What Are the Qualifications for a Bishop?

bishop-questionThis question needs to be asked now more than ever. It’s especially urgent for the OCA, which recently enthroned a new Primate under less than admirable circumstances and which has several dioceses under indeterminate locum tenancies. (Which is violation of the plain Statues of the OCA by the way.)

A growing cloud of illegitimacy seems to be gathering over the OCA because of these vacancies, to say nothing about the outrage perpetrated against His Beatitude. Syosset senses this but instead of adhering to the canons, they seem to be doing everything possible to increase their stranglehold over the dioceses. The warped dream of Protosbyterian overlordship is the reality on the ground. Bishops are merely the trappings necessary to pull the wool over the eyes of the other Orthodox Churches.

This unfortunate reality however may be necessary given the timbre of the majority of our bishops. We have pointed out that during the interregnum (between July of 2012 and January of 2013), much jockeying was taking place to see which usurper would wear the white klobuk. Almost every bishop had an impediment of some sort against him –some moral, some canonical, others physical. In the end, the one with the least black marks against him was elected.

Be that as it may, the question of episcopal qualificatons still needs to be asked, if not for the future of the OCA then for the other jurisdictions.

As a rule, I say “when in doubt, go back to the Rule-book.”


  1. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    What Are the Qualifications for Bishop?

    We sort of know, I suppose, especially since they are listed in Holy Scripture.

    The list is not exhaustive, and I am particularly fond of another qualification considered important in days gone by: When Augustine was chosen to succeed the retiring bishop of Hippo, he requested six months’ leave, so that he could memorize the rest of the Bible.

    • You’re on a roll, Fr Pat.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      If I’m not mistaken an eyewitness to the First Ecumenical Council reported that the bishops coming to that Council were an extremely motley group. Some were very poorly educated and did not know how to write. Others were crippled or showed other evidence of persecution. Some appeared to be bewildered about the whole affair and awe-struck at civic life in the Capital. Others were rather grand (the ones, apparently, that we know about).
      Just think, seven ecumenical councils and a slew of local councils and no one thought to draw up a curriculum or a list of requirement for the personnel departments to consider! No requirement to be able to read and write, let alone manage the accounts, although the councils DID require that a Bishop appoint an “Economos’ to take care of financial accountability, while, apparently, the Bishop would attend to more important things.

  2. St. Paul and the Apostolic Constitutions said all that needs to be said.

  3. Someone that can keep his drawers up and fastened shut.

    Someone that knows that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Someone that knows and says that homosexuality is a deviant lifestyle.

    Someone that knows and says that clergy sex abuse is wrong.

    Someone that knows the confessional is private.

    A straight man.

    Lets start there……

    • macedonianreader says

      How about someone who doesn’t intend to Ordain women?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        In the context of Orthodoxy, would this be a serious “episcopal qualification,” given that no Orthodox bishop COULD ordain a woman? Surely, we can come up with up with some other qualifications that would distinguish the lowest common denominator from a truly worthy candidate.

        • macedonianreader says

          No Bishop could? But Bishops have. Bishops have recently tonsured women readers (first step of the priesthood). Question remains as to what sort of ordination and tonsuring. Role of Deaconesses have been different, and should stay that way.

          I guess I should be more clear then. It would be more prudent for me to state that a qualification for Bishop should be someone who does not intend to ordain a woman to the deaconate outside ecclesial need, or to ordain a women to this office in order to redefine past role.

          Today, with the turn society has taken, I would highly doubt any of those calls for “reinstatement” of the female deaconate (as if it doesn’t already exist in women’s monasteries)would be for anything than a “need” that is solely based upon entitlement or a lust for equality that doesn’t fit the Church’s order. And there have been calls for this. I suspect they’re going to get louder. They always do.

          • gail sheppard says

            I’m not sure the “calls” are going to get louder. The the lion’s share of responsibility often falls upon us when it comes to our children, our homes (where too many men are absent), our jobs, the care of our elderly parents, etc. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to have a place to go where men are in charge and seem to enjoy it. – The Antiochians have female readers. Can’t tell you why Metropolitan Philip allows it; I certainly wouldn’t, but then, I’m not in charge. 😉 However, in his defense, I don’t think any of them have been “tonsured.” Please tell where this is actually going on, because I’m having a hard time envisioning it.

          • gail sheppard says

            I am not aware of any bishop who has recently tonsured a woman. Can you give me an example? – Not saying I don’t believe you. I’m just curious. – I know there are women readers; in my own jurisdiction, as a matter of fact, but NONE of them have been tonsured by a bishop.

            • macedonianreader says

              Some have claimed, and there is an article on this website, that Eve Tibbs was tonsured a Reader in the Orthodox Church.

          • Rdr. James says

            Dear In-Christ Macedonian!
            I’m sure the bishops will be able to determine in their various synods whether to reinstate the order of deaconesses. And blessing women (!) to read in church is certainly within their purview, eh?

            Rdr. James

            • macedonianreader says

              Blessing, absolutely. Reading the Epistle, absolutely. Tonsuring? I’m not brave enough to say I’m ok with this or to pretend that it’s not happening if it is. Is this actually happening? Unfortunately, there is never a straight answer from anywhere. Never getting a straight answer from anywhere is frustrating enough especially since Church Tradition isn’t THAT abstract.

              Deaconesses. Where the need is identified (The need) I believe that most Bishops are able to determine as you say.

              Unfortunately, I have also witnessed some Bishops not being able to differentiate Ecclesiastical Need to that of worldly need.

              Do you believe there is actually an Ecclesiastical Need for Deaconesses in local parishes today?

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      I think that fearing God is important., too, Photios. I know there’s more, but I couldn’t hold back from pointing that one out.
      I agree that a straight man is always welcome, especially when Heracleides gets going!
      I’m very, very shaky, though, on this odd idea of “KNOWS and says.” One early Father or other (was it Clement of Alexandria?) when nominated to be a bishop, worriedly asked his spiritual guide how he could accept this because he had some doubts; for example, he (like St. Basil the Great) thought only an utter fool would believe that God’s world was created in only six calendar days. His adviser told him that perhaps many Bishops were not perfect in their agreement with, say, all Council decrees, but that as long as he agreed to TEACH only what the Church taught, he’d be quite acceptable.

      • Too much damage can and is being done by the buffoons that are being elected and consecrated in the OCA. As for fearing God, this is a concept totally alien to the Orthodox Church in America. The OCA fears truth, integrity and righteousness. They fear tradition, they fear the gospel, they fear Jesus Christ but not as the Son of God, but they fear the truth and freedom he represents.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Not one stone but many… I sure hope you are not in the OCA. And, if you are not, have the decency and the courage to identify your jurisdiction so that I will remember not to set foot in it since it contains vipers like you.

          • It Is Time To Act says


            Hurling blanket epithets like Photius can be difficult to process but what is beneath the surface of his words could be an ocean of disappointment leading to such outrage. Getting caught up in the end result of his anger and then hurling back at him solves nothing yet Photius – and I would suspect others who post here and many more who don’t – are dealing with similar disappointment, maybe even worse than Photius, in the examples presented by OCA bishops and other leaders.

            You appear to have few qualms with the OCA but walking on the other side of the street to not feel compassion for his pain and others in the OCA can have an even more detrimental outcome for her spiritual health and future; pride and self-righteousness.

    • How about someone that considers abortion to be murder?

  4. ChristineFevronia says

    Did anyone else pick up on the announcement in a recent Chancellor’s blog that the OCA’s projected budget has fallen dramatically–by nearly 30%–of what it was five years ago? That is staggering. And I wonder if these two topics are linked somehow… Do parishioners not trust their bishops because they are not qualified or because their actions are untrustworthy?

    • Theodore says

      The answer is B. They are not trustworthy.

      They have proven themselves to be serial betrayers of the laity, of the priests, of the dioceses, of their primates.

    • The OCA central administration is basically living off of parishioners who die with big estates and no children.

  5. George Osborne says

    I suspect we all know what the qualifications are. Scripture and the Apostolic Fathers pretty much summed everything up. But, with respect, George, that’s not really the question, is it? The real question is why aren’t there more men who meet these qualifications?

    • And it is important to identify what behaviors would indicate that the man does meet the qualifications or doesn’t meet the qualification. Are parishioners/fellow monastics, brother priests, bishop if not part of OCA, ever asked for their input?

  6. I would like to quote George Weigel on the selection of bishops. There is nothing in the text that follows that is unacceptable to Orthodox Christians. These questions deserve to be asked of every candidate for the Orthodox episcopacy:

    “The object of the selection process is to find apostles, men with the convictions necessary to undergird their own courage to be Catholic and the evangelical fire to inspire that courage in others. With that goal in mind, the following should be added to the standard list of questions asked of knowledgeable people about a prospective candidate for the office of bishop:

    � In his life and ministry, does this priest manifest a personal conversion to Jesus Christ and a deliberate choice to abandon everything to follow Christ?

    � Does this priest preach the Gospel with conviction and clarity? Can he make the Church’s proposal to those who do not believe? With charity, can he instruct and, if necessary, admonish Catholics who have embraced teachings contrary to the Gospel and the teaching authority of the Church?

    � Has this priest ever been a pastor? Did the parish grow under his leadership? If his primary work has been as a professor in a seminary, did his students flourish under his tutelage?

    � How does this priest celebrate Mass, in concrete and specific terms? Does his liturgical ministry lead his people into a deeper experience of the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen?

    � How many men have entered the seminary because of this priest’s influence? How many women have entered consecrated religious life? Does he encourage lay movements of Catholic renewal and the development of popular piety? In sum, is he a man who can call others to holiness because he manifests holiness in his own life?

    � Does this priest have the strength of character and personality to make decisions that will be unpopular with other priests and religious, because those decisions are faithful to the Church’s teaching and liturgical practice?

    � Is this priest well-read theologically? Does he regard theology as an important part of his vocation? Can he “translate” the best of the Church’s theology, ancient and contemporary, into an idiom accessible to his people?

    Answers to these more pointed questions will help the responsible authorities of the Church determine whether a candidate is a man of conviction and courage. A 21st-century Catholic bishop in the United States must have the courage to be countercultural, but in ways that call the Church and the culture to conversion. The task is not to find men who will lead us into the catacombs. It is to find men who will be apostles, leading the Church toward a springtime of evangelization. “

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Andrew! Let’s not forget that a LAYMAN may be nominated and if elected, consecrated as a Bishop after having served as a Priest for only one day, so many of your requirements here do not apply at all. You are assuming that a candidate for the episcopate has a record as a priest. This is, howev er, the ORTHODOX CHURCH, I think. So, look over your list again, if you want to supplement the scriptural and canonical requirements with your own ideas.

      • ROFLOL, like the OCA would ever raise a bishop from the laity. Stop talking in theories Your Grace.

        Give me a name, a for instance. Stokoe? Stankovich? George? Just give me a name! A bishop, for example, “Nektarios” Stankovich would send half of them to the hospital with heart attacks. Actually I am liking this idea, someone get Stankovich on the phone see if he is free tomorrow, we could always dig up Leonty, cut off his hands, and lay them on Stankovich. Axios anyone?

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Photios, you are free to laugh whenever something does it for you,of course, but I object to your direction to me to “stop talking in theories.”
          I did not theorize. I taught you something about the real, existing, parameters for elevation to the Episcopate in any and all Local Orthodox Churches, including the OCA. I did not come up with my own super-wise,up-to-date, MBA informed Wishlist.
          The two most prominent examples of elevation of a layman to the episcopate are St. Ambrose of Milan and Metropolitan Peter of Kruittitsky and Kolomensky, appointed by Patriarch Tikhon to be Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne in the event of Patriarch Tikhon’s death.
          Although St.Ambrose’s accession to the throne of Milan happened long ago, he is often and even tirelessly cited as an example of the rightness of returning to popular elections of hierarchs. He was a a consummate municipal politician in the city of Milan, and in an election that would give Boss Tweed and a host of American political hacks a thrill, was elected Archbishop of Milan as a Layman.
          Metropolitan Peter, however, was no politician, only a pious layman personally known to and loved by Patriarch Tikhon. Some OCA people are alive, I believe, who recall the days, after Patriarch
          Tikhon’s passing, when Metropolitan Peter’s name was elevated here in America, during Liturgies, etc.

          I confess, Photios, that before the election of Metropolitan Jonah, if anyone had suggested to me that such a novice (and ‘knakker”) would become Metropolitan, I, too, would have been ROFLOL (or ROFSOL).
          Photios! Why do you mention Mark Stokoe, M. Stankovich? Do YOU think they are qualified? Or do you just think that there are no worthy and pious men among the OCA Laity? Well, Veslin Kesich has gone to his eternal reward. I feel very sorry for you, Photios, if you have not met any Orthodox laymen in the OCA who you’d not laugh at as candidates for the episcopacy!

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I am frankly vacillating between sadness and disgust at the negative votes given to His Grace. When will this madness cease?

          • Your Grace!

            I knew Kesich and before him, Spectorski and Bishop Jonah (Stalberg), and I can name equal past luminaries in the GOA (where I am from) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese now called Antiochian. There are no men of this quality in the OCA now. As for theories, that is precisely what they are, based in fact yes, but not applicable today ‘cept for by a group of dummies out of Oyster Bay.

            As for Stokoe et al, I don’t know them, although I now remember meeting Mr. Stankovich a number of times in the past. As for him and his THEORETICAL elevation, at the very least his is honest and forthright in his opinions no matter what they are.

            Don’t you have anything better to do, hanging out here and firing off you lengthy and noxious epistles? Speaking as a poison pen, one of us is enough, go preach the gospel somewhere you waste of space.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Photios! ROMBFALOL!
              I love your: “…you waste of space!”
              Why not dig into your vast erudite vocabulary and call me an abortion or roadkill as well? I categorically deny that you ever KNEW Spectorsky or ever-memorable Bishop Jonah (Stahlberg).
              What can I say without destroying your self-confidence? ‘A completely EMPTY stretch limo pulled up, and the door opened and Photios got out?”
              How are these for noxicity: ‘Generation of vipers! Whited sepulchres!” ?
              Better to come down to earth, Photios. I give you, therefore, MarkTwain’s immortal reply:
              “Noise means nothing. Often after a hen lays an egg she will cackle as if she had laid an asteroid!”

              PS. That’s Oyster Bay COVE.

        • Photius, I agree I am laughing so hard. I think these qualities maybe hit a little close to home for some. Despite statements to the contrary there is nothing un-orthodox in the questions posed by George Weigel.

        • Photius writes

          ROFLOL, like the OCA would ever raise a bishop from the laity. Stop talking in theories Your Grace. Give me a name, a for instance. Stokoe? Stankovich? George? /blockquote

          Of course these people would never be suggested, because they are all married, one of them to a dude.

        • Photius writes

          ROFLOL, like the OCA would ever raise a bishop from the laity. Stop talking in theories Your Grace. Give me a name, a for instance. Stokoe? Stankovich? George?

          None of these would ever be suggested for the episcopacy as they are all married

          • Ivan Vasiliev says

            What if Mark Stokoe were willing to divorce his wife?

          • nit picking says

            BT wrote:

            Here’s another canonical comment that is outside the box, apparently: A married layman may be elected to the episcopacy if his spouse agrees to enter a monastery and become a monastic! Put that in your pipes and smoke it!

            Not that my opinion is worth anything, but, his grace IS correct.

            Photius wrote:

            Give me a name, a for instance. Stokoe? Stankovich? George?

            If I had a vote I would vote for Stankovich or George. Well why not both? There are plenty of empty positions.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Not me, please! I am the most unworthy of men.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              The strange thing is that one our ecumenical canons (Trullo 48) allows married laymen to become bishops:

              “The wife of him who is advanced to the Episcopal dignity, shall be separated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop’s provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess.”

              None of the Canons allows a married priest or a deacon to answer a call to the episcopacy, indeed the window of opportunity closed for married clergy with Trullo 12, which addresses only married bishops of that time:

              The fifth Apostolic canon allows neither bishop, presbyter, nor deacon to cast forth his wife under pretext of piety; and assigns penalties for any that shall do so, and if he will not amend he is to be deposed. But this canon on the other hand does not permit a bishop even to live with his wife after his consecration. But by this change no contempt is meant to be poured out upon what had been established by Apostolic authority, but it was made through care for the people’s health and for leading on to better things, and for fear that the sacerdotal estate might suffer some wrong.”

              In practice, of course, these ecumenical canons have been superseded with local canons. For example, the ROC Statute lays down the following requirements:

              “10. The candidates for the office of bishop shall be elected from among the monastics or unmarried white clergy with obligatory taking of monastic vows. The candidates’ age shall be not less then 30 years. The candidate must satisfy the high rank of a bishop by his moral qualifications and have theological education.” (Paragraph X.10)

              The OCA statute’s Artcle VI, Section 9 says:


              a. The candidate for the office of diocesan bishop must satisfy all the requirements of the Holy Canons pertaining to this highest of all ecclesiastical offices. In addition, it is preferable that he have completed a course of study in a Graduate School of Orthodox Theology and that he be conversant in the English language.

              b. If he is not already a bishop, he can be nominated only from among the monastic or celibate clergy or laymen;

              c. If at the moment of his nomination he is a layman or a celibate or widowed priest, he shall pronounce at least the first monastic vows (rasophoria).

              e. Diocesan bishops of the Orthodox Church in America shall not be candidates for nomination by the Diocesan Assembly of another diocese.”

              I suspect that all of the other Orthodox local churches have similar requirements. Nonetheless, I am fascinated by the progression from Apostolic Canon V (which presupposes married bishops) to Trullo Canon 12 (which separated husband from wife because the lay folk were scandalized by the thought that the good bishop and his wife may be having sexual intercourse), to Trullo 48 (which in some translations demand that a divorce occur between a husband and wife before the husband may become a bishop), to the modern day statutes/canons of local churches that takes away even the remote possibility of married lay persons being elevated to the episcopacy. Not only that but we also require all candidates to take monastics vows. I would be interested if there has been some work that explains this progression. I am curious as the distance between the Holy Scriptures and our praxis at this point in time is now a chasm.

              • nit picking says

                Ok, Carl. The local canons can not contradict ecumenical canons and in instances when ecumenical canons and local canons collide and a question arises ecumenical canons take precedence in guiding “economia” (leniency in the application of the rule as opposed to “akrivia” , strictness in the application of the rule). This is the beauty of Orthodoxy and why Orthodoxy is and continues to be at it’s heart of hearts an “apostolic and charismatic” church. We have constant room for growth. The canons exist to serve the Church, the Church is not a slave to the canons.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  nit picking–Interesting that you should say that. I once read an essay by an Orthodox priset who said that the Council in Trullo was not truly ecumenical as Rome had not accepted it. Thus, the only ecumenical canon that we are left with is the Apostolic Canon 5. That means that there is no impediment in the ecumenical canons to married bishops. Back to the future: 1 Timothy 3.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  To add another thought to this matter, you brought up the fact that ecumenical canons have precedence over local ones. I would think that the same applies to other elements of Holy Tradition, as in the following precedence order on this subject.

                  A. The Holy Scriptures
                  B. Ecumenical Canons
                  C. Local canons/statutes
                  D. Local practices/interpretations.

                  Therefore, the relevant specific elements would be, in order of precedence:

                  A1. Matthew 19:5-6: “And (the Lord) said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

                  A2. 1 Timothy 3:1-7: “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

                  B1. Apostolic Canon 5: “Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon put away his wife under pretense of religion. But, if he put her away, let him be excommunicated. If he persists, let him be deposed.”

                  B2 or C1. Trullo canon 12 and 48. (My comment: These canons were manifestly in contradiction of the more authoritative elements of Holy Tradition that I listed above)

                  C. Local churches’ canons or statutes. (My comment: As extensions of Trullo, these canons are even further apart from the Holy Scriptures and Apostolic Canons.)

                  D. Interpretations of canons, such as those by Balsamon, etc…

                  I am still exploring why and how this could have happened. I have read all sorts of explanations but the only one that justifies the current situation uses a circular argument (The Holy Spirit guides the Church, therefore anything that we now believe and practice is the work of the Holy Spirit).

                  • nit picking says


                    When in doubt, look at how the fathers examine the matter. What does St. Basil the Great have to say concerning the office of the Bishop? What does St. John Chrysostom have to say concerning the scriptural passages you quoted. These two fathers where bishops and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Their writings are easily available. No point re-inventing (re-interpreting) the wheel.

                    Along the same theme as one of your comments , I had read some where (although I can’t find the source right now to cite it) that St. Spyridon the Great was just one example of married bishop. Another example was the biological father of St. Patrick of Ireland.

            • I have to say that Photius is feeling a little bad that he lumped these names together, 2 of whom I have respect for.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          I can’t let this go. Sorry! At least two and probably more contributors here (ALL of them pseudonymous) ridicule my reference to the eligibility of laymen for election to the episcopate.
          I’d have thought someone from OCL, AT LEAST, would have agreed with me that a candidate for the episcopacy need have No Experience whatsoever as a Priest to be considered a good, even superb candidate.
          TALK ABOUT CLERICALISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          if I were to roll on the floor laughing out loud, I couldn’t get back up, but I do find it to be beyond ironic that here and now, on ‘Monomakhos” I have learned that referring to the canons is, apparently, thinking WAY outside the box!
          Here’s another canonical comment that is outside the box, apparently: A married layman may be elected to the episcopacy if his spouse agrees to enter a monastery and become a monastic! Put that in your pipes and smoke it!

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Very true:

            “The wife of him who is advanced to the Episcopal dignity, shall be separated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop’s provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess.”

            Canon 48 of the Council at Trullo

          • Note that Mr. layman elevated to bishop is expected to continue to support his family

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              No, “I dunno.”
              Only the spouse must be provided for. There’s no provision in that canon for children. Children of, for example, a widowed Priest, were shipped off to a monastery or ‘adopted out.”
              Many Americans refuse to face our Church essentially not being family-centered, but Christ Himself told us what He thought of “family.’ The whole unOrthodox American social and folk-religious ethos is “The family that prays together stays together,” and even strict Protestants buy into the Roman idea of ‘The Holy Family’, headed by what appears to be not an aging widower, but a viable young stud with a great black beard. Again, Christ’s words do not refer to any ‘nuclear’ family at all. On the contrary.
              And, “make provision for’ is open to wide interpretation, since the canon neglects or refuses to elaborate on it. Presumably, seeing an old parent settled in an old-folks home supported by social security makes “provision.”
              ( I can almost hear the shouts from the bleachers of the Colosseum!)

            • nit picking says

              “I dunno” wrote:

              Note that Mr. layman elevated to bishop is expected to continue to support his family

              Do you mean to say that just because a hierarch becomes a monastic and dedicates his life to Christ and the Church that a hierarch shouldn’t abandon his elderly parents and physically (recently deceased – memory eternal, L. ) sister in abject poverty, and it’s ACTUALLY in the canons…well, whaddya know!!! And all this time people where arguing that they should have been drop kicked to the curb from the git-go. Who’d have thunk that they were wrong?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Time and place, my friend, time and place! At the time of Trullo, bishops were not required to be monastics and had sources of income from properties under their control. So, it did make sense for the married-in-name-only bishop to continue to make provisions for his wife. Since the canons are silent on what happened to his children and other relatives under his care, I would imagine that they were taken care of by the bishop himself in his own household (again at the time this canon was enacted).

                • nit picking says

                  You said it Carl. Time and place, time and place.

                  There is always room for economia (dispensation) where the canons are concerned if we wish there to be.

                  It is only when we are colder than ice, harder than stone, a slave to our passions that we insist and demand on the letter and not the spirit of the canons. This makes the fact that Syosset still has not provided Met. Jonah an appropriate compensation even more atrocious and despicable and only further demonstrates why they are worthy of contempt and pity.

                  As long as Syosset continues to provoke the situation through their mistreatment of Metropolitan Jonah, sites like this one have a reason to exist.

                  I’m sure George has a million other things he’d rather be doing.

          • Canons and practice Your Grace…..

            as for the spouse off to a monastery? I wouldn’t trust that man. Disgusting!

            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              I already recalled on this forum the OCA Romanian Archbishop who was advanced from layman to bishop in three days.ROCOR Archbishop Gabriel was nominated in 1996 while still the layman George Chemodakov.I’m not sure the length of time between his monastic tonsure and consecration,but it may have been a month or less.Both hierachs did have theological training.

    • Does he believe?

  7. In addition to all the qualifications that have been mentioned there is at least one other. The Bishop needs to have eyes both in the front and the back of the head. This is very important so that he can see clearly what is coming toward him and maybe more importantly what is sneaking up on him in the rear.

    If the Diocese of the South had had a strong Bishop these past few years would have what just happened in Florida occurred leading to more shame for the OCA.

  8. Michael James Kinsey says

    The present OCA is subjuguated by the government by requiring that the wieghtier matters of the Royal Law are past over. Or the monentary assistance provided by the government is removed. The top cleric’s know this, and this is why Met Jonah was unacceptable to them. His appearance at the March for Life must have certainly displeased the tyrant , Obama. The sacred right to murder your own flesh and blood must be championed or those who oppose it, need to keep a low profile if they know what’s good for them. GOA< OCA and others are doing just that when it comes to things like believing the government lies of 911. Also sending out Orthodox Christian soldiers to do murdering in countries where we wish to get control of their oil. ECt, ect, ect. The Greek American primate graciously gave the opening prayer at OBAMA's feast after he was elected.

  9. The Antiochans do not have this problem; the only requirement to be a bishop under Metropolitan Philip is that you be lobotomized before consecration. Self-rule as understood by Philip is that he gets to rule all by himself, unquestioned and unchallenged. And for the record there are no dioceses in the AOCA only “departments” since there are no diocesan bishops.

    • Michael Bauman says


      Wrong! Your hatred of Met Philip blinds you. Bp Basil, for instance, is a strong, thoughtful compassionate leader. Obedience is not weakness.

      • You are very wrong, Mr Bauman, I do not hate Met Philip. In fact I think he has done an admiral job in what must be one of the most difficult anywhere but this business with the bishops undercuts his achievements and leaves the archdiocese in a very awkward position when he is no longer with us. What he will not leave us is a functioning synod of bishops to work with his successor; no small thing as the OCA so clearly shows us. Maybe his successor can run a one man show like he has but I doubt the odds are in favor of this.

        As for Bp Basil, would that he be the next metropolitan, but I doubt Damascus wants an American. He should have stepped down; I doubt that the canons demand obedience to non-canonical actions (but maybe they do), besides as a monk attached to a monastery, wouldn’t his abbot have the last word?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Bp Basil may have considered stepping down, but does a good sheppard leave his flock?
          Bishop Joseph will likely be the next Met. Bp Basil can do much more good where he is.

          The Antiochian bishops are stronger than you think and the combination of a young Patriarch who has spent time in the west and an Arabic Met. who is grounded here and our other bishops. It could be an exciting time.

          • gail sheppard says

            I suspect Michael is right. Our bishops are stronger than you (speaking generally) think. To have “hung in there,” under such trying circumstances, being “obedient” (in name) and running a diocese (in fact), is nothing short of miraculous. The fact that they kept us from committing spiritual hara-kiri in the process is even MORE remarkable. There is more than one good bishop among us.

            • Gail

              I think your comments are not only correct but inspiring. The Antiochian bishops have displayed a remarkable degree of self-restraint and dedication to their respective flocks. Anyone of them would make an acceptable next Metropolitan for your diocese.

              I guess it is just the OCA’s bad luck that they got the one Antiochian bishop (Mark) who was not cut from the same cloth as his brothers in the Archdiocese. Good for you all, not so good for the OCA!

          • macedonianreader says

            I love the notion of Archbishop Joseph+ being the next Metropolitan, Michael.

            And I also believe that Met. Philip+ was what Jonah+ is today. Both being visionaries, missionaries, while working to keep the Church in unity.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Why are you insulting the legacy of Metropolitan Philip?

              • macedonianreader says

                And how, my dear man, am I insulting the legacy of Philip+ by calling him a visionary and missionary?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Obviously by equating him to +Jonah.

                  • Metropolitan Philip and Metropolitan Jonah have the same evangelical zeal, with different gifts and dispositions in bringing it about. Comparing them to each other is a compliment to both men.

                    That’s funny. It seems the only person Carl has managed to put down here is himself.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Yeah, I don’t get that either. Whatever his faults, Philip was not only a capable administrator but a visionary and evangelist. A true leader.

              • How sad that you take the effort to insult your own church’s legacy.

                When I first saw this comment in the sidebar, I actually felt joy that you had turned a corner away from overcompensating for your insecurities about the shortcomings of the OCA and were starting to invest your efforts in the building of something positive. Then I saw the comment in context and realized I had given you too much credit. My happiness turned to sadness. Why not just start putting your efforts into something good, Carl?

        • Michael Bauman says

          It won’t be a one man show. Personally I think a great deal of effort has gone into preparation for the time Met Philip decides to repose ( and I do not say that derisively). Maybe I am an optimist, but I choose to hope for the best.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I think you are right; there will be a proper Holy Synod, composed of ruling diocesan bishops.

            • How many diocesans are appropriate in a diocese? I mean in your humble opinion, what is the magic number?

  10. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Oh, this latest Kinsey Report for the American Orthodox is a keeper!

  11. there are two sides to this issue – one the traditional that essentially dictates that the beishop be an acetic, a person with deep spiritual qualities – one in the world but not out of the world i.e. he must live in the world but not be worldly

    in this day and age it is my perspective that the bishop heeds to be much more than the proverbial shephard and liturgist, as I told my Metroplolitan with some addtions here is my perspective of the real world job qualifications:

    1) had been a successful parish priest for at least 10 years i.e. held no more that 2 pastorates

    2) is a widower with children – must be able to understand his parishioners

    3) if an episcopal candidate must visit each parish in thendiocese as a layman and stand in the back of the church and observe the parish and clergy dynamic – it is a lot different in the back than in the altar

    4) must be sent to an executive management program and obtain a fast track equivalent mba with concentrations in leadership, management, ethics and finance – must know how to run his business = diocese

    5) must take a dress for success course and learn that perception is 90% and that in today’s society here in the USA the Johah look is out, the Tikhon look is out and the Iakovos/phillip type look is in — i maintain that there are two types of clergy out there – those who are really concerned about their ministry and relate to their parishs in terms that provide pride and those who play clergy and focus on the externalities and donot fit into spocietial norms and make themselves look like kooks

    6) take a course in how perceptions and subltle signals are what make or destroy you and your ministry – based on what our youth have seen happenong in our churches and dioceses those who i have talked with they have little or no confidence in celibates – because it is their perception that these indivivuals are running away from something and are intovertedly afraid of the world and also that many have identity problems personal, sexual, and professionally

    that long beards, black robes in public, and rubberband pony tails do not relate to spirituality and that these individuals are not appropraite role models – nor do they attest to compentency or spirituality but are externalities that those who love to play priest exhibit

    7) lastly the candidate needs to be connected in the world and needs to be able to holistically minister e.g. your child wants to go to college – see the bishop he meets with college presidents, you lost your job – see the bishop he lunches with industry presidents etc –

    in today’s world being a bishop is a lot more than just serving the liturgy – this is not 200 years ago nor is it the old country – in fact the bishop needs to stop hiding behind extensive liturgics, which is a great way of keeping from interacting with people – but must be more hands on in the world and with the people – for if he does not have a firm knowledge of what his people need and want this continuing disaster will continue

    we are at the precipice and really need to rething as how we in the USA will continue it is essential thst we cease to foster the externalities and get into the internalitiies and needs — our present bishops do not want to leave their comfort zone which builds walls and not proceed over the drawbridge and get on to the super highway.

    you cannot survive preaching to an empty church on the verge of being repossed by the bank – on yes here is antoher issue our youth have communicated – why csan’t the bishop dress like the priest – these costly robes and expensive miters do not pass the sanity test –mhere you have someone who suppossedly dresses in black and humbly outside of church but inside wears thousands of dollars worth of regalia whiile there are parishioners starving, out of work, and newrly destitute – it just does agree with what is preached or what the ethical responsibilities of a bishop are — again it is the externality effect

    i do what many are afraid to do, i speak to those who nolonger go to church or who rarely come to church to find out why, and the above is a summary of what they have said to me -mand and I take their sentiments seriously because with 800,000 members and dropping in the USA and by growing mainly by immigration – we have a serious problem but are not adressing the elephant in the room

    please pray for this galician russian boy who continues on his spiritual journey through the desert –

    • James Feyler says

      rjklancko, here are some thoughts in response to your views on priestly appearance from this source:



      In issue no. 6 of The Russian Pastor, an article by Archpriest Boris Kizenko, “Do not associate yourself with this age,” was printed. There he touched upon the question of whether or not priests should wear their cassocks or riasa. I would like to share a few thoughts on this matter.

      Very often in the sphere of Church laws and traditions we, for one reason or another, allow ourselves to compromise these laws. In our society today, the reasons and circumstances for such compromises can seem very justifiable. However, the danger lies in the fact that any compromise can become habitual, and the compromised behavior then becomes the norm, giving rise to further compromises and a general degradation of standards. Fr. Boris very aptly describes this progression in his article. At a time when we are perhaps at risk of completely losing the ideal in the realm of priestly attire, it is fitting to review the Church rules and directives concerning the attire of a priest, as well as look at some examples from contemporary life which shed light on this question.

      1) The 27th Canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council states: “None who is counted with the clergy should dress inappropriately, when in the city, nor when traveling. Each should use the attire which was appointed for clergy members. If someone breaks this rule, may he be deprived of serving for one week.

      Here everything is clear. If you do not wish to wear a priest’s clothing, do not dare to stand before the altar of God.

      2) The great interpreter of Church Canons, Balsamon, in his interpretation of the 14th canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council, which speaks of the ordination of readers, notes: “He who has put on black attire with the purpose of entering the clergy, cannot remove it, for he has stated his intent of serving God and therefore cannot break his promise to God and ridicule this holy image, as other ridiculers do.”

      If constant wearing of “black attire” is expected of the first rank of the priesthood,the reader, then all the more does it refer to those who are fully in the rank of the priesthood.

      3) In the questioning period of the candidate before the ordination, the candidate to the priesthood, in the presence of his spiritual father makes the following promise: “I promise to wear the clothing appropriate to my priestly rank, not to cut my hair nor my beard… for through such unseemly behavior I risk belittling my rank and tempting believers” (Promise #5).

      It is important to note here that, in confirmation of his promise the candidate kisses the Gospel and the Cross and signs his name.

      4) The 16th rule for the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad says: “A priest, who is fully supported by his parish, and is given the opportunity not to work at a secular job, should have the appearance of an Orthodox priest, that is, should have long hair, a beard, a riasa, wear a cross of a proper style, and not one he has thought of himself and in his external appearance fully exemplify a true pastor.”

      We must remember that if the Church canons and laws were not important, the Church would not have written them.


      The Matushka of one priest, who serves in one large American city, where pagan and Satanic cults are rampant, told me of this incident: Batiushka always wore either his cassock or riasa with his cross. After his arrival in the city, he grew accustomed to the fact that, when walking along a street, or in stores, some people reacted to him with hatred. Some even hissed at him openly as they walked by, others would actually spit at him. All this Batiushka interpreted as attacks of servants of Satan, upon a priest of Christ. Once it happened that he and Matushka were walking along the sidewalk in the main business district of the city. Suddenly, a woman who looked like a witch jumped out in front of him. She started to scream at him with a frightening voice of a sickly cat, and gestured threateningly with her arms, as if she wanted to scratch out his eyes. Then she immediately disappeared into the crowd. The priest and his wife made the sign of the cross and continued on their way, having grown accustomed to such occurrences. But then Matushka realized something. This time, for some reason, Batiushka was in secular attire. Nothing in his external appearance showed that he was an Orthodox priest. Even his long hair and beard were nothing exceptional in contemporary circumstances.

      It is clear that a priest in a spiritual plane is always a priest, even when he is not dressed properly. The evil powers feel this and most probably are pleased with our “compromises”.

      A certain priest decided to have a photograph of himself made. He put on his coat and hat. For some reason he was embarrassed to be photographed with a cross on. He took the cross off and put it into his left coat pocket. The photograph was taken, developed and printed. To the amazement of both the photographer and the priest, on the photograph there was a huge ray (by shadows one can see that this ray is not from the sun), which pointed to the pocket, where the hidden cross lay. Batiushka asked to have this published after his death.

      In a small parish of the Russian Church Abroad, because of the size of the congregation, the rector holds a secular job. He works as a nurse in a local hospital. I was certain that he removes his cassock when he goes to work. However to my surprise, I discovered that this Batiushka works in his cassock, putting a lab coat on top of it. This is regarded with respect by both medical personnel and the patients. Often many patients even request that the “priest-nurse” take care of them.

      Concerned about the question, “should and can a priest possibly always wear a cassock?”, I began asking the grown children of elderly or deceased pastors, whether or not their fathers always wore a cassock. Almost everyone has answered in the affirmative, recalling that they rarely saw their father-priest without a cassock. There are even cases where the children said that they never saw their father without a cassock. This means that the requirement of the Church is possible to fulfill with God’s help. One only needs to try.

      Traditional appearance of an Orthodox Priest the attire and grooming which he should maintain at all times, both in public and private is a matter of canonical regulation. The Sacred Canons of the Church reflect the proper functioning and life of the Body of Christ; they are not simply laws and rules, but guides to the life in Christ and patterns by which to accommodate the action of the Holy Spirit to our daily activities. They are inspired and binding on all who live in spiritual sobriety and uprightness. And though they are enforced by men one of the clear duties of the clergy, and especially the Bishops, is, in fact, to uphold canonical order, they are nonetheless Divinely inspired. The Sacred Canons are also an integral part of Holy Tradition, which, together with Scripture, forms the ground of administrative authority on which our Faith is built.

      The inner and outer cassocks traditionally worn by Orthodox clergy are, to the pious, objects of tremendous respect and veneration. Anyone who considers them “weird” is unenlightened. Nor does anything appointed by the Church, enveloped as it is in Grace, impede our witness as Orthodox Christians. Ignorance or simple bigotry account for instances in which clergymen are ridiculed for dressing in a traditional manner, and the treatment for ignorance and bigotry is not the abandonment of our customs, but, once again, the enlightenment of those who ridicule us. Moreover, our traditional Orthodox clerical dress witnesses openly to the Grace of the Priesthood. Many times our own clergy, who maintain such dress, encounter young children who, yet untainted by the vanity of the world, will turn to their parents and remark, “Look, its Jesus.”

      Such incidents speak for themselves and attest to the importance and nature of Orthodox Priestly attire. The idea that the traditional dress of an Orthodox Priest has it roots in Turkish vesture whether secular or religious is a contrived piece of historical fantasy that has often been used to justify contemporary innovations in clerical garb.

      Under the Turkish yoke, certain changes in cut and style can be observed in monastic and Priestly dress, but these are insignificant. Our clerical styles predate the Moslem yoke, and indeed it was from the Desert Fathers, who inhabited many of the areas where Islam first flourished, that the Islamic clergy took many of their customs from the robes that they wear to the minarets (which are modeled on the structures in which the ancient Stylites lived and prayed, that is, “pillars” with a small cubicle on top).

      The round white collar, bib, and business suit which you call “Roman Catholic” clerical dress is neither Roman Catholic in origin nor much more than normal street garb with a special collar. Papist priests, like Orthodox clergy, dressed in cassocks and special headgear well into this century. Only in the last few decades have they adopted what is actually Protestant clerical clothing or simply street clothes.

      As for the issue of deposition, let us note, first, that Orthodox clergy have, indeed, been suspended and even deposed for abandoning traditional clerical dress. St. Evalalios, a predecessor of St. Basil the Great in the See of Cappadocia, deposed his own son for abandoning traditional Priestly garments for “unsuitable” attire.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        The canons do not specify exactly what proper priestly attire is. Therefore every priest must obey the standards set by his Bishop Standards of dress have changed through the centuries. The only consistent standard is that mentioned by the great canonist Balsamon, black clothing. Each Bishop decides what his clergy should wear and no one should judge a priest who is obeying his Bishop. I have seen many OCA clergy in the same attire of black pants and clerical shirt. Therefore, it is silly to make an issue of what a preist wears when he is not conducting services.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Precisely. Those traditions that endured the Ottoman/Turkish/Muslim yoke have a different dress custom than those who were fortunate not to live under such oppression. Indeed, it is dangerous to project one’s tradition unto the tradition of others.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            It is also dangerous to ignore history. Clerical attire has changed through the years. We should not confuse the standards of one period of our long history with the dogma of the Church. Customs can change without compromising the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. Even the vestments have changed. No Bishop wore a crown and saccos until after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. They wore a philonion with an omophorion, as all the icons of older Saints show. Was it a change in doctrine when Orthodox Bishops began to dress as Byzantine Emperors? It is not a change in Orthodox doctrine if I do not wear a cassock except when I am at my Church. Nor is is heresy if I wear jean and a t shirt when I am at home.
            In an age in which those who believe that sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman is not a sin, and more and more people are supporting same sex marriage, we have bigger fish to fry than worrying about what a Priest wears when he is not serving.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Would you please give a citation for the following?

        “The great interpreter of Church Canons, Balsamon, in his interpretation of the 14th canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council, which speaks of the ordination of readers, notes: “He who has put on black attire with the purpose of entering the clergy, cannot remove it, for he has stated his intent of serving God and therefore cannot break his promise to God and ridicule this holy image, as other ridiculers do.”

        • James Feyler says

          Because I didn’t write what I shared, I have no citation. The intent was to make the argument that priestly attire is worthy of respect, and should be kept sacred as much as is possible in whatever circumstances that may be present, current ideolgies not withstanding.

      • Ivan Vasiliev says

        Sorry, but this verges on just plain crazy. Priests were forbidden to wear clerical dress in the Soviet period, including beards and long hair. They didn’t stop being priests. The same thing happened to the Roman Catholic priests in Mexico and France during the worst of their secularist periods (Don’t even start the crude anti-Christ b.s. about them being heretics without true sacraments. God alone is the judge of that and those who speak of these things are in peril of blaspheming the Holy Spirit).
        The priest is the conduit of God’s grace, he is the proistamenos–the one who stands at the front of the congregation to serve, the one who has been ordained as “worthy” to serve, and who will be judged according to his calling. But it is unfathomably silly to imagine that God will have him do a runway test to see if he passes a clerical fashion test, too. It is even unlikely he will have to pass a major scholastic theology exam. But, I bet he will, like the rest of us, have to do the “sheep and the goats” thing. You know, the “did you love me”, one… where he has to prove he loved God by how much he loved his neighbor, starting with his wife and kids and going right on down the line to the scary little witch that hissed at him on the sidewalk. Attire, really?

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Ivan Vasiliev! That’s really odd of you. Just calm down and ask: “WHY were Priests forbidden by anti-Christian powers to wear clerical dress and made to cut their hair and beards in the Soviet Union, Mexico, France, and elsewhere? No, God will not give the Proistamenos a runway test. What will He say to the Proistamenos who, at the conclusion of his hair arranging episode at the barber’s (or in the kitchen if his wife does the deed), he takes that proferred hand-mirror and examines his looks from many angles and then says. “It is Good!”
          I’m of the, no doubt sinful, opinion that many, but not all, American priests like to hide their identity as Proistamenos in order to go to the track, the market, the stadium, the movies, etc., without any one detecting they have had hands laid on them making them worthy of offering the Holy Gifts above the Mercy Seat on high!
          They want a NORMAL life and to be compensated as professionals, not as “Proistamenoi.”
          Please, excuse my customary harsh tone. I admit your remark about “anti-Christ b.s.” got to me. I agree with you on that particular matter, but it is totally unrelated, irrelevant to the matter of restoring what, as you regale us, atheistic power has always tried to take away from us. Apparently, that’s one part of their agendas with which you are wholly in agreement.

          • Ivan Vasiliev says

            Master Bless!

            Not at all your grace! Of course I don’t agree with the godless powers’ forcing our priests to dress like “workers” or “professionals”. In fact, I never understood it since one would think they would have wanted to do the opposite so the clergy would stand out as “enemies of the people”, but far too often on some of these Orthodox sites (and I mean no disrespect to George or the vast majority of his readers) we have ‘canon-olators’ (if such a term may be coined) who appear to think that the dress really does make the man. I was anticipating the next assault when I made the remark about the “anti-Christ b.s.” about R.C. orders and sacraments, as you most certainly apprehended.
            All of that aside, yes, there is that other issue of the priest who wants to come across as just another professional. And maybe there are a few of them in larger parishes of the OCA (as rare a golden goose eggs in my region of the universe) and in other wealthier jurisdictions. Most of the priests I know (ROCOR and OCA) have to work outside their parishes and have to make some sort of accommodation to the dress codes of their “professions” (anything from factory work to education to healthcare, etc.). Not a one of them is the type to look at himself in the mirror as he passes by. Of course, that’s a small sampling. At the same time, these men are dealing with a culture gone just plain crazy and more than a few have children; some in school, some home-schooled. The most amazing thing is that they are living and dealing with it all not from some 13th century magical Byzantine perspective or some 17th century magical Russian perspective dressed in black riassas with flowing beards and long hair but from the 21st century real time North American perspective we live in. Maybe one or two of them or their Matushkas or their children, parishioners, and so on will one day be venerated as saints…. beardless and in jeans…

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Why did you mention the period in the Soviet Union when clerical attire was forbidden (as it once was in Mexico and in Turkey when that land was more religious? I asked you to think WHY they might hate the hair, beards and riassas. Your answer: ” I don’t agree with the godless powers’ forcing our priests to dress like “workers” or “professionals”. In fact, I never understood it.” !!!!k If you never understood it, why mention it?

              Your “just a small sampling” IS small and not a typical sampling at all. know VERY FEW OCA priests that “have to work outside their parishes and have to make some sort of accommodation to the dress codes of their professions.’
              The ROCOR priests are the worst paid, indeed; and they are the most likely to have an ‘outside job,” but they are the most likely to be found wearing podriassnik and riassa, and having beards and head hair.
              Ivan, why are you referring to ANYONE as ‘the type to look at himself in the mirror as he passes by?”
              I didn’t.
              Please explain the expression “magical Byzantine perspective” and “magical Russian perspective.”
              My experience, Ivan, is almost the direct opposite of yours. In my experience, the clergy with the clerical black suit and clergy shirt are the most prosperous (some could even be called rich) Orthodox clergy in America: and they most often have NO outside job, and they go to the barbers that charge the most Their spouses are most likely to be fashionably clothed. And they have good this-year model cars.
              Please don’t include me with those hypothetical people who confuse wearing the proper clerical attire with any of the evangelical virtues! Neither confuse me with those who claim that attaining the “clean-cut All-American’ style”is acting from any “magical American perspective.” I’m not the sort who claims that being barbered and clean-shaven allows a Priest to take a Vegas vacation unnoticed, or go to the local casino or race track or cocktail lounge/bar.
              The OCA began to address the problem of clergy compensation very seriously some time ago, starting in the ’60s. According to official guidelines on Clergy Compensation, the clergy are to be paid according to mean compensation of the surrounding community. Further, the OCA has both a Pension Plan and a group Medical Insurance Plan. There are a FEW Priests who supplement their income with some part-time jobs– not to put bread on the table but to provide for the future, especially of their children, NOT to put food on the table or a roof over their family’s head.
              Let us know, if you like, how many OCA clergy you know, and how many of them “have to work outside their parishes.”

              There are some laymen (few and untypical, thank God) who want their clergy to look prosperous since they think it reflects well on them as parishioners. And they’re uncomfortable about having their non-Orthodox friends discover they are not ‘like everybody else.”

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      St.Seraphim of Sarov and many others, as well as ordained New Martyrs would flunk Mister Klancko’s tests.
      James Feyler is better informed. He’s not a leveller or Roundhead.
      Oh, by the way, Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) has one or two MBAs.

  12. Rdr. James says

    Thank you, George, for posting the Jan. 10 Bible study by Metr. Jonah! This is the Jonah I remember from visiting the monastery in California! I first met him (then called ‘Jim’) when he was a layman living in San Diego. Then I spent a week at Pt. Reyes a number of years ago, and had contact with him after that when the monastery moved to Manton. His loss to the OCA will be felt for another generation, at least. Perhaps his real calling is to be a teacher, as is evidenced in these videos, rather than as a first Hierarch. I don’t know, God knows and He is in charge.

    Rdr. James Morgan
    Olympia, WA

  13. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    I’m going to recommend, once again, what I consider to be one of the best books ever written by an Orthodox Christian, for Photios, Father Geroge W., Archpriest Morris, Heracleides, Diogenes,and a few others who may be uncomfortable outside the world of the pious Midwestern mainline Christian living room and/or its protocols:
    It’s “FAITH AND HUMOR: Notes from Muscovy” by a church-going Russian Orthodox woman, a well-known Moscow writer also of fiction: Maya Kucherskaya. Maya lived in L.A. for a time when she was earning her doctorate at UCLA and was a faithful member of our Los Angeles parish. The book is available at Amazon as a very inexpensive paperback and also in a Kindle edition from the same store. I am lucky and most grateful and humble to have a signed copy Maya sent me from Russia in the original Russian. The Russian title is “Sovremennyj Paterikon” (A Contemporary Patericon). If you read it, you will imbibe of an interesting and even edifying sample of the spiritual guidance afforded Russians in Moscow by their teachers, priests, spiritual guides.
    Here’s a sample about the advice given by one “Elder”:

    “Once a woman came to church for only the second time in her life and she happened to come to confession before Father Mitrophanes. She said to him, “I have committed every sin in the book.”
    The abbot wanted to help the woman overcome her dangerous delusion and asked, “Have you committed adultery?”
    “I don’t remember,,” the woman replied, surprised.
    “How come? Were you drunk?” the abbot persisted.
    At first the woman came to church because she liked the priest, but in time she became sincerely devout and began to attend church regularly, though, true enough, she went to a different church, not Father Mitrophanes’.

    Another one:

    “Olga Petrovna, a great admirer of Father Mitrophanes, once approached him and said smiling shyly, “Father, you are…” She stumbled momentarily, searching for words.
    “You are like Saint Seraphim of Sarov.”
    The priest shook his head and stared intently at Olga Petrovna.
    “Wait a minute, and I’ll explain why you think this,” he said and went into the altar.
    He didn’t come back for a long time. Olga Petrovna even became a bit nervous and wondered what the priest could be doing in the altar. She wondered whether he was back there praying for divine inspiration and tried to guess what he might say to her. Would he explain to her, perhaps, in what way he was like Saint Seraphim?
    Finally the priest returned and said, ‘It’s because you’re an idiot.”