Saturday, May 3. 2008
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can this get anymore bizarre????
#1 Anonymous on 2008-05-03 10:59
Obviously from the next two postings, yes.
#1.1 K. Carlsen on 2008-05-03 23:44
HEY STOKOE! PLEASE TELL THE TRUTH! THIS GOSSIP WEBSITE IS LIKE THE AUTHOR! GOSSIP! GOSSIP! AND PLEASE DONT FORGET TO PUT A TWIST OF YOUR GOSSIP IN FOR GOOD MEASURE! MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL! AND YOUR BEST FRIEND WHO BACKS YOUR GOSSIP UP! YES BISHOP "JOB" ! AND YOU SAY THIS WESITE HAS DONE GOOD FOR THE CHURCH? YOUR A FOOL! BY THE WAY CAN I TAKE YOU INTO COURT? I WILL ASK FOR TWENTY MILLION! THIS IS THE SAME MISTAKE YOUR WEBSITE MADE WITH MR. KONDRATIC! MET HERMAN WAS TRYING TO "CONTAIN" THE PROBLEM! CALL IT " MANAGEMENT CONTROL" WHAT YOUR WEBSITE DID WAS TAKE A CAMP FIRE WHICH WAS UNDER CONTROL, YOU PUT GAS ON IT ! (YOUR GOSSIP WEBSITE) YOU TURNED IT INTO A MAJOR FOREST FIRE! OUT OF CONTROL! NOW YOUR RUNNING AWAY FROM THE FIRE YOU STARTED! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOUR SELF? PLEASE SHUTDOWN THIS WEBSITE! AND MAYBE YOU CAN SAVE YOUR SOUL!
(editor's note: I couldn't make this up if I tried. Thanks, Gossip Man. Gossip man reveals the depth of our problem: so many still prefer illusion of "controlled" darkness to the pain of the light. One can only witness to them the truth of confession, repentence, and foregiveness. The pain can be healed, and is, in the process of repentence - but the darkness never ceases, and control is an illusion that will only be unmasked in the minute it destroys you. )
#2 Anonymous on 2008-05-03 14:39
SORRY STOKOE! YOUR GREED AGENDA WILL DESTROY YOU AT THE END!
(editor's note: Since I have not made a penny off this site, nor have a pension from the OCA, nor have any way of making any money off the OCA, I am at a loss to know how reporting on events in the OCA is a "greedy" agenda.)
#2.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-05 10:29
Are you discounting the whites who are in the Orthodox church here in Alaska? We need to be very careful in these days until our new bishop is chosen. If a portion of the orthodox in alaska revert to a sect that has no use for white brothers and sisters who are just as Orthodox in thought and deed as anyone else, we are no longer Orthodox but something less instead. How would that be different than what the Bishop was doing? There is no one group here in alaska that is any more Orthodox than anyone else. We do not need a Yupik, White, Tlinget, or Aleut candidate for our next bishop.....we need a Godly Man. There have been a lot of charges of racism thrown around of late. Do not let it go too far and do not think that all the whites feel as they did. The problems of the past few years were the result of Bp. Nikolai and Fr. Isadore alone. Their bad behavior is now over and we do not have to let the effects stay amongst us. Let us prayerfully and at peace with each other, seek someone to fill that vacant role who "by the grace of God" can love us and lead us as a true father should his children.
#2.1.1 annon on 2008-05-06 13:08
I still do not get it - how many negative reports came from Alaska about Bp. Nikolai? More that 1200 people have signed a petition stating that they no longer have confidence in Herman's vision/decision making. Is this not a double standard? Herman has now cast out two people - who will be his next victim? He has a crafty way of diverting attention to someone else - who is next?
#2.1.2 MP on 2008-05-07 04:10
I just saw this, and who knows if the authors of this post or the previous one are going to look back to read it, but here's my two knuts worth:
Mark Stokoe hardly needs to defend himself or have anyone else defend him. If you are not convinced by the multitude of accounts of abuse on the part of Bishop Nikolai, and refuse to see the pattern to them, or to accept that power corrupts, and Orthodox bishops are in no wise excluded as a lot, well, there really isn't any hope for you. But know this: there are all too many of us who know what we experienced, who know what we witnessed, not just what what happened to us, but to our brothers and sisters in Christ. You can call it "gossip" all you want in an attempt to discredit Mark Stokoe or anyone else, it doesn't change the facts by one iota.
#2.1.3 Mark Harrison on 2008-05-13 17:51
Now this sounds more like it. I had heard seminarians from the eastern U.S. complain about a year ago in regards to Bishop Nikolai's strictness. I had heard that he was so strict, that all the Alaskan priests were in fear for making even a single mistake during the services. Some of them were under so much stress that they had TURNED TO ALCOHOL and began beating their wives. GIVE ME A BREAK PEOPLE!
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ALCOHOLISM OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!
I saw this poor man becoming a scapegoat more than a year ago.
SHAME ON THE OCA.
#3 desanka paunovic on 2008-05-03 17:52
It was to be expected and these posts are certainly manefesting that. As Nikolai withdraws, and hopefully takes Isidore with him, the "supporters" who apparently could not present as convincing a case as others, were bound to come out for one last hurrah. The victory has been won. There is no need for us to beat the proverbial dead horse. Let's just put up with those final, albeit misplaced and lacking any merit, comments and posts and let's allow Nikolai and Isidore to get out of town! It has been won!! Let them sling their mud. It will wash off and so will the "filth" that was overshadowing the land these last several years.
#4 beat the dead horse on 2008-05-03 18:44
There seems to be some misunderstandings regarding reverting back to married bishops.
First, this is not a new idea. Eighteen years ago, the New York Times reported that "Representatives of the clergy and the laity of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Western hemisphere have recommended that the church allow married priests to become bishops. The proposal, which would alter 1,300 years of Eastern Orthodox practice, would require an unusual consensus among Orthodox Christian bishops. The action by the Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America came Thursday in Washington. The congress was presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople..."
"Orthodox theologians agree that the restriction on married bishops is a matter of church discipline rather than doctrine and therefore could be changed. But changing such a practice would require a consensus among all the self-governing Orthodox churches, said the Rev. John Meyendorf of the one-million member Orthodox Church in America."
"Father Stephanopoulos said that technically a case could be made that the bishops of a self-governing Orthodox church like the Greek Orthodox had the right to institute such a change. ''But it would almost have to be settled at the pan-Orthodox level without risking serious schism,'' he said."
''But there is ferment on the question, even in very conservative churches,'' and the idea is already on the agenda for discussions at the pan-Orthodox level, Father Stephanopoulos said."
The second misconception is regarding how we can revert back to a mixture of single and married bishops. It is commonly held that we must have an ecumenical council. This is not canonically true, as the applicable canon was adopted by the Trullan Council, which was accepted as a supplement to the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils but which nonetheless was not technically an ecumenical council. As Father Stephanopoulos implied, a self-governing local church can technically revert back to the earlier Apostolic Canons. However, as both Father Meyendorff and Stephanopoulos said, this may indeed result in "serious schism."
It is also instructive to actually read the 12th canon: "Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offense to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us,— it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: Do all to the glory of God, give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me even as I also am of Christ. But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed."
Some important things may be discerned. First, the canon was imposed because of the exercise of economy--to prevent scandal and offense to the believers. Second, married men were consecrated as bishops but they had to separate themselves from their spouses. Third, the canon explicitly confirms the validity of the Apostolic canons that reiterate Paul's epistle to Timothy.
The bottom line: Theologically and canonically OCA can revert back to married bishops. However, we should be cautious in proceeding with this conclusion. I don't think that the OCA can or should do so if it results in an internal schism or if it further delays the administrative union in North America. On the other hand, almost a generation has passed since the bold proposal by the Greek Archdiocese. The monarchical model is alive and well everywhere. Instead of gracefully bowing out of the picture, OCA's mother church has increased her parishes in North America. Finally, OCA is racked with scandals and tribulations. What does OCA have to lose? It may be God's will for the OCA to rise from the ashes of recent scandals and become a beacon to the world by a true renaissance, which is marked in part by reverting back to married bishops.
#5 Carl on 2008-05-03 19:29
Metropolitan Philip is in favor of married bishops and has written on the subject. If the Greeks proposed it and the Antiochians are in agreement, perhaps now is the time to get it done. Christ chose married apostles, and perhaps we see the reason why in the OCA.
#5.1 The time has come on 2008-05-04 15:01
Metropolitan Philip is also in favor of allowing his clergy to remarry ala Joe Allen. Philip is not a paradigm to follow. Also, ask a frequent posters here what he did to his clergy who objected to his innovations with Joe Allen.
Know your history of Orthodoxy in North America and keep a sober heart and eye on the prize.
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-07 20:57
The Greeks weren't the first to bring this proposal up. In fact, there HAVE BEEN married bishops for many centuries among the Greeks & Russians, but kept quiet. The so called "housekeepers" did a little more than keep house. In Russia, some bishops just kept their wives secretly out of site. Again, THERE IS NO IMPEDIMENT IN MARRIAGE FOR PRIESTS OR BISHOPS. Fr. Meyendorff was a big proponent of married bishops and + Iakavos & + Philip spoke positively about re-instituting it. However, now is the time!
There will not be any "Great Council" to discuss this or other canonical issues. The Pat. of Istanbul has put a kabosh on any such efforts knowing the Russians would rule. It is time for the Orthodox Churches in America to take a bold stand and move forward with our own tradition. Schism you say? For doing what - following our own Orthodox Tradition? Schism maybe from the uneducated and those who have "self-interest" in wanting to keep only celibate and many times, psychologically maladjusted clerics.
#5.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-05 05:49
RE: "Schism you say? For doing what - following our own Orthodox Tradition? Schism maybe from the uneducated and those who have "self-interest" in wanting to keep only celibate and many times, psychologically maladjusted clerics."
Boy, does this read like a last throw of the dice! It is highly probable that are psychologically maladjusteds amongst the married clergy as well. .... This married bishops ploy will fail.....
#5.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-05 15:46
The point of extending the episcopacy to include senior, proven, married clerics is to cause the number of bishops to increase to the point they are able to actually police their own ranks and to connect with the people.
The futher point of including such married priests as bishops is that doing so was +precisely+ what the church did many years ago. Wake up to the fact that wives died young and in great numbers years ago. Now women live longer than men by a little bit and so we have no widower clegy who haven't retired as once we had.
Those among the only ordained young and never married who have strange needs for security and authority of office appear to rather like the present arrangement. Now it is time for the entire group of them to look within to decide whether they prefer their personal comfort zone and personal situation and personal issues more or less than the future of the church. I suppose the question right at the center of all of this is the one Christ asked of the long-time sick man: Do you want to be well?
#220.127.116.11 Harry Coin on 2008-05-07 14:32
CHRIST IS RISEN---AND HAS APPEARED TO SIMON!
Isn't anyone out there (in 'cyber space world') bright enough to wonder...much less realize that that WAS a good reason why married bishops fell out of use??? As a confessor to MANY married priests (in the past), I can tell you for certain that no ONE of them would recommend a married episcopacy...and the younger ones have ALL told me frequently that they even doubt whether a married priesthood is the best of ideas. Think a tad deeper dudes! (and dudettes).
In His great mercy,
#5.3 Fr. Pius on 2008-05-05 11:34
Explain why unmarried priest are best.
#5.3.1 anon on 2008-05-06 09:34
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Actually, in my personal opinion, I think that the married priesthood is the more 'normal' way to go. My above comments were just to share my experience as a confessor to priests. That experience seemed to point out that there are serious difficulties for a married priest trying to fulfill all his duties and responsibilities...and this would certainly point to the possibility of a bishop having an even MORE difficult time to fulfill his ministry IF he is being a good bishop.
In my experience as a monastic (43 years), it seems that whenever the Church has discontinued a practice (married bishops, communion in the hand, marriage after ordination, etc.) there is ALWAYS a good a sound reason for it...which may have escaped us in the course of history, but which we can recover through study and the teaching of the Fathers.
In His great mercy,
#18.104.22.168 Fr. on 2008-05-09 07:41
Perhaps, Father, the time has come for the Church to discontinue another practice or two, for good and sound reasons. Since the married episcopate is demonstrably biblical, reverting to that practice of the most ancient Church could hardly be seen as an innovation, could it?
#22.214.171.124.1 Scott Walker on 2008-05-09 19:57
Scott, +CHRIST IS RISEN---May the Risen Lord bless you!
I would be more comfortable with this idea if it could be shown why the Church abandoned a married episcopate to begin with? It didn't work once...why should we believe that it will work again. Marriage is NOT the solution to ministry's problems, I don't believe. The Church of Christ teaches us that marriage and monastic life are both a martyrdom of self...so either could work (ideally) yoked to ministry, but, having said this...I believe (personally) that we should FIRST strengthen monastic life in America before naively thinking that marriage (already at 50% divorce rate?) is going to solve the problems of the Office of Bishop within the Church...rather than just bring more and new problems with it. Christ was celibate---the bishop is the 'icon of Christ'---I want to see men who have fallen in love with Christ and are on fire with His message and are sooooooooooo passionate about this...that they are willing to leave behind, "father and mother and brothers and sisters and lands..." for the Kingdom! It's simple and biblical...and I KNOW that there ARE men like this out there...I've met some and they would kindle a fire on the earth.
Humbly in Christ Who calls us,
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Fr. Pius on 2008-05-12 05:58
The married episcopate diminished primarily because the civil laws of the Roman/Byzantine Empire gave the progeny of the bishop the right to inherit the church property of the bishop. In other words, a bishop of a church or diocese actually owned the property, money, etc. When he died, if his children wanted to sell it all, so be it. So, because of civil laws, monastics were chosen. The monasteries were filled with orphans from wars who were raised in the monasteries and EDUCATED (the libraries were in the monasteries) and who's main focus was the church. Most parish clerics were uneducated, country bumpkins. So, it was logical that monastics were chosen as bishops. Also, a single man could move freely and his main responsibility (in theory) would be the diocese.
These reasons do not exist today. The bishop does not own the church property. Many times these celibates are not well-educated and many have a jaded past. Turning to a married episcopate is logical and needed by the Orthodox in America NOW. We can have many more bishops covering smaller areas so they can manage their families and church affairs. And, since most married clerics are more psychologically "well-adjusted," the Church becomes healthier!
#5.3.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-09 08:50
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Dear Brother/Sister, +May the Risen Lord bless you!
I think that since the bishop is the 'Icon of Christ' it is good for him to be wedded to the Church alone---but ONLY if he is indeed a real monk! Since the OCA has never had a stron monastic life, she now suffers from not having a good 'pool' from which to draw candidates for the office of bishop. Bishops in the Russian Church Abroad (for example) have never had this problem...because their first concern was always the struggle for holiness and depth of prayer life. In my humble opinion, the OCA will fare no better whether their bishops are married or monastic...until she puts the focus on CHRIST and union with Him in prayer and repentance. Many in the Orthodox Church in these United States have had the sad experience of confrontations with OCA pride and arrogance for many years...is it little wonder that the Lord is now allowing her to suffer the purifying fire of humility? I trust that this will only be for her growth and strengthening of her depth of spirituality! As gold is tested by fire and the strongest diamonds are made under the most pressure---so will the OCA become purer and stronger through the cross!
Humbly in His Holy Name,
#188.8.131.52 Fr. Pius on 2008-05-10 08:11
Pleeeese....save us this ROCOR is all holy stuff. There have been more scandals within ROCOR in the last 25 years than all the Orthodox combined. Tell us about how holy the monastic leader of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, MA was? He taught the monks that having sex with him was a directive of God! So tell us all about the holy monastics of ROCOR!
#184.108.40.206.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-11 19:23
Hello,Pantaleimon of Boston was kicked out over 20 years ago.And yes,I once was ROCOR,but no more, since they caved in to the MP.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-14 15:29
Sorry,let me be more accurate.Fr.Pantaleimon and his followers left ROCOR when his misdeeds were being investigated.
#18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-14 20:11
XB AMEN, very well said, father,you hit the nail on the head!
#22.214.171.124.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-13 07:03
Instead of moving to a married episcopate, why are we not encouraging more of our children and young people to look at monastic life, and encouraging the growth and development of monasticism in our country?
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#126.96.36.199 Marty Watt on 2008-05-10 17:44
Why? Because it is not a very American thing to do, and a truly American expression of Orthodoxy has to be American!
#188.8.131.52.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-12 15:23
CHRISTOS ANESTE! CHRISTOS VOSKRESE! CHRIST IS RISEN!
What you're saying is: we need to make Orthodoxy AMERICAN---and I think that the Fathers and teachings of the Church of Christ say: "We need to make America ORTHODOX!" If we follow your line of thinking...then we should also use country and western music instead of chant and so on and so on and so on. True the Church adapts to SOME things in each culture (language immediately comes to mind)---but to adopt things from POPULAR culture is a disaster just waiting to happen. Also, it shows a certain "out of touch-ness" with the young of this day and age. The young are HIGHLY idealistic and looking for a real challenge. They have brought about a renewal of traditional monastic life over the course of the past twenty years. Who is to say that this next generation is not capable to raising up great monastic (celibate) hierarchs?! Shall we appeal to the highest motives in our culture or the ordinary? I'll go for the high road myself!
I wish you peace in the Risen Lord!
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Fr Pius on 2008-05-14 06:49
fr.kondratick is a MARRIED man,he'd be a great bishop.psychologically very well adjusted, indeed.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-05-19 17:23
Everytime I feel for Vladyka Nikolai and Fr. Isidor they do or say something so degrading! I have been meaning to call and say sorry and good bye but they make it much harder. Readers can believe what they want but, to tell you the truth alchohol and such didn't play a role in this. Alchohol and domestic violence, money and land claims, has nothing to do with why we were speaking out. He was very unloving to people all walks of life! Never mind that these are the very people Christ helped. It has been a very trying time here in Alaska. Our clergy and their families can sacrifice so much for themselves especially for their people. And that it exactly what they have done! They had turn their cheeks so many times for so many years, living in a parinoid state: What if he does this and that? To answer to some people here, the clergy have bent over backwards for Bishop Nikolai in so many ways, even it hurts their own families including their parishes. And for what? So that His Grace will not be disappointed. So much for being pleasing for a man and calling it obidient!
We in Alaska have to harvest our own food to survive (forigve me if I sound prideful) especially for the fasts. We can not find or afford fresh fruits and vegtables so we do what we can to harvest. Who at this time especially with gas and food prices so high can afford to feed their families from hub towns? Nothing is possible without God. For many years God has blessed us with food from His lands, and in return we always give thanks. Even our own clergy go and harvest to feed their families and for the widows, or disabled. That is the very example Christ gave to us. So as to being the "uneducated savages" we thrive to live giving thanks unto The Lord with what He has blessed us with.
I am very disappointed with what Fr. Isidor said about the clergy and the Alaskans. Is this what the church teaches? Is this what the monastics are taught? Are we not to Love stronger? Love, that and it alone is Gods greatest commandment to everyone, including all bishops. LOVE is what Bishop Nikolai never gave! what comes with love? Forgiveness! We all thrive to be forgiving, yes! YES, we forgive Bishop Nikolai. BUT, he and Fr. Isidor are saying untruthful things so they don't look bad. God knows! He knows what was going on here in Alaska. God blessed us with a joyous Pascha! We celebrated Pascha without fear of Bishop Nikolai's personal laws or rules. Christ is Risen! Finally the Church as a whole from the "distracting child" to the "lazy elder" proclaimed! Indeed He is Risen! WE as a Church glorify from our hearts!!! He truly is The Savior, that saves the lowly!
As for people that never experienced life "in the third world villages", yes we have God. And He alone has blessed us with what we have here.... wild games to fresh berries in abundance, Glory to God! Even if we have to look like "savages"... look beyond- we are rich with LOVE!
I'm very sorry that some readers here believe that we are nothing more than vermans (one of the many names we are callled) but, we always have LOVE.
Alcohol abuse hurts people, ALL people as I should say. It doesn't matter what color, or who you are... right Fr. Isidor? Clergy or not, rich or poor, everyone gets hurt. There is no excuse when you go and serve in a church service and expect people to read you like a book cover and understand what you are going through, right? Well, we all know as Christ as a man suffered through many temptations but, He knew that Gods unending love exisited.... His Mercy Endures Forever! There is hope for everyone. The "excuse" for getting drunk and abusing.... maybe a few can claim that but, BE HONEST! God knows when you LIE!!! Fr. Isidor was speaking for himself! That was his excuse. Remember what comes around goes around. Sorry!
Alaska asking for help to get Vladyka Nikolai out had nothing to do with subsistance lifestyle, alcoholism, land claims, finance, loosely run churches, domestic violence, and freedom. It was for the sake of The God Loving Church! For the PEOPLE that desperatly need LOVE! Our ailling elders, our crying children, our 'dirty people'! We all need love and who is LOVE? God. Peace, Love, and Joy! we all longed for, the 'uneducated savages', 'the poor', 'people who eat anything', the 'lowly', 'drunks', 'ill mannered' and the many names we are called... Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! I procalim with tears of Love and Joy!
God is there for everyone! Welcome Him!
#6 anna on 2008-05-04 01:10
Thank you, anna. And thank you to all of you who prayed for us in Alaska. Thank you Mark for your steady hand on the rudder. And thank you God for all things.
#6.1 Alaskan, found humility on 2008-05-06 22:16
Desanka: a fish rots from the head. A strong (morally and otherwise) bishop will have a strong diocese. A foul bishop will have a foul one.
Let's pray with hope for a better bishop to come for Alaska.
#7 Alex on 2008-05-04 05:51
Alaska for Alaskans.
It is time for the Diocese of Alaska to raise up it's own bishop. Enough of the "white man" coming to the north. If it takes 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years. Alaska must raise up one of their own and raise him up to the office of bishop.
Raise one up from their midst who can minister the Gospel from the inside out and not from the outside in, as Nikolai did, Innocent did, and Gregory too. All had their issues with the native Alaskan, which to me signifies that the Diocese of Alaska must be led by one of their own.
#7.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-04 14:20
It would be most logical if Bishop Benjimen stayed in Alaska as Bishop for a time, as he already knows the people.
Fr. Jonah, could then become Aux to the West, where some continuity with the Monastery of St. John could be accomplished.
The South could elect themselves someone, they know from their own folks.
Is there a method this could be accomplished? Or is it just to sensible for the OCA?
#7.2 Annon on 2008-05-07 08:19
Isidore's racist drivel is one of the defining features of the settler population here in Alaska; I hear that sort of nonsense all of the time. Isidore knows it will resonate with a majority of the white population here, the "lazy alchoholic Natives" archetype is a part of the settler culture. As I have said in the past, I hope the OCA does not send any more rednecks up here, we already have enough. The former Bishop has left quite a few of his spies and informers in parishes in the "Urban" areas of Alaska (Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Sitka), I am curious whether these people will make a clean break with thier master or continue to harass people who didn't support thier now departing master. I, for one, will not tolerate it.
Moses the Tlingit
#8 Moses on 2008-05-04 10:05
Bishop Nikolai will leave behind a devastated Diocese. He has committed emotional, mental, and spiritual "ATROCITY". These villages located in Yukon, Kuskokwim, Nushagak, Anchorage area, Southeast, and the Aleutian Chain. Village by Village they have felt the hurt due to the behavior of Bishop Nikolai. It ranges from: singling out a nine year old girl from the whole church gathering to scold her just because she made a quick turn to look outside the window of the church of a passing car, and stopping the whole congregation when they approached the Holy Chalice at "In the fear of God and with Faith draw near" saying to them that they are like "stampeding elephants, To: Matuska Williams funeral ordeal and doing a "choke hold" on a subdeacon with his mantia (as reported by a priest before the two inquiring bishops in Napaskiak, Alaska). Every one of them have witnesses. This was done to the Mother Diocese of the OCA. Where: The Metropolitan of All America and Canada, The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, and the Autocephaly of the OCA Rests upon, Which are the Alaska Native Aleut, Yupik, and Indian Village Parishes.
#9 Fr. Victor Nick on 2008-05-04 12:54
I would like to add one very important place, which is Kodiak Island. Please forgive me Kodaik brothers and sisters, you suffered much. I pray we gather togather as survivors, with much joy huging one another with a Holy Kiss. Pray for me as well.
#9.1 Fr. Victor Nick on 2008-05-04 15:35
OK. Nikolai is gone. That is for sure. The focus of your pain has been eliminated. We know his sins against the Church in Alaska. So now what?
Is the Church in Alaska ready to stop blaming others and finally do what it was called to do 200 years ago, spread the Gospel of Christ?
Is the Church in Alaska ready to move beyond it rather pitiable evangelism in 200 years and move beyond its native limits no matter what the tribe and become the faith of all people in Alaska?
If the Orthodox Faith is for all people, then why had the Church in Alaska still a native faith? Why is it that converts to Orthodoxy find a more hospitable home in Eagle River then in Anchorage or Kodiak, or Sitka, or any other place in the home of the Orthodox Faith in North America?
How about taking responsibility for furthering the Faith in Alaska?
Nikolai is gone. Isidore is gone. Now what? What will all of you in Alaska now do to prove that Nikolai won't stop all of you from doing what Christ has charged you all to do?
What will you all do now? What is your plan for the mother diocese of the Orthodox Church in America?
#9.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-04 16:09
The church in Alaska is doing just that. I'm a convert, have never felt the need to go to the church in Eagle River, and I am not Native. There are no "native limits" in the church in Alaska.
The Native Alaskans are very hospitable and welcoming, and are doing a fine job of sharing their faith as well as living it.
#9.2.1 barbara on 2008-05-04 18:14
I humbly would like to ask forgiveness from His Grace Bishop Nikolai for bringing up His sins against the church. I humbly would like to ask forgiveness from Anonymous for my sin of offense against you. I will personally take ownership of what you said about the Alaskan Native nature. I am truely sorry for sinning against you. I have no excuse. I ask no one to defend me. I remain corrected.
#9.2.2 Fr. Victor Nick on 2008-05-05 01:33
Your post is rather silly. If the native Orthodox Alaskans are following the Truth, those who really seek the Truth will find it. A massive promotion of Orthodoxy isn't necessary. When people see the churches, see the people's faith, see their devotion to the Truth, hear about the Alaskan saints, they will come to Orthodoxy. The Holy Spirit acts where and when He will act. The real key now is to cut out the cancers in Alaska and get the patient well again. How many more bad bishops does Alaska need? Eagle River should set a certain standard for spreading the Orthodox faith and the OCA parishes should take note and work in concert with them to promote growth.
#9.2.3 Anonymous on 2008-05-05 06:01
"If the native Orthodox Alaskans are following the Truth, those who really seek the Truth will find it."
Lassaiz-faire evangelism strikes again!
Right, what if St. Peter just sat in the Upper Room all day and said, "as long as we know Jesus right, then other people who want to know Jesus right will find us"??? No, he went out to the street corner at nine o-clock in the morning and preached Christ to all the nations.
I can't speak directly to the situation in Alaska, but years ago, before I even considered becoming Orthodox, I met a woman who lived in Alaska. She mentioned how people she knew would go on pilgrimages to St. Herman's etc. Her understanding of Orthodoxy was that it was something that Russians did, and their native converts from when this land used to be Russia. Take it or leave it, but that was her view on things, and I dare say that no one ever bothered to tell her differently.
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-05-05 13:31
Ah, "pound em over the head and yell about JAAAY-sus!" protestant evangelism strikes again.
Not everyone is called to the same kind of action as St. Peter you know.
Some are called simply to be shining examples and not to go out pounding the streets. Some are called to be simple witnesses of their faith by simply living their faith.
Or do you believe that all monastics are somehow betraying the faith because they are secluded in monasteries rather than out slapping people upside the head with their bibles?
You know one example of someone who "didn't get it". I know tens, possibly more than a hundred examples of people who came to Orthodoxy and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ not by being preached at or railed at or "evangelized" (in the overbearing protestant sense of the word) but by having their lives touched by seeing and knowing Orthodox people who merely tried to live their faith.
#22.214.171.124.1 Rdr. Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2008-05-06 11:27
I'm not advocating pounding people over the head. I'm talking about simply speaking up.
There are a lot of good, kind, loving people in this world who are not Orthodox and not even Christians. Unless people know why we are different, they are just going to think we are just some more good people.
The whine that "my life is a fifth gospel" is what is Protestant B.S. here, not evangelism.
And I was evangelized by a monk who lived in a monastery. He would call me on my cell phone on Sunday mornings to ask why I wasn't in church. Yes, I had met plenty of shining happy Orthodox people before, but until this monk began challenging me, discussing things with me, and, for pete's sake, just caring about my soul, I never considered becoming a part of the Orthodox faith.
So no, we don't need to go preach hellfire and damnation (Peter didn't do that either) but sitting up in the Upper Room behind locked doors is just as bad.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-06 12:53
Dear Reader Payne and Anonymous,
Christ is Risen!
I don't think that we should belittle anyone who is honestly trying to be a follower of our risen Lord. It seems to me that there is not just one way but many to tell the good news of salvation. Some times, heterodox Christians have done a good job. Sometimes, Orthodox have done a good job. We should be open to each other and, most importantly, to the Holy Spirit. We should be aware that we are living witnesses, for better or worse, regardless of what we do (or don't).
#188.8.131.52.1.2 Carl on 2008-05-06 14:49
You make some good points. Didnt John the Baptist preach hell and brimstone and the Lord called him the greatest of the prophets. So, our former Baptists, turned Orthodox, should lay off the sarcasm and judgmentalism. No one is perfect. I dont see massive numbers of folks turning to Christ because of our Orthodox witness.
#184.108.40.206.1.2.1 Rich on 2008-05-08 19:06
I wasn't going to coin in on this thread, but I now must.
As a young child, my family had to drive 56 miles to the nearest Orthodox church. It made for a lot of Sundays fully devoted to church and family, which was okay, but not entirely always fun as a kid who wanted to run and play versus ride in the car.
Orthodox evangelism isn't about beating anyone with a Bible, it is about making Orthodoxy available to people and reasonably close to where they live.
The efforts from the OCA at Orthodox evangelism would not get a high grade from me, but that is just my opinion only backed up by my experiences.
Next time someone rewards closed communities too much or condemns evangelism, please think of those people that can't be Orthodox because there ain't Orthodoxy anywhere around.
A weakness of Orthodoxy is our close, tight communities, which some might find a strength. As a weakness, it doesn't help us grow.
If every Orthodox parish embraced just one Orthodox mission as an effort to bring Orthodoxy to others, what a spectacular thing it would be....
#220.127.116.11.1.2.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-05-08 19:51
We continue doing what we have been doing all along,before we were told that we had do certain prayers,standing,kneeling,etc.,etc. a ceratin way,or better yet,"do things my way or no way".The churches in Alaska and elsewhere, for that matter, continue doing services with their local customs and traditions. Remember traditions with a small "t" but still look to the large"T" of the church for guidance.
We all have our owm customs and tradtions in our own prespective towns, the important note here is that we have our churches services for the benefit of our laity and for our salvation. Not to please a certain person,by doing services the way he chooses to have us serve. We often forget that we all pray to the best of our ability. not please anyone, but to look to God for our eternal salvation, Even our choir members often make mistakes, not intentionally, but we are human are can be allowed to make mistakes. Think about this fact, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TRIED TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY,HAVE YOU NOT MADE A MISTAKE ALONG THE WAY? The point I'm making is that we go back to the basics and continue with our services to the best of our personal ability and please GOD NOT MAN.
#9.2.4 Pauk on 2008-05-07 08:58
I'm pasting below an insightful reflection that was recently posted on the yahoo orthodox forum:
"One problem with the OCA in its approach to bringing Orthodoxy to Americans is that they seem to sincerely dislike Americans.
What are some basic characteristics of the American people, that must be central to any American Incarnation of the Christian Faith?
First, a belief in the inherent dignity of every individual. The
Church would say this is because we all carry the Image of God within us.
Second, we believe in Justice through Due Process. No arbitrary adverse action shall be taken against any individual. Everything above board, everything "by the book". The Apostolic Faith should not find this hard to accept, as this too is her own heritage.
Third, we believe in a God-given Freedom. Freedom to speak, to write, to think, to gather together in groups according to common interest and intent. Any Church that does not understand the depth of this commitment can never touch the heart of the American People.
This is only a beginning, of course, the Tip of the Iceberg.
Honestly, how well has the OCA done in accepting and celebrating these Central Christian Virtues in relating to the People here in America?
Have others been told, as I have been, that in the Church 'you have no rights'... the implication being, go away and die quietly somewhere else?
Sincerely, -- Gregorios"
I could not agree more... Having been a resident at one of the two big OCA seminaries, I can assure all that the three values, (of healthy respect for the individual, justice through due process, and free thought and expression) of which the poster speaks, are not only systematically disregarded, but even taught against at at least one of our theological schools.
And, yes indeed, the students also were told more than once that in the Church "there are no rights" -- conveniently forgetting about Paul's exact claim to the contrary in 1 Cor 9: 1-7.
Personal experience has led me to conclude that the OCA shows far less success in reaching the culture in which we live than other jurisdictions which happen to be under those (supposedly bad, "ethnic," out-of-touch) foreign patriarchates - most esp. the Greek and the Antiochian archdioceses.
I believe this has to do precisely with the lack of regard for the three above virtues named by "Gregorios" above. And when these are rejected, many other goods go with them: things like interpersonal trust, a capacity for bold, independent and creative thinking, etc. Ironically, the two big "ethnic" jurisdictions - led by ethnic leaders whose traditional cultures value freedom, independent manhood & the entrepeneurial spirit - have done a much better job in respecting these three big (and Christian) values than has the OCA.
So much for "autocephaly," which hardly anyone accepted anyway. A juridical proclamation alone, a tomos of autocephaly, does not a church make. Only real spiritual fruits will; and where the fruits are there, the juridical status matters little - it is at best a secondary consideration.
#10 A Free Person in Christ on 2008-05-05 01:24
Dear Free Person in Christ,
I enjoyed your reflection here along with Gregorios that you quote. It had me thinking about the Quakers whom I have had the opportunity to learn more about recently. They do not believe in hierarchy and even at their Quaker college, professors are not called "Dr. So and So" but by their first name. This is because they believe in the inherent value of each person. Is this not an eternal truth, the inherent value of each person?
What a refreshing view of people! Can you imagine calling our hierarchy by their first name, Joe, and so on?
Hi Joe. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! I like the ring of that. Christ remains in the center of us poor sinners. This would not be offensive to the Quakers; it would be what is called for!
The OCA needs to ground itself in servant leadership rather than power and control leadership. The Quakers seemed to get that!
Why can't we if we are supposed to be the true faith? I believe the Orthodox have all the tools necessary to become major beacons of servant leadership to the world. But what will stop the abuse of power and control? Our Orthodox fools for Christ and the Old Testament prophets tried to do just that. And is administration heeding their continual warnings?
We have a new scandal breaking; the "Columbia, MD" incident. When will it all stop? The exposure of such scandals must take place and make all OCA administration stop and recount how it is going wrong. For besides losing millions, we are not following the example of Christ's own servant leadership.
The OCA has been derailed by the mantra, "Power and Control!" rather than "Christ is Risen!" The latter mantra allows me to see Joe Swaiko as the regular human being he is in need of God's mercy and grace, just like me. The former mantra just places frustration upon frustration that Christ is very evasive and hard to appreciate in the the muck of power and control.
So, "Hi, Joe." "Christ is Risen!" You certainly don't have to keep up any aires to know you are a person of value. The Quakers would not even have expected you to have a title to win favor with the Lord. I don't expect you either. So say so long to your title. You will still be among very good Christians, namely those who have had value all along.
#10.1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-05-06 18:38
Good points Patty. I have often thought that pretentious titles such as: grace, eminence, beatitude, holiness, and all holiness used by the bishops of the Church are contrived and harmful. Given that the leaders of the faithful are referred to as "fathers" in Holy Scripture and Tradition, I believe that that title is truly the most honorable and appropriate for any leader of the Church. If any bishop take offense at being addressed as Father then the problem is theirs.
#10.1.1 Marc Trolinger on 2008-05-07 20:54
When did the use of these "honorifics" begin?
#10.1.1.1 Alex on 2008-05-09 13:43
I believe that these titles of address began to creep into the traditions of the Church sometime after the Edict of Milan in 313. The often times questionable actions of Church leaders in their relationships to civil authorities in the ongoing, "symphony of Church and State," has contributed to the increasing use of these pretentious titles over many centuries.
These titles and the imperial episcopal trappings that became a part of Orthodox Christian tradition during these centuries, are not a part of Holy Apostolic Tradition. It is interesting to note that the Monastic communities of the Church really began to develop and grow as a counter to the "worldliness" of many who came into the Church and Her leadership after the 4th century.
I suspect that there may be many humble bishops, archbishops, metropolitans, and patriarchs who would prefer to dispense with these pretentious titles. Considering the focus of this website, I wonder how many bishops on the OCA's Synod feel that way.
#10.1.1.1.1 Marc Trolinger on 2008-05-09 20:39
Please check up the very interesting article by David Cook in the May 2008 issue of the Word. It is titled "WORDS WE LIVE BY: ORTHODOX AND AMERICAN IDEALS IN SOME FOUNDATIONAL TEXTS" and may be accessed at http://www.antiochian.org/assets/word/MAY2008WORD.pdf
Just copy and paste the URL in your browser.
Christ is Risen!
#10.2 Carl on 2008-05-09 10:47
You can not leave well enough alone that we are done fighting with you and BN. For you to make comments, regarding the native clergy is downright outrageous. Where were you when GOD was giving out hearts of LOVE, COMPASSION,HUMILITY and FORGIVENESS? Maybe you were in line to recieve these, but lost them somewhere along the line of PRIDE. The native clergy in Alaska, first of all have LOVE, then we are taught other neccesary means of survival in this harsh land of ours, subsistence being one of them, to feed ourselves and others who are in need. We have lived off the land all our lives and will continue to do so, because this is our nature, NATURE being the key word here, what GOD has given us to live off of, and how we are to treat NATURE and each other, as we are taught from the CHURCH. You and BN should have learned by now what life is like in the remote parts of Alaska, or maybe you both didn't want to know because you are so used to living off of others, by this I mean, you have others pay off your bills, ie, the parishes that you visit and the diocese of Alaska, Well, let me challenge you both to find some remote part of Alaska, preferably some island that no one has set foot on before and see if you will survive without help from anybody. Are you two both men enough to take this challenge, I doubt it, because this would cramp your style of living, you have too much PRIDE to come down this low and take the challenge. As for alcoholism, you brought this disease to our people, I don't mean you specifically, but the westerners who claim that they have "found" us indigenous people. They cheated our people in any way that they can and used any means to get the best of our people. You all continue to use this stragedy today, then put the blame on US. Please, for your own good stop all this nonsense, unless you want to continue to eating your own words,you are just as guilty of all of what you say about us,if not worse,because you want to contiune fighting us.Take your self pride and unjust heart and move on down the line, I'm sure you will not be missed by many, in fact I know we will all rejoice in seeing you both being gone,BUT remember this, WE WILL CONTINUE PRAYING FOR YOU BOTH.
BY the way, CHRIST IS RISEN! and forgive me, you do not have to know me by name because God knows all by name.
#11 Pauk on 2008-05-05 10:06
Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen! These are the words that echo throughout my house as the children awake and my husband shouts up the stairs or into the hallway and each one of them responds with Joy! Indeed He is Risen!
I've heard these words for the past 10 days which I encourage every house hold to do the same.
This years lent has taught me that its not about me and my own wants, desires, ect. Its about the Risen Christ! and what I do is an imitation of Him.
As if knocking down all of the bowling balls to accomplish my Goal of achieving the score.
Keep your eyes on Christ!
All will perish, all will wilt, all will die, but you must be worthy to sacrifice just as Christ did to reach his ultimate story to each of us. Its about our own ultimate salvation. Christ is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen! With much Love to Each and Everyone of You. Marjorie
#12 Anonymous on 2008-05-06 08:27
The Sacrament of Penance
By Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
From, "The Orthodox Faith"
The sacrament of penance is our formal act of reconciliation with God in the Church when sin has severed us from the Church's life. Because penance is the way to communion with God when that communion has been broken by sin, it is often referred to in Church Tradition as the renewal of baptism, or as the reestablishment of that condition of life with God which was given to men in the basic sacraments of inauguration into the Christian life.
Not every sin requires the necessity of formal penance through sacramental ritual. This is obvious because Christians are never completely without sin. Certain grave sins or the prolonged separation from Holy Communion, however, do call for the act of sacramental penance. Also, Christians living in communion with Christ are expected to make use of this sacrament periodically in order to humble themselves consciously before God and to receive guidance in the Christian life from their pastor in the Church. It is the teaching of the Orthodox Church that sacramental penance is necessary for those receiving Holy Communion when they have committed grave sins or when they have been separated from the eucharistic meal for a long time.
The sacrament of penance exists in the Church to allow for the repentance and reconversion of Christians who have fallen away from the life of faith. There are three main elements to the act of formal penance. The first is a sincere sorrow for sins and for the breaking of communion with God. The second is an open and heartfelt confession of sins. At one time this confession was done publicly before all men in the midst of the Church, but in recent times it is usually done only in the presence of the pastor of the Church who stands in behalf of all. The third element of penance is the formal prayer of absolution through which the forgiveness of God through Christ is sacramentally bestowed upon the repentant sinner.
The fulfillment of penance consists in the reception of Holy Communion and the genuine reconciliation of the repentant sinner with God and all men according to the commandments of Christ. From this there obviously follows the necessity of a sincere attempt by the penitent to refrain from sin and to remain in faithful obedience to God and in uprightness of life before Him and all people.
The sacrament of penance, like all sacraments, is an element of the life of the Church which presupposes a firm belief and conviction that Christ himself is present in the Church through his Holy Spirit. A person without the experience of Christ in the Church will not understand the meaning of sacramental penance and the need for the open and public confession of sins. When the Church is experienced as the new life in Christ and as the genuine communion with God in his kingdom already present with men in sacrament and mystery, then not only will sacramental penance and the confession of sins be understood, but it will be cherished as the great mystery of God which it is: the unique possibility for reunion with God through the forgiveness of Christ who has come to save sinners who confess their sins and who sincerely desire to change their lives according to the ways which he himself has given.
In a word, the Orthodox Church strictly adheres to the teaching of the Bible that only God can forgive sins, that he does so through Christ in the Church, that his conditions are genuine repentance and the promise of change which are witnessed by confession; and that confession, by definition, is the open and public acknowledgment of sin before God and all mankind.
#13 Anonymous on 2008-05-10 06:58
Could anybody compile a list of at least 20 married clergy who
1) Have the credentials (education) to be a bishop
2) Have a grown children still practicing the faith. If a bishop has young children, those poor children will grow up without a father. Parish priests have a hard time, though I know they try very hard, spending quality time with their children. The children of a bishop...almost impossible and great burden to a wife.
3) A wife that is compassionate, loving and willing to hardly ever see her husband, and almost live as brother and sister. Because, if a priest is almost consumed with only a single parish, how much more will a bishop who has to care for a whole diocese?
4). In short, a priest who has his house in order
5). Have been a priest for at least 25 years with a spotless, almost perfect record and great rapor with 99.9 percent of his parishoner, current and past.
6) A priest who agrees to it.
7) A priest who is not ambitious, that is, he is not looking to become a bishop.
A matushka who is not ambitous, that, is not looking, jockying for a spot at beeing the first matushka to be elevated to the rank of vladichitsa.
You think we have a small pool of monastics, I think you would have a hard time finding a priest who would take the job. Better to put your energies into building monasteries, praying for monasteries, and encouraging monasticism among the young.
but, that's too hard. Oh, well, it was a good thougt.
#14 Bautista Cabrera on 2008-05-12 06:42
You don't "encourage monasticism," it is a calling. If you encourage monasticism, you end up with many sexually frustrated men who look for other outlets i.e., the RC's. There are many married priests who can be a bishop and have their families in order and wives who are sane. Understand, more bishops mean smaller territories to take care of and a good balance of family and church. You don't realize it, but most of the Orthodox diocese are run by married archpriests now!
#14.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-14 05:34
CHRIST IS IN OUR VERY MIDST---AS ONE WHO IS RISEN AND CALLING US TO RESURRECTION!
MANY many eparchies throughout the Orthodox world are run by married archpriests---and I'm thinking that is perfect and probably just the way it should be. The bishop of the diocese (in Russia often) is an older priestmonk who leads the diocese in holiness and prayer and the Divine Services. He often even continues to live within the monastery. He sets the tone within the diocese and is an elder in every sense of the Orthodox word. He leads his diocese toward the Lord and rightly divides the Word of His truth. He shepherds the flock by word and example and is an expert at prayer and union with Christ. That's how many Orthodox Churches have seen the role of bishop for many centuries...and that's what I would think is the best or most ideal situation. The administration of a diocese can and probably should be run by the more 'worldly' married clergy...leaving the unique role of elder to the ELDER.
In His love and mercy,
#14.1.1 Fr Pius on 2008-05-14 13:12
This is one of the most correct things you've said. Yes, different dioceses should be run by archpriests along with other overseers and the bishop as the "head-fixture." The problem in the OCA was that RSK wielded the power and money "unchecked." However, both + Theodosius and + Herman (and probably others) knew very well what was going on. CORRUPTION stemming from the top.
Monastics do not necessarily bring more "holiness" to the leadership. In fact, many people are duped into believing that a monastic bishop can do no wrong and this is where the problems start. The key is CHECKS AND BALANCES in all things running the church.
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-05-15 05:25
[Married clergy] do not necessarily bring more "holiness" to the leadership. In fact, many people are duped into believing that a [Married bishops] can do no wrong and this is where the problems start. The key is CHECKS AND BALANCES in all things running the church.
You statement is true whoever is at the top, my friend. There are no one size fits all, band-aid, ready-made solutions. Hard work, prayer, living the evangelical life (what Fr. Florovsky called the monastic or ascetic life) is the common lot of all us, even us who comment here.
#22.214.171.124.1 Bautista Cabrera on 2008-05-19 10:15
CHRIST IS RISEN---AND IN OUR VERY MIDST!
What you have said is true---and also true is this: a MARRIED episcopate will not (of itself) solve any problems either. Think, R. Krondratik was a married priest...did this help him to be more financially responsible???
By His grace,
#126.96.36.199.2 Fr Pius on 2008-05-31 08:50
...things are still very strange here in Alaska, it is going to take time for people to feel comfortable again. People don't know who to trust, and there are still hard feelings amongst laity and clergy. It is very sad, I hope things will get better. It is that same feeling after a big family fight, the house is quiet and sad, and the inhabitants are tired.
#15 Moses on 2008-05-13 11:43
I will pray for Father Isidore for his statements as I will pray for all of us. It's words of anger from all sides that'll make healing in Alaska difficult. Alcohol abuse and chemical abuse is a horrible curtain of pain the engulfs all of Alaska. And we need leadership, not accusations to lift ourselves above it. Alaska has been hurt and continues to suffer with this feud. And it only makes the Evil One stronger . Peace be with all of you and my the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you to find the will to Forgive everyone in this mess.
#16 Alexie on 2008-05-14 12:09
Fmr Bp. Nikolai said that the Bishops in Syosset need his permission to retire him? Oh the hubris of Bp. Nikolai!!! The Bishops in Syosset don't need Nikolai's permission. Nikolai is accountable to them. I will continue to pray for Nikolai and Isadore that God may reach into their Heart, Body, Mind, and Soul in order to subdue their disobedient intellect.
#17 Tikhon Johannovich on 2008-05-16 09:47
The REAL problem with + Nicolai, Gula, + Tikhon (retired), etc. was that background checks were not done. All three would have been disqualified for consecration if extensive checks were done. The rush to consecrate without objective evidence showing healthy, well-adjusted candidates is unconscionable. Any candidate to be ordained or consecrated should have a full background check including psychological tests.
#17.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-19 07:01
Greater scrutiny is certainly in order, but psychological testing is no panacea. Many of our saints would demonstrate some weird psychological profiles, if they could be subjected to your basic personality inventory. (Take, for example, any fool for Christ...not paragons of sound mind in the world's eyes, but the world doesn't know what it doesn't know.) There really isn't a psychological category for holiness and I suspect that Christian humility looks quite odd to many secular psychologists. I know more than the usual quota of psychologists (my wife is a mental health professional) and there are more than a few of those folks who have a screw or two a bit loose. Perhaps if we adhered a bit closer to St. Paul's advice on selecting bishops?
#17.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-05-19 20:54
I'm quite sure there have been and currently are saints not playing with a full deck. However, that does not mean they should be parish priests nor bishops. Let them be humble, wacky believers in their own little worlds without trying to impose their will on others.
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2008-05-22 13:55
Actually this is not true at all! The 'powers-that-be' did their homework WELL...and they knew EXACTLY who and what they were dealing with (with Gula & Nikolai & Tikhon)---and that was the 'beauty' of their plan. That knowing the background and psychology of each, they could hold these things over them and use them as they wished. The problem however was/is---that one cannot often control a 'loose cannon' from afar...and they backfired (pardon the pun).
By His grace,
#17.1.2 Fr Pius on 2008-05-31 08:57
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