Thursday, March 31. 2011
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I think we ALL need to stop this back and forth arguing, mud slinging, etc.--especially during Lent.
Who is going to be Christian enough to call a truce first?
At least why cant we wait till the 60 day rest/leave of absence is over--let both sides set forth their facts, and make and have an honest discussion then?
The only thing the multitude of websites, announcements, resolutions, etc. are doing are turning people OFF of Orthodoxy.
Please, for the sake of the Church, have a cooling off period.
#1 George on 2011-03-31 22:04
I'm sorry but I have to say that it is the corruption, dishonesty and quest for power within the Church that is turning people off to Orthodoxy and NOT the fact people are reporting on it and discussing it. The idea that we just keep things in the dark "until after Lent" is just kicking the can down the street even further . . . what happens after Lent? Wait until Pascha is over? (I guarantee people will argue that) Then what? After Pentecost? Then what? "We can't discuss this stuff because it goes against the spirit of the Apostle's fast where we recognize each other as brethren?"
Indeed the discourse could always be more civil, however sometimes uncovering the ugly truth is ugly and sometimes there is just no polite way of reporting on certain things. Let's call for more civility in dialogue, I'm with you on that all the way; however civility doesn't mean silence until after Lent. I myself cannot think of a BETTER time to deal with our Churches sins than during Lent. Isn't the the whole purpose of Lent to begin with?
#1.1 Chuck Shingledecker on 2011-04-02 06:27
QUOTE: "The idea that we just keep things in the dark "until after Lent" is just kicking the can down the street even further . . . what happens after Lent? Wait until Pascha is over? (I guarantee people will argue that) Then what? After Pentecost? Then what? "We can't discuss this stuff because it goes against the spirit of the Apostle's fast where we recognize each other as brethren?" "
Part of the point of waiting until after Lent is that nothing is happening until after Lent. The Synod is meeting at the end of Bright Week and +Jonah will be off his leave of absence. Until then, I don't think we'll get many more "facts". There will be plenty to talk about at that point, but, until then, it's mostly idle speculation.
#1.1.1 tzg on 2011-04-05 07:51
PS: I didn't see anything in the Letter to the post that came across as uncivil or un-Christian. Some of it may be hard to hear but I didn't get a sense of mudslinging in this letter.
#1.2 Chuck Shingledecker on 2011-04-02 06:31
Thank you George for your excellent proposal. I myself will restrain from posting until after the next Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council meetings in May. Time to concentrate instead on the road to Pascha.
#2 Carl Kraeff on 2011-04-01 07:08
I believe His Beatitude wanted to write a letter to refocus the faithful but is afraid of once again being labled disobedient.
Wish +Nathaniel would step up. But I am afraid we see the priority of +Melchisedek and the members of the Synod - writing such a letter to the Post is much more important than sheperding their flock. Writing letters of explanation to Bishops around the world is more important. Entertaining foreign bishops is more important. Sure wish one of the monastics on the Synod would think to engage their flock and hold a town-hall or something like that.
For all his faults I do miss + Jobs ability to pen a good, even if a bit dramatic, archpastoral letter.
(Editor's note: Instead of snidely criticizing the Synod, why don't you just come out and be frank? That being said, the Metropolitan himself said he is "resting" so asking him to write is inappropriate ,don't you think? There are lots of worthwhile existing things to read during Lent, so one less hierarchical letter isn't going to make too much difference.
#3 Marge Innovera on 2011-04-01 07:45
I agree with George and am on board. Our bickering doesn't do anything except take us away from our focus during this journey. I know for one, it has hindered me on some occasions reading. May we all find peace in the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior!
#4 Happy on 2011-04-01 09:43
I am fine with +Tikhon clarifying the views of the Synod for the Washington Post. Also, that there are tensions within the Synod about +Jonah has now become apparent these past few month; nothing new there.
What I hope has been happening is that the Synod, +Jonah, and the MC are becoming ready to have their meetings.
But what does becoming ready for these meetings mean? That is what we will not exactly know until after their meetings after Pascha.
I am not really surprised, but it just appears that the OCA continues to go through its growing pains. If there are concerns about +Jonah's travel, has any one committee ever addressed how much a metropolitan, or any other bishop or administrative officer should travel within the OCA? Is this a practical question that still needs to have some written guidelines?
How many other practical considerations need to be addressed by our administrative bodies? For example, perhaps when we install a new bishop, as will happen the end of April, perhaps there at least needs to be a baseline medical examination of his health! What if a bishop just gets installed, has high blood pressure unawares, and then has a stroke, or dies?
I hope that it is this type of thinking that all administrative officers are taking stock of during these last few weeks before they meet. What type of administrative and practical decisions can be discussed and agreed upon for the sake and good of the church at large.
Have the practical issues of the office(s) of Metropolitan, Synod, MC, and any other administrative offices been wisely and adequately addressed?
I guess speaking for myself, I don't think I will know any of this until the meetings have actually taken place.
I do have confidence that we have many able, competent, caring, and grace-filled people with a variety of talents within our various OCA administrative offices. They will be coming together in the near future to guide our church and to keep it safe and well. I do believe that several will ask the necessary questions, within an aware and giving tone of Christian love and accountability.
#5 Patty Schellbach on 2011-04-01 09:55
I'm not sure Mark characterized Bishop Tikhon's letter appropriately. Had Mark said, "Bishop Tikhon Addresses Julia Diun's article," we might have walked away with the understanding that Bishop Tikhon used the "tensions" alluded to in the article as a segue into clarifying some of the things the author misunderstood about the Church.
(Editor's note: Thanks, Gail for the critique. However, the import of the story to me was not the response - which we all knew, and the WA Post could care less about - but the fact that the Bishops publicly confirmed that tensions did exist within the Synod. That seemed the biggest news in that particular story since it is the assertion of some that this is all a "plot" or "conspiracy" created by me, the MC, liberals, whomever, to "get" Jonah for whatever reason. No, as the Bishop's response reveals, I did not create the tension, since I am not privy to their discussions, meetings or relationships. We have a problem, Houston, or rather, Dallas; and it is not Mark Stokoe. It is in our Synod, and eight of them consider the remaining member to be the author of that tension. The events of the past three weeks would seem to indicate they are correct in that assessment, even if they are relunctant to publicly reveal all that from which it stems. It is the nature of the Episcopacy over the past 100 years to try to paper over such tensions; is there that much paper left? Or will they go "Green" and save a tree, and let the tensions remain visible for all, until the author of them rewrites his future? I don't know, and neither does anyone 'cept +Jonah. We will find out perhaps in May.)
#6 Gail Sheppard on 2011-04-01 12:57
It's disconcerting to hear about these "tensions" without knowing what precipitated them. There is a trust factor here too. To trust ANY group of bishops, clergy, lay people, I don't care WHO they are, is difficult because we've trusted people before and been disappointed. I understand you wanting to get something out there that you feel is important, but at the same you need to understand how difficult it is for us to evaluate what you're saying. You say the trouble rests with with Metropolitan Jonah. However, until I can be 100% certain of this fact, I have to err on the side of Metropolitan Jonah, because he has (publicly) done little, if anything, to warrant my concern. - I wonder if it is prudent to bring a problem to the attention of others, if one is unwilling or in this case, unable, to fully substantiate it. People are (rightly or wrongly) targeting you, because they're being forced to take sides in a vacuum. Perhaps the time to bring an issue to the Body is when you can articulate exactly what that problem is. What's surfaced to date isn't particularly compelling. You allude to more, but until we see it all, we'd be crazy to jump on the bandwagon to place a hierarch on extended hiatus. This is serious stuff. It doesn't help when we read leaked emails that paint you, Faith and the subdeacon in the worst possible light. I know that when people are communicating privately, the message can easily be misconstrued if the exchange becomes public. (Believe, I know!) However, it is also true that the emails I saw truly DO make it look like you're setting the guy up and it was offensive. I want to say I don't believe it, because though I don't know you well, I honestly think you believe there is a problem. I know the price you pay for putting your self out there and a guy would be crazy to do what you do if he didn't believe strongly that what he was doing was right. You're definitely not crazy. So, I will just have to take a "wait and see" attitude. I don't disbelieve you, Mark, but I can't support you until I see more. - I realize that my expectations are pretty low when it comes to what I think we can expect from a metropolitan. After what I've been through, having a metropolitan who meets the minimum requirements of a decent human being is enough! I had hoped for so much more with Metropolitan Jonah, though. I am still rooting for him. With God's help, maybe he can pull himself out of whatever mess you think he's gotten himself into. I hope and pray that his brothers in Christ will not only allow him to make the necessary changes, but will encourage and support him, as well. We have all been through so much and if they, collectively, for it is incumbent upon ALL of them, can make this work, the entire Church will be be the victors.
(Editor Notes: Thanks Gail, for sharing your concerns. As you say, it is easy to take one email out of context and attribute to it a multitude of meanings. However, there is no way to "set anybody up"; other than to make sure that one is held accountable for one's own actions and decisions. Since that has always been the goal of this website, that is hardly "setting anybody up". This past month has been an excerize in a lopsided fight - one side +Jonah) is slugging for all its worth, throwing everything and the kitchen sink in a fight that nobody else wanted or anticipated. The other side (The Synod) can only dodge and weave, because it never asked or sought this fight, and will not punch back - yet. That might indeed change in the coming month at the Synod and MC meeting, given the events of the past month. We shall have to wait, even as +Jonah keeps punching, and the Synod watches.)
#6.1 Gail Sheppard on 2011-04-01 16:40
Thank you Gail for making a very important point. I at one time wished I coould clearly state what you wrote. I still have not witnessed the attacks that +Jonah has supposedly made, at least I haven't been convinced that he is out of control. Mark this story began long before this past month. +Jonah, a month ago clearly began to show that the tension he was being placed under was getting to him. Your reply attempts to show how the poor synod has had to defend itself. How sad they must be feeling, now that the metropolitan has responded to their initiative. I suppose the way things work, if there is someone on the synod who is alone or has a minority opinion he is expected to put on a muzzle and not let his ideas be heard. Even in the political arena where your livelyhood is controlled by following the party line you are able to voice opinions. All I know for sure is months ago I heard one of the bishops speaking out in an angry way about our uncontrollable Metropolitan and how he needed to be stopped. What was that all about? Do you know? You seem to know because it was about that time that you were hinting at some loss of trust in him. I live where you quite often get to see sea gulls hopping around a carcass, encouraging each other to tear off a piece. What always happens is that one will tear off a large piece and all of a sudden the rest go after him. It's a wonderful world we live in but there is nothing new under the sun. +Jonah voiced an opinion concerning the Manhattan Declaration, he also stated what he thought was necessary to do about Syosett. and he humbly(IMHO) voiced his hope that if our jurisdiction showed a willingness to give something toward unity in the Othodox world others might join that initiative. It appears that the OCA is exactly like all the jurisdictions in the world. We support unity as long as everyone joins us. By the way a warning to anyone who might agree with me. I always cheer for the underdog and the more strongly I express my feelings the more liksly I am to be wrong. Pray for me, please.
(Editor's note: We should all be praying for each other, at all times, my sister or brother. There are no "underdogs" here; nor "cabals" nor anything "sudden". Nor does this turmoil relate to the Manhatten declaration or culture wars, nor to moves to DC or not moving to DC. These are but symptoms of the problem - in the same ways that coughing,sneezing, stuffy nose, etc., are evidences of allergies. One can spend a lifetime treating symptoms - living with kleenex, refusing to go outside, taking pills; or one can order some tests, identify the allergen properly and then take steps to address it. This is surely a messy, unpleasant business - but one that is necessary if we are stop sneezing, coughing and making life miserable for everyone.)
#6.1.1 Alaskan Looking for Humility on 2011-04-04 22:31
Gotta say I am with Gail on this one. The headline writing department of this blog is caught out again.
It wants to sell newspapers, or their equivalent, and tension sells. And so the headline, which in fairness should have been as Gail indicates, highlights the one mention of tension.
Mark justifies it with thin, unpersuasive rationalizing. Are we to believe that by using the word tension the Bishop's letter reveals something that wasn't already patent in asking the Metropolitan to step aside for a substantial while?!?! Come on.
I noted this week in a couple of editorial comments here what I took as genuine puzzlement on Mark's part about neutral observers who claim that he is spinning things here, not just reporting the truth, but using his newshound uniform to get access to the playing field and take an active part in the scrimmage.
There seems to be real evidence for that theory. Let me give one of the most timely and cogent examples. A nun was recently tonsured by the Metropolitan. On the ocatruth site we read how this person is bedridden and dying under hospice care. A picture of kindliness and grace is painted.
My first direct question to Mark is simple and clear, and we should judge his candor with us by the directness of his reply. Is there any factual basis for the ocatruth depiction?
Mark's """*news*""" report of the tonsure ed off with this tendentious phrase: "Meanwhile, in another act of defiance..."
Now I think we have to acknowledge it is certainly possible for a single act to be both defiant and charitable. But if there is such ambiguity it becomes the task of a truly scrupulous steward of the truth to a) separate the actual news (i.e. facts) from editorializing and b) if there is conflicting evidence (as our complex world so often provides) then to report the evidence on both sides.
Here it appears to me that Mark has mixed ostensible reportage (it was in a news article, not an editorial) with his opinion, and then passed off the amalgam as straight news: " Defiance, defiance, to arms, to arms!!"
It also appears rather clear that he has completely omitted from this site's "reporting" of the tonsure facts that should have pretty readily ascertainable to any diligent reporter honestly inquiring about the actual circumstances. And the omitted facts clearly seem to be facts which, if true, support a non-defiance interpretation 180 or so degrees from Mark's.
Does that mean that I am saying Mark is a deliberate deceiver? No, I hope and believe he isn't. But he is clearly a well-intentioned partisan whose ability to a) separate facts from editorializing and b) report all the facts even when they do not support desired conclusions, has been compromised.
There are extremely difficult and legitimate questions being asked about the Metropolitan's leadership, questions that I am actually sad to see asked because we had such a pleasant, if passing, relationship before he became a bishop. But they are being asked because they have to be, and dealt with by the people most qualified to raise and resolve them. Editorialized reporting and serious factual omissions will not help those people do their jobs or promote a healthy outcome in my opinion.
Oh, and by the way. I notice on the masthead, quite near those nice graphics on the 2009 and 2010 awards of blog excellence, a reference, in the plural, to the editors of this site. In the interest of "transparency and accountability" we deserve to know who the others are who make the plural accurate, or to see it changed to the singular.
(Editor's note; Somehow, Father, nothing I say to you persuades. Why am I not surprised? As for the Editors, I am the Senior Editor, and the one responsible. The others, who proofread, edit, and try, against huge odds, to make my writing better, prefer to remain as they have been, lest they, too, be thrown on the fires of Maloch. So, no, I have not changed the masthead in 5 years, and will continue to leave it as it is - anachronistic as it may be.)
#6.2 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-04-02 09:18
The way I see it, Mark has every right to compose his own headlines on his blog. Anybody who cannot abide seeing those headlines is free to avoid reading Mark's blog, and anybody who wants to write the headlines...well, go start your own blog.
#6.2.1 cate on 2011-04-04 12:31
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous..by which I mean OCATruth on 2011-04-04 16:10
#184.108.40.206.1 Anon111 on 2011-04-12 09:34
I am officially unofficial. (non-canonical) I read this blog regularly (one of the half dozen that I do read at all) because of the freedom that is encouraged by the editors. Honest (usually charitable) exchanges of ideas-- venting of frustrations, etc are healthy. What I find unhealthy and frustrating is when clerics feel the need to write a lengthy reprimand and then sign it "love" as if it lessens the censure or in some cases just outright vile.
Please. Just cut it out.
Asking your prayers, as I do pray for each poster here known and unknown, as we await the healing of the OCA that she may take her rightful place as THE canonical autonomous jurisdiction in the USA.
#6.2.2 Dominic on 2011-04-04 14:40
I hope our admittedly non-canonical friend is using the word "autonomous" as a synonymn for "autocephalous." I think the idea of autonomy, as understood (however vaguely) in the Orthodox world, causes hackles to rise here.
#220.127.116.11 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-04-14 07:26
I accept Mark's explanation why there is a reference to "editors" when only one is visible. I believe he is telling us the truth ... and at the same time demonstrating that "transparency" and "accountability" needn't always trump all other considerations!
Mark is right: he doesn't persuade me often, but I'm glad to have him admit that persuading, not just reporting, is what he seeks to do. Not easy to keep the two separate when the same person is quickly switching back and forth between them on hot issues ... and with no oversight.
The facts, however, do persuade me that there are serious reasons for consideration here. Too many excellent people are expressing the same concerns, and quite properly doing so as circumspectly as possible. My comments in this forum should not be read as a critique of the way those leaders are handling this or as detracting from the legitimacy of the reasons (essentially unknown to me) which presumably underlie it.
I just hate to see people "piling on," and flat characterization of the tonsure of a dying woman as "another act of defiance" seemed to be just that. I note that Mark did not accept my invitation to tell us if the facts he has learned seem to support the kinder view.
(Editor's note: OMG! One could almost read that backhand as a less a slap as a, well, less of a slap. But I'll take what I can get from Fr. George. As for the "kinder view", I am not sure how her tragic personal situation relates to the issue of "defiance" I was reporting. It is remarkable to me that the same people who cry "The Canons", " The Canons!" as regards the Synod's relation with the Metropolitan should be so quick to ignore them in this instance. The Metropolitan was told the OCA would not accept these nuns into OCA months ago, in part because they had not been released by their Bishop,; and thus he should not encourage them in any way. And yet he does so, housing them, supporting them, encouraging them to advertise their new "community" - up to and including tonsuring a new sister - against the wishes of their local Bishop. That is "defiance" to the wishes of the Synod, and the canonical practices of the Church, by any standard. Understandable from a human perspective under the circumstances, one might well argue - but "defiance" to the Synod's will none the less. In the end though, this is not the cause nor most important problem facing the Synod and the Metropolitan. It is but a symptom.)
#6.2.3 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-04-04 22:32
Good reply. It seems, then, that there are facts which "cut both ways." In that case I still think reporting all facts is especially important, not just the ones that point a particular way, and certainly not with an editorial-style conclusion ("defiance") as the lead-in to what purports to be a news item. It didn't seem in this case we were seeing what you aspire to, so I commented.
As for the reference in your reply to the canon-wavers, I hope you haven't miscounted me in their ranks!
And yes, it was a backhand, but when you hit the ball to that side what do you expect an old man to do?
love, no quotation marks,
#18.104.22.168 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-04-05 15:54
Blind guides that strain at gnats and swallow camels.
Mark you are doing great if this is the best complaint that can be thrown at you. Complaints about the editor(s) and complaints about how the editing is done (which he admits is an award winner).
Nothing is impossible if you don't have to do it yourself Father George ; so maybe you should try running a blog yourself or if you don't like the appearance or the editors of this award winning site then don't read it. Of course Mark is charitable enough to even air your pathethic complaint. Given the level of personal attacks that have been made against you Mark I marvel that you have kept a professional response. Keep up the good work!
Here again is demonstrated rule 13 of Alinsky's rules for radicals: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Which explains why some of us including some of the editors of this august periodical choose to remain anonymous.
Ex Cult Member
#6.2.4 Ex Cult Member on 2011-04-05 04:09
These problems need to be solved. How many years now, has the oca been on the rocks? And you want to wait more, no way pal, no way.
Lent is a struggle so so, damn it, is this.
#7 the whale on 2011-04-01 13:37
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ - There will always be disagreement and conflict between and among people in the Body of Christ; how can anyone read the New Testament accounts of interaction between the Apostles and not realize there will be issues between and among those in leadership. We need to always call ourselves back to the issues and deliberate on their resolution without having to slide into personal attacks. There's no place for casting dispersions upon persons. Before entering the Army chaplaincy I pastored one of our "established" parishes in Northeast PA; there was always something to "talk" about. It's in our "spiritual" DNA. How did Fr. Schmemann characterize it - Right faith; wrong people My maternal grandparents would have some pretty heated exchanges during the course of every week; at the end of the week, in preparation for Church, my grandmother would say, Old man; forgive me my wrongs. I'm going to Church. Stick to the issues and we will be fine; refrain from personal attacks, innuendo, suggestion without facts, etc., and we will be fine. Blessings. Fr. Peter
#8 Fr. Peter M. Dubinin on 2011-04-01 14:59
"That seemed the biggest news in that particular story since it is the assertion of some that this is all a "plot" or "conspiracy" created by me, the MC, liberals, whomever, to "get" Jonah for whatever reason. No, as the Bishop's response reveals, I did not create the tension..."
Not really having a dog in this race, I would comment that the story doesn't really reveal anything about whether there is a conspiricy. You accidentally tacitly agree with this when you list "me, the MC, liberals, whomever..."
I'm just saying
(Editor's note: Hardly. It is the conspiracy theorists who have tried to interject politics ("liberals") where none has existed (in the MC) and then lump my opinions together with both
( and they know nothing of my politics, friend, since that is a topic I do not discuss much) to try to obscure the real sources of the tensions that exist between the Synod and Jonah. The Synod has made it clear politics is a red herring in their reply to the Washington Post. Conspiracies are red herrings, since my private personal opinions don't carry much weight with the Synod. (I wonder why?) The Synod will not/has not yet made all the reasons for that growing tension public - although, as I have tried to point out, his recent behaviour gives some indication: he says one thing, agrees to another, and then does something else. And then, when called on to account for what he just did, denies he ever did it.
There seems to be simply no trust in Jonah in the Synod after three years of such happenings - and he has done nothing to renew trust in the past month, except give the staff, Synod and MC, even more cause to doubt his word by his actions, and those of his minions. Question: How do you work with someone whose word means nothing in a system predicated on trust? How do you work under him? How do you go forward to resolve the problem - when blowing the whistle means retaliation by dismissal if you are staff; threats of investigation if you a bishop, and public smears by third parties for anybody else? It is not a pretty picture, for the corruption here is not financial, which is a matter of black on white ( assuming you can find the documents!). No, this is a much more frightening problem - even if it concerns only one person. It is, well, perhaps best described, to quote the Synod, as a " a medical/spiritual" problem that needs to be evaluated before decisions can be fully made. And so we wait quietly for the Synod's evaluation - and so should everyone else. Meanwhile, the problem goes on - quite visibly, if one has eyes to see it.)
#9 A Nony Mouse on 2011-04-02 04:20
I'm surprisingly with Gail. I thought the letter mostly defended the Metropolitan, but because we have the first amendment, the idea that our religious views are going to become the laws of the land is still very silly and that includes pushing abortion and gays back into dark places so you don't have to look. So, while I agree, I don't agree the church needs to go to war on these matters.
As for the cooling off period; I don't agree. The Metropolitan's differences with the Synod and Garklavs and the MC are really at the heart of the matter. The Metropolitan fired a respected Chancellor within the context of a desired move to Washington and a SM report the Chancellor/Metropolitan apparently didn't agree with. The appeal from Garklavs resulted in his resignation? Pretty unsettling bullcookies. I'm sorry, but I'm only penning the picture I see and am forced to interpret. From this position, it looks like he got one person out of the way of his plans and one person who was critical of his decision making out of the way (same person). The place the Metropolitan and Synod put us in is a place of doubt and uncertainty.
There are plenty of people out there that believe the authority is always right. I've seen it over and over again and I have a friend that gets uncomfortable when I suggest the authority erred. Not so.
Enough already? When you say it, you really aren't speaking to me. The Garklavs termination is a serious, serious matter. A cooling off period doesn't make it go away. And Mark hasn't been mad enough about it if you are crediting his journalism for mudslinging.
So, let's have a nice peaceful Lent and a period for personal introspection when our leader has apparently gotten his way at the expense of a good man? Sorry, but if you wanted a cooling off period, that would have been before the results of Sante Fe. The Metropolitan needs to consider the results of his actions; not hope for a cooling off period and a nice quiet Lent where our short term memories will be cleared of the Garklavs matter as we face our personal shortcomings.
People shouldn't have a support the Metropolitan petition, they should have a reinstate the Chancellor petition.
and for all you Reagan fans...
....there you go again Dan, always fighting for the little guy...now I suppose you are going to think there ought to be a clerics union...well, well, well
#10 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-04-02 06:46
I apologize for the humor at the end.
The Garklavs termination is wrong on multiple accounts and very serious.
The Synod lied to us. The minutes said they were hearing an appeal from Garklavs one minute and the next minute accepting his resignation. They can lie to me, but I'm wise enough to see it. A Chancellor doesn't fly to Sante Fe to resign after he appeals. There is no dignity in suggesting he resigned; just lying bishops.
The Metropolitan is the source of the termination. He gets the dishonor on the matter. He deserves no support from anyone until the unjust termination is answered.
The termination was just that and without cause or reason. Want a culture war? Start with the unjust personal termination issue as your cultural highground and then we can talk about public politics...enough with the glossover, shoot the messenger, what about gay marriage, oh no abortion crud. I almost got sucked in fully...it was a good effort.
Cooing off period is a forget about the bs period. Humans have short memories, but I won't forget the crud. The Metropolitan's cancellation of meetings during Lent is nothing less than the same.. Hold him accountable for an unjust termination.
Shame on anyone for trying to make this into something it isn't. The Garklavs matter deserves reconsideration and apologies and for the sake of Orthodoxy, an honest episcopate.
#10.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-04-04 10:50
Amazing. Our culture is steeped in all kinds of moral crises which the Orthodox Church could address if the folks in charge weren't arguing about who is going to sit on the right hand and on the left...
#11 Macarius on 2011-04-02 13:10
Good point, and sad commentary on the Christian priorities of many in our church who worked to attain leadership, only to squander their stewardship in pettiness, tyranny and greed.
#11.1 Anon. on 2011-04-05 20:40
"How many years now, has the oca been on the rocks?"
About 1,794 less than the Orthodox Church has been on the rocks.
#12 westcoaster on 2011-04-02 22:00
The whole + Jonah Wash. Post article is nothing more than a red herring. What is outlined there has NOTHING to do with + Jonah's current troubles. All the other bishops and leaders in the OCA know that there is "just something wrong with + Jonah." Evaluations would tell everyone what his issues might be, but he is resistant. So, a Met. who is "insistent" and a Synod & leaders who "know something is wrong." This can't end good for + Jonah. He needs to go back to a monastery...
#13 Anonymous on 2011-04-05 09:14
Speaking from the standpoint of an Orthodox Christian who is not in the OCA and hopes for a unified church in our country, I believe the best role for the OCA is to either go under the Moscow Patriarchate or combine with the Antiochians. It would more or less be a stepping stone.
As an outsider, I'm really excited about Metropolitan Jonah's leadership and what he can bring to the American Orthodox table. I hope for more bishops like him; actual formed monastics who did not seek the episcopacy. Bishops who did not seek to become bishops is a common trait we see in the saints.
All the best and a blessed remainder of lent.
#14 Anonymous on 2011-04-06 16:25
Today I read this wonderful variation on a well-known prayer in a book, QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, by John G. Miller:
"Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me."
When I heard it, the first thing I thought of was our crisis in the OCA and the amount of attention I've paid to it. I'm going to add this to my daily prayer rule--unless my spiritual father over-rules that practice--and focus on my own spiritual struggles and my work in our parish.
#15 Randy Hardin on 2011-04-07 17:14
Gail, I am siding with you and surprisingly Fr. George. It is clear that Mark has an opinion and will highlight that opinion in the "reporting" of the facts.
I think that participating on the MC has clearly made him partisan to the issues and as a result not objective. The mere fact that he has to "defend" facts , the nun, the "Rogue" etc., means that he is no longer objective but in his defense that is not his main purpose. However in my outsider opinion it seems clear that trust and integrity are not values on the Synod nor on the MC but power, control and will - a lot like the Antiochians.
(Editor's note: Allow me to disagree. Being on the MC has not changed my attitude or perspectives one degree. If anything, it has made me even more aware of the continuing need for transparency, accountability and conciliarity. Nor has it changed my reporting. The only things I did not report earlier were legal matters, and I did that voluntarily; and now, I have publicly agreed not to report those. Nothing changed - except the OCA. If I report less these days it is because there is less to report in terms of trauma. Having established the Church will follow its own rules at last, the goal now is to mind them. And with one notable exception, people are.
That being said, I find it worrisome that people think objectivity is predicated on not having a opinion on matters of import. That is absurd, since by defination, to even report on something means you think it is important enough to do so, which is both an opinion and judgement. No, the problem is whether someone has become "partisan" in an issue, and thus lost some, or most, or all objectivity. Is that the case here?
Well, it is absurd to think I was not "partisan" about accountability and transparency and conciliarity over these past 5 years. Was I less objective however? I think not. Did I not report the facts, accurately? I think so. Look back and judge for yourselves.
So where does this new attack come from? Part of it is my own fault. I published practically nothing about the Metropolitan over the past two years - that was a conscious decision not to highlight his rookie errors. Was it partisan? Yes, in his favor, but not un-objectively; as when I reported on when those errors had serious, sometimes international, repercussions. So what has changed now? Well, the minute I started reporting negative things, privately and publcly - because others, not just me - were expressing lack of confidence in his leadership - I am challenged as "unobjective", and accused of being part of a "plot", which itself is a cooked up charged. It's a perfect win -win for +Jonah: one may not criticize him publicly or privately , or be part of a "plot"; a "plot" which only he and his minions say exists. To deny the "plot" is only to prove its existence; and to ignore it is "further it". The only thing one can do is admit to that which doesn't. It is absurd.
But the brillance of the tactic continues: the focus on "the plot" makes any discussion of the issues only a furtheance of the "plot", and so everyone lapses into silence, forestalling needed discussions, or forcing them behind closed doors - which only leads to more accusations of a "plot". So who is doing all this? Cui Bono? Only one person has benefitted by this savaging of everybody else and turmoil: +Jonah.
It is practically the perfect defence, and if this were politics, and not the Church, I would tip my hat. But this is the life of the Church of God, and there are two salient facts: It isn't true; and the problems won't go away. +Jonah will be held accountable for his actions, and inactions, not because there is a "plot" but because the functioning of the OCA requires it. We have policies, proceedures, rules, statutes, and canons to follow to insure we do not end up lawless. Now, there are many, including some would argue +Jonah himself, that do not want the OCA to continue to function. They want the OCA to go away: some altogether, some into the MP, some don't care as long as it goes away. Fortunately, the Synod, Staff and MC, will not give them that pleasure. One hopes the Primate is on board with that as well. One prays he is. And by so praying, I guess that is only further evidence of my lack of objectivity.
Once again, as I have said publicly and privately, my "objectivity" or "partisanship" doesn't matter. I don't make these decisions. The Synod does. It's their job. But I will not stop reporting what is going on. One is free to read, or not; believe or not; nothing about that has changed, except the times and the OCA. And for that, Thank God. )
#16 Delegate #1 on 2011-04-08 07:25
Delegate # 1 writes:
"However in my outsider opinion it seems clear that trust and integrity are not values on the Synod nor on the MC but power, control and will - a lot like the Antiochians."
I ask (and I really mean that I'm asking and looking for an answer, not engaging in a rhetorical flourish) on what basis does this seem clear?
Is it based on your personal interactions and knowledge of the bishops on the Synod? Because when I look at today's Holy Synod, I don't see this. Similarly with the MC.
To the extent that this impression exists the only place I can figure that it's coming from is form the portrayal of the Holy Synod and the MC on a particular website.
Can you point to pieces of information that have influenced you in this opinion?
#16.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-04-08 09:29
It will take a saint to transform the state of American Orthodoxy today.
- O lord and Master of my life take from me a spirit of sloth, dispair/medeling, lust of power and idle talk.
And so no more idle talk from me (at least untill after Pascha)
Blessed feast of feasts everyone!!!
#16.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-09 09:08
The OCA will be going under no one! The Canons are clear: when an indigenous, autocephalous church exists in a territory, ALL churches are under it's authority. This is why Istanbul won't "formally" recognize the OCA's autocephaly. In turn. what Istanbul has been telling Moscow is that it operated without "authority." HELLO????? Where is the Canon stating ONLY Istanbul has authority to grant autocephaly? Where are ANY canons stating who can or cannot grant autocephaly? The ecclesiological fact is: Autocephaly is an organic product of local church growth that doesn't need to be granted, only proclaimed. Now, if members of the universal church wish NOT to accept a "proclaimed" autocephaly, they must give GOOD reason. What is the GOOD reason why Istanbul & her crony churches won't accept the OCA's autocephaly? I haven't read or heard one that holds water since 1970. Istanbul's stance is all about Istanbul's HUBRIS! The Episcopal Assemblies should fail. They are all based on the "FALSE" Orthodox premise that ONLY Istanbul has authority over ALL the Orthodox worldwide. Hubris hubris & more hubris! Orthodoxy does not have an Eastern Pope!
#17 Anonymous on 2011-04-08 09:22
So, what is the answer with the Episcopal Assemblies, Istanbul & autocephalous churches? Simple, really - obey Canon Law. Every country in the world, a "territory," be automatically proclaimed as an autocephalous church. All the different ethnic bishops of that land become totally independent. All bishops are then required to form their own Synod and elect their own Metropolitan to lead. Simple & easy right? Yes, but what is the problem? The ethnic patriarchs who "non-canonically" established diocese in foreign lands, won't let go of those churches. So, the foreign patriarchs, including Istanbul, are directly responsible for creating and continuing Orthodox disunity around the world. Instead of letting go of these churches and letting them organize independently, they are creating chaos and disunity by refusing to let go. The current Episcopal Assembly initiative is NOT to encourage autocephalous churches in every "territory" as Canon Law says, but to place all churches under the thumb of the Pat. of Istanbul. Anyone believing otherwise is being totally misled!
#17.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-08 12:21
Within days the OCA will be 41 years old. I think it would be safe to say , they had their turn to grow their numbers and build relationships with all of the orthodox churches in the world, not just the former "iron curtain" ones.
They have not attracted or maintained true concord with other Orthodox People or Orthodox Churches in America as of yet. When do you think this goal, if that's the right word, will happen ?
We pray" for the welfare of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all." Welfare & Union. If you're on Welfare, maybe we don't want union.
This is the time to have peaceful relationship and mutual harmony with your Metropalitian before you attend Belleview, Washington, Home of the Diocese of the WEST.
One last word-REPENT -HOLY PASCHA IS NEAR.
(Editor's note: Bellevue is a suburb of Seattle, and is not the home of the Diocese of the West, whose See is San Francisco. )
#17.2 also Anonymous on 2011-04-08 13:16
Yes, today is the 41st anniversary of the OCA's autocephaly. How wonderful this is and to think that all these 41 years and even today, the Pat. of Istanbul is still filled with hubris and envy of this proper and canonical ecclesiatical action. The Pat. of Istanbul and all his crony churches have been to obstacle to REAL Orthodox Church unity in North America and around the world for the past 41 years. Istanbul is very much like the Republicans who ONLY want THEIR way. Unfortunately, like the Republicans, their way destroys rather than builds up. Follow Canon Law - every country around the world recognized as a "territory." Every church in those "territories" recognized as autocephalous. All the bishops in those territories independent and free to organize their own Synod and choose their own Metropolitan to lead. Why is this so tough? This follows Orthodox Canon Law!
#17.2.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-10 13:19
"They have not attracted or maintained true concord with other Orthodox People or Orthodox Churches in America as of yet. When do you think this goal, if that's the right word, will happen ?"
Here's the TRUTH behind your comment. The OCA is in Holy Communion with ALL the canonical Orthodox Churches in the world. De facto, the OCA is in "true concord (accord)" with all. 1/3 of all Orthodox formally recognize the OCA's autocephaly; 1/3 are neutral and the last 1/3 (Istanbul & her crony churches) have remained constipated for 41 years. Remember, for over 125 years, Istanbul did not recognize the Kiev/Rus autocephaly. The OCA has reached it's "goal." When will foreign bishops, who really have no authority in North America, give up their control over churches and let them freely organize?
#17.2.2 Anonymous on 2011-04-10 13:43
"Within days the OCA will be 41 years old. I think it would be safe to say , they had their turn to grow their numbers and build relationships with all of the orthodox churches in the world, not just the former "iron curtain" ones.
"They have not attracted or maintained true concord with other Orthodox People or Orthodox Churches in America as of yet. When do you think this goal, if that's the right word, will happen ?"
I'm not at all sure what you're basing these comments on.
Here in Los Angeles the Bishop of the OCA Diocese of the West hosted three other Bishops from our sister Churches at Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy (followed by dinner) on March 12, and Divine Liturgy on March 13th.
Article and slideshow at: http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/news_110314_3.html
#17.2.3 westcoaster on 2011-04-11 17:24
when referring to the ecumenical patriarchate, refer to it as the patriarchate of CONSTANTINOPLE, NEVER istanbul. calling it istanbul means supporting the turks and their oppression of the church.
(Editor's note: No, it doesn't. The fact is the present Patriarchate of Constantinople is located in Istanbul. And unless you can figure out a way to remove 80 million Turks who call it Istanbul, it will remain so for the foreseeable future. There is nothing wrong in stating where the Patriarchate is actually located, because you will look long and hard to find a map which will tell you where "Constantinople" was. This is not disrespect, but simple fact. The Church gains nothing by ignoring reality.)
#18 Anonymous on 2011-04-08 15:38
"when referring to the ecumenical patriarchate"
Ecumenical? This refers to "Worldwide Patriarch." Now, this may have been accurate during the Roman/Byzantine Empire, but not today. + Bart isn't a "worldwide patriarch." We don't believe in an Eastern Pope. He is the Bishop or Patriiarch of Istanbul with maybe 2,000 people under him. What makes him "ecumenical?" This is a misnomer and shouldn't be used. It doesn't accurately describe who he is nor what we as Orthodox Christians believe!
(Editor's note: Well, for the Patriarchate the "ecumene" still exists. Hence, we are all still "barbarians", no? But you are right. I doubt many other Orthodox Churches would agree to the term "Patriarch of the Entire Inhabited World"; there being no emperor with such jurisdiction anymore; and certainly no single Patriarchate, since even the one's who claim universal jurisdiction, outside of Rome, only claim it on the basis of ethnicity.)
#18.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-10 14:06
"Bloodthirsty Turks!" My favorite line from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," uttered by the crazy grandma.
Why do some Orthodox yearn to be the crazy grandma?
It's Turkey, folks, not Byzantium, and hasn't been Byzantium since the bloodthirsty Turks wiped the Eastern Empire off the map, back before Columbus sailed to the New World. The Turks won. Winners get to change names. Get over it. It's been over five hundred years; plenty of time to get used to changes.
(Editor's note: Modernist! Innovator! Your blind addiction to reality makes you ignore the eternal spiritual truth that was/is Byzantium! Oh, wait a minute, that eternal spiritual truth is the Gospel....
Let me try again: Winners shouldn't change names, I mean, it will never be Istanbul, it was always Constantinople, well except for that time it was called Byzantium. We changed the name. Drat.
Let me try once more: The Empire never fell. It just morphed into Greece. It still exists. The Empire is now a Republic. No, wait, that doesn't work. The Emperor is now a President... No, the Emperor is now the Patriarch, because, well, there were two powers in the holy, eternal, Byzantine symphony, and now there is just one.... Drat.
Hold on - I'll get there yet. Get back to me in a few days....)
#18.2 Scott Walker on 2011-04-10 15:14
Istanbul the Turkish pronunciation the Greek phrase "eis tin polin".
So, it's still Greek.
#18.3 Istanbul to Constantinople on 2011-04-13 03:55
Istanbul is very much like the Republicans who ONLY want THEIR way. #17.2.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-10 13:19 (Reply)
As opposed the party of virtue sanctity and the little man..oh except if he still happens to be in the womb.
Do you really need to launch such a mean spirited, vitrolic attack on the party of Lincoln by comparing it to the politics and policy of the Ecumenical Patriarch? Have you no decency sir?
#19 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-04-12 07:59
Removing any political analogy to any party, the poster has a point in that the EP doesn't appear to be oriented towards finding a solution, but rather just pointing out canonical anomaly and trying to refer back to a point in time when the canons were more closely followed regarding one bishop one city rule.
Since I'm able to be out of the box on the issue and not subject to any clerical standing requirements with anyone, I can speak freely.
It is my position the canons were broken due to need and became invalid at that point.
I hear lots of references to problems related to 'disunity', but really don't understand any problem. If the world sees Orthodoxy as not unified, it isn't due to variation within one country, how about country to country variation, for example?
I personally think the EP is making a grand mistake. What he ought to really do is require all the churches in America to be self ruling and to require all the Metropolitans to have an American Patriarch or something, and the fiefdom rules that haven't applied here for a hundred years or more now, ought to be rewritten after any true problems related to current state are identified. It'd be a lot easier to pull off than rearranging bishops across the Americas.
Of course, this is an out of the box uneducated idiot's approach. There are probably a ton of issues I don't understand. I don't see anything analogous to US politics.
#19.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-04-13 20:06
If the EP is so set on a one bishop per city rule, how can HH possibly think he has any jurisdiction in the Americas?
Let them all truly "forgive all by the Resurrection", and perhaps then the Holy Spirit will grant them the gift of wisdom and a solution they'll be humble enough to obey and implement.
#19.1.1 Alexander Langley on 2011-04-17 17:53
What exactly would presenting all the facts do? So the woman was elderly, sick, infirm, or whatever the condition. Does that change the Synod's stance on the canonical standing of the nuns? Does it allow for +Jonah to tonsure a new nun when this entire group has still not been released by their Bishop?
Or is just to create some "reasonable doubt" as to whether +Jonah did a good thing or truly was disobeying the decision of his brother Bishops.
#20 Anon111 on 2011-04-12 09:54
Has the OCA ever had a strong Metropolitan one who has the courage to face the problems and make an effort to correct them? +Jonah has that courage
and vision and now is paying the price for the short sightedness of his critics.
Give him the time to right the OCAs direction. His two years is hardly enough
time to pass judgement. Can you imagine being +, locum tenents of two
dioceses with the travel, problems to face with a schedule that would wipe out
most people. His efforts should be praised not condemmed.
He must be the first person to take action. Do not equate actiion with a
power grab. Seems like he his trying to save a sinking ship with one oar.
Have faith in his efforts. He needs your support. Stand by him!
#21 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 11:14
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