How Far is St Nick’s from the National Cathedral?

Not far at all as it turns out.

I wonder if Herr Chancellor has received his talking points from Leonova’s Facebook group yet? I wait on pins and needles for the Chancellor’s latest excursus.

Maybe they can get some Episcopalian worthies to come to Tikhon’s installation? Word on the street is there will be plenty of room.

Famous Church’s Bells to Ring for Same Sex Couples

Source: Associated Press

episcopaly-gay-marriageWASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington National Cathedral had been ready to embrace same-sex marriage for some time, though it took a series of recent events and a new leader for the prominent, 106-year-old church to announce Wednesday that it would begin hosting such nuptials.

The key development came last July when the Episcopal Church approved a ceremony for same-sex unions at its General Convention in Indianapolis, followed by the legalization of gay marriage in Maryland, which joined the District of Columbia. The national church made a special allowance for marriage ceremonies in states where gay marriage is legal.

Longtime same-sex marriage advocate the Very Rev. Gary Hall took over as the cathedral’s dean in October. Conversations began even before he arrived to clear the way for the ceremonies at the church that so often serves as a symbolic house of prayer for national celebrations and tragedies.

The Episcopal bishop of Washington, the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, authorized use of the new marriage rite in December for 89 congregations in D.C. and Maryland. Each priest then decides whether to marry same-sex couples.

The cathedral’s congregation and leadership include many gays and lesbians. The church was just waiting for the right moment and the right leader.

“This was something that was brewing in the cathedral. We were really waiting for him,” Budde told The Associated Press. “It would have been inconceivable for the Cathedral to call somebody who was not in favor of full equality for gay and lesbian people.”

Hall, a former rector at churches in Michigan, Pennsylvania and California and a seminary dean in Chicago, had been a leader in developing liturgical rites for same-sex blessings in the Episcopal Church. Budde said Hall was a catalyst for change in the church’s marriage tradition.

Cathedral officials said the church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage adapted from the blessing ceremony for gay and lesbian couples that was approved last year by the Episcopal Church’s national governing body.

Official Episcopal law still defines marriage as between a man and a woman, so the cathedral says it will be performing weddings that combine civil marriage ceremonies under local law with a blessing from the church. They will use the new language approved for same-sex couples instead of the marriage ceremony from the Book of Common Prayer. Only one major U.S. Protestant group, the United Church of Christ, has endorsed same-sex marriage outright.

Some congregations have left the Episcopal Church over its inclusion of gays and lesbians over the years.

Hall said performing same-sex marriages is an opportunity to break down barriers and build a more inclusive community “that reflects the diversity of God’s world.”

“I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” Hall told the AP. “And my reading of the Bible leads me to want to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be.”

As the nation’s most prominent church, the cathedral has long hosted presidential inaugural services and funerals for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his last sermon there in 1968. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

The move is also a chance to influence the nation, beyond the Episcopal Church.

“As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture,” Hall said.

Observers noted the powerful symbolism the massive Gothic cathedral carries in American religious life from one of the highest points in the nation’s capital. The change comes just before the Supreme Court will hear debate in two cases involving gay marriage in March.

Including gays and lesbians in marriage reflects the growing sentiment of many Americans “that this is simply a matter of equality,” said Randall Balmer, chairman of Dartmouth College’s department of religion and himself an Episcopal priest.

“What I think religious groups do best is they put people in proximity with one another,” he said. “My sense is that it’s much more difficult to condemn homosexuality if you know that the son of your best friend in church or someone who worships in the next pew from you is gay.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, applauded the cathedral’s change Wednesday as a milestone.

“Today, the church sent a simple but powerful message to LGBT Episcopalians – you are loved just the way you are, and for that we embrace you,” said the Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, the deputy director of HRC’s religion and faith program.

The conservative National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, said the cathedral’s change was “disappointing but not surprising,” given the direction of the Episcopal Church. In light of the cathedral’s national prominence, spokesman Thomas Peters called the marriage announcement “an opportunity for people to wake up to what’s happening.”

“It reminds us that marriage is really an all or nothing deal,” he said. “Does America want to retain its marriage tradition or fundamentally give it up?”

Same-sex marriage is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. Legislators in Illinois and Rhode Island are set to take up bills to possibly join them.

The first same-sex wedding performed last month at West Point’s Cadet Chapel drew some protests from conservatives. The National Cathedral is even more visible.

Budde, the Episcopal bishop, said there is a long tradition of changing views in the church on racial equality, slavery and the role of women.

“When I was born, girls couldn’t be acolytes. Now I’m bishop of one of the largest dioceses in the country,” she said.

Budde said the cathedral is confident and certain of its decision but realizes it causes difficulty for other fellow Christians.

“This is a big deal, and we’re moving with as much graciousness and humility as we can,” she said.

Gay weddings will be allowed immediately. But it will likely be six months to a year before the first marriages are performed due to the cathedral’s busy schedule and its pre-marital counseling requirement. Generally, only couples affiliated with the cathedral are eligible.

The cathedral hosts about 16 weddings a year. Church leaders had not received any requests for same-sex weddings ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

Hall said he does not expect any objections within the cathedral congregation, but the change may draw scrutiny from the outside.

He said he sees marriage as a human issue, not a political issue.

“For us to be able to say we embrace same-sex marriage as a tool for faithful people to live their lives as Christian people,” he said, “for us to be able to say that at a moment when so many other barriers toward full equality and full inclusion for gay and lesbian people are falling, I think it is an important symbolic moment.”


  1. Former St. Nicholas DC Member says

    Within the joyous feast of the Lord’s Birth, it was a sad reminder to see how poorly the feast of old calendar Christmas was attended at St. Nicholas Cathedral in DC. At best there were 125 people. Compare this to the number of people who attended the Vigil (700) and for the Liturgy (500) at St. John the Baptist ROCOR Cathedral in DC.

    How far and how fast the OCA is falling. The impotent plea of the OCA Chancellor in his January 9 Diary calling for the OCA to do more to minister to Russians. The OCA turned its back on Russians long ago in her vision to be an American Church. Russians will continue to flock to ROCOR parishes now and in the future because they are truly taken care of in ROCOR.

    As ROCOR continues to grow and minister not only to Russians but all Americans, let us thank God for their adherence to Traditional Orthodox life and values, employing all languages and offering the beauty of Orthodox worship and teachings and not the watered-down Orthodox Lite which has become the OCA.

    • There were 125 people at St. Nicholas at their Supplemental celebration of the Nativity on January 7? How many were there on December 25th? Looks like even EX OCA types play the numbers game.
      Next, why not make all those attending take a test to see how much money they put in the plate, how many candles they bought, how many times they’ve communed, can they recite all ten commandments and the Creed SLOWLY, Can they name the 12 Feasts. THEN you compare the results coming from each sample. Then keep track of the numbers in each age group or range, the number of wage-earners , the number of house owners and renters…If you really want to find out whether you’re on the Winning Team or not, there’s a lot more homework you’ll have to do. Ask how man clergy they pay and how much they pay them. Ask how much property (fire, theft, calamity, etc.) insurance they have Others will want to know how many times each was mentioned in national media, and how many movie and theater stars rave about the place. Oh, the days are just too short!!!

    • Not sure why one would expect a large number of people at a new calendar church on old calendar Christmas, especially when there’s an old calendar church of that nationality nearby.

      Whether the OCA is or has been doing enough to serve the needs of Russian Orthodox believers in the US is a separate question. A move in the right direction has been seeing OCA parishes serve particularly important old calendar feasts for some, often newly arrived Orthodox (e.g., Christmas, St. Nicholas, St. Nino, etc.). Old calendar feasts have also been showing up on the St. Tikhon’s liturgical calendar. Following the ‘calendar wars’ in the OCA this hadn’t been seen much, it seems.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        A mixed calendar? I’m not particularly fond of the new calendar, but a mixed calendar is just, well, odd.

      • St. Nickolas is not a new calender church–it has BOTH calenders–or it did.

    • Carl Kraef says

      In my town, almost all of the Russians are members of the OCA Church, while the ROCOR church is comprised mostly of converts. My OCA church is not and has never been Orthodox lite. My OCA church and the ROCOR church differ in only a few insignificant matters, such as where women stay and the calendar. My OCA church has produced 13 priests, to include the current rector of the ROCOR parish. What you are saying is thus an untruth.

      Besides, Nativity was celebrated twice at St Nicholas once on December 25th as it proper and yet again on January 6th to accommodate Julianists. Looking at their monthly calendar, I also see lots of outreach toward Russians: classes in Russian and as many services in Slavonic as in Russian.

      You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Carl,

        You are right, your parish, in Columbia, SC as a parish of the DOS certainly is not Orthodox Lite. One should view the DOS as anything but the best diocese in the OCA. If it were not for the DOS, the OCA would be in even worse shape.

        That is why it seems amazing, and maybe you can enlighten us why your parish and deanery is supporting the candidacy of +Mark Maymon to be the next bishop in the South?

        • It seems to me that Carl’s parish and deanery are completely on board with
          Archbishop Benjamen and Fr Jillions agenda.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Sophie–How could you say that? You know nothing of my parish; my priest, warden, parishioners. You do not even know my position in the parish for I have not disclosed it. Look, if you wish to insult me, it is your right. But, please leave my parish out of it. I will shout it for you: I POST AS AN INDIVIDUAL AND MY VIEWS DO NOT REFLECT THOSE OF MY PARISH, DEANERY OR DIOCESE. Is that clear enough for you?

        • Nikos, don’t be so sure.

          The ROCOR church, St. Elizabeth’s, is one of the ones featured in the “Orthodox in Dixie” documentary. Obviously, they have Russians there. Carl doesn’t know anything about them. It is very sad that Carl feels the need to come online and show his jurisdiction bashing to the world and make ignorant comments about how the ROCOR church is composed.

          The ROCOR church has a beautiful temple and community. Their priest and deacon are very sweet, hardworking people who minister to all who come to them, Russian or otherwise. They are every bit as wonderful as the documentary portrays them.

          • Dear Gamecock,

            You are 100% correct. St. Elizabeth is a very blessed community and their pastor is God-inspired. Carl’s ROCOR bashing comments are just silly and maybe a bit envious.

            It is sad that the OCA clergy in that area are whining about Orthodox in Dixie and why they were not part of the documentary, as if they deserved to be in it. If the OCA South wants to make a documentary about their work in the South then make one. I doubt very much that they can come close to the professionalism and quality of the work done by the ROCOR Eastern American Diocese. They can’t even keep their website current or worth reading.

            The OCA for generations stuck it to ROCOR calling them all kinds of names and lording over them as a backward sectarian group. In public and private the distain for ROCOR was one of the ways the OCA legitimated itself (a common OCA practice to legitimate itself at the expense of others). But now, it is the OCA that finds itself on the outside looking in trying their best to make nice with the ROCOR knowing full well that the MP doesn’t need the OCA any longer here because they have the ROCOR.

            There are certainly pockets of OCA clergy who have been pro-ROCOR even before the reunification and a good number of them reside in the OCA Diocese of the South. I would suspect that if the OCA were ever brave enough to let parishes decide if they wanted to stay in the OCA or go somewhere else, that a significant percentage of communities in the South and West would go to the ROCOR.

            So, Gamecock, be patient with the OCA. It will take some time for it to come to the conclusion that they are less legitimate now than the ROCOR and that the Mother Russian Church now focuses here good intentions for the growth of Orthodoxy here in the USA not with the OCA but with her own, the ROCOR.

            • Dear Nikos,

              The OCA people are complaining that they weren’t included? Now that is really going too far. The documentary also did not include the long-suffering, saintly Antiochian priest in Lexington SC, or the wonderful Greek church from which the OCA parish got its start. Also the ROCOR parish is behind probably the most famous and long-lasting Orthodox outreach in Columbia, the Unexpected Joy book shop in Five Points. That wasn’t in the documentary either.

              The documentary was low-budget and was limited in scope by necessity! Why do people see something wonderful like that film, and have to tear it down? Oh, wait, that is just what has been done to poor Vladika Jonah, too.

              By the way, Nikos, thank you for all your good work for Vladika Jonah. He is very blessed and loved more than he knows!

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                This was an excellent production. I only wish that it had been done on a Pan-Orthodox basis because all Orthodox jurisdictions are growing in the South. We Antiochians have also had tremendous growth through the South. We have 4 parishes in South Carolina and have established missions and parishes throughout the South. My parish, St. George’s Vicksburg had a different evolution. It was founded in 1906 by immigrants from Lebanon, and is one of the oldest Orthodox Churches in the South. It has also become Pan-Orthodox and English speaking. In the process, it has also become Southern. We had a covered dish luncheon following the Divine Liturgy and our annual parish meeting this morning. We had cheese grits with ham and barbeque, although I find the idea of South Carolina mustard based barbeque somewhat strange because they make it differently in Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma where I have lived. I did find it interesting that eating together is not just an important Antiochian Orthodox practice, but is shared by our Russian brethren. Our Bishop, Bishop Antoun, insists on being served another Southern favorite. Whenever he comes, we must serve him fried catfish. Orthodoxy has a great future in the South because we represent the true Faith of the Apostles. In Mississippi, we all work together regardless of our jurisdictional affiliation. I have been doing prison ministry together with Fr. Benedict Crawford of the OCA mission in McComb, Mississippi. We have just learned that ROCOR had established a mission in Louisiana that is nearer the prison than we are. The priest also has law enforcement experience, so we have asked him to join us and hopefully become the leader of the work at the prison since since he is more qualified than we are for such work. When I was recovering from total knee replacement Fr. Paul Yerger of Holy Resurrection OCA parish in Clinton, Mississippi covered for me and did a funeral in my parish because I was unable to do it. Fr. Leo Schelver of Sts. Peter and Paul Antiochian parish in north Jackson covered for me on Sundays. We also work with the Greek Orthodox parish in Jackson. That is the way that it should be. All Orthodox should work together. We may not be able to achieve unity on the national level, but we are achieving it on the local level here.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  This was an excellent production. If I may speak to your concern that it wasn’t “pan-Orthodox.” I agree. I myself am most disheartened because the DOS was not involved but we have only ourselves to blame. As for the non-OCA ethnic jurisdictions not being involved, it won’t happen because no matter how ingrained our parishioners may be in the South and view ourselves as part of that region, our bishops are still foreign satraps more concerned about Bulbanian/Ruritanian Independence Day. As for the DOC, we haven’t had a bishop for 3 years and Syosset is too skittish to allow us to choose one to our liking. In the meantime, Kishkovskyite pseudo-Schmemannism is gaining ground even in the South as evidenced by the questionable letter that the Carolinas Deanery put out some three months ago. The one in which they agreed that getting rid of Jonah because this nation doesn’t need an American patriarchate was the right thing to do.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    Don’t you understand how offensive to be called a foreign ethnic jurisdiction is for Antiochians and others? At least be intellectually honest, the OCA reflects Russianism as much as any other jurisdiction reflects the ethnic culture of the mother country of its founders. We Antiochians are just as American, if not more so than the OCA. Your other comments were equally insulting. especially about the one about our Bishops being foreign satraps. If anything the OCA should have learned a little humility following all its problems and accept the fact that the majority of American and Orthodox do not accept the claims of the OCA to be the American Orthodox Church. Even Moscow does not really act as if the OCA were the territorial Orthodox Church in this country or ROCOR which is under Moscow would join the OCA and recognize it at the autocephalous American Orthodox Church, which it does not. The attitudes expressed in your post only contribute to the continued disunity of Orthodoxy in our country by alienating non OCA Orthodox by unjustified OCA triumphalism.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, with all due respect –and I’m not being sarcastic but very much treasure your insights–until there is an authentic, indigenous American Orthodox Church, the ethnic eparchies will always function as satrapies whether we care to admit it or not. The entire Episcopal Assembly process is proof positive: they set it up oversees, with no American episcopal involvement. And your point about the “Russianism” of the OCA is inapt. Yes, we know (and cherish) the original Russian Mission as well we should but it’s clear that for a brief, shining moment anyway, that the OCA acted as if America mattered. Now of course we’re too busy shooting ourselves in the foot but that’s a story for another day.

                      I’ll restate this another way: there is NOTHING wrong with the GOA, AOCNA, Serbs, etc., being proud of their ethnic origins. I’m very proud of my own ethnic heritage. That’s not the issue. After all, ROCOR is just as intensely proud of their Russian origins as well and yet they have no problem whatsoever with taking the Gospel message to their new homeland. I think if we all engaged in honest introspection we would have to agree that even if my point is scabrous, hurtful, and even incorrect, the ethnic jurisdictions have a ways to go to catch up with ROCOR.

                      And again, I mean no disrespect to the ethnic eparchies; the ones who deserve the jurisdiction which deserves the most reproach is the OCA –particularly the Diocese of the South. If we knew what we were doing we’d have produced that video. We are the ones who should hang our heads in shame, after all, we don’t answer to anybody in the Old World.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      The Antiochian Archdiocese has established many all English missions and had taken in whole congregations of converts into Orthodoxy. We have an active missions program to bring Orthodoxy to America. We were the ones who took in the Evangelical Orthodox when no other Orthodox jurisdiction had the courage to do so. Please recognize reality and acknowledge the work that we have done to spread Orthodoxy in this country. The majority of our clergy are converts. We long ago ceased being an ethniclly oriented jurisdiction. Thus, I find your dismissal of us as an ethnic jurisdiction highly offensive. You do not seem to understand that our loyalty to Antioch has nothing to do with ethnicism. It has to do with being the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Church where Christians were first called Christians.. I am proud of my Antiochian heritage which transcends ethnicism.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      George why cannot you recognize the liturgical practices and approach to Orthodoxy in the that OCA is Russian? Do not pretend something that is not true. There is nothing wrong with being Russian in orientation, but at least do not pretend that the OCA is more American than other Orthodox jurisdictions. All Orthodox jurisdictions in America have ethnic roots. My parish uses Greek Byzantine liturgical traditions, although we do use some Russian music. There is no authentic indigenous American expression of Orthodoxy and will not be for a very long time. The only way that we will all come together is if we drop our pride and recognize each other as equals in Christ. We Antiochians have self-rule status and manage our own Archdiocese here in America with little interference from the Patriarchate. The unity we all desire will only be possible when we all treat each other as equals and no one Orthodox jurisdiction treats the rest of us as second class Orthodox. All American Orthodox regardless of their jurisdiction have a right to play a role as equals in the formation of a united American Orthodox Church. At the same time, we are part of a world wide Church and cannot ignore the wishes of the autocephalous Churches of world Orthodoxy.
                      I am Antiochian, but I am not an Arab and have never been pressured to become an Arab want to be. In fact, that sort of thing is discouraged in our Archdiocese. I can honestly say that I am not treated as a second class Antiochian because I am not of Arab background, not by our Bishops, not by my brother clergy and not by the people of my parish who are actually of Lebanese ancestry. Last summer at the clergy symposium when I was obviously ill, our Bishops and every brother priest showed nothing but concern for my health. I felt real love from everyone as I tried to walk around on my wounded knee.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says


                      If you look at other posts on this site, you should understand why I am very leery of the OCA. If I were to believe 25% what is posted on this site, I would forced to believe that the OCA is so corrupt that it is beyond redemption. According to posts that I read last night, the Metropolitan’s Cathedral in Washington is controlled by a pro gay faction, some of the Bishops are practicing homosexuals or at least sympathetic to the regularization of homosexuality within Orthodoxy. You continue to allow an openly practicing homosexual to have great influence in the OCA. Your national administration is dominated by liberals who are at the very least Orthodox Lite or even worse are Eastern Rite Episcopalians. One of your Bishop is addicted to porn and is also an alcoholic. Another is suspended because he made improper advances towards a woman. The OCA apparently had a well known active homosexual leading it for years and did not discipline him. You have a retired Bishop living with a man who married another man in California, yet is still allowed to function as a deacon. All of these accusations are not coming from Antiochians trying to discredit the OCA, but from within the OCA itself. Cannot you understand why, those of us who are not OCA are not about to accept domination of American Orthodoxy by the OCA? We Antiochians do not have these sort of problems because neither our Metropolitan, our Bishops or our people would tolerate the acceptance of immoral behavior among the clergy or anything less than the true teaching of the Orthodox Church on moral issues. That is one reasn why I find it so offense to be dismissed as belonging to an “ethnic jurisdiction.” If you really believe that the OCA should assume a position of leadership among American Orthodox, first clean up the OCA, because in its present state, no one in their right mind would trade what we have in the Antiochian Archdiocese for the mess that is the contemporary OCA. Some people on this site love to criticize Metropolitan Philip, but when it comes to doctrinal and moral issues, he will not tolerate any deviation from strict Orthodoxy. I think that some people in the OCA should worry less about calendars, beards and cassocks and get back to the basics of Orthodoxy which are not centered on externals, but on keeping without corruption the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church. If the services are done strictly according to the most exacting standards of the Typikon at your Metropolitan’s Cathedral, but the parish is controlled by a pro-gay faction, the services may be correct, but they are a mockery of what we believe, because if you accept giving Communion to active homosexuals and condone immoral sexual relationships it is all a show and nothing more because you are not taking the Orthodox Faith expressed in the services seriously.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, you don’t have to apologize for being “leery of the OCA.” I think a lot of us who sincerely believed in the vision of an autocephalous American Church got some seriously cold water thrown in our faces during these last six months.

                      I guess the silver lining to this debacle has been that Orthodox Christians who have some discernment will no longer view bishops and the institutional Church with rose-colored glasses. No more praising bishops or idolizing institutions. In that sense, it’s been salutary.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      Almost all of us long for the day when we have a united autocephalous American Orthodox Church. But it cannot take place unless we follow the teachings of the Orthodox Church on moral issues. There is a cloud over the OCA that was not put there by Antiochians or other non OCA Orthodox, but by members of the OCA themselves. You are intelligent enough to recognize this. If the problems of the OCA reported on your site are real the OCA needs to clean up its act and get rid of any leader ordained or lay who does not strictly uphold the moral teachings of our Church. Believe me,. I only wish good for the OCA and am deeply saddened by the problems of the OCA. I have written many times on this site that I do not want to believe all that I read here about the pro-gay lobby in the OCA. If it is there get rid of it for your sake and for the sake of the rest of American Orthodoxy.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You are absolutely right Fr. There is indeed a “clould” that hangs heavily over the head of the OCA. Truth be told, the same type of ennui pervades the OCA presently that has pervaded the precincts of the GOA ever since Ligonier was shuttered.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Creativity like this usually happens at the margins. There are exceptions such as Ancient Faith Radio and the Antiochian jurisdiction but those are rare.* You won’t see it coming from the Assembly of Bishops unfortunately but it can still be done in other ways as “Orthodox in Dixie” proves.

                      “Orthodox in Dixie” is a fine piece of work. It illustrates the Orthodox missionary imperative — affirm the truth that already exists. That is how evangelism is done. I know solid priests in ROCOR but I had no idea that their internal culture was this forward thinking. (The ignorance was mine alone.)

                      *I’ve found that in the AOA there are no real barriers to personal creative expression — no committees or people who claim veto power over private expression in the public arena. It just does not exist. It looks like ROCOR may be the same way. Maybe that is why Met. Jonah is finding a home there and why they appreciate his gifts.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      BTW, the Catholics get it too. Wake up leaders of the OCA, GOA, and others. Time is passing you by. And, no, this is not about restructuring or retooling administrative structures. This is about the transformative power of encounter with the Risen Christ — the recovery of the the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached with clarity and prophetic power that a dying culture is longing to hear.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      Every time that I read one of the posts about all the problems of the OCA and the possibility that some OCA leaders are soft on homosexuality, I want to cry. We are Orthodox. We cannot allow our Church to be destroyed by gay liberation the way that they destroyed the Episcopal Church.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  Documentaries like this sound like a great thing for the Assembly of Bishops to undertake — perhaps though its Orthodox Christian Network? Maybe they could reach out and work together with the ROCOR Eastern American Diocese media people and others. But then again, maybe I’m just dreaming here.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Yeah, you’re dreaming.

                    • I’ve been part of some wonderful interactions regarding this type of effort. I’m pleased to note that while, yes, such inter-jurisdictional efforts may present challenges, they are not merely dreams. Can’t elaborate, but things are smoother than you’d imagine.

              • macedonianreader says

                Honestly, I’m pretty ambivalent-minded about this documentary. I was expecting more. Watched it last night and the only thing that I remember “Southern Orthodox. Orthodoxy is Traditional, the South is traditional. Oh and we have good food for the fasting seasons.”

                Looking forward to “God’s Garden” a little bit more

          • Haralambos says

            Let’s not bring individual parishes into this. I was a member of both said churches in Columbia before moving out west. Both are great churches that produces pious people. Carl is a great and interesting guy; very serious in his faith and I don’t see him as bashing jurisdictions. And Nikos, mind your own business who the parish supports. Surely wondering who supports whom in ecclesiastical politics cannot be good for one’s spiritual life.

            Christ is born!

            • Haralambos,

              “Church politics”? In the OCA we have a direct voice as to who our next bishop might be. It is far from politics, it is about the very life of the Church. I don’t wonder either since that deanery made their support for +Mark Maymon public. May I have an opinion on the matter, dear Haralambos? Would you grant me and others concerned about the future of the Diocese of the South that small favor?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Are you saying that the Carolinas Deanery of the Diocese of the South “made their (sic) support for +Mark Maymon public”? Where did you get that information? Surely as you claim that this is public, you can produce some evidence for your allegation.

                • Ask your dean. Ask the clergy of your deanery. Are there now secret and public conclusions in the Church? Is not all open and transparent. Think, Carl. Think. Is what is decided in secret or not in public (written) no less binding?

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I will point out that you claimed that this was “public” so I assumed that you could refer us to this public information. I apologize in thinking that your idea of public disclosure is the same as mine.

                    • Dear to God, Carl,

                      I said that the deanery met. I do not recall saying that it was made public, but it was certainly not held in secret by those who met, nor other deanery meetings in Florida.

                      Maybe the greater use of “executive sessions” must be employed to keep things secret?

                      I hope this helps you better understand.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Nikos–That is not how it went.

                      Haralambos wrote ” Let’s not bring individual parishes into this. I was a member of both said churches in Columbia before moving out west. Both are great churches that produces pious people.”

                      You responded ““Church politics”? In the OCA we have a direct voice as to who our next bishop might be. It is far from politics, it is about the very life of the Church. I don’t wonder either since that deanery made their support for +Mark Maymon public.” (my emphasis)

                      I then asked you if you were referring the the Carolinas Deanery (hint: Columbia is in South Carolina and thus in the Carolinas Deanery). You are not owning up to your mistake, if that was a mistake. You are now referring to a deanery meeting in Miami. FYI, that is a different deanery all together. And, it was no secret that some priests in the Miami area favored Mark. However, I remind you that the letter from Chancellor Fr. Marcus Burch last year made it clear that (a) the deans supported only Father Gerasim and (b) all of the deans signed up to that public statement. May I also remind you that the only public statement by the clergy of the Carolinas Deanery did not mention +Mark even once.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I am rather fond of St Elizabeth’s, not only because it is a serious Orthodox church that is led by a fine rector and deacon, but perhaps also because the fine folks there came out of our bosom. May I please remind you (and others who may be reading this interesting exchange) of what I said: “In my town, almost all of the Russians are members of the OCA Church, while the ROCOR church is comprised mostly of converts.” How could you claim that I meant “no Russians” at St Elizabeth’s? Also, how could you say that I am indulging in jurisdiction bashing?

            • Fr. John Whiteford says

              I am very good friends with Fr. Mark, and I remember when he joined ROCOR about 16 years ago. When I was a deacon, I had the honor of walking him around the Holy Table at when he was ordained a deacon, which obviously occurred in ROCOR. Out of about 80 parishioners, about 5 or 6 of them came from the OCA, and that includes Fr. Mark and his Matushka. Fr. Mark was a Roman Catholic prior to conversion, and of his 20 years that he has been Orthodox, he spent less than 2 years of that time in the OCA. And he was in ROCOR for a bit longer than 2 years before he was ordained a deacon (he was ordained a priest about a year after that). So while I am sure that he is grateful to the OCA for introducing him to Orthodoxy, obviously his spiritual formation in the Church was almost entirely while he was in ROCOR. And the fact that his parish is mostly convert (about 70%, not including children) is a testimony to the vitality of his parish — Columbia, South Carolina not having huge Russian population. And as for the Deacon, he converted to Orthodoxy in ROCOR, and was in fact baptized by Fr. Mark.

              • Fr. John Whiteford: Thank you for providing that biographical information about Fr. Mark. A good portion of the local Russians go to St. Elizabeth’s, it is wrong for Carl to claim “almost all” go to Holy Apostles (OCA).

                Carl was trying to pass off that incorrect information because the rivalry between OCA and ROCOR has been played out on the local level there with the false claim from certain people in the OCA parish that St. Elizabeth’s hardly has any Russians. I decided to post a comment because I know that information to be untrue, and because Carl was using that incorrect information to legitimize his own parish, arguing they are not Orthodox lite, at the expense of St. Elizabeth’s.

                I see more of that where Carl tries to have his parish take credit for the ROCOR parish’s existence and for their priest. As you pointed out, Fr. John, they may have had their founding membership come out of OCA, but the OCA is not responsible for their birth or growth. As if the OCA has ever been interested in planting missions for ROCOR! What an idea!

                And it makes me wonder why their founding members left the OCA? Maybe there is a hint in Carl labeling people like them prejudiced and prideful because of their preference for using the same calendar used by the majority of Orthodox Christians?

                The OCA is an extremely sick institution, and Carl is unfortunately making the sickness worse by trying to make his own preferences for his parish and calendar look better through untrue information and insults. He should see to his own sins and weaknesses and those of the OCA, rather than trying to make himself look better by tearing down others.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Gamecock–Again, I fail to see how I am tearing any jurisdiction. Regarding my statement that most Russians attend Holy Apostles rather than St Elizabeth, this may indeed be factually untrue, but even so why is that a criticism of ROCOR or St Elizabeth’s? I think that it is indeed the situation and I stand to be corrected. However, how this is construed to be a criticism of ROCOR and/or St Elizabeth’s is beyond me. Are we supposed in a race to attract and keep Russians? Is it supposed to be bad form for a ROCOR priest or congregant to have first found Orthodoxy in the OCA?

                  Let’s just check the numbers: We will both report the number of voting members and the number of Russians. We will then compare. Is that OK? I have no problem with being corrected and if the majority, or whatever percentage, of Russian church members attend St Elizabeth, I will gladly correct my statement. I may even buy lunch.

                  I remind you again that I wrote to dispute allegations that, unlike ROCOR, the OCA is not reaching out to Russian emigres and is not serving them. Also, please remember the context of my statement about why folks prefer the old calendar: it was about the observance of both old and new calendar feasts at the same temple–St Nicholas Cathedral OCA in Washington, DC. I assure you that if I were in a situation where I could only attend an old calendar church, I would do so in a heart beat. It is not a doctrinal matter. As Haralombos said, God’s grace resides in every Orthodox church, regardless of calendar.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I thank Father John for confirming what I wrote. Just as the local Greek church, Holy Trinity, helped us when my OCA parish first started, we helped St Elizabeth when that mission started. That’s the way it is in the Carolinas–neighbors helping each other for the Glory of God. Here is a YouTube video that illustrates my point. It is the video of a healing service for Father Edward Rommen of the Holy Transfiguration Church (OCA) in Raleigh-Durham, NC, with 17 priests and 3 deacons, most from the Carolinas Deanery of the Diocese of the South. Incidentally, Father Rommen also came from our bosom.

                Also, Father John is right about Columbia, SC not having a huge Russian population. As for my parish, the Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, we are fortunate to have a wonderfully mixed group: I am not going to distinguish between converts and cradles for, in one sense, many (most?) cradles are or should be converts. We have Americans from various backgrounds, to include first generation Russians, Ukrainians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Romanians, Serbians, and Greeks. To illustrate the importance of the Russian component of the parish, during our annual outreach to the community, the Saint Nicholas Festival, we have a “Russian Cafe” that offers mostly Russian and Ukrainian delicacies, as well as my Bulgarian banitsa that is a version of the Greek spanakopita. Now, you may guess which delicacy is usually judged to be the best. 😉

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Would the person who voted “thumbs down” please tell us why?

                • Fr. John Whiteford says

                  Two questions for Carl:

                  1. How long have you been in Columbia?

                  2. What material support did the OCA provide to St. Elizabeth’s?

                  Helping a mission get started would be something like allow them the use of your facilities for a year, or giving them a substantial amount of money.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I became a member of Holy Apostles three years ago. Since that time, I have not been an inactive parishioner so I managed to pick up information relevant to our discussion here.

                    As for support, I think it was more in line of providing them with things that they did not have (same sort of thing that Holy Trinity provided for us in the beginning). To illustrate, I have seen a picture of Father Mark borrowing our baptismal font. I guess this does not account as “helping a mission get started.” Does it count to illustrate cordial or brotherly relations or helping them when they started (which is exactly what I said)?

                    By the way, I think that it would be exceedingly unusual for a congregation to help another jurisdiction’s mission church started in the manner that you described. I believe that most of our congregations in the OCA are on a strict budget and do the best we can to support our own missionary efforts that includes OCMC, OCA, DOS, and the Carolinas Deanery. It would be difficult to justify to support another jurisdiction’s mission to the extent that is described by you. As you may know, my parish has been an incubator of priests and missions in the Carolinas, all in a period of going from mission status to a full blown church and struggling to build up its own facilities. I for one was very impressed by the fact that we have such brotherly relations with St. Elizabeth and no bad feelings. Initially, I wondered why our priest and fellow members did not harbor a grudge or even regret, but as I got to know them better, I realized that their love of the Lord had crowded out such feelings or prevented such feelings from even starting.

                    • Fr. John Whiteford says

                      I was curious if the things you were describing were things you observed, or things you had been told. Loaning items between parishes is fairly common, and even giving items to parishes that you no longer need, but which they do not have is fairly common too.

                      When Fr. John Morris was in the Houston area, for example, he gave our parish the epitaphios that they had been using, but had replaced with a nicer one. We used it until I was able to get a nicer one, and then we in turn gave it to another newer parish.

                      The OCA parish in town, when it first began, asked if they could use our facilities and have services prior to our services. With my bishops blessing, we did so, and they had their first liturgy in our parish, and also continued to do services (usually typika) for about a year, at no cost. But even so, I would never say that this parish “came from our bosom.”

        • Mark from the DOS says

          Maybe his parish has a lot of e-mails it needs leaked and published online.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            And, which parish do you belong to? Is it an OCA one? Is it an Orthodox one? Is it a Christian one? Or, is it called a coven?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              To all–I am making a point about anonymous posters here. I am not accusing anybody of being a member of a coven. I am just pointing out that an anonymous poster could be a member of a coven and we would not know about it.

              • What do you mean by coven?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I think you know what a coven is. However, the point may be made if I had written instead the Queen of England, the Bishop of Rome, or the devil himself. That is, anyone or anything.

            • Disgusted With It says

              A coven? Really???

            • DC Indexman says

              My church is Christian, Orthodox, and is a member of the OCA — why do you ask?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Glad to know. Are you also named “Mark from DOS” to whom my comment was directed? Look, if you make a claim that is not backed up by facts, I will write the same thing about you as well, unless you own up to being a real person, with a real name.

              • Artakhshassa the Great says

                “Your church is Christian? ” Why should we believe that? Christians are not ever ashamed of belonging to the Church; yet, “DC Indexman” IS. He doesn’t want to be identified. That’s not being Christian; that’s not emulating the martyrs or Christ. It’s true that Iranian Shiite Moslems have a habit of justifying dissimulation under some circumstances and for some purposes. But I’m not aware of any such convention in our Christian piety (outside, of course, of a certain Cappadocian’s confession to having perpetrated a “pious ruse” for the greater good. Carl’s quite right: for all we know, these anonymous contributors are all members of a witches’ coven, cleverly impersonating concerned (and partisan!) Orthodox ideologues! I, Artakhshassa the Great, am not fooling anyone with my glorious pseudonym…in fact, I’m rather honest about it, am I not? I mean, why should cowards and weaklings have all the fun? Who am I to judge those who can’t bear even the thought of public embarrassment?
                By the way, I wish Carl and any other members of the OCA in the South would thank the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR for their excellent video, which benefits ALL Orthodox and their missions in the South, rather than worrying about who gets his turn in the spotlight or who’s better; who’s MORE of a missionary, who DESERVES credit and so on. St. John the Baptist actually INCREASED in stature by giving way, with his own disciples, to Jesus Christ, and some of HIS followers might have objected with justification, “John was here FIRST with the MOSTEST!”

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Dear Vladyka–I am sorry that I gave the wrong impression. I am indeed happy about the ROCOR video that features two great priests. As for ROCOR opening up shop in our city or any city, I have no objection at all because the more Orthodox churches that we have of any jurisdictions, the faster that we will all grow. If additional churches sprout in my metropolitan area, I would hope that they will no limit themselves just to “their own kind” but serve all. I hope they emulate the current churches serving the Columbia area:

                  Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (GOA) at;
                  St. Barnabas Orthodox Church (AOCA) at;
                  St Elizabeth the New Martyr Orthodox Church (ROCOR) at; and
                  Holy Apostles Orthodox Church (OCA)at .

                  If you are in the area, please visit any or all.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Nikos–You are either blowing smoke or are deliberately being provocative. You have unleashed a series of accusations and untruths and it is time that you back them up. Or, are you a believer in the theory of the Big Lie? Back up your allegations please. It would help immensely if you would finally reveal your name so we can judge the veracity of your statements.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I am waiting for an answer.

            • Dear Carl,

              I forgot what answer you are waiting for this time. Please forgive me.

            • Disgusted With It says


              You know Nikos isn’t going to reveal his or her identity. So now that you cannot argue against the truth anymore, you are trying the tactic to discredit the messenger because of his or her anonymity? Don’t resort to such behavior — they might try to make you an OCA bishop!

              You are quick to dismiss everything Nikos presents as untruths. Yet haven’t you noticed that most of the time when Nikos says something will happen soon, sure enough, it happens? Or exposes some action or detail that people say “that’s impossible” or “that’s just gossip”, and then, sure enough, that thing is exposed?

              There are wolves in sheep’s clothing in the Church. Nikos is merely warning us, and we should appreciate that contribution toward defending our Church from such perversion on the part of our “leaders”. I personally could care less “who” Nikos is. As long as Nikos proves to be right I let the truth speak for itself.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        My OCA church is most certainly not Orthodox-Lite. If I wanted Orthodox-Lite, I’d go to the Uniate church.

      • Carl Kraef says:

        as many services in Slavonic as in Russian

        What would that mean? Services in modern Russian? They don’t so any such thing at St. Nicholas Cathedral. What an atrocity would that be! Even the remaining Russian speaking parishioners would disappear.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Mitrich–It means that I committed a typo. I should have written “…as many services in Slavonic as in English.” However, I see that you brought up the use of modern Russian rather than Church Slavonic. I fervently hope that the ROC starts doing just that in compliance with the Apostolic practice of speaking in the vernacular. It is about time that she and the Greek churches start doing that instead of using mythical liturgical languages. That also goes to any church that does not use the vernacular.

          • Haralambos says

            If I recall correctly, at one of the councils at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, they were going to change the liturgical language and calendar. I have a feeling that they will one of these days. And I never refer to liturgical languages as mythical.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Dear in Christ Haralambos–I would not think you would ever say something negative. Period. I thank the Lord for you and I do miss you. I do owe you why I used the word “mythical.” This word has a simple meaning in popular usage: something that is fictitious, imaginary or not real. In one sense, I did use the word to convey my conviction that there should not be such a thing in Christianity, that it is not real in that sense. I feel that way about the use of Latin by the Roman Catholic Church, of Koine by the Greek churches and Church Slavonic by the ROC, among others. I must admit that my approach to liturgical languages is colored by the history of my people, the Bulgarian Orthodox, whose language and culture were endangered by Constantinople and her relentless drive to cram “liturgical language” and Greek down our throats. I think a dispassionate reading of history will also show us that Rome and Moscow also used the use of “liturgical” language to assert and maintain control. However, I would be very shallow indeed if I were to limit my objections to history. My problem is with the apparent conflict between this practice and the Holy Scriptures and the practice of the Apostolic Church.

              I also have an ancillary problem with the argument that to be Orthodox is to maintain the faith exactly as it is transmitted to us, thus we should keep the calendar, liturgical language, etc. This attitude is indeed a very conservative and commendable Orthodox attitude. But, it also is uncomfortably close to the Roman Catholic approach that claims authority for the current church that is equal to that of the Apostolic one. Of course in one sense that is true but overall, with the Church being Apostolic, we must defer not only to the previous generations but to all generations, going all the way back to the earliest of Church fathers.I have a feeling that I am not explaining myself well but please consider the essence of what I am driving at instead. IMHO, to maintain the faith means conserving what is handed down to us, but with the proviso that what is being conserved should conform to the Apostolic Church as much as possible. And, when it comes to “liturgical” languages, the Apostolic Church used the vernacular and did not even know the concept of “liturgical” languages.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                The liturgical language of Orthodoxy has always been the language of the people. Remember Sts. Cyril and Methodius? They did not try to force the Slavs to worship in Greek, but translated the services into a language that they could understand. In America, we have a mixed situation. In some parishes made up mostly of recent immigrants, that language is not English, but in convert parishes or older parishes like mine that language is English it all depends on the circumstances.
                The calendar is an artificial issue. All Orthodox use the same liturgical calendar. Every day, I look at the civil calendar and then at the Menaion and commemorate the Saint or Feast mandated by the Menaion for that particular date. We live in the United States of America. In the United States of America, today is January 14. That means that when I read the prayers of Vespers, I will read the prayers mandated for January 15, because we begin the liturgical day with Vespers.

              • Artakhshassa the Great says

                Carl, nothing you wrote is untrue. Nevertheless, it would be good not to over-generalize about the use of what the Roman Church calls “the vernacular.” By over-generalizing,I would refer to ignoring our Saviour’s cry in extremis:Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani (sp?)” ‘The People” didn’t even recognize that our Lord was calling on “El” (Allah, etc.), that is, God, but thought he was calling on Elijah! They did not recognize or understand the Liturgical Hebrew of their own Psalms!!!
                Another point: while the Greek of the New Testament is rather atrocious, it’s also the common or pidjin language used outside of educated Greek circles. At best, it could be compared only to the English used in today’s subcontinent: at worst to that of the Cargo Cult! While a good portion of our services is Scripture, most of the rest of the services is in an elevated, sometimes obscure high literary content and style produced by literati and scholars, far removed from the ranks of “commoners.” The Byzantines, rather than preferring the Koine, were almost OBSESSED with always reviving an elevated “pure” Attic! They were more obsessed with Attic than modern Greek fascists were with using only “katharevousa” rather then “demotiki.”
                Americans are not obsessed with “good English.” and we are sometimes suspicious of “fine writing,” But we, under the “enlightenment” of the NCC swallowed a totally unjustifiedj deformation of languages when we introduced the awful idea of using a special personal pronoun for God. This defies tradition and confuses theology. No language or religion EVER reserved a special singular pronoun for its Deity. And the omission of the singular second person singular from all other recorded speech make obscure what was plain. “Thou’ is first and foremost a pronoun, second person, uaed to address ONE person, while “You” was always plural and used to address many (as well as prestigious individuals, like Queen Victoria who spoke of herself in plural).
                In Genesis (according to the relatively accurate KJV) in the telling of the visit of the angels to Abraham, the TRUTH is revealed through Abraham’s addressing the Angels alternately with BOTH pronouns! Sometimes he addresses them as “Thou’ and sometimes as ‘You.’ This is the verbal equivalent of Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity. and of the Orthodoxo doctrine of the same “Three in One.”
                Church Slavonic was a “Koine”, invented to be understood by ALL Slavs, not the language of any one tribe, although mainly consisting of Old Bulgarian. Event today, its use in the Serbian and Russian Churches enables the clergy of either Church to serve in both. I remember that when, as a Priest, I was called on more than once to serve a funeral or other service in a Bulgarian Church that was divided in its allegiances, I protested that I could not pronounce the texts in the Bulgarian translations in use. The people assured me, and I think it was true, that my use of my own Church Slavonic service book would be understood by most all, so that’s why I did.
                By the way, Father Morris is quite right: The only real CHURCH calendar is the menaion. The Menaion clearly designates (and transforms) December 25th as the Feast of the Nativity. Where there is a difference, it is not in “the calendar” but in determining and agreeing just when December 25th IS. To many, but obviously not all, the Old CalendarISTS, merely pretend that January 7th is December 25th, while living their lives, going to school, working, or not working, being born and registered according to the real dates. So the “liberals” innovate by introducing the linguistic novelty of a pronoun reserved for God,, while the “conservatives” innovate by not transforming/;transfiguring/blessing the calendar they live by, but follow an almost schizophrenic double life: “Church life on a special calendar” “Real life on a calendar determined not by a concocted “Paschalia” but by the movement of the heavenly bodies of moon and sun.

      • Another Former St. Nicholas Member says

        As you can see here, new-calendar Nativity was also very sparsely attended at St. Nicholas. It used to be packed. Now St. John’s is packed. A long-time parishioner told me he had never seen it so crowded for Nativity. He couldn’t even get his aged mother inside for the vigil.

        But you can’t blame St. Nicholas’s decline on just the gay issue or the OCA’s treatment of Metropolitan Jonah. Division between Russians and Americans also played a part. The Russians had their own agenda. They wanted more services in Slavonic, including more old-calendar feasts, instead of just Russian Christmas. They wanted their own priest and they wanted to pay him much more than associate priests had been paid, and so they bitterly resisted the building program that the Americans voted for. They also made a stink about Americans honoring veterans on Veterans Day. (That was a real eye-opener. Recent Russian immigrants will admit that Stalin was bad and that the Soviet Union was poorly run, but they do not believe they were on the wrong side of the Cold War.) Some of the Russians several times crossed the line of decency, resorting to tactics most Anglo-Saxons would consider despicable, like insinuating that others had committed adultery or broken federal laws. It was tearing the place apart.

        It’s a whole nother story at St. John’s. There, Russians predominate, the leadership is firmly in control, and the Americans accept that they are an adjunct to a Russian parish. The opposite was true on all counts at St. Nicholas.

        • Oh, the good old Russophobia… And they drank vodka and had bears walking in the streets. And spoke their native language. Poor long suffering Anglo-Saxons!

        • Carl Kraeff says

          This is fascinating. In my parish with a rather large Russian component, we just do not see this sort of conflict. I cannot claim that everybody is close friends with everybody else. The ethnic groups do tend to congregate together during our weekly Agape meal, but I see that as an opportunity for them to speak their primary language and maintain their ethnic/cultural identity, rather than a rejection of the Anglos. If I were to describe us succinctly, I would say we are like an extended family, in-laws included.

    • Let me get this straight — St Nicholas Cathedral celebrates Theophany on January 6 and then Nativity on January 7? Mind-boggling! That’s the kind of liturgical theology even Fr. Schmemann couldn’t come up with. Shows you just how confused the OCA has become.

      • mike novak says

        this is a situation that takes place not only in the OCA. The Metropolitan’s Cathedral in Warsaw (Autocephalous Church of Poland) is bi-calendar. So either the both the Church in Poland and the OCA have become confused, or they are both very pastoral.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        It is not a matter of liturgical theology. At best, it is an attempt to ease the transition of recent immigrants. At worst, it is to cater to lingering prejudices based on faulty theology, history and, I should add, pride.

        • Carl proclaims that two calendars side-by-side are used to ease the transition of recent immigrants. What an incredibly elitist and so typical OCA comment.

          The” poor immigrants” who need to be just like the rest of us, doing it “our way” the “OCA way.”

          No they don’t, Carl. They can keep their so called Old Calendar. What are you trying to “ease” them into? The correct practices of the OCA? Come on, the irony of the whole thing is that many parishes in the South and West would go back to the Old Calendar tomorrow if they could. Forcing them onto the New Calendar was a stupid arrogant OCA move, which cost them dearly.

          Your words drip with the same sort of elitism that Herr Chancellor pontificates; the “we know best.” “You people need to just follow the example of the great white leaders in Syosset. All is fine.”

          Come on Carl, your OCA “holier than thou” slip is showing. That ship sailed and sunk a long time ago. Consider this, if the OCA and the ROCOR were IPO’s on the NYSE, who would you put your money on? If you think that is a crude example, it is not any cruder than “easing those immigrants” into the “OCA way” by delousing them of those “lingering prejudices based on faulty theology, history and……pride.”

          Talk about pride. So typically OCA.

          • SARCASM ALERT!

            Let us pray for all those poor Old Calendar Orthodox so they may “enlightened” to the OCA way!!!

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I spoke from experience. I recall the transition to the Revised Julian Calendar and my conclusion that my initial objection to the move was indeed based on ““lingering prejudices based on faulty theology, history and……pride.” However, that was not the reason that I first decided to support the move to the new calendar. Initially, I felt that to elevate my views over those of the Holy Synod is simply not good Orthodox praxis, particularly regarding an issue that is not a matter of dogma or even affects one’s salvation. Since I grew up with the “better a turban than a mitre” mindset, I was also bothered by the thought that I was opposing the change because we would lose our distinction vis-a-vis the Roman Catholics, especially with regard to Nativity. That also bothered me as I felt I was mixing the sacred with the profane.

      • Their schedule of services shows two liturgies on Sunday, one English, one Slavonic. This means there are two altars and two parish communities using the same building. The English one would be celebrating new-calendar Nativity and the Slavonic one would celebrate according to the old calendar.

    • Tumorous Baktos says

      Wash., D.C. is an exception. Many Russians are there working for the U.S. & Russian govts. They wish to celebrate “Old Calendar” Christmas which is archaic and out-of-step with the modern world. There is no theological reason to continue the silliness of celebrating Church feasts according to an inaccurate calendar that no one uses. The OCA has nothing to do with this. The OCA is very healthy NOW and continues moving toward a full American Orthodox Church while ROCOR can continue pretending 18th century Russia really means something in America today. Very, very silly.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        I am new calendar, but respect the feelings of those attached to the old calendar. When I ministered to Russians in a prison that houses persons being deported, I always used the old calendar, because that is what they are used to. However, when I ordered them prayer books in what I thought was modern Russian, I learned that it was Old Church Slavonic written in the modern Russian alphabet. They could not use the prayer books because they could not understand them.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Ultimately we must accept the fact that even thought the NC is more accurate (and it should be accepted universally by the Church), the methods used by Meletius IV Metaxakis were abominable. And his intent even more nefarious.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            Three questions:

            1. There are deficiencies in both the Gregorian and Revised Julian calendars. 16th (and even early 20th) century astronomy employed methods resembling those used during the 1st century BC more closely than what we have at our disposal today. Who knows what developments will be made 50, 100, 500 years from now (if God does not will that the last days arrive before then)? Does an ecclesial calendar necessarily have to be in line with what is presumed to be scientifically correct at any given time?

            2. Doesn’t the use of the new calendar pose a liturgical inconsistency, seeing that Pascha is still calculated according to the old calendar?

            3. Is there a way to correct the calendar, maintaining the integrity of the various holy days relative to Pascha, without an “arbitrary” alignment of the remainder of the calendar to the Gregorian reckoning?

            • Michael Bauman says

              Great questions. They deserve thoughtful answers.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Liturgical consistency is possible only when one secular calendar used. Thus, the churches who use the Julian are more liturgically consistent. However, the continued use of the Julian calendar is not consistent with an Apostolic church or with God’s time. The Church has designated December 25th, for example, for the Feast of Nativity–a date that corresponded with the 25th day of December and the Winter Solstice in terms of God’s time. God did not put the Winter solstice in January, or as we look forward to the future, out in June or July, as the Julian will most certainly put it. Now, if June or July is really, really contrary to Apostolic practice because of the continued use of a calendar devised by a great, but Pagan, Roman leader, I would submit that it is just as bad when nativity is advanced “only” 13 days from where it was put by the Church.

            • Haralambos says


              Good readings on the Calendar issue. I my most humble opinion, I feel that the Traditional Orthodox calendar is the one which should be used since the papal calendar caused disunity among the faithful and was not properly implanted. I also question the motives of the Patriarch of Constantinople at the time. However, I also believe that God does not need a calendar to work miracles.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                Once again, we are in America. We should use the calendar mandated by our government to be used. Render to Caesar that which is Caesar. It is to Caesar to determine units of measurement, including units of time. Our Government, or more accurately the British government before the American Revolution decided to adopt the Gregorian Calendar. Therefore, despite its papal origins the Gregorian Calendar is the official calendar of our nation. There is no theological reason why Orthodox should use a different calendar than the civil calendar. In fact, one of the major purposes of the whole liturgical cycle is the sanctification of time. That means that we should sanctify the time that we actually use in our daily lives, and not make an artificial separation between our spiritual and our regular lives. That kind of separation is contrary to Orthodoxy which demands that we dedicate our entire lives to Christ, not just part of our lives. My civil calendar tells me that today is January 14, but my religious calendar tells me that January 14 is Leave Taking of Epiphany.

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  The Muslims, Jews, and Chinese haven’t given up their lunar calendars, and they maintain the Gregorian calendar for civil affairs. The Orientals still use the Julian calendar, and I am aware of no movement amongst them to change.

                  I understand that, being a solar calendar, the Julian calendar is a different animal. But really, is there a genuinely good theological reason for insisting that the present New Calendar be used universally?

                  There’s certainly a good theological reason for the use of a single calendar in the “Orthosphere” to use the coinage of a certain personality. The Old Calendar may be “off”, but the New Calendar, in its present iteration, probably isn’t a good solution. And since the calendar issue is such a divisive one, perhaps it would be better to revert to the old–at least temporarily–until a New Calendar that all Orthodox can agree on is devised.

                  And forget about what the heterodox have to say about our calendar. Ecumenism needs to start amongst our own–the “splinter” factions. If we want to move beyond that, perhaps dialogue with the Orientals and Uniates may bear some fruit. As far as Catholics and Protestants go, however, I’m not sure much good (theologically speaking) will come out of dialogue. Our approach toward them must be evangelistic, not conciliatory.

                • Archpriest John Morris says

                  I want to make it clear that although my personal preference is the calendar used by our nation, or the new calendar, I do not think that it is worth fighting over the so called calendar issue. It is certainly not worth causing a schism in the Church. The answer is tolerance and the recognition that at best which calendar to use is a theologoumena not a matter of doctrine. Let those Orthodox who use the new calendar use the new calendar. If some Orthodox come from traditions which favor the old calendar let them use the old calendar. Just do not let it be a cause of division. We can live together with both new and old calendar parishes in one Orthodox Church.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    Our country is falling apart. Obama has established political correctness as the state religion. Anyone who upholds traditional Christian moral values or who still believes that marriage is between one man and one woman is marginalized. We should be speaking out on these issues. Why is it that Metropolitan Hilarion of Russia has more courage than most American Orthodox Bishops to speak against the moral decline of the our country, while we American Orthodox waste our time arguing about which calendar to use. Think about it. What is more important the calendar or defending Orthodox moral values? Forget about the calendar. Use whatever calendar your parish wants to use, but let us get our act together and begin to speak forcefully with one united Orthodox voice against the moral decline of our society by defending traditional Orthodox Christian moral values, especially the sanctity of life against abortion, and the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman against the supporters of so called same sex marriage.

      • Gregg Gerasimon says

        “ROCOR can continue pretending 18th century Russia really means something in America today.”

        Please. Does this look like a church that is not interested in America or in America’s history or in evangelizing America?

        I was so impressed by this video. I don’t think any of the other jurisdictions in America are putting out things like this. The communications department of the ROCOR Eastern American diocese is impressive.

        Plus, by far most Orthodox Christians in the world are Old Calendar. More than half of the world’s Orthodox Christians are Russian, and add to that the Ukrainians, Serbians, and other Old Calendar churches — by far most Orthodox worldwide are still Old Calendar. We in America get a skewed view because most English-speaking Orthodox have switched to the New Calendar, but English-speaking Orthodox are still a small minority of the Orthodox family worldwide.

        • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

          Sure, the Church of Russia is by far the largest of the Holy Orthodox Churches, but “more than half of the world’s Orthodox Christians are Russian,” no, that’s not the case. There are perhaps 100 million Russian Orthodox adherents, and that’s a high number, no where near the 5% of them who ever attend church. There are perhaps 270 million Eastern Orthodox Christians world wide–and that’s a high number too; so maybe Russians constitute 37% of Orthodox Christians world-wide.

      • The fact that any Orthodox Christian in the United States speaks of the OCA as an “American Orthodox Church” is proof positive that such an individual has lost perspective on the fact that the OCA includes Canada (a bilingual country) and Mexico (a Spanish-speaking nation).

        Like it or not, the United States is now at least twice as bilingual as Canada (40% speaking Spanish, vs. 20% speaking French, respectively), and full of a flood of new immigrants from around the world.

        Try this on for size:

        – Does our OCA offer French or Spanish lessons at its seminaries? No.

        – Does our OCA fund mission building specifically for the inner city, in particular, for Hispanic or African-American neighbourhoods? No.

        – Does our OCA produce full English translations of the Menaion, to allow our parishes to serve the full schedule of services, without having to buy resources from schismatics? No.

        – If every “middle class” or suburban parish in the OCA disappeared tomorrow, leaving only the faithful who are among the poorest of the poor, would much remain? No.

        While I believe in the mission of the OCA – reaching all North Americans with Christ’s Gospel through His Holy Orthodox Church – I am increasingly unconvinced that many in the OCA actually believe this. The Republican Party has had the same challenge, reaching beyond its white, English-speaking, American-born, middle-class base.

        Perhaps the Republicans are now waking up to this reality.
        The OCA elites have not.

        • Also Anonymous says

          That isn’t even close to being accurate. About 14% percent of the US population speaks Spanish (about a third of your quoted figure) whereas 22.3% of Canadians speak French.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you for clearing that up. Plus the French-speakers are concentrated in their ancient heartland –Quebec. In the Lower 48, there was never such a concentration of Spanish-speakers in one area. Alta California and the Southwest were heavily Indian with only islands of Spanish speakers. The only possible exception to this was New Mexico and even here it was only sparsely populated.

    • DC Indexman says

      Who here is planning to attend the Concelebrated Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and Rite of Enthronement at St. Nicholas Cathedral next Sunday?

  2. St. John the Baptist, DC says

    Dear Friend,

    I am not sure that there were as many people at St. John Cathedral here in DC for Christmas as you claim, but the Cathedral was packed tight for both the Vigil and the Liturgy.

    Here are some wonderful photos and music.
    It was our joy to have Metropolitan Jonah with us. It was a festive celebration.

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      We should not call that place the National Cathedral. It is not the Cathedral of the American nation. It is only the Episcopal National Cathedral. As Orthodox, we should give that place no recognition as the National Cathedral. It is just a building used by the Episcopalians, a group that has turned its back on Biblical Christianity. Their arrogance in calling their “cathedral” the National Cathedral is something that we should not support in any way.

      • Gregg Gerasimon says

        Father John, I agree completely. I think this cathedral is technically called the Episcopal Washington Cathedral. When I lived in DC, while sometimes I liked to visit the Washington Cathedral, I made a point to never refer to it as the “National Cathedral.” I’m actually surprised that even atheistic folks who are so into the separation of church and state have no problems calling this place the “National Cathedral.”

        It does have a lot of history reflecting our country’s protestant heritage — and essentially shows that for a long time, Episcopalianism was the de facto faith of our country’s social and political leadership elite. President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech to large crowd when its cornerstone was laid in the early 1900s. Congress designated the Washington Cathedral as the “National House of Prayer,” and during World War II, monthly services were held there “on behalf of a united people in a time of emergency.”

        The problem with calling it the National Cathedral is that it uses modern, liberal Christianity as the example of Christianity to display to the nation. That’s definitely not what our country needs.

  3. Carl Kraef says

    What caused this latest bit of nastiness?

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Pure evil. And the Episcopal Church dares to even remotely call itself Christian? What an utter disgrace. Again, pure evil.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      What is just as bad is that it seems that the continuing Anglicans have embraced Calvinism at least that is the impression one gets from reading their sites on the internet. They went from one heresy to another. I might add that they are terrified by the growing Western Rite in the Antiochian Archdiocese and ROCOR and take every possible opportunity to denounce it and spread all sorts of lies about the acceptance of Western Rite Orthodoxy.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Like it or not but Western Rite Orthodoxy is approved by two Patriarchates, Moscow and Antioch. Therefore it is Orthodox.

  5. I believe gays, straights, and singles deserve equitable treatment in society.

    I see no reason for churches to embrace that notion. A ceremony for the celibate?

    I know George is very anti-gay…that said, I have only been mistreated by one gay person my whole life and probably deserved it sort of…

    Of all the crusades, anti-gay is not very worthy…sorry my friend…albeit disgusting, they are rarely as mean spirited as their foes. And I suppose not all are disgusting either, but I digress..

    • George Michalopulos says

      I am not “anti-gay.” I am against the equation of sodomy with marriage. End of story.

      Once, Abraham Lincoln was asked, “for the sake of argument, if a dog was called a banjo, would you then agree that banjos had four legs and a tail?” “No,” he replied, “because calling a dog a banjo does not make it one.”

      Words mean things.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        George–I agree with you. This has nothing to do with providing legal equality to homosexuals. This has to do with (a) whether a church can expect to be considered as a Christian church if she behaves as ECUSA has done and (b) whether we will allow the debasement of marriage. Words, concepts, eternal verities matter. God matters and He will not be mocked by nominal or pretend followers. In this context, I was very happy that Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Basil signed the Manhattan Declaration. I pray and hope that Metropolitan Tikhon will now sign this declaration as the primate of the OCA and that other Orthodox primates will join.

        • Disgusted With It says

          Carl, THE SYNOD WILL NOT LET TIKHON SIGN IT. Where have you been? They are happy allowing homosexuality. This is one of the problems. Sheesh!

          • This is true. A comment was made by one of the St. Nickolas parishioners to another recently that they (those who stayed) “won”. The conversation that followed was about homosexuality. So it seems to St. Nicholas parishioners that homosexuality -the communing of married homosexuals and the practice as the norm . . . won. That is what you all are supporting. congratulations.

        • “I was very happy that Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Basil signed the Manhattan Declaration. I pray and hope that Metropolitan Tikhon will now sign this declaration as the primate of the OCA and that other Orthodox primates will join.”

          But wasn’t THAT what got +Jonah in trouble for being unilateral?? Which I thought you agreed with and now you want +Tikhon to sign it?? Baffling.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I was about to say. If Tikhon did that then we could start a pool on how long he lasted as primate.

          • Why didn’t Archbp. Benjamin ant the others (including all the ‘retired bishops’ ) sign the Manhattan Declaration? Let’s see the signatures!
            PS I didn’t sign it since I didn’t agree with a few of the provisions.

            • Artakhshassa the Great says

              I believe the Metropolitan signed the Declaration without consulting the Holy Synod beforehand.
              There was no opportunity for informed comment from other bishops or the seminary faculties etc. No consultation with his peers. Such an action was unprecedented and highlighted the problematics of allowing a novice bishop to be a candidate for First Hierarch, or primate!

              Too bad the opportunity to perhaps approve the Declaration with an Orthodox addendum or comment was lost in order to “hog the spotlight” as had been done in Texas and elsewhere?
              It was the diametric opposite of ‘sobornost’ and the fulfillment of unilaterality.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Why should any bishop have to “consult” with other bishops as to what is traditional Christian morality? Don’t they teach that at seminary? Don’t the other bishops have M.Divs after their names?

                • George,

                  When a group is looking for reasons to discredit a person, they will interpret things the way they want to. The example of how the OCA handled the M.D. and how the Antiochians handled the M.D. goes to intent.

                  The AOCA had good will the OCA did not. They hung the M.D. around +Jonah’s neck to make their case. If +Philip was out to get Bishop Basil, he could have done the same thing, but he was not so motivated. Hence, this is just another opportunity for us to see the depth of ill-will and dysfunction in the OCA.

                  And still, the OCA synod keeps +Jonah twisting in the wind with no means of support and not letting him go to the ROCOR so that he can continue to work in the Lord’s Vineyard. Heck, even +Philip let Maymon go even though he reorganized his entire Archdiocese to get rid of the disobedient bishop. He didn’t keep punishing him.

                  • Artakhshassa the Great says

                    Nikos! Has Metropolitan Jonah written to the Holy Synod or toMetropolitan Tikhon, requesting to be released to another Local Church? if so, when and to what Local Church? The Synod cannot respond to silence as if it were a request. If he has so written, has there been any response from the Holy Synod/Metropolitan Tikhon? If you know the answers to those questions, why not let us know? Who told you that Metropolitan Jonah made such a request? Who told you that his request was either not answered or that it was denied? Has the Holy Synod met since such a request, if made, was made? Has any Local Church indicated that it has requested the OCA (Metropolitan Tikhon/the Holy Synod) release Metropolitan Jonah to them? Why would Patriarch Kyril advise the OCA to look after Metropolitan Jonah if the Patriarch had any plans at all to receive him or ask for has release. By the way, is it not true that Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeev will be attending the Installation of Metropolitan Jonah?
                    I think Metropolitan Jonah’s career appetites would be FULLY satisfied if some way were found for him to have only the responsibilities of serving and preaching at St. John’s ROCOR Cathedral to a loving audience, but, at the same time, pursuing a doctorate at one of the excellent and prestigious universities in the DC area… it would be just like being back at his monastic brotherhood in California, only it wouldn’t be out in :”the sticks.” There’d be no pressure to “keep up appearances, as it used to be. If he would want to look like three-hundred pounds of spoiled veal, no one will care. It’d be like being surrounded by a bunch of Helgas! As for the other matters (what he would call “the other stuff”), he might be comfortable saying, likewise, “Been there; done that!” I’m just thinking of him as I’ve always known him; many others know him better!

                    • He has written. The receiving Church has requested him. All the paperwork is in order and it continues to sit on the desk of Met. Tikhon. And it sits.. And it sits.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Evidence? Your words are usually stated very authoritatively, as if you are a bishop or a protopresbyter. You have yet to back up any of them, to include the allegations you made about the Carolinas Deanery. Do you enjoy making things up, rather like a boy who tears the limbs off insects?

                    • Dear to Christ, Carl,

                      What I know I know and what I know is true. The fact that you do not know what I know does not make what I know untrue. So I say to you, patience. In good time all will be known. It is not up to me to know the time or day when this will be made known. That is up to the people who’s responsibility it now falls upon. However if you would like to get a glimpse of what I have been talking about, read Herr Jillions diary for today. Read it carefully for sometimes he who writes his Diary does not know how much he is revealing when one knows the rest of the story.


                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Father John Jillions wrote in his diary today:

                      With a vision so compelling and a continent so huge, why are we so small? What do we need to do to retool ourselves, our parishes, our clergy, our seminaries to bring the Orthodox Christian Gospel more effectively to North America?

                      Perhaps the leaders of the OCA who sincerely wish to do God’s will for the sake of the Church should consider taking a clue from the Antiochians and their leaders. Lately the phrase that comes to my mind when pondering the OCA problems has been, “What would Metropolitan Philip do?”

                      All the best to Metropolitan Tikhon.

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      Speaking of Fr. Jillions’ diary, he’s been mentioning lately that they’ve been working on clergy misconduct cases. I’ve heard a rumor that they’re pushing cases against Fr. Ray Valencia and Fr. Vasil Susan. Does anyone know if this is true? If so, what’s the point in reigniting such fires? Why do it?

                  • Think they’d take him back?

                • Artakhshassa the Great says

                  George, they DON”T have to consult with each other bishops as to what is traditional Christian morality. Where did you get such an idea? But unless they consider themselves divine or perfect or both, they might consult with each other to see it their own or someone else’s composition, letter, or position paper is the BEST way to present traditional Christian ;morality to the world outside the Church.
                  And if a hierarch would read the Manhattan Declaration and believe it is a good and necessary addition to the public teaching of traditional Christian morality to the world, why NOT seek to get as many signatures from other members of the Holy Synod as possible?
                  But a Lieutenant Fuzz doesn’t see it that way. 2nd Lieutenants are notorious for rushing to issue orders, both orally and in writing, while general officers are loathe to do so.

                • Artakhshassa the Great says

                  Why, George? Again, the Primate is not “any bishop.” The Primate, who usually speaks not for his diocese alone, but for all the Dioceses, when that is indicated. That’s why.

                  • All bishops speak for the entire Church. How can the Church function if they don’t?

                    I’m not even sure how to characterize the fallacy that a bishop “speaks for his diocese alone.” This is an especially bizarre notion when the topic is “traditional Christian morality.”

                    Shall we call this religion Episcopalianism?

                    A bishop can be wrong, and when he speaks in error, it is important to correct him. But that is precisely because he speaks on behalf of the whole Church.

                    Did the OCA Synod correct any of Jonah’s teachings? If not, why not?

                    If they removed him for wounding their pride by publicly supporting Orthodox teaching, how petty and dysfunctional is that? Wouldn’t a truly “orthodox” Christian just say “thank you!”

                    When nurturing your own pride or the pride of your privileged leaders is more important to you than supporting the rights of children to be nurtured by their parents, it would be better for you to tie a millstone around your neck and throw it off a cliff into the ocean.

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                Mr. Artakhshassa, or Mr. Artaxerxes, or Mr. Persian, or whoever who are: your comment about Metropolitan Jonah is misleading at best: “There was no opportunity for informed comment from other bishops or the seminary faculties etc. No consultation with his peers.”

                It is true that the initial 160 or so signatories to the Manhattan Declaration were recruited in haste before the public unveiling of the document on 20 November 2009. So there was not much time to conduct surveys or “polls” of “peers.” Here’s a link to the original “Religious Leader Signatories”:

                I was privileged to be included among the seven Orthodox Christians who signed initially (thanks to a last-minute e-mail from Fr. Hans Jacobse!). The other six were Metropolitan Jonah, Bishop Basil (Essey) of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, Archpriest Chad Hatfield of St. Vladimir’s Seminary (OCA), Archpriest Patrick Henry Reardon, Fr. Hans Jacobse, and Jim Kushiner, lay editor of Touchstone magazine.

                Given the urgency of the initial signing, I have dismissed, from the outset, the carping about Metropolitan Jonah’s lack of consultation among his fellow OCA bishops as just another pretext to oppose his vibrant and valiant Orthodox public moral witness

                • Artakhshassa the Great says

                  None of those other Orthodox instances, including His Grace, Bishop Basil, one of Metropolitan Philip’s auxiliaries, is considered by the American media, the American public of any Churches at all to be the leader of an entire Church. Before the leader of an entire Church, such as Metropolitan Jonah, signs such an inter-religious and definitive public statement regarding Christan teaching, he should act according to the ethical standard I outlined a couple of times. It was not disagreement with the content of the Manhattan Declaration vis-a-vis homosexual issues that aroused the ire of those other members of the Holy Synod. Their objection was that he acted improperly AS THE PRIMATE, who may not act arbitrarily, as if he were a Pope and the Holy Synod an obedient curia.
                  ANY of the other members of the Holy Synod could have been approached and could have signed the Manhattan Declaration without any recrimination whatsoever. None of them speaks for all the members of the Synod.

                  Artakhshassa (Xerxes as mispronounced by Greeks) was the Old Persian name of one of the Old Persian speaking Achaemenid Emperors. Most consider Ahasueros in our Old Testament to be he, that is, Xerxes. Another of those Achaemenid Persian Emperors was Kurosh the Great, whose name was mangled by the Greeks into ‘Kyros”/Cyrus. He’s the one referred to as God’s anointed by our Isaiah. Still another was Dariush (that’s easy–Darius) He’s the one that built the first Suez Canal. Finally, there’s Khshayarsha, or Artaxerxes. The Greeks never could manage those ch, sh, an j sounds such as the sh in Shibboleth, and in angry and hopeless frustration at those people that were more talented along those lines, they referred to the languages that had those embarrrassing qualities, as just so much ‘bah-bah” or “bar-bar” and the people that spoke those languages as bar-baroi. (It’s analogous to the modern German proclivity to call ALL non-German languages “Welsch.”)

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    YOu may be right all things being equal, but I’m sorry, but I simply don’t believe that. I am convinced that Jonah’s signing of TMD right out of the box infuriated the Left Apparat of the OCA.

                    And, I’m not convinced that Met Philip needed the time to “study” the document. As Frs Hans and Patrick explained, the document was deliberate in its wording and in complete agreeement with the Christian moral tradition. The fact that heavily-credentialed moral philosophers and/or theologians such as Patrick Reardon, Alexander Webster, Chad Hatfield, et al, were in this from the git-go was all the vetting that was needed.

                    I agree with Fr Reardon: what the Orthodox Church in the Americas need are more bishops and fewer committees.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      OK, now that the Holy Synod is reduced to a committee, wouldn’t you agree that we might as well jettison centuries of Holy Tradition? Let us sign up to the righteous cause of supporting the greatest thing since sliced bread; +Jonah the Holy Father, who is sufficient unto himself and who alone can stop the scourge of homosexuality that is ravaging our Church!

                    • Ordo Antiquus says

                      Carl said,

                      “OK, now that the Holy Synod is reduced to a committee, wouldn’t you agree that we might as well jettison centuries of Holy Tradition?”

                      You speak of Holy Tradition NOW? You invoke Holy Tradition to defend a bunch of guys that DOES act like a committee in the worst modern meaning of the word, and which has no guts to defend the Tradition they are supposed to be defending?

                      “Let us sign up to the righteous cause of supporting the greatest thing since sliced bread; +Jonah the Holy Father, who is sufficient unto himself and who alone can stop the scourge of homosexuality that is ravaging our Church!”

                      Not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but one thing for sure, without Jonah the OCA is deaf and mute in front of that scourge.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Ordo–Thanks for illustrating my point. With supporters like you, +Jonah surely does not need any enemies.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    You speak with great certainty, tell us your name and how you came upon such knowledge. Until such time, I think I will consider your words to signify nothing but spite and malice.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I must disagree. If anything, the anger towards Jonah was intensified because of the spurious belief that TMD was part of the “religious right.” In my experience, progressives and liberal Christians never want to be associated with conservatism and traditionalism even though they always say that they agree with traditional Christian morality “in principle.”

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Knows–I am sure that you think you are being witty. I am sure that you are one of those who thinks that belching in public is also hilarious.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              With respect to the Manhattan Declaration, anon admits, “I didn’t sign it since I didn’t agree with a few of the provisions.”

              “I didn’t sign it” is pretty much what I expect of someone called “anon.”

              Anyway, I am pretty familiar with the Manhattan Declaration, but I don’t recall that it contained any “provisions.”

              It was a fairly straightforward moral exhortation with respect to three points on which, I believe, it should be impossible for Christians to disagree: the crime of abortion, the nature of marriage, and the freedom of the Church to proclaim the Gospel.

              Perhaps this is what anon meant by “provisions.”

              In that case, I wonder, is “three” anon’s assessment of “a few.”

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

                It was a fairly straightforward moral exhortation with respect to three points on which, I believe, it should be impossible for Christians to disagree: the crime of abortion, the nature of marriage, and the freedom of the Church to proclaim the Gospel.

                I have to respectrfully disagree on the third point. The Manhattan Declaration did not speak just of the freedom of the Church to proclaim the Gospel. It supported unlimited freedom of religion for all. The way it was stated, it would include paganism, christian heresies, satanism, you name it. Also, it states that “Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of … seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny…” This way of presenting Christianity , at least in part, as some kind of a political liberation movement is hardly supported by either historical knowledge or the teachings of the Church. I cannot speak for Anon but, personally, no matter how much I agree with the first two points, I simply could not sign a document that contains such errors. If they published a revised version with the third part removed, I would have signed immediately.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Great! Now we have a supposedly Orthodox poster advocating freedom of religion for some and not all. Sad really.

                  • Disgusted With It says

                    What’s sad is that you defend satanism and paganism. Orthodox Christians are called to fight against these evil ways. Of course it is to be done in a loving way toward the misguided individuals, but wrong is wrong. Or is this like those who say: “I’m against abortion personally, but I don’t think we should tell people what to do.”

                    This “anything goes”, “accept everybody” attitude is what is corrupting our Church.

                    • Neither one of you understood what Mitrich actually wrote. He did NOT condone paganism, satanism, or “anything goes”. He rejected the wording of the third “platform” because that wording was sufficiently non-specific to allow the championing of such views [i.e. paganism, etc.], and it also shrank the definition of Christianity into verbiage typical of Catholic “liberation theology”.

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      Antonia, I was responding to Carl’s response that seems to endorse “freedom of religion” for satanism and the like. I agree with Mitrich’s criticisms.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Disgusted–It is disgusting that you would claim that I support satanism and paganism. What I support is this particular Manhattan Declaration

                      Summary: “Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.”

                      Plank on religious freedom: “No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions.”

                      Tell me Disgusted, do you mean to compel satanists and pagans to embrace Orthodoxy? How about Roman Catholics and Protestants, to say nothing of Muslims and Jews? How would you compel them? Are torture and other barbarisms in your toolkit? More to the point, if we were to compel anybody, we would give up our own religious freedom. I urge you to rethink your position for it is not only ugly but also dangerous.

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      Mitrich said — “It supported unlimited freedom of religion for all. The way it was stated, it would include paganism, christian heresies, satanism, you name it.”

                      Cark Kraeff responded — “Great! Now we have a supposedly Orthodox poster advocating freedom of religion for some and not all. Sad really.”

                      My point, Carl, is that perhaps you should better watch what you say and how you say it. When you say “all” it means “all”. I very clearly stated two groups mentioned by Mitrich that would be part of your “all”: pagans and satanists. I did not say that you support them, but that you defended them by your comment. I said nothing about compelling anybody to do anything, but that we Christians should not accept them as legitimate and should fight against any efforts to do so.

                      Where did I say anything about Roman Catholics, Protestants, Muslims or Jews? Christians are taught a certain respect for people of other traditional faiths, but we are called to treat perverse teachings such as paganism and satanism very differently. Paganism is a sin. Satanism is a sin. Love the sinner, but hate the sin. Wouldn’t you agree?

                      So the point of my comment was that your crass comment to Mitrich was out of line. Had you simply given your more reasoned explanation earlier it would have been better. Then we can have meaningful discourse, for which I appreciate your commentary along with others on this site. But instead you went way off base bringing up other religions, torture, barbarism — why not try to link me to Jerry Sandusky while you’re at it too?

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      As Orthodox Christians, we are called to preach and teach the truth of Orthodoxy. However, we also believe in free will. That means that we do not believe that we can or should force anyone to embrace Orthodoxy. We therefore do believe in freedom of religion for all including the worst kinds of heresy and paganism. We are also Americans with a constitution that guarantees freedom of religion. We cannot be hypocrites and ask for religious freedom for ourselves, while denying it to others.

                  • Carl Kraeff says:

                    Great! Now we have a supposedly Orthodox poster advocating freedom of religion for some and not all. Sad really.

                    Now, Carl, are you advocating freedom of all religions? Are you advocating freedom for satanism? For paganism? If you do, please support you position. Where exactly in Orthodox Christian teachings can one find such ideas?

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            After His Grace Bishop Basil signed the Manhattan Declaration, someone asked Metropolitan Philip about it. He commissioned His Grace Bishop Thomas to study the text and a statement was placed on the Antiochian Archdiocesan Web Site stating that the Manhattan Declaration is consistent with the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Then many Antiochian clergy including myself also signed it.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Bishop Basil also sent out an invitation to those in his diocese to read the declaration and sign as their conscience dictated. I did sign and I’m sure others did as well. Bp. Basil acted in within the scope of his office as did Met. Jonah. The Antiochian Archdiocese of NA embraced his leadership. The OCA rejected +Jonah’s. That’s the story.

              • Artakhshassa the Great says

                In other words, Metropolitan Philip did not sign the Declaration on his own, ignoring his fellow hierarchs? That’s the difference here.

                • He did initially sign on his own-didn’t you read above? Met. Philip had it checked out and approved it. Very same thing could have been done with the OCA bishops, but they chose to use the opportunity to make +Jonah a target and make the rest of Orthodoxy wonder what it was they didn’t see as Orthodox in it?

                • Michael Bauman says

                  ATG: Not exactly the lesson I would draw. I’m sure if Met. Philip had wanted to sign it he would have without any consult, indeed any of our Antiochian bishops could have acted on their episcopal authority to sign. Only Bishop Basil did so initially. Perhaps Met. Philp saw no need for other Antiochian bishops to sign. Bishop Basil did and his decision was endorsed and embraced by Met. Philip and the others with zero controversy.

                  I find it interesting that our bishops, widely thought of as captives of Met. Philip’s Papal will seem to act a lot more like traditional Orthodox bishops than the Greeks and the OCA. Hmmmmmmmm. Wonder why that is? Maybe perhaps because we recognize genuine hierarchical authority and understand how it works? Maybe because despite our ties to the Antiochian Patriarchate (or because of it) we have the freedom to act that others lack.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says


                    Here is how it went down. I got a call from the Colson organization asking me to pull some Orthodox signatories together. I came to know Chuck Colson over the years after I attended a seminar at which the Manhattan Declaration was first conceived. He was an outstanding and exemplary man and I still count it my privilege to have known him.

                    The organization was in a rush to unveil the Declaration at a press conference in Washington, DC. They gave me two days and within hours I contacted a few people including Fr. Reardon, Fr. Hatfield, and Fr. Webster. They immediately called others. It was last minute and happened very fast.

                    Met. Jonah was called by someone (not me because I did not know him), read the document and did what leaders are supposed to do — he led.

                    Met. Phillip probably had no idea the Declaration was going out but even if he did I don’t think he would have had any problem with it. One thing I have learned about the Antiochian Church in the last two years is that you will not be punished for upholding the teachings of our moral tradition.

                    Not meant for Michael:

                    The idea that a First Hierarch has to run every public utterance by a Synod is nonsense. Does anyone really think Abp. Iakovos asked his brother bishops for permission to march in Selma with Martin Luther King? Not a chance. Leaders are supposed to lead. Abp. Iakovos led. So did Met. Jonah.

                    People went after Abp. Iakovos with the same spirit of rancor as we’ve seen against Met. Jonah. Yet who do we remember today?

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Father, what you describe affirms my point about genuine. You and others are empowered to take righteous, united action without having to check with anyone yet there is still oversight and accountability. Met. Philip’s authority gives you that freedom. Even though you action was on your initiative, it was not unilateral. It is a freedom that seems lacking in the GOA and the OCA to.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      Why should any Orthodox Priest or Hierarch be punished for upholding the moral teaching of our Church? Why does an Orthodox Priest or Hierarch need permission from anyone to publicly defend the moral teachings of our Church. Did Fr. Kishkovsky ask permission for anyone before he signed Wallis’ left wing document on a purely secular matter the federal budget in the name of the OCA?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Holy Cow, Abouna! This just in: “Joining with the Holy Fathers before him, Metropolitan-Elect Tikhon accepts the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon!” He didn’t run it by any Synod or anybody. He just joined, unilaterally, no influence, no phone call, no political hacks. Wow. But that’s what leaders do: lead.

                      Someone call Sartre. The nausea is overwhelming…

                  • Catholic Observer says

                    OK, I know I’m a bit sensitive and prickly, but…why the little jab about “papal will”? The term “papal” is constantly being used as a synonym for “tyrannical” or “despotic,” yet NO pope in recent memory would ever dream of ordering a bishop not to sign a declaration upholding Church Teaching.

                    I assume (just guessing) that many Catholic bishops did indeed sign the Manhattan Declaration, and I am quite sure that none of them bothered asking the pope’s permission first. Or the USCCB’s permission, for that matter.

                    Heck, I signed the Manhattan Declaration online, and I didn’t ask anyone’s permission beforehand — not my pastor’s, not my bishop’s, not the pope’s.

                    We “papists” seem to enjoy a pretty high degree of freedom and autonomy. Maybe non-papists should consider revising their view that we “Romans” are all benighted, craven thralls of the Great Papal Bogeyman. 😉

                    Sorry for hyper-sensitivity about this. I know this was just an offhand remark on your part, in an otherwise excellent post (which I completely agree with). I just get so tired of the equation of “papal” with “tyrannical,” when — in my experience and that of over a billion other Catholics — the papacy is very far from being a burdensome tyranny. Quite the opposite, in fact.

                    OK, carry on. Sorry to buttinski. LOL.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      You have every right to object. I was referring to the epithet being hurled at Met Philip. You have to understand that, as with all such epithets, it is a stereotype that rarely bears any resemblance to reality.

                      Ultimately it means someone overstepping the bounds of their authority. Just as one could quite easily label the OCA “protestant” because of their lack of clear hierarchical authority and accountability with too much lay involvement.

                      Both epithets are not really correct, just designed to stir up emotions.

                • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                  “In other words, Metropolitan Philip did not sign the Declaration on his own, ignoring his fellow hierarchs?’

                  Ridiculous. Metropolitan PHILIP had no idea the document was about to be released. He certainly did not “ignore his fellow hierarchs.”

                  • Artakhshassa the Great says

                    Patrick Henry Reardon, I think you misunderstand what I wrote. I’l move the words around a little and perhaps then you’ll get it. ‘Metropollitan Philip did not ignore his fellow hierarchs and sign the Declaration on his own.”
                    Metropolitan Jonah IGNORED (in his Apostolically youthful endearing enthusiasm, of course() his fellow hierarchs and signed the Declaration on his own, letting his fellow hierarchs learn of it through the secular media.
                    The relationship of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America is NOT that of a leader to his followers. It is true, that one of the most essential qualities of a such a Primate is leadership.
                    But any school or philosophy of leadership (and not “Fuehrerheit”) advises leaders NOT to spring things without warning on those they are leading, since in a free society, like the Church, no one is OBLIGED to follow the leader.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I’m sorry, but that’s still lame. A primate having to go through an entire synod (with some of the members less than exemplary figures in their own right) before he can sign an important declaration, that’s a bunch of hooey. How come Lefty Kishkovsky never had to get permission to sign his various Leftist manifestos? How come he managed to keep the OCA in the NCC all this time even though the All-American Councils continuously voted overwhelmingly to get out?

                      Nikos was right: the cool kids in jr high can do anything. All hell will break loose if the fat kid in the back does the same thing. Pathetic.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      Why should any Orthodox Bishop, especially a Metropolitan need permission to publicly defend the moral teachings of our Church?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Why indeed, Fr, why indeed?

                      I think the answer lies in the fact that the infiltration of secularism/modernism had already taken hold of Syosset. Make no mistake: when this is all said and done, it will be apparent that Jonah was removed because he represented Traditionalism. The annual March-for-Life that the Synod participates in is nothing more than window-dressing. The fact that Jonah was asked by the Catholic bishops last year to lead it was a dangerous turning-point in this charade. I am willing to be money that Tikhon will not be asked to deliver a major speech/benediction/prayer/etc. or accorded a place of honor as was Jonah.

                    • Fr John,

                      Father Bless!

                      Any bishop, including the Metropolitan, as you correctly point out, does not need permission to preach and teach Orthodox doctrine. However the actions of the OCA synod in the aftermath of the Manhattan Declaration and even the famous Dallas speech in which he articulated the belief of the OCA that as an autocephelous church any non-territorial Church in North America should stay out of its business. That is what the synod has said again and again since 1970. Yet, for these two “breaches” +Jonah was branded “gravely troubled,” and “unilateral” in his decision-making.

                      This therefore goes to the intent of the OCA synod of bishops and it is clear now as we have more and more time to look back on this sad saga in the life of the OCA that the intent of +Jonah’s brother bishops, Syosset staffers and sympathies on the Metropolitan Council was to rid themselves of the bothersome cleric.

                      He did not preach heresy. He did not teach against the Church. The ouster of +Jonah was nothing more than a power play. It is not the first time in the history of the OCA and I don’t think it will be the last time. The OCA is now firmly in the hands of those who are not bishops. A case in point was given to us by the OCA Chancellor just yesterday when he wrote:

                      The newly drafted Policies, Standards and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct (the PSP’s for short) which are to be reviewed by the General Counsel, Legal Committee, specialists in canon law and the Holy Synod before dissemination.

                      Note well that the synod will be the last to weigh in after the lawyers, lawyers and lawyers put their imprimatur. The whole thing is upside down. Bishops, at least in canon law, are the protectors, the gatekeepers and the ones empowered with the responsibility to lead. Yet, there has been a systematic reduction in their authority in the OCA. This, IMHO is a dangerous precedent.

                      Of course there will be those who argue that the bishops have the final say, and that is true, but one cannot overlook the agendas and prejudices (good and bad) of those who are presenting the final document to the bishops. Would it not be better for the bishops to have the first crack at it. Define what they think is best and then give it over to those who are charged by them to present a draft?

                      I am not against “experts” advising our bishops, but I must admit that the STINKBOMB letter did little to boost my confidence in the ability of the OCA’s so-called “experts” to offer dispassionate recommendations for the good of the Church. That one was an example of justifying bad actions.

                      I don’t think that the current Metropolitan will tread very far or do anything bold, that is why the synod elected him. I am not saying the new OCA Primate is a bad man. He is not. But he will be a managed Metropolitan. Maybe that is one reason there is so little excitement about the new Primate’s “enthronement.”

                      Like you, I pray for the new Metropolitan, but my expectations are very low, just the opposite when +Jonah was elected. I wonder how Met. Philip would have reacted if he was the in the sights like +Jonah was? I would suspect quite differently and very few can suggest that the OCA is in better shape than the AOCA. It is called leadership, leaders you can follow, leaders you can trust, leaders you have confidence and faith in. The AOCA, the ROCOR, just to name two, have that in their leaders.

            • Fr. John, I find it very interesting that the Antiochian Archdiocese handled the Manhattan Declaration that way. Metropolitan Philip is supposed to be so hyper-draconian, yet never criticized Bishop Basil for “unilaterally” signing the Manhattan Declaration, and only commissioned a study to determine the document’s orthodoxy after Bishop Basil had signed it.

              The allegedly-conciliar OCA, on the other hand, just can’t settle down about Metropolitan Jonah’s “unilateral” signing of it.

            • Artakhshassa the Great says

              So, just as the OCA Holy Synod did not reflexively or automatically endorse what Metropolitan Jonah had done without warning and preparation, rather objected to the act being sprung on them, Metropolitan Philip (although perfectly capable of reading it) had several people study and report on the document before issuing an endorsement for the Antiochian Archdiocese and action of one bishop speaking for those in his care, and not on behalf of any other Antiochian hierarchs. Too bad Metropolitan Jonah couldn’t have acted as wisely in this as Metropolitan Philip did!

              • George Michalopulos says

                That’s pharasaical to me. Reminds me of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the Levite and priest both crossed to the other side of the street to avoid possible contamination from the beaten man. The moral was that mercy overrides legalism. Jonah did the right thing but there are enough left-wingers on the Synod (not necessarily pro-sodomy) and they recoil in horror from the name “Church Colson.”

                True story. Almost three years ago to the day, I was at an OCL conference in Houston. The GOA sent one of their most accomplished archpriests to tell us how wonderful the new Episcopal Assembly was to be, how SCOBA had outlived it’s usefullness, and how all jurisdicions were gonna be equal, on board, yada, yada, yada. A New Day was dawning and we voted $20,000.00 as an “honorarium” to Arch Demetrios of the GOA to help offest the expenses fo the first meeting (which was to be in May.)

                Anyway, on our second day there, we spoke candidly and honestly. I can’t remember the context exactly but it had something to do with our lack of cultural involvment. I mentioned Chuck Colson and his four-decade long ministry to hardened criminials. The priest who I was debating with said “I’ve seen Colson’s numbers, they’re not that great.”

                I was dumbfounded. I was so dumbstruck, no words could come out of my mouth. Finally, I sputtered something like “Bbbbbut if even one man is save, isn’t that a good thing?” (I stutter when I get exasperated.)

                What’s the point? I’ve seen Colson’s numbers too and believe me, they ARE something to right home to Mother about. But because we Orthodox are more concerned about minutiae, like what to call Macedonia, we’ve squandered so much time, talent, and treasure that we’ve ceded what precious little moral authority we had.

                Syosset has just now taken this kind of thinking to a new level. An abyssmally low one.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Michalopulos,

                  It seems to me that you must assume some responsibility for our “squandering” as well. By nurturing several years of conjecture – much of which to this very day you cannot substantiate as true, nor can anyone substantiate as false – you continue to draw energy away from the work at hand, despite the clear and unmistakable message of the All American Council at Parma. Not only is it hypocritical for you to accuse anyone of waste by “virtue of minutiae” – you sit like a baby eating a birthday cake, “crumbs” scattered everywhere around you – you have allowed the site to slowly erode the threshold for corroborated, evidential truth.

                  And seriously, you need to end this foolish jingoism of SYOSSET, the great and powerful, as if you were Ayn Rand whispering, “Who is John Galt?” You owe it to yourself to get on a plane and go see the rat trap of a “mansion” and meet the handful of (with no pejorative intention) jamokes inhabiting the place. This is the throbbing “central” of the demise of OCA moral authority? Aye. If your “object relation” is askew, finding something a touch more realistically formidable.

                  It remains a mystery to me as to why you do not, after all this time and “squandering,” telephone the Chancellor or Fr. Kishkovsky directly, “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11) and interview them.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    1. How have I, a mere layman, with absolutely no administrative authority on any level in the OCA, been able to “squander” anything.

                    2. I have written precious little conjecture. Most everything I have written has been backed up by evidence. When I have speculated, it has turned out to be true or remains to be seen. (File those under editorial opinion.O

                    3. The “clear and unmistakable message” of Parma is, was, and is turning out to be a joke. Where was questioning allowed? The only “message” I got from Parma (both in minutes and from delegates) was that Bishop Michael Dahulich was the overwhelming choice of the people there. But as in 1978, when Bishop Dmitri Royster got more votes than all other delegates combined, the in-group decided to go with their fore-ordained choice. The delegates were just window-dressing. Forgive the sarcasm, but the excitement of Tikhon’s legitimacy is so overwhelming that his enthronement banquet is turning into a bust.

                    4. I have no intention to go to Syosset and meet with people who will not and cannot act in good faith.

                    5. I have contacted Syosset on at least two occasions. The first time the high-ranking priest who took my phone call clearly prevaricated on a specific matter which was easily verified (and could be easily verified). I called recently (two weeks ago if memory serves) to ask about another specific item and and left a message with my phone number. (They also know my email.)

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      Where can I get me one of them certificates, “Without Guile?” Do they also sell t-shirts & hats?

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Where did I say “without guile”? (Though I do believe that Jonah is such a bishop.) Why don’t you just me to task for my points?

        • Gregg Gerasimon says

          This just shows that it’s not so much about what you sign, but rather about who you are. A lot of influential people in the OCA didn’t like Met. Jonah, and thus used his “unilateral” signing of the Manhattan Declaration against him. But if these same influential people like Met. Tikhon, then it’s probably fine for him to “unilaterally” sign.

          Life often turns out just like high school. The popular folks can do what they want, while the less popular kids are reviled.

          Anyone know what the status is on Met. Jonah being accepted into ROCOR?

        • Carl Kraeff says

          It is news to me that +Jonah got in trouble for acting unilaterally for signing the Manhattan Declaration. I had thought that the problem of not acting in accord with the Canon was when he gave his anti-Constantinople speech in spite of objections from some of his fellow bishops. Regarding, Metropolitan Tikhon, he must obtain a consensus simply because of the past misconduct by +Jonah. That is why I said “I Hope and pray…”

          • Yet Another Former St Nicholas... says

            We can remember that the Greek Orthodox and especially our dear Patriarch of Constantinopole, may his life be long and may his ministry be fruitful, does not recognize the OCA. But aside from that, when we have the likes of Carl Kraef, layperson of the Diocese of the South of the OCA, pronouncing on the value of his Metropolitan’s speech on not being diaspora, he might wish to consider the following speech with regards to judging such a supposedly unilateral act as the speech of our Metropolitan of the OCA in his hopeful search for some rationale to condemn Metropolitan Jonah and all his unilateral acts. Metropolitan Jonah’s two talks on the issue from 2009 are here:


            From: Ancient Faith Radio



            From: Ancient Faith Radio

            His statements on the issue were , em, “presidential” so to speak, and had an effect on the following, unless Metropolitan Philip was thinking in tandem on the same issue:

            Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day

            EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY – MAY 26, 2010

            “Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:

            My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.

            The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.

            ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us. We have been here for a long, long time and we are very grateful to the Almighty God that in our theology and worship, we do express the fullness of the Holy Orthodox faith.

            Fifty years ago our hierarchs, may their souls rest in peace, founded SCOBA which has done a splendid job despite our external limitations. We have established the Orthodox Christian Education Commission which is chaired by a Greek Orthodox gentleman. We have established the International Orthodox Christian Charities which is directed by Constantine Triantafilou, a very good Greek Orthodox. We have established the Orthodox Christian Mission Center which is doing an excellent job and we have done many other things which time does not permit me to enumerate.

            My dear brothers,

            We are faced now with a very serious procedural nightmare. We are, supposedly, here to discuss a new organization to replace SCOBA. The question is: Was SCOBA dissolved and if so, by whom? And when?? SCOBA has a constitution which is fifty years old. If this constitution has to be amended, let us then amend it according to correct procedures. No one can dissolve SCOBA except SCOBA itself. SCOBA has organized Bishops’ Assemblies before Chambesy told us to do so. The first Assembly was held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania in 1994, under the chairmanship of our brother, Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory. The second Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Washington, D.C. and the third Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Chicago, Illinois, both under the auspices of SCOBA and the Chairmanship of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios.

            TWO – The second point which I would like to note is concerning the term “Diaspora” which was used several times in the literature which we received from Geneva. I remember, there are many of you who were at the Antiochian Village in 1994 and should remember that the term “Diaspora” was unanimously rejected by our assembly. We are not in Babylon; we are in North America, the new world. We are dealing here with second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations of American Orthodox and they refuse to be called “Diaspora.”

            I believe that some of our churches in the Old World are in “Diaspora.” In Jerusalem, for example, we have 2,000 Orthodox Christians left. In Constantinople, the glorious capital of the Byzantine Empire, I was told that there are only 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. And the Turkish Government, until now, refuses to let us open that famous Theological School of Khalki, despite the intervention of the presidents of the United States. In Iraq, hundreds of Christians were slaughtered and thousands had to flee Iraq to the Syrian Arab Republic. We are free here in North America — free to teach, free to preach, free to worship, free to write books and sometimes criticize even the presidents of the United States. We have the full freedom of expression in accordance with the United States Constitution. It is important to note here that the Holy Synod of Antioch, to my knowledge, never discussed the Chambesy decision and the rules of operation in order to formally bless this effort.

            THREE – Some of the communiqués which were issued by the fathers in Geneva were good. I don’t understand, however, why Central America was joined to North America. The Antiochian Metropolitan of Mexico and Central America informed me that he wanted to be with the Orthodox Bishops of South America. The reason is: he has nothing in common with North America because he represents a different culture all together. As a matter of fact, he traveled to Brazil to attend the Bishops’ Assembly which met at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Sao Paulo.

            I hope that, in the future, this matter could possibly be addressed. In the communiqué which was issued from Geneva dated June 6-12, 2009, I read something very interesting and very hopeful. It says and I quote: “The conference expresses the common desires of all Orthodox Churches for a solution to the problem of the canonical organization of the Orthodox “Diaspora,” in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The same communiqué includes these bright words: “The mission of the Bishops’ Assemblies is the proclamation and promotion of the unity of the Orthodox Church, the common pastoral ministry of the Orthodox faithful in the region, as well as the common witness to the world.” Here we see a clear emphasis on the unity of the Orthodox Church. What is needed is the translation of these inspiring words into concrete action.

            Other pleasing words appeared in Article III of the rules which state: “The Episcopal Assembly will have an executive committee composed of the Primatial Bishops of each of the canonical churches in the region.” From this text, I understand that no canonical bishop should be excluded from the assembly. If we share the same Eucharistic table which is the highest expression of Orthodox unity, can’t we work together on the Executive Committee?

            Article XII of the rules is very promising. It states, “The Episcopal Assembly may establish its own internal regulations in order to supplement and adjust the above provisions, in accordance with the needs of the region and in respect to the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church.”

            My dear brothers,

            You can see that Article XII of the rules is very flexible and it gives us the freedom to “establish our own internal regulations.” Thus, no Primate of any jurisdiction should be excluded from the Executive Committee. Furthermore, the Executive Committee should be strong enough to prepare an adequate agenda for these Episcopal Assemblies. The Mother Churches must realize that Orthodoxy in America is the best gift to the world. And instead of being crushed by the burdens of the past, let us formulate a clear vision for the future. Thomas Jefferson, one of the fathers of our American revolution, once said: “I love the visions of the future rather than the dreams of the past.”

            If I have a vision for the future, it is this: Jerusalem has less than 2,000 Orthodox left. Istanbul has 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. The future of Orthodoxy in the Middle East is uncertain. Thus, for the sake of international Orthodox unity and Orthodox unity in North America, we should with one voice, beg His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch to leave Istanbul and move to Washington, D.C. or New York City and head a united Orthodox Church in this hemisphere. All of us, I am sure, will be blessed to be under his omophorion and Orthodox unity in North America will cease to be a dream, but a reality.

            My dear brothers,

            If we do not bury the burdens of the past between certain autocephalous churches, such burdens will bury us, and Orthodoxy in this country and throughout the world will become an insignificant dot on the margin of history.”

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I wish that I could somehow learn a way to get my point across a bit better than I have. I even bolded the reason why Jonah messed up in his Holy Friday rejoinder to the Chief Secretary.I distinctly remember blogging in support of +Jonah. I still do not have a problem with the substance of his speech. What I have a problem with is his violation of the Canon: he gave the speech even after some of his brother bishops objected.Now, I do not think that the Canons have gone away; indeed, the ROC Constitution has incorporated them: When a primate speaks on behalf the Holy Synod, he MUST obtain unanimity. +Jonah simply failed to do so. I do not think that such conduct has to do with administrative failings, character, or temperament. If +Jonah was in his early twenties, I could speculate that he was still in the grips of adolescence and thus his executive ability was impaired. And, that is all I am going to speculate.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Carl, your point is well-taken. Let us admit though that it has nothing to do with this whole debacle. If in truth, what Jonah did (i.e. speak “unilaterally” and without the consent of his brother bishops) was in fact uncanonical, then the Synod would have been COMPLETELY justified in bringing him before a spiritual court. Instead, they made up a passel of lies about him supposedly receiving under his omorphor a priest who was also a rapist. Neither of which was true.

                • Tumorous Baktos says


                  The things said about + Jonah weren’t lies. + Jonah didn’t need to be brought before a “spiritual court.” His actions were against what he signed on for. The statutes of the OCA are clear.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Yes they were. He never “received” the priest in question into the OCA, unilaterally or otherwise. As for the alleged crimes of the priest in question, the Synod itself did an investigation and found nothing actionable. Jonah had even recused himself from the investigation so if he was guilty, it’s all on them.

                    Your most fanciful statement however is that Jonah “didn’t need to be brought before a ‘spiritual court.'” So in other words, if the Synod is going to go to the trouble of removing its primate and engulfing the OCA into such a tumult that we may never recover from it, it can be done with a mere voice vote? I’m sorry, but removing the chief executive of any organization –secular or spiritual–is not something to be entered into lightly. Just because the Syosset way of removing bishops worked in the past doesn’t mean it will always work in the future (if there is a future).

                    • Tumorous Baktos says


                      The OCA has already recovered. + Jonah’s lead is now just a blip. The new Primate is a much better choice. When the Primate of the OCA “agrees” to follow the statutes of the OCA and then does not, a problem exists. + Jonah was warned at least three times to stop acting unilaterally and he did not. The Synod of the OCA had to act and it was for the best. Get over it, George. Next case!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      So now we know the real reason Jonah was removed: because he “was warned three times to stop acting [Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” playing here] unilaterally and he did not.”

                      For the sake of argument, let us take you at your word. Can you now ask your overlord, Herr Chancellor what these three occasions were and whether they justified slandering the primate of their Church?

                      Chilling indeed.

                    • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

                      Tumorous Baktos, the synod acted incorrectly. It did not follow the established procedures in attempting to remove him. If it had a substantial argument, it should have made an accusation against Jonah by one of his own bishops, conducted an ecclesiastical trial, and have removed Jonah if he was found guilty. If not, the accuser would then be deposed, as canon law requires. And anyway, the Synod would be in hot water for violating the canons against removing a bishop without having witnesses. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow may be an embattled bishop, but the Synod is not conspiring behind his back to remove him or acting to discredit him. It is high time that this tomfoolery be over.

              • Disgusted With It says

                “…he gave the speech even after some of his brother bishops objected.”

                He also gave the speech after some of this brother (more “senior”) bishops egged him on to do it. So would he have needed a simply majority of bishops to allow him to do something, or a super 2/3 majority, or unanimous? Or did he even need a majority at all? The whole criticism of him signing a document upholding Orthodox Christian values is so stupid. Those who use this against him show their true colors, and perhaps they’d be happier in a more “progressive denomination” rather than hiding-out here in the Orthodox Church.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Are these things true?

                  If Archbishop Benjamin recently chrismated a transvestite couple; if Chancellor Jillions is in favor of communing practicing homosexuals in the Orthodox Church; if Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, who led the original charge, is also in favor of the same; if Mark Stokoe, a gay man who calls his partner his wife, and who led the Orthodox people of the OCA against many, including Metropolitan Jonah; if a retired OCA bishop is allowed to this day to live with his male lover, a practicing deacon in the OCA (whether they are practicing homosexuality or not doesn’t matter because it is not appropriate in any case); if other bishops, reposed or not, were or are homosexuals, if Archbishop Benjamin is guilty of staring for hundreds of hours on company time at pornography; if a man got so drunk in Archbishop Benjamin’s basement that he DIED; if Father Kondratick is innocent of the allegations of which he was accused and then condemned by most of the Holy Synod of the OCA; then why should the Orthodox people continue to support and respect these men? Why are the people, who have a clear, unedited voice on Monomakhos, accused of gossip by Father Jillions? That is an old, worn out tactic. A bunch of hooey.

                  If Metropolitan Jonah signed the document as a unilateral action because he knew many of his fellow OCA leaders were in favor of changing the Orthodox Church to accept communing practicing homosexuals regularly, and allowing their bishops to remain in office as homosexuals; then we may have a valid reason behind his signature. Would the Holy Synod at the time have approved his signature? If not, why not? Perhaps it would have been good for him to have asked them for a public statement, and if they disapproved, asked them why they disapprove. Men say one thing publicly but their lives belie what they say. It’s hypocritical.

                  As for the speech, I was surprised he would ask “the Ecumenical Patriarch to leave Istanbul and move to Washington, D.C. or New York City and head a united Orthodox Church in this hemisphere” without consulting anyone. What’s up with that?

                  Very strange.

                  • Jane Rachel,

                    These are all the nooses around the neck of the OCA. These are the faulty foundation which the OCA is now built upon. These are the realities which make the OCA look more like an Orthodox sect. These are the realities that are making more OCA clergy wary, including those who have already petitioned to leave the OCA and these are the reasons why OCA laity are leaving for other jurisdictions.

                    I do not hold out much hope at all that the OCA under its current leaders can rebuild a jurisdiction that has sunk so far so fast.

                    What you and others would conclude as “very strange” is seen as renewal by those who truly believe that they are leading the OCA into a new future, that big tent where they and they alone can decide what is of the Faith and what has become outdated. I feel very sad for those faithful clergy and laity in the OCA who must minister and try and proclaim the Faith under such circumstances. They are the ones who we should be praying with all sincerity, not those bishops, clergy and laity who are trying to justify so many bad and unchristian decisions or just as sinful the averting of their collective eyes while they protect their friends and cohorts.

                    • Tumorous Baktos says


                      Your comments are baloney and you are spreading lies. Our new Primate is great. The OCA parishes nation-wide are stable & growing. Your DISINFORMATION with others here is a typical Nazi & Communist tactic. How about some TRUTH?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Excellent, Nikos, you have made your point(s) ad nauseum and I cannot imagine anyone but the most casual observer not intimately familiar with your opinion. You have demonstrated a major league pitching ability for rocks and stones; you possess mastery over sap and melodrama; and you are a remarkable dilettante magnifique of this and that. Bravo. You are anointed and I salute you. And now what exactly is your mission? Shall I look forward to your twice-weekly castigation of the Chancellor’s blog? Should I anticipate your increasingly mean and contentious “prophecy” of the doom that is the future of the OCA? Would you have me revel and join in your deepening bitterness that appears will only be satiated when the faithful leave their parishes and the clergy “seek transfer,” all moved in a dark scorn equal to your own?

                      You need to pack up and move along, my friend. You are no longer a “prophet,” speaking, like the Prophet Jonah, to the hearts of the misguided in order that they would turn. You are purposely set on undermining and discouraging, and my friend, it is unhealthy to practice, and despicable to read your delight at the human failings and mistakes of others. You have morphed into a real-deal “blind guide,” and “if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matt. 15:14). You obviously have nothing positive, nothing wholesome, no plan, no direction, no insight, nothing edifying, nothing to offer and you need to move on.

                    • Dear Friend from Stanford, CT,

                      It is still too soon to make any final conclusions about the current Primate of the OCA. I am not sure he has done anything yet to be called “great.”As to the growth of the OCA, I would suggest you check the census figures of the OCA including the Diocese of New England. They are not increasing but going down nationwide. If you don’t believe me, ask for the census numbers from Syosset. That is TRUTH. As for the stability of the OCA, I think there is quite enough evidence out there to conclude that the OCA may be many things but stable is not one of them. As for tactics, again, one only has to look at the take-down tactics employed against Metropolitan Jonah to conclude that they took several pages out of those you accuse Nikos.

                      If you are going to post here Thomas Paine, aka Tumorous Baktos, try and be a bit more articulate.

                    • Dear Friend Michael S.

                      Thank you for your usually kind words and for your prophetic proclamation that it is time for me to shut up and move on (of course said with such elegance that a causal reader might not have caught it.)

                      I am reminded by leaders of the past when times were tough told us to shut up and move on; and yet your pal Mark Stokoe did not relent. Time and again he was told to shut up and move on. He did not. Of course he did not post ad nauseum in your opinion because you were on his side. So, ad nauseum is in the stomach of the beholder.

                      As to your quote from St. Matthew “if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matt. 15:14), I would suggest that the real blind leading the blind is the leadership of the OCA leading a once vibrant Church over the cliff. The OCA is broken and changing leadership from the current bench of leaders is not going to change its direction. It will only perpetuate slow demise.

                      That’s the way I see it and of course we will continue to agree to disagree. Thanks for your critic of me.

  6. Yet Another Former St Nicholas Layperson says

    St. Nicholas is at 3500 Mass. Ave., ess than a half mile away. There are nice public concerts, teas, plants sales and bell ringing and even the odd national event.

    Over the years many many Orthodox services – particularly by Polish and Serbian Orthodox – in its chapels. Theoretically, such services could still be held. Matter of scheduling.

    Fourth, I was not there at Nativity for services, either old or new calendar, but should say that the OCA cathedral traditionally serves old calendar feasts in Slavonic while primarily following the new calendar for at least three decades in two languages, a Slavonic service and an English service. Great new calendar feasts are typically combined English and Slavonic services with an English sermon, with the exception of Metropolitan Jonah, who would deliver his short but meaningful sermons twice, once in Russian and once in English. May we hear his sermons again. I have personally been missing them for six months and there is no one providing that kind of short but to the point insight that his sermons did. I understand I missed him giving a sermon on old calendar Nativity. Hope someone recorded it.

    As to the ROCOR, the serving of the Russian community has always been a priority but note that weekday services are almost all in English and incredibly early for anyone to attend, especially weekdays getting there through rush hour traffic, but allow for the stalwart to attend and get to work both; You will note what I mean by accessing the following calendar for this month:


    What has changed under the new regime at St. N’s is that there is no longer the full vigil services as of old, but some kind of truncated vespers. Excuses for stopping these have ranged from not being sure of a deacon serving, already an alarming sign, to lack of participation in the choir declining over the past couple years, another strange sign in a city full of semi-professional choirs, to no excuses at all. However, it seems the clergy has made a great effort at laity participation by bringing relics and plashchenitsas of the Bogoroditsa and visiting icons and visiting choirs and so on.

    On Nativity, those of us who attend the old calendar services usually also attend the new calendar somewhere, although we might, for the sake of keeping fast and feast, not take communion on the new calendar feast. Some of our churches have All Night Vigils and some split the services of Nativity Eve from the Matins and Liturgy, depending. Some of my old calendar friends actually went to St. N’s for new calendar and even sang in the choir although they have migrated elsewhere, and where I went on old calendar Nativity, there were new calendar folks. So, pictures don’t always tell a story. But you might want to check this out:

    This is a typical St. Nicholas service these days. The English and Slavonic services have been combined into one service, and to further fill the nave, the choir is singing almost in kliros.

    What is needed is the return of the OCA to the old calendar, which part of the OCA never left. Then we could begin to have a true cycle of services in most locales, serving as many languages as we are prepared to serve to as many people as possible in as many locations as make practical the most people being able to get to and attend. We could even have services mid day. All the hours! Lots of canons. Vespers, VIgils, Matins, Complines, Lauds, etc.etc. in addition to the liturgies. Full petitions that actually recite names so we can mentally pray for every name that comes up, like some parishes rarely do these days.

    • Ordo Antiquus says

      “This is a typical St. Nicholas service these days. The English and Slavonic services have been combined into one service, and to further fill the nave, the choir is singing almost in kliros.”

      To be fair the schedule of St. Nick’s still indicates two Liturgies every Sunday. What has disappeared is the Georgian prayer service.

      • Yet Another says

        Dear Ordo,

        Here is old calendar Nativity service video:

        Note that although the choir is not shown, it is in the nave, not in the choir loft. This is typical of minor old calendar services, but Nativity is a major one. There are plenty of people capable of attending the Nativity service because Christmas is an official holiday in Russia and the church is close to the embassy. You cross Wisconsin Avenue going out the gate from the embassy and then you traverse two short blocks to the door entering the church on Edmunds St. There were hundreds of people attending over at St. John’s across town, about a twenty to twenty-five minute trip, more during rush hour, which it would have been, and including a parking situation to choose St. John’s. This Nativity included military personnel from the embassy across town.

        But that is that. As for changes, there are two liturgies still on Sundays with services sometimes not having all four voices in the choir. But there is no Vigil, only a short Vespers service, . People are doing some things right, like Bp. Tikhon giving the gramota to Svetlana Gerich) but some things wrong or clumsy- singing the Velichanie is not that difficult, give us a break, and where was the choir? – but overall, difference is people are not coming.

  7. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    As one of the original signers of the Manhattan Declaration, let me see if i can throw some light on this for your readers;

    Jim Kushiner (chief editor of Touchstone), Father Hans Jacobse, Father Chad Hatfield, and I were–for a short while—the only signers of the Manhattan Declaration until about 72 hours before its publication.

    Indeed, I believe we four (by reason of our friendships with Robert George and Chuck Colson, the authors of the Declaration) were the ONLY Orthodox Christians who knew the document was coming.

    As there were no Orthodox bishops on the list of the signers at that time, Father Chad Hatfield and I volunteered to recruit some. As far as I know, we sought the signatures of only THREE bishops: Jonah, Basil (Essey), and Mark (Maymon). There was simply no time to expand the list to include more bishops.

    Time was of the essence. The document was about to be published, and we needed to work fast. We believed—and I still believe— that it would be an occasion of public scandal if the Manhattan Declaration were published without a single Orthodox bishop’s signature on it.

    Father Chad recruited Metropolitan Jonah from the OCA, and I recruited Bishop Basil and Bishop Mark from the Antiochian Archdiocese.

    This all took place in a hurry, a day or so before the publication of the document.

    When I solicited his signature, Bishop Basil answered me immediately and requested another day to study the document. A few hours later, he signed it, and his name appeared as one of the original signers, along with Metropolitan Jonah.

    Occupied with other pressing concerns, Bishop Mark did not answer me for some time. He did sign it a few days later, but his signature came too late to be included among the original signers.

    I hope this recital throws some light on how things developed.

    I regarded—and still regard—the Manhattan Declaration as an important prophetic statement with respect to the public order. As such, it did not call for any sort of synodal action.

    I must tell you, I cannot imagine either Saint Basil or Saint Ambrose—to say nothing of Elijah or John the Baptist—waiting around for synodal cooperation when they perceived the need to stand up to the political evils of their day.

    I hope I won’t offend too many people with the suggestion that what the Orthodox Church in this country needs is fewer synods and more prophets.

  8. Yet Another Former St Nicholas... says

    Surely a Metropolitan has the right to express his conscience on a petition concerning life versus death? I am not sure I would want to be the member of a church that put its conscience to a vote by committee since doing so often leads to lowest common denominator dishwater democracy. With our Church, we consider universal truth and each of us are ultimately responsible for our own sins of thought, word and deed

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I do not know what your beef is. You have apparently left the OCA for greener pastures. If you joined ROCOR, BTW, know that in the ROC both the Apostolic Canon 34 and the relevant Canon 9 of the Council of Antioch are included in its statute. If you are ignorant of this foundational canon of Orthodoxy, please read them at You will find the relevant reference at Artcle IV, Paragraph 5: “The relations between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod shall be determined by Canon 34 of the Holy Apostles and Canon 9 of the Council of Antioch in accordance with accepted Orthodox tradition.”

      Here is Canon 34: “The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them, and to esteem him as their head, and not to do any great thing without his consent; but every one to manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it. But let him not do anything without the consent of all; for it is by this means there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

      Here is Canon 9: “It behooves the bishops in every province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and who has to take thought for the whole province; because all men of business come together from every quarter to the metropolis. Wherefore it is decreed that he have precedence in rank, and that the other bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, (according to the ancient canon which prevailed from [the times of] our Fathers) or such things only as pertain to their own particular parishes and the districts subject to them. For each bishop has authority over his own parish, both to manage it with the piety which is incumbent on every one, and to make provision for the whole district which is dependent on his city; to ordain presbyters and deacons; and to settle everything with judgment. But let him undertake nothing further without the bishop of the metropolis; neither the latter without the consent of the others.”

      This is leadership defined by the canons; there is no other in the Orthodox Church. We do not have Popes and independent preachers. We are a hierarchical church. We are an apostolic church. We are not a church that bends at the whim of passing notions of leadership.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Some folks has criticized him for signing the Manhattan Declaration or giving the Holy Friday counterattack on Constantinople because they did not agree with these actions. However, these actions did not break any canons by themselves. As has been explained numerous times so that even the densest of skulls can finally get it, the problem was not the substance but the manner by which these actions were undertaken, that is in violation of Canon 34 of the Holy Apostles. The canon by the way does not talk about majority votes, it plainly states “let him (the primate) not do anything without the consent of all (members of the Holy Synod).”

      Now, George brought up the point that if there was a violation of the canon, why wasn’t there a spiritual court and formal disposition, instead of the route that the Holy Synod chose. I will submit to you that the absence of a spiritual court does not prove that +Jonah is not guilty of such a violation. As the supreme canonical authority, the Holy Synod can choose its own route in this sort of situation, based on economia or akribia. The fact that they gave +Jonah a break by not dragging him to a spiritual court should be regarded as an act of mercy and care for a fellow bishop, or perhaps because they felt that they elected him, they were obliged to give him all possible consideration. It is therefore ironic that there those who condemn the Holy Synod for exercising economia. I found this development the most tragic aspect of this sordid affair.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Carl, let’s cut to the chase. I know that you are enamored of canon 34 but let’s be honest: The canons mean nothing in America. They haven’t since about 1918. Or put another way: why start now?

        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
          Canon 34 isn’t usually quoted or discussed in full by those who cited it against Metropolitan Jonah. It also requires that the Primate be held in honor as such, and also that other hierarchs not engage in any important projects without his specific approval. Hopefully those provisions will be followed during Metropolitan Tikhon’s tenure now in the OCA if they haven’t been in the past. Meanwhile, do those who emphasize this Canon in part accuse the Moscow Patriarchate of being non-canonical because of her strong primate structure, as opposed to us in our multiple-Synods-in-the-same-land situation?
          Please pray for me a sinner,

          • Carl Kraeff says

            As I pointed out above, the Moscow Patriarch’s relationship with the ROC Holy Synod is also governed by Canon 34. You bring up an interesting point though; this canon has not been cited officially to this date. I suspect that is so because it is such an important canon that its breach would call for a spiritual court. The secular counterpart would be a Presidential impeachment and trial. Thus, I do not blame anyone for treading very carefully indeed, especially if they are church officials. That said, just because a President has not been impeached by the House does not mean that he has not committed impeachable offenses.

            Regarding the obligation of the Holy Synod members towards its primate, the canon certainly addresses what they may do in their own diocese without checking in with the primate, and when they must. The canon is silent as to what they must coordinate when they are engaged in the business of the Holy Synod. What I am saying is that their Holy Synod membership empowers them NOT to run to the primate and say, for example, I am going to talk to the other members about your conduct. The time to inform the primate then changes to formal meetings and documents when bishops are acting as members of the Holy Synod and not simply as diocesans.

            • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

              Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

              Well, to my unworthy reading it seems pretty specific from Canon 34 that if hierarchs are engaged in important projects outside their diocese, they need a specific blessing individually from the Primate. Wouldn’t that then to seem extend to business of the Holy Synod (i.e. not conducting jurisdictional business as a hierarch, even with other hierarchs, without the particular blessing individually for such business by the Primate in particular)? I’m just asking here.

              The language singles out that relationship between each individual bishop and the Primate on extra-diocesan business, not just leaving it to a general requirement that all must get the blessing of all. But would the latter principle in the Canon exclude then Synodal action by majority vote?

              If so, and again just reading from the Canon without making any historical applications, the consensus approach that seems required could make the leadership of the Primate more important–given that highlighted individual “veto” that he holds, as well as the requirement of the Canon that the other bishops (and presumably the rest of the clergy and faithful, and maybe even OCANews :)) respect him as their leader because of his being Primate, regardless of their views of his merits or demerits. In other words, looking to the Primate as leader is not supposed to be contingent upon a popularity contest or business-management evaluation process, but a kind of “spiritual father of the Church” role (rather than some kind of American CEO analogy).

              Starting a mission or holding a conference in a diocese, for example, could even be considered important projects by which an individual bishop (even within his own diocese) might need under this canon to get a particular blessing from the Primate, if a project in effect had jurisdictional significance beyond the borders of the diocese (or would in effect expand a diocese), financially or otherwise, as such projects can do.

              My sense of the Canon may be wrong, but I hope that the overall sense of the Primate as leader is respected by all of us now with regard to Metropolitan Tikhon, even if it may not have been by everyone in the OCA with regard to Metropolitan Jonah. Its spirit extends to the faithful and clergy. And, interestingly, there’s no mention in Canon 34 of Chancellor or Metropolitan Council or OCANews or even protopresbyters in leadership and decision-making roles for the Church :-), so far as I can tell! Please correct me if I’m wrong.

              Yours unworthily in Christ,


              • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                p.s. to the above. Mr. Kraeff are you indicating then that you feel that the Patriarch of Moscow may be governing non-canonically? That seems to be the drift of your implication here: “As I pointed out above, the Moscow Patriarch’s relationship with the ROC Holy Synod is also governed by Canon 34. You bring up an interesting point though; this canon has not been cited officially to this date. I suspect that is so because it is such an important canon that its breach would call for a spiritual court. The secular counterpart would be a Presidential impeachment and trial. Thus, I do not blame anyone for treading very carefully indeed, especially if they are church officials. That said, just because a President has not been impeached by the House does not mean that he has not committed impeachable offenses.”

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I am not indicating anything of the sort. My point is is simply that even in a local church with a strong primate (in statute and practice), the primate is still bound by Canon 34.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    -1 from 3 votes. Now what did I say to earn this approbation? I have the feeling that anything less than rigor mortis (mine that is) will please some folks. 🙂

                    • Heracleides says

                      Speaking only for myself, I count the days until the start of Great Lent and your customary self-imposed gagging for the duration.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Dear Professor Siewers–I hate to parse but it seems that we may have to do so. (My understanding of various words and sections are in parents and italicized)

                “The (diocesan) bishops of every country (local church) ought to know who is the chief among them (that is the primate of the local church),

                and to esteem him as their head (leader, chief among them, presiding officer),

                and not to do any great thing without his consent; (many commentators believe this refers to actions that affect the entire local church rather than only the bishop’s diocese)

                but every one to manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it.

                But let him (the primate) not do anything without the consent of all; (again, many commentators believe this applies to church-wide actions and not to the primate’s own diocese)

                for it is by this means there will be unanimity (the goal/aspiration is unanimity), and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

                Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no mention of a Holy Synod here. The supreme authority in this model, however, seems to rest in the unanimity of all of the bishops in matters that affect all. The primate in this model acts as the hub of a wheel that is the local church and it is his responsibility to (a) make sure that no diocesan exceeds his authority and (b) take the lead in building up unanimity. It is clear, at least to me, that the primate certainly has the power of the veto over all of the diocesans, but conversely he does not have the power to proceed on his own either (we are of course talking about church-wide initiatives). There is a very strong check-and-balance built into this canon to preclude a monarchical or despotic primate. However, I think that the real reason the canon is written the way it is is because it is addressing a new organizational development: the local church had grown from one city to a diocese, a province, and in the above phrasing to a country. It is a great conciliar approach that preserves the equality of bishops. If one reads canon 9 of Antioch, one sees that the primate is designated for a practical reason: ““It behooves the bishops in every province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and who has to take thought for the whole province; because all men of business come together from every quarter to the metropolis.”

                With a Holy Synod, which is the supreme canonical authority, the practical relationships between bishops are altered a bit. The primate is no longer the hub of that wheel; he now becomes the presiding bishop of the Holy Synod. Don’t take me wrong; he still leads and the principle of unanimity remains. However, the equality of bishops regarding affairs in the own dioceses are carried over to the affairs confronting the Holy Synod. One only needs to read the competencies of bishops, the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod to understand that the principles of Canon 34 are in fact operationalized in the Holy Synod/Primate or Presiding Bishop model. The bottom line is that all of the bishops now wear two hats: diocesan bishop and member of the Holy Synod. Of course, the primate wears two hats as well: diocesan and presiding bishop/metropolitan or archbishop or patriarch. Their competencies differ depending on the hat that they happen to be wearing: as diocesans, they must take any action or proposal that spills over beyond the boundaries of their own diocese to the Holy Synod and the Primate. As members of the Holy Synod, however, their considerations and actions are at the local church level, thus Canon 34 does NOT require them to obtain the consent of the Metropolitan as they put forth and coordinate their proposals. However, since the principle of unanimity remains, it is imperative that all members and the presiding officer use persuasion to obtain approval for their proposals. Thus, in a Holy Synod model, the official leader is indeed the primate but he must rely on personal authority almost as much as the other members of the Holy Synod. In practice, most elected leaders have a honeymoon period when their personal authority stems from their position. However, personal authority is not guaranteed. And, as we have seen, Canon 34 fundamentally is about personal authority for only that kind will persuade in the long run–unless one is a dictator.

                I hope that this makes my understanding of Canon 34 clearer, particularly as I think it applies in a Holy Synod/Primate model.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  It is clearer now that you have your own assumptions and interpretations. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I guess we could say you have a unique “perspective”. At which seminary did you study canon law?

                • Jesse Cone says


                  So are you claiming that +Jonah acted uncanonically? If that’s the case, why wasn’t he charged canonically?

                  I fail to see how your parsing of Canon 34 sheds any light onto the situation except inasmuch as it demonstrates the OCA’s failure in being the God-glorifying unity the canon calls for.

                • As you have explained so clearly, your preferred Despotic Holy Synod Model of Governance violates the governance model of canon 34.

                  Strictly speaking, your model also violates at least one intent expressed in the OCA Statute. You interpret “canonical authority” to mean “despotic authority” whereas the authors of the statute apparently had “church judicial authority” in mind, as they delegated “legislative authority” and “executive authority” to other bodies in the church. You have taken the Supreme Court, and made it not only the highest court in the land, but you have it functioning as Congress and the President too. One wonders if you might have misunderstood “supreme canonical authority” to mean “the canons themselves give them supreme authority over everything” as opposed to the clearly intended meaning, that they are “the highest judicial authority in the OCA itself.”

                  Now I don’t mean to pretend for a minute that the OCA Statute offers a coherent or even good governance structure, but it is written down as the official governance structure of the organization. It has standing even in secular courts, and it at least tries to be more consistent with canon 34 than the Despotic Synod Model.

                  • Folks,

                    Trying to make much sense out of the OCA Statute is an unsatisfying pursuit. The entire document is at best the end product of making sausage. It is nothing more than a pre-OCA document dressed up from time to time since 1970.

                    It is a confusing and oft times conflicting document which if my memory serves me correctly (and it usually does in the matters;)) was challenged by +Jonah for its multiple contradictions. Opps, there he went again shaking up the OCA status quo which has hid behind such aberrant and confusing notions like the AAC being the “highest legislative body” but does not let the AAC determine the Church’s budget.

                    The entire document needs to be ditched and a new Statute written. It is certainly one piece of American Orthodoxy that need not be part of any future unified Orthodox Church.

                • Tumorous Baktos says

                  What you people still don’t understand is that + Jonah’s own brothers in the OCA Synod said he must go. This new bishop couldn’t work with his own peers. Not a conspiracy; not lies; not old guard vs new guard; none of that. + Jonah could not operate within the OCA Synod. He couldn’t survive. Whether stability was an issue or whatever doesn’t matter. Bottom line, the entire OCA Synod said he had to go. End of story.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    TB, assertions are not facts. Tell your lords in Syosset to stop engaging in happy-talk and to face facts.

                  • This of course if not true.
                    Bottom line-they are not letting him go . . ironic.

          • lexcaritas says

            Thank you, AKS. Also, one should like to study context before jumping to conclusion and making broad-brush, proof-texting applications of “let the Primate not do anything without the consent of all.” Surely, this “anything”, does not mean, literally ,anything. Take breath? a nap? a leak? write a letter? sign a letter?

            No, here it must apply to anything that would adversely affect the others or any of them? or purport to be on their behalf or on behalf of the Body of Christ? It must mean “anything of which their advice and consent would be proper.” And it is here that reasonable minds might differ.

            Furthermore, exactly what are the prescribed penalties or penances for a violation of Canon 34? If there are none, one could argue that it is not a mandatory rule but an advisory admonition to be applied (as would be the case with most canons by the way) with a view to economia and not as a legalistic hammer to beat up one’s ecclesiastical enemies. There’s an oxymoron for you. We are to pray for our worldly enemies, to bless them and do good to them. And within the Body of Christ the idea of an enemy or political opponent (rather than a partner and coworker with God) ought to be anathema and utterly non-existent, shouldn’t it?


            • Carl Kraeff says

              Lex said “It must mean “anything of which their advice and consent would be proper.” And it is here that reasonable minds might differ.”

              Certainly. However, i do not think that reasonable minds may disagree with the supreme canonical authority or the Holy Synod making the final, definitive and binding judgment.

              Lex also said “…one could argue that it is not a mandatory rule but an advisory admonition to be applied (as would be the case with most canons by the way) with a view to economia and not as a legalistic hammer to beat up one’s ecclesiastical enemies.”

              I believe I made exactly this point when I pointed out to George that our Holy Synod has exercised economia in this instance. BTW, it is interesting that folks are bringing up a multitude of other canons that should be enforced. I do not like this vigilante mob atmosphere and wonder of you could calm the situation by appealing to their better nature.

          • Are you reading it from the Greek? There are different translations with slightly different meanings . . . But I agree with your (Alf) general understanding. I have a difficult time applying it to +Tikhon though, 1) because of his unjust involvement with +Jonah and 2) because he doesn’t seem to be in control. He has made recent promises and not followed through-he did say he would release +Jonah . . . and he seems to be in league with the direction of St. Nicholas Cathedral???

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George–This canon and the consecration oaths that affirm it may not have been followed 100% in our church history, but it simply wrong not to continue to emphasize them or at least recognize their critical importance. If I may compare it to the relatively recent discussion on the US Constitution, there are some well-meaning folks who say that it is a living document, to be interpreted and used in light of today’s exigencies, to solve today’s problems. In order to advance their agenda (which to them is nole and selfless) , even if doing so by legislating from the bench, they are willing to undertake unconstitutional approaches, such as legislating from the bench, executive actions, and dubious legislation. Invariably, when one objects, the counter argument usually is that the objector is heartless, that he elevates process over the alleviation of people’s misery or the protection of their rights. So it has become with this canon; it is very strange that folks who are theologically conservative are willing to overlook process and principle for various causes that are dear to them.

          • George Michalopulos says

            No they haven’t Carl. Nothing has been –or can be–followed 100%. Looked at another way, if the consecration oaths had been followed 100%, then there never would have been Nestorianism, Arianism, Sabellianism, Montanism, etc.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              In case somebody gets the strange notion, I have not and am not comparing +Jonah to the these (un)worthies,

          • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

            Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

            Dear Mr. Kraeff,

            You seem to imply publicly that the Patriarch of Moscow may not be operating according to Canon 34. Yet you have not responded further on why this is so. If true, that is a serious issue to raise, but, if false, potentially schismatic in spirit for any OCA members holding that view, given that Moscow is the largest canonical Orthodox Church in the world and also the mother church of the OCA (a tiny jurisdiction by comparison). Can you provide any further details on your views on this?

            Perhaps the lack of a strong monastic element in the OCA partly accounts for the apparent online open season for disrespect of the Primate in the past couple years –with the Primate being evaluated by cyber-denizens like an American CEO rather than a spiritual father, as posters disparaged obedience as a virtue in relation to ecclesiology, not highlighting the checks-and-balances of Canon 34. It would seem in all this that it is renovationist-modernists among the Online Church in America who disregard the spirit of Canon 34 and not traditionalists. Why do you criticize the latter?

            Please pray for me a sinner,


            • Carl Kraeff says

              I guess you did not read my reply of this morning; “I am not indicating anything of the sort. My point is is simply that even in a local church with a strong primate (in statute and practice), the primate is still bound by Canon 34.”

              But, in case you had read my earlier reply, I want to reiterate that I did not say or meant to imply that “the Patriarch of Moscow may not be operating according to Canon 34.” You surely must have somebody else in mind.

              However, I assure you that if I had such a thought, I would explain my reasoning in excruciating detail for I fully agree with your judgment that “If true, that is a serious issue to raise, but, if false, potentially schismatic in spirit for any OCA members holding that view, given that Moscow is the largest canonical Orthodox Church in the world and also the mother church of the OCA..”

              • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                Dear Mr. Kraeff,

                So now, if I follow you correctly, after you have cited Canon 34 for a couple years against former Metropolitan Jonah, despite the leadership model for church government that is clearly outlined in this apostolic canon, you now say that the OCA Statute and system (estab. 1970?) trumps the apostolic canon–although no other local Orthodox church in the world has the OCA’s governance structure?

                But it’s not even clear to me from what you have written that the OCA Statute and Canon 34 are in opposition. I would agree that the OCA’s governance problems in the past decades justify a comprehensive review of its unique structure as part of its strategic planning. But unless I’m missing something, it would still seem right to follow the Canon rather than the separate model you now seem to promote, if I am understanding you. You now seem to be interpreting Canon 34 along the lines of those who would re-interpret the U.S. Constitution as having a fluid meaning, an approach that you have criticized before, if I am remembering right.

                As for the Patriarch of Moscow, you had written here earlier: “As I pointed out above, the Moscow Patriarch’s relationship with the ROC Holy Synod is also governed by Canon 34. You bring up an interesting point though; this canon has not been cited officially to this date. I suspect that is so because it is such an important canon that its breach would call for a spiritual court. The secular counterpart would be a Presidential impeachment and trial. Thus, I do not blame anyone for treading very carefully indeed, especially if they are church officials. That said, just because a President has not been impeached by the House does not mean that he has not committed impeachable offenses.”

                You appeared then to write of an expectation that an issue of violating Canon 34 could be brought up against the Moscow Patriarch, which surprised me. I’m glad to hear now that you’re not planning to pursue a path of bringing public charges!

                But why you think that your philosophy of church government should trump Canon 34 is still not convincing to me. It raises the concern again of personal re-interpretation of Canon law misguiding people into potentially schismatic directions, and of the potential disastrous effect–suggested by the public disrespect of the Primate by some faithful that we saw outpouring on the Internet in the past couple years, notably at OCANews. Again I express the hope that we in the OCA online and in all our discourses will follow the spirit of Canon 34 in future, in respectfully supporting Metropolitan Tikhon’s canonically granted ability to lead as our Primate. I hope that you share that wish.

                Yours unworthily in Christ,


                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Dear Professor–My appreciation of the Holy Canons is based, among other sources, on the following
                  “The Canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church” by Lewis J. Patsavos, Ph.D. at

                  With highest regards, Carl

                  • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                    Dear Mr. Kraeff,

                    I still don’t understand the apparent contradiction, however, in your views of Canon 34.

                    You say above at one point:

                    “This canon and the consecration oaths that affirm it may not have been followed 100% in our church history, but it simply wrong not to continue to emphasize them or at least recognize their critical importance. If I may compare it to the relatively recent discussion on the US Constitution, there are some well-meaning folks who say that it is a living document, to be interpreted and used in light of today’s exigencies, to solve today’s problems. In order to advance their agenda (which to them is nole and selfless) , even if doing so by legislating from the bench, they are willing to undertake unconstitutional approaches, such as legislating from the bench, executive actions, and dubious legislation.”

                    And then at another point:

                    “With a Holy Synod, which is the supreme canonical authority, the practical relationships between bishops are altered a bit. The primate is no longer the hub of that wheel; he now becomes the presiding bishop of the Holy Synod. Don’t take me wrong; he still leads and the principle of unanimity remains. However, the equality of bishops regarding affairs in the own dioceses are carried over to the affairs confronting the Holy Synod…. thus Canon 34 does NOT require them to obtain the consent of the Metropolitan as they put forth and coordinate their proposals. However, since the principle of unanimity remains, it is imperative that all members and the presiding officer use persuasion to obtain approval for their proposals.”

                    Throughout your arguments on Canon 34 during the past couple years, you have seemed to be a “strict constructionist” of the Canon when using it against former Metropolitan Jonah and its limitations on the power of the Primate, and a loose constructionist “living document” interpreter of the text when it comes to the Holy Synod.

                    This would, if I’m following you correctly, make you an unpredictable Supreme Court Justice! But if I’m following all this correctly, it also means in effect that you’re saying that the OCA’s Holy Synod is not really operating in accord with Canon 34, which is puzzling since I don’t think you’re making that as an accusation yet I also don’t think you’ve proven that point–which would also be a serious implication or charge by you if true.

                    From what I understand of your argument to date, however, it would seem to involve a selective application of Canon 34, which parallels the kind of disrespect for the Primate that has been shown in the OCA by people online. This kind of selective application of what (as you note) is a critical Canon, while apparently nuanced and thoughtful, can lead to bad results on a popular level of the Church.

                    Again, I would express the hope that the spirit of Canon 34 in its entirety, encouraging a strong Primate as well as conciliarity, would be upheld by the OCA faithful as a whole in supporting the position of the Primate in Metropolitan Tikhon’s tenure, as opposed to the OCANews approach that has led to a deleterious erosion of respect for Church leadership, and which has gone largely unrepented by its practitioners to date.

                    Please pray for me a sinner,


                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      What are the principles in Canon 34?

                      1. Equality of diocesans, which allows for differences between diocese but only when they do not affect the entire local church.
                      2. Unanimity of all bishops when anything of importance that affects more than a single diocese comes up.
                      3. The diocesan bishop pf the metropolis acting as the leader of the local church.

                      All of the above principles are also present in the Holy Synod model. Our differences are centered on the exact role of the Metropolitan and of the members of the Holy Synod. We do not have to imagine what those relations are in the OCA for they are spelled out in the OCA Statutes. In my opinion, the relationship of the diocesan bishops and the Metropolitan are slightly different under the Holy Synod model. As I pointed out, the Metropolitan is no longer the hub of the wheel because membership in the Holy Synod frees the member bishops from having to ask the Metropolitan first before formulating, coordinating and proposing a policy or action that affects the local church. Of course, the principle of unanimity still holds, and of course, the Metropolitan will be advised of the proposal. He can block it under either model. At issue is only when he must be told of this new policy/action.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      No they aren’t Carl. I’ll prove it to you. Please restate (in your own words if need be) Canon 34 in its entirety.

                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      Dear Mr. Kraeff,

                      You claim that the Holy Synod model modifies in effect Canon 34, to give hierarchs independence of their Primate, while holding the Primate still strictly to the provisions of the Canon.

                      But how could this modification you propose be Orthodox?

                      Is not the Synodal model integrally part of the same living tradition as the Apostolic Canon?

                      And if you are proposing that the OCA Statute does make this modification, then the OCA governance structure (a local Church statute) is not in accord with Canon 34 (which has ecumenical force) as understood by other local Orthodox churches, such as the Moscow Patriarchate, which includes a strong Primate together with a Synod.
                      Ether you seem de facto to accuse the OCA of being non-canonical in its goverance structure, or you would seem to suggest that the Canon whose strict enforcement you have spent so much time promoting against former Metropolitan Jonah’s tenure does not need to be followed in full.

                      The implications of your position, to the extent that I grasp it, would mean that Metropolitan Tikhon would not be fully a Primate as he is empowered to be under Canon 34, and that we can engage in the same kind of selective interpretation (or reinterpretation) of this crucial Canon as you accuse others of doing wrongly in trying to “modernize” the U.S Constitution.

                      But perhaps I misunderstand you. Please help me understand your point of view further, which at the moment seems very unclear to me.

                      Again, I would suggest that a selective interpretation of Canon 34 could contribute to the same kind of public disrespect of the Metropolitan now that we saw under the last administration, by seeming to belittle the stature of the Primate as understood in other local Orthodox churches around the world. I don’t believe this is your intent, but please clarify.

                      And please pray for me a sinner,


                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      George and Professor–It appears that the hang up is the powers of the primate. I will repeat: the OCA Statute delineates them, as well as those of diocesans and of the Holy Synod, among others. I have also pointed out that the ROC Statute has a specific provision that the relationship between the Patriarch and the Holy Synod is governed by Canon 34 and Canon 9 of Antioch. I have posted the texts of both on this thread. You may go to to read the text of the OCA Statute.

                      In any case, the use of canon “law” in the Orthodox Church has long been in accordance with Professor Patsavos’ article, which I referred to above. That is, one approaches it in context; historical circumstances, facts of the case, foundational principles and intent. In other words, canon “law” is not like filling prescriptions and I cannot produce text that spells out the principles that I listed. If you do not agree with my list, by all means critique it and we can have a discussion.

                      To me, this discussion appears to be about +Jonah’s demand at the Santa Fe retreat that the members of the Holy Synod must accede to his demands. IF you recall, this site was elated about this speech. Here is what +Jonah said “… do we want the Metropolitan to determine the policy with the Synod, advised by the Synod and his staff?” This was a very revealing slip of tongue but it is clear that he wanted the Metropolitan to determine the policy, with the Synod members being in secondary, supporting roles. This is clearly against the canons and the OCA Statute. Thank God that his brother bishops disagreed. From the Minutes of the Santa Retreat: “The Holy Synod discussed matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH.  Holy Synod members affirmed their love and obedience to the Metropolitan and reminded him that love and obedience are also reciprocal between the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod.  There must be mutual obedience.” This is the correct interpretation of Canon 34, not the cockamamie idea that was brought to the table by +Jonah and supported by his acolytes.

                    • Doesn’t the canon itself say “should do no great thing without the advise/consent/consideration of all”?

                      How is that not what Jonah said above?!!!!!!!! He should be recognized as the head and should consult with the other diocesan bishops when taking actions that are of great importance to the whole church. You can replace “consult” with “get unanimous vote” if you want, that’s fine. Doesn’t matter. The point is that what Jonah said IS, and will always be until the end of time, entirely consistent with canon 34 both spiritually and legalistically.

                      You might not prefer the way he stated it. That’s fine too. But I guarantee you that in ancient times, they didn’t all fly to the capitol city to review every speech the primate was about to give or every letter he was about to sign. So clearly, absolutely, the model in your head is NOT what canon 34 had in mind.

                      And clearly, absolutely, with no equivocation, Jonah was stating a principle of canon 34, NOT contradicting it. If you cannot begin by acknowledging this clear truth, then there is no truth to be found in dialogue with you.

                      But there is a more important point here that you have either intentionally or unintentionally misled us about …

                    • You completely misrepresented the context of Jonah’s quote above.

                      This was not a discussion about how the diocesan bishops relate to their “head”. This was not a discussion about the inner workings of the synod or even the nature of the primacy! You are too smart to be this stupid. You know damn well they were discussing the relationship of the primate to his own staff and to the Metroploitan Council (which has NO bishops on it but nevertheless runs the OCA as its highest governing body in between special meetings of the AAC every three years or so).

                      Jonah’s anger was over the fact that his own staff members were working against him and the Church rather than for him and the Church. His point, the point of that quote, was that the Synod should be running the OCA, NOT the Metropolitan Council and the primate’s staff.

                      You’d have to be a complete blithering idiot to not understand Jonah’s point and to not understand that he was calling for the OCA to return to a model where it is run by the bishops themselves, rather than by a committee of non-bishops and various non-bishop staff members. Clearly canon 34 does not call for a council of lay people and priests to have authority over the synod of bishops or any diocesan bishop, least of all the primate.

                      Jonah’s point was and still is a valid one for your church going forward. There is really no point in figuring out how the primate should relate to the other diocesans, if you can’t agree that the bishops should be running the church. If lay people and priests on staff are actually in charge, who cares how the primate relates to the other diocesans? Jonah saw the structural problems, and he brought these to the synod for discussion. Your current bishops can’t be bothered to care. Obviously you can’t either.

      • Disgusted With It says


        I don’t think you want to start quoting Canons. Canon 34 also says that the bishops must not do anything without the advice and consent of the head among them. (That means secret discussions behind is back, especially about him, is kind of a problem.)

        Or how about Canon 25 that says any bishop, priest or deacon who commits fornication, perjury or theft shall be deposed from office? Any OCA clergy come to mind on this one, especially when it comes to fornication? Where’s the synod on those issues? It is their responsibility to act. Did not each of them take an oath when they became bishops to know and uphold the Canons? These aren’t situations of clergymen dining at taverns (Canon 54) — these are no-brainers.

        So why wasn’t there a spiritual court? I think, all things considered, it’s because at least several of the other bishops have at least a few skeletons in their closets they don’t want to come out. (Closet pun intended.) And maybe, just maybe, they actually have in mind the Lord’s words about “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” But then again, that might be giving them too much credit, especially after the “stinkbomb” letter.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          As usual you are wrong. Reread the Canon.

          • George Michalopulos says

            And I say to you: read ALL the canons. The ones that state no fornicator, homosexual, drunkard, extortionist, etc. can be a bishop. By all means let’s start enforcing all the canons. Had we done this in the first place, we probably wouldn’t be in the place we are now.

          • Disgusted With It says

            “It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

            Please, O enlightened one, educate me now. This is Canon 34. Do you know how to read it?

            • Disgusted With It says

              I see your explanation above. Interesting to say the least.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              See above. Also see:

              “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.” Ezekiel 12:2

              • Disgusted With It says

                Cute. Now people who expect their bishops to actually practice and defend the teachings of the Church, especially when it comes to moral issues, are “rebellious”. There are many of us who do see and hear the hypocrisy and corruption. It’s people who blindly ignore it, or even worse defend it, who should get their eyes and ears checked.

              • Well I hope you are including yourself in that scripture . . . .

              • One man’s rebel is another man’s freedom fighter. You have sided with the assassins, many here, my self included will never side with them as long as they turn not away from their hard hearted leadership.

      • lexcaritas says

        Under our law a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty, as you surely know, Carl. Neither +Jonah nor anyone else should have to prove he is not guilty and there can be no finding of guilt until formal charges have been filed and the accused has a chance to face his accusers and discredit them or otherwise prevent them from meeting the burden of proof. Unitl then, every man is presumed innocent and, therefore, in the sight of man is. To the extent God knows better, He will deal with it properly and mercifully. It is not for us to judge when not appointed to do so and provided with all available credible evidence and testimony, pro and con. The measure we use, is the measure we get and each, says our Lord, will stand in judgment for ever idle word. May He bless our words here and make them to be fruitful.


        • Carl Kraeff says

          The big gun has arrived! How are you doing Lex, I hope that you had a blessed Nativity season.

          In one sense, I find myself in agreement with you. You are expressing noble sentiments and, if I had heard them at a political or legal convention, I would shave given them a standing ovation.

          I am wondering how exactly do the pronouncements of George, Nikos, Amos, Helga and others comport with your advice “It is not for us to judge when not appointed to do so and provided with all available credible evidence and testimony, pro and con.” Forgive me but I just do not remember you taking to task these worthies and others for attacking bishops, priests, deacons and fellow Orthodox folks with no credible evidence and testimony. Regarding my last point, surely a legally astute person like you would recognize that anonymous folks have almost no credibility. It is ironic, isn’t it?

          • lexcaritas says

            Karl, your last statement about “anonymous folks” having almost no credibiltiy is foolishness. Were one to use a seeming real name on the internet how would you or anyone else know it was a true one? Furthermore, when one is arguing from logical premises to conclusions the identify of the person making the argument is utterly irrelvenat to its validity, nor does it affect the truth or falsity of the premises.

            Relative to your other comments, I have viewed a great deal of the evidence and testimany asserted in this affair and based upon it have concluded–quite reasonably, I think–that the infamous STINKBOMB of a letter of 7-16-12 contains a significant number of erroneous, slanderous and unnecessary accustiatons of, purported, fact against +Jonah. This is wrong. I have not rendered judgment, however, on anyone in particular as a result; rather I have argued for +Jonah’s innocence of the charges asserted as the basis for the necessity of requesting his resignation and accepting it.

            Likewise, I find it it ungenerous and vindictive not to release him to work elsewhere in the Lord’s vineyard when he is, apparently, not to be offered a suitable place for fruitful service in the jurisdiction that once hailed him as its Metropolitan and Primate.

            Frogive me a sinner and least in Christ’s kingdom.


      • Canon 34 also requires the rest of the bishops to do nothing without the primate’s consent in matters that go beyond the bounds of his ‘parish’ (diocese). The OCA bishop of Boston did not consult let alone secure the consent of his primate when he had the Muslim head of state of Kosovo, President Jahjaga, visit his cathedral in March 2012 and address the people in the context of the Sunday Divine Liturgy. He acted unilaterally in regard to the canon and caused a strain in relations with our brethren in the Serbian Church. This was a matter that went beyond his own diocese. Where is the outrage from you, Fr. Kishkovsky, and our good bishops over this violation? All bishops are equal we’re told, but some appear to be more equal than others.

        • Ilya ZHitomirskiy says

          I believe that Jonah is the proper occupant of DC, and the Synod cannot claim protection by the canons, becasue their people violated the canons. Most of the bishops should have been deposed, especially Herman (Swaiko), Benjamin Peterson, and Mark Maymon

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Did he really? Please produce the evidence; an email or letter from the former Metropolitan should suffice.

          • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

            Check the audits of the OCA done by Proskauer and Rose, and you will find that money intended for OCA use was diverted by Metropolitan Herman, or at least money that was not intended for Herman Swaiko ended up in his account. Also, the Synod heard the evidence and voted to remove Herman. Mark Maymon was a black sheep even among the Antiochians, whom +Phillip let go for “repeated disobedience”. If the reports about Bishop Benjamin’s porn abuse and DUI are true, then that is grounds enough for removal. Our bishops may not be saints, but they should be morally wholesome people. If I was voted as Metropolitan, I would have restored Jonah and became an auxiliary or go to the Diocese of the South.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Ilya–I was responding to the allegation about Archbishop Nikon and the visit by the President of Albania. That’s all.

            • Martin Paluch says

              “Ilya Zhitomirskiy says:
              January 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm
              Check the audits of the OCA done by Proskauer and Rose, and you will find that money intended for OCA use was diverted by Metropolitan Herman, or at least money that was not intended for Herman Swaiko ended up in his account. Also, the Synod heard the evidence and voted to remove Herman.”

              Ilya Zhitomirskiy,
              This is slanderous information! Why did you not check the audits of the OCA? Do you have access to Herman Swaiko’s accounts? What evidence did the Synod have in removing him, if in fact they did? If you cannot show us proof, then there is only one conclusion; you have publicly slandered an innocent man! You my friend are a whitewashed tomb!
              Yours in Christ,
              Martin Paluch

            • Monk James says

              Ilya Zhitomirskiy says (January 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm):

              Check the audits of the OCA done by Proskauer and Rose, and you will find that money intended for OCA use was diverted by Metropolitan Herman, or at least money that was not intended for Herman Swaiko ended up in his account. Also, the Synod heard the evidence and voted to remove Herman. Mark Maymon was a black sheep even among the Antiochians, whom +Phillip let go for “repeated disobedience”. If the reports about Bishop Benjamin’s porn abuse and DUI are true, then that is grounds enough for removal. Our bishops may not be saints, but they should be morally wholesome people. If I was voted as Metropolitan, I would have restored Jonah and became an auxiliary or go to the Diocese of the South.


              As is well known, I disagreed with Met. Herman and opposed him publicly (once he broke his word to me) on several issues, especially his mistreatment of Fr Robert Kondratick — which MetH is even now reconsidering.

              But I must protest Ilya Zhitomirskiy’s accusations against MetH.

              For one thing, Proskauer, Rose performed no audits. That work was done by the Lambrides firm, whose efforts showed no financial misconduct on the part of FrRK, but left unresolved a few other questions regarding bookkeeping standards and, of course, the ADM money — an issue related to MetH’s predecessor.

              Questions regarding MetH’s laddering of mortgages at St Tikhon Monastery were addressed after he retired for medical reasons and were not at issue before then, so could not have contributed to any sort of movement against him by the Holy Synod.

              Bp Mark Maymon’s misbehavior in Dallas and Abp Benjamin Peterson’s well attested sordidness are independent matters, although there’s a lot more there than I can describe here.

              Suffice it to say that there are still some ‘bad guys’ in our OCA’s Holy Synod (not just those two), and — if their history is any indicator of the future — we’re in for some rough riding still.

              Lord, have mercy on us sinners, even our bishops, and bring us all to repentance

              • Nick Katich says

                Monk: Within what monastery are you under obedience?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Nick, that’s completely unfair. Monk James has explained in detail the circumstances of his monastic obedience.

                  If you’re so upset because he’s not resident in the monastery of his repentance (which no longer physically exists) then I assume you are equally upset because he’s not following good canonical order. Let me know which canons the Holy Politburo upheld when they met secretly to oust Jonah.

            • Artakhshassa the Great says

              Ilya Zhitomirsky! Monk James is quite right.
              You are mistaken if you believe that Proskauer and Rose, a NYC law firm specializing in criminal law EVER conducted an audit of ANYbody. They were hired by Metropolitan Herman to defend Metropolitan Herman. This is not auspicious if one wishes to learn the truth of “what actually went on,” but ONLY what a law firm can come up with to make its CLIENT look good. Why is this so hard to understand?

              • George Michalopulos says

                AtG, I would love someday to write the story about the Proskauer Rose vs. Lambros brouhaha. It seems like Syosset made things up as it went along back then. Why do anything different today?

  9. macedonianreader says

    Man – I guess what is left for us to choose between is an “Orthodox-lite” parish or a Pharisaical one. Can we just be normal? Meanwhile, the subtle move to introduce debauchery in our Church continues. The “fault” of the modernists or contemporaries of course. What’s the answer, grow your beard very long, Twit and Blog about it, Instigram it – oh and use the Church Canons like a Louisville Slugger. On the other hand, we could whittle Orthodoxy down to our pop-culture; a place where everyone is entitled to position and salvation – Ordination and the Mysteries are our entitlements. Either way, it’s about who has the best seats.

    This division is from the evil one. He succeeded in playing us to divide along nationality – swaying brothers to leave, be pushed, and kept out. Now, he has used our pride to divide us on who is “uber” and who isn’t. Welcome to Prelest …

    Forgive me. I know that I am the most proud and judgmental. It’s sickening how much…

    • Ilya ZHitomirskiy says

      I would rather be in a pharisaical church than in Orthodox lite, because if you follow the rules, and do everything with love , it will be good for you. Maybe that is why ROCOR is successful, because it has tough requirements, but it doen’t dumb down and will help you get there.

      • macedonianreader says

        Ilya, my apologies. A Pharisaical Church by the nature being “like the Pharisee” does things by the rule but not the spirit of the law and therefore does not do anything with love. Your initial statement does not follow.

        Now, I’m not sure if ROCOR or any other Church parish fits this bill. But based upon the conversations I am hearing on the internet it seems to me that there is this quasi-fight between the notion of a contemporary church with that of a traditional church. Just like there is this notion in the Balkans and Eastern Europe that Churches are to be left out/kicked out/or have left Orthodoxy because of exclusive rights to history and ethnicity by certain States over others. I’m here to tell you to hell with these fights. They not from God. These “fights” represent our brokenness and lead to death. These are not part of God’s plan for us, nor do they spread the Good News.

        All these fights represent is positioning and posturing by Church powers for the “American Church market” or other seats, and I want nothing to do with it. All I want is to be normal Orthodox follow my Savior, and serve our communities. I do not want to sit in the comfy chair, nor am I entitled to any position, ordination, or status in Christ’s Church. Some people, unfortunately, feel as if they’re entitled to all this.

        Forgive, me please.

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          In my experience with ROCOR parishes, they are tough on you, but they can help you and show love towards you. The only reason why the discipline is tougher is to build you up. Have you been through boot camp? Although it is brutal, you will understand that the purpose is to make sure that you will be able to survive in combat conditions. Modern life is a battlefield where we must fight against evil, especially evil in ourselves. Fasting and eucharistic discipline are valuable tools in any Christian’s arsenal. There are some legalistic priests in ROCOR, but most clergy whom I know do things by both the letter and the spirit of the law.

          • Tumorous Baktos says

            ROCOR lives in 18th century Russia. These people are out of touch with everything. Sad, very sad!

            • 21st Century Rocor Service says

              If what I remembered mentioned at the Bible Study is correct, then Metropolitan Jonah will be serving the Epiphany / God Revealing Day tomorrow at the early service at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, D.C. That would be at the English service at 7:40 AM. There will be a blessing of the waters after each service, that one and at the 10:10 one in Slavonic.

              Father Victor Potopov sent around a lovely sermon on the day by St. John Maximovitch, the founder of the cathedra,l in an English translation that had been posted on website. Here it is:

              Homily on the Feast of the Lord’s Theophany by Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, written in Bitola, Macedonia. 1928.

              When celebrating the Theophany, we call to remembrance both that God was made known to people as Trinity and that Jesus was revealed to people as Christ. Where was Christ revealed? Where was His work begun? Did He go to a great city to be revealed there in His Glory? Did He ascend a high mountain, with a crowd of many thousands standing below and looking up at Him like a wonder? No! Christ went into the desert, to the River Jordan, where John was baptizing the people. John preached repentance, calling upon sinners to be baptized in the Jordan as a sign of repentance. Christ, Who has no sin, now comes and asks for baptism as a sinner. John was fearful: “You should baptize me!” Jesus replies: “Let it be so now: for this is how we should fulfill all righteousness” [cf. Matthew 3:13-15].

              Adam sinned through pride. He wanted to be exalted, to become like God. But Christ came to fulfill the righteousness of God and to expiate Adam’s pride by His humility. Adam wanted to exalt himself before God, but God humbled Himself before man. Christ descended into the waters, receiving baptism from His servant. John, trembling, placed his hand on His Master and God, while Christ humbly bowed His head before him. Christ’s humility unlocked the heavens. The heavens were then opened and the voice of God the Father was heard: “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. This is My Son, Who humbled Himself in order to accomplish My will; this is My true Son Who abases Himself in order to elevate man.” The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, confirming the word of the Father. Thus, by His humility, Christ opened the heavens, revealing to people the mystery of the Tri-hypostatic Godhead.

              Why did He accomplish this in the waters, and not in some other place? Let us recall how God created the world. When God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was without form and void; the Spirit of God moved over the waters. Then God divided the earth from the waters, but in such a way that water still remained everywhere. Water is essential to every kind of creation. Neither man nor any kind of animal can live without water. There is water (humidity) in the air. Pick up a handful of earth from absolutely anywhere: there will be water there. There is water in stone: it might seem to us that there is none there, but when God so wills, He can draw it out, as occurred in the time of Moses. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof, the world, and all that dwell therein. He hath founded it upon the seas, and upon the rivers hath He prepared it, as the Psalmist says (Psalm 23:1-2). By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, the Apostle Peter writes, Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (2 Peter 3:5-6).

              When man sinned, he incurred the wrath of God not only upon himself, but upon all of nature. Man is the crown of God’s creation; he was made nature’s king. But when this king became the enemy of another King, his entire kingdom became an enemy kingdom. The penalty was incurred not only by man, but by all of creation. We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:22). But the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same (Romans 8:20). Therefore, the forgiveness of the offender also frees creation from the bondage of corruption. This corruptible nature will be destroyed, being transformed into new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). It was in order to make this transformation possible, and to prepare nature for the incorruption that will occur after the dread day, that Christ came to the waters of Jordan.

              By His immersion in the Jordan, Christ sanctified not only the waters of the Jordan, but the whole nature of the waters, as the Church cries out in its hymns: “Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters” (troparion of the forefeast); “Today the nature of the waters is sanctified” (troparion at the Blessing of the Waters). Since there is water everywhere, by sanctifying the waters, Christ thereby sanctified all of creation and the entire universe. Christ prepared nature that it, too, might experience the beneficial consequences of the sacrifice that He came to offer. But this was not yet everything. He gave the waters the power to cleanse human sin. The baptism of John was only a sign of repentance. Christian Baptism is a new birth and the forgiveness of all sins. God punished the sin of the first world with water, destroying it in a flood of waters. Now God saves people with water in the Mystery of Baptism.

              Thus, as we sing in the hymns of the Church, Christ crushed the head of the serpent in the waters of the Jordan, the head of that same serpent that deceived Adam and Eve but was defeated by the humility of Jesus. He made known to people that God is Trinity and He sanctified the waters, preparing all of creation, along with the waters, to receive the word of forgiveness and to prepare it for incorruption. Then, having withstood another battle with the devil in the wilderness, Christ went to prepare people for the kingdom to come. He began His preaching with these words: Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17); or, as another Gospel puts it: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).

              Until that time, John the Baptist had been preaching repentance, preparing the way for the Lord. Now the Lord Himself cries out to people: “Repent!” This voice is not addressed only to the people who lived in the time of Christ; rather, by these words, Christ addressed all people of every time and age. We, too, have heard these words in the Gospel. So long as the festal hymns of the Theophany have not gone silent, they will remind us that the time of repentance is drawing near.

              Let us be attentive! For these are the words not of a prophet or an angel, but of the Lord Himself. Let us repent and, in the approaching fast, let us strive to conquer our passions and to receive remission of sins, that in the age to come we might enter the imperishable kingdom prepared by the Lord. Amen.

            • 100% incorrect, T.B.!

            • That’s pathetic. Rocor has NOTHING to do with 18th century Russia.
              It is all about 19th Century Russia !

              And why NOT ? 20th century, Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Russia
              was the largest disaster anyone could imagine.

              The negative results of Communism on the people of Russia are still
              evident up to the present.
              This is clear to anyone who has traveled in Russia and taken time to speak
              to people and get to know them.

              Who would want to b be associated with THAT work of the devil ?

              Rocor was smart to keep the light of the Imperial times aloft for future generations
              who have no idea from whence their ancestors came. How will either emigres
              to America or people who stayed in the Soviet Union have a clue, otherwise ?
              A few exhibitions here and there, like the one in the Presidio a few years ago
              with the beautiful portrait of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow,
              are NOT enough as links back to the real past for Russians.

  10. macedonianreader says

    There are empty parishes in once heavy Orthodox areas on the East Coast. There is also a government sponsored war being waged on young boys in this nation for being too much like boys, and for the lack of a male role model.

    Instead of worrying about who is ‘more Orthodox’ more ‘Chrysostomy” or “Sarafovy” why not develop ministries to help these youth with their language and comprehension, work readiness, and introduce them to Orthodoxy and use our empty parishes as hubs for this new movement?

    Who knows, some of them may latch on and may become leaders of the Church? Some of them may even be African American boys, or Latino/Chicano boys – can we imagine this instead? In what better way could we honor our Lord by bringing in His new Rearders, Deacons, Presbyters, or even Bishops?

    We lack male leadership in the Church as it is, we need to start somewhere …. This would be the Orthodox Church of tomorrow. Not Antioch, Moscow, Athens, Belgrade, Ohrid, or Sofia.

    • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

      I totally agree. A friend told me that “Orthodoxy is a monastic religion”. Monasticism, as far as I can tell, is the ultimate challenge that any Christian can take on. If you watched Orthodox in Dixie, Orthodoxy coincides with the southern masculine ethos of honor, independence and traditions. The Latinos at least lived in that way, such a Church would be easily able to provide father figures for Black families where there might not be a father. ROCOR is already at the forefront with its mission in the South. If they are able to gain the inner city, it would be an achievement.

  11. cynthia curran says

    Well, I believe in freedom of religion and christians have incorpated the better ideas of the ancient pagans. The emperor Augustus was interested in getting the upper classes to marry in Rome and have children and stay married. Granted, Augustus may have had moral baggage in his past.. As for abortion the Roman in the 3rd century thought it wrong since the wife denied the husband offsrping and this agrument shows up in the Justinian Code. Personality, I think abortion should be handled on a state level since a philosophical belief of it being wrong needs to be thought by most people in the Country. I would allow under the law the hard cases of rape and incest since this involves force.

  12. Artakhshassa the Great says

    Did Metropolitan Jonah ****request***** to be released?
    Or is he waiting to see how many proposals he gets and from whom and how much they pay?

    • Interested Bystander says

      ‘Artakhshassa the Great’ to your obviously humble self – I don’t know why I try, but again, (refer to my numerous rebuttals to you if indeed you can read) +Jonah asked for a release to ROCOR – ROCOR asked for +Jonah’s release – OCA is sitting on the requests and doing nothing. Does this constitute a ****request***** to you or do you just need to slander and slap those who are down and +Jonah is your latest victim???

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Interested bystander; You assert: “+Jonah asked for a release to ROCOR.” Prove it. Whom did he ask? When did he ask for it? Did he write to Metropolitan Tikhon? To Archbishop Nathaniel? To the Secretary of the Holy Synod? And ****when*****, Interested Bystander, did he do that/ You see, I don’t believe you in this, Interested Bystander. I hope you’re not going to say, “Well, he told me he did.”
        No ticket, no laundry.
        By the way, if, hypothetically, Metropolitan Jonah were to write a letter to ROCOR asking to be received, with a CC to the OCA (Metropolitan Tikhon, the Holy Synod, etc._ that would NOT be a bona fide request to the OCA to be released: that would be asking ROCOR to do it for him.
        You announced in another posting (for some unfathomable reason) that you are liberal and a Democrat, I believe. Are you trying to make the left look bad?

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I guess the word of an “Interested Bystander” is as good as gold. Shame on Artakhshassa the Great’ and me for asking for real evidence, some kind of proof. Shame on us for not being able to read, I mean, to accept the ravings of an anonymous Internet poster. (Forgive me Your Grace for presuming for speaking for two of us).