Saturday, May 21. 2011
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How can anybody not think there is not a power grab/COUP by the Synod when they pass a resolution in Chicago that goes directly against an OCA statute?
“…The Metropolitan, as the Chairman of the Synod, shall seek and receive prior agreement of the Lesser Synod for all programs and initiatives relating to the external and internal affairs of the Church”
OCA STATUTE-Article IV, Section 2i. “The Metropolitan Has the right of pastoral initiative and guidance, and when necessary the right of pastoral intervention, in all matters concerning the life of the Church within the framework of the holy canons:”
(Editor's note: You are incorrect. Article IV Section 2 refers to the right of the Metropolitan to "interfere" in another diocese to restore order - it says nothing about the duties of the Lesser Synod. The Synod, which is led by the Metropolitan, has every right to determine its own functioning - within the context of the Statute - and that is what Resolution 3 is about.)
#1 Robert on 2011-05-21 19:31
There's no conflict between the OCA Synod's Resolution 3 and Article 4, Section 2 of the OCA Statute, Robert. As the statute says, "The Metropolitan has the right of pastoral initiative and guidance, and when necessary the right of pastoral intervention... within the framework of the holy canons." "Within the framework of the holy canons" includes Apostolic Canon 34, which states: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them [in other words, the primate] and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it [what we now call a "diocese"]. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit." So by the canons, the primate is accountable to the synod he chairs, just as the bishops in the synod answer to him. Resolution 3 simply reaffirms that canonical principle.
#1.1 Gregory on 2011-05-22 19:47
I believe both Mark and Gregory are incorrect.
Article IV section 2 is only directed to the Metropolitans DUTIES--which says he has the RIGHT of pastoral INITIATIVE in ALL matters... THe Lesser Synod can NOT take away a Right given by Statute. In addition, Yes, Canon 34 exists, but the OCA statute DIRECTLY spells out that a duty/Right of the Metropolitan is pastoral initiative and guidance. In addition, Article IV section 2 specifically recognizes that the Metropolitan has to be in accordance with holy canons BUT STILL recognizes a RIGHT of pastoral initiative and guidance for the Metropolitan! This is basically a coup--everyone knows it.
(Editor's note: You are comparing apples and oranges. Once again, the Synod's resolutions have nothing to do with a diocesan bishop's duties. )
#1.1.1 Robert on 2011-05-23 07:57
The OCA Statute states the range of the primate's authority is to be exercised, like it or not, "within the framework of the holy canons" -- and that includes Apostolic Canon 34, with its reciprocal consensus and mutual accountability between the primate and his brother bishops. That may not be to the taste of those fond of more monarchic or papist forms of social organization, but it is what the Church, in its wisdom, set up as "checks and balances" to stifle blind ambition on the part of individuals in the episcopacy.
#188.8.131.52 Gregory on 2011-05-23 09:49
Mark, your assertion that +Mark Maymon was being targeted by "Team +Jonah" is completely and utterly off base. As Bishop Nikon could attest to, there was a litany of real and valid concerns voiced by St Seraphim's Cathedral that had nothing to do with his support of Metropolitan Jonah.....you are misleading in your characterization of his difficulties in the DOS as stemming from not being on the right "Team."
#2 James on 2011-05-21 20:00
This is so sad.Met.Jonah seems so desperate,,almost driven by power.Perhaps the SMPAC report should be redacted and posted...
Lets let it all hang out...transparency was promised...accountability has already gone down the drain
(Editor's note: Accountability has not gone down the drain - otherwise the SMPAC would never have been created or reported. You comment would have been valid if it had indeed been consigned to "permanent confidentiality". It was read by those responsible - that is, the Synod. Transparency does not mean that everybody has to let "everything all hang out" all the time. Sometimes it is good to see ourselves naked in the mirror; othertimes clothes are better. )
#3 Stephen on 2011-05-21 20:04
Stokoe! Have you gone mad!?
Telling the truth, OMG man! You mustttttt be mad!
#4 Name removed by request on 2011-05-21 20:10
Right out of the box your words are loaded and inaccurate. It is untrue that Met. Jonah is only welcome in his own Diocese. It must be that you don't travel or more likely, you have eyes, but cannot see. and ears but cannot hear... You must be "otherwise occupied".
(Editor's note: Check out his travel in the next few months, apart from Stavropegial institutions and foreign travel. Get back to me.)
#5 Ecco on 2011-05-21 20:24
You are a sad little man, Mark Stokoe. Flippant, almost gleeful, in adoration of your own work.
#5.1 Poor Mark on 2011-05-23 07:35
How edifying. Thank you for that substantive contribution.
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-24 21:34
Mark: I believe you are missing some important information here. Is this speech from Santa Fe? If so, wouldn't I be correct to accuse you or stirring up mud?
If I understand this is an old speech, then no wonder the Synod asked him to get some help.
(Editor's note: Yes, this is the speech he gave in Santa Fe at the end of February, which led the Synod to request he get help, which led to his denial he was on Leave, which led to the postponement of the Synod and MC, which led to the attempt to sabotage Bishop Mark, which led to the meeting in CHicago, which led us to a series of resolutions and clarifications concerning how the Synod would work in the future. So, it is not stirring up mud, as much as revealing what initiated recent events....)
#6 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-05-21 22:00
I certainly wish the speech had been released by the Synod, rather than by you Mark.
I read the unedited version first. I don't need editorials or covert dialogue to develop opinions. I'm sure this is something hard to understand for the Metropolitan. I haven't had a single covert conversation with Rod Dreher or Jesse C or Fr. Fester or former Bishop Nikolai. I had one unsolicited covert conversation with someone who asked me not to name them personally who only told me my opinions and hunches were valid and to not doubt them. In the last hundred years, more and more Orthodox people are educated. And information is more readily available. There aren't conspiracies, just people intelligent enough to render opinions. And sometimes those opinions agree. Suddenly- collective, educated opinion is conspiracy... No. This is a mistake in the thought process of our Metropolitan.
I found the speech ironic.
Ironic in that while I've found the Metropolitan to be somewhat gay bashing since he became a Bishop; he believes there is a gay agenda he needs to fight against. In the last hundred years of homosexuality and the Orthodox church; we are very lucky to have survived the war. And my, my, aren't we lucky to have such a strong leader when the war is raging so wildly now. I mean, can you imagine gay people want rights? You'd think they'd like to lead the OCA or something! And the Metropolitan is sadly mistaken about a gay agenda unless he includes a gay agenda of attending the agape because there are gay people that like to include that in their agenda. Sadly, yes, we have gays in the Orthodox church; for shame .. I guess. Stop it Metropolitan Jonah. Take your gay worries and put them in a bucket and bury them in a deep woods in Pennsylvania please. I believe there are a few around South Canaan and they might find a bucket for you there as well. My wife will attest I have no gay friends and couldn't care less about gay matters. Actually, how about just shut up about gays already. Are they bothering you? Funny how gay people would bother a celibate monk. Gay agenda .. good grief Charlie Brown. If you believe homosexuality is a sin, have pity on gay people Metropolitan Jonah, and nothing less. If they wish to marry to attain a legal status that gives them more rights in society, why don't you realize that status is discriminatory to singles? Why must I be the teacher to a student who won't listen?
Ironic that he suggests there is or was a 'power vacuum' filled by the MC. All of the accounting of past events suggests the opposite is true, well mostly. The Metropolitan and Chancellor covered for each other in the pre-Jonah church. The MC has never had any power; I got a nasty phone call from a former someone on the MC one day for rendering my opinion here. It'd be good for the MC to provide the financial statements of the last 15 years if they had so much power. The MC finally got a few cajones after all the graft was uncovered; its true, but a single speech in Santa Fe removing the Chancellor and decrying the church will die if the MC has any power is bullkaka. His cancellation of the meetings is more proof the MC continues to be a powerless body in the church. The spirit of congregationalism is what stopped the just shy of 10,000 cash draws. It didn't stop ex-communing Kozey; that would have been a hierarch.
Now about 'people in prelest from demons'... this kind of thinking by the leader of the church is really Pat Robertsonish and it is not something I will accept. I had to look up the meaning. Prelest is a Russian word. Suggesting thinking, thoughtful, educated people, who are able to form collective opinion are possessed by demons is enough of a statement for me to think he is completely wacko. Sorry Metropolitan Jonah; we aren't in prelest from demons if we don't agree with you. I'm possessed, yup, by iics.
And the Chancellor isn't trying to become a bishop and he isn't trying to advance the 'gay agenda'; he is married. Metropolitan Jonah ought to understand one thing about Orthodoxy; in the style of Father Washburn; married priests can't be bishops silly, gay guys can become bishops (maybe a few can). And sorry FW, it just seems like something you might say. Perhaps Father Washburn can explain to me how a fired Chancellor was on a power grab. That'd be a good one! (exclamations might be used) Yes, it is so ideal to churn Metropolitans instead of getting them to visit your church. Must have been churn, that's a motive, or maybe it was the gay agenda being advanced by a Chancellor possessed by gay demons.
To be honest, though, rather than redact and retract the report documenting the lack of action by Metropolitan Jonah that we all can infer, why not just face the music? The entire Catholic church for years didn't do the right thing about sexual abuse. Why not just accept your failings and fix it go for'd? I dunno... could it be that the Chancellor couldn't report first to the Metropolitan because the Metropolitan was mentioned? I'm just guessing here; going out on a long limb there.
All this nutty behavior uncovered by Mark would really be better just kept under a rug because then I might not be bothered so much by the behavior of the wierd.
The church won't be shattered by the gay agenda and a bunch of imagined bullies. It will be shattered by its leaders saying and doing foolish things.
Mark, Mark, Mark. Don't you think at some point these guys would get it? I don't think you are that hard to figure out. You repeatedly work towards honesty, transparency, accountability, and integrity in the church, yet these virtues are extolled, if you will, as 'intimidation and threat of exposure'.
Furthermore, the Metropolitan really needs to redact and retract some of the things he said in this speech. I'd really like to forgive him; if he'd at least drop the demon garble; I could maybe work to respect him. Maybe it doesn't matter...I don't know.
I will continue to pray the Metropolitan stops the gay bashing agenda (frankly, I'd rather not hear about people's sexual choices ... that works nicely and it seemed like the Metropolitan liked that in his arguments against DADT repeal, but he wants to keep bringing it up). btw, I did just fine not knowing anything about any of the sexual rumors about past Metropolitans up until just recently. I will continue to pray the Metropolitan becomes more Job-like.
Perhaps that is the only conspiracy. What a horrible thing that we'd want our Metropolitan to be like that guy. Sounds kinda gay...
Someone out there owes me the last hour and a half of my life back.
#6.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-05-22 23:10
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
--Hamlet Act III Scene 2
#6.1.1 Felix Culpa on 2011-05-24 07:45
For another and equally careful analysis of Jonah please see http://www.ocatruth.com/?p=979#more-979.
(Editor's note: It is certainly interesting, and revealing, that the anonymous author ( aren't they all?) took the name "Crito" as his pseudonym. One suspects he was inferring that the Synod and Council and Staff are all "unjust judges"; unfortunately, the criticism is misplaced.
In fact, Socrates rebuked Crito for suggesting he not drink the hemlock and flee the city instead of dying. This Crito need have no fears on that regard for +Jonah. +Jonah has made it clear he has no intentions of leaving in any way, shape or form. So once again OCATruth has turned reality on its head. They aim to sound philosophical - loving truth - but end, as all sophists, in advocating philodoxy, the love of opinion, their own.)
#6.2 Vicky on 2011-05-25 09:27
Looks like we have a Pope! Habemus Papam! WOO HOO!
Holy Father Leonty, pray for us! PLEASE!
What a mess!
#7 Alex Ivsky on 2011-05-22 06:07
Hey Mark, there appears to be a gap in the speech between "I will not stand for this" and "his group is a bunch of bullies". Is there a formatting mistake or did a part of the speech not get copied?
(Editor's note: Thanks for pointing this out. Nothing is missing but the letter "T" at the beginning of that latter sentence. Instead of "his group" it should read "This group...) I apologize for the error.)
#8 Cordelia on 2011-05-22 06:44
If I can ask for another clarification, I have the last two years' financials open on my computer, and don't see anywhere that the Metropolitan was given any amount of money to help him with his move to DC. Can you help out an old lady and show me when and where that money was set aside for the Metropolitan's relocation expenses?
(Editor's note: As I don't have the last two years financial's on my computer, I suggest you contact the Treasurer of the OCA for that line item. I am sure she will be able to help.)
#8.1 Cordelia on 2011-05-23 07:14
"Can you help out an old lady and show me when and where that money was set aside for the Metropolitan's relocation expenses?"
What relocation? Has he ever lived in NY? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought he lived in DC, and travelled to the chancery. And, by the by, the complaint about +Herman was he didn't live in DC; now you seem to be complaining that +Jonah does.
(Editor's note: The complaint against +Herman was that he was living in another bishop's house in another diocese, rather than in Syosset, which was his house, and in his Diocese. No one has ever really lived in DC - past Metropolitans simply used an apartment provided by the Cathedral when in town. The complaint against +Jonah was that he avoided Syosset - not just that he choose not to live there. The relocation monies were to transition him from Bronxville, the Diocesan residence of the Bishop of NY-NJ where he choose to live, to DC, where he wanted to live, as opposed to Syosset, where accomodations for him existed. )
#8.1.1 Michael Strelka on 2011-05-23 18:20
I stand corrected, but you still slightly confuse the issue. He is the bishop of DC, and he should live there, should he not?
(Editor's Note: That is a valid question; although he is also Metropolitan of All America and Canada, so the hdq. of the OCA , where the past 4 Metropolitans have lived is also an option. The point of disagreement is that this is an issue that should be thoughtfully considered, not arbitrarily and rashly decided by one person, without reflection of its financial implications -- which run into the millions. There are many reasons a move to DC might be good; there are reasons why it might be bad. Let's consider them all, and make an informed judgement.)
#184.108.40.206 Michael Strelka on 2011-05-24 06:30
Metropolitan Jonah moved to DC because that's where his diocese is based. His diocese is based there because the Synod voted in 2009 to split his diocese, and he became diocesan bishop of Washington alone, and locum tenens of New York.
When Metropolitan Jonah lived in Bronxville, he was either diocesan bishop (pre-split) or locum tenens (post-split) of New York, so it was reasonable for him to live in the area.
The house an hour drive at most from Syosset, and about five minutes from SVS. It has plenty of space for both Metropolitan Jonah and Monk Gregory, and it has furniture left over from when Archbishop Peter lived there, so they wouldn't even have to sleep on the floor, or eat over the sink!
So, we basically had a bishop who needed a place to crash, and a big, empty, furnished house within his canonical territory: it was a natural fit. And it made a lot more sense to let Met. Jonah live there, taking care of the house that the Diocese already owned, than having to buy another house on Long Island.
Once Bishop Michael was elected, Metropolitan Jonah had to vacate the rectory before the new diocesan bishop was consecrated. So he found a place to live within his own diocese, that is, Washington, DC and its environs. As a diocesan bishop, it is not only his right but his duty to live in his diocese.
And Mark, just because he moved his household to DC puts no pressure on anyone else to move the national chancery to DC. He lives in DC because that's his canonical territory, and his canonical territory does not include Syosset. His diocese no longer includes Syosset because the Synod vote made it so. So, if you are blaming anyone for Metropolitan Jonah not living near the national chancery, point your finger squarely at the Holy Synod of mid-2009, not just Met. Jonah.
You can argue about how often Metropolitan Jonah showed up for work, but he simply was not out of line by living in Bronxville or moving to DC.
(Editor's note: You are correct; but then I never said he was out of line in living in Bronxville. I said his attempting to arbitrarily move the hdq. of the OCA to DC because he chose to live there was. If the Met. wants to commute to work, its his choice. )
#220.127.116.11 Cordelia on 2011-05-24 08:52
You say you "never said he was out of line in living in Bronxville", but you have repeatedly criticized his decision not to live in Syosset, which is basically the same thing as criticizing him for having lived in Bronxville between 2008-2010.
My understanding is that Metropolitan Jonah did stay in Syosset once or twice, but was more comfortable staying out in Bronxville.
You say, "his attempting to arbitrarily move the hdq. of the OCA to DC because he chose to live there was [out of line]."
Living in DC was not an arbitrary choice that Metropolitan Jonah made, it was the result of a Synodal decision. He may have liked it, he may have advocated it, but the ultimate decision to put him in Washington alone was the Synod's.
The issue of moving the chancery is a separate issue entirely with its own reasons and issues. In the WaPo article, for example, the reasons given in favor of moving were the exorbitant cost of running the chancery in Syosset, and the advantage a DC base would give to public advocacy for various things. The fact that Metropolitan Jonah lives in DC was not mentioned.
Also, I posted something yesterday about the financial reports that may have gotten spam filtered or something because of the links. If you've gotten it, could you kindly release it?
(Editor's note: Now you are claiming the Synod has the authority to tell the Metropolitan where to live? That's interesting! As for the cost of living in DC and Syosset - it is higher in DC. The WaPO article was also disingenous about Syosset - claiming it was a ramshackle "former summer home." We should all live in such summer homes. As for the financial comment, the links apparently did spam it out. It happens.)
#18.104.22.168.1 Cordelia on 2011-05-24 17:31
You say I am claiming that the Synod can tell the Metropolitan where to live, but that's not what I said exactly.
The Synod voted to split the diocese, and have Metropolitan Jonah be diocesan bishop of Washington, while New York would henceforth be a separate diocese. His responsibilities as locum tenens kept him from living in DC full-time until the consecration of Bishop Michael was imminent. But because Metropolitan Jonah was now diocesan bishop of Washington, it followed that he should live there.
So, while the Synod did not directly order him to move to Washington, they did make him bishop of Washington, and as it is established that a diocesan bishop should live in his diocese, that's precisely what Metropolitan Jonah did.
He may have liked it, he may have wanted it, but the fact that Metropolitan Jonah lives in Washington is in accordance with the Synodal decision, not because it was his personal whim.
(Editor's note: Insisting the OCA Hdq. follow him was. That was the problem, not where he laid his head at nite.)
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Cordelia on 2011-05-25 08:23
The Orthodox Church in America claims it is the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of the Americas, right? (not that anyone else recognizes it except the MP.. but more on that later.)
So if it is the American Orthodox Church, then National Church should have its headquarters in the national capital. Why is this so? Because the Church needs to communicate with, and at times, to lobby the State. If the OCA is genuinely the Orthodox Church of America, then it should have its headquarters in the national capital - not in some backwater that no one has ever heard of or bothers to go to.
The Orthodox agenda needs to be put strongly to the American government. Stokoe, your opinion on this matter is completely irrelevant. Met. Jonah's opinion is far more important than yours. He is the guy in the hot-seat, and you are not. He's ordained for life, and you are not. He answers for the care of his flock to God, you do not (I wonder whether you can even imagine what this must be like?)
Such questions are for him and his Synod only to speculate on and discuss without interference.. and they are certainly not for you as a lay person to criticise because you have zero authority and zero responsibility. You are like a nasty Hollywood critic- someone who never made it through acting school because you have no ability and no capability to handle the limelight... and now you have a chip on your shoulder because you've tasted power in your role in the downfall of the previous OCA Met.. You like the power, but you don't have any responsibility or knowledge about how to handle it, and you were not selected to do so. You are like Gollum from Lord of the Rings in your jealousy - made insipid in your desire to exercise a power that is not yours to wield.
Instead of criticising him, you should be praying for him. Instead of attacking him at every opportunity, you should be finding ways to help him. But you incapable of such honourable behaviour because you want to be in charge, but never will be.
But on the subject of the MP... today the head of the OCA concelebrated with the head of ROCOR for the first time in the cathedral of the MP in NY, healing a rift which has been in place for a very long time indeed. It was an historic occasion. Did you publish anything about this? Did you note what an important and great occasion this was? Or that it was brokered by the Moscow Patriarchate? No. Was it because there was no mud to sling, no sleeze to dig up? Mmm. probably. Or maybe you're waiting for another nasty angle to appear.
Here's my advice to you - why don't you take your congregationalist, protestant, renovationalist agendas, pack them into your rainbow saddle bags, hop on your flying unicorn and disappear into the sunset back to Never-Never land like a good boy?
(Editor's note: Wow. Now I am "Gollum-like" because I, not the Synod, or his own misdeeds, forced the last Metropolitan to resign? Aside from the personal attacks, you have stated three errors: NYC is hardly a "backwater" by anyone's definition; lobbying the state is not in our budget by any means - it costs about $20 million to be serious in DC ( which is 90% less than what the real boys spend); and our total OCA budget is 87% less than even that figure. So, however important you may think we are, the reality is that we don't have the money to play "the game" that way. There are other, and perhaps better ways to preach the Gospel, rather than "play the game"; and finally about the OCA and ROCOR hierarch's serving together, this was hardly earth-shattering news, nor was it brokered by the MP. They just used the ocassion of the Patriarch's namesday to do it. There has been a joint commission working to promote means of reconciliation for more than a year; and many ROCOR-OCA clergy and bishops have served together before this week. This was just the first time the chief hierarchs had; which is nice, but hardly revelatory. ROCOR-OCA unity is a wonderful thing. But it is far more significant to see reconciliation on the less visible administrative level - in joint projects, pension funds, health plans, youth and college ministry, mission planting, relations with other churches, and the like, than a 2 hour service that symbolizes our growing unity, rather than initiated it...)
#126.96.36.199.1.1.1 OzObserver on 2011-05-26 04:48
You've missed the point, Mark. I never said that your very active involvement in ousting the previous Met was bad, I said that it was bad that you are doing it again - and this time you are actually taking apart someone who genuinely does not deserve it (and the first genuinely spiritual, monastic primate the OCA has ever had in its history). I wonder whether you subject yourself to the same legalistic scrutiny that you have fired towards your primate?
As far as lobbying is concerned, this is not just about money or "playing game". It is about representing the faith in the Nation's Captal. It does not have to be traditional stereotypical lobbying of the type you seem to have in mind- but either way, it is easier to represent in the nation's capital.
However I note that you have not denied being a neo-renovationalist and a congregationalist. Neither have you attempted to counter the false ecclesialogical view that many of your fans propogate that there is no difference between the pressures which are on an ordained/monastic vs a lay person. As a lay person, you have can be elected to an office one day, and out the next. As an ordained clergyman (and a monk also), +Jonah is a ordained for life. There is a massive difference both in responsibility and effort. For you to genuinely be worthy of judging your Metropolitan, you would first have to become a monastic and then a priest, and then you might actually have some kind of equal footing and understanding of what it is like. But instead, you are "all care and no responsibility" - a worldly observer, hiding behind a mask of "concern for what is right". I doubt that you would pass the same test that you are attempting to subject Met Jonah to. I really don't think you'd make past day 1 walking in his shoes.
(Editor's note: In answer to your questions, I am not a neo-renovationist, whatever that is, although I do believe it is better to worship in one's native language rather than an archaic one: nor am I a congregationalist. And no, one does not have to be a monastic to criticize a monastic's bad behaviour. That is an absurd standard.
And yes, you should be aware I am subject to the the "same test" as Metropolitan Jonah: we are both subject and responsible to Best Practices and Whistleblower Protections. Moreover, it is ignorance, bad history, and disrespectful to the memory of over 200 years of ruling bishops in the Alaskan Missions, Metropolia and OCA to suggest +Jonah is the "first spiritual and monastic" ruling bishop we have had. I think St. Tikhon counts as a real monk, and +Leonty was certainly "spiritual". There is no need to disparage others to express your support for the Metropolitan.
Finally, I find it amusing that you criticize me for "all care and no responsibilty", even as others criticize me for being on the MC, and thus having responsibilities and caring.)
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 OzObserver on 2011-05-28 05:32
"For you to genuinely be worthy of judging your Metropolitan, you would first have to become a monastic and then a priest, and then you might actually have some kind of equal footing and understanding of what it is like."
Ok, so nobody can criticize anybody unless they've done the exact same job. Well so much for being able to criticize anybody, how convenient for those in power.
"(and the first genuinely spiritual, monastic primate the OCA has ever had in its history). "
Wow, way to take a shot at the many leaders the church has had in the past....
"The Orthodox agenda needs to be put strongly to the American government. Stokoe, your opinion on this matter is completely irrelevant. "
Nice to know that the opinions of the members of the OCA are irrelevant. Do you speak for +Jonah or the Holy Synod? And why does the Orthodox agenda need to be put strongly to the American Government, because +Jonah says so?
"Such questions are for him and his Synod only to speculate on and discuss without interference.. and they are certainly not for you as a lay person to criticise because you have zero authority and zero responsibility."
Again, the poor people have nothing to say, +Jonah will make the decision. Was it dicussed with the Holy Synod, did they agree with moving the OCA HQ to DC? Tell me where I can read about that in their notes from their meeting.
These two posts you make show the thinking of somebody that believes a bishop is incapable of doing wrong. That the people (the body of the church without which there are no bishops) have no say, no right to criticize. Just march in step, do as I command, do not question it or you will be crushed. You sound like somebody who has a taste for power yourself.
#220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Anon111 on 2011-06-03 06:51
Isn't moving the Chancery to DC more complicated than whether its costly or canonically allowed? Isnt the OCA required legally to have it's hq in New York?
#22.214.171.124.1.2 Anonymous on 2011-05-26 03:52
I would like to know how many of the people that want Syosset sold, have ever been there. As you say, we should all have such a place.
#126.96.36.199.1.3 Century 19 on 2011-05-30 07:05
No need to get Melanie Ringa involved, Mark. The reports are available for everybody:
2009: http://www.oca.org/PDF/NEWS/2010/2010-0300-metcouncil/finalofficersweb.pdf (Scroll down to page 13 of the PDF)
(I'd give you a link to the 2010 treasurer's report, also available on the OCA website, but I think the extra link got this spam-filtered the first time.)
There is a line item under "Holy Synod" for "Moving Expenses", but in 2010 nothing was spent and in 2009 the figure was only about $5000.
So, if you could just glance at these reports and tell me where you saw the line item you mentioned, where the OCA gave Metropolitan Jonah $20,000 to help him move his personal household to Washington, I would be much obliged.
(Editor's note: I will check for you to make sure I have accurately cited the number.)
#8.1.2 Cordelia on 2011-05-25 06:31
I have already made up my mind don't confuse me with the facts.
#9 Anonymous on 2011-05-22 07:34
Wow. Just wow. What a magalomaniac.
We Catholics are criticized for "papalism," but no pope would ever talk like this.
We were endlessly blasted by "Muzhik" for our lack of transparency re the sex abuse scandal, but we openly published this:
...while Met. jonah continues to suppress the SMPAC.
It's ironical and very sad.
Best wishes to my OCA brethren as they deal with this problem. God bless y'all and good luck!
#10 Clueless Catholic on 2011-05-22 07:36
Thank you so very much Mark for your analysis. I believe that it is imperative that all of the OCA faithful understand what kind of a metropolitan is currently in place.
His remarks about the sexual misconduct are really the most tragic. +Jonah's desire to quash the investigations and make sure that no information comes to light is very reminiscent of the two former metropolitans. I hope and pray that the OCA will not tolerate burying information any longer.
My second observation is the revisionist history of +Jonah's that he continues to refer back to. For the record, +Herman was ousted before he came to power. The finances of the OCA were cleaned up before he took power. There was a sense of hope and life when +Jonah was elected. Where he gets off saying that he found a church demoralized is pathetic. The OCA gave him the kindest and warmest welcome it could.
The problems began when +Jonah:
Took it upon himself to try and "fix" the Kondratick matter, without consultation from the legal committee.
Refused to deal with the +Seraphim investigation once it was brought to light.
Refused to begin to address problems in his diocese
Refused to communicate with his staff in Syosset
Decided to go galavanting around the world without any stated purpose
Decided to make ill-advised statements about world orthodoxy without consulting with anyone
Decided to make ill-advised decisions regarding seminaries, monasteries, finances, staffing, etc.
Now +Jonah seems to think that there is some huge conspiracy against him. It's not a conspiracy, it's called accountability. If he thinks that the laity in 21st century are not part of the decision-making process, he really is delusional.
#11 Anonymous on 2011-05-22 07:46
After a very brief reading of the very long article I find two things that stand out:
1. Fester's e-mail to Jonah advising him how he should act at the Santa Fe meeting is suspiciously similar to another letter from Fr.Brum sent to Metropolitan Theodosius advising him how he should proceed in firing Dn.Eric Wheeler;
2. The tactic of essentially charging a large number of clergy and laymen in a conspiracy is suspiciously similar to the tactics employed by "Monk James' in his many many posts defending Kondratick and claiming that the Synod, Spiritual court, the PR law firm, the SIC investigating commitees etc were all out to get Kondratick.
#12 nicholas skovran on 2011-05-22 11:43
I've read every word. So what?
(Editor's note: I once had a friend who told me the following story. Seems a friend of hers wanted to go to Paris for the weekend. Surprised, she asked where the woman planned to stay, what she wanted to do, and how much money it would cost her. The woman replied: " I wasn't planning on taking any money. Do you think I should?" My friend replied: " If you don't know why you should take money for a weekend in Paris, nothing I say about it will matter." So too here. If you don't know why the things discussed in this speech are problematic, then nothing I say here will matter anyway. Go in peace. )
#13 OK on 2011-05-22 11:47
So ... the Met is delusional, paranoid and vengeful. That's what.
#13.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-22 23:28
I get it now. Two people can't have different opinions on something. You are right as always Mark. This is really just sad.
(Editor's note: While I agree the situation is sad, I do agree two people can have different opinions. Apparently we do. )
#13.2 OK on 2011-05-23 08:04
For someone who only wants to reveal the truth, why do you need to edit and commentate any comment you disagree with? Are you afraid we might form the wrong opinion without your help? We are big children and can make up our own minds once we see the facts. And we have a modicum of abilities to discern fact versus opinion without your filters.
(Editor's note: Once again, I edit remarks that I know to be asserting false information; and remarks that are beyond the pale ( in poor taste, or just really inappropriate.)) It would seem a strange site if everyone and anyone could offer comments - except me. I do not add comments to every comment, only where I think they are warranted. Sometimes people want a conversation, which leads to further questions. Sometimes I just can let a comment pass. I could offer them anonymously like another site I know, but I prefer to be honest and upfront about my opinions. If my comments offend, I apologise. )
#13.3 Anonymous on 2011-05-25 09:41
I hope my comment about comments was not offensive since it was commented on (jk) It is like the paradox about whether the book that catalogues all the books in the library must be contained in the catalogue itself...
I am really trying to sift through everything and find the truth. I just feel a little condescended to when obviously beyond the pale comments get your voice "correcting" them. And while I appreciate the possibility to enter into some discussion here, there is not really the possibility for dialogue with you as we can't reply to your comment-- only to the comment you commented on.
#13.3.1 anonymous on 2011-05-25 10:37
Delusional, simply delusional!
#14 Anonymous on 2011-05-22 12:55
Not only kind of delusional, but paranoid too! I feel only pity for MJ, but sorrow too, and sorrow that the Synod has to deal with this. I wonder if any of this came out in the report from the psychologist.
#14.1 another anonymous on 2011-05-22 18:59
My wife and I are going to make a donation to St. Herman's House of Hospitality this week. I would humbly ask all Orthodox in North America to donate something, even just a can of corn this week to their local Orthodox charity with a prayer said to St. Herman for the life of our church and the faithful in North America. Let us take our focus off these politics that came out today for a moment, and focus on helping those in need, and then return with a renewed charitable heart to deal with the bunch of kindergartners- a.k.a. officials running amok on the national level that really need a good time out.
#15 John L. Sirignano-Petrushevsky on 2011-05-22 13:45
Well, the posted commentary from +Jonah is actually before the Synod and MC meeting that just took place early May. So, perhaps we need to wait to see how things go. I think the Synod and MC were trying to all work it out at their recent meetings. I will wait to see how things go.
#16 Patty Schellbach on 2011-05-22 16:47
It’s interesting that +Jonah is accusing the Metropolitan Council of exercising congregationalism while promoting papist ecclesiology for the office of metropolitan. Perhaps Metropolitan Philip put something in +Jonah’s tea when they last met “to discuss matters of mutual concern.”
#17 an old priest on 2011-05-22 18:04
Dear Mr. Stokoe,
So this is what it is all about? Metropolitan Jonah wishes to concentrate executive power into his own hands? He wishes to curtail the power of the Metropolitan Council? He wishes the other bishops to follow his lead? He wishes ocanews.org would calm down?
Mr. Stokoe, sir, my opinion matters for naught because I am no more than one man who is disgusted with both sides. Nor, apparently, am I endowed with the same wit and wisdom as yourself because I fail to see the perfidy you assure me is so inherent and obvious in this speech.
Moreover, it seems that I am one for whom the world is too modern, too democratic because upon certain of these revelations, I find myself in agreement with His Beatitude. Frankly, I would rather executive power NOT be the province of the Metropolitan Council because, sir, witnessing the uncharitable nature of this Internet war waged between Orthodox Christians falsely professing love and respect, I find only confirmation of my choice to long ago embrace dystopian, world-weary cynicism.
#18 Displaced Lemming on 2011-05-22 21:23
Perhaps things would calm down a bit if Mr. Stokoe would simply list all the piroshki and baklava sales in the Orthodox milieu, and leave church politics (note the lower case here!) to his betters in the Zentral Administration?
Hoo hoo, hee hee
I think I should be anonymous for this post...
#18.1 another anonymous on 2011-05-23 13:29
As a student of history, as I read this, I could not but be drawn to a sepulchral figure that loomed out of the darkness of times-past - that of Hildebrand. The shape and sound today is most certainly that of +Jonah, but the words, the thinking, the same Roman Imperial outlook is that of Hildebrand.
To quote Peter De Rosa "Vicar's of Christ" (p78) on Hildebrand:
"He was the only pope ever to canonize himself but he is best remembered as a man haunted by a single memory. It pursued him for close on forty years until he came to die, probably the most revered and power-crazed pontiff in history.
"The memory that practically rotted the brain of Hildebrand,
who took the name of Gregory VII, was of his namesake, Gregory VI being deposed and humiliated in 1046. The sinner who did it was Emperor Henry III, who put a puppet on the papal throne instead."
Is this is what is driving +Jonah? And rotting his brain? The memory of +Herman's ouster? Does +Jonah see himself as the OCA's Hildebrand? And the MC as Henry VII? After all, +Jonah does have western roots, and this may well have occurred to him at least once in his reveries as he sought sleep.
Let's never forget that Hildebrand came to power in 1073, not all that long after the 1054 event.
Let's also face it, that with only minor tweaks, squiggles and local additions, both Hildebrand in his time and +Jonah today possess essentially the same corpus of Church Canon Law.
For those "cradle-O's" who have never ventured outside their Orthodox cocoon, do yourself a favour and study-up on Hildebrand. As they say in the classics: "To be forewarned is to be forearmed."
Fare thee well in thy studies, and may God bless you.
ps: Mark, keep up the good work.
#19 John Battye on 2011-05-23 03:12
As usual, an interesting historical observation. Who knows if Jonah is familiar with it. But I'm getting tired of "wounded" clerics whining about the power hungry laity, when the real problem is clericalism run amok--East and West. One of the reasons many of us came to Orthodoxy was because we thought this was less of a problem here--a closer to the people kind of Christianity. We should have done more historical research!
The disconnect between what Jonah has "said" and "does" is strikingly illustrated in Mark's piece. Maybe he just needs therapy, but I think the problem is more basic than that as many now seem to understand.
#19.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-05-23 07:46
So you came over because of the clergy?
#19.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-23 08:56
I couldnt agree more. All this is sickening. I thought perhaps that my flight from another church would find me in the one, true Church governed by centuries of wise experience. Instead I find a shabby edifice built by the hands of greedy, arrogant men who joust over every jot and tittle like randy old goats in a meadow.
My Priest tells me not to worry: " it has always been like this", and, "this too will pass" etc. Telling someone to look after their own salvation and not to worry about the condition of others is clearly the polite Orthodox way of telling a peon to mind your own F***ing business. What a disapointment indeed.
Mark, I compliment your journalism skills. You handle a great deal of information with concise dignity. On the other hand, I sense a tone of glee at the predicament of the distressed subject of this debacle. tsk, tsk. Of course, the truth at all cost, eh?
(Editor's note: If you read glee then I am at fault. Not because I experience glee - who could be happy at this mess? - but because my writing could engender that interpretation. I will ruthlessly de-glee. Thanks for the criticism.)
#19.1.2 John Nicholas on 2011-05-23 15:34
Thanks for your kind words. For converts, (as well as cradle “O’s”) your sentence here is particularly chilling:
“We should have done more historical research!”
To assist you in your research, just ask yourself where the real clergy-laity “divide” happens. Methinks you will find the level of the de-facto “border”: below - such as priest, proto-deacon, deacon, sub-deacon, reader etc are merely glorified laity, despite the titles they formally possess; above - such as mitred archpriest, bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, patriarch are, de-facto, the “real clergy”, with real power (auctoritas & potestias).
And that in the Imperial Roman ecclesial structure, in both the Eastern (Greek etc) and the Western (Latin) Churches - pace Romanides, it is a top-down autokrator structure, where the “higher-ups” are the ecclesia docens, and those “lower down” are the ecclesia audiens. And where the sole role of the ecclesia audiens is to turn-up, pray-up, pay-up and with fear and trembling - shut-up. Just how many priests do you know who behave as if they were merely part of the ecclesia audiens when the bishop, archbishop or metropolitan comes to town?
Can I suggest to you that when you converted, you (rightly) came into Holy Orthodoxy - the Faith, but not wittingly (also but unthinkingly) into the Constantinian ecclesial structure called “Orthodoxy”? Did you know that since Constantine, they became separable? With the growth of the clericalism that you so rightly decry?
As I said months earlier in a similar way - these Constantinian ecclesial structures (with their “higher clergy”) are merely a free-floating apex - truly autonomous to their “base”. So are all who inhabit them. And that in that state, as free-floating, this Constantinian ecclesial structure has frequently gone into schism with Holy Orthodoxy (the Faith)!
Remember, neither +Herman nor +Jonah were ever in schism with the Constantinian ecclesial structure. Nor was the vast majority of the OCA ever in schism with Holy Orthodoxy (the Faith).
Ken, and cradle “O’s”, never abandon Holy Orthodoxy (the Faith) - especially its Jewish elements. However, in the light of what you now see - in both the OCA and Antioch etc, remember that Christ NEVER commanded submission to power-crazed clerical, self-appointed elites - such as in a Constantinian ecclesial structure.
Christ blessed Holy Orthodoxy (the Faith). He never sanctioned the Constantinian ecclesial structure called “Orthodoxy” - in fact, if you read the prophet Daniel, and do your counting, you will find that He positively hates it!
Keep this in mind in your travels and all will be well.
Mara-na-tha and God bless you.
#19.1.3 John Battye on 2011-05-23 17:27
There was ALWAYS the Emperor who ruled civil society and the Patriarch who was responsible for the Church. Yet, the Patriarch was subject to the Emperor and the Emperor even received the Eucharist as a bishop and was seated as the first bishop. When the Emperor disappeared, the Pat. (and bishops) adopted the role of Bishop & Emperor in the Church. This is where the Church structure went wrong. Not "Eis polla li etti DESPOTA," but "Eis polla li etti EPISCOPUS."
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2011-05-25 06:35
This entire idea of "Bishop's Power" (Clergy) vs. "Laity" just isn't Orthodox! In the early church, most of the laity were uneducated and needed direction from an educated source regarding the church. These more educated types became bishops & priests. The people put their trust in all aspects of the bishop's direction - even when he was corrupt. Also, these were times when there were Kings, Aristocracy, the Clergy (protected class of the Aristocracy) and then the Peasants or Laity. One can easily see how bishops & clerics assumed a "power-leadership role." Within society at that time, this was probably necessary, but this also lead to the rise of Papal infallibility and Church abuse.
The "CORRECT" form of Bishop and Laity is found with Christ, His disciples and the followers of Christ. Not an elevated class, but those who came from the laity to teach & lead WITH THE LAITY. Those who emulate Christ must be the CHIEF SERVANTS OF THE LAITY - even to die for them!
#20 Any Moose on 2011-05-23 06:23
I find the statement of Christ being the example for clergy and laity illuminating.
It's a good thing the disciples never cut Christ's travel budget dis-invite him from his home in Nazareth.
Is His Beatitude Jesus Christ? Of course not. That would be blasphemous. BUT the teaching is that he ABSOLUTELY is the living icon of Christ among his people. And, like it or not, our church is hierarchical. If the office of Metropolitan or Patriarch were meaningless, they simply wouldn't exist. But since they do, they must mean something, QED.
And, as a longtime lurker, seldom commenter: Just as many of us here would be absolutely shocked at someone abusing an icon in church, say drawing a fake mustache or putting speech bubbles on the figures depicted, I myself am absolutely shocked at the way our bishops (ALL OF THEM) are treated on OCANews, both on the front page and in the comments.
Each of these men, who are properly consecrated and canonical Orthodox bishops, and who have dedicated their lives to the service of God, deserves no less than to be treated as the Icons that they are. THIS is the reason that sites such as this AND OCATruth shouldn't exist. On each site, but especially this one, and especially His Beatitude, bishops have been reduced to mere caricatures and sound bites that bear little to no resemblance to the actual man. I speak from my own experience with His Beatitude, and I WILL speak from experience when Bishop Mark visits my parish in the coming months.
Each of us will account for every word spoken one day. Mutual forgiveness and the mercy of God is our only defense.
(Editor's note: Thank you for your comment. However, we are all icons of Christ - which is not to disparage hierarchy, but simply to point out we are all deserving of respect, as your last line indicates so beautifully.
That being said, while some commentators on this site, and others, do belittle and attack others, OCANews.org does not reduce Bishops to sound bites: but whenever possible publish in whole what they say. That is the real man. If they makes themselves thereby into cartoon figures, that is their failing - not my fault for reporting what they say. )
#20.1 Sick and tired on 2011-05-23 14:15
Forgive me Mark, but if you simply reproduced what the man says without slicing and dicing into sound bites, there would be no need to offer an alternative link to his unedited text in the article that this series of comments tracks.
We all have biases. Even you. Even me. That's yet another reason that these so-called "just the facts" sites shouldn't exist.
(editor's note: We do all have biases, obviously. Mine are, as stated on the site, accountability and transparency. That is why I presented the speech in two forms: with comments and without comment. To present it only without explanation, without context, would be misleading. It is only when placed in context with explanations of his references, that its intent becomes more clear. )
Forgive me, a sinner.
#20.1.1 Sick and tired on 2011-05-23 15:04
So the Metropolitan is the 'icon of Christ'? Well just yesterday I attended a Hierarchical Liturgy in Tacoma where Bp. Benjamin presided, and he was also treated as an 'icon of Christ' in his vesting and his presiding, so I get the feeling that each bishop, even +Mark, is an icon of Christ where he is presiding over his flock. I'm sure that several disciples were nonplussed, confused, and even dismayed at some of the sayings of their 'Vladika'. Get used to it.
This is not to say that all bishops are perfect or that they don't do silly things at times. after all they are not Jesus Christ, only stand in His image.
#20.1.2 Rdr. James on 2011-05-23 15:59
I'm afraid you don't understand! A bishop should never impose HIS will arbitrarily. We don't elect bishops so they can impose THEIR will against the will of the people. The disciples did not do this nor Christ. In + Jonah's case, the entire Synod was opposed to him; the MC was opposed to him, but he was insistent on imposing his own will. It doesn't work!
#20.1.3 Any Moose on 2011-05-23 16:43
I was especially impressed by the respectful and venerable accolades bestowed upon the Holy Synod of Bishops here. It really made me prayerfully consider how they "aren't able to organize their way out of a paper bag"!
(Editor's note: They seem to have not only found the paper bags, but appear to be actually using them. ...)
#20.1.4 ASP on 2011-05-24 04:45
Good thing I had my sarcasm meter handy! (There's a recursive statement if ever there was....)
Thank you for your example of precisely what I'm talking about.
- It took over 60 years for the OCA and ROCOR to be formally reunited (just a couple of days ago, in fact)
- It took over 80 years for ROCOR and Moscow to be reunited
- It took over 500 years for Moscow to be recognized as a patriarchate after the baptism of the Rus
- It took over 700 years for the theological and liturgical differences between the western half and eastern half of the Roman empire to catch up with the Church
And we expect our Synod to just "make things right" overnight. Can we keep things in perspective and give them a chance to work things out instead of making every single internal working of the synod open to the world for everyone to see?
Put it another way: When next we all attend the liturgy, will it still be the body and blood of Christ? Of course. Does any of this in any way diminish the sacraments by which we all receive salvation? No.
Have we stopped believing in prayer? Can we no longer trust the Holy Spirit to run His Church? We have to know every single little detail?
Have there been bad bishops before? Without doubt, and there are likely to be more where they came from! Have they destroyed the Church? That's not possible, right? So why the hand wringing!
I'm not saying "Don't worry, be happy" should be our anthem in this country; denial isn't just a river in Egypt. What I AM saying is that taking a more balanced view of Church history tells me that there is "nothing new under the sun", and that this too shall pass.
I just don't see what the problem is, so I remain:
Sick and tired (of those making hay out of this so-called "crisis")
#184.108.40.206 Sick and tired on 2011-05-26 08:41
Well this clears up some things, doesn't it?
It certainly clears up the question of how it came to be that Fr. Fester thought he had a couple of bishops lined up on his "side," only to have them act unanimously to encourage a leave of absence in Santa Fe. Whether or not there were any bishops leaning towards supporting +Jonah, there wasn't much chance they'd still be supporting him after being subjected to this distressing tirade.
Actually, we all owe Fr. Joseph a deep debt of gratitude -- by misreading the lay of the land and very badly overplaying his hand, he has forced all this out into the public and made it (finally!) possible to uproot the vestiges of the old RSK regime and way of doing things from the life of the OCA.
Most ironic is how the forces Fester is comically trying to orchestrate keep attempting to cast the current Synod or MC as representing the old way of doing things!
But I've misspoken (mis-written?). Nothing in this is comic. It's quite tragic.
And the situation of our Metropolitan is most sad. In my Pollyanna-ish stubbornness, I persist in seeing him as at heart good and well-intentioned. It's very hard at this point to know whether his own delusions or the manipulations of others are more to blame for where things have ended up. If he meant any part of what he so clearly and movingly said in Pittsburgh three years ago, it's very hard to understand how he's ended up in this pickle. The lack of consistency, the inability to listen to counsel, and the constant lurching from one thing to another seem to be his personal weaknesses. How much of the delusion and paranoia of this sad address to his brother bishops reflects his own worldview as opposed to ideas planted by others and encouraged to fester (couldn't help myself) in his mind, who knows?
Very sad. Very hard to know how he goes forward as the leader of the OCA.
But still, on the whole, we're in a good place -- with thoughtful, careful, responsible, loving bishops on the Synod; a solid MC; and a healthy, cooperative dynamic between the two bodies. How far we've come from an ineffectual MC, a divided and cowed Synod, and a manipulative Chancellor.
#21 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-05-23 06:51
Thank you for posting the text of this speech! Reading past your snake-like twisting of the facts (and really, shame on anyone who, by now, does not thoroughly understand what Fisher meant in Hard Facts on the subject of facts being utterly incapable of "speaking for themselves"), one can see the side of Jonah that one was afraid did not exist (i.e. the side that can actually take a stand and call out corruption when he sees it). in all this turmoil, I was afraid that he was not making use of all of those facts that you conveniently deny or ignore on this site, and was instead just sitting and taking abuse.
Good to know that HB has backbone. Sad to hear (from Fr. Fester, whoever he is... it's weird to hear priests called by last names) that, apparently, there's a problem in the Synod with bishops talking over the Metropolitan, refusing to listen to him, etc. As this was no doubt a private email (exemplary "ethics" btw, Stokoe), I have no real reason to doubt that Fester was telling the truth about the situation.
#22 G. Mutzel on 2011-05-23 08:19
For who's eyes was the Sexual Misconduct Committee’s report - the SMPAC report intended? (besides themselves, of course)
Will the laity ever see this report? Will at least the alleged victims and/or their families see it?
Consistently NOT giving "a rat's rear end" about victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse seems to be an infallible sign of the One True Church. I guess that scripture verse about millstones - Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2 - must not be in Orthodox bibles, either.
(Editor's note: As I understand it the SMPAC was intended as an internal review in the light of the Sidebottom settlelement. I do not think it was ever intended for public distribution in its present form. That is for the Synod to decide. As for the "The alleged victims" - they already know if the OCA followed its own policies or not in their own cases. One does not have to privy to that report to know we have have seen some failures in the recent past. One hopes this is a step towards doing a better job. )
#23 Catholic pot meet Orthodox kettle on 2011-05-23 08:21
CPMOK -- Well said. But to take your point further....
We've actually released our reports (e.g., John Jay Study). And instituted a zero-tolerance policy. And taken aggressive steps to clean up our act.
This Catholic pot may still be grimy, but at least it's getting a good scrubbing.
And I don't agree that SMPAC should be kept confidential. Not in this day and age. For one thing, it looks bad. For another, it sends a very bad signal. Transparency means just that: no more concealment.
#23.1 Catholic pot on 2011-05-23 09:49
I think you are on to something. It seems to me that if the Sexual Misconduct report stays with the Synod, it creates the havoc it appears to have created. Can not some other groups of our OCA, such as the Ethics Committee, or do we have also an Executive Met. Council, see this report?
Without someone or small body within our OCA administration also seeing this report what accountability is really there? Say, iit was 3-5 Orthodox psychiatrists meeting to see this Sexual Misconduct report, is this not a wise thing?
Having a goup of bishops always do the right thing, or have the best council, seems to be a shaky track record in the OCA.
#23.1.1 Patty Schellbach on 2011-05-23 17:26
The post by Catholic pot meet Orthodox kettle brings up some very good points. The sexual misconduct reports in the past never went beyond Fr. Karlgut and the Holy Synod. Perhaps they really need to be shared with the metropolitan council as well. This also ties in with +Jonah's vision of the hierarchy of the church (I'm sure no doubt influenced by Patriarch Kirill's approach to Orthodoxy). It appears that +Jonah like his predecessors just wants all these problems to go away or to be dealt with behind closed doors. I have heard on many occasions priests say that "clergy matters can only be resolved amongst clergy." This is ridiculous.
+Jonah, who clearly has been listening to Patriarch Kirill, seems to believe is that clergy sexual abuse can be solved only by clergy. Maybe it works in Russia (although, I would argue that it doesn't really work. There are just a lot more Orthodox Christians so probably just don't rise to the attention that they do here), but it is not working and will never work here in America.
Call it congregationalism or whatever term you want, but the laity in America demand a voice. There is no government sponsorship of the church in America and it was the laity who paid for the Kondratick mess, the Sidebottom legal expenses, the +Nikolai investigation, the Koumentakos matter, etal. It sounds nice to say that clergy should investigate clergy, but for the most part they have absolutely no understanding of the legal implications of their decisions. Is it not common sense that any and all matters of a sexual nature involve the legal committee of the metropolitan council? I don't personally like most lawyers but they are a necessary part of life today. Some day I hope +Jonah wakes up sees what century he's living in.
#24 Anonymous on 2011-05-23 09:14
Exactly!! Just ask Cardinal Mahony, who paid out $650 million to settle victims' lawsuits. Coverups simply are not an option anymore. Shouldn't what happened to us papists tell youse guys something?
#24.1 Catholic pot on 2011-05-23 12:00
Maybe, just maybe:
I am not all sure what the SMPAC suggests or recommends to the Synod. Perhaps there is a great reluctance to do anything.
Perhaps Someone or some professionally trained people OUTSIDE the OCA need to help the OCA with this SMPAC report.
Perhaps we need the perspective of a few professional "strangers," outside of the OCA (perhaps 5 Antiochian or Greek Orthodox psychiatrists) who could give some professional advice and recommendations.
I just dont' know how, when, or even if the OCA could effectively work with this SMAPC report.
Any feedback or suggestions out there?
(Editor's note: The SMPAC itself includes one member of the AOCNA, and another who studies theology in Europe. The OCA knows what to do; we just have to have the will to do it in every instance, no matter who is involved, as our own policies require. The Roman Catholics, to their chagrin, were caught on the "right of episcopal, pastoral discretion" by the courts, to the tune of $2 billion so far. We need not repeat their practices. They, apparently, and we, still have a way to go, in working out the mutual virtues of accountability, episcopal authority, pastoral responsibility, legal ramifications, victims rights, the rights of the accused, church canons, the internet, lawsuits, and the perception of the public. But we are surely headed in the right direction.)
#24.1.1 Patty Schellbach on 2011-05-24 18:06
I appreciate your comments of clarification .
#220.127.116.11 Patty Schellbach on 2011-05-25 07:48
Unlike in the Catholic church, I don't think our problems involve pedophilia that the hierarchy ignored. I could be wrong.
(Editor's note: Comparisons with others, and speculation about cases where you have no direct access to facts ("I could be wrong") is not helpful, even if you are trying to be. I suggest that in the future we all refrain from commenting about "what the problem may or may not be" and affirm together, whatever the problems are, or may be, that the OCA should follow its stated policies consistently and fully, which is an affirmation I think we all can make honestly and fully. At least I hope we can. Thanks.)
#24.1.2 anonymous on 2011-05-24 23:14
Have you checked pokrov.org lately?
BTW, the Catholic cases involved ephebophilia -- that is, they involved adolescents, not children.
There have certainly been similar Orthodox cases. This is a widespread, rampant societal problem. It affects all sectors of society, ecclesial and civil. Please don't bury your head, ostrich-like. That does no service to the victims. (As the daughter of a victim--although the perp was not clergy--I can say this with some amount of "street cred.")
Again, in this day and age, denial, concealment, and unwarranted assumptions are simply a bad idea. They can come back to bite you.
We Catholics had an outside agency, the John Jay School of Criminal Justice, conduct our most exhaustive study of clergy sex abuse (spanning more than 40 years). Maybe the OCA should commission an outside agency as well. Otherwise, isn't it a bit like the fox guarding the hen coop? Sincere question.
(Editor's note: I would not say "foxes" guarding the henhouses. That would be unfair. I would suggest "ostrichs"; big enough to give someone the boot when they want to, but usually sticking their head in the sand.)
#18.104.22.168 Catholic pot on 2011-05-25 09:33
I am a little floored to find a Catholic holier than thou attitude here.
(Editor's note: No, I think it is simply payback for ours during their continuing troubles. Perhaps the way forward is to help each other be better in protecting our mutual flocks.)
#22.214.171.124.1 anonymous on 2011-05-26 11:26
Pay back? I never cast one aspersion on Roman Catholics in my life. It is a way to totally alienate me. And it worked. No thank you to their help.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 anonymous on 2011-05-27 14:51
you know nothing about the church in russia or our patriarch. sexual transgressions among clergy are dealt with very strictly when discovered. and, the orthodox churches in the "old country" are very much a people's church where the laity readily expresses their opinion and criticism and the clergy listens. believe me, no patriarch, bishops or priests can escape the scrutiny of our old women, the babushki who are and were and always will be the guardians of our faith.
#24.2 Anonymous on 2011-05-24 15:50
Thank for for posting the test of his speach. Metropolitain Johan is the real leader we voted for at the last AAC. We have all been waiting for someone who will actually lead. He's doing it.
#25 Gene B on 2011-05-23 09:18
did you know there are bad leaders?
#25.1 sasha reshetar on 2011-05-23 11:21
anyone going to the Memorial Day weekend Pilgrimage at St. Tikhon's Monastery? to see the fights?
(Editor's note: There will be no fights - one hopes.)
#26 sasha on 2011-05-23 09:56
Wow, if even a portion of this is true, it is pretty sad. It shows that +Jonah really believes that he (as Metropolitan) has (or should have) ultimate authority in everything. That the Synod is there to support him, not to question him. That any sign of dissension will tear the OCA apart. That the the MC (the rightfully elected executive committe of the OCA) should just be there to "assist" him and the Synod. Not to do any real work, or have any real power or control. Just put it all in his hands, and we'll be fine.
Seriously? As somebody else said, it looks like we found the first Pope of the OCA.
#27 Anon111 on 2011-05-23 10:35
After reviewing this site and OCATruth, I am beginning to suspect that M Johah's supporters on OCATruth really want to see +Jonah ousted, an agenda they have hidden deeply from view. I want to see him become stronger in spirit, stabilized in the Truth, eager to hear his fellow Bishops, and a good servant of Our Lord. I find support for that on this site. If +Jonah is wise, he will ask his so called "supporters" to end their attacks on the Bishops, the Metropolitan Council and those of us Orthodox Christians who sincerely desire to have our Metropolitan grow into his office and lead us.
#28 Alice Carter on 2011-05-23 10:59
This fellow doesn't seem wise enough to recognize critics are better friends than yes men.
Like you, as tough as I have spoken, I wish he'd grow up and stop being paranoid, but his direction seems to be that of a man headed for his own lonely island.
Pray for a change of his person. He might be able.
#28.1 Dan on 2011-05-23 15:41
"Let those who have ears to hear, hear," "what the Spirit is saying to the churches," through our holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostle Paul:
#29 Dn. Nicholas J on 2011-05-23 12:31
Mark, you know very well that bishop Mark sabotaged his own reputation. Ask bishop Nikon. Or, better yet, ask bishop Mark. ...
But, I am sure, unless you have changed, you will not post any posts that reveal the truth of who bishop Mark is. Regardless of his "virtues" in the Antochian Church, he has changed and for the worst....
(Editor's note: It is sadly clear to the Synod, and to everybody else outside of Dallas, and to many in Dallas, but you and your group, that Bishop Mark has been victimized in the last 3 months. Can he turn around the situation? Will anybody in Dallas allow him to? I don't know; but I am not going to let you, or anybody else, use my site to trash someone who didn't even get a fair shake from the start; and then refuses to even hit the "restart" button, and punches a guy who you know can't defend himself, without even engendering more criticism from you.
The bottom line: Maybe he is not your cup of tea: maybe you are not his. Fine. But I think recognizing the unfortunate situation for what it is, rather than continuing the campaign against him, is the wiser course. If you don't think he should be your Bishop long term, or even considered, well, talk to the selection committee. Talk to your Deans. Or leave. Or live with it. Or try to make it better. The choices are yours.
That being said, I found most of what you wrote, and which I deleted, to be absurd and offensive. To claim as you did "he has brought the cathedral to financial ruin in less than 3 months" is absurd. If that is the case, and I doubt it is, then the Diocese of the South and its cathedral have been hoaxing everyone in the OCA about how financially stable" and "growing" they were, and neither offers a model for anybody, anywhere.
I print this part only to show that if you are going to criticize him, do so honestly. But please, don't do it here. Conduct an open, transparent, inclusive, accountable search process and let the issues you have, or anybody has, with potential candidates be discussed then, by those involved in a series of town halls throughout the diocese. It might cost $10,000 to fly 2-3 candidates 3-4 places throughout the South and make them available on line; but it could save you decades of disappointment. Just a suggestion. )
#30 O Hamartolos on 2011-05-23 14:08
Did you talk with bishop Nikon?
#30.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-23 17:41
...Before Metropolitan Jonah chose Bp. Mark as his Auxiliary Bishop, I heard much good of him from various quarters, including from our Metropolitan. Since Bp. Mark has been under attack, clergy who know him and have served under him have written in his defense. I condemn these attacks against him. I pray for Bp. Mark and for all the members of our Holy Synod.
Christ is Risen! kriste aghsdga!
I find myself reading these pages less and less frequently because everything ends up to be simply more confusing. But having read ocanews.org and some other sites that discuss what is going on in the OCA right now, it simply seems to me that there are competing ecclesiologies at play, differing visions of what people want their church to be like.
I agree with Father Tom Hopko that we should not have elected a Metropolitan in 2008 but should have had a deferment -- more or less no metropolitan, simply a locum-tenens (though I'm sick of that word), for a couple years -- to let things cool off in 2008 and to help us find ourselves as a church. But, alas, didn't happen.
But the competing ecclesiologies seem to revolve around how one views the office of the Metropolitan. Some truly seem to view it as a pope-like office, or almost analogous to how Met. Philip operates the AOCA. Sure, he may have auxiliaries or whatever they are now called, but Met. Philip runs the show. There is no question there. Some seem to want Met. Jonah to do the same.
Why? It seems that they are convinced we need a strong man at the top to purify what has become a decadent church. The synodal/conciliar approach seem to not matter -- indeed, when mentioning anything of a synod, the other bishops are discredited as being "lavender" or spineless or not worthy of being called bishops. Such talk is nauseating to read. Neither does it matter that a top-down approach (as opposed to conciliar) is much more Roman than it is Orthodox. What matters to this group most is having a strong man at the top who can be a vocal, visible spokesman for Orthodoxy, without constraints.
I simply don't see this model as being Orthodox. I believe it's dangerous to concentrate so much authority and power in one individual. I don't think the synod and the MC exist to serve him -- on the contrary, the best bishops (in my opinion) are the ones who are humble servants who avoid needless publicity and who are beyond reproach when it comes to scandal. Having read about them, I cannot imagine some of the best bishops of 20th century America (such as St. John of San Francisco or Met. Leonty) being involved in any of these antics that are going on now.
Finally, a bishop cannot be afraid when others point out inconsistencies in his office or judgment or when they question his action or inaction. Especially in America, where we it is ingrained in us from a young age to question and understand.
Crucially important, though -- NO ONE wants Met. Jonah to fail. Most of us want him to succeed. We would be happy to have him as a Metropolitan for the next 40 years. But we need a Metropolitan who works synergistically with the synod -- we are a conciliar church, after all. Met. Jonah is the chief of the synod, if you will, but it does not mean that he is a "better bishop" or "more of a bishop" than the rest.
I pray that Met. Jonah succeeds; that the synod succeeds; that messengers are not blamed but what is going on is critically evaluated; that "gay scare tactics" go away.
Finally, the very fact that Orthodox faithful are interested in problems and interested in fixing them is a very good sign of the health of our church. Yes, 40 years ago our church may have had more than twice the membership it has now. But Orthodox faithful today, though smaller in number, are much more aware and engaged and involved (liturgically and otherwise). I think that is reason to be hopeful.
San Antonio, Texas
#31 Gregg Gerasimon on 2011-05-23 17:19
Good point, Gregg! Years ago, none of this would have come to the light of day. The Met. would do as he pleased, chaos would have ruled, but eventually after much damage, something might be done. Today, via the Internet & an EDUCATED LAOS, it really is hard for hierarchs to rule like untouchable gods. The wonderful work of this web site has helped considerably and EVERY Orthodox bishop and patriarch should wake up. It's no longer "Pay, Pray & Shut Up" it's "Let's work together for the Glory of God!"
#31.1 Anonymous on 2011-05-25 06:20
It really is quite simple! No candidate should be consecrated without a full battery of psych tests. It really sound so easy! With + Jonah I'm sure we'd find severe issues while growing up compounded by issues of paranoia, persecution and delusions... In any event, + Jonah is just wrong for leading the OCA. Let him go back to Dallas, CA or Russia!
#32 Anonymous on 2011-05-23 17:56
You've performed these tests without the subject knowing? So where do you belong??
#32.1 Anonymous on 2011-06-08 01:54
When I first heard that the Met was being given a "time-out" I thought, oh no, what IS it with these guys?? Gotta tell ya, I'm having a hard time trusting any of them, their mental stability, or their judgement.
Jonah is a HUGE disappointment on all levels. As you so rightly pointed out by juxtaposing his acceptance speech with that ranting he did, he has lost it! Very disheartening. Is there any way to recall a Met, because we sure need to!! Not that there are any sterling candidates for replacements.
It seems the only criteria for becoming a bishop are "Orthodox, male, single and breathing. " This is so pitiful. And so wrong.
#33 Pauline Costianes on 2011-05-23 21:51
Your broad brush regarding our bishops is unfair Pauline. Our bishops have shown that even though they are fallen human beings, like the rest of us, they love our Lord and His Church. They have given Met. Jonah the opportunity to come to his senses, and realize that he has brother bishops in the synod that will help and support him if he can repent and actualize that fact. We should all pray for, and encourage our bishops.
#33.1 Marc Trolinger on 2011-05-24 15:05
I firmly refute the notion that Bishop Mark Maymon's issues at St Seraphim's in Dallas have anything to do with this situation in the OCA regarding Metropolitan Jonah. ...
#34 James G. on 2011-05-24 09:10
When I read the article on +Jonah and see the dichotomy between what he said in 2008 vs. 2011, I get the image [from Lord of the Rings, Two Towers] of the King of Rohan, sick and weird, under the spell of Grima Wormtongue. Perhaps the Wormtonge(s) are controlling him, perhaps not; nevertheless, the situation is untenable.
#35 K. Carlsen on 2011-05-24 13:35
Right now, we have the 2nd gathering of the Episcopal Assembly (formerly SCOBA) in Chicago. With dictates coming from + Bartholomew, these bishops gather as the "leaders" of all the Orthodox in N. America. There is NO laos interface; there is NO laity involvement; there is NO entire Church gathering, but only hierarchs. Now, this it itself is good, but if important decisions may be made for American Orthodoxy, the hierarchs cannot make decisions unilaterally. + Bartholomew would like to believe this can be the case, however, the LAOS cannot be whisked aside especially when ANY decision may determine the structure of the Orthodox Churches in N. America. Even more disconcerting is the pre-determined agenda of + Bartholomew to institute church structures resembling Roman Catholic ecclesiology and not Orthodox!
#36 anonymous on 2011-05-25 07:41
Regarding + Mark; it is ridiculous for ANYONE to judge this man on his leadership of what, 2-3 months??? To make assertions that are extremely far-fetched is absurd! Certainly, these are political attacks and have little to no merit!
#37 Anonymous on 2011-05-25 08:56
Apparently Bishop Nikon has judged and seen fit to remove his as administrator of the DoS - and from what I understand Fr. Moretti is on his way back to the Midwest.
(Editor's note: Please see today's story for an update.)
#37.1 Apparently on 2011-05-29 17:36
I don't expect priests or bishops to be anything but fallen human beings, like the rest of us. But it does seem to me something ought to distinguish them from the normal run of human. When I read a talk by a bishop that sounds just like me at my childish, resentful, and whining worst, I get very concerned. My bishop should sound and act more grown up than my eight-year-old son.
#38 Morton on 2011-05-25 12:44
The big news on the OCA web site is + Jonah celebrating the Divine Liturgy with the head of ROCOR. Who cares? ROCOR were purely sectarian and Moscow re-absobed them; great! However, ROCOR refused to concelebrate with those of the OCA - WHY? So, finally, they decide to bury the hatchet and concelebrate with + Jonah. Again who cares? These people still have sectarian ideas regarding the Orthodox church and indoctrinate as if they were living in Russia in 1700. What do these people have to do with an American church? Why is + Jonah emulating them? Maybe he would feel more comfortable with them!
(Editor's note: Actually, most people in ROCOR do not live as if they were in Russia in 1700. The fact is that many are experiencing what all Americans experience when they go overseas; sometimes the differences between us in America pale when compared to the differences with our brethern aboard. It is often the case they realize despite their ethnic preferences and allegiances, they are more "American" than they ever suspected.)
#39 Anonymous on 2011-05-26 15:05
Dear Mr. Stokoe and all commentators on this blog,
I am forswearing further participation in this splenetic debate because it has revealed to me that the political partisans of the Orthodox Church in America are often persons with whose words my soul is sickened. It is to my shame and dismay that I realize I would not and could not safely share a parish with many of you. I shall leave you all with these final observations despite that it is plain to me that none care one whit what I think.
Mr. Stokoe, please reform your writing. It has become smug and disdainful. Remember that strong assertions and bold interpretation alienates undecided minds. Trust yourself a little less. No two persons use the same words identically so please be more speculative when interpreting. And try answering certain questions asked in good faith and love rather than removing them from submitted comments.
Commentators on this blog, please be kinder to one another. Christ is the good shepherd who would give all to save a single sheep. Your words have almost driven me from the Church. How many others lose faith because of this struggle? Take greater care henceforth when you write. Words can kill.
Andrew Colias son of John Colias son of Vasilios Colias (formerly known as Displaced Lemming)
P.S. Now you know my name and you still don't know who I am because names are just more words.
#40 Andrew Colias son of John Colias son of Vasilios Colias (formerly known as Displ on 2011-05-26 22:53
Metropolitan Jonah should have listened to his fellow bishops and taken a "time out" to rest and be removed from the villans, etc. He should not be representing the OCA in any shape manner or form -- meeting with other hierarchs of other jurisdictions and not traveling here in the states or abroad. The Orthodoxy I know is conciliar with accountability. If I wanted to be under "Papalism" I would be an Byzantine Catholic under the Pope of Rome. Now the OCA has a mistake, which must be fixed, but the question is how can this situation be fixed? Free Speech, with no intent to harm is our constitutional right under the laws of the United States. Our parishes, churches and all institutions should not be afraid of this right. Those things done in darkness should be brought out into the light. Christ is the light. We should not put our light under a dark shade, but should be brought out and put on the "lampstand". Christ is the image and icon we should all attain to emulate. Metropolitan Jonah's words in his speech do not reflect Christ.
#41 anonymous on 2011-05-27 09:37
A member of Team Dallas has sent out an email to a private List stating that Bishop Nikon has agreed that they may choose their own chancellor before a bishop is chosen for the Diocese of the South, and in fact, will be chosen right away. This is just another way for the Father Fester team to control the South, and control the future bishop of the Diocese of the South.
(Editor's note: The future bishop of the Diocese of the South should be nominated by the Diocese, and elected by the Synod. If the Diocese as a whole allows its nomination to be "influenced", "decided" or otherwise "fiddled", they have no one else to blame but themselves for sitting by in silence, should such things happen. Let us hope and pray and be vigilant they do not; but that a free, responsible, fair, open, transparent and accountable process takes place. I have every confidence Bp. Nikon will ensure such does.)
#41.1 anonymous on 2011-05-30 08:50
"The way in which our Metropolitan spoke so strongly at Santa Fe testified to his strength as a Christian pastor, concerned with his duty to preserve traditions that he believes protect his flock" The latest idiotic statement on ocatruth.com.
"Even more so, are we going to permit the Church to continue to be torn apart by endless controversies, endless investigations and reports which destroy mutual trust?" Metropolitan Jonah in Santa Fe
Folks, whether we like it or not, the OCA still has some housecleaning to do. And whether + Jonah or his minions like it or not, these things need to be addressed. The "tradition" that the ocatruth blogger seems to pine for is a magical time where the bishop/metropolitan walks in and all is well in every parish. I think this is the kind of "tradition" +Jonah seems to think exists as well. It's all fine and dandy, but we can't all have little birthday parties every day either.
When +Jonah was elected he had two major issues to deal with, Archbishop Seraphim and Robert Kondratick. He chose to ignore both of them. And if this was any indication, he probably ignored a whole host of other issues over the past couple of years. When he was asked to make an accounting of his actions, he deflected and said that those who asked him "what have you been doing about these matters" his response was "they're out to get me." It's just that simple. I for one am extremely grateful to all who are working on things like the sexual misconduct investigations to hopefully bring some sanity to the church. These investigations are absolutely necessary and long overdue.
Sorry Mr ocatruth blogger, the real truth is that a Christian pastor concerned about his flock would not worry about his next set of vestments coming from Russia, or whether he was going to be paid the same amount of money as his predecessor, he would be fighting to clean up the issues in his own back yard. And just another little observation, if His Beatitude is so truly concerned about Orthodox unity, why serve a joint liturgy just with his Russian pals? Why not make amends with Metropolitan Philip and serve with him at his cathedral in Brooklyn? Why not serve with Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese? He's had over two years to reach across the aisle and try to better relations with other Orthodox jurisdictions (especially ones that send their students to St. Vladimir's and St. Tikhon's). Instead of just flying to Moscow, why not just go to Brooklyn or Manhattan? (Just a thought anyway).
Mark, thank you once again for the forum to express my opinion.
#42 Anonymous on 2011-05-28 05:59
Ultra Right Wing people are (a) always consumed with conspiracy theories (b) generally incapable of accepting that they might be wrong, since the live in world of extremist political idology and (c) incapable of separting their political obsessions from the Faith, as if the heavenly kingdom was an expanded political entity. Moreover, without fail, moral outrage is a form of confession. We can have moral grief, which is expressed as grief. Christ did that. Moral outrage is political; it has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The only ones that Christ rebuked sharply were those who thought that their ideology was the definition of rightousness. Even the incident in the temple was about the temple, it was not about politics, and was not about morality. Photini, the Samaritan Woman incident demonstrated Christ's approach about morality-He raised no railing accusation, but peacefully healed her and made her "Equal of the Apostles." This is the mission of the Church in this world. When one dances with Caesar, Caesar always leads.
Dear Archbishop Lazar:
Master bless. Thank you for participating, and doing so under your true name.
While I think you are more or less right about the three problems Christian ultra-rightists have, it has been my observation in life that essentially the same can be said of zealous leftists too. I would be interested in evaluating any evidence that can be adduced to show that ultra-liberals are measurably better at distinguishing between their imaginations and the authentic faith than ultra-conservatives. I tend to doubt that there is such evidence, and that the impression that one crew is better at it than the other may have more to do with where the observer's own sympathies tend to lie.
I tend to generally agree with your statement about dancing with Caesar, but not with the way I think you mean to apply it. Must we not admit that during most of Eastern Christian history, whether as a willing collaborator or as a vassal acting expediently, a dance led, even dictated, by ruthless power holders is exactly the dance that the Orthodox Church acutally did?
It seems to me that Met. Jonah is being criticized for liking a couple of the same tunes as some out-of-power, would-be Caesars, but single-issue agreement on a couple of moral issues - where the actual battle for hearts and minds is being waged in our day - is vastly different from the kind of cheek-by-jowl dancing partnerships with Tsars and Sultans that I seem to recall reading were common for many centuries?
#43.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-06-01 15:01
Here, here, Fr. George! This is probably the best comment of yours I've read at this website. (John agrees.)
#43.1.1 Darlene Sue Johnson on 2011-06-02 16:14
Does it take a warped mind to imagine a History Channel documentary about the cooperation between Church and State in Russian Empire days under the title "Dancing with the Tsars?" Yes.
#188.8.131.52 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-06-03 09:44
:^))) Don't know if it's warped, but definitely just a little bent!
#184.108.40.206.1 Darlene Sue Johnson on 2011-06-04 01:11
So, you think this whole brouhaha is funny?
Met. Jonah isn't being simply for wanting to increase his role in national politics. The larger part of the criticism lies in his failure to deal with critical administrative issues (such as the various cases of sexual misconduct, leaving the OCA in an extremely vulnerable legal position); his resulting emotional immaturity, paranoia, despotism; and his failure to avoid manipulation by the likes of the disgraced Archpriest Joseph Fester and Mr. Robert Kondratick. (There is nothing here on which 'reasonable people can disagree.') Now, I hear, he sits back and watches the war between OCANews and OCATruth and takes it in as entertainment -- which is beyond disgraceful. Why is that people like you and Jesse Cone can't get pick up on that? Ugh! I wish the Metropolitan would step aside (i.e., resign) but he seems to self-important to do that.
PS. Mark, the amount of time you must spend on your editor's notes - the work of correcting, clarifying, and teaching - is commendable. Really.
#220.127.116.11.2 Nilus on 2011-06-04 07:50
"Now, I hear, he sits back and watches the war between OCANews and OCATruth and takes it in as entertainment -- which is beyond disgraceful."
Nilus, either reveal your source, or withdraw this statement.
Fr. George, you have a delightful sense of humor, and I hope to read more from you.
#18.104.22.168.2.1 Cordelia on 2011-06-04 20:21
No. My comment stands, take it or leave it. I assume you'll leave it.
#22.214.171.124.2.1.1 Nilus on 2011-06-07 09:00
It isn't at all clear to me exactly who Nilus is or even that he was addressing me with his remark about thinking this whole brouhaha funny, but since I was the one who posted a tangential word play, I'll take the risk of bestirring myself.
When we exchange with one another here we are communicating with real people ... with all their earnestness, wisdom, folly, conceits, craftiness, experience and insight ... or lack thereof. And we are limited by our (my) own, too.
I spent the three decades from fall 1976 to fall 2006 essentially full time in learning and practicing law in the California courts. I was a small-timer but my work included representation of religious authorities, some Orthodox, in six or eight cases having to do with the conduct of church members and leaders of many ranks, and some allegations of sexual wrongs with claims that ranged from zero to $20 million. That experience predisposes me to look for real evidence. And also for a venue where careful, mature deliberation can take place about conflicting evidence and/or or the difficult inferences to be drawn therefrom.
Nilus, by contrast, takes it on himself to make categorical pronouncements in law and psychiatry which I think are pretty far beyond his life experience and professional depth, not to say his knowledge of the facts. There are reasons why our society does not try civil or criminal cases in the newspapers, and this forum is just as inadequate.
So no, I don't think the "brouhaha" is funny. But I do think the current structure, the process of this brouhaha, whatever its original intent or ostensible merits when it was dealing with the malfeasance or misfeasance of some prior hierarchs, now is by turns tragic, bizarre, and/or short-sighted. Has it led to a situation in which the OCA is being inveigled by both "sides" into exchanging the Apostolic birthright of an hierarchical Church for the pottage of "government" through instantaneous (and completely *non-accountable*) internet hue-and-cry so susceptible to twisting by the anonymous and agenda-driven?
It may well be that the facts beyond the smokescreens, the truth behind the manipulations thereof, both here and elsewhere, actually indicates that Metropolitan Jonah is out of his depth and ought ideally to yield his office to another. I do not profess to know or say. It would be real nice, however, to see people recognize that such a judgment call cannot be made in a venue where both anonymous and named manipulators infiltrate both "sides," and real, solid evidence cannot possibly be found, let alone examined, with the necessary grace, thoroughness, tenacity, love, and objectivity.
And yes, I dared to say love! A supposedly Christian (and Orthodox) virtue (which I seem to recall the Apostles exalted above the Great God Accountability!) which quickly gets lost in internet fire fights shaped by so many anonymous gunmen and women with itchy trigger fingers.
#126.96.36.199.2.2 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-06-06 11:28
Father, bless! Thank you--very well said
#188.8.131.52.2.2.1 Karen on 2011-06-07 09:03
I appreciate the concern about my being 'anonymous' - although I have been writing comments/reflections here for years. It puzzles me how, if you are not sure who I am, you can be so sure that I am unqualified to make the "categorical pronouncements" you allege I am making.
Truth is, I would be unqualified. However, I am not "taking it upon myself" to make such "pronouncements on law and psychiatry." I am pointing out what has already been said before me, by people far more important than myself -- this website's editor, the Diocesan Council of the West, the SMPAC report's authors. (No, I have not read the report, but I know that its authors aren't the vindictive type, even if they had been mistreated by Met. Jonah.)
I/we am not 'trying' the Metropolitan here. That is up to our Synod, and their decision to disinvite the Metropolitan from all dioceses other than his own, well, speaks volumes to me.
What I am doing here, as an individual person with no qualifications whatsoever, is to simply add my voice to the public conversation -- that I feel that Metropolitan Jonah has disgraced and damaged the OCA (a first hierarch should build consensus, build the Church, and bring honor, right?) and needs to step aside, or if not, apologize to us, his flock, and radically change his approach. Neither of those two possibilities seem forthcoming, leaving me, like so many in the OCA, bewildered and disgusted.
Perhaps, despite being in the Antiochian Archdiocese, you are well informed on the affairs of the OCA, and you think that mine is an invalid approach. Fine. Let's agree to disagree.
#184.108.40.206.2.2.2 Nilus on 2011-06-07 10:15
You speak for me in this post Fr George. Thank you.
#220.127.116.11.2.2.3 Orthodox & Psychiatrist on 2011-06-07 11:02
An anonymous psychiatrist! We have truly reached a new low. Perhaps you should be seeing a psychiatrist if you lack the self-assurance to use your name while associating yourself with the Fr. Georges of this world who take perverse pride in defending the "indefensible"-- with "love" of course.
#18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-06-08 07:42
Dear friends, including Mr. Tobin:
Well I may have been a little unsure of just which Nilus was writing, but there's no mistaking a good ol' KRT zinger, is there! I'd know those armor piercing bullets anywhere!
He unintentionally illustrates, however, and I believe strongly corroborates, my point about actual evidence being pretty scarce when itchy trigger fingers get exercised. Mr. Tobin alludes my "defending the indefensible" - but without a single word about what it is he imagines I am defending, let alone its defensibility or lack thereof! (I actually thought I was attacking a little this time, not defending!)
So other than the temporary catharsis, nobody gets much, if any, real value from unsubstantiated conclusions. Why not do the hard work of publicly stating a proposition and substantiating it, Mr. Tobin? It takes a lot more time, and leaves you exposed if a basis proves lacking, but at least there is the potential of an end product with actual value to those who read this site. As it is, unsubstantiated generalizations are just so much fog on lenses that are hard enough for the sincere to see through as it is.
#126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 firstname.lastname@example.org on 2011-06-08 17:32
As a newer convert to Orthodoxy, I was unaware of the various factions, if they existed, and political history of the OCA. My view was limited to the parish level. However, very quickly I was personal witness to the heavy-handed meddling of The Chancery in local parish affairs. The end result of this was the destruction of a growing parish, and the trashing of two very dedicated priests.
I had never been so disgusted at the un-professional, non Christ-like actions of Church officials. I found it impossible to venerate the office of Metropolitan after directly observing such behavior. I preferred to think that this was an unusual event. However, it seems that my reaction at the micro level, was but the tip of the iceberg.
I have since moved over to Antiochian Orthodoxy. I wish only the best for the OCA. May God have mercy on us all.
#44 Rick on 2011-06-02 06:33
Yes, everyone knows the Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese is a temperate and humble leader who has never overstepped his boundaries.
Don't scrape your forehead on the floor at the next convention, now!
#44.1 Cordelia on 2011-06-02 07:49
Is this what it is all about? Lord have mercy.
#44.1.1 Rick on 2011-06-02 16:13
The Antiochians have their own issues too! You don't hear of all the internal issues, but they are the same as the OCA & Greeks - no better, no worse. Monies disappearing, sexual issues among clergy, bad bishops, etc., etc., etc. By far, I'd rather be affiliated with the OCA which checks and balances activities with public forums like this. When + Philip dies, wait until you see the chaos. At this Summer's Antiochian Big Bash, + Philip will announce his stepping aside, but not completely relinguishing power. He will become "Metropolitan Emeritus" still running all behind the scenes. He has already picked + Joseph to succeed him, but everyone wants + Basil. No dictators here!
#45 Anonymous on 2011-06-04 08:27
I am sure that there are issues in all churches. However, when I personally witnessed repeated malfeasance, I could no longer in good conscience remain a part of OCA. My issue with +Jonah is not political, it is about behavior.
My issue with "Cordelia" is that she immediately resorts to ad hominem attacks on the poster. That is gossip; it is not reasonable discourse.
#45.1 Rick on 2011-06-06 06:53
Rick, as a fellow newer convert, my heart goes out to you. I experienced something equally disturbing in the character of the leadership in the AOC parish into which I was received and have read about the experiences of others in the AOC who were treated similarly to what you describe in your OCA parish. I wound up leaving my former AOC parish for to a local OCA parish that is very healthy. I can't defend Cordelia's sarcastic ad hominem to you, but in the first part of her comment, istm she is making a valid point. I don't believe you will find a jurisdiction free of this sort of thing, but certainly on the parish level you may find ones near you more healthy than others. Ultimately, our only sure refuge is in Christ Himself. May He help us not to stumble and fall when our clergy fail us (and each other)!
#45.1.1 Orthodoxmom on 2011-06-07 09:18
Very true Orthodoxmom. However, what I directly observed was so awful, I felt that an outward statement had to be made. 'Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.'
#184.108.40.206 Rick on 2011-06-08 06:18
You said "My issue with "Cordelia" is that she immediately resorts to ad hominem attacks on the poster."
She launched an ad hominem attack on you -- the poster? Where?
#45.1.2 Anonymous on 2011-06-08 02:11
#220.127.116.11 Rick on 2011-06-10 05:39
An ad hominem fallacy is when one bases an argument against the truth of an assertion on an irrelevant personal characteristic of someone making that assertion. I don't think I said anything that fits that definition.
I was warning Rick (sarcastically, and a little unkindly, I'll admit) that he was unlikely to escape "un-professional, non-Christ-like" behavior by leaving the OCA for the Antiochian Archdiocese, and that he had best prepare himself to see that if he hoped to cling to his faith.
The first reason is that switching jurisdictions on those grounds is just a bad idea in general, because hierarchical scandals go around like "The Wave" in a sports stadium. Keep trying to outrun it, and you'll just wind up crashing into the nacho stand.
The second reason is, for anyone who's been reading OCA News for a few years, the leadership of the Antiochian Archdiocese has a well-attested reputation for the very kind of behavior he was complaining about in the OCA. I've seen things that make Mark's "+Jonah Placed on Leave of Absence" look like the society page's account of a debutante ball.
(Editor's note: LOL. Not at the last sentence, but at the image of trying to outrun a stadium "Wave". Perfect. )
#46 Cordelia on 2011-06-14 20:36
Cordelia, "crashing into the nacho stand" trying to outrun the "Wave" of jurisdictional scandal by changing jurisdiction is indeed a hilarious and apt image (even as it is discouraging, alas!). Thanks for the clarification of the meaning of "ad hominem." I think for many it has just taken on the meaning, however incorrectly, of "personal attack." Since you have admitted the unkindness of your response to Rick, I won't belabor my support for the justness of Rick's protest to that. I do think your point is well taken, though.
#46.1 Karen on 2011-06-16 13:25
Thank you, Cordelia.
As I said, I did not respond to gossip about +Jonah. I responded to his directly observed behavior and its results. I will not say exactly what I was witness to, but it was despicable behavior ..... This made it impossible to venerate the Office of Metropolitan, as it was not in my heart to do so.
All of the other synodical politics was out of my personal reach. I leave others to debate that.
#46.2 Rick on 2011-06-16 15:24
Okay, now you've piqued my curiosity. I've never once seen Metropolitan Jonah behave in any manner not befitting a monk or a bishop. What did he do?
(Editor's note:Where have you been? As Bishop Melchisedek stated in his recent answers to the Russian press, the tension in the Synod is precisely over the Metropolitan's refusal to behave in a manner befitting a bishop, by carrying out the decisions taken by the Synod, decisions agreed on by all of them. This culminated in Santa Fe, where the actions of the Metropolitan became public and divisive. This is not about opinions, and never has been; it is about giving and keeping one's word. In America a man is only as honorable as his word: it should be no less so in the Church.)
#46.2.1 Cordelia on 2011-06-23 20:30
You see, Mark, this is exactly where the issue is. I hate to break it to you, but your perspective on this situation is not incontrovertible truth.
#18.104.22.168 Cordelia on 2011-06-29 14:10
Cordelia, I won't post that on the internet. I have reported it. Nothing salacious but not what I would wish to see in a friend, let alone a spiritual leader. My faith does not hinge on the behavior of others, however, my participation in any organization does. Will I see this in other patriarchiates? Probably. In that event, I would most likely take a different tack. However, my complicit silence is not on the list.
#22.214.171.124.1 Rick on 2011-07-02 06:05
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