Defining Deviancy Down

If anybody had any doubts at all that the OCA is hell-bent on becoming the Thelma and Louise of world Orthodoxy, they just put it to rest last night. The Synod just put out a letter to the Diocese of the Midwest in which they have declared their firm obeisance to the Soviet, psycho-therapeutic model with which they tried to shackle His Beatitude, but he being no dummy, saw right through their nefarious plots. Instead, they have decided to make Bp Matthias Moriak the canary in the coal mine.

It’s a workable strategy as far as it goes. They find a damaged man they don’t want to let go, build the therapeutic justification around his restoration, wait a couple of years, and voila! — back in action.

It’s a two-fer; Matthias holds onto his job and the psycho-therapeutic model is deemed a success. (Did they give any thought to whether the other jurisdictions want to be apart of such a regime? Yet another example of “Fire! Ready! Aim!”)

The bonus is that they can then turn around and claim if only Jonah had availed himself of their wisdom he just might be Metropolitan today! Better yet, any damaged man they want in office just has to go through the same motions of evaluation and analysis. The guys they want to keep pass the test. The guys they don’t fail.

Oprah, call your office!

Bp. Matthias is a very troubled man. He is guilty of “sexual misconduct,” a conclusion which the Synod itself stated in the letter released last night. There is something wrong with 64 year-old man telling a 22 year-old single woman that he wants to sleep over at her apartment and tells her to make sure the priest doesn’t find out. Real Christ-like as far as we can tell.

Here’s how Matthias put it:

I wish that I could convince all of you what I am certain of in my heart – that the conscious motives behind my interaction with this woman were not impure. But, I know that only active, demonstrated repentance – confession of my sins, pursuit of the means of changing, and a resulting change in conduct – will be convincing. I have pledged to the Holy Synod, and now I pledge to you, the clergy and faithful, that I will undergo the spiritual and emotional counseling and guidance recommended to me by the Holy Synod so that I will never inflict this same offense, confusion, and hurt on anyone else.

“Not impure.” Let’s eliminate the double-negative and read that first sentence in plain English: “I wish that I could convince all of you what I am certain of in my heart – that the conscious motives behind my interaction with this woman were pure.”

OK, let’s take the bishop at his word. If his motives were pure, then what was he grooming her for? Older men don’t groom young women without a reason. His grooming went beyond the request to spend the night at her apartment and included sharing in secrets (hide the text messages, don’t tell the priest), making the target feel special, exalting his office, claiming higher wisdom, that sort of thing. (Read: Text Messages Reveal Extent of Bp. Matthias’ Misbehavior)

(“Grooming” refers to behaviors that abusers use to disarm their victims and gain position over them — like the back rubs given to St Tikhon seminarians a few years back.)

In reality there is nothing pure about his motives. Pure motives don’t require secretive behavior. Yet the Synod tells us to ignore this contradiction in so many words because they’ve got the cure: a two year semi-incarceration, some analysis and counseling, mentoring by another bishop (there’s a confidence booster!) and in due course he should be as good as new!

Therapists and social workers will love the prescription because it lends at modicum of moral gravitas to their profession. No problem there but it raises another red flag for us. Since when did the episcopate become a training ground for damaged men?

Follow this. It is a subtle but very important point. By conflating Matthias’ sexual misconduct with his episcopal office, the Synod compels the entire Church to embrace his pathology. They do this by tying forgiveness to keeping Matthias in office.

First, a clarification. Matthias did not sin against you, me or the Synod. He sinned against the 22 year-old woman. He attempted to seduce her — not you or me or anyone else.

Secrets always imply seduction when an older man eyes a young woman even though in this case the seduction was not necessarily sexual but some other kind (“not impure” probably means “not sexual”). Nevertheless, Matthias’ actions were not pure by any stretch of the imagination. If they were, then secrecy would not have been required. And whatever the impurity may have been, it was manifested only to the young woman and no one else.

As a result, it is not up to you, me, the Synod, or anyone apart from the offended woman to offer any kind of forgiveness to Matthias. We simply are not in the position to offer it. The only question that should matter to us is whether Matthias is fit to lead. We say no.

So why did the Synod do this? They did this because their real interest is keeping Mathias in office. It works like this: If the entire Church is called to forgive Matthias, then Matthias’ sin is generalized throughout the entire body. The victim is not really a victim. Or, if she is, then the nature and depth of the offense is no more serious or deeper than what you and I experienced which in fact was nothing.

And, if we are the ones sinned against (which we are not), then any judgment of Matthias’ malfeasance has to be suspended. It is replaced by an exhortation to Christian virtue that allows only one answer: keep Matthias as bishop.

Don’t want Matthias back in office? Then you are not a forgiving person! Want to obey Christ’s command to forgive? Then put Mathias back in office! Don’t you see? The real victim here is Matthias and don’t you dare victimize him again! The Holy Synod has spoken.

This is how we are drawn into Matthias’ pathology, and how the pathology on the Synod flows down into the rest of the Church. It’s a cynical and manipulative ploy, but it might not be apparent to the Synod. If not, then their pathology runs deeper than we think.

If any sobriety remains in our Church, Priests and Matushkas in particular and sober lay people alongside them must respond with a resounding and emphatic no. We don’t object to Matthias receiving the psychological and emotional help he obviously needs, but our families will not become fodder for the Synod’s experiment in episcopal rehabilitation.

No three strike rule for bishops and priests guilty of sexual misconduct in our Church. He can go into a monastery or, even better, retire.

One other thing. Privately Matthias is a vindictive man and can be brutal to his priests. Ask them one on one. What happens to the priest who reported Matthias if Matthias returns — the same priest that Matthias asked the young woman to hide his malfeasance from? Can he expect fair treatment? Not on your life.

Read the letter from the Holy Synod (pdf).

Read the letter from Matthias (pdf).


  1. Nicholas II says

    Well said. Thanks, George. I thought the “forgiveness lecture” they gave was one of the most onerous things in the letter. They attempted to prey on the Christian sentiments of their audience by twisting this fundamental Christian idea to their own devices. I told my wife on the way home from church that it was “heresy”. Perhaps I overstated in my passion, but I still think they were flirting with it.

    • The decision looks to me like a “Set up” for Parma.
      What it doesn’t seem to be is anything about FORGIVING THIS BISHOP. It seems to be about FORGIVING THE WHOLE SYNOD for Slandering, non canonical acts and once again letting things “go back to normal” and sitting down and shutting up.
      What it definitely is not, is anything about the safety of your young people.
      Does this mean he still gets to vote?
      Does this mean he still gets a salary?
      Doesn’t his gravely disturbed state mean he should be locked away at St. Luke’s.

      • John P (not John Panos who is another guy) says

        It seems to me that the bishops who want Bishop Matthias to get spiritual and emotional counseling before their forgiveness can be granted, need to get serious counseling themselves (and possibly need to tender their resignations). Getting forgiveness from this group of Bishops (and their handlers), who are the unfortunate “leaders” of the OCA – who want to move us “forward” (like the slogan of Obama’s campaign) from the “failed” tenure of Metropolitan Jonah, is tantamount to getting forgiveness from people who aren’t in a position to give it (as a result of their own misdeeds – that they don’t see the need to be forgiven for). There is a laundry list of issues and documented accusations regarding the character (and actions) of nearly all of the remaining bishops of the OCA Synod. This is the same dubious and devious character trait that brought forth their “rape coverup” letter that explained to the world why they sacked Metropolitan Jonah. We should, in fact, find out the chief writer of this letter (indications of style point to Bishop Benjamin – compare this document to his writing to the diocese of Alaska just before this letter came out) – and hold him accountable above the other bishops who agreed to publish it – like Bishop Matthias (who took the brunt of the blowback when it first came out). Readers of this Monomakhos website – as well as others – are well aware of the myriad of issues and accusations that need to be publicly addressed. They all should be brought to light and to their rightful conclusion – which is not only our forgiveness – but the resignations of bishops who are not serving us in a Godly way (as a penance for their repentance – who would want them to serve as our “leaders” again?). It seems to me that some of the OCA bishops, in this new method of “forgiveness” for Bishop Matthias (after he seeks the spiritual and emotional counseling they say he needs), are serving themselves to some degree. It seems that they have a desire, at the cost to those around them who are caught (as Bishop Matthias) or wrongly accused by them (Metropolitan Jonah), to be seen as blameless sheep when they are not. Unfortunately the Synod doesn’t want to incriminate themselves – and want to be seen by “their flock” as innocent of any wrongdoing.

        I think that we should strongly suggest, if we are given the chance at the Parma Robber Council (amid the police security), that the whole lot of OCA bishops be sent to St. Luke’s for counseling – the very same institution that they pushed Metropolitan Jonah to check in to – an institution that they have deemed to be the best. Then, after the bishops have properly submitted to the professionals there – and have completed their course of clinical psychiatric, psychological and/or spiritual care and have shown remorse, repentance and a desire to set aright their lives, to get further counseling from Michael Stankovich (or at least his seal of approval for the work already done at St. Lukes, which he also admires). In a situation as gravely troubled like this, we also need to send Fr. Tosi, Mark Stokoe and Fr. Ted Bobosh to St. Luke’s too (they need treatment as much as the bishops – maybe even moreso – since they are the bishop’s supporters and advisors). Maybe there are others that you can suggest – Fr. Jillions maybe – how about the priest that is now at Holy Trinity Church in Parma – the host of the Robber Council? Instead of sitting around the OCA Synod table making decisions to forgive Bishop Matthias and sack Metropolotan Jonah, they can sit around a friendly table at St. Lukes and discuss with their psychiatrist, psychologist, and other clinical people (and maybe some verified saintly priest or layman), where they went wrong – and why they don’t want to admit their failures to be transparent about their own lives and how this failure has caused so much pain, angst and spiritual confusion to the flocks they were chosen to lead by their sincere faith that is to be expressed in their actions. I think that we can give them visitation rights from Fr. Thomas Hopko (who we can cut some slack since he has been an excellent dean, theologian and spiritual writer) – even though he supported (in his belief that Met. Jonah should be removed or else they would “lose the OCA” as Stokoe wrote), the Holy Synod (begging us to support them), Mark Stokoe’s website as a spokes-site for the OCA and was first to label Metropolitan Jonah as “gravely troubled”. He can tell the bishops (and other OCA handlers at the table) to have continued hope (“don’t give up the dream”) – so that when they finish the program successfully, that the OCA will once again become the vehicle of Orthodox jurisdictional unity in America. The OCA, as you may know, is the only truly “American” church that is not controlled by foreign Patriarchs. Just joking a bit here, of course. But believe it or not, there are people in the OCA and perhaps a few elsewhere who believe this – despite the fact that this uniquely American church (with it’s somehwhat odd governing structure) with it’s American and Canadian bishops don’t come close to the honor and dignity shown by other “foreign churches” around the world.

        As I read this to a colleague of mine (who is a deacon) who is in agreement with my analysis, he suggested also that the bishops, after their repentance, go to Metropolitan Jonah for spiritual counseling.

  2. So, the Synod is asking people to give him a second chance. They admitted that this bishop is guilty. What’s the point of keeping this guy? Who’s going to pay for his therapies? The money comes from donation of the faithful. It’s PEOPLE’S MONEY!! Why the hell do people have to support this creep? OCA bishops have no common sense whatsoever.

    • Karma might not be true, but the principle of the Law – or rather, “the way things work” – was established at the very beginning of creation.

      “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12). The good that He saw, the process of creation that He laid down on the third day of creation, was the capacity of His creation to reproduce itself; and I might add, for good or ill (as history as shown us.)

      Today we have an urban street euphemism with the familiar ring “What goes around comes around“, and continuing with the gardening motif, “As you sow, so shall you reap“.

      Jesus summarized up all these common sense proverbs with a common sense truth test, “By their fruits you shall know them (You will know them by what they produce.) People don’t pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles, do they?” Matthew 7:16.

      The idea that an election at Parma is going to solve anything flies in the face of both secular and spiritual wisdom about what works and what doesn’t work. Unresolved psychological complexes will repeat themselves again and again if the cause is not revealed, confronted and resolved. A synod that has perpetuated scandal after scandal after scandal for 15 years is not going to suddenly come up with a silver bullet to solve its problems in one grand sweep of the ballot box. Doesn’t this appear to be magical thinking; kinda like “bank error in your favor” (from the Fisher Price: Monopoly game)?

      The reason that this blog has remained so active is the authentic ring of truth has yet to be heard. Even the amazingly candid and refreshingly honest letter of Bp. Matthias (on behalf of the synod) – regarding the Metropolitan’s resignation – lasted just a few days before the details of its half-lies and manipulations were brought to the light.

      The Sons of Job have been criticized on this blog for not revealing their identities; for not falling on their swords and getting martryed. But the real issue is whether the desire for self-preservation by some lifers in black should take precedence over preserving what’s best for the church. I think our current situation speaks to Jesus’ comment about His sword being preferable to peace. He only said it once, but it seems applicable here.

      A tree that encumbers the ground needs to be cut down, and like it or not, that’s what the Sons of Job are about. You can’t put new wine into old (very old) wine-skins. This synod needs to go. I don’t think it is representative of the broad sweep of OUR church.

      Further, as a tithe-paying church member, why should I cover expensive psychological treatment costs at residential placement centers so an old dog or two or three can learn new tricks; or allow individuals to draw salaries in top management positions if their decision-making has plunged the church into chaos? I can’t imagine any other profession giving a free pass for such performance.

  3. OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

    When he apologizes will it be in person, by letter, email or text message?

    The first thing that jumped out at me was his apology, followed immediately by a “but I really didn’t do anything wrong.”

    I’m very sorry I punched you in the face. I really didn’t mean to hit you. If you only understood that you would have made sure your face was not in the path of my rapidly moving fist.

    I’m inclined to back George’s position on this with one.

    • George Michalopulos says

      To all: I came reluctantly to this fight. Whenever I’ve followed His Grace’s career I was gratified that he was very much a traditionalist and was unafraid to speak on cultural matters, upholding the Church’s tradition. I went back-and-forth on this. My first inclination was to return him cleanly to his diocese, mainly because I usually err on the side of mercy. However I am in the South and had no dog in this fight. I heard from people in the Midwest (clergy and laity alike) and they are far less sanguine than myself. For them it’s another story.

      • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

        My first inclination was to say, let the diocese vote on his vote on his return.
        If two thirds of the clergy and delegates approve him remaining as their bishop, so be it.
        If not, he retires to a monastery outside the boundaries of the diocese.

        Perhaps even a monastery especially established for those clergy performing a special penance,

        I have often thought that the Church has an obligation to both the victim and the perpetrator. All too often the offender is suspended or deposed left to wander seeking other prey. They need intensive treatment then a place to go to work out their salvation, specifically a monastery that is “cloistered.” Not a place of pilgrimage, not a place for retreats, but a place of work and prayer. Preferably the work should be of benefit to the church. Publishing liturgical materials, making simple affordable vestments for smaller poorer missions, as long as it is a benefit to the church. (No cheesecakes, jams, or such)

        Just my random thoughts on a Monday afternoon.

        • Wadi Kelt Monastery – Saint Georges – in Israel (outside of Jerusalem on the road to Jerico) is such a place as you describe, and is used in just such instances. It is next to the cave where the prophet Elijah was fed by ravens. Usually it is 1 to 5 years that men go there to work out their repenting salvation but, if they return, they do not return to positions of leadership, and I know one ex-priest who went and no longer serves; he is now just a monk.

          • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

            Thank you Dear Mother.
            Very good to know there is such a place in existence.

            Prayer for me, a sinner,


          • I seems to me that the OCA needs to quickly establish one just like Wadi Kelt Monastery here in the USA with numerous cells.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        As I read about this sad case, one legitimate criticism of the Bishop’s actions seems to be missing. Is this man intelligent enough to be a Bishop? What he did was downright stupid. All normal men are subject to sexual temptation. Therefore, a Christian man must not put himself in a position where he would be tempted. This summer, we had our Parish Life Conference in Ft. Lauderdale. Our hotel was right on the beach. I went down once and realized that being surrounded by practically naked women is not the right place for me to be. Every day, on my way to my office, I stop at a doughnut shop and buy an extra large coffee. I never go into the store, but buy my coffee at the drive up window, because I know that I am too weak and could not resist the temptation to buy something that I should not eat. The Bishop should have had enough sense not to put himself in the situation in the first place, even if he did not have sex with the woman.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          One further thought has come to me on this issue. That is how backwards the Church is when training men for the clergy if they do not warn them against allowing themselves to be put in a compromising position that could be misinterpreted as sexual harassment. I learned that over 40 year s ago when I was in grad school. I used to schedule my office hours at the same time as my wife who was also a history grad student so that we would be near enough to each other to protect each other from any false accusations. Later after I graduated and taught full time at a small college in Texas, I never closed the door of my office when meeting with a coed. The seminaries and leadership of the Church should teach clergy to protect themselves from compromising positions. I know that years ago Metropolitan Philip asked an attorney to speak with his clergy to warn them about these issues. Ever since Antia Hill and Clarance Thomas men, and women, in positions of authority have to guard themselves against being put in compromising positions. Now men have to worry about other men accusing them of making advances. We have to be very careful.

  4. Greater sinner says

    The way of the Church is LOVE; it differs from the way of the legalists. The Church sees everything with tolerance and seeks to help each person, whatever he may have done, however sinful he may be.
    – Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos

    • CantBuyMeLove says

      Love does not mean the toleration of evil. Love does not mean unaccountability.
      Seeking to help each person can include, and biblically must include discipline.
      Love NEVER says “whatever he may have done, however sinful he may be, disregard all and restore him to the episcopacy.”
      Love Personified condemned sin. Love Personified violently overturned tables and offended church moneychangers. Love Personified called religious leaders “hypocrites,” “of your father, the Devil,” “brood of vipers,” “whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones,” “liars,” “wolves,” and the like.
      Love is not always nice, but sometimes love is rude.
      Love is not always easy, but sometimes love is tough.
      The loving thing for an abuser is NOT to restore him to authority, but to exorcise ecclesial discipline as St Paul teaches in First Corinthians.
      To equate love with the toleration of evil is itself evil. It is moral madness. It will save nobody.

    • Very true words, Greater Sinner. I don’t think anyone here would disagree with them.
      Love, however, has as many sides to be considered as there are people involved in a sin. How do we best love Bishop Matthias and the priests and people of his diocese along with the woman at the heart of this matter? Perhaps love is best served in this case by sending Bp Matthias into retirement and allowing the Mid West diocese to find a new bishop and the young lady to move on with her life with a sense that her complaint has been dealt with adequately? Just thinking out loud. At the very least, I would hope that all parties, or representatives of same in the case of the priests and people of the diocese, were consulted in the process of reaching htis decision

    • Dear Greater sinner,

      Here’s another quote to ponder:

      As water and fire oppose one another when combined, so are self-justification and humility opposed to one another.

      – St. Mark the Ascetic

      This issue is not a “legalistic” matter, it is a matter of common sense. What Bp. Mathias did was prey upon a vulnerable 22 year old woman. He should never have been allowed to continue as a bishop. Once again, the synod of the OCA makes the wrong choice. The “apology” of Mathias is a joke. It is nothing of the sort. He didn’t “offend” the woman, he preyed upon her and got caught.

      Greater sinner, where exactly is the “love” in the quote you mentioned? Is love being shown to the faithful of the Midwest diocese who will now always be on the lookout for their young people when the bishop visits? Was it the clergy of the diocese who were not consulted but now have to accept this decision and continue to support a bishop who they feel should not be a bishop? And what if they do see something that looks suspicious? Given that the synod completely disregarded any common sense, they obviously don’t care. Do you think they made the situation safer by keeping him on? What do you think the recidivism rate is for something like this? Is this how you define “love?” The abuser gets a pass? When you wrote that quote about love, did you even once consider the victim or was your only thought about how “loving” it was that the synod was so merciful to Bp. Mathias?

      Love is not giving someone a free pass, which is exactly what the synod has done here. Love, is discerning right from wrong and doing the morally appropriate action. Not killing an unborn child is an act of love. Saying to the victim, “He’s going to give you an apology” is enabling. I hope you can see the difference.

      The Orthodox Church in America, destroying the Orthodox faith, one church at a time.

    • Monk James says

      Greater sinner says (November 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm):

      The way of the Church is LOVE; it differs from the way of the legalists. The Church sees everything with tolerance and seeks to help each person, whatever he may have done, however sinful he may be.
      – Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos


      Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do for repentant sinners, the thing we would most want for ourselves, is to be sheltered from such circumstances as might tempt us to fall again.

      While the Holy Synod’s letter relies heavily on concepts borrowed from tried-and-true ways of treating substance abuse, the areas of sexual abuse (of which the HS alleges Bp Matthias is guilty) and abuse of power (the venue of BpM’s alleged crime) are not so well attested in the literature of therapeutic success. In fact, conventional wisdom regards the tendency toward sexual abuse as incurable — hence the various permanent registries and tracking protocols.

      These significant discontinuities are exacerbated by BpM’s own letter, in which he basically claims to have acted with only pure intentions and to somehow have been misunderstood by the young lady on the receiving end of his unwelcome attentions. This is the classic structure of a perpetrator’s denial, and the HS clearly doesn’t believe him.

      Most women/children who are victimized by sexual predators are not only unwilling but viscerally unable to interact with the people who hurt them. The notion that the HS would require BpM to apologize (what ever that involves) DIRECTLY to the woman he hurt is therefore very strange. This is especially true since the courts — while they might allow convicts to make a statement of regret to victims and their families in open court — are insistent that perpetrators NOT EVER contact their victims in any way.

      This apology requirement also fails to anticipate the possible reaction of BpM’s alleged victim. Suppose she, in her spiritual and psychological pain, not only cannot accept his apology, but presses charges in civil court. After all, sexual harassment/sexual abuse are crimes in Illinois and Indiana, yet no public statement has been released regarding BpM’s current status in civil law.

      When BpM was first welcomed into the OCA and enthroned as bishop of the Eparchy of Chicago, it was hoped by many of us — including some of our bishops — that he would help swing the balance of power in the HS away from the bishops who persecuted Fr Robert Kondratick and Met. Jonah. Now BpM has turned out to be as morally compromised as the men it was thought he could help neutralize, and more’s the pity. The fact that we and our OCA are in such trouble that we, as a church, must even imagine thinking in such political terms is a sin and a shame.

      Still, as Christians, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to ask our father in Heaven to ‘forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors’. On the other hand, though, while He isn’t speaking only of monetary obligations, Christ doesn’t tell us to throw good money after bad.

      So, yes indeed, let’s forgive each other and beg forgiveness as much as, as often as, it takes to heal our relationships with each other before we even think about approaching the Mercy Seat of almighty God.

      But let’s also remember our Lord’s prescription: ‘Go now, and sin no more.’ We have to make that possible for each other in real ways, one of which requires us not to return to pastoral responsibilities clergy who have abused their high and holy office, and left incalculable amounts of human wreckage in their wake.

      For us as The Church, this means (as Met. Jonah is wont to say) a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct of any kind, including zero tolerance for hierarchs who knowingly make it possible for their subordinate clergy to continue in the priesthood when they are credibly accused or convicted of such crimes.

      Through the intercessions of Your northamerican saints and of all Your saints, Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

      • JamesMiller says

        Monk James wrote: “Most women/children who are victimized by sexual predators are not only unwilling but viscerally unable to interact with the people who hurt them. . . . are insistent that perpetrators NOT EVER contact their victims in any way.”
        Interesting and valuable points, Monk James. Yet I assume that the young lady will be given a choice as to whether she wishes to be confronted personally by Bp. Matthias with his request for forgiveness, don’t you? If she declines, I would guess he and the Synod would consider he’d done his best to fulfill that directive and move on. That’s the way I parse that aspect of the letter, anyway.

      • Harry Coin says

        Why is there no sense of degree or extent when writing about ‘sexual misconduct’? One bishop is involved with booze porn and young death and appears to not notice misconduct inducing theology going on in his monastery, another repeatedly leaves a priest in his job while he bothers the boys, apparently several leaders overlooked various ‘clergy’ roaming the seminary halls looking to give massages.

        This one sends text messages and ‘HEY, NONE OF THAT!!’. Yup, get those text messages nipped in the bud, can’t allow none o that, nosir. We’re ON IT like white on rice, our sexual misconduct committee with a divorced padre is HARD AT WORK taking care of his bishop’s text problems. Sure.

        • Perhaps, in the other instances, formal complaints have not been filed? Didn’t I read, below, of Fr Philip who experienced attempted abuse and subsequently walked away? How can the Church discipline those against whom they only have rumor, innuendo, gossip, hearsay? Without coming forward and filing a formal complaint, there is no investigation; there is no resolution–right, wrong, or indifferent.

          This has nothing to do with who is, or is not, on any Church committees and whatever personal feelings you have about them, Harry. If you don’t come forward with your formal complaint, what do you expect? for them to read here and file one on your behalf?

          • Fr. Philip says

            Dear AG,

            It’s not so simple has just having “walked away.” It was a different time, with different societal assumptions, one being that, by definition (and whatever the law may have been on paper), adult males were not capable of being assaulted sexually. And in those days males were socialized differently; a “real man” didn’t “whine.” And to whom could I have reported it? Neither the rector of the particular parish, nor one of the other clergy, nor the bishop, were really conversant with English. Besides, I was afraid (probably irrationally) that if I “made trouble,” I wouldn’t be allowed to become Orthodox.

            All told, I would urge you you reflect much more deeply on the fact that while jumping to conclusions may be good exercise, it’s specifically forbidden by the Lord Himswelf in John 7:24.

            Fr. Philip

            • Fr Philip,

              Forgive me, a sinner; indeed, the chief among sinners.

              In my ineptness in finding a way to describe my thoughts, I deeply erred. What I am trying to convey to Harry Coin is that the egregious misconduct that has been discussed here as seemingly rampant amongst various and sundry clergy and has appeared to been given a pass, if you will, whilst at the same time marking editorially (ad nauseum) that we have a divorced priest on the Sexual Misconduct Committee who goes doggedly after some innocuous text messages (quelle horror!) might be the result that no one has filed a formal complaint against those who have committed the greater offenses.

              In other words, you can’t string up the pervs if no one has filed the charges.

              In Bishop Matthias’ case, someone actually put their money were their mouth was: she filed a complaint, complete with real live proofs, and bingo! the Good Bishop was determined to have committed a moral offense.

              Now, if anyone here who is so quick to point out the planks in all these clergy eyes has real proof and the ears of these victims, and could get them to do the same, perhaps, then, we can then clean house.

              I am deeply, deeply, sorry that in your time and place this was not available to you for so many different cultural and societal reasons. I was once Catholic. In my generation, well, I get that. More than you may ever realise, Father, I get that. I truly weep and grieve for us all.

              Forgive me for not just assuming, but presuming as well. Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.


    • God is love and Love does not tolerate sin. God is Father and fathers discipline their children, or at least they should.

      Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:7. Maybe it would be a sign of love if this bishop and others who have transgressed, were to lay down their lives for the life of the Church. But it seems that all they want are the perks of being a bishop and they seek what loopholes can they find to maintain them. Meanwhile, the one whom they have so unmercifully and untruthfully benched, has laid down his.

    • Love does not place a person in the bishopric who is obviously in the grip of the passions. Anyone who is in the grip of the passions and placed in a position of power will soon use that power to satisfy his passions. Mathias should not have been a bishop in the first place, but he fits quite well into a group of morally compromised bishop pretenders. I don’t know all of the OCA bishops, only a few, but, from what I read and from the actions of the unholy synod, almost all of them should all step down. They talk about forgiveness, but the forgiveness is not necessary for those of us on the sidelines, we have nothing to forgive unless we have sinned through hating him or such (that is a matter for confession). The forgiveness needs to be on the part of the young lady who reported this whole situation and on others who may have been in similar circumstance with Mathias. Maybe everyone needs forgive the Synod for the stupidity that they have been exhibiting lately.

      This whole situation on the part of Mathias and the Synod is spilled milk, nothing can be done about what happened, but this man should never be returned to any position of power and especially not as a bishop, He really shows no repentance, he, basically is crying over being caught and then has the gall to say that he really didn’t do anything wrong (yeah, sure), his intentions were pure (yeah, sure), don’t tell anyone or the priest (they might misunderstand his pure intentions) after all, he was just trying to fill the role of spiritual father to this young woman and of course, the idea of sleeping over at a young woman’s apartment in a sleeping bag would never become a situation where he could get into her bed, never.

      From what I see, the Synod has lost its marbles and believes that everyone in the OCA is intellectually challenged.

  5. I would dissagree on one point,he abused is office as a Bishop. He violeted the trust placed in him by the synod, and his diosies. Forgiveness does need to happen, on the level of the synod, the diosies he served,and from the girle who’s trust he attempted to betray. As far as him being fit to serve as a Bishop? I will not even try to coment on that. I am more conserned with hoping to avoid gods judgment on the manny other issues that are gripping the OCA that we as a church need to reccon with! (And I do know this) is one of them.)

    So, now let the more intellectual individuals talk! I will enjoy this conversation!

  6. Disgusting. The OCA is done, they will now victimize the girl again and even if she is forgiving, this act is more than enough to prevent this dope and pervert from serving in public ministry ever again. I would not want him near my daughter. What about all the other people they have gone after for administrative or financial misdeeds? Apparently sexual misconduct gets the Holy Synod’s seal of approval.

    Hey Holy Synod, go de-FROCK yourselves I will never trust you again. I think we all have to think seriously about going to another jurisdiction or doing something separate here in the DOS. These OCA bishops are all liars, they lied to us they do not believe! The fires of HELL await them with eternity to think over their actions with their parent Satan, disgusting people, disgusting bishops. It is time to inform every lay person in each OCA parish about these liars, we in the DOS must be the messengers to the greater OCA of the bishops tolerance to sex abusers, homosexuals, perverts in our midst.

    In Parma it must be made known that they harbor and give quarter to horrible men, and call them Master.

    • Dear Photius,

      There is much to sympathize with in your post. We do want good bishops of impeccable character, and a living saint or two in the bargain would be so much the better. Think about what you are recommending though as a matter of principle. We currently have a holy synod with what appears to be a number of highly compromised bishops, more than a few compromised deeply enough that the canons and common sense point to laicization as a remedy. But given their numbers and their allegiances unless they voluntarily step down there is insufficient voice and political power, let alone political will within the remainder to demand that they do.

      So what should we do in this situation? You say enough is enough; abandon this ship and find another with better men at the helm. Given the state of our ship that is a natural reaction. It is also a marketplace reaction, in my estimation, that is only imaginable in the context of competing/overlapping jurisdictions such as exist in North and South America or Australia. This is not normative. What if our situation was transplanted to a traditionally Orthodox land. There would be only one jurisdiction, and if they ended up packed with unfit men, what would we do do then? Would we flee across the border to the arms and parishes of a better synod? No, we would pray for our bishops that remain and pray that the Lord send us better pastors, and only if they fell to teaching and preaching heresy and would not repent would we abandon them for other pastures.

      Our situation in the Americas is both a luxury and a temptation. It is a market place situation…don’t like Folger’s then try Maxwell House or Starbucks…or some little artisan blend down the aisle. This is how we think about most things in our lives. We have many marketplace choices. But is this the mindset we want to bring to Church? To me it lies too close to modern Protestantism where we can switch churches willy nilly to suit our tastes and our moral compass. There is a danger…one that flirts with Donatism in getting mad at a bad bishop or a synod and voting with our feet to assuage our sense of perhaps entirely justifiable outrage.

      It may well be that the OCA is a sinking ship and all of us sooner or later will have to find one that isn’t sinking. It may come to pass our hierarchs refuse to fulfill their high calling and office and are lured onto the path of heresy and thus go the way of a number of modern post Christian confessions. The words of St. John Chrysostom were meant for times and situations such as ours, “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of priests, and lighted by the skulls of bishops.” He did not advise fleeing to other jurisdictions when under the governance of an unfit bishop.

      Unfit bishops are still bishops of the Church until they enter into and persist in heresy. We are not Donatists. It may be for the safety of a family member you must choose one parish over another…perhaps one belonging to another jurisdiction. That is the luxury we enjoy. Yet we must be sure if we move it is the Lord leading us, not our anger or disappointment driving us. At least that is how it seems to me.

      Every man on the Holy Synod, good or bad, fit or unfit, living saint or near devil will die one day should the Lord tarry. Others will be set in their place as need arises…others who may govern wisely and well by the Spirit of God. Would it be proper then to jump back to the OCA because now there are some hierarchs at the helm worthy of the name?

      I sympathize with you. I really do. I share your frustrations with the current Holy Synod and the administrative organs of the OCA. But unless the OCA ceases to be Orthodox….it strikes me as risky, at least in principle, to leave it for reasons of the marketplace and not for something more substantive and consistent with the faith in its history of struggles and sufferings under sometimes substantially less than faithful bishops.

      Speaking for myself, I left Protestantism because I was convinced Orthodoxy was the true faith once and for all delivered unto the Saints. It was what my soul had always hungered to find. Yet I also understood prior to coming in that the faith was sometimes kept in some very earthen vessels. But gold is still gold whether kept in a crystal bowl or a chipped chamberpot. So now, I have to be wary of the baggage of my past when facing present difficulties within Orthodoxy. I cannot just jump ship or wait it out lone ranger style till a better option presents itself. Persistent heresy is the bright line…not orneriness, not Machiavellian intrigue, not even a closet too packed with lavender vestments. Consider how wronged St. Metropolitan Nectarios was. He was treated evilly by his brother bishops…but that synod and those who sit on it now in their place did not cease to be Orthodox bishops for all that. Neither has this synod ceased to be an Orthodox synod though it has not done well by Metropolitan Jonah.

      If it is the Lord leading you then go with God. Only be careful and be sure because if the next place turns out to be significantly disappointing in its priests or hierarchs what will you do then? This is a time I believe for a principled choice not an emotional one. What do the saints and fathers teach us to do in difficulties such as ours? That is what we need to figure out and to follow…at least, this is how it seems to me.

      • Thank you for your charitable, kind and well reasoned post. A few years ago I might have felt the same way but no more. Unlike you I am not a convert, and our tolerance for bullcrap is pretty high, but we also know sooner than you, when, who, what and where. This is a problem that goes back to the Metropolia days, did you read about that reprobate Pishtey and his grandson that now inhabits the DC cathedral? These are the people that brought us to where we are. Did you see they mentioned Fr. Kivko in the same article about the cursed Pishtey? This is a long standing Metropolia practice, to associate themselves with the good, hoping it will rub off. Fr. Kivko was a man of God and a good kind holy pastor. They (the OCA/Metropolia establishment) are the ones along with the rocor that spread and fostered the ruin of Orthodoxy in America. The same smelly dogs that rear lick the MP now and beg to sit at the very table they spat upon. The OCA was to be a breath of fresh air, and for a short while it was. But this dog went running back to where it came from, and now look at what we have, filth, deviants and perverts. From the drunken orgies of Chicago and the “parties” in Alaska and Califorina, to the homosexuals and lefties in Boston to a pervert bishop in Canada, an abuser in Chicago, Benjamin, Herman, a souvenir salesman in DC, the very odd circumstances of Job’s repose, accidental? Natural? Suicide? Or what? Lairs in Syosset, converts in Platina with false teaching, seminaries dumping premium faculty and administrators, you can go on and on. Truth cannot be taught by these men, only a false facade that resembles the truth. You want heresy? I GIVE YOU THE OCA. Death becomes her. Unlike the poison in Romeo and Juliet, this one acts slow and ruination is in Satan’s time, for they do his bidding. I hope you never loose your kind and loving nature, but you are wrong to think there is truth anywhere in all this.

        • Dear Photios,

          Please tell me where I can read about Father Kivko and the “cursed Pishtey.” since i am familiar with neither. Why is one blessed and why is one cursed?

          I get that he is some relationship with one of the fathers at St. Nicholas cathedral?

          • I retract my previous statement. I did meet Father Joseph, many decades ago when he was in the company of Father Meyendorff. I didn’t know his last name. I still know nothing about Father Kivka

            • Fr. Kivko edited, authored and translated many good pieces of Orthodox ed materials that a member of his family is now republishing in April, I am told.
              The OCA wrote a one sided and self serving History of Orthodoxy in America, or something like that in 1976, he might be mentioned in there.

      • Nicholas II says

        Thanks, Serphim98. I have been toying with the idea of leaving – motivated by a marketplace mentality – let everyone leave and let this corrupt OCA shrivel up and die away! You have brought up some good points though – points that I need to seriously think about. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  7. Not that the fact lessen’s the bishop’s culpability in any way, but she was *not* a catechumen at the time the messages were exchanged. In one message she asks if he will commune her.

    • This relationship appears to have begun when the woman was a catechumen. The theory as I understand it is that “grooming” begins long before any actual misconduct. This relationship existed long before the email exchange.

  8. Ivan Vasililev says

    How deeply sad!
    I don’t know what the solution might have been/should have been had the good bishop’s behavior never had become public and if he had shown sincere repentance to the young woman and his fellow bishops. In that case, I still think it would have been best if he went to a monastery and resigned his See.
    But, in a case where the matter became a public scandal, I don’t understand why he didn’t of his own volition resign (and show repentance, too). And if not, why the Holy Synod didn’t remove him.
    You are right to bring our attention to the difference between “not impure” and “pure”. Perhaps His Grace should have spelled out more precisely why he made such foolish requests–including one that she deceive her pastor.
    “By their fruits you shall know them”. At least this was done before the Parma fiasco. Not a single delegate will be able to claim that he or she didn’t know the quality of the men from whom the next Metropolitan will be taken. Perhaps there will be one in the Synod brave enough to stand up and renounce this awful affront to the dignity of the Church and perhaps Bishop Matthaias will truly repent and insist on retiring to a monastery.
    Then again, perhaps a flock of pigs will fly over Parma next Monday.

  9. If the synod was hoping to resolve this matter before the Sobor they have done just the opposite. I believe that they have just unified an entire diocese against them. I have in my parish several victims of child sexual abuse and they are mad and distraught. They could not believe the self justification of B. Matthias nor the lack of discernment on the part of the synod.

    The synod says he is guilty, Matthias says he is not! Matthias says the problem was that he could not convince us of the purity of his heart. Those statements lack a grasp of reality. The tactics of B. Matthias, the grooming, the secrets, are all very familiar to those who have been abused.

    I do not know what was in his heart nor do I as a pastor really care. I know what he did and what he did disqualifies him from the pastoral offices. He can be forgiven but he should be a forgiven layman. The Synod needs to personally come and tell those recovering from child sexual abuse that they are going to take this man back as their arch-pastor because we (the synod) said so.

    At some point this is not about who has the power and who controls the OCA it is about the people we are trying to save! It is hard enough in the trenches trying to save some without this kind of help. God have mercy! Let Archbishop Nathaniel come to my parish and dry the tears!

    I do not intend any disrespect towards the synod but I think something is very wrong in how they see the world as compared to us in the parish.

    • Defend the Faith says

      Fr. Andrew,

      My heart breaks for you and your people. It is difficult for me to take anything said by +Nathaniel as helpful when he protects Gregory Burke from what he perpetrated on the Church. The double-standard is so open and beyond justification that with every new statement from the OCA is further separates it from other Orthodox Churches here in America. I don’t think this is being lost on at least the Russian Orthodox Church.

      Note well that +Hilarion of the MP met publicly with ROCOR, the Greeks, the Antiochians while he was here and did not have one public meeting with the OCA. It does not take an Einstein to conclude that the MP will not fight for the OCA any more. Parma will not end the demise of the OCA, it will only be another indication of its internal dysfunction.

      And what, Fr. Andrew, are you to do as you try to minister to your flock? Keep them safe from those who call themselves leaders but reveal themselves as anything but leaders. Hold them close and defend them with the power of the Cross and the glory that is the Risen Lord. May the Lord give you strength.

    • Pauline Costianes says

      What kind of bishops do you think you’re going to get when the sole criteria are: male, breathing, single and Orthodox? Between the emotional train wrecks, the alcoholics and the perverts, one of the previous posts is
      right: Get rid of all of them.
      At least if we could once again allow married bishops (oh, gasp!) we might have a larger pool of men to draw from, not that there are perfect angels there either. I’ve run across my share of nasty, creepy, married clergy too. But at
      least there would be a better chance of getting someone with his head on straight, and not a damaged person, which is what we have now.

  10. Carl Kraeff says

    Bravo to the Holy Synod! They treated +Matthias the same way that they treated +Jonah at Santa Fe. That said, I think +Matthias showed us with his statement why he needs help, the same way that +Jonah justified the Santa Fe agreement when he broke his word.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Of course Carl, I will let you continue to comment. Navigating your rationalisms keeps my mind sharp.

    • Ivan Vasililev says


      Are you serious, or, are you merely pointing out the craziness of the situation? Are poor administrative and political skills the same as sexual predation? Or, is it simply the absurdity of relying on secular based “therapeutic” models that you are holding up for all to see? If it is the former, I’m astonished as you seem to be an extremely intelligent and incisive man. If it is the latter, there is an absolutely Zen-like quality to your thinking (and I mean that as a compliment).

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Dear Ivan–My logic in this instance goes something like this:

        Set 1:
        Premise 1.1: Forgiveness is a key tenet of our faith
        Premise 1.2: Forgiveness should not be limited
        Premise 1.3: All fall short and need to repent and be forgiven
        Premise 1.4: There are no distinctions between clergy and laity before the Holy Chalice
        Conclusion 1: There also should not any difference in our expectations or treatment of them

        Set 2:
        Premise 2.1: There is a hierarchy of authority (in descending order): Holy Scriptures, dogmatic formulations of the Ecumenical Councils, canonical formulations of the Ecumenical Councils, the canons of the local churches.
        Premise 2.2: The bishops as a class are the ones selected out of the laos who are given the authority to interpret the above in a definitive manner. In the OCA, the Holy Synod is the supreme canonical authority.
        Premise 2.3a: All of the laos is responsible for ensuring that our Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith is preserved.
        Premise 2.3b: The laos as a whole should follow the Holy Scriptures and Canons, being careful not to overstep their roles.
        Conclusion 2: Unless matters of dogma (essential teachings of the Church) are affected, the laity cannot presume to pass judgment on the clergy.

        Set 3
        Premise 3.1: A sin is a sin is a sin (or falling short of the mark).
        Premise 3.2: Metropolitan Jonah fell short and was given multiple chances to repent and reform.
        Premise 3.3: Bishop Matthias fell short and the Holy Synod gave him one chance to repent and to reform.
        Conclusion 3: From a the perspective of Premise 3.1, both bishops have been treated equitably.

        Set 4
        Premise 4.1: The Scriptural and Canonical prescriptions for the qualities and behavior of bishops and priests are not matters of dogma.
        Premise 4.2: The Holy Synod is the only part of the Church that can definitively interpret and apply the above prescriptions.
        Premise 4.3: Any other part of the Church is limited to providing opinions on these matters.
        Conclusion 4: Laity and non-hierarchical clergy are wrong to go beyond providing opinions.

        • Imagine the following situation. One man was found guilty of speeding by 5 mph. The other man was found guilty of a murder. Both received the sentence of one year in jail. Following your logic as expressed in Set 3, one arrives at the conclusion that both men have been treated equitably. Bravo to the judges! They treated the second man the same way that they treated the first one.

        • Ivan Vasililev says


          Are the Scriptural injunctions regarding the character of a bishop (for instance, in I Timothy) dogmatic or economic? Or, both? Is the faith well preserved when a behavior by a bishop causes a public scandal (and at least appears to contradict the scriptural injunctions?)
          I am in no way questioning whether Bp. Matthias can be forgiven. Of course he can! But is it wise, expedient, just, or justifiable for him to remain in his position? Does it harm the well being of the Church for him to remain thus? Do the laos tou Theou have any responsibility in this case?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Interesting that you should cite 1 Timothy, presumably Chapter 3, verses 3-7:
            “3 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

            Based on the way at the Council in Trullo and hence that the Church handled the above passage and others (such as the clear teaching of the Lord ), I would have to say that the Scriptural injunctions regarding the character of a bishop are economic or disciplinary in nature.

            Now, if my bishop had asked me for my recommendation on how to handle the situation with Bishop Matthias, I would have said three things. First, that I do think that our leaders (bishops, priests, deacons, Parish Council Presidents and members) “must have a good testimony among those who are outside.” Second, that the Holy Synod’s decision should be guided with compassion and discernment, but above all, with consistency. Lastly, I would have assured him of my prayers for the Holy Spirit to guide him and his brorther bishops on the Holy Synod in discharging the responsibility that only they have.

            • Sons of Job #2 says

              This is an example of getting sucked into Bp. Matthias’ pathology. Kraeff has no real understanding that Matthias’ sinned. He thinks it’s a process question because the Synod does.

            • Thank God you aren’t my priest or bishop, Carl.

              • Carl K. has been consistent in his unwavering acceptance of the “Hopko line” about +Jonah. I am not as concerned about their approach with +Matthias except that all this talk about “second chances” hinges on whether you are perceived on the approved list of “friends of the SOB” or not. If you are on their “enemies list” you are out. No second chances, no forgiveness, no compassion. It is this double-standard that is further driving the OCA into obscurity of their own dysfunctional making.

                The real test ahead is when OCA parishes and clergy start petitioning to leave the OCA. I don’t think Russia is going to help the OCA get out of their mess. +Hilarion of the MP met publicly with ROCOR, the GOA and the Antiochians while he was here. He did not meet publicly with the OCA. Rather he delivered a strong message from Pat. Kirill that +Jonah must be treated with respect. It appears that the OCA continues to ignore this strong message. That move will further isolate the OCA. But, the OCA will now have to deal with the consequences of their actions and they will have no one to blame but themselves for how the rest of the Orthodox jurisdictions treat the OCA going forward.

                Parma is a not event. The next OCA Metropolitan will be a figurehead. The power has shifted to the MC and the synod. Some think this is good, but when you look at who is in positions of leadership on the MC and synod, it does little to make me feel confident and I don’t think I am alone in this conclusion.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  I’m curious — would any of the world’s Orthodox Churches (including Moscow) even officially “recognize” the new Metropolitan?

                  How embarrassing would it be for the OCA to throw a big party for the enthronement of their new Metropolitan and nobody outside the OCA shows up?

                  • Basil Takach says

                    All of the world’s Orthodox Churches – including Moscow – will recognize the new Metropolitan. Honestly, I think you folks are really looking for your own Cromwell and off with the heads of those with whom you take exception to your own view of ‘sola patristics.’ If you don’t like it, take it elsewhere. But don’t think that ROCOR will be a safe port in your storm as they have no use for Cromwellian nonsense either.

                    • Michael James Kinsey says

                      The Lord Jesus Christ has no safe port for evil works, Bishop Takach. I am most certain those who oppose the Synods actions have more love and respect and fear of the Lord than do these indifferent bishops. The Christ has no time for evil works. God is no respecter of personages because of thier ranking in His Church. I will not recognize him., anymore than I recognize the Catholic pope’s claims. The Christ is my Judge, not anyone else. Only if you are doing God’s Will does His Authority apply to any cleric.

            • Harry Coin says

              Carl, when one gives oneself permission to characterize a clear list like yours above in Timothy, one cannot rightly then reason on the basis of the characterization in contradiction to the plain meaning given in the specifics.

              It’s no more unfair for a blind person to not be allowed the priesthood than one who struggles with alcohol. That’s because the priesthood is not about the priest’s needs. One does not need to be clergy to be close to God in this life or after.

              I’ve actually been reading on other forums that because a divorced priest made a good point, and the Patriarch of the Russian Church is divorced, the divorced priest should be considered as a bishop.

              I understand the value of ‘narrative’ is to focus only on the relevant in a complex sea so as to make reasoning about complex topics possible.

              But, er… what about all the clergy who’ve managed to not be divorced? They can’t be bishops while the divorced ones can? Up is not down, left is not right, words mean what they mean.

              Here a divorced priest who serves on a national body relative to misconduct is stomping upon his boss for trash talking and not owning up to it sufficiently by his lights. But Lord look what is allowed by the others on that body without consequence to them remaining bishops. Clergy bothering the boys and generating new victims allowed to remain and too their bishop. Seminarians offered massages by ‘clergy’ roaming the halls — all allowed by their bishops. Massive booze use (note yours above about ‘given to wine’) to the point of arrest and strange allegations of weeks worth of porn and tragic death– while overlooking bizarre theology leading to gay activity in his monasteries, ho hum, eh?

              But this trash talking dude– OUT, TUT TUT!!
              And Met. Jonah asked to leave on the basis of not managing one boozy priest in DC properly and ‘personal issues’. Okay. Sure. I get it. The rules apply to folk ‘we don’t like’. If ‘we like you’ it’s ‘rules? Oh yes but we’re above those in our case’. Those other guys, personal issue free are they? Pure as the wind driven snow? Yes?

              Something must be said about who it is saying what about whom.

              Parishes petitioning to leave the OCA in favor of — a synod with local or overseas divorced bishops as leaders. Is that better? How about the fellow in Turkey? Damascus? Englewood/Damascus? New York/Istanbul? Misc other slavic locale overseas? That’s better? Or maybe the Vatican?

              Bloom where you’re planted.

        • Dearest to Christ Carl,

          I do not know you and have no knowledge of you other than this site and these posts. It seems that pastors/ Priests in your premises have little or nothing to do with work of those who are bishops. The work of “oversight” is given to deacons, priests, and lastly to Bishops who are called overseers. The work of “oversight” and the governance of the Holy Church is not exclusively as you state given to Bishops.

          It is the priest /deacon who often spends years with some of God’s people, working through their wounds. I mentioned the several women in my parish who are recovering from child sexual abuse. This is a long and painful recovery. We work through issues of sinfulness every day and apply as did the good Samaritan the wine of antiseptic law and the oil of the gospel to the wounded sinner. In this way the priest also has to rightly divide the word of truth. The priest must know when to put on wine and clean out the wound and when to put on oil and sooth the wound. How often I have failed putting on oil when wine was called for, and putting on wine, when a wound needed soothing. What every person in the office of oversight must do is not to be a source of the wound itself! God forbid! We as a priests also are given oversight of souls, and the care of them, and we like Bishops must at the last give an account. When a bishop comes along, and suggests that the local pastor not be involved this is both stupid and wrong! When a bishop comes to this hard-fought for soul with an agenda that is rooted in self-love he is a wolf! No devised set of premises can justify that. Matthias had as his agenda a covenant of darkness and secrecy. Christ did not work in the darkness. He clearly taught and healed in the light of day, in the temple courts, and before all. Matthias, unlike Christ is found saying, ” Don’t tell your pastor”. The wolf in clothing looking like a shepherd whispers to a young lady, “Do not tell your pastor” and your premises sit idly by and let her be made carrion. None of your premises protect people from wolves in sheep clothing. The priest is a shepherd is he not? So what does the sheep herder do if his people are being made prey by someone pretending to be a shepherd?

          I am sorry for you that you can find no fault in the Arch pastors decision to restore Matthias. I am glad you are not caring for souls in a parish. Your premises above could only wound them more. It is easy to wound a soul but it is an art to heal it. God be with you. I am tired of healing souls so that a bishop can use his office to wound them.
          For those like you Carl that are confused about what the synod should do with a Matthias I would ask you to just think like a Father. If that had been your daughter that B. Matthias was texting and asking for darkness, secrecy, and your lack of involvement. If he said to your daughter that he had a crush on her and wanted to spend the night. Would you go looking for him , meet him at his doorstep, and kick his *** ,or let your premises (scriptural behaviors for bishops are not matters of dogma) rule over you as she was made a victim? As an earthly and spiritual father, I know what I must do. Since so many priests and laity sit by and do not prevent this sort of thing there will always be the next generation of sexually abused children in a parish. Thanks be to God that he raises up those overseers ever generation who will devote years helping them to heal. If I can prevent even one of “these little ones” from being wounded in the first place maybe that priest can go fishing a little more often.
          Fr Andrew

          • oliver douglas says

            Exactly. If it were my daughter, I would have had a little chat with him at the doorstep, me and my baseball bat.

            • Oliver, how many 22-year old American women do you know?
              If you had a 22-year old daughter, would she still be living at home under your protection from older men?
              And, as long as I’m asking, are you really a rookie cop or the like? There’s just something about your posts that makes one sense law enforcement. A beat cop? Shopping plaza security? Just asking.

              • Heracleides says

                Perhaps he is a retired OCA transvestite bishop?

              • Dn. Gregory Conley says

                Your Grace,


                Really? Is there something inherent to being a law enforcement officer or a security officer that warrants this comment? I believe that they are honorable professions when done correctly. Much like being a bishop is honorable when done properly.

                Deacon and law enforcement officer

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Fr. Andrew–Father bless!

            I will repeat my consistent position: priests are akin to deputy bishops and thus are empowered (deputized) to act on their bishop’s behalf in most of a bishop’s ministries. We are of the same mind (I think), regarding the duties, responsibilities and authority of priests. When it comes to misbehaving bishops, however, only bishops have the authority to make decisions. I would hope that bishops make decisions with input from their deputies, as well as other church leaders, I would hope that the decisions that bishops make help the deputies’ ministries rather than hinder them. I would hope that everybody provides their opinions to their priests and bishops. The bottom line for me is that we are a hierarchical and not a monarchical church–that at least the OCA is trying to emulate the Apostolic Church’s conciliar nature.

            Regarding the behavior of +Matthias, I am not trying here to excuse his behavior. I have given my input through channels and am satisfied that I have done my duty as a lay person. I am a priest’s son and appreciate very much what you are trying to convey. Also, I do understand that sometimes edicts and decisions from above make life harder for the parish priests. You have my sympathy and great regard. Kissing your right hand, Carl Kraeff

        • Except the synod can’t figure out how Jonah sinned yet.

          Not surprising, they have no motivation to figure it out until after they elect someone else. Maybe they will have an epiphany after they push through their agenda.

        • I cannot consent to your point 3.2.

          How did Metropolitan Jonah sin (presumably egregiously) on multiple occasions and refuse to repent of it.

          Based on what I’ve read from his detractors, let me see if I can figure it out.

          1. He too often acted unilaterally without consulting or getting the permission (aka consensus) of the Holy Synod.

          Yeah…but weren’t the people he is accused of not playing nicely with the same ones who worked from the very beginning to undermine his rule? How is it a sin not work openly with those actively trying to stab you in the back? Besides…he was the Metropolitan….he had authority to act unilaterally in some ways. He certainly needed to keep the Holy Synod informed of his policies, preferences, and goals for the OCA, but he was not their sock puppet or a mere figurehead who had to ask permission to go to the can from his brother bishops. So…I don’t really see any sin here…except perhaps excessive naiveté about the way things “work” as opposed to how they are supposed to work…canonically speaking.

          2. What was his other sin…oh, not believing the tomos was a sacrosanct article of faith in the OCA informally appended to the end of the Creed. “I believe in only holy autocephalous Church in North America according to the tomos.” Instead he looked upon the unity of the Orthodox faithful as the main thing…the important pan Orthodox goal in North America…not protecting jurisdictional fiefdoms at all costs. So…I don’t see that as a sin…looks a whole lot more like a virtue to me.

          3. Then there was this other sin…he was not always diplomatic with the EP. Horrors. Not politically savvy…part of the learning curve no doubt…but a sin?…oh that all our hierarchs should sin so boldly.

          4. Then there was this alleged mishandling of a priest accused of a serious sex offense that turned out upon closer examination to have been no mishandling at all and there was no sex offense of the sort alleged about the priest and his alleged covereruper, Metropolitan Jonah…so now being accused of mishandling a priest involved in a serious sexual indiscretion even though there was no actual mishandling and no serious sexual indiscretion (rape/attempted rape) is a sin. It’s enough that the report that accused him was written by the same ones who have been out to undermine him from the beginning…because they are doubtless above such horrid lapses of judgement as displayed by Metropolitan Jonah (i.e. he did not discreetly use his new power to crush his opponents and root out his rivals by any means necessary while he had the chance) That is a terrible sin is it not?

          5. Oh then there’s the horrible scandal of getting too chubby and sweating too hard when he vested…it makes the taper bearers uncomfortable to have to witness such a thing. O, the humanity. Yes…one can probably make a case that there is a sin involved there at some level…and I sure it every bit as serious as the attempted seduction of young women via text messaging, shacking up with your deacons, permitting the OCA to be robbed blind, jail time for DUIs, dead people in your basement in questionable circumstances, and permitting sexual predators to prowl the halls of one of our seminaries. In today’s world, no doubt being fat is every bit as an impediment to being a good metropolitan as any of the others…worse perhaps because begin fat is just so publicly visible. Makes us look bad.

          I don’t see the great sin Carl. What was he so unrepentant about, what was he so fruitlessly warned about that it required the Holy Synod…or a portion of it pretending to be speaking for the whole synod to ask for his resignation? What did he do that was anything near what some of his “brother” bishops have done with impunity…or near impunity. What were these so called “many chances”? What is the scandal of Metropolitan Jonah except that he intended to be an Orthodox Metropolitan and not a sock puppet in a white hat?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Seraphim–My entire Set 3 argument depends on Premise 3.1, for my conclusion is “From the perspective of Premise 3.1, both bishops have been treated equitably.” In other words, my argument is a logical one but I would have reached the wrong conclusion is it is not true that “A sin is a sin is a sin (or falling short of the mark).”

            Well, it is true that these two bishops have fallen short in different ways. It is also true that some folks may feel that one is the greater sin. But, I ask you, why should that make a difference? Indeed, why should what any of us think make such a difference? Are we a democracy? Are you (or for that matter I) set aside to “rightly divide the word of truth”? Are we given the charisma that bishops receive at their consecration? Who are we to presume that we know better or have the authority to speak definitively on matters that are not in our purview?

            • Seraphim98 says

              Dear Carl,

              First and foremost we all sin or have sinned and fallen short. But surely you understand with respect to fitness to govern in the Church there is a vast difference between a bishop being overweight and shacking up with a deacon….or any other clergy for that matter. Just ask any member of your family who would they object to more as a guest in your home a fat person or a sexual predator? All sin misses the mark, but not all sin is equivalent in its errant aim…else why have any moral standards at all for Church office…we all sin…it’s all forgivable. Turning the cheek and turning a blind eye are not the same.

              As for all the other accusations I’ve heard leveled at Metropolitan Jonah…I’ve not seen anything else that qualifies as sin…at least a sin which demands some sort of adverse action on the part of his fellow bishops.

              Earlier you wrote that the laity cannot pass judgement on the hierarchy. I’m not sure that is strictly so since the Scripture says that our rulers if they do wrong are to be intreated as fathers to amend their ways: ITim. 5 “19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”

              What is the laity to do when unrepentant elders do not heed the rebukes given by other bishops. The Synod did not heed the rebuke delivered to them by their own metropolitan in Santa Fe. They did not heed the rebuke of the MP in Russia. The ignored all the signals that they had erred sent by the MP such as pointedly continuing to refer to Metropolitan Jonah as “His Beatitude”, the minimizing of OCA participation in MP/ROCOR events in North America.

              So…if as you say the role of the laity is to preserve the Orthodox is it then irresponsible of them to publicly underscore the notable lack of repentance of erring elders (at least by the lights of their brother bishops here and abroad) so that as the Scriptures say, “so that the rest may stand in fear.” Do we not also have the late Archbishop Demitri’s own exhortation to the laity to fight for what they have lest they lose it all?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Dear Seraphim–I agree wit you that “with respect to fitness to govern in the Church there is a vast difference between” sins or shortcomings. I am glad that you brought up governance because when I read the official record, I see that +Jonah has had serious shortcomings. i only need to take his own words into account to form this opinion. Furthermore, the statements of the Holy Synod indicate that +Jonah has fallen short many times; that his brother bishops have given him chance after chance to repent and reform; and that they asked him to resign as a last resort. I see a similar pattern here in the way that they are approaching +Matthias’ shortcoming. If you read the Holy Synod’s letter, you will see that a final disposition has not been made.

                Regarding passing judgment on the hierarchy, I am sure that you realize that there are different sorts of judgment. In your own example above, the laity that brings charges against their elders must have exercised judgment in the first place. That sort of judgment is not what I had in mind; I think it may be clearer if we look at what happens in a court case. The opposing counsels have arrived at multiple judgments in making and countering legal points,but the judge makes the definitive, official judgment. Again, the lawyer can recommend a judgment but only the judge makes the judgment. So it is with matters that are within the purview of our church leaders, all within their own areas of competence.

                So, what to do “when unrepentant elders do not heed the rebukes given by other bishops.” You gave the following examples: “The Synod did not heed the rebuke delivered to them by their own metropolitan in Santa Fe. They did not heed the rebuke of the MP in Russia.” I want to be careful here to separate your claim into two separate issues. The first one is fairly straightforward: the rebukes by +Jonah and the MP (if any) are not definitive because only the Holy Synod as a body is the supreme canonical authority in the OCA. You may agree with these rebukes but that does not make you or them dispositive. The second issue is more serious, but it actually describes what the Holy Synod did to +Jonah (read the Santa Fe minutes) and to +Matthias. The answer is quite simple; when an unrepentant bishop (even Metropolitan) does not heed the rebukes given by the Holy Synod, there are indeed consequences.

        • What was Metropolitan Jonah’s sin? I am referring to your false premise 3.2

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear loh–It does not give me pleasure to repeat, but I will have another go at it. The Holy Synod’s Minutes of the Santa Fe Retreat and the letter that explained the request for resignation contain descriptions of behavior that indicate violations of Canon 34, the OCA Statute and consecration oaths. In addition, they also indicate administrative shortcomings that were acknowledged by +Jonah on two separate occasions. I am not about to classify anything that he has done as a sin, specially in a Western sense. I hope I have answered your question.

            • What violations? If +Jonah Violated Canon 34, other bishops violated it too. It makes them hypocrotes. This arguement is stail and empty. It has been proven false over and over again.

              Try reading this, at
              Why I Disbelieve What the OCA Bishops Said about Metropolitan Jonah

              Part One: Many Allegations, Few Arguments“…Upon what basis, then, do the bishops expect the clergy and the faithful to believe what they say about Metropolitan Jonah? Themselves, essentially….”   and                                                                                                          Part Two: Testing the Only Argument That Can Be Checked Publicly“…more than 40% of the claims made by the bishops about this affair contradict key, publicly available sources….”                                                                      and                                                                           Part Three: A Tale of Three Tales“…the tale of Fr. Symeon grew, from a deeply flawed report that had some factual basis, to a version where even the nuggets of truth left in the first, flawed version had been abandoned.”

              • M. Stankovich says

                You shamelessly and self-servingly promote these arrogant, pretentious, and insulting “writings” of your own husband! WHO IS HE & WHO CARES? He to presume to instruct the entire clergy of why he disbelieves the Synod? WHO CARES? What is his position in history and of what significance was he when the architects of a truly American Orthodox Church fashioned a vision? HE IS INSIGNIFICANT! Where was he when they pieced together a foundation, a system of educating priests derived from an assemblage of theologians – men and women – who are revealed today as the fathers of our generation? HE IS A POSEUR!

                JOEL KALVESMAKI HAS NOT EARNED A VOICE! He has “assumed” a voice that belongs to those of us who have stood from the first day; dreams formed as a generation that listened to the reading of the Tomos of Autocephaly, that saw the photo of then Bishop Theodosius literally receive it into his hands, surrounded by Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff. The promise was made to MY generation, Dr. Kalvesmaki, and it is in the absence of the fundamental lack of vision and leadership of your former Metropolitan Jonah that it has withered. I hold YOUR generation responsible.

                I am now standing atop Volume XIV of the Post-Nicene Fathers to tell you What I Believe: Shut up and get in in line behind me. I was given the promise of an Autocephalous American Orthodox Church in America, and I have waited over forty years in obediance and service. I have earned my voice. You can learn from me – as I learned from the fathers and teachers of my generation – that humility is rewarded, and insolence is not. “By the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit” the Church will weather another storm, with or without us. This is our Faith, it is our Tradition, it is delivered to us by the Patristic Fathers. If you cannot accept this, move on. Another will gladly take your spot.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  Wow. Publican and Pharisee anybody?

                • Just so tired of it all says

                  I see you’ve added SHOUT CAPS to your italics and “scare quotes” Oh, and boldface, too. You’re running out of affectations. If you “write” like this “professionally,” it’s a wonder your files don’t get FLAGGED during audits.

                • M. Stankovich. This outpouring of yours relative to the action of Bishop Alexander, disqualifying an elected delegate to the AAC, is way over the top! please note that Bishop Alexander, in his official letter disqualifying Kalvesmaki (did you read it here?) , stated the REASON for disqualifying him as “carrying sentiments against the Holy Synod.” Carrying sentiments, M. Stankovich! What does carrying sentiments mean to you, a mental health professional? What does “carrying sentiments” mean to you, who are an old line member of the OCA? I was at an AAC in Pennsylvania when a Father Yermakov (sp?) stood up as Father Alexander Scheman, clergy vice-president of the Council, was speaking and said, “Listen, everybody, you are now listening to the actual voice of Satan!” Was he disqualified as a delegate for his “sentiments?” No. The Metropolitan and all the Bishops and delegates sat there and said and did nothing. Yet, you agree with the disqualification of a delegate for his ******sentiments!******. Having favorable sentiments towards the Holy Synod is NOT listed in the Statute as a qualification to be a delegate.
                  Mister Stankovich! READ the Statute/ I’m assuming you respect it and recognize it as a positiv achievement of the OCA in which you grew up! There is no ideological test to be a member in good standing and, therefore, eligible to be elected a delegate.
                  We do not have mind control, brain washing, or any sentimental litmus paper.
                  Don’t you feel, as a logical person, that Bishop Alexander could not think of even one minor infraction of the Scriptures, Canons or the Statute upon which he could disqualify Kalvesmaki and therefore had to settle for “carrying sentiments against the Holy Synod? ”
                  By the way, NEITHER Father John Meyendorff NOR Father Alexander Schmeman was present when the Tomos of Autocephaly was handed to Bishop Theodosius, nor is there ANY photo of them at that scene. Clergy there were Father Daniel Hubiak and, i believe, Father Daniel Skvir.
                  Why are you trampling on the Post-Nicene Fathers? Wouldn’t it be better to quote them or follow their exhortations?
                  M. Stankovich. You, and a Bishop, are ignoring the Statute.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Can you believe it? Now Mr Stankovich wants our thoughts to be policed. “I love Big Brother!”

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Vladyka Tikhon,

                    I suppose you’ll have to explain this to start.

                    • Yes, I’ll be glad to explain that photo to you. That’s Father Daniel Skvir of SS Peter & Paul Church, NJ, closest to Bishop Theodosius in that photo, Mr. Stankovich. Neither Schmeman nor Meyendorff were there. They were both in Crestwood,Tuckahoe, New York. That’s why your mention of them being in this photo is so….inaccurate.
                      Is that the explanation you needed? Anything more you’d like to learn from me about Metropolia/OCA history?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Vladyka Tikhon,

                      I hardly think it possible to confuse Fr. Daniel with Fr. Alexander. When I was assisting with the construction of the sorely missed, and long out-of-print Orthodox America (a treasure which I unfortunately lost over the years), on the back of this photo was handwritten in Russian that Fr. Alexander was standing at the right shoulder of (then) Bp. Theodosius. Likewise, I recall that in a CBS News interview with Met. Theodosius & Fr. Alexander together, they discuss this event. This is the extent of my “authority.” Holy Cow! Vladyka Tikhon, if I am “inaccurate,” I stand corrected: “Do not turn away your face, for I am afflicted.” (Ps. 118:107) Will there be a charge for the next consultation? (I’m joking)

                    • Mister Stankovich, I’m very surprised that you, who have not infrequently referred to your closeness to SVS, Father Schmeman, being au courant in the history and culture of the OCA/Metropolia have looked at a very clear photo of Patriarch Pimen, Bishop Theodosius, and Father Daniel Skvir, didn’t even recognize Father Skvir, didn’t know that it was he and Father Hubiak that accompanied Bishop Theodosius to Russia, and thought that Father Skvir was Father Alexander Schmeman…it’s just breathtaking.
                      Remember THIS is what you wrote “the photo of then Bishop Theodosius literally receive it into his hands, surrounded by Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff.”
                      Surrounded by? By whom?
                      I’m glad you’ve clearly apologized, for there are some here who go WAY overboard in attacking you in a personal way and your input here, and they are wrong to do so. We all get carried away, but some act as if it’s the end of the world when you do! Why not take a look at the material Dr. Kalvesmaki assembled and forget WHO he is: rather weigh the materials and ask how those materials could disqualify him as a delegate according to The Statute? And to think that this injustice, yes, injustice, was perpetrated by a cleric vaunted as an academic himself…. The headlines, “Little Marquette Lashes out at Mighty Dunbarton Oaks” news at eleven!”

                    • What’s to explain, M. Stankovich?
                      The OCA delegation to Moscow for the reception of the Tomos in May 1970 included Bishop Theodosius of Sitka and Alaska, as he was then, Priests Daniel Hubiak, John Nehrebecki, John Skvir, and John Turkevich, Prof. Constantine Kallaur and Mr. Stephen Kopestonsky. Frs Meyendorff and Schmemann were not there and are not in the pic(s), no matter what it says on the back of your copy of the pic of the granting of the Tomos.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Vladyka Tikhon,

                    I have no interest in who does or does not attend the Church Council in Parma. None. Common sense – freuently referred to as wisdom – would suggest, however, that if you are so insolent as to refer to the entire Synod of Bishops as liars and character assassins, you would be prepared for a bit of discipline – sometimes referred to as your just desert. Unless, of course, you were insolent… Then it is referred to as ” being handed your hat, because now it will again fit your head. Vladyka Tikhon, for heaven’s sake, what knucklehead would go toe-to-toe with a Golitzen? Seriously? Is the man illiterate as to history? I say, let him and the former Metropolitan ride in atop a symbolic “Hannibal’s elephant,” and I’ve found just the music for the main event (and be sure to click on #1 for the “sanitized” version!). As to your second point, let me emphasize, “The law is my delight” (Ps. 118:7), because the reward is found in obedience, and the desire for obedience is sadly absent in the “new wave” of Orthodox. When did we stop teaching – or better, when did the “new wave” stop listening? I suspect right around the lesson that began, “Who are you, and who cares?”

                    • M. Stankovich, you bold-faced a misspelling of Bishop Alexander’s family name. The Galitzyns or Golitzyns, etc., are one of the hugest of the old Russian boyar families, descended from a boyar whose family name was Bulgakov, but whose popular nickname was ‘Golitsa.”. Some have been very rich; some far from it, some have been enlightened or educated; some not. One of the earliest immigrant-members of that huge, diversified tribe was an important figure in the history of the state of Pennsylvania; he was a JESUIT MISSIONARY there, “Prince Galitzin (sp?).” Look him up in an American history book…around Muhlenberg’s time. He rode a horse on his missionary travels.
                      As for music at a Council, I’ve always had an affection for Mendelssohn’s “War March of the Priests!” It’s especially stirring when played on a powerful pipe organ!
                      I don’t understand your opposition to Dr. Kalvesmaki at all. Surely, you are not just resentful of him as some kind of ‘arriviste!” It seems to me he has intelligence “to the max” and has done something with it. I think he is qualified to be condescending to the demonstrated attitudes of incompetence exhibited by those who blamed Metropolitan Jonah for incompetence, particularly, the authors and signers of that STINKBOMB of a Statement which turned out to be less accurate and more smelly than that old popular magazine of my day: “Confidential.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Well said, Your Grace. Dr Kalevsmaki is one of the soberest, self-effacing, and erudite men I have had the pleasure of meeting (if not yet in person).

                  • Basil Takach says

                    I would add to His Grace’s comments that those of us riding along in other ships in the Orthodox seas (i.e. jurisdictions) can add our own anecdotal evidence to his descriptions of past Metropolia/OCA Sobors from those of our own jurisdictions. Nothing is new under the sun, including priests calling out priests and bishops, lay folks laying the most vile invective at those who disagree and so on. The same is true over the years within our lay organizations like FOCA/FROC, GOYA, UOL, ACRY and at our own parish annual meetings etc… Egad, if disqualifications for having a sentiment against those in power were a basis to deny credentials – well none of us ever would have established a quorum!

                • All in the Family says

                  I won’t take the bait Stankovich after reading your amazingly hysterical attack on Joel. It is just too funny and absurd to even comment on. You really out did yourself with this one. LMAO.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  I have known him for many years and he is the least arrogant and the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever known. My husband and he share a love of coffee, and my husband keeps talking about setting up a coffee house as a business.

                  But, well, Dr. Kalvesmaki would rather spend his time learning Syriac and hunting down sources on Evagrius Ponticus, and thinking about number symbology in early Christianity. Waaaaayyy over my pay level.

                  I’m sure he would graciously sit down with you over a cup of fresh-roasted, brewed coffee or a bottle of micro-brew and have a nice chat. That is, if you’re brave enough to do this.

                • Can you believe it!
                  In his post above, Stankovich admonishes someone other than himself that “humility is rewarded, and insolence is not.”
                  Knows the Score is right.
                  Who else but Stankovichs’ generation led the OCA into the present mess,
                  and not this generation which has exposed it.
                  The irony of that is Stankovich, a mental health professional, is himself in denial with that.

                • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                  Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
                  M. Stankovich,
                  The links are thoughtful and detailed and reasonably stated.
                  But in your angry response as a man you boldly attack a woman and her family, in the name of Orthodoxy, and so demean basic aspects of our faith as well. You owe her an apology.
                  Please pray for me an unworthy sinner,
                  Alf Kentigern Siewers

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Prof. Siewers,

                    In all sincerity, I am happy to see that you are safe from the recent storm(s), and I hope you are safe and well.

                    It is said that preliminary “talks” between Metropolitan Nikodim of the ROC and Fr. Alexander Schmemann regarding an American Orthodox Church began as early as 1963. There are volumes written as to what the possible motivations of the ROC might have been, and it is insignificant to pursue here, because the point is that a “vision” was set in what will soon be fifty years. Astonishing.

                    When Prof. Kalvesmaki entered the Orthodox Church, the negotiations and “vision” of the church in America already existed for nearly thirty-five years, and the OCA functioned as an autocephalous jurisdiction for nearly thirty years; I had already been a student, parishioner, and field instructor at SVS for twenty-four years. For me to say that Prof. Prof. Kalvesmaki has not earned the voice to instruct the entire clergy and the ultimate and final authority that is the Synod of Bishops is not attack. It is the identification of insolence and an ill-gotten, undeserved “voice.” I have been in the presence of the extraordinary bishops, and priests, and theologians of our generation! And like those with me, I have heard them with my ears and been privy to their thoughts; confessed to them and received their counsel; listened to them preach and teach, live and in real time. I know the difference! “Who are you, and who cares?”

                    I challenge anyone to go and read the long-suffering Fr. John Peck on the AOI site regarding the Orthodox Church of Tomorrow. This is a man who has actually suffered for his “message.” This is a man who came to this Church and respected the wisdom, the vision, and the suffering of the fathers, teachers, theologians, and architects before him, and is being transformed. There is no insolence in him. Fr. John is whom Joel Kalvesmaki should aspire. Here is his model of humility. Σοφία· Ὀρθοί! Pay attention, Prof. Siewers! This is not arrogance, it is wisdom.

                • Mark from the DOS says

                  The phrase “Physician, heal thyself” comes to mind.

                • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                  That tirade against Dr. Joel Kalvesmaki, a distinguished scholar and exemplary Orthodox Christian whom I honor as a friend, is the last straw. I suggest that we, all of us who participate on this message board, have heard quite enough from Mr., Dr., or whatever-he-is Stankovich, whose rants, insults, and pedantic self-promotion have become too tiresome and insufferable to bother reading further. For the love of all that is holy, may he take his own advice and be silent already and leave the rest of us to grapple with the present crises in the OCA and the rest of Orthodoxy in America with at least a modicum of mutual respect.

                  • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                    Father, your blessing! I agree and am sure many in the Orthodox online world do. This is not the first time that he has also gone after Ms. Kalvesmaki in such an inappropriate way, as he publicly elsewhere online has told of his temptation to humiliate her. Instead of lecturing others on wisdom, better to apologize, or be silent. This is doubly true when the OCA struggles with issues about proper treatment of women by men (including in communications) among many scandals. His good friend our Chancellor Fr. John Jillions I am sure would not counsel him to continue his comments here.

                  • Basil Takach says

                    At the risk of a bit of gloating, those of us riding along in those other ships in the sea of American Orthodoxy are rather used to the sort of arrogant defenses of the status quo that one hears on here from time to time. And – the sting does hurt, particularly among families where one brother was Metropolia, another UOC, another ACROD and yet another married to a Greek Catholic in those old time towns where four or five parishes were built out of division mostly caused by the arrogance of strongly held opinion. (Granted, some of that arrogance was responsible for many of us actually being Orthodox, but not all arrogant behavior leads to a good end place.) I have many friends and family in the OCA whom I truly love and respect. I pray that the Holy Spirit may guide your Sobor, held calm the waters and lead to some healing. This can not continue without inevitable self-destruction.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Fr. Alexander,

                    You have had your moment to suggest I “stand down,” as if I am somehow your subordinate or “charge,” and you will judge if it was played wisely. The respect for the collar “around” your neck – at the very hand of the Tradition that elevated you – I have shown to you without qualification. If you would speak to me in an authority derived by what is “pinned” to your collar, you know as well as I: that respect is earned. You may commence at your leisure.

                    The issue, Rev. Fr., is substance, not your personal dislike for me, or your “affront” at my words, or my “scurrilous demeanor,” nor your introduction of your endorsement of a personal friend. Cheap conventions, all. I am from a scrupulous environment of debate, both psychiatric and theological, and what you offer is white-noise distraction. I have not made a single claim as to Prof. Kalvesmaki’s character – I have never met the man – but rather his demonstrable content, wisdom, and discernment. And because of your assessment, I should “shut up” to facilitate your “grappling” in mutual respect? Who are you, and who cares?

                    “Pedantic self-promotion?” Seriously, Fr. Alexander? I have no books to peddle on Amazon; no respect to garner; no office to seek; no position to which I desire to ascend. I am richly blessed by our God to conduct my little “ministry” among those scorned for good reason. “Faithful over a few things,” and inconsistently at that. This accusation is unfounded, and in fact, dumb. I have been referred to with every pejorative derivation of “covert operative” – and the good Prof. Siewers just could not contain himself from sullying my relationship with Fr. Chancellor Jillions with his crassness – or simply too stupid to realize I am a pejorative derivative (and I favor the latter).

                    Nothing – absolutely nothing – is more tiresome than addressing the “smartest guy in the room.” White-noise distraction serves one purpose, and that is misdirection. I will always be correctable as to matters of substance, but I will not be “ordered” again.

                • M. Stankovich wrote, in part: “JOEL KALVESMAKI HAS NOT EARNED A VOICE! ”

                  He was elected by his parish. How in your or any other sober world is that ‘not earning a voice’?

                  This matter is proceeding quickly to farce.

                  • And indeed, how in any ‘sobor’ world is that “not earning a voice”?

                    • In the present OCA setup, the parish determines winners and losers in elections setting forth who represents them. Then, we see the bishop telling the parish their winner is a loser, the parish need to choose from among the losers a ‘sort of’ winner who will then go represent them.

                      That is a very bad plan, if growth and not shrink is valued.

                      A better plan is to have any problems as to who can be on a ballot resolved by the bishop and priest before the election, so the parish isn’t told their winner is a loser, and the winner doesn’t have to endure public humiliation for the clergy’s failure to be proactive.

                • Thought experiment: let’s translate Mr. Stankovich’s diatribe into political terms and see what we get: “You just came to this country. My ancestors have been here for six generations. You weren’t here when we declared independence, when we passed the Constitution. We built this land, and now you and your political demands are ruining it. You haven’t been here long enough to have a voice. So go to the back of the bus, sit down, shut up, and let us keep running things as seems best to us.”

                  I daresay the esteemed M. Stankovich does not take this position politically. So why does he take it in the Church towards brother Christians? It is the same attitude some of the first Jewish Christians had towards Gentile converts.

                  • M. Stankovich says


                    My father spent the last several years of the Second World War as a captured POW in Dachau. He was among twelve Serbian officers whose “sponsorship” for immigration to the US was signed by President Truman himself. He was a “zealous” patriot until the day he died, and with good reason. When President Kennedy was assassinated, I stood in church that evening holding his pantleg as he wept like a child. Oddly enough, he was also a gifted speaker among the Serbian “lodges” and church banquets & anniversaries, speaking of his gratitude for the freedom his new country afforded the church and his family. This is to say that his gratitude over the gift he received earned him a voice. It was a value he deeply instilled in us.

                    I don’t much appreciate your ignorant “experiment” without knowing the first think about me. If you had any sense, you would follow my link to Fr. John Peck’s essay on the Orthodox Church of Tomorrow. That is my “position” regarding converts.

                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
                      The Nazis now have inevitably (in accord with Internet law) made an appearance on this thread via a Dachau reminiscence, in an effort to avoid a humanly decent apology to the Kalvesmakis. I can provide another family memory to match. My cousin was killed at Jonestown, Cong. Leo Ryan. He and my Dad were close. We have a bittersweet family video of them together in happier times. Cousin Leo was killed by folks in a cult built on dangerous rhetoric and control. The rhetoric of any mortal saying “this Church is mine and that’s wisdom you need to listen to, and you’re a worthless so-and-so in saying otherwise,” used in attacking the Kalvesmakis, is cult-like language and not Orthodoxy, especially given the thoughtfulness by contrast of Joel’s Christian critique of leadership flaws in a struggling institution. Using family reminiscences of Dachau and references to Fr. John Peck (an innocent worthy bystander not allowed to speak on his own on the actual issues), as human shields against any sense of conscience about the needs to offer an apology, only adds to the discourses of cult-like decadence continuing to emerge from the Online Church in America. Saying that the attack on the Kalvesmakis proceeds from a close textual reading when there is no textual reading furthers the Orwellian discourses claiming to offer us salvation in a “new church”: lawyers, psychologists, corporate-style planners, and p.r. spin doctors claiming to offer us salvation. These all seem to focus on a delusory vision of a para-church, not Christ’s Church, belying the way in which people are actually being treated. With the rhetoric evidenced in the public attack on the Kalvesmakis, a pious reasonable and decent family respected by many, the kind of people needed to keep the OCA a going concern, by a psychologist soclose to the Chancellor (the latter now making no apparent effort to stop this continued attack), why would the faithful wish to continue entrusting their families to the OCA?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      The essential difference between you and me, my friend, is that I need never mention you to defend the way of Holy Tradition and the Patristic Fathers. Any savant who is obedient, who has listened to learn, and respects his or her teachers in gratitude is capable, and at this time and place, it just happens to be me. Let there be no mistake, the issue is merit. On the other hand, Alf, you have gotten considerable mileage from me – and unfortunately John Jillions, simply because you exercise no boundaries. Let there be no mistake, the issue is insolence. And for what it’s worth, I am likely one of the very few to have even read your comments regarding strategic planning. You would make demand of me, Alf? No. You owe me.

                      You took it upon yourselves to affix your names – foisting the “authority” of scholars – to insolent and arrogant insinuations that the Synod of Bishops is composed of liars and characters assassins. So be it. But now you would wither into incoherence because of my objection? Attack? On merit, you scholars would be laughed out of my Dept. of Psychiatry before you removed your coats. Who are you and who cares?

                  • If I might respectfully submit a friendly amendment to your thought experiment. Rather than “we built this land”, actually all MS is saying was “I was a witness, I was the live audience for these events.”

                    As Peter Sellers illustrated in the film, “Being There” builds nothing.

                    And how or why MS’s audience status bestows any authority on him, moral or otherwise, is anyone’s guess.

                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      Yes, some things still don’t add up in M. “Modesty” Stankovich’s account of himself as the Forrest Gump of OCA autocephaly. While we await his apology to the Kalvesmakis, we must only conclude that the mysterious figure now under dispute in the photo of the giving of the Tomos is actually M. Stankovich.

                      He complains of insolence while touting his own obedience. But we wonder then to whom he then is under obedience in attacking a pious family like the Kalvesmakis, for thoughtful and Christian accounts, in accord with the role of the laity in Orthodox sobornost?

                      Hopefully it is not his close friend the OCA Chancellor, which would seem unlikely. True, the Chancellor’s Diary could strike by some as overly bold. And it is a first in the OCA to have such a self-promotional celebrity web column for the Chancellor, on a par with or a level above the Holy Saint of the day online. Yes, no other local Orthodox Church in the world seems to have similar self-promotion of a Chancellor’s views and doings. And the Chancellor in his Diary does seem to engage in offering spiritual messages to calm down criticism of the administration that he heads.

                      But it would be wrong for M. Stankovich to label this insolence, given how the scale between obedience and insolence in both of their written treatments of their First Hierarch remains for history to tell.

                      The gospel reading Sunday on the Good Samaritan is quite clear about who our neighbor is, whom we should love as ourselves–Christ as the Samaritan. And so we should see Christ in our neighbor and go and do likewise.

                      It’s a long leap away from this, though, to having a psychologist close to the Chancellor attacking a pious woman in our Church for standing up for her husband’s reasonable and Christian discourse. Perhaps secular psychology can explain the difference in approach.

                      His Eminence Archbishop Tikhon gave a beautiful and deep exegesis of the Good Samaritan story here this Sunday, which was a real blessing to hear. I also unworthily had the blessing to be able to express the hope to him in person later that the letter the scholars (including Joel and myself) had written was not interpreted as an attack, which it was not meant to be. His Eminence was very gracious.

                      Yet comes M. Stankovich claiming to interpret for the Holy Synod how they should read their mail. And for him in his self-diagnosis as a psychologist this is not insolence but obedience. So too then must be his lack of apology to the Kalvesmakis for his public indecency. But obedience to whom, we must only guess, as with identity of the mysterious figure in the Tomos photo, which may now become the grassy knoll of the OCA archives.

                      Please pray for me a sinner!

                • It is rather common, unfortunately, that when people attempt a rational discourse but then feel that they are loosing the argument, they abandon rationality and resort to emotional “arguments” and screaming. This happens when people are more interested in defending their position rather than finding the truth. Dr. Kalvesmaki does not need to “earn his voice,” whatever is meant by this. His arguments are cogent, his facts are verifiable, and his logic is impeccable. As for this hysterical scream from someone who has exhausted all arguments but would not admit the truth, well, this is the time when one calls the guards to politely escort the poor soul outside the room, so that those capable of logic can continue the conversation undisturbed.

                  • Brian McDonald says

                    “On the other hand, Alf, you have gotten considerable mileage from me – and unfortunately John Jillions, simply because you exercise no boundaries.” M. Stankovich

                    Thus speaks the man whose own respect for boundaries is demonstrated by a characteristic screed demeaning a woman for defending her thoughtful and scholarly husband’s concerns about our church: ” You shamelessly and self-servingly promote these arrogant, pretentious, and insulting ‘writings’ of your own husband! WHO IS HE & WHO CARES.” Perhaps the standards for debate are also being defined down as the same gentleman also assures us that “I am from a scrupulous environment of debate, .”

                    Yes, we should follow Mr. Stankovitch’s example and conduct our debates scrupulously observing the boundaries of charity and respect that he lays down for us.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. McDonald,

                      colette has made very public, very sarcastic statements that I am not worth reading, I have been “inattentive” to medications intended to control a psychiatric condition she apparently has diagnosed in me, and not only has she emphatically stated she will no longer read my post, she has recommended as much to everyone. Is this honest, dishonest, or posturing? I took this to be honest, and I am certainly not troubled by her decision. Her’s was not, however, a defense of her husband – and yours is a misrepresentation of nobility – it was again a defense of a similar, tired “canonical argument” with a link to his essays. I do know the difference, Mr. McDonald.

                      As to your second point, Mr. McDonald, I ask you to find an instance where Prof. Siewers has actually spoken to an issue on merit. From his first response regarding me, he speaks of my arrogance, my associations, my friends, the name of a former website, conjecture, “agendas,” now neutralizing “personal tragedy,” on and on. If I ever attempted a scrupulous, disciplined academic departmental debate in such a fashion, I would be shut down so fast my head would spin.

                      I am pleased to read the numerous personal endorsements of Joel Kalvesmaki on many levels – I personally have never met him – and I make absolutely no comment as to his character. I do however, stand by my opinion that he is misguided.

                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      M. Stankovich indicates that he makes no comment about Joel’s character. That’s after he called him a poseur among other things, and impugned the motivations of his wife. Then he refuses to apologize. Meanwhile he doesn’t seem to like any focus on his intransigence. The Kalvesmakis, known and respected by many, are good folks. They are the kind of family the OCA needs to keep. But he himself apparently left the OCA, or at least he never will profess his current membership. In Mr. Kraeff’s legal nomenclature that’s a no-no in that someone leaving membership in the OCA to join another jurisdiction gets labeled a schismatic, if I’ve been following him correctly. That seems a bit unbalanced, in the same way that half of Canon 34 somehow often seems to get left behind somewhere in his analyses. But perhaps I have this wrong and Mr. Kraeff can clarify all this for us while also encouraging an apology from M. Stankovich as well as a return to the OCA’s fold.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                First, let me say that I respect and admire Joel Kalvesmakis as a scholar, with a most impressive curriculum vitae: researcher in early Christianity (Ph.D., Catholic University of America 2006), author of three scholarly monographs, and Member of Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks. He appears to have a great number (and varied) academic areas of interest: Plato and Platonism, Orthodox Theology, Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, Early Christianity, Pythagoreanism, Digital Humanities, Digital Edition, Valentinianism, Evagrius Ponticus, Gnosticism, Patristics, and Greek Epigraphy.

                There is no doubt in my mind that Dr.Kalvesmakis possesses a keen intellect and prodigious scholarship. However, I see nothing in his curriculum vitae that indicates competency in the subject at hand. That said, I can understand your reliance on his analyses and I hope you will not be cross with me when I do not rely on the same. Thus, I categorically reject your contention that “If +Jonah Violated Canon 34, other bishops violated it too. It makes them hypocrotes. This arguement is stail and empty. It has been proven false over and over again.” I must also correct your impression that I have concluded that Jonah has violated Canon 34; I said something similar but ultimately different: “…behavior that indicate violations of Canon 34…” As I lay person, I stopped at “Indicate” for it is for canon specialists and bishops to definitively make this sort of charge. In other words, I may be saying there may be fire where there is smoke, but I do not have the authority and competence to say “there is fire indeed.” I would advise for Dr. Joel and you to dial back the rhetoric a bit and let your pronouncements become less definitive for it is not seemly for laypersons to usurp bishops’ authority.

  11. Defend the Faith says


    What pains me about the OCA Synod’s response to this sored +Matthias affair is that they ignore the therapeutic resources of the Church and simply defer to the princes of this world for healing. I would feel much better if they would have sent the bishop to a monastery to work out his healing with a respected elder or elders and then take their conclusions on the man and offer an opinion as to whether he is fit to serve or not.

    The OCA has so coupled itself to the secular healing that is diminishes it leadership in their belief in what they preach. They have put in place polices and procedures which leave the healing of both victims and perpetrators in the hands of folks like our good friend who writes often on this site. If I had a choice, I would prefer a saintly man or woman who has traveled the road toward Theosis than I would Dr. Freud. That is not to say that there are not good men and women, maybe even Orthodox who practice the secular art of healing, but to me it again shows how far the OCA has drifted away from first placing the healing of the soul in the hands of heroic Godly people.

    I am left with the impression that this Synod has taken the easier road to “let the professional deal with it” so that they don’t have to. They did the same to +Jonah and I would suspect that going forward that is how they will protect themselves with plausible deniability if things don’t work out. Spiritually all of this leaves me sorry for those who look to the Church for healing.

    And finally, the idea of transparency and accountability has become so twisted that every sin, every misstep has to be a public event. I don’t believe this is necessary and not that it should be covered up but resolution to problems can be faced out of the public eye. I don’t need to know everything, I would like to trust those in leadership, but I suppose at this time the OCA can’t. I hope other Orthodox Churches don’t succumb to this way of doing the work of the Church.

    Just thinking out loud. Take it or leave it.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Profound insights. I must agree with you. Bp Matthias could go spend some time at Valaam or Athos and be surrounded by men who have conquered their passions. The psycho-therapeutic model is clearly inferior. I know, because with every anti-depressant, mood-altering, and/or anti-psychotic medication I sell I have to give a 2-3 page monograph with this bold headline: “This medication can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies.” Then it goes into detail. I have to give this out for Chantix and ADHD drugs as well. Yes folks, if you’re medicating your kids because like most little boys they won’t sit still in school and the feminized academy can’t deal with normal boyish rambunctiousness, you are putting them at risk for suicidal ideation once they reach puberty.

      • Great points! And one of the reasons I homeschool. So far God has blessed my husband and I with four boys. I cannot imagine subjecting any of them to public school, particularly #2 and #3 who I am quite sure the schools would force me to medicate. I avoid the progressive/feel good educational models and philosophies. Instead we go with the centuries old Classical model. My boys with totally different personalities thrive in this environment.

        • …….has blessed my husband and M E, ( accusative case, whom did He bless, ME)
          and may He bless you even more………….

        • Kelly, while I agree with your decision to homeshool, I hope you are not teaching your sons that “my husband and I” can be used as a direct or indirect object. It should be “my husband and me”.

          • oliver douglas says

            Aren’t we clever. I’ll bet you are a school teacher.

            • Oliver, I am not a school teacher. Perhaps I should not let my pet peeve get the better of me, but the use of “xxxxx and I” as a direct or indirect object has become so pervasive that it is a struggle for me to ignore it. I hope that school teachers will emphasize to their students that this usage is incorrect. Forgive me for taking the discussion off track.

            • Newly added to
              Why I Disbelieve What the OCA Bishops Said about Metropolitan Jonah

              Part Two: Testing the Only Argument That Can Be Checked Publicly

              “…more than 40% of the claims made by the bishops about this affair contradict key, publicly available sources….”

          • lexcaritas says

            Like Marie, I also applaud Kelly’s decision to homeschool. As a part-time teacher of Latin students for going on a decade and half I can attest that there is no comparision between the maturity and interest levels of homeschooled young men and women and those who have spent the majority of their growing years in government schools–so many of which show the effects of half-a-century of decline due to the underlying secular, materialist philosophy that underpins them and subtle indignity that comes from their sheer size and the impersonality and institutional structure of many of these so-called places of learning.

            Marie is also right, of course, about the widespread and growing misuse of personal and relative pronouns and the mixing up of nominative versus dative/accusative case. It was extremely rare 40-50 years ago and now getting it wrong is almost de rigeure.


          • Of more importance than grammar questions — and I’m being as tactful as I know how to be — I hope that there is no message being sent that medication always is “bad”. (There are people who preach this, and I won’t hide that I react strongly against the position.) As a “special needs” parent of some “special needs” children, our family understands that the appropriate choice of medication for specific situations is to be supported. Opposing medications “on principle” is so unwise. Perhaps the mom who posted does not fall into that trap, but simply is wary of the mistakes made in some “outside schools”. I’ll back her for her caution, in that case.

            At any rate, we have homeschooled since 1995. It’s no guarantee of anything, nor is it the only worthwhile method of education. In our case, thanks be to our merciful God, four children have grown up — (youngest one still is growing up) — into articulate, well-read, socially well-grounded individuals. Two in college, one out and married, and one nearly in high school. Most importantly, they also are faithful to the Church.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Not at all, no medication can in itself be “bad.” Even Thalidomide has been found to be useful (but of course never used in pregnant women.) The poison is in the dose.

      • Certainly, teenagers are more at risk than adults in the depressive, suicidal aspects of some of these drugs and the fact that some of these drugs cause tardive dyskenesia is further cause for alarm.

        What is really appalling is that some schools (especially private schools not receiving federal funds who can be selective in terms of which students they accept) actually pressure parents to ask for some of these drugs before making classroom assignments.

        Some children literally learn better with kinetic learning, i.e. reinforcing the learning by literally moving as many parts of their bodies as possible while wearing soft soled shoes so that they are not distracted even by themselves. Kinetic learners sometimes are super sensitive to auditory and visual distractions and their kinetic activities helps them focus while the learning can later be reinforced outside of a classroom setting with the appropriate kind of visualization.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Michalopulos,

        Don’t be foolish enough to give out medical advice and not SPECIFICALLY refer someone to their prescribing doctor.

        Parents: If your child is taking any of these mentioned medications and you stop them without speaking with your child’s prescribing doctor, they may experience side-effects that could be extremely uncomfortable and/or dangerous. NEVER change a dosage or stop a medication before discussing it with your doctor.

        • Gailina Sheppard says

          Pharmacists dispense information, as well as medication, and are EXTREMELY qualified to recite warnings and precautions. Plus, George didn’t “advise” anyone to do anything! You’re the one giving medical advice (“. . . never change the dosage,” etc.) and you aren’t a medical doctor OR a pharmacist!

        • Michael,

          Yours is really good advice.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Actually Michael is correct in his advice.


          • Gailina Sheppard says

            No one said Michael was wrong. Michael was 100% RIGHT about the dangers of abruptly stopping medication without the input of the prescribing physician. I was just mildly irritated that Michael accused GEORGE of being “foolish” for “giving advice,” when George didn’t GIVE “advice; he was sharing warnings and contraindications, which he’s more than qualified to do. George was ALSO 100% right, BTW. He was NOT “foolish” or wrong. (Not making a big deal; just making an observation. I have respect for them BOTH.) If Michael reviews what George says again, he might just agree with me.

    • DTF, this is a sober and realistic assessment. Secular therapy is not without its usefulness (depending very strongly on the true spiritual maturity of the practitioner). I was a psychology major at a Christian college (so what we learned was filtered through a Christian tradition), but especially in this sort of situation, I heartily agree with you.

    • justagoodoleboy says

      Just a though that was shared with me by a 80 year old PhD. in Psychology and a faithful parishioner, when I was a undergraduate.

      She said, There is no such thing as Psychology, only Psychologies.

      I take her meaning to be that there are as many different Psychologies as there are practitioners. There is a large spectrum of approaches to what constitutes an issue and how to treat it. Each approach being conducted by people of various spiritual outlooks and beliefs. Psychology as a whole does not exist, only Psychologies.

      I understand that “Psychology” is not the Gospel truth. Some of it’s conclusions and techniques can be justified by the revelations of our Risen Lord and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit. It can be a tool for healing people, but wasn’t the Church here and healing people before we had Psychology and Lawsuits? Why don’t we seem to have any of those holy guides among us?

      I shuddered when I first saw all the OCA emphasis on Psychological Testing. I thought, are we really not wise enough to understand that Psychology is not the gold standard, the All Holy Trinity and the Church are.

      I saw the Psychological tests as an attempted “safeguard” against lawsuits since the OCA could be less negligent in evaluating their clergy. The Psychological approach by the OCA hasn’t really worked too well in my opinion and continues to be misguided and even abused.

      What psychologies are being practiced and by whom?
      Were the psychological advisors disappointed with the content of the two letters we just received?
      Were they disappointed with the content of the letter about Met. Jonah?

      • to sum up the above. A wise priest I knew taught that ” when the Church fails to do its job, the secular world steps in.”

      • Gailina Sheppard says

        Psychology is intended to be used as a tool. In the right hands, under the right circumstances, it can be helpful, but it’s concerning that a Holy Synod would place so much emphasis on it. Their solution to every problem is to send someone off for treatment.

      • You’re quite right that there are many widely varying approaches in secular psychological therapies. I remember the professor in my Psychotherapy class citing a study comparing the effectiveness of three different therapies on the treatment of mild to moderate depression. What they found was the the effectiveness of the therapy did not correlate with a particular type of therapy, but rather with the perceived empathy, warmth and caring of the therapist!

    • DTF, your words reflect my thoughts as I read and reflected on the two letters. Does not the Church contain within herself the resources to heal the sinner? Why resort to secular professionals? Do they have power to heal that Christ lacks? That is what the Roman Catholics did in their own situation with sexually abusive priests: they ignored the ancient canons and followed the advice of the day of the professionals who claimed they could cure the offenders with therapy so they could be reassigned. We know how that turned out.

      What would Christian treatment look like here? Six months, a year, two years in a monastery with daily attendance at services, a penitential prayer rule with prostrations, frequent Confession to a wise, seasoned spiritual father, obediences to humble the soul, concentrated spiritual reading, cultivation of noetic prayer…?

      Instead, the bishops appear here to reveal a thoroughly secular mindset and confess their spiritual impotence to heal by submitting themselves to the “Response Team” (who are they again? what is their competence in spiritual healing?) and prescribing secular remedies no doubt dreamed up by a lawyer seeking to reduce legal liability. This is deeply troubling. Do they believe in the power of Christ the Great Physician? Do they have any idea how to bring that power to bear on the lives of others?

      St. Paul warns St. Timothy in his second epistle:
      “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

      Is the power of godliness still present in the OCA to heal, to make saints? Are our bishops able to communicate this power to us in their teaching, their preaching, their writing, and their example? Surely it has not been reduced to a form, for who wants a mere form of godliness? Life is too short to waste playing games. Time to ponder these words for their applicability to the OCA’s situation and Paul’s command in the last words of the passage.

      • Gailina Sheppard says

        “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power” is profound and very apropo.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I have a friend who is a pastor of a local fundamentalist Protestant church. His outreach is to recovering drug addicts and has a Christ-centered program (Victorious Overcomers) as well as talk therapy. He himself is a licensed therapist and has on his staff a psychologist. He is of the opinion that it is a mistake to rely only on one or the other approach; that using both approaches at the same time is most effective. Indeed, there is a growing agreement wit my pastor/therapist friend by secular therapists.

    • Disgusted With It says

      “I would feel much better if they would have sent the bishop to a monastery…”

      Gee, too bad the former abbot of a certain monastery in California has left. Bp. Matthias could have been sent there to be hypnotized to stop chasing girls — the downside of course being he’d then probably end up chasing boys.

      But all kidding aside, I agree that it would be better to heal him using a method that incorporates what the Orthodox Church has to offer in this process.

      • Thomas Paine says

        Just a point of historical reality; since the RC’s had celibate priests & bishops, nunneries were many times used as a places of respite. And, orphanages were in close proximity. Reality.

        • Disgusted With It says

          Thanks for that completely unrelated fun-fact of the day Mr. Paine.

        • The myth that all religious people throught history have been hypocrites and sexual perverts is sacred to the gay rights movement. Thank you for the timely reminder, Thomas Paine.

    • Where do you send him? Manton? S. Canaan? Hiram, the new Georgian digs with that Dionysios? All are the hideaways of perverts. Did I miss any? Who is the peer Bishop? Seraphim? Herman? Benjamin?

      I want my daughters and son safe from these sex abusers, homosexuals and perverts!

      Parma, organize!

      • Defend the Faith says


        The last time I checked there are monasteries of some renown outside the USA. Nonetheless there are monasteries here in the USA that are stable, sadly none of them reside in the OCA, another indication of the spiritual weakness of said jurisdiction.

      • Also Anonymous says

        I’m not aware of St. Tikhon’s Monastery being a “hideaway of perverts.”

      • Dear “Photios”‘

        Dionysios, who is no pervert, is in Greece! Male and female monks that used to be with him some time in the past in Greece who reside in America are now under the Georgian Orthodox Church or the ROCOR. None of his monasteries have active perverts nor do they tolerate them. The abbot who encouraged strange acts at Manton after Jonah became Metropolitan has been released by the OCA to the Greek archdiocese in Great Britain. St. Tikhon’s monastery, as far as I know, has no active homosexual in residence.

        Apologize please.

        • I suggest you check with the Greeks about Dionysios. In Greece it was known and That OCA bishop that came from Greece has full knowledge. I was in Chicago area for my job and visited a Greek priest that was my wife’s priest before we married and it was all he could talk about Dionysios’ deeds in Greece and the nuns that pulled one over on America. The Greeks also told me that an OCA bishop knew/knows him from Greece and knows all about this. I guess the Greeks are mad about the Georgian stupidity, and the OCA for making this mess.

          Apologize? Only when I am wrong.

          • Also Anonymous says

            You should certainly apologize for calling St. Tikhon’s Monastery a “hideaway for perverts.”

    • Charles Demetrios says

      Such is what happens when you have a worldly trained headshrinker (Dr. Eike) as one of the powers-that-be within the back halls in Syosset. I wholeheartedly agree that a period of time at Valaam, Athos, or even one of our better domestic monasteries (e.g. St. Mary of Egypt in NY, HoHC in WV) would be much better for +MATTHIAS than a stretch at St. Luke’s. That being said, I think one of the reasons this is being done is b/c of a glaring lack of candidates to replace +MATTHIAS. I think that if there were, waiting in the wings, a few competent and unassailable Archimandrites, then +MATTHIAS would be retired and the process to seat a new bishop for the DOM would’ve started. Alas, that is not the case, and so we in the MW are pretty much stuck with a “my way or the highway” bishop who now is also as morally compromised as +BENJAMIN or +NATHANIEL. Lord, have mercy on us!

      • Gregg Gerasimon says

        I truly hope that the the Synod did NOT think that since there might seem to be no other episcopal candidates, then let’s just abandon common sense altogether and plan to return Bishop Matthias to the Diocese of the Midwest.

        It’s far, far better to have one or two or three good bishops for the entire OCA than many bishops, among whom are some compromised and so ineffective bishops that they shouldn’t be in the episcopal office. My former OCA parish in Texas hasn’t seen an episcopal visit since 2006 or 2007 — that’s about 6 years. I understand that Abp Dmitri was elderly and subsequently retired in March 2009 (thus I understand why he could not visit in the latter years of his episcopacy), and now Abp Nikon (the Dos Locum Tenens) is ill and probably cannot travel. What good does it do anyone to have hierarchs in place who simply cannot perform their duties, one of which (and a foremost duty at that) is to regularly visit the flock?

        Heck, I’d be happy if the entire OCA had only 2 or 3 good bishops, one of whom would be Met. Jonah.

        We don’t need to keep ineffective or compromised hierarchs simply because we think that there are no others available. Christ is the head of the church — we should trust Him, should we not?

        Also, why capitalize all the letters in a Bishop’s name? I’d think that this is the last thing our episcopate needs at this time. I take this from Mark Stokoe’s old site, from an Editorial, Nov. 27, 2007:

        “…humility, perspective and common sense seem to have been abandoned in the OCA for ever greater and more pompous assertions of importance. It ranges from the silly (CAPITALIZING all the Bishop’s names) to the grandiose and illegal (such as attempts to buy influence and position by diverting charity funds to buttress the Potemkin village of an internationally significant OCA) to the surreal…”

        I agree with Mark on this one — there is no need to capitalize all the letters in a bishop’s name. It’s ridiculous, and I imagine that it certainly does not help with one’s humility.

        • Charles Demetrios says


          I won’t say anything about your being a bit nitpicky over how someone types out a hierarch’s name; however, I will simply state that is what I learned to do, out of respect for the office (not necessarily the person holding said office.)

      • If Dr. Eike is who the OCA is relying on for “professional” advice, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. This women was in the midst of the DC Nuns “investigation” and she didn’t interview all the people involved. She proved by her actions that the fix was in to get +Jonah. Just another sign of the sorrowful demise of the OCA. Very tragic.

        • In reading the analysis of the OCA synod against Met. Jonah by Joel Kalvesmaki especially the second essay, again the outrageous role of Dr. Eike in these sloppy OCA investigations and reports show me that they were working from a premise of finding evidence to get rid of Jonah – that there was a poisoned atmosphere already present fueled by the almost constant drumbeat of Fr. Hopko and Fr. Kishkovsky that +Jonah was “gravely troubled.”

          These folks now have their hooks deeply in the OCA administration. The MC has now named both Hopko and Kishkovsky as permanent advisors to the MC (page 18) . A reading of the Minutes of the recent MC meeting just leave me cold. This group lives inside a bubble and give the indication that all is well and will get better as long as they have the right procedures.

          Look, I may be missing something but as we get ready for Parma I get the sick feeling that the OCA will ignore the storm clouds and just go along without regard for the damage its leadership has inflicted and the direction of this jurisdiction. The OCA is going it alone and to hell what others think, even those inside the OCA.

  12. Michael James Kinsey says

    The Holy Elder is not saying, the only law there is, is love. The fulfillment of the Royal Law is Love is what he is saying. This written in our hearts, is our perfect standard. It is a standard that we require more to whom much is given, and less from whom little is given. The bishops have been given much and it is just to require more from them. The bishops in many cases, do not remotely approach fulfillment of the Royal Law as the contrived pretexts for Met Jonah’s removal are quite unholy, and do not approach a reasonable standard corresponding with Grace and the Wisdom fervently hoped for by the faithful from people of that clerical rank. It is not meet, to just humble ourselves to men and endure, we are required to humble ourselves to God, to Stand on the Truth and do Justice.

  13. Fr. Philip says

    In order to establish my bona fides, but without going into gory detail, suffice it to say that more years ago than I care to admit to (when I still had a waistline), a now-reposed OCA cleric attempted rather forcefully to assault me sexually. Being in better physical shape then than I am now, I managed to push him away and make my escape. At the time I was exploring becoming Orthodox. (Unhappily for the Church, the incident did not deter me from becoming Orthodox.) I never reported the incident at the time, because in those days males did not make such reports. But I did let go of it a long time ago.

    My point? Simple. I read through the above-posted comments as carefully as these old eyes permit, but nowhere did I see any reference to what in Galatians 6:1-2 the Apostle tells us plainly and bluntly: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Did I miss the reference? Or did some of you miss that Scripture?

    For too much of my life I’ve been a canon-quoting hard-ass, at least with respect to other clergy, because I really bought into that “higher standard” stuff. But now that I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, and ever time I open the Bible I’m cramming for finals, I’m faced with my repeated failures to regard my brethren with that spirit of gentleness, and can only repent in bitter tears. I once heard it said that the Church is the only army that shoots its own wounded. Why do we keep reinforcing that harshness?

    And no, I’m not saying that what the bishop did was OK or just “small potatoes;” it was gravely sinful. Nor am I saying that the young lady shouldn’t be cared for pastorally and receive an honest apology. I can’t say for sure, but having the opportunity to safely talk through what happened to me might’ve helped with later anger issues; and God forbid that she should have to suffer that! But it’s the Red Queen, not Jesus Christ, who’s forever bellowing “Off with their heads!”

    Maybe when we finally “get” that restoration rather than condemnation applies to the other guy as much as to me, maybe then we’ll really be the Church.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr Philip, the Pauline strictures that are placed on the episcopate (“…blameless,” etc.) are NOT “that ‘higher standard’ stuff.” They are the essence of the episcopate. However, I sense you are a merciful man who is cognizant of his own sinfulness (as am I). Therefore I ask you: does Metropolitan Jonah deserve to be brought before the Court of Second Chances, especially when we now know that he wasn’t guilty of anything?

    • Catholic Observer says

      Father Philip, I agree with George here. Of course forgiveness and mercy are paramount. But it is also crucial to protect our children — and our young adults, like this young woman — from predatory clerics and hierarchs.

      Hasn’t anyone learned anything from our Catholic abuse scandal? For too long, advised by secular psychiatrists, our bishops assumed that offenders could be rehabilitated and returned to active ministry. It didn’t work, and it endangered the flock, with often horrific results.

      It may seem charitable to maintain Bishop Mathias in his see, but it hurts his flock — both because it gives scandal and because it potentially endangers other young people whom he might victimize in the future.

      Just my two cents’ worth, fwiw, from the perspective of a lay Catholic and a mom who would not let her kids get within spitting distance of a credibly accused cleric, no matter how forgiven or repentant or reformed he might be.

    • Dear Father Philip,

      I love your writing, especially passages like

      now that I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, and ever time I open the Bible I’m cramming for finals.

      Brings that smile of recognition to my hard hearted soul.

      That said, it is lovingly ok to go for years without addressing someone who hates you and/or has attempted to hurt you and hopes never to ask your forgiveness, allowing them their exalted pride and hoping that one day they will repent and realize their error through confession’s introspection, Should they every address it, and another thing to allow someone the position to hurt others.

      When a teenager bullies or otherwise acts out inappropriately with others on Facebook or texting, you take away their devices and access until they are mature enough to realize that they can hurt others as well as themselves which such devices and means and methods. Here we have texting bishop. Who is paying his smartphone account? Ultimately us. Do we want him in a position to use texting on another individual? Can he discharge his pastoral duties without a smartphone?

    • Fr. Philip, I am so sorry that you suffered such a terrible experience at the hands of an OCA priest. I am glad that the pain of that circumstance has faded for you. You will be in my prayers for your continued healing.

      Now for the present case, we first have to consider that Bishop Matthias has not exhibited one shred of cognizance of his sin against this young lady, much less repentance for it. His letter is apologetic, but it proves once again that he does not even recognize why he is being punished. He thinks his supposed “pure” intentions vindicate his cause, showing no apparent recognition that as a vowed celibate he ought not have pursued affections for anyone. Unfortunately, that really limits the amount of mercy in discipline that ought to be extended to him, and makes the Synod’s kid-glove treatment of him that much more mind-boggling.

      If Metropolitan Jonah handled a priest in his diocese the way the Synod is handling Bishop Matthias, Metropolitan Jonah would have been strung up in the town square. In fact, Metropolitan Jonah was directly accused of malfeasance and putting the OCA at legal risk, even though we do not know whether or how much repentance the accused parties may have shown to Met. Jonah, and Met. Jonah was not the only decision-maker involved in those cases.

      In the case of Bishop Matthias, unfortunately, it is very clear he does not recognize the gravity of his transgressions. Yet he is being extended this very public opportunity for rehabilitation, and anyone who might question this is chastised for not showing forgiveness and willingness to give him a second chance.

      Bottom line: the Synod’s condemnation of Met. Jonah now fits their own actions. By all means, let them be measured to the standard they forced Met. Jonah to be held to.

      • Fr. Philip says

        Dear George, Helga, et al.,

        Thank you for your words of concern; but the incident happened more than 40 years ago, and the cleric has since stood before the dread judgment-seat of Christ. So please pray for him, that God, for Whom everywhen is the eternal now, will have mercy on him.

        Now, then, if we examine Galatians 6:1 carefully, we’ll note several things. Firstly, we’ll note that the word “overtaken” in the NKJV is elsewhere translated (e.g., NASB) as “caught.” Thus, the Apostle is addressing the situation not only of a person who on his own confesses his sin, but also a person who is caught by others in his sin. The latter is, of course, the more difficult case to deal with. But what’s important to grasp is that in either situation the goal remains the same: the sinning brother’s restoration. That does not necessarily mean that ultimately an erring cleric can be/should be restored to active pastoral ministry; each case must be examined carefully. (In this context, by the way, some reflection on the Lord’s own example in John 21:15-19 is certainly in order. Peter effectively deposed himself from the apostolic office by publicly and repeatedly denying his Lord; but that same Lord restores Peter fully.)

        In any case, certainly a “time out” for the offender is more than appropriate. Restoration can only flow out of genuine and profound repentance, a soul-deep change of attitude towards the sin which leads to a radical change of behaviour. That, in turn, requires (in some instances) intensive spiritual therapy (as opposed to psychobabble). And intensive spiritual therapy, including the daily opening of one’s thoughts to an experienced spiritual physician, takes a lot of time and a lot of prayer and a lot of fasting and a lot of hard work. Obeying the apostolic injunction in Philippians 2:12 to “work out [our] own salvation in fear and trembling” is never as easy as falling off a log. It’s always a tough slog. And one size does not fit all. Canon 102 of the 6th bids confessors, as physicians of souls, to treat each person as an individual “…and thus offer a treatment suited to the sin in question…,” applying akrivia (strictness) and/or ekonomia (accomodation) according to the person’s temperament, spiritual disposition, personal honesty, etc., so as to achieve the ultimate goal: “to curb the disease, and to put up a fight to heal the ulcer for the one tasting the fruits of repentance…”

        And let me be quite clear: the foregoing has to do, not just with how Metropolitan Jonah and/or Bishop Matthias have been dealt with by the Holy Synod. This has to do with how we deal with each other at every level of the Church’s life: in the parish, in the skete, in the chancery, in the Synod, wherever and with whomever God sends into our lives.

        To be quite honest, looking from that distance above the 49th parallel at what’s going on in the U.S. portion of the OCA, it’s more than a little puzzling. Whence comes all this rage, all these factions, all this lawyering-up and hardness of heart? In the current matter, who weeps, not only for the young lady, but for a fallen brother, all the more so IF (as is alleged) he seems not to “get” it and would in that case be labouring under the burden of delusion? In the Body of Christ there are no “unnecessary” members; in the true Church of God there are no “throw-away people.” And to suppose that the only alternative to cover-up and/or wink-wink/nudge-nudge is rage at and rejection of the offender is a demonically false dichotomy. Our path is so to love one another that we’re genuinely broken-hearted at a brother or sister’s fall and will throw ourselves headlong into sacrificial service to bring them back from the brink and into the healing of their soul. WWJD may seem “slick” and gimmicky, but the question remains valid. And reading the Desert Fathers as well as the Scriptures really helps to answer it.

        Well, enough. It’s almost 8pm; so it’s time for Compline and bed.

        Fr. Philip

    • Gailina Sheppard says

      I think Father Philip is cautioning us to dial back our anger. He is not disagreeing with our conclusions, necessarily, but wants us to keep our passions in check. We have to remain sober minded to set things right.

  14. Gregg Gerasimon says

    “Saint Basil the Great once deposed a priest because he committed adultery. After many years [of fasting and repentance], this priest was at a funeral. He approached the casket and touched the dead man and the dead man rose. He went to Saint Basil and said to him, ‘Do you need a greater sign than this of the holiness that I have acquired in order to send me back to my flock?’ Basil replied, ‘Your holiness is between you and God, but I cannot return you to your flock because you scandalized them. It is not right for you to go to them again.’


    And yet again, just when you think that you’ve seen it all in the OCA…. Is this Hollywood or is this real life? Sometimes I forget.

    George, once again you have this right on the money. This has nothing to do with forgiveness. As Orthodox Christians, I would venture to say that most (if not all of us) would have no problem forgiving Bishop Matthias (or anyone) who committed such an act and shows genuine, heartfelt humility and repentence. Whether Bishop Matthias demonstrates or demonstrated true humility in his letter (i.e., to quote: “I wish that I could convince all of you what I am certain of in my heart – that the conscious motives behind my interaction with this woman were not impure”) is entirely beside the point.

    At the crux of the matter is whether he should remain a bishop and can be an effective bishop. This is not 100+ years ago when stuff like this probably happened, and yes, few (if any) faithful ever found out about it because these things were kept quiet and the internet did not exist. The text message record between Bishop Matthias and the catechumen is on the internet where anyone with a computer and even 1990s modem can read it.

    Even if he went through 3 or 5 or 10 years of intensive therapy, even if he had the best peer guidance from one of his brother bishops (and which bishop would be his peer guide, exactly?), the fact remains that he cannot be an effective bishop. As St. Basil says in the illustration above, he “cannot return to [his] flock because [he] scandalized them. It is not right for you to go to them again.”

    Once again — this has nothing to do with forgiveness or repentance or spiritual growth. It has to do with (very simply): Is it right for Bishop Matthias to return to his flock? I cannot understand how — in this era of clergy abuse scandals gone wild and millions of dollars in lawsuits and the quickness and lack of love shown to Met. Jonah who was thrown under the bus and asked to resign for allegations that look like they weren’t even true anyway — how on earth could the Response Team and the Synod justify bending over backwards to rationalize to itself that it is acceptable to plan to return Bishop Matthias to the active episcopate, in the same diocese in which all this happened, no less?

    Who is in this Reponse Team that investigated what happened and forwarded its recommendations? Is it the Fully Amateurish Response Team, or FART team?

    In light of what we know and in this day and age of lawsuits, would any of you want Bishop Matthias to coach your children’s soccer teams? Be a camp counselor? Bishop Matthias could very well be the nicest guy in the world and this could just have been a huge outlier in what otherwise was a lifetime of perfect behavior, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t.

    I’m in the Army, and a friend of mine was recently busted for cocaine abuse. He’s a good guy and was a good officer generally, but he made some stupid choices, and the military found out. He’s now out of the Army, for good. Of course we still pray for him and hope he gets the help he needs and recovers, and he is still a good guy and a good friend, but the Army has no interest in letting him back in the service in a leadership position. And they shouldn’t.

    And the most bizarre line from the Synod’s letter, “Our God is the God of second chances.” Please. This statement is simply too sanctimonious. It is setting the stage for the Parma meeting, where “forgiveness” and “second chances” will probably be trumpted to no end in order to coax the faithful to simply try to forget and to get the faithful to continue to enable bad behavior. It’s completely, utterly ridiculous, and I can only pray that this does not happen.

    This is not about forgiveness — it is about enabling bad behavior. None of us should be comfortable with that.

    What do the faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest think? Is anyone happy with the Synod’s decision? Does anyone, besides the Synod and the FART team, agree with it? I pray that clergy and faithful will rise above anonymity and voice their thoughts, publicly.

    We simply cannot continue to enable bad behavior.

    • Where does it say that God is the God of second chance? Beginning with Adam and Eve being sent out of Eden,
      the Bible is rife with folks who didn’t get a second chance. Moses didn’t get to see the promised land. Forgiveness has never meant that we don’t suffer the consequences of our actions.

      • Being returned to the laity is a second chance. Bp. Matthias’ episcopacy is greatly compromised, and all the manipulative pseudo-pious blather in the world won’t change that. Leaving him in that position is a disservice to him and his scandalized flock. I pray that his eyes truly be opened to his errors so that he may repent. Mine, too.

    • Thank you, Greg. Well stated.

      We simply cannot continue to enable bad behavior. Some men should not be bishops as we see here on the West Coast, but the group in power are so compromised, they will put up with any kind of behavior such as slamming doors like a two year old.

  15. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    I just want to alert you all to essays that Joel Kalvesmaki will be releasing this week. Please visit daily:

      • Summary: It is entirely inappropriate for someone who thinks the bishops are human and can make mistakes (or perish the thought: sin!) to have any role in the functions of the OCA, unless they are an activist for sexual minorities in the church, in which case never mind. Furthermore, it is a sin to consider evidence, use your mind, or have a conscience, unless you are an activist for sexual minorities, in which case never mind.

        This is where this crisis intersects with theology. The current OCA really is teaching that the synod is infallible, teaching it as a matter of dogma, and acting accordingly. In addition, the gospel of sexual liberation has been lifted to such a height as to be equal to or higher than the dogma of synodal infallibility.

        I believe my own time considering the OCA has officially come to a close. Those who have children need to seriously consider the effect this institution will have on them.

      • So this guy can’t be a delegate at a meeting but MATHIAS can remain a bishop? UNREAL! They just ooze hypocrisy.

        Please, those going to Parma speak out and let them know we will no longer stand by. Those leaders who have lost the trust of the faithful must resign. The people can demand it if they won’t do the right thing and step aside.

  16. Wonder if they will bar Bishop Mathias from the AAC as they appear to be doing to Metropolitan Joinah. Does the place that they are meeting have a very strong icon scree that all the Bishops can hide behind!

  17. Of course, I’m not sure the same autocephalous local church coming down hard on one hierarch for what he might have meant and done can do so without acknowledging its wink and a nod approach to its first two Metrpolitans and their scandalous (past?) actions. Even if such intimations are not true, the image of Metropolitan and ‘long-time companion’ living next door to monastery and seminary is itself scandalous, as has been the long-time silence regarding it. Same with now repentent clerics who went off for a gay marriage ceremony before returning to serve at a sunny climed Cathedral and rooming with a ‘retired’ bishop.

    At a certain point, economia and pastoral discretion become little more than code words for ‘I do what I want when it’s convenient to me’ – which simply asks the faithful to make it less and less convenient, and thus the rise of agitating camps in said autocephalous local church.

  18. Saint Basil the Great once defrocked a priest because he committed adultery. After many years, this priest was at a funeral. He approached the casket and touched the dead man and the dead man rose. He went to Basil and said to him, “Do you need a greater sign than this of the holiness that I have acquired in order to send me back to my flock?” Basil replied, “Your holiness is between you and God, but I cannot return you to your flock because you scandalized them. It is not right for you to go to them again.”

    Who will give us the like of Basil the Great so that we feel that the group we are a part of is truly the Church of Christ?

    – Metropolitan Georges Khodr,

    Of course, I’m not sure the same autocephalous local church coming down hard on one hierarch for what he might have meant and done can do so without acknowledging its wink and a nod approach to its first two Metrpolitans and their scandalous (past?) actions. Even if such intimations are not true, the image of Metropolitan and ‘long-time companion’ living next door to monastery and seminary is itself scandalous, as has been the long-time silence regarding it. Same with now repentent clerics who went off for a gay marriage ceremony before returning to serve at a sunny climed Cathedral and rooming with a ‘retired’ bishop.

    At a certain point, economia and pastoral discretion become little more than code words for ‘I do what I want when it’s convenient to me’ – which simply asks the faithful to make it less and less convenient, and thus the rise of agitating camps in said autocephalous local church.

    • 123—

      I think your point about inconsistency engendering or exacerbating partisanship in the Church– as exemplified by OCANews and this site– deserves greater attention and reflection.

      • I agree. When there are few non-negotiables, then everyone wants to negotiate everything. If the currency of that negotiation is gossip, muckraking and politicking, especially if tied to scandal and money, then people will trade that currency in their negotiations.

  19. Ivan Vasililev says

    “He has scattered the proud in the imagination of of their hearts” (Luke 1:51)
    Perhaps all this is simply to show us the foolishness and conceit of the OCA at this point in its existence. And perhaps now it the time that “he has put down the mighty from their thrones” (Luke 1:52 NKJV). Everything happens for a reason. There is no other way to explain the extraordinary arrogance that the Holy Politburo showed in making their letter public right before the Parma Party Plenum. Any rational politician (an oxymoron?) would have had the sense NOT to do such an outrageous thing in the face of a hurt and angry public (Church). There is no other explanation than to see this in the light of God’s hardening the heart of Pharaoh after the plagues on Egypt.

  20. Neither repentance nor forgiveness nor love can unscramble an egg. A man who has rendered himself unfit to hold his office must be removed from it for the good of the Church.

  21. I am so thankful I was in the basement dealing with my two littlest ones during the announcements yesterday because I am certain I would have offended my priest and other parishioners with all my eye rolling. I am not sure what to do. I really do like my priest and my parish outside of its liberal leanings, but I am just so disgusted with the hierarchy. And nearly all of Fr. Jillion’s diary entries tick me off and make me second guess even more staying in the OCA. The way he writes his entries lead me to believe there is no place for people like me in the OCA. A traditional, conservative Orthodox Christian. My Catholic husband suggests going back to the Catholic church because even though the liturgy would be crap (we only have NO masses in our immediate area) at least I would be among my own people. It sure is tempting right now!

  22. I say again.

    P A R M A

    Organize, organize, organize, organize. Take back the Church brothers and sisters!

  23. Rod Dreher says

    And yet again, just when you think that you’ve seen it all in the OCA…. Is this Hollywood or is this real life? Sometimes I forget.

    Me too. I’ve been out of the country, and not reading the blogs. You can’t make this stuff up anymore. It used to be tragedy. Now it’s just farce.

    • AltarTable says

      Re real life –

      Is this the real life?
      Is this jusn fantasy?
      Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
      Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see,
      I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
      Because I’m “easy come, easy go”…..
      Didn’t mean to make you cry
      If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
      Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters
      Too late, my time has come
      Sends shivers down my spine
      Body’s aching all the time
      Goodbye everybody – I’ve got to go
      Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth…


  24. Why doesn’t JONAH get forgiveness and a second chance?

    • Alex says

      Why doesn’t JONAH get forgiveness and a second chance?

      1. Nothing to forgive.
      2. Up to us and the Synod, not him, to beg his forgiveness, ask him to return. Haven’t heard many voices.

  25. The problem with ALL of these OCA Bishops, through ALL of these scandals (the SIC Report, the Seraphim affair, now this) is that the bishops themselves should resign. They are to be above reproach and obviously they are not. But they hang on by their fingernails, never really admitting anything or showing true repentance, and just guilt us into leaving them in place by preaching forgiveness. The mess of the OCA can be traced right back to those bishops who sat by and did nothing, who never resigned. Their power and position is just so important that they deceive and sin to hang onto it. It is just scandal after scandal. They all have to resign – that would be the ony thing to demonstrate to me that they get it. You are not fit to lead so get out of the way.

  26. Fr Jonathan Tobias says

    I looked over both letters that were required to be read at Liturgy on Sunday. Because I know, somewhat, His Grace Matthias, I will not review his regrettable letter publicly.

    But I will take the other letter to task. There is no place whatsoever in the ethos of Orthodox Holy Tradition for the simpering notion that a passionate man misplaced in the episcopacy should be sent to therapy, and required to give a pharisaical “apology.”

    Where has there ever been uttered the phrase “peer bishop”? Forget canon law, which is completely irrelevant to the synodal mindset at the nonce. What about the canon of Tradtion? Where is there any foundation for the sending of an errant bishop to a secular or heterodox psychotherapeutic discipline?

    Of every sad and squalid episode in this long reality TV show, the idea that a bishop-gone-bad should be sent to “therapy” is the worst. I speak as a former secular psychotherapist: what possible diagnosis and treatment plan could be generated for the case of Bishop Matthias?

    I’ll spare you the suspense. There is none, because Bishop Matthias suffers from no mental or emotional illness. I’ve had a slew of truly disturbed clients — and the troubled bishop is like none of these.

    Sending the texts he sent is no symptom in any clinical diagnosis. Whoever draws the short straw and has to do the intake assessment for Bp Matthias at admission is going to have a devil of a time substantiating any DSM-V code,

    Of course, sending people to therapy has always commended itself as a convenient escape. But I contend that such a resort has no support in Holy Tradition.

    If the episcopacy were really interested in therapy and remediation, then they would trash the admission paperwork for Bp Matthias at whatever sanitarium they’re sending him to — where, after a few weeks or months, he’ll be discharged. They would also trash any notion to get Bp Matthias to “apologize” to the victim.

    Heavens to Betsy: ther is no mention of “apology” in Holy Tradition. There is only solitary repentance, remorse and reparation. Forget the “I’m sorry” BS — because, to be honest, that is what most apologies are.

    So instead of therapy and apology — a programme so loved by the Synod only as a cliche — I suggest the following:

    An immediate and indefinite leave of absence. It seems to me that manly dignity would impel this.

    A stint at a dairy farm for at least a year — milking cows, checking for mastitis, mucking out the pens, stacking bales in the hot dark mow, baling hay in hot summer, turning out the silage on cold dark mornings.

    Or how ’bout running a kitchen and dealing with a zillion half-baked denunciations coming at you while you’re washing pots and pans?

    No cell phone. No texting.

    No blogging or commenting: this is usually a bad idea for hierarchy in general, as it leads us lesser folk into inferring too much affinity.

    Praying. Fasting. Turning off Fox and TV. Learning how to doubt the grand schemes of pals and best friends. Learning how to be solitary without being lonely.

    I care more about Bp Matthias, and much less about the Synod. I would rather he be saved from them

    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says

      You might be surprised by the contention, above, that the use of a psychotherapeutic program and a “peer bishop” probation is “the worst thing.”

      Surely, there have been more remarkable displays of egregious behavior in the 8 or 9 year long Twilight Zone script in which the said jurisdiction finds itself unable to escape.

      However, the issue of “psychotherapy” cuts to the heart of the Church’s “being.” The Church exists as the place where human nature can be deified — and we call that process “psychotherapy” in its strictest definition.

      If the Church is competent at anything, it is this sort of psychotherapy — at least, it should be competent. Insofar as the Church is competent at psychotherapy it exists as the Church. It is a hard thing, nowadays, to have to resort to logical contortions that rely on differences between the Church’s essence and its often puerile manifestation.

      The Church is incompetent at many things — like involvement in civil politics and governance … like running large-scale bingo operations with mob involvement … like play-pretending at corporate-style management by objectives.

      But psychotherapy, like Truth, belongs to the Church.

      Sending Bishop Matthias off to some “residential therapeutic program” is like the Cleveland Clinic sending one of its cardiologists to my high school biology class for remedial training.

      If we are not competent, in the Holy Orthodox Church, to heal Bishop Matthias of whatever it is that is ailing him, then we are admitting gross incompetence at the very thing to which our Lord has commanded us to do. It is like the Lord returning to find His servant “beating his fellow servants and eating and drinking with the drunkards.”

      As I have already said, Bishop Matthias CANNOT be diagnosed ethically under any clinical Axis I diagnosis in the DSM. There will be, undoubtedly, an attempt to do an Axis II diagnosis, where we find the weird “personality disorders” that are, at best, maddening to treat.

      What remains is not a mental health diagnosis — the stuff of “emotional issues,” as the Synod so cloyingly called it.

      I suppose that the category of “spiritual issues” might contain the nut of Bp Matthias’ conundrum — but that category is so wide that it becomes semantically meaningless. I think consciousness itself is a “spiritual issue,” and so is the question of whether I should take seconds at the dessert bar.

      Why don’t we call the problem here a good old fashioned word? Like — dare I say it — “sin”?

      For if we would be brave enough, and man enough, to let the problem stand revealed under THAT appellation, then we would know what to do. We would know that the person needs to enter into penance under the direction of a real spiritual father. We would know that he would need a dose of real catechesis, and a time of real ascesis. We would know that there would need to be an interval of real silence and peace. We would know that there can be no squalid attempt to verbalize an “apology” — an academic exercise that will turn out to be, inevitably, an execution of hypocrisy.

      And we would know, too, that there would have to be the chance that things will never be the same again. It might be that the hierarchical position will forever be closed.

      But chances are we will not know any of this. We do not want to call the actions of this particular contretemps “sin,” because then we would remember that there was no such sin with Jonah. There is moral failing here. There was not with him.

      And that is embarrassing.

      I grieve for Bp Matthias. He was not prepared for the high stakes interplay of competing agenda and roiling personalities. He was a callow fisherman just setting off in a wee coracle, buoyed up by simple plans and boyish enthusiasms for full nets, but immediately thrust into a maelstrom on one side and sirens on the other.

      He was not ready for such a storm … and, frankly, I know no man who is competent to navigate this particular brand of heavy weather.

      The bigger sin of Bp Matthias, ironically, does not belong to him.

      It belongs to the people who put him in such a boat in the first place.

      • justagoodoleboy says

        Yes, words mean different things to each of us. To me, the word psycho-therapy in the strict sense refers to spirit/soul-healing/treatment.

        A couple of ways I think the word would differ in our American context:

        ….Understood by the first word psycho, any movies spring to mind.

        ….Associated with Sigmund Freud, lay down on the couch, tell me about your mother and/or you really want to be a man.

        ….Psychotherapy refers to hypnosis to stop smoking.

        DSM, so what? The DSM changes like the wind it is not a true standard, darn do we have to change our billing again.

        I agree that the bhp was unprepared and I too grieved for him, even before he started.

        I have been far more inspired by the wisdom of the early Egyptian monks, I view them as finest of “psychologist”. To me, it can be a problem of semantics when mentioning psychotherapy, the word has too many personal meanings.

      • If it is not a safe place for Metropolitan Jonah, then it is not a safe place for me, and it certainly is not a healthy place to raise a child.

        Even my non-Christian friends see this. Gay activist friends don’t want to see things this way, but even some of them will grudgingly admit this is true (at least for a traditional Christian) after a sit-down conversation about it.

      • You are correct. You have said it better than I can, but I wish to add: If the church cannot deal with sin, then what can it deal with?! Does it have any value or purpose at all?

        Matthias did not do anything illegal. What he did was sin. He lusted after a beautiful young woman in his heart and allowed himself to pursue her over an extended period of time. His intentions were pure in the sense that they were not oriented toward an illegal activity, and in the sense that (as the gay rights movement likes to remind us) affection and sex are good things (though they like to leave out: “in the right context”). Matthias has normal male feelings. He may even have convinced himself that he just wanted to trade affections and was not going to follow through with sex. His pursuit of this woman was legal in the US and all of its states. It wasn’t even sexual assault by any sensible definition. It might be harrassment by an OCA definition, but it should not be by a state law definition (though admittedly some current laws are too broadly and unjustly defined). If the synod calls it harassment, they don’t mean it is illegal, they mean women in the OCA should not expect to be flirted with and propositioned by their bishop. But his pursuit of this woman was a sin, and a grave sin, because he was fantasizing about and pursuing sexual intimacy outside of marriage, because he was abusing his authority to enjoy the affections of a relatively vulnerable person, and because he broke solemn vows regarding his chastity and the use of his authority.

        I’d still love the guy. I wouldn’t hide young children from him. I’d enjoy his company at dinner. And maybe I’d even let him serve again as a priest under close supervision (to make sure he doesn’t do it again). But there is no way he can have the authority and autonomy of a bishop (it is not healthy for anyone under his authority). And there is no way any ordained service is guaranteed. A monastery, a loving monastery, seems like a great place for him to come to grips with his sin. Sin is within the jurisdiction of the Church. Sin is not within the jurisdiction of psychology or psychiatry.

        To me, this is further evidence that the OCA synod has an agenda other than the good of the Church, they they act as functional atheists albeit with a social justice motif, and that you will not find a qualified replacement for Jonah in this synod. He truly was their head, but not wanting to be the Church, they had to decapitate him.

        • Respectfully Um, you have no way of knowing that…

          He lusted after a beautiful young woman in his heart

          …although the rest of the sentence is largely undeniable.

          You also have no way of knowing that …

          his pursuit of this woman was a sin, and a grave sin, because he was fantasizing about and pursuing sexual intimacy outside of marriage

          …although, again, the rest of the sentence is true.

          We cannot know his motives, much less judge them. What we can say is that he sinned against his office. The rest is speculation that is unhealthy for Christians.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Fr. Jonathan,

        I agree with you in principal, that like truth, the “symphonia” that is our humanity should be addressed in and by the Church. Practically speaking, we are no more prepared to address the “theory” of psychotherapy, let alone presume to offer aid. And certainly I am aware that with faith, “nothing will be impossible for you,” (Matt 17:20), but how probable is it that a major psychotic disorder on Axis I will respond to “monastic discipline,” frequent confession, and to what Fr. Florovsky has described as, “the theology of work?” How reasonable is it to expect a generation described by Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) as already “far removed from the time of Grace,” fragile in the despair of Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, Severe, whose mother was depressed, and whose grandmother was depressed in pedigree, to respond to an “epitimia” of increased prayer and good works alone? And when they fail, more often than not, they are frequently “scolded” and themselves blamed, when the Lord is direct: “When the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it [the demon] out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith.” (Mt. 17:19-20) In other words, it is the weakness of the healer, not the patient.

        Secondly, I find it terribly sad to read the responses regarding repentance and forgiveness, parsing the Bishop’s every word and phrase for the prize of the damning “hypocrisy.” Please step up, from Adam forward, anyone confronted in their wrongdoing who at one time or another has not denied it, minimized its significance, and once it is undeniable, did not cry out for forgiveness, however a “squalid attempt” or an “academic exercise” it may have appeared. Shame is “valley of darkness,” and forgiveness is a path of return. Yet, there is nothing here of “for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found,” (Lk. 15:24) or “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Lk. 15:7)

        Finally, I believe you, and many others, have mocked the very principles of which you attempt to instruct by drawing a dichotomy with the former Metropolitan. One has no bearing on the other. It is our Tradition and according to the Patristic Fathers, that the “management of the Master’s house – His [ εἰς οἰκονομίαν ] “economy” – is not by vote or a “polling of opinion”, or the “rule of majority,” but is entrusted to the bishops. Certainly we must be heard. But “by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit” decisions are made in the best interest of the Church and in the interest of an individual’s salvation. Do they make errors? For centuries. For as long as there are sinful men. They will be corrected, and our God is a Just Judge. While I have said my opinion is that Bp. Mathias should retire – and I continue to stand by that opinion – in obedience I accept whatever the Synod ultimately decides.

        • Bleats from a Sad Sheep says

          This note is in regards to the 2nd paragraph of Mike Stankovich’s post to this thread on Nov. 6th, 9:22 p.m. That paragraph, laced with biblical exhortations on repentance and forgiveness, expressed Mr. Stankovich’s “sadness” at the harshness and presumably unchristian tone of many posters to this thread as they expressed their displeasure both to the Synod’s letter about actions taken regarding Bishop Matthias, and his Grace’s letter responding to those actions.

          Shame on us for not immediately embracing the Synod’s decision to keep Bishop Matthias in office (though with a “time-out”) rather than moving to depose him. What a fine supplementary lecture you give to the Synod’s reminders of our duties for Christian forgiveness. I can even add a couple of more quotes on forgiveness: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. . . .Hath no man condemned thee? . . .Neither do I condemn thee. ”

          All true of course—but what does this have to do with the issue at hand—the proper action to take towards a bishop who has grievously mishandled the trust of his office? The Lord addressed the words I just cited to a needy and helpless woman, frightened, friendless, and wholly devoid of power. But to “power,” Jesus spoke a rather different truth. When it came to dealing with the Holy Synods of his own day, he spoke about “wolves and hirelings,” pronounced a series of “Woes!” on the hypocrisy of Scribes and Pharisee, and made dreadfully scary remarks about how much better it would be for a man if “a millstone should be tied around his neck and be cast into the sea,” “rather than lead one of these little ones astray.”

          The woman upon whom Bishop Matthias foisted his unwelcome attentions, was a “little one,” young in age and a babe in the faith. And a bishop—a bishop, mind you of very mature years, not some young single guy in her church—throws away the gravitas and moral leadership of the sacred office he holds and in person or via text—not once but repeatedly—confuses and distresses her with infatuated remarks clearly way, way over any possibly acceptable line, and then seemingly just can’t recognize the gravity of what he’s done! What an introduction to Orthodoxy this young lady’s just gotten!

          NO Mr. Stankovich, before playing the “forgiveness” card on us sheep, allow us at least a little time for a very proper indignation towards a bishop who has behaved at best as a “hireling” and at worst a “wolf” to one of the sheep—in this case a lamb. And when the forgiveness comes, let us keep a very clear distinction between two separate issues: the forgiveness our Lord said was due all erring brothers, and the issue of whether one ought or ought not to hold the church’s highest office. To put it (perhaps awkwardly) in terms of American political discourse, the first is a right, the second a privilege. No one forfeits the right to our forgiveness,: he does forfeit the privilege of holding a sacred office when his actions prove unworthy of that office and harmful to those that office is intended to serve. An erring prelate can do far more harm to the sheep (and the Church’s reputation) than an erring layman.

          This distinction between right and privilege (not to my mind particularly hard to grasp) is what makes your defense of Bishop Matthias’s faux repentance so (uncharacteristically) lame. You write, “who at one time or another has not denied [sin], minimized its significance, and once it is undeniable, did not cry out for forgiveness, however a ‘squalid attempt’ or an ‘academic exercise’ it may have appeared?”

          Of course we’ve all done this! But what does this have to do with whether a bishop should maintain his office or not? If I may do a bit of bleating on behalf of us poor neglected sheep, can we not expect that our bishops might lead us in the paths of virtue and honest repentance, instead of lagging behind—sometimes far behind? At a bare minimum shouldn’t we expect a bishop not to send “hot” text messages or make suggestive remarks to young converts? If even that is too much in these days of continually lowered expectations, can’t we at least expect that a man to whom such actions were brought home might fully and frankly realize and manfully admit the gravity of his actions? If he can neither model virtuous leadership nor demonstrate a full and heartfelt repentance, why is he a bishop in the first place?

          This is what makes the Synod’s preachments (and your own) about “forgiveness” so offensive. We sheep are reminded of our obligation to forgive so that a shepherd who has so patently forfeited the trust of the flock may maintain (though with a period of restriction) the privilege of his office. It doesn’t require an especially keen eye for irony to note that this kind of clericalism–the protection of an unworthy priest–was precisely the charge (rightly or wrongly) directed at Met. Jonah. Clericalism is clericalism whether it’s covering for a man who will “play ball” with the Synod and Syosset or giving the boot to a bishop who won’t. Either way, the shepherds take care of their own and the flock gets fleeced.

          But perhaps the flocks will soon be so reduced in number, we won’t be able to provide enough wool for them to continue to pull over our eyes.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Bleating Sheep,

            In that you did not exercise the obvious common sense to investigate what I inferred by my statement:

            I have said my opinion is that Bp. Mathias should retire – and I continue to stand by that opinion

            I will withhold my urge to refer to you to you as the “bleating goat” and simply say, “Duh, Mr. or Ms. Sheep, as the case may be,” his repentance has absolutely nothing to do with his “fitness” to serve. I am not your research assistant, and all it takes is clicking the View all comments to see my first comment on this thread. Instead, you pound out eight paragraphs of schoolin’ the simple ass! And that, friend, is what I am.

            If you will allow me: my point was that repentance must always begin somewhere. Who is judge a man’s “insight,” and the implication being his sincerity? You? Me? Only if he is moved to the “cleansing tears” of which the Fathers speak?” Or does he need to chop off his hand like Tolstoy’s monk? Time and good faith will answer the question. Not you, or not me. You wish your emotional “pound of flesh” form the matter? Have at it. Why be offended by me? I say rejoice that a man has admitted his wrong and has asked to be forgiven. I stand to gain nothing, you stand to lose nothing. But forgiveness has no bearing on his appropriateness to serve.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Mr. Stankovich, I’ve been reading a bit on the criticism of the new DSM-V. What I’ve read seems to indicate that the criticism is coming from well respected leaders in the psychiartic community. However, as you have frequently pointed out, I don’t have the requisite knowledge to adequately assess the critique. So, I’m asking, is the criticism valid and has psychiaritry really gotten to the point that a doctor assigns a DSM code to their patient and then looks in the DSM for the recommended drugs, prescribes them and calls that treatment? That is what some of the critique I have read implies.

              If that is so, even a little bit so, perhaps your energies would be better spent in changing the pastoral approach of your own profession than in attempting to change the Church’s.

            • Bleats from a Sad Sheep (or Goat0 says

              Dear Mr. Stankovich,

              While, I don’t think the arrows you shoot at others are always fairly aimed or on target, I must admit that you got a bull’s-eye on me. I was indeed a goat for not doing my homework (or hiring a good research assistant.) Apparently we are in agreement that the bishop should be removed (though perhaps not what removal means), and that the issue of forgiveness and the issue of office are totally separate items. I must offer you a very humble apology for misrepresenting your position.

              While I’m doing that, let me further agree that while I an one of many who find Bishop Matthias’s “repentance” to be feeble indeed (based on his own words), you are absolutely correct that sometimes a full acknowledgment of one’s wrongdoing can take a long time and can only proceed by stages—especially when one has, as a young friend of mine puts it “really, really, really screwed up.” It might be impossible for one to take in at a complete glance how completely and gravely he has messed up his own life or befouled another’s. Denial perhaps must give way gradually or else despair, even suicide might follow.

              And thus the main point of my reply, but perhaps foolishly, I’d like to pursue this a bit further. Would we be in agreement if I removed all references to your post and confined my remarks only to the synod’s actions (your paragraph being the more the trigger than the target of my vent)? With that admittedly very important excision, would you be willing to “bleat” along with me?

              In your view, am I right or wrong in thinking the letter confounds the separate issues of “office fitness” and “forgiveness due to a brother” in a way that (implicitly) lays a guilt trip on us sheep? Am I wrong in believing that the letter subtly (or maybe not so subtly) suggests that forgiveness of Bishop Matthias (which you gotta do as Christians, right?) commits us also to seeing it as “journey of restoration” to his episcopate? (While the phrase “journey of restoration” might suggest merely a return to good standing in the church, I think its full meaning must be governed by points 2 and 3 of the letter’s first page where points 2 and 3 both explicitly refer to “the restoration of His Grace to his position.” )

              I can’t resist adding something to my previous note though perhaps it takes us off the main point. Tone and language are very important. When referring to the Bishop’s transgressions, we get the neutral language of psychology and legal terminology. When speaking of “restoration” the language turns fervent and biblical. Scriptures that speak Woes to those who misuse office to harm others are studiously avoided, scriptures that speak of “forgiveness” are used to soften us up for a return of a member of United Brotherhood of Clergy to his temporarily lost job as union steward. But when the language of sin and judgment is absent, the words of repentance and forgiveness lose their meaning and become either sheer sentimentality or tools of manipulation.

              But I draw too near that eight paragraph limit. I repeat my apology and my question. Does any agreement between us stop at paragraph two of this post, or do you join me in regarding the synod’s letter (intentionally or unintentionally) as form of clericalist manipulation? If so, we are agreed all the way down. If not, I think it’s important to make clear to you and to anyone reading this post that my apology is only for my careless and inexcusable misrepresentation of your own position. I remain firmly committed to my position on the nature of the Synod’s actions and letter.

              • M. Stankovich says

                What I cannot do, in good faith & conscience, is presume to enter into decisions that are not mine to question. For what it’s worth, I have attempted to address the issue of “law,” power, and ultimately decision and authority here.

                It would seem obvious to raise two obvious points: 1) where there are living, breathing human beings, there are sinners, and we have endured the most heinous of characters among our clergy and hierarchs; and 2) when have we ever determined a “qualitative grace” of a miscreant, sinful clergy? Have we ever re-baptized children baptized by a priest revealed as engaging in homosexual activity? Re-married anyone because the priest was revealed as a pedophile? Do we deny that the Eucharist “existed” in a parish where a priest or bishop is revealed to be the most shocking of sinners?

                My point is this: ultimately, I am not responsible for discerning what is in the welfare and best interest of the Church, nor for what is in the best interest of the salvation of Bp. Mathias. As St. Paul directed us, “Whereof I am made a min­is­ter, accord­ing to the [κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν] man­age­ment of God which is given to me for you” (Col.1:25). He is saying he was entrusted, personally, with this responsibility of making decisions. And as the Patristic Fathers before us, we follow that same Tradition: “By the wisdom of men and by the Grace of the Holy Spirit…”

                My response is while I certainly respect your opinion and defend your right to be heard and understood – and I believe I have – I try my best to be faithful to the path of obedience, which is the way of order, which is the way of the Fathers & our Tradition. Far too often, I need to backtrack, like Blessed Job the Righteous, “I spoke of things I did not understand.” I believe, however, our God is a Just Judge without my assistance!

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Just-released Minutes of the Met Council/Synod meeting from back in September–some highlights (all are direct quotes):

      RE: The Synod doesn’t want it to seem like they had a plan re: Met. Jonah’s resignation…

      Maureen Jury initiated discussion concerning revision of the conference call meeting of the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council on July 10, 2012. MOTION – To amend the minutes of the conference call meeting of the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council on July 10, 2012 as follows:  Strike the sentence “A plan for moving forward was agreed upon.” in section B of the minutes.

      RE: Met. Jonah

      Bishop Michael initiated a discussion on the circumstances and aftermath of the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah and opened the floor to questions. It was suggested that clarification is needed from the Holy Synod in response to those who claim that Metropolitan Jonah resigned from the primacy but not his diocesan see. In response, the hierarchs noted that this claim is incorrect. The Holy Synod has established a commission to study all circumstances surrounding the resignation and develop an appropriate statement. It was agreed that a statement from the Metropolitan Council on these issues would not be appropriate or useful at the present time.
      Hierarchs noted that the Holy Synod wanted Metropolitan Jonah to succeed and were his greatest supporters.
      It was concluded that ultimately this is a pastoral issue that must be approached with great discretion.

      RE: What to Do with Met. Jonah?

      Judge Lanier suggested that the Metropolitan Council recommend to the Holy Synod of Bishops that it
      consider the promulgation of a publicly accessible statement clarifying the canonical status of the former
      Primate of the Orthodox Church in America – His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah – and that this statement be
      promulgated well in advance of the 17th All-American Council. This was approved by consensus.

      [Isn’t Parma happening in six days????]

      RE: “Dysfunction” in the OCA

      Fr. Chad Hatfield presented the following statement to the Metropolitan Council:
      “When I went to the microphone at the last All-American Council to thank Metropolitan Jonah for publically admitting his part in the “dysfunction” I also asked, based on the family therapy model being presented to those of us in attendance by the Synod of Bishops, that all of the bishops enter into therapy as well. Any of us
      who understand the dynamics of family addiction counseling and the basics of family communications and
      healing know that “scapegoating” is not the answer and it always leads to more dysfunction. Everyone in the
      family must make changes if the pattern is to be broken and healing can begin. This is a larger process, by the
      way, than just the Synod of Bishops. I hope that this clarifies my remarks at the AAC so that all of us can hear
      clearly the need to get outside help to guide us. At the last MC meeting after being assured that we were better and moving forward I asked that if and when the dysfunction returns that we would immediately seek a team of experts from the outside to help us to heal and to build a new model for conducting the business of the OCA. My comments were received. Does anyone here question that the dysfunction has returned? A failing business or institution would either take the steps necessary for re-organization or they simply fail. When we say that we are competent to solve our own problems we are like the person fighting addictions who says that he does not need any help, thanks very much. Every pastor in this room knows where that person ends up and it is not good. This is our moment of truth. I ask one more time if we, the OCA, are ready to ask for this help and to begin to employ a team of outside experts?”

      RE: Syosset News

      …A proposal from AT&T has just reached the chancery for the erection of a cell phone tower on the property, which will provide income of at least $2000/month… the Secretary is authorized to execute a contract for the
      erection of a cell phone tower on the chancery property.

      …Fr. Reeves stated that revenues at all levels of the Church must increase in order to accomplish what
      needs to be done beyond just maintenance. Fr. Hatfield noted that we are in denial concerning the decline in
      church membership. Fr. John Reeves suggested that OCA chancery staff salaries be cut by 50%. As a vehicle
      for further deliberation, the following motion was proposed. Extensive discussion took place. It was reiterated
      that proportional giving must be implemented. Janet Van Duyn suggested a 10% salary cut for chancery staff.
      Several members suggested that even if salaries are cut, the budget should not be cut but rather, funds should
      be reallocated to outreach ministries. The need to procure outside funding was repeatedly mentioned.
      Maureen Jury reiterated the need for radical changes in funding methods.

      …The basic compensation package of the General Counsel [chief lawyer] of the OCA for 2013 consist of two payments of $60,000 each at six-month intervals…

      RE: The AAC at Parma

      It was announced that a contract has been prepared to hire a professional parliamentarian, as at the 16th
      Council, has been prepared. His qualifications and experience at church meetings were discussed.
      MOTION – to contract James Williams as parliamentarian for the 17th All-American Council. CARRIED.

      Arrangements for security at the 17th All-American Council were discussed… In conjunction with security issues during the All-American Council’s plenary session, the possible need for one or more sergeants-at-arms was discussed. MOTION – the Metropolitan Council authorizes the Preconciliar Commission to appoint, if necessary, one or more sergeants-at-arms for the 17th All-American Council. CARRIED.

      RE: Tension in the DOW

      Several Metropolitan Council members expressed disappointment concerning the resignation of Dr. Dmitri Solodow [DOW MC rep] and his absence at this meeting, where he should have stated his concerns in person. It was suggested that this matter might be referred to the Lesser Synod for adjudication. ….Fr. Hatfield presented Dr. Solodow’s report concerning confidentiality and leaks.

      RE: “Other Business”

      An email received from former Metropolitan Council member, Dr. Faith Skordinski, concerning the Holy
      Protection Monastery in Weaverville, NC was noted. It was stated that Metropolitan Jonah had released the
      monks, who now live in Europe… The issues of internet postings by Metropolitan Council members, along with leaks of confidential documents were discussed.


      • ChristineFevronia says

        Also, here are comments provided by Chancellor Jillions:

        Despite the “negativity” generated in some quarters by Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation, Bishop Matthias’ leave of absence and other events, anecdotal reports from bishops, clergy and many faithful across the OCA lead me to believe that the vast majority are weathering the storm, supporting the church and carrying on with their Christian life. Misinformation and partial information posted on the web produce ugly exchanges, conspiracy theories and speculation, but in most instances we can’t respond as quickly or as fully as some would like –or at all when matters concern active investigations, sexual misconduct, personnel, legal or health issues protected by privacy and confidentiality. Unfortunately, some of the misinformation is believable, and does lead people astray.

        Matters related to sexual misconduct continue to dominate the day-to-day work of the chancellor, who also directs the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (ORSMA). The MC meeting in February 2012 authorized staffing the office, and after discussions within the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee the OCA announced a search for two positions. (source:

        How much sexual misconduct is actually going on in the OCA, that the Chancellor’s main job is to handle matters related to sexual misconduct? Does anyone find that troubling?

        • Mark from the DOS says

          I find that almost as shocking as the idea that a 30,000 member church keeps an outside lawyer on a $120,000 a year retainer . . . separate and apart from money it spends defending lawsuits! That figure in itself is astounding.

          • Just another indication of how off-track the OCA train is. This SMPAC group is not just looking at active cases but are digging through settled and closed previous cases. Cases that have been signed off by all involved, including the diocesan bishop. Re-opening those cases is just stupid if they were settled. What right does this group have to look into cases that as part of their settlement were non-disclosure agreements?

            Talk about just stupid, these one is near the top of the list. Lawsuits galore on the horizon if they go this route.

          • Mark, the lawyer, Mr. Thaddeus Wojcik, Jr., is the son of Archpriest Thaddeus Wojcik, and not an “outside” lawyer at all. Admittedly, though, that retainer might indicate he doesn’t have a successful practice to support himself and, therefore, can’t afford to do work for the OCA “pro bono.” Some of the Metropolitan Soviet’s current leadership, though, are willing to spend any of the OCA’s money if it furthers THEIR “vision of the Church.” I believe, too, that those same wise guys want to hire a professional manager to be the Chairman of the Metropolitan (‘s) Soviet in the future… Get it? There’s a Protodeacon from Enron or Exxon or whatever, who is the loudest mouth in the area of OCA corporate management for years now. He’s assisted and totally supported by a blowhard lawyer, who used to claim on Stokoe’s Site that a prosecutor like Eliot Spitzer would find wonderful grounds to prosecute Protopresbyter Rodion S Kondratick and all Wheeler’s perceived enemies with no difficulty. That lawyer was also one of the creators of that STINKBOMB of a “Statement” secreted by the Holy Synod! He was recently lauded by the Metropolitan Soviet(probably with applause and foot-stomping) upon the occasion of his elective term on the MS expiring.

            • Mark from the DOS says

              Bless Vladyka –

              Yes I am familiar with the decision of the chancery to use an “insider” as outside counsel. That he is on retainer, as opposed to an employee of the OCA is why I referred to him as outside counsel. Many similarly sized non-profits as the OCA could and do procure full time in house legal counsel for less than the retainer the OCA pays. The legal issues involving the OCA aren’t exactly rocket science, and when complex legal issues arise, I am certain there are many highly qualified and successful attorneys among the flock who would donate a little pro bono to help out.

            • oliver douglas says


    • Fr. Jonathan Tobias wrote, “Heavens to Betsy: ther is no mention of “apology” in Holy Tradition. There is only solitary repentance, remorse and reparation. Forget the “I’m sorry” BS — because, to be honest, that is what most apologies are. ”

      That may well be true, in the written “Holy Tradition,” but we live with each other in community, and when we hurt each other, disappoint, offend, wrong, sin against each other, we should begin our process of repairing that relationship with an apology. Even if the offender doesn’t fully understand that they hurt the other, when they learn of it, they should offer the apology.

      To say, “forgive me,” is not an apology, it is a request for the offended to forgive the offender. Selfish. To say, “I hurt you, and I am sorry. Please forgive me.” is quite a different statement.

      Too many of us go through our lives without offering apology for the hurts we have inflicted on others. I tried to teach my children to offer an apology when they have hurt someone.

      And that doesn’t sound like BS to me… it sounds like a mechanism that can affect positive relationships.

  27. Carl Kraeff says

    I have been reading the threats to leave OCA–all by self proclaimed good, conservative Orthodox Christians. Couple of interesting thoughts come to mind.

    The first is, the truth of the subtitle of Heresy of Orthodoxy: “How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity.” Of course, this fascination with diversity means nothing if it is not paired with choosing simply because we can, because we have that right. No wonder that Cafeteria Christianity has come to the OCA, turning the Orthodox Church and Her teachings into heresies. Not only that, but it is thriving amongst the self proclaimed good, conservative Orthodox Christians.

    The irony deepens however; these departing good, conservatives Orthodox Christians are leaving their beloved (wink wink) Church to the lavender Mafia, the homosexuals and lesbians, compromised bishops and priests, the innovators, the liberal, despised fellow brothers and sisters–all despicable and nonredeemable sinners. Well, why not? We have no fault divorce, don’t we? Aren’t we entitled to an unfettered pursuit of happiness?

    By all means, go and be happy. Those of us who will stick it out will continue to pray for you. Like the prodigal son’s father, we will wait for your return.

    • Divorce may be an appropriate analogy, but not “no fault” divorce. There is clear infidelity on the part of the synod, MC, and national church staff towards Christ and His Church. There is clear fault in this divorce.

      Even my atheist and Muslim friends look at the OCA in disbelief and ask me, why don’t these bishops resign if they are not Christians?

      The leaders of the Episcopal Church have also made the same “magnanimous” offer that you are making: We’ll pray for you, leave the light on for you, our door will always be open, the church will miss the diversity of your traditional values, etc. The offer is a sign that you are in serious denial. Your institution is dying and dying quickly. Within a generation or two at most, you will not have any physical doors to leave open nor any physical lights to leave on — except maybe a handful of token buildings out of reach of the average American. Even if you did, you somehow miss the obvious reality that no human being wants to submit themselves to the kind of mental and emotional abuse that you and your synod dish out to innocent people.

      • This is where your own behavior defies logic, Carl. If you want good Orthodox people to stay in the OCA, then stop enabling your leaders in their abuse of good Orthodox people. Stand with those being victimized in their own church, or at least insist on honesty, consistency, and accountability out of love, and the bishops will have to confront their sin and take corrective action. Then you can all benefit from and take joy from each other (even the bishops) in your autocephalous church again. 

        But if you continue to enable hypocrisy, sin, and abuse of good people in your church, you will be left with only those people who approve of this kind of un-Christian behavior. You are helping to create the future of the OCA, and you are helping to destroy it. The OCA could still survive and some day thrive if it could get its house in order. If you really cared about the OCA the way you claim you do, you would stand with those crying out for corrective action from your leaders. But you clearly have an unspoken agenda. Either that or some undisclosed mental health issues. If I had to put money on it, I’d say you are a closet supporter of gay rights (perhaps some analogous issue). Otherwise your behavior is completely irrational. 

        I dealt with many individuals like you and Michael Stankovich in the Episcopal Church, people who claimed to be orthodox but who worked tirelessly, using any means necessary, to create confusion and doubt: the space necessary for the gay activists to move forward in whatever manner they could at the time. To a person, these individuals came out as gay rights supporters eventually. So I do expect the same is true with you. But if that is not true, then you are making a serious mistake by enabling the sins of your leaders rather than encouraging them to take corrective actions as soon as possible. 

        • M. Stankovich says


          You dealt with “no one like me” in your former heresy, and you are out of your league now. I had the rarest of opportunities, the absolute gift of God, to listen and learn from those you can only now read. Imagine the opportunity to listen and question the fathers and teachers of our generation, extemporaneously, in real-time; to be privy to their thought process, to their “asides” and comments, to confess to & be counseled as you will never know. These are the bishop and priests, laymen and women, many who literally suffered for the Faith, delivering and fashioning a hope for a truly American Orthodox Church, only to have it wither in the hands of those with “years” and not “decades,” and who have suffered absolutely nothing but the inability to submit themselves in humility, obedience, and dedication to learn from those before them.

          Who would have imagined the arrogance that would bring someone to instruct the entire clergy – “entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and [who has] received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels” (St. Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, Book 4:2) – as if they were children, in how he does not believe the Holy Synod? Imagine! Or what level of anonymous cowardice would claim to “hold in abeyance” the Council of the Church? Imagine! Fr. Alexander Schmemann would ask, “Who are you, and who cares.”

          Um, man/woman whoever you are, I point out to you that I am scrupulously faithful to those at whose feet I humbly sat to learn our Tradition, because I was thirsty for knowledge like in a desert, and my gratitude is boundless. Correct me, if you will, but you cannot. You would do well to learn from people like me; as when my generation has passed, you will be one more generation removed from those extraordinary individuals so close to our history. And you would do well to remove my name from your ridiculous and unfounded “musings” on agendas and fortune-telling foolishness. It is so absurd, I cannot even feel insulted.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          How do you know that I am enabling our leaders in their “abuse of good Orthodox people”? Do you know what I do and say outside this forum or the Internet in general? Is it possible that some of us prefer to make our points differently than y’all? As for your suppositions about me, I will say that they are laughable at best. BTW, why don’t you come into the open, instead of sniping from behind the cover provided by “Um”? Are you even in the OCA? Or, to emulate your approach to me, are you a demon sent by the Evil One to vex us?

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Kraeff,

            I suggest a deep breath. You will recall from your field of specialization that exasperation at extending logic is the result of having taken the bait. OK, it’s a little more technical, but… Take the hook from your lip; it will heal. Time is your ally! Truth is your ally! Rinse and repeat.

            • George Michalopulos says

              BTW, I forgot to wish you and Mr Bauman (and any other Michaels, Gabriels, and Raphaels out there) “Many years!”

        • Well said! Thank you Um!

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Carl, the OCA is certainly not the only Orthodox Church. I, for one, am not departing the Orthodox Church–merely it’s youngest (juvenile) jurisdiction. And thank you so much for your prayers. I need them.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Is it possible for those who are leaving to do so in a less hurtful way? It seems to me that some are hell bent on torching the place they once called home.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Carl, the Lord in His mercy will allow the OCA to perish in flames simply so that the contagion of homonormativity/modernmism/ecumenism is confined to us.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      There is no place for cafeteria style Christianity in Orthodoxy. Nor is there any place for diversity of doctrine in our Church. We must not compromise the teachings of our Church or we will cease to be Orthodox and become Eastern Rite Episcopalians. That must not be allowed to happen to our Church. We must remain faithful to our Holy Orthodox Faith.

      • Disgusted With It says

        Fr. John,

        Thank you for articulating a very important fact. Too bad our bishops and others in leadership just don’t get it.

    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
      Dear Carl,
      Felicitously this is both the feast day of St. Theodore the Studite among others, Dostoevsky’s birthday, and Veterans Day, so a good time to think about tradition.
      I think cafeteria Christianity within the OCA (real or imagined or realistically feared) is the reason a number of folks are looking for other traditional options.
      It’s also good to remember that we’re living in a non-canonical situation of overlapping Synods in North America; so if we’re trying to follow our mutually favorite Canon 54 (as in Canon 54 where are you?), we really can’t since the Synod(s) is/are Synods and the chief primate is chief primate(s). So those surfeited with OCA scandal are not considering leaving Orthodoxy or leaving their territorial Synod in a canonical sense.
      On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be any other local Orthodox Church in the world with a comparable governance structure to the OCA. This raises the question of whether ecclesiologically or at least organizationally the OCA isn’t itself the byproduct of some kind of American “cafeteria” experiment in terms of its structure.
      On the topic of cafeteria Christianity, I was at a discussion where one OCA priest offered the view that there was not one Orthodox tradition but many traditions on sexuality, and another argued that we are at a ripe place to develop a new Orthodox anthropology in the OCA. So everything of which you warn, if those comments are true for others in our Church, would seem applicable within the OCA.
      Before pointing out faults in others, it’s good to look within.
      Please pray for me a sinner,
      Alf Kentigern Siewers

  28. I’m not a parishioner of the OCA, but the Synod’s trust in “therapy” seems misplaced. Whatever happened to prayer, fasting and repentance in a monastic setting?

    Why is the Orthodox Church, which gave us the Ladder of Divine Ascent and the Philokalia, nibbling at the moldy scraps left over from the charlatan Freud?

  29. Saint Paul dealt with sexual immorality scandals in the Corinthian church. He ordered the faithful to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Whatever else that means, it certainly speaks to concern for the perpetrator’s eternal soul.

    Saint Paul goes on: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump…..”

    If this is still unclear, the Saint continues: “I wrote you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.” Then he clarifies that he is not speaking of the immoral outside the church, because that would require us to leave the world. Read on.

    “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.”

    It is not from hate that Saint Paul speaks, but from concern for the sinner and for the church which he is harming. For the salvation of both, the sinner must go.

    Seems clear to me. Several of these bishops, perhaps all of them have to go. For their own salvation, and for the well-being and spiritual health of the Church, they must go. Even if this brings anarchy for a time, they must go. Anarchy is preferable to sodomy as salvation is preferable to damnation.

    And what would be the opinion of other jurisdictions and of the non-Orthodox who are observing all these shenanigans when they see that we firmly act to secure the salvation of our souls and of the faithful under our care? I believe that we would see a renewed interest in Orthodoxy as the true faith.

    But even if we did not — and that should be no part of our motivation — we would still be acting to save the souls of our brothers in sin and to protect the souls of the faithful.

    God helping us, can we do any less?

    • It seems to me that the present leadership of the OCA have abandoned the teachings of St. Paul quoted above to follow the teachings of psychotherapy. Sounds like Economia gone astray to me.

    • Dear Theodore,
      You quoted this salutary exhortation of St. Paul’s: ““But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.”
      That is all very clear and unambiguous. Today, however, the word, “drunkard” is not used so much, but its equal, “alcoholic”, is. I’m sure you know that St. Paul’s words were not specifically addressed to brothers who are clergy, right? None of us is to tolerate covetous parishioners or alcoholic parishioners, or promiscuous, garbage-mouths, or cheaters in our parishes, right We are not to have coffee or a meal with them, but put them away from us and our parish, right? You want to apply that to Bishop Matthias, but I’m sure that as an honest God-fearing person, you wouldn’t want to apply those words JUST to a person who is your bishop and has been your bishop, right? St. Paul wrote of “such a person’, not of “a member of the Holy Synod”, or “anyone who is Bishop of the Midwest,” right?
      Please, think it over carefully. After realizing what is your duty relative to any covetous, etc., Orthodox people you may know (who must be put away from you), you should next look at something there which is extremely relevant today in 2012, in the U.S.A., in politics, this part: ” For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.”
      Here is St. Paul’s advice to THE ORTHODOX relative to the issue of abortion, no? “those who are outside, God judges.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        Your Grace, what we’re all missing here is the fact that “blamelessness” doesn’t seem to exist anymore. We always here about “rumors” and speak things sotto voce, and I’ve heard people say “well, unless you have photographic evidence of Bishop X doing the horizontal bop with Deacon Y, you shouldn’t be saying such things.” But that’s where the blameless comes into play. Nobody’s perfect but that’s not the standard. Am I overweight? Yes. Are their even hints about me being a drunkard? No. That’s what we’re talking about. Have I had to go to traffic court? Yes. Was I arrested for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson? No.

  30. The “forgiveness” angle is simply nonsense. I’ve seen it many times, and it’s always the same tired, utterly foolish misinterpretation of the Gospel. I am fully willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it matters not a whit what his motives were. Even if the motives were altogether pure, the actions are altogether inappropriate.

    We are Christians; we forgive…period. And if we desire to punish we’d better look carefully at ourselves. If this is where arch-pastoral admonitions about matters like this ended I would applaud. But forgiveness and fitness for office are completely separate matters. Few seem to be able to make this distinction any more (unless it happens to serve an agenda), and it causes untold dysfunction in the Church as well as calumny of Christ.

    Do the words “above reproach” and “of good reputation” have any meaning?

  31. Casual Observer says

    Is there a real way out of this dilemma with the leadership in the OCA?
    I believe there is but like everything else it involves “cutting a deal” and
    “money.” These apparently corrupt bishops do not have a “fall-back plan.”
    If they get kicked to the curb they may have to actually work for a living and I
    doubt that they find that very appealing.

    You (I am not part of the OCA) should get a group of wealthy donors together
    and offer the offending bishops “early retirement” with a guaranteed salary. Tell
    them the search lights will be turned off of their lives IF they accept this “one time”
    offer. People do not need to know about this. They can state that they are retiring
    for “personal reasons” and leave it at that. If you think that they will step down with
    no guaranteed income- you are kidding yourselves. And as crass as this solution
    may at first appear, politics is the art of negotiation and MONEY still talks. You have
    one week to cut a deal.

  32. Fr. Jonathan writes: “I think consciousness itself is a ‘spiritual issue,’. . .”

    Father, I agree. That is why this admission of not being conscious of wrongdoing is a tacit admission of the lack of the “awareness” (“nepsis”) to which our Tradition calls all of us. Our Bishops should indeed be our best examples, not like drunks falling off the wagon in bondage to all the basest sorts of passions. Where you say,

    “The bigger sin of Bp Matthias, ironically, does not belong to him.

    “It belongs to the people who put him in such a boat in the first place.”

    I can only also add my amen.

  33. George has accurately perceived that this has nothing at all to do with anyone forgiving anyone. It is about – and only about – a particular man’s qualifications for the office of Bishop. When in doubt, we ought to refer to St. Paul, who clearly states in I Timothy 3.2 ff: 2 “A bishop then must be blameless ……..temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior….etc.” St. Paul does not allow for a bishop lacking these qualifications to somehow make up for that deficiency with inpatient psychotherapy and counseling, even if those activities may be helpful for him as a person. Clearly , Bp. Mathias is holding himself up as meeting these qualifications, even now, by his “confession” that he is not really guilty of anything except perhaps some sort of vague insensitivity. Can the Synod of the OCA state with a clear conscience, “We find Bp. Mathias to be blameless, temperate, sober-minded, and of good behavior?” There are no shades of gray here. It is a binary question – yes, or no.

  34. Casual Observer says

    Money Talks! You can still “cut a deal” with them…trust me.

  35. Dear George,

    This is a bit off topic but I was wondering if you had had a chance to look at the latest posting of the OCA Metropolitan Council minutes. They are quite revealing for even the most (or almost) obtuse reader. Here are some direct quotes:

    “He (Bishop Michael — who was presiding because the locum tenens, Archbishop Nathaniel was absent) expressed hope that this meeting and the upcoming election of a new OCA Primate will help the Church towards healing of the difficulties endured over the last decade and to flourish again in growing our parishes …”

    “It was suggested that clarification is needed from the Holy Synod in response to those who claim that Metropolitan Jonah resigned from the primacy but not his diocesan see. In response, the hierarchs noted that this claim is incorrect …”

    (Fr. Chad Hatfield said),“I want to thank Archpriest John Jillions for his report. I also want to present, once again, for the record, my belief that if the OCA is going to correct the “dysfunction” that we have attempted to correct on our own we must now begin the search for a team of outside consultants to help us reach what is the desire of everyone who wants the OCA to become what she was intended to be when she was granted autocephaly over forty years ago.”

    “At the last MC meeting after being assured that we were better and moving forward I asked that if and when
    the dysfunction returns that we would immediately seek a team of experts from the outside to help us to heal
    and to build a new model for conducting the business of the OCA. My comments were received. Does anyone
    here question that the dysfunction has returned?”

    “Many Metropolitan Council members expressed support for the general principles expressed in the statement. Some expressed displeasure at the systemic dysfunction of communication, procedure and accountability that has stalled the hiring of ORSMA staff since the last Metropolitan Council meeting.”

    “Melanie Ringa initiated discussion of the resolution adopted at the 16th All-American Council as it pertains to
    the proposed 2013 OCA budget.”

    “Fr. Hatfield noted that we are in denial concerning the decline in church membership. Fr. John Reeves suggested that OCA chancery staff salaries be cut by 50%.”

    “Thaddeus Wojcik outlined the extensive legal services he performs for the OCA and their cost. His fees charged to the church are discounted and some of his work is done pro bono. He stated that two thirds of his time for the OCA is spent on sexual misconduct matters.”

    That meeting was held in late September. To date, no announcement has been made retracting the libelous statement that Metropolitan Jonah covered up a rape. The OCA hierarchy is just as dysfunctional as ever, and the legal counsel spends two thirds of his time on sexual misconduct issues. Oh my apologies, I forgot the quote about the motion to add sergeant at arms for the next AAC. We wouldn’t want the general populace to rise up and make a stink would we.

    As you can see, the meeting started with Bishop Michael talking about how wonderful everything is going to be, but in reality it’s just a cluster @#$@. You have to wonder don’t you why other Orthodox churches in America aren’t quite this dysfunctional (at least I do). God bless Fr. Chad for calling it as he see it: the OCA is dysfunctional on many levels, it is consumed with sexual misconduct, it has no money, and the “faithful” of the OCA are leaving.

    In my opinion the OCA really needs a restart. They have so many committees now that it is ridiculous. They need to make serious wholesale changes:

    1) Every bishop resign, be rexamined psychologically, and eliminate half of them. Just consolidate the dioceses.
    2) Every priest and deacon be reexamined. If there are any issues regarding sexual misconduct, resolve them within a week. “Here, you’re released … to where I don’t know but you can no longer serve in the OCA.”
    3) Close the property in Syosset. As an aside, one of the stupider issues that they discussed was “getting rid of the rotting pool in the back yard.” Are you kidding me? That pool has been there for well over 20 years. Now, when you have no money, you need to dig it up? Man, you can’t even make up such stupidity. Here’s an idea, sell the property, now!
    4) Every diocese is immediately responsible for all of their expenses. The administration cost should be no more that approx. $30,000 per diocese. Every fund raiser/ministry/event is done and sponsored on the local level only.
    5) The outside legal counsel is terminated immediately. There is no better way to stop legal bills than to just say “no” to the lawyers.
    6) This is really number one, everyone in the OCA get on their knees and beg forgiveness for making such a mockery of Christ’s Holy Church.

  36. Bishop Matthias really did not deserve to write the apology letter, and the wording is very poor…sorry to say.

    His letter clearly indicates how he is confused. His intent was only emotional, but an emotional relationship is at the core and beginning of a healthy relationship with the stuff he is measuring as impure.

    I hate to say it, but I don’t agree with the Synod. I don’t have the same quarrel as George, but if Jonah was asked to leave for poor management, etc., then personal malfeasance seems a lot bigger charge.

    Finally, I am not a model Orthodox person, but it would be hard for me to respect the bishop without a statement from the victim asking me to do so… This is the standard to meet, not our opinions. And because these things were released publicly, the victim needs to make a public statement with the Synod, or the Synod needs to tell us this meets the victims expectations. Anything less will leave us with too many questions.

    My thoughts….I might get positive votes for this… Please vote negative or I might feel wierd.

  37. Someone directed me to this internet blog/bulletin board discussion group. After reading through the accumulated comments, I will make my own one comment. No one benefits from putting bishops on pedestals or dartboards. No one. I have been an active member (since day one) of the OCA for many years and I have witnessed the difficult, but necessary, transition from a Holy Synod made up of non-native North Americans to a Holy Synod made up now with native born North Americans (with one notable exception). The OCA Holy Synod is a mix of cradle-born and converts, and widowers and unmarried men. They are an accurate representation of the North American Orthodox Church they serve. They are no better or worse than the clergy and laity they came out from in the parishes. There is no doubt about it. The universal public (internet) trashing of all of the OCA bishops is also the universal public trashing of the Orthodox Church in America and all She stands for. No one benefits from putting bishops on pedestals and dartboards. No one.

    One of the primary tasks of a bishop is to be a pastor for his clergy and their families. This requires the bishop to accept and work with the whole person that makes up the priest…his gifts, strengths, weaknesses, and infirmities and his family needs and responsibilities. The bishop does what he can do to help the priest with his personal issues, but sometimes priests are unable to resolve their personal issues and cannot continue their priestly vocation and must leave it. Having said that, most of the time priests carry on with their vocations as they carry their cross and continue to serve and help the laity that have been placed into their care. No one benefits from putting priests on pedestals or dartboards. No one.

    Today, North American bishops (OCA) face each other over the table when they meet together and share their experiential knowledge as priests and also share some expectations from that experience in how they view each other as they carry out their episcopates together. If personal issues arise that appear to interfere with one bishop’s ability to carry out his responsibilities, the other bishops will help him in various ways to help resolve his personal issues. However, if he repeatedly reveals his inability to resolve his personal issues, his peers will ask him to resign. There is an air of realism that prevails over the OCA Holy Synod today that is both refreshing and encouraging. Having said that, no one benefits from putting these North American bishops on pedestals or dartboards. No one.

    I am personally acquainted with most of these North American bishops that constitute the OCA Holy Synod today. I see and know the individual persons behind the titles. They are not clones of one another. They are very different in personality and style just like the diversity of clergy they came out from. They agree and disagree with each other as they continue to strive for consensus which is an ever growing, learning process. They make mistakes, but they also learn from their mistakes. The bar of being a bishop has been raised during the 21st Century. A significant number of Holy Synod members have been asked to resign, during the past twelve years, for being unable to effectively carry out their responsibilities as expected by their peers. It will become more and more rare for OCA bishops to remain in office until they die.

    During my time within a monastery and at the seminary, I saw individual personalities that had a superficial perspective that by entering holy orders they would become holy and wise and respected. It doesn’t happen that way. I watched many of them leave holy orders with bitterness. A suffering servant is not the popularized perspective of greatness.

    It utterly dumbfounds me to listen to some individuals carry on about how it would be so much better if the OCA were put under a Holy Synod abroad somewhere under foreign born bishops. What a sentimental fantasyland that actually is. The North American bishops are best suited for carrying out the life and mission of the Orthodox Church in North America.

    The OCA bishops and the entire Church in North America is not going to hell. However, if you keep mingling with persons who keep saying that to one another eventually you will believe it. Eventually everything you see around you is going to hell in a handbasket. No one benefits from publicly trashing the bishops and the Church. No One.

    No one benefits from putting Orthodox Christian laity, clergy, and bishops on a pedestal or a dartboard. No One.

    • As you assert that you are familiar with the members of the OCA Synod, “I am personally acquainted with most of these North American bishops that constitute the OCA Holy Synod today. I see and know the individual persons behind the titles,” will you confirm that among them are practicing homosexuals?

      And, if your personal acquaintance with the North American bishops also includes those who are retired Metropolitans and bishops, will you confirm that among them too are practicing homosexuals?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Thank you sir. Thank you for not hiding behind a fake name, and thank you for the wisdom and accuracy of your comments.

    • Heracleides says

      Put this on your dartboard and enoy. “Immoriak” and others viewable here.

    • Heracleides says

      Take two: Put these images on your dartboard and enjoy. “Stonehim” – “Petersoon” – “Immoriak” all viewable here.

      *** Warning: Prelates and those prone to fainting should refrain from viewing. ***

    • Brad Day! Much of what you write is important and true.
      Who is the member of the HOLY SYNOD who was not born in North America [” a Holy Synod made up now with native born North Americans (with one notable exception)]?
      Is “Brad Day” a pseudonym? I ask this because your first name is not a Christian name, and the Orthodox, especially those who have “done time” in monasteries and seminaries, in my experience, invariably have
      Christian names in my experience.
      Thank you.

      • Dear Vladyka:

        There is one native born Romanian vicar bishop attached to the Romanian diocese. You may not remember it now, but I will always remember that day in early January of 1992, after a special liturgy at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral which was followed by a monastic tonsuring, that you gave me your blessing to go to St. Tikhon’s Monastery to pursue a monastic vocation where I spent twelve years before being recalled to the Diocese of the West. Brad Day is the name I was born with and still legally use. My Orthodox Christian name is Barnabas.

        • How about him for Metropolitan?

        • Well, then, Barnabas, I’d like to inform you (after all these years!) that Bishop Ireneu is NOT a member of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America: Vicar bishops are inelegible: only Diocesan rulibishops may be members of the Holy Synod. Vicar, Coadjutor, Suffragan etc., bishops may not vote in the Holy Synod. If they attend Synod meetings this is for educational purposes.

          • Brad Day/Barnabas says

            I stand properly rebuked and corrected Vladyka. I often forget that distinction with vicar bishops and I should know better.

          • Dear Bishop Tikhon,

            What a great idea, you you make all the misfits, crooks and perverts ruling bishops and put a good man like Jonah in charge. So I see then you fire the rightful Metropolitan and then all the non tainted bishops that are vicars cannot participate?

            Nice, real nice.

            How about if the BISHOPS are allowed to fire the just man, maybe the PEOPLE can elect a vicar?

            Photius F.

            • Photius, your reply is rather idiotic. I think it’s because when I wrote that vicar bishops are not members of the Holy Synod,YOU THOUGHT I was saying that vicar bishops are not eligible to be candidates for Metropolitan. You are mistaken in your reading. Someone wrote that one member of the Holy Synod is not North American-born. I said they all are. He ssid Bishop Irineos is foreign born. I said Bishop Ireneos is not a member of the Holy Synod because by regulation ONLY ruling diocesan bishops may be members of the Holy Synod. This is not rocket science. Just read the Statute.
              Bishop Irenaios (sp?) the Romanian Vicar Bishop, is ineligible to belong to the Holy Synod or vote in its deliberations when he attends as an invited guest there. Bishop Basil (Essey) of the Antiochenes is not member of the Holy Synod either, but you (if you are a delegate) may nominate him OR Bishop Irineus Or Metropolitan Isaiah OR Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) if you like.

              • Thank you Bishop for the correction and clarification. I have the statutes in my brief case and will read through them tonight with greater care. You were very helpful

  38. YouCantDoThat says

    George, I think this is worth putting out as an article:

    To All My Beloved Fellow Members of St. Paul Parish,

    Glory to Jesus Christ!

    I want in this letter to convey to you my thoughts and feelings as your parish priest about the situation with our diocesan bishop. I have already conveyed these ideas to Bishop Matthias and also to some members of the Synod of Bishops. While I will offer my opinion here about how I understand our situation, my prayer is for all of us to be faithful to the Gospel.

    The Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America after reviewing the report and recommendation of the Response Team appointed to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against our Diocesan Hierarch, the Right Reverend Matthias, have accepted the fact that the allegations are substantiated. The Synod, following the OCA’s Policy, Standards and Procedures, rendered a decision regarding a course of action to take with Bishop Matthias who they found guilty of sexual misconduct.

    The reaction of many in the Diocese to our bishop’s behavior has been dismay, disappointment, and even disgust. Many have questioned how he could ever again serve as bishop since he has destroyed his moral authority and by his own actions revealed a lack of pastoral wisdom or judgment which one would expect from someone who had been ordained for 40 years.

    It is not my intention to air our dirty laundry, but all of these facts are quite public, as they should be, and so publicly – diocesan clergy and lay members together with the Synod of Bishops- we can discuss our situation in order to do the truth (2 Cor 13:8).

    “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48)

    We entrusted the pastoral care of our Diocese to Bishop Matthias, and he publicly disgraced himself and in so doing shamed us all. As is clear in the offending texts and emails he was writing as the Diocesan hierarch not as a private citizen. As Christ teaches, we rightfully require much and demand the more. The high standards and expectations for our bishop should be maintained. Besides there are dire consequences for the unwise words we say.

    “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)

    We pray and hope that our bishop will eventually understand the hurt and harm he has done not only to the woman he victimized but to all of us in the Diocese. We hope that like the Prodigal Son he will come to his senses and truly repent. The Synod has assigned him to a therapeutic program in which we hope he will gain the self-awareness to see himself as others see him. Time will tell whether that will happen.

    However, It is not only Bishop Matthias who needs healing. Our Diocese has been harmed but what has happened and we all need healing – no doubt some of us feel the stress of this situation worse than others. Bishop Matthias was acting in the role of diocesan bishop as is clear in the offending texts he sent. As St. Ignatius of Antioch says, where the bishop is, there is the church. When the bishop engages in misconduct he drags down the diocese as well. Some of us at least have felt the shame, embarrassment and hurt caused by our hierarch.

    We too need the chance to heal but, I believe this will be hard to accomplish if we know our hierarch is going to be restored to our Diocese, back to the very position whose trust and stewardship he betrayed. The Church from the earliest times in its own canons realizes how serious it is for a hierarch to scandalize the church, and scandalized many of us are. Our healing will come when we feel safe and know that we won’t be dragged down again by such behavior.

    Bishop Matthias at this year’s clergy convocation spoke to us about the book BEAUTHY FOR ASHES. He spoke about the important need for there to be order restored in a diocese which has suffered scandal. He talked about the importance of re-establishing the dignity and authority of the clergy. Personally I don’t see how this can happen as long as he is the bishop. I hope he will live up to what he spoke about and take the necessary steps to restore the dignity and authority of the clergy in our diocese which have been damaged by his own actions. I want him to get the therapy and healing he needs and also hope he allows our diocese to heal by stepping down as bishop.

    “For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled…” (Titus 1:7-8)

    The problem facing us is not only what he wrote in the offending messages and emails, but also that he blames the victim for his problems and he publicly denied on the Diocesan webpage that he was guilty of the allegations. His claim has been shown to be false. It raises again the issue of how can we trust a man who did not tell the truth. It is hard to see how we can take seriously what he says. He asks for our forgiveness but then hopes we will see the purity of his heart. Repentance does not involve self-justification.

    Jesus taught that he who is not faithful in little things, is not trustworthy in big things. On some level what our bishop did is small, but it raises a big question about trust.

    To rephrase Jesus in John 3:12, if we cannot trust him about earthly things, how can we trust him about heavenly things?

    We all are to ask God to forgive our bishop, as we are taught by Christ to do. On the Cross our Lord prayed for his tormentors – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” In the current situation, our Diocese has been hung on the Cross, and we too are praying from that Cross that God will forgive our bishop. But we as Diocese have been seriously wounded, and are in need of healing. Christ forgave His tormentors but he didn’t bless them to continue tormenting others. The healing of our Diocese begins with our bishop getting into therapy and then not only taking a long leave of absence, but resigning from his office to allow the Diocese to heal.

    I think it is better for Bishop Matthias and our Diocese that he not be burdened with the pressures and issues which come with being the hierarch. I hope that our Synod of Bishops will also come to the realization that the trust has been betrayed and broken to a point that it is better not to try to restore it, but rather to let both Diocese and bishop heal from these wounds by allowing us to move into the future on different tracks.

    The Synod wishes for Bishop Matthias’ healing, as do we all. Certainly, he has now the opportunity to repent and to straighten out his life. In the liturgy we pray constantly to spend the remaining time of our life in repentance. That I think is the second chance the bishop is to be offered – to get back on the track of repentance, but not to put him into a position whose pressures he didn’t handle well.

    Those are my thoughts about where we are and what I hope might happen.

    May God be merciful on us all.

    I personally have been sickened by the situation we are in. For all of you who have joined the church, I offer my regrets for the failures in leadership you have witnessed. Christ says of the Father in John 15:2 : ”Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” We will now see whether we are being pruned to bear more fruit or whether we are being judged as having born no fruit at all.

    Fr. Ted (Bobosh)

    • According to the gospel of Ted Bobosh, NO SECOND CHANCE for Bp. Matthias. Good thing there were people in the Church back in the day when Ted Bobosh was sued for divorce by his wife. Breaking the bonds of the Sacrament of Marriage. Fr. Ted got his second chance and has disgraced his second chance time and again by his arrogance in judging others.

      Fr. Ted Bobosh, best you zip it and limit your prose to your own people. Even having your own blog assumes that you think you have something that others should read.

      Yep. Second chances for those part of the inner circle. Same ol same ol OCA.

      • While I agree with the spirit of what Fr. Ted wrote, Fr. Ted’s motives are ugly and as plain as day. Bishop Matthias was rather conservative on certain liturgical matters that really stuck in Fr. Ted’s craw. It is no wonder that Fr. Ted is seizing on Bishop Matthias’ weakness to discredit him entirely. I find Fr. Ted’s statement sickening.

        I am disappointed in Bishop Matthias. I thought he was right to remove Stokoe from the Metropolitan Council, and to make the liturgical directives that he made. Yet he willfully participated in this horrendous and wicked persecution of Metropolitan Jonah, culminating in the latter’s forced resignation. Then, despite having taken a vow of celibacy in his monastic tonsure, he tried to romantically pursue a vulnerable woman young enough to be his granddaughter. While those are wildly different sins, the common feature of these moral failings is that they both betray a failure of judgment and discernment.

        I believe Bishop Matthias ought to retire, and either stay in a monastery or do desk-type work for the Church. I do not think he should be defrocked unless he persists in chasing women. He seems sincere when he says he believes his intentions were not impure, but he is seriously deluded, in a way I do not think any secularized head shrinker could understand, much less fix.

        Bishop Matthias needs kindness and spiritual counsel, preferably from a brother monastic experienced in pastoral counsel. (Hey, I hear Metropolitan Jonah is not so busy these days.) Bishop Matthias does not need the reckless enabling attitude of Syosset, nor the ministrations of someone who will see his desires as “normal” and “healthy” expressions of sexuality that should not be repressed, only acted out privately and with someone more willing than the complainant would have been.

        If the OCA were as truly concerned about legal risk as they pretended to be in the Stinkbomb, they would never consider allowing Bishop Matthias to return as a ruling bishop or even be in charge of a parish. The fact that they have explicitly allowed the possibility just throws the lie that was perpetrated against Met. Jonah into sharper relief.

        God help us.

      • Let me see…the words someone signed their name to, or the words of an anonymous man attacking the long ago historic personal life of a priest away from the topic…

        Which should I choose?

        It is a highly unChristian [sic, but not really] way to behave, and a man like me, who is a lousy Orthodox fellow at best, is wise enough to see it.

        Heracleides, since you are shameless as well, might I suggest a cartoon with a balance scale with the name Dan Fall at the bottom and nikos holding no weight against a caricature of Fr Ted? You could include a sad face on Nikos and him throwing pointless darts at the good priest as well. My isn’t it fun to be a total jerk to people you don’t like? Where did you learn the faith?

        So much for personal attacks being allowed here.

    • I’m surprised that this Midwest Archpriest is so careless when it comes to quoting the Holy Scriptures. It seems to me that he didn’t understand one Scriptural injunction in particular: ““I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
      For example, he wrote: “… and so publicly – diocesan clergy and lay members together with the Synod of Bishops- we can discuss our situation in order to do the truth (2 Cor 13:8).” The Apostle Paul does not at all write of “doing” the truth. That sounds like something a Priest who thinks himself rather clever might utter to get someone’s attention. St. Paul in the passage cited did NOT speak of “doing the truth,” but of acting FOR the truth, on behalf of the truth, int he interests of the truth.
      He wrote: “Jesus taught that he who is not faithful in little things, is not trustworthy in big things.” Where may this negative injunction be found?
      It seems to me that this Priest may be really be concerned with matters other than the ones of which he writes here: perhaps with Bishop Mattthias’s having thwarted Mark Stokoe and his purposes, and having put a brake on any liturgical adventurism encouraged. previously.

      • 2Corinthians 13:8

        For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
        οὐ γὰρ δυνάμεθά τι κατὰ τῆς ἀληθείας, ἀλλὰ ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀληθείας.

        My Greek is a bit amateurish, but doesn’t “δυνάμεθά” mean “to do something”? the something, in this case, being “ἀληθείας”, [objective] truth?

        Luke 19:12-22

        [Jesus] said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Trade with these till I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'”

        Anyone here actually a member of Fr Ted Bobosh’s Parish and can therefore speak truly?

    • Disgusted With It says

      I have to admit I kind of agree with Fr. Ted. The Midwest Diocese needs a different bishop, one who is not so tolerant of un-Orthodox clergy as Bishop Matthias was. The entire diocese needs a good cleaning.

      • George Michalopulos says

        For what it’s worth, I very much welcomed the election of Bp Matthias. He said and did the right things regarding Christian morality. He also tried to tighten up a fairly loose liturgical ship. However about six months ago I heard that he came down hard on certain priests who blogged and/or posted things on the internet. I thought that was rather excessive.

        • Disgusted With It says


          I can appreciate the point about excessive punishment for blogging (depending on what the priest may have said). However, I don’t think he did enough to control certain rogue clergy. You tell them up front to do what is right or be suspended, and if they continue to do the wrong thing then you suspend them until such time as they’re ready to do what’s right — whether they’re part of the “favored class” in Syosset or not. Reading of prayers out loud is such a minor thing in relation to other scandalous behavior openly committed by some clergy. The OCA needs a good cleaning and it seems there’s nobody to do it.

    • Did Fr. Ted Bobosh cc his letter above to each member of the HS and the “chieftains” of the MC?
      If not, why not?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Folks–Be careful with your approval of Father Ted. It was only about a year ago that this blog was criticizing him for having said at Seattle: “The Metropolitan acknowledged that the past three years have been an administrative disaster. From where I sit on the Metropolitan Council, on the MC’s Ethics Committee and on the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee his words are certainly an accurate assessment of what has happened under his administration. He did own up to being the source of the problem but also blamed his critics for creating a difficult atmosphere – for me the truth is that much of that poisoned atmosphere was created by himself.” Now, I happen to respect what he wrote in the article quoted above and what he had said at Seattle. Can you also respect both?

    • Great to see Fr. Ted speaking out like that! I guess thats the end of his priestly career though… I wonder if he will be barred from Parma too?

  39. M. Stankovich says

    Many Years to those with the Names of the Bodiless Powers of Heaven! с праздником!

  40. Michael James Kinsey says

    Action is required. Have each church elect a worthy man for the rank of bishop. In the same election have the faithful vote on the reinstatement of Met Jonah. Make provisions for buying off the useless bishops, and relieve Met Jonah from his unjust treatment, and restore his stipend.If replacements are ready, willling and most importantly, worthy and the monentary concerns of the bishops are addressed, the crisis of the OCA could have a resolution. I see no other way to resolve the situation. It is just to do this to the bishops, because it is what they did to Met Jonah for no just cause. I do not know how to do this within the confines of cannon law. Perhaps it is not possible. It means irresolution and inaction riegns in the OCA, and the spiritual corruption in high place’s has replaced the Holy Spirit. Pray to God, this is not all that is left to you.

  41. You have to read this letter

    LOL–this letter is funny

    you all do realize why Fr Ted wrote this letter, right? Stokoe is in Fr Teds parish, Matthias kicked Stokoe off of the Metropolitan Council.

    There is a saying –Payback is a ….

    Reflection on our Diocese

  42. How an admission of guilt and taking responsibility looks:

    “Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.

    As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation’s Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard. Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

    Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.

    Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

    With admiration and appreciation,

    David H. Petraeus”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Alec, that’s a complete crock. Petraeus was going to testify before Congress next week about Benghazi and the possibility that Amb Stevens was running a fast-and-furious type of gun-running operation to the Syrian rebels. Now he won’t go.

      • George,
        Is it possible Obama and his team are taking lessons in subterfuge from the OCA holy synod?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Cetainly looks like it. Look what they did to Petraeus.

          • George Osborne says

            What?? For heaven’s sake! A man pursuing a much younger woman after a distinguished career is forced to resign in disgrace? In the OCA, you just get a slap on the wrist after you send a wishy-washy apology and get some highly improbable secular “therapy” recommended by the chief executive board of OCA, Inc. to preserve the corporate image and, of course the fact that they have run out of semi-suitable unmarried men with educations from a graduate school of religious studies as replacements!!

      • George, You don’t believe Petraeus had an affair? I’m sure the woman he is accused of having the affair with would come forward with denial if it weren’t true. I posted it only as reference to what someone who actually admits guilt and takes responsibility for it sounds like, as opposed to B. Matthias who cannot seem to admit his sin.

        As for testifying before the Congress, he can be forced to appear, though he can claim the 5th and not speak.

        • Yeah, George, it makes no sense to invent an affair to avoid testifying to congress: He could have just resigned for “personal reasons,” and he can still testify before congress even if resigned. It seems like he just really wanted to be a leader and let people know that affairs have consequences and his marriage is more important than his career. The timing might seem like a coincidence, but sometimes coincidences are just coincidences. Now if he refuses to testify when called by congress, then you have a valid complaint.

          Nevertheless, the comparison between how the CIA director and OCA bishop have faced their personal sins is noteworthy and instructive. We should all be humbled by the CIA director’s commitments to family and country, and we should honor his ability to recognize the right priorities during a crisis.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      My guess – a small cash settlement and a canonical release to ROCOR wrapped up before Parma in hopes of quieting the mobs. Maybe some required statement from +Jonah aimed at giving the HS some cover from their mess.

      • George Michalopulos says

        That would assume that the people Jonah’s dealing with are acting in good faith. Or at the very least have a smidgen of decency. Times like this make me appreciate the GOA –when they bludgeon a man they at least have the decency to close the door.

      • Sounds plausible enough, Mark. Much more plausible than Obama being behind General Petraeus’s weaselly attempt to get out of being held accountable for Benghazi, tarnishing his mythical overblown image. He’s been all about ego since West Point. If he can only make it look like Obama’s fault, he figures that’s worth being caught hound-dogging it.
        When they figured some time ago that Obama would get a second term, they decided to serve up Romney as their candidate, storing Petraeus up for when Obama’s second term is up. Now this is the way of getting him out from under this administration (being a normal, shucks, heterosexual hound-dog). Between now and then, he’ll be all rehabilitated and ready to be nominated by the Teapublicans.

      • Gailina Sheppard says

        Yep, Mark, my take on it, as well. Although I would be happy for Metropolitan Jonah if things work out for him, how are we supposed to react? Are we expected to just let everything go?

        • Mark from the DOS says

          I would think that is the HS’s expectation. I would certainly rejoice at the prospect of Met. Jonah being able to continue using his considerable gifts in a hopefully far more hospitable environment. As for me, I doubt I would ever set foot in an OCA parish again, barring the good cleansing that is needed.

  43. I think piece pretty will sums it all up…

    This speech was broadcast by legendary ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965:

    If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .

    If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.

    If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

    Paul Harvey, Good Day.

  44. I think this pretty well sums up this topic…

    This speech was broadcast by legendary ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965:

    If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .

    If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.

    If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

    Paul Harvey, Good Day.