Tuesday, September 6. 2011
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Did you mean Bishop Daniel (Mogutnov) who was just consecrated in July and continues to be in the External Affairs Department of the True Orthodox Church o Russia? The one who just posted this on Metroplitan Jonah's Facebook page:
"Vladyka Daniel Mogutnov Please let us know what happened with Archimandrite Zacchaeus, who was in Moscow?? email@example.com"
(Editor's note:Yes. Darn spell check!)
#1 Carl Kraeff on 2011-09-06 15:45
This passes as news? Ive seen better plots on "Days of our Lives."
"Oh my gosh, +Jonah spoke to someone with out a lawyer"
"Oh, he recused himself, then talked to him"
(Editor's note: Yes. Exactly. )
#2 Robert on 2011-09-06 16:15
Talking to a scheister lawyer who threatens to sue you without your own lawyer being with you undermines your organization and is foolish and selfish and stupid and arrogant and dangerous. It also illegal for the lawyer to do that, I am sure, and it it should be illegal for the metropolitan too. If its true its darned arrogant of you, too, to say this snide little comment.
(Editor's note: Mr. Berezansky is not a shyster lawyer in any sense of the word. He is a serious lawyer.)
#2.1 Anonymous on 2011-09-06 16:47
Some words of wisdom to our brothers and sisters in the OCA - do you really want to follow the same path as the AOCANA? I read this whole article, and the similarities make me very ill. Jonah and Philip are cut from the same cloth, which has become very obvious since Jonah was consecrated. Let's not forget he made at least 2 visits to Englewood in the first year of his Episcopacy. Why would he go there? Either to pretend to be nice or to learn how to be dishonest. Either way he should not have visited there. He learned far too many
things that should not even be a part of the church.
Your local Synod has much more authority than the Antiochians. It sounds like you are set up to actually hold the current/future Metropolitan accountable for his actions and make him tow the line. You had trouble with Herman, and he was forced to retire. You have trouble with Jonah, and you should force him to retire also. The Antiochians don't have that same set up. They have no support from Damascus, and too many B/T members want to stay in the glory and not rock the boat.
Don't be fooled by this man who says he will do one thing and then does another. That will lead you to heartbreak and permanent damage of your faithful. It is up to the OCA Synod to pull together, work together, get on the same page and proceed to "clean house with the largest broom you can find." The sooner you do, the better it will be for everyone. Don't make the same mistakes the Antiochians did. Their mess continues 2 1/2 years later, with no solution in sight.
My prayers are with the OCA for reconciliation and honesty. Anything less than that just won't work.
Robert, it is not illegal for a lawyer to speak to speak to a party or witness on the other side of a dispute. It is, however, unethical (at least in the US) for such a lawyer to pursue a conversation with an adverse party who is represented by counsel. If such a conversation presents itself, the lawyer should caution the counter-party to seek his/her attorney's counsel.
It is never illegal, unethical, or in any way prohibited for a party in an adverse proceeding to decline to heed such advice and proceed to speak to anyone in the world (including a lawyer for an adverse party) without his/her lawyer being present. Sometimes that's a good idea; sometimes it is not.
(FYI - I am a lawyer.)
#2.2 Dcn. David on 2011-09-07 07:38
After that long and detailed chronology, how could you possibly conclude that the greatest threat to the OCA is Met Jonah? Talk about straining at a gnat! You state that Fr Garklavs is on the SMPAC advisory committee, but that was only by virtue of his chancellorship. And why is Fr Kishkovsky knowledgeable of such confidential matters? For that matter, why are any of the advisory committee members involved in such matters, when their job is to advise on policy and procedure, not on individual cases? No, the biggest threat to the OCA is the reckless way in which confidential matters are openly discussed and shared and then ultimately not-so-secretly revealed to the world by scores of unprofessional staffers and committee members. Personnel records and matters of discipline are to be held in the strictest confidence and only to be revealed to a very few people, and only on a strictly need-to-know basis. If I were a priest or bishop in the OCA who was a victim of such nonsense, I would lawyer up and go after all these clowns for breach of confidentiality.
(Editor's note:In answer to your first question: Yes. But keep throwing sand in people's eyes - and encouraging people to threaten the Church with lawsuits. It may accomplish what you hope; or not.)
#3 Anonymous on 2011-09-06 16:29
sounds like the met is the one spreading info.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2011-09-06 16:48
People have been saying it since Pittsburgh; + Jonah is the wrong guy to lead the OCA. A mistake was made and Seattle is the place to rectify this. Let + Jonah go to Dallas and choose a new Met. who believes in the OCA and can lead!
#4 Anonymous on 2011-09-06 16:30
+Jonah being the wrong guy to lead the OCA is an absolute no-brainer. That he should go to Dallas would be a travesty. Two wrongs never make a right!
Itís so obvious this man lacks the necessities of episcopal office that there should be no further deliberations. But the sad fact is there are members of the synod who donít get it or donít want to get it. There are bishops who still want to contain all the dirt within their closed circle or they are gutless to remedy the error they committed 3 years ago in Pittsburgh. They think they can put off the priests and people who have eyes to see and ears to hear. It may just come down to speaking the only language that some understand - $$$. +Job of blessed memory realized such when the cancer wasnít being eradicated previously.
I have it on good authority there was to be a special synod meeting this week that was cancelled because some of the bishops indicated they couldnít/wouldnít attend. Barring the Parousia, I cannot fathom what could be more important than to meet and decisively deal with this train wreck of a metropolitan.
O Lord, save Your People and Your Church from such incompetence.
#4.1 Disgusted retired priest on 2011-09-06 17:59
The main issue is that + Jonah is slowly destroying the OCA, not building it up. He must be replaced. Now, some may see this as wonderful and let ROCOR step in, but this will never happen. ROCOR are still sectarians. Moscow is not the answer to anything.
WHERE IS OUR AMERICAN CHURCH? Where is the vision set forth in 1970? We aren't Russians or Slavs; we ARE Americans. What is this fascination with old country ways whether Russian, Greek, Arab, etc.? We aren't those people and never will be. Let's dump + Jonah and get back on track with a Met. who believes in an American Church and who can really lead!
#4.1.1 Any Mouse on 2011-09-08 06:47
We can certainly agree a return to MP is a bizarre notion that would shatter the church.
I don't understand the poor leader comment. As we both might agree there have been problems; isn't it possible for Metropolitan Jonah to learn and grow?
Clearly he erred in making the natives restless with unknown Russian intrigue. Maybe he learned.
There is hope; but the anti-gay stuff needs to stop. wwjd
#184.108.40.206 Daniel E Fall on 2011-09-16 04:48
The only thing I can fathom is that Metropolitan Jonah discovered through dialogue that the allegations were impossible.
Unfortunately, if he did, I don't understand why he couldn't have called an immediate meeting of the parties and explained the facts and why the allegations were. I suppose if you wanted to do away with all committees, this would be your tack.
Unfortunately, again, he seems like the wrong man to lead a group of people that were held in secrecy for tens of years and ultimately victimized.
Just my passing thoughts..I still think Jonah could come around if he does a few things differently...but I won't hold my breath.
The misadventures of bishops is a sad testimony to Christ. This is at the crux of why they don't like this website. Too bad it isn't their misadventures they don't like...
an interesting take on humility I say
#5 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-09-06 16:40
Once again more fair and balanced reporting. This site makes Fox News look good. It is good to know that while casting aspersions on the Metropolitan and everyone who is not in your cabal, you do confirm that your ever so mysterious and anonymous (of course) sources are feeding you necessary information to confirm all this. To what end one wonders. To what end?
(Editor's note: Bishop Daniel, a person whom I have never even heard about until this posting, is hardly one of my "mysterious" sources. The only one casting aspersions on the Metropolitan is himself, by his own actions. I join you in wondering "Why is he doing such things?".
#6 Again on 2011-09-06 20:21
This is eerily similar to so many past allegations in the Catholic church. Can we afford to ignore any victim's claim? Surely if a priest were innocent he would not be afraid to face an inquiry.
(Editor's note: The Catholic Church can give you 2.4 billion reasons why ignoring victims is a poor idea....)
#7 Anonymous on 2011-09-06 21:05
Mark, could you please post a link to the original Russian text of this timeline?
(Editor's note: I was not even aware Credo.ru had a feedback page until this was sent to me.
#8 Cordelia on 2011-09-06 21:09
This is a wrong link. As of 09/07/11 10:08 P.M. the correct URLs are as follows:
#8.1 VitArius on 2011-09-07 19:10
I think OCAT (http://www.ocatruth.com/) got this story much closer to the truth than you did. Your slip is showing Mark. Better to preface all your articles with something like, "I must disclose that I want Metropolitan Jonah to be removed from office. Then let people decide if you are reporting or editorializing.
(Editor's note: How come it is every time people like you ( and OCAT) don't like the facts they accuse everyone else of "editorializing" on them? I did ask several questions at the end of my story, all of which followed directly and reasonably from the chronology of Moguntov. And unlike OCAT, I at least ask my questions openly and honestly, and sign my name to them.
As for the OCAT story, I read it, because you claimed I got the story wrong somehow, and I wanted to learn how. Imagine my pleasure to read anonymous" parishioner" confirming it is the practice for the OCA to announce leaves and suspensions -- as he points out on a regular basis -- on the clergy changes list! He then gives three examples of more recent press releases for high profile leaves or suspensions ( i.e. +Seraphim, +Jonah and now Fr. Zacchaeus) in just the last year. Thanks for confirming what I wrote.
I found it extremely funny, however, that the writer suggests Mr. Berezansky did not or does not know Mr. Wojick. This only confirms that when it comes to OCAT, it contains very little truth amid very little knowledge of the OCA. The gentlemen know each other, friend. This is just sand Mr. Berzansky was throwing, which if the writer knew either man, he would know sand throwing can be one of his styles. He is a good and cratfy lawyer. In his ignorance, thoug, anonymous parishioner now picks up the sand and throws it into his readers eyes.
But this, I have discovered, is OCAT's usual style. It is all a gambit by OCAT to distract people from the real issue and the real problem - which is +Jonah and his actions.
And so we get the gratuitious aspersions on the SMPAC and staff at Syosset for "leaks" are just more sand in the eyes of readers. Like all good lies there is just enough truth in his aspersions ( like the reference to the conference call) to make his aspersions plausible. However, the truth is much simpler. In matters of concern to the Metropolitan OCAT is often informed, because "certain factions" wearing a white hat have been known to disclose things right and left; and often to both right and left simultaneously. Denials notwithstanding.
I am shocked though that the writer would actually disclose details of the case, such as the fact that one was over two years old. I am even more shocked that he seems be dismissive of them because of this. In this he betrays a serious lack of knowledge about the realities of such misconduct allegations.
As for the writer's conclusion, well, I would only point out that if the same questions that were raised in Santa Fe about Jonah's poor handling of misconduct cases (as contained, reportedly, in the SMPAC report) are raised again at the next MC meeting because of his poor handling of this most recent case, why should this be a surprise to anyone? Or evidence of a sinister plot? It is the reasonable, responsible response of reasonable men to irresponsible and unreasonable actions.
Let me go OCAT one better in predictions. Such questions will keep on happening, not just at the next MC meeting, but at all MC meetings into the foreseeable future, because nothing is going to change, if things don't. That is, until that eventual sexual misconduct lawsuit that brings the OCA down like they have 9 bankrupt Roman Catholic dioceses. There are already 2.4 billion reasons why things need to change.
This is not a canonical question, friends, but a reality check. And on this score, like so much special pleading for +Jonah on the basis of inexperience, lack of training, misinterpretation,
the canons, supposed cabals, Moscow's wrath, culture wars, and so forth and such and, ad nauseum, it all comes down to so much sand being thrown in people's eyes to obscure the real problem, which are the actions and attitudes of the guy in the white hat. That is not editorializing, that is a fact. +Jonah's defenders want you and the OCA to overlook his actions, ignore his decisions, or lack of same, and the real, growing and fatal danger they ocassion to our autocephalous Church. They will throw up most anything, any sand they can find lying around, to obscure that fact. They will disparage people, priests, cathedrals, bishops, dioceses to obscure reality - and have. But reality obscured is not reality changed. And in the end, reality wins.)
#9 Anonymous on 2011-09-07 07:46
This is in response to Mark's inserted comments ...
Further, you go on to again demonise Met Jonah with the words "But this, I have discovered, is OCAT's usual style. It is all a gambit by OCAT to distract people from the real issue and the real problem - which is +Jonah and his actions. " The real problem with the OCA is not the Metropolitan but a lack of understanding of the canonical governance and structure of the Church. That's what's really missing from the majority of the OCA laity many of the clergy.
The fact that someone like you can continue assassinating the character of a bishop for exercising his canonical rights in his own jurisdiction is just disgusting.. really disgusting. The Church is not yours to govern, leave Met Jonah alone - he is doing his honest best - and far better than you could ever have done in his place.
(Editor's note:Such continual special pleading for +Jonah "(" He's doing his honest best", " he's excersing his canonical right in his own jurisdiction") does not alter the facts and reality that when reality hits the OCA, +Jonah is not going to pay for it. Suddenly "his own jurisdiction" will be " ours" to pay for. The OCA is not his plaything to be run into the ground because "he can", or "its the best he can do" or "it's not yours". Really, friend, we have to do better.)
#9.1 Anonymous on 2011-09-08 05:27
It's most certainly not his plaything, and I doubt very much that anyone who takes on episcopal ordination could ever consider the Church to be his own personal plaything. Even deacons and priests feel the weight of responsibility on their shoulders - but bishops all the more so becasue they give up all their freedoms for the Church. You give up nothing.
The bishop is a living apostle, and without him, there is no Church. That's been the way since Pentecost. If you think this is less important than your worldly concerns then you don't belong in the Orthodox Church, but rather in one of the protestant denominations.
#9.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-09-11 02:41
Can--or will--anyone tell what Fr. Zacchaeus allegedly did? I don't even know why any of this is happening.
(Editor's note: There is at least one allegation of serious misconduct that has been lodged against the Archimandrite. According to a recent OCAT story an alleged incident took place more than two years ago. The Metropolitan, who is his diocesan bishop, placed him on leave when the allegation was formally made to the OCA, but not apparently, according to Zacchaeu's lawyer, to any civil authorities. Since then, though, +jonah has hindered any investigation, and publicly labelled the allegation(s) as "totally fabricated" - even before the matter has been investigated. This matters only because it reeks of the type of denial and obfuscation and passing along of the problem that the Roman Catholic Church has been justly criticized for.)
#10 Morton on 2011-09-07 10:01
So he's been accused of sexual misconduct, is that correct?
Speaking of which--and I apologize for breaking topic--do you have any updates on Archbishop Seraphim? Seems like the waves have closed in silence over that whole episode.
(Editor's note: The OCA has only reported "misconduct". As for Archbishop Seraphim, a preliminary hearing, I have been informed, is scheduled for November. Since neither side is offering any more information, we will have to wait until that hearing to hear more details of the case, and whether the judge will allow the case to proceed to trial. )
#10.1 Morton on 2011-09-08 09:52
Zacchaeus' issues go way back ..... If a thorough examination of his past were done, the current circumstances probably wouldn't have occurred. Remember, without a seminary education, mysteriously RSK ordained him and put him in Moscow. Go figure!
#10.2 Anonymous on 2011-09-08 17:25
RSK ordained him?????
#10.2.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-09-10 18:20
I have refrained from comment for some time now, acting like Micawber - hoping something good might turn up. However, with this chronology, silence is not golden, its just plain acquiescence by silence.
If I can use a typically American approach to it, we cannot apply Line-Item deconstruction to it to thereby invalidate the whole by finding merely two or three "unsupportables", etc.
We must take another approach: the "balance of probabilities". Here, we can find that every line has this "balance" in excess of 90%, with many at 100%. With this approach, we can accept the broad thrust of the whole, and survive up to 10% of Line-Item deconstruction.
As other contributors have well noted, this Line-Item deconstruction is well below this magic 10%, and so there is a high "balance of probability" that the entire narrative is correct overall.
We then apply another "Test" to it. Since we are dealing with a Church with a Byzantine phronema, we are entitled to ask another question: does the narrative as presented comport badly or well with the natural English-language usage of the word "Byzantine" in both its adjectival and adverbial sense? And with the sort of actions that are documentable fact in Byzantine history?
With a "Yes" answer here with an asymptote to 100%, (and I assure you that this is within 0.01% of accurate) the entire exercise of Line-Item deconstruction becomes somewhat academic. It is similar to debating whether the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic were responsible for its sinking, rather than facing the fact that it hit an iceberg.
If there was ever a case-study for the need to create in Canon Law the scenario of a "free-floating-apex" for senior clergy above mitred archpriest, then this is it. So that the rest of the Church may get on with the business of living and working as a Christian without disturbance from this "apex."
Then, if the senior clergy wish to engage in this type of "group-action" (aka "groupthink"), then they will be free to to do so - but with a twist, none of their "underlings" will have the Canonical duty to be "in obedience" to this apex, and they will be free to choose another "apex".
Astute readers will note that this "apex" to which I refer is not just the Met. it is all his collusively-acting coterie of friends in high places.
Methinks we are in enchanted territory - very similar to that in which our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Himself lived. His "Kingdom Living" was in constant conflict with the Canon Law of the Scribes and Priests, how are we to approach this? And who shall we support in this situation? Did not He also say that He is Lord also even over the Sabbath?
Are we going to let pettifogging Canon Law rule here - with its attention to the tithes of mint, anise and cummin, when the weightier matters of Kingdom Living require another phronema altogether?
We must ask ourselves this question: What would Jesus do?
Would He happily support devious, cynical, corrupt Byzantine behaviour or not? On the response to this question hangs all future action on this sad issue of +Met Jonah.
#11 John on 2011-09-08 05:26
Too clever by half.
#11.1 Rdr. John on 2011-09-09 16:00
Dear Rdr John,
Please explain: which half is the clever bit?
So that I can improve the "unclever" half.
#11.1.1 John on 2011-09-12 04:59
Good grief. If we papists were to (NOW, today) handle an allegation in this manner, we would NEVER hear the end of it.
Which is why we (NOW, today) have a policy of reporting allegations to the civil (not just ecclesiastical) authorities. Because sex abuse is, you know, against the law and stuff.
(Editor's note: My point exactly. Alas, we are quick to criticize others, and even more quick to excuse ourselves. "Against the law" is for the civil authorities to decide. Our job is to make sure we don't ignore, deny, obscure, or make worse "stuff", but handle "stuff" in a fair, pastoral and Christian manner.)
#12 anonymous papist on 2011-09-08 09:58
According to Wikipedia "New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler was famously quoted by Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities that "a grand jury would 'indict a ham sandwich,' if that's what you wanted."
To those who are not very familiar with the legal process, a grand jury is a handpicked group of citizens, usually with few if any members who have legal training or experience, who have the power to charge people with criminal offenses based on a presentation by the prosecutor alone ... with no input from the accused and no participation by a judge! DAs have been known to choose this route when they have a weak case they want to push for political or other reasons, and want a quick and easy indictment without being exposed to either true public scrutiny or the oversight of a judicial officer. What Wachtler was suggesting is that such an indictment is hardly a predictor of guilt or the strength of the prosecutor's case, and often implies significant weakness.
That's more or less what I think is going on here just now. I'm approaching the 32nd anniversary of admission to the CA Bar, and I just shake my head at all the ignorance, naivete, special pleading, rumor-mongering, self-fulfilling prophecy and wish-fulfilling etc. that passes for wise deliberation and adjudication here, (to say nothing of Christian love).
A non-canonical "True" Orthodox bishop, doubtless with many axes to grind as to leaders and jurisdictions less "True" and "Orthodox" (don't forget the capital letters) posts a concatenation of "facts," interpretationa, innuendos, and allegations in a foreign language. It contains obvious flaws and mistakes. To say nothing of us lacking access to key documents and/or the opportunity to cross-examine proponents of the documents and put them into context while examining the demeanor of witnesses who are under a searchlight. not just reading out their pre-mixed, hind-sight-based, and self-serving explanations.
From its translation Mark then cherry-picks the parts that "prove" the conclusion he has assumed, rings the bell, and expects us to salivate just like Pavlov's famous, and very well trained, dogs. Or to indict, and even exceed our powers by convicting, that poor ham sandwich, if you prefer less metaphor mixing.
Proverbs 18:17 says "He that pleadeth his cause first seemeth just; but then his neighbor cometh and searcheth him out." Twinned with Christ's pointed teachings about judging others by different and sricter standards than we want applied to ourselves, I should think the current rush to judgment might possibly slow to a walk or even a stroll.
This situation is so rife with red-flags that an experienced evaluator of cases spots right off the bat. A whole glaring category of examples: letters allegedly signed in final version, allegedly sent and/or never received for starters. Especially where it is so obvious that the alleged signers, senders and receivers had very, very good reasons to have wanted to make or not make a record favorable to their interests. And the Russian-American lawyer's transparent efforts to see to it that the issues get too complex to sort out without the kind of protracted brouhaha nobody wants.
And then phone calls, visits to airports, and the alleged examination of the Archimandrite's lower intestines by foreign doctors who conveniently seem to be able to link his distress to the exact date of the Church's action against him!!! I think this whole exercise bears more than passing (pun intended) resemblance to that colonoscopy, and we shouldn't be surprised that Mark, having chosen the equivalent of looking there with that particular tool, sees what he thinks he sees .... and tells us to see.
And the entirely unproven assumption is that if the OCA had the leader it deserves (!!!) none of these anomalies would be presented, and all armchair observers would, through the magical wonders of "transparency" and "accountability," be in a position to comfortably judge it all neatly, cleanly and remotely, at first or second blush, over the internet. Makes the old time "trial by newspaper" not seem so bad after all!
I reiterate what I have said before. There is real evidence that, measured by some important criteria, Met. Jonah finds it difficult to lead well and consistently. There is other evidence, which Mark et. al. prefer to ignore or spin, that the Metropolitan is doing and saying important and difficult things for the good of the Church.
How hard it must be for him and those others with the responsibility to figure out and move in the right direction. I don't think we will help them do it by participating in the creation a new hue and cry atmosphere here over this obviously murky Moscow mess.
Mark loves the credit (and he deserves real credit from which I do not mean to detract) for promoting positive change. His current position is that a huge mistake (by others, of course, which he privately opposed and warned against), an improvident rush to judgment, resulted in His Beatitude's elevation three years ago.
Momentarily adopting for the sake of discussion the idea that it was a groundswell mistake (without actually taking that position), I don't think Mark takes adequately into account his own role in creating of that giddy post-Herman atmosphere of muckraking Reformism, founded on the enshrinement of transparency and accountability (of others) as the Cardinal Christian Virtues, that led to the supposed "new broom sweeps clean" mistake he now regrets. And if he and we are out of touch with even the possibility the atmosphere that led to any such mistake three years ago was laregly fostered here, then how can we consider the possibility that new forms of rush-to- judgment are creating another bad atmosphere that will make the decisions that lie ahead harder - or even impossible - to make correctly?
(Editor's note: Because, Father, as the Church teaches, one can always repent and correct one's mistakes. Having fallen, we need only to recognize we are on the floor, ask for God's help in getting up, and try to rise. He will not abandon us. Perhaps the way forward this time is not to attempt to run helter-skelter, only to fall again; but rising, learn how to just stand for awhile to allow the head to clear, before setting off...)
#13 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-09-08 10:40
Your call to avoid a rush to judgment is a good reminder for folks to heed. You are correct in again reminding readers that there are significant problems with what information seems to be available; nonetheless, the powers that be in the OCA have once again apparently decided not to help clear the air by keeping a lid on any and all information. Why do the members of the OCA or other jurisdictions have to have a site like this to get any information on serious aspects of church life in a timely manner?
Would you consider writing a couple of reflections for the edification of the readers of this web site: one on the differences between discernment and judgment and how a believer is to know and apply those differences; the other on when and how the Church should look to the civil legal system to deal with problems that arise in the Church and when and how the Church should handle those problems internally? Each would go far in helping slow the rush to judgement by readers here that seems to concern you.
Mark C. Phinney
#13.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2011-09-11 04:40
No report at all on the repose of a righteous bishop?
(Editor's note: The late Archbishop's repose was widely reported. There is no need to gild the lily, as they say.)
#14 Antionymous on 2011-09-08 14:08
I, for one, would like to thank you for refraining from reporting on Vladyka Dmitri's passing....
You are perfectly correct: the lily needs no gilding. On that point you are perfectly correct, for "Thou hast set a crown of pure gold on his head".
May his memory be eternal.
#14.1 Anonymous on 2011-09-08 21:01
If I may; you'd be far more convincing had you left colon scopes out of the discussion and simply asked where are the stories of the good things the Metropolitan has done.
On OCAT, they don't do that either.
Interesting isn't it?
#15 Daniel Fall on 2011-09-08 21:53
I'm sorry but the wholly negative interpretation of the timeline provided here smacks more of the kind of dysfunctional squabbling one sees in a quite troubled marriage. Neither side is truly right, neither side is truly wrong, everyone is riding on feelings and preferences and picking and choosing facts to bolster how 'important' their opinion is - which is really just proxy language for "I don't like you, you drive me nuts".
Sure there are some legitimate issues in there, but all perspective is lost in this tit-for-tat, back-and-forth. Like it or not, right or wrong this dysfunction represents differing paradigms present at strength within the OCA. Everyone says that the OCA should be more united than it is today with the assumption that we should return to the unity of some past age, e.g., as under Schmemann, as before Schmemann, as under Leonty. Whether there was unity then and whether we'd want those problems now sideteps the fact that there are real divides in the OCA today. Everyone talks about wanting to come together, work together, etc. but no one seems to want to accept something other than a zero-sum game, or some compromise that gives everyone what they want without upsetting or being upset in some way.
What the means for going forward, I don't know. But, I think we need to acknowledge that a lot of the agita going on are petty squabbles and personality conflicts masking as most important. These are the kinds of problems that come up in offices and businesses, organizations, friendships and marriages all the time - it's just that you can quit a job and work elsewhere, make new friends or get divorced. That sort of 'take it or leave it' attitude cannot and does not fit in the Church - even if one can move across town to another jurisdiction and still be in the Church. We also aren't a democracy where we can just 'kick all the bums out' in an anti-incumbent year and clean house - besides, most everyone always thinks their own representatives are good while 'those others' or 'Congress' as a whole is 'terrible'. We're more like a family, and we're always going to be family, so crazy Uncle Phil and high strung Aunt Joan and Grandma Stephanie, and the black and white sheep cousins, and age old resentments from childhood as well as last week, and everyone has to find a way to get along and come to an acceptable (not perfect, not ideal) modus operandi. And we have to do all this while not being able to avoid talk of religion (and sometimes politics).
If one is tempted to think he/she isn't the problem, you are. No more pointing fingers, no more justifications, stop the gossiping and feigned objectivity. The problem isn't what 'he' or 'she' or 'they' did, are doing, might do. In a relationship - which is what we're talking about - if one person/group/region has a problem, we all have a problem. Act accordingly, everyone.
#16 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-09-09 07:56
I wish I had written that! Much wisdom and grace!
#16.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-09-09 08:26
From "The Morning Offering":
"As a member of the Body of Christ, you must resist speaking against other Christians. If we judge each other it is because Satan wishes to divide us. The best defense against the Evil One is to stand united in prayer with one another. Do not give in to the temptation to judge anyone, but rather pray for those who may disappoint or hurt you. To do anything less is to fall short of the Glory of God. We must all stand strong against the temptations that would divide us. It is Christ Who sustains us and in turn we sustain one another. It is Christ who unites us, and the devil who divides us. This truth must be forefront in our thinking if we are to gain victory in spiritual warfare.
Love in Christ,
Yes, there are times one needs to speak up against abuses, yes, there are times when we must speak out against the actions (or lack thereof) of fellow Christians, yes, even when those Christians are bishops. I think we all assume we know where the line dividing 'do not judge' from 'defend the truth' is - we don't, we're almost always wrong and yet God is good and all things come together for the good for they who love God. Unfortunately, it's far more satisfying to our egos to take on the mantle of Christ Cleansing the Temple or St. Nicholas Slapping Arius than it is to be the Bridegroom of Holy Week, the Suffering Servant.
#17 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-09-09 08:07
With both the Mogutnov chronology and the emails and quotes in the OCAT article, the question that I find most interesting is: who provided the underlying information and what does it say about them that they provided it as they did and to whom they did?
Of course the same questions can, and should, be applied to information we find in other venues, including OCA News.
Somehow I find the plausible answers in the case of the chronology and OCAT more disturbing.
#18 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-09-09 09:06
This affair will only go from bad to worse, because it is born of pretentiousness. Why on earth would the OCA want a Representation Church in Russia (and not Greece, Serbia, Holy Land and every Orthodox country) except for show?
OCA's Holy Synod should legally vote the institution's immediate closure, recall the Antimins, list the premises for sale, end all budgetary authorization, and invite this clergyman to come home to USA & defend his good name. Which is impossible from abroad.
Then the OCA should buckle down, reach out to its sister synods on these shores and hammer out what we're going to do with the 5 Talents we find in our care.
(Editor's note: Just as a point of fact, we don't own the property. It belongs to the Russian Church. )
#19 Ron Muresan on 2011-09-09 11:40
The Synod and Metropolitan Council should proceed with the investigations with or without the cooperation of those being investigated. Rogue clergy and bishops should not be allowed to simply jump jurisdictions to avoid accountability. This tricky loophole should be closed for good. Otherwise, this out will simply motivate more shenanigans in the future.
What lawyers tell us is acceptable, and what morality and ethics tell us are on different planes. Doing what is right is the higher ground, so let's not look to lawyers to understand what is the right thing to do. Let's look to our Faith.
(Editor's note: Agreed, But what do you do when it is the clergy who are who are resisting the right thing because what they are doing is not illegal, just unethical? )
#20 Anon. on 2011-09-09 20:37
Unless I have been reading the Scriptures incorrectly all these years, anything that is unethical is also immoral, and therefore, not acceptable behavior for a member of our clergy. If he intends to practice this behavior, he needs to step down as a clergyman and stop putting himself out to be an example for others to follow, especially our young.
#20.1 Anon. on 2011-09-13 19:15
OCANews's latest report is profoundly disturbing. Whose side is the Metropolitan on -- that of the OCA, or that of the clergyman who has "lawyered up" against it?
When an abuse allegation is raised in any organization -- especially if there's a whiff of possible legal trouble -- it's important that a strategy be agreed on and stuck to. All members of the organization must follow the same playbook. Our bishops may have their differences, but in the face of a crisis like this, they need to maintain a uniform policy.
If the Metropolitan finds himself unable to defend the approach on which the rest of the Synod and the Chancery staff have united, he needs to step down or be removed. However innocent and righteous Jonah may be, it is simply untenable for an organization's leaders to be working at cross-purposes in the face of outside legal threats.
Ultimately it is not in the interest of anyone -- least of all Fr. Zacchaeus, who deserves a swift investigation of the charges against him -- for this process to be hamstrung by Synodal division. The fact that the Metropolitan and his Internet mouthpieces are openly consorting with the Archimandrite's lawyer (anyone following the campaign at OCATruth will note that Jesse Cone now corresponds with and publishes verbatim the claims of Mr. Berezansky) is simply making it more difficult to follow the "due process" of a misconduct allegation and, if Fr. Zacchaeus is innocent, to clear him objectively of wrongdoing.
Those who care about the rapid, responsible, and orderly investigation of sexual misconduct charges should implore that Metropolitan Jonah be removed from any position in which he can further interfere with this investigation.
#21 Joseph Clarke on 2011-09-10 08:32
For years, insiders have been sharing information with Stokoe, even stolen emails passed on to him, and you now are SHOCKED that someone else is sharing information with another website and think it is hampering investigations? Time to take off your blinders and realize that because this investigation was so botched to begin with, the accused felt it necessary to lawyer up. Now Kishkovsky is sent to Moscow to smooth things over? Another brillant move!
And the Editor now says.............
(Editor's note: The Editor has never received stolen emails. That is calumny -- and libelous, friend. Before you make accusations, you should bother to learn the facts, of which you are ignorant in all these instances. Period.)
#21.1 Anonymous on 2011-09-11 04:26
Here, here! Absolutely correct, Joe. + Jonah was a mistake in Pitt. and Seattle is the place to correct this. Bad leadership cannot continue with the "hope" that things will improve. When legal issues threaten the OCA and the Met. is an obstructionist, it's time for a change!
#21.2 Anonymous on 2011-09-11 06:16
Joseph Clarke wrote: "Those who care about the rapid, responsible, and orderly investigation of sexual misconduct charges should implore that Metropolitan Jonah be removed from any position in which he can further interfere with this investigation."
Makes me wonder what's in the SMPAC report requested by the bishops? I hope that someday the Faithful will see the contents.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
So what ever happened to Archimandrite Zacchaeus? It's clear that Fr. Kishkovsky is in Moscow running the podvorie so where is Fr. Zacchaeus? Was he defrocked? Did he voluntarily give up the priesthood? Is he still a priest?
(Editor's note: Fr. Zacchaeus is "still" a priest: there are allegation(s) against him - nothing more. When an investigation is held, decisions will then be taken regarding canonical discipline, if such is warranted. Until then, he is suspended - or not - depending on who is speaking.)
#22 Anonymous on 2011-09-12 14:24
I don't want an American Church. I don't want a Russian Church. I don't want a Greek or Antiochian Church. I don't want an Old Calendar or New Calendar Church. I want the ORTHODOX Church. Metropolitan Jonah can join us with a Martian colony orbiting Alpha Centauri for all I care SO LONG AS IT'S ORTHODOX. So long as the sacraments are available and bishops guide their flocks with love and priests preach the Incarnate Word of God then I am content. So long as the doctrines and values and virtues held by our brothers and sisters in Christ who preceded us are taught then I am content. I don't care about the OCA's mission. I'm here to worship God. I'm here to save my soul. I'm here to love and be loved. I don't believe in either OCANews or OCATruth. I believe in Christ. So Metropolitan Jonah is a bad administrator? Not everyone cares. I just thought I should return long enough to remind you all of this.
#23 Meh on 2011-09-13 19:40
Interesting, I just noticed that the good old st-catherine.ru website is up and running again. And how nice to see that the archimandrite is still listed as the rector.
Can we assume that the storm has passed?
It seems like everyone is playing nice until October. Is that the gameplan?
With love in Christ
#24 Anon. on 2011-09-19 16:46
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