Tuesday, March 15. 2011
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What can anyone say! + Jonah needs to be replaced and Fester laicized. The Episcopal Assembles are a joke! As everyone can see, it's nothing more than Istanbul & the other ancient patriarchates usurping power & authority that isn't theirs. They should fail! The Pat. of Istanbul should leave. Go to a Greek Island, Athens or even come to NYC. Again, all countries around the world should be recognized as "local territories" with their own "local church" and automatically autocephalous. All the bishops gather in a Synod and choose their own leader and manage their own affairs independent of foreign bishops - Orthodox Canon Law!
#1 Any Mouse on 2011-03-15 07:16
I am not a member of the OCA, but I am Orthodox!
Its seems to me the issue the OCA has (includiing its Bishops) is that they do not like a strong centralized MEtropolitan. the Local Diocean Bishops have more authority than the Metropolitan
Maybe they do nto need a Metropolitan; this may be the root of the OCA promblems since 1970: local government vs National Goverment, which is one of the Reason the Civil war was fought in this Country.
The Church is not a democratic body; this issue need to be addressed.
(Editor's note: Centralized versus local administration is not the issue here. Nor is authority. The issue is not democracy either. (Nor, for that matter was the Civil War fought about local or national government. The North had states; the south had a national government in Richmond. At the root of the Civil War , if you are reading the NY Times excellent series on "DISUNION", in this the 150th annivesary of that struggle, was slavery.) The issue facing the OCA is whether the Metropolitan is responsible to the Synod, as he claimed he is, or not. As he said so famously: " Authority is responsibility". He must now live up to his word. Or not. Choice is his.)
#1.1 Anonymous on 2011-03-16 09:39
It looks like the OCA is going down the drain. Perhaps Metropolitan HILARION will convey His Holiness' invitation to return to a more "autonomous" status under Moscow? It might make sense considering the years of foolishness we have endured. Perhaps we now need (temporarily, at least) the guidance of the Mother Church. It might be a good first step to creating a truly representative autocephalous Church on this continent, with input and full participation from the many other jurisdictions here.
(Editor's note: Dream on. I will pass on "guidance" from a Mother Church, all of whom are mired in their own problems. I prefer to be responsible for my own mistakes; and learn how to deal with them as Christ would have us.
As for a "autocephalous" church in America, with input and full participation from the many other jurisdictions here, well, that is what the OCA hoped to be, and may still, in humility, serve as a vehicle for one day. It will not come another way, that's for sure. The old world cannot agree on what order to sit at a table; you think 15 of them are going to agree to give up their money, position, people, and power in the USA and Canada? Dream on. )
#2 JP Gordon on 2011-03-15 07:18
Your comment about the bishops arguing about seating reminded me of a another quote. The hierarchs in the "old countries" are spending their time arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
As for the autocephaly issue, the EP has NEVER recognized a church declared autocephalous at the time that it happens. Give them 100 years or so to live with it...then they might say okay. Enough already of that.
#2.1 Another anon on 2011-03-15 14:03
Perhaps the "old world" argues about in what order to sit at a table. They do this in the new world, too. (Just try to figure out where the poobahs should sit when you get a couple of corporate or educational groups together). However, a place at the table, no matter how "low" is better than none at all.
Being more substantially connected to the Russian Orthodox Church--Moscow Patriarchate would guarantee us a place at the table and might also do something to break us out of the embarrassing nastiness of the past decade. It has gone from bad to worse. Sad to say, we need grown-up supervision and the MP has proven itself through martyrdom that it is a grown up Church. Just my opinion.
I know I'm in the shark tank venturing forth such opinions on this site. Look at it as comic relief, if nothing else.
(Editor's note: Let's consider this notion of "being at the table" a bit more carefully. There will be 3 seats for every Church at the table. For the Russian Church that means a Church of 165 million will get 3, just like Cyprus, with less than 1/165 of that amount. (Hey, not my rules.) So, given 165 million souls, I think we can assume the Patriarch or some Metropolitan representing him will take chair #1. And of course, there needs to be one academic, trained, experienced, knowledgeable theologian present who can speak in the sessions. Clergy, probably a married professor-priest makes #2. That leaves the Russian Church with only one more chair. Let's see, they have one autonomous Church - Japan - who has no chair, one autonomous jurisidiction - ROCOR - that has no chair - and 150 dioceses, each bigger than either Japan or ROCOR, who have no chairs. (Not to mention the autonomous churches of Belarus, Ukraine, the MP supported dioceses in Moldova, Estonia, etc., and of course their dioceses in Western Europe, America, and throughout the world....) And you think they would give that last chair to the OCA? Friend, given the realities of how the EP has structured the system, and the political/social/economic/ecclesiological realites of the Russian Church, there is no place for the OCA at the current table. To think otherwise is delusion. But then, take heart: Judas was at the table, and Mary Magdalene wasn't. One saw the Risen Lord, one didn't....)
#2.2 JP Gordon on 2011-03-16 07:04
I like the editor's remark to JP about St. Mary Magdalene not at the table but seeing the Resurrection. It also poses the issue of women as part of the human race. All this male posturing seems so very old in modern society where both male and female labor each day side by side.
I think if the OCA could solve its issue first of "safety" and running a safe church where the weight of support for sex offenders is less than for Victims of Clergy sexual abuse the balance beam for working together to do good would solve so many more issues. Charity for all would abound and the health of the church administration would recover.
The OCA is still in the noose of cover up and cannot function in a Christ like manner until safety and truth are the preferred operational choices.
#2.2.1 ANON on 2011-03-16 15:48
I think your comparison of the Church to corporations is A.) very sad indeed, and B.) probably more true than any of us are willing to admit. However we shouldn't be able to say "we'll we're not so bad look what "such and such" corporations do. When we can compare the Church of Christ to Wal-Mart makes me wonder if there is any hope left at all. (not that I think you're wrong, just a reflection on your comment)
#2.2.2 Chuck Shingledecker on 2011-03-17 02:46
Thanks Mark for your continued grace in reporting. I really admire your character in the face of myriad attacks on you as a person.
#3 NC on 2011-03-15 07:19
So +HB only supporters are in the DOS. Well the reason you have not heard from the DOW is because the entire diocese which love and honor +HB are on their knees asking for intercession from St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco(a good bishop) for correction of those souls in need at WAR in the OCA and protection of +HB.
Perhaps you would like to join us.
(Editor's note: I assume +HB stands for "His Beatitude"? But I am at loss to fully understand your penultimate line: " ... for correction of those souls in need at WAR (?) in the OCA and protection of +HB". There is no war in the OCA, but what +HB is attempting to incite. Thus my confusion. But prayer is always good...)
#3.1 Emily Newbury on 2011-03-15 16:49
Not everyone in the DOW is unequivocally in favor of what is going on in the OCA by any means. Some of us are keeping our heads down, and our actual names off the internet. My personal take on His Beatitude is that he flew a bit too high for the wings he had, like Icarus, and got burnt a bit. The ole canons i think say that there is mutual obedience, and he wnated subserviance, and then did just what he wanted to do in the case of the 'leave of absence' vs 'rest period-retreat'. I wish he'd just done the latter, took care of his ailing father and gone away for while. but that white hat seems to place a heavy burden on the brain of the fellow.
I am in touch with a retired hierarch who knows a lot, and who says that ++Jonah is a bit over his head, since he never actually 'ruled' a diocese.
anonymous in the DOW for now
#3.1.1 anonymous on 2011-03-17 16:50
A wise priestmonk of my acquaintance noted that there's a HUGE difference between running a diocese (where you have to work with a large number of clergy, laity, committees, parishes, etc, each with their own interests and agenda) and ruling a monastery, where a much smaller number of people have taken vows of obedience to you.
#22.214.171.124 John Congdon on 2011-03-18 13:23
RE Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev) has returned to the United States at the direction of the Patriarch of Moscow, Kyrill...
Well, this kind of thing can certainly backfire on the OCA. I think of the analogy of a kid in his early 20’s who moves out of the house because he is now “an adult,” but – when things get tough -he is unable to keep his parents at arms-length when they drop by to help out and try to fix things. Where does legitimate help end and meddling begin?
Now… I’m sure that the relationship between the ROC and The Metropolia , I mean the OCA, is much more subtle that my weak analogy above; but I wonder how long the OCA can continue to be self-ruled, I mean autocephalous, with Moscow - seemingly at will - inserting itself in American affairs.
(Editor's note: The Patriarch is asking for a personal update on the situation regarding +Jonah. Is that meddling? Not among friends. Sometimes getting a personal take on things is the only real way to convey the tonality of a situation that a letter, or email, or even phone call cannot. Is it unusual? Well, for the Russians, rather. Not very though, if one looks at the Greek churches ( especially Jerusalem....) I think other news forthcoming will show that +Hilarion had other business in America besides the OCA (like in DC) and just used the opportunity to visit Syosset . It's not hard, or that surprising, to do when the Patriarch let's you use the Church's jet.)
As for your latter point: The Russians and Romanians just torpedoed the Constantinople's plans regarding autocephaly in Chambesy. It seems unreasonable then to believe they would then hand the the EP victory on a platter the following week through disreputable manouvers with the OCA. But thanks for the concern.)
#4 GregF on 2011-03-15 11:28
Yesterday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune there was an article about how American churches were reaching out to those impacted in Japan by the earthquake and tsunami. To my surprise, the writer commented on the efforts of the OCA,
“The Orthodox Church in America said its hierarchs, clergy and faithful are being asked to remember in prayer all those affected by the disaster and to support efforts undertaken by International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC], which has assembled its emergency response team to assess needs and possible responses.”
I know that there has been discussion on this website about what (if any) official statement should have been made supporting those in Japan. Perhaps this is not so much about those suffering in Japan, but rather for our own people. I believe the value of the OCA’s statement is that if we are to be an authentic witness in America, we do so by showing love, concern and mercy to those suffering around the world. And because of this statement on OCA.org, someone has seen we care.
#5 Nick Hubbard on 2011-03-15 12:36
I hope that you will comment on this soon, Mark.
"As has been reported, there will be a special pilgrimage to Sitka, following the Council, for the consecration of the new bishop of Alaska."
Does this mean that a bishop has been picked?
(Editor's note: It is clear that a date has been set for the candidate's consecration immediately following the AAC in Seattle, on the theory that many Alaskan priests will be in attendance, as will many others, who could then attend the ceremonies in Sitka. The question then, is who is the candidate? Has he been elected? No election has been held. That will happen immediately before the AAC. Does that mean no one has been picked? No, because, well the Synod has sent one candidate to SVS for the past two years, so they do/did have a horse in this race. The only one in the race at the moment, which has been likened to an "arranged marriage". It would seem that the only way to stop his election would be for the clergy and lay delegates of Alaska to overwhelming vote against him. Will that happen? Should that happen? That is for them, the clergy and laity of Alaska, to decide. And for the Synod to respond. What would then happen if they elected him anyway in the face of significant opposition by the clergy and laity, is hard to tell....)
Melanie Jula Sakoda
From an un-informed person's point-of-view, it seems like this is a perfect opportunity for the Russian Church to re-assert dominance over the OCA (I pray it doesn't happen) - and also, we must pray and support the Japanese Church. They have endured so much and we owe them so much.
(Editor's note: As per the posting on OCA.org this day, that is definately not going to happen.)
#7 Sean O'Clare on 2011-03-15 15:55
In looking at the websites of the various jurisdictions here in the U.S., only the OCA has posted anything about Japan - Bravo to them.
Should I be surprised that ROCOR mentions nothing - even about the Orthodox faithful in Japan? I mean, they were quick to congratulate the former KGB agent, Putin, when he won election, but nothing to Obama who was elected to the Presidency in the country where their headquarters is located.
The Moscow Patriarchate, as well, has posted nothing about the Church of Japan which received its Autonomous status from ROC. But there were great pics of the Patriarch celebrating the 35th anniversary of his episcopal concecration.
#8 Michael on 2011-03-15 16:49
has been talking about Japan for the past few days.
#8.1 the whale on 2011-03-16 14:37
Actually, there's plenty.
Also, the ROCOR Fund for Assistance (FFA), got word out as soon as possible. And even before they could work up something official, the director forwarded additional info via our clergy listserv. All clergy in my diocese (and I imagine the others, too) have received an ukaz requiring a special collection for the Japanese over the next two Sundays. Yes, I see that OCA.org posted something on March 12. "Beating" the ROCOR in speed of web updates does not equate to greater magnitude of compassion or sensitivity.
#8.2 Fr. Christopher Allen on 2011-03-17 15:05
Imagine how meaningless our jockeying for power, influence, and titles must seem to the Japanese Orthodox.
#9 Macarius on 2011-03-15 17:29
I have a couple of comments....as you all know, never short of them.
1. Sorry about the confusion over the Dmitri-Demetri... I think it is important to note, the most frustration most of us have had over Dmitri is/was the continued existence of former Fr. Kondratick on an OCA church payroll. At least outside observers like me don't understand how this was ever allowed. Others have other issues with the fellow, but mine are limited to that confusion. I guess I owed him the confusion to a degree.
2. Patriarch Bart - I plan to pray for his safety. In that same prayer, I will also pray this silly notion of pretending the OCA is a schism, or something less than Orthodox is thrown away forever. I will also pray the silly notion of returning to a one bishop-one city type rule in the US is forever forgotten. I think all of us need to hope Metropolitan Jonah stops what appears to be a venture into this abyss, or at least he could tell us or more appropriately given all circumstances - the Synod could tell us how the church is going to deal with the EA. Personally, I think the EA is a huge, gigantic error that could really hurt the church.
3. As for Japan, it is easy to be overwhelmed. I encourage everyone to give something rather than feeling like me - too small to help.
4. As for Fr. Fester, his email attempting to defend Metropolitan Jonah didn't. I don't have any strong words about this man, I will let Fr. Hopko speak; he has better personal knowledge. I think it'd be wise for Metropolitan Jonah to have a chat with Fr. Hopko and he needn't tell me or anyone about it. I think Metropolitan Jonah ought to meet all the people that disagree with him and really absorb their words; especially about Washington. So many of us equate Washington with lobbyists and paid for politicing; it is a bad taste to consider the church moving there.
5. As for the homosexual stuff, I'm a little lost in the shuffle. I don't think the OCA ought to have homosexual bishops or clergy; perhaps monks-not sure there, but I do think the OCA ought to treat homosexuals kindly. People thought I was gay at a time in my life, never was, didn't deserve the label or unkindness. I don't understand homosexuality, so long ago, I decided it best to leave the judgement to someone larger than me (clue-not an OCA bishop or priest).
my 2 cents worth
PS I am really tired of SNOW!
#10 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-15 18:42
There is a story behind the "Diptych Controversy" headlines, and the real controversy is about the uncanonical behavior of the Moscow Patriarchate, and its schismatic daughter in Abkhazia.
According to tradition, the order of the Diptychs is determined by the date of autocephaly. By this rule, the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate had the 6th position after the original pentarchy or the 5th position after the Roman schism. The Russian church usurped that 5th position in 1811.
The Georgian Church was founded in 326 AD when King Mirian adopted Christianity at the preaching of St Nino. Originally, the Georgian Church was under the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate. The Patriarchate of Antioch granted autocephaly to the Georgian Church and the Bishop of Mtskheta was granted the rank of Catholicos in 486 AD. The church of Western Georgia (Abkhazia) remained under the Patriarchate of Constantinople until the 11th century when the Georgian Kingdom was reunited. Since that time, the primate of the Georgian church has held the title of Catholicos-Patriarch.
In 1811, the Russian Empire illegally annulled the autocephaly of Georgian Church by an Imperial Ukaz, not a church council. The office of Patriarch was abolished and the Georgian Church was subjected to the rule of the Russian Church Synod. In March 1917, the Georgian clergy revived the autocephaly and restored the Patriarchate. In 1943, the Moscow Patriarchate recognized the restoration of Georgian autocephaly. It is important to note that the official Tomos published in Moscow did not “grant” autocephaly to Georgia; but rather recognized the restoration of that autocephaly, already accomplished in 1917. In 1989, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the existence of the autocephaly of the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church since the 5th century.
In 2008, the Ecumenical Patriarch promised the Georgian Synod to raise the issue of the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy” at the Patriarchal meeting in Cyprus. However, when the Russian church agreed to recognize the Ecumenical Patriarch’s authority over the diaspora, the issue of Abkhazia was dropped from the agenda with the excuse that “there was not enough time” to address the matter. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, did offer to return the Georgian Patriarchate to its original place in the Diptychs, as a sort of consolation prize; hence the current controversy.
The Moscow Patriarchate demands recognition as one of the ancient pentarchy, a position that is historically absurd and politically motivated. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is trying to further its own power by playing the other patriarchates off one another. This behavior is inimical to the canonical tradition of the church, and the teaching of the Gospel. While the MP and EP play power politics, the Sacred Canons are made of no effect, the Orthodox faith is abjured, and the Gospel commandments are rejected.
In the meantime, the 300,000 refugees and the bereaved families of the 50,000 victims of genocide in occupied Georgia continue to wait for justice. God is patient and longsuffering; but there is a limit to his tolerance. These ecclesiastical politicians should know that they are literally playing with fire. “Our God is a consuming fire”. The day of God’s righteous chastisement for all this is coming far sooner than many might suppose. May the Merciful and Just Judge lead us all to repentance while there is still time.
#11 Francis Frost on 2011-03-15 19:27
There can be very few less important events than a large meeting of Orthodox bishops. Especially when they are allegedly discussing a future (!) "Great and holy council". The only thing it can be is an occasion of rejoicing that they didn't get further; what would become of us?
#12 Bob Koch on 2011-03-15 21:26
Did anyone see the art by the EP denouncing Necular Power> Interest point for a church leader to take,w hen we face more improtant issues!
#13 Anonymous on 2011-03-16 18:00
It seems very relevant to what is happening in Japan, to me.
#13.1 anonymous on 2011-03-17 15:05
I am not quite sure what all the negative or hurtful speculation is all about for +Jonah. or what may happen to him. Does anyone realize that we are all vulnerable to sin and bad health and anyone can be taken from this earth in a moment. I recall the suddent death of NBC news person Tim Russert who had a massive heart attack one day. End of story. End of life. It can be the same with any of us. I believe we just need to let +Jonah have his two months of respite and recuperation and leave it at that.
We have our Holy Synod, the MC, the OCA statutes, an Ethics committee, and I believe the ability to call emergency sessions if and when they are needed.
No one or several person's opinion can sway what the OCA's formal procedures are. (Get a grip folks and start acting a bit more Christian to all this. Geeeeessh.)
I truly wish people would allow +Jonah to have his time of respite and recovery without so many outlandish and/or hurful opinions. I know I work a secular job and anyone who works a secular job can know the pressures and strains it can bring. Particularly the more types of personalities one works with, the more pressures one may be under. In the church, there seems to be quite a few personalities one has to work with!
No hatchets or mudslingling, please. We are all too human. All of us. Lent is a time to come to grips with that.
I can calmly wait for official meetings and official statements to take place after Pascha. For time, reflection, prayer, and rest really can work wonders. (Oh ye of little faith). Give time, and especially God, a chance.
I believe, besides opinion, many people are praying about all this. Thank goodness. For I do believe in the power of prayer.
#14 Patty Schellbach on 2011-03-16 19:12
The Episcopal Assemblies and the future "Great Council" are rigged events. + Philip allowed SCOBA to be dissolved so that the Greeks could control everything SCOBA did or stood for with their new Episcopal Assembly. What truly was a gathering of the canonical bishops of N. Am. in common interest where THEY CHOSE their own leader, dissolved into an arm of the Bishop of Istanbul through the GOA to control any gathering of bishops in N. Am. and around the world. How could this happen? + Philip placed his bet with + Bart - WHY? Culturally, the Greeks are more similar to the Arabs than the Slavs. HOWEVER, beyond this, there is Byzantine intrigue. + Philip is betting that the radical Muslims in Istanbul will win and + Bart will be forced out. AS SOON AS THIS HAPPENS, he no longer is "first among equals" - Canon Law. This primacy goes next to Alexandria which is pretty defunct as any center of Orthodoxy. Next, the Primacy goes to ANTIOCH or now, Damascus. Therefore, + Philip has accomplished setting up the Antiochians as the leaders of Orthodoxy in the U.S, and worldwide. Oh, the Byzantine intrigue! What's the problem with this? Churches around the world are tired of the phony baloney neing pushed by FOREIGN BISHOPS who have no authority over "local churches" in "local territories" - Orthodox Canon Law. All countries around the world want THEIR own Orthodox Church and run THEIR own churches without foreign bishop intervention. CHURCH COLONIALISM IS NOT CANONICAL and is DEAD! Every local church wants to be AUTOCEPHALOUS as canon law dictates. The Episcopal Assemblies will fail, as they should. The ancient foreign patriarchates are pretty much defunct - IT'S OVER! Russia is trying to make it's claim via it's vast size and $$$, but again, Orthodox Church COLONIALISM IS DEAD!!!
#15 Anonymous on 2011-03-17 06:05
I'm afraid your analysis sounds only too real. The Episcopal Assemblies and the move toward "The Great Council" is probably the last hurrah for the ancient patriarchates. Moscow stands by and waits to take it all. All the more reason the OCA must stay strong and focused on a true American church. + Jonah is proving to be a defective toady for Moscow. He must be replaced with a leader who really believes in the mission of the OCA uniting all the Orthodox in North America. The Greeks will fail; Moscow will fail. The Antiochian "autonomy" is a joke. The OCA is the only real, canonical alternative. Why can't all the Orthodox in America see this? It's not a Slav organization; it's not a Greek organization; it's not controlled by foreign bishops; it IS an independent, Orthodox Church in North America. THIS is the only real answer and now 41 years later, it's time all the Orthodox abandon control of foreign bishops and run their own churches. - Orthodox Canon Law
#15.1 anonymous on 2011-03-17 08:08
"All countries around the world want THEIR own Orthodox Church and run THEIR own churches without foreign bishop intervention."
The recent crises in the OCA and other American jurisdictions do not encourage optimism about our readiness for autocephaly.
(Editor's note: On the contrary. Grown-ups argue all the time, and the only truly quiet place in a church is the graveyard. One man's poor behaviour is hardly grounds to question autocephaly. Heavens. If that were the standard, I can think of 14, no make that 15, Churches that might have some issues.)
#15.2 Anonymous on 2011-03-17 08:10
"The recent crises in the OCA and other American jurisdictions do not encourage optimism about our readiness for autocephaly."
Apparently you don't read the Greek, Russian or Arab newspapers. If you did, you would find the Orthodox Churches in these countries are riddled with scandals & corruption far worse than what we've seen here in the OCA over the last few years. Secret land deals, pederasty, multiple partners among the clergy, etc., etc., etc. In fact, the OCA has been a breath of fresh air, considering!
(Editor's note: While true, let's us mourn their troubles, even as they mourn ours. And, just as they can solve theirs, so we too, being autocephalous, can solve ours if we have the will. That is as it should be.)
#15.2.1 Anonymous on 2011-03-17 16:51
Mark, I am very disappointed to see that you have employed the very same tactics you have so vociferously denounced: using your influence and position to avoid address glaring inconsistencies and flat out lies. Is there, or has there been a conspiracy to oust +MJ? Your leaked email clearly conveys that message, but your post about +MH's visit flatly denies that. Which is it, Mark?
My real name is ....... I am a member of ......I never put my name to comments, simply because most people who post are simply jockeying for influence or power or to show how spiritual they are, or how righteously indignant they are. I care for none of that. Mark, just tell the truth, whatever the cost may be. Is it your seat at the MC table? Is not truth more important than that? Or is the truth only convenient when other's lives are at stake? If you reply, I only ask that you respect my wish to have my real name and home parish excised from the post.
I have answered your question, in another reply to an earlier comment, and in a long excusis in a recent article. Let me try to make it even more clear now. There was no "conspiracy". At least none I was privy to, and I know alot of people. As I stated in my private email, which all have now seen, and as events subsequently witnessed, there was indeed a growing consensus that something had to be done with Metropolitan Jonah. But a consensus that there is a problem, and a "conspiracy" are two very different things, at least in my book.
As I have reported over the past two years on OCANews.org, there have been multiple meetings - of the Synod, and of the MC - where all present have expressed their growing concern about the Metropolitan's increasingly erratic actions, contradictory and unilateral decisions and poor judgements. These concerns were shared with him - to his face - in a spirit of Christian concern on multiple ocassions over the past 2.5 years by the staff, the Synod and the MC. I referred to them as "Come to Jesus" events. Everyone on the Synod and the MC, having participated in them on mulitiple ocassions, knows of what I speak - thus, for example, in my private email to fellow MC members, there was no need to rehash what they themselves had experienced. The Metropolitan dismissed and ignored such attempts to discuss these growing concerns with his behaviours, up to, and including the last full day retreat of the MC, that included Fr. Hopko.
This is not a matter of "unhappiness" with his decisions - or "leadership styles" but the fact that his choices have serious moral, pastoral, legal, financial and ecclesiological consequences he seems to consistently ignore and to routinely dismiss. This is a real problem, because no one thinks him a fool. It would be easier if he was. He may dismiss consequences - but the law won't. There's a Roman Catholic Cardinal in Philadelphia just waiting to see if he is going to be indicted, depending on whether his Monsignor, who was, is convicted of "child endangement". These are real concerns because we don't want the OCA to end up in the docket for any reasons. "Because I am the Bishop" doesn't work in the secular world: nor does "For the good of the Church" hold water anymore to a victim, whose abuser has been "Forgiven", and moved on without any consequences. I am not saying, in any way, that any of this is going on in the OCA - but you get the idea of my general concern - and the concern of well, most everyone, that such things, if they pop up, be done in a legal, orderly, consistent fashion if one is to avoid litigation or criminal investigation every time a problem pops up. And being humans, problems will pop up.
For the past two years the Metropolitan's behaviours have often been - and are getting more so - preemptory and potentially dangerous - such as the repeated attempts to dismiss Fr. Garklavs since the beginning of the year. Not because he, Garklavs, was not doing his job, but because he was. Question: does the Chancellor work for the Metropolitan, or the Church? To ask the question already shows you begin to understand the problem - and why there can only be one answer if we want to keep off the front pages of the newspapers. The same is true for the Staff, and the MC. Our loyalty must be to the organization, not an individual. The past six years have shown us how dangerous the former opinion can be, and where it inevitably leads. Do we want to go back there?
The Synod felt that the best way to handle this growing set of problems was to encourage the Metropolitan to take a break, in the hope that a period of serious retreat would help focus his mind. That is hardly a coup, removing one from office. And suggesting the same is hardly a conspiracy. Its more properly called "concern".
+Jonah agreed. Then, he unilaterally changed his mind, contradicted his previous opinion, berated the staff to get his private will done, threw the Synod into turmoil, cancelled the MC and Synod meetings on his own without explanation, and went off to a series of receptions where he could be feted, leaving organizational. financial and communication chaos in his wake. But not before confusing other foreign Churches as well, and setting up a website making shameful accusations.
To what purpose all this? To build up the OCA? To deal with the problems the Synod asked him to deal with? No. But as it so often appears he does when confronted with unpleasant things he does not want to hear: deny, and then lash out and retaliate.
So the question is, Friend, do the more reasonable bodies in the OCA take the poisonous bait +Jonah has offered, and act like him? Trading vitiriol for vitiriol? To what end?
Has the Synod suspended him? No. Has the MC met in opposition? No. Has the Staff resigned? No. Has OCANews.org denounced him in a series of scathing editorials? (And you know I could do it...) No.
The whole world has now seen he has a problem, and where it leads: OCATruth.com and its race to the bottom in terms of civil behaviour. You ask if there is a conspiracy - no. +Jonah has no real enemies - except those demons in himself that his recent actions reveal for all to see. I cannot deal with them, nor can the Synod, nor the staff. Only he can.
Can he though? I don't know. The Synod thinks it is worth a shot, and gave him 60 days to get a serious mental/spiritual evaluation. Will he? So far, no.
So, where do we go from here? Forward. Not as +Jonah wishes, with hue and cry, and talk of cultural wars to confuse the issues, and a descent to ever lower standards of discourse. But as the Synod has demonstrated: quietly, steadily, in a disciplined fashion, not ignoring the tumult +Jonah created, but tamping down the fires. The Synod is conspiring in civility.
Bottom line: The previous scandal in the OCA was about misuse of funds, not personalities. This one is not about misuse of funds, but about a single person. +Jonah has embarassed himself, his office, and the OCA. The ball is now in his court. Let's see what he does.)
#16 O Hamartolos on 2011-03-17 08:19
At least you've been reigned in Mark, and made to realize that you are not a kingmaker. Even the editor of OCANEWS needs to be held accountable.
I applaud OCATRUTH (And they are not even close to THEANTIOCHIAN.COM which you appear to be comparing them to. The more sources of info the better, lest anyone start believing that this is MY CHURCH, and not THE LORD'S CHURCH.
(Editor's note: I am not sure when you think I became a "kingmaker". If that were so, I have been spectacularly unsuccessful in the role. And, I have never compared OCATruth to THEANTIOCHIAN.com. Others have, but I have not. As for "more info" the better, that is true, as long as it is true and accurate as possible. Otherwise it is just more GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out. Feel free to disagree. )
#16.1 seminarian on 2011-03-18 09:58
Lord, help us all to become more and more like the icons we carry around on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
#17 Macarius on 2011-03-17 11:32
I looked at the OCA website and saw that 5,000 dollars was being sent to the relief effort in Japan. Mark as a member of the MC, if the coffers are so low that this all that can be sent, I would recommend not sending anything. I find this gesture humiliating as a member of the OCA. Is there no one in your immediate vicinity that has the means to match the donation anonymously. Are members afraid to give money to the OCA knowing it will be blown for other than stated purposes?
Close up the shop now before you are forced. Pitiful.
(Editor's note: Sorry you feel that way George, The total line item for charity in the budget is $10,000. So, we gave half of what we had. Agreed, it is the widow's mite, but as the Lord blessed it, I would hope you could as well. Moreover, it does not stop, but encourages other s to give more. As the former charity collections were all abused by the ancien regime, we have stopped that endeavor. If you think more should be given to charity, or collections should be reinstituted, please let your MC member know. The budget should reflect our Church's enduring values, and those of her members. But as it is zero based; what would you have us cut? Travel? Salaries? Let us know people. The budget is on-line.)
#18 anon on 2011-03-17 13:42
Cut the MC some slack. 5K will be lots of rice, maybe not enough, but the people who need food, will be glad for it.
#18.1 the whale on 2011-03-17 15:23
I would be interested in hearing the reasons that your are assured of the benign purpose behind Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit and the Moscow Patriarchate’s involvement in the current situations. It seems clear that there is good reason for suspicion.
First, it was Metropolitan Hilarion who orchestrated the ouster of Bishop Basil and the English speaking clergy from the Diocese of Surozh in England several years ago.
Second, the Moscow Patriarchate hardly played a helpful role during the previous scandals in the OCA.
What we do know about the financial scandal is that large sums of money ($1 million, $5 million or $8 million depending on your source) was laundered through the OCA’s bank accounts and transported to Russia in violation of US currency laws. The former chancellor claims that the money was donated to churches or charitable organizations affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate. .....In any case, it is clear that the authorities in Moscow Patriarchate knew and still know whether the former chancellor’s claims are true or not. They had the evidence to either exonerate or convict him; but remained steadfastly silent. ....
It is clear that the Moscow Patriarchate made no effort to ameliorate the scandal that tore through the OCA. Indeed, one may well say that the self doubt and weakness in the OCA has emboldened those who seek to annul the OCA’s autocephaly. You once asked the question; “Who benefits?” – (I will not attempt to reproduce the Latin phrase). It is clear that it was the Moscow Patriarchate that benefitted from the OCA’s struggles.
We should also recall that once Metropolitan Herman resigned, there was an attempt to install this same Hilarion Alfayev as the OCA’s primate! When that effort provoked horror among the laity and clergy, the newly consecrated Jonah, who also comes from the Moscow Patriarchate was proposed and elected. Almost immediately, Metropolitan Jonah took steps to pull the OCA back under the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Given that history, I think it somewhat naive to assume that he Moscow Patriarchate holds only benign intentions in regards to the OCA. The current leadership in Moscow has clearly traded on its relationship to the Putin / Medvedyev regime to gain political power and personal wealth. At the same time it has neglected the re-evangelization of the Russian nation, and has violated the ancient Apostolic Canons by establishing its misbegotten daughter “Eparchy” in occupied Abkhazia. There is more than ample reason to doubt the motives of the Moscow Patriarchate and its representatives.
It is important for the people of the OCA to note, that if the MP gains authority over the OCA, then the MP will gain title to all of the OCA’s assets, both real and fungible. There is ample reason for skepticism and caution.
I would also dispute a fact you cited in one of your previous posts. You claimed that the Moscow Patriarchate has 165 million adherents. The total population of Russia is only 142 million and the highest estimates claim 70 % of Russians as members of the Orthodox faith. (The numbers of ROC members in Belarus and Ukraine could not count for that discrepancy).
A recent article notes that there is, in fact declining support for the Orthodox Church in Russia. According to the sources cited below, only 2.5 million Russians actually attended the Nativity services this year, a number fewer than those doing so in tiny Georgia!
(Editor's note: The numbers of believers in the Russian Church is entirely fungible, depending on whether you count baptized, practicing, and as you point out, only Russia proper, Ukraine, Belarus, and other parts of the Russian church ( Estonia, Moldova, ROCOR) etc. Most sites claim 150-175 million; I take the middle number. Feel free to disagree.
As for +Hilarion's intent, I take the Bishop and the OCA at their word, since that is what is evidenced as well by the facts. )
#19 Francis Frost on 2011-03-17 19:33
Mark, I have to agree with Francis on this one, even as a laity nobody. One need only look at how they've dealt with the ROCOR situation to see that it's not a benign big brother we have out there. They care so little about the people in ROCOR that they put a non-English speaking hierarch in charge of all of America. Talk about being totally out of touch with the body of the church!!!! I can't imagine that America is of much interest to them in any way other than financial - and the same holds true in my opinion of the other foreign heads of churches.
As for monetary contributions to charity, there's nothing stopping individuals from contributing directly to the Japanese church. Their website even has the bank routing number. It seems to me that our charity contributions should be individual, rather than corporate.
But if you want to trim the budget, I had to agree with your reader who suggested putting a tidy limit on the travel expenses for the hierarchs. I shuddered to think of what all the various flights to Russia, DC and all over America cost the OCA over the past month. That's well within the scope of the MC, isn't it?
#19.1 Katya Knowlton on 2011-03-18 18:29
OK Francis Frost you made your point
you hate the Russian church
#19.2 sasha reshetar on 2011-03-18 20:30
The Diocese of Sourozh has so far failed to file its accounts with the Charity Commission in England for all periods since 1.1.07. Accounts are required by the authorities ten months after the end of a financial year so the 2007 accounts should have been filed by 10.31.08. Before the MP took over, the accounts were ALWAYS filed on time. See http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=277508&SubsidiaryNumber=0
Another point: the case involving the property assets of the Moscow Patriarchate in London is called Dean v. Burne. The judgment can be read here:- http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2009/1250.html
As the US States follow Common Law, you can be sure that in any property litigation, if the MP took over the OCA, that case would be quoted in courthouses up and down the land.
#19.3 Old Sourozhki on 2011-03-20 06:52
From this former member of the Church's perspective, it seems as if a lot (all?) of the OCA's recent scandals have to do with supposedly celibate priests and bishops doing a rather horrible job of living up to the Church's views on celibacy and sexuality.
To be honest, I think a lot (most?) of Orthodoxy's teachings on sexual attraction and gender identity to be bogus, but what I find most appalling are bishops and priests, who preach all sorts of nonsense about traditional morality in public, and who have zealous converts fighting the culture wars defending them, engaging in same sex affairs and so forth in private. Is there one set of standards that high ranking clergy, who in public preach so elegantly about the "evils" of homosexuality, etc are allowed to hold in private, and those that unsuspecting laity are supposed to follow?
I swear, all these converts who think they've found a refuge from the world and its "evils" are deluded.
(Editor's note: We all fall short of the Glory of God, we all sin, but in America hypocrisy among the clergy, and hyprocrisy in general, seems so devastating. It is not seen that way in Europe. I wonder why? Is it our Puritan cultural background? Does that, however, make Europe any better, or us wrong, or just different? In general, though, it is always wise to adhere to the words of the opening antiphon in the Liturgy, and that pregnant phrase from the Psalm: " Put not your trust in princes, nor in sons of men..." Everybody always wants a "saviour"; the fact is He has already come. )
#20 Anonymous in CA on 2011-03-18 18:53
One of the best sex lessons I got was from the OCA. Yup. In the anonymous Q&A session from one of the AACs I believe.
Don't discount the church entirely.
#20.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-20 21:01
Thanks for taking the time to rewrite what you have already said, and what ocatruth has already said, what I have already thought, etc. Yet, you have not explained this statement:
"Meanwhile the Synod was trying to organize a conference call to discuss the matter, but was unable to organize even their way out of paper bag because of the problems in Syosset. Four bishops (Nikon, BB, Mel, Tikhon) want Jonah removed; Nathaniel is upset but undecided, Dahulich the wild card. The three administrators, Irenee, Mark, Moriak are being informed, but are out of the decision loop.) The conference is difficult again to organize given everybody’s schedules, and the fact that +BB is now in PR with his dad on vacation, on a cruise ship.
However, the emerging consensus of the appalled four, seems to be that Jonah should be placed on a Leave of Absence immediately, and left there while an Administrator takes over in the interim until after the AAC. (Ala Ireney Bekish, who had an administrator for four years…) They do not want to retire him now, because that would trigger the Statute, which would require an election at the AAC, and none of them want that. So, he would be ordered by the Synod to a monastery – probably Santa Fe is the only option really possible – and ordered to stay there. (Personal note: Of course he can’t stay in one spot for three weeks, let alone 9 months, and should he leave, he could be retired immediately for synodal disobedience.) The point is he has to be removed, and this avoids the immediate problem till after the AAC. They would take turns being adminstator for six months each."
I suspect you will nort post this, much less reply. Nevertheless, it confirms what you growing number of critics are saying: your credibility is seriously compromised. This makes try number 5 to get an honest answer from you.
Whatever comes of this, in all sincerity, I hope you reflect long and hard about you have done, avoid the same mistakes in the future, and continue reporting, without bias, without agenda, the plain and simple truth. That's what we need once more from ocanews.org. That is, I believe, the ministry of this web site. If you cannot come to grips with your obvious mistake, then I cannot see how I can trust you or this web site any more.
(Editor's note: Well, you didn't like the previous replies, clearly, but here goes yet another, since I am assuming, we are all on a journey towards more and clearer truth.
I am not sure what my "obvious mistake" is, friend. Speculating and opining privately? Having an opinion? That's may be untoward, uncharitable, horrible, but it is not a "mistake". We all have them. What is irritating you, I am guessing, is that you think that because I have opinions, privately, I distort the facts I report. Well, look back over six years. I have had opinions about everything, still do. And did I report falsehoods? If I did, why do people read this? Why are you reading it? It is not because I don't have opinions, but because I report the facts, and did so openly, with my name attached. And, did so, when nobody else would. Does that make me less than credible, in your opinion? Fine. I am sorry that you can no longer trust me because the facts no longer agree with your opinions. That says little about me, but more about you. I am not in the business, or ministry ( thanks for that...) of changing your opinion. I am in the ministry of sharing information to encourage accountability in the OCA. Hence the title. Do I share all the information that comes my way? Heck no. Neither does the NY Times though. What is there motto? All the news that's fit to print - not all the news. Does that make them, or me, less unbiased, objective, indifferent, less than credible? No. But of course many see me more as Pravda - all the news that fits. Well, I don't just print paens of praise to the OCA, or to certain invididuals (as other sites) or just criticisms of them. If "two sides" are not always presented in every single story, it is because, in my judgement, there are not two sides worthy of being reported. I see no point in CNN reporting that Khaddey thinks Al Qeda is behind his people's revolt, or that he is loved in Bengahzi, besides a comic reference. The facts say otherwise. I see no point in dwelling on absurdities, like there is a massive conspiracy against +Jonah, led by leftists,, liberals, homosexuals, feminists, west coast neo-epsicopalians, when, the fact is that he has simply alienated most everyone that works with him, besides Fr. Fester and his circles in Dallas and DC. Should that have been reported before +Jonah precipitated this latest crisis? Perhaps, but I think not. There was always hope he could change. But even hindsight is not 20/20, otherwise history books wouldn't have to be written....
Do I make mistakes in my reportage? Of course. I am not infallible, and when an error is pointed out, I correct it. For six years, however, I have done amazingly well in each and every instance in reporting what was happening, as subsequent events have proved, in extremely difficult circumstances. I am always open to suggestions for improvement. I welcome yours.
Ultimately, I am not confident this is sufficient for you either, because, in the end, I am not sure what you want to hear from me. Do you want me to stop writing, or to say "I'm sorry"? If so, For what? My opinions? For not sharing them with you? Or with everyone? Or for sharing them with colleagues honestly? Or, as I see it, for being mistaken in those opinions? Or, as you see it, for being too accurate in those speculations? All I can say is a apologize for disappointing you, and will try to do better. We can all do better, and must. )
#21 o Hamartolos on 2011-03-18 20:45
No, I simply wanted you to reconcile your flat out negation that there was a plan to oust +MJ with your private email in which you detail a plan of how to get rid of him. That's all. Did this plan originate (a) in your mind, or (b) did you glean it from MC or Synodal discussions? When did this plan originate?
If "a", then why did you share your private opinion with the recipients, especially if they are fellow members of the MC? What did you hope to accomplish by disseminating such information? Did you think people would agree with you and act? You know that people take what you have to say seriously, so why would you detail a plan to oust +MJ if you did not people to take your "opinion" seriously ?
If "b", well if "be" then we have some major issues, don't we.
I'm inclined towards b, myself. In the first paragraph in the above exert you report on what the "appalled four" think. If the "appalled four" detailed the plan to quietly shove MJ in a monastery and not retire him because that would trigger the statute that calls for an election at the next AAC, then rotate the metropolitanate every six months until the next AAC….(big breath).
Then again, if "a", then this whole plan is one big dream, fantasy, or wishful thinking. This is a dream you wanted others to share with you, thus you sent it out, perhaps as a sort of fishing expedition. You have caught a whirlwind, I'm afraid.
In all sincerity, I thank you for all your hard work these past 6 years. As you have reminded the public time and time again, you did a very good job, for which we are all thankful. My main beef you with is this: You have said there is no conspiracy. Yet your email betrays you. The bishops had no canonical ground on which to remove +MJ. They disliked him. He alienated them. He aliented many in the MC. But, what canons allow bishops to conspire to remove a metropolitan for that? Ah, you will say, "He disobeyed the Holy Synod". Yes, he did. My theory is that he would have gone quietly, but upon reading such a detailed plan, penned by your hand, he realized the ambush he was being led into. In hindsight, I agree with his move to come out of his leave of absence. That perhaps disturbed the peace of the Church, but it also brought attention to the egregious plot, again penned by your hand, to oust him. Ultimately, it led to +MHilarion paying us a visit. Both sides were chastised, but came across loud and clear was that Moscow, our only real supporter, would not stand behind a synod that connived to remove its first heirarch.
Ironically, I think it was your email that worked against you, Mark. Had that letter not seen day light, +MJ might have gone on quietly to his retreat, ignorant of the "appalled four", and your plan (their or yours, it makes little difference now) would have gone one without a hitch.
Yet you deny what is so blatantly obvious. You lied about there no being a conspiracy. I'm not calling into question your past reporting, so please save me the trouble of having to read your self-praise, again. You lied, and for that, you should be held accountable.
(Editor's note: Well, you see, if I keep at it long enough, I can finally get a question to answer, rather than screaming. So to answer:
No, I did not lie. You claim there was a "conspiracy". I wrote in my email there was a "growing consensus". Those are two different things, as events, the fact, showed. I set forth a way a way +Jonah could be removed from office as it had been done in the past. That was no secret, as I pointed out, as anybody who bothered to study OCA history would know.Nothing happened the way I speculated it could, which means I am a pretty poor conspirator ( which contradicts the idea I am a "kingmaker") or perhaps, just perhaps, there was no conspiracy! And yet, you still want to push the idea there was a conspiracy to do so. Why? Why is so important for you to claim a conspiracy exists, where none did, and no evidence exists that it did. Why? I would suggest because in your, and perhaps +Jonah's, and certainly Fester's ,rush to claim a conspiracy, you want everyone to overlook what I wrote in the email and later published; i..e why there was a growing consensus among the Bishops, staff, MC, and just about everybody who has worked with him outside of his Dallas and DC circle, that something had to be done about +Jonah's erratic behaviour, poor decisions, bad judgements, unilateral actions, reatliatory actions, and strange attitudes regarding sexual misconduct, not to mention the dangerous ideas and legal missteps, ecclesiological mistakes, etc. as evidenced by his continuing private and public faux pas. Feel free to disagree - but it is strange that the reaction you, and so many who support the Metropolitan in all his works and all his ways, refuse to deal with the criticisms of his poor actions, and leap to the idea that anyone - heck, everyone - who disagrees/ opposes/refuses to participate in his schemes is a "conspirator" who wants to "uncanonically" remove him. Rot. And that they are all feminists, homosexual, west coast lefties, etc. It's not what happened. I cannot tell you what the Synod planned, or was planning, or is planning, or will plan - since I am not on the Synod. But the thought of Bishop Michael being a feminist, homosexual west coast lefty did provide more than a moment of levity to me. Or +Melichizedek, or, well, you get the idea. +Tikhon is so quiet one nevers knows though....LOL
As for the MC, the MC meets twice a year for 3 days. I have never even met 1/4 of the MC members, since it changes at every meeting - hardly the basis for a "conspiracy" do you think? Besides, I don't conspire - I publish everything on a website. Oops, that's self-praise. Sorry. Let me just say then, I don't work behind the scenes as you so conspiratorially imagine. I work with my name out there, in public, and have for six years. Unlike some, O Harmartolos. So, one might, ask: who are the real conspirators here , and what are they conspiring about? Hmmm? Doth the lady protest too much?
Friend, stop screaming, take a deep breath, and focus: how do you suggest we solve the +Jonah problem? The Synod presented a way, and the Metropolitan has refused, so far, to do any of it. Why not write to him, instead of me the next time and suggest he do what he said he would do, and didn't? )
#22 O Hamartolos on 2011-03-19 12:50
Mark has answered you thoroughly, respectfully and at length, but you're still stuck on the idea that he needs to fess up to his "lie". I must admit that when I first read the snippet from the "leaked" email written by Mark, having known nothing of what has been going on, my first thought was "this can't be good". However, remember, the whole idea of a sinister "plot" was posited by the leaker himself, the Retired Bishop Tikhon of the West. (How did Bishop Tikhon get the email, anyway?). I have to say that the Bishop's callousness displayed in his numerous postings on the internet makes him a suspicious source of insight in my book.
Please re-read the email (http://www.ocatruth.com/?p=16) in light of Mark's responses to you. Those claiming a plot clearly took it out of context. An honest mistake? Let's hope! Anyway, if you want to hold onto the claim that the Chancery staff, several Bishops, and numerous high-profile clergy and officers in the OCA were conspiring to "get rid of" Metropolitan Jonah for petty or sinister reasons; it's you choice. I'm choosing to believe those I already trust, my Bishop, the Holy Synod, Fr. Garklavs, and Mark Stokoe.
I do not know Fr. Fester, but his email does not convince me to trust his opinion over all these others (http://www.ocatruth.com/?p=44). On the contrary, it leads me to distrust his opinion. It's surprising to me that an archpriest would allow his passions to run away from him like that. He uses very incendiary language, such as "ambush", "devilishly-spun 'stories'", "sow seeds of doubt", "scare", "quick take down", "intrigue behind the scenes", "tar and feather", "afraid", "master manipulator", "liar", "ginning up the mob (can you hear: Crucify Him, Crucify Him!)", "the MC will be ginned up", "the Synod will cave", "we will not only lose His Beatitude, we will lose the OCA", "dark and sordid maneuver", "push him aside", "we all know in our gut there is something wrong with his website and therefore there is something wrong with him", "he is working against the good order of the Church", "warn them", "not good for the souls of our spiritual children", "I beg you", "stand up against him", "eating our own culture", "innuendos, half-truths, and outright lies", "now or never", and "entrap us all".
Fr. Joseph states in his email: "This is not hyperbole."
Well, either it is hyperbole (and he lied that it isn't) or he really believes what he is saying. Both are problematic prospects. Nothing of what he asserts has occurred, except that he has succeeded in ginning up a mob with his devilishly-spun stories in an effort to tar and feather Mark Stokoe by sowing seeds of doubt about his credibility with innuendos, half-truths, and outright lies. A dark and sordid maneuver, indeed. Please, brother, open your eyes. I will only change my mind when Fr. Joseph says "Sorry, folks, got carried away there; didn't mean to scare you." Maybe you could encourage him to publish an explanation on ocatruth.com about his actions and have him apologize to Mark Stokoe for his hyperbolic non-hyperbole.
(Editor's note: Fr. Joseph has no need to apologize to me, for we all write things we wish we hadn't in the heat of the moment. What would be helpful is for him to encourage the Metropolitan to fulfill the concern of his brother bishops and begin a period of real retreat and serious evaluation. )
#22.1 O Lord save thy people! on 2011-03-20 19:45
Mark, you started your web site in 2006. That would make it five years, not six.
(Editor's note: Gosh, it feels like six. Sorry for the miscounting. You are correct. )
#22.2 Anonymous on 2011-03-20 21:31
(Editor's note: It is not my custom to interject replies to questions in a posting, but to answer them after. For the sake of clarity though, I make an exception to that custom.)
I thought internet screaming meant doing things WRITING IN ALL CAPS, like that fellow several years ago, or over-using exclamation marks like this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop your fretting, Mark. No one is screaming at you. If you think so, that says more about how you are interpreting my words then my words themselves.
(Screaming has nothing to do with volume. Even Mr. CAPS now writes in lower case, having found the shift key, it seems. But as you will - the point here is to exchange views in a civilized manner for mutual edification.)
Thanks, also for sparing me and all of us from reading your self-praise:)
So, to make sure I understand your answer:
There was a consensus among MC, Syossett Staff, and Synod (the appalled 4) in all about….20 - 30 people, that +MJ should be removed because:
(No, that is not what I wrote. I wrote "growing consensus", not consensus. This has been evolving for quite some time, among many more people than you number, and even more groups of people, it now appears. For example, in the recent priest's meeting with Fr. Balashov ( who accompanied +Hilarion) there were priests, chancellors, deans, etc. from 4 different dioceses. Of them I knew nothing. I only mentioned those groups where I knew there was concern. There is a lot more now, by the way, given the Metropolitan's actions these past two weeks. Hence the accurate terms -growing concern and growing consensus that those concerns warrant some sort of intervention...)
b. poor decisions,
c. bad judgements,
d. unilateral actions,
e. reatliatory actions,
f. and strange attitudes regarding sexual misconduct,
g. not to mention the dangerous ideas and legal missteps,
h. ecclesiological mistakes,
i. continuing private and public faux pas
(This is a start. I focus on actions; the Synod choose to focus on his "spiritual/medical" state, which I never mentioned, because those are aspects of the problem in which I have no professional or spiritual competence. And which I usually discuss on this site. So, as I say, what you have listed is a good start. For more, you will have to ask the Synod...)
You protest the word conspiracy, so I will use your words "growing consensus".
(Well, it has the advantage of being the word I actually used, rather than the word invented by Fr. Fester. I could have invited people to join a conspiracy, if there had been one, or I had been part of one, in that private email: but the sad fact for the conspiracy theorists is that I did not, but was, as I wrote ( damn those facts!) sharing developing information with colleagues privately...)
The 20 - 30 individuals had a growing consensus that something had to be done about Jonah. You took it upon yourself to help the "growing consensus" and take a playbook from bygone days:
1. force +MJ into a leave of absence of 60 days
2. after the sixty days
a. if he disobeys, retire him
b. if he obeys, force him into a still longer retreat at a monastery, until after the AAC.
3. If 1 and 2 go as planned, the remaining bishops would simply rotate the metropolitanate on a six month cycle.
(Wrong again. Clever boy, though: "Help it along". Sorry, there was no "it" to help along.)
You sent this plan to the "growing consensus" as an answer to how they could "deal" with Jonah.
(No. I had no idea what Fr. Reeves or Dr. Skordinski believed, as their previous questions to me " What is going on?" indicate. Whether they were of the "growing consensus" or not, I did not know. As further evidence, one of them shared this with people who clearly weren't - so I imagine one of them wasn't happy with the idea. So much for my "plotting". As I said before, that's not a problem for me, since I shared 95% of the info before the email was leaked. I am in the info-sharing business, believing that the more people know, the better decisions they have the possibility to make. Since the Metropolitan's erratic behaviours concerned the MC, in its decision-making, I shared my concerns and information with them. And later, when the Synod had already made its decisions, that information with the rest of the OCA. Feel free to disagree if you think either was inappropriate.)
This plan was not the product of the MC, syossett staff, or the Synod. You take credit for this, and you alone, is that correct?
(Once again, there was no "plan". I outlined a scenario as to one way, one form, of intervention could, and has taken place, citing historical precedents. There have been many others; and obviously ( damn those facts again) my "plan" was not taken seriously, since it was not done. Oops. )
You "set forth a way that +Jonah could be removed from office as it had been done in the past." Let me remind you that we learned of this plan not on your website, but from a leaked email. If you wanted this plan to become public you could have done so. You did not.
(Again, it was not a "plan". You keep saying it over and over again as if that will make it true. It won't. I did not make it public, because there was nothing about that scenario to make public. What was there to make public? That I was unhappy with Jonah's actions? Published that a month earlier. That other's were, and why? Oh, published that too immediately after Santa Fe, before the email was published. Try again, friend.)
Let me correct some of the mistakes in your reply:
1. You seem to imply that all of us that support +MJ have done so uncritically. I for one agree with most of your complaints, but so has ocatruth and I would say, most people. They want +MJ to take a break to evaluate his performance. And you know this Mark. Your constant mantra that we who support +MJ are uncritical of him is simply untrue.
(Really? And where does one read of any "mistakes"? In you mind? All one can read is polls of support for +Jonah, ad hominem attacks on others, baseless assertions, anonymous postings, and the like. Get serious. Where on OCAtruth was there at anytime a critique of anything Jonah has done? Is doing? Or, where in Fr. Fester's hysterical letter to the clergy was there? Why would one even print that if what you said was true? Sorry, the evidence contradicts you, and you not believable on that account.)
2. "And that they are all feminists, homosexual, west coast lefties, etc" Really, Mark? It might seem beneath you to read ocatruth's postings, but that is most certainly not the stance they take. You have created a straw man. The "culture war", at least the way some of us are beginning to see it, is between one view that would like to keep the status quo and stay out of the public square, and not step on anybody's toes, or ruffle any feathers and not ask too much of people vs. being vocal, being seen, being out there, even if it makes some uncomfortable, for the Gospel's sake.
(Is that really what Fr. Fester was talking about in his letter, which OCATruth published, that precipitated this public hue and cry? Was that really why +Jonah refused the Synod's request? To maintain a voice in the public square? Oh, please. You are back-peddling, and trying to change the focus here, so fast, one can only say it is impressive, even with the sand thrown in our eyes. If you want to have a debate about the "public square" and Orthodoxy's role in it, then drop the +Jonah issue, and have at it. But not here, and count me out. My issues are accountability and conciliarity and transparency. Not the culture wars. Have at it friend, but as I said, I will have none of it. Not my issues. )
Now, on to other questions. Your lengthy response raises more questions.
1. Do you think that the "growing consensus" of about 20 or 30 people really spoke for the people they supposedly represent? Do they have the right to depose a duly elected Metropolitan, and not even depose, but some how tuck away into oblivion? What gives these 20 to 30 people that right to act on behalf of the of the faithful of the OCA? A referendum would have been a much more democratic way of dealing with the "Jonah Problem". Between then and the AAC you should have worked on that, compiling all the charges against him, not just broad accusations, but specific instances of how and when and with whom the Metropolitan failed as a Metropolitan. The faithful would come to their own conclusion.
Then at the AAC you could have pressed the issue of a referendum recalling him from his position as Metropolitan. But no, you and the "growing consensus" of 20 - 30 people took it upon yourselves to act to try to solve this problem without consulting the the faithful. I guess with the "good" of the organization is at stake, democracy is the first to be jettisoned.
(Editor's note: Clever boy, again. There is no democracy in the Church, and we don't have referendums, nor have I ever argued for either. Nice try. The most the OCA has has ever had is a straw poll, and that was on a name change. No, this is a conciliar church with a hierarchical structure, and the role of its first hierarch in that system are properly the concern of its Synod. As I pointed out in my email. Their decision, not mine, nor yours. Not the AAC. Although I do think people should be able to publicly express their opinions - and wise hierarchs listen. The king is most powerful in parliament; the wise hierarch is most powerful in council with his clergy and people. That is not democracy, nor a plebiscite. That is the vision of St. Tikhon, and the tradition of our Church.
To continue: The Synodnoticed the growing consensus - and not, again, by just 20-30 people as you would suggest but by many, many - such that they decided - not me - +Jonah needed an evaluation. Not just to "change his management style", not to "rethink his positions or manners", no, because they were concerned about his "spiritual/mental health". Those are the facts.)
2. How many faithful do you think are in DC and the DOS, and DOW? More than 20 or 30? Does not the trust that all those people have in +MJ count for anything? But perhaps you take the view of one of your posters that we converts have hijacked the OCA and turned it into a rightwing nut-job organization,(No paranoia there) and therefore our voices are of little consequence. Your entitled to your opinions.
(Thanks for allowing other opinions. +Jonah has his supporters, true. I don't think that includes the whole DOW, or DOS, nor are they limited to just those two dioceses. I am not the one trying to turn this into a sectional conflict, as are others of +Jonah's supporters who think bringing the Church into the public square means bad-mouthing everybody north of the Mason-Dixon. As for my opinions on converts, the right-wing, or whatever politically, good luck on finding anything on this site, or anywhere where I express a yea or nay on any of those topics: being a convert myself. I don't wish to discuss politics in Church, and absent myself when people do. And yes, that is a choice, and yes, I realize that sets forth a position. Feel free to disagree. I will allow you that option. Will you allow me the same? Or must everyone in your rush to the public square agree now agree with you?)
3. Was there really a "growing consensus" in the first place? "As for the MC, the MC meets twice a year for 3 days. I have never even met 1/4 of the MC members, since it changes at every meeting - hardly the basis for a "growing consensus" (I purposefully changed your words, Mark, so as not to offend you) do you think?" Perhaps I have been too generous and the number of the "growing consensus" is much lower, perhaps, 10-20, plus or including two archpriests.
(LOL. First you wanted to make this a vast leftist plot, and when that hasn't worked, you suggest a small coterie instead. Keep trying to find conspirators. I am sure, like Senator McCarthy, you will find something somewhere. Only it won't be a real conspiracy. Or even a plot. Everywhere you look here the issue is about +Jonah, and how to deal with the problems he has created.)
I thank you, Mark, for engaging in this discussion in a sort of civilized way. I have shot straight, not pulling punches. The public doesn't know who I am, but you do, so no more of this "holier than thou" business.
(Well, if you want to be taken seriously, come out and play openly like the rest of us. It's Ok to lob dirt balls from behind the fence at me, I can take it. But it brings no credit to you for doing so. If you really think this is about the "public square" have the courage to step out in it openly, as you claim everyone else should. And no more answers from me until you do. Fair is fair.)
I leave you with something I wrote before:
"... if "a", then this whole plan is one big dream, fantasy, or wishful thinking. This is a dream you wanted others to share with you, thus you sent it out, perhaps as a sort of fishing expedition. You have caught a whirlwind, I'm afraid"
#23 O Hamartolos on 2011-03-20 21:03
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