Wednesday, April 27. 2011
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Christ is Risen!
All of this is such a tragedy I'm not sure where to begin. His Beatitude is trying to engage but he appears to be more of a raging bull. Amusingly enough, he is now requesting reports from Frs. Kishkovsky and Tosi. I know both of them and neither of them has anything but the best intentions for the OCA. They should not be labeled "insiders" or any kind. Rather, their opinions should be considered seriously as they are on the front lines: Fr. Kishkovsky is a master of ecumenical affairs. The OCA is truly blessed to have him. And Fr. Tosi is a saint for continuing on in the midst of all of this turmoil. Let's not forget that he is one of the only people that remains from the last few years and he came to the party late. He is also at this point one of the few point people left who is working on the next AAC. When is His Beatitude going to stop shooting the messengers?
By the way, has anyone actually checked out the Diocese of the South website lately? You might find it interesting to note that there is a bishop named Mark who has been doing a really good job filling in as the administrator. Call me a conspiracy theorist but it sure looks like His Beatitude is trying to make a play to get back to Dallas (in the event his current gig ends soon). He just needs to go back to a monastery.
And what on earth is the reason for getting rid of bishop Melichizedek? I can only conclude that it had something to do with bringing back Fr. Garklavs. For anyone who doesn't understand this (and apparently there are a whole host of fools on another website called ocatruth.com that seems to believe this way), every organization has a corporate memory. Fr. Garklavs had the most corporate memory of the role of chancellor having been in the role for close to four years. He was thrown out in a matter of hours. No one in his right mind could have thought this was a bright idea (except one metropolitan). Kuddo's to Bishop Melchizedek for having the brains to bring him back and make sure that the place didn't fall apart. Even if you hated the man, the intelligent thing to do was to bring him back and figure out where everything is.
The current synod of the OCA has some bright minds and it has a very good metropolitan council. At this point it suffers from one individual, who I hope and pray sees the light and gracefully steps aside soon.
#1 Anon. on 2011-04-27 08:16
You are wrong about bishop Mark. Dead wrong. I ask you to ask any person in Dallas and they will tell you everyrhing is wrong. You speak from the little information you picked up on the website, but you have no direct knowledge of our real life experiences with bishop Mark. We welcomed him with open arms, and had very nigh expectations for him, but he has proven himself a despot disprespecting our venerable clergy, and transforming our cathedral into his little fiefdom where he reigns supreme and no one should dare question his authority. Mark, if you want a story about lack of accountability, lack of transparency, throwing one's weight around, being loveless, then put your hand to the task and you will not be disappointed. We were wrong about bishop Mark, oh so very tragically wrong.
#1.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 14:52
I believe you! Your posts has a ring of truth. It feels good to believe someone.
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 17:34
Unlike some of the hatemongers on this site, I really do want the best for the OCA. Could you please elaborate on what, exactly, Bishop Mark has done? I would also welcome some other comments about Bishop Mark's performance in Dallas. I knew him when he was a student at St. Vlad's but have not kept in contact with him. I thought he was a nice enough person then, but you are right, I don't know what he is like as a bishop.
I do, however, know Metropolitan Jonah, and quite frankly think he is not a good metropolitan and stand by my belief that he should resign. Sadly, I think many of those who are backing him on this and other web sites have no idea what they are getting themselves into. It is not meant to be offensive, but Vladyka Jonah is incredibly disorganized and is a horrible administrator. I hope and pray that Bishop Mark isn't as bad you have led us to believe.
#1.1.2 Anon. on 2011-04-27 18:27
Really? If you want to make some specific criticisms go ahead, but your shotgun slander only adds more confusion to the cacophony of unverifiable accusations and half truths. I'm a parishioner of St Seraphims in Dallas and Bishop Mark is really doing a great job, especially under the circumstances. If there's some back room shenanigans, then it's well hidden and you do an injustice to accountability to only hint at them. Do you have something specific, besides hearsay and conjecture, to bring up about Bishop Mark? Am I wrong for holding you accountable anonymous?
#1.1.3 Dallas parishoner on 2011-04-27 20:02
I'm afraid you are the last person that has bishop Mark's full support.
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2011-04-30 12:57
You are right about Bishop Mark. The Antiochians who had first- hand knowledge of the things he did were glad to see him leave. His pious act fooled a lot of the sheep, but they did not know what he was doing behind the scenes.
#1.1.4 Anonymous on 2011-04-28 06:29
Too many folks have much to gain from posting on opposing sites, lobbing a bomb of some kind, and signing off as "anonymous," making think that they have some credibility because they are a parishioner somewhere.
I believe absolutely none of these "anonymous" accusations, being general as they are with no evidence.
I refuse to be taking in to confusion and anarchy.
The Metropolitan's actions speak loud enough.
And I've no reason whatever to not trust that +Mark is a faithful shepherd. Until I do, I believe no slick words.
#22.214.171.124 Rdr. John on 2011-04-30 14:54
I agree the generic attacks against Bishop Mark shouldn't be made. I have worked with him and he demonstrated that he was a bishop of integrity.
What a total pile of crap you are trying to proffer on the Church. Your sources are so one-sided against Jonah, and of course we all know your desire to rid the Church of him. Who can take your "reporting" seriously.
Another "colorful" report from the colorful Mark Stokoe.
There is no date certain for the nomination of a bishop in the South, and believe me, it won't be your close friend Bishop Mark. He has made a complete mess of the Cathedral in Dallas and if he can't run a cathedral what makes anyone think he can run a diocese. +Philip was right, this +Mark is a loser and needs to go away.
(Editor's note: The Metropolitan sent the letters, made the requests, not me. The SMPAC Report was not written by me, nor have I had anything to do with the Episcopal Selection process in the South. Your anger is misplaced - so stop shooting the messenger. I do find it amusing that just two months the Metropolitan and his minions were trumpeting Bishop Mark; and when, as the new kid on the block, he wisely kept his head down in the turmoil, he is now being decried as "incompetant" by those very same people for this "betrayal". I think such criticisms say more about the writer than the Bishop.)
#2 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 09:40
Seriously, does ANYONE have any doubt that + Jonah is very unstable? He has become an embarrassment to the OCA & Orthodoxy. This is what the OCA gets for running to select a Metropolitan with no tried and true track record. HE MUST BE REMOVED and it needs to happen NOW! The OCA can't wait for Seattle! A vote of "NO CONFIDENCE" needs to be issued by the OCA Synod AND the Metropolitan Council giving him several options he can take. 1) Go to a monastery 2) be released to Moscow 3) go flip burgers!
#3 Any Moose on 2011-04-27 10:36
The damning SMPAC report (which I have to believe we will see in redacted form, at least, sometime soon), the obvious instabilty, AND the retaliation, unilateral power drunkenness, desperate attempts to preserve position, and muddying of the waters in the face of being confronted with ones own wrong doing or weaknesses that we've all sadly become so accustomed to.....
#3.1 Kristi Koumentakos on 2011-04-27 13:54
How disrespectful can you get! This is the Metropolitan that is being discussed. Some of your comments sound like high school drama. Please let's speak and act like "Christians"--you, like Christ, with demonstration of the Fruits of the Spirit
#3.2 Disillusioned on 2011-04-27 19:58
The OCA didn't do it's "due diligence" regarding + Jonah before consecrating him. Let me give you just ONE example of many. When + Jonah was the head of the monastery in CA, this is one of his episodes. He found a 20 year old drifter Rastafarian who he took a liking to. He promised him that he'd make him a monk and let him run a monastery. He announced to all the monks that they would now take orders from this 20 year old drifter and do whatever he demanded. Well, this guy had the monks doing the most weird & bizarre activities you could imagine; things not to be mentioned here. + Jonah supported this fully and while being an exercise in "humility," this nut was destroying souls!
(Editor's note: Does anybody in the West know if such a story has any credibility? It seems ridiculous. The issues before us are too serious to be sidetracked in spurious allegations. So, friend, offer some proof when you make such charges, or be silent.)
#4 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 11:10
Believe me, it is true. I was there. This is not a story and it is not a lie!
#4.1 Any Moose on 2011-04-27 13:42
If you were there, and your story is true, then why not offer some evidence, as Mark asked?
I am no supporter of the unfortunately tenure of the current fecklessness. But, it is impossible to suffer such an accusation without proof. And, in any case, if true: so what? It makes MJ no more or less than what he is and is not. Information supporting this anecdote might have been more timely offered BEFORE elevation to the Metropolitanate.
#4.1.1 Anon on 2011-04-27 20:30
"Believe me. I was there," does not work coming from one who will not put his real name behind what he says. If you want me to believe you, start by telling me who you really are. No brainer, isn't it?
#4.1.2 Scott Walker on 2011-04-28 07:27
And you would be . . . ?
#4.1.3 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-04-29 10:38
Mark is quite right in insisting that such allegations be backed by proof and evidence.
But questions remain, nonetheless, about Metropolitan Jonah's much-vaunted "monastic formation." His official biography gives us few clues as to its depth or lack thereof. From what details we can glean from it, he joined the Valaam Monastery during his one year in Russia. Then he was tonsured a monk at Saint Tikhon Monastery in 1995, after his return to the United States. Later, he went to California with the charge to establish a monastery there, while serving as a presbyter to missions.
The question is, how much "monastic formation" did he actually have? Was he ever resident of a monastery, and thus accountable to its brotherhood, for any appreciable amount of time, before founding his own? Did he undergo the usual three-year probation period (on par with the ancient catechumenate) most novices undergo to adapt and adjust to monastic life? Or was his monastic path to abbot of his own community about as "fast track" as his rise in the episcopacy, which was ten days from consecration as an auxiliary bishop to primate of a territorial church? His own biography doesn't give us much to go on when it comes to knowing his monastic credentials.
The question is crucial, for in the case of monks and nuns I've known who lived in monastic communities for decades, some without assuming leadership roles and all feeling accountable to their brotherhoods or sisterhoods, I don't see or hear the rashness, brashness or bombast I see and hear in Metropolitan Jonah's behavior. Instead, I see and hear in them quiet, humility, modesty, wisdom, grace, common sense and truly Christlike attitudes, as evidenced in the recent reflection of an unnamed monk on this website.
Obviously, claiming "monastic formation" is not enough. Like everything else in life, there is healthy "monastic formation" and unhealthy "monastic formation," and even no "monastic formation" at all in the case of self-made, self-proclaimed monastics who are quick to found their own communities and become their own abbots. Just as there is peril in bishops who go from auxiliary to primate in ten days, with no experience in managing a diocese (much less a whole territorial church!) under their belts.
There is good reason why Saint Benedict of Nursia insisted on "stability" (remaining in a community and being accountable to it for life) as a requisite for monastics. Learning how to forgo one's ego, deal with others and manage communal life -- be it a monastery, a parish, a diocese or a whole church -- takes time. Lots of it.
And "L'eglise c'est moi" is never sound ecclesiology, orthodox or heterodox.
#4.2 Diogenes on 2011-04-27 21:11
Was this the young man who drowned in 2002? There was an article about him in the April-June, 2002, issue of "Again" magazine.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Well it seems to follow suit in other historic appointments.
Archbishop Dmitri's (Royster's) first appointment in the 1970's to the newly created Diocese of the South was to endanger the Miami Cathedral Community and bring on board a personal secretary who was waiting trial in another county for multiple accusations (over 100) of Clergy Sexual Abuse as an Episcopal priest.
Later in 1988-89 Royster's appointed a new chancellor for the Diocese of the South (Miami) unvetted, and this deacon then priest came into the OCA administration as a cast off county law enforcement PR officer who continued in his alcoholic stupors in the OCA.
Church or Men's Club?
#4.4 Victim of this historic abuse trail on 2011-04-28 06:55
I read about this young man several years ago in the magazine "Road To Emmaus." It is unfortunate, if I recall correctly the young man died in a rafting accident. He wasn't wearing a helmet and hit his head on a rock and died. It was a sad story. Don't know about the other stuff mentioned here on this site.
#4.5 Anonymous on 2011-04-28 16:13
And so begins the next round.
#5 Ivan Vasiliev on 2011-04-27 11:30
I think Jesse Ventura needs to investigate what is making Orthodox hierarchs go bananas.
#6 VSO on 2011-04-27 11:33
Combine this story with the through-the-looking-glass version of the same information to be found on another website and one comes away with the impression that the Metropolitan has decided to cast Bp. Melchizedek as the enemy and to counter claims that he himself is a poor administrator by issuing arbitrary administrative demands.
Can anyone provide any factual information about the Greek abbot who is the spiritual father of the DC nuns, about that abbot's relationship to +MJ and/or to +BM, and about the GOA's view of that abbot? That other website seems to be brewing up a mess of innuendo about all this and some factual context would be most helpful.
(Editor's note: The Greek abbot in question is Fr. Dionysius (Kalabakos). You can find information about his life, sojourns, and writings on the internet. He remains a spiritual father to Metropolitan Jonah and attended +Jonah's elevation to the Metropolitanate; at which time the Metropolitan asked him for several monastics with which to begin monasteries in the USA. Thus arrived the DC nuns. This initiative reportedly displeased the GOA as there are already several Greek monasteries in the US, started by the well-known Fr. Ephraim.)
#7 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-04-27 12:07
hmmm ... google is not my friend in this case ... nothing under that exact spelling and a lot of totally unrelated stuff under their suggested alternate spelling.
#7.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-04-27 18:29
Christ is risen!
The spelling of the spiritual father's last name is slightly different than Mark reports: Archimandrite Dionysios Kalabokas. Here is an article that is an interview with him: http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j17/dionysios.asp
He also wrote the forward to the book by the well-known Roman Catholic M. Basil Pennington called: "the Monks of Mount Athos: A Western Monk's Extraordinary Spiritual Journey on Eastern Holy Ground"
http://books.google.com/books?id=Qr0DgtUVs-EC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+monks+of+mount+athos&hl=en&ei=At-4TeqINcL1gAfM0rx_&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false (if you want to read it at google books)
There are many flowers in the garden of monasticism.
#7.2 Fiona on 2011-04-27 20:32
Mark, I can't find "Fr. Dionysius (Kalabakos)" on the internet. Is something misspelled? Thanks.
#7.3 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 21:51
"The Greek abbot in question is Fr. Dionysius (Kalabakos). You can find information about his life, sojourns, and writings on the internet."
Do an internet search? There is no such person!!!
#7.4 Anonymous on 2011-04-28 18:35
"...the administrator of the OCA, His Eminence Nathaniel suggested that May or June should also be considered."
I'm still disturbed that the Synod still can't get their stories straight. In his letter, Bp Nikon refers to Archbp Nathaniel as "the administrator of the OCA", while Archbp Nathaniel has clearly stated that he is not the administrator of the OCA, but was only asked to assist the Metropolitan during his time of rest. So which is it??? It's things like this that make me trust the Synod less and less in this situation.
#8 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 14:29
In our fallen world, at times you can see parallels in news stories and events in our society, in our schools, in the business world, etc., and what is happening in the OCA. Today I read this article in the New York Times business section:
April 26, 2011, 3:56 pm
As Wall St. Firms Grow, Their Reputations Are Dying
By STEVEN M. DAVIDOFF
Here are a couple quotes from this article that made me think.
“Today, both people and institutions seem to bear no penalty for their actions. They are rewarded.
Why does reputation no longer matter?”
“Reputation is an important enforcement mechanism. Reputational sanctions ensure people act appropriately and fill the gap between poor or unethical conduct and law-breaking. It ensures that people are penalized for their mistakes and inappropriate behavior. It is the most important of oils...
But … cynicism rules. Reputation is ignored, and we have a much diminished… system as a consequence.”
I think that part of our problems have to do with unresolved issues from the RSK administration. Mr. Kondratick continues to be a salaried employee/administrator of an OCA parish. RSK’s right-hand man, Fr. Joseph Fester, is now Dean of the Metropolitan’s cathedral in Washington, D.C., coming to that post after being both Dean of the Dallas cathedral and Chancellor of the Diocese of the South.
To whom much is given, much is expected.
May the Holy Spirit guide us! Christ is Risen!
You are so right. The unresolved issues surrounding the RSK administration. I think an entire new investigation needs to be started. Starting all over again. Not using the recycled Proskure Rose report that morphed into the first SIC that then propelled the second SIC.
This will never go away until we totally reopen the entire RSK administration investigation. The sooner the better!!!
(Editor's note: Of all the things in the world, my guess is that is not going to happen. +Herman paid $750,000 of our money to make sure Proskauer Rose could convince the Feds and IRS to back off. I can't see anyone wanting to attract their attention again.)
#9.1 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 18:30
If you have an issue with Kondratick being employed by a parish, why don't you take it up with the parish council in question -- since they are the ones who decide what to do with their money.
As for Fr. Fester, the unrestrained trashing and slander he has received on this website are what first demonstrated to me its worthlessness. The man who has skillfully and graciously led and united the DOS for the past five years has been accussed of exactly nothing more than of once being a friend to another man -- a man who they couldn't prove any wrongdoing against in a court of law. Talk about inuendo!
On a seemingly unrelated note: I agree, let's expect much from whom much has been given.
(Editor's note: I find it ironic that one who supports rather exalted claims of episcopal authority for some bishops, should be advocating congregationalism in this instance. It is inappropriate for a defrocked priest to be leading a congregation in the Orthodox Church, period. It doesn't matter whether it was RSK or anybody else. It is inappropriate and one must ask why Metropolitan Jonah, who has repeatedly promised groups around the country ( like the MC, and the DIocese of the Midwest, among others, publicly) that we would deal with the anamolous situation, has failed to do so in almost 3 years.)
#9.2 Jesse Cone on 2011-04-28 10:02
This is all this is very intriguing. I am really trying to refrain, however, from commenting on my knee-jerk reactions until the Synod and MC have their meetings and there is a bit more formal news posted. It won't be long.
Meanwhile, I do believe this weekend with the consecration of Bishop Elect Matthias will be very joyous.
This coming week's consecration may help soften the anticipation and realities of the scheduled Synod and MC meetings.
#10 Patty Schellbach on 2011-04-27 17:54
Don't believe me, it is not true. I was not there. This is a story and it is a lie!
I have made a statement.
I made Any Moose's statement but added and/or subtracted negatives to every clause.
My version is just as anonymous and therefore just as ridiculous.
#11 Any Mouse on 2011-04-27 18:13
An apt absurdity illustrating absurdity.
Mr. Moose's comments have borne this critique for some time now. He mistakes bombast and passion for thought and analysis.
#11.1 Rdr. John on 2011-04-30 15:04
Jonah's actions are not acceptable. He wants to yield power, unencumbered by anyone, with no respect as to what the right thing to do is. All of this to keep his power and position. Since all was revealed in the last scandal, where thousands of dollars were stolen from the faithful, and no one dare question the boy's club, we have all learned that this is not acceptable and will not be allowed to go on. Talk of removing another bishop, attempting to fire Fr. Garklavas, taking trips to Russia uninvited and really for his own personal gain on our dollar, and not being truthful about the accounting of this money - these are all examples of behavior that is eerily similar to the cancer that has already been discovered in the OCA. It can't continue. Please Synod, deal with this cancer once and for all so we all have an opportunity to heal.
#12 Anonymous on 2011-04-27 19:38
Bishop Mel. SHOULD be relieved of his duties at the chancery. There is much work to be done in Western Pa. Down here in the lower Mon Valley we have churches that are writing their final chapters of history. No young people, no converts, poor attendance during Holy Week, etc. These are problems that need to be addressed. The work needs to be done where the souls of the faithful are nourished. You know based on the poor history of the OCA for the last forty years, maybe Met Jonah does have a better vision for the OCA.
#13 David Rudovsky on 2011-04-27 19:53
The problem of no young people, no converts and poor attendance during Holy Week leading to dying parishes is not the fault of Bishop Melchisedek, and, quite frankly, there's not much he can do about it. They are the fault of individuals who can't be bothered to go to church during Holy Week, families that never taught their children that Orthodox Christianity was the most important thing in life, and insular church communities that never reached out beyond "nashi" to their neighborhoods, aside from invitations to buy tickets to the next pirohi festival. If churches want to survive, their members need to get off their duffs and do the work of churchgoing, Christian formation and evangelism at the grassroots level. Bishops can't do it for us. I belong to one such dying parish, and it's painfully sad to watch. But every time I bring up some idea to turn that around, I hear "that's too much work" or "that costs money." Our dirt-poor "krayu" immigrant ancestors were willing to sacrifice to build the churches their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren won't bother to attend or support -- though they show no shortage of cash flow or energy when it comes to paying for cable television or going on vacation.
#13.1 Diogenes on 2011-04-30 17:34
Mark: As regards your 'Editor's note' to #4, a suggestion. You have already stated that you refuse to post comments that offer or cite 'facts' that you yourself know to be false. Should you not also refuse to post anonymous comments IF AND WHEN they offer 'facts' without supporting citations (unless already general knowledge). I fully accept the legitimacy of anonymous comments. It is easy to imagine a valid need for anonymity. This comment is essentially anonymous, being under a first name only (for reasons that seem good and sufficient to me). An anonymous comment stands or falls on the cogency of its analysis. But if the comment offers new 'information' there is no way to evaluate the trustworthiness of an anonymous writer.
I submit that announcing and applying such a new rule would underscore the responsibility of this website and make it even more useful for the readers.
(Editor's note: Caveat Lector, is, and remains the watchword. I will not censor people who wish to speak the truth anonymously - and am I pick and choose which "facts" I want posted? I understand and appreciate your idea, but will decline.)
#14 Steve in NYC on 2011-04-27 21:07
Here's what to do!
First, it's quite obvious + Jonah has to go - PERIOD! Next, stop this insane stuff of insisting on monastics or pseudo-monastics to lead. We have no real, tried & true monasteries in the U.S. and this is NOT the only tradition for choosing bishops. AND, who said that ONLY celibates can be a bishop? Is sex dirty? The Holy Spirit will not act in married men? Did God make a mistake with male & female and normal relations? What the OCA needs to do is identify OLDER, TRIED & TRUE, CHURCH MEN WHO CAN LEAD! Not young unstable nuts. Why not Fr. Hubiak? Why not Fr. Hopko? Why not Fr. Berzonsky? ETC. People of the OCA; WAKE UP! GET GOOD, SOLID LEADERSHIP and stop this insanity with misled idealism that doesn't exist!
#15 Anonymous on 2011-04-28 07:00
It would be helpful if you would specifically cite which parts of the OCA statutes Met. Jonah violated. This may help clarify to readers why you have said what you said.
#16 anonymous on 2011-04-28 07:47
Consider this, Metropolitan Jonah has told the faithful many times that we should forgive the protagonists of the previous adminstration and move on. He has told us not to react and that our anger at obvious crimes is unhealthy.
However, will the metropolitan practice what he preaches with his fellow bishops and critics. We he "forgive and move on"
I doubt and this just shows what a phony vision of Forgiveness Metropolitan Jonah has. Its not about forgiveness, its about manpulating peoples feeling and avoiding accountability and responsibility.
The metropolitan's vision of forgiveness has nothing really to do with forgiveness, its a sham and those who subscribe to it are being manipulated or are the manipulators themselves.
#17 Ashamed Orthodox on 2011-04-28 10:34
I wonder if the Holy Synod agreed to an intervention on Metropolitan Jonah hoping to confront dysfunction and end codependency and secrecy in the church? They may not have known an intervention is not orchestrated from within a pattern of relationships but from without, by a professional trained leader who has nothing to lose or gain in outcomes. Everyone involved in the intervention is carefully rehearsed. If they break the intervention pattern either by getting lost in their own resentments or by saying everything was really okay, they break the intervention. They are carefully rehearsed because everyone in the relationship pattern is considered to be to a greater or lesser extent part of the pattern that needs transformation.
I think we're witnessing the result of a confusion of strategies. Is our Synod, or the Metropolitan Council or the national staff at Syosset, deeply experienced in repentance and forgiveness or were they a group of trained professionals grounded in strategies of intervention. I’m concerned they somehow came to believe they were both. What we see now is a new level of internal disorientation as some, careful to not break the intervention, refuse to do legitimate assignments or accept direction from a legitimate body, as if doing otherwise would destroy an already mangled intervention.
If they, and by ‘they’ I mean anyone on the Metropolitan Council, the Holy Synod, Syosset, or the Metropolitan wish to use modern recovery standards, they might look over these quotes from the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 66-69.
• The more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got.
• With the alcoholic (here substitute the Synod, or the Council, or the staff), whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal.
• We realized the people who wronged us were spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.
• Putting out of mind the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?
• Where were we at fault? What should we have done instead?
• Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm.
In the end, both recovery and repentance isn’t something that someone else does. It’s something the suffering do within themselves; it’s an inside job. Make no mistake; there are many suffering from this mess. If you have read this far, you are one such. Please note these few quotes don’t do justice to the spiritual message of the entire text of AA, but they show the direction of focus that everyone in a dysfunctional system finally takes it they become part of the solution. Go within, find what’s useful, what’s not, and get on with life.
We, the laity, need our Metropolitan, our Synod, our national staff, our Metropolitan Council to get on with life, practice repentance, find recovery if needed, and live life on its most humble and honest terms. This anger, this argument is destructive, weakening hope and straining patience. Chicago is not too late a place to start anew. If you are one chosen to be there, please go in honest openness to confess and mend. We desperately need you to work together.
#18 Legitimately Anonymous on 2011-04-28 11:15
The more I read, the more I come to believe that this "scandal" is more about not moving the headquarters to Washington DC and the discussion about the OCA's autocephaly and nothing else. It appears there are insiders, staff at Syosset and bishops who do not want or desire a move to Washington and who also disagree with the OCA's autocephaly being thought of in anyway except "we are right, were right, and always will be right regarding autocephaly" even though there are only about 50,000 of us on this continent. And anyone who doesn't agree can just stay in their own jurisdiction and we will stay in ours and we will go on pretending we are the "American Church". (sarcasm mine)
This was quite telling when Met Jonah made some comments (quite benign) about the OCA's autocephaly somehow being opened up for rethinking or negotiation so we could arrive at a unified church. The lid blew off the OCA-ites when this was said. I know, I read it here. But many of us want a unified church in this country. Not several insignificant churches that no one here has ever even heard of. And maybe we (the OCA) might just have to give a little to get the rest of the Orthodox to go along!
Unless the metropolitan is secretly gay, or killed someone, or does drugs, or is preaching heresy, he should be left to lead. Not as a pope, but as a leader of his church and synod. I have seen it written that people were upset about speeches that he has made and things that he has said because he did not get prior approval from the synod. HOW RIDICULOUS! What organization of any level sets that as the standard for its leader speaking publicly?
If the metropolitan has done something very wrong....it should be outed. If not, the peole involved in this cabal should stop before many more people leave our church because of this non-sense about "MANAGEMENT STYLE"!
#19 Scott Yonkin on 2011-04-28 13:53
Pseudo-mysticism leads to the sort of schizophrenia evident in Met. Jonah and other "monastics" in the U.S.: toll-houses and their believers will eventually fall into Gnostic prelest. This is the real cancer in Orthodoxy now - the reappearance of the gnostic heresies from Mani and Simon the Sorcerer. These myths must be cleansed along with all of the Seraphim Rose-ites - or the Spirit of Truth cannot act within His people. See also the recent remarks by his eminence Arcbishop Lazar (OCA retired) who has seen through to the spiritual origins of both sinful and erratic behavior that we are seeing so often in our clergy.
We comment on your entry with all due respect. Presbytera. As converts, we received no formal instruction. We read all we could and attended the weekly Bible Study group presided over by our priest. Where can converts be truly grounded without real instruction? They read. We found a copy of Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave by Archimandrite Panteleimon. This book, published by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York, contains a very extensive discussion of Toll Houses. Yes. We pay for out sins, and we must be reminded of a particular verse in scripture. That's Dt: 29:29. So if the OCA is to be rid of the Seraphim Rose-ites, the OCA must examine the way in which they introduce all interested persons in Orthodoxy to the Orthodox faith!
#19.1.1 D. Champney on 2011-05-04 12:19
This is all very sad and has spiritual ramifications across the board. If the OCA does not get their act together their days are quickly being numbered. Not to mention, how embarrassing and totally immature this situation is and how it reflects on the Orthodox Church as a whole. Having grown up in the OCA I still have much love but I will never return due to a level of hierarchal incompetence that is beyond belief. This whole situation is straight from the devil.
#20 Fr. Deacon Daniel on 2011-04-28 15:49
So Sorry to read all of this nonsense about the so called head of the OCA!This man needs to depart immediately , go anywhere , but please leave the OCA ! AND DO IT NOW! " our gravely troubled Metropolitan Jonah"will never recover enough to be our spiritual leader! Enough is Enough!
and p.s. Mark you are doing a wonderful thing by informing us of all these happenings, as ugly as they may be!
(Editor's note: Thank you Father, but it is not my pleasure. )
#21 Fr Theodore on 2011-04-28 15:54
I think it's worth pointing out that the so called "OCATruth" website does not allow comments to be posted. I guess they fear someone will point out the ridiculousness of their posts.
#22 Robert Kauvel on 2011-04-28 17:44
In my conversations with some of the hierarchs in the OCA, things are not quite as bad as some seem to want to portray it. For those who are looking for Metropolitan Jonah to step down, I don't think it is going to happen. There are probably some personnel changes coming such as the Chancellor position. Clearly Bishop Melichizedek has his own diocese to attend to and can't possibly continue on long-term with the position. I have also heard that there were, indeed, valid concerns over certain actions taken by the prior chancellor which led to his forced resignation.
I have been as critical as anyone of the administration, but having spoken to some of the folks that really know what's going on, things are not as bad as they appear.
#23 Anonymous on 2011-04-29 08:05
As a casual reader of this and other sites, can you say anything to the accusations of others that you have lost objectivity as a journalist and are now reporting as "in insider," perhaps even reporting on events or responses that you have helped shape?
I write this as somewhat of a fan of yours, in case you are wondering.
(Editor's note: Events in the OCA, as a hierarchical Church, are largely shaped by the Synod of Bishops, of which I am not a member. For the past 2 years I have been a member of the MC; I have reported on the Synod and MC for more than 5. I had opinions before being a member; and still have them as a member. I do both positions openly, and make no secret of either position. I am also pretty open about my opinions - far more so than any other MC member. So I do not feel the two positions are in conflict. Others disagree. So be it.
I do not think there is anything I can say or do to please those who wish to see me removed from the MC, and indeed the Church. Therefore I do not say anything to them, but continue my work as I did before, discussing and promoting transparency and accountability in the Church administration.)
#24 Jackson Downs on 2011-04-29 18:22
As a member of the OCA (DOW) I find it difficult to get to the real heart of the issues simply by reading this website alongside OCAT. Mostly, reading the two websites leads to discouragement and a sense of confusion.
Would it be possible for you, Mark, to provide a simple fact-based summary and/or chronology of the primary issues at hand?
(Editor's note: I am led to believe the SMPAC Report does just that. We'll have to wait for it. I am told its chronology is more than 50 pages long, however.)
#25 Seraphim on 2011-05-01 13:28
Thanks, Mark. I'll wait for it. But in the meantime, with people talking about the OCA autocephaly at stake, schism, etc... is there any sort of objective summary of the key issues to help orient people on what the issues are to date? What is the rhetoric BASED on?
(Editor's note: The only people talking about schism and/or the OCA's autocephaly are on Team Jonah. No one else has any reason to be talking about either, because with the exception of a few people, and those pulling the strings behind them, the OCA is very proud of its autocephalous status. I seriously doubt anyone one is going into schism to "defend" what? The Restoration of +Nikolai or Kondratick? So there are no issues here: there is only a man, who refusing help, lashes out at everyone around him and makes himself, and alas, so many others, look even more foolish and unstable.)
#26 Seraphim on 2011-05-01 20:59
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