Why Would They Do This?

In its quest to find something — anything — in their obsessive quest to destroy His Beatitude, operatives in Syosset found an old rape allegation, not against Jonah mind you, but against a priest who happened to be living in Washington. This priest was never in the OCA. They wrote an inept and irresponsible letter with the false charge that Jonah covered up the alleged rape. The letter calls into question their veracity, intentions, and intelligence. They have thrown the OCA into a crisis of the highest order and show no signs of stopping.

Even worse, they never considered that in their Ahab-like quest to destroy His Beatitude, they would hurt another human being.

Yesterday I published a letter form this woman’s godmother, who wished to set the record straight. I applaud her courage. The family of the victim took umbrage at Syosset’s scurrilous claim and determined that the victim’s experience would not be used to destroy another innocent person. The record has been clarified and Syosset’s story is demolished.

The facts are now in circulation. No more needs to be said about this incident. In order to protect the people involved, all comments that mention this incident will be removed. They have suffered enough.

At this point, the broader, more troubling question is this: what new and scurrilous accusations will these same operatives bring forward in order to further blacken the name of our Metropolitan? When will they realize that enough is enough?

About GShep


  1. No, it is NOT over. It won’t be until Metropolitan Jonah is publicly exonerated on OCA.org and in every news outlet that has carried the scandalous claims.

    • The synod is NOT going to admit, they were wrong, or that they are doing any damage or anything else. So, the real question is,: How do we stop THEM from what seems like their own forward march to hell.

    • Oh its over. Jonah is gone and resigned. He won’t get another Diocese just a nice retirement in the monastery. Even his cheerleaders will soon grow tire of the useless shouting. Perhaps we can all just look forward to who are next Metropolitan will be and pray for the good of the OCA.

      Be kind of funny if they pick Bishop Mark.

      • Be even funnier if they pick Metropolitan Jonah. Boo-yah!

        • Helga, its “Hoo Yah!” You go Girl!

          • Ronda Wintheiser says


            I don’t believe she was quoting Al Pacino. I think she was quoting Ron Stoppable. 🙂

            Ron Stoppable is Kim Possible’s buddy. (Do you know that cartoon?)

            Ron Stoppable says “Boo yah”, which is an exclamation of joy and triumph. 🙂

      • Sdn Joseph Wynn says


        2011 at St Seraphim during the Great Fast, prior to Vladika’s repose; Sdn Michael and I asked Vladika “What should we do?” This question related to the problems with +Mark, etc. Vladika Dmitri’s response to us was “if you don’t fight, you will lose it all.” Perhaps his words were more forward thinking than we thought at the time? There were many things he told us during the last few months of his life, most I will never forget.

        Jonah may indeed be done, etc., but to simply sit back and let what ever happens happen without putting up a fight and demanding that the wrong(s) be set right and the truth be put forth would be a VERY wrong decision. I hope that your opinion is not followed by the majority.

        The Lord Bless You!

        Sdn Joseph

      • Michael Bauman says

        James, unfortunately, you do not understand the dynamics of scapegoating. Once a scapegoat is identified and driven from the community, there is a period of relief and calm that finally, we can get back to normal but lo, soon another scapegoat is identified and the community must be purified once again.

        That is the way it works. The repetitive identification of scapegoats is the normal. The constant uproar and fighting.

        You have to fight against it, but how do you fight the irrational fear and willful blindness the drives the phenomenon? You constantly ask for and demand the truth of the situation absent personalities and the sins and mistakes. You refuse to be drawn into the gottcha came of revelation and condemnation. You refuse to attack others but you also do not give in to the attacks against you.

        If there are enough people in the OCA who want the truth and demand it in love and peace. The truth will be revealed. If most are like you, and ‘glad its over’ all hell will continue to be unleashed in the OCA until it is destroyed.

        • Well, that would be relevant if Jonah was a scapegoat. Unfortunately, despite his many wonderful pastoral gifts, Jonah is simply not cut out for administration- at least in the eyes of his brothers. From what they write (and I’m sure there are many many more instances that they have chosen not to mention) they seem to have a pretty good case. In any event, the long effort to make Jonah’s metropolitanship work , which began long before the eruption in Santa Fe, is now over.

          The resignation has been received and that ends the matter. Now is the time to move forward and look towards the election of our new metropolitan. And Mark wouldn’t be all that bad of a choice- where Jonah was the better pastor, Mark is the better administrator. The job requires administrative knowledge. Really wouldn’t rule him out. Though I could think of several others among the Bishops who wouldn’t make a bad metropolitan.

          The Church will survive, just as it survived the Iconoclasts and the Communists. Its just time to move on.

          • Michael Bauman says

            James, the fact that Met. Jonah has several identifiable deficits makes him a better scapegoat. There is always a reason for expunging the community of such people. It is just that the reason stated is never the full story. Such activity is really tough to see from the inside. It is even tougher to stick to a
            attitude and behavior that keeps you from being drawn into it. Still harder to find the courage, humility and love necessary to act in a healing manner. Today’s Epistle has some words of wisdom on the point however:

            Brethern, we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let eah of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please Himself; but, as it is written. ‘The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell on me.’ For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in acord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:1-7

            I think it is not uncharitable to recognize that the Synod did not exactly welcome Met. Jonah as Christ has welcomed us. Neither did, apparently Met. Jonah welcome them. It just strikes me that more than anything else this is a bit like the chief nerdo-geek of the school was suddenly thrust into the uber-cool set not only as a member but as the head. The coolies didn’t like it and found a way to get the geek out.

            Still, the spirit is one of scapegoating: “if we just get rid of so-and-so everything will be fine. We can go on about our business.” The last part is, to me, reflected in your posts. Unfortunately, it just ain’t so.

        • Brian McDonald says

          I see that you, too, Michael must be an admirer of the thought of Rene Girard. Your words are also a reminder that those of us who are worried about certain OCA cultural trends be vigilant to ensure our fundamental motivation is that of truth and not that of demanding our own set of scapegoats.

          We are skeptical of Syosset and need, if not the full truth, at least a lot more than we are getting, and truth shared in an open, forthright and credible manner. Can we maintain that insistent spirit firmly yet peaceably and not fall into our own brand of scapegoating? It’s so darn hard to remember that the most important sinner we have to get straightened out is ourselves–while also not forgetting that we sometimes have to request an accounting from others. Doing that without turning them into “enemies” and scapegoats for our own wrath is difficult, but St. Paul reminds us that “our war is not with mortal flesh, but with principalities and powers. . . the rulers of this world’s darkness.”

          • Michael Bauman says

            Brian, althought I have heard good things about Rene Girard, I’ve never read him. My comments are drawn from living through a scapegoating that destroyed a small non-Orthodox community as well as friendships and marriages. It is the result of a couple of decades of being in the Church and reflecting on my failures at the time.

            Your analysis of my meaning, however, is spot on. May God grant you and others the strength and discernment to act in a manner conducive to healing.

  2. Harry Coin says

    George, if “this priest was never in the OCA”, as you write, please give the facts about him. Certainly he was seen offering the liturgy and doing confessions in Met. Jonah’s DC church in early 2010, this is beyond any doubt. So, explain how that can be so and your statement at the same time?

    • Harry,

      You are so sorely mistaken that I can’t believe you are so dense. Really.

      This monk was never a priest in the OCA. EVERY. NOT ONE DAY.

      He never heard confessions in the DC Cathedral, where did you get that pile or crap? He was a monk in 2010. He was ordained a priest AFTER Jonah disassociated himself from the man. He was not ordained in the OCA. He was ordained by someone else in 2011 and did not show up again until the DC Monastery was accepted into ROCOR.

      Do you finally get it. Where are you getting such lies? Who is feeding you this crap? The Orthodox Forum? Get your facts straight before you post here again.

      Do you get it?

      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        He did hear confessions at St. Nicholas. In fact, he scandalized some people by hearing them sitting down. I believe he was already a priest when he came to us. We certainly treated him as one.

        • Rod Dreher says

          Thanks, Deacon Patrick, for bringing this information to light. Amos, no need to personalize this vs Harry. This is a complex situation, and high emotion is not likely to get us closer to the truth.

          I don’t believe as a moral matter, and possibly not as a legal matter, that Jonah can stand on the “he was not officially received into the OCA” point as an absolute self-defense for his conduct in the Fr. Symeon situation. As you know, I don’t find the Synod’s allegations credible **at this point** — but I do find plausible the allegation that Jonah did not take the Symeon situation as seriously as he ought to have done.

          Plausible is not the same thing as truthful. Jonah may not have received Symeon officially into the OCA, but he let the creep live around and serve in the cathedral, unofficially. What did Jonah know about him, when did he know it, and what actions did he take with that knowledge? We all need to know this. If Jonah was truly lax about this cretin Symeon, then I applaud the Synod for its action. If the Synod has used a version of this story to smear and overthrow Jonah, then we need to know that.

          • Clare Voyant says

            And if its a mix of motives? (Like life usually is?)

          • Bill Christensen says

            He “Let the creep live around and serve in the cathedral”. Is +Jonah supposed to police the cathedral all the time—-and check where he lives too??? Gimme a break. Was +jonah even around??

          • Fr. Philip says

            Dear Fr. Patrick,

            If people were “scandalised” by a priest hearing confessions while sitting down, they are being remarkably uncharitable to those of us who are older (and, on some days, feel like we’re 10 years older than God). They are also apparently unaware that in some places on this planet, the priest being seated is a practice equally acceptable, not the exception, as one can see in one of the illustrations in the recently-published English translation of the Exomologetarion. Most importantly, if they’re getting so upset about something so picayune, they might want to examine themselves as to whether or not they might be suffering from a critical spirit. With all of the sin and certifiable insanity in the life of the Church these days, they’re scandalised by that?

            Fr. Philip

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Actually, Father, the person scandalized was nearly 70. The Priest Who Shall Not Now Be Named is less than half his age.

        • Then I stand corrected on the point of him hearing confessions. I apologize.

        • Harry Coin says

          I see the fellow who uses his name agrees with me, while the fellow who does not and swears as well is displeased. Look, we need to get to the truth here and timelines are the way to do it. ‘Amos’ plainly has deep knowledge of a narrative including dates and times. These are in conflict with other views seen right here. Let’s get past the name calling and ’tis ‘taint: put your cards on the table. I say the man was brought here by Met. Jonah, and taken under Met. Jonah’s wing as one with special struggles Met. Jonah’s letter in 2011 describes. He was blessed to act in every way as the people are given to see clergy act. There may exist paperwork quibbles– but where I live what the people see and experience daily is everything. If a fellow is giving a liturgy and hearing confessions, and not for one week as he’s passing through but for weeks and weeks, to the point of living in the town in an apartment, I’m thinking, you know, he’s a priest blessed to do that.

          • Harry,

            This man was not a priest in the OCA ever. He reappeared in DC when the nuns where under ROCOR. The crucial timeline is when did Jonah know about the allegations? That was not until 2012. Thus Jonah did not know. Thus the question still is how did Jonah act once he was fully aware of this man’s alleged criminal act? Jonah cuts his ties with the man. The fact that this man was at the DC cathedral to hear confessions, which was not a smart move if Jonah blessed it, but does not change the fact that the man was a priest of ROCOR.

            Bottom line, did Jonah knowingly coverup the fact?

            Dn. Patrick can answer this better than I. Was he hearing confessions from random people at the Cathedral?

            • Harry Coin says

              The whole ‘he was never a priest in the OCA’ narrative here has just been blown up. A person on the Orthodox forum posted a translation: His previous bishop approved the request of Met. Jonah for him to come here. It’s the form of the bishop affirming the release documents of the abbot. No doubt remains. It’s over.

              • Harry,

                Not blown up at all. Yes there was a request. Yes he was released, but Jonah never accepted him into the OCA. Please produce the letter with Jonah’s signature accepting him into the OCA and assigning him somewhere.

                Can you do that Harry? If not, you are as bad as the folks in Syosset who may have taken that bit of paperwork and extrapolated it to the illogical conclusion you reached. It would not surprise me at all. When bloodlust is afoot people make mistakes.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Harry, you’re very mistaken. I’ve read that email. In it, Jonah states very clearly that this priest was never in the OCA. You’re going to have to do better than that.

                Be looking for more on this, as I will take it apart even easier than I took apart the synodal letter.

                Not that it matters of course. Certain people (you of course excluded, Harry) believe in the religion of Jonah’s instability and/or criminality. Nothing will dissuage them from believing otherwise. You might as well Tom Cruise that the Thetans never existed.

                • Harry Coin says

                  No, read it more carefully .

                • Besides, Harry,

                  That information was totally debunked by a ROCOR priest posting on the O.F. No letter of acceptance and assignment = not accepted into the OCA. That’s how it works.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Ah, ‘Amos’, was it Jonah’s signature on the paperwork requesting release TO HIM? Why yes it was. Was it the abbot’s signature on the release documents to Jonah citing the approval of the Metropolitan, why yes it was. Was it the Abbott’s document citing the Metroplitans’ approval approved in the Metropolitan’s minutes? According to that same priest you prefer to believe: Yes it was. Did the one in question then appear as those documents in the Greek records said he would in the USA? Yes he did. Did Jonah later suspend him in writing? Documents show this. So, he was in the OCA. Not for too long. What else do you need? Violins?

                • M. Stankovich says

                  I attempted to post the letter – to which I believe Mr. Coin refers – that approved the priest’s transfer at the specific request of former Metropolitan Jonah. Apparently Mr. Michalopulos has needed all day to “moderate” its single paragraph, lest anyone observe it for themselves. Several on the OF have suggested Mr. Michalopulos has his own reasons for “moderating” the letter – as Mr. Coin notes, “the whole ‘he was never a priest in the OCA’ narrative here has just been blown up” – but the point is moot in that should you wish to determine this for yourself, you will not be allowed to do so here.

              • I have read the extract from the minutes and the text of Met. Jonah’s email, and can only come to the sad conclusion that Harry Coin doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

                This is how it’s gone:

                Synod: “He was in the OCA!”
                Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell: “He was never in the OCA.”
                Harry: “Clearly this means he was in the OCA!”
                Jesse Cone: “The priest is never listed in the Pastoral Changes of the OCA.”
                Harry: “Oh, but he was in the OCA!”
                Metropolitan Cyril on April 11, 2011: “I’ll release him.”
                Metropolitan Jonah on April 23, 2011: “He may have his release documents, but the OCA is NOT going to take him, another bishop will need to accept him from Greece.”
                Harry: “Well that MUST mean he was in the OCA. Debate’s over, I win.”

                Seriously, Harry? You want to take that to court, be my guest.

                I suppose it’s too late to explain that Met. Jonah had to forward the hieromonk’s documents from the Greek bishop BECAUSE HE COULD NOT RELEASE THE HIEROMONK HIMSELF, because the hieromonk was NOT UNDER HIS OMOPHOR.

                • Harry Coin says

                  Calm yourself. Jonah signed the paper asking for him
                  Both the abbot and the Greek met approved in formak docs.
                  He came here, got busy so that Jonah suspended him, and then
                  Couldn’t keep him in the OCA , and it seems the mp / rocor
                  Took him. Now everyone is trying to pretend paperwork problems exist.

                  Talk about owning your stuff. Fooey.

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  It would help if somebody would just post the text of the document Harry thinks settles everything, for those of us not already members of the Orthodox Forum.

        • Reverend Deacon. Hearing confessions sitting down was once standard in the Church of Russia. Further, in our OCA, Ever-memorable Archbishop Peter used to hear confessions sitting down, as he always did when he was a parish Priest. As a matter of fact, Andrei Lossky told me how the Lossky family in Paris, whose parish priest Vladyka Peter was when he was a priest, loved Father Pierre because he heard confessions of their children while sitting down and not towering over them. Andrei is the son of the famous philosopher who was expelled (did NOT emigrate) from Russia by Lenin and the brother of Vladimir, the youngest son of Nikolai. Andrei taught history at UCLA. How many times and in what YEAR did you observe [the priest]) serving Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas? I hope YOU weren’t “scandalized” by his hearing a confession or two sitting down! How AWFUL of him. I’m not criticizing you. What an idea! Sometimes I, too, want to control everything and everybody. Aside from that, I know that the liturgical life at St. Nicholas is not at ALL what it was when I was a parishioner and then deacon there. Fathers Arkady, Paul, and Dimitri as well as Protodeacon Vladimir all knew what they were doing and did not feel they had to “tune things up,” by such innovations as multiple chalices for less than a hundred communicants!!!

          • Anna Rowe says

            That was a different time at St. Nicholas. You were very much part of the parish family and as you recall from the large turnout at your farewell, you would be greatly missed.Many of the kids were sad as the “cool” deacon with the teal corvair had to leave.

            • Anna, you made my day, and probably several weeks ahead as well! Many, many thanks. I almost flew back there for Vladimir Skuby’s burial, but I could NOT find out when it was scheduled. I hope Eleanor is well and happy! I really liked that teal-colored Corvair convertible, with its white top! But I sold it before leaving Washingtno, in a UHaul rental van for LA. Father Dimitri took care of selling it, I think.
              Is Anna Georgievna Besouard’s dauthter, Helen MacArthur, still alive? I only had one return visit to St. Nicholas for a bishops’ conference, and we prayed at Liturgy. Serge Boldireff directed and it was beautiful. Unfortunately, as I’ve hinted, I was a little distracted by liturgical changes. The exclamation ‘In the fear of God and with faith, DRAW NEAR!’ Whereupon three or four priests didn’t give ANYONE a chance to “draw near”, but practically RAN to the back of the Church to commune a few parishioners
              Now, however, the parish must have a HUGE membership, so that a Priest can’t handle communing them all by himself and has revived, like a true connoisseur of liturgical history, the ancient custom of a Deacon communing the Faithful (but not, as in ancient times, the Chalice SEPARATELY from the Body, but in the modern way communing both Elements of Christ’s Holy Mysteries by himself!
              I suppose Olga Skordinski has fallen asleep a long time ago? But what about Polivanovs?
              Tell me anything: I’m hungry for news. My email: vladyka@att.net.

      • jacksson says

        Hello Amos,
        I have some questions about this hieromonk, hopefully you know the answers. Where did he become a monk, what is his monastic foundation? Do you have some background information about him? Who ordained him as a priest? Thanks.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Jacksson, Fr. Simeon told me he had spent the first third of his life in Russia, the second third in California, and the third third in Greece. He was only about 30 at the time, so I assumed he became a monk and a priest in Greece under Elder Dionysios and the Archbishop of Athens. He is still under both today.

          • Harry Coin says

            Dn. Brian, the question is was he released by them at some point, then taken back? I think that answer is yes.

            Look, there is a bit of an elephant in the room here and I’m just going to come out and ask it:

            Was this unmarried young priest, who apparently had special struggles according to Met. Jonah’s 2011 letter, given to live by himself, not with family, not with other monks, in the immediate vicinity of nuns where he was made to interact with them privately at least every few days?

            You know I’m thinking back in seminary in the class titled ‘Pastoring the Flock 101’ they teach you there is no great wisdom leaving your job for the day after storing the gasoline tank and lit flickering lampadas in the same small space then walking away.

            Someone had to say it.

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Harry, on your first point about Fr. Simeon being received by +Jonah then released by +Jonah: That’s just not the way anybody in the Archdiocese of Washington understood things. We all knew Fr. Simeon to be a guest. And where is the evidence that he was anything other than a guest? That claim has been made, but nobody has been able to document it from the official records of Athens or the OCA. Note here how Pokrov lists him: http://pokrov.org/display.asp?ds=Person&id=825

              On everything else, you have to remember that +Jonah invited Fr. Simeon to DC before he knew anything about his troubles, that +Jonah himself was not in DC most of the time Fr. Simeon was there, that it took some time for Fr. Simeon’s faults to come out, and that the nuns loved the man dearly, wanted him around, and strongly resisted the accusations made against him.

              With those facts in mind, the questions to ask are:

              1. Was +Jonah slow to recognize the seriousness of Fr. Simeon’s faults? Yes.
              2. Was +Jonah also slow to do something about it? Yes.
              3. Did +Jonah do everything he could have and should have? No. He should have written Athens.
              4. But does +Jonah’s handling of Fr. Simeon amount to gross negligence? I don’t think so, especially when compared with other failures by him and other members of the Synod to act swiftly and fully against much more scandalous clergymen.

              • Rod Dreher says

                Again, Deacon Patrick, thanks. I appreciate hearing from people like you who were actually there, and intimately involved in the life of the cathedral, when all this was going on.

                I presume most people reading this know about your history at the cathedral, but in case they don’t — folks, Deacon Patrick left St. Nicholas after endless conflict there over a gay-related issue. It was a conflict that Met Jonah’s aversion to conflict and inconstancy prolonged. So Deacon P. is well aware of Jonah’s faults, and far from uncritical of the man. If he defends Jonah on a particular point, I take it especially seriously.

              • Harry Coin says

                Check the Orthodox Forum post:


                There you see the canonical status plainly. He was a priest released by Greece to the OCA at the Mets request. I heard about the document the abbot signed referenced in the release letter. No doubt remains, this troubled person was certainly released to the OCA at Met. Jonah’s request.

                Your point 4 I think is well taken — but only if there is enough reality involved for references to become statements. Does the Met. Council have these facts? The SMPAC if that’s apropos? Have victims not been heard? Is that why Jonah had to go? Wouldn’t cover for who’s misdoing was about to be revealed?

                • We need the minutes to understand this.

                • Harry, no Bishop at all, and certainly not Father Symeon’s bishop in Greece may effect the reception of a priest by ANY other Bishop through releasing him. Repeat that. Receiving a Priest is done by a Bishop, AFTER the Bishop’s Priest releases him, as a distinctly separate act. I’m afraid it looks like you’ve been taken in by some clergy, possibly men of ill will, who are brandishing the act of a foreign bishop as being an act of the OCA.
                  A priest once came to me who had moved onto the territory of my diocese from the Midwest Diocese and who wanted to be received by me into my diocese. He said, ‘Bishop Job says he will release me.” I said, “It doesn’t matter to me if he releases you to me: I won’t receive you until all these stories about your sexual abuses of young men are proved false!”
                  See, Harry? And even if I had previously written a letter to Bishop Job and asked that Priest X be released to me, he would not be received by me until I had investigated him or received a report of investigation that satisfied me fom Bishop Job.
                  To sum up: if a Greek or other Bishop, foreign or American, OCA or not, signs an official letter stating, “The Priest Arnold Gooschek is hereby canonically released by me to the Lord Bishop Paffnooty of Upper Novi Jork,’ That priest remains under the omophorion of that other Bishop until Bishop Paffnooty or some other Bishop receives him.
                  I’m afraid it’s no good to rely on many contributors to Orthodox Forum. It’s a bitter place, a most bitter place.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Your Grace, the case you mention is quite different than in this instance. Here we see the receiving bishop (Met. Jonah) initiating in writing a request for a priest to be transferred from overseas. It is the signature and initiation documents that make this instance different than a release apropos nil. The overseas Abbot and Metropolitan note the name and specific purpose stated in the request and the requesting Metropolitan by name and titile. The case you mention discusses a priest seeking your acceptance prior to your initiating any documents requesting same, hence the due care you mention ensues.

                    That said, I do allow there remains the possibility that the overseas Abbot and Metropolitan were bamboozled and do not have a signed document by the OCA Met. indeed seeking what it was they mentioned in their paperwork they saw. However, in the same documents transferring Fr. X to the OCA was also named another clergyman where the documents say he was going to Texas I think.

                    Regarding the extent to which a forum, composed in this instance of a very few and in that instance as many hundreds, as bitter I must say paints both the irenic and disturbed with the same brush. I daresay many posting here use language rarely seen on the forum, and of course anonymity here emboldens vitriol and possibly entirely non-orthodox contributors hoping for the destruction of our church, less likely seen when names are expected as a matter of course as there.

                    That said recently on that forum some very severe charges were levelled by one calling himself a priest no less, but without more than the text on the forum, and so immediately removed.

                • Harry, this could not have been explained to you more clearly, but I’ll try again because I’m getting in touch with my inner masochist. Met. Jonah went for a test drive, but did not buy the car. He tried on the pants, but had the saleslady put them back on the rack. They let him sample the ice cream, but he didn’t order a scoop. Jeez.

              • Diogenes says

                “Much more scandalous priests”?????? What’s more scandalous than a rapist??????????????

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Actually, Diogenes, I regretted those words right after posting them and tried to edit them out, but George was moderating posts then and the edit function was locked up. After 45 minutes of trying, the system would no longer allow me in to edit.

                  That said, when I first wrote the words I was thinking not of the magnitude of the transgression (rape being almost as bad as you can get, child rape being worse, and … well, let’s not go further), but of the magnitude of the scandal caused by hierarchs simply doing nothing and allowing men who marry other men to continue serving as archdeacons. That to me is a far greater scandal than +Jonah’s handling of [the priest].

                  AND REMEMBER, the rape allegation didn’t reach +Jonah until May of this year, by which time [the priest] was ROCOR’s problem, not the OCA’s.

                • An abortionist. A terrorist. There are more. Since the essence of rape is the denial of consent by the one upon intercourse is forced, rape may be rather more frequent and conventional than many would admit to. It is scandalous and a crime, but there are degrees of it and, as I aver, abortion and terrorism are a COUPLE of things that are MORE scandalous.

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  George, why did you not post my reply to Diogenes?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Rev Deacon, if memory serves it’s because it contained the name of the priest in question.

            • Pravoslavnie says

              Harry, I am well acquainted with all of the nuns and you can put that lurid idea to rest. Based on my interactions with all of them, it is my belief that they first heard of the latest allegations against him only two months ago when ROCOR withdrew [the priest’s] permission to serve.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Harry, “I think“…? Are you serious? On what you think you are participating in this beserk orgy of destroying a man’s reputation? Harry, you’re better than that.

      • If he became a priest in 2011, who ordained him?

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Harry, I don’t recall Fr. Simeon ever celebrating a liturgy by himself at St. Nicholas, and as everybody knows, priests can serve and hear confessions as guests in churches belonging to bishops other than their own, and a bishop who allows a priest to serve as a guest does not assume any more authority over him.

      • Harry Coin says

        Well there is some space between what priests ‘can do’ as visitors if given permission, and living in the town, working around the church buildings all the time, taking an apartment, weeks and weeks and weeks pass by.

        And I do think there was an official paperwork release from Greece beforehand. Can’t prove it, but I think so. Moreover, when there was the massive screwup in ’10, he was suspended. Does one suspend a priest not in one’s church? I think the answer to that is no.

        So at least back then, he was in the OCA. Did worse allegations happen after he left? Were these allegations a put-up job, false, invented later? I’m thinking if there was a ‘rape kit’ done by a medical professional the date of that will settle whether this was an invented matter for byzantine reasons or the sad processes of an injured person healing and hopefully protecting others who will never know they were defended.

        • another one says


          You are appearing once more to be purposely obtuse. A guest can be given a blessing to serve. Revoking that blessing and forbidding them to serve in any OCA church is NOT a suspension. Then you conclude, with no evidence, that he was therefore in the OCA.

          You simply don’t want to believe any narrative other than the one spun by SIMPAC and regurgitated by Syosset.

          Unlikely there was a rape kit for an incident reported years after the occurrence.

          • Harry Coin says

            Met. Jonah’s signature is on documents seeking specifically the release of this priest from a Greek Metropolitan and Greek abbot, for the purpose of establishing a community in DC. That happens for a guest? No it does not. The documents of release signed by the abbot and confirmed by the metropolitan specifically for the creation of a monastery by Met. Jonah are referenced in their official logs these copies exist on line. This happens for a guest? Well, I suppose if you allow the concept of ‘guest’ to include official canonical transfer then, yes, he’s a guest. So is every other priest, then, too.

            The only reality based narrative is that he was specifically transferred from Greece to the OCA on 2009 at Met. Jonah’s request, then Met. Jonah suspended him for explosions in the first half of 2010. Then Met. Jonah sent him off to the ROCOR after having failed to be accepted by the Antiochians. Plainly Met. Jonah in 2011 by his letter felt as though the priest was greatly slandered and so not responsible for the misdoing others thought him responsible. Was Met. Jonah correct about that? I don’t know. But I do know there is no room anywhere to say he was some manner of ‘guest’ in the usual sense of the word — intended to be a short term visitor. The timeline just doesn’t allow for it. I’m sorry if you don’t like that but your argument is with the facts, not with me.

          • another one,
            Mister Coin has additional motivation for his deliberate obtuseness. Note that the subject is a monk-priest: no wife and family. Harry would LOVE to (if he’s not already doing it elsewhere) use this as “just one more example” of the perfidy, dysfunction, and foolishness of monastic clergy in parishes.

            • George P. says

              Master bless,

              Spot on.

              Mr. Coin had the same tired ax to grind in his “Voithia” web-site for those who care to remember his role in the anti-Spyridon campain years ago in the GOA.

  3. Harry Coin says

    George, how is your removal of comments you don’t like different than the OCA’s taking down their facebook page?

    • I would say they are different in motive. One seems to be an effort to protect the innocent. The other, to persecute them. I’ll let you ponder which is which.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Harry, I’m glad you aksed that question. It’s very simple: the Synod put out a defamatory letter trying to justify their illegal and uncanonical action in which they raised two specific points that could be verified. I proved that these assertions were baseless. Therefore I don’t feel it is necessary to bring up the second one again as this specific one caused pain to a woman who is not party to this whole imbroglio.

      Think of it this way: Bob says the earth is flat. I show satellite photos which prove the earth is a sphere. Case closed.

    • 1. George usually explains why he has taken down or redacted posts or why he is giving a repeat poster a timeout. I say usually, but it seems he strives to do this every time and may have succeeded so far.

      2. His primary reason is to prevent libel on his website, and to accomplish this he removes as little as possible.

      3. His secondary reason is to promote better communication (minimizing the most serious repeat off-topic posts and irrelevant personal attacks).

      If he does remove posts simply because he doesn’t like them, then shame on him. But from what I’ve seen, he can hold his head high as a moderator.

    • Why, it’s quite a bit different FROM that!
      Please, save “than” to follow a comparative.

      • Fr. Philip says

        Your Grace, thank you for addressing a minor but constant irritant in the on-going abuse of the Queen’s English. In the Mother Country, one also hears the use of “different to.”

        Fr. Philip

      • Priest Justin Frederick says


  4. Country Bumpkin says

    While reading the news this morning, I came across this quote and I thought of the Synod of Bishops and our OCA for some reason.

    Many seemingly over-the-top news stories cite anonymous government or intelligence officials, North Korean defectors claiming to have sources in their former homeland or simply murky, unexplained, unnamed “sources.” Few explain where they get their information, and many reports turn out to be wrong.

    “The less we know about a country, the more rumors we tend to create about it,” said Kim Byeong-jo, a North Korea professor at the Korea National Defense University in Seoul. “When curiosity is especially strong, rumors grow more sensational. … Imagination takes over where facts are scarce and sources are unclear.”

    North Korea has said nothing more about Ri’s health or his future plans since it reported his dismissal. While many outside North Korea experts say he was likely purged, it is still unclear what actually happened.

  5. This was published on the Yahoo Orthodox Forum

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

    Dear Saidna Basil,

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

    Attached are the documents for [the priest].

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

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

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

    Kalo Pascha!

    With love in Christ,

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

  6. David Smith says

    General Counsel, Thaddeus Wojcik, for the OCA should contact his malpractice insurance carrier. He’s been in the midst of this matter since July 5th and has done a great disservice to the OCA with his failure to provide adequate legal advice to his client (Synod – OCA Church).

    You are urged to review my prior postings, particularly the one where I posted several questions as to what knowledge he (the attorney) knew about the scandal and +Jonah’s alleged failure to cooperate with him. This request for a response from him and the OCA have fallen on deaf ears.

    Now we can appreciate why counsel and his client (OCA) did not respond to my questions. The timeline of May 15th (as disclosed by the victim’s godmother) was either known or should have been know to Attorney Wojcik when he approved the Synod’s July 16th letter.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      Seriously? The OCA’s General counsel is a twelfth year lawyer with no litigation background and no Martindale Hubbell rating for ability OR ethics? I wonder what his rates are? More to the point, who is he related to? Because that resume doesn’t or shouldn’t make you lead outside counsel to a national non-profit operating in most of the 50 states. That resume maybe makes you the GC of a local charity.

      To think that someone without a litigation background is opining on or involved in potential litigation strategy or settlement of disputes boggles the mind. Who is watching the store?????

      • Daniel E. Fall says

        It seems they continue to stick to Orthodox persons for professional positions. If you don’t like that root cause, I suggest you address that matter, rather than attacking the credentials of people that meet the aforementioned criteria.

        • Mark from the DOS says

          Daniel –

          I dare say there are more experienced, AV rated Orthodox lawyers with a litigation background around the U.S., if not right in New York City! Is the rule now that examining the credentials of people is not permitted? If so, will your friend Stankovich shut up about his “credentials”?

          • Daniel E. Fall says

            Look Mark, you are being a real wise…

            Stankovich has never been my ‘friend’, so shut up.

            Furthermore, for all you slamming Mr. Wojcik, before you do so quickly, you might actually recognize the service of the father-OCA priest, and the two sons-OCA priests, and the other son-OCA legal.

            People hire attorneys with all sorts of different credentials, and they are not cheaper by the dozen, if you will. There are probably lots of reasons the OCA went with TW. Before you ‘examine’ his shortcomings publicly, you probably ought to ask those questions privately of your diocesan rep or bishop or in your case, the man standing in.

            Your tone was not kind and I appreciate the Wojcik family very much.

            • Mark from the DOS says

              When we chase out a metropolitan and follow it with a letter bemoaning the perilous legal predicaments he (almost)(maybe) had gotten us into, I think it is absolutely legitimate to ask why inexperienced, non-litigators, without a Martindale-Hubbbell rating for legal ability or ethics are acting as our jurisdiction’s general counsel. If the answer is because his father and brothers were/are OCA priests, so be it. But don’t feed me a line of how responsibly we are acting from a legal standpoint when “Orthodox” and “relative” seem to be the two most conspicuous items on our GC’s resume.

              Many corporate entities hold a firm policy of not hiring outside counsel that don’t have an A rating for legal ability and a Very High rating for Ethics. If the OCA is as concerned about its legal exposure as the Holy Synod would lead us to believe, I might suggest the immediate implementation of the same policy.

              • Alexander says

                Careful about that Martindale-Hubbell sales pitch. Even as a guy with an AV rating, I know that MH runs an expensive mutual admiration society popularity contest. The meaning and use of its ratings have fallen greatly in the last decade plus.

                Also, keep in mind that a lawyer does what his clients decide and direct. What the attorney communicates to his client is fully privileged. A lawyer can give all sorts of sage and insightful advice that the client has every right to reject and still direct the lawyer to represent his interests zealously. You may not like what the client has done and may disagree with the strategy and the result, but that’s a big “so what.”

                So with no horse in this race, I call BS. Contact his malpractice carrier? Unless his client has put him on notice of a claim, or he has a reasonable basis to believe that his client will put him on notice of claim, he has no duty to advise his malpractice carrier.

              • Daniel E. Fall says

                It is always nice to follow up a nasty post with an eloquent one.

                We probably agree more than you think..

                I just think you could have said the things you said with more weight in private.

  7. Rod Dreher says

    For the sake of konvertsy kicks, I see that Stan Drezhlo is now gleefully anticipating that the Diocese of the South will break away from the OCA. He writes, from his fainting couch:

    If my other source is correct, and the South is on the verge of revolt… well, let them go. “Good riddance to bad rubbish”, I say. They never were of us in the first place. What’ll happen to Freddie M-G and Dreher?

    Well, Dreher will do whatever Dreher’s parish does. Frederica will not have to make a decision in any case … because she is Antiochian, not OCA, you overcircumcised troll!

    Of course, my BFF Gleb Podmoshensky told me to say that last night when we communicated via palantir…

    • Rod, I remember back in the 50s and 60s when all one would have to say about the eunuch in women’s clothes was “Sick, sick, sick!”

      • Monk James says

        Yes, but they are deceived (if not possessed) by demons, and incompetently treated by psychiatrists and surgeons.

        May the Lord be merciful to them and to us all.

    • Well said, Rod!

      Pelagia and I miss you (Think big man in suspenders, with staff, and his plump companion with the little girl voice.)

      • pelagiaeast says

        is there another Pelagia? Just wondering, since this does not describe me. Maybe I just don’t understand all the jokes? 🙂 Big man in suspenders, with staff – Met. Jonah? – and plump companion with little girl voice? I would be honored.

        But I must admit I am enjoying a great deal of the levity, and that is something better than tears for a change. Metropolitan Jonah is my Godfather, too.

        • Yes, there is another Pelagia. She and I are both lay members of St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas. I, being a diabetic with numb feet, use a tall cane to help me balance and support my weight to get through Liturgy. We’ve both met Rod several times when he was a member of St Seraphim Cathedral. Sorry for the confusion.

    • This has got to be one of the funnest posts I’ve read recently. I can’t decide whether “overcircumcised troll” or “communicated via palantir” is better.

      In any case, I sort of needed that on this hectic Friday.

    • Rod,

      The “overcircumcised troll” really must have been passing the jug a wee too much when he responded to you today. Now you are to blame for almost everything, from healthcare to Moriak’s son while admitting that his sources are mostly from the Motherland. That makes me feel so much better.

      You really got under his skin, or lack thereof, you silly “konvertsy.” I wonder how Stan who wishes to rid the Church of all converts deals with his main squeeze, Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Russian Communist Party, and a CONVERT to Orthodoxy? Or was he one of those secretly baptized commies who now hobnobs with the ROC bigwigs.

      You better check with your BFF Gleb Podmoshensky before you answer because, remember, you were seen by one of his sources all the way from the Motherland, leaving Platina.

      • Monk James says

        Please, people. Let’s stop investing Stan/Barbara with any sort of credibility.

        VFR is interesting only for its absurd observations regarding american church life.

        Most of us don’t care much about what’s going on in russian culture. We’d look elswhere on the ‘Net if we were.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Oh, it’s really fun, watching Overcircumcised Troll melt down. Seriously, this should tell anyone tempted to think that Drezhlo knows what he’s talking about to put all confidence out of his or her mind. For example:

        Sir Roddie just described his sources to a Tee… Freddie M-G, Terrence Mattingly, John Behr, Breck, Ray Velencia, Jillions, Lyonyo, and the whole First Family crowd.

        To call this batshit crazy would be to insult the digestive systems of bats. Frederica and Terry are dear and old friends of mine, but they’re both Antiochian, and know nothing about what’s going on in the OCA. As for the others, the only one I’ve ever met or even spoken to was Fr. John Behr, and that was at a conference in England in the fall of 2010. I couldn’t tell you a First Family member from a Corleone or Osmond.

        It’s also funny that Stan has no idea that I’m not a Republican.

        When I think of Stan, I imagine an elderly person dressed in an Audra Lindley as Mrs. Roper housecoat, sitting in a musty, airless living room, furiously typing away on a laptop. The place smells like kitty litter, Tareytons, mildew, White Diamonds, Alberto VO-5, and fear.

        • “The place smells like kitty litter, Tareytons, mildew, White Diamonds, Alberto VO-5, and fear.”

          Oh my, that’s descriptive in a film noir sort of way. Your next book needs to be detective fiction. There’s plenty here to draw on for a plot.

      • Clare Voyant says

        The difference being that Gennady Zyuganov is of the right ethnic group, whereas Rod and the other konvertsy are not. Its Judaizing all over again…..

        • That person needs something, lacks something, that he hasn’t found yet. Perhaps he thought an operation was the means of obtaining that something. However, what he needs is our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Perhaps he has to hit rock bottom, like many an alcoholic, before he can lift himself up and see the Light. Nubile boys and powerful men won’t help him, no matter how he surgically alters his appearance.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      OK, Rod, I’m pissed. Stan the Tran knows full well that I was driving you and Freddie MG to and from Platina. I am angered beyond words that s/he didn’t mention me yet again.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Well, you aren’t konvertsy, so you aren’t the focus of evil in the modern world. Then again, Lyonyo may have given you his invisibility cloak…

        • Rod Dreher says

          Perhaps Monomakhos readers would care to see this videoclip of La Drezhlo in happier times, when she really could take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile — unlike now, when she suddenly makes it all seem like hemorrhoids.

          I don’t know what happened, but I suspect the frail thing was traumatized by Chuckles the Cossack.

  8. David Smith says

    General Counsel, Thaddeus Wojcik, for the OCA should contact his malpractice insurance carrier. He’s been in the midst of this matter since July 5th and has done a great disservice to the OCA with his failure to provide adequate legal advice to his client (Synod – OCA Church).

    You are urged to review my prior postings, particularly the one where I posted several questions as to what knowledge he (the attorney) knew about the scandal and +Jonah’s alleged failure to cooperate with him. This request for a response from him and the OCA have fallen on deaf ears.

    Now we can appreciate why counsel and his client (OCA) did not respond to my questions. The timeline of May 15th (as disclosed by the victim’s godmother) was either known or should have been know to Attorney Wojcik when he approved the Synod’s July 16th letter.

    • Daniel E. Fall says

      What about MJ counseling him to the military?

      The letter fails to whisper it, and it is highly relevant.

  9. Harry Coin says

    The Washington Post weighs in:

    Orthodox Church in America head Metropolitan Jonah dismissed over alleged rape cover-up


    …Jonah resigned last week and in a letter “begged forgiveness … for whatever difficulties have arisen from my own inadequacies and mistakes in judgment.” Monday’s statement was an effort to clarify rumors that he had been forced to resign over a rape case….

  10. MartyOlson says

    The only reason that Thaddeus Wojcik would have to be concerned about what if anything he approved of prior to the posting of the HS letter is whether what he was told to be true by the HS was plausibly true. It wouldn’t be his problem if his clients lied to him or were misinformed because his is not to investigate but advise legally what can or cannot be said.

    You are all stuck with one problem concerning Jonah’s resignation. He states that he is not competent to do the job and no longer wishes to do it. He can’t say one day he’s not competent and the next that he is without demonstrating a change from his earlier assessment. Vacillating back and forth about his resignation will only decrease his credibility.

    Inasmuch as he is under the gun by the HS as to what his final severance package will be, there won’t be any pictures of Jonah riding up on a white horse to regain his palace and principalities. Earlier someone in the group posted that you are keeping the pressure on to assure that Jonah is provided for in the future. This means if you all agree to that idea that you are disingenuous about trying to get him back. Maybe you should be upfront with what your goals are, if any.

    The fight is for the next Metropolitan and who is at the table to advise, vote on the person. Make sure the person you want to lead has a spiritual backbone and theological self-assurance before worrying what his positions are in the culture war fight that seems to have ensnared the OCA.

    • Clare Voyant says

      Incompetent? Sure. Uncanonically removed due to malevolent motives? You betcha……

    • David Smith says

      Marty: An attorney has a duty to verify information provided by his client. Those days are long over where an attorney can unequivocally state facts without independent verification and, if wrong, just blame his client (OCA). Wojcik appears to be a bright guy – graduate of Notre Dame Law School – but relatively young as he was admitted to practice in NY in 2005. Meeting him for the first time belies everything.

      Thaddeus Wojcik’s conduct has fallen below the standard of care (ie…negligent) when he authorized the publication of the HS July 16th letter. The May 15th timeline (as described by the victim’s godmother) on this website was known or should have been known to him and he either (i) recklessly disregarded it or (ii) was negligent in missing it. Alleging criminal conduct against an individual (+Jonah) in order to gain an advantage in a civil case is a breach of ethics and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

      For these reasons and from my prior postings on Attorney Wojcik’s actions, I suggested (for his sake) that he notify his malpractice insurance carrier that claims could be filed against him for his negligent or reckless disregard for the truth. The awful irony of it all is that he may realize that coverage could be denied him because his conduct was more than dispensing legal advice; it may be perceived as if he were an active player of the Synod’s decision making process and not serving in the capacity as attorney for the Synod.

      But — put all this to the side for one moment. Should +Jonah seek a severance package or elect to bring a defamation-libel suit against the OCA and/or the individual bishops and Chancellor, do you really believe that Attorney Wojcik is the best attorney out there to defend the OCA or settle the case? I have my doubts – and, for these reasons, Wojcik needs to go.

      • It would be interesting if the action of a malpractice insurance company gave us the only “findings” of a disinterested third-party investigation.

        That is, if the insurance company drops the attorney’s coverage, that would seem to be a clear indicator that the actions of the Synod were wrong – not to mention that there may be the civil or criminal liability of certain parties.

        Barring the active participation of a disinterested third-party investigation; I suppose one has to “read the tea leaves” of the actions of any group (the malpractice insurance company) even tangentially associated with the Synod.

    • Daniel E. Fall says

      The culture war is a fantasy.

      It is the same garbage FoxNews uses to propogate it’s business. Without the battle they got nothing…

      It is the same garbage Michelle Bachmann touts on Glenn Beck to drum up money for her coffers with the Muslims are taking over crap.

      There is no culture war, (Muslims aren’t taking over the government-I’ll never forget that lady in Wisconsin that told me Obama is a Muslim terrorist-classy), and part of the reason Metropolitan Jonah is leaving is his baseless notion there is some battle between cultures.

      I don’t care what the Synod purports to say. The church cannot afford to be split in two or torn asunder by a leader that believes we are at battle if I don’t care about gay marriage and he does, or if I don’t agree with employers deciding my medical treatments and he does.

      It would be a lot better if we had a food war and the future Metropolitan decided he was going to decide who the winner was by going to every church in 5 years and rating the meals.

      culture war-get serious, eat some Cheetos

      • George Michalopulos says

        No it’s not Daniel. The typical eye-rolling that leftists do is not an argument. The other day, the first gay marriage since the repeal of DADT was performed in an Air Force chapel.

        That’s real, it happened. Rupert Murdoch didn’t make it up.

        • St Paul on the “culture wars”:

          1 Corinthians 5:9-13 In my earlier letter I wrote you not to associate with people who engage in sexual immorality. I didn’t mean the sexually immoral people outside your community, or the greedy, or the thieves or the idol-worshippers – for then you would have to leave the world altogether! No, what I wrote you was not to associate with anyone who is supposedly a brother but who also engages in sexual immorality, is greedy, worships idols, is abusive, gets drunk or steals. With such a person you shouldn’t even eat! For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Isn’t it those who are part of the community that you should be judging? God will judge those who are outside. Just expel the evildoer from among yourselves.

        • Rod Dreher says

          Exactly right, George. People who don’t see that the culture war is real simply don’t understand what’s right in front of them. Gay rights supporters and abortion rights supporters understand that there’s a culture war on, and they’re fighting for things they believe in strongly. Their opponents are too. Of course there are bad actors on both sides, but the issues at stake are very real, and important. I typically find that liberals who deny that there’s a culture war are people who mistake their own preferences for what is Obviously True To Everyone Except Those Right-Wing Culture Warriors.

          As the sociologist James Davison Hunter observed in his early 1990s book “Culture Wars” (which introduced the term into common discourse), what we have here is a clash between two sides who passionately believe in irreconcilable things.

          • Daniel E. Fall says

            What is so difficult about a society in which everyone isn’t Orthodox?

            One of the things conservatives like about America is freedom.

            It is a place where they become disingenuous when they want freedom, but don’t want others to have it.

            I find homosexuality twisted, and I find gay marriage bizarre, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they ought to be able to get married. I just don’t want the government blessing it.

            I find abortion horrid, but that doesn’t mean I should decide for the neighbor ladyl.

            • Sub-Deacon David says

              Yeah, sex trafficking of women is “horrid”, but who am I to tell the man who can afford it what he can do? Slavery? That’s a bitch, but, well, who am I to tell someone he or she can’t own another human being? Pederasty? Bestiality? Both personally repugnant, but, well, to each his own, n’est-ce pas?

            • Clare Voyant says

              I find patricide immoral, but you don’t see me running across the street to save the old geezer from his murderous sons!

          • Perhaps the genuine Orthodox response is to reject this dualistic model altogether. Ironically, the “traditionalist” position as typically articulated today is a fundamentally modern — or rather postmodern — construct, e.g. in its tacit acceptance of the idea that faith and rationality are ultimately irreconcilable and its cynical reduction of public moral witness to a kind of messaging war.

            Sometime between the Renaissance and the 18th century, the binary of right/wrong was replaced, in the West, by one of antiquity/progress. The culture war framework tends to reflect this, conflating the former with the latter. But the notion that you have to be a conservative to be a good Christian is absurd to most of us who never belonged to Western denominations.

            That’s not to say that most Orthodox are apathetic about moral issues, but on the contrary that they refuse to shoehorn them into the transitory framework of America’s current one-dimensional political spectrum. I think that while most genuinely want to follow the Church’s guidance on issues like abortion and sexuality, they believe that “traditionalism” in its modern Western form bears scant resemblance to a genuine commitment to Tradition as the heart of Christian life, animated by the Holy Spirit and experienced in the Eucharist.

            This is probably why the OCA as an organization has zero appetite to fight the culture wars as defined by the modern American conservative movement. Individuals can do so if they wish, but shouldn’t presume to speak for the Church or expect the rest of us to have their backs.

            • Sub-Deacon David says

              I’m unclear from whence “most Orthodox” would get such an opinion about “traditionalism in its modern Western form”, or upon what facts or observations such an opinion would be based. Since this comment neither presents any evidence NOR even provides a nom de plume for the poster, it is impossible to even assess the rightness of the observations posted.

              I will say that for us American Orthodox, this is the culture we find ourselves in, the one in which we bequeath to our children. That the “battle lines” in this culture are not historically “Orthodox” is not due to our efforts, but despite them. Engaging in the attempt to stem the tide of cultural degradation, even if not Orthodox, is an effort to applaud. What is “more” Orthodox, to approve the murder of the unborn or to do what can be done to stop it? To approve cultural acceptance of sexual depravity (in all its forms) or attempt to bring the light of Truth to the matter? What the above poster is saying is he (or she) has either little stomach for, or perhaps agreement with, traditional Orthodox morality and consequently wishes to demean those with whom he disagrees with a subtle charge of being UNOrthodox.

        • The issue I have with the so called “Culture Wars” is that it purports that there is a looming threat trying to take over our society and we need to band together to opposed things like unnatural unions. The problem, as I see it, is that by focusing on issues it glosses over the underlying rot that is: scholasticism, the Protestant Reformation, Humanism, Libertarianism, etc… To put it another way, the threat has already become a reality and Fox News, Huffington Post, etc.. are two sides of the same coin. So called “Conservatives” and “Liberals” are arguing with the same tool box, just different trappings. The difference is that the “Liberals” are more honest with the philosophy and are taking it to it’s logical conclusion. I applaud +Jonah for raising the issue in the public area, on the other hand we have no business signing meaningless Protestant backslaping declarations like the “Manhattan Declaration.”

          • Public declarations of moral values and beliefs are the only meaningful way of communicating those positions to the wider public. So I don’t really understand your disdain of the Manhattan Declaration, and I am confused by your description of it as a “meaningless Protestant backslapping.”

            For starters, the declaration is not specifically Protestant at all, as anyone who has actually read it would be well aware. Secondly, what is so “meaningless” about openly declaring opposition to those things that violate the law of God?

            And how do you see it as a “backslapping” anyway? The language of the declaration is not snarky or sarcastic, it’s simple and straightforward. It begins with a moving and very accurate description of Christian love and charity from the earliest times all the way down to the present. It is specific in its spiritual and philosophical bases, as well as its policy objectives in the legal and political spheres.

            You applaud Metropolitan Jonah’s desire to put these issues in the publice area, yet when he takes a golden opportunity to do just that, you oppose it?

            Again, I’m confused.

      • Brian McDonald says


        To quote an ESPN feature: “C’mon man!”

        To deny that Metropolitan Jonah is a victim of the “culture wars” is one thing. (At this point I hesitantly lean toward believing he wasn’t.) But to deny that war itself is mind-boggling.

        To deny it is to deny that our country (and to some extent our church) is a house divided over some absolutely fundamental issues including
        1) the right to life vs. the right to abort, and
        2) the right to maintain universal and immemorial views on human sexuality and marriage vs. the right to radically redefine these.

        Surely you don’t mean to deny the fundamental nature of such issues or the fact that they have divided us into sides battling in legislatures, the law courts, church bodies, and public fora such a this one?

        I guess though (forgive me if I’m wrong) that you’d have to take the position that these disputes aren’t in fact fundamental enough to do battle over. But that assertion itself would already position you on the “progressive” side of the cultural divide since for others they’re of extreme importance. And indeed the progressives have shown by their actions, their political and court battles (and numerous successes) that they regard these as issues they intend to win on, not negotiable matters involving a give and take attitude in which everybody gets a piece of what they want.

        Perhaps your position is that the church shouldn’t have any internal struggles over things that are “just politics,” but the two issues I identified are unfortunately not “just politics”—they involve fundamental and basic teachings of the church.

        So, yeah, there’s something like a “war” going on— inside and outside the church, and if you want to switch metaphors, that’s fine by me. Words don’t change reality.

        • I for one have never believed the “culture wars” were the only factor here, or even just homosexuality/homosexual behavior. There is definitely something deeper at work.

        • Daniel E. Fall says

          In the words of my wiser and older father.

          I don’t care about those issues which others may freely choose that I don’t agree with..

          Unless it is eating liver and onions.

          No one ought eat that.

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            But please don’t tell me I can’t eat liver and onions if I wish!

            • Brian McDonald says

              Dear Daniel and Fr. Justin:

              I’m sorry that I didn’t recognize the destruction of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage were issues to joke about since nothing is truly at stake in the battle over them, either in the church or the larger culture. If it weren’t for those pesky (and probably scholastic and Protestant) conservative converts, all would be sweetness and light. After all, there’s no more reason to get worked up over abortion or “anything goes” marriage than about liver and onions.

              I stand corrected.

              • Priest Justin Frederick says

                Dear Mr. McDonald, who is joking about the destruction of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage? The war is real. Mr. Fall’s moral reasoning here leaves something to be desired, to be sure. Sin is disgrace to any people, say the Scriptures, and a curse and judgment is the consequence of persistence in sin, both within and without the Church. And we have a lot to answer for: abortion, the desecration of marriage, our foreign wars and adventurism, all sorts of economic injustice…the list goes on and on, and it is no joking matter. Mr. Fall says “I don’t care about those issues which others may freely choose that I don’t agree with”; but how can we not care when so many people and our society as a whole embrace self-destructive behavior on a widespread scale? Does not sin destroy the soul? Do we not care that sin is destroying the souls of many around us? “Go ahead, have an abortion if you want. It is legal, it is your choice…” Is that what Mr. Fall would say to the young woman pregnant outside of wedlock? No, he probably wouldn’t. He probably just doesn’t want the State to legislate in such matters, though every law the State passes reflects someone’s morality, someone’s sense of right and wrong. But if the State exists to protect life, why would you not legislate against murder, even that of the least defenseless in the womb?

                • Brian McDonald says

                  Precisely my point, Fr. Justin and I apologize if I was too hasty in concluding that your own passing “liver and onions” joke was taken by me as participating in the kind of frivolity I was reacting to in another post.

                  On this kind of thing, I find David Bentley Hart’s article on our current cultural nihilism, “Christ and Nothing,” a really useful analysis of how a formerly communally shared sense of commanding moral truths has been reduced to a matter of personal tastes and preferences. It can be accessed at the URL below


                • Brian Jackson says

                  Thank you, Fr. Justin!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Daniel, I’m sure you believe the same thing about agribusiness concerns which exploit illegal aliens. After all, it’s no skin on your (or your dad’s) ass, is it? And besides, the fruit at your grocery store would be much higher if we enforced our borders and employed poor Americans.

            • If agribusiness is breaking the law; throw the book at them.

              It’d be pretty hard to govern a woman destroying her unborn child, and it is unhealthy for her to try, but they will regardless of the laws.

              And it is fully disingenuous to suggest the condemnation of sinners is the only path to Christ. You need not bless the actions of a gay marriage. You can accept the lawfulness of it and not condemn it, and still consider it a sin. Two gay women getting married do not affect you like you pretend.

              The movie the grey did more to glamorize death than abortion ever will, yet pro-lifers don’t attack it. Why? Their message is inconsistent. The pro-life movement is caught up in its belief that aborting mothers are evil to the degree we see road signs promoting attributes of the child in the womb. The real problem is the women don’t want to be mothers. Motherhood is the real elephant in the room.

              Conservatives take these positions only for the sake of preserving the status quo. It is no difference than a liberal embracing something just because it is a change. I don’t think a gov official ought to be required to perform a gay wedding, for example. That sort of thing just leads to ugliness.

              • Sub-Deacon David says

                This is a silly caricature of pro-life positions and leads one to conclude that Mr. Fall has not actually read material or engaged in conversation with actual pro-life supporters. I’m not aware of anyone “caught up in the belief” (what does that mean, anyway?) that “aborting mothers (?) are evil”. Certainly the act of aborting an unborn child is evil, how can it be anything but? Some “aborting mothers” may very well be evil. Many, if not most, have obviously simply been brainwashed by a complicit media and educational system that maintains the unborn child is merely a “glob of flesh”. That women will abort their babies “regardless of the law” is a myth of the pro-murder lobby. I would suggest that a wholly different media culture and removal of any and all public funding for abortion clinics would result in an even more drastic decline in abortions than we are seeing now. But that is really not the point. Laws against murder are still on the books, and still enforced vigorously, even though people will murder “regardless of the laws”.

                Mr. Fall might also contemplate that there is a vast difference from judging individuals’ “evilness” to rightfully judging the evilness of an activity. If it were not, then the only “Christian” approach to government would be complete anarchy. If the Orthodox position of salvation as not “individualistic”, but communal is valid, then why would that not include our interaction in the political realm? Mr. Fall’s position is certainly contrary to any Orthodox understanding of the role of government that we find through out the history of Orthodox countries.

                Finally, the homosexual “lobby” in this country, as the hoopla over Chick-Fil-A demonstrates, is not content with “tolerance”, but demands acceptance. All secular positions with the power to wed will be forced to perform “marriages” between homosexuals regardless of personal religious beliefs, and it will be a small step to requiring Religious institutions to do so as well. We see this now in the HHS defining what is, and is not, a “religious activity” in the whole insurance covering contraceptives mandate. The attitude of “progressives” toward religious liberty in this country is quickly mimicking that of the USSR – maybe you can do it in private, but it can’t impact ANY public sphere of life. This may be “religious” and “spiritual” for those who truly simply worship themselves, but it is not Christian, and certainly not Orthodox.

                • Daniel E. Fall says

                  Your adjective of a pro-murder lobby is enough to warrant a non-response. There is no ‘pro-murder’ lobby. The adjective is phony.

                  It is funny/ironic that you suggest on one hand that I misinterpret pro-life’s position about aborting mothers being evil and then suggest on another hand there is a pro-murder lobby. You also suggest murders will still happen even though murder is illegal. There is a big difference here. Aborting mothers are often the only ones that know of a child’s existence in their womb; there is no conception certificate! Making abortion illegal may reduce abortion, but it would only become clandestine and dangerous. You can’t get past your view even to see that what I purport is true and would be a better direction. Aborting mothers don’t want to be mothers because motherhood isn’t seen as wise by them, yet the ‘pro-life’ movement is so caught up in the ‘pro-murder’ concept, they fail to realize promoting motherhood is the best tack. They prefer it to be a fight as do the ‘pro-choice’ lobbiests because there is more money in a fight. If, tomorrow, the ‘pro-life’ movement said we are no longer going to fight Roe, we are only going to promote motherhood; imagine the financial impacts to all of them.

                  Then, you somehow try to twist me into delving into politics is a requirement for my salvation. How is me praying to God a community activity? And you try to suggest I am contrary to Orthodox history, but you really don’t explain how this is so.. This is not what Christ tell us either, something about believing and repenting if I recall correctly. Maybe I missed the community political requirements lesson.

                  Your final absurdity is suggesting a religion will be forced to marry gays. This is PRECISELY the type of argument that the homosexuals WANT to hear from the right. Once you’ve stepped on that line, now all the people wise enough to recognize religion won’t have to marry gays, realize your position is ridiculous and decide the others are reasonable. So, nice going there. If that isn’t throwing the baby out with the bath water, I don’t know what is.. I think the gays are winning the gay marriage debate and they really never should have gotten close. The reason they are winning is because instead of recognizing marriage is inherently discriminatory; the folks on the right just dug in, holding onto the status quo instead of looking closely at marriage et al. Ask a simple question. Why do gays want marriage to be a right afforded to them (and don’t answer it is because they want to promote homosexuality)-I’m talking about the two people getting married. The answer is because marriage affords them rights others in society don’t have. In a society that is constantly working towards equity; doesn’t it seem odd people would get a right that affords them an inequity? Be prepared for a Ninth Amendment takedown of gay marriage bans. It is coming. The courts will probably rule that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional because a gay marriage can be private. And the courts might go further to suggest marriage is private, et al, and that marriage is not something you must disclose to anyone, or that anyone can require be disclosed. This marriage deal is in its infancy (just for fun!).

                  I don’t know how many times I have to repeat myself. The Catholic church can’t impose its doctrine and religious ideology on innocent thirds in the name of religious liberty. It is silly nonsense to say its liberty for a nanosecond. To suggest imposing my doctrine on you is required to influence public life and that is liberty or we are like the USSR is a bizarre notion, too. Then, you have the gall to suggest my view is narcissist? I even proposed a possible method to deal with the subject. If an insurance carrier was established that didn’t have contraceptives in the pay pool for anyone, and the employee could choose it among others, then it would be a free choice, and the church ought to be quite content with it (unless, of course, jamming their doctrine down others throats is the real intent of the churches (and you)?).

                  I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with any person’s post here more than yours. I am seriously contemplating this being my last post on Monomakhos; it might be best as an echo chamber than a place of discussion.

                  • Sub-Deacon David says

                    I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with any person’s post here more than yours. I am seriously contemplating this being my last post on Monomakhos; it might be best as an echo chamber than a place of discussion.

                    This is probably as close to a true observation as you made in your whole post. Again, you responded to a caricature of my positions rather than the actual positions themselves. I know of no “pro-life” group that does NOT promote motherhood. Your assertion that outlawing abortion would only make them “clandestine and dangerous” is a canard of the pro-murder crowd (yes, I will continue to use the term because it strips the position of its pretense to any morality – the abortion of an unborn human being is the killing of an innocent human life, which at any other circumstance is termed “murder”). You might wish to see http://afterabortion.org/2011/the-truth-about-back-alley-abortions/. May God be with you!

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Excellent article you cited Sub-Deacon David. A key paragraph:

                      Further, research and anecdotal evidence finds that most women having abortions are pressured or coerced to do so by someone else — and that most abortions are likely unwanted. Before 1973, women could refuse an unwanted abortion on the grounds that it was illegal, unsafe and immoral. Legalization has made it easier for those around her to insist that because abortion is legal it must be “safe,” and because it is “socially approved,” it must be moral. It makes it easier for them to refuse to support her desire to continue the pregnancy and insist that she abort anyway.

                      This describes the rot that seeps through the culture promulgated by pro-abortion ideologues and ignorant fellow travelers like Daniel E. Fall. Easy abortion isolates the woman in a crisis pregnancy. Often she is abandoned. Abortion is a destroyer of community and the virtuous bonds necessary to sustain it. (See my review I wrote several years back that discusses the damage that abortion inflicts on the mother: Women are Abortion’s Second Victims.)

                      Second, your point about pro-lifers being the only people who help women in crisis pregnancies is spot on. Pro-abortionists have no time for a woman who wants to keep her child. Check the yellow pages. Better yet, check out Planned Parenthood.

                      The abortion industry is a bloody but lucrative business. It has its share of ignorant supporters who still believe the propaganda that abortion is fundamentally a benevolent act when in fact it hides the bloody side of this bloody business. (See: The Ex-Abortionists: Why They Quit.)

                    • Before he leaves, I’d like to instruct the poster called “Sub-Deacon David” as well as Father Hans that ‘subdeacon’ is an English word that is not hyphenated. It came into English via Latin “subdiaconus.” which came from Greek hypodiakonos. To write “Sub-Deacon” looks like someone wants to inflate his office as “a kind of Deacon,’ rather than someone who is beneath deacons in rank, which I’m sure this subdeacon doesn’t want to do.
                      We wouldn’t write, “He’s a Hypo-Chondriac,” would we? Hand the doctor the Hypo-Dermic..”
                      Let’s go for a ride on the Sub-Way all the way to the Sub-Urbs, or Sub-Urbia!

                  • Daniel Fall has touched on the topic of marriage and both he and the subdeacon, David, show concern with nomenclature. I’d like to add that I think that “Defense of Marriage” Act as a defense against “gay” marriage is a little below stupid. If anyone wished to defend marriage, the first thing he might consider is a law against divorce! Divorce is always the greatest threat to wedlock, yet it is as common as dirt EVEN among Roman Catholics!!!! Actually, to insist on defining marriage as wedlock of any kind is to defy the English language. Mechanics, plumbers and others routinely use the word marriage to refer to almost any connection
                    One might speak of a marriage of truth and beauty or a marriage of old-age and wisdom, of the linking up of two interplugged electrical cords. Now wedlock was already being steadily destroyed by the Gingriches and so forth before anyone thought of “gay” marriage.
                    The Muslims are at least honest with, e.g., the practice of term-marriages, or temporary marriages, contract marriages! (You can get married by an Iranian Imam for six months if you like.)
                    As for contraception, if anyone will explain to me the very close correspondence (not 100 per cent) of the size of Orthodox priestly families to the size of families in any other group: Buddhist, atheist, whatever, one is led to the conclusion that Orthodox priests and their wives have been using contraceptive devices for an awfully long time! And their Bishops know it.
                    Daniel is also right when he alludes to how easy it is for homosexuals to ask, “If no one can force a Priest or minister to marry a particular man or woman (as is true), how could anyone force a Priest or minister to marry a man to a man or a woman to a woman?” No General can command a Chaplain to marry anyone to anyone (especially if the Chaplain’s a real believer). Abortion is punished with the punishment for murder, according to the canons.
                    What is the significance of birth in all this? Some Muslims believe that ***according to the Holy Gospels***** the first indication of the transformation of a fetus into a human being is the leaping of St. John in his mother’s womb “in the sixth month.” There being no other evidence of life in the womb according to Scriptures except that one, those Muslims permit abortion up to the sixth month, but not after!”
                    Before we can act sanely on anything, we have to agree on language.

                    • Subdeacon David says

                      Not sure why I cannot reply to the post above, but I reply here to express my thanks to you, your Grace, regarding the proper use of “subdeacon”. While I am sure I have seen it written with a hyphen by others than myself, I appreciate the lesson – seriously, no sarcasm to be inferred whatsoever.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    Daniel E. Fall writes:

                    The reason they are winning is because instead of recognizing marriage is inherently discriminatory; the folks on the right just dug in, holding onto the status quo instead of looking closely at marriage et al.

                    Of course heterosexual monogamous marriage is inherently discriminatory. So is not allowing marriage between three persons, a father and daughter, brother and sister, man and animal, you name it.

                    Homosexuals already have the right to marry. They just can’t marry members of the same sex. No rights are denied them that are not denied to anyone else who wants to retool the definition of marriage to engage in new forms of social engineering.

                    And why should the redefinition of marriage stop at only two members of the same-sex? In traditional marriage the answer is clear: it takes one man and one woman to create a family. However, homosexual couplings are naturally sterile (not infertile, there’s a difference) so their “families” are essentially contrived (female surrogates and such). They violate a very elementary natural law.

                    Here too we see that limiting gay “marriage” to only two people is a nod to the moral tradition while repudiating it at the same time. If this definition becomes acculturated marriage is essentially finished, at least as a cultural institution which means that the culture is dying. Watch for other couplings to emerge whose members clamor for the same “right” using the same rationale that they suffer “discrimination.”

                    That’s what happens when all ideas are leveled under the rubric of “fairness.” If “fairness” is the final measure, the touchstone, of social arrangements and policy, then all cultural distinctions collapse and man, like the Apostle Paul said in Romans 1, adopts a manner of living that is “against nature.” At that point the culture risks collapse.

                    Put the word “fairness” in front of any destructive idea and some people will take to it like a thirsty dog lapping up water.

                    • Sub-Deacon David says

                      Excellent riposte, Fr. Hans. As I’m sure you’re aware, that the “stars” of the TLC show “Sister Wives” are suing the state of Utah in Federal Court to strike down the state law against polygamy. Given Federal Courts’ penchant for striking down all sorts of state laws based on Lawrence v. Texas, I can see no reason why this law (and the laws in all 50 states against polygamy) will not be struck down (as Scalia predicted would happen). I’m sure we’re not far from laws against consensual incest being struck down, as well as bestiality eventually. But I’m sure Mr. Fall won’t see any problems with those as well, since all of these things happen anyway.

                      BTW, isn’t it a bit strange that the same folks who attempt to justify Homosexual “marriage” with some nod to scriptures or church tradition, don’t have much to say about the typically promiscuous sexual practices of the vast majority of homosexuals? No supporter of the traditional view of marriage hesitates to affirm the traditional view on sexual activity outside of marriage (even granting that it is not much lived up to in sexualized modern culture), is homo sexual activity SIN outside of homosexual “marriage”? I will not hold my breadth waiting for a sermon on that one from the pro-homosex crowd masquerading as Christians.

                    • I repeat: you can not forbid the use of the word “marriage” as a connection of two separate entities which may or may not be HUMAN. God did not write a special dictionary of the English language which forbids the use of the word marriage to define any relationship but that between opposite sexes. That’s the job of a lexicographer.
                      “The show marries people and dance,” One may marry the ends of two lengths of rope. One may say, “Don’t marry Pinot Noir with salmon.”
                      It is divorce, not a marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, which is a danger to marriage. Divorce is a danger to wedlock of a proportion trigonometrically greater than the marriage of “same sex couples.” Any “defense of wedlock” law should oppose divorce before anything else. “What God hath joined together let NO man put asunder.’ Those words come from the Saviour’s holy lips! Yet men who’ve been serially polygamous, i.e. with a series of divorces (such as Gingrich), claim they are defending marriage by opposing the marriage of a man to a man or a woman to a woman!
                      All our Church, our Holy Synods need do is to firmly command: “The marriage of a man to a man or a woman to a woman is forbidden. Those participating or effecting such an undertaking are, if clergy-deposed, if laity-excommunicated.” Such problems need to be addressed intelligently and firmly, not hysterically and illogically.
                      I repeat, one nautical rope can be married to another nautical rope. They can’t have children, but they don’t have that KIND of marriage, of which there are several, yet a marriage is a marriage, no matter who or WHAT is being married.

                    • Priest Justin Frederick says

                      Indeed, the legalization of ‘no-fault’ divorce depreciated marriage and opened the floodgates (Governor Ronald Reagan signed the bill loosening the divorce laws in California in the 60s). Those who were attracted to the opposite sex help devalue it long before homosexuals started pushing for it.

                      Your Grace, may we not distinguish between the literal meaning of the word marriage, which has properly throughout the ages referred to the union of a man and a women, and the various figurative meanings of the word, some of which you have offered, which derive their meaning and potency from the literal thing we know?

                    • Gregg Gerasimon says

                      Anyone interested in the “gay marriage” (better termed “redefining marriage,” I think) issues and/or debate needs to become familiar with the Ruth Institute (just google it). It is an excellent organization that gives a lot of information about what’s behind the redefining marriage movement, what the goals are, what the history is, and what could happen if marriage is redefined on a national scale. This redefining marraige debate looks like it’s going to be taking center stage during our upcoming Presidential election season this fall anyway.

                      Excellent information, podcasts, talks, articles.

                      Being called “mean” or “unfair” to friends, colleagues, or family who might want to marry someone of the same sex isn’t the issue — but I admit that this is a truly effective way to garner public support for a redefinition that will truly sink our culture. (And this is why there may be substantial passive support for redefining marriage — while we may think it’s wrong, we don’t want to be known as mean or unfair to others, thus we passively support it or simply say “I don’t care.”)

                      One of the more chilling truths of redefining marriage that I’ve heard is the fact that same-sex marriage exists only with the support and enforcement from the state. Opposite-sex marriage transcends political boundaries and has always existed in cultures, regardless of what political entity that culture is a part of. Same-sex marriage has not and does not exist as such. Same-sex marriage is a clear creation of the state, and thus the state must protect its own creation and enforce it. Children become commodities for adults to use at their will, biology is separated from parenting such that parenting is based on legal contracts, institutions that disagree with same-sex marriage are persecuted by the state as the state protects that which it created.

                      Bad stuff. State-supported redefinition of marriage is way, way, way more than simply trying to be “nice” or to be “fair.”

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Gregg Gerasimon wrote:

                      One of the more chilling truths of redefining marriage that I’ve heard is the fact that same-sex marriage exists only with the support and enforcement from the state.

                      Opposite-sex marriage transcends political boundaries and has always existed in cultures, regardless of what political entity that culture is a part of. Same-sex marriage has not and does not exist as such. Same-sex marriage is a clear creation of the state, and thus the state must protect its own creation and enforce it.

                      Children become commodities for adults to use at their will, biology is separated from parenting such that parenting is based on legal contracts, institutions that disagree with same-sex marriage are persecuted by the state as the state protects that which it created.

                      This is a very critical point. Let me clarify it. Opposite-sex monogamous marriage is in accord with natural law. Same-sex “marriage” is not. The state, in other words, arrogates unto itself the authority to sanction and legally codify relationships constructed out of thin air that stand against the natural order of creation.

                      Here’s the danger: once the state arrogates this authority, it reserves for itself the right to judge the legitimacy of all human relationships. This arrogation of power is breathtaking in scope and very dangerous.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      But Your Grace, any attempt to restrict divorce would be met with the same thunderous denunciations from the Left regarding the “legislation of morality.” The fact that the very prohibition itself comes from our Lord and Saviour makes absolutely no difference to those who are theomachistic.

                      Yes, you’re right, we shouldn’t have loosed the strictures against divorce. And sodomites wanting to “marry” are probably not going to destroy real marriage any more than heterosexuals have, but that doesn’t mean that society doesn’t have a vested interest in upholding the ideal. My concern is if we call homogenital relations “marriage” then why can we not call polyamorous unions “marriage” as well? The end result of course is polygamy, which causes societies to become very patriarchal, masculinist, and hyperviolent.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    The idea that Christianity should tolerate laws that violate our belief, conscience and values in the name of non-imposition is silly. All-law is an imposition of someone’s doctrine, dogma and belief. There is no such thing as ‘secular’ law. There is either law based upon God, gods, or no God. If you think that a culture who’s law is based upon no God will tolerate for long a belief about that God such as we Christians have, i.e, incarnational and pentecostal, you are deluded. People cannot serve two masters.

                    Our God cannot be locked up in a box called a church. Our God fills all things and is everywhere present. That means, among many other things, that all aspects of law, culture and society are important to Chrisitans and that we have a responsibility to be active, to speak and to influence both law and culture.

                    • You realize, Michael Bauman, that what you lay down as “responsibility” is not at all Apostolic; on the contrary.
                      Never did Christ or the Twelve or the Rest of the Apostles EVER attempt to influence EITHER law or culture by any means whatsoever. The Church only began to attempt to influence law and culture when it was made an official state church under the unbaptized Emperor, St. Constantine, whose first son died mysteriously, and whose mother may have had his first wife, Fausta, strangled at the baths in order to insure succession of the second wife’s issue to the Imperial Throne establishing what came to be known as a ‘typical’ Byzantine manipulation of succession. Even so, it was the style of the Roman Popes which, more than anything else, influences our peculiar American DEVOTION political crusading by the Church.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Your Grace, you’re absolutely right. However the context in which Jesus and the Apostles lived was one of religious morality and legalism. There was no movement for abortion, gay “marriage,” other preposterous things among the Jews at that time. While there was great sin in the Hellenistic world, it was the Judeao-Christian ethos which triumphed: the abolition of slavery, condemnation of abortion, exaltation of women in marriage, etc. To the extent that Constantine the Great was responsible for executing these laws, it was due to Christian influence.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Bp. Tikhon writes:

                      Never did Christ or the Twelve or the Rest of the Apostles EVER attempt to influence EITHER law or culture by any means whatsoever. The Church only began to attempt to influence law and culture when it was made an official state church… Even so, it was the style of the Roman Popes which, more than anything else, influences our peculiar American DEVOTION political crusading by the Church.

                      Not really. Christ was harsh on leaders of the Sanhedrin the scripture tells us, who were the legislators and judges in that theocratic society (“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…!”). Take a look at David Bentley Hart’s book “Atheist Delusions” as well that analysis the profound influence the early Christians had on the surrounding culture — which extended well into the reign of Julian the Apostate, by the way.

                      Moving into the modern era, ever read this: Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church?

                      Your point would be stronger if you said that the Church began to influence law and culture differently after Constantine but this would be due to different historical contingencies, and not a deliberate and presumably wrong-headed break with the past that you seem to imply it is (you are unclear here).

                    • Right now I’m thinking “The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus,” Chapter V, “The Manner of Christians,” and Chapter VI, “The Relations of Christians to the World.” (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/diognetus-roberts.html)
                      That seems to tell me that Orthodox Christians must be “a law unto themselves” no matter what culture and/or political system they find themselves within.
                      Am I right or wrong?
                      Does the “Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church” reflect that?

                    • All I said, Father Hans, was that political activism of any kind was not Apostolic and was foreign to Christ’s Own activity and speech. The main impetus and precedent for OUR political activism today in AMERICA is the same as all Americans’ it is the political activism of the Roman Church which insisted on making the secular governments kneel in obedience to the Hierarchy, which is what many social/political activists in America really are aiming at. It goes like this; “We are a Christian nation; kneel down and act like it!” In our tradition, however (strangely called Caesaro-Papism!) an unbaptized Emperor can demand that the Church enforce a uniform observance of Pascha, and make all the leaders of that Church meet together and do for the Empire what he wanted the Church to do, even going so far as crushing the Quarto-decimans whose APOSTOLIC Tradition required the observance of Pascha on 14 Nisan. That is the OPPOSITE of political activism, just like the blessing of emperors (and Tsars!) who contracted marriage after marriage. How many times did Ivan Vassilievich marry? Eight? Twelve? How did the Church “Defend Marriage?” Byzantine Emperors were never admonished or excommunicated for marrying far more than four women in a row…no “defense of marriage” then: on the contrary. The “influence the Christian had on the surrounding culture was this: The Church, despite its condemnation of Arianism, continued to bless Arianism and its Hierarchs were Arians until that same Julian the Apostate, ousted the Arian Patriarch and, for the first time since the First Council had a Nicene Patriarch forcibly installed as Patriarch! No, there was not political activism in the Byzantine Church; there was religious activism of the government and politicians upon the Church!

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      OK, now I see the specific complaint. It’s the “Defense of Marriage Act” that bothers you. Thanks for clarifying that.

                      I think your initial statement conflates distinct categories (cultural, political, and the new one above – religious) and ignores how Christian activity changes depending on historical epochs and contingencies, but I am not interested into entering a discussion about that at this time.

                    • These comments are sheer and utter nonsense:

                      “The main impetus and precedent for OUR political activism today in AMERICA is the same as all Americans’ it is the political activism of the Roman Church which insisted on making the secular governments kneel in obedience to the Hierarchy, which is what many social/political activists in America really are aiming at.”

                      Nothing could be further from the truth! Most Christian churches in America, especially the Catholic Church, simply want the government to leave them alone and allow them to preach and practice their faith without being forced to violate their Constitutionally guaranteed religious beliefs. Not one of them want to make “the secular governments kneel in obedience to the Hierarchy.”

                      It’s the exact opposite. The tyrannical policies of leftists Democrats are the ones that are forcing the Christian hierarchy to kneel to secular mandates that violate their fundamental rights.

                      Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all. This right does not depend on any government’s decision to grant it: it is God-given, and just societies recognize and respect its free exercise. The free exercise of religion extends well beyond the freedom of worship. It also forbids government from forcing people or groups to violate their most deeply held religious convictions, and from interfering in the internal affairs of religious organizations.

                      Recent actions by the Administration have attempted to reduce this free exercise to a “privilege” arbitrarily granted by the government as a mere exemption from an all-encompassing, extreme form of secularism. The exemption is too narrowly defined, because it does not exempt most non-profit religious employers, the religiously affiliated insurer, the self-insured employer, the for-profit religious employer, or other private businesses owned and operated by people who rightly object to paying for abortion inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. And because it is instituted only by executive whim, even this unduly narrow exemption can be taken away easily.

                      In the United States, religious liberty does not depend on the benevolence of who is regulating us. It is our “first freedom” and respect for it must be broad and inclusive-not narrow and exclusive. Catholics and other people of faith and good will are not second class citizens. And it is not for the government to decide which of our ministries is “religious enough” to warrant religious freedom protection.

                      This is not just about contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization-although all should recognize the injustices involved in making them part of a universal mandated health care program. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It is about people of faith. This is first and foremost a matter of religious liberty for all. If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded.

                      The consequences of the Democrat-lead government tyranny are already evident in our society. Only a blind man could ignore the increasing persecution and anti-religious and anti-freedom policies of the totalitarian-loving leftists infecting all levels of our government.

                      Looking at what has already happened in states like Massachusetts and recently in Washington D.C. with Catholic Charities, one of the nation’s oldest adoption and foster-care placement agencies, gives us a hint of what can and will occur. Catholic Charities was forced to cease operations when their adoption services were deemed discriminatory to homosexuals because of Massachusetts and Washington D.C.’s same-sex “marriage” laws. Faced with prosecution by the state unless it compromised its religious beliefs, this Christian organization closed its social services operations, ending an 80-year history of helping vulnerable children in need of traditional parents and families.

                      While at first glance these legalized civil unions do not appear to hurt anyone or interfere with the Christian Church’s mission, in at least two instances we see the devastating consequences of the state demanding that Christian institutions place children in same-sex “families” in direct violation of the doctrines of the Church and the member’s religious beliefs and practices. “To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination—including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.”

                      The closures of Catholic Charities hurt not only the countless innocent children that will no longer be placed in traditional families, but also the many couples that wanted to adopt these children and would have raised them in a home with a mother and a father.

    • Seraphim98 says

      I don’t think Met. Jonah said he was incompetent. What he did say I think is carefully worded and has an unsaid subtext. “I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.

      The way Met. Jonah put this raises the question for me…what type of personality and temperament is he supposing is required to be the Primate of the OCA. If he is being cautious, but feeling aggrieved then I can see how it could be construed that He thinks what “they” wanted a Met. to be and do was not what he understood was proper for a Met. to be and do…and so given the difference between perceptions of need/role…he, then did not have the personality or temperament to fulfill those expectations. Those hostile, or seriously questioning the decision of the synod might even read it as code for “you wanted a sock puppet…I can’t be that.”

      Given that he goes on to say it was a position he never sought or desired, it seems to me he is reminding the synod that he was their choice, and it is they who put the burdens of office upon him…if they didn’t actually want him to act as an Orthodox Metropolitan, then maybe they should have chosen someone else…at least, I think it could be reasonably read this way…again if they take serious issue with the synod’s supposed motives or deeds in this regard.

      On the surface it reads as if he is saying he just doesn’t have an administrative temperament suitable to the needs of the OCA…but given the history of his time as Metropolitan and all the push back he has received from some quarters…I’m not personally inclined to believe the surface meaning, however true it may be, is the only meaning of the text. I don’t take away from it that he considers himself incompetent….just not of the right temperament and personality for the job he was asked to do. The question remains…what was the job he was actually expected to do?…at least what was it he thought was being asked of him that he was unable or unwilling to undertake.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t know the right or wrong of this between the Synod and Met. Jonah, though I freely admit liking him and as things stand, and hope he will be returned to us as our bishop in the DoS…and I freely admit to having questions about the synod’s decision that I’ve not seen good answers for. There may be yet undisclosed reasons for what they have done which are entirely justifiable and part of their duty to do, popular or not. It may in the end turn out to be that due to a serious misjudgment Met. Jonah needed to step down. I’m just not convinced of that…and judging from the wording of his resignation letter…at least for me there is reasonable room to think that Met. Jonah understands himself to be the aggrieved party in this but understands also that given his situation and the general state of affairs that this is not the time or place to say so openly…but perhaps he hints. Otherwise he leaves his vindication or judgment to God.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Re: Jonah’s “incompetence” to be an administrator, I think I know where he’s coming from, based on my own experience. I was for a while editor of the Sunday commentary section of the Dallas Morning News. I loved the job, and was very good, I think, at coming up with ideas to make the section thought-provoking and lively. What I was terrible at was the ordinary tasks of management — budgets, details, things like that. If I had had an assistant to handle that stuff, allowing me to focus solely on the creative part, I could have excelled in that position. But the details — important things that kept the trains running on time, so to speak — undid me. I was not efficient at dealing with them, and I finally became overwhelmed. Had I been better at it, I might have had more time for writing, which is my first love. Eventually I asked to step down, and to go back to writing, which I did.

        I think Jonah’s situation is analogous, though it differs in some important respects. To be a bishop, especially a Metropolitan, is about more than being a pastor. You have to have good ideas, but you also have to have good execution.

        In Jonah’s case, I think it is equally important that a bishop have the wisdom and moral courage to make unpopular decisions, and to say no when saying no is required. Jonah is a kind, generous, loving, and godly pastor, but he hates conflict, and will not stand up to bullies (I’m looking at you, Bishop Benjamin, but not only you). This is potentially disastrous.

    • William Manning says

      Marty, that on which “spiritual backbone and theological assurance” is grounded is Church doctrine and tradition. It cannot be separated from daily life. For Orthodox, living cannot be compartmentalized into church life and regular life. The various issues in the culture wars have indeed ensnared many of us and are attempting to ensnare the rest of us. We are obliged to resist them. Believing that these issues are harmless to the society at large and not worth being concerned about is careless.
      “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith….1Peter 5:8. We Orthodox actually do believe this. We have no choice but to resist.

    • MartyOlson! Have you given the advice in your last paragraph to the hierarchs of he Holy Synod? After all, NO ONE here elected Metropolitan Jonah. THEY DID.
      In my lifetime, three Holy Synods elected a First Hierarch who was not the popular favorite By A Long Shot. This Holy Synod meekly declared, apparently, “Vox populi: Vox Dei!” Not an Orthodox saying AT ALL. On the contrary.
      Metropolitans Ireney, Theodosius, and Herman were, all three of them, elected in opposition to “vox populi.” They had what we call nowadays, “balls.” If a previous Holy Synod had acted like this one, we’d have had to deal with a hierarch named Seraphim Storheim, not Herman.
      It’s understandable how a large crowd can be stirred up by a rousing speech, especially one naming names (how decent! how orderly!) and crimes of others! But it is shameful if a Holy Synod abdicates their responsibility out of fear of “a multitude of the people.”

  11. Setting aside most of the fight for a moment, I’m puzzled by one aspect of this situation that gets frequent mention but is not, to my knowledge, explained. This talk about Met. Jonah needing to support family members: I thought it was customary for people with such responsibilities to be turned down if they sought to become monastics. They’d be instructed to work in the world to provide support for their relatives and to consider monasticism in the future only if they are freed from this obligation to care for family members. Why was he a monk in the first place if he is the sole support of his mother and sister?

    • Clara,

      Situations change. When Jonah entered the monastic life his parents were younger and able to care for themselves. His sister suffers from a disability which makes it at the moment nearly impossible for her to care for her aging parents. Things changed with Jonah too, he was no longer just a monk in a monastery holding all things in common with the brotherhood. He was elected the Primate of the OCA. The circumstances of his life took a radical turn in a different direction. Now, plans made based on his ability to step in and do more for his parents have been taken away from him. The idea that a monk is totally cut off and dead to his family is a distortion of monasticism. Honor thy father and mother is not abrogated when you become a monastic.

    • Clara, he wasn’t supporting anyone when he became a monk, and I don’t think this was foreseeable at the time he decided to pursue monastic life. It happens sometimes that monastics have to take leave of the monastery for a time in order to work for pay and take care of the family. Met. Jonah, as a bishop, already didn’t live in a monastery and already had paid employment, so it was probably an easier adjustment for him than it would be for just any ordinary monk.

    • Seraphim98 says

      I don’t know this myself, but Met. Jonah has been a monk for a number of years. This need may be a relatively recent development in his family, not one that was an impediment when he was first tonsured.

    • pelagiaeast says

      He was definitely a monk. If you reflect on it, you will know that things can change as people age. In Dallas, both his parents were obviously elderly, but seemed to be in satisfactory health, although the plan was, as I understand it, to bring them to Dallas. I believe his sister was not there because already her health was frail, but I may be incorrect about that. Madam can answer for herself. He is the only son, and probably never expected to need to care for, provide for, his parents. There are scriptural admonitions about caring for family. It is a very beautiful act of obedience to love them this way, and somehow it really troubles me that some people object to this and use it to try to discredit him. Hope this answers your questions to your satisfaction. He is caring for both parents, btw.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Let’s assume +Jonah became a monk when his father was still working, had a business, retirement savings, whatever.

      We all know real estate took a nose dive, and people do get sick enough that the savings just run out. So, I can see as to how options may have run out, thus leaving their son as a last resort, since it sounds like his sister is unable to step in. Please think this through for a bit, folks.

    • Seraphim says

      “Why was he a monk in the first place if he is the sole support of his mother and sister?”

      Because this wasn’t the case seventeen years ago when he was tonsured. Circumstances do change.

  12. Maybe they were reading this blog and all the comments about withholding financial support while down in Miami. It seems much was said about the importance of the tithe.

  13. I would like to share an essay written by the wonderful Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos that I feel is pertinent to our present situation:

    “A lot has been said lately about scandals and, yes, about ecclesiastical scandals—in essence, about scandals which arise from clerics who should have been examples to the faithful.


    “Scandal is given to fallen society exactly because man is found in the circumstances of the Fall, governed by passions; but also in order to compete, to hold on to the will of God and proceed toward perfection without ever arriving at perfection. Because of this, Christ said to the Jews of His time, “it is necessary that scandals come” (Matt. 18:7): because in this manner the ones being tested are proven. At the same time, it is emphasized “but woe to the man by whom the scandals come” (Matt. 18:7).


    “There is, however, a parameter that must be accented in this provision. It applies to the scandalized, who yield to the temptations arising from scandals—the ones who lose their faith and leave the Church because they have been scandalized by various happenings which occur in society, but also in the bosom of the Church. If the scandalizers have a responsibility before God and will give a fearful account before God on the Day of Judgment, the scandalized also have a shared responsibility.

    “There are two basic reasons. The first reason is that the scandalized show their spiritual weakness to resist temptations and the difficulties of life. Just as the biological organism of man draws upon antibodies and a strong immune system to ward off every toxin, just so the spiritual man ought to have a strong immune system in order to ward off every tempting circumstance. And just as those who do not have a strong immune system become ill, so also, the ones who do not have a strong spiritual immune system are easily scandalized and in this way show they do not have a sound organism.


    “It follows that the ones who have small and imperfect faith are scandalized. Temptations result in scandals to those who do not have a great knowledge of God. Moreover, for those who do not draw upon the criterion of Truth, Christ Himself, can be a scandal – His revealed Word, the Truth, the Kingdom of Heaven—which they do not harmonize with the world view that they have.

    “The second reason which reveals the responsibility which those who are scandalized have is that in some way those who are in these circumstances have a psychological need to be scandalized. This is said from the vantage point that those who fall into this category live a life outside of the physical life – as Adam lived before the Fall – and a life outside of revealed Truth, which Christ gave to the world and is safeguarded in the Church.


    “Exactly for this reason, scandals are of service to such a one who wishes to be scandalized. With this conception, the passionate man inclines toward the limitations and search for scandals; he delights in these in order to quiet his conscience and avoid following the narrow and ascending path of virtue. He has the following thought: “If there exist other Christians, let alone clerics and even bishops who transgress the many and varied boundaries of the Law of God, then I have an excuse to live the same way.”

    “The two reasons which we presented show that the scandalized are spiritually ill. It is evident from this fact that the Saints are not scandalized by anything that they see in society. Not only are they not scandalized, but they confront the evidence and temptations with unshakable faith and invincible courage. The Grace of God strengthens and empowers them. They are influenced by the words of the Apostle Paul: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

    Full essay: http://priestmatthewjackson.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-scandalized-by-metropolitan.html

    I share this with everyone as a reminder to me, and for anyone who is struggling with this scandal (scandals?) in his or her heart. I want to approach – even scandals – with the mind and heart of Christ.

    May the Lord have mercy on us. May He have mercy on the Holy Synod. May He have mercy on Metropolitan Jonah.

    • Here’s basically what this says: It’s your fault we screwed up and you left. I think God is good and cannot believe something like this.

    • Sub-Deacon David says

      I find it curious that the post doesn’t cite where this is translated from. Can anyone confirm this is indeed the work of Met. Hierotheos and that the translation is accurate and that it accurately reflects the context? Those of us “scandalized” may very well be weak of faith (even “children” or “little ones” in the faith, as it were), “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” I think I’d rather be one of scandalized that the scandalers.

    • Southron says

      Priest Matthew Jackson cites this quote: It follows that the ones who have small and imperfect faith are scandalized. Temptations result in scandals to those who do not have a great knowledge of God.

      You know, that takes some nerve coming from a guy who did what he did to his parish in McComb. Is he saying that the people he left and denounced are deficient for being shocked and offended by his behavior? Sure sounds like it.

      Not impressed.

  14. In “Why Did They Do This?”, George M. wrote:

    At this point, the broader, more troubling question is this: what new and scurrilous accusations will these same operatives bring forward in order to further blacken the name of our Metropolitan?

    I ask, could the answer to that be indicated by the following?

    Amos says:
    July 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I can confirm Theodore’s reply. … the DOS Assembly … Jillions spend two hours basically trying to make the case for the Synod that Jonah is mentally ill to justify their actions.
    Fr. Jillions also shared that the Synod expects Jonah to check himself into a mental institution for at least six months before they will even consider him for another assignment. Most down here feel that Jonah has been labeled a nut and there is little hope that he will ever be allowed another diocese in the OCA or elsewhere.

    So, will they abandon their “rape case” justification to a mentally ill, “nut case” one?
    If so, how would that be proven or disproven?
    Oh well, just “thinking out load” again.

    • Seraphim98 says

      So sad.

      Whither now? The voice of the people is not necessarily the voice of God…but neither is it nothing. God hears. God judges.

      I hope the synod hears this voice…hopefully not alone, though it is small. Unless the synod can make a better, more convincing case of necessity than they have thus far I am saddened that I don’t feel I can trust their judgment in this…and I would very much like to trust their judgement, to believe that at least the majority of a sitting synod of Orthodox bishops are honest dealing, God fearing men, who would not countenance cabals and vendettas, men who would lay down their lives to serve Christ and deal faithfully with their brother bishops, priests, and with the laity. i wish it were so…but sense/feel that there is a good chance that it is not. I wish I could be sure of the integrity of the majority of the Holy Synod, but I cannot, so there is only God to trust to bring good out of this time of difficulty. For me, the synod has not yet made it’s case…so until such time (if ever) for me all I want to say is summed up in this, a desire, a conviction I believe shared by many if not most in our diocese:

      Axios Jonah. Axios, Axios, Axios.

    • Unfortunately, Protodeacon, those accusations would be a lot harder to deal with because it would involve Met. Jonah’s personal privacy. His medical records are protected by law.

      Either His Beatitude would have to come forward and say what is going on, or else the people who are raising these questions would have to say why they think he is not mentally healthy. I don’t think it’s right to expect him to publicize his medical information, nor to put him in a position where he would have to publicize it in order to counter accusations and insinuations about his mental health.

      This is why the “he’s nuts” accusation is so painful and destructive, and frankly abhorrent.

  15. George wrote: “No more needs to be said about this incident.”
    Please be kind enough to let us know the definition of “this incident.” No one want to feel even more like an utter jackass than ordinarily by having a post refused out of ineptitude caused by lack of information!
    Is “this incident” a rape?
    Is “this incident” the coming into existence of a priest from the Kharon family?
    Is “this incident” the Statement of the Holy Synod?

  16. Attention Deacon Patrick! It was once the custom in the Russian Church that priests hearing confessions would do so while sitting..
    Moreover Archbishop Peter of blessed memory used to hear, when he was a Priest in Paris at the All-Saints of Russia Church (MP), all confessions sitting down. I learned this from Andrei Lossky, a parishioner and friend here in Los Angeles, brother of Vladimir Lossky. Andrei told me that “Father Pierre” was much loved by the Lossky family because children never had any fear of going to Confession to him because he did not,, like other Priests, tower over children, but listened to them and spoke to them at their own level, by being seated.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      I didn’t say he scandalized me. I said he scandalized others. I only thought it odd — a young man sitting while the penitent stood before him.

  17. Friends,
    I have been reading this blog for a short time and have mixed feelings. I am Anglican and have been seeking conversion to Orthodoxy. I know the grass is not greener on the other side but I am not dissuaded from coming into the Orthodox Church because of all this “corruption” ive been reading about. Im even more convinced that the OCA is where I should be. What advice can you offer me regarding my situation, yes or no?

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      To Cranmer:
      I am not OCA and as they say in the south have no dog in this fight, that is I am not involved in the administrative conflicts that have plagued the OCA. I am Antiochian, but I am Orthodox first. Thus, I think that it is better to become Orthodox even with our administrative problems than to remain in a church like the Episcopalians or even one of the continuing Anglican groups that have much more serious problems because they lack Apostolic Faith and in some cases have embraced anti Christian beliefs and practices like the Episcopal Church which recently voted to allow same-sex marriage. The OCA is Orthodox and teaches the true Orthodox Faith. I admit that at times the Protestants are more organized than we Orthodox are. However, at this point, I am not sure that the Episcopalians or the multitude of continuing Anglicans have better administration that we do. I would rather fight over who should be bishop than over matters of doctrine. Besides, I doubt that the administrative conflicts of the OCA have any real effect on the local parish. It is far better to become Orthodox and to embrace the Apostolic Faith than to remain in a Protestant group just because they have better organization.
      The internet amplifies everything and makes it sound much worse than it really is. The Orthodoxy of the OCA does not depend on who is metropolitan as long as he does not peach heresy. As far as I know no one has accused Metropolitan Jonah or his critics of preaching heresy.

      Archpriest John Morris

    • I would come in with another jurisdiction.

    • Seraphim98 says

      My own conversion took a few years from the point I was ready and willing to convert….what I learned in the interim was that gold and silver was no less gold and silver for having been temporarily in the care of a cracked clay pot. Some of us are very earthen vessels indeed…but the treasure of Orthodoxy is true riches…as the little ditty on youtube says (That’s the Way the Wheat Bows), “treasure for a clay pot, silver and gold.”

    • Cranmer. The Holy Synod of today’s OCA is unlike previous Holy Synods in many ways: it’s also unlike the Holy Synods of other Local Orthodox Churches. The problems you hear discussed here now are unique to here and now. As for “corruption,” in spite of what you may have heard, it was exceptional and, in the matter of the charges made by a Deacon some time ago NOT demonstrated, NOT proved. in spite of a mammoth fishing expedition and tons and tons of money contributed by the Faithful being diverted and devoted to criminal investigations, not one of the allegations made in the original letter as made has been proved. As for moral/sexual corruption, the toleration of the continued service of a Deacon who fled from the bishop he’d been living with for a long time in order to elope to California and marry a man, then get a divorce from same, and returned. There’s no indication that the Church or any of its entities has deigned to address that corruption at all. I wish I could defend a charge of moral corruption here, but there’s absolutely no basis on which to do so. Some other matters are being addressed in court. Unlike with a previous question: “Are the allegations true or false,” which have not been shown to be true, the matter of the deacon’s FLOUTING of the Church’s teaching on marrying after ordination, on homosexuality, and on the self-deposition of those so flouting the Church’s teachings, which normally, in OTHER Orthodox Churches, all of them, result in ratification of that self-deposition through an episcopale decree. often, but not always, supported by a diocesan or spiritual court, I am unable to reassure you, due to the decisions of the Holy Synod in those matters.

  18. MartyOlson says

    Cranmer: welcome to Orthodoxy; may you join and find salvation therein. Despite the turmoil at the top, at the Diocesan level I think I am safe to say, there are calmer waters. At Great Vespers tonight at my parish, there wasn’t a word said about the HS, or all of this scandal. People are not ignorant, they are focused as always on prayer, giving of themselves and “soldiering on” in the Orthodox religion which is the true work of the OCA. No offense, and I feel I would find much agreement here among the group of whom I am myself a “newbie” that this blog and the individual posts therein are not reflective of the entirety of the OCA or other jurisdictions. We are the bigger mouths, more opinionated and I think a bit more exercised by these internecine battles than the average “Joe-Jane Orthodox believer. This blog, in my mind, offers a window into parts of the OCA hierarchy that are not always sweetness and light. The posters range from bishops to priests, lay people who I get the impression want to see the OCA be a certain way, where it isn’t that certain way throughout North America. As I think St. John says in the Apocalypse. “all things are passing away, behold I make all things new.” We are part of the Christian world in which all things have been made new via the death and Holy Ressurection of Jesus. In that his teachings were given to the Holy Apostles, Orthodoxy has maintained these teachings both in Scripture and Tradition. Yet, we all have viewpoints about this that differ from parishioner, to Bishop. But, we try to stay on the Ladder of St. John Climacas and help each other stay on and not fall off. Go to Church in the OCA parish near you and meet the people and the priest who keep the “ship” rudder afixed, we believe, leading to the crowns and blessings of the just.

  19. cynthia curran says

    What do Libertarians have to do with the Cultural wars they want to legalized selling your body or most drugs. The other groups do but alas most countries until the 20 century either imprison or put people to death for Sodomy. In fact the Orthodox Countries in the middle ages punished with either death or castration. Not that I support that position but most of the social conservatives would be mild on homosexual behavior compared to earlier centuries.

  20. Thanks folks. I do agree that the “fulness” of faith is in Orthodoxy but reading the comments on this blog allowed me to see that many of the same issues that Anglicans are dealing with are here as well (although not doctrinal). Protestantism is bankrupt, Rome is more liberal than the liberal protestants I know and most of the RC Clergy don’t believe in the Church…”literally!” However, my heart was drawn to the East for reasons even I don’t understand but it was. Therefore, as an Anglican priest, I am seeking to follow God’s lead on this. Most that I have met in the OCA seem to be sincere Christians who love Jesus and His Church and want to gain heaven. I concur! I just hope I wont be jumping from the frying pan into the fire! Never the less, Christs Church is where the battle is because its where the faith is and I should expect no less. As God said to Job “Gird up thy loins and be a man!” so be it……..

    • Brian McDonald says

      Good for you, Cranmer! Beginning in my young adulthood, I, too, “was drawn to the East for reasons I don’t understand,” and could not be more glad that I eventually decided to trust the spiritual intuition of my heart and join the Church. I should add that my heart was not uninformed by the intellect since in the words of the baptismal service the goal of human existence is to become “a reason-endowed worshipper of God.”

      We became Orthodox over 20 years ago and in exchange for a promising (and fairly remunerative) career as a Presbyterian pastor, my family and I endured financial struggle but found in the Church an overflowing fullness of life “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.”

      I mean “fullness of life” first of all in the most literal sense since the Orthodox emphasis that “children are a blessing of the Lord” awoke in us a desire for more kids, and our little family went from two to five children—all of whom have grown up strong in their Orthodox faith and one of whom is now a candidate for the priesthood.

      But of course and most importantly, we found more life in the spiritual sense since there is something about the Orthodox memory, expressed in its demanding but beautiful services, the writings of the fathers, the beauty of its iconography, and its ascetic practices that opens up a path into the very heart of what C.S. Lewis calls “the country of the Trinity.” In Orthodoxy, my family and I have experienced original Christianity at its fullest and purest. I am aware more than I ever was of the painful depth of my sin, but also of the glory and grace of God. In the brightness of the Orthodox vision of God, I understand with a painful but wondrous clarity the difference between the grubby and squalid life we actually live and the deification for which God has created us. And the church has provided us with rigorous but useful “therapies” that aid us in the struggle to overcome “the corruption in the world through lust” so that we may become “partakers of the divine nature.”

      I hope you’ll see in our very controversies, that it’s not Orthodoxy itself, but our fears (perhaps exaggerated and sinfully lacking in faith) that this marvelous and life-giving tradition may somehow be compromised that generate our sometimes misguided vehemence. Viewed with perhaps more charity than we deserve, our very fears of what may be lost may be a testimony of how much we’ve found.

    • clueless catholic says

      Rome is more liberal? On what planet? I think you are thinking of American Catholicism of 20 years ago. Come to our diocese and see how “liberal” we are these days. Sheesh.

      See, also, how we stand up for the Culture of Life vs. the Culture of Death…how we are fighting the HHS Mandate and standing up for traditional marriage. Do you read the news?

      What other communion has done more to promote the Gospel of Life? Seriously?

      • M.Vasiliou says

        Met. Jonah was a champion of the Culture of Life and the sacredness of Holy Matrimony until he was forced to resign by the politically-correct OCA Synod.

        St. Nectarios of Aegina (Orthodox Christian) and Padre Pio of Rome (Roman Catholic) were both accused of false sexual improprieties to neutralize their ministry. Today as in the past, there are evil or naive men who knowingly or unknowingly cooperate with the devil to destroy Christ’s Holy Church.

        Ultimately, it is up to the holy people of God to stand up, fight the Evil One by their prayers and fasting, and oust those who are committed to destroying Christ’s Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

        By the way, In the Roman Catholic Church during the mid-to late 20th century, many good candidates for the priesthood were ousted from the seminaries as being too rigid if they supported priestly chastity and Holy Matrimony as being between a man and a woman. The Catholic Priest who leads Priests for Life was forced by his liberal bishop from leaving the diocese until his case was appealed to the Vatican. Whoever is in charge of the Vatican dictates the policies of the Roman Catholic Church. Although the Roman Catholic Church is currently a strong voice in the Culture of Life, the situation could deteriorate if a new leftist pope and Vatican bureaucracy is elected in the future.

        Will those OCA seminarians who defend the Holy State of Matrimony and the Culture of Life be ousted by the psychologists/psychiatrists who consult with the OCA Crisis Management Team as were the Catholic seminarians of old?

  21. To those of you who keep referring to me as “disabled,” let me set the record straight. Almost four years ago, I left my home in the Bay Area of California and moved to San Diego and took care of our parents for that period of time. I did “step in.” I am not disabled; I am unemployed. Please take note of it.

    • Thanks for setting the record straight, Madam, on this and many other things.

      To everyone: I believe the relevant information to our ongoing concern about Metropolitan Jonah is that he is supporting three family members on his salary as a bishop, and he needs to have paid employment and housing lined up at some point in order to secure his and his family’s well-being. That is all we need to be discussing at this point, not the finer points of the lives of the Paffhausens, or how monastic a lifestyle Metropolitan Jonah is able to live under the circumstances. Met. Jonah himself always said family life had its own ascesis, and I am sure it is a comfort to be with his family at a difficult time in his life.

    • pelagiaeast says

      Thank you for the clarification, and thank God for your good health. A little old info, or misinfo goes a long way these days.
      Please give our love to your brother – his Godchildren in the Heartland.

  22. daniel beck sr. says

    My friend and Metropolitan has been crucified with Christ. As Christ he was betrayed by “brothers”. The “Great Apostasy” has been creeping upon us and now seems to be in full swing. “Come quickly, Lord Jesus”.
    Until Metropolitan Jonah is fully exonerated, a public apology made and he is fully reinstated I for one, will not enter the apostate church of the oca. I do not recognize them as either Christian or Orthodox. May their sin turn upon them if they do not repent.
    Be careful who you align yourself with, Christ is watching and His judgement is coming.
    Shame upon shame on the orthodox church in america – they do not deserve capitalization of their name. Do not be cowards, stand up and be counted – NO COMPROMISE!
    Read the Gospel and stand firm with Christ. He said very clearly, “Would that you were either cold or hot! … Whoever is not with me is against me”.
    In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
    Daniel Beck Sr.

  23. V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

    Dear Daniel,
    I,a sinful priest of 35 years,understand your outrage.At the same time,I urge caution.I mean,each one of us has to look into his or her soul.Do I feel Metropolitan Jonah was ill-treated by his fellow bishops?It certainly seems that way to me.Let us remember,however,the Church founded by Christ is bigger than you or I,bigger than Metropolitan Jonah and those bishops.
    Read the lives of the Saints.Tell me there weren’t Saints who suffered persecution,from the state,from the flock,yes,even from fellow bishops.When Joseph was sold by his own brothers in the flesh,he could have cried out and said that he was not a slave,but he didn’t.Out of the evil of his being sold into slavery in Egypt,there eventually came good.Out of Our Lord’s Crucifixion,there came the Resurrection.
    Even modern Saints,such as St.John of San Francisco,suffered unjustly at the hands of brother bishops.Some of St.Johns opponents lived to see evil overtake them.Hopefully,in their hearts,they repented as we all must do.
    Your zeal for a Metropolitan unjustly persecuted does you credit.Just be on guard that zeal doesn’t serve as an excuse to totally bail out of the church,to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.That’s what Martin Luther did.He correctly recognised the errors that had crept in to the Papal church,but instead of returning to the Apostolic Faith, he “rolled his own”,he went still further into error.He rejected the whole concept of the holiness of the church because he saw no little or no holiness in the Roman church of his time.
    Metropolitan Jonah,I repeat,was treated unjustly.i don’t doubt that.Just be careful not to make your faith all about one man.Or rather,DO make your faith about the God and Man born of the Virgin Theotokos.I speak here from personnal experience.When I was a young ROCOR priest,I was a zealot for the so-called “elder” of what was later to become the HOCNA cult of Boston.I supported the elder because my then-spiritual father was his spiritual child.When the HOCNA group split from ROCOR in 1986,I almost followed them into schism.I almost lost my faith because of human weakness.But that’s just it,it was human weakness.The devil exploits our weaknesses to pull us away from Christ and His Church.This we must resist.
    Do,by all means,pray for Metropolitan Jonah.I do,daily.I remember him in private prayers,the proscomedia,and in the great entrance as well.Just think also,if the Metropolitan has been crucified unjustly,what crowns he has gained for himself in the heavens.I ask your prayers for me,the least worthy of priests.