Wednesday, May 20. 2009
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Fester and Brum both move onward and upward in the OCA. The SOBs is waiting for +Nikolai to drop his lawsuit before allowing him to move on and abuse others somewhere
else. The SOBs still refuses to investigate the serious allegations made against a high ranking OCA cleric.
And just what has changed in the OCA?
Fester & Brum should not be serving in ANY capacity. To even think of considering Brum as a bishop is a cruel joke. With these considerations, everyone must seriously question + Jonah's capacity for making decisions. His thought process must be seriously questioned.
Soriach should be defrocked - PERIOD!
#1.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-21 06:04
Was Fr. David Brum ever ordained an Orthodox Priest? Or was he just "clothed" and his Roman ordination passively accepted? Is this the process for the rehabilitation of the Pastor of the Venice, Florida parish Mr. RSK? Demetri is his own man and always has been. The OCA is being created in his own "likeness and image." Why can't the ol'fella just retire? He has done enough damage.
#1.1.1 I just don't feel the love! on 2009-05-21 08:49
Are any of these people or our bishop's accused of wrong doings in jail , no !!!! Leave it alone , our hierarchs have been audited and verbally beat up for what ? In my eyes , alot of made up garbage. If all of these rumors made up were true everyone who worked at the chancery would be in jail. Life goes on and God Bless Fr. Fester and FR. Brum.
(editor's note: If you think this was all made up I suggest you read, or re-read, the SIC report. Check out the appendices for specific examples. As for not being in jail, since the majority of the misdeeds occurred between 1994-1999, by the time they were revealed, in 2006, the statute of limitations applied. In short, they could not be prosecuted. Moreover, since Proskauer Rose was hired (and paid $700,000+), among other things, precisely to prevent prosecutions (I refer you to their website, where they advertise their expertise in such matters) is this any wonder? And who says cover-ups are not effective...)
#1.1.2 Anonymous on 2009-05-22 02:53
Time and time again, I tell my children that being respectful despite their disagreement with someone goes much further than name calling.
Using the abbreviation "SOBs" to refer to the Synod of Bishops implies a derogatory term commonly used here in America. While I understand we are a nation of free speech, perhaps there is a less offensive way to refer to them? We aren't limited here to a certain amount of characters like in a text message - how much more effort would it be to type "Synod of Bishops" instead? or "OCA Synod"?
#1.2 justamom on 2009-05-21 09:12
I firmly believe we Orthodox in this country are all being "managed," yes, nothing more than being managed. Not lead in the Holy Spirit, mind you, but simply managed with a “spirit” that is NOT of Christ’s Holy Church.
With all that has happened in the past with the “leadership” of our fragmented (therefore irrelevant) church in this country I suspect that, all being taken into account by our elder brothers from the Mother Churches, that we don’t deserve the mature step of being allowed to run our own autocephalous Church. Going to Moscow with wads of cash and approaching the prostrate MP (influenced greatly by the Communist yoke and the Communists great desire for influence in the West) for autocephaly was not the righteous way of establishing an autochephilous Orthodox Church in this country! They were NOT free to do such a thing. So, the OCA was born of intrigue and manipulation and it has not ever stopped even to this day.
As Americans we think we are ready for such a thing as autochephile but reality shows otherwise. I hope against hope that they, our elder brothers in the Lord, will “wipe the slate clean” and start over. I already feel that MJ+ is a part of the problem – he is being lead by the machinations of the previous goons. Case in point: MJ+, as his first act as metropolitan, went directly to see Krondratic! I mean this: MJ+ is a part of the problem now! The crowd in Pittsburg was bamboozled. This all hurts a soul who loves Christ’s Holy Church of which we “may” still be a part – our church-life shows otherwise – and I still hope against hope even after all that has transpired.
My Uniate friends have been following this tragedy right along with me and they have seen my totally broken heart over the misery of the Orthodox Church in this country. They have peace and outreach and evangelization and so on and all we have is narcissists running the show getting as much as they can for themselves (and their egos) and their “yes men” friends. Is it “out of fashion” for us Christians to “deny ourselves” for the sake of Christ’s Holy Church? I have gone without many, many a buck so as to give to the church but my sacrifice, great sacrifices actually, may just have been used on a credit card for very base and sinful things and it may still be used to pay a “settlement” to a narcissist+ of which we will never actually know the content of or have a say in. Is this what we have come to?
There is an agenda afoot and it doesn't involve the Holy Spirit. It involves big egos who have delusionally substituted their ego for the Holy Spirit long ago. Their attitudes are: "What I want is what God should want so I need to make MY will happen." It seems as if you have to be a full blown narcissist so as to serve in a leadership position in the Orthodox Church. I see what a friend of mine called "practical atheism" as being the agenda of the day with the outward "show" of religion -- and no actual belief but just religious "puffery" offered to those on the giving end of the scam. For those, that is, who are not amongst the “Ortho-elites” us believers are just patronized. I have started to see the metropolitan being vested in the center of the church as just a Western version of an intricate choreographed “tea ceremony,” which is a beautiful ceremony done in Shinto religion. The vesting of M+ in the center of the church, for me, has become nothing more than a ritualized set of actions whereby we dress our various “tribes” group delusion – the “group” delusion being personified in our respective leader.
Kondratic is not out of the picture nor is his dear buddy N+ (it hurts to put a cross after the N!) and the rest of Kondratic's dear buddies Fester, et al. The only way for things to change is for God to renew His Church organically and naturally one funeral at a time. Things here amongst us are that hopeless when we refuse to follow the Holy Spirit.
#1.3 I'm not feeling the love! on 2009-05-22 09:43
If we are to apply your standard of who is ready for autocephaly, we have to rule out the Church in Greece, which is beset by sexual and financial scandals far more grievous than those here in the US. The monks at the Holy Sepulcher offer the yearly disgraceful spectacle of coming to blows at our holiest site, and they have been there since Justinian. Russia? Don't get me started. All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. That sad fact has nothing at all to do with Americans running our own local Church free of interference from foreign bishops.
#1.3.1 Scott Walker on 2009-05-22 12:42
+MJ decision to postulate David Brum as a candidate for episcopacy is very troubling. Especially given the problems that Brum represents for the OCA:
-Brum is a "vested" Roman Catholic priest who took no monastic vows entering the OCA yet has remained a "single" unmarried priest.
-Brum has less than 15 years as a vested orthodox priest
-Brum has no Orthodox Seminary education whatsoever!
-Brum is part of the Kondratick/Fester clan
And worst yet, Brum is a very close associate of Nicholai(Soraich).
Consider that it was Nicholai(Soraich) who brought Brum from the RC into the OCA. Nicholai is Brum's mentor as they spent an “internship” together in Las Vegas, where their bond grew stronger. It was there that Brum trained in Nicholai's "orthodoxy" . This is why Brum and Nicholai share in common their misogynistic views. Nicholai was the one, via Tikhon(Fitzgerald), who obtained the Arizona parish for Brum as he tried to distance himself from the scandal in NY in which he was an active player, fully aware of what transpired.
Nicholai and Brum are two peas in a pod.
If you can't stomach Nicholai, you won't stomach Brum.
The move by +MJ is a bad choice for the OCA. Making Brum an auxiliary is a backdoor for Nicholai's regime into the OCA. With Fester already chancellor of the South, one prays that +MJ will slow down before making decisions like this.
I also believe that +MJ is been ill advised by Benjamin who favors Brum. Given Nicholai's dislike of +MJ, I believe the good Metropolitan is been naive in his welcoming Brum, a close associate of Nicholai, into the Synod. It will come back to hunt him, if it goes through. These people have done enough damage to Orthodoxy in America.
#1.3.2 disapointed from Colorado on 2009-05-23 07:59
Friend, the fact of the matter is that the MP was NOT free to give Autocephaly. Look at the historical facts. If a young lady comes to my Priest with a man and wants to get married is it an Orthodox Christian marriage if she is not free to give herself in marriage? Freedom is a powerful word and it strikes at the very root of the OCA's existence -- no one anywhere can give proof that the Soviet Orthodox Church was NOT a captive church. Therefore that church was NOT free to give autocephaly! The OCA was a nice idea but now there is something better.
I firmly believe that the OCA is no longer needed now that ROCOR is responsible for all the Russian Orthodox Churches outside of Russia. The OCA now has a venue to give itself over to – that new venue is ROCOR.
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" is from Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans -- yes, it sure is true. I know this passage quite well in that I go to Holy Confession often. I am a sinner. However, I would rather functionally and liturgically cease practicing Orthodox Christianity than be in the church that Kondatic built! Both Fester and Brum have his "spirit." Both of these men were "formed" by him -- Kondratic. Both of these men "think" like him -- Kondratic. And all the while he sits in an Orthodox Church and “plays” priest awaiting the day, the dark day, of his manipulated restoration. Kondratic is as delusional as the best of them in Dallas. “Birds of a feather . . .”
MH+ had many faults, and at this point I believe he would admit them gladly, but he was formed by a mentality that was not as adept at the machinations of this world as the church that Kondratic built. God save us from the judgment that is soon to come! Many are going to be lost because they put their “trust in princes and sons of men . . . “ I hope that when MJ+ next hears that hymn he shutters from his soul outwards and comes to his senses. Saint John Maximovich go to your son and correct him!
(editor's note: Where does one begin? If you wish to remain a part of the Russian Church, God bless. Many of us prefer the current situation, as an autocephalous Church in America, dedicated not to maintaining the Russian Orthodox tradition, but to differentiating, growing, developing an American expression of the fullness of Orthodoxy. Our existence should not be so problematic to you - and if it is, well, then, one might suspect we are doing something right that you find the OCA so threatening....)
#188.8.131.52 Mega-ticked on 2009-05-23 21:29
Thanks Cappy for all of your hard work! I am and will always be a firm supporter.
Moses the Tlingit
#1.4 Moses on 2009-05-22 14:07
I contacted Cappy about who this high ranking cleric might be.
She told me.
In the intertest of maintaining someone's innocence until proven guilty, I refrain from placing this name here.
However, she also told me she wrote the Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan Jonah about it and she has not heard anything back from them. Her writing them sounds as if it was some time ago.
I would think that if an investigation would have been started she would have been told about it as she wrote them.
She has not heard word.
Perhaps the name which she revealed is tragic but what is more tragic is that she has not heard word about an investigation going forward.
This is quite sad and very tragic.
#1.5 Patty Schellbach on 2009-05-23 19:14
If I am thinking of the same set of circumstances to which Cappy alludes, there was discussion of this all the way back in November, around the time of the AAC. At that time, some action on the matter was "imminent." Since then, the matter seems to have gone up in a puff of smoke! Cate
#1.5.1 cate on 2009-05-26 17:47
To clarify, Cappy said she received a response from the chancellor but it did not appear to her as if that response was going anywhere with any type of serious, formal, or proper investigation.
Cappy had ccd the Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan with what she wrote the chancellor, and this is where she has not received any reply.
I could be wrong, but it appears that the time that has past has not presented to Cappy a formal investigation.
I would think that the sender of such serious matters would recieve a reply from the metropolitan AND the Synod of Bishops.
The appearance of a lack of any formal investigation is what is sad and tragic, because an investigation should be able to, as they do in medicine, rule out, or rule in, further proper inquiries, investigations, and actions.
It appears that the OCA is "sitting" on this; it is difficult to say they are doing otherwise if the sender of the letter, Cappy, is not hearing about a formal investigation.
#184.108.40.206 Patty Schellbach on 2009-05-27 13:21
That is very sad that you made these links to Bishop DEMETRI, God bless him for picking up his cross and continuing to do God's work as best as he can. My hat off to him and wish him well. I don't understand. At least he wasn't homosexual like some people. I bet that line was deleted. I made a copy of this text to post elsewhere if it is deleted, I will post it someplace else. Freedom of speech, so please leave it entirely.
Let me say this, Bishop DEMETRI has my prayers because I know he is just as human as we are and even more a man of prayer than half the fake pious christians are. He is a man of prayer, but you know what...he made a bad mistake but repented. I pray you take that link down. That is ill will.
It's one thing to post the comment, but to make a link. That is pretty sad Mark. ....Obviously this is your site so you have the gateway to post what you want. God bless Bishop DEMETRI and all those who do understand the term "forgiveness". Why don't you post the new books by Bishop DEMETRI that he has wrote while in isolation about the saints lives. That is by far a greater work and masterpiece full of God's glory than this Orthodox for so called accountability.
(editor's note: Whenever possible I try to provide documentation for the information I post to this site. That link, required by the State of Florida of the Bishop, is such evidence - painful as it is. So why post anything about the Bishop?
Over a year ago an pseudonymous email was sent throughout the Archdiocese warning that the Bishops were to be demoted as part of a plan to restore Bishop Demetri to the Toledo diocese, despite the Local Synod's decision to retire him. You can read that email yourself on this site.
And what do you know?
A year later, the attempt is made to demote the Bishops and Bishop Demetri is returned to active service in Mexico. Now we learn his salary being paid by the Archdiocese in a roundabout way again, and he is not in Puerto Rico - but Florida. So, yes, I think it is reasonable to remark on such events, so that if such things continue to come to pass, we did not let them pass in silence. Feel free to disagree.)
#2 William on 2009-05-20 21:27
William, on another thread, you said that you were not going to post on OCANews again. What changed?
#2.1 Ferris Haddad on 2009-05-21 05:34
I am a defender. I can not stop. Here is the thing. If you separate the 2 accusations about Bishop DEMETRI's return, by him becoming a bishop in mexico with his salary being paid by an anonymous individual. Doesn't that anonymous individual have the right to contribute to the salary of a bishop no matter what method it is, even if it is given to Mexico first. That should not be a matter of concern to anyone. At least they are trying to help this man spread the Gospel. In today's world, anyone can be said to be a sexual preditor based off of accusations and especially when a bishop accidentally brushed a woman who was obviously drunk herself. Court always takes the woman's side, it is proven daily. I have seen it several times (times 77). Therefore, yes it is sad, but at the same time...do you think the bishop had a chance for an honest defense. Remember his title is bishop, dragged to a casino cause he had no transportation during the visit, accused of touching a woman. Hmmm. No chance his defense would ever over power a woman's testimony. Some even think it was a set up, which many people didn't even talk about on this board yet.
(editor's note: To accuse the victim is not acceptable, sir. Nor is it to ignore the evidence of the film provided at his trial. Nor is it acceptable to argue the trial and subsequent conviction was unfair because "she was a woman". In so doing, you do your own case harm. The poor Bishop needs no more defenders as you - but it is perhaps enlightening for the rest of us to see the lengths people will go to avoid facing reality, and take warning from it.)
#2.1.1 William on 2009-05-21 06:24
"I am a defender. I can not stop."
Very interesting words, William. But you seem to be uninformed about Bp Demetri's sexual misconduct. Besides what Mark said, I would add that Bp Demetri PLED GUILTY in court. This isn't some trumped-up charge.
Furthermore, I do not understand why you paint Bp Demetri as a victim himself, as if he was coerced into going to a casino, becoming drunk, and groping a woman. He is a bishop of God's Church. The ancient canons forbid bishops from gambling, visiting public houses, and drinking excessively. If one has weaknesses such a these, one may certainly still struggle against them for his salvation, but one should by no means serve in the episcopacy.
Bp Demetri is a victim, I suppose -- a victim of the devil who tempts all men.
#220.127.116.11 Ferris Haddad on 2009-05-21 08:02
Mark, I understand your point about accusing the victim, but isn't this entire website accusing every priest who stands up for the Metropolitan's views as being either an "ethnic getto" priest or a "balamand glee club" or "trying to make money" or whatever it may be. Come on, be fair here. Atleast admit that one. Thanks for the posting though, i appreciate it, i really didn't think it would have got posted. God bless.
(editor's note: I have never referred to any priest as being in "an ethnic ghetto" - or as a member of the "BGC" or just "trying to make money". Others have in their comments, but not me in any article I have written, or allowed to be posted as a reflection. What people post in the comments section is their opinion - not mine. So to blame "the entire website" for the opinions of some in just one section of it is ridiculous, unfair and unworthy. You can do better.)
#18.104.22.168 William on 2009-05-21 09:21
Mark, Moses the Ethiopian was a thieve and leader but if you do your research this gang of thieves, including him, caused violence as well. Also, it doesn't matter whether they were a Christian or not before they commited the crime. This holds no bases because if you look at it that way, why cant divorced people that were originally unbelievers and convert to orthodoxy become priests, they were baptized after the divorce? They became Christians after the divorce. They didn't know they couldn't become priests if they were divorced, that sin still holds strong after baptism. So divorce in a sense is no different of a sin than Constantine's sins before he became Christian.
(editor's note: I am not defending Constantine - just explaining his motives for doing what he did. As I understood your previous comment you were citing all these examples of people who sinned after becoming Xns as reasons to offer the same forgiveness to Bp. Demetri. I simply pointed out that in every case you offered, the sins were committeed before they assumed office in the Church, or were baptized. They are not good examples of what you were trying to prove. As for people not counting divorces before seeking ordination - well, I remember a story about one potential student at SVS who was asked to leave because he had an abandoned wife and two children. When confronted by a horrified faculty his explanation was that " They didn't count, because he married, and fathered the children, before he became a Christian!" )
#22.214.171.124.1 William on 2009-05-21 22:02
Thanks Mark. I understand, I'm just trying my best.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 William on 2009-05-22 12:41
NO "...sin still holds strong after baptism," William. They are ALL washed away and forgiven. That's the point of baptism; we die with Christ and are raised with Christ. Read 2nd Corinthians 5:7. Divorced men are not eligible for Holy Orders because St. Paul so decreed, but that has nothing to do with sins holding strong after baptism. Would you assert that sins hold strong after Confession and the Eucharist? One would hope not. We partake of the Holy body and Blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Don't you hear what the priest says when you commune? Have you never heard the Service of Baptism? Mark's right. You can do better.
#188.8.131.52.1.2 Scott Walker on 2009-05-22 13:01
A "set-up?" Now our friend William departs from mere misogyny and special pleading into outright paranoia. I hope he continues to go back on his announcement to quit posting here. Now that All Caps Anonymous Guy appears so infrequently, we need another reliable source for entertaining and informative windows into, ah, alternative realities.
#184.108.40.206 Scott Walker on 2009-05-21 11:16
William writes about forgiving Bp. Demetri, but even in forgiveness, there are consequences. It is one thing to forgive someone convicted of a crime and to move forward, but to allow said individual to remain in a position of authority in which he is supposed to be an example to others is, at best, irresponsible.
Bp. Demetri has admitted that he has an ongoing problem with alcohol and is now a registered sexual offender. If he wants to write books about the saints, that's great, but he can just as easily, if not more easily, do that as a monk resident in a monastery in community and under the supervision of an abbot than he can as an active bishop and he can do so with far less scandal being attached to his activities. He was retired for good reason; the harm and notoriety created in bringing him back to active duty far outweigh any useful purpose that would be served.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#220.127.116.11 Nemo on 2009-05-21 11:30
I am glad I am entertaining you all. This makes me feel good because it distracts from your other accusations. Accuse me of being misinformed or whatever, I know some things don't make sense because I too, like many, speak before they think. I admit that one.
I understand he is an offender, plead guilty, what not, and I do understand your views about his position. I was just ask this question, "Aren't many Saints that we venerate sinners of greater crimes, yet they are saints due to repentence and struggle to change themselves and others?" If you want me to break out the names of a few saints we venerate I will, I may have to ask a few people to help me, but were they not convicted of worse crimes? I hope that sums up the point I was trying to make.
I'd like to hear honest opinion on that question, don't critizes my wording because you already did that previously.
Mark, i was not pointing a finger at you, I was pointing it at the entire site, I am not holding you accountable for the actual comments, but there is accountability for aiding the voices of the misinformed. I was just hoping you would admit that some of the comments on this site are full of false accusations as well.
This may very well be another entertaining comment, but I would like to know the answer to whether or not saints we venerate commited worse crimes, and why do we still venerate them...the question is because they trusted in the Lord, repented and did marvelous things. I'm not saying Bishop DEMETRI is a saint by any means, but can we not in today's society still try to wish him the best. Wasn't St. Moses the Ethiopian a murder, yet we venerate him as a saint. Wasn't Mary Magdelen (sp?) a prostitute? Wasn't Constantine the Great at some point the opposite of what he is now? Wasn't Thomas, the one who face to face doubted the Lord, I repeat "Face" to "Face" doubted the Lord's resurrection a saint? I'm sure I could find more examples if I break out the books and stuff but that is my point. God bless,
The entertainer William
(editor's note: In answer to your question, there is no evidence that Mary Magdalene was ever a prostitute. That story only begins to appear in the 11th century in the West. St. Thomas doubted; doubt is not a crime. Constantine the Great was not baptized a Christian until his deathbed, so that he would not be guilty as a Christian of the bad acts he felt he had to do as Emperor. Hardly a model for us to follow - or for you to quote in this regard. Finally, St. Moses was born an Abyssinian slave, and known for his strength and ferocity. The leader of a gang of thieves, Moses sought refuge with the monks at Sketis, in Egypt, where he was converted to Christianity. There he became known for his his wisdom, which is included in the sayings of the Desert Fathers. When Bedouins attacked Moses c. 395/400, he offered no resistance. So, once again not exactly the example you wanted. In all the cases you cite, the persons committed their crimes before becoming Christians, not after. Try again, William. )
#18.104.22.168.1 William the Entertainer on 2009-05-21 15:57
No one is saying that Bishop Demetri is unable to work out his salvation and become a saint, but that he shouldn't do it as a clergyman. We have high standards for our clergy, not that it makes them holy or righteous in themselves but since they must be an example to the people.
They must be either a virgin or married to only one woman, have never attempted to kill themselves, never killed another person and the list goes on.
St Silouan was one of the greatest saints of the 20th century but because he had had sex before he went to the Holy Mountain he could not be ordained.
Bishops are under huge temptation and attack: the demons know that if they bring down a layman then it is 'good' but a priest or especially a bishop is 'much better'; I believe this is partly why we pray for them so much during services.
For the good order of the Church, it might be better that Bishop Demetri be deposed so that he can work out his salvation as a lay-monk.
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Alex on 2009-05-21 23:02
William you seem to speak with some purity of heart and naivette. Thanks be to God.
Unfortunately for many others, we haveknowledge of a different sort. Negative knowledge, i.e., knowledge of who the perpetrators are behind the eb 24th decision as they were already boasting two years ago.
I am glad you have little knowledge of these things, I wish I did as well. We all deeply regret that their activities have gooten so out of hand their misdeeds have become a matter of public scandal.
They have gone too far....
I am sorry, but it really is the TRUTH.
#126.96.36.199.1.2 anon and anon on 2009-05-22 11:41
To Anon and Anon,
Who are these people whom you speak of that 2 years ago worked for this? Just because someone takes the Metropolitan's side by being obedient doesn't mean they worked for it. They probably talked about their dislike of the new system but that is freedom of speech. Talk does not mean they conspired. If you know for a fact that these individuals "conspired" please post your reasoning in detail, not just because of their vocal disliking of the old system. I don't know if they did or didn't like it, but the point is, that even if Metropolitan PHILIP made a mistake, we are under his episcopate, therefore we must be obedient and hope it may revert if that is the case. We are all human, remember that. Maybe the Metroplitan is planning on reverting back when they all meet and was obedient for now until then.
Please give me details on your factual knowledge of the "conspirators" and who they are in details. Don't even talk about the "captivity" line because that doesn't prove anything except Free Speech.
#188.8.131.52.1.2.1 William on 2009-05-22 12:48
William, I was (am, if I am to believe our chancellors) under Bishop ______, not Met. Philip. Am I not to think that those who would come in and sever that relationship are wolves, not shepherds? Thats what it seems to me. Met. Philp was not my bishop, he was/is simply the chair of the bishops of my local church. The Synod of Antioch is not my bishop, but rather the gathering of the bishops of my church's mother church.
I agree that I my obediance is due my bishop. Others who are NOT my bishop have attempted to severe that relationship. Hence the rebellion againt those who don't care for my soul like my own father.....
#184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Antionymous on 2009-05-23 07:11
I'm not a scholar, so it's certainly more than likely that I have misunderstood the theology of forgiveness. My understanding, for what it's worth is that forgiveness does not require me to give the one I am forgiving a second chance to commit the same trespass against me. If someone burgles my house, and I forgive him/her, I am not required as part of the process to give this person my keys and the alarm code.
That having been said, alcoholism is a disease. The AMA has classed it as such for the better part of 60 years. The things alcoholics do while under the influence can be truly appalling, but as far as possible we should try to treat them as people who have been seriously ill, rather than as people who have been seriously evil. AA members have a saying: They are sick people getting well, not bad people getting good.
If a sober Bishop Demetri has the qualities looked for in a working bishop, then it seems to me he ought to be used, although not without restrictions. At a minimum, he ought to be under substantial supervision until it can be established with some degree of likelihood that he is going to stay sober. If he is genuinely on his way to recovery, he probably won't want it any other way. I don't have any understanding of his current duties. My points are simply that this man has been seriously ill, but the vineyard desperately needs workers. If he is on his way back to health, then glory to God for all things! A humble bishop who is humbly aware of his own sinfulness--how many times have I read on this very Web site the hope that OCA bishops would manifest those very qualities?
#18.104.22.168.2 Morton on 2009-05-27 08:47
William, why do we make these distinctions, 'At least he is not homosexual." Is groping a woman less offensive? Why? We might as well say at least he did not molest a cow.
A woman is created in the image of God the same as a man.
For every offense of a sexual offender arrested there are usually dozens of instances of their behaviour that is not as well known.....
Additionally, there is no cure for alcoholism. Go to Alcohilic's Anonymous website. There is treatment - but no cure.
Relapse is always a possiblity. Do we need that liability? Look what has happened in the RC Church.
Yes there is forgiveness, but St Paul is very clear as are the Sacred Canons regarding those who hold an office within the Church.
Bishop Demetri is offered forgiveness in as much as he has repented, but to reinstate him is another matter entirely.
I cannot imagine the Antiochian Women could sit comfortably through a meeting with him without their arms crossed the entire time.
How would you feel if he groped your mother, sister, wife or significant other?
#2.2 anon and anon on 2009-05-22 11:02
May 12 to 15 Patriarch Ilia of Georgia was in France for the inauguration of a new Georgian parish near Paris. The only Georgian parish in Paris until now was Saint Nino, affiliated with the Greek metropolia of France. Saint Nino's parish authorities issued a statement deploring the fact that they were not informed by the Georgian patriarchate of its projects and reaffirming their long time position that Georgian parishes outside Georgia should be under Constantinople:
Patriach Ilia met with French civil authorities, but no announcement was made about contacts with the Assembly of the Orthodox Bishops in France (AEOF).
Here a report in English by the Georgian Patriarchate:
#3 D. Struve (Paris, France) on 2009-05-21 00:34
Just regarding the Holy Annunciation parish in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - this was mentioned in passing and, as someone living in the area, I did want to clarify what had happened:
After the previous priest had to retire (medical reasons, IIRC) from serving a very small congregation, there were no services for about five years. The parish council asked to be served by ROCOR and, in what may be the first occurance between the two in many years, the parish was released amicably, and was nominated to be the first parish that uses English as a liturgical language in Brisbane (a city of over 2mil people). This is a positive thing - a church that didn't have services is now having services, and (thank God) all without any jurisdictional issues.
For those keeping tabs, that means that of the three parishes that petitioned the OCA in the 1970s, one has transferred to the Antiochian Archdiocese, one has transferred to the local ROCOR diocese, and one is still in the OCA.
Regarding Frs. Fester and Brum --
It strikes me as most unwise to put people associated in any way with the former administration into positions of responsibility and authority at this time.
This is not meant as a blanket, presumptive 'guilty' verdict on everyone connected with the administration. Maybe they were guilty of something, maybe they weren't, probably we'll never know. What they could be guilty of ranges from complicity in the diversion of funds and cover-up to cluelessness or indifference to what was going on around them. Maybe they knew things and made a conscious decision that it was better not to rock the boat or that more harm would be done by exposure or .... who knows? But they either knew what was going on or they didn't -- and either way it's a problem.
Now they may be perfectly competent and decent men. They may be talented and spiritually mature. I have no way of judging and would defer to the judgment of the Metropolitan and Synod on this.
BUT ... it still doesn't matter. They need time, for their own good if nothing else, to consider what happened, and their role [passive or active].
There's no shame in doing a decade of good work in a parish. Let them serve as effective ministers to congregations. Let them get some mental distance from the turmoil of the past. Then consider them for positions of responsibility and authority on the dioscesan or national level.
There are other people out there who can do good work. Let's look beyond the 'usual suspects.' As a positive example, Mark mentions Fr. Sergius at St. Tikhon's. I had a long conversation yesterday with friend who lives near there, and he had nothing but good things to say about the new leader of the monastery.
It's true that strong administrative skills are hard to find. It's also true that in relatively small organizations, the same people tend to get tapped again and again. But in this case, if we don't take seriously the need to make a significant break with the past, we will not serve our long-term interests well.
#5 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-05-21 07:01
This news really tries my patience.
Met. Jonah seems off his rocker. How many more hypothetical candidates are we going to hear him suggest for NY/DC? First Basil Summer, then Bishop Seraphim Sigrist, and now, David Brum of all people? Icing on the cake: Jonah's invention of "stavropeghial auxilliary bishop" - that conglomeration of words doesn't even make sense! I bet the scholars at SVS had a good laugh at that one. Would this be a bishop "at large" lacking diocesan strings entirely? This seems to stretch the concept of episcopacy a bit too far... I'm sure this news will please our church's 'pious pilgrims,' as they schlepp to another hierarchical liturgy. In their Church, the more mitres, the better.
Best yet, I love how all of this 'planning' only reaches our ears through the OCANews grapevine, or via Russian interviews. How about some official acknowledgement that these guys are even being considered? How about a message board, or comments blog, maybe all of it posted to our sad, neglected Diocesan website. I'm sure that would generate some activity.
As for all the other bits of Synodal tomfoolery/inaction, this is all too familiar. The "Time of Troubles" proved that our Synod is a fundamentally weak group of weak men unable to "hear truth" and take decisive action. I mean, you have a lunatic bishop clearly in need of a Church Court, but... no action. You have a breakaway ethnic sect, but... no action, hoping the matter just 'stalls itself.' Great. And finally, after 50 days, some mention of one of our new bishops. What happened to the other two?
Also, Mark, great observation about Synodal minutes. It's pathetic how OCANews continues to be the only place to hear about what our Synod is up to. With the glacially slow flow of news out of Syosset (that is, if the news even gets out) one has to wonder: what the heck are they doing over there? If we're lucky, we get a news release every 1.75 days, and many are just retooled press releases from elsewhere.
Normally, I'd say that that's because there's nothing going on in the OCA to report on. But this website makes me realize that gears are always turning - they're just concealed from the rest of the Church. In an age where CEO's are twittering/blogging about where they're traveling to, who they're meeting with, what their vision is for the future, give me one good reason why we shouldn't expect a fraction of that from our bishops (shepherds). Or is our participation not wanted?
(editor's note: Bingo. That is the question. And it is a fair one, too. But like you, I am waiting for an answer. It gives me no pleasure to be the major source of news about the OCA - but since there would only be a listing of "decisions announced" without OCANews.org it appears - something is better than nothing - at least for those of us who still want to participate.)
#6 Silenced on 2009-05-21 10:29
Don't forget that we pay a "Director of Communications" more than many parishes pay for their entire budgets for a church building, a social hall, and the priest's salary plus health insurance.
At no cost whatsoever, Mark Stokoe and OCANews.org is a much better investment.
#6.1 Withheld on 2009-05-24 14:25
After rocketing to the Primatial Throne some six months ago, Metropolitan Jonah has now clearly revealed himself, not as an agent of change, but rather as a "kinder and gentler version" of his failed and notorious immediate predecessors. While many of the attendees at the recent AAC may have been "wowed," like adolescents at a Rock Concert, by +Jonah's attractive persona (by contrast with the other members of the Synod) some of us cautioned at the time that +Jonah was untested and unknown and that a healthy skepticism was very much in order. Sad to say, but that reserve has proved prescient as we review the record of the past six months.
A careful reading, as opposed to hearing, of +Jonah's famous encounter with the disheartened AAC delegates should have revealed that there was much cause for concern in how he would act in the aftermath of the Scandal. "Moving On" was his theme song from the get-go. Apparently, moving on with many of the same cast of characters is to be part of the "new" OCA.
What should have been another cause for concern was the way +Jonah had been put forth by the embattled and discredited Synod, in a successful effort to block Archbishop Job, the sole hierarchical champion of freedom of expression and conscience in the OCA, not to mention Jonah's selection by Archbishop Dimitri to be his eventual successor in the DOS. Certainly not disqualifying acts, in and of themselves, but definitely cause for concern and caution. While he has never been subject to the scrutiny visited on Theodosius and Herman, I firmly believe that Archbishop Dimitri has been a principal force in the ongoing abuse of power by the Synod to the detriment of other organs of the Church. So far, Jonah seems quite happy and prepared to continue that "tradition."
Of course, there have been other numerous missteps that collectively should be causing us to pause and ask what kind of leadership have we gotten? From the debacle over his installation "gifts" to the repeated speaking gaffes, that at a minimum, highlight his woeful lack of experience and savior-faire. Finally, cow-towing to Moscow, for whatever political reason, is hardly the act of a self-confident head of an autocephalous Church, nor is prescribing monasticism for all our self-inflicted wounds and failings.
One can only hope, and it's a faint hope, that the clerical and lay leadership of the OCA will help redirect the energies of the new Metropolitan in ways that will bring true reform, rather than misguided efforts to resurrect the failed methods of the past.
Since it is still Spring and the season of Pascha, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast!"
#7 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-05-21 13:07
A tip of the skoufia to Mr Tobin for his concise resume of Met Jonah's trajectory to date, as well as his insights into details thereof, especially the historical rhysomes from which sprouted the most recent ideas from Dallas. The observations about the +Dmitri connections, among others, are most apt.
However, to underline the gaffes of the new primate is perhaps unkind, as the young, overnight metropolitan on his trip to Russia must have been in a very stressful frame of mind. Certain of the photographs of the OCA retenue with Patriarch Kyrill (which appeared briefly on the MP website, but not on the OCA, nor the St Catherine's) showed them to be under considerable stress and discomfit--as if a Great Decision had been presented them. The Patriarch was seraphic, and the OCA group despondent. The decision that an MP bishop would be on the OCA holy synod--(with an envelope in hand of course, so that Moscow might have a voice in things?)--might have been one partial solution to the...umm...indebtedness that the new Metropolitan inherited...
The dependency as daughter-church with a (participating?) bishop from the Moscow mother-church implies, after one has done the math, that there will be a top-down Vatican order in the OCA, just as in Moscow, just as in Constan-er-Istanbul, just as in Anti-er-Bayrut, just as in Bucharest...All the present-day Orthodox churches are little Vaticans. Everybody knows it. It's only in North America where there are murmurings against the idea...and rightly so, given the corruption.
I think the church of Corinth at one point had figured out a pretty democratic way to be Church, but I'd have to unpack a lot of boxes to look for the books to prove it, and I'm too old and cynical at this point to bother. But I know that the ideal interworking of conciliarity --lay--clergy--bishops did exist at one point in the Orthodox world.
As for Metropolitan Jonah's efforts to encourage monasticism in America: I'm all for it. I don't think that monasticism will solve any problems overnight, but I think a corrective is needed for the skepticism sown amongst seminarians over the years by influential theologians. The monastery is a microcosm of the church. If one can figure out how not to go nuts in a monastery, and hang on to the idea of theosis, and love the Lord in the services--then there's a pretty good chance that an accomplished monk can teach what he might have attained in a diocese or a parish. But believe me, don't trust a monk just because he wears a funny hat and a scraggly beard--rather, distrust him. Trust him only for the light and love and joy that he might leave behind...
Mr Tobin at one point revealed that he comes to Quebec from time to time. I most warmly invite him to come to see us one Sunday at St. Benoit-de-Nursie in Montreal.
#7.1 Hierodeacon Amvrosi on 2009-05-21 17:48
Thank you, KRT, for your well written effort to understand the direction of the OCA with it's new (?) leadership. The light that shone at the AAC has dimmed with each of +Jonah's actions. Who is this man? What is his agenda? Can anyone enlighten us?
#7.2 ANON on 2009-05-21 17:56
Two points of disagreement. Firstly, please explain what "repeated speaking gaffes" you mean. If you mean his Dallas sermon, I disagree most vigorously that it was a gaffe at all. I'm just sorry he felt it necessary to try later to placate Constantinople over it. The man said what needed saying, and he gave it to 'em plain and unvarnished. Good for him! No baffle-gab or the usual saccharine politesse; just "We're grown ups here and can handle our own life; so go home to your own turf." I find it refreshing that a primate would actually say what he means and mean what he says.
Secondly, the Metropolitan is hardly "prescribing monasticism for all our self-inflicted wounds and failings." Clearly---and clearly in line with the Church's experience for the past 1700 years---he sees a healthy monasticism as a significant element in the long-term solution to our problems and wants to begin now to plant seeds which may take decades to grow. How shameful! A Metropolitan who thinks long-term rather than like a politician concerned only with tomorrow's headlines. How will we ever cope? Ken, there's a Latin tag you may want to learn: "Qui nimis probat, nihil probat" --- "He who proves too much, proves nothing." As I've said a trillion times, don't exaggerate!
A couple of other stray points: I'm impressed that the Metropolitan actually entered into dialogue with and listened to the folks in Western PA about the election and episcopal ordination of Archimandrite Melchizedek. Somewhat different from the previous approach, I think.
As for a "stavropeghial auxiliary bishop"....ummmm....well....how does one classify such a proposition: bad advice? eating pizza before bed and dreaming in technicolor? There just ain't no such critter. In the tradition we have inherited, the primatial see (and other large sees) may have vicar bishops, each of which is given a title as "Bishop of thus-and-such-a-city, Vicar of the Diocese of Whatever." For example: the Bishop administering the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Canada is usually given the title "Bishop of Kashira" (a village somewhere in the Moscow region), and is a vicar bishop of the Diocese of Moscow. His counterpart in the U.S. is "Bishop of Zaraisk." At least, however, these towns/villages are real, situated within a real and functioning diocese, and with Orthodox people actually living in them; this is unlike the Latin practice of giving an auxiliary bishop a title of some place "in partibus infidelium" and which may no longer even exist. But "stavropighial auxiliary"??? Yoi!
Concerning Frs. Brum and Fester: does anyone have any real evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of either man? If so, bring it forward in charges to be heard by a spiritual court. Otherwise, do what 1 Corinthians 13:7 tells you to do, and "believe all things," i.e., believe the best about them, their actions and intentions, and their service in the Central Church Administration. Whether or not Fr. Brum would make a good bishop, I personally don't know, 'cause I've met the man exactly once, and only in passing. But the fact that he---like a whole bunch of other people---once served in Syosset does not make him guilty of anything except obedience and, perhaps, some competence.
(editor's note: I will leave it to others to speak to Fr.Philip's points, except the last. Obedience? I refer you to the SIC report. If repeatedly handing someone $9,000 of the Church's money, in cash without a reciept or explanation, in order to circumvent Customs laws is "obedience", spare me, If participating in kangaroo spiritual courts led by Kondratick,and assisting in misleading the MC and Synod, for years, then denying one had any knowledge of anything amiss, displays "competent" administration, spare us. Please.)
#7.3 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-05-22 04:23
I really do need to be on my toes when you are looking over my shoulder! But no complaints here.
As to your first point, since the two statements of the Metropolitan reflect a substantial amendment of his original tone, at least, I think I would consider that as a gaffe of one sort or another. I do agree with you, that while the first statement could have been more artfully and diplomatically put, the substance was right on target and the subsequent apology or clarification lame.
With respect to point two no major disagreement. I really don't "hate" monasticism, as some seem to believe, but rather have a healthy regard for its limitations and application. In that I am not alone--even in Orthodoxy.
Mark and Rebecca have answered the Fester/Baum matter to my satisfaction, so uncharacteristically, I'll resist any further comment. As to your final point on assistant bishops, I'm in complete agreement.
No doubt, I have a tendency to occasional hyperbole, just as you have a tendency to excessive rationalization.
PS: Thank you Hierodeacon Amvrosi for your kind invitation, which I hope to accept one day.
#7.3.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-05-22 14:21
After being filled with hope at the AAC, I too am a bit disheartened at how things seem to be unfolding with Met. Jonah on a number of issues. Is he just too busy doing things without enough time for prayerful contemplation? Is he listening to the wrong people? Others have expresed many of my concerns already. I just heard today of something else that adds to my concern - the priests at a recent DOS deanery meeting were not allowed to elect their dean as per the statute. Instead they were told they were to nominate three candidates and the Metropolitan would select the dean. I asked if anyone said anything about the statute and was told yes, the response back was, the statute is being rewritten. Regardless of how it all turns out for the priests of that deanery, I just have to ask, am I wrong to believe that the existing statute should be followed until a new one is adopted? Are we on some slippery slope here?
#8 concerned & nervous in the OCA on 2009-05-21 15:27
Met. Jonah,in the past,has quoted MARK TWAIN. It was MARK TWAIN who also said,"It takes a good three days to prepare for an impromptu speach.
#9 Andrew Fedetz on 2009-05-21 15:47
Eureka! Mr. Tobin seems like a mature adult with a brain, clear thinking and honest.
Please let the Synod know his name, lest he to promoted to a decision making role in the OCA! Apparently THERE ARE talented people out there.
From this day forward, let us develop a list of such people, keep them from helping, and keep mediocrity above all things!
#10 no name on 2009-05-21 16:32
"What should have been another cause for concern was the way +Jonah had been put forth by the embattled and discredited Synod, in a successful effort to block Archbishop Job, the sole hierarchical champion of freedom of expression and conscience in the OCA, " What All American Council are you recounting? or as they say, "what are you smoking?"
Priest Yousuf Rassam
#11 Anonymous on 2009-05-21 19:32
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
I was present at the November AAC as a parish delegate.
With all due respect, Archbishop Job simply sat there without saying a word during the first few sessions. He looked scared to me, like he was silently suffering and wishing NOT to be elected the next Metropolitan.
I truly believe in my heart that Divine Inspiration was behind the election. Nobody put any type of roadblock in front of Archbishop Job. His demeanor and silence spoke volumes.
Please know this is no attack on the Archbishop whatsoever. I very intently watched the expression of each bishop and this comment is simply my impression.
#11.1 Michael Geeza on 2009-05-22 07:55
You are reiterating the obvious Mike.
He did not wish for the job and this was made quite clear by everyone I've talked with...
#11.1.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-05-22 19:44
I don't smoke--even for medical reasons. Perhaps if I want to remain Orthodox I should!
I must say, whether from undue modesty or a healthy regard for his own limitations, Archbishop Job did nothing at the AAC to promote himself as a candidate for Metropolitan, as Mr. Geeza suggests. I think that was a shame, but I respect his right to have the final word. But I stand by my statement concerning his values, exemplified by his tolerance of dissent in his own diocese and his call for the truth concerning the scandal. I might have wished for a more forceful leader, but not one with more integrity and respect for the entire spectrum of the Church.
#11.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-05-22 16:33
Bravo, KRT. Well reasoned and insightful - and a refreshing alternative from the "Jonah's great, move on" kick everyone's on. I'd like to see this post expounded upon in a front-page reflection.
Regarding post #8: We need all of these little anecdotes to be systematically stockpiled and publicly recorded somewhere, perhaps on OCANews. We need to keep track of these little abuses - however small they may be, because, when aggregated, they reveal the great sickness which remains to be purged from our Church. It seems increasingly that Jonah is an agent of this sickness - not its antidote, as some had falsely hoped. And it seems that there's a lot of these little abuses going on all around the OCA.
And Priest Yousuf, we all know that Job would have been elected had not the Synod paraded Jonah around in the guise of a tough-speaking crusader. Everyone has cited Jonah's infamous "speech" as the reason he was elected. Had the Synod not fast-tracked Jonah, it's clear Job would have won. The question remains, why did they do that? Given how slow they are to deal with episcopal issues most of the time, their expediency in Jonah's case is curiously unique. What are you smoking?
#12 Silenced on 2009-05-22 07:50
It is probably fair to say that Fr. Brum has not a future in the DOS. As many priests as I've talked to, they are not in favor of Fr. Brum, and would be very against his presence in our diocese as a bishop. What I don't understand is why the synod is willing to overlook Fr. Brum's disqualifications (no Orthodox seminary education, not Orthodox for 15 years, the Brum Doctrine,) and yet dismiss Fr. Gerasim or not even look at say....Fr. Sergius from St. Tikhon's. I don't like how this is looking. I hope the clergy will make their voices heard, sooner or later. My fear is that as a stavro-something-or-other-auxilary he would be sent to the DOS as Metropolian Jonah's representative, and slowly he would just become the de facto bishop. Metropolitan Jonah, please don't force Fr. Brum on the DOS, the results would be to painful to endure.
#13 Anonymous on 2009-05-22 08:12
Met Jonah has been VERY disappointing, promoting apparatchiks of the former disgraced administration, disallowing priests rights to elect their own Dean, failing to quickly and comprehensively inform the church of the actions of the hierarchs and possibly worst of all failing to put Bishop Nikolai Soraich on trial for his audacity and utter contempt for church order in taking out lawsuits against the church......Nikolai is still unpunished for all that he has done, I fear Cappy is right they're just waiting for him to drop the lawsuit and then they'll set the abuser free....this is DISGRACEFUL and DISGUSTING....hear my words for this is what the people think of their hierarchs behaviour......I say vote with your money and refuse to support the hierarchs, they are running the church like it's their private show and to hell with the faithful. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!
#14 Jeff on 2009-05-22 09:48
Since I am not the most politically informed of the faithful my comments may be of limited worth. Some of the issues raised concerning Met. Jonah and his administration of the OCA and even of Archbishop Dimitri just aren't raising any red flags with me.
Given his newness to the episcopacy and his sudden and unexpected election as our Metropolitan one must expect there will be a learning curve. He may want to develop a little more diplomatic finesse but what he has said so far I've found very encouraging. Frankly, the frankness is refreshing.
Behind the scenes: This, I think has the most potential for trouble, especially given the recent past, but my impression so far is that there has been steady progress on fixing the financial mess that he found upon becoming Metropolitan. There has been some question raised about the involvement of certain priests, and perhaps their involvement bears scrutiny, but since I know nothing of what their past roles were or how those who have worked with them view them, I can't offer a useful opinion. However, I am willing to trust the Metropolitan in his apparent trust in them until given substantive reason not to. Given events of the past and the lay vigilance exercised through sites like this I think any temptation to pull a fast one will be noticed and called to account fairly quickly.
Russian Relations: Some have characterized Metropolitan's Jonah's relationship with the MP as kowtowing, and there are intimations of some perhaps unpleasant discussions that have generated some stress for our Metropolitan and his delegation. Time will tell on the latter point, but I don't necessarily agree on the former. I get the feeling something else is going on, especially given two points, one, the Metropolitan Jonah is trying to build monasticism in the OCA and seems to favor the Valaam model to which he owes his own spiritual formation, second there are big events brewing within Orthodoxy on a global level with respect with autonomous churches and who has the right to grant such status. The MP and the EP stand on opposite sides of the divide and there is little doubt I think that Metropolitan Jonah is sticking close to the MP in this fight.
It may be in order to strengthen the MP's and the OCA's position regarding the proper understanding of Canon 28 some hard horse trading had to be done, esp. if the OCA is going to have its interests represented at the upcoming council. We'll see. From the administrative end I get the feeling as well that Met. Jonah wants to mold the OCA a little closer to the Russian model which is a bit less democratic than current American practice. That doesn't of itself bother me so long as the Apostolic balance of power/responsibility between laity and hierarchy is retained and administered with pastoral integrity.
There have also been a couple of statements by Metropolitan Jonah which suggest some even bigger potentialities on the horizon. When he has spoken of unity among the North American Orthodox he does not see it as a species of merging with the OCA, but more of a lets start over with all concerned parties at the table, do what we need to do, and then give the lawyers a few weeks to sort out the administrative/legal details. Given the healing of ROCOR's relationship with the MP and both ROCOR and the OCA being daughter churches of the Russian Church the game on the ground, if it may be characterized that way, has changed. It may now be possible to envision the beginning of North American Orthodox jurisdictional unification within a new framework. In any event these thing taken together with current events in Antioch and the Phanar suggest some kind of fight brewing with the theological front lines being drawn in the Americas.
My bottom line is this, the events of the recent AAC led me and many others to believe that Met. Jonah was the Holy Spirit's express choice for us. While I'm under no illusions that his judgments are infallible, or that he will be some kind of pastoral/administrative wunderkind, I am more than willing to trust who I believe is the Holy Spirit's choice to lead us however he may stumble from time to time under the burden of his office. He may well make mistakes, but if he retains his forthrightness and humility, he will make whatever corrections and apologies necessary and move forward. He will learn. He will grow. And in the end I think Orthodoxy in North America will be much the better for it than it has been in a very long time.
When I learned of his election the instant thought of my heart was Axios. That has not changed. That said we have the responsibility to keep him foremost in our prayers and not flag in our vigilance to keep our clerics and heirarchs honest and accountable according to apostolic canonical norms.
#15 Reader Seraphim on 2009-05-22 10:27
Thank-you for this sober and broad viewpoint. Well expressed, and I share it.
#15.1 Rdr. Tracey on 2009-05-22 16:50
Axios! You took the words right out of my mouth and said it much better than I could!!
I have had the pleasure of meeting +Jonah on a few occasion - the first when he served at his see while still a monk. I last talked to him when he came to Dallas last week. I think that anyone who has the chance to talk to him face-to-face cannot help but think that this a humble, ordinary man. Is he perfect? Of course not! Will he do things we do not like or agree with? Hey - we are americans. It is our right, ney duty, to find fault with our leaders and to disagree with them.
I firmly believe that he will grow into his office. He is young, untested, straightforward, and a not very polished speaker. Should we hang him for those faults?
Please people, give him some time. He has been in office for all of 6 months. And during that six months, there has been more information coming on the OCA site than there ever was before.
Continue to make your concerns known to your Priest and your Bishop but continue also to pray for +Jonah that he will gain in wisdom and, perhaps, diplomacy as he grows in his office.
#15.2 Steve on 2009-05-23 09:00
Exactly, Rdr. Seraphim. For decades, the standard line from the OCA in regards to unity within the North American continent has been "Join us, or else. We're the autocephalous church, not you." There has been no open-minded approach to a total restructuring of the deeply flawed status quo, which unfortunately will be the only way to get the Greeks on board. That is the problem here, and when Jonah drops little lines suggesting that he views unity outside the framework of the OCA being the sole unifying force, it shows he actually gets it.
Orthodox unity will never work in North America unless it can be done in a way that will be acceptable to Constantinople. It is fundamentally clear that 39 years of "OCA or the highway" from Syosset, preceded by a decade of bullying by the usual suspects at the head of the negotiations with the MP for autocephaly regarding the MP parishes in America, that the "you will be a part of us" attitude has not and will never work. This has been the prevailing attitude, and it is clear, at least in the eyes of the Metropolitan, that it is on its way out. This is the only way to get the Greeks interested. The OCA must realize the reality of its canonical situation--4 out of the 5 historical patriarchates do not recognize its autocephaly. Flaunting your autocephaly and saying everyone should join you is not the way to do it. And for all the talk here of "kowtowing" Moscow, guess who that 5th patriarchate is? The OCA needs Moscow to go to bat for them, early and often. That's the biggest ally.
There must be a middle point to achieve unity, and if it means scrapping the flawed organization of the OCA as we know it and a complete ground-up building of a united Church in the United States, that is what has to be done. And the OCA must be prepared for the possibility that the only way to get the unity so many loudly shout about will only be achieved by starting all over again. It also must come with maturity from Constantinople to overcome the Canon 28 "barbarian" nonsense and work with all parties involved, at both a national and local level. There are still several large metropolitan areas where there is little to no concelebration with the Greeks and everyone else, which has never historically been the case until the past decade. This isn't good for anybody. I do not mean to say that the OCA should absolutely give in and cave completely to the Greeks, but there must be an open-minded and willing approach on both sides to come to a mutual understanding. To start with, the OCA must be comfortable with the ethnic nature of the Greek Church, and the Greeks must be comfortable with the general diversity that is the OCA. Coexist. Respect the characteristics of the other, build together, work together. I think both parties strongly benefit from this as a mutual growth process.
#15.3 Anonymous on 2009-05-24 19:40
The SCANDAL??? Still no answers, the same old same old! Kondratic wears a robe and "teaches" at a church in FL. Our Metropolitans reside retired, one of them mortgaging a seminary he does not own. Today a Roman Catholic priest who stole money from his high school has been sentenced to prison. As for me, I will contribute to my church, the IOCC and the seminarys directly. I am no longer a steward of the OCA.
#16 Anomyous please on 2009-05-22 11:30
Here, Here! Contributing $$$ to Syosset is contributing to a corrupt administration at St. Tikhons. It is contributing to a Brum as a possible candidate for the episcopacy. It is saying OK to Fester running the DOS. It is time for + Jonah to WAKE UP! We don't want any of these people and we sure as hell need St. Tikhon's to be cleaned up! More of the same "OLD" OCA admin. Where is the broom to sweep clean?????????????????????
#16.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-23 17:57
The sin holds true because yet it is washed away through baptism it still prevents you of serving as a proest. Mark, does Christ not say through adultry a man shall give a letter of divorce to the wife. So if Christ says this why shall the divorced still be prevented even though Christ says to do this and secondly if confession washes away the sin of braking that sacrament why does it still hold weight. These are two examples. One permitted under circumstances of a woman committing adultry to there husband and Christ saying to give a letter of divorce. Second example is how it still prevents gifted individuals who confessed from becoming clergy.
#17 william on 2009-05-22 19:01
In response to #17
The Orthodox Church will not ordain a person who was married previously and divorced. The OCA seems to overlook the sins of being an alcoholic and other sins that are known before ordination. There does seem to be an inconsistency. The bishop and clergy and their wives are held to a higher level than the laity because the bishops and clergy are to be a role model to the people. Divorce and remarriage to the laity is given out of charity. Monasticism is a place to work out one's salvation. Brum and Fester should not be in any type of authoritative capacity in the church. MJ has been misled into believing that they should be in authority. Perhaps no parish wants either one, or perhaps they want the perks of the administration and higher salaries. The central church has seem to learn from past sins.
#17.1 anonymous on 2009-05-24 15:06
It is simply untrue that the Orthodox church will not ordain divorced people. HH the late Patriarch Alexei II was divorced after a brief marriage, just to name one example. Moreover, he was divorced after priestly ordination. Of course, the church in old USSR is hardly a model for how things should be, and no doubt the church cleaned things up for him. But I, for one, am glad an exception was made in his case.
I believe it is more accurate to say a divorced man, if he is allowed to ordain at all, is usually ordained as a celibate priest. And in the few cases of divorced priests with which I am acquainted, except the one mentioned above, the divorce took place long before reception into Holy Orders. The reason for the divorce would also be a factor.
I don't know exactly what the canons say on the subject. They may indeed forbid divorce across the board. They may indeed require candidates to be virgins. But in practice there are definitely divorced Orthodox priests, as well as ones with less than pristine records anent chastity.
(Editor's note: Nor was Alexei II the only divorced Primate of an Orthodox Church in recent times. There is another currently serving in Europe as well. As for chastity before marriage - one can only suggest, based on anecdotal evidence, that if this canon were followed we would have a severe priest shortage these days. And I doubt it was different in the past - for actual practice aside, if we take the words of the Lord seriously that if you have done it in your heart, etc., then, is there an adult man who has not so sinned? )
#17.1.1 morton on 2009-05-27 09:31
William, Christ does not say, anywhere in the Gospels, that a man shall give a letter of divorce to his wife. He says, in Matthew 19:8, that "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives." In Mark 10, the Pharisees try to trap Him by bringing up an argument about divorce, and they cite Moses as their authority in verse 4: "...Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her." In the next verse, Christ says, "Because of the hardness of your heart he (Moses) wrote you this precept..." Short version: Moses said it, not Christ. As my preacher grandfather would have said, "It's right there in the Book."
It is extremely difficult to accept your arguments about anything, William, when, as in this instance, you demonstrate that you cannot be troubled to open the Bible and read it for yourself before launching rhetorical questions about it. When you cannot get basic knowledge of the Gospels correct, any chains of reasoning in which you engage are suspect from the beginning, as your unwillingness or inability to do simple research tells anybody who cares that you're a bit loose with matters of easily verifiable fact.
#17.2 Scott Walker on 2009-05-26 13:16
I frankly am astounded by the vitriol exhibited by some of the commenters in re to His Beatitude Met. Jonah. He is doing a superb job of shepherding the flock. It grieves me that his interlocutors on this forum are engaging in a scorched-earth campaign of bad-mouthing his decisions and spinning tales of intrigue and cloak-and-dagger in re to the MP. It was not too long ago that His Holines of blessed memory Patriarch Alexy II apologised on behalf of the Russian Church for what had happened after Pat. Tikhon reposed.
Judging by tone of condemnation in this thread I wonder if some do not know how to forgive. Met. Jonah however understands that a new leaf has been turned in the MP. Let him do the work that is necessary to promote conciliarity between OCA and MP. Just stand down and put away your weapons and help him instead of trying to trip him up.
#18 Vladimir Bogoljubov on 2009-05-22 19:11
If it is all as you say it is, then let His Beatitude clear the air by publicly address these very valid points. He has a computer, no?
#18.1 Silenced on 2009-05-25 20:04
Vladimir, welcome to the OCA website (and that's NOT the Orthodox Church in America website). Where we b***h and complain about EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. Well, at least, a few of them.
We Orthodox Christians are perfect and expect our leadership to be perfect. We do nothing wrong and NEVER make decisions that others seem to NEVER like in our daily lives. We encourage our leadership to make the RIGHT decisions, only as long as they're right in our eyes.
As you see the responder to your comment. There are a lot of commenters that don't even have the guts to put their names down. For one reason or another or another or another or another or another...blah, blah, blah. Now, what does that tell you, Vladimir? We, the Orthodox Christians of the OCA want to rule the church from our couches and laptops/PCs. Well, not all of us.
Please Vladimir, don't mistake all of us who don't agree with the knuckleheads on this website. We all aren't such judgemental, disrepectful and condeming people who hide behind the term Orthodox Christian.
(editor's note: That's right, Vladimir, some of us are judgmental, disrepectful and condemn people using our real names. Ironic, isn't it?)
#18.1.1 Michael Livosky on 2009-05-26 13:48
Mr. Livosky, I used to post with my real name. But then I started to suffer a sort of verbal/spiritual abuse from those close to me, who believed that I was damaging the Church. In the OCA, criticism and dissent are not accepted. (Case in point: your post.)
I have love for Metropolitan Jonah, I have met him and was glad to pray with him. I have cordial relationships with some of the people at the Chancery. But I still bear immense disappointment. Why is it that when we raise issues, we are rebuked/ignored?
At some point, it became impossible to be a critic and live in a parish. Pious people are just too intolerant, and being identified as a "critic" impedes the work of parish life. And so, anonymity. I am reminded of the psalm...
"For it was not an enemy who scorned me; then I could bear it: nor was it he who hated me; then I could hide from him: But it was you, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to hold sweet converse together, within God's house did we walk in fellowship." (Apologies for inaccuracies, it is from the top of my head)
#22.214.171.124 Silenced on 2009-05-26 16:17
I cannot but sadly agree with Mr. Tobin's assessment of the recent decisions of the Metropolitan. Whatever the specific strengths of Frs. Brum and Fester, they are too closely associated with the previous administration to be credible as agents of change. If the Metropolitan wishes the Church to be revitalized he needs to bring new leadership into its structures and much greater transparency into its decision making.
#19 David M. Paynter on 2009-05-26 05:42
I am informed by someone who attended St. Vladimir Seminary at the same time as Archbishop Dimitri that this eminent scholar and missionary priest who accomplished significant missionary success prior to attending SVS, was required to attend SVS for one year before he could be consecrated Bishop. I encourage anyone to submit to OCANEWS.ORG Fr. Brum's accomplishments other than being a protege of Bps. Tikhon, Nikolai and the Former OCA chancellor and the Brum Doctrine that would warrant Fr. Brum not at the very least attending SVS for one year as did the esteemed Archbishop Dimitri.
#20 anonymous on 2009-05-26 19:20
Fear not gentle readers of this forum - The reasons for not using names appended to critical posts are probably as many as there are stars in the sky. I realise that not every one can be happy with whomever is the Shepherd-in-Chief of the OCA. My concern is that its so easy to create an environment wherein the evil one gains a foothold because of all the backbiting and kvetching in re to Met. Jonah's decisions. Who amongst us is the keeper of the *Philosopher's Stone*? I most certainly am not!
I only know about Met. Jonah through what has been said about him and I fully refuse to see dark undertones in re to his decisions since he became Metropolitan. In the interest of disclosure, the writer of this comment is not an OCA member. In due time, all will be revealed. So, lets all pray that Our Triune God may find it propitious to bless and aid Met. Jonah in his striving to be a responsible shepherd. Nothing less will do!!!
Ps: Thanx for the welcome - it warms the cockles of me heart ; - )
#21 Vladimir Bogoljubov on 2009-05-27 02:49
It seems the alternative to criticism that you propose is prayer. But tell me, where did prayer alone get the OCA during the period of 1999-2008?
Even Met. Jonah, in his criticism of the Phanar, knows that 'prayer alone' will not solve our problems completely. In that situation, many disagree with him, and consider his criticism out-of-order. Who is right? Who is wrong? No one knows, but certainly the solution isn't for Met. Jonah to shut up and just 'pray.'
I will pray for Met. Jonah. I will not accept excuses for his being "young" or "unseasoned" - he is not young nor unseasoned. What he is, is our Metropolitan; nothing else matters. And I will vehemently oppose the poor decisions he is clearly making, nothing less. This is our duty as sentient, reasonable, engaged Orthodox Christians.
#21.1 Silenced on 2009-05-28 06:37
I wince bitterly when people want to only criticise instead of critiquing. Criticism allows for vicious and vituperative character assassinations. Critiquing, on the other hand, allows for upbuilding discourse which everyone gains from.
*Vehemently Oppose*??? Sounds like someone has it in for His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah.
Bottom line: Constructive critique is the better part of valor - Withering criticism is just plain destructive because it offers the receipient no mercy nor grace.
Mercy redefined = Not getting the hell you deserve.
Grace redefined = Receiving the gift you do not deserve.
Be merciful and show grace when you offer constructive critique, since Our Heavenly Father will criticise us or critique us in the same way as we did to our brethren and sisters and those who we don't know from Adam.
#21.1.1 Vladimir Bogoljubov on 2009-05-30 02:31
As always for your outstanding job to this post, please humbly accept our best regards.
For your fairness and transparency many blessings from the Almighty God be poured down upon you and your loved ones.
As of issue of interest please be so kind and post this material, for which we thank you very much.
05 - 25 - 2009
PRESS RELEASE: His Beatitude Daniel, Romanian Orthodox Patriarch, will pay a fraternal visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate –May 27 – June 2, 2009
PRESS RELEASE: His Beatitude Daniel, Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarch, will pay a fraternal visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate – May 27 – June 2, 2009.
In the traditional spirit and current practice affairs, His Beatitude Daniel, as the new Patriarch of Romania, accompanied by a delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church, will pay a fraternal visit to the Ecumenical patriarchate between May 27 – June 2, 2009.
This visit will be part of a serial of manifestations consecrated to the year of 2009, proclaimed by the Holy Synod as the commemorative – homage year of St Basil the Great, Archbiushop of Cesarea in Capadocea (+379), and al the other Capadocean saints.
On the first day of that visit, following the official reception in the Cathedral of St George the Great Martyr, His Beatitude Daniel will participate to the Vespers Service which will be officiated in the Church of St Parascheva in Istanbul, church given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be used by the Romanian Orthodox Community settled in Turkey. On this occasion, in the presence of the Romanian Orthodox faithful settled in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey, the new library of that Romanian orthodox Community will be blessed and inaugurated.
On Thursday, May 28, 2009, on the Feast Day of Ascension of the Lord, His Holiness Bartholomew the Ecumenical Patriarch and His Beatitude Daniel, surrounded by a sobor of hierarchs, priests, deacons Greeks and Romanians will officiate together the Holy Liturgy in the Cathedral of St George the Great Martyr.
After that (on Thursday and Friday, May 28 – 29, 2009), the two heads of the Church, accompanied by hierarchs, priests, deacons, Greek and Romanian faithful, will make a make a trip to Capadocea – the origin country
of St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, St Gregory of Nyssa, and also to those many saints of the first millennium of Christianity. It will be visited old Christian vestiges with a profound theological, cultural and spiritual significance.
On Saturday, the two Patriarchs will officiate in Capadocea the Vespers Service, at St Constantine and Helen Church in the city of Sinassos.
The next day, on Sunday, May 31, 2009, in the same region, they will celebrate the Holy Liturgy at the Church of St Theodore in the city of Malakopis.
Part of the visit agenda will include official visit of the Romanian Patriarch to the Romanian Embassy in Ankara, to the Romanian General Consulate in Istanbul, as well as meetings with central and local Turkish officials.
Romanian Patriarchate, Bureau of Press Release.
*From a credible information source, the Romanian Patriarch and the Ecumenical Patriarch will discuss ALL of the issues of the Agenda of this upcoming June 2009 of the Pre-Conciliar Meetings which will take place, in Cyprus, and it will be attended ONLY by the Patriarchs and Primates of the Autocephalous Church enlisted on the Ecumenical Patriarchate DIPTIC.
If you deal with Romans you should speak Italian language in today's Rome, and not Latin.
If you deal with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople = Istanbul = you should speak Greek, not Turkish.
I hope nobody can negate the above two sentnces, or be offended.
This material was translated in English language from … www.patriarhia.ro … 05.25.2009. Those Romanian readers can go to the Romanian site and read the Romanian version.
**The Romanian Patriarch Daniel was already received by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Throne Hall. The WELCOME ADDRESS of the Ecumenical patriarch and WELL RECEIVED ADDRESS of the Romanian Patriarch … between the two patriarchs were already posted on the … www.patriarhia.ro.
All the Romanian readers are encouraged to go and read the posted addresses. Hope someone will find time to translate both Patriarchs addresses in English Language.
Very rarely the Ecumenical Throne had such a special guest as the Romanian Patriarch Daniel, (two PHD in Theology and more “Doctor Honoris Causa”, … highly theologically educated and highly regarded world wide) to welcome.
We are looking forward to the next visitors to the Ecumenical Throne and their receipt and address. None of the Orthodox Churches Leaders can match H B Daniel. Let’s see how soon "some other Orthodox Church Leaders" will be received by the same Ecumenical Patriarch in the near or far future …
Anonymous Orthodoxus Americanos. 5 / 27 / 2009
#22 Anonymous on 2009-05-27 12:41
"Continuity" may not be the best strategy when it comes to Syosset: Fr. Brum. Faith is a theologcal virtue, not suspension of belief. Hiding behind formulaic pieties, especially in the hyperintellectualized OCA, to explain such a "decision" and to spare the name of Fr. Brum... it is time now for the OCA to spare the faithful. Met. Jonah cannot smile his way around this. Why talk tough about "foreign despots" when the local ones do a fine job.
BTW, for all those shocked by reactions to dissent, the greatest myth is that the OCA is "liberal."
#23 Steve on 2009-05-28 12:12
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