Saturday, April 30. 2011
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Regardless of who is "correct" in this sad situation. I find it shady to publish someone else's emails. No matter what point you're trying to make, it looks petty.
#1 anonymom on 2011-04-30 09:29
The truth is the truth whatever form it comes in.
The supposed truth that so many of us have been wondering about is finally exposed.
#1.1 DHH on 2011-04-30 10:34
to get to the truth- THE REAL TRUTH??
GOOD! we now know!
SHAME OF FESTER AND JOHNA!
THEY SHOULD BE DISPOSED!
#1.2 sasha reshetar on 2011-04-30 10:39
No, what's really shady, anonymom, is grown men, who claim the spiritual high ground and moral superiority, hiding in the shadows and blogging under pseudonyms of faux humility and ethnicity they do not possess (e.g., "Muzhik" for the non-Slavic Dreher).
"Please, please, please don't tell ANYBODY that I have anything to do with this site," Dreher wrote. "Very, very important.... I am taking a big risk here." If his cause is so just and right, why does Dreher feel the need to hide? The apostles, martyrs and confessors we so readily venerate (but don't want to imitate?) didn't hide. They spoke out loud in broad daylight.
Dreher's words translate into: no integrity, no courage, and thus no credibility on the part of him and his cohort.
Agree or disagree with him, at least Mark Stokoe writes under his own name and puts himself on the line. Cowardice is the one thing he can't be accused of. Thank you, Mark, for revealing who the OCA Truth [sic] crowd are and what their motivations are -- in, most significantly, THEIR VERY OWN WORDS.
As Christians, we're supposed to "live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8), not hide in the dark like Dreher and Cone are doing. "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11). Mark has at least done that.
"If we claim to have fellowship with Christ and yet walk in the darkness" [which is where Dreher so desperately, in his e-mail to Father Fester, actually begs to stay], "we lie and do not live out the truth" (1 John 1:6).
"Anyone who hates a brother or sister in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them" (1 John 2:11). Calling a bishop a "turd" certainly seems hateful.
So, anonymom, be upset not at the messenger, but by the message -- for the content of the e-mails from the OCA Truth [sic] crowd stinks to high heaven. It's nauseating.
"Team Jonah"? As Orthodox Christians, our obedience is due only to TEAM JESUS! May we strive to be a credit to him and his gospel alone, not to church politicians. "Dear children, keep yourselves away from idols" (1 John 5:21).
#1.3 Diogenes on 2011-04-30 13:20
Good morning friends:
Has anyone else noted the deep irony in someone pseudonymously styled "Diogenes" taking Mr. Dreher to task for not wanting to be visible under his own name on the ocatruth site?
#1.3.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-05-02 09:36
I find it shady to hide behind anonymity, but then again, I'm a hypocrite. But I'm not a liar. Rod Dreher, however, is. I asked him, directly, what his relationship to OCATruth was, and he obfuscated.
With friends like this, His Beatitude doesn't need enemies. Now we see to what ends these "cultish" supporters of His Beatitude will do. I have no beef with His Beatitude, and have, in my time commenting on this whole dust-up, counseled caution. But the behavior of OCA"Truth" shows what is really happening here: a self-described PR campaign.
I'd already figured out it was Dreher. I just didn't know that he was this ham-fisted.
#1.4 Anonymous since it's all the rage on 2011-04-30 14:44
I've said it here before: Montaigne got it right, the two things always go together: "supercelestial thoughts and subterranean conduct".
#1.4.1 Anthony on 2011-05-01 06:48
Christ Is Risen!
When I first started using the 'Net, I was warned by friends and by my ISP, in very emphatic terms, that emails are not private. Never put anything in an email that you wouldn't write on a postcard. When you put it in an email, you make it available to anyone who is interested.
Keep up the good work, Mark. We need you!
Indeed, He Is Risen!
#1.5 John Belt on 2011-04-30 16:49
So apparently either Mr. Stokoe or one of his colleagues hacked into private email. Only thing is, it doesn't look to me like what was dug up in these emails was really dirt. The tone of the emails is less snarky and unloving than what Mr. Stokoe generally writes.
(Editor's note: I have never referred to any bishop as a "turd". That being said, please see the answer below to your unfounded charge of "hacking".
#1.6 Anonymous1229 on 2011-04-30 16:56
anonymom, Christ is risen! Um, the thought ever occur to you that emails are used to show documented proof of things? Duh!! There are millions of emails of different levels of importance forwarded each day to millions of people and you're gonna knock Mark for forwarding info to people so they can see what is going on?!! For cripes sake, give it a rest!!!
Mark, Christ is risen! Thank you for all you do!!!!!!
#1.7 Anonymous on 2011-04-30 17:12
This information clearly demonstrates that "Fr." Fester is not a man of God.
He is a manipulator who has always had his sights set on a much more prestigious position within the church. He has alligned himself with Metropolitan +Jonah as a trusted advisor and a friend. He is NEITHER and it's time for everyone to see through this charade.
His former parishoners in Dallas can sing his praises all they want. He's got you all fooled! It's time for you to wake up and smell the coffee. . . . . . .and it's NOT a pleasant aroma.
I find his actions to be most disturbing and he needs to go NOW!!! I hope the members of the Holy Synod are listening.
#1.7.1 michael geeza on 2011-05-01 15:18
Mark has simply revealed that OCATruth is a big fat lie.
Sadly, over half the parish council are being manipulated and used by Fester.
One day they will see what he is even if they choose to close their eyes for the moment.
Jonah is a big disappointment He certainly knows the words to use
Honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.
The problem is all of these are problematic for him.
He has lied to the Holy Synod.
He has lied about the SMPAC report
He has reinstated a deacon after getting married to a man.
He has reinstated and served with an archimandrite who advertised for gay sex on the internet.
He has advocated for an alcoholic to become a milatary chaplain, then tried to pass him off to Bp Basil.
LIAR, LIAR, LIAR.
The sad thing is he does it for self preservation and he has no problem with talking about the issues.
When push comes to shove he talks about forgiveness, never mind criminal behavior or felonies.
#1.8 anonymous on 2011-04-30 17:20
It is a known fact that once emails are "out there" on the Internet, they are no longer private. They are very, very public! More to the point, these emails serve as substantive proof of what's been going on under the "blessing" of Jonah and his 2 lackie priests. I work for the justice system and I can tell you from first hand experience in this day and age emails are indeeed used as evidence by prosecutors. In private industry these players, including Julia and Rod, would probably loose their jobs if they played this game w/in their companies. They would be lucky to only endure a demotion. I hope they realize they've gone down with this ship and destroyed their credibilities as objective writers of fact. They will be lucky if their bosses don't take a hard look at their characters and whether they're the kind of people anyone would want on their respective staffs. I for one would never again take anything serious that bears their names. I'm glad these emails have come to light. I thank Mark for publishing them. The next synod meeting should proove very interesting indeed. I have no respect for Jonah or his players anymore. I can't see them offering anything in their defense. One of two things surely bring down men of power: mismanagment of money - ask Herman; and sex. So Jonah, what's your story? I am just totally disgusted by these emails!
#1.9 anon on 2011-05-01 11:00
Those look like e-mails sent between two people, not e-mails sent to multiple persons. Clearly neither person would have forwarded those e-mails to anyone else. So those are not leaked e-mails but stolen e-mails. How sad that its come to this.
(Editor's note: I appreciate and share your outrage. However, your outrage is misplaced in this instance. These emails were indeed "leaked" to me, not stolen from the senders. I know this for a fact from my source, for I would not deal in stolen goods, and made that clear. What profit is there to gain the world, but lose your soul? No, the answer is very simple, and involves no hacking, stealing, or otherwise nefarious acquisition. It is up to my source to reveal the how-it-came-to-be to others, should he/she decide that is necessary. Until then I will not say more on the topic without their permission. You may choose not to believe me. Your choice. But when the truth is revealed - and I have no doubt that one day it will be please know I accept your apology for the aspersion. I realize it must be hard to accept. )
#2 takealeak on 2011-04-30 10:18
It's ugly, I agree and no matter which side we take, it's not Orthodox. Maybe it's time to stop and pray for guidance and discernment.
Christ is risen and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen and life reigns!
Let us all call "Brothers," even those that hate us and forgive all by the Resurrection, and so let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!
#3 Fr. Martin Nicolai on 2011-04-30 10:47
Forget Metropolitan Jonah... I pray that Archpriest Joseph Fester, who has already caused enough damage to the OCA during the Kondtratick era, will somehow be deposed or otherwise quarantined as soon as possible. Far from living out his post-Syosset days quietly tending a parish, he is again front-and-center as a chief agitator in our Church's current woes.
#4 Nilus on 2011-04-30 10:49
So there was a plan to effect a goal and publicize information favorable to the goal. Sounds just like what you did! Well, give it to Dreher and Fester. They learned from the master.
#5 Mark on 2011-04-30 11:35
I am a parishioner of SS's in Dallas so unfortunately anon is necessary. What you have posted pretty much agrees with what I have observed here. (Oh and by the way +Mark is nothing like what he's being made out to be)
I can't help but feel sorry for how this is all going to turn out. Either +Jonah and Fr. Joseph are going to find themselves deposed and defrocked and we will once again be without a Metropolitan and will be loosing a fine priest (like him or not Fr Joseph is a wonderful man and an excellent priest), or the Synod will capitulate and we will have a new Pope in Washington. The present course looks grim.
#6 anon on 2011-04-30 11:42
Forgive me, but it is not logical to describe Fr. Fester as a good man and priest if you believe he is guilty of the defamation and political conniving so tellingly revealed in his own emails. He may have, hopefully does have, some good and positive qualities, but they are overshadowed by the grotesque extremes to which he is prepared to go in forwarding his agenda--not our Lord's.
Whoever has released these emails has done the OCA a great service by revealing a festering moral corruption of enormous proportions with egos just as large. I mean really, church politics has actually managed the seemingly impossible task of becoming more disgusting than secular politics! Father Fester and his acolytes seem to be aping the antics of the KGB. Such is the level of spiritual direction and instruction in the OCA today. No wonder Fr. Fester's former teacher felt compelled to publicly rebuke a student who obviously should never have been ordained a priest.
Christ may be risen--but He is surely weeping as well.
#6.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-05-01 05:57
Good on you Mark. From the moment their evil website began I knew it was all about manipulation and deceit. I said to some fellow parishioners " I don't trust that Fr. Fester for one minute" and knew somehow that he was behind it. So many times I have wanted to write to them saying 'how dare you, you have no right to attack people personally and spin to manipulate your own message" but I didn't dare in fear of reprisal. Of course they will only acceps people who think like them and are preying on the weak minded. Little do they know, that since the SIC report and in large part to you Mark, we the faithful have become wiser to the manipulations of men.
Keep up the good work Mark. It is God's design that the people know the truth about our so-called church "leaders".
#7 Anonymous on 2011-04-30 12:16
You say - Now we all know who is creating the garbage - I just hope you aren't exempting yourself and your team.
#8 James on 2011-04-30 12:23
What has mark "created"? He posts opinions as opinion, facts as fact, and when duly corrected on occasion he publishes a retraction. What has he "created"?
#8.1 Dot.Com on 2011-05-01 09:53
In this matter it is the duty of some people to just stand there and look petty. If people were more forthcoming there'd be no web site like this. As long as people want to dress up like Byzantine emperors and act like them you'll find people who object to their behavior. If they want to act like sensible people you'll find people who appreciate it. It takes less effort to act sensibly even though it isn't tried too often.
---- Team Stokoe cleat sharpener
#9 Bob Koch on 2011-04-30 12:28
A wise priest once told me "When you wrestle with a pig, mud covers both of you and you can't tell who is the pig anymore"
And so the mug begins a slinging - they out Mark and he outs them -
I remember hearing Metropolitain Philip say - "If someone is going to stab me at least have the courage to do so to my face" - so according to +MP Mark is at least courageous, but courage or not mud covers both websites.
#10 delegate #1 on 2011-04-30 12:28
Thanks for keeping everyone informed. What a sad state of affairs.
Just one small correction that I noticed even in the published emails. I believe it is just "Monk Gregory". As far as I know, he is not an ordained subdeacon or deacon.
(Editor's note: I apologize for the error. I will correct the article. )
#11 Anon on 2011-04-30 12:39
He is a subdeacon (ordained), not simply blessed to wear the orarion. I don't think he was ordained a deacon, but if you look at photos of him serving during bright week - he was serving as a subdeacon. Fr. Gregory is his monastic title as a Rasophore monk.
#11.1 anonymous on 2011-04-30 20:37
The monk Gregory is a subdeacon. You can see him in Pascha photos from St. Nicholas posted on Facebook, wearing the crossed orarion and no cuffs.
Also, if I'm not mistaken, Metropolitan Jonah, as an abbot, has always referred to monks that are rassophore or higher as "Father". Monk Gregory is a rassophore, which might be why he is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a deacon or priest.
#11.2 Cordelia on 2011-04-30 23:32
I'm afraid I have to concur, as well, that private emails, should remain just that. Rod Dreher is not an officer of the Church and I can't imagine he used an official email account. Which of us now can correspond about the OCA without fear of someone publishing it online?
#12 Reader Nicholas Bailey on 2011-04-30 12:50
Do I have a failing memory, or was there very little said about publishing private emails, back a few months ago when this latest round of OCA scandal began. As I recall, Bp. Tikhon (Firtzgerald) had purloined private emails originally sent amongst Mark Stokoe, and several other members of the Metropolitan Council. The standards seem a bit elastic in this discussion, depending upon whose emails are being examined in public. If it helps at all, cracking into private emails seems to be a well-established tradition in the OCA. An officer of an OCA diocese was reading my emails and those of my god daughter during the last big brou-ha-ha. He was sharing them with other diocesan officers and with various individuals in a certain parish. For his trouble, he was awarded a shiny new lifetime protection from abuse order by my god daughter.....So, as my dad told me many years ago, there is nothing new under the sun. Mark, in fact, did NOT crack into anyone's email, unlike others who look down on him.
(Editor's note: Bishop Tikhon did not purloin any of my emails. I now know how he received that correspondence, and how it was passed to him through a chain of people that began with me. There was betrayal involved, but I hold no grudge, because that is they way journalists almost always receive confidential materials. (As I have pointed out , but nobody seems to be listening, I published 90% of what was in that email anyway, before they were revealed, omitting only my opinions. If I knew so many were interested in my opinions, I would have published those as well. I just may in the near future.)
#12.1 cate on 2011-04-30 18:06
so the gloves come off. Kind of reminds me of the the last scene in Ong Bak 3 where the warrior is faced with the option of descimating his opponent and all his soldiers in a bloody, vengefull, bloody, hatefull, did I mention bloody, fight. Or simply, almost dispassionately, facing his main opponent while spareing his soldiers. Eventually he chose to just fight his main opponent. You have taken the former. All the criticisms you have levelled against OCAT in the past, now must fall upon your own head. You have descended to their level. And I do believe that their level, at least some of them, is very low, and unChristian. I am embaraced for Fr. Joseph.
Mark, you have probably succeeded in getting Rod fired, Jason humiliated, Jesee Humiliated, Fr. Joe, well, his ....may the Lord have mercy.
"They started it"....that would work if you belonged to another religion that was OK with "a eye for an eye". But, we don't have that luxury.
(Editor's note: If you review my site you will see I have never criticized OCAT, other than to suggest it was a surrogate site for Metropolitan Jonah. Which these emails prove it was. This is the first time I have actually written anything about it at any length. Feel free to go back and check.
As for your analogy I would dispute that as well. I have been viciously attacked on the other site, not only for my ecclesiastical opinions, but for my supposed "lifestyle" about which none of them has any personal knowledge. This personal campaign against me includes personal attacks on my parish priest, and many of my associates, as well. I have not responded to any of these allegations. Why? Because editorially this site has chosen never to discuss the private lives of individuals, except as they choose to describe themselves in public venues. That same principle goes for the editor of OCANews as well. To some that is an admission; to others waffling; to others cowardice; but to me it has been a principle I will not intentionally compromise. Call me stupid, call me foolish, call me whatever you like. But I won't compromise my principles to please you, or them.
That being said, I have written nothing about the private lives of the four people you mention, but described them simply in terms of their Church positions. If their own actions have caused them "humiliation", or employment consequences, that was their choice when they engaged in the behaviours they knew were not allowed by their employers, church or secular. They knew what they doing when they did it. I am sorry if anybody loses their job, or is humiliated - neither is easy, for them or their families. But that was their choice, freely taken. I suggest you write to their employer(s) on their behalf if you feel any actions that may be taken against them are unwarranted under the circumstances.)
#13 Anonymous on 2011-04-30 12:56
Wrote: "Mark, you have probably succeeded in getting Rod fired, Jason humiliated, Jesee Humiliated, Fr. Joe, well his..."
I disagree. They did it to themselves when they chose to scheme and plot in the darkness. All Mark did was shine a light on them...and they scattered like roaches.
We can argue whether or not it was right to reveal these emails, but all OCANews did was report their own words.
#13.1 Rdr. Stephen Butcher on 2011-05-04 20:51
I've waded through this entire article and am left with the same question I’ve had since this saga began--so what??? A group of people rightly discerns that you have a bias in what you present as mere "reporting" (let's face it--you clearly want to see the Met. gone), and they get together to form some sort of resistance to your corner on the news within the OCA. To me, their actions make perfect sense.
But let's talk about how in the world you got access to these private emails. At least in the case of the emails between you and a few others on the MC, it was clear who made them public (though how the former +Tikhon obtained them is still in question). But in your article you say nothing about how you came into possession of these emails, yet you use them to build the case that the writers are damnable beings by virtue of wanting to counter your spin on events within the OCA. You condemn them for remaining anonymous, while you say nothing about your own anonymous informants. You will of course claim journalistic protection of your sources, but your whole article comes off as the pot calling the proverbial kettle black.
If you want any credibility on this latest missive, tell us who YOUR spies are. Or is this just an example of the old adage--the best defense is a good offense? Keep the legitimate questions being asked about you and your motives in all of this at bay by yet again striking out at OCATruth, the Met., and anyone who supports him. Perhaps the worst that can be said of the writers whose emails you disclose here is that they haven't yet learned what you and your group of friends on the MC learned the hard way—stop corresponding in writing and instead use the phone.
One can only hope that all of this cloak and dagger nonsense will soon come to an end. We all really must be in prayer for the Chicago meetings. God be with us and guide us through these dark “bright” days. It is becoming increasingly difficult to detect anything remotely resembling Christian charity and comportment as the “forces” within the OCA line up for battle.
(Editor's note: Unlike OCAT, I sign all my articles. I take responsibility for them, and the opinions expressed. They are not ghostwritten, but they are often, not always, reviewed for grammar and spelling. These people do this to help me, and unless they express a wish to be identified, there is no need to publish their names. As for my sources, I have never disclosed them, and will not do so now. I do not criticize OCAT for having sources; but I do find it hypocritical for them to attack me for calling OCAT a surrogate site for +Jonah. The emails revealing their sources proved it was.
And you are wrong about one more thing. In a recent OCAT article it was suggested that I have stopped emailing and now only use the phone. That is ridiculous, because as anyone who knows me knows, I dislike the phone and having received so many obsence calls and death threats, rarely use it except for emergencies. Clearly, OCAT knows nothing about the actual realities of my life, but is content on making things up. )
#14 Cathryn Tatusko on 2011-04-30 13:08
That's so sad that you get such calls, I'm assuming from supposedly (and perhaps even "devoutly"!) Orthodox people :-/. What country do we live in? What century? Perhaps our American Orthodox Church is still in 19th century Russia after all...
#14.1 Jon Marc on 2011-05-01 09:00
Hacking into someone's e-mail account (and then without shame or remorse printing the contents) raises questions about the veracity of anything you write. You are truly moving away from journalism by any name. If fact, this is another move away from morality.
(Editor's note: Please see my previous answer to TeakaLeak.)
#15 Ecco on 2011-04-30 13:50
Much of this is a projection of Dreher's professional engagement as a partisan and provocateur - this is something one needs to learn to give up in the Church (and ultimately in life as a whole). His involvement is doubly very unfortunate as he neither understands the OCA in any meaningful way (his experience and frame of reference are far too limited) nor really Orthodoxy for that matter. The fact that Dreher of all people is engaging in suppression on mishandling of sex abuse is, well, ironic beyond description. I sincerely hope he is willing to let go of his self-righteousness for a few minutes and contemplate what the implications might be if a child is hurt as result of his partisanship.
Also, there is something about honesty and integrity that really is lost in the popular political culture today - we all need to work hard not to import that into the Church, which is clearly what has happened here. Trying to ferret out private sins, condemning Bishops and priests one does not know - or any others as worst sinners for that matter, these are unacceptable by purely secular standards of only a few decades ago. Doing it anonymously is just rank cowardice. Is this behavior of Christ or Satan?
I hope everyone will take time to step away and seek repentance. Enough is really enough on all sides - including ocanews which is largely just feeding an unhealthy spirit of gossip.
#16 Greg on 2011-04-30 13:50
You've GOT to be kidding?!
"Petty?" In light of this revelation?
Better to sweep all this under the rug so as not to be PETTY?
I just can't believe it...
#17 Rdr. John on 2011-04-30 14:12
HOLY ***! WE ARE BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE BY FESTER AND CO!
#18 blank on 2011-04-30 14:48
I followed Rod Dreher's blog when he was in Dallas. It was in reading his posts that I lost all respect for the man. Let us remember who Dreher is--a celebrity convert from the Catholic Church. He is good friends with Frederica Mathewes-Green and Terry Mattingly. He didn't so much join the Orthodox Church as leave the Catholic Church. It is ironic that he left the RCC out of the grave concern he felt over the priest sex-abuse scandal, and now he is perpetuating a scandal in his new church, and assisting HB who is not taking the steps necessary to prevent more sexual abuse. Sad irony.
#19 Kirk on 2011-04-30 14:54
Touche, Mark! You have succeeded in handily unseating and discrediting your opponents. You cannot possibly imagine, however, that your methods inspire any confidence whatsoever in you or your allies. Woe to the OCA!
(Editor's note: My methods are to tell the truth. As for how I received the emails, I suggest you read my response to TakeaLeak.)
#20 Fr. David Hudson on 2011-04-30 15:36
Christ is Risen!
How delightful, this next phase in our civil war! All the gloves are off now. The (OCA) house is ablaze and one gets the feel that the predators have caught the scent. The only question remaining is who will get the most parishes/diocese out of this? And, I suppose, which lawyers will make the most from all the property lawsuits. Thanks to OCA News and OCA Truth, we now have OCA Dead. It must be God's will.
(Editor's note: The report of our demise is exaggerated - mostly by OCATruth. But be of good cheer, friend. As the Gospel we heard last week tells us, God can raise up faithful from even dry bones. Fortunately, for us, the vast majority of the OCA is still kicking...)
#21 Ivan Vasiliev on 2011-04-30 15:59
Christ is Risen!
I have no doubt that He will raise even the dry bones. My point is that in order to resurrect, this sick body must die. The "alive and kicking" OCA is a dreadfully sick body. It hurts me to say so, as, until this latest crisis, I was a real believer in its mission. But, it is just too full of sickness; really bad things have not only been tolerated, but even seem to be advocated in some quarters by people very high up in the Church. I don't think we can get better unless we die. I hope I am wrong, but you seem to be whistling in the dark. Our OCA is declining in numbers virtually everywhere except in the South and the South seems to be with the Metropolitan.
(Editor's note: That the OCA is dying, except in the South, is a myth of the DOS. The Midwest, forexample has stayed stable in numbers for two years, despite an average population loss in just Ohio of more than 3,000 people a month. Where are they going? Florida. Texas. This might explain some of the DOS growth, as well. However, by remaining stable in the midst of massive loss shows the Midwest, that tired old rust belt, is doing pretty well depite the naysayers and mythmongers. I'll let the other dioceses speak for themselves.)
#21.1 Ivan Vasiliev on 2011-04-30 18:52
So dramatic ! I'm not leaving my parish whatever happens because it's a good, grounded parish with a good, grounded bishop. I imagine a great many people throughout the OCA are in a similar boat (I hope so anyways!).
#21.2 Jon Marc on 2011-05-01 09:03
As for me, I follow the star to the East...
#21.2.1 NC on 2011-05-02 15:39
i believe the star led the wisemen to the wrong king at first, i.e. herod *that fox*. it's better not to follow stars at all especially if you're not a wise man.
#188.8.131.52 karen jermyn on 2011-05-03 17:12
Joe Fester,as usual,in the middle of the mischief. Rod Dreher too...nice gang...Met.Jonah needs to resign
#22 stephen on 2011-04-30 16:04
It looks petty because it is petty.
Fr. Patrick is right, Mark. You've lost all credibility, and that some time ago. Sorry to say it, but you've been going way over the top for way too long.
#23 Fr. John A. Peck on 2011-04-30 16:14
With all due respect, Father John, who's been going way over the top are the likes of Messrs. Dreher and Cone, and Father Fester, anonymously publishing public, contrived attacks on the personal lives of other Orthodox Christians without having the testicular fortitude to sign their own names, so the accused can respond to their accusers. The shame is in the mask they chose to don, not in the fact that Mark, who signs his own name to his postings, unmasked them. Or is masquerade suddenly en vogue and permissible in the Orthodox Church?
#23.1 Diogenes on 2011-04-30 20:52
I find that the posting of these exchanges is a combination of both Wiki-leaks and glasnost. Whilst ordinarily distasteful and "shady", we are not living in normal times.
A Biblical prophet could easily conclude that the first years of the 21st century was the time - the terminus ad quem, if you please - when calculated Byzantine shadiness, opacity and carefully-crafted disinformation - perfected since its commencement in 330CE - HAD to come an end.
And that America, that nation founded on principles explicitly other than Byzantine, was where this glorious and God-promoted revolution would commence. Any US jurisdiction would have sufficed, but in the end, as readers of this site would be well-aware, it became a toss-up as to who would take the lead: OCA or Antioch.
Whether many want to acknowledge it or not, none other than the Holy Spirit has pronounced "Mene. Mene, Tekel, Peres" over Byzantine, Autokrator, top-down ecclesiology - as evidenced in the actions of +Jonah.
As non-Orthodox English-speakers are well aware, the word "Byzantine" has a very perjorative ring to it, especially when used as either an adjective or an adverb. And nowhere is this more in evidence that in the series of exchanges contained in this article. So sadly, but of necessity posted by Mark.
One can only hope - for the good of world-Orthodoxy, that when the dust has settled, after this fracas and its aftermath is over, that no-one (especially the non-Orthodox) can credibly associate the word "Byzantine" -as alluded to above, with world Orthodoxy.
#24 John Battye on 2011-04-30 16:35
Christ is risen!
Crazy stuff, Mark. Not surprised, though. The nauseating "Orthodox rock star" worship of Metropolitan Jonah, no matter how good a man he is, coming out of ocahalftruth.com had to be uncovered at some point. Do these people still use their cat's name as their email password?
Woe to those who love church politics and machinations more than they love Christ himself! Recall those words that Fr Tom Hopko wrote at the beginning of Great Lent? I've always thought Fr Tom to be among the wisest priests that we have.
Our church needs more politically hungry priests and lay people like it needs a hole in the head.
I'm moving to Philadelphia in June and I hope I have the chance to meet & have a conversation with Mr Dreher.
Good work Mark-- for more than 5 years you've been helping transparency become more prevalent in our church. And usually it's at a personal cost to you with ad hominem attacks toward you. Your steadfastness is impressive.
To all those "church politicians"-- stop!
Christ is risen,
Gregg Gerasimon, MD
MAJ(P), MC, USA
San Antonio, Texas
#25 Gregg Gerasimon on 2011-04-30 16:43
Shame on you Mark for publishing false and defamatory "e-mails" without verifying the source. No First Amendment protection there.
(Editor's note: They are not false. If they are defamatory, they are not my words, but those of others, and you should admonish them, not me. And I have verified the source. So indeed, Reader, it is you who are defaming me. Stop it.)
#25.1 Rdr. Timothy on 2011-04-30 22:42
Fr. Fester wrote:
Dear All, I just wanted to let you all know that my Gmail account was hacked into on Friday. I know exactly when emails were sent to Mark Stokoe and they certainly were not sent by me.
How were the e-mails obtained? Were the obtained criminally, and if so, why were they used on this site?
(Editor's note: These emails were not obtained criminally, and if Fr. Fester says his gmail account was hacked into on Friday, how did I learn of them on Wednesday and copies on Thursday? Just more disinformation.
How they were obtained, and from whom, will not be revealed by me. It is up to the source to disclose it publicly. With his or her permission, I may disclose it privately and confidentially, which I imagine may happen, if the Church launches an investigation into the contents of the email. I have nothing to fear, legally, morally or ethically, by answering their questions, as I did to the SIC and SMPAC committees, provided I have permission from my source to disclose. And really, there is nothing more to be said on the topic. But I appreciate and understand the concern.)
#26 Answers? on 2011-04-30 16:53
And one more thing, concerning the actions of Father Joseph "the-ends-justify-the-means" Fester.... the ends don't justify the means!
This utilitarian concept has no place in Orthodox Christianity! I would have thought that an Orthodox priest would know this... But maybe I shouldn't assume such things.
San Antonio, Texas
#27 Gregg Gerasimon on 2011-04-30 17:21
Good work, Mark!
#28 Andrew on 2011-04-30 18:13
Great work, Mark!!!!!
The Orthodox Church in America would not be in the predicament it is in if Archbishop Job of Blessed Memory had been elected Metropolitan. I spoke too soon. Team Jonah probably would have gone after +Job with a vengeance.
#28.1 Rich Smith on 2011-05-01 18:54
Gregory is an Ordained Subdeacon.
#29 Job on 2011-04-30 18:15
Ouuuuuuuu shiver me timbers! I quake in he wake of the quacks that craped up on the oca! A whole subdeacon!? WISDOM, LET US ATTEND! AHAHHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!!!
#29.1 Barfoff on 2011-04-30 20:29
Thanks, Job. I was not aware of that. However, there is no practice of calling an ordained subdeacon "Father" that I am aware of. I think "Brother" will do...
#29.2 Anon on 2011-05-01 03:26
Dreher is a ....with a double standard a thousand miles wide. Thank God he is finally being exposed.
My estimation for this site has skyrockedted.
-- Disguested Catholic observer
#30 Finally! on 2011-04-30 19:04
Kirk, yes, it is a sad irony indeed, and one that many of us Catholics have long noted. On this eve of the Feast of Divine Merch, all I can say is: Lord have mercy!
Dreher continues to smear (often with wild inaccuracies) the communion he has left, while covering for his current cronies. He has neither journalistic credibility nor ....integrity.
#31 Agree with Kirk on 2011-04-30 19:12
I left the OCA several years ago. I'm grateful every day that I am no longer part of such a corrupt and morally bankrupt communion. I miss it at times, but do not regret my decision.
#32 Lew on 2011-04-30 19:18
Did anyone notice what Fr. Fester wrote, (aka Southern Comfort, on the Monomakos blog (which you can find by going to the link within Mark's article) about how Bishop Mark should tow the line. It reads:
"So +Mark, you better learn how to say, 'I am sorry, please forgive me. I will be a good Auxiliary now' because you really don’t have a leg to stand on in the DOS."
Can you believe it!!!!
If anyone has any doubt, this gives you a glimpse into Fester's character - concerned about the boys in the boy's club doing as they are told...or suffering the consequences.
Unbelievable!!!! Open your eyes people - the truth is right in front of you...
#33 Shocked on 2011-04-30 19:28
To me, "Fr." Fester's actions are evil.
Are these the actions of a man of God?
He is nothing more than an ambitious manipulator who's nothing more than a social climber with an agenda.
Unfortunately, he has bamboozled many people and it's high time that the Diocese of the South, the Diocese of Washington and the Metropolitan see through his charade.
And while we're at it, it's time for the Metropolitan to be called on the carpet for his actions. He is NOT the pope of Rome and has no knowledge of how the Orthodox Church works within the OCA Synod. My plea is that the Holy Synod deals directly with him and tells him to either shape up or we will most definitely ship you out!
Fester is the man who swore that Robert Kondratick did nothing wrong and showed nothing but blind obedience to him. . . . . .probably becuase all the while he wanted RSK's job, to become the OCA Chancellor. Folks, you don't need a PhD to read into this.
What comes around goes around and it's time for the Synod to deal with him and retire him! I pray our bishops have the fortitude to deal with this man once and for all.
He is a detriment and an embarassment to the OCA and he needs to go NOW.
I apologize for the harsh words, but someone's got to say it.
#33.1 michael geeza on 2011-05-02 10:39
You're a sinner!
No, you are!
That's what you are!
Oh, it's you, not me!
No, you - not me at all!
Etc. Nothing whatsoever to do with Christ and the Church.
Christ is risen!
#34 JE on 2011-04-30 19:39
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Forgive my ignorance, but what precisely is so world-shaking about this revelation? Three men and priest make a blog saying Metropolitan Jonah is a nice man. One is a journalist whose work for a Texas newspaper was, no disrespect intended but such as I remember it, notable only for its mediocrity. Another is a man at the parish from which Metropolitan Jonah was plucked. I have never heard of the third man. The priest is a man about whom many ill-words are spoken -- a condition much akin to Mr. Stokoe's.
I remember the first man dimly and have passing acquaintance with the second man. I know the priest from his time in Dallas. He struck me as a pleasant but unexceptional cleric. He is a bit of a bureaucrat and as such is rather political. But no organization can survive without that sort.
Mr. Stokoe's recent article purports to reveal terrible secrets. The subject of how his friend acquired the emails I will ignore because Mr. Stokoe has already made his position on it plain. What then do I see in his article? These emails to me say nothing more than this:
Three men who are fond of +Jonah wrote a blog saying His Beatitude is a very nice man. Before doing this they asked +Jonah for permission to write a blog and His Beatitude said yes. A priest with a penchant for politics offered information for them to use.
Again, forgive my ignorance, but how does this reveal a grand and terrible conspiracy? Nothing in these emails says to me that +Jonah has any connection to their blog beyond allowing three of his flock permission to play politics. These three chose to write anonymously because they feared their names would only allow their argument to be ignored in favor of character defamation. Nor would they name the priest as their source because he is considered too partisan. This is a sound tactic. How does it inherently imply malice?
Those who say reading the articles and posts of theirs and Mr. Stokoe's blog make it obvious that truth is on the side of Mr. Stokoe are thus unwittingly branding those who disagree with Mr. Stokoe as blind or unintelligent. I do not think Mr. Stokoe has built credible arguments against +Jonah. Personally, and no disrespect is meant to either man, I think Mr. Stokoe's writing is slightly worse than the middling work of the journalist at the accused blog.
Does this mean Mr. Stokoe is unintelligent? No. It means his ability to write a clear and logically convincing argument is imperfect. This has no bearing on intelligence. There are those who tell me that I am intelligent. Yet despite this I am unable to write a convincing argument, as my grades back in college proved.
Do understand, nor do I think the opposing blog makes a wonderful and convincing case. Metropolitan Jonah I know somewhat from his short stint in Dallas. He seemed to me a loving but terribly naive hierarch. For me this was made plain in his frequent praise of the cathedral in Dallas as a shining light of Orthodox love and harmony. I attended the parish in question for more than a decade and felt it made a sharp turn for the worse soon after the priest now being berated arrived. His style was bureaucratic and thus unsuited to Dallas' spiritual needs. I often thought that if this was the best there was to offer, then the rest of the OCA must be in terrible shape indeed.
I am no authority, but I fear poor +Jonah has been promoted beyond his capacity. He does not understand Church administration of his current level. This being the case he soon fell foul of the established system. We now quarrel over just how this happened. He is inexperienced but does this necessitate +Jonah being deposed? I think not. No metropolitan has experience being a metropolitan when it is his first time on the job. Give him a few years and let him learn.
This being said, I now wish to humbly admonish all involved in these comments that we actually serve no helpful function in comment and counter-comment. We are already aware of the vices within the OCA. Discussing them here and expressing angst does nothing to resolve matters. In fact, it is easily counterproductive for it allows enmity to arise between us.
If we truly wish to end this strife and purge vice, then we must speak with our hierarchs. We here have no power to effect change. Only our voices directed with God-fearing humility and Christian love towards our hierarchs can cure whatever disease ails us.
Christ is risen!
#35 Displaced Lemming on 2011-04-30 19:58
A lot of words were used in this comment, so it is hard to reply, but I was truly frightened by the nonsense about how "three men who like Metropolitan Jonah put up a blog to say so," or something to that effect. How innocent, tra -la. The 'truth" is, four men set out to manipulate and deceive the public, and they did in fact go forward with that scheme. Mark has a blog he owns up to, he writes what he writes under his own name, he allows public comment. The three or four who set up OCATruth hide their identities, use deceitful maniupulations of cross-posting, etc, while using their fraudulent and clandestine blog to attack Mark in an outrageous manner, and while denying the public any way of commenting upon what they assert. The thing that terrifies me is the recognition of how many people with impaired brains, just like this Displaced Lemming, who cannot think and analyze clearly, are at large in our society today. Cate
#35.1 cate on 2011-05-02 11:19
What would have happened if Rod had decided to, "onymously", start a web-log with the stated purpose of OCATruth except, you know, writing it in the way you have to when your name is attached? You know, polite, without Fox-News-style spinning, without illiterate accusations against clergy... I think it probably would have been a decent counterbalance. Unfortunately, it seems he chose a different path... Then again, I don't know him, perhaps he would have said the same things with his name attached. In which case, there's a different problem here.
#36 gzt on 2011-04-30 19:59
Wow ! If you know your church history it is pretty messy, I'm afraid. Part of the internal cross we all bear for each other. The Holy Spirit will sort this out, as He has through the centuries. Remember, the Gospel is still being proclaimed, the faithful in the parishes still receive the Eucharist in unity, the children are being taught, prayers for the world are being said, the sick are being healed, the poor are being feed & clothed, those in prison are being visited and the Kingdom of God is at hand in love and peace !
#37 Rdr. Rick Wagner on 2011-04-30 21:00
It is very flattering and seductive to a new convert when a bishop or priest pulls you into their clique. The convert thinks their zeal and talents are being recognized, but what the manipulator sees is merely a "useful idiot." The pastor who uses a new convert thus does not care about the convert's soul, for when the truth comes out, the convert is so disillusioned and depressed that they may lose their faith...just at the time they should be deepening it.
#38 K. Carlsen on 2011-04-30 21:04
#38.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-05-02 13:07
Well its not that surprising really that the first defense is the good old "My account got hacked" defense. It's very easy these days to tell if your account got hacked. realistically there are a few credible ways this information was passed on.
1. If the e-mails were sent from some official office chances are the entire system is networked. If that's the case than anyone on that network using it for work or simply using it can get access to it and from there get access to e-mails being sent back and forth. It's not hacking at all. It's not illegal either since by having the network in place you acknowledge that whatever you work on can be seen by others on the same network. I've actually seen people get fired that way before.
2. Carelessness. Often times we use computers and automatically click yes to certain things that pop up...like storing username and pw info. It seems in this case it's likely that someone with access to the computer could simply log into the accounts in question without hacking...simply because an individual was careless enough to leave that information in the fields. It happens. A lot.
3. If the office in question is run through a server on-house (either leased or owned) than any information I mean any information is stored on that server. Doesn't matter what that information is or where it's sent from. It can be accessed. One of the real issues that companies have with this of course is when people visit sites they shouldn't while they work. It's not always because they are "naughty" sites but because there are viruses that are embedded and can and have infected servers. Since all that information is stored, wouldn't be that much of an issue for someone to call up the user profiles and see what's been done. That too is not hacking.
Realistically? Someone shared these e-mails with someone else, who shared it with someone else, and so on and so on...just like what happened with Mark. That either side doesn't want to admit it...or admit to that possibility so far (that we know of, of course) well speaks volumes. Because they will swear that the person they shared it with would never do the same and so on and so on...and well.
Anyways, OCAT was never really credible in my eyes, not simply because of the anonymity factor but in addition that blatant language used in accusations. That spoke more volumes than anything else could.
#39 Andrew on 2011-04-30 22:26
Andrew, don't like the language?? Don't read the fathers at the counils . . .
#39.1 colette on 2011-05-02 17:14
I forgot all about Dreher being friend of Mattews-Green and I suppressed his work on Beliefnet. Looks like Crunch has been conned!
What is it about converts that they get Chrismated and then suddenly are an authority on Orthodoxy and need a blog to opine about and ,probably, then need to be tonsured a reader!
Dreher just needs to go away.I have family in Philadelphia I pray he isn't going to their parish..
Fester,Brum etc...need to be deposed!
You are only as sick as your secrets.
#40 Stephen on 2011-05-01 03:43
Would you prefer there were no converts? Continue your attitude and that might happen.
#40.1 Fiona on 2011-05-01 21:46
ah, um....... yesssss.....
.......opps, not really a Christian attitude, so lets try something else. what if we just refuse to ordain any for 12 years and only after a real, and solid seminary education is had with a Mdiv as a baseline?
no more nuts and vegetables, and cult freaks ordained into the priesthood, ok?
#40.1.1 Barfof on 2011-05-02 07:45
I think I'm with Barfof, and I say this is a recent convert (6 years). I'd like to see some converts that aren't trying to save the Church. Save yourselves my friends.
#184.108.40.206 NC on 2011-05-03 07:18
So a priest,Father Joseph Fester,can call a Bishop a "turd".. Isn't that sweet.,...He never had any credabilty in my eyes but this takes the cake!
Is the Templeton Foundation going to let someone like Rod Dreher remain on staff? I disagree with the Foundation's politics but it is a respectable group...why would they let him stay after this? Looks like Fredericka will have some company on Beliefnet..like who reads Beliefnet?
#41 Stephen on 2011-05-01 04:58
I am extremely shocked and dismayed to see that the author of this blog would be so audacious to post excerpts from someone's PERSONAL e-mail account.
Furthermore, nothing written in the e-mails exposes ANYTHING that OCATruth hasn't disclosed themselves except their individual names.
What upsets me most is that Stokoe continually says in this post that Metropolitan Jonah has been informing these men. Yet, there is not one single e-mail that he posted that illustrated that. The fact that HB knew who the authors are does not mean he informed them. Nice assumation, but completely unfounded.
If you're going to go so low as to post personal e-mails at least have the dignity to allow the e-mails to stand for themselves; in which case there is NO PROOF that Metropolitan Jonah is an informant.
This blog has been bent on one thing only: slander. Of course an alternative blog had to spring up, thank God it did. And thank God Stokoe was so senseless as to post personal e-mails because it merely demonstrated that OCATruth were at least respectful and honest. That's a whole lot more than can be said about this sorry blog.
(Editor's note: Just for the record, konstantina, taking your indignation at your word, where was it when OCATruth was publishing my private emails to fellow MC members? Not a peep then, huh? But then, they don't allow comments on that site do they? So feel free to vent here. But lets not call those "respectful" and "honest" who hide behind anonymity, and refer to their bishop as a "turd" behind his back. Let's have a level playing field with the same morality expected of all, not an artificial one that decries one, and excuses the other.)
#42 konstantina on 2011-05-01 07:00
What we are seeing happen in the OCA now are the predictable consequences of not holding accountable quite a few unethical, abusive, power-hungry, and unscrupulous men. Fr. Joseph Fester was Kondratick's Secretary and right-hand man for many years. It's very clear that he learned from the other power-hungry, unethical, and vicious manipulator how to do the same.
This spiritual cancer was never properly addressed and dealt with when the OCA leadership had the chance. It has now returned twice as malignant with a ferocity made evident by the militancy and hatred being directed at our entire Holy Synod, MC, various messengers, priests, and anyone who dares challenge the multiple conspiracy theories and (formerly anonymous) personal attacks being spread by shills of Fr. Fester. It appears the folks that helped conduct this scorched earth campaign did not want to hear about or understand the implications of trusting a priest, Fr. Fester, with a long history of silence and complicity in the face of spiritual and financial abuses. A priest who never publicly repented or apologized for his, at a minimum, vast incompetence and cowardice that perpetuated the culture of corruption and malfeasance in the OCA for many years. Such a man can never be trusted, no matter how "successful", "nice", and "popular" he was for a while in the DOS. The real Fr. Fester can be seen in the words, conduct, and underhanded scheming we've seen in the last few months. He mask has finally come off. "You shall know them by their fruits."
This is why the "forgive and forget" attitude taken by Met. Jonah in his inauguration speech towards key malfeasors in the previous OCA crisis troubled me so much then and since. When organizations do not effectively and decisively deal with scoundrels, liars, and abusers to insure they never have any influence or power in the institution, those troublemakers will have ZERO reason or motivation to stop acting as they have in the past in order to re-consolidate their power and advanced their personal agendas motivated by hatred, greed, and desire for revenge.
Maybe, only maybe, it is time for the OCA to once again come under the omophor of the Moscow Patriarchate.
(Editor's note: The Russian Church, God bless her, wants an autocephalous OCA. I see no reason to disappoint her. We'll get through this, just as we have before. )
#44 anonymous on 2011-05-01 10:38
Dear Mr. Dreher:
Allow me to congratulate you on what you have done in your 5 years as an Orthodox Christian. You have know linked your name to one of the most troubled times in American Orthodoxy. Kondratick, Fester..... and now Dreher. Say it again, Kondratick, Fester and Dreher.
Here are some things you should also consider:
1)You have discredited all of your public writings on Orthodox Christianity. All that stuff you wrote is now bogus because you revealed yourself to be bogus.
2)You have completely ruined any chance you have of being a productive writer and public figure in Orthodox Christianity. You will never be the next Frederica Matthewes Green.
3)You have shown people that your idea of a good priest is one who calls a bishop a "turd" Congratulations on giving us a mature spiritual example.
4)It is my understanding that you attend an Antiochian mission in Suburban Philly, if this is true then you are guilty of undermining another jurisdiction. You have now sucked your pastor and your bishop into this mess. And Rod there are canonical penalties for these actions.
5)You have the shown us that your conversion to Orthodoxy is more political than spiritual. Your were Protestant, then Catholic and now you are Orthodox. Whats next Crunchy mormonism?
6)You have disgraced the many good people in the Diocese of the South, you have harmed the legacy of Archbishop Dimitrii and you have dishonored your parish family at St. Serpahims in Dallas. You have shown that you will do anything even undermine Bishop Mark to further the Fester agenda.
7)You have perpetuated the idea that the ends justify the means and all that matters is you. Have you even asked for forgiveness or does your position of privilege absolve you of responsibility...... responsibility Rod... do you remember that word?????
You probably have contributed to ruining Metropolitan Jonah.
9) I wonder if anyone else in your crunchy granola Orthodox circles had knowledge to your shenanigans..... will they pay a price too?
So Rod in the end, you are just an Orthodox version of Gollum in all of this. I hope you understand what you sold yourself out to and I hope you understand that people will never trust you as an Orthodox writer or public figure.
#45 Crunchy Con Job on 2011-05-01 10:39
Most everything that "Crunchy Con Job" has written here about Rod Dreher would appear to be true. The thing that confused the heck out of me wass a search of Rod Dreher's writings on theinternet reveals his published revulsion toward the Catholic Church for harboring those engaged in similar sorts of offenses as his new-found clique of OCA friends promulgated, presumably using OCA funds....
#45.1 cate on 2011-05-02 11:49
Thanks for providing the truth again Mark. You will be attacked viciously for it. I still have to post anonymously due to concern for my wife and children. Father Fester has shown himself to be devious for a long time but this is a new low; his mistreatment of Fr. John Aderson in Dallas was disgusting, Fr. John is too nice a man to complain but those of us who know him know what a boat load of crap was dumped on him by Fr. Fester. I hope that the Synod will remove him once and for all. Dreher is just a news media celeb wannabe ....The OCA metropolitan is a joke who has lied on his resume (Russky Palomnik was for the deposed 'father' Herman's Platina operation not the MP, I have the Orthodox Word magazines to prove it), was an apologist for the HOOM/CSB Vasiloupolis trio of child molesters in the Again magazine and had the deposed Greek sex offender Rymer at his OCA monastery. I hope that buyer's remorse has set in far enough to see him removed. I will have left one cult for another unless the Synod can act quickly and decisively.
#46 Ex Cult Member on 2011-05-01 11:51
Rod Dreher converted to Orthodoxy less than five years ago after studying it for a few months and he's already a major player in propoganda and spin within the church? I don't want cast aspersions on recent converts, but in joining any organization I think it's best to spend the first ten years mostly observing and not talking and certainly not come in pushing with sharp elbows. In a couple of years I bet he'll get the seven year itch and have a problem with Orthodoxy. I hope he survives it and stays, and my advice to him at this point would be to just lay low and go slow.
#47 John on 2011-05-01 13:16
Didn't we go through this with Frankie Schaeffer several years ago? A recent convert trying to 'tell it' to the Orthodox? and it took him a few years to calm down and now he is not a celeb any more. Dreher could have learned from this had he known, but I suppose no one told him he should just sit down, shut up and listen to the old timers, like they say at AA meetings.
#47.1 rdr James on 2011-05-03 21:26
Well, here it is everybody! All of this mess because of ONE man - Paffhausen. All of these people involved in intrigue, lies, etc. + JONAH NEEDS TO GO! Everyone can see this clearly now - he can't recover. The Canons are clear about bishops who involve themselves with lies, intrigue, evil rumors, evil manipulations, etc. They are to be deposed!
Get rid of this guy NOW and we can move forward toward Seattle starting anew, again! How about a temp. Met this time until he proves himself.
#48 Anonymous on 2011-05-01 14:15
"These emails were indeed "leaked" to me, not stolen from the senders. I know this for a fact from my source, for I would not deal in stolen goods, and made that clear."
This is huge (!) and something that should have been addressed in your article. That is, how you came across these emails. How am I, a Christian, to give any credibility to the posting of private, hijacked email correspondence? Fine, report on what you know to be true about OCAT, but why post leaked emails? Did you discuss this with these men beforehand? Did you give them the dignity of knowing what you planned to do? This isn't Watergate, this is the Church for God's sake!
This whole thing has become sick and leaves a foul taste in one's mouth (regardless of what "news" you've broke). It seems that OCANews has become the National Enquirer. How can anyone justify this?
P.S. What is more disheartening, is the fact that people such as Fr. Tom Hopko (a hero of mine) have spoken out in defense of your work. I would like to hear his thoughts on the tactics you've employed here.
(Editor's note: I appreciate the digust, David, but where was it when OCATruth published mine? I am not arguing an eye for an eye; nor advocating moral equivalency as a defense. But I did not publish random personal emails. No I did not hijack them, nor hack them. I did try to expose a fraud, because frauds are not helpful.)
#49 David Feliciano on 2011-05-01 14:46
"I appreciate the disgust, David, but where was it when OCATruth published mine?"
My disgust is with OCAT as well. I offered no support for them. Honestly, I don't follow the site closely. But I expect more from OCANews (which I do follow closely). My opinion is worthless, but here you go: OCANews could be far more effective if it were to loose it's tabloid tone, and refrain from uncharitable tactics (such as posting personal emails). It's not helping the cause.
(Editor's note: Well, I appreciate the moral consistency. I am sorry to disappoint. If the stories here read like the tabloids, it is because the stories are seemy, sad, and often unbelievable. I have not posted any personal information about anyone in the emails - only about their actions in the Church, and their views, in their own words. Since dissimulation abounds, as they make clear, it is perhaps the only way of discerning fully as to ultimate goals. Feel free to disagree.)
#49.1 David Feliciano on 2011-05-01 21:13
Can you please post screenshots of the emails with your source's name redacted so we can see that it was forwarded from an actual person?
(Editor's note: As opposed to what? An unactual person? I'm confused.)
#50 otsukafan on 2011-05-01 15:58
As opposed to it being sent directly from Fr. Joseph's account.
#50.1 otsukafan on 2011-05-01 21:07
I just read the latest on the OCAtruth.com site and based on the April 30th posting, there appears to be a bit of backpeddling. Several sentences by the author now agree that His Beatitude is seriously lacking when it comes to administration.
As an observer in all of this. it seems that HB is certainly able to handle adminstration when he wants to, as evidenced by the recent requests from +Melchizedek and Fr. Tosi about what they have been doing of late. Maybe, just maybe, HB is waking up to the fact that he has serious work to do at home, not in Moscow, not in Finland, and not in Mexico.
I know many of the bishops on the Holy Synod. They are not power-hungry evil despots as authors on another website seem to want to characterize them as. Yes, some of them have been way too caught up in caring about their own dioceses to care about anything going on in the OCA. Perhaps the various missteps by HB have finally awakened them to the understanding that they need to work together.
It is not time to throw HB out the door and wish him well. He, his fellow bishops, and the metropolitan council, all need each other for the church to work properly. I hope and pray that can accomplish this very soon.
#51 Anonymous on 2011-05-01 18:43
Dear Mr. Stokoe,
With all due respect, I cannot see how three laymen asking their metropolitan for permission to write a blog means their hierarch controls them anymore than were I to ask permission to post comments here meaning you control me. Nor do I see how Fr. Joseph Fester's involvement proves anything nefarious. These three men wished to argue that Metropolitan Jonah is innocent of the charges leveled against him so they turned first to a man they knew. It so happens this man is a much vilified priest. So what?
The assertion that Fr. Joseph's involvement proves something wicked and evil is unconvincing to me. It so happens that I know Fr. Joseph too. I also have passing acquaintance with one of the three men. Does this mean that all I write is part of a devious plot?
It so happens that I too have met and spoken with His Beatitude whilst he served in Dallas. This being the case, I can say with first-hand knowledge that he is a loving and well-meaning monk. He also seems naive -- too trusting perhaps. I think the poor man was promoted beyond his capacity. But if inexperience is grounds for deposition, then no organization would have any officials.
#52 Displaced Lemming on 2011-05-01 20:25
It kills me how people, even in the face of hard fact evidence, defend these men and their actions. Yeah - they were using the SPIN MACHINE to manipulate all of us.
Oh, also - you think you "know" someone because you have met and spoken with them a few times while in church...look at their ACTIONS, their OWN WORDS betray their power hungry motives.
#52.1 Huh??? on 2011-05-01 20:54
If we're going to be honest about first impressions, it's important to be open to those for whom round one didn't work out so hot.
Back in the day, the whole town knew the person being considered for ordination to church rank, sometimes for years and years.
Now we say 'axios' as easily as we say 'with chips and a drink please'.
#52.1.1 Harry Coin on 2011-05-02 12:48
What your detractors don’t realize is you have a long history of editing personal allegations that you cannot substantiate. It puzzles me that people including some brother priests, still want to shoot the messenger. I can vouch from my impeccable source that you did nothing illegal or unethical procuring the inflammatory emails of team Jonah. For those who contend you are spinning and manipulating the facts, well the facts speak for themselves, no spin needed. As an aside, I had a women in her 80’s ask me Sunday, “What is wrong with our metropolitan? I hope our new bishop doesn’t go along with him.”
If the Holy Synod allows +Jonah and his political hacks to get away with such horrid conduct, may God help them for their lack of integrity and courage and may He have mercy on His suffering church and people.
#53 Disgusted priest on 2011-05-02 07:46
It is so sad to see these men acting like misbehaving children.
#54 M.A. on 2011-05-02 10:34
Rod Dreher has zero credibility... Looky here, "There was a hard copy of the SMPAC report given to Rod Dreher by an anonymous source. As the the emails point out, upon receiving it Rod asked Fr. Fester for guidance as to what to do with the information it contained. Fr. Fester informed Rod it is confidential and it was not further disseminated." What did Rod do with it? Funny, his conscience was so pained by his investigation of the RC church that he and his wife left in a huff. Now it seems the Holy Spirit has seen to put Mr. Dreher into a sticky predicament. I wonder if the Washington Post would like some of this information?
#55 a convert of a convert of a convert on 2011-05-02 14:22
What's disturbing about OCAtruth is not so much the identity of its authors as the frankly weird brand of sexual paranoia and McCarthyism they espouse. The despicable rhetoric employed by both them and George Michalopulos, who consistently refers to anyone with slightly more nuanced and empathetic views than himself as "lavenders" and "nominal, tribal Christians," panders the the absolute lowest denominator. I don't know which is more terrifying, the possibility that these men are using such rhetoric as a means to achieve their own ambitions, or that possibility that they their minds are actually trapped in the Freudian nightmare they so eloquently describe. Most unsettling of all is that this kind of sociopathic filth seems to strike a chord with so many of the faithful. Jonah and Fester's knowledge of the content of the site ought, in and of itself, to be grounds for their removal.
#56 Matt Gates on 2011-05-02 20:32
I have been bothered by the tone of OCA Truth and Monomakhos as well. I find the nasty rhetoric reminiscent of the Protestant crazies of my youth, ever ready to find a Communist or a Liberal doing something hideous to undermine all that is good and true. I had thought that I had left the radical Right behind when I quit being a Baptist. I guess I was wrong.
#56.1 Scott Walker on 2011-05-03 09:43
Don't worry. They'll eventually tire of the OC as a nest of liberal vipers. Perhaps they'll find a safe, cozy cave in Waziristan where they no longer have to worry about sexual deviants, paved roads, public schools, water fluoridation, and women in the workplace.
#56.1.1 Richard on 2011-05-07 23:53
To my friends in the OCA;
Three years ago when Metropolitan Jonah was elected everyone was praising him for his leadership to leader the OCA as an American Church; its seems everyone now is eagar to have him depossed and elected a new Metropolitan!
You cannot have it both ways, he is the elected MEtropolitan you should accept his leadership and move on.
Nothing is wrong is being critical but in an constructive way.
(Editor's note: This has never been the attitude in the Church - that once elected, a Bishop cannot be removed from office for cause. There are all sorts of reasons that is appropriate, in addition to the obvious ones - abandonment, heresy, apostasy, sickness, insanity, theft, murder, etc., if circumstances warrant. Most recently, Cyprus removed its Primate because he had Alzheimers; Jerusalem removed theirs for financial reasons - he sold property without permission; and so on. It is rare, unusual, not to be done lightly, and made that way, so that it is the last step after all else has failed. But sometimes, as we see above, people fail. Some fail slowly; others plummet. THe speed is not the issue, it is the descent itself, and the reasons for it.)
#57 Anonymous on 2011-05-02 20:44
"You shall know them by their fruits."Matt. 7:16.
“I will not publish anything here that I don’t believe to be 100 percent true I have recommended that whatever we write its 'more in sorrow than in anger' tone I just posted a volley under Southern Comfort on George’s blog about (Bishop) Mark. I think it can serve as a starting point to smoke this turd out.”
Fr. Joe Fester's favorite phrase is "spin." Perhaps he would approve of a revised Matt. 7:16 (rev.)? "You shall know them by their spin?"
This "more in sorrow..." revelation confirms what we have seen for decades from the spin-meisters. When truth-tellers get close to outing them, the masters of spin drop into this pious prattle to try and fool the unsuspecting. Do they have no shame or sense of sin? And we confess to these reprobates? How could they go through Lent and write such shameful words?
#58 Anon. on 2011-05-02 20:54
Have y'all seen the latest at OCATruth? Yipes! Defending +Nikolai..."innocent until proven guilty"...etc. etc. Given Dreher's recent WaPo rush to judgment in the Philly RC case (which Bob Donohue exposed as a tissue of lies and smears), the irony is off the chart. I think the irony-meter is about to crack from the strain!
#59 Amazed by Irony on 2011-05-03 07:56
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
There are so many fine and well-intentioned Orthodox persons involved in this grueling debate (all endorsed by many faithful Orthodox who know them well). We all seem tempted to some degree by the distance afforded by internet to express our passions in personal criticism of one another, rather than with sorrow to respectfully disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ on a position or action. Undoubtedly there are some not well-intentioned and I leave them to God and those of a higher spiritual paygrade than me.
Two fine well-intentioned Orthodox persons known to me personally are Rod Dreher and Jesse Cone of St. Seraphim's who both write for OCA Truth. The first is a new convert and the second a new convert and young man. Both are wonderful in person toward friend and stranger, rich and poor alike, and with their families, are for the church and Orthodoxy and sincerely believe they are protecting person(s) and a vision of the OCA in need of and deserving of their active protection from what they believe is an unjust and damaging attack. They are loyal, charitable, generous of nature, and self-sacrificing for what they perceive is a good cause. There simply is not a mean or petty bone in either one of them in my personal experience of them there. I may disagree with the information they have received, their conclusions and their method via OCAT but not with their characters or intentions.
Fr Hopko knows and endorses Mark Stokoe as do many many others whose manner of expression as well as content I also have come to respect on this and other sites.
Who is right? Perhaps more important, who is well-intentioned and honest? What if all or almost all are?
Which leads me to realize that we in the OCA are being sifted, sifted. To paraphrase a fine priest, sin deludes and renders us drunken in our delusion. I know we pray the Holy Spirit will make the truth clear to the Synod and M.C. (and us poor laity eventually, God please). Meantime I would hate for us to fall prey to harming the image of one another in Christ when we could instead try to disagree respectfully and without personal animosity or judgment, regardless of the behavior or verbal attacks of others. And pray mightily for one another regardless of the apparent “side” someone is on. Does the notion of “side” not show us we are already in delusion and in need of remembering the image of Christ in our Orthodox brother/sister no matter what he/she has just said or done?
Another fine priest, knowing my temper and impulsiveness, gave me the idea of praying a prayer rope for someone before speaking about them on the internet or in public. I have learned that should be three prayer ropes over a 72 hour period. I do not jest.
As a new convert and often foolish older person, I myself have been mistaken in my judgment of persons and in my understanding of Orthodoxy since my Chrismation at SSOC in 2008. Two persons I respect and have emulated without regret since 1998 are Abp Dmitri Royster and Fr John Anderson of St. Seraphim's, whose entire approach is to speak lovingly and genuinely about someone in public, or not at all, but who can disagree with a position forthrightly and kindly (a la Fr Hopko speaking the truth in love). It took me awhile to realize that the silences about other persons were tremendously telling among spiritually mature Orthodox about who is trustworthy and who should be given less trust for varying reasons, sometimes just meaning the person's relative spiritual immaturity or newness to Orthodoxy or perhaps something more serious. Coming from both a Protestant and then a Catholic background, I was used to responding to active statements about others (and thus being vulnerable to charm and manipulation) rather than to listening for silences to guide my understanding. Perhaps other converts and young Orthodox share my learning curve.
So I would also ask you seasoned Orthodox and commenters out there for your especial tolerance for and gentle response to the often-reviled converts with me on this steep learning curve. Please do not discourage or judge us if you are farther along, even if we mistakenly lash out or speak foolishly. As Mr. Stokoe described Fr Ted Bobosh, please teach us how by your example how to turn the other cheek while gently correcting our mistakes with full and kindly explanations if at all possible.
Thank you for considering this.
Love in Christ, Nicole
#60 Nicole Troon on 2011-05-04 06:32
This is all just sad.
Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us.
#61 max percy on 2011-05-06 20:41
I used to be a member of the OCA. I also graduated from St. Tikhon's Seminary with the goal of becoming a priest and tending to God's flock. This was at at time that Bishop Herman was in charge of the Seminary and Met. Theodosius was the head of the Church.
After graduating I realized that I learned all I needed to know about the OCA, Christianity, and life to arrive at the conclusion that ALL religion is inherently EVIL. Therefore I have wholeheartedly embraced atheism and am eminently happier for it. I no longer have to bow and scrape kissing the hand of mere men begging for a blessing that does not exist nor is in the power of the human to give. I can stand upright, look other people in the eye shake their hand and know deep down that I am just as good a person as anyone else, titles notwithstanding.
Good luck with your foolishness,
Not an OCA priest
(Editor's note: Assuming this letter is for real, I am sorry for your loss, even though you may not experience it as one; and for our failure to be able to persuade you it is. I wish you both peace and happiness.)
#62 Glad I am not a priest in the OCA on 2011-05-24 09:38
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