Wednesday, March 2. 2011
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Sex, Lies, and e-mail!
Coming to the BIG screen soon!
#1 the whale on 2011-03-02 21:40
To go through the top officer's email section who had protected Communications on his computer in a folder relative to governance of Sexual Abuse issues seems to need an immediate response of a legal nature.
I just have a few questions:
When, exactly, is Fr. Garklavs going to be reinstated and how much is he going to receive for wrongful termination, back pay, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, discrimination, and invasion of privacy? (By the way, Fr. Alexander (and Fr. Eric Tosi) you might want to get the telephone number for EEOC .... just in case you don't remember it's filed under Sidebottom).
When is the Metropolitan Council going to have some say in the administration of the OCA once again or can we assume, based upon the recent actions of the Holy Synod, that the Metropolitan Council serves no useful purpose?
When will the accounting of who paid for the trip to Sante Fe and all of + Jonah's recent travel Washinton and New York going to be posted and when will we know that +Jonah has reimbursed all of the faithful of the OCA for his latest antics?
Who is going to pay for all of the additional expenses associated with everything that +Jonah has pulled of late such as +Melchisek's expenses, +Michael's expenses, +Nikon's expenses, etal.? And when will the final bill be tallied and given to +Jonah to reimburse the OCA?
Let's see, Kondratick got around $200,000 plus the OCA spent around $250,000 the last time I checked. Sorry, my memory is a little fuzzy. Fr. Alexander why don't you cut them a deal and do the whole thing for say $400,000 (you know, we're still in a recession). Besides, the OCA is going to need some additional money when it probably gets sued over the +Seraphim situation. One simple solution, of course, is to cut off all funding for the bishops. No diocesan stipends, no housing allowance, no funding of the diocese, no funding of the central administration.
Just one last observation about all of this: what happened to the humble abbott who was elected metropolitan just a couple of years ago? For a guy who didn't seem to want the job initially, he sure is working mighty hard at the moment making sure that no one takes it away from him.
#3 Anonymous and Very Upset Parishioner on 2011-03-02 22:31
Can anyone say unilateral?
Mark... you are way to kind. What you call Disinformatsiya and transformed, out here in MN, we call it lying.
And here we go with the evil internet stuff again.
The worst person to lie to is yourself.
#4 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-02 22:40
Matushka, work emails belong to the company, not the sender or recipient. There is no expectation of privacy there.
(Editor'snote: The Company here is the OCA; not the Metropolitan, who at the time was a officer of the corporation who had been placed on leave from those duties that might have justified his ransacking had that not been case. But alas it was. Sorry, you, +Jonah, and RSK are the last three to believe in the Brum Doctrine that "everything is permitted the Metropolitan since he is the fount of all authority". It didn't work for +Herman, and it won't work for +jonah either.
But I see a significant shift here. You can no longer defend him on a macro level, so you are now trying on the level of individual acts, looking for a crack to wedge your way back to be able to claim decent behaviour. Good luck. I am still fascinated by the moral train wreck that is you...)
#5 Cordelia on 2011-03-03 00:13
I agree, that is the very question -- what did happen to him or within him? Where is he?
The Synod minutes, meant originally to be private I gather, read like a kind family trying to help their loved one figure it out and not harm himself or the family projects while doing so. Kind and wise. The Metropolitan does not seem to perceive that. If he is not himself, that would explain his response. We know how much it means to him to "not react, not resent, and keep inner stillness." So if that is difficult for him now, perhaps that is a cause for concern, but not anger.
In my business we say no insight until we stop acting out. As my confessions attest, I act out lots myself so I know all about it! I pray he will be able to become still and surround himself with healing people who advise him well and truly care for his well-being above anything else.
#6 Orthodox & Psychiatrist on 2011-03-03 00:20
Dear Mr. Stokoe:
You were right about the financial scandal and about the leave. I am betting you are right about this announcement.
Thank you for continuing to tell the truth despite the backlash. In the long run it always helps, just painful for all at first. I appreciate your teflon qualities -- don't let the mud from any upset stick, please.
#7 Nicole on 2011-03-03 00:24
#8 Maurice on 2011-03-03 01:09
"Do not react, do not resent, keep inner stillness."
Then either LOL or cry, depending on whose side you are on.
#9 Anthony on 2011-03-03 03:01
It seems that with ++Jonah, the Curse of Byzantium has struck again!
Specifically Constantinian, Silvestrine Byzantium.
How long and how much energy will it take for the Western Democratic concepts (first enshrined Arimathean Celtic (Brehon) Law in the early 50's CE, and then in the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath in 1320) to be force-fed down unwilling Eastern Orthodox hieratical throats?
Such as , , , , etc etc???
Also, how long will Orthodoxy generally, and the OCA in particular take to enshrine this in L.A.W.??? And enforce it with real "teeth", and not with the playacting that currently transpires in so many "spiritual courts"?
There needs to be enshrined in all Orthodox Canon LAW an "impeachment" procedure akin to that applying in the USA. Where a Metropolitan can be unwillingly removed from Office and deposed for grave misdemeanours, including administrative malfeasance. Where necessary, kicking and screaming! Not just on doctrinal issues, or refusal to "submit" to superiors.
Until it does, it has no right to lecture "the West" on its own vaunted "superiority"!
The Hellenic Byzantine phronema must go, go immediately, and go forever - never to return!
From the time of the prophecies of Daniel in c580BCE, Hellenism and Romanism were identified as a vast evil, to be avoided at all costs by Yahweh's true followers. Even to the extent of rejecting the use of the Greek language (polluted as it was by Mt Olympus, Delphi, Mt Parnassus, etc), as well as the entire infrastructure and administrative architecture of the Pagan Roman State - by Yahweh's true followers.
Yahweh's true Church was meant to eschew both Hellenism and Romanism with a passion. And be the "stone" (Dan 2) that destroyed the great image which included every facet and aspect of Hellenism and Romanism! NONE of which was "salvageable" for Church use!
The "fruit" of its failure to do so is now manifest (inter alia) in the nightmare that now envelops the OCA with ++Jonah (who is more a victim and exploiter of the system, rather than being intrinsically evil).
Gospodii Velikii Pomilui!
(Editor's note: John, get a grip. As Fr. Florovsky insisted, Hellenism is the cultural form in which Orthodoxy was incarnated and expressed in human thought. Do away with it and you have something, but not the Gospel. It is the enduring form of the Gospel (again, Florovsky), and the questions the Gospel answers. Hellenism cannot be reduced to "Things Greek", as so many would attempt, but will always remain the style of the Church, because historically, it was. )
#10 John Battye on 2011-03-03 03:39
If you would permit another one.....
If this goes on for much longer, and ++Jonah simply sits pretty and goes nowhere, then the seminarians at St Vladimirs will have enough material for a perfect "set piece" question in their Church History subject:
#11 John Battye on 2011-03-03 03:58
You people make me sick. Are you Christians or not? This whole blog reads like one big muckfest! And how in the world can you refer to His Grace as a whale? What is wrong with you? Oh I know, you are those kind of people that are not happy unless you are complaining and gossiping about someone else....let me guess....converts? Guess the conversion didn't go far enough huh? Please do us all a favor and stop your offense posting, and go read something calming and enlightening.
#12 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 05:00
One addition to the Minutes
MJ after agreeing to the LOA, the next day asked if it could be called a retreat.
The Holy Synod expressly told him NO!
As they wanted to underscore the seriousness of the situation, which he simply did not seem to grasp.
Thus their concern over many issues, He does not seem to understand the consequences of his words and actions.
Both Fr A and MJ had come to an impasse and neither could work with the other and expressly said so.
For the conspiricists I ask, "Why would a Holy Synod involved in a coso-called conspiarcy to get rid of Jonah with Fr A accept a resignation from Fr A and attempt to rehabilitate MJ?
Please connect the dots for me, I do not understand.
#13 anonymous on 2011-03-03 05:11
Your work and your website are an embrassment (at best) to the Christian faith and the Orthodox Church, and promote the work of the Enemy (at worst). Why do you involve yourself in the Christian Faith when your activity is advocating the opposite goals - dissesnsion, rumor-mongering and suspicion?
For the sake of your immortal soul, let go of this and seek salvation somewhere where you can find peace.
I am a convert from the Episcopal Church, where I saw this type of wickedness destroy a one great Christian community. I beseech you and your readers to stop and turn elsewhere.
In Christ's name, stop!
#14 Mark Hunter on 2011-03-03 06:16
Thank you Mark for your work in sharing the truth with us. As this episode continues to unfold we can clearly see + Jonah for who he is. Unfortunately he is afflicted with the cultic mentality of the CSB/HOOM and 'father' Herman. You can see by the response of his followers the excessively zealous and unquestioning loyalty that is a hallmark of cults where questioning, doubt and dissent are discouraged. + Jonah has demonstrated the polarized, us versus them mentality and the thought control spin associated with cult leaders. He has been caught and exposed being blatantly dishonest and unethical in his actions. I hope that the synod can act accordingly to protect the OCA from any further harm. The OCA desperately needs good leadership and + Jonah is not the man for the job.
#15 Ex Cult Member on 2011-03-03 06:21
I find the email of Fr. Fester as a most disturbing rant that warrants a clear and decisive response from the synod of bishops.
Fr. Fester is without doubt one of the most ambitious ...priests I have ever encountered. And his calculating influence over Metropolitan Jonah is both frightening and dangerous. Chancellor Garklavs is not the one who needs jettisoned, it’s Fr. Fester (do you understand this Archbishop Nathaniel and synod members). His interfering in his former diocese of the south in itself warrants disciplinary action. Enough intolerable behavior, +Jonah’s never going to get the help he needs with people like this in his ear..... It's time to act decisively dear bishops!
#16 Disgusted priest on 2011-03-03 06:32
It is time to DEPOSE Jonah! This is all very ridiculous! DEPOSE him and let's start over - NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#17 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 07:21
So, Mark. You refer to Fr. Garklavs as a "whistleblower" in this article. What did he blow the whistle on? Could it be:
1. The failure of the Synod and the Sexual Misconduct Committee to act on reports from 2008 (I think) about the allegations for which +Seraphim is now facing trial?
2. The failure of practically every parish in the OCA to have a sexual misconduct policy in place that complies with the OCA's national policy?
3. The failure of practically every OCA diocese to make sure their parishes are in compliance?
#18 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 07:30
...work emails belong to the company, not the sender or recipient. There is no expectation of privacy there.
This may or may not be true. This is an evolving area of the law, HR practice, etc.
For instance, it is my understanding that in City of Ontario v. Quon (6/17/2010), the U.S. Supreme Court found there was a limited expectation of privacy in electronic communications by employees using employer-provided electronic hardware and services. Specifically, an employer's review of electronic communications by an employee must be 1) in line with the company's policy and 2) conducted for a valid business reason. The ruling A) does not take away the right to an employee's privacy in all cases and B) the example of text messaging (the type of electronic communication in this case) can be seen to apply to the work email, phone calls, etc. Basically, there has to be valid business reasons for an employer to search such communications and that search has to be in line with a company's policy.
The questions are:
- Does the OCA has a written policy regarding employees' work email (or texts, or phone calls) and any expectation of privacy?
- Did Met. Jonah's search of Fr. Garlkav's email go beyond what was necessary to achieve a legitimate business purpose?
These are questions beyond whether Met. Jonah had the authority to even request, much less receive, access to Fr. Garklav's work computer and email. It is also beyond the question of whether it is simply right to do so, ethically or interpersonally.
#19 melxiopp on 2011-03-03 07:32
I had always hoped that the oca which emerged from our little scandal would be one with more transparency and accountability. Apparently those values do not apply when those men and women of the MC plot a coup ("ala ireny" - and may I add rodzianko, sylvester) against the office of the metropolitan. Mark Stokoe and other members of the MC and others advocated so vociferously for an open election process for our bishops. All their posturing is now nullified by their back-room politicing to remove the Metropolitian. This is not about James Pafhausen but it is about the structure of our OCA and the office of the Metropolitan. If this plot succeeds be warned bishops and metropolitans, your new marching orders will come from those laity like Mark who will use the inaction and lack of spine of the synod members, yellow journalism of his site and his back dealing politics to control your episcopacy. You will follow the line of the MC or face LOA.
Students of history. Are you watching all of this. We are not only undoing the great things that happened at the Moscow 1917-1918. That would at least have us simply going back to a church administered by the Synod. But this is worse. This is vacating the office of metropolitan, and ushering in a structure where the Metropolitan Council is the authority and the synod will in the future answer to them. How will that one look in our history books?
If we must elect in an open and fair process why can't we remove with at least a smidgen of that openness. Why don't our MC members report to the assemblies which elected them, the faithful of their diocese and make the case. Why don't the diocesan bishops write to their faithful? While I did not always agree with our beloved Archbishop +Job. Of blessed memory, he at least had the courtesy to write to his flock to let them know what was going on and to explain why certain actions were necessary.
Mark, we elected Jonah. Who gave you the right to impeach him on your own. At least Kenneth Starr had an open investigation.
People, write, call your bishops, deans, chancellors, MC reps. Tell them this course of action and atmosphere in the OCA is unacceptable to you. Tell them this is your church as as you had a right to elect the metropolitan you want at least an open and honest dealing with the current issues.
Metropolitan Council Members Contact
Holy Synod of Bishops Contact
People, what is at stake is the very ability for our faithful of the OCA to be in communiom with the entire Church Catholic. What is at stake is your sonor daughter, grandson or granddaughter to marry in a canonical ceremony the a Orthodox young man or women met who is from another jurisdiction. What is at stake is any seat at the Episcopal Assemblies. What is at stake is that very thing my own grandfather fought for when he and his friends lost their church because he insisted on staying with the metropolia.
What is at stake is our ability to witness the Gospel to america as only a canonical OCA can.
Many of you will say that we lived in partial schism in the past during the metropolia and that if we have to we can do it again. My friends this is not the time of the Cold War anymore and relatively weak patriarchates around the world. We are in the time of the Episcopal Assemblies and Chambesy. We have already been minimalised at the EA but even since last May things have gotten better. Last year in May at the EA we acted as a mature church. We had a strong representation and His Beatitude set us on a course to good and open working relationship with all the "players" in Orthodox america. If we move to vacate the office of the metropolitan in this way I assure you we can kiss good-bye any seat at any assembly. And we will be relegated to our own cold war outside of communion with world orthodoxy. You may think this an exaggeration. I would like it to be so. But the reality is that on Friday when the Churches around the world received word that Jonah was removed or deposed they acted in an unprecedented way to support the OCA and support the Metropolitan. And it is clear that should we vacate the office of the Metropolitan, or do this awful house arrest deal with the Metropolitan going to Santa Fe with the hopes that he gets antsy and leaves so that he can be disciplined, then Moscow, the only tie we really have to the Orthodox world, would not revoke our autocephaly, would not move to make us a diocese, they would simply stop recognizing us. I am not saying we should allow foreign patriarchates to push us into a corner and dictate to us what we should do. But we must take care that we remain within the fold and in communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters around the world. It is that universality that helps give stability to the Orthodox church and will allow us to evangelize and do the work of the Gospel. How could we ever in good conscience evangelize and bring the wandering flock of Christ to a church in schism. It would be better if we were fitted with concrete boots and dumped in the East River.
Friends, do we risk jeopardizing that which so many before us worked for. They would be ashamed to see us act like this now. And over what, personality? Power?
I am not here to say we should just blindly support the Metropolitan. I simply insist that we be informed and that we no longer allow ourselves to be lead by OCANews.org and its pundits.
Organise town-hall meetings. Ask for real information. And lets get some maturity about us. Act in some way. This is our church. We tithe, we support our local parishes, we help grow this oca. Let's not let people like Mark and company hijack what is ours.
Any Hey you Old Guard of the OCA. Can you imagine what Kiprian would be doing at this point!!!! Where is that type of bishop these days.
And all you "freemen" of the midwest. Are you still Free?
Glory to God for all things! Even this mess for in it somewhere is the on-ramp to our salvation.
(Editor's note: In the Midwest our late Bishop did report to his diocesan assembly,as do our representatives to the Metropolitan Councill, who are not appointed, but elected by the body. Anybody who thinks the OCA is run by the Metropolitan Council - which cannot even call its own meetings - is being absurd. Our Church is evolving from a despotism under a single Metropolitan ( or Chancellor) to a more conciliar body with a Synod, headed by the MEtropolitan, working in conjunction with the Metropolitan Council, also headed by the Metropolitan, who come together twice a year so as to be able to carry out the goals set by the All-American Council, composed of all our bishops, clergy and lay representatives, that meets every three years. You bet some other Orthodox Churches are watching; but it is not our internal policy that causes them dismay, rather, the antics of an increasingly rogue bishop. )
#20 kiprian on 2011-03-03 07:42
Thanks to Mark Stokoe who, as editor of this website, is serving the church in what must be one of the most thankless of ministries.
Transforming the church into a more transparent organization is a painful process—painful not only for the leaders, whose actions are subject to greater scrutiny, but also for the faithful, who must look unflinchingly at the darker side of human nature and yet still find it in themselves to sing "Eis polla eti, Despota." The OCA's newfound willingness to hold its leaders accountable, even when it knows the revelations may be embarrassing, is the best possible evidence that the American church deserves its autocephaly.
#21 Joseph Clarke on 2011-03-03 08:11
A few questions and observations:
(1) I am puzzled and deeply troubled by Fr Joseph Fester's e-mail that was published on the "www.ocatruth.com" website which was apparently recently launched. You can read that e-mail here:
It seems that a lot of people are worried about "losing the OCA," and it seems that a lot of people think that only they know the right way to save it. I have no doubt that Mark Stokoe, Dr. Faith Skordinski, and others on the MC who LOVE the church feel that what they are doing is best and in the church's best interest.
Likewise, Fr. Joseph Fester probably feels the same way. But as a priest, for him to write that "Mark Stokoe is a master manipulator and a liar" and "is working against the good order of the church" (in an e-mail to other priests, apparently on the OCA clergy Yahoo! e-mail list, no less!) is appalling and unconscionable. Where is the meekness, humility, love, and gentleness that is needed from a priest? Shouldn't he be more concerned with the salvation of souls rather than with church politics? His job is not to act as the Metropolitan's point man.
The Metropolitan Council seems to be trying to do its job -- are there those still in OCA church administration who would prefer that they not do their job, but simply rubber stamp everything? Isn't that the fiasco that we were in 5 or 6 years ago?
All of us probably love the church. What ever happened to acting in a conciliar manner as we try to do what is best for her?
Metropolitan Philip has to be at least a little bemused that the attention is not on him, at least for a little while.
And when all this gets to be too much, pull out your copy of Fr. Alexander Schmemann's "Great Lent" and remember the reason for the season.
A blessed remainder of Cheesefare week to all.
#22 Gregg on 2011-03-03 08:45
Or maybe, MAYBE....it was written that way on purpose so as to not give the "whole" picture. Everyone on here, it would be in your BEST interest to view other Orthodox websites (Yahoo, OrthodoxTruth.com, etc)...there is a definite group of 4 and most likely more who want to get rid of the Metropolitan. They will all deny it.......but in the end that's what they want.
Funny thing is....Mark Stokoe (and he will deny this to his grave) is the biggest cog in the "NEW" OCA maffia. He pushed for +Jonah, because he knew for a FACT that +Job did not want to be the Metropolitan. And YES Mark, I talked with folks who were in Pittsburgh. Did you TELL anyone who to vote for? No. But, all your KOOL-AID drinkers listened to your "recommendation."
I really feel bad for those who have put their FAITH in the hands of Mark Stokoe and HIS cronies. He's leading your down a road that will ultimately close the proverbial doors of the OCA.
And no, i have no agenda Mark. I gave up on this church 4 years ago, when you, your priest and Bishop made it your "personal" agenda to destroy this church. It's really a shame that you can actually sit on here and lie the way you have for many years.
I again ask everyone, read the other websites.....because somewhere in the middle of this.....is where the truth lies. And, trust me, Mark Stokoe's version is not the whole truth.
(Editor's note: Sorry Mike, you are wrong. You can easily go back on this site to November 2008 and see I did not recommend for anyone to vote for +Jonah. I encouraged everyone, on this site, and in person, to vote for +Job. I specifically did not encourage people to vote for +Jonah, not because I had any idea what he would devolve into, but because, as I stated then, it was unfair to put a rookie in place where all his mistakes would be visible to the world. Well, year one we all saw the "mistakes". Year two we tried to convince ourselves they were still mistakes and not something more serious. Year three the world is seeing it all for itself, unfortunately. So you can accuse me, my priest and everybody I know of "trying to destroy your Church", but the in doing so, please stick to the facts. And I am not the major cog in the "new OCA". The bishops have made sure that will be the lawyers for years to come.)
#23 Michael Livosky on 2011-03-03 08:46
Well, what's that old adage: "Give him enough rope and he'll hang himself." Well.......
#24 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 09:13
There is another side to this story. http://www.ocatruth.com/
#25 James on 2011-03-03 09:18
I've been thinking a lot about the election in Pittsburgh. About my own motivations and thoughts back then and what has changed since. I'm haunted by the 'might have been' of Abp. Job as a temporary Metropolitan (since he would have accepted to serve only on condition that he be allowed to retire in three years). Ironically, one of my motivations for embracing +Jonah as a candidate was the manifest misery of +Job at the prospect of being elected.
I persist in seeing +Jonah as a man who strives for good, but his judgment and resolve hamper him in ways to which he seems blind. That things have come to the point we're at now is profoundly sad -- I pray that the Metropolitan finds his way to a radically Christian and humble re-examination of his assumptions and that he accepts the loving advice of his fellow bishops to take a real rest, to pass a prayerful Lent far from the power battles.
For those who are advising the Metropolitan to pursue his current course, who are, I believe, playing him and taking advantage of some of his convictions to further their personal, power-hungry agendas -- well, praying for a change of heart seems futile, so my only prayer for them can be (as it is for myself) Lord, have mercy.
#26 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-03-03 10:04
Power corrupts, especially men who are unprepared to handle it, lack the necessary experience and wisdom, and not mature enough spiritually to bear such a burden. I'm afraid we're seeing how quickly even a good man can be affected by this and the problems he can cause for the entire Church.
You claim you are reporting truths and news. This is not reporting news...this is a blog entry.
Do not discuss opinion...just state facts. Do not go off of what other people said...show actual facts before making statements. Do not try and suade the tone of the facts by putting things in quotations while trying to change the mood of the report.
If you are going to report facts...report facts. If you are going to write a blog...make sure you label it as such.
#28 Fr. Daniel on 2011-03-03 10:54
Wow, this OCA release about Met. Krystof's visit to the USA is really finely wordsmithed.
How interesting that photo galleries of the event do NOT appear on the OCA website, but on ROCOR and the MP's websites.
#29 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 11:28
I will not be surprised if +Jonah is not at the next AAC. His move to sit and look at Fr. Alexander Garklav's emails, while perhaps legal, was in fact a low point in the metropolitan's ministry?
To His Beatitude:
While you were looking through all of the emails, did it every dawn on you to consider how many times in the past couple of years your staff asked you to come to Syosset and consult with them? Ironically, for the first time as primate you couldn't seem to wait to get back to Long Island, NY.
Where was this same sense of urgency with the Archbishop Seraphim situation? You know as well as anyone that you had a Holy Synod meeting right after your election that was held at your primatial cathedral, and yet the subject of an investigation was never brought up?
What about the handling of the Fr. Ray Valencia matter with Mrs. Koumentakos? Where was the same sense of urgency?
I, for one, can no longer say Axios to you. I can only hope and pray that you have the wisdom and decency to step aside and let someone else lead the OCA.
#30 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 11:40
Supposedly +MJ has gone rogue up in Syosset today and is threatening his fellow bishops with canonical penalties......
#31 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 12:08
I read Mark's comments on +Jonah Pushes Back. (I am not overly surprised or shocked at the comments; just reading like alot of other folks...)
However all this continues to shake out, I know the OCA still has its checks and balances of the Holy Synod, the Metropolitan Council, the OCA statutes, the Ethics Committee, and the ability of any of these parties, that I am aware of, to meet on an emergency basis if the need arises.
The checks and balances are there and while it does not seem that they are doing much, I believe things have already been done, such as the recent Santa Fe Synodal visit, to maintain peace and tranquility among its members. There does not have to be dramatic events to occur to mean something is not happening. Reflection and wisdom from our checks and balances within our church does not have to be done overnight. It seems as if enough already is being worked upon.
We all can continue to pray that the OCA grows more spiritual, stronger, and wiser in such periods as this.
#32 Patty Schellbach on 2011-03-03 12:15
Wow! What a surprise! Seems to me like politics as usual. To quote the first Baron Acton, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
Don't get me wrong, I am not calling Met. Jonah, or anyone else for that matter, a bad man. However, if power does tend to corrupt, well....we see that almost everywhere this side of Eternity. The Holy Orthodox Church is not immune. Is anyone really shocked?
#33 Jeff on 2011-03-03 12:24
Mark you are a great example of proper preparation for Great Lent.
#34 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 12:27
Either the Synod acts to curb the lawless and deceitful acts of the Metropolitan or the Faithful need to respond by effectively excommunicating the Metropolitan and his henchmen by withdrawing from them every means of material and spiritual support. No money, no attendance at any liturgical events where he is present, effectively isolating and shunning them for their selfish and destructive actions.
One can now see in all its ruinous efficiency the handiwork of Bishops like Tikhon and Dimitri (both retired) as well as others, some still with us, the real cabal that has saddled the OCA with the likes of Metropolitan Jonah and continues to seek the destruction of the vision and work of Alexander Schmemann. Why, oh why, wasn't this obvious to the poor benighted souls at the last AAC?! A cornered and frightened Synod, trying to hold on at all costs to its unaccountable authority, pulled this rabbit (Jonah) out of its hat, so to speak, in order to exorcise the ghosts of Fr. Schmemann and the reforming work of the Russian Church in the first part of the last century.
"Kill conciliarity" is the mantra of the super orthodox. Chilling close to "crucify him!"
#35 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-03-03 13:12
What surprises us about Metropolitan Jonah's action? Fr Joseph
Fester, previous aide to RSK is now Metropolitan Jonah's chief
advisor. If the raid on the computer at Syosset sounds familiar,
it is because it is taken from the RSK playbook. Notice that
Metropolitan Jonah agreed with the Synod until he returned to
Washington ,DC and consulted with Fr. Joseph Fester. You can
see Fr. Joseph clearly visible monitoring the Metropolitan's video
taped speech. Of course, Fr. Joseph Fester is the Metropolitan's
choice for Chancellor of the OCA. The Metropolitan has already
suggested Fr. David Brum for a Synod seat. It looks like the
same old administration with a new Metropolitan in place to me.
#36 anonymous on 2011-03-03 13:13
I am done with the Orthodox Church!
First, Mark, let me again compliment you. I have watched people try to discredit you over the years and time and truth has always won out and vindicated you!
I am a cradle Roman Catholic. A number of years ago, like so many before me, I was fed up with the scandals, perversions, etc of the Roman Catholic Church. It wasn't difficult for me to turn to the Orthodox Church given that I come from a very old, ethnic family and half my relatives are Byzantine Catholic. I chose the Orthodox Church closest to my ethnic heritage. That church happened to be a part of the OCA.
However, I am fed up with the scandals, perversions, etc of the Orthodox Church and the OCA. You guys really are no better than the Catholics. The grass was not greener for me on the other side.
I am so tired of watching these old men prancing around in their gold crowns, monk's mantels that other men have to carry for them, standing on special rugs and all the other rubbish trappings they've added over the centuries to glorify themselves - NOT GOD!...there is no godliness in their actions at liturgy, in synod, in the world! This is the 21st century. Pull your heads out and walk into the century as men!
I am equally tired of Pope Benedict trying to emulate Orthodox clergy with all his trappings as well.
I am resolved. It is enough to believe in GOD and the hell with all you mere men who don't give a crap about humanity beyond your own glorifictions! Keep your useless rituals. Keep your useless traditions. Keep your worthless puffed up egos. It's all dust and judgement waits for everyone of you - not just for your personal sins but for your sins against the truly holy people of GOD who turned to you in trust and love.
I finally realized all I need is GOD. I walk away from all of you, asking GOD to bless those worthy to receive it and protect them from the utter harm these wolves in sheep's clothing, albeit clothing of spun gold, have been doing to the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. It boggles my mind that anyone of reason can in any way see the TRUE IMAGE of JESUS CHRIST among these men!
(Editor's note: The only image we need to see among these men is the true image of Jesus Christ - that of him crucified and Risen. The rest is ephemeral. Only the suffering and Risen Christ can save. Like so many, including me, you are hurt and angry and betrayed that people cannot live up to what they profess. Well, neither can I. We all sin, some just more publicly and spectacularly than others. But given that, I still know that th medicine of immortality is offered by the Church, as whacky as her leaders are. They don't create, control, or influence the medicine - they just dispense it. So, I take it when I can; for the dangers of self-medication are great. As for the funny hats and gold, and long dresses; it just shows that tastes change. It too is ephemeral. This is not an excuse for them, or their actions, or mine; but a plea to reconsider, and taste and see how God the Lord is with us, ignoring if that is what it takes, the silly rest. )
#37 I give up! on 2011-03-03 13:29
I'm still disappointed in the Synod's actions. The original release said "His Beatitude presented a request to the Holy Synod for a time of personal retreat and spiritual renewal".
Now we come to find out not only that it should have said "Leave of Absence", but also that the Synod told him to "request" the leave of absence, not that he "presented a request".
It seems to me too much like "Well, we tried to fool everybody, but it isn't working because he broke the deal, so let's go ahead and make him look bad now."
And while we're all confused over the wording of this and that, the larger question is still unanswered: WHY? Why the "requested" leave of absence/spiritual retreat? Why the unilateral, and then conciliar sacking of Garklavs? (I suspect Fr. Garklavs criticized the bishops, and we all know you dare not criticize them.)
Still no answers to why -- and who would really believe them at this point even if they do say why? I, for one, would only believe a fair investigation by the Metropolitan Council.
(Editor's note: To be fair, the Synod explained their action of asking him to ask for a leave so as to maintain "his dignity", at such time as when he returned, it would be easier. It looks bad for a Synod to demand the Metropolitan leave, and then, 60 days later, after he has had his medical/spiritual evaluation, welcome him back, presumeably after he has been cleared of any problems. Its just easier to have him take a leave, and then return from it. As for the reasons for asking him to take a leave, well, until he is evaluated, I suppose we shall have to leave it at what the Synod says: medical/spiritual health. Clearly, they have an idea there is a problem. Finally, as for Fr. Garklavs, I do not think that decision is written in stone - much like the Metropolitan's leave. As for now there is an interim chancellor. Six weeks from now, who knows? This one will have to work itself out. Will there be an investigation by the MC? Who knows? Possibly several by several committees. But who knows? That too will be decided only in six or so weeks.)
#38 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 13:51
Anyone else notice that the link to the OCA Facebook page has been (partially) removed from the oca.org main page as of sometime today?
#39 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 13:55
The Holy Spirit is acting! The RIGHT bishop, + Mark, is now in Dallas. The WRONG bishop, + Jonah, has been exposed. I think it's time + Jonah realize, like Ghadafi, it's time to leave. Go back to a monastery somewhere ....The choice is yours ...
#40 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 14:16
I think if we can learn anything from these events, it's this: just because you are a priest, deacon, bishop or metropolitan...it doesn't mean you are automatically a saint.
#41 Disturbed on 2011-03-03 15:01
Let's fire the mt council!!! These people have no common sence! No compassion!! They discriminate against any persons who were affiliated
With the past administration!! Is that american? Is that chriostian? Shame!! Mark its time to shut this evil website down!!!! And take the mc with you!! Face the facts!! All of you are just to perfect!! Do you really need church!!! I think not!!!
#42 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 15:02
What is this new site ocatruth.com? Who is behind it? Seriously, who?
Lets all start our own. Me first! I'll do: ocabullcrap.org
Is that OK with everyone? If I have to read another line about some fool sitting at the feet of some elder gazing in their eyes, I'm gonna need a brocade sickbag.
#43 The Whale on 2011-03-03 16:20
All of this 'chatting' about Metropolitian Jonah is
interesting. Could one imagine how it would look, say,
(and this is a longgggg shot mind you) if, just for conversations sake, that Metropolitan Jonah retired, and that the new +Bishop
Mark Maymon (formerly of the Antiochian archdiocese) was in some
crazy way asked to be elected the Metropolitian of the O.C.A.
(stranger things have happened in history) wow! That would seriously bother Metropolitan Philip & Co.
In fact, when is the 'UN-official' tell all book's release date?
It'd make one heck of a story.... (Mark, please refrain from using my real name- sad as it is, it's a dangerous thing to be an Antiochian and speak openly...)
#44 Anonymous (for reasons that will be understood) on 2011-03-03 16:50
Why in the world would Fr. Garklavs want to get his old job back, after all this?
If I were in his shoes, I'd just shake the dust offa my feets!
We are losing our best and our brightest, and we should be worrying about that.
#45 jim of Olym on 2011-03-03 18:14
Note to Metropolitan JONAH (HERMAN II):
APOSTOLIC CANON XXXIV
It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognize him as their head; and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit; the Father, and the Son; and the Holy Spirit.
Just as, when the head is unwell and fails to function properly, the other members of the body also are ill disposed or even utterly useless, so and in like manner it may be said that the one acting as head in the Church does not honor her fitly, all the rest of the body of the Church will be out of order and unable to function. It is for this reason that the present Canon ordains that all bishops of every province ought to know who is the chief among them1 i.e., the metropolitan; and ought to regard him as their head, and not to do anything unnecessary without consulting him, as respecting, that is to say, anything that does not pertain to the parishes of their bishoprics, but, extending beyond these limits, have to do with the common condition of the whole province, as, for instance, do questions concerning the dogmas, matters involving adjustments and corrections of common mistakes, the installation and ordination of prelates, and other similar things. Instead, they are to meet with the metropolitan and confer with him in regard to such common matters, and decide in common on what appears to them the best tiling to be done. EACH OF THE BISHOPS SHOULD DO BY HIMSELF, WITHOUT CONSULTING HIS METROPOLITAN, ONLY THOSE THINGS THAT ARE CONFINED TO THE LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES OF HIS BISHOPRIC AND TO THE TERRITORIES THAT ARE SUBJECT THERETO. BUT JUST AS BISHOPS SHOULD DO NOTHING OF COMMON INTEREST WITHOUT CONSULTING THE METROPOLITAN, SO AND IN LIKE MANNER A METROPOLITAN OUGHT NOT TO DO ANYTHING OF SUCH COMMON INTEREST ALONE AND BY HIMSELF WITHOUT CONSULTING ALL HIS BISHOPS. For in this way there will be concord and love, both between bishops and metropolitans and between clergymen and laymen. The outcome of this concord and love will be that God the Father will be glorified through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who acquainted men with the name of His Father and laid down the law requiring love, when He said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another” (John 13:35). And He will be glorified in His Holy Spirit, which though Its grace has united us in one spiritual association. That is the same as saying that as a result of this concord the Holy Trinity-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit-will be glorified, in accordance with the voice of the Gospel which says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in heaven7’^( Matt. 5 : 16). [Pedalion]
In short, you are not above the Synod. The more you act like a Pope, the sooner (God willing) you will join +HERMAN in enforced retirement.
On the bright side, the Metropolitan Council has grown a strong spine, and the Synod is acting like a Synod, not a powerless assembly of brow-beaten auxiliaries.
#46 Anonymous Seminary Graduate on 2011-03-03 18:32
The one person who should not be overlooked in all this is Fr. Alexander Garklavs; he bore much at the hands of Metropolitans with papal tendencies and stood for what is true and right. If he appears at the All-American Council, he should recieve a standing "O" and a thunderous "Many Years". Whatever parish gets him next should feel honored to have a TRUE pastor and shepherd.
As for those who are former insiders of the previous ethics-challanged administrations, we know the worth of their words, and that should be enough.
#47 Anonymous Seminary Graduate on 2011-03-03 18:47
I would HATE to have that kind of schedule.
When I am that busy, I get too tired to think straight.
Obviously, we need to pray for our Bishops more.
#48 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 18:49
Can someone please explain to me how this is happening yet again?
A shot in the dark is that there is still the "wizard behind the curtain" in the form of Fr. Fester (Brum to appear soon no doubt) and perhaps even our "friend of the church" RSK. Do you not smell the stench of the past?
You ask where the humble abbott has gone? Well, he has been corrupted ( Helen Keller can see that)
I will wait to see how the Synod can possibly bury this one? We can only pray that they now understand that everything comes to the surface at some point and will be better served removing the cancer before it takes over the body.
C'mon people, all the whistleblowers have had hell to pay, look at what Kozey, Wheeler and now Garklavs have had to endure to attempt to remedy things and better the church. What a shame, Garklavs has dedicated himself to the Church and was honorable. He took the job that no one else wanted and was good at it too. How does the Synod "allow his resignation"? How? When will it stop, when?
#49 Wish I could give my name......really I do. on 2011-03-03 19:35
Will someone please explain to me what Metropolitan Jonah has done to deserve all of this?
I'm serious....i'm a reasonably intelligent guy. All I get out of the reports I read can be attributed to youthful inexperience - I made many of the same mistakes myself early in my career.
I'm honestly curious...what are the "charges" here that merit removal?
(Editor's note: The only one screaming removal is Fr. Fester. The Minutes state he was asked to take a leave of absence for a medical/spiritual evaluation over the next 60 days. He has refused apparently. The Minutes also say that he has contested the findings of the Sexual Misconduct Advisory Policy Committee, and the Synod has asked both sides to produce fur ther evidence for their positions. ( This, in turn, led +Jonah to go into Fr. Garklav's files, which in turn, has led to other issues...) There is also a cyrptic phrase that +Jonah now agrees to fulfill a Synodal mandate he agreed to earlier but did not do. And there is, of course, the termination of Fr. Garklavs, which +jonah insisted on, and is most likely tied to the above SMAPC Report on which Garklavs participated. That is the written record. What the SMAPC reports says I reported on earlier.
But I think the most obvious reasons were demonstrated this past weekend: unilateral decisions, failure to keep one's word, breaking trust, telling people what they wanted to hear and then doing the opposite, publicly working against the Synod, disinformation, involving foreign churches in OCA matters, disregard for costs, deadlines, other people schedules, disregard for both the Synod and MC, disregard for budgets, the list goes on. This is not inexperience. This is a style, manner, a way of being that is not sustainable in a voluntary body based on conciliarity, aiming towards increasing transparency so as to begin to hold people accountable for their actions. The bottom line is trust. If you were a Bishop, would you trust him?)
#50 Dean Calvert on 2011-03-03 21:04
This article wreaks of tabloidesque vendetta.
#51 David Feliciano on 2011-03-03 21:38
All you are achieving here is to stir the pot and make this into a bigger mess than it already is. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to pray about the situation than publicly slandering good men.
(Editor's note: I have slandered no one, nor did I intend to do so. Before you make such accusations, please be so good as to reference your accusations. Thanks.)
#52 Anonymous on 2011-03-03 21:48
It is difficult to know what any of this means. However, we should all at least try to behave as Christians. The homily from March 1 of the Prologue by Saint Nikolai reads in part:
“The Lord did not come among men to make them dirty but to wash them. He never dirtied anyone, but washed everyone who desired to be washed. What shame for many of us, who strive to wash ourselves, but strive twice as hard to dirty others! Oh, my brethren, we dirty our own brothers! And Christ weeps when He sees how we blacken with dirty slander those whom He has washed in His own blood!”
#53 Dn. Timothy Wilkinson on 2011-03-03 22:35
What does Metropolitan Jonah's signing of the MANHATTAN DECLARATION have to do with all the other issues brought up? +Jonah has the authority, right, and ability to sign that document.
The claim that he signed it "unilaterally" (insinuating that somehow he did something wrong) seems strange given that the statements in that document are in synch with the Orthodox Christian Moral Tradition. See: http://www.ocanews.org/news/JonahLeaveofAbsence2.25.11.html
Can someone please clarify this issue?
Thank you for not publishing my comment yesterday about Fr.
Joseph Fester. While I believe it to be true, it is not helpful. Please
forgive me and do not publish it.
#55 anonymous on 2011-03-04 02:50
What a way to begin the season of repentance, Great Lent. What about the website www.ocatruth.com? They seem to be taking you to task, Mr. Stokoe, or at least questioning your motives. The OCA is in all kinds of disarray. Maybe Everyone needs to take a leave of absence and repent, then come back to these issues once spritually renewed. We are all Orthodox Christians after all, a little more compassion and self reflection might be beneficial.
#56 Alex Uram on 2011-03-04 06:03
Well ... let's see if the Synod has any "teeth" in its administrative directive to put the Metropolitan on Leave of Absence. What about the parishes in "Metropolitan's diocese"? Do the parishes have enough "guts" not to commenorate +Jonah in its liturgical services. It looks as if +Jonah has been acting like a Pope of Rome towards the entire OCA by his actions of toward the Synod of Bishops.
One thing is for sure, parishes, missions the representatives (OCA lay delegate) better be "informed, theologically, concillarly, rationally, and astute", because it is going to be quite an important "Synod" or rather All-American Council. Power struggle or Conciliar Council for the betterment of Orthodox Church in America.
(Editor's note: The Metropolitan remains the Archbishop of DC, and it is only appropriate he be commemorated at liturgy. For a priest not to do this would be wrong and dangerous. The Synod could relieve him of his other dioceses, because these were synodal appointments. They could not relieve him of his own diocese without deposing him, requiring 12 bishops; or suspending him, which they were clearly never intending to do.)
#57 anonymous on 2011-03-04 09:23
"As the Minutes reveal, the Synod, acting on Jonah’s request, decided to “accept the resignation” of Fr. Garklavs, the OCA’s long-suffering Chancellor for the last three eventful years."
It wasn't too long ago that I recall Mr. Stokoe being exceedingly critical of Fr. Garklavs. What has occasioned the metanoia of opinion to "long suffering"? I hope it is more than expediency on the part of Mr. Stokoe.
#58 max percy on 2011-03-04 10:11
The Oca has a real Soap Opera! I pray they can resolve this without any further damage to the Church.
MAybe those OCA members who critized the antiochian Archdiocese lin the past two years will now see how its feel when their Church dirty laundry is out for the whole world to see!
As I said I pray for the Bishops to resolve it.
#59 Real Son of Antioch on 2011-03-04 10:23
Lectionary reading for March 4, 2011 on truth:
"'These are the things you shall do: speak the truth, each man to his neighbor, and judge with peaceful judgment in your gates, and let none of you plan evil in his heart against his neighbor, and do not love a false oath, for all these things I hate,' says the Lord Almighty." - Zechariah 8:16-17
Orthodox Study Bible note on these verses: God demands that His people speak the truth, judge with truth, and avoid false oaths. Truth is essential for the people of God in every aspect of life: religious, personal, social, judicial, and political.
#60 Rdr. Stephen Schumacher (OCA-DOW) on 2011-03-04 10:26
I'm confused. I just read on an Orthodox newsfeed that "His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej, the Archbishop
of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch, met
with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of
Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; and Archimandrite Matthias,
Bishop-elect of Chicago and the Midwest, at Saint Sava Monastery here on
Tuesday, March 1, 2011.
Have I missed something this morning? I just went out for a simple dental appt. I thought "on leave" meant go home and stay away from work. Why is Metro. Jonah doing this? Why is he being allowed? It's not like the Synod doesn't know it's happening.
#61 Dianne Combs on 2011-03-04 10:29
As a former OCA member who left a number of years ago due to the ridiculous response to the OCA financial crises by then Dimitri of the South (and the non-response of my parish):
When will the OCA learn that they have a cultural crises at all levels (down to parish where it really counts), one of apathy, pacifism, and old world understandings of polity that will not go away with a simple change in "leadership". Even a complete turnover of all the bishops would not do. It will take a generation at least for this Church (and for the rest of Orthodox jurisdictions as well - though some are better than others) to in any way be "American".
In the mean time, adults suffer through and the children are ill educated and leave. For my childrens sake I have thought seriously about returning to my roots by way of one of the traditional "continuing" Anglican parishes. Lord have Mercy...
#62 Christopher on 2011-03-04 10:43
As the Editor said, "And that, friends, no matter the turmoil +Jonah may cause, may just signal the beginning of the end of our Time of Troubles. And if not, its a start. "
Good words, well said, and I hope prophetic. But in my 29 years of life, a grandson, and great grandson of Ukrainian and Greek Priests who immigrated to Canada and America (Though none OCA to be fair), with family members evenly split between OCA, MP Administration, ROCOR and GOC, I have seen many fine and good diocesan bishops in the OCA. I am sure Archbishop Gregory will be elevated to sainthood someday in the coming decades for his faithful service. Archbishop Job was as my great grandmother would say, a living Saint among us. But I cannot remember a time that the Metropolitan of the OCA in my lifetime was not a complete and utter embarrassment. There are donations I gave over the years while in the OCA that I still wonder about. Theodosius was something altogether, Herman was better, but only in degrees, but at least slightly less disgusting, and now it's obvious that Met. Jonah is not able to work or lead the Chancery at least, in a stable manner, and has caused others concern. Chancellor Garklavs is for sure needed for the church to function, and the priest who has been holding it all together.
If he really is unstable, and not just unpopular, then the HS should retire him and elect a new Met., not just play games around leave of absence for four years. Every Church needs a head, without it opportunists can make mischief in the vacuum of authority. I'm thinking of a word that .....rhymes with Jester. I'm thinking of an older version that .... rhymes with Florida Retirement.
But my real question is this, and it troubles my soul greatly, when was the last time the OCA had a Metropolitan that fulfilled his duties as imagined by orthodox tradition with untainted hands, i.e. behavior which goes against our most basic beliefs, and when will we have a Metropolitan who is a real Bishop again? I could live with a bad bishop, but when will there be a Bishop that I'm not disgusted to have touch my daughter for a blessing, or it seems now, a Monk that I would be concerned to have around with my family because of stability concerns?
It may seem that I'm knocking our Church, but I'm really at a breaking point. Does anyone see any way that in the next four years that we get a real Metropolitan that does his job, without sin or alternatively, without apparent instability? Not a great job, just an average job without sin or alternatively without instability? And are we really going to go 4 whole years without a real Metropolitan, only administrators? Thank you Mr. Stokoe for your site and the opportunity to vent and communicate.
If not Bishop Melchizedek, then who? And in reality he is only a few years away from retirement. What other bishop is not tainted by being named in the SIC report from a couple years ago? Even though I've never met him, Vladyka Melchizedek gives me some hope, but I suppose it's next to impossible and improbable that he will be the next Metropolitan, and I worry will there be an OCA in ten years if a leader is not found? This is one Ukrainian that thinks All Orthodoxy in America would suffer in all jurisdictions if that were the case.
#63 John L.S. Petrushevsky on 2011-03-04 10:57
In my opinion +Jonah really is a jonah. I thought we had done away with dictators. Has +Jonah ever heard of the term, "first among equals"?
#64 Randolph on 2011-03-04 12:17
The incident described in the following paragraph from the article "Jonah Pushes Back" is particularly bothersome, specifically the third sentence. Thus it reads:
"Once in Syosset the Metropolitan challenged the official press release that had been crafted by the Bishops in Santa Fe. The increasingly harried Syosset staff eventually referred him to the Secretary of Synod, Bishop Tikhon (who by then was back in South Canaan, PA). On the phone with +Tikhon, +Jonah pleaded that he be allowed to “moderate” the tone of the release by inserting “for a time of personal retreat and spiritual renewal” instead of the official term “Leave of Absence” in the opening line of the second paragraph. It was, after all, what the Bishop’s intended, +Jonah argued. +Tikhon gave in. “The Holy Synod Announces Changes” press release, with +Jonah’s amendment, was then posted late Saturday. (Read that statement here)"
To insert instead or "moderate" the tone of the Synod's press release leads me to ask, why Jonah is allowed to take the liberty to remove the term "leave of absence"? It is what it is! If some event is not named properly, then neither can its situation be dealt with appropriately. Jonah's use of the phrase “a time of personal retreat and spiritual renewal” is a substitute and not the qualifying reason "for a leave of absence" as intended by the Synod. It seems quite serious that Jonah miscommunicated to the Church at large the Synod's intention and decision. Furthermore, it is telling but not surprising that Jonah would want to "moderate" his fate's coarse, like a doctor changing his own diagnosis and medicine, as if doing so will heal the infirmity.
Why is Jonah afforded the liberty to cushion publicly the outcome of his own situation, one he created and over time the Synod, Chancery staff and senior churchmen and women of the Metropolitan Council witnessed?
On that note Archpriest Alexander Garklavs should be restored as Chancellor! His resignation, however it came about, is a serious mistake! His intention toward the Church is good and without self interest, as was his father, Archpriest Sergei, and grandfather the ever-memorable Archbishop John of Chicago.
#65 anonymous on 2011-03-04 12:25
Again, all this sounds like clash of administration styles. On other sites it is alleged that some want MJ gone because of his very traditional views with the respect to human sexuality and reproduction.
Mark, you have been accused of being a part of a small group of "liberal" orthodox who would see an Orthodoxy where homosexuality is openly accepted and where abortion embraced, much like it is in the Episcopal Church.
Once, and for all, Mark, address this nonsense. No Orthodox Christian could in his or her right mind hold to those views and call themselves Orthodox. You have fought too long and hard to be accused of such heresies. Silence those who would wish to hide and confuse the real issues: Metropolitan's leadership style.
(Editor's note: You have got to be kidding. I do not support abortion. On the other hand I do not condone killing doctors who perform them. Ialso do not believe in the death penalty either, because, in the words of the late Cardinal Bernadin, who expressed it best, I do uphold in all things an ethic of life. Does this make me a "liberal"? Well, then guilty as charged.
Anybody who would wish the current situation of the Episcopal Church on ours would have to be insane. I am many things, but insane is not one of them. Do I want to see homosexuality openly embraced by the Orthodox Church? Do you think I am a fool? Or a heretic? I am neither. Period. The issue here is not Mark Stokoe, and has never been Mark Stokoe. It is the actions of Metropolitan Jonah who created this crisis, and it is his actions, or lack of them, that will resolve it. Anything else is just divertissement in the Pascalian sense to obscure, confuse, obviate the issue that challenges us. The teachings of the Church on homosexuality, abortion, the ordination of women, etc., are not in question by me, or anybody I allow to publish an article on this site. I have disallowed many, by the way. That is because this site is about transparency, accountability and conciliarity. It is not a forum for the culture wars. Nor will I willing allow it to become so. There are thousands of sites to fight those battles. Only one to fight this battle for transperancy, accountability and conciliarity. If you want to talk, post, slander, smear, challenge, rise up, cast down, whatever, people for their opinions on those topics - got to it. Its your right as an American. But you won't do it here.
#66 Anonymous on 2011-03-04 18:26
This most excellent reply to Mr. Stokoe is well worthy of a read.
This is the best line:
The fact that Stokoe continues to serve on the Metropolitan Council while continuing to run a supposedly muckraking website shows that OCANews has now become propagandist. One cannot serve two masters. No journalist in good conscience can be in the administrative class. That’s a complete conflict of interest. At the very least, it casts doubts on the intentions of the text. Stokoe has done excellent work in the past, if he wants to regain credibility, he needs to resign from the Metropolitan Council.
(Editor's note: Tell it to Vaclac Havel, friend; or Emile Zola. Not that I am like either. But if Archbishop Job saw no problem in nominating me for the MC, I see no reason trying to work on both. My opinions expressed on this site are clearly labeled; and clearly labeled as not of the MC, or the OCA. To suggest I speak for either I absurd. That's what the Synod is for, and OCA.org. My task is to challenge them to live up to their own proclaimed standards and report if they do or don't. I do that both in the MC, and apart from it on OCANews.org.)
#67 Cyprian on 2011-03-05 08:47
News and Events
Holy Synod, Metropolitan Council meetings postponed
SYOSSET, NY [OCA] -- It was announced by the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America on Friday, March 4, 2011, that His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, has postponed the meetings of the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council, slated to be held in March, until after Pascha.
"It is the considered opinion of the Synod, canon law experts and the legal committee that the Metropolitan has the right to postpone the meetings," Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, informed the members of the Metropolitan Council. "The Metropolitan has not dissolved or declared that there will be no meeting but rather postponed them."
The Holy Synod has reached a consensus that the directives of the Metropolitan in this regard are binding, and that the meetings are therefore postponed.
Expenses incurred by members of the Metropolitan Council in preparation for the previously scheduled meetings will be reimbursed.
STOP WASTING OUR MONEY JONAH, IT IS OUR MONEY GIVEN TO GOD, NO MONEY FOR YOU TO BLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#68 Fiscal Boy on 2011-03-05 12:36
I am not a member of the OCA; I must say that the public train of postings makes the OCA look like on happy dysfunctional family that has a need to air its pettiness. Please get bakc to celebrating the Mysteries of Christ and preaching the Gospel in and out of season. We do not need to know more about your problems. Forgive me.
#69 IGUMEN GREGORY on 2011-03-05 15:14
Saturday Night Live could not make this stuff up.
#70 Fr. Brooks Ledford on 2011-03-05 16:57
Here we go again! Remember the Golden Rule, Those with the GOLD rule! After 2000 years the words of Jesus regarding the Scribes and the Pharisees is still true to day. Oh yes, the characters have changed, titles have changed, ie Metropolitan, Bishops, etc., but the actions stay the same.
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore, whatever thet tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not according to THEIR WORKS; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they THEMSELVES will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garmants. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues (Churches), greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi. Matt. 23:1-7
BUT WOE TO YOU, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven agaist men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in;....... Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness......" Matt. 23
All I can say is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. And they wonder why people are becoming fed up with organized religion. Oh yes I know, they are not the Church, but they run it.
#71 Pete on 2011-03-06 14:48
Mark - Please forgive me for my last comment. And forgive me for judging you. It's not my place to comment or judge. Forgive me a sinner.
Here's to a bright lent. On to Pascha!
#72 David Feliciano on 2011-03-06 22:35
This website never!! Never! Tells the truth!! Its that twist! He puts on it! Mt johan. Wants time to pray and reflect! Stokoe wants you readers!! to believe the mt has been terminated! Now mark reports "mt jonah fights back" you mark should be working for comedy central!!!! You and mc are a joke!!! Judging others!!
#73 Anonymous on 2011-03-07 13:23
Metropolitan Jonah is a courageous person, with freedom comes responsibility. That must make alot of people uncomfortable or to put it brutally honest, scared.
"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand." (Romans 14:4)
Orthodox Christians would do better to look at their own church's sins and shortcomings rather than cast aspersions on those of other churches. One may agree or disagree with the conclusions Episcopalians have drawn from the gospel of Christ Jesus, but I can't help noticing that the local Episcopal church in my town feeds the hungry a few times every week for free, runs ministries and clinics for those afflicted with HIV, alcoholism and substance abuse, collects groceries and life necessities for the needy year-round, and takes in the homeless under their roof at night -- while the local Orthodox church does nothing of the sort. They're practicing Matthew 25:31-46 and Luke 6:31 to a fault, while we're not, so perhaps it behooves us to keep silent and not judge them.
After all, Jesus warns us: "I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit." (Matthew 21:42-44) Resting on our laurels of standards of orthodoxy, historical pedigree and richly brocaded pomp and circumstance won't save us. We may very well find that those who responded to Jesus and did as his gospel says may proceed into the kingdom of God ahead of us, if we make it in at all.
And when accusing someone of being an embarrassment, the only real embarrassment is misspelling the word as "embrassment." For heaven's sake, the spell checker on your computer is there for a reason, and online dictionaries abound. If you want the point you're trying to make to seem intelligent and coherent, avail yourself of either corrective before posting.
#75 Diogenes on 2011-03-08 08:47
It all started in 1970! + Dimitri had the popular vote for Met. The Synod of Bishops went with + Theodosius. + Dimitri went to Dallas and set up the "Anti-Syosset." Out of this came uneducated priests, a rigorist way of looking at the church, many questionable characters entering the OCA, etc. We saw + Tikhon (retired) & + Nicolai coming from the Dallas org. As a direct result, + Jonah also comes from this thinking along with Fester. People should seriously note, ANYONE going into leadership roles in the Church, bishops or priests, must be mentored for years. Ours is the "AMERICAN CHURCH" and it is "conciliar" with all the bishops & people. There is no place for despots. No more, "Eis polla ieti DESPOTA" but Eis polla ieti EPISCOPUS!
#76 Anonymous on 2011-03-08 09:39
Mark: as I have come to this story very late (Saturday), and only today having had time to rush through the reporting, could you post a basic timeline of what the issues/incidents are/were that led to this situation? In looking back over your reporting I can only find a) +Jonah suggested a reconsideratoin of the OCA's autocephaly as a step towards the unified jurisdiction everyone's claimed to want for ages; and b) +Jonah wants to move the chancery to Washington in what I assumed was partly fiduciary and partly obedience to the Canons that there should not be more than one Bishop per metropolis. What am I missing? (And for once, I'm not intending to be ironic.
(Editor's note: I suggest you read all three parts of the latest story "Jonah on Leave". That will explain much. The bottom line is that the Synod thinks Jonah should take a leave for a medical/spiritual evaluation. He agreed to, and then changed his mind. That too, is part of the problem. Then he cancelled two long-planned meetings, throughing more than 50 clerics and lay leaders schedules into disarray, with no explanation, and at cost to the OCA. He fired the OCA Chancellor without explanation, and demanded the Synod back him up. Which they have, to a point.... Anyway, +Jonah has made a real mess of his ministry, and seems to have no problem in doing so, and blaming it all on somebody else. At the moment that would be me, for all of the above - not because I did any of it, or caused it - but because I reported on it. Hence I am, in the words of his Dean, "ungodly". You decide.)
#77 ODIrony on 2011-03-08 09:41
Mark already said there was. And, seeing shady Fr. Fester is behind it, you really believe it? Just read what Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko said alone. It's a no brainer...Mark speaks truth!
#78 Anonymous on 2011-03-08 09:56
As usual, you have opted for the optimistic and charitable interpretation of things, which is, of course, entirely to your credit. But unfortunately, especially in this case, I think it is wishful thinking.
Unless he is truly suffering from some form of mental disability, which I doubt, Metropolitan Jonah is clearly a fraud. How else does one explain the hysterical enthusiasm that greeted his selection by the AAC, quickly and happily endorsed by much of the old, corrupt Synod? Was it mass delusion? Or had he cleverly lead many to believe that he would be an agent of change and reform?
Not having been in Pittsburgh, I was skeptical from the get- go, based on some of his comments about "moving on," and frankly, his demeanor in general, which I found to be off putting and somewhat bizarre. But then again, we always make allowances for those crazy, mystical monastics don't we? On the other hand, I was impressed by some of his written commentary, until I later realized that it was all talk and no substance that I could fathom.
As for Archbishop Job, his failure to be elected was a tragedy of immense proportions for which we are now paying the price. Was he perfect? Of course not. Did he want to be Metropolitan? Certainly not! All the more reason he was called to mount that cross whatever the sacrifice. We will never know in this life, but I can't help but feel that that failure on his part and the AAC's to take up that cross led to his untimely death.
In any event we are now saddled with Jonah, Fester and Company. Can Kondratick be far behind? .....
#79 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-03-08 11:02
Is the inner circle, who seem to be the only ones aware of how "sick and vile" our metropoilitan is, ever going to reveal them to us? Or are we to just trust you that you know what is right for the Church?
Truly, what is has been revealed so far, while perhaps disturbing, is not grounds to "impeach" anyone, particularly a canonlically protected hierarch.
So if there is something that we are to read beneath the lines, either reveal it or quit your rebellion.
(Editor's note: No one is claiming a rebellion here, or starting one, except the man who refused to go in for a medical/spiritual evaluation at the request of his Synod. The only one in rebellion here is the man who is disobedient to his brothers, who broke his word to his brothers. And as for the reasons they asked him to take a leave, ask your bishop. I have given mine in several articles. )
#80 Seminarian on 2011-03-08 12:43
In God's name STOP!
There is no justification for any of this! None!
#81 Michael Bauman on 2011-03-08 13:08
I hope and pray that +Jonah comes to his senses and realizes where the truth lies and whom he can really trust. He needs to stop taking counsel from proven dishonorable and disgraced men like Fr. Fester who have shown the church that they care more about themselves, their positions, and personal ambitions, than protecting the flock, helping widows, orphans, and charitable causes (donations in the millions which the former regime spent on extravagant personal pleasures, luxuries, and travel), restoring integrity to the Church, and building a culture of ethics, accountability, and conciliarity in the OCA.
Lest we forget, Fr. Fester never once opened his mouth to say or do anything to help the OCA during the previous spiritual and financial crisis even though he was Kondratick's #1 man, acted as his Secretary during the years when Kondratick was in power, and surely had first-hand knowledge of what was happening. Instead, he resigned "in protest" when the OCA removed Kondratick, never cooperated with any investigations, never apologized, never repented, and quickly fled to the DOS where he befriended +Jonah and as you can see he's been very successful in his new career path as a result. (See SIC report excerpt I included below.)
Unfortunately, since his arrival in the Diocese of the South (DOS) Met. Jonah first promoted Fr. Fester as Dean and Chancellor of the DOS and now has given him the honor of being Dean of the Cathedral in Washington, allowing Fr. Fester to be even closer to him. Suddenly Fr. Fester becomes a "loudmouth" and comes out publicly guns blazing and claiming conspiracies everywhere, blaming the Synod, the MC, and the staff for working to dethrone +Jonah and acting as if he has first-hand knowledge of highly "classified" information that he could only have learned via his relationship with +Jonah. This is highly suspicious and worrisome.
Fr. Thomas Hopko has confirmed everyone's suspicions that Fr. Fester is not to be trusted. Fr. Tom's categorical public statement is quite specific: "I also ask you not to trust, honor or support Fr. Joseph Fester’s opinions and views since his record hardly demonstrates worthiness of serious consideration." One cannot get any clearer than that, especially coming from such a reputable and honored archpriest who's known for his wisdom, moderation, and reticence to speak publicly in such a forthright manner.
My heart is saddened to see how +Jonah has allowed such an unethical operator like Fr. Fester to become a trusted advisor and also considered (several times I hear, since he arrived in Syosset) reinstating Kondratick, and how this is playing out in the public arena. I cannot believe that the OCA is once again threatened and destabilized by the very same people who participated in the previous malfeasance and corruption; and an inexperienced man like +Jonah has thrown his lot with such snake-oil salesmen.
Laura Nash, (renowned author, educator, former Harvard Business School professor, and consultant in business ethics and leadership for the past 25 years) in her book Good Intentions Aside, a book I use in my business ethics and law courses, once wrote that good "managers need to recognize that their employees react to perceptions, not only to reality. Managers need to be cognizant of that fact and avoid any situations or appearances that may send the wrong message; even if the perception of the employee is wrong." +Jonah doesn't seem cognizant of this simple and important component of a leader's conduct and associations. Worse still, the perceptions I'm seeing reflect reality too closely this time around. This unhealthy relationship portends worse things to come unless +Jonah re-evaluates his decisions and changes course on whom to trust when listening to advice. You cannot get in bed with men like Fr. Fester and Robert Kondratick and not catch their fleas.
Special Investigative Report, issued by the OCA in September 2008
“11. The “Inner Circle.” Fathers David Brum and Joseph Fester served as confidants to Kondratick. They were regarded by others at the Chancery as part of an “inner circle,” responsible for day-to-day operations at the Chancery. As such, one would expect them to be aware of at least some of Kondratick’s financial dealings. Both denied such knowledge to the SIC.
However, they never questioned Kondratick’s largesse in extending favors (meals, gifts, and travel) believing them to be an expression of an exaggerated generosity. Questionable dealings and misdeeds brought to their attention in interviews were excused as having been “blessed” by one Metropolitan or the other, or because of “the incompetence of Strikis, “or because Wheeler or Kozey had an axe to grind. “ - (SIC Report page 27)
One of the things about growing up is that one has to go through various stages. This applies to institutions such as the church, as much as to individuals. There is infancy, childhood, adolescence and then adulthood, and hopefully maturity. it seems that the OCA is now at an adolescent point, with rebellion and refusal to listen to the parents and other forces of reason.
Hopefully, if we survive, we might in another 40 or 50 years, attain a mature understanding of things as a church. I'm not talking about theology or theosis or the ability to forgive or spiritual quietness, but about administrative maturity. I hope we get there soon,
#83 jim of Olym on 2011-03-08 13:39
Unfortunately, James, unlike this website, OCA Truth's editor doesn't identify himself, allow comments or even post an e-mail address so he/she can be contacted with questions, so those are pretty big dents in that "other side of the story" thus far. Truth never fears questions or rebuttals, and thus has no reason to resort to censorship and anonymity to thwart discussion and exchange.
#84 Diogenes on 2011-03-08 14:24
Why is it that the OCA seems to attract and defend cultish clergy? Maybe this happens in other jurisdictions, but I have no direct knowledge of that. This is the same type of nightmare that unraveled my former parish.... left unchecked for many years, became a very troubled cult leader, nothing more.
#85 Ex St ..... Cult Member on 2011-03-08 16:15
I said something on the Indiana list which hasn't been posted yet, but it goes something like this:
People and institutions like churches go through stages: infancy (depending entirely on their caretakers) childhood(relying on their caretakers to feed clothe and educate them), adolescence (rebelling againswt their parents, etc in order to eventually achieve self-governance) and eventually Dah,-dah!! adulthood (when the former adolescent becomes self actuating). Then comes the hardest time of all: maturity, when one becomes cognizant of all the previous states of being, accepts them and forgives all those who stood in the way of maturity.
This is from secular psychology but I think it might apply to institutional Orthodoxy on this American continent. Being of so-called mature age myself (75 years) I think we as a church still have some 'groin'-up ' to do. Perhaps we should look to the saints to help us?
Rdr. James Morgan
#86 jim of Olym on 2011-03-08 18:36
Well, optimism only takes one so far.
And sometimes it misleads.
There have been a handful of people over the past several years who have shown themselves always willing to face the truth, to be honest, and to not shy away from the ugly. Mark is one of those.
My optimism and charity have led me astray.
One can think that one has come to terms with how deep and dark our heritage from the past is, and then discover it's worse. I remember sitting through "the speech" and the wise person sitting next to me was muttering that what was being said was dangerous. And I thought that person too cynical. I wanted to see an end to the darkness of the past before the darkness was really driven out.
We see abundant, blatant evidence that there are people seeking to return to power who are willing to distort, defame, and deceive. And, I fear, there are some odd, cultish ideas lurking that leave some people feeling fully justified, evenly divinely mandated, to consciously deceive others "for the good of the Church." It's ugly, but we gain nothing by failing to confront the ugliness.
The church will survive the ugliness, and so must we. Bye-bye rose tinted glasses!
#87 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-03-08 20:45
I'm with this poster. As an inquirer looking in, I am aghast at all that has taken place in the past four or five years in the OCA and the AOCA. Theosis is a sham. The Christians produced by the Orthodox Church are no better than any other denomination. Heck, in many ways, the most organized and Christ-like follows I have seen are the Mormons.
I will admit that I feel my life has been enriched through the study of Orthodox theology and practice, but the fruit is rancid.
(Editor's note: I am shamed by your words. Please forgive us. I cannot excuse the behaviour of our leaders in the past, nor some in the present, but then, as you point out, we are all guilty. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was once asked why in the early church moral failings were so mildly treated, relatively to dogmatic ones. His answer was: because if you fail in deed, the Gospel can save you. If you corrupt the Gospel, what can? We have no excuse for our corporate or individual failings, but we do have the Gospel to turn to, and may its message and hope be our hope this Lent of discontent; and yours as you look upon us sinners. )
#88 I Give Up Too on 2011-03-08 21:46
Oh, my chain's been pulled!!!
From my perspective, taken alone, his signing of the ManDec is a one off - no big deal kind of thing~albeit silly.
Unilateral means, as you well know, done without others input or advice. In the case of the Metropolitan, those others would be the Synod. I think he's done a lot of things without consulting the Synod, so Mark is simply enumerating it. Without research, I don't know if they did discuss it or others signed it later, etc. It didn't seem like it was done as a group, so if it wasn't unilateral, shoot me the correction.
Again, however, I think Mark is far too kind.
I can't believe the Metropolitan would represent the church by signing that humorous rubbish and then make no effort to represent the churches official position of the 10th AAC in a national debate on providing healthcare to people regardless of financial wherewithall; but I suppose I digress. Or do I? Or did I miss it? The churches AACs seemed to be nearly unmentioned in the OCAs strategy for which the Metropolitan was a chief source. Is the OCAs strategy of a unilateral design as well? Is it now driven by a conservative agenda? These are fair questions I'd rather not even be asking. Had +Jonah not signed the ManDec, would I be asking? Shouldn't official positions of the OCA be more important than personal positions?
(As for humorous rubbish...any statement suggesting the US government, aka Obama, was going to require churches to marry gays is downright, thigh slapping SNL quality funny-it would have been more humorous if Obama had tried it, but he's not that dumb)
Please forgive me if I've been patronizing, I can't help it on this one.
The ManDec is just political theatre.
#89 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-08 23:07
Dear "I give up,"
If even one, small sin pollutes the entire universe, necessitating the Crucifixion, then none of these spectacles should scandalize you any more than that little white lie I or you or the levitating elder told all those years ago in our youths. Perhaps your expectations of the Church were inconsistent with what the Bible says about the Church.
This scandal is not exactly new, btw; Rome and the Eastern Sees for centuries have produced some of the best, most astonishing sinners in history -- and that's just from the ranks of the hierarchy.
Did you not know that coming in?
"He who eats My body and drinks My Blood" etc etc. The stewards of the Mysteries (that is, the Sacraments) don't define the Mysteries, any more than they circumscribe the Truth. They dispense the Mysteries which they do not claim to create; and they hand over the Truth they received. For all their shocking flaws, the bishops are remarkably consistent in their preaching -- if not their personal emulation -- of Christ, and Him crucified, the resurrected, incarnate God and son of a virgin, one of Three, eternally begotten etc etc.
Leave the Church if it's an act of Truth seeking, but not because you're shocked and appalled at what the bishops have done ... which Christ knew well, well in advance of the Cross; surely He is much more appaled than we.
Or, be like me and simply fade away into the world, and feel the incessant encroachment of pathological insipidness that follows disconnecting from the tangible Source provided for the only real Freshness and Renewal. After a while, though only God is needed as you say, you understand that He is available in the one place we most loathe to go. But go we must.
#90 Anon on 2011-03-09 01:14
To first paraphrase Fr Thomas Hopko: Asking your forgiveness during this sacred Season of Great Lent, I, too, forgive you for your comments on Hellenism, and of your quoting Fr Florovsky in the way you did. I am desperately trying to believe they have a Biblical basis to them.
May I first say congratulations to performing what must be to you a most unpleasant duty: exposing rubbish in Orthodoxy and fighting for the right. If you were a traditional Roman Catholic (as was “I give up” elsewhere), I would say to you (by way of encouragement) regarding all the flak you are receiving: ‘Offer it up to the Holy Souls in Purgatory! With your forbearance, many of these Holy Souls will now be winging their way heavenward, thanking you for your superabundance of merit.’
As for Fr. Fester & co - the preferred option of ignoring them, sadly is not possible. Deal with them as you feel led by the Holy Spirit - hopefully, if possible, in a spirit of Lenten forgiveness.
I also thank you for having the forbearance and tolerance to publish my contributions heretofore largely intact.
However, with respect to Hellenism . . .
Yahweh clearly identified the “Little Horn” (of Dan 7:8) and the King of the North (Dan 11:5-45) both culturally and religiously as Hellenic - and fulfilled in the Hellenic Selucid: Antiochus Epiphanes. And exuding Hellenism in all its culminated and consummated hatred against Yahweh. This was a clear, Biblical signal to all Yahweh’s people that even then, before Yeshua’s birth, there was nothing salvageable in Hellenism.
In its war against Yahwism, Hellenism (via Antiochus Epiphanes) crossed a boundary that had never been crossed before in world history since the Flood - outright and open religious war against Yahweh, Yahwism and Yahweh’s people (the Jews). Inter alia, this anti-Yahweh war involved Antiochus imposing what was available of the LXX on the Jews in place of the Hebrew/Aramaic original. Any Jew who dared repudiate the LXX and read the Torah in its Hebrew/Aramaic original was sentenced to death.
In the wake of the defeat of Hellenism, Judas Maccabaeus did two major things:
(1) create the feast of Hanukkah which celebrated a total repudiation and exorcism of all facets of the evil that was (and still is) Hellenism and a return to the true “roots” of Yahweh’s people in the Hebrew/Aramaic Tradition.
(2) closed the Canon of the Tanak (circa 125BCE) - with the “close-off” date clearly 331BCE - the date of the rise of Alexander the Great - so as to forever exclude from the Canon and hence the authority of Canonical Literature, anything either originally written in Greek or translated into Greek. And thus to forever exclude the Hellenic “phronema” from Canonical Literature. The Convocation of Jamnia (80CE), in considering an already-closed Tanak Canon, was asked only one question: “Was Judas too generous in what he included in Canon”. All at that Convocation unanimously supported Judas in his repudiation of all forms of Hellenism.
Jesus himself sanctioned and blessed Judas Maccabaeus and his anti-Hellenism stance by going up to the Temple to celebrate Hanukkah (Jn 10:22).
Likewise, in Jesus’ time, there was a widespread saying amongst the observant Jews: “It would be better to feed one’s son pork than to teach him Greek.”
Pork would merely pollute the stomach, and be eliminated within the week. Greek would so foul the mind that it could not study Torah as Yahweh intended Torah to be studied, and even worse - the Hellenistically-polluted human spirit could not worship Yahweh “in Spirit and in truth” as He intended that He be worshipped!
Amongst these observant Jews, it was also a mark of both pride and loyalty to the Tradition of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be quite deliberately ignorant of any Greek! This was both linguistic and cultural. This was shared by Jesus, all His 11 disciples, most of His 70, including the non-Pauline writers of the NT - who never originally wrote in Greek out of loyalty to Yahweh, and their God-Man Master - the all-Jewish Yeshua, as well as to Judas Maccabeus and his Feast of Hanukkah.
It was the top-down Autokrator-Hellenism of Alexander the Great, as also manifested in the Hellenic Selucid Antiochus Epiphanes that Yahweh clearly identified through the Prophet Daniel as being the governance-structure of the Antichrist. And that culturally, Hellenism would be the “midwife” of and to the Antichrist!
It is here that the Curse of Byzantium - in appropriating this structure essentially unreconstructed, is at its clearest. “Christian” Byzantium changed only one thing in this structure: the title of the Emperor - from “god” to “God-Loving”. All else of consequence remained unchanged.
It is here also, that I have the greatest sympathy for Met Jonah. I do not believe for one moment that he is an intrinsically evil man - as many on your site would assert. Immature and unwise - for sure, but evil - hardly. It is the structure of his Office, however, and the unlimited, Byzantine, autokrator “Reserve-Powers” that comes with that Office that he has both inherited and exploited that has created all the damage and mayhem to the incredibly long-suffering OCA and its people.
In the light of this historical information, are you (or anyone else, for that matter) going to have the nerve to assert that using Hellenism as a legitimate “cradle” within which the Gospel was to be incarnated was ever intended by Yahweh? Or by Yeshua? Or by Yeshua’s disciples? And hence have any form of first-century, Jewish “Apostolic” support??? I sincerely hope not.
(Editor's note: And I ask your forgiveness John. Hellenism was not "a spider's web the Church fell into" ala Harnack, it was the means by which the Gospel found its historical form to reachout to the Ecumene. That is a a historical fact; and one can lament it, as do you, or embrace it, as do I. The Phliosophers ( Socrates, Plato, et al) asked through their works the enduring questions of mankind in our Western context: The Gospel answered them in that same context. Perhaps you think we could find better contexts, or imagery, or symbols. I do not, because the Greek ones, based on my experiences of transcendence, still remain luminous. If they have gone opaque for others, or indeed most, I argue that is not the fault of Hellenism, properly understood, but of a world that no longer wants to ask fundamental questions, but is content with all the reductions of life we see around us. Reaffirming hellenism will not draw us further from Christ, but closer if understood; but feel free to disagree. I will stick with Florovsky, as for me and mine.)
#91 John Battye on 2011-03-09 05:51
Mark, the spelling, grammar, punctuation and overall air of being unhinged remind me of our old friend, All Caps Anonymous Guy. Could this be the same person with a new-found mastery of the shift key?
Inquiring minds want to know.
A blessed Lent to you.
#92 Scott Walker on 2011-03-09 07:58
Real son of Antioch, I'm grateful that our dirty laundry is out there for the whole world to look at. It relieves us from the killing burden of pretending that everything is always all right.
#93 Scott Walker on 2011-03-09 08:04
To "I give up too" (post #88 above):
You write: "Theosis is a sham. The Christians produced by the Orthodox Church are no better than any other denomination."
--Yep, we all fail. Those of us on the inside of the church are just as sad at what's going on as those on the outside. But sin affects all of us, including Orthodox Christians. We keep plodding along because Christ has given us the truth. No matter how far in the distant future you go, humans will continue to sin and probably not always live up to our Christ-like ideal. That is the goal, however, that we so unworthily strive for.
I heard once that "the church is the ark of salvation. But hardly any of us could put up with the stench on the inside of the ark if it weren't for the raging flood waters on the outside." We are trying to clean the inside of our church, and yes, sometimes it's not pretty.
You also write: "Heck, in many ways, the most organized and Christ-like followers I have seen are the Mormons."
--If you want to be taken care of in this life, no one beats the Mormons. They may be organized, but they do not preach Christianity and certainly have strayed millions of miles away from the historical Christian church. However, I think that you may already know that...
Again, forgive our stench as we try to clean our church. It may not be pretty for a while. But Christ -- the way, the truth, and the life -- never changes, and His truth is not affected by the shenanigans of a few. Neither is his life-giving body and blood, which we continue to partake of at Holy Communion, any less holy even with all that is going on.
Forgive us, and we pray for you on your journey.
#94 Gregg on 2011-03-09 08:12
I empathize, having been an Anglican for some fifteen years. But I doubt that returning to one of the splinter groups is the answer, or that there is any good answer. If one is lucky enough to be in a "good" Orthodox parish then it is possible to wait and hope, while pro-actively attempting to bring about change at the national or even diocesan level.
On the other hand, if there is no acceptable parish, as is my current situation, then exile from the parish experience is the lesser of evils. No one should subject themselves to spiritually abusive clergy attempting to exercise control with cult like tactics. Especially loathsome, as we have seen, is the use of confession for manipulative purposes. If this is the case--run don't walk!
There are good Orthodox parishes and priests. But sometimes they are hard or impossible to find in a particular area and of course the diocesan bishop is a big factor. Good luck.
#95 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-03-09 09:56
....I just don't get the cult-like devotion of the RSK strap-hangers. It's weird.
#96 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 06:30
If you give up, it will weigh heavily on the souls of Jonah and all involved in the scandal. Come aboard, make this better by your own holiness, and pray for us, and for your own salvation!
God loves you and we do too! Read the life of St. Seraphim of Sarov
#97 the whale on 2011-03-10 08:52
It may be Clean Week, but SHAME ON YOU FOR YOUR TOTAL IGNORANCE REGARDING VLADIKA DMITRI AND FOR YOUR DISRESPECT OF ONE OF GOD'S FINEST MEN ! ! ! ! If Vladika erred in some ways, this was owing to his grace-filled love for people and his desire to provide people -- even sinners -- with an opportunity to change spiritually and to serve God. Some of his God-blessed spirit would benefit this deplorable website.
#98 Antonia Colias on 2011-03-10 12:22
what the editor is saying is that he put out "gossip" and those who choose to belive it! good for them! Remember he not perfect! but he will continue to do the work of the DEVIL! GO figure
#99 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 13:42
That's a long stretch from Antiochus Epiphanes to Basil the (deservedly) Great. And a +1 on Florovsky, Mark!
#100 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-03-10 14:54
Work eamails belong to the otganization. There is no evolution.
#101 Anon on 2011-03-10 18:51
I think it is interesting you'd consider this site deplorable in the same breath defending a molester. Khoury's crime was foolish. I am not convinced it should be career ending; lucky for me I don't have to decide.
#102 Daniel E Fall on 2011-03-11 20:40
I think we have our Bishops Dmitri/Demetri mixed up here again; the former the retired OCA bishop of the South, and the latter of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Best not to paint with the same brushes here, methinks.
(Editor's note: As the Church grows in this country, and the number of bishop's multiply, but the number of monastic names seem to shrink, perhaps we should all start adopting the policy of including the secular last name of the Bishop with his new ecclesiastical name, as in Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) and Bishop Demetri (Khoury). This would help prevent such confusion in the future.)
#103 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-03-12 08:36
Many fine priests have come from Dallas and I am a new convert so this author's conclusion about events and cause and effect is quite puzzling and I can't judge what his actions or natural history has wrought. However, I second Ms. Colias about Vladika in case someone does not know him personally. I know she speaks from a fierce sense of loyalty as well as close observation of him.
He lives Matthew 25: 34-36. He is genuine, faithful,humble, compassionate especially to the poor and needy, selfless, loving, good-humored, forgiving, guileless, healing, warmly hospitable, respectful of persons from different cultures and worldviews yet a staunch defender and apologist for the beauty of his beloved Orthodox faith. He simply loves giving. In fact, parishioners have to “plot” carefully to be sure he accepts an item to use himself, for his reflex is to give everything away and all money flows through his hands to others in need, though this event makes him quite happy, so it is probably the "best" gift for him. His clothes are threadbare, his car is quite old, and has been used through the years to chauffeur himself many of reduced circumstances to and fro to work and doctor's appointments. He is a servant of Christ and of His people and acknowledges each person he meets as one of His people. I have only seem him distressed, actually anguished, when one person disrespects another. And yet he treats both respectfully, hoping for improvement. Convert that I am, I want to kiss his hand for a blessing and that's rare for me. He's the real deal. I can imagine how pained he would be to have inadvertently caused anyone any distress much less so much that they would leave the Church (as someone mentioned in another thread). He would grieve over that. Being guileless himself and apolitical, I can also imagine him not seeing certain things in others. God grant me his faults and not my own! For the man and Vladika I know, please see http://preachersinstitute.com/2011/03/05/preaching-orthodoxy-in-the-modern-world/ for a characterization of Vladika by Fr Stephen Freeman, posted recently by Fr John Peck.
#104 Nicole Troon on 2011-03-12 14:14
I did not defend any molesters. You must be confusing Abp. Dmitri [Royster] with the Antiochian Bp. Demetri.
#105 antonia on 2011-03-13 13:20
So many opinions, judging and lack of empathy. So many people who know so much, but sign their comments, anon.
How in Great Lent can you judge another ,when this is the time to reflect on your own short comings? Are you attending more church services, saying prayers with the conviction that you need to repent?
We are called to do acts of love at this time. Is this your act of love?
It is not if you are for or against Vladyka. It is that we let the evil one win and he sits in our pews smiling. Satan has the world and we are the last ones he wants to conquer.
Forgive me if I have offended you.
Lillian M Blome
#106 Lillian M Blome on 2011-03-13 14:29
I think Nicole is a very wise Christian. All that she said is true. I get weary of reading comments from anonymous, who ever you are.
You can say what you think in civil tones. The world constantly shows us the opposite. We are not perfect, neither is Metropolitan Jonah. We all have sins and will one day stand alone to be judged by our God.
#107 Lillian M Blome on 2011-03-15 14:34
I indeed did do just what you said. Sorry. I don't understand the implication with the other guy and have no comment.
#108 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-15 18:01
We need to take some tips from the Antiochian jurisdiction and include the laity more in all money matters. For example, emergency and charitable funds should be sent to an appointed lay person and not to the Archdiocese.
Parishioners in all churches need to be liable for asessments and know that they are required. In some churches, the priest asks parishioners to make a donation for the asessment. All parishes should be donating to a mission building fund which is also managed by the laity. Missions should only be supported by the diocese for two years except for special instances. After two years, missions should be given parish status and be self supporting. Including the laity in financial matters only makes good sense.
#109 Marilyn on 2011-03-24 20:18
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