Where is the Accountability and Transparency in the DOS?

As most of you know, I am a member of the Diocese of the South, which was founded by the Venerable Dmitri of blessed memory back in 1978. Until his retirement in March of 2009, His Eminence was our only bishop. Since then, we’ve been served by a number of locum tenentes, including Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Nikon of Boston, respectively.

When Bishop Mark Maymon was received into the OCA, after a somewhat colorful career within the Antiochian jurisdiction, he was made an auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Washington (Bishop of Baltimore) and situated at the Cathedral in Dallas as “Administrator of the South.” The game-plan was that he would be formally nominated by the South and then elected by the Holy Synod as our diocesan ordinary. For about a year things went on as usual, there were no controversies that we know of and the people seemed to take to him in general. Your humble correspondent even wrote a letter to His Grace asking what I could do to facilitate his election as our next bishop.

Well, rather than rehash the scandalous events of last year, the opinion of most people in the South has since changed –dramatically. It is now the concensus of most in the South that His Grace would be a disastrous choice. This is of course unfortunate and we mean no ill-will towards him personally but the events that were unleashed by his involvement with Mark Stokoe (last year especially) cannot be taken back. Too many people have been materially and spiritually hurt, both in Dallas and elsewhere.

Maymon’s attempt at an apology to the people at the Cathedral at the beginning of Great Lent this year struck many as the typical “non-apology apology” that is so common in the political world. (“I’m sorry if you are offended by what I said…”) Moreover, his pose as wounded victim in this entire matter strikes many as unmanly. Rather than owning up to his mistakes and seeking genuine repentance, he is unable to see himself as anything but unblameworthy. Quite frankly, this is conduct unbecoming a bishop.

This is all water under the bridge however. What is troubling to many of us in the South is that for some reason, we are not following the procedures that we set out last year for choosing a nominee for our diocese which were clearly laid out and posted on our diocesan website. As of today, the vast majority of the people don’t know who the candidates are. Except for one. Bishop Mark Maymon continues to draw a generous salary from the Diocese of the South even though he has no official or unofficial capacity for that matter. At the time, a prudential decision was made to have him leave Dallas as hastily as possible and move to Miami. (This of course was due to the remarkable ill-will that he generated in Dallas.) In any event, he was not allowed to campaign for the position of Bishop of Dallas and the South nor travel anywhere in the South without the blessing of the locum tenens and His Beatitude (in whose archdiocese he actually serves).

Recently, he departed from this protocol and spent the weekend in Houston, where he spoke at a church there. Monomakhos was informed by several sources that neither Bishop Nikon nor Metropolitan Jonah gave him their blessing to travel there.

This of course raises questions about his temperament and causes some of us to look anew into his career in the Antiochian archdiocese, especially his relationship with Mark Stokoe of OCANews. As is by now well-known, Maymon admitted that he purloined the private emails of Fr Joseph Fester, which Stokoe then dramatically dropped into the Holy Synod’s lap when they met last year in May. The tumult caused by that action had disastrous consequences for our Church. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is still the question of how Stokoe received private correspondences which only the Holy Synod was privy to, including a lengthy critique of the mess in Syosset that His Beatitude gave to the episcopate. Although Maymon’s involvement was never proven, the fact that he had worked with Stokoe in the past while in the AOCNA and more recently with the purloined emails, paints a rather bleak picture of how he operates.

So where are we? The Diocese of the South assured us that we would have several candidates to choose from and that the process would be open, transparent, and lengthy. (http://www.dosoca.org/esc.html.) These men would travel the length and breadth of this diocese and get to meet the people. This would probably have taken the better part of a year but by the time we were to meet at the Diocesan Assembly in July 2012, had we stuck to this plan, we would have been able to make an informed choice as to who our nominee was to be. Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, we have departed dramatically from this plan.

None of this has happened. We are now just three months away from the Diocesan Assembly and we don’t know who the other candidates are –other than Bishop Mark (whose name is only mentioned sotto voce). It certainly looks like this is a “done deal,” that the “fix is in” so to speak. This is unacceptable. Indeed, some of the deans of the South have expressed grave concerns about the lack of transparency. One of them sent me a letter that was written by Fr Justin Frederick, the Dean of Dallas. Obviously Frederick’s concerns are his concerns as well.

Regardless, the trepidation felt by many regarding the continued presence of Bishop Mark in the South is coming to a boiling point. We in the South have wanted a bishop for a few years now, but there is no way that we want a bishop as compromised as Mark. Given his past conspiratorial relationship with Mark Stokoe, he simply does not have the goodwill of the majority of the priests of this diocese, especially since he continues to believe that he did nothing wrong during his tenure as Adminstrator in Dallas.

To be sure, any successor to the Venerable Dmitri was going to have a tough row to hoe. Hierarchs like Dmitri come only once in a blue moon. Any successor is going to be a disappointment in one way or another. That is not the point here. The most charitable thing that can be said about Maymon is that given all that we know, he would be a singularly uninspired choice. We don’t need that, especially when there has been a provable history of wrong-doing and maladroitness. We need a fresh face, one whose hands are clean.

At the very least, we in the South deserve to know who the other candidates are. Otherwise, we cannot make an informed choice. If Mark is foisted upon us simply because there is no overwhelming concensus at the Assembly in July –and this would be due only because of our ignorance of the other candidates–the results for our diocese will be disastrous.

The Diocese of the South is the only diocese in American Orthodoxy which has experienced any growth at all during the last ten years. Foisting Bishop Mark Maymon upon us would derail the impressive legacy of Archbishop Dmitri Royster. There is no need for such, especially when there are other candidates out there who deserve our consideration.


  1. So what does Met.Jonah say about this?

  2. The answer is for + Jonah to step down as Met and go to Dallas. Everyone would be happy! A locum tenens would then be appointed as Met until an election could take place. Simple, easy and responsible!

    • Jesse Cone says

      No, not everyone would be happy. Would it make Met. Jonah’s life easier? Yes. Would the DOS benefit from it? Certainly. But there’s no suitable way to make this happen, and any attempt at it would mean international scandal.

      Moreover, despite what was implied to the contrary during last year’s mess, taking Met. Jonah away from Syosset/ the MC/ Fr. Leonid would create more problems, not less.

      • A Remnant says


        Merge the Washington Diocese, with the Diocese of the South and every one would be happy except for the Syosett Stooges!

        • I vote for that!

        • There are no “Syosset Stooges.” You don’t realize is that in Syosset are only several people employed by the OCA. To change or merge dioceses would take the approval of the OCA Synod, the MC and the O.K. of the OCA (Church) in general. It has nothing to do with Syosset.

          + Jonah should really go to Dallas. That’s where he belongs. He really isn’t the leader the OCA needs. A true disappointment.

          • A Remnant says


            Yes, I understand the OCA is paying the people in Syosset, paying them outlandish salaries!

            Since when have the “Syosset Stooges” started following protocol?

            And why would the MC have any say in the merger of Diocese? Of course the Synod could just make up new “operating guidelines” for this situation.

            I think my description may have been to close to home for you!

            Now rather than take this discussion farther off track like your other posts, lets get back to the regularly scheduled program.

      • Jesse Cone writes,

        Moreover, despite what was implied to the contrary during last year’s mess, taking Met. Jonah away from Syosset/ the MC/ Fr. Leonid would create more problems, not less.

        Absolutely! I can’t imagine what would be worse for the OCA than to send Metropolitan Jonah away, and let the gangsters in Syosset run unchecked. The Moscow Patriarchate would be livid at such an insane upheaval of good order, and the Ecumenical Patriarch would probably have a stroke from laughing so hard at us and our so-called ability to handle our own affairs. Metropolitan Jonah would be a fool to sign on to such a deal, as it would be an ecclesiological mess even if it were honored, and who’s to say the arrangement would even be honored once they got the white hat away from him?

        Sure, it would be easier on Met. Jonah if he had stayed in the DOS. But we all know – well, except for Fr. Thomas Hopko, I suppose- that Met. Jonah was chosen for this by God. We collectively prayed for months prior to the council that “the Lord our God, in His mercy and providential care for us, [would] call forth for His flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church.” Our prayers were answered. We have been deeply blessed with our Metropolitan, who is indeed a true shepherd with wisdom and strength, and who loves Christ and His Church with his whole heart. Getting rid of Metropolitan Jonah would be going back on our pleas and prayers to God, to tell Him His providence is not good enough.

        While I love the theory behind merging the DOS into the Diocese of Washington, I feel that for Metropolitan Jonah’s sake, he should not be asked to take up that cross. It was very hard on him to be locum tenens of so many dioceses, in addition to the stresses of his work as Metropolitan. At the very least, he would need a reliable and faithful auxiliary bishop to help him. Right now, all he has for an auxiliary bishop is Bishop Mark.

        • Helga, et al,

          I find it interesting that the discussion of HB and the merging of the DOS and DOWash. is presented as an “either/or” proposition. Another possibility is a “both/and.” I speak for many in the DOS when I say, much as we love HB, we would not want him to step down as Metropolitan in order to be the bishop of the DOS. In this I agree with you Helga, that HB has no reason to trust that “the arrangement would be honored” as you put it. Moreover, the Holy Spirit moved at the AAC for a reason.

          However, once upon a time Metropolitan Jonah was Archbishop of Washington, NY and NJ, was he not? Part of that geography was separated and Bishop Michael now presides over it. There is no reason why he could not preside over Washington as his primatial see and over the South as a diocese.

          So HB could be both the Metropolitan and the archbishop of these geographies.

          This has some real benefits for each diocese as well as for the Metropolitan and the OCA.
          The South has already elected +Jonah as bishop. He is a known quantity.

          And the last time +Jonah took on the locum tenens position, he took on three at the same time. Just one need not be overwhelming to him. In fact, if anything, how fair is it to Bishop Nikon to have the DOS, in addition to his other two, given his health?

          The nightmare scenario is that the other candidates under consideration for the DOS might not be vetted by the Synod. And if this is not known, due to all this secrecy, at the last minute they just say, “Oh, Bishop Mark is the only vetted candidate. So sorry, we had no choice.”

          I’d rather be bishopless than have a bad bishop. And Bishop Mark doesn’t just have the St. Seraphim debacle to justify. He put how many Antiochian parishes into turmoil prior to that? There is a pattern and the common denominator is Bishop Mark. Even Stokoe spin cannot obscure that.

    • Yeah, Diogenes, don’t you wish!

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Not gonna happen.

  3. A true travesty! European Jews eradicating the indigenous Palestinian peoples!

    Israel marks 64 years of independence

    Apr 25, 2:13 PM (ET)

    JERUSALEM (AP) – Israelis celebrated their country’s 64th anniversary Wednesday with fireworks and military processions at a national ceremony in Jerusalem.
    The festivities came immediately after Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of militant attacks, an annual ritual of twinning grief with elation and pointing out the link between the two.
    Preparations for Independence Day were marred last week when a lighting rig collapsed during a rehearsal, crushing a young soldier to death.
    Speaking at the official ceremony, Parliament Speaker Reuven Rivlin cautioned against extremism of all stripes, naming ultra-Orthodox Jewish zealots, ideologues who burn mosques and activists who delegitimize the state as “those who threaten the future of Israeli society.”
    Government statistics showed that Israel’s population grew by 137,500 since last year to 7,881,000. The Central Bureau of Statistics said 75 percent of the population is Jewish and 21 percent is Arab. The remaining 4 percent represents tiny minorities or immigrants who are not Jewish.
    Traditional Independence Day celebrations include dancing in city streets and family cookouts in national parks. Some military bases open Thursday for visits, and Israeli cities host open-air concerts in honor of the holiday.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Interesting stuff Diogenes. This would have been more apropos on the “60 Minutes” piece which I posted three days ago. If you don’t mind, let’s keep this post open for DOS concerns. Thank you.

  4. Well, first time commenter, sometime reader —

    My first thought is that His Grace is a bishop; I think calling him simply “Mark” or–even worse–“Maymon” shows a lack of respect that is beneath us as Orthodox Christians. We should address him properly out of respect for his office.

    My second thought is that His Grace has apparently begun work overseeing the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministries, and my understanding is that he has been relatively well-received in the Miami area. I wish him the best. Where he will go from here, I do not know.

    When I was in SC at the DOS clergy conference (I came from Ft. Worth, am finishing up at SVS, and will, God willing, move to serve in a Miami parish in a couple of months), Bp. NIKON said that this summer, we would submit a list of names to the Holy Synod and (most likely) have a bishop later on in the year. There was audible consternation from some, as the frustration you have mentioned in this article is shared by many, myself included. That things seem to be going slower than molasses in January is troubling indeed.

    However, things are moving forward. And, yes, it’s possible (though, I think, unlikely) that Bp. MARK will be our next bishop. I’ve also heard other names (and that these men are, indeed, going around the South meeting people and parishes–no, I won’t mention names). But if Bp. MARK is elected our next bishop, what then? Will there be exoduses en masse? Or will we, as a diocese, accept that God puts bishop and diocese together as He often puts priest and parishioners together: to scour the rough edges off of both?

    We will get to put forward names. The Holy Synod will then decide, and we will either accept their authoritative decision (what in my opinion is the mature thing to do barring heresy) or revolt (which would almost certainly be reactionary and ill-advised). Would there be pastoral fallout with Bp. MARK? Yes, which is why some I’ve spoken with have called him “unelectable.” But he’s a bishop of ours now, and we owe it to him, ourselves, and the Church at large, to work with each other as much and as well as we can to speak, listen, understand, heal, and move on, instead of holding grudges and calling names. Pray. Be patient. The Church won’t stand or fall on one man, bishop or no.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr David, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Your very considered words however raise more questions or overlook others. If you would permit me:

      1, You say that “there are other candidates.” Who are they? That’s all that I’m ultimately asking.

      2. You say that these men have travelled through our diocese to be intereviewed. This is news to me. I have scoured far and wide. Please inform us as to who they are and where they have gone to be interviewed.

      3. It is not fair to say “I won’t mention names.” That’s very self-serving. One of the things that OCAN did right (Yes everybody, don’t faint), is that during the election processes for the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, NY/NY, and Chicago, the names of the top three candidates were released and these men travelled throughout the respective dioceses and gave interviews, met with congregations, and submitted their CVs. We in the South deserve the same consideration.

      Please read the title of my essay again: “Where is the Accountability and Transparency in the DOS”? I can’t make it any plainer than that.

      One reason that this has not been done is because the DOS has given Bp Mark a salary of $70,000 per year to live in Miami. This has done two things: (1) dry up resources to pay other candidates to come and interview, and (2) give him resources to travel hither and yon. I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable.

      As for myself, I have proven my bona fides regarding Mark (I was originally for him and wrote a letter to that effect. If he would like to produce it, he is free to do so) so I’m not a “reactionary.” Indeed, last year when during Holy Week St Seraphim’s suffered horrendous trauma because of Bp Mark, I was the one who tried to calm several of my friends down, saying that HG was not a bad person and that this was all due to a misunderstanding.

      Finally, I have stated that he is indeed one of “ours” now and that he should be treated with kindness and respect due his station, however he is not prepared to be a diocesan bishop. He should remain an auxiliary and in my opinion, the Cathedral in Miami should be paying for his salary, with the ultimate intention that the DOS should be subdivided into at least two dioceses. In time and with proven contrition, I would give my assent to Bp Mark being elected Bishop of Miami and Florida (but not as Bishop of the South as it is presently constitued).

      • George,

        I am shocked really appalled to hear you report that +Mark is being paid $70K by the DOS. I am sure you can verify this. If this is true, who approved it? How can a cleric who has no standing in a diocese be paid a salary? Under what circumstances can this happen? Did the DOS Diocesan Council approve such an expenditure? If he is being paid, for what? What is his job description? This gets more serious and bizarre by the minute.

      • Florida Dan says


        Don’t let this place turn into another OCANEWS. For now the candidates identities are being withheld in order to protect them. They will be ready for release by the time of the assembly and I expect you may be surprised by the outcome.

        Also, please George, refer to His Grace as Bishop Mark. It’s the respectful thing to do.

        • Jesse Cone says

          I appreciate where you’re coming from Dan (and I don’t just mean Florida). However, I very much doubt that the DOS is acting in direct opposition to how this was to be run last year in order to protect all the candidates. It is being done to protect +Mark.

          I also agree that we should show our respect to the episcopacy by referring to him as Bishop Mark or +Mark.

          It behooves us to remember that respect of the episcopacy does not equal episcopal infallibility, etc. The office of bishop does not make one more holy; though we pray that the Grace Divine will complete what is lacking we must also realize that priests and bishops fail in their calling just like us laity do.

          Moreover it behooves us to realize that one may be a perfectly fine bishop and still not be the right person to be bishop of the DOS. It often happens that the candidates who are not elected for one see are later elected to another. Just another example that “a” bishop, and “our” bishop are NOT the same thing.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Dan, thank you for your kind words. I would never let Monomakhos turn into another OCAN. For one thing, I don’t censor the news and I report what I find out. But hiding the names of the candidates to “protect them,” is not the sign of a mature diocese. Another correspondent on this blog (Carl Kraeff) has already reported that two candidates went to his parish. I’m glad this is so, but this begs the question: why his parish and not any of the other parishes I have contacted?

          The concerns of many of my correspondents is that the hasty release of the names right before the Diocesan Assembly contravenes the processes that the Diocese itself set up 10 months ago. This is unacceptable, not just because it betrays the spirit of the procedures, but because there is no way that the majority of people who will attend Miami will have been given any information about the candidates. As I wrote earlier, the people of the Dioceses of the Midwest and New York/New Jersey had ample time to vet and interview then-candidates Moriak, Dahulich, Mahaffey, and others. We in the South deserve no less.

          As for this website, please understand, Monomakhos differs from OCAN in other ways as well. We never pretended to be an official or quasi-official site for the OCA or any diocese. In addition, Mark Stokoe published names and facts but only when it suited him and his partisans on the Metropolitan Council. He kept other facts studiously kept close to his vest. On this blog, we try to get all the relevant information out.

          As such, asking the Diocesan Council to release the names for the episcopal election is a good thing. As far as being “surprised” by the outcome, the election of Bp Mark would certainly be a surprise, in the manner of a man coming home to find that his wife has run off with his best friend. In all seriousness, the fact that you assume that we could be pleasantly surprised creates the unfortunate conclusion that there are different classes of people in the DOS: those who know more and those who know less.

          • Florida Dan says

            I understand what you are saying. This website and ocatruth kept me sane during the last half of 2011. It just seems to me you are jumping to a lot of conclusions about Bishop Mark based on nothing but speculation.

            I think the chances of Bishop Mark becoming our bishop are very, very slim. Based on what I’ve been told I don’t think anything going on now is a backhanded attempt to install him as our bishop. The current secrecy really is nothing more than an attempt to protect most of the individuals who will eventually be rejected. Can you not see the value in that?

            Finally, to your point about “two classes” of people. I’m not sure what’s so surprising about some people knowing more that others. That’s just the nature of life my friend. What would be odd is if we all knew exactly the same things!

            • Dan,

              I appreciate your perspective, but actually I think you miss the very important point made by George.

              This nomination process is not simply an issue of ‘Bishop Mark’ or ‘Not Bishop Mark.’ It is a matter of doing our prayerful due diligence so that we offer the name of the best possible candidate. You can only keep the names of the candidates secret for so long. The process was laid out, blessed by the locum tenens…….and now has been abandoned.

              I hope you are right that Bishop Mark’s chances are very slim. I would prefer that they be null. But beyond that, some research needs to be done on all the remaining candidates. If the OCA were awash in wonderful episcopal candidates, then this would perhaps not be as alarming.

              However, our bench is pretty thin. We have a number of dioceses that have gone without a bishop for years.

              It is cruel to both the man and to the diocese to elevate someone simply because he is a single cleric, without looking at other attributes that make him a shepherd and leader for a diocese. It is also true that a man may have the potential, but is simply not ready at this time. Thrusting such a priest into this role prematurely may destroy the very gifts that could be such a blessing if allowed to flower in their own time.

              The South needs the right candidate. That person will be a missionary bishop, but must of necessity bring talents somewhat different than those seen in Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory. This diocese, with its growth, requires another, or perhaps an additional skill set in its next bishop. If this current slate does not contain the right man, we should continue the search, not just “settle” for whomever has been vetted.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Dan, thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them. But the general principle remains. A few select laymen seem to know who the candidates are but 99.99% of us don’t. There’s no way that dropping 3-4 names on us cold at the diocesan assembly will enable us to make an informed decision. It’s simply not possible. It’s certainly not needful in this era of instant videoconferencing. And besides, if we weren’t paying Bp Mark $70K a year, we’d have the resources to pay for the plane fare and hotel accommodations for the candidates. We’ve been deprived of that opportunity because resources are being gobbled up needlessly.

              I could see a point being made that only the diocesan delegates should know, but even that’s a stretch. The reason we have delegates from parishes is so that the parishes can inform their delegates who their primary choice is.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            George–I went to great pains to state that I do not know, and I have not been told, whether any of the two past visitors to my parish, nor the two upcoming ones, are under consideration by the Search Committee.That said, those four all are eligible on paper to be considered by the committee. I wanted to point out, and I evidently botchedf it, that the DOS (or at least my little corner) has been and will be exposed to possible candidates, and that the little time that we have left until the Assembly will not have to be as hectic and turbulent as some fear.

            Of course, if the Search Committee is considering none of the four names that I cited, then we are indeed in an unnaturally hurried process and it would be a good idea to postpone the Diocesan Assembly if the parishes in our diocese cannot have the opportunity to develop informed input. At the very least, we should have access to written biographies and transcripts of the nominee or nominees that the Search Committee will be submitting to the Diocesan Assembly. It would be a good thing if videos of the interviews are also posted on the Diocesan web site.

            So, if we can objectively look at this, we already have quite a bit of information about three of the four names that I cited (Bishop Mark, Archimandrite Webber and Abbot Gerasim). The first two had reasons other than candidacy tours to visit parishes; the first as Administrator and the second as a very popular author and speaker. Abbot Gerasim has been mentioned as a possible bishop for Alaska and has been attending SVOTS–I believe he will be graduating soon. The fourth name I mentioned, that of Father Heer, may be just a coincidence in that he seems to be on a speaking tour to promote his new book on Elder Paisios of Mount Athos. (Incidentally, one reason why we may have all these visitors may be the fact that we invited them, both to benefit our parish’s spiritual growth and as an outreach to the local community).

            • Um…Fr. Peter Alban Heers is a married priest with children, and is therefore not a candidate.

      • Fr Simeon B. Johnson says

        We must also remember that AK is ALSO looking for a bishop, and the “bench” of episcopal candidates is not deep, so most of the eligible candidates for both the DOS and the DOA overlap. Much of this is probably being kept under wraps to prevent an unhealthy competition between the DOS and the DOA for candidates and to head off the inevitable accusations of “stealing” episcopal candidates from one another.

        What all of us need to do, in the entire OCA, is start praying that God will send us the bishops we NEED, and not just the ones we want!

        In Christ,

        Fr Simeon
        St Nicholas Juneau

  5. Jesse Cone says

    I know the reason last year’s events (and +Mark’s campaigning since) have not been well publicized is out of the Dallas area parishioner’s concern to avoid gossip and piling on a man whose exit from the Antiochians was self-admittedly traumatic. That being said, I urge anyone who has responsibility in this matter to do their due diligence and speak to the clergy in the Dallas area; priests, deacons, and subdeacons. Should someone want to hear their story, or mine, I’m sure George can put you in contact with them (or me).

    It may become necessary for those of us with first-hand experience of the situation to speak up, but I pray that +Mark is removed from consideration before that happens.

    That being said, George’s point here seems to be more about the DOS not following their own recently ratified procedures. This is a big problem in and of itself, not simply because the reason for it is to pave the way for +Mark before the faithful of the DOS can resist.

    • Mr. Cone,

      I think those with first-hand experience of the situation must speak up if +Mark does not take himself out of consideration. We tend to want to forget things unpleasant but sometimes we must face these things for the good of not only our generation but those to come. The way that the Cathedral in Dallas faced their crisis last year, the trauma it caused and the hard work since then to rebuild what was nearly destroyed is a testament to the love they have for Vladyka Dmitri and each other. God bless you all.

      • Yes indeed Mr.Cone why hasn’t this been addressed on OCATruth?

        • Jesse Cone says

          StephenD, the short answer is that OCATruth existed for a specific purpose: to combat the unconscionable spin and misinformation of Mark Stokoe regarding His Beatitude. That’s why when OCAN went silent, so did OCAT. The site was necessary, but never intended to be permanent.

          The same logic follows why we didn’t post anything much about Fr. Zacchaeus Wood until Stokoe tried to spin the information he had to fight his war. Having received many of the same leaked emails he had, I anticipated it, but didn’t post until he did. The unfortunate mission of OCAT was to be reactionary.

          When +Nikon visited St. Seraphim to clean up the mess (a visit which greatly endeared him to myself and many others at the Cathedral) he asked me, “What’s OCAT going to say about my visit?” I said “Nothing, Your Grace, if I can help it.” That weekend was about family business, and my desire was for it to remain so if at all possible. Putting stuff on the internet tends to limit the ability of a touchy, personal situation to get better; and that’s what we want right?

          If +Mark remains a candidate I have very little doubt that many will feel it their duty to speak up, unfortunate though it may be.

  6. George,

    I suppose a polite inquiry to Fr Marcus Burch, DOS Chancellor, regarding the agreed procedure might fit the bill here. I remember him being a friendly and approachable person. Have you asked him? Since I am not in the DOS, I feel such a question from me would be a bit meddlesome.

    The procedure is an agreement between the deans and blessed by the locum tenens. Not following it is unseemly and undermines confidence in the diocesan administration. But it need not mean the fix is in.

    Is there the suggestion that DOS Assembly will not get to vote on the nominee(s)? I think it very unlikely that the Holy Synod would elect Bishop Mark to see of Dallas without the consent of the Assembly. This would look very bad–but perhaps this is “in the air”?

    With respect to the Assembly, is one scheduled for the summer? Is the nomination on the agenda? If Bishop Mark is regarded in such a negative light, it seems that he would not receive the required votes at the Assembly.

    All this to say, from a long distance away, that Bishop Mark becoming bishop of Dallas looks like a remote possibility. It would be nice to get a comment from Fr Marcus, though.

    Wishing you joy in the Risen Christ,


  7. George,

    The only sections of the DOS that seems to be actively promoting Bishop Mark is the Miami Cathedral in the person of Gary Popovich and the DOS Treasurer Milos Konjevich. My question is “Why is +Mark still in the DOS?” Is he getting paid? By whom and if so why? He has no standing in the DOS. He is not a member of the DOS rather he is the Bishop of Baltimore. What is he doing in our Diocese unless he is campaigning for the job of Bishop of Dallas?

    With respect to Fr. David Wooten, a son of the South, this is a slap in the face of the good people of the DOS. We have a process that is being ignored and IT IS TOO LATE to proceed with our agreed upon process before the July Assembly in Miami.

    +Mark was removed as Administrator. He takes no responsibility for his disastrous actions while in Dallas. He needs to be FORCED to apologize to the Dallas Cathedral faithful by the Diocesan Council and then gives, as George as stated a “non apology apology.”

    When confronted about Fr. Fester’s emails and asked why he didn’t inform Fr Fester when he started to get his private emails, not work emails, his answer was, “I never thought of it.” He never thought of informing Fr. Fester? But he went to his lawyer and to Mark Stokoe and let them know and then his defense is, “my lawyer says I can look at them.” What does that say about his character?

    There is no need to replay that sorry episode except to remind the clergy and faithful of the South that Bishop Mark has already proven that he is not worthy of the vacant See of Dallas. He is not a worthy successor to the ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri. He needs to leave the South and be what he is, an Auxiliary bishop to Met. Jonah. He needs to go to Baltimore.

    Met. Jonah, recall your bishop. You need no approval from anyone. +Mark is your bishop in your diocese. Or have you already asked +Mark and he has refused or thinks he does not have to go to Baltimore or listen to you? He already said no to Met. Philip when asked to go to the Northwest. Is this just another replay of a disobedient bishop?

    If Bishop Mark is not a candidate for the vacant See of Dallas, he should publicly remove his name from consideration and do it sooner than later. That would clear the track for other candidates and remove a huge distraction. If he is a candidate, then his continued presence in the South is inappropriate.Sorry George. Lots of questions. Maybe you can present more articles on some of these questions. I believe the people in the South need to have questions like this answered, and you are a member of the South in a position to present the case.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Jacob says, “[Bishop Mark] already said no to Met. Philip when asked to go to the Northwest. Is this just another replay of a disobedient bishop?”

      Respectfully, this version is different from the account given to us by Metropolitan PHILIP himself. He never called Bishop MARK disobedient.

      When he released Bishop MARK to the OCA, Metropolitan PHILIP wrote of how much he would miss him.

      In saying that, Metropolitan PHILIP spoke for the great majority of us in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

      • Heracleides says

        I’ll buy that and your bridge too. If what you say is true, perhaps you could talk the Despot into taking the Thief back into his fold? T’would be a win-win situation all around.

        • Bishop Mark was doomed in Toledo when he started asking for audits of Church accounts…the word audit and fiscal transparency is to the powers that be in the Antiochian Archdiocese like a cross is to a vampire..he also didn’t like the ethnic club foolishness in Troy Michigan…started the death knell very quickly…

          • Prospective Nomad No Longer says


            Your chronology isn’t quite correct. Bishop Mark issued his directive on parochial financial controls in November of 2009–roughly nine months after the Holy Synod of Antioch issued its first decree stating that the diocesan bishops were auxiliaries and roughly eight months after the Detroit-area clergy issued their “captivity letter.” It is true that Bishop Mark supported those calling for an external audit of the Archdiocese at the Palm Desert convention in July of 2009, but even that took place well after the branch on which he was perched had begun to be sawed off. In other words, Bishop Mark was in trouble long before he started talking about audits, at least publicly. His position on financial controls undoubtedly hastened his demise, however, so perhaps this is a minor point. I agree entirely with you about Troy, which I regard as the most disturbing part of the entire saga.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              In the interest of fairness, I thought that Bp Mark was correct in asking for an audit of those parishes in Michigan. That’s one reason I wrote a laudatory letter to him 14 months ago in which I informed him that I would do everything I could to forward his nomination as our bishop.

              Because of his (perceived) obedience to due diligence regarding the earlier audits, I believe he owes us an explanation –several actually–before we vote. Specifically:

              1. why did he purloin Fr Joe’s e-mails?

              2. when did he begin his association with Mark Stokoe and OCANews?

              3. how did OCAN obtain confidential speeches/memoranda given by Met Jonah to the Holy Synod?

              4. how much other information did OCAN receive? Many people were in contact with Fr Joe, some of the emails contained sensitive information. Does Mark Stokoe still possess these emails?

              5. how many other priests and/or functionaries in the DOS were complicit with Bp Mark in the purloining of the emails?

              This would be a start.

            • One day I hope the complete story can be told about what happened in Troy. It was an absolute nightmare and the Antiochian -Self Ruled by Met.Phillip- Archdiocese of North America needs to account for why and how it happened

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Absolutely. Although I respect Met Philip for his rectitude regarding the big things, his old-world, ethnic peculiarities regarding finances leaves a lot to be desired.

    • + mark I heard was “is ” being paid $3k a month from DOS, We DO NOT NEED +mark WE simply need to know the 2 other names, And I also heard that if HB +jonah leaves his current roll as MET.. he is done He would be forced to retire and not able to serve as archbishop anyplace….

    • Wait a minute – Milos Konjevich is on board with this? Isn’t he the man so many DOS parishes are trusting their mortgages with?

      I have to ask, how could Konjevich do this? Wasn’t he close to Archbishop Dmitri of thrice-blessed memory? I confess myself dumbfounded.

      • Milos Konjevich is the main supporter of +Mark in the DOS and has been using his position as Treasurer to lobby hard for +Mark.

        +Mark is receiving the stipend given to Bishop Nikon as Locum Tenens and +Mark is also receiving the stipend that Milos receives as DOS Treasurer. I do not know if the DOS is paying these amounts to the rightful people due the stipend and then these men are turning it around and sending it to +Mark, or there is some paper transfer. I would hope that how it is being done does not open these men nor the DOS to any tax evasion questions. They should all be declaring this income in a transparent manner. I have no reason to think they are not doing this correctly in an accountable and transparent manner, but again, why does +Mark deserve this kind of special treatment?

        There is no doubt he is getting this special treatment because both +Nikon and Milos are strongly in favor of +Mark being the next bishop of the DOS.

        • Why?……and where is Met.Jonah concerning this issue? I have e-mailed the Metropolitan about this issue and have yet to get an answer.
          He needs to be make a statement and make it soon. This kind of administrative foolishness is what some of his detractors were upset about.
          Just when I thought things might be getting better KABOOM!

          • I am sorry that you have not heard back from +Jonah about this. I have no idea why he would be so silent on this knowing that if +Mark’s name was put on the ballot it would cause a firestorm of reaction from the DOS. I am unsure why +Jonah would not exercise his episcopal authority as +Mark’s bishop to recall him to Baltimore and inform the DOS that he is not permitting +Mark’s name to be on the ballot.

            +Jonah knows the entire story about +Mark and how he acted in underhanded and immoral ways while he was the DOS administrator.

            If +Jonah does nothing, then one can conclude that he believes +Mark to be a victim and his ham handed actions at St. Seraphim’s and his stealing of emails were actions worthy of a blessing, his blessing.

            Will +Jonah do the right thing and stand up for the DOS he says he loves and has told us time and again he wishes he could return to or that he never left? Will he own up to his promise to the ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri that he, +Jonah (will never abandon the DOS)? If he does not step in and either convince +Mark to remove himself, which would be the honorable thing to do, or failing this put on his big boy britches and remove +Mark’s name from the DOS ballot, well, then, I suppose that there will be hell to pay between now and July and a totally unnecessary bloodletting distraction will take place.

            This is a real head-scratcher to me since all of this can be avoided so quickly and easily.

            • Jacob, I’m not sure Metropolitan Jonah could answer that email any more than he could realistically pull Bishop Mark from the ballot.

              We all know Metropolitan Jonah has been actively prohibited from exercising his prerogatives as primate and as a diocesan bishop. They wouldn’t even let him start a monastery in his own diocese. What makes you think they wouldn’t nail him to the wall for pulling Bishop Mark off the ballot?

              Think about it. Bishop Mark did something against Metropolitan Jonah, among other people. Metropolitan Jonah pulling him out of consideration would not look like a pastoral decision for the DOS, it would look like a spiteful, retaliatory move. It would play right into the hands of the so-called “victim”, and that is certainly how the Synod and Syosset would portray it.

              The best thing we can do is leave Metropolitan Jonah out of this. Just keep reminding people in the DOS of all the reasons that Vladyka Dmitri of blessed memory said Bishop Mark was like a man without a soul, which go well beyond an email theft.

              • Dear Helga

                Although I appreciate your assessment of the realities of being Met. Jonah and being the First Hierarch of the OCA, sometimes you have to do the right thing no matter the personal costs. If he can’t or won’t then we have lost no matter who is the bishop. He can right this wrong and if he is stopped we can do what we need to do as members of the OCA. Leave.

                • Jacob, I would agree with you if Metropolitan Jonah were the only thing standing between Bishop Mark and taking the Dallas see. He is not. There is still power in the hands of DOS clergy and laity to nominate someone else.

                  You say Metropolitan Jonah should do the right thing even if it costs him personally, and I agree with that principle. However, I must add that we shouldn’t expect Metropolitan Jonah to put his neck on the chopping block when it is not necessary for him to do that.

                  The DOS may not know the other candidates as well as they would like… but they do know Bishop Mark. May God bless and keep him far away from Dallas!

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Helga–I agree with you that it is not necessary for the Metropolitan to take a public stand. In fact, I retract my earlier position that he should withdraw his blessing for his auxiliary, Bishop Mark, to be an eligible candidate. I think that we should all quit fighting past issues and concentrate on one thing: the upcoming DOS Special Assembly. Laity has to do its homework: make yourself knowledgeable about the two apparent candidates who will be voted on in Miami: Bishop Mark and Abbot Gerasim. Since most folks know quite a bit about Bishop Mark, let’s make an extra effort to get to know Abbot Gerasim. Then, make your preference known to the Parish delegates to the Special Assembly. I would hope and pray that the laity’s input and the voting bu the parish delegates will be predominantly an affirmation and love for the DOS nominee.

                    As for me, while I am awaiting the visit of Abbot Gerasim in our parish, I do have one big concern: the Bishop’s relationship with his deans and parish rectors. It is clear from the Chancellor’s letter that the deans support Father Gerasim. We will find out in July if the deans’ position is endorsed by the parish rectors as well; however, my feeling is that the deans have spoken up not only for themselves but also for the parish priests in their respective deaneries–at least a majority of them.

                    Thus, the likely scenario is for two names to be submitted at the Special Assembly. The Assembly will vote to nominate Abbot Gerasim. The Holy Synod will approve and Abbot Gerasim will become next bishop. Of course, should the Assembly nominate Bishop Mark, he will be our next bishop and we will have to respect the decision of the Assembly. I see this scenario as much less likely. The least likely scenario is for Abbot Gerasim to be nominated and the Holy Synod rejecting that nomination. This last scenario would be a game changer for many people with tragic consequences in many DOS parishes and consequently in the OCA.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, like you I seek tranquility. However you concede too much in saying we should accept the candidacy (even if it is pro forma) of Bp Mark. Especially considering what the DOS has recently stated in the letter to the communities. Though well-considered and deliberate, it did not paint a flattering portrait. Too much water has passed under that bridge.

                      If however things had gone according to our protocols laid out in June of last year, and if we had accorded the same treatement to the other episcopal candidates along with Bp Mark, then I believe that none of this would have blown up as it did. As it is, the DOS allocated signifiant monies ($70,000+) to Bp Mark so he could be a “visitor” in our diocese, thereby making it difficult to bring other candidates in for interviews.

                    • Just to clarify, I do not think Bishop Mark is an appropriate candidate for DOS bishop, and that he ought to drop out or be removed from the ballot. I just don’t think it’s fair to blame Met. Jonah for staying out of the whole thing.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      George and Helga–We do not get to prejudge the will of the Special Assembly. The vote in July will determine the nominee; what y’all want to do is to preclude the remote possibility that Bishop Mark could win the nomination. What you are proposing is not democratic or even canonical. Here you have an already vetted candidate who happens to be a bishop. Unless, +Mark voluntarily withdraws from consideration, there is no way to exclude him from the ballot. Concentrate on instructing parish delegates to vote for Abbot Gerasim and your ultimate wishes will come true. Concentrate on attacking Bishop Mark and you will create sympathy votes for him. Y’all are shooting yourselves in the foot.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, the actions of the past year alone tell us much about his suitability. What you say is contradicted by the Deans themselves who have already spoken about this. All Helga and others are doing is reiterating what they themselves said.

                      Remember, these considerations did not sublimate from the ether but are based on actual incidents and encounters.

            • Disgusted With It says

              What can +Jonah do about this? He has to get the synod’s permission to do anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make him raise his hand to ask to go to the restroom during synod meetings! Of course +Mark finds his support in Miami. +Mark is +Nathaniel’s disciple, and it’s common knowledge about +Nathaniel’s ties to +Mark (retired), his deacon, et al, in Miami. Meanwhile, the puppetmaster remains in the shadows, letting other bishops be the front-men, as the good people of the DOS suffer. This is the “byzantine intrigue” that I thought didn’t take place in the OCA. Or at least that’s what we’re always told. I pray for +Jonah and pray that maybe at least the less senior bishops will step forward to support him with the common sense and Christian ethics that have been lacking.

        • Jacob, the facts you mention answer only the question “where money come from?”, but not the question people are asking here.
          It is clear that Milosh Konjevic and Bishop + Nikon don’t need additional income.

          Does this mean that anybody who have enough money to pay bishop’s salary can impose their decision on whole Diocese? Who made decision that “additional” money should go to Bp. Mark, not to someone else? Has it been discussed with Diocesan Council?

          • Jesse Cone says

            Member makes an interesting point about who is paying +Mark, and then asks some scary questions.

            Does this mean that anybody who has enough money to pay bishop’s salary can impose their decision on whole Diocese? Who made decision that “additional” money should go to Bp. Mark, not to someone else? Has it been discussed with Diocesan Council?

            I have been hearing that these decisions have not been submitted to the diocesan council. Of course, if I haven’t been hearing correctly, this can be easily corrected.

            Milos is a good guy, but this smells fishy.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Helga, in fairness to your question re Milos, the last I talked to him about this matter (about 6 months ago, when I thought it was settled), we agreed to disagree about Bp Mark’s suitability for our Diocese, not his qualifications. Earlier I told Milos that my love and respect for him would remain, regardless of what happens bo Bp Mark or not.

        I still hold to that. Milos is a good man and for my part, I will always be his friend.

        As to whether he is still in Bp Mark’s camp or not, I can’t say as I haven’t been to Dallas in several months (although I do plan to go there next weekend on a family matter). All things being equal, I’d rather hope that there are no partisan divides in the South but the possible inclusion of Bp Mark on the ballot (and the complete ignorance as to who the other candidates are) has caused partisanship to rear its ugly head.

        Someday, I hope to write an essay about the life and legacy of Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory. Milos Konjevich will be a huge part of that story, a huge, positive, and beneficial part of that story. For those of you who are not in the DOS, please pray for us, pray for Bp Mark, and pray that the Holy Spirit sends us the right candidate.

        I myself will pray that Bp Mark find a diocese more suitable to his talents.

        • George, I just find it impossible to reconcile the opposing narratives here.

          How could Bishop Mark ravage St. Seraphim’s, and Archbishop Dmitri say of Bishop Mark that it was like he had no soul, and anyone still want him to be the DOS bishop?

          Either Bishop Mark did *not* ravage the crown jewel of the DOS, and Vladyka did *not* say it was like Bishop Mark didn’t have a soul, or anyone who still wants him to be DOS bishop has seriously questionable judgment.

          • Sdn. Vladimir says

            Sorry, Helga, Vladika +Dmitri really said these words about Bp. Mark to several different people, including me, on numbers of occasions.
            Vladika + Dmitri also said that ” there is no reason to make the Church another “organization”. Church is a body full of love, and if it looses that love than it has no reason to exist”….
            I will newer forget that.

          • BINGO !! “anyone who still wants him to be DOS bishop has seriously questionable judgment.”

            • Stephen, I can tell you’re trying to get me to put down Metropolitan Jonah. It’s not going to work.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                That is not surprising. However, Stephen is simply in agreement with your preceding posting, which does have logical consequences.

                • Supporting someone’s candidacy, and not putting up an opposition to it, are two different things.

                  Milos Konjevich is actively supporting Bishop Mark’s candidacy, not Metropolitan Jonah.

                  The DOS Diocesan [Council] voted to put Bishop Mark on the ballot, Metropolitan Jonah did not put him there.

                  The ball is in the DOS court. All Metropolitan Jonah has done is left it there, having faith, I’m sure, that the Diocese of the South has the collective sense not to elect a carpetbagger.

                  • Helga,

                    When you say the DOS Diocesan Assembly, do you actually mean the DOS Diocesan Council?

                    I think this is what you meant to say, but in fact, a Diocesan Council has nothing to say when it comes to the nomination process for a vacant see. Rather, a Diocesan Council is called upon to agree with the name of a vicar or Auxiliary bishop to a sitting diocesan bishop, in the case of +Dmitri asking for +Jonah to be his bishop of Fort Worth.

                    The action of the Diocesan Council to “put” +Mark on the ballot is non-binding and has no legal authority in the diocese. This does no preclude him from consideration but it is not in any way binding when the Assembly actually meets to nominate.

                    I am not sure if the Diocesan Council was under the impression that they were making a necessary step in the process, If so, they were mistaken and at best +Mark is a vetted candidate, I suppose he has been vetted by the Synod, with, of course, the huge advantage of having a free ticket to campaign for the see of Dallas.

                    I know I may come across as being tough of +Jonah and he may have a much better insight on this, but if +Mark is one of the nominees and his name goes to the Synod there is nothing to stop him from becoming the Bishop of Dallas, even over +Jonah’s objections because other bishops in the OCA have been elected by a private simple majority which then became a public unanimous vote. As you pointed out in your previous comments, +Jonah has been pushed around before by the Synod. What makes you think this time would be any different?

                    I know what +Jonah thinks of +Mark and his candidacy for the South, however I also know that he has said things to people and assured them of his support only to see it evaporate in the face of pressure. More importantly, +Mark knows this too and he is counting on it.

                    I agree, let us not make this about +Jonah, but only +Jonah can make it not about him. That is still in his authority if he properly exercises his responsibilities.

                    Bishop Mark, do the right thing, take your name out of consideration for the DOS and do it now. Spare our diocese any more turmoil.

                    • Jacob, sorry, when I wrote that, I meant “Whatever DOS body that Fr. Justin Frederick was writing to”. I changed it in the post to which you replied.

                      You write,

                      I know I may come across as being tough of +Jonah and he may have a much better insight on this, but if +Mark is one of the nominees and his name goes to the Synod there is nothing to stop him from becoming the Bishop of Dallas, even over +Jonah’s objections because other bishops in the OCA have been elected by a private simple majority which then became a public unanimous vote. As you pointed out in your previous comments, +Jonah has been pushed around before by the Synod. What makes you think this time would be any different?

                      All that is true. However, Bishop Mark is still a long way from being nominated, and there’s still time to throw a wrench into this. I just don’t think it’s fair to demand that Metropolitan Jonah intervene when he may not be able to.

                      Fr. Justin Frederick has already made a brave stand. Other priests and laity from the DOS, particularly from the DFW/St. Seraphim’s area, everyone who knows what kind of person Bishop Mark is, need to stand with him.

                      You say,

                      I know what +Jonah thinks of +Mark and his candidacy for the South, however I also know that he has said things to people and assured them of his support only to see it evaporate in the face of pressure. More importantly, +Mark knows this too and he is counting on it.

                      Unfortunately, it’s true that Metropolitan Jonah has a bad habit of wanting to please everybody. But he’s also exhibited extraordinary courage in the past year. Pray for him.

                      You say,

                      I too have complete faith in the clergy and laity of the DOS and that is why we need to let the Synod know that +Mark is not suitable for the South. Nor is the gerrymandering of the DOS creating a new OCA Diocese of Miami. If +Mark is good enough for Dallas he is not good enough for Miami at this time.

                      I agree completely. Bishop Mark doesn’t need to be a diocesan bishop again for a long time. If any diocese considers him in the future, they will need to get to the bottom of what happened in the Antiochian Diocese of the Midwest, as well as show he is sorry for and not likely to repeat his mistakes in Dallas. The fact that he still thinks of himself as the victim shows a very twisted sense of right and wrong.

              • Jesse Cone says

                Helga, I don’t entirely buy your dichotomy.

                Suppose you know someone in a certain capacity, a professional one. Let’s say they’re a counselor, teacher, or a pastor. You work with them in the office, and whenever you see them you see a well dressed, punctual, and mannerly person. Perhaps you share dislike over someone else in the office.

                If that certain capacity was the lion’s share of your experience with them, you might be hard pressed to believe they were are terrible counselor, pastor, teacher, etc. Moreover, if they should make a bad “judgment call” and claim it was a mistake due to persecution and duress you would be inclined to come to their aid and pity them.

                The problem, in this case, is not that this person has wonky judgment, but that they are tethered to their limited and misleading perspective.

                (P.S. I do NOT think this anecdote corresponds to Met. Jonah’s role.)

                • Jesse, I take your point, but I have to say that’s exactly the kind of character judgment I try to avoid making.

                  This is twice now that Bishop Mark has complained of persecution when there were problems with his leadership. The first time was believable, because there’s nothing really nefarious about wanting independent audits, and Metropolitan Philip’s “auxiliary to the metropolitan” business is just laughable nonsense. As far as I can tell, Bishop Mark’s actions in the Antiochian Diocese of the Midwest were fair and reasonable restrictions aimed at returning wayward parishes to the Gospel, to stop priests from communing non-Orthodox and non-Christians, and putting an end to other betrayals of the faith.

                  However, I have a hard time believing that the St. Seraphim’s community would actively persecute this same man after welcoming him with open arms. It is terribly suspicious for this same thing to supposedly happen twice in two different locations, with very different communities involved.

                  I’m not saying Bishop Mark wasn’t persecuted in the Antiochian Archdiocese, but it does make me speculate that he might have developed a bit of an ego when he was persecuted for doing the right thing, which led him to do the wrong things in Dallas and then get upset when people got up in arms over it.

                  • Bishop Mark also wanted audits and transparency of parish financials…in the Antiochian -Self Ruled by Met.Phillip – Archdiocese of America even mentioning such a thing is the kiss of death…I really liked him then..I lived in Chicago and heard about all the foolishness in Troy..He really seemed to be trying to return the Diocese to an authentic Orthodox Praxis..Don’t forget..the Troy parish is the one that let Jamie Farr..Klinger of Mash fame…sign the Gospel Book when he visited the parish..

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      StephenD, as I’ve mentioned already several times, I supported Bp Mark then when he wanted an audit for the parishes. Transparency and all. That’s why I think we in the DOS should have transparancy as well. We simply don’t know who the candidates are (other than him).

                      And since we’re on the issue of transparancy, how much are we paying him to do nothing but campaign?

              • no I’m not but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck its probably a duck

                • Jesse Cone says

                  According to StephenD “its probably a duck”.

                  Stokoe used both this exact phrase and this line of thinking several times last year to claim things I had first-hand experience were false. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a caricature of something look like a duck — especially when it suits the artist to do so.

                  • No “parishoner” I am not Mr.Stokoe. I used to be a member of a parish in the DOS but I have since joined the local Greek parish

                    • Jesse Cone says

                      You have shown that you can read between the lines, but I hope that my actual point about your argument is understood. (Though I suppose, with your “duck” line of thinking, it would be easy to think that I was making an ad hominem point about your identity. If that had been my point, my error would have proved what was my real point– that a basic similarity can cause one to surmise something erroneous trusting in all the confidence the of the “probability” the “duck” argument entitles one to.)

                    • Yeah, I remember that you switched parishes. I remember why, too.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Helga, I too sense a drive to somehow pin the blame for this on Jonah. Of course HB could short-circuit Mark’s quasi-semi-sort-of-candidacy by not giving him his blessing, but I also believe that HB is a true Christian gentleman who prays for his persecutors. And let’s not fool ourselves, Bp Mark has placed himself squarely in the Stokovite camp. Not only did he leak Fester’s emails to Stokoe (which he admitted), but there’s every indication that he leaked Jonah’s speech about Garklavs’ malfeasance which was to be for the ears of the HS only. (“Jonah in his own words,” by Mark Stokoe –to be read with “chilling” organ music playing in the background and Vincent Price laughing demonically.)

                For me, that’s the major black mark against Mark, with his maladroitness in Dallas being a close second.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Helga, great dichtomy you point out. All I can say for a fact is that yes, St Seraphim’s was ravaged and the fallout was so great that Bp Nikon saw the wisdom of moving Bp Mark post-haste to Miami, and yes, the Venerable Dmitri said that, and more.

            As for “judgment,” I don’t question the sanity or morality of those who are pushing for Mark, at least those who I know personally. I’m willing to extend charity to Mark’s partisans in Florida who have been smitten by him. There are some good reasons why some people think he’d be a good bishop.

            1. He’s already a bishop so somebody in his former jurisdiction vetted him (I suppose).

            2. He’ not really doing anything in Miami except liturgizing. He’s not doing the normal things associated with being a bishop, like administrating, making decisions, hearing cases, assigning priests to new churches, or opening missions. So, there’s been no barometer for the people of the Miami deanery who seem to like him to make an assessment.

            Look at it this way: if my bosses paid me $70K to sit around and do nothing, they’d never hear one complaint about me. As it is, they pay me slightly more but I have to perform. If I make a mistake or piss somebody off, I’ll hear about it. As of now, the cost-benefit ratio of my continued use to them is still on the positive side. If I tip over to the negative, “it’s hasta la vista, baby”, for me.

            And let’s not overlook this fact: sometimes when you move a bad-actor from one location to another, he gets a fresh start and can become a good actor. As I’ve mentioned, I think in time, Florida should be its own diocese. The third time may be the charm for Bp Mark. He might have learned from his mistakes and become a darn good bishop. Right now though is not the time.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Helga, this is all so distressing. Please pray for us in the DOS. And pray for Bp Mark too, that he finds a more suitable position within Christ’s holy Church.

  8. IF and its a big if Bishop Mark becomes the reigning Bishop of the Diocese of the South what will this say about Met.Jonah? He could stop all of this foolishness very quickly. Just tell Bishop Mark to live in his See of Baltimore and quit swanning around the DOS.. I weep of the DOS but more especially for the Beloved Memory of Archbishop Dmitri. This, however, will be Met.Jonah’s doing so what is going on?

    • StephenD,

      As an Auxiliary bishop, +Mark must be approved by Met. Jonah (his bishop) for consideration by the South. +Jonah can inform +Mark and the South that he is not blessing +Mark’s name to be considered for nomination. That stops it right then and there. If +Jonah has approved his name for consideration in the past, he can also remove his name.

      • so? Why hasn’t he? Does he want Bishop Mark to be the Archbishop of the DOS? What does that say about Met.Jonah if he does?

        • A very good question which +Jonah should answer for the good of the DOS if he is allowed to by the Synod.

          • If Bishop Mark becomes the Bishop of the Diocese of the South Met.Jonah will lose all credibility with a lot of people. There are people and I shudder to even consider who they are that will wag their fingers and say “I told you so”. I’m preety sure this could not happen if Met.Jonah did not want it.

  9. Geo Michalopulos says

    EDITOR’S NOTE: In the interest of fairness, I contacted Fr David Moretti of St Cyril of Jerusalem Church in The Woodlands, TX (which hosted Bp Mark). I asked him to confirm whether he got the blessing of Bp Nikon for Bp Mark to go there. He told me that he did and that he actually recorded Bp Nikon’s phone conversation. Although I have not heard the actual recording, I was told by Fr Justin Frederick, the Dean of Dallas that His Grace told him that he did not give verbal permission. As HG is quite sick, it is possible that he misunderstood or forgot when Fr Justin asked him. Regardlss, Fr Justin did not record his own conversation with Bp Nikon.

    So where are we? Your humble correspondent will try to contact Fr David sometime today and wil ask him to play the phone message. If he is so inclined to accept my call. In the meantime, Fr David Moretti, Their Graces and anybody else is welcomed to post their side of the story.

    • Why would Fr David Moretti invite Bp. Mark to The Woodlands? For what purpose if not to show him off? Why didn’t Fr Moretti first call his dean or the DOS chancellor? Did he not contact them first because he knew they would not be in favor of such an invitation?

      This is the same Fr Moretti who was in colusion with +Mark over the Fester email heist. It was Moretti who synced up Fr. Fester’s old phone and discovered that Fester’s private email account was downloading to Moretti’s new phone. Like +Mark, Fr. Moretti said nothing to Fester. For seven weeks they spied on Fester’s emails without contacting him, but they contacted Mark Stokoe.

      George, you may wish to ask Fr. Moretti about his involvement with +Mark in that affair.

    • I really hope Fr. David recorded Bp. Nikon’s permission to record the conversation… otherwise it’s a federal crime. (Not to mention downright crass!)

      Christos Anesti!
      Rd. DC

      • George Michalopulos says

        Rdr David, I should have re-read Fr David’s response to me. If I understand it correctly, Bp Nikon called Fr David and left a message giving his blessing on Fr David’s voice-mail. As such, no laws would have been broken. This of course does not approach the level of normal church protocols regarding episcopal and clerical visits. For one thing, Met Jonah was not contacted nor was the Dean for Texas. The legal standard may have been met, but not the ecclesiological one.

  10. Less than three months away from the special assembly tasked with electing a new bishop of the Diocese of the South, the clergy and faithful of the diocese hear only silence. When one might expect a flurry of announcements and activity, there is nothing.

    Less than three months remain. Who are the candidates? According to the published timeline on the diocesan website, names should have been made public in November of last year. But no viable names have been made known, and no public explanation for the failure to announce any has been offered. The faithful want to know: who are our candidates? Do we have any at all?

    Less than three months remain, and the name of only one candidate is known, that of Bishop Mark, the former administrator of the Diocese of the South. Strange this is, for he was removed after just four months on the job due to his mishandling of the cathedral in Dallas. Strange it is that we hear his name was announced at the diocesan clergy conference in February of this year as a candidate while no names were made public. The faithful want to know: Do we have any other candidates? And why has one been announced while the others, if there are any, remain secret? And most importantly, given his record both in to Diocese of the South and the Antiochian Archdiocese, why is he a candidate at all?

    Less than three months remain to the election, yet the very procedure of the election remains shrouded in mystery. Why? Is it being made up as we go along? How will the voting be done? The faithful would like to know.

    Less than three months remain to the supposed election, and we the faithful begin to wonder whether this is to be a robust, transparent, authentic election or a sham? Only one unpopular candidate is known, no rules, no procedures have been publicly laid out, and rumors swirl like autumn leaves in the wind that the announced candidate is the Holy Synod’s choice for the Diocese of the South regardless of how the diocese’s own delegates vote in July.

    Less than three months from the election, the appearance of a sham election grows. The only known candidate, Bishop Mark, has been visited upon the diocese by the Holy Synod as a ‘guest of the diocese’ since his unfortunate administration of the diocese failed last year. The diocese has been paying this ‘guest’ a generous salary, and he has been traveling about the diocese at diocesan expense. No other candidate has such access. Is the fix in?

    Less than three months remain to the first full-blown episcopal election ever held in the Diocese of the South, and only an erie, disconcerting silence fills the ears of the faithful of the diocese.

  11. Carl Kraeff says

    Here is our problem in the Diocese of the South as I see it. I hasten to add that I have been told very little about the goings on. In our small parish, we have had visits by Archimandrite Meletios Webber and His Grace Mark. We will be visited by Father Peter Heers and Abbot Gerasim. All seem to be potential candidates but I do not know if their visits had anything to do with the See of Dallas.

    Since the Diocesan Assembly will vote on at least one candidate, possibly more, it is likely that Bishop Mark’s name may go forward as one of the nominees, if Metropolitan Jonah approves of his eligibility. It will then be up to the Holy Synod to select our bishop.

    I am somewhat confused by the language of the OCA Statute regarding the election of a diocesan bishop. Article VI, Section 10 says:

    “The election of the diocesan bishop shall proceed as follows:

    1. The Diocesan Assembly shall nominate a candidate and submit his name to the Holy Synod;
    2. If the Assembly falls to nominate a candidate acceptable to the Holy Synod, the Synod shall elect the bishop of the diocese;
    3. Upon the approval of a candidate by the Holy Synod, he shall be summoned to a session of the Holy Synod for the canonical election.”

    My confusion stem from the difference in the nomination process between a diocesan bishop and the Metropolitan. One candidate in the former, but the top two in the latter. In any case, it seems to me that Church protocol would dictate the consideration of at least one qualified and vetted candidate to be considered alongside Bishop Mark. The point I am making is that the DOS nominee must be acceptable to the Holy Synod. May be it is this aspect that has muddied up the waters and slowed down the process, rather than any violation of the agreed upon nomination protocol.

    Finally, it must be pointed out that the persons who will determine our next bishop will be, in descending order:

    – Metropolitan Jonah, who will vote in the Holy Synod and may have to approve of Bishop Mark’s candidacy,
    – The Holy Synod that has to vet prospective candidates and vote on the candidate nominated by the Diocesan Assembly.
    – Individual bishops who may have to approve the candidacy of prospective candidates.
    – The DOS Diocesan Assembly.
    – Priests of the Diocese
    – Parish Councils of the Diocese, assuming that they will somehow be involved in the process.
    – Parish members, who will have a chance to be up and personal with the prospective candidates and let their views known to the Parish Rector and the lay delegate to the Diocesan Assembly.

    The Metropolitan, the Locum Tenens, and the Holy Synod as a whole are the true decision makers in this process. If they want Bishop Mark, he will be our next bishop. If not, he will not be.

    • Bingo. The laity of the DOS have nothing to do with this “process ” except to fund it, of course. Let’s hope that good priests like Fr. Justin will not be steamrolled likewise. I, too, suspect the fix is in. There is one man who could shut down all of this fear, speculation, and chaos right now if he wanted to. He hasn’t.

      The DOS remains orphaned with nobody to look after its best interests–nobody this side of the grave, that is. I think an akathist to Vladyka’s patron saint, Dmitri of Rostov, at the former’s grave in Dallas is in order.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        James P.–It is true that we do not have a town hall meeting structure (like in Switzerland and in New England). However, the laity is able to have its input through the representatives each parish elects for the Diocesan Assembly. I have no problem with the structure that is in place. What I would like to see is a bit more opportunity for the laity to provide informed input to the parish representatives. Thus, I would like each candidate’s biography made available and their interviews made public. In addition, I would like to have the opportunity to meet each candidate, but that to me is the cherry on top and not really a requirement. What I really would like is for my priest (and each priest in the DOS) to be able to work well with the new arch-pastor. The priests are in effect the bishop’s deputies and if they cannot work well together, we will have big problems.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Good points, Carl. In this age of Skype and teleconferencing, there is no excuse why churches can’t get together, look at a flat-panel, and interview candidates. That’s a virtual town-hall.

          Again, we’ve lost 9 months since June 2011. Why haven’t we followed our diocesan protocols?

        • Carl,

          I think you lay out a minimal requirement for a candidate for bishop. “my priest (and each priest in the DOS) to be able to work well with the new arch-pastor. The priests are in effect the bishop’s deputies…”

          Bishop Mark has already shown that he has had problems working with his priests, and the laity, in several scenarios. Given his behavior in the Cathedral parish of St. Seraphim alone, he should be disqualified from candidacy for the DOS episcopate. The fact that he has had a long history of such problems prior to coming to the OCA ought to be a red flag to anyone with the best interests of the OCA or the DOS in mind.

          I pray the the Synod is not working toward dumping a personnel problem that they created on the DOS – as such a move would destroy the DOS and weaken if not destroy the OCA. Not that they haven’t been working diligently toward that end already……

      • Rod Dreher says

        I, too, suspect the fix is in. There is one man who could shut down all of this fear, speculation, and chaos right now if he wanted to. He hasn’t.

        True. How very true. By now, it’s not a surprise.

  12. Carl,

    Christ is Risen!

    The DOS Assembly can present as many names as they would like to, although the Synod is suppose to give vetted candidates to a diocese. However, canonically, there is nothing to stop a diocese from presenting a non-vetted candidate and then the Synod can vet the man. There is not limit to the number of nominees although 1 to 3 nominated candidates is not uncommon. It is the Synod, as the Statute states that elects, the Diocesan Assembly in the case of a vacant diocesan see nominates. The Diocesan Council is not a step in the process. They only would be involved in the case of an Auxiliary bishop. Parishes are involved in that they send delegates to the Diocesan Assembly.

    In this particular case the fact that one candidate, Bishop Mark is being paid by the DOS, is travelling around the DOS at diocesan expense seems to indicate that other possible candidates are at a serious disadvantage. Given his less than positive tenure while DOS Administrator and his inability to administer just one parish, the Cathedral in Dallas, one can question why this Bishop of Baltimore is being paid $70K by the Diocese.

    As stated above the process for the nomination of a diocesan bishop is the Assembly nominate, the Synod elects. The real question is does it really matter if the DOS has an Assembly or has the question of the next bishop for the South already been decided in Dallas, Miami and Syosset? Are we just along for the ride and our so-called local process for getting to know these “other” candidates just a pro-forma sideshow?

    Given the serious discontent with Bp Mark in the DOS and I would not be surprised if we have just seen the tip of the Bishop Mark iceberg, why does this man take money from the DOS and really think he should be our bishop? This is what leads people to speculate if the fix is in.

    BTW, I do own you an answer, I have not forgotten about the Assessment. I will do so on that tread as not to clutter this one up or distract us from our current topic.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Indeed He is risen!

      I do realize that the language of the Statute does not prohibit the submission of more than one name to the Holy Synod. However, the DOS Assembly is empowered by the Statute to submit just one candidate, who may be selected by whatever majority requirement that the Assembly decides to apply. I just do not see any detailed instructions on how the voting should take place in a Diocesan Assembly; thus, it will be up to the Assembly to make that determination when it meets. Obviously, a nomination by acclamation is much stronger than a majority vote; I am just exploring the possibilities here. As a DOS lay person, I would like to see ONE nominee sent up. I would like that nominee to have been selected by a strong majority (may be even a 67% of the total) but I can abide a 50% plus one vote.

      Another thing to consider is the fact that DOS is the crown jewel and must have a good bishop, who is a good leader and manager of his deputy bishops–the priests. He must have good health and physical stamina; he must be a servant-leader; he must be an outstanding communicator; he must be a pious person; and he must be committed to the Great Commission. Otherwise, the DOS will just limp along and the OCA will go down the tubes.

      • The Assembly can vote to send one nomination or more in its rules. It can also as part of that process send a no confidence vote regarding Bishop Mark. This could be ruled out of order by the chair, not a good political move, but they could then offer a non-binding resolution to the Synod as part of a sense of the whole.

        Your requirements for the DOS bishop are good, keep the bar as high as possible. However they would I think disqualify +Mark from the get go. While others being considered have no proven track record as a bishop, he does and it is not a good one. He has proven to many that he is not a worthy successor to Archbishop Dmitri.

        • A Remnant says

          Or they could no bill everyone and send a resolution forward to merge the Diocese of Washington and DOS.

          Novel thought!

  13. Please, let us remember that the Synod did not validate the election of +Demios of blessed memory to an episcopate in Canada. That was good news for those of us in the South. I looked around a bit after hearing nothing about the other candidates on the slate, but being told by a usually reliable source, that there are three on it. It looks to me that Met. Melitious (?) Webber may also be a candidate. That same usually reliable source stated that all three candidates have baggage that they would bring with them.

    • That could explain why Father Melitous Webber was here at the local OCA parish four weeks ago..He is a protege of Met.Kalistos Ware.

  14. George wrote “And since we’re on the issue of transparancy, how much are we paying him to do nothing but campaign”

    I agree with you..a complete waste of money. It is also odd that he is in Miami when he is the Bishop of Baltimore. Met.Jonah should order him to Miami as he is Met.Jonah’s auxillary.

  15. This is off-topic, but I read somewhere on this thread (can’t find it, but I’m sure I did) that Muslims are regularly communed “on the quiet” in the Antiochian Archdiocese because they are “Arab brothers and sisters”? If they were secret Christians I could understand but practicing Muslims? Simply on the basis of ethnicity? You know, in the liberal Protestant churches they are at least debating whether to commune unbaptised Christians, but the Orthodox are actually communing non-Christians! Do the bishops condone this practice? I don’t raise the matter flippantly; I’m really shocked that this could take place. I can’t imagine the Russians routinely communing Buddhists or Taoists in the Far East or Muslims in the south simply because of ethnic/family ties.

    • I think it happens if the Muslim is married to an Orthodox Christian…how that could happen with a Crowning I do not understand..I didn’t think Orthodox Christians could marry non-christians. Of coarse things are never very clear in the Antiochian – Self Ruled by Met.Phillip – Archdiocese of America..

    • Basil, I don’t think it is a strictly ethnic matter, the typical justification is because when they married, the two became “one flesh”, so therefore the spouse is still somehow “sanctified” by that.

      As to how they got married to begin with, my guess would be either the Christian was a Maronite or EC when they married, or the rule was not followed.

      I believe this is an issue the forthcoming worldwide council will have to address. Obviously there has been a major breakdown within the Patriarchate of Antioch, as a number of abuses of traditional discipline for Holy Communion have come to light in their jurisdiction (both in the Old Country and the new), and they do not appear interested in doing anything to rectify the situation.

      • Helga, my understanding of the Syro-Lebanese culture is that it is more laissez faire regarding confessional differences. I’ve heard that Muslims and Christians intermarry all the time. It’s not canonical by any means but I guess that one can “wink” it away as a cultural anomaly. However communing non-baptized people in the interests of cultural cohesion is way more problematic. I think that Bp Mark was right to address the issue.

        As for this being rectified by a council, I doubt it given the cultural landscape in the Middle East. Anyway, it’s on the books right now and has been for centuries, so I don’t know why it would be enforced in the future simply because a new council said so.

        I guess that’s one more reason I’d rather not have a council convened in the first place.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Basil remarks: “I read somewhere on this thread (can’t find it, but I’m sure I did) that Muslims are regularly communed “on the quiet” in the Antiochian Archdiocese because they are “Arab brothers and sisters”? If they were secret Christians I could understand but practicing Muslims?”

      This calumny has been answered repeatedly. There are NO recognized instances in which this has happened.

      What does happen, from time to time, is that Muslims are baptized quietly into an Antiochian parish, in order to prevent possible retaliation against family members in the Middle East.

      • It wasn’t my intention to repeat a calumny, Fr Patrick.
        I was honestly shocked to hear this – there aren’t any Antiochians in my neck of the woods so I have no way to evaluate the claim except to ask others. I sincerely hope your statement is correct.

      • I truly hope that you have put this issue to rest Fr Patrick. As for myself, I too have heard it from two different sources, so I bought it hook, line, and sinker. Much later though, whenever I asked these sources where they heard it from, the answer was always the same: Mark Stokoe and OCAN. So we all got it from one source utlimately and repeated it among ourselves as fact.

        Not to say that Stokoe was necessarily wrong in relying on his own sources within the AOCNA (Bishop Mark perhaps?) and then printing them as truth. The question is: why? What did it matter to Stokoe –who was an executive within the OCA–what the heck the Antiochians were doing? Is it possible that Bp Mark was secretly raising issues within AOCNA in order to bolster his case against the railroading job that Philip was doing to him?

        I wonder, how much other stories are out there which have congealed into “fact” thanks to the reportage of OCAN?

        • StephenD says

          I’ve heard it too…of coarse we can always bring up the concept of audits and financial accountability in the Antiochian – Self Ruled by Met.Phillip -Archdiocese of North America.or letting a priest marry a second time after ordination..Bishop Mark had lots of problems with the “ethnic” parishes and in Fort.Wayne,Indiana in the Diocese of Toledo. Lets hope this wasn’t one of them

  16. Thanks all for your responses; what a sad and perplexing situation.
    One clarification, George – Islam and Christianity are different religions, not different confessions.
    But if, as you say, confessional differences are routinely ignored in the Antiochian patriarchate and NA archdioce, am I then to assume that if/when a Lebanese or Syrian Orthodox marries a non-Orthodox Christian – say a Baptist*, the non-Orthodox spouse is admitted to communion without conversion (or insert the Catholic/Protestant denomination of your choice)? If yes, then I beg to differ – this would appear to be a practice a Council should consider addressing & rectifying.

    • Prospective Nomad No Longer says


      I have seen Eastern-rite Catholics and non-Chalcedonians (Egyptians and Ethiopians) receive communion in Antiochian churches, but no other heterodox. I share the view expressed by others on this forum that the canons need to be enforced. I don’t think the problem is getting any worse than it’s been for awhile, however.

    • I think putting ethnic solidarity (and/or a heretical anthropology) over the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an issue worth addressing in council and, if necessary, breaking communion over.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Yes, I do agree with you Helga. It’s just that I don’t think that the assembled patriarchates would have the fortitude to break communion with Antioch over its laxity in this regard. Thus, by not breaking communion, we would be acceeding to its ethnolatary. But my larger point remains: aren’t we accepting it at present?

  17. Geo Michalopulos says

    Point taken Basil. As for your question regarding marriage of an Arab Orthodox with a non-Orthodox Christian, I don’t know. Perhaps somebody else on this blog does.

    Forgive me though for sounding like a Johnny One-note regarding the necessity of addressing this issue on a conciliar basis. Here’s my essential beef: every Orthodox patriarchate is going to bring some baggage into such an assembly. The chances of wagging the dog by one church is really quite great I’m afraid. I simply don’t believe that there’s going to be a lot of unanimity (although I hope to be wrong). Instead, we’ll get something far worse –mealy-mouthed exegeses that contain in every other paragraph a “even so, but…” In other words, the confusion would be amped up rather than the problem addressed.

    Look, in an ideal world, we’d need a council to address the calendar issue, reception of converts, marriages, etc. I just think that there are too many hidden agendas and at the end of the day, the typical escape-hatch that has so far allowed the various patriarchates to bail out of adhering to the canonical norms. Right now, we’re talking about the See of Antioch. I’m sure others can find major canonical irregularities in the Sees of C’pole, Alexandria, Greece, Cyprus, Russia, etc.

  18. Helga says:
    May 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm
    Just to clarify, I do not think Bishop Mark is an appropriate candidate for DOS bishop, and that he ought to drop out or be removed from the ballot. I just don’t think it’s fair to blame Met. Jonah for staying out of the whole thing.

    Helga, you make an interesting point, at least to me, about the candidacy of +Mark. Why doesn’t +Mark inform his bishop, Met. Jonah, like LBJ “I will not seek nor will I accept the nomination of my party for President of the United States.”

    So simple, so clean, so clear and so right of him to do.

  19. StephenD says

    Is Bishop Mark still getting a salary from the Diocese of the South or has he moved to his See in Baltimore,Maryland?

  20. StephenD,

    Yes. +Mark is still being paid the stipend of Bishop Nikon and a stipend out of the pocket of a DOS officer. No, he has not moved to Baltimore.

    +Mark has been proposed as the next rector of STS by his long-time friend, Fr Alexander Atty, the dean of STS. This proposal went over like a lead ballon at the recent STS Board of Trustees meeting, however the STS Board has no authority over who the rector of the seminary might be.

    The Synod is not going to do anything with +Mark until after the July DOS Assembly and the nomination(s) for the vacant See of Dallas. +Mark still has strong support in pockets of Florida (Miami) who will nominate him.

    The DOS Assembly must after they have voted, and if Fr Gerasim has a clear majority, then move to make the vote unanimous and send only his name to the synod. In the face of that move, the synod dare not oppose the South.

    We can only hope that soon the DOS will be rid of this cleric, once and for all. However the OCA is still not free of this thief. He is not worthy of any position in the OCA and young seminarians should not be put in a position to be influenced by him. Ever!

    • StephenD says

      I agree….if I were a tithing member of the DOS and one thing that is very strong, thanks to Archbishop Dmitri of Blessed memory in the DOS, is tithing ,I’d be very unhappy that any of my offering would be going to Bishop Mark.. On the other hand there are people who are not happy with only one choice and some are starting to be concerned about Father Gerasim. Some feel he needs to go into more depth about his relationship with HOOM and Fr.Herman, Father Gleb and Bishop Pangriotos..

      • I agree. Fr. Gerasim needs to answer questions about his HOOM background. Those answers need to be honest even if they are not pleasant. The assessment of Fr Gerasim needs to be who he is now and how he can take the DOS and move it into the future in a very uncertain OCA.

        Archbishop Dmitri was not too positive about Fr. Gerasim a few years ago, but that was before he went to SVS for three years and apparently distinguished himself as a student.

        I am afraid that if the DOS balks at Gerasim, the synod will just put +Mark in as the bishop and use as their defense “you need a bishop, +Mark is a bishop, he was the choice of +Jonah, therefore, he is your new bishop.”

        Let’s be clear, the synod still wants +Mark to be the Bishop of Dallas. It will be up to the DOS to make the case that if +Mark becomes our bishop, the DOS will suffer. The Cathedral in Dallas will implode and a compromised fiscal St. Seraphim Cathedral will ripple throughout the DOS, especially now that is highly leveraged supporting missions in the area.

        We know that +Mark is the problem and not the solution for the DOS. Is Gerasim the answer? No one really knows the answer to that question, this side of the Kingdom.

      • Michael Bauman says

        StephenD says:

        On the other hand there are people who are not happy with only one choice and some are starting to be concerned about Father Gerasim. Some feel he needs to go into more depth about his relationship with HOOM and Fr.Herman, Father Gleb and Bishop Pangriotos..


    • Michael Bauman says

      Nikos, what is so important about Fr. Gerasim’s HOOM background? What is important is the state of the person now. St. Cyprian for instance was an occultist who cast demonic spells on folks. St. Moses the Ethiopian a murderer and robber. The list goes on and on. Any convert has theological, soeteriolgical and praxis problems of which they must repent — just to live in the Church at all. All of us, even those of us in good standing, have similar problems right now.

      There are hundred’s of good people in the OCA with HOOM backgrounds. Are you going to seek them all out and see if they come up to your standards? How long must one be in the Church before one’s ‘background’ is no longer considered? Is not Christ’s mercy and forgiveness sufficient?

      Whatever hetrodox and/or heretical teachings the HOOM might have entertained, it seems that Fr. Gerasim changed his mind about them and, I’ll bet, his heart as well or he would not even be in the position he is.

      His background is just a red herring or just another excuse to go on a soul destroying scapegoating binge. Hasn’t the OCA had enough of those?

      The pertinent questions I would ask: Do you believe fully in the Creed and why? Do you support and will you propogate the traditional moral and spiritual teachings of the Church including the use of spiritual discipline when necessary? Will you work with your priests to help them gain greater, more solid spiritual formation in an Orthodox manner? Will you be open to the wounds and the joys of all of the people in the DOS and help them heal and grow closer to Christ? Will you support and instigate creative ways to evangelize your diocease? Will you be open and honest in the financial dealings? Will you work with other jurisdictions that have parishes in your diocese to strengthen the whole Orthodox witness?

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Michael, I completely agree with you. Nothing angers me more anymore than this incessant carping about things like HOOMs. I’ve personally met HOOMs people who have embraced Orthodoxy and they are some of the most spiritual, kindest, and orthopractic folks I’ve ever met. Heck, way back when, I knew a couple who to my knowledge never became Orthodox (or anything) and I was mightily impressed by their Christ-like demeanor.

        • Michael Bauman says

          George, yes…and some of them were narcisstic lovers of the occult but those folks didn’t come into the Church.

          They are in the Church because they love God and the Church (Greeks, Antiochians, Serbs, Patriarchal Bulgarian, ROCOR as well as OCA) and want to struggle against the passions in an Orthodox manner hoping to learn virtue in the process. If that disqualifies a person from being a bishop, God help us all.

        • Ken Miller says

          I never heard of HOOMs until I read this thread, but reading on Wikipedia, it is by far not the worst background to come to Orthodoxy from. Like Palamas, they believe that the light at the transfiguration was not created, but rather a preexistent light that was perceived by Spiritual eyes. Like Palamas, they believe that we can encounter that light by eradicating the ego (similar to what Palamas calls “the way of humility.”) I’m sure they have some heterodox beliefs also, but it would seem to be an advantage to come to Orthodoxy from that background (or even from Buddhism) than from Atheism or from many other religions which are farther from the inner stillness that leads to Christ.

      • Michael,

        I think you need to re-read what I wrote and not simply respond to my first sentence. I make a point of giving full credit for who Fr Gerasim is now. The fact that some may have questions about his past are all part of the vetting process and Fr. Gerasim should be eager to answer any questions that can shed light on, and in particular, his relationship with the discredited Fr. Herman of Platina. Personally, I don’t have any problem with him as a candidate.

        As far as OCA scapegoating, that will end when the laity stand up and say enough is enough. Don’t wait for the bishops to stop it, they are too far invested in score settling and protecting their “reputations.” I will now descend my soapbox.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          What would Nikos want to know about Father Gerasim’s relationship withe the deposed, former Hegumen, and now layman, Herman (Gleb) Podmoshchensky? What questions would he put to Father Gerasim?
          “Did you like him?” “Did you think that he was a heretic?” I’m curious about what light needs to be shed that has not been shed?
          Oh, I know!!! He wants to ask Father Gerasim if he would, please, “breathe and spit” on Herman in front of Nikos and his friends personally!!!! Shed light, indeed!
          By the way, Father Gerasim did not just graduate from SVS: he graduated Summa Cum Laude at the head of his class.
          If we want to assume guilt until proved innocent, why not ask Bishop Mark if he knew of any Antiochene Hierarchs or prominent Laymen who were Freemasons, and what light can he shed on the topic of Freemasonry?
          Why not ask ANY candidate if he can shed any light on his opinion of the Bishop Mark Forsberg/Archdeacon Gregory Burke service in Miami? Why go back to antedeluvian days in Father Gerasim’s life and act as if CURRENT problematic factors in the life of the OCA and its Episcopate and parishes, including the Miami parish, did not exist?

          • Your Grace,

            Exactly. I don’t want Fr Gerasim to be painted with the brush of guilt by association. Heaven knows that is the way of the OCA these days. Lord knows the compromised OCA leadership and could benefit from a tested, educated monastic member.

            For me it is simple? Does the man love God? Will his life be a sacrifice to God for the salvation of his flock? For the candidate, is it all about God or all about him? I trust that the faithful of the South will know the answers to these and other questions as they meet Fr. Gerasim and get to know him.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              I think you’ve crystallized what really needs to be said Niko.

            • Michael Bauman says

              If your motives are as straight forward as you claim, Nikos, why even bring up the question? It is a poisonous question.

              • Michael,

                I don’t believe that asking a question is “poisonous” unless the person being asked the question has something to hide. I don’t think Fr Gerasim has anything to hide. The question is being asked in the DOS. Bringing it up here is not novel. Better to get this issue out of the way so that the DOS can concentrate on the much more important questions. Can he lead? Can he take the diocese and move it to the next level? Is a person who can inspire people to offer move of their lives to Christ? Is he someone we can follow without reservation?

                It may be that some in OCA leadership don’t like to asked questions. I hope that Fr Gerasim is not one of them, now or ever.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  It is a poisonous question becasue it is more than a bit like “When did you stop beating your wife?” or “Are you now or have you ever been a communist?”

                  The question is an accusation, seeks no real answer and has no real substance.

                  • Sorry. The question of his relationship in Platina is out there. I am not making any accusation. He does have a past and as a result he has left a trail which only he can answer. I would not write anything that did not have real substance.

                    If, on the other hand, you wish to simply disregard this, you are free to do so.

                    • Michael Bauman says


                      I would not write anything that did not have real substance.

                      Wow, that is quite a claim that puts you outside the ability of every other human being who has ever lived on this planet except Jesus Himself. Your discernment must be quite great. If your discernment is that great, why do you need any questions, why, indeed to you bother with us poor mortals? I am sure you did not really mean that did you?

                      Just because ‘the question is out there’ does not mean it is a valid, necessary or instructive question. There are many ‘questions that are out there’ that are simply silly. “Why is there air?” As Bill Cosby once observed “any P.E. major knows why there is air. Air is to blow up basketballs, footballs, volleyballs…” Other questions ‘out there’, as I suggested above are slanderous.

                      I’m sure the ‘question was out there’ as to why St. Paul persecuted Christians. Once he’d been in the Church a year or so, no one really asked it after that.

                      I whole heartedly agree with His Grace Bishop Tikhon:

                      What questions would he put to Father Gerasim?
                      “Did you like him?” “Did you think that he was a heretic?” I’m curious about what light needs to be shed that has not been shed?
                      Oh, I know!!! He wants to ask Father Gerasim if he would, please, “breathe and spit” on Herman in front of Nikos and his friends personally!!!! Shed light, indeed!

                      The question is simply a method of attempting to discredit anyone who ever held a positive thought about the work and person of Fr. Herman before he went off the rails and still wanted, out of mercy and love to honor both the goodness of the work and the honest faith of the person. By extension it is part of the effort to continue the unconscionable attack on Met. Jonah.

                      Besides, from what I understand Fr. Gerasim’s contact was peripheral at best.

                      “…on the other hand, you wish to simply disregard this, you are free to do so.”

                      To ignore and be silent in the face of slander is to acquiese to it.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Niko, I’m with Michael on this one. If I had to be responsible for every vain and foolish thought/action/whatever then I would have no hope and the flames of hell await me.

                      We cradle Orthodox forget that some of our saints were not so saintly. I seriously doubt any of us who happened to find ourself in 10th cent BC Israel would have been so kindly disposed to Kings David or Solomon. Some of what the Prophets did was absolutely scandalous.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            It’s interesting you should bring up the Freemason angle Your Grace. The more I study about it, the more I realize it’s –how shall we say–problematic relationship to Christianity? And yet the GOA and AOCNA is chock-full of Freemasons.

            • StephenD says

              My father was episcopalian and was a Mason..when I was a teenager I was put into Demolay which is the Junior Masons…it was so boring…My priest found out and told my mother that if I continued in Demolay that I would be excommunicated so I was promptly pulled out…my father accepted this…I’ve met many Antiochian Orthodox members of the Masons who argued with me when I told them I was foreced out of Demolay becasue I was Orthodox…

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, I suspect it is not a directive that is actively enforced, but when I was coming into the Church some 25 years ago, my priest had a letter from Met. Philip on his bulletin board that specifically directed priests in the Antiochian Archdiocese not to commune Masons/Shriners. It was a letter that Met. Philip sent out to all of the priests and was quite clear–don’t do it!

      • Ken Miller says

        Cyprian was not an occultist after his conversion. Any sin can be purged through repentance.

        It raises a question that maybe someone can answer for me. In Russia, popular culture not only has roots in Orthodoxy, but also satanic activities such as spells and curses. Does anyone know whether there has ever been a case in which someone who has cast a spell or a curse has ever been admitted to communion in Russia without proper repentance and change of behavior? To state the obvious, use of spells or magic is just as evil (or more so) as the sexual sins we deal with here in the US.

  21. Roddy Diaz says

    Several of us have met with Abbott +Gerasim recently and were impressed with him.