Sunday, May 1. 2011
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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. The 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.
Perhaps we should follow Mercutio's advice and wish, "a plague on both your houses"!
There will be no "winners" in this fight. The OCA WILL crumble as a result of what is happening now--either into permanent factions that will kill off whatever healthy growth there is, or into schism. In the meantime, some will claim that short term lack of losses is really growth while disparaging the few places where there has been actual growth in numbers. But, in the end it wont matter. The up to now healthy (in terms of actual growth) DOS will be murdered (if it doesn't get away first). The ethnics may finally say, "enough" and actually join their "homeland" based compatriots (e.g. the Romanians and Albanians). Some will go to the MP (best choice in my opinion--MP is big enough not to "need" our scrawny carcass). And some will just go to dust.
All this the result of a stupid civil war in which all the dirt that could be found has been thrown and the people of God betrayed!
A plague on both your houses, indeed!
#1.1 Ivan Vasiliev on 2011-05-02 05:27
Well said Chris. Fester and the old crowd are laying down an ominous hidden agenda; either follow them into their shadows of palace intrigue where they define and re-define the rules at their whim, or follow our Lord Jesus Christ. I too was concerned by the "forgive and forget" message given the insidiousness of the fellows he wanted to forgive. Sadly, forgiveness to them is a sign of weakness and vulnerability, not of strength and piety.
These men define "wolves in sheep's clothing." Matthew 7:15. The OCA must reject these agendas and ask these men to leave us and join the ranks of secular pitchmen where their ethics are in full view of secular courts. They are too disingenuous for spiritual courts. Any association with them cannot be justified going forward....
#1.2 Anon. on 2011-05-02 21:37
Chris, you are so right! Yes, Christian forgiveness is a wonderful thing but when it came to the problems in the OCA, it was no longer a matter of "forgive and forget" as you say. It was a matter of responsibly addressing and correcting the problems and sources of those problems. That's what a good and loving father would have done for his house - the Church!
#1.3 anon on 2011-05-05 12:35
It appears from these communications that +Jonah is merely a puppet of Fr. Fester. Sad.
#2 Kirk on 2011-05-01 20:34
Kirk-I am so laughing. Uh no, that's not true, you are thinking of George Bush and Cheney . . .
#2.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-02 17:40
If i acted like these so called leaders i would be ashamed of myself.
They set this up and we all suffer -
stop acting like bitchy little girls !
and when i hear from people how I can write this??
well I wonder if it matters anymore-
the damage will never heal -
stop kidding yourselves --
yes I am the most sinful.....................
(Editor's note: No, Sasha, Christ can heal us, but we must work with him at it, to understand what and how we need to be healed. )
#3 sasha reshetar on 2011-05-01 20:58
Fr. Fester's emails paint a rather unflattering picture of +Jonah (whether true or false) as a naive fool; the Chauncey Gardner of the OCA.
#4 Kirk on 2011-05-01 21:08
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
So this is all just politics? No more than priests and bishops discussing how best to accomplish their agendum? May I ask what about this is so unexpectedly shocking? Church administration involves politics. Politics by nature are dirty no matter who plays the game. Should we not be loving our hierarchs all the more because they are called to maybe sacrifice their very souls to accomplish anything at all?
Do understand that love need not mandate fondness nor even trust. Besides, what we see here is only evil if we begin with the premise that the objective is evil. Doubtlessly, given appropriate annotation, Mr. Stokoe's own email correspondences can easily be made to suggest he conspires with his friends to sabotage his opponents.
And to you, Mr. Stokoe, please explain to us how and why Fr. Joseph's wishes are evil. Do so with excruciating patience and maddening detail. Please remember that what is obvious to you is not always obvious to the rest of us. In a case like this it is important for us all to remember that common sense is not common. My own inability to follow your logic chain is proof of this.
(Editor's note: I have never used the word "evil" to describe Fr. Fester. I used the word "chilling", because anybody involved with the events around the allegations surrounding +Nikolai ( from Paul Sidebottom account of his sexual harrassment which were substantiated by the EEOC , through Fr. Isidore's drunken utterances concerning +Nikolai, to +Nikolai's knowingly ordaining a convicted sexual predator, to the cries of the Alaskan clergy, two investigations, his defiance of the Synod, and his ultimate resignation) would think it "chilling" that anybody would want him back in the OCA, or try to faciliate it , seeing as how he has already sued us for $11 million once. Or do so with the knowledge that he is unrepetant and unashamed. "Chilling" because what other Chancellor would keep a defrocked priest in charge of one of his parishes; one that was suing the Church for $26 million? And if he denies it was his decision, then it would be the decision of the man, +Jonah, he is fighting to protect. Ultimately, this turmoil is not about differing visions of ecclesiology ( although they are different in word and deed), church politics, conspiracies from either side, but about lying. +Jonah agreed to go on a LOA with the blessing and concern of his Synod - and then stood up in front of the Church and denied it. Fr. Fester's own words show he knew the truth - and chose to participate in the lie. The SMPAC Report is now, I am told, in its expanded form now over 650 pages long with documents evidencing the allegations made it in to excruciating detail. The SMPAC apparently has done what it was requested to do in Santa Fe; show its evidence. Will +Jonah? He has refused even to undergo the medical/pyschological examination he agreed to - despite 60 days of "rest" in order to do so. What is the Synod to do with a prelate who refuses any cooperation, collegiality, responsibility, or accountability - and insists on his 'right" to unilateral action despite the pastoral, legal and financial implications of those actions. Isn't that what the past 20 years have been about - and look where it got us. Massive debt, scandal, criminality, the defrauding of widows and orphans. lawsuits, sexual misconduct scandals, and the rest. Do you want to go back to that?
I wish +jonah could change - but the growing consensus is that he is unable to do so, for whatever reasons. So, in order not to go back, we must find a way forward. And that is what is happening even now in Chicago.)
#5 Displaced Lemming on 2011-05-01 21:13
Mark, please use square brackets to provide explanations within quoted text. It's standard editorial practice. By using parentheses/round brackets, you are making it appear that your words are the words of the original authors.
Editor's note: Sorry for the lack of clarity. I will do as you suggest. I try not to interrupt the text, and when I do, as little as possible. However, unless one addresses the lies, one simply passes it on. Thanks for the correction.)
#6 Anonymous on 2011-05-01 21:18
I'm not sure square brackets are correct - they usually imply a change in grammar made to a quoted text to put it in context. (If the original said "our" and in the context of the paragraph the quotes being used "their" is necessary, then it would be "[their]".)
#6.1 Grammarian I Am Not, But... on 2011-05-02 14:36
You're not wrong, but that's not all there is to it. Please see the Chicago Manual of Style, Ch. 6:
Corrections, explanations or comments within quoted material, or editor’s notes should be enclosed in brackets: He wrote, “They are furnished separate but equal [locker room] facilities.” [No one was willing to take credit for that quote—Editor.]
#6.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-03 08:07
I have about 25 years' experience as a journalist and editor. In a draft or when marking up a page I use square brackets to denote either something that needs to be checked or a place in the text where information is not yet complete, usually with the abbreviation TK. In published text, it indicates something not part of the original copy, i.e., something added or changed by the editor.
I wouldn't employ Mr. Stokoe's usage of parentheses myself, especially not before the signature line of the doc he's commenting on. But I believe we all understand what he's doing, and that is, after all, the basis of good communication. Let's not get distracted by something as minor as this.
#184.108.40.206 Morton on 2011-05-16 12:23
O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen
#7 Macarius on 2011-05-01 21:21
Talk about a cabal!
#8 Nilus on 2011-05-01 21:35
When metropolitan Jonah is relying on the likes of the disgraced former bishop of Alaska +Nikolai for support you can be sure that the game is up. +Nikolai's letter to his disciples is a complete self justifying piece of trash. he compares himself to St Nektarios? What a sick joke!!! This narcissistic power crazed despot emptied the bank accounts at the Serbian monastery in Elaine in the few months he was here and all on what? Building a fully renovated home for......HIMSELF!!!!!!!! What a viper...
#9 Savvas on 2011-05-01 22:19
I am so, so ashamed to belong to the OCA and the DOS in particular. Lord have mercy on all of us.
#10 Matushka on 2011-05-02 05:40
I'm afraid it's no better in the Antiochian Church my dear fellow, arguably worse.
#10.1 VSO on 2011-05-05 20:05
Really? Despite our craziness in the last few years, your OCA shenanigans actually has given me lots of perspective.
No thanks, I'll take the stability of a benevolent dictator whose years on this sphere are short anyway, over the disgraceful way your bishops, chancellors and lay leaders have been acting....
(Editor's note: I am the first to admit OCA sheninigans, and disgraceful actions on the part of many people, all of whom, like all of us, are sinners. However, there are certain things I just can't believe, because they don't exist. Among the first is the notion that any dictator is benevolent. Until, of course, he is not. No, our way is messy and untidy, but in the end, no one is being shot in the streets in Syosset...)
#10.1.1 antionymous on 2011-05-10 03:53
Wow! The OCA, the Orthodox Cancer in America, has raised mudslinging to a level I never thought possible. I think the only way this is going to get resolved is if it ends like a greek tragedy with everyone dead on the floor or at least a mass resignation from the whole case of characters. Given the nature of the "charges" against +Nikolai and +Benjamin, a true investigation is never going to see the light of day. And given the +Jonah has decided to align himself with fools like Fr. Fester, who clearly don't have enough brains to know that every email is in an invitation to someone posting it on the internet, well ... you have the current mess.
The metropolitan council has its work cut out for it. I would hope and pray that given all of this information that they will strongly request resignations from all of the parties. Just like what happened with the leaked emails and correspondence at Hewlett Packard a few years, several key employees were forced to tender their resignations because of ethics charges, some priests, bishops and metropolitans need to leave their exalted positions sooner than later.
#11 Anonymous on 2011-05-02 06:38
Once again, "a plague on both your houses". My sympathies are still more in the direction of the Metropolitan--perhaps because I have a naive belief that he will move us closer to the MP and I really do believe that Moscow does not NEED our scrawny little OCA and may actually have enough compassion to help us. I am also very deeply concerned about all the sexual trash being thrown around by both sides in this Byzantine epic (almost as good reading, if one can call it that, as Procopius). That stuff really is sick and needs healing and I simply cannot believe we can do it on our own. But either way, the OCA as envisioned by both sides doesn't sound very much like the Orthodox Church.
#12 Ivan Vasiliev on 2011-05-02 07:10
I am sad to say that most of what has recently been posted on your website has the critical and discrediting flaw of being constantly and relentlessly judgmental. There is rarely even a whiff of love, mercy or forgiveness, which means to my mind that what's going on here is not Christian in spirit, not Orthodox in order.
One wonders why you even want to work (and how you can last in any role) within the Church if you cannot, with some mercy and humility, stomach the fact that people (whether ordained or not, whether heirarchs or not) are not made less forgivable by the fact that we sin so woefully -- but rather more!
I hope that anything correctable will be corrected.
God bless you.
#13 EJ on 2011-05-02 07:43
So by your point of view we should forgive AND forget even as those who would burn the OCA to the ground continue to light their matches while they scheme in the darkess and admit no wrongdoing. That, my friend, is the same attitude that got us where we are today. This cabal should be dealt with swiftly and justly and it is only then when we can speak about forgiveness.
Maybe it's me and call it unchristian or not, but I cannot forgive a thief while he is in the very act of robbing my house. Even Jesus waited until the deed was done and his final hour before he asked His Father to forgive the crucifiers. These wretched people are still driving home the nails.
#13.1 Stephen Butcher on 2011-05-03 10:37
It is a proven fact that if you shake a can of mixed nuts, the largest ones will rise to the top. Someone stop shaking our Church, please.
#14 Stephen Butcher on 2011-05-02 11:06
Once again, we are indebted to whoever has released these emails, which are so illustrative of the evil, yes evil, at the heart of the OCA. The evil cabal contains the same cast of characters we have become all too familiar with over the many years of the OCA meltdown. As others have rightly said, the failure of Metropolitan Jonah to acknowledge and deal with this cancerous cabal is destroying yet another OCA metropolitan and giving credence to those who would make us just another arm of the Russian Church--the ultimate disaster for meaningful Orthodox witness in North America.
That Metropolitan Jonah has evolved, from mere tolerance of and complacency to this cabal, to an active champion and useful fool of same is chilling--and instructive. I have contended from day one that his selection as metropolitan was engineered by Archbishop Dimitri and the obscurantist elements of the old Synod. So it comes as no surprise to me that events have unfolded in such a catastrophic manner. We reap what we sow.
I am deeply saddened and disappointed that so many clergy and laity, who previously supported reform of the corrupt Kondratick era, are still deluding themselves about the character and values of Metropolitan Jonah. Are we so brainwashed by false prophets and wannabe cult leaders that we can't see and accept the evidence in front of us?
I have no idea what the current Synod will do to address this mess. It certainly has more new blood, but as the emails reveal some of that blood is already tainted with hierarchical arrogance and disdain for any meaningful reform of the OCA. And, of course, in the instances where this may be true, the clerics in question have been force-fed to the Church at large. Surprise, surprise.
#15 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-05-02 12:50
Regrettably, I think you may be right that the election of +Jonah as Metropolitan was engineered by +Dimitri. I wondered that too after +Dimitri insisted on having +Jonah as his assistant when +Jonah had already been promised to another Bishop. +Dimitri got his way, then no sooner does +Jonah arrive in Dallas, he's made Bishop of Ft. Worth!
I don't think being a Bishop is essential for becoming an assistant to a Bishop (there are other bishop's assistants who aren't bishops themselves), but being a bishop is a requirement for being made Metropolitan. So when shortly thereafter +Jonah turned up as Metropolitan, the whole thing came across as conniving and orchestrated.
But is +Dimitri really part of the old gang? I have it on good source that the people wanted +Dimitri as metropolitan, but the synod chose Theodosius - and the rest is 'history'.
The whole mess is unfortunate to say the least, reminiscent of immature boys not Christians. Orthodoxy has the spiritual medicine for cure of passions by way of Church as Spiritual Hospital (instead of church as juridical law court of an angry god that promotes violence, why many have rejected such counterfeit 'chrisitianity'), but instead of witnessing to the power of unCreated Divine energies by displaying spiritual maturity in order to woo the world to jealousy for spiritual treasure (instead of jealousy over the world's material mammon), OCA 'leadership' mirrors the very same 'organization' and 'leadership' by way of passions as the world - 'playing' at Christianity and Church, while practicing secularism and mammon worship.
But the problem is much deeper than a few corrupt churchmen - the problem goes to the very heart of how presumed 'christians' naively live in the midst of a culture devoted to mammon, aloof as if they are immune to mammon worship and any of its temptations simply because they engage in ritual a few days a week while ignoring the effect of their 'lifestyle' on their soul and the material world, as evidenced in their lack of Real relationship to fellow [hu]man, Creation, or to God.
Unfortunately, contemporary scandals in modern Orthodoxy are symptoms that will continue to manifest unless their root cause is treated, a failure to embrace sacramental living by way of life in Christ, a way of life that is so unique to the modern 'world' with all its fake promises and glories, that Christians become 'salt for society' and a 'light set on a hill', finally making Christianity after centuries, once again the meaningful living witness that Christ is, rather than a superficial 'christian' religious appendage to the modern technological society.
Would love to also be able to dismiss it all as ridiculous --at a certain level these Machiavellian twits seem disconnected from the reality of the OCA. Anyone who thinks that +Nikolai and Kondratick could be restored without a widespread rebellion at the grassroots level is clueless.
The only thing they've had going for them is one feckless, easily manipulated hierarch who has an unfortunate talent for channeling right feeling into powerful words, but no ability to focus and follow-up.
But the fact that they've succeeded in kicking up so much dust and precipitating this mess maybe means we have to take this fiasco seriously.
In the end though, let's be super clear on what happened here -- responsible, loving, pastoral efforts were made to help +MJ correct his course, and a self-interested cabal set on the restoration of those who cannot and should not be restored saw their meal ticket at risk and deliberately manufactured a crisis, manipulating enthusiastic recent converts with their hearts set on heroic warfare to do the will of the cabal.
#16 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-05-02 13:48
On what basis do you make the assertion that Metropolitan Jonah has "no ability to focus and follow up?" If he is so "easily manipulated," why has he frustrated the efforts of so many?
Let's be clear about who started "kicking up the dust." It is the people who, for whatever reason (wish they would be specific), want Metropolitan Jonah out. You can't blame those who are loyal to him for circling the wagons.
I didn't see the "loving, pastoral efforts" that you spoke of to "help +MJ correct his course." What I saw was a HS who wanted to leverage him into a funny farm. Nothing particularly "loving" or "pastoral" about that.
Clearly Metropolitan Jonah and his supporters would have nothing to gain by "deliberately manufacturing" this particular crisis since it is Metropolitan Jonah's %^& that's on the line! Your characterization of "enthusiastic RECENT converts (had to add "recent," didn't you) with their hearts set on heroic warfare" is so insulting it calls into question your own spiritual maturity. Do you see yourself as a bit more grounded in Orthodoxy than the rest of us, Rebecca? If so, I'm not seeing any evidence of it. - Not today, I'm not.
I don't have to tell anybody that hacking into private emails and posting them is very bad form. I didn't like when it happened to Mark and I don't like it now. At this point, even if I was 100% certain that Metropolitan Jonah should go I definitely wouldn't hand over the keys to the opposing camp. Both sides have behaved abominably. Ironically, the only one NOT slinging mud is Metropolitan Jonah. Got to give him props for that.
(Editor's note: Sorry Gail, you are incorrect. Nobody hacked into anybody. If you want to believe that last 3 years have been a great conspiracy, there is little to change your mind except the facts. If you want to believe everybody is slinging mud; well the facts don't support you there either. If you want to give props to +jonah, that is your right. But the Synod, Staff and MC of the OCA will not be joining you. And they were all there in Chicago and heard the reports; and you weren't. I refer you to the preface of Jane Eyre and my latest article to more fully understand the situation.)
#16.1 Gail Sheppard on 2011-05-03 19:45
I have no interest or ability to convince you of anything, so I won't try. What you see as an effort to oust the Metropolitan (in Santa Fe) I see as loving intervention.
But as for my reference to recent converts, I was referring very specifically to three individuals, not making some broad comment about converts, recent or not, in general. I really don't know why you should take such umbrage. And I'm not quite sure why you wouldn't be offended by the picture that is emerging of a priest manipulating recent converts who trust him into acting as his sock puppets in a contentious, nasty mess? I find that terribly offensive and it's not because of any negative feelings with respect to converts.
#16.1.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-05-07 16:06
I wasn't talking about a "conspiracy" over the last three years; I was talking about what you posted last week. "Hacked" is a term one uses to describe breaking into a computer with malicious intent. I presumed, perhaps incorrectly, that individual who gave you the information, obtained it from a computer, without the knowledge of the parties involved, with the sole intent to make them look bad. If this isn't "hacking," I don't know what else you would call it. Along the same lines, mudslinging "is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent." It can also refer to "attacks meant to destroy an opponent's character." Seems to me that was what Bishop Tikhon was attempting to do when he posted your private emails and exploited your mother's obituary, may her memory be eternal, and what you were trying to do when you posted the emails of Fr. Joseph Fester and Bishop Nikolai, making them look bad (and, by proxy, making Metropolitan Jonah look bad). - No, I wasn't there, however, unlike you, I wasn't a bit surprised that Metropolitan Jonah relieved Fr. Joseph Fester of his duties. I imagine Metropolitan Jonah will continue to surprise you, as time goes on.
(Editor's note: Sadly, Gail, we can agree only the your last assertion.)
#16.1.2 Gail Sheppard on 2011-05-07 17:33
In the words of the Koo-Aid Man, "Oh, Yeaahh!":
Moses the Tlingit
#17 Moses on 2011-05-02 14:18
This has to stop. Both the ocanews and ocatruth have enganged in hyperbole and personal attacks borne out of anger rather than love. You may believe you are doing a great service for the Church, but you are not. You and ocatruth are simply creating a toxic environment such that true healing will be even more difficult to achieve. Satan is looking on with delight at this behavior. Maybe you have lost perspective, but those of us who come at this somewhat more neutral (my full discolosre in the next paragraph) can feel the anger and hatred that arise from wounded pride which pours out of these posts.
I have no doubt there is truth contained in both sides and that both groups have also done things that they would like to take back. I have known the Metropolitan for many years (my disclosure) most of it during his time as the abbott of St. John Monastery and this is not an evil man or a crazy man, but a man of true faith and love. That does not mean he is perfect or that he has not made profound mistakes, simply that at his core, this is a good man. The Church should be able to work from there.
A truce should be declared by both sides and both sides should go into the blackout that ocanews went into around Pascha. Let the Synod meet (clearly not a rubber stamp by the accounts set forth here) and work this out with the help of the Holy Spirit.
I can only imagine where the Church would be if blogs existed at time of the Ecumenical Councils. No doubt, Arias would have loved it. Swallow your pride (I include OCAtruth here), pray, and maybe the humility that you are not meant to be the savior (or defender) of the OCA will at the very least change the tone of discussion.
In Christ. Xristos Anesti!
#18 From the GOA with love on 2011-05-02 15:19
This post is just more moral equivalency rubbish! And the poster's supposed neutrality and objectivity transparent nonsense.
All this website has done is expose the truth--as best it knows it. That is why it is so viciously vilified by those who thrive on pious lies and constant deception. Certainly the editor has a point of view, as does everyone who posts here. When a factual error occurs, the editor immediately corrects it, and tellingly allows expressions of thought clearly different from his own.
So much for apples and oranges.
#18.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-05-03 07:40
Since you brought up Arias, may you be reminded that St. Nicholas slapped him across the face and was imprisoned for the act. Later he was vindicated for his actions.
While I understand your sentiment, sometimes harsh measures are required under harsh circumstances.
May I also remind you that most of the hatred, insults and vitriol came from the OthodoxTruth.com/"Team Jonah" and not OCANews.com (at least not from the moderator; maybe in individual commentary). I think your past relationships with members in question may be tainting your judgement of those who oppose their agenda.
#18.2 Stephen Butcher on 2011-05-03 11:31
This post is right. We need to be at prayer now. God's will, not ours, be done.
#18.3 colette on 2011-05-03 12:20
Thank you for the encouragement to pray and to trust in God's Will rather than our own will on May 3.
Unfortunately, you have the same name as a "colette" that has a leadership role in the Sunday School of the St Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC and the same name as a "colette" that posted on May 7 on George Michalopulos' slanderous and obnoxious website (a place where angels fear to tread!). That "colette" said this after the Holy Synod and MC meetings:
May 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm
"Fight against them. Write about this whole affair, keep notes. If it’s in writing, if it’s there for people to pick it up again and again, and if we have watch dogs in various parishes to keep account of people we now know need watching, we can bring them down. One by one. What ever is in writing will be remembered. Now the fight begins."
I'm sorry you share the same name as that colette, because that colette apparently does not think that God's Will was done this week. I do. This contrived "fight" is over. The real "truth" was revealed in Fr. Fester's emails. Maybe we can all google the definition of psychological "projection." It's perplexing that Fr. Fester was involved in orchestrating a real attempted coup by convincing others to fight with him against a manufactured coup. I pray for Fr. Fester and I pray for that other "colette." They seem unrepentant in forcing their will on God and the OCA.
Here are some quotes from St. Isaac the Syrian for the other "colette" to consider (if she's reading this):
"Someone who has actually tasted truth is not contentious for truth. Someone who is considered by people to be zealous for truth has not yet learnt what truth is really like; once he has truly learnt it, he will cease from zealousness on its behalf."
"Zeal is not reckoned among men to be a form of wisdom, but as one of the illnesses of the soul, namely narrow-mindedness and deep ignorance."
Mr. Dreher, Mr. Cone, Mr. Folsom, Mr. Michalopulos, the other "colette", and the other very vocal and opinionated posters on monomakhos.com (including an ordained deacon, also from the Washington DC cathedral) clearly believe that they are God's truth-bearers because certainly they know that "whatever is in writing will be remembered." I have great sympathy for them, nonetheless. Ocatruth.com seems to me to be a more sophiscated "Ask Vladyka."
Anybody remember this from 2008? http://www.dioceseofalaska.org/askvladyka (I'm sorry that parishioner names are on this link, they were truly innocents, duped by a "wolf in sheep's clothing."). There is no longer an active link to this on the Diocese of Alaska's website, but it can still be accessed by a google search.
With more sophistication comes more responsibility and more culpability, however. Make sure that you're fighting the "good fight", not someone else's.
Summer reading suggestions:
"The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse", "The Sociopath Next Door", and the Philokalia (in order to open our minds to true Christian virtues, like dispassion, humility, and love).
-Some "tough" love from a sister in Christ. (Anonymous only because I'm not in the mood to be skewered alive on George M's blog because I dared to criticize the mutual admiration society over there)
#18.3.1 Worn out on 2011-05-07 23:46
Internet blogs weren't needed at the time of the Ecumenical Councils, all sides of all of the debates had no problem making their positions known through letters, encyclicals, Imperial pronouncements and the like. St. Basil wrote the famous passage about how when a person went to buy a loaf of bread in turn they got a lecture on the natures of Christ etc. Arius would have loved blogs? So would Athanasius, Cyril and all our saints. They were all productive writers and had no problem with telling people in their letters exactly what was going on.
However if blogs had existed at the time of the Ecumenical Councils much of the shady, underhanded things the Church took part in would likely have been a lot tougher to get away with; like force feeding "heretics" Communion (and yes, both sides did these things) etc. In fact, if blogs had existed it might not have been quite so hard for people like Athanasius to actually get his message out...everyone was an Arian; blogs and the internet would have made things a lot easier on people like Athanasius, Cyril, Maximus the Confessor, and many other of our saints. No Imperial decree could have kept Maximus silent, or deposed John Chrysostom would the world of the internet blog could have lead people to see what was really going on, not just the Church's "official" version of the story. It also would have given those of us without power in the Church a voice and a method of speaking our voice without the need for mob violence, rioting, burning Churches to ground etc.
Lastly, if you think what we've read so far is rough, just go read some of the Church fathers' and their polemics against the "heretics"...this is nothing compared to the name calling that when on in the "golden age" of the Councils. That doesn't make name calling right, nor does it get people "off the hook" because this golden era that never was was in fact so much worse; however it does put things into perspective. What you see as a stain and negative, I see as a positive. In the old days it would have taken riots, mobs, and protests to oust corrupt bishops, now all it takes is a few websites and a LOT of dedicated people to stand up for what is right. I'll take the world of blog protests over the "good ole days" of the Ecumenical Councils any day.
A fellow GOA member,
#18.4 Chuck Shingledecker on 2011-05-04 08:50
This is all very astounding to say the least! There is absolutely nothing Christian or Orthodox about ANY & ALL players in this drama. As a member of the Faithful who are the Church I accuse them all! Their hands are dirty. They either "did the deed" that keeps being eluded to, or worked to cover it up. If you have accusations to make against Benjamin or anyone else, MAKE IT! Otherwise you are guilty of obstructing justice so shut up about it. I am so tired of the whiney tone of Nikolai and Fester already. In the words of Sophia [Golden Girls] you need boots to listen to those two. Neither of them offer any concrete evidence and I hazzard to guess that's because they don't have any!
I think a movement has to begin with the Faithful Members of the Holy Church. We need to petition and request intervention by the Holy Patriarch of Russia. We need to make it clear what's at stake here...the ruination of the Orthodox Church in America if it's left to the devises of these unholy men. I for one want to see everyone of them dumped...and under the blessing and guidance of the Holy Patriarch rebuild Our Church in America in true Othodoxy.
Let me just repeat...not a single one of these men..so called bishops and priests... is without blame. They are either directly responsible for acts of misdeed or they have knowledge and are participating in the coverups. All we the Faithful have gotten from any of them are accusations and veiled references with no evidence and no proof! I for one don't want to see any of them in positions of authority and leadership over my Church...everyone of them have forgotten just how much we the Faithful love our Church and are willing to fight for it!
(Editor's note: I would not include all the bishops in your condemnation; nor would I turn to the Church of RUssia, which while full of holy people, is a billion dollar business as well, under a political despot, engaged in politics, etc. It has its own problems, in other words, and we do not need them here. We have enough of our own, but also something all the orther Orthodox lack: the ability to correct ourselves. We are doing it. It isn't pretty, it isn't easy, but consider the alternative.)
#19 anon on 2011-05-02 16:29
I have read through this most recent posting. However weird these personal emails are, now the formal meetings are taking place with what I hope is the presence of the Holy Spirit, along with the collective experience, years, and wisdom of all those gathered.
The Synod and MC then meet, to continue to add to the collective years of experience and wisdom of all those gathered.
To me the real story is yet to be written.
#20 Patty Schellbach on 2011-05-02 18:34
O Virgin, pure and undefiled,
You gave birth to our life:
Make the strife and scandals of the Church to cease,
In your goodness, grant her peace.
–"Now and Ever" Theotokion, Second Stasis, Holy Saturday Matins
XC is risen!
Based upon the service text above (plus the Scriptures, etc.), it is expected that we will have strife and scandals perennially. Such events are not grounds to be ashamed nor to contemplate schisms, fractioning away, nor returning to some idealized “mother” Church which is no more mother to most in the OCA than England is for citizens of the USA. (Speaking of which, why all the Slavonic, Polish, or whatever it was, in the Liturgy for the consecration of Bp. MATTHIAS? Including the Catechumen Litany, too!)
We should take the whole series of event over the last several years "in stride" as it were. Not sanctioning scandal in the Church, but understanding that it is endemic to fallen man and that our Lord and Savior is victorious regardless of our personal or collective sins. We need to oppose scandal with humble, fervent prayer for ourselves, for those with whom we disagree and those with whom are in agreement, in addition to praying for the innocent by-standers.
O God, You know my foolishness;
and my failings are not hidden from You.
Let not those who wait for You be ashamed because of Me, O Lord, Lord of hosts;
Let not those who seek You be put to shame because of Me, O God of Israel.
– Psalm 68/69:5-6
At his consecration, Bp. MATTHIAS recited the Third Confession of Faith which includes, “I promise to preserve the peace of the Church” i.e., despite the strife and scandals, the peace of Christ remains in the Church (cf. John 14:27, etc.). Soon after that sentence, the Confession says, “I promise … in all things to be of one mind with His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Metropolitan, the Archbishops and Bishops, my brothers... I promise with all sincerity to cherish towards them spiritual affection, and to regard them as my brothers in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.”
It's a difficult oath for any of them to fulfill at this point in time. With divided opinions, how is one to be of one mind with each of them?
Pray for the bishops. They have heavy a cross to carry.
#21 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2011-05-02 18:59
Slavonic. There wasn't that much - Paschal troparion and some litanies done by the Russian deacon.
#21.1 tzg on 2011-05-03 07:48
Good words, Father. Good reminder. Thank you. Many years to Bp. Matthias!
#21.2 Karen on 2011-05-03 16:56
Chicagoland has a Polish-speaking mission and a fair number of immigrants from the former USSR plus Fr. Matthias is Ruthenian, so I'd imagine it was for their benefit? Does the language matter? If there were enough non-English-speakers there to merit using Slavonic or Polish or whatever it was, then what's the issue?
#21.3 Jon Marc on 2011-05-03 21:18
Father, with all due respect, I find it pretty amazing that an OCA priest cannot at least identify Slavonic when he hears it. Especially when the portions of the liturgy in which Slavonic were used are easily identifiable and commonly used.
But, hey, it's the American way to never want to hear anything but English, I guess... I guess the "unity through plurality" Fr. Meyendorff wrote about so many years ago doesn't really apply anymore.
(Editor's note: If you are surprised, I am not. On my first choir trip at SVS in 1979 - over 30 years ago - the director told everybody, as we stood in the choir loft before liturgy, that we would do the first antiphon in Slavonic, the 2nd and 3rd in English. Over half the choir gave him a blank look - 30 years ago. Times change, friend; as do the people attending liturgy. 30 years Slavonic was already fading; now, given the huge increase in the Polish Orthodox population in Chicago, it may have a use again. Times change, and we should too.)
#21.4 Anonymous on 2011-05-07 17:59
Nikolai championing the good of the Church and offering Akathists reminds me of this line from Shakespeare:
"And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil."
I walked away from the OCA and the Orthodox Church because of goons like these and I suspect I am not alone.
#22 Felix Culpa on 2011-05-02 21:58
In management theory, there is the concept of the free-floating-Apex (as in pyramid). Where the very top of the pyramid has become disconnected with its Base - and can float anywhere, even away from its Base, and be self-sufficient. And eventually become its own mini-Pyramid.
In this case, a resolution to the problem has only three solutions: (a) return the Apex to its Base, or (b) supply this Apex with a new Base, or ( c) let the Base grow a new Apex. How you define a “pyramid” will determine your answer. With a free-floating-Apex, your options of definition of “pyramid” are limited to either (i) Apex, or (ii) Base.
The OCA is confronted with this very conundrum. Its “Apex”, in this case +Jonah & co, are now “free-floating”. Nobody would now quibble with that observation. And that Mark Stokoe and co are members of the OCA’s “Base”. Equally now beyond challenge. And that option (a) above is no longer possible - there is too much alienation in the air.
Forced to a choice between (i) and (ii), one is confronted with core Byzantine ecclesiology. For example, how many times have you seen in the “Church News” sections of any Orthodox publication, only clergy featured, with the Bishop being the centre of attention - both in pix and articles?. And the Lay Parishioners being somewhere there as mere “props” for clergy-news.
If there was not so much property involved, not to mention the “ownership” of the property trusts, the way forward would be simple: pursue options (b) & ( c) simultaneously. However this would be very messy and make the current situation worse. And would raise the question of “schism”.
To use a good Russian question: “Chto dela?”
The only way forward would be to recognise the parallels between (A) this free-floating Apex and the capitulating clergy of the Council of Lyons in 1274; and (B) the mass of the OCA and +Mark of Ephesus.
We may yet see evidence from this Apex of schismatic behaviour. In which case option ( c) above would be the only viable option for the vast majority of the OCA. And for the Base of the OCA not to be seen to be schismatic, cultivation of good relations with the MP would be a good start. (Numerically, the Greek & Arabic Patriarchates are very small and are declining in relevance).
Prayers are in order for the mass of the OCA that they faint not in their pilgrimage in the face of this free-floating Apex, and that they remain true to the Faith delivered once for all to the Saints.
#23 John Battye on 2011-05-03 04:06
If you have the emails, why don't you just post all of them in their entirety without your commentary? We can all read and decide what it means for ourselves. I find your quips and comments in between the emails quite distracting and below the standards of an internet journalist.
(Editor's note: "Below the standards of an internet journalist?" Apparently to many writers here, there are no standards for internet journalism below which one can sink! Seriously, to just publish emails alone would be confusing to most, with identifying the persons and issues involved. If anyone thinks I have misinterpreted them , correct me: although no one has made that claim. )
#24 ASP on 2011-05-03 06:53
I think you misjudge the intelligence of your readers. Since you deal with leaks (sort of an Orthodox Julian Assange), you really should use a "WikiLeaks" style of release. Add your commentary if you must, but provide everything in its entirety so that YOUR READERS can make up their mind and dispute where they see errors. Mark, how do we know if anyone corrects you from what you post? How can they correct you or see if you are misinterpreting anything if you refuse to post the entire thing? I'm sorry, but you must admit the logic of your argument: a) MS tells a story from selected bits of emails; b) no one knows what the context is, thus relying on the story MS tells; c) MS says the story is true because no one corrects him. The narrative you are construct is a betrayal of the transparency and accountability you supposedly uphold.
(Editor's note: Good criticism. I have taken your point to heart in my latest posting, by posting the Metropolitan's full notes without commentary as well as version with explanations.)
#24.1 ASP on 2011-05-10 05:02
i heard last night that Fr. Fester was fired? True? False? Which???
#25 yikes on 2011-05-03 09:44
Another nightmare with Nikolai begins...
Remember, prayer with humility is powerful. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
#26 alaskan :) on 2011-05-03 11:43
Very nice, given the subject of your post, to see your call for prayer and your smiley-face at the end, O Alaskan!
Christ is risen, indeed!
#26.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-05-07 17:08
This is such a sad business. I'm a new convert in the Diocese of the Midwest (Chrismated less than two months ago), and seeing all of this infighting is very disheartening. It provides ammunition those who doubt the OCA's ability to govern itself. It prevents us from being examples of Christ's love to the world around us. It seems to my untrained, layman's eyes to be a problem that is best solved by a healthy dose of humility.
It seems that posts at OCAT are disappearing. Yesterday's entry is gone.
#28 St. Anonymous on 2011-05-03 17:37
Metropolitan Jonah needs to leave the gay bashing agenda and Old Testament preaching behind and work on the New Testament. Lots of people struggling to eat and stay well. We have no reason to bash anyone.
#29 Daniel Fall on 2011-05-03 21:56
Christ is risen!
You said "last time I looked, I couldn't send in my confession by email, nor receive absolution on-line."
While this is true, if I were traveling and one of my parishoners with whom i had a genuine "Spiritual Father" relationship with called me for pastoral counseling in an emergency situation, I might, in some circumstances give a pennance and tell them that this is strictly confidential and we would discuss the matter further later.
While pastoral confidentiality is most certainly not the same as the seal of confession someone without any theological training can be forgiven (and should be forgiven) for an error in terminology.
Fr Simeon Johnson
#30 Fr Simeon B Johnson on 2011-05-04 00:14
[Intended for News Around the OCA 5-3-1]
Thank God there are signs of hope that the Synod is not going to succumb to lethargy.
They asserted their right to name all locum tenens instead of the metropolitan exercising unilateral rights to assume control of a vacant diocese and profit from the extra stipend. They unequivocally demanded that disciplinary action be taken against Fr. Fester. They rejected +Jonah’s attempt to remove +Mark from the south because things are not working out (i.e. not working out for +Jonah).
Yet through this all, +Jonah doesn’t get it! And he probably never will. Talk about lacking the necessities for the position. The priests and laity who voted in Pittsburgh for someone so lacking in experience along with limited ability and with obvious psychological challenges should realize the peril they placed the OCA in and let their voices be heard that this primacy is greatly impairing the present and future of the church.
What the Synod should do is ask Moscow, who seems so enamored with +Jonah, if they would like to take a metropolitan for their North American Patriarchal parishes.
From all reasonable indications, not only does +Jonah not have what it takes, he shows all signs of one who never will.
I know that many times, over the years, I have been wrong in personal assessments, but in this case too many people, including the OCA Synod recognize that this is just not working. I have little doubt the synod truly has wanted to help +Jonah, but obviously, he has rejected their desire to help. Unfortunately, His Beatitude does not have the sense of reality to recognize his inability to handle the vast responsibilities of being Metropolitan. I believe this is the sad truth and if not dealt with the consequences probably will be devastating. Truth or Consequences in this instance is not a game!
#31 Retired and troubled priest on 2011-05-04 07:51
To paraphrase Red Green (seen on Canadian TV):
'I'm a bishop, I can change, if I have to, I guess...."
#31.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-07 16:54
I hope you are not "gravely troubled", dear father. One word about the situation in the south. I'm not the biggest Fr. Joe supporter. In fact, when he was in Dallas, while others were enamored with him, I was never really that attached to him. Some of his views, actions, attitudes, I found to be very….disheartening. I understand many people love and cherish him and his Matushka very, very, very dearly. I guess that happens when you move beyond your own biases, open up your heart, and let people in. Sinners though they be, people, when you get to really know them become lovable. (This is the biggest shortcoming of discussions on blogs…the absent humanizing element of face-to-face communication). I, regrettably, never did. So, when the news about his suspension, or relieving of duty, I must admit a twinge of, "Gottcha". Now, however, the sweetness of "revenge" and "justice" has turned into bitterness. Homeless, jobless, deprived of an alter, after a lifetime of service, just doesn't seem proportional to the "crime".
..... I hope bishop Mark has become aware of the consequences of his actions and turned over a new leaf. He is deserving of a second chance. But, truth be told, it was his actions that instigated the turmoil the Dallas cathedral community is currently in, not Fr. Joseph.
#31.2 Anonymous on 2011-05-08 05:15
"We should take the whole series of event over the last several years "in stride" as it were. Not sanctioning scandal in the Church, but understanding that it is endemic to fallen man and that our Lord and Savior is victorious regardless of our personal or collective sins. We need to oppose scandal with humble, fervent prayer for ourselves, for those with whom we disagree and those with whom are in agreement, in addition to praying for the innocent by-standers."
Yes, we should, Father Bart, just as JESUS CHRIST and St John the Baptist did. They took it all in stride, and they didn't sanction scandal but understood that it is endemic to fallen man. They lived a long life and died at ninety years of age, fat and happy.
#32 Anonymous on 2011-05-04 15:06
I given up understanding anything to do with the administration of our church. Christ can have his church.
#33 Anonymous on 2011-05-05 06:37
Mark, sometimes spiritual fathers and their spiritual children communicate by email when they are located at a distance from one another. Yes, sometimes this includes the kind of immensely private spiritual counsel that one would see in a confession. It is a monumental reason for concern when a priest fears his email account has been hacked. Everything else aside, I think you need to know that. If I were Fr. Fester's spiritual daughter, I'd be feeling very violated right now.
Fr. Fester is not my spiritual father, I've never met the man, and I'm so fantastically unimpressed with his public actions that revealing anything he's done in private could not possibly lower my opinion of him any further.
However, Fr. Fester has posted screenshots showing emails forwarded from his account to your email address, Mark. If Fr. Fester didn't do that himself, someone using his account did. If there's an innocent explanation for that, I would very much like to hear it.
Also, when did Metropolitan Jonah have cancer? Poor thing!
(Editor's note: Years ago. Fortunately, he is cancer free now. As for an innocent explanation, there is one, but I am not at liberty to divulge it given my promise to my source(s). Perhaps one day I shall be able. Until then, the emails must speak for themselves. )
#34 Cordelia on 2011-05-05 09:21
Mark, there is no innocent explanation for accessing someone's personal Gmail account and forwarding email to someone who was not a party to the communication.
Even if it turns out to technically be legal, the spirit of it is underhanded and unethical. It frankly doesn't matter what they were plotting or why. What happened there was a total violation of Fr. Fester's rights. And I remind you, as I do every time this comes up, I despise Fr. Fester and everyone else who was in bed with Kondratick. This was still wrong.
You called it unethical when Metropolitan Jonah accessed the work email of Fr. Alexander Garklavs. How could you call this anything less?
Bear in mind I did not think the Metropolitan's behavior was unethical in that instance, as it involved work email, and the right of an employer to monitor the internet activities of employees is well established. My concern here is you and an apparent lack of consistency in your own actions.
(Editor's note: I appreciate your concern. You think me unethical, but I do not. I know the facts of both cases; you do not. Unless, of course, you were in Chicago. In that case, I doubt seriously you would be saying any of this. If you were not, it would be most responsible to not speak of things you can only speculate on, since you don't know; until those who do, speak. Feel free to disagree.)
#34.1 Cordelia on 2011-05-07 14:37
That's right, your usual: "If you only knew as much as I do" defense. It works with someone you trust. It ain't working any more......
#34.2 antionymous on 2011-05-10 09:44
I'm not sure I understand what is going on, but it might help to rewind things a bit for those without background; what did Metropolitan Jonah do so that he was asked to take a leave of absence at a drug addiction program?
(Editor's note: He was not asked to take a leave of absence to a drug addiction program. That is incorrect. He was asked, and agreed to take a LOA to seek medical/spiritual assistance. Specific guidance was given; it was not followed. )
#35 Anonymous on 2011-05-05 10:26
What a tangled...tangled web. I'm utterly disappointed. Some of these clergymen are unworthy of the "Collar" and some...unworthy of the "Mitre". God help us!!!
#36 Anaxios on 2011-05-05 11:18
The certainty with which accusations and counter accusations on both sides are leveled in this mess - and on this site (and probably the others as well) - seems directly proportionate to our need for increased teaching and for the inner working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Trite as it may sound, should we not be far more like doves - no matter our opinion? Surely whatever this is really all about has little to do with allowing the Gospel to live and work within us. Praying for it to work "in the other guy" but not ourselves seems as disingenuous as censoring a Metropolitan to a spiritual retreat without demanding the same of the larger synod itself. I find it very hard to take the whole of this at face value - as much as I would like to, and as much as I am sure that everyone means well or thinks they do and wants only the best for the church.
Sometimes, if we do not reconsider our course and what we're about, everyone is in fact worse off. The dog that doesn't bark really does tell more than we wish to believe at times.
But if we think we have learned how to play the game of removing Metropolitans, can we not learn as well the far harder game of how to recognize that the time may have come to begin a different and strange process of healing and governance where every disagreement, every difference doesn't automatically escalate to manning all battle stations on full alert?
In this regard, a twice divorced church isn't too dissimilar to a twice divorced person with all the trimmings of suspicion and hair trigger temper that can make them difficult to settle down into productive relationships... ergo the tendency towards serial divorce. And if we censor serial divorce among our parishes and people in their marriages, should we not be more cautious in supporting these tendencies as they continue to emerge within our church leadership as well?
All I can say is it takes two to tango. Not suggesting anyone is whiter than snow... far from it. Just sayin' we can do better, and that by we, I don't mean the Metropolitan and/or his crowd or the contra-Met crowd either, but all of us. All.
It appears to be clever among some to say, "You bad, I bad, we all bad," and let's all take equal share here. Rather lazy perspective, I'd say. We have had serious problems with our leadership in the past. We tried to correct it. 2008 was a year that many people made decisions based on "hope" only to realize that "tried & true" is a tad bit wiser tack. Now, rather quickly, our Synod seems to be moving to correct ensuing problems, some caused by their own lack of firmly dealing with the problem persons in the past, some from the realization that "hope" didn't work out too well. This is what must be done to have a healthy church, although it may not be too pretty at times.
#38 K. Carlsen on 2011-05-08 19:22
"Do we return to the culture of the "old" OCA." The old OCA never left. The times you are referring to had Metropolitans who did nothing but sit back and serve as the Metropolitan and official events. They didn't make waves. They ran every decision past the Synod - no unilateral decisions. They were a face for the OCA and figure heads. The only problem was that they were also immoral. What is currently happening is an effort to maintain the "old OCA", albeit with more accountability. We want a Metropolitan who sits back and does nothing as a leader. We have a neutered Metropolitan who has basically been made a "yes" man. This is exactly what Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman were, minus the sexual immorality and embezzling. No, the old OCA vision continues and has even become more clarified by calling the former Mets (and current) to task. I heard it said that the recent resolutions basically make the Chancellor into the leader of the OCA. Isn't that what we had with Kondratick? I see it now. Garklavs will become the new Kondratick who tells the new Metropolitan Theodosius/Herman what to do and say, (not to mention the Synod.) Nothing has changed. This was the vision set up by Schmemann. I heard it said from a person who was in his office one day, that the phone rang. Fr. Alexander took the call saying, "yes do that. No don't do that. I want you to do such and such." The conversation went on like that and Fr. Alexander hung up. He looked to the priest and said, "that was Metropolitan Theodosius. He doesn't #!%& without talking to me first." Unbelievable. This was from a reliable source. And it is indicative of what to old OCA vision was and what I believe the OCA vision still is, it never changed. Rather, the powers that be want to maintain the old vision with some major adjustments, like no immorality. Lord have mercy on us and grant us to truly leave behind the "old OCA."
(Editor's note: You are wrong, from start to finish. Period. Not even worth responding to, because anybody who thinks nothing has changed, is not paying attention.)
#39 Anonymous on 2011-05-09 09:16
James, wise counsel that, I believe.
Mark, I have to say I appreciated the service you have rendered at this site in the past, but with this present crisis, your protests to detractors that you "just report facts" rings hollow. You have used way too much loaded language to qualify as a dispassionate observer just reporting the facts. I think you need to apologize to us Jane Austin fans for this use of her very wise observations to put your own biases in the most sympathetic light, and that last paragraph about the weak singing . . . well, what can I say? This is not news reporting--it is melodrama, folks (not to mention the gloating)! I am not unhappy about the actions of the Holy Synod if there has been a real problem with MJ, and it appears there has been of some nature. I am happy to see many of the changes proposed that allow for tightening up of accountability and oversight especially of clergy sexual misconduct cases, etc. What makes me very unhappy is the thinly disguised glee on your part that MJ is getting his just deserts. More than that I deplore OCANews and OCATRuth stooping to publishing private communications to be tried in the court of public opinion, rather than the concerned parties bringing them to the attention of the Holy Synod to be handled appropriately "in-house." I am hugely disappointed in what has been reported of the conduct of Bp. Mark at St. Seraphim Cathedral.
I think it is time to close down OCANews and form a pan-American Orthodox accountability and transparency site managed by a board of Orthodox laity representative of all jurisdictions and accountable to one another, following proper journalistic standards, and following explicit and well-defined standards of integrity, like Evangelicals who join the Evangelical Christian Financial Accountability Association (see link below).
(Editor's note: I look forward to the day that there is an Orthodox Christian Financial Accountability Association. Go for it.)
#40 Karen on 2011-05-09 20:59
Uhh . . . late night brain blurr. That should have read ". . .apology to Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) fans . . ."
#41 Karen on 2011-05-10 05:39
This question may not be relevant to this thread, and I apologize for asking it here. But why is +Nikolai still listed as a retired bishop of the OCA? I thought he had been acccepted into the Serbian church?
(Editor's note: He was released by the OCA to the Serbian Church, pending their acceptance of him. They have not yet accepted him, hence he is still listed as a retired OCA bishop.)
#42 Morton on 2011-05-16 13:09
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