Is this America.?
    Did no one in the South speak up?

    • No one, well maybe one and a half. I’m ashamed to call myself a “Southerner.” Of course, after Archbishop Nikon’s opening speech with the clergy alone, who would? He Eminence basically accused any who look to this site as deceived, called this site divisive, and claimed that it contains pure speculation. He accused those who are disturbed by the Synod’s actions, of placing their faith in a personality rather than “the Church.” He focused on making the Synod the victim in all this. The questions that were asked were only about how to deal with the pain and grief, nothing about accountability.

      The expectation in clear, trust the Synod. The Church is being called to simply trust as though that trust is a forgone conclusion. The people do not trust the Synod or Syosset yet. I admit, in a normal healthy church this would the norm, trust the Hierarchs. However, we are not in that place, and to think we are is denial. The Synod must do more to at least appear to have a concern for the voice of the people. Wheneadership is out of touch, and have stopped their ears to the concerns of the people, the people essentially must speak loudly in order to be heard. In dysfunctional families, don’t talk, don’t think, don’t feel, become the norm. We can’t allow that to happen. We cant just assume go about business as usual since business as usual is, well say, “not good.” It appears that the people really want to trust in the face of silence, but it first needs to be built and trustworthiness must be demonstrated.

      Mets Thoeodsius and Herman destroyed any inherent trust. The whole point of Met. Jonah was to heal, to ameliorate and revitalize the OCA with a new vision. The Synods from the 70’s to 2005(pl.), and were responsible for the corruption and disarray (rightly so,), not to mention the senior most Syosset clergy OCA (you know the ones with old inherited power, authority and voice, the OCA good ole boys at the top) were responsible. Sure, people were deposed and retired, but no real dialogue occurred between the Synod and people, we went back to business as usual, trusting Met, Jonah. Perhaps there is a valid excuse in there somewhere, the point is that whatever the excuses, ungodliness happened and they were responsible.

      The problem with crisis is that one must deal with the crisis itself and make decisions to response to that crisis. The responses can make it worse, and in the OCA’s case, it has. Many bad decisions were made to deal with the problems. And we see it again now.

      Trust? We had morally bankrupt Mets, and members of the Synod. We had clergy who were living in denial about the dysfunction. Basically, the way Fr. Schmemmann set up the OCA when autocephally was granted, that is, put into place a strange, experimental model for an autocephalous Orthodox Church, has paved the way for a dysfunctional and toxic environment, at least where the “central church” is concerned. This environment created the atmosphere which allowed for missing millions, and moral bankruptcy, to such extremes. The Synod and upper echelons (including the Met Council, senior priests with great authority, and others) were responsible then and are responsible now. They had needed to explain or answer to someone. Typically when things get bad the wider church rises up to call the leaders to account. There is the old concept of trust being earned once it lost.

      No, it is not realistic, or pastorally wise to act as though there is trust. It is also unwise to get angry because people are suspicious or lack trust. We also can not sit on our hands until the next AAC. We need dialogue. Decisions were made. Now the cards need to fall. The Synod must do something more than send out an occasional pastoral letter calling for trust. Perhaps the Synod should publish daily reports. Perhaps the Synod can set up a website to answer the hard questions. I don’t know that these things would build the trust again, but whatever, SOMETHING must built the trust again. Something that is wide open and assuring, whoever is responsible.

      • Theodore says

        The Synod began eroding our trust in them when they undermined their own elected Metropolitan with the Santa Fe fiasco. They asked that we trust them then and Met. Jonah humbly submitted to their wishes.

        Then came late 2010 and 2011 and the hatchet jobs on Father Joseph and the Metropolitan. No one has mentioned the travesty that +Mark caused in Dallas to the cathedral and to Father John. And they lost our trust … again. After a few months with Abp. Nikon as our locum tenens, things began to turn around, offerings and attendance at the cathedral came back up, and we began to think that perhaps Abp. Nikon truly had our best interests at heart, though the continued consideration of +Mark for the DOS was a nagging concern. We were cautiously optimistic.

        Then the slaughter of this July and the blowback that has exposed the lies coming out of Syosset. And Abp. Nikon thinks that WE are divisive? That would be laughable as an improv skit, but as a message from the Synod it is nothing more than an attempt to squelch dissent.

        How often are we supposed to believe someone who repeatedly betrays our trust? This is not a question about forgiveness. I know Christ’s answer to how often we are to forgive our brothers. We can and should forgive them every time they repent and ask our forgiveness (although I haven’t seen that yet). But trust is different.

        If these men are truly shepherds who are willing to lay down their lives for their flocks, they need to follow the example of their Metropolitan and resign for the good of the Church. I’m not sure on what other foundation trust can now be rebuilt, though an independent investigation, apologies, repentance, and request for forgiveness would be a good start.

        I just remembered a lesson that the Beloved Archbishop Dmitri taught me a few years ago about the difference between humility and humiliation. In short, humiliation is about loss of face and rooted in one’s pride. Humility has nothing to do with pride because they cannot coexist. Which of these do the actions of the Synod seem most to reflect? Men who are humble? Or men who feel humiliated?

  3. Thank you, George, for bringing this to light. Clearly, documents prove [the priest] was *not* received into the OCA, as Bishop +MATTHIAS’ letter says was the case, and the reason why +JONAH should be held accountable for [the priest]. (The OCA “declined to accept him”; “It (is) impossible for me to accept him canonically.”) Metropolitan JONAH obviously believed the priest was falsely accused, but he wisely included documents explaining the background info to Bishop BASIL. How much more fair could you, or me, or anyone else be?

  4. Rod Dreher says

    I don’t know, George. I think you’re far more right than wrong here, but this letter still troubles me. It’s clear that Fr. X had never been put under Jonah’s omophorion. I know for a fact that Jonah had given Fr. X. his “blessing” to serve in Washington, which I suppose is not the same thing as receiving him canonically. What that means in terms of legal responsibility Jonah had for Fr. X’s behavior in Washington, I don’t know.

    However, Jonah’s wording is confusing. He says non-specific things happened with Fr. X. that makes it impossible for Jonah to accept him canonically — yet he also says that Fr. X has been “greatly slandered.”

    The clear implication is that Jonah believes Fr. X had been falsely accused, but so much trouble was stirred up in the aftermath that Jonah can’t, as a practical matter, accept him canonically.

    It sounds like Jonah was not as forthright as he ought to have been with Bp Basil. I don’t think that changes your overall point, but I simply wanted to note that.

    As far as someone in Syosset having hacked into Jonah’s e-mail account to retrieve and disseminate information from it, I want to say how much it pleases me that the OCA appears to have finally found something for Mark Maymon to do besides travel around on the Diocese of the South’s dime.

    I kid! I kid!

    • Rod, it’s important to note from the email that Met. Jonah acknowledged that Fr. X was deeply troubled, and that this was a full year before Met. Jonah was given the testimony regarding the major thing.

    • Rod,

      You are buying into the spirit of unreasonable (literally impossible to meet) demands here. Is protocol to repeat all unsubstantiated claims, to ignore and cover up all unproven claims, or to note that there have been serious claims that you believe to be false (but making it clear that others disagree) and let others take precautions as they deem best, including following up to get additional info from various parties. In this situation, I personally choose the last option for a host of reasons. It is not wrong for Jonah to pass this much info along in this situation, while passing more could be slander/libel and passing less could be negligence. There are always additional factors, but just taking this letter at face value, it seems to appropriately communicate what needed to be said at the time.

  5. Priest Justin Frederick says

    How does this email show that the Metropolitan received the priest into the OCA? Does it not show just the opposite? Assuming that it is authentic, of course.

    So often, my experience in controversy has been that people don’t read carefully. It is always best to read and be sure we have understood before speaking, and if we don’t understand, ask questions to clarify.

    Let us not live by lies!

  6. George, you wrote this:
    That’s because I want no more commentary about the specific scandal that supposedly precipitated the Synod’s illegal and uncanonical coup against His Beatitude.
    May any mention be made of St. Nicholas Cathedral?
    Father Joseph Fester?
    The Holy Synod?
    If this post also does not appear, I’ll assume the answers to my questions are all “yes.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Your Grace, any mention can be made of any man on this site provided that if the man is alive (whether retired, transferred, or active) it is not defamatory. The other day, I yanked a six-paragraph screed by somebody named “Bad Carl” in which he stated that “Fr Jacob Gilliam” (who is in another jurisdiction) is a “bad man.”

      To all: if there are credible accusations of wrongdoing by somebody who fits these criteria, then that person may be mentioned. And by credible I mean police records, news-stories, etc. The reason I’m censoring mention of the priest who some feverishly imagine to be in the OCA is two-fold:

      1. The young lady in question does not need to relive this incident, and

      2. As near as I know, the priest in question is not here to defend himself.

      In addition, this leads us to:

      3. Either one of these parties can come forward and sue any commentator on this blog for defamation, libel, or slander. For all those Jonah-haters out there who are salivating at the thought of bringing up tangential incidents (which this was) in order to justify your hatred of the Metropolitan, you would be wise to consider the third reason. This also goes for those who hate Frs Bob Kondratick and Joe Fester.

      You are warned: moderate your comments appropriately.

  7. Through the prayers of the Holy Great Martyr and Passion-Bearer, George, O Savior, save us!

  8. Seraphim98 says

    Speaking of hysteria, I just had a rather odd, and somewhat unpleasant experience over on the OCA Facebook page. i saw in an earlier post on an article on this site notice that the OCA FB site was being “sanitized”…heavily moderated to cull what could be construed as posts supportive of the Metropolitan, so I decided to put it to the test.

    Under the article about Met. Jonah’s resignation I posted short statement expressing sadness at the situation as had others, but noting God is still in control, the situation is still evolving and new information is coming forward that may shift things the other way. In any event there were many of us in the DoS who loved and admired the Metropolitan and since we lost the opportunity the first time around to have him as our bishop maybe it could be this time and we could welcome him back with shouts of Axios Jonah. That was it…hope that the evolving information of the situation would ultimately resolve in Met. Jonah’s favor, and since he was no longer the Met. many of us in the DoS would welcome him back as our bishop.

    It didn’t even take an hour. The post was noted as cut for violation of community guidelines. The relevant portion reads as follows, “In this open, Orthodox forum, we ask that you keep your comments clean, constructive, and on-topic; we reserve the right to remove messages which are otherwise, and block commenters who persist.”

    My comments were clean, were relevant, were on topic. I can only conclude that comments supportive, even just a little of the Metropolitan are de facto construed as “not constructive.”…and I must conclude the OCA FB page is not entirely open. Its posters there are free to praise the synod, lament not having good leaders, castigate the metropolitan for his supposed failures, and express sorrow at the troubles the OCA faces yet again…but not a word of sympathy or encouragement for Metropolitan Jonah beyond a “Lord have mercy.” That is apparently not constructive. Now I don’t lay this at the synod’s door since they don’t run the FB page…but someone does who represents some vested interest in the governance and information distribution structures of the OCA.

    I can understand given the possible range of tempers in this situation why they would not want to encourage a public free for all on FB…but I don’t understand, given that they have to know a great many people love and respect the Metropolitan…even among those who think his administrative skills lacking, is why they think posts critical of him are permissible but posts expressing support of him are not constructive. Wouldn’t the fairer policy be to either restrict comments to calls for prayer and expressions of sorrow, or let all quarters of opinion in this situation say what they want so long as it it respectful and not a rant one way or the other.

    From this pip in the peanut gallery things are looking graver. I hope to learn more how our clergy at the assembly reacted to any possible disparagements of the Metropolitan’s character or capacity they were presented with there. It is my hope our clergy in the DoS made it absolutely clear that however the situation with Met. Jonah is resolve, that it would be a huge and costly mistake to treat him with anything but kindness and respect from this point forward. God have mercy on Met. Jonah, on the Holy Synod, and on us. May He protect and guide all their steps.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Seraphim, it doesn’t really matter what Syosset puts out or shuts down. They’ve lost control of the narrative because they are living by lies. In other words, they have no credibility because they’ve lost all moral authority.

    • PelagiaMB says

      What is the name of the OCAFB?

  9. Wait, I dont understand–you want us to “put up or shut up”–but if we put it up, you will moderate it and not put it up????

    • George Michalopulos says

      Not if its defamatory I won’t.

      How do I define “defamatory”? Calling a person a bad name or accusing him of a crime or sin when you have no proof.

      Look at it this way: If I say Caractacus McGillicuddy of 423 Elm Street, Des Moine, Iowa, is a notorious drunkard (and he’s not), then I’ve defamed him. However if I say the same thing and it’s proven that he has a couple of DUI’s, then the “drunkard” part stands. The “notorious” may be arguable.

      • Would this include less than charitable remarks/characterizations of other people such as, for example (and not limited to) Mark Stokoe and Stan/Barbara-Marie Drezhlo?

  10. I am friendly to +Jonah in my posts, but I have concerns about this in the minutes–can anyone explain it to me.


    Yes, I understand its just minutes, but it specifies +Jonah asking for …ahhh…. someone (is “someone” ok to use???)

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yes, “someone” is ok.

      Robert, put out all the minutes you like. The fact remains that he was never received in the OCA. You can keep arguing that until you’re blue in the face but until you find the actual document in Syosset that says he was accepted, then you’re just making a fool of yourself.

      Let us assume that he was –for the sake of argument.

      OK, the Primate has the right to accept a priest from another jurisdiction into the OCA. That’s not arguable, is it?

      Now, let’s assume that this priest is a normal man but somewhere down the road, he does something stupid. Ever seen the “Transitions” page put out by the OCA every quarter? In it you will find priests who have either died, retired, reassigned, been suspended, and ultimately defrocked. Is Jonah responsible because a priest in LA cheated on his income taxes?

      Give it up Robert.

      • WOW–i think you (and some others) have officially gone off the deep end.

        2. I am not “arguing” or making a fool of myself–i asked a simple question–can anyone explain the minutes to me.

        3. I posted these simple minutes before (and the letter from +Jonah to +Basil). No defamation/inflamatory remarks what so ever, just basic facts, but they waited “in moderation” for a day or two.

        4. Check ALL MY COMMENTS with the “view all comments” button–i dont think ive said one bad word about +Jonah, but if the guy did do something majorly wrong, I will not BLINDLY support him. That is why I ask questions. Maybe some people, though, cant handle the truth.

        Give it up, George.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Why should “I give it up,” Robert? You’re the one that’s assuming things that are not in evidence. I’m not. In fact, I’m just looking at the facts. In this email which you procurred somehow, Jonah clearly states that he has not received, nor will receive, the priest in question.

          And this is important: even though he could –as Primate–receive any clergyman from another jurisdiction. I guess this means that the whole “unilateral” business was bogus as well.

      • Thank you, George, for your stand against defamation, etc. Much of what is posted, mine included, does not meet biblical standards for loving God, as exemplified by the neighbor, the enemy, and those who wrong us – the list goes on.

      • Harry Coin says

        George, since you are moderating things to your tastes now, you’ll have to go get copies yourself of the books in Greece showing the church’s response to Jonah’s signed letter of request, and their official responses. That he wasn’t in the OCA because the website didn’t publish something is like saying a basketball team didn’t win the game because the guy running the scoreboard buttons didn’t keep up.

        • DumbQuestion says

          What does it matter whether he was canonically received? If he was serving at the cathedral with Met. Jonah’s permission, then doesn’t that mean that parishioners were put in danger? Isn’t that the whole point of removing sex offenders from serving in parishes — to protect the parishioners from becoming future victims?

          • There was no evidence he was a sex offender. at that time. You might want to read back through the tread of posts about this guy.

          • That is a dumb question, DumbQuestion. His canonical reception matters because the Holy Synod SAID it did and because they said it existed, while it did not exist. If a Holy Synod is found to be bruiting an untruth, that matters to everyone–you, me, that Priest, the victim, the parish, and Orthodox Christians in Nizhny-Novgorod and on Mount Sinai.

    • I wondered about that other letter as well, robert. What I’m gathering about it, in light of the 4/23/11 letter George has posted in this blog entry, is that there was a provisional acceptance of the profligate priest into the OCA by +Jonah. The letter you link to is a letter of canonical release, and canonical release of clergy by one jurisdiction is the first step to his acceptance into another jurisdiction. So it seems +Jonah appealed for that first step to be made. It also appears from the 4/23/11 letter that the culmination, i.e., the official acceptance into the OCA, was never taken. So there is some truth to both sides of this story, I believe. On the one hand, it does appear that +Jonah intended to accept this priest into the OCA–that’s why he requested his release from another bishop: and +Jonah may have acted unilaterally in doing so (perhaps +Jonah did not consult with his brother bishops about the request for release). The priest was released and provisionally or preliminarily received by +Jonah into the OCA: that acceptance, however, for reasons which are not yet clear (opposition by +Jonah’s brother bishops once it became clear what +Jonah was doing?), was never made official. That’s the way it appears to me in light of the two letters. Perhaps +Tikhon, as someone with hands-on experience with this sort of matter, can comment on whether that seems a legitimate interpretation in light of the situation presented by the two letters.

      • Since when did an Orthodox bishop have to consult with his “brother bishops” (the synod of his national church) about accepting a priest from another Orthodox jurisdiction into his diocese?! Each bishop is directed by the canons to tend to matters in his own diocese and NOT interfere in another bishop’s diocese.

        Hasn’t it ALWAYS been protocol in this situation to talk to the current bishop in authority over the priest and to get his permission, as well as whatever input he might have on the matter (for example notification of any impediments or concerns). Acting “unilaterally” in this context would mean to accept the priest without securing his release from his bishop. Obviously Jonah did secure this priest’s release, so he did NOT act unilaterally and he in fact DID follow protocol. The statements to the contrary are obviously untrue (they are lies).

        The big question in the original scenario is why the bishops of the synod would exceed their normal authority (violate protocol) by instructing Jonah to not accept this priest after he (the bishop with jurisdiction in his own diocese) had followed proper protocol to communicate with the bishop having authority over the priest, securing this “brother bishop’s” advice and permission to accept the priest. It is simply not clear why protocol was violated by the synod here.

        Then after Jonah submitted to their unusual request regarding this internal matter in his diocese, the only conceiveable reason for misrepresenting the facts about the case is to commit fraud, to harm Jonah’s reputation and career, facilitating his removal from office.

        • Um, and others. A cleric released by one church (i.e., Local Church or a diocese) is received into another Church the moment the receiving Hierarch affixes his signature to a document which states he is receiving him. This sort of letter or paperwork is ancient, canonically speaking, and precedes the age of the printing press. A canonical letter of release and a letter of reception: that is what constitutes the transfer of a Priest from one church to another. Harry and the blusterers on Orthodox Forum or whatever it’s called, Bill and Mike and whoever may fulminate and declare and wax uncomprehending, but until Fathers Eric Tosi , John Jillions, or a member of the Holy Synod comes up with a document signed by Metropolitan Jonah receiving this or that cleric into the OCA, Metropolitan Jonah did NOT receive the perp-Priest under discussion.
          “None”: the Priest may also be “received provisionally or preliminarily” by a signed letter, but not without one.
          By the way, a telegram will do. I remember when the Protodeacon from the St. John the Baptist parish in Washington DC got fed up and ran over to Father Arkady Moisejev at the OCA’s St. Nicholas parish and asked to be received. Father Arkady called up Metropolitan Leonty in the middle of the night and asked him to receive the Protodeacon by telegram before the Protodeacon could be suspended by his bishop. Metropolitan Leonty DID send the telegram, and the Protodeacon began a long period of service, wonderful, kind, expert and devout that ended only when he feel asleep.

          • Your Grace, your expertise on ecclesiastical matters, along with your willingess to be forthcoming with it, is invaluable, and I thank you for sharing it with us. Many years to you, Master.

  11. This is why the timeline is so critical. This was BEFORE the rape. This was BEFORE the Godmother, a collaborating witness, came forward. People of good character have a difficult time knowing when they have been deceived. Because they have no guile, they cannot imagine it.

    • Not before the rape itself, but this was written before the rape was reported to the police or Met. Jonah, so your point stands.

  12. M. Stankovich says

    You insist, “that was easy,” and, while I personally believe you have hastily rushed to the mid-point of the “highwire,” you’ve only begun. As the Synod clearly indicated, the issue of Priest X was the culmination, not the “chief accusation”:

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

    And now you must begin to “dismantle” the address of the former Metropolitan to the assembled AAC, where he accepted responsibility for this “disaster” in his own words, which was heard over the Ancient Faith Network internationally. Then, as he publicly indicated, he placed himself in St. Luke’s for five full days of evaluation. The Synod says he ignored the recommendations, and he says nothing: qui tacet consentire, “silence gives consent.” The OCA sponsored and paid for this professional service. Why is no one clamoring for the recommendations? Why did he not immediately disparage the recommendations as “worthless” and ill-founded – even objectionably “Roman Catholic?” I personally suspect it fully corroborates everything the Synod has indicated as the truth. And this does not fit into your grandiose story.

    What a joy to hear of the positive assembly of the Diocese of South – fait accompli. Good night, and good luck.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The trouble Mr Stankovich is that the complete lack of due process, the arbitrariness, and the ham-fisted nature of his removal, against all canonical norms and civil, legal procedures, invalidate not only the entire process, but neutralize the credibility of Syosset. Moreover, the deceitful letter put out by them, which in fact includes three (3) misstatements of fact easily give the lie to their veracity.

      That’s why there’s a hub-bub. The entire incident, plus the poorly written, incoherent, and repetative letter put out after the fact makes me question whether they received competent legal advice.

      And then there’s the fact that they didn’t sign it.

      • aposticon says

        “They” can’t understand how anyone in their right mind would allow himself to become fat to such a degree. Some people eat cookies and butter. Others smoke, swallow and shoot up anything they can afford through grad school and beyond, throw up, exercise too much, view porn, abort a few blobs of tissue after they got drunk, play video games to destructive extents gossip, conspire, sleep around, gobble Starbucks before Liturgy and lie to themselves for a lifetime..
        I’m getting the impression the it’s about appearance.
        To whom does a Metropolitan confess anyway? He added extra butter on his toast for 40 years, failed to become a triathlete. and had a cup of coffee before liturgy once in a while?

      • George, why this constant refrain of an “uncanonical” removal, lack of due process etc. By all accounts, the Holy Synod merely asked for Jonah’s resignation which he freely gave. Now where in the canons does it say the Holy Synod can’t ask for someone’s resignation?

        • lexcaritas says

          According to the Chancellor, the Lesser Synod did not simply ask for JONAH’s resignation. Rather he was given the choice of accepting a 6-month treatment program (for whatever his unstated pathology is????) or to resign at once.

          The “offer/demand” came about after the Lesser Synod had spent a productive day meeting together and accomplishing a number of useful things, culminating in cordial dinner together after which JONAH left, while the Chancellor and the other members of the Lesser Synod remained to plot JONAH’s fate during which time the “offer/demand” was determined. The Chancellor was to convey the news by phone, he says, but decided it needed to be done in person, so he travelled to DC the next day to do it. He asserts it was aright and manly thing to do it it this way, which is no doubt true, but also gave him the advantage of forcing the issue in a way that a phone call would not have done–especially, since JONAH was being given an ultimatum in the form of a “choice.”

          His account is that, as usual, JONAH adamantly refused to admit he needs “help” and rejected any consideration the treatment program out of hand; thus, he accepted option # 2: immediate resigjnation–without severance arrangements or provisions for future service????? He typed the resignation letter himself, on his own computer while the Chancellor stood over him. Unmentioned in the account is the hammer that must have been used to compel an immediate decision. Was it suspension of compensation? Was it the threat of the smear campaign that has ensued anyway?

          What the Chancelloer and the Synod have failed to do for the past 3 years (since the infamous Stokoe, Skordinski, Solodow, et al. email that came to light, alas, by accident) is explain why exactly JONAH needs medical “help” or “treamtment” (such accusations by innuendo being per se defamatory) and what repeated and innappropriate behaviors would lead a trained professional reasonably to reach this diagnosis. These things are just asserted as matters of fact. The tactic is most effective in quieting a crowd of mostly compliant clergy and lay delegates who love their church, but neither fair nor Christian since it unjustifiably tramples on the dignity of another person.


          • Well again, what is uncannonical here? Jonah typed his resignation and did so freely. The Holy Synod may have suggested he resign or seek treatment but the decision was made by Jonah. He could have refused and published the reasons for his refusal. He chose not to do so.

            Again, where in the cannons does it say the Holy Synod may not suggest that the Metropolitan resign or go to a treatment center?

            Nowhere. The cannons have been observed and any assertion to the contrary is simply false.

            • Oh my gosh you are daft! Lxc put it so clearly, how can you continue not to get it??

            • lexcaritas says

              Dear brother James, is “cannons” a twice repeated typo-graphical error or a Freudian slip?


            • Anonymous says

              Canon XVIII. Council of Chalcedon

              The crime of conspiracy or banding together is utterly prohibited even by the secular law, and much more ought it to be forbidden in the Church of God. Therefore, if any, whether clergymen or monks, should be detected conspiring or banding together, or hatching plots against their bishops or fellow-clergy, they shall by all means be deposed from their own rank.

  13. Sub-Deacon David says

    It would be nice for someone to timeline out all the assertions in the Synod’s “explanation” in visual format. I, quite frankly, have a hard time keeping straight when something is supposed to have happened that was the “last straw”. I’d also like some citation of the applicable bylaws or rules of the OCA that +HB broke. We heard a lot from the Synod the week after the resignation letter that they couldn’t “legally” discuss their reasons and I requested citation of the applicable laws or OCA rules. Lo and behold, a few days later the letter is issued where they are, in fact, “discussing” it. So, once again, I’d like someone, anyone, to cite the rules or laws +HB Jonah broke or violated. I’d like a timeline of the events, not only of what it is claimed +HB Jonah knew and did, or did not do, but what the Synod knew and did, or did not do, about it. This would go a long way to helping clarify the issues.

    George, thanks for keeping the pressure on. I use to be a UMC minister many years ago and hated church politics then – with a church that was exponentially bigger than the OCA with a huge entrenched bureaucracy and 10s of millions of dollars bantied about and we had FAR more transparency than what has happened here. Why is it that the smaller the organization, the more dysfunctional it’s bureaucracy seems to be?

    Oh, and BTW, as far as I can tell the OCA FB page is still not up – but there are a number of pages that can be used to expressed support for +HB Jonah, or just a demand for more information and transparency, including https://www.facebook.com/OCAAccountability.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      I agree . . . we really need a timeline to help get the story straight. I keep getting confused about the dates, especially when it turns out there were two separate cases (or one single case)? Been thinking about going through the comments and writing out the date and incident/action/whatever on recycled paper scraps and putting these in order . . .

  14. Daniel E. Fall says

    There are no half naked savages George.

    Dreher has a responsible post. The Metropolitan suggests the man is slandered when there were multiple problems.

    I don’t think the letter is worth a red cent as far as understanding a timeline.

    If he has a ‘blessing to serve’, the OCA should have said so in its letter instead of saying he was ‘received into the OCA’. There is a difference methinks.

    my opinions..

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Fall, do you not understand the concept that words mean things? Where in Metropolitan Jonah’s letter to Bishop Basil do you find the word describing the criminal action which only came to Jonah’s attention exactly 13 months later?

      That the priest in question may have been having difficulties in Washington and elsewhere is not in dispute. The Antiochian priest in Oklahoma City was well aware and still chose to help him at this time. Regardless, Jonah never received the priest in the OCA. Even though he had the right –as does any Primate according to the Statutes of the OCA–to do so.

      Indeed, Primates will be able to receive priests from other jurisdictions for as long as that statutory remains. I suppose a case could be made that this language should be stricken from the Statutes of the OCA but that would probably open a can of canonical worms as it would continue to invalidate the OCA’s legitimacy in the eyes of the other Orthodox since the concept of Primate-to-Primate correspondence is unalterable.

  15. Daniel E. Fall says

    A bit harsh there George. You would not speak to me in person in like fashion.

    The Metropolitan suggests the man has ‘been greatly slandered’. Are those not words? What was the slander suggested by the Metropolitan? Does that not raise a single question in your mind George? It does in mine. It suggests the Metropolitan does not believe the story(s) that he KNOWS about and that he believes the man not guilty of any misdeed. What misdeed does he believe him not guilty of ????

    The OCA says he was an OCA priest. If he were not, then why would they not say he ‘had a blessing to serve instead’. Have I not questioned their words equally? If he only had a blessing to serve and wasn’t officially an OCA priest, then why not say so? I chastise them equally on their ‘words’ George.

    I personally find the letter mostly confirms the Metropolitan may have erred. He seems willing to send the fellow on to serve elsewhere for sure. And who ‘called’? How does that really work? The other fellow in the letter must have known about him somehow, right? Was it because the Metropolitan was trying to get him moved on..? A fair question.

    I don’t see how this letter does anything but damage the credibility of the Metropolitan further.

    Sorry to burst any bubble. I certainly would not be trying to support the Metropolitan with this letter…just saying.

    It looks like the Metropolitan is trying to support the fellow.

    I might add, not once does the Metropolitan ask in the letter about how to proceed. This letter is only passing on information about the direction things will go, unless the missing attachments would tell us otherwise. If the Metropolitan was concerned about making a mistake, it seems questions would arise, and a dialogue would ensue. If he cannot accept him canonically because of a great ‘slander’, why are they passing information onto innocent thirds? Furthermore, I’d like to see the response.

    Sorry, my post rambles a tad, but I am in a hurry!

    • Veronica says

      Dear Mr. Fall,

      The story which was known to the Metropolitan, was the one which happened in the apartment, and it was ‘slander’ enough. I want to remind you the appropriate place from the Godmother’s testimony:”I myself had made one of these reports on the basis of alcohol abuse and an attempted assault of a neighbor on property owned by my family which occurred in late May 2010. Based on the information known at that time, this was the most that could be done.”

      In order to justify the uncanonical persecution of the Metropolitan, some people deliberately don’t want to understand the true story.The Holy Synod made a mixture of two cases. On the first case, which was known from the beginning, the Metropolitan responded promptly and accurately. On the second case (the rape), he did not respond, because the case was not known to him until mid-May 2012. Also, if you would like to remember from the Godmother’s letter, the victim “included a confidentiality statement that this information pass no further.”

      • Daniel E. Fall says

        OK, but why does he suggest the man had ‘been greatly slandered’. Does this not proclaim some measure of innocence?

        Further, what about the Metropolitan trying to get him into the military or moving onto another jurisdiction? Were those justifiable actions pre or post the more serious charge?

        What are you suggesting about the confidentiality statement?
        Thanks for your post.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Again, this was in April 2011. This was BEFORE 2/12 when he heard about the purported incident according to the Holy Synod and certainly BEFORE the letter from the Godmother. – The reason I keep stressing this is because what was known by Metropolitan Jonah at the time he wrote this email might have been information that he didn’t feel was credible. If someone told you that someone you knew and loved was gulity of hurting women, as an EXAMPLE, you probably would think it was slander because the person YOU knew wouldn’t do that. Metropolitan Jonah is like “Don Quixote” in this sense. He sees “Dulcinea,” not “Aldonza.” Evil is not easily understood by good people. It just isn’t. When Metropoitan Jonah was forced to accept the truth, he may have may have questioned his own judgement, hense the resignation. – In defending him, perhaps we, too, “tilting at windmills.” I hope not.

      • Gail,

        You obviously don’t understand Don Quixote. Seeing Dulcinea in Aldonza is not a moral failure. It’s a sign of theosis.

    • Daniel Fell: It should be very easy for you or the Holy Synod to prove that Metropolitan Jonah received the priest [name] into the OCA by stating the date he was received and by whom. This could be a letter signed by Metropolitan Jonah stating he is hereby receiving him. There would also have to be a completed form “Application for Admission to the Clergy of the Orthodox Church in America” on file completed by Father [name]. It is rather detailed, There are such letters on file for all Deacons, Priests, and Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America. But if you cannot produce the letter of Metropolitan Jonah, and you cannot produce a copy of that form, you and the Holy Synod have to say (assuming, as I must, that you are honest men) “We have no evidence whatsoever that Father Symeon Kharon was EVER a cleric of the Orthodox Church in America.
      This could be settled by a defamation of character suit filed by Father [name]; or it could be settled by a defamation of character lawsuit filed by Metropolitan Jonah. It makes on want to be a lawyer: “Make them pay!”

  16. Clare Voyant says

    What misdeed does he believe him not guilty of ????

    What kind of question is that? I suppose he doesn’t believe he is guilty of regicide, parracide, jaywalking, DUI, panhandling, grand theft auto. And the point?

    • Daniel E. Fall says

      To suggest the man has ‘been greatly slandered’ means the Metropolitan doesn’t believe some accusation.

      Which one I ask? It is somewhat rhetorical, somewhat not.

      The Metropolitan knows there is some claim against this guy at the point of the letter.

  17. David Smith says

    +Jonah & One Who Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest:

    We all remember the central character in this great work of art. He challenges the rules from the day he arrives, questioning the strict rules of the hospital and challenging their selective application of punishment for those break their rules. And, we all remember the outcome: banished to the mental hospital for life, robbed of his dignity with an eviscerated soul. It doesn’t appear much different than what has recently unfolded within the OCA.

    The Synod, throughout its press releases and published letters, repeatedly claims that +Jonah failed to comply with treatment or requires extended treatment. Let’s review the published facts.

    The Synod met in New Mexico on or about February 22-24, 2011. During Session IV, the Synod expresses concern for the health of +Jonah (no explanation) and then requests +Jonah “to absent himself from the meeting.” Discussion ensures (no minutes) and then +Jonah returns to the meeting. The Synod determined that a sixty-day leave of absence would be beneficial to +Jonah on the condition that +Jonah would have to ask for it “as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this.” +Jonah agrees to see a physician and devotes himself to spiritual and physical health. Without wasting a moment, the Synod declares that +Jonah’s leave of absence takes effect immediately.

    It was no secret the Synod ordered +Jonah to receive or undergo a mental health evaluation. We can also draw a reasonable inference that the evaluation was acceptable to the Synod, otherwise +Jonah’s sixty day leave would have been extended.

    Now we learned from different sources that the Synod demanded +Jonah take another leave of absence — up to six months and return to treatment as a condition of retaining the Primacy. And, according to the Synod, +Jonah refused to submit to a six months banishment in a treatment center.

    These facts give rise to a three-pronged question: What type of treatment does the Synod believe is required, the basis for the treatment and where should the treatment occur?

    The Synod refuses to provide a scintilla of evidence that +Jonah needs treatment other than to correct his “poor judgment in critical matters of Church governance,” and making questionable, unilateral decisions and “demonstrating the inability…to be truthful and accountable to his peers.” It sounds eerily familiar and comparable to the Cuckoo’s Nest where the main character upset the democratic procedure of group therapy or brushed his teeth at the wrong time or maybe failed to report a horrible event that he allegedly learned in February 2011 but, in reality, learned about it in May 2011.

    So, let’s go back to part three of my original question. Where would the Synod send +Jonah that is in the Washington D.C. area, near his parents and so he could be cured.

    A simple Google search shows that St. Luke Institute on the outskirts of the nations’ capital could be very feasible. It is a mental hospital for Catholic Clergy. That’s right, they wanted to send him to a Catholic mental hospital for priests. Look at their web site. The Synod seeks to send +Jonah where, according to Washington Post reports it has been cited for problems that are “serious in nature.”

    Oh, my God! The truly troubled (Synod) has become the Nurse Ratched and seeks to punish +Jonah in perpetuity. And – why? May God have mercy on their souls as they have destroyed a great man and a church. We must be reminded of St. John Chrysostom’s wise words: “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.”

  18. I think the letter could be clearer as well. What he gives with one hand he takes away with the other. I do wish that a much better timeline could be released. It does disappoint me after all the problems the OCA has had over the past few years the instinct is to try to shut down as much information as possible.

    The critique of information on the internet by certain people in the church seems kind of odd to me, as well. I probably would not be in the Orthodox Church without the internet. There were people I could connect with and people I could discuss with, heck even people I could argue the points with, out there and without that it would have taken me much longer, if I ever joined at all.

    This whole coverup/okay-maybe-a-bit-more-now thing has really made me question what I think about the Church. The Orthodox Church’s critique of Protestantism is that the ecclesiology is invisible. Rather, the Orthodox Church is an organization, with people and buildings and history. I liked that part. I thought it made sense. But if the goodness of the Present Church is so questionable (and really, it’s just as questionable in Protestant and Catholic churches), and all we have for true goodness are dead saints, what’s the difference? The church is just as idealized here in the OC as it is in Protestantism.

    What’s even more disappointing is that certain clergy and matushkas on the internet just want to sweep this whole thing under the rug, as if it’s okay. They feel relieved things are over and want to move on. I feel the opposite, as if we saw part of the cancer go away (Jonah) but there’s so much more there, and it’s just depressing that they can put up with it.

    Honestly, I don’t feel safe in a church that has the ability to say, “Stop talking about it and everything will be fine.” I brought myself and my family into the Church thinking it was different, but I’m just seeing that it’s another human institution. God created His Church, somewhere. I’m having a hard time seeing it.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Yes, hiding one’s head in the sand is not going to make the whole problem away when ingredients still exist for making this happen again. Fix the ingredients so these are neutralized!

    • Steve, I completely understand your feelings, but consider this: There is a huge difference between the Church and the people/politics WITHIN the Church. It’s imperative you understand this. The Church is not an “institution,” because it was not created by man. It was formed by Christ FOR man and it’s populated by people; people are broken. If you came here expecting to find perfect people, you truly DID make a mistake, but don’t think for a moment that’s why you’re here. – I cannot guarantee you’re always going to feel “safe.” The Church has a way of showing you things you don’t want to see. It’s a bumpy ride, but well worth the price of admission, because you grow in ways you never thought possible. – The Holy Spirit is always at work even when it seems otherwise. What you’re seeing is the beginning of a *united* Orthodox Church on American soil. It is spouting in all the jurisdictions. It is not by accident that we’re seeing things that need to change in the OCA, the GOA and the AOCA. We (all of us, including our hierarchs) are like the green growth of new shoots struggling side by side to break through very hard ground. When God is done with us, we will make a spectacular field. I promise you that.

  19. Cannot believe, but not only were they serving Kool Aid at the DOS Assembly, but there were those that were drinking it. Pray for us, Blessed Vladyka Dmitri, your spiritual children.

    • Priest Justin Frederick says

      May I respectfully make a request that we stop using this worn-out metaphor of ‘drinking Kool Aid’? Let’s strive for some fresh, creative metaphors. And while I am on the topic of language, we should not refer to the metropolitan as a CEO. Business metaphors applied to the Church quickly break down, and they distort the life of the Church. The Church has stood for 2000 years (if we ignore the Church of the Old Covenant), far longer than modern business. We would do well not to subject Church offices to such modern categories.

      Your words suggest that a cult leader was deliberately offering a poisoned drink to kill us all, including himself, or that we sat there blindly, unquestioningly, uncritically taking in everything that was said. Nothing of the sort.

      We heard Archbishop Nikon speak, the Chancellor of the OCA, our own DOS Chancellor, and others from within the DOS. Love requires that we actually listen to what others say and put the best possible construction on it unless we have clear evidence that contradicts what they say. It calls us to assume that Christian gentlemen and clergy will speak the truth to us, not lie. Yet love must be joined to discernment of what is said, which calls us to weigh carefully what is said within the context of that love. Sometimes, it leads us to suspend judgment, because we don’t have enough established facts in hand on which to draw firm conclusions.

      We heard what was said. Much was plausible. Some was questionable. Few if any of us had adequate facts in hand to respond with angry denunciations or to lead revolts that would take us away from our primary duty of preaching Christ and caring for the local flocks entrusted to our care.

      Since the Assembly ended, new evidence has emerged that calls a good bit of what we were told into question. We must carefully weigh that evidence and any new evidence offered by the Synod justifying their actions. As time passes and more evidence comes to light, we shall have a more firm basis on which to draw conclusions. And if we find that Christian gentlemen and clergy have been lying to us, we shall readjust our willingness to believe what they say accordingly.

      I would simply say to NMMom and others: the responsibility to weigh evidence and come to accurate conclusions is great. “One man’s case seems just until another comes and examines him” (Proverbs). The various cases are being examined; the sober assessment of them takes time. How many lynch mobs have issued forth on circumstantial evidence only to learn that they had hanged the wrong man? We are learning more; there is much that we still do not know. Hard as it is, we have to choose to think the best of all who are involved in this until the preponderance of clear evidence shows that we cannot think the best. And when that time comes, if it comes, we shall have to ponder prayerfully what we should do.

      Archbishop Dmitri set an example of always thinking the best of others. This did not mean that he did not admit negative or critical thoughts about them or that he did not come to negative conclusions. But it did mean that he did not spend his life dwelling constantly on the negative. To do that is effectually a denial of faith in God, disobedience to the command of St. Paul (“whatsoever things are just, pure, honorable, etc., think on these things” Philippians 4:8), and a recipe for despair. Life in the Church does call us to deal with negative things, not bury our heads in the sand or simply say ‘all is well’ when it isn’t. But how we deal with the negative things makes all the difference.

      Surely we must apply here the proverb: ‘trust, but verify,’ Доверяй, но проверяй. And we must all endeavor to live not by lies.

      • Theodore says

        Father Justin,

        I commend you for your balanced, straightforward comments and the courage to post them here. Just hope you do not get dry gulched for it.

        My grandfather once told me, the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie is that if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you said. Too bad the members of the Synod did not have a grandfather who told them that. My willingness to believe what they say has been, as you say, ‘readjusted.’

      • Oleksandr says

        Fr Justin,

        It’s not always possible to come to accurate conclusions simple because the evidence might be distorted, exaggerated, or not accessible.
        To add to the confusion: different people will interpret the same evidence differently.
        Not that I am against this method, but let’s not forget about the other one:

        “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

        I personally know +Jonah, Bp. Mark Maymon and quite a few priests involved. Some of them got punished (severally in some cases), while others got promoted and/or taken care of.

        We can deep dive into analysis of all the possible evidence in the world, but all this won’t change plain, clear, and open facts. Here is one of them: what’s happening with +Jonah right now and what’s happening with +Mark Maymon (just one example).

        Those are fruits, like it or not, and “by their fruits ye shall know them.”

        Now is the question: what should one do about it?
        What is the christian way to deal with all this?

        Thank you,

        • Priest Justin Frederick says

          “It’s not always possible to come to accurate conclusions…” All the more reason to be careful with words and judgments.

          “What’s happening with +Jonah right now and what’s happening with +Mark Maymon”. Life isn’t fair. There are many examples in Church life. And we probably don’t know the full story in either case.

          “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” True. Here is the fuller text: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matt 7:15ff). Fruits are the things that our lives bring forth (love, joy, peace, patience, etc. or anger, hatred, greed, lust, etc), not the things that happen to us.

          What do we do? If we have a false prophet, we shut our ears and flee from him. Heresy in the Church? We fight. Conflicts among leaders? Disagreements? Leaders who do not perfectly live the gospel? Pray for them and for ourselves. Repent. Live above reproach ourselves. Be worthy of good leaders (sometimes we get what we deserve, no?) Work to nurture good leaders in our homes and parishes and monasteries. ‘Commend ourselves, each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.’ We aren’t given a mission to root up what we may think are tares in the Church. We are to give ourselves to faith in God, to wait on Him for deliverance, while rooting up the weeds and digging out the stones in the soil or our own hearts.

        • These days, you sure do know the OCA by its fruits. Also its nuts. Sometimes they’re the same thing.

  20. Theodore says

    No hysteria here at the cathedral yesterday + no explanation from the HS + no independent investigation launched yet + no resignations from the HS = no tithes to the OCA from me

    • Agree.

    • Was anybody in Bethesda yesterday? How did things go?

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        I wasn’t at Bethesda, but my friend who went there told me that +Jonah wasn’t there.

      • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

        I was at St. Mark’s on Saturday when I was told that the Metropolitan is traveling and so out of the area for a week..

        I’ve spoken to the Metropolitan many times over the past few years in many different settings, liturgical, non liturgical, pertaining to various archdioceses, in several parishes, at conferences both Orthodox and not, and have never seen him even vaguely lacking in sanity. He regularly composes short sermons (on purpose) with incredible clarity and depth. He is attune to social nuances, remembers names and details, has involved himself in more parishes and dioceses on a regular basis than any other Metropolitan in memory, and my memory reaches back to the Metropolia, i.e. the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, that once inclusive entity.

        He has unique opinions, some of which he has yet to institutionalize, such as a love of congregational singing and an instinct for ordinary Orthodoxy. The latter makes him instinctively approachable. He displays an anti-jurisdictional bent while loving the very idea of the OCA and cherishing its autocephally, position, prominence and promise for this hemisphere. He is careful not to quickly judge and to weigh evidence before condemning, a Christian attitude. He is definitely not business as usual and if he is to be faulted, it is only in having the purity to trust too much and hate no one. He is capable of tears and can be caught in secret personal prayer. Many individuals have taken advantage of his good nature and attempted to hope he is or try to fool or force him to be cast in their own desires, such as some of the neo-cons who became disappointed that he was not a political conservative while being a moral one, or the progressives who were dismayed that he was family oriented and involved in the March for Life annually, even providing a keynote speech for an annual march in Washington.

        He has championed monasticism as an integral part of the Church while sometimes discussing its occasional human problems. He has a practical bent but doesn’t give up just because a dream for the church seems impossible.

        Because of his stances and values, an incredible number of international clerics attended his enthronement. Monastics came as well, among them both nuns and monks from Greece, sent by their spiritual father, who also attended. One of these monks from Greece did some good by renovating the bathroom at the parish house of St. Nicholas cathedral for the nuns sent from Greece. He seemed harmless enough although not as dedicated as the sisters from Greece, but who can tell without special knowledge. Should our Metropolitan have been clairvoyant about monastics outside the OCA? One of my own children visited their monasteries in Greece before the monastics came here to America and loved his experience. One of the priests of the cathedral’s daughter became a nun at one of those monasteries in Greece from whence they came. Knowing her from childhood, it was wonderful to see a photo of her as a young adult novice herding sheep in Greece.

        Jonah arrived during the first phase of concelebrations between the ROCOR, the MP, and the OCA which had occurred, in Washington at least, before his enthronement, but became common later. Interactions also proliferated between these three and the GOARCH during Jonah’s tenure beyond the tentative Triumph of Orthodoxy lenten Vespers we had experienced before. Pan Orthodox became a more popular phrase.

        May I also mention the delightful change from the hierarchical hideaway on Long Island to the open transparency of a residence on a city street in the nation’s capital?

        Jonah became closely acquainted with some local military chaplains while in Washington such as Father Alexander Webster and Father David Subu, among others, and came to understand the value of the chaplaincy for clerics needing to make a living. One monk who was here locally for a while and who many of us came to love was Father Killian. A story about him once he became a chaplain and assigned to St. Gregory Palamas parish is here:


        Jonah is sensitive to protocol. Although he had visited all the parishes in the Washington archdiocese, he waited for an invitation from Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian archdiocese to be able to visit those parishes in Virginia.

        Jonah spent a great deal of time healing factions, instituting best practices and recognizing good efforts and love for the Church. He was an instrumental part in the success of the 50th anniversary celebration of a local Serbian American parish in the OCA, St. Luke’s in McLean. He also officiated there recently at the falling asleep of its original priest’s wife, Protinica Rose Milosevic as he was for her very reverend husband.

        He likes a mess of southern greens and the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter”.. He favors soft monastic skoufia for headgear to a hard hat mitre. He likes various kinds of Orthodox chant. He has his preferences, but he doesn’t necessarily expect and never demands them. He makes wanting to be pure and holy seem as normal as any human desire. He has an incredible knowledge of saints lives. Natives say his Russian is incredible for an American. Not only does he give most sermons without notes, he often translates them into Russian as well. His Slavonic is nice although it has, not surprisingly, a Russian pronunciation bias.He chants services well and carefully, even asking after local traditions. He doesn’t yell or “mike up” loudly at services. He has a gentle style and is never, like one Metropolitan of recent memory, inebriated. Nor is transparency or fiscal malfeasance an issue.

        A lot of people feel his loss keenly already and just want one opportunity, please, to speak with him again. Maybe two or three. Could we have some more years? Many of us who don’t go to the cathedral regularly listen to his talks and sermons on YouTube. A friend was comforted a couple weeks ago when I emailed her the following link on how to deal with slights, how to forgive, and a few other topics, given in Mayfield , Pennsylvania at St. John the Baptist Cathedral :


        While we wait for the archbishop of the Romanian Archdiocese, Nicolae, to visit our archdiocese, should we be resurrecting discussions about losing our locum tenan’s archdiocese to the Romanian Patriarchate? Old news:


        Does anyone understand the level of our loss in the OCA if we should lose regular contact with the kind of love and dedicated care that our Metropolitan Jonah has given all of us?

        We can have Jonah again. Everything could still be wonderful with an apology from our previously misinformed Synod, a couple mea culpas, and a renewed Axios or two or three. Perhaps some saints, like Patriarch Photios, need to be reinstated to episcopal office once their value to Orthodoxy is understood.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          This is why I just don’t understand why they wanted him to go through mental therapy for six months. I’ll have to get in line behind others who are asking the same question as well.

        • StephenD says

          What a beautiful statement !! Thank you!

        • lexcaritas says

          My dear sister, LOH from Virginia, a state so dear to me as being that of a good many of my ancestors, what you have said here is a wonderful descriptiion of the JONAH we have known. No visible signs whatever of insantty, instability or alcoholism. Openness, love, vitality, enthusiasm. Maybe a tendancy to vacillate or not stand firm against criticism or attacks; but nothng that would warrant the concerted, sustained opposiition he has received–unless he’s totally different behind closed doors with the bishops than he is with the people. And if so, why would that be, I wonder???


        • Miss Housewife from Virginia, may I repost your comments on my facebook page? They articulate so well what so many of us feel. Thank you!

  21. Ivan Vasiliev says

    Brothers and sisters,

    Its over. The Politburo has forced Khrushchev to resign….. very similar situation. Too many mistakes, too many embarrassments, too many enemies in the Party.

    Yes, Metropolitan Jonah, unlike Mr. Khrushchev, was a man of God. Yes, he stood for many good things. Yes, he was something of a prophet among us, but he was no apparatchik and he did, by his own admission, make a poor administrator/CEO/ team-player. The Holy Politburo and Supreme Soviet want an appartchik and they will get one come hell or high water. +Jonah is gone and will not be restored. The sand-box wars continue. I keep hoping Moscow will pull autocephaly and let this ridiculous little row-boat called the OCA sink. It won’t happen, though, because we are far too small to really count, and far too important a pawn vis a vis the Turkish village to let go of. Lets just wait and see how this sad little soap opera turns out at the next AAC (if we last so long).

    I really wish there was a Patriarchal parish nearby, or even a ROCOR parish. That being said, the sacraments are still being celebrated and given in my local parish. We have a good and decent priest. Life goes on–a bit sadly now, but in the larger scheme of things, there have been worse times. No commissars, no pashas, no forced Unia. We’ll survive this one.

  22. Theodore says

    A wino stopped me once as I walked past the bus station in Dallas, asking for money for a cup of coffee. This was my thought process: Yes or No? If yes, then he will either A. Buy a cup of coffee and get his life back on the right track, B. Pool his collections until he has enough to buy some more rotgut and continue his self-destructive slide, or C. When I take out my wallet he takes out a weapon and relieves me of everything, including my life. What’s a fellow to do?

    I considered Option A for less time than it took for Vanilla Ice’s career to tank, and Option C for only slightly longer – I was apprehensive, but being young, I was bullet-proof so I did not feel threatened for long. I chose Option B and declined to give him anything that would enable him to continue his self-abasement.

    In the intervening years I have had occasion to work with teens and adults who struggled with tobacco addiction, alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and so on, and one thing remains abundantly clear about all of them. Detoxification is far easier than breaking them of their self-destructive habits. But detox comes first. After that, it is mostly a matter of whether they are willing to do whatever it takes to break the cycle of their self-destructive behavior. Relapse is almost 100%, but for some it reinforces their determination to be healed. Recidivism is over 80% last I knew. Most people don’t give up cherished patterns of behavior even after surviving a crisis.

    A friend of mine who has practiced clinical psychology for over thirty years once told me that he had discovered the three cardinal rules of human behavior:
    1. People do what they damn well please,
    2. People do what they damn well please, and
    3. People do what they damn well please.

    Nobody gets past an addiction without wanting to, just as nobody truly repents unless they really want to. I know from personal experience how it is possible to feel horrible about my sins and about their consequences (especially when they are negative consequences for me), and yet continue to struggle to give up the sins that so easily entangle me (Hebrews 12:1). I see so many parallels between addictive behavior and the Christian struggle to live for Christ. And I am convinced that repentance only begins when we are forced to our knees and cry out, “O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!” In addictive treatment terms, that is called bottoming out – the realization that you cannot save yourself from whatever demon possesses you.

    In the current, ongoing, and longstanding problems of the Holy Synod, I see many of the types of behavior that I have seen among addictive personalities. Blaming others, lying about what happened, deception on a grand scale (addicts are masterful cons), refusing to accept responsibility for their actions. I have not yet seen “bottoming out”. No admittance of responsibility, no apologies, no request for forgiveness, no apparent repentance, no willingness to accept responsibility for the destruction their actions have caused, no stated offer to take whatever actions may be best to remedy the problems, even if this includes an independent investigation and their own resignations in order to restore confidence in the Holy Synod. (Only Metropolitan Jonah has taken any of these actions, and some of that appears to have been coerced.)

    To be plain, I am not accusing the Holy Synod as a group or as individuals of being addicts. I am saying their behavior closely mimics addictive behavior. All of which really only marks them as human beings in need of a Savior. And which of us is not? But their behavior must change if the OCA is to heal. Their position puts them in the public eye. Their change must be public as well.

    In a now-forgotten work, I once read that people only change when the pain of continuing their present course becomes greater than the pain it would take to alter it. In the present troubles I have no wish to be the cause of pain to anyone. Neither am I a schismatic wanting to start up a ‘new’ church as the Protestants often do when they squabble. However, I will not enable the Holy Synod of the OCA to continue their destructive behavior by use of my tithes. That money, little as it is, is a trust from God, and I would be a poor steward indeed to use it to fund the degradation of the Church.

    Detox comes first. Then the healing and recovery begin.

    My tithes will be directed outside the OCA until then.

  23. Veronica says

    1 Corinthians 1, 18-24

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
    but to us, who are being saved, it is the power of God…
    …For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
    But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
    But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
    Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

    I would like to reply to David Smith, and others who share a similar thought.
    From November 2008, when Metropolitan Jonah was elected, until now,
    it has been a battle of the Orthodox Church in America with the spirit of this world.
    If anybody would blame Metropolitan Jonah for being insane,
    it would be the same kind of people, who blame our Lord Jesus Christ for being insane,
    who blame St. John of Shanghai and San-Francisco for being insane.
    It’s a painful accusation, but the most blessed one,
    since “Blessed are you, when men revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil FALSELY for my sake.”

    We call Metropolitan Jonah, His Beatitude, and he truly is, especially now,
    when he is going through suffering, beyond measure and understanding.
    One elderly woman in California said, that this experience of his right now,
    is very similar to what John of Shanghai and San-Francisco had during the time of his Civic Court.
    And one of my friends added: ” It’s amazing with what extent of dignity, Metropolitan Jonah accepts his suffering.
    Through this, he still leads us to Christ.”

    Our Church is “Not-Of-This-World”. It’s such a painful spiritual vocation.
    One can fulfill the Gospel only through foolishness towards this world.
    If Jesus, or Holy Apostle Paul, would be sent to St. Luke’s Hospital,
    they would obtain the same clear records, as Vladyko Jonah.
    Because their foolishness is not the illness of mind, but spiritual orientation towards the Kingdom of Heaven.
    He is perfectly sane, moreover, he is a very bright and strong man.
    This battle, which started in November 2008, will never end, even if Vladyko would not be a Metropolitan any longer.
    He put a spiritual sword, or chemical reaction down for all of us.
    This battle will cause a great separation in the OCA church (and has already done so),
    but it’s necessary, so people would clearly understand, who they are: Orthodox in the way of the Gospel,
    or, according to St. Paul, “those who are perishing”.

    • David Smith says

      Veronica: We’re singing from the same hymnal book.

      It took the Church 100+ years after the death of St. Necktarios before they begged his (St. Necktarios) forgiveness for tormenting him with slanderous lies and expulsion from the Church of Alexandria.

      Shall we wait another 100 years for the OCA Synod to realize the errors of their ways?

      • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

        Dear David,

        Saint Nektarios, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, died in 1920. A contrarion fellow, but Orthodox, he had the temerity to use the local language instead of Greek in his Metropolitanate, opposed the new calendar, championed women’s role in the Church, and held theology clubs to which he invited ordinary people. He published widely and although his corpus is barely and rarely translated into English, he was accepted within a little over thirty years of his repose. It took forty-one years after his repose for him to be declared a saint by the Greek Church. Petros of Alexandria restored his Metropolitan status posthumously. For details, see:


        See also the many links from that page.

  24. No way. It’s such a blessing to learn spirituality from Metropolitan Jonah. I can’t imagine a day without him serving liturgy, receiving confessions, teaching and preaching. It would be such a waste, and such a foolishness on our side to wait another 100 years.
    We just need to figure out how to save him from the wolves, or rather pray and be watchful. God will show the way of salvation. It’s interesting, that now I understand the word “salvation” more literally.

    • Priest Justin Frederick says

      That is why the priest exclaims at the end of services each day, “O most holy Theotokos, save us!” for we are tossed in the stormy sea of temptation.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Veronica–Please re-read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

      Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided?

      Forgive me but I think you are repeating the Corinthian error when you write “I can’t imagine a day without him serving liturgy, receiving confessions, teaching and preaching. It would be such a waste, and such a foolishness on our side to wait another 100 years.” To rephrase Saint Paul’s words in the his conclusion to his admonition to the Corinthians: “Was +Jonah crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of +Jonah?”

      • ChristineFevronia says

        Carl, I love you like a brother. I read each of your posts on Monomakhos and appreciate your thoughts. And Brother Carl, I can’t think of anything more hideous than the self-righteousness you displayed in the post above, and your nauseating religiosity directed towards our Sister. You have completely distorted Sister Veronica’s good intentions. And really… A scripture war? Have you opened your Holy Bible lately to read how we are exonerated to defend the weak, speak up for the impoverished, and deal justly with our fellow human beings? Is Veronica doing anything other than this by asking why an ordained priest/hieromonk/bishop/metropolitan cannot serve Divine Liturgy?

        Those of us who love Met. Jonah will fight to the death for him. Truly we will. I will choose to die on the battlefield of life for him and for his good name and for the blessed Christ-Image that he bears in his heart. Veronica will, too. Those of us who know and love Met. Jonah believe in his talents and his skills, and we want to see Met. Jonah fulfill his calling. Can you understand our love, Carl? We love Fr. Jonah because he is our Spiritual Father. He is our staretz. This is not some Russian word from the past that is associated only with old-time Orthodoxy. This man is our guide, our guardian, and our own precious teacher who we love with a spiritual love beyond measure. Can you understand how we cannot stand by and watch the arrows of the Enemy pierce him without attempting to stand between those arrows and our Father? We may be clumsy and childish in our naive attempts to defend our Father. But, Brother Carl, can you understand why we must–with every fiber of our beings and with every beat of our hearts–continue to stand by our Spiritual Father?

        I am certain that you have pondered what the “office” of the Metropolitan is. I know I have, especially since 2008 when my Spiritual Father was elected to be the Metropolitan of the OCA. In Orthodoxy, we embrace the iconic representation and function of our leaders. The Bishop is the Living Icon of Jesus Christ Himself. Orthodoxy is a spiritual path that emphasizes the divine function of hierarchy. We love our metropolitans because they are a living icon of Christ. Our bishops are living icons of Christ. Our priests are living icons of Christ. And we–you, me, and our Sister Veronica–are the living disciples of Christ.

        And as disciples of Christ, do we defend our Met. Jonah, who suddenly plummetted from being the living icon of Christ to being the living icon of the traveller who was kicked into a ditch, injured, robbed and left for dead by the side of the road? Are we to rise to the occasion to become the Good Samaritan? Or are we to berate our brothers and sisters with Scripture like the Pharisees, Carl?

        I wonder, Carl, if you have ever met Metropolitan Jonah. Have you? Have you seen the sparkle in his eyes or heard his laugh? Have you listened to his stories or watched him interact with his fellow monastics? Have you seen the love in his eyes when he has spoken of his former ruling Bishop Tikhon? Or have you ever given a confession to him and felt the mercy of Jesus Christ flow forth from his hand atop your head? Veronica and I have. We don’t idolize him, but we do love him. And we will stand beside our Spiritual Father until the end of time because we love him.

        I know that it is very difficult to understand why Veronica and George and Ken and Colette and I and countless others on this site continue to write of our concerns for how Met. Jonah is being treated by the OCA synod and Chancery staff. You ask if Met. Jonah has been crucified for us. So let me ask you, Carl… Are the downtrodden, the impoverished, the persecuted, the tormented, the orphaned and widowed, the slandered, the enslaved… are they crucified for us? My answer is a resounding YES! They ARE crucified for us!

        Let me put it to you this way… Brother Carl, do you know that 40,000 children die every single day from preventable illnesses such as colds and the flu? Do you know that one in every three females will experience molestation or rape? Do you know that nearly half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended, and 4 in 10 of these “unplanned” pregnancies are terminated by abortion? The official statistic is that 22% of all U.S. pregnancies end in abortion. Nearly 1/5th of the world’s children (below the age of 17) work in hard labor, and 10 million children are daily involved in sex and drug trafficking.

        Are these innocent children crucified for us? Mostly everything you touched today was made by a woman or a child living in slavery–from your plastic toothbrush or hair comb, to your car door, to your computer at work, to the plate that your lunch was served on, to the tv you watched the evening news on, to the pillowcase you laid your head on. Crucified in blood, sweat, and tears for YOU, Carl!

        So what are we supposed to do about it? Move on? Seriously? Should we just “move on”? Should we just swallow this injustice or is it just part of life on this planet? Is the sorrow we feel for these innocent people real and tangible or should we just move along through our mundane existence, swallowing each blow because it is simply the way things are on this planet?

        Brother Carl, have we–you and I–done what we need to do as disciples of Christ? Have we done everything we can to fight this injustice? Have we given our all to support health care for people both in our country and across the world? Have we stepped in front of abortion clinics to prevent women from taking the lives of their unborn children? Have we gone to Asia, where one in every five children under the age of 17 is working in slavery-type conditions–selling their bodies, selling drugs, or enslaved as cheap labor to work in sweatshop factories?

        There are so many injustices and wrongs done upon this planet every day, Brother Carl, and I personally confess that I do not do enough. I fail my fellow human beings on a daily basis. Few are the brave and courageous souls who put themselves into the line of fire and speak out in the public arena regarding the ongoing mistreatment of these our brothers and sisters. (My personal heroes are Fr. Mark Hodges and Fr. John Peck and Met. Jonah Paffhausen, who lovingly speak up for the innocent and befriend the poor, the sick, the abused, the downtrodden. These men are the examples of Christ, who lay down their lives for their enemies without complaint.)

        Brother Carl, we can’t solve the macrocosmic problem of worldwide suffering until we start working on the microcosmic issues that lay within our immediate sphere of influence. How can we pretend to care about all the many instances of suffering within the world until we begin to address the suffering that we ourselves have created right here at home within our own community? A man has been falsely accused. He has been slandered. He has been robbed of his livelihood. A grave injustice has been done, and a scandal involving many of the bishops of the Orthodox Church of America has only just begun to be exposed.

        And so I write to ask you to try to understand why we will not move on until this situation is rectified–until justice has been done and an innocent man has been freed from his shackles. We will not rest until his freedom has been granted.

        In your quoting of St. Paul, you alluded to the “contentions” among us. I ask you, Brother Carl, who has caused these contentions? Who has caused these divisions among us? And who, pray tell, is causing the “divisions” among us and preventing that perfect joining together of all brethren? I am eager to hear your response.

        With love, your sister,
        Christine Fevronia

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

          Thank you, Christine, for a heartfelt, deeply moving manifesto.

          • ChristineFevronia says

            You, my dear Father Alexander, are on my hero list, too! Congratulations on your reception into ROCOR, and may St. Herman of Alaska pray to God for you, your clergy, and every member of your courageous parish.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Dear Christine–I deeply appreciate your “heartfelt, deeply moving manifesto” as described by Father Alexander above. One side of me, did (and does) feel bad about the judgmentalism that I displayed towards Veronica. OTH, I do believe that many +Jonah admirers are in danger of crossing the line from admiration to a cultist devotion to +Jonah. Hence, my cautionary reminder to Veronica about the dangers.

          You write: “How can we pretend to care about all the many instances of suffering within the world until we begin to address the suffering that we ourselves have created right here at home within our own community? A man has been falsely accused. He has been slandered. He has been robbed of his livelihood. A grave injustice has been done, and a scandal involving many of the bishops of the Orthodox Church of America has only just begun to be exposed.”

          I agree with your first sentence. I completely disagree with the rest of the paragraph. Either you or I are wrong. The difference is that I have chosen not to libel bishops and priests; y’all have. I have chosen the true Orthodox way of yielding to the authority of the Holy Synod of this hierarchical church; y’all have chosen to elevate yourselves over those in authority over us. It is not I who have split from my church; I have not torn and divided the Body of Christ. But, enough said.

          Forgive me a sinner.

          • Carl,

            I wish not to brand you as a knowing or unknowing front man in cyberspace for those who legitimated their cruel disposal of Metropolitan Jonah on the grounds that he was somehow troubled. I do not blame you for taking the side of those who you follow who want to be on the side of those in OCA authority, but in the final analysis, those who brand us as part of a +Jonah cult, are mistaken. We are not cult followers but rather people like in the words or Sen. Ted Kennedy in speaking about his assassinated brother, Sen. Robert Kennedy,

            “My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

            “Those of us, who loved him and who take him to his rest today pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world.

            “As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.'”

            +Jonah was a visionary, and like so many visionaries of the past will not be appreciated until they are gone.

            Carl, forgive us sinners if we caught a glimpse of what could have been in the words of +Jonah and in sober reflection mourn his lost for the Orthodox faith in this land. His time was cut short, like Sen. Kennedy so we are left to wonder what could have been.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Thank you James–I am indeed no one’s front man. And, in a way, I also mourned… the loss of my trust in and admiration for +Jonah. That was after Santa Fe. Also, I find that my activity on this forum is animated by a similar desire to fight for justice. I find myself drawn to the debate here, like a moth to the fire, because I am disappointed, disgusted and incensed by what I think is the libel of good bishops, priests and other srervants of the Lord by those who support +Jonah., and , IMHO, the attack on my church and the splits that it has caused.

              Being fallen beings, It is not surprising that we can come up such diametrically opposed interpretation of the events in the recent years. Nor is it surprising that we can be quite emotional and hateful toward each other because of our self-righteousness–the conviction that we are each on the side of the angels. Forgive me a sinner.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Thank you. Can’t add more to this.

        • M. Stankovich says


          I have read your entire comment several times thoroughly, even returning to clarify points in mind. I too do not question your sincerity nor the fervor of your feelings. Likewise, I cannot say I have much, if anything, to disagree in your assessment of the former Metropolitan personally. I must, however, in all honestly, state that this issue of “injustice” and “perpetration of suffering” has become so convoluted, so unbelievable, so disfigured, and so devoid of honesty and fact from every side, that in my mind it is closed until the former Metropolitan himself speaks to these issues directly. I am reasonably confident he will never do this, and in my mind it is finished.

          I would like to say to you, I am fully convinced that what began this entire chaotic several years was succinctly described by Fr. Alexey Karlgut last week in his co
          ments on “Church governance, conciliarity and catholicity, and authority”:

          Thus, the bishops must take full responsibility and be accountable to one another and to the Metropolitan, as well as to the entire Body of laity and clergy, for the stewardship of their diocese or area of responsibility. The Metropolitan has to accept full responsibility to maintain the unity of the whole, the Holy Synod of Bishops locally, and in relationship with Synods of other Orthodox Churches world-wide. The Metropolitan must be accountable to the Holy Synod of Bishops for his stewardship of the office entrusted to his care. Every order or function of the Church — Diocesan Councils, Metropolitan Council, Diocesan Assemblies, and the All American Councils — must be accountable to the structures above them, beside them, and supporting them.

          The former Metropolitan Jonah was incapable of fulfilling his essential role in this equation. You can argue “But they would not…” they refused… they collaborated,” but ultimately, he was incapable of providing the leadership he was elected to provide. He said himself, he neither had the desire, nor the constitution.

          Sincerely, I pray for you and for you comfort.

          • ChristineFevronia says

            Thank you, Michael and Carl. My heart is still raw and my mind can’t seem to wrap itself around what happened, and so as always I thank you for your comments and insight. Really I do.

            “For now we see through a glass darkly…” And perhaps I am still in the throes of those “childish things” that should be put away. What happened leading up to the resignation of Met. Jonah from his role as Primate is in the past; what happened at the Chancery that precipiated the post-resignation Synodal letter (the one that I have such a hard time accepting) is in the past; the seven months between Met. Jonah’s resignation and yesterday has come and gone; and I am still left with so many questions about what happened. None of it makes sense, and here we are in the present day with Met. Jonah still out on that limb of unpaid unemployment.

            I want the healing to happen. I want it to wash over the OCA in waves, healing all our hearts and completely breaking down all divisions among us. It’s hard for that to happen when there is a massive wound that remains open, and the people who could stitch that wound up are seemingly not doing so.

            I do see where you both are coming from. It’s taken awhile for me to get to that place, but this entire situation is complicated and messy. The more I think I know, the more I realize that I really don’t know anything at all. But what remains in my heart is my love for my spiritual father and my wish for him to be treated decently.

            Thank you so much for your time and your prayers.

          • “he (Fr. Jonah) was INCAPABLE of providing the leadership he was elected to provide.” This assertion, of his lack of capacity, is just that, an assertion, your conclusion, and it is invalid and false. Is a leader always responsible for rebellion and mutiny? He may be; he may not be.

            The situation is more complicated that that and there is more than enough blame to go around.


            • M. Stankovich says


              You make my point: “[it] has become so convoluted, so unbelievable, so disfigured, and so devoid of honesty and fact from every side, that in my mind it is closed until the former Metropolitan himself speaks to these issues directly. I am reasonably confident he will never do this, and in my mind it is finished.”

              Ultimately, yes, the leader is responsible. A responsible, courageous leader with unmanageable, rebellious, even mutinous charges steps down. Who would not have supported the courageous leader who stands up and announces, “Morally, I cannot support this, and I must leave.” Who? But how can I support one who publicly states he is responsible for the “disaster,” promises to “do whatever is necessary” to repair the damage “out of love,” and ignores his promise? Even in the end, when he again was offered the opportunity to help repair the damage, he chose to resign, specifically stating he had neither the desire nor the temperament. There is more than enough blame to go around, but it necessarily begins at the top. It is finished and the Church has moved on.

        • Not only robbed of his livelihood, Christine, but of his vocation.

          Here we sit adrift upon a stormy sea, in a world in which the Evil One is growing bolder and more brazen by the minute and we have no sense of urgency. It is a time of spiritual warfare requiring “all hands on deck” and every able-bodied man to his station, but our leaders and erstwhile bishops, chancelors and protopresbyters (in general) continue in their ho-hum, busines as usual attitude . . . as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be . . . Fr. JONAH is not the the only man sidelined and taken out of action or with talent and zeal to offer, but who is ignored by the powers that be, who would rather keep the ranks small and controllable so their own importance and power is seemingly magnified . . . At least that’s how it seems, because generally our actions declare our true intentions.

          How are we Christians much different from ancient Israel in whom the LORD’s name was profaned because they way they lived in the sight of the gentiles? Have we no shame? What prevents our repentance when we ought to be in sackcloth and ashes and repenting in tears for the hurts we have done to our very brothers and sisters, not to mention others . . . all justified, of course, n’est-ce pas?


  25. Fr. John Moses says

    Dear brothers,

    Forgive this voice from the outside. Practically, I know little of the internal life of the OCA, and would not dare to comment. All I know is that given the state of this country and the task before us, I desperately need for the OCA to be unified, strong, and evangelical. I pray constantly that this division will end, and that mercy and justice will meet together.

    So many lost souls to reach – how Satan rejoices at this mess. May God hasten the day of healing and good will.

  26. Esther Smith Holmes says

    Thank you, Christine Fevronia, for your continued prayers and interest in the OCA (20 February 2013) and for your defense of Veronica. Reading Carl K’s inappropriate rebuke stating your defense of Met Jonah borders on “cultish devotion” greatly saddens me. “Cultish devotion” implies an inability to look objectively at a “system of religious beliefs, a person, idea, thing or body of adherents”… (Webster’s) Could the same be said regarding his defense of the synod?

    What information is coming from Syosset presently? Where is the OCA now compared to 2008 when Met Jonah was elected? Are statistics available regarding overall membership, finances, salaries of members of the synod (including retirement costs, travel, housing, per diem, etc) administrative costs of Syosset, credit card charges, etc. Is this information open to scrutiny by those still in the Church? Do we have a right to know what our dollars support? Has this ship hit the iceberg?

    George, would it be possible for you to publish this information?
    Esther Smith Holmes