News From Around the OCA
The website OCATruth.org reported in an early morning posting on May 2nd, that Fr. Joseph Fester, former Chancellor of the Diocese of the South and Dean of the Metropolitan’s St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington DC had been “released” from the OCA. In an article called “Spin Goes Round”, Rod Dreher, writing under his pseudonym “Muzhik” stated: “Stokoe’s little stunt here has resulted in the release of Fr. Joseph by the OCA - which tells me there’s fierce vehemence against the man, and that they don’t have the evidence to punish him in a spiritual court.”
That sentence was later removed from the story this afternoon. Then, this evening, Dreher’s entire article was removed. OCANews.org, however, has confirmed that parish council members in DC received phone calls late last night informing them that Fester had been “relieved of duty”, rather than “released from the OCA.” Sources in Chicago later confirmed that decision of the Metropolitan.
The Synod Meets
The Synod which has been meeting almost non-stop since Monday, continued its meetings into this evening. This afternoon’s session saw the Bishops gathering with the members of the Sexual Misconduct Committee Advisory Panel, charged with assisting the Bishops in creating the Church’s response to issues surrounding sexual misconduct. The Panel’s original report, which was denounced by Metropolitan Jonah at the previous Synod meeting in Santa Fe, was re-submitted by the Panel, at the request of the Synod, with more than 650 pages of documentation substantiating its previous findings. The meeting was attended by Fr. Alexander Garklavs, former OCA Chancellor, who was a member of the Panel, until his controversial dismissal by Metropolitan Jonah in early February, which was subsequently confirmed by the Synod in Santa Fe.
Meanwhile in Dallas
On Bright Monday, April 25th +Jonah, without the prior agreement of the Synod, suddenly announced his resumption of duties as the “locum tenens” of the Diocese of the South. On Friday, April 29th, the full meaning of this news was made clearer, when OCANews published emails indicating a campaign to replace Bishop Mark of Baltimore, the current administrator of the Diocese, was underway. Revelation of the moves, however, did not stop the Dallas cathedral Parish Council, one of whose members writes for OCATruth.com, from presenting Bishop Mark with a letter on Friday “demanding” to know his answers to certain questions, with a Monday, May 2nd, deadline for his response. +Mark, according to witnesses in Chicago, acknowledged receipt of the Parish Council’s letter, but refused to answer its questions, pointing out that he was in Chicago for the consecration of Bishop Matthias, followed immediately by the Synod meeting.
This did not stop the campaign though. Today, on a private blog associated with OCATruth, aware that Bishop Mark and the new parish priest, Fr. David Moretti, were both temporarily staying at Metropolitan Jonah’s two-bedroom condo in Dallas wrote: “....when +Mark returns to his apartment, he may find the locks changed and his belongings on a heap outside.”
OCANews. can now confirm that the Synod has returned responsibility for the Diocese to the former “locum tenens”, Bishop Nikon.
The Metropolitan Council will begin its meetings, together with the Lesser Synod, tomorrow through Friday, also in Chicago.