Sunday, March 6. 2011
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As a former member of the MC, I just wanted to say that I have always appreciated your efforts on this website, even if I didn't always agree with everything that you posted.
Whether the information has been biased or not (sorry, some times it does seem a bit biased) you have clearly shown that the truth is what it is. You are clearly an equal opportunity offender.
Maybe it's me, but I have heard that the MC was not consulted regarding the "resignation" of Fr. Garklavs. Can you please tell us as an MC member whether this is true or not? Second, what do you anticipate the fallout from that to be? I only raise the question because it seems that it is fundamental to our understanding of the ecclesiology of our church. If the MC can be excluded from decisions such as the hiring and firing of the executive officers, what on earth is the purpose of the MC?
(Editor's note: The decision to terminate Fr. Garklavs' was at the recommendation of Metropolitan Jonah to the Synod. The MC had nothing to do with it. The Statute is unclear what role the MC, if any, has in officer termination. Officer appointments, however, are a Synodal decision, "upon recommendation of the MC." There will not be another Chancellor without the "recommendation of the MC" that is for sure. And it is entirely possible, the MC could recommend Fr. Garklavs be reinstated. And if the Synod agreed, it would be so. )
#1 Anonymous on 2011-03-06 22:28
Mark: Well, well, done. You not only answered the questions that were asked by the unnamed blogger, but in providing a simple, factual account of what has occured, you help to quiet speculation and point to the wonderful example of an obedient priest, Fr. Alexander Garklavs. You continue to serve the Church as you advocate truth, openness, accountability and conciliarity.
#2 Priest John Klingel on 2011-03-07 06:07
It is clear, + Jonah must be removed or deposed. Fester needs to be laicized. Garklavs needs to be re-instated. Isn't this CLEAR? Apparently + Jonah needs a "rest" more than most realize.
Where are the senior Archpriests of the OCA to rise up, united, and put things right? The Synod is unable.
#3 Anonymous on 2011-03-07 06:44
Comrades this reads better than a Cold War novel.
When Met. Herman was removed and Met. Jonah took over I witnessed in the Church the same "hero worship" of Met. Jonah that had attended to Met. Herman and almost instantly. It was as if a veneration switch had shifted from one to another. It harkened back to the transfer from Stalin to Kruschev. The King (Met.) is dead ... long live the King (Met.)
There seems a pathological desire or need to have a "strongman" at the helm. There seems to be an un-American fear of chaos or conciliarity (yes, conciliarity is the American way ... look at Congress (Priests and Deacons), the People (Laity), and the Presidency (Bishops) in American history ... there are lessons there to be learned if we choose).
When you hear a person in power talk about getting his people in positions, suspicion of a free press, the need for obedience, or disloyalty ... red flags are flying (in both meanings). Yes the Church is an ordered hierarchy ... but the collective whole is the body of Christ and hierarchs need to be obedient to Christ ... the body of Christ as expressed in the people. No Bishop or priest can celebrate Liturgy without the people. The people can not be ordered to attend, they must freely without threat or coercion choose like Christ choosing his own death, to attend There is a lack of understanding and a desire to down play the role of the people in the Church. This is a flaw ... the Church is not dictatorial it is conciliar. Hierarchs who forget that they owe obedience to Christ through the people are charlatans. They are purveyors of a prideful humility rather than a humble pride. They are the pigs on Animal Farm. If a hierarch is doing his ordained job he has no fear of a free press, he has no secrets, there is no disloyalty, he works with all not just those who share his particular viewpoint, in short a fearful cabalistic governance is replaced by concilliarity. Conciliarity requires transparency and honesty.
The OCA has gone through a trauma vis-à-vis the Met Herman years ... the healing does not come from a new leader it comes from Christ working with in. It takes time. The Church needs to stop looking to the distant past of the old world for answers or re-trenched solutions, it needs to look no further then the land in which it has taken root.
#4 Justinian Williams on 2011-03-07 06:55
How long before we elect men to be bishops and not children?
Now, Jonaahhhh, go stand in the corner!
Did anyone see 60 minutes Sunday? The report on the homeless of Seminole County Florida? The Church is nowhere in helping the people of God. Shove that in your Great Lent and smoke it. Unless we can clean up the OCA, God is out of a job (in the OCA). Has anyone read Luke 15 (probably not-its in the New Testament FYI, oh, and you can get one on Amazon, since you probably won't find one for sale in church).
My money goes to the people in Seminole County, and not the Orthodox Church in America. I will count up what I have given to the OCA and consider it a bad debt, I suggest people do the same, report it to a credit agency. When the OCA cleans up, then I will resume giving. I believe in the OCA, and we have a few good men, but the house-cleaning must continue.
A word about Mark Stokoe, I don't know the guy, never met him, and we don't always see eye to eye, what two people do after all. But, I find his publishing well thought out, carefully written, in the main. He has invested a lot of time and energy into this work, and has left himself open to attack. Anyone on an agenda, out for personal gain, would have moved on long ago. Six years, my friends is commitment.
As for Fr. Garklavs, give this man his job back, I mean really, this Church (OCA) has a history of screwing priests, can we please try and stop that now? Father: I hope you do file a complaint, it will bring or help bring about health.
#5 Festerated! on 2011-03-07 07:06
Well done Mark, you have responded to the hysterics of the OCATruth crowd with civility, truth, and tact.
What a sad situation. Metropolitan Jonah certainly seems -- at the very, very least -- to be an irresponsible administrator, given the havoc his 'postponements' will make for the Holy Synod / Metropolitan Council and AAC. Never mind the monetary cost to the OCA of his selfish decision.
#6 Nilus on 2011-03-07 08:29
I have never seen anything accept complete transparency and accuracy in the repoting by Mark Stokoe. It is the complete anonymity of OCATruth.com that rings of suspicion. Perhaps it is a blessing for Mark that he is riddled with ad hominem attacks during the Holy and Great Fast.
#7 M.A. on 2011-03-07 08:30
From what has been reported in just the last few weeks, the OCA has spent a fortune on hotels and air fare. I recall a year ago that the metropolitan was costing the OCA a fortune in travel. It appears that nothing has changed in this regard. Here's an idea though: cut his travel budget to say $1,000 for the year. Anything else he can fund out of his own pocket. If he wants to fly to Washington, New York, Chicago, Moscow and Dallas in just two months, no problem. Just put it on his credit card, not mine or every other hardworking member of the OCA who is paying for this. And people wonder why the average lay person in the church is a bit upset about having to fund the administrative headquarters. This is front and center. How many hungry and homeless people could have been fed instead of the trips to Chicago and New York alone.
This really isn't a joke. I, like many others, would like to see a full and complete accounting of every trip that the OCA has paid on behalf of the rogue metropolitan. And if he is such a humble and prayerful man of God, I'm sure he will understand that taking money from hardworking faithful is wrong. How much of this money has he paid back? How much of this money has he paid back?
#8 Anonymous on 2011-03-07 09:41
I looked at the OCAtruth.com Web site last week. I was a journalist for many years. We always required at least two named sources for any assertion of fact, especially whenever a topic was controversial or had passionate partisans and multiple viewpoints. Anything else was regarded as opinion, hearsay, or just plain fiction.
It pains me beyond words to see the disarray in my church at the beginning of this holy season of fasting and reflection. I can only pray as we walk through this holy time that we will all find forgiveness in our hearts, and that we will all be mindful of God's infinite mercy as embodied by the sacrifice of his beloved Son.
Oh Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance...
#9 Morton on 2011-03-07 10:57
LOL....I continue to read this stuff just for the absurd humor of it anymore!
First and foremost there is the matter of all the critics of Mark. I love how Mark has no fear in printing their malcontent in its entirety. Will these people learn Mark has never been the "originator" of bad news! His input and/or comments have always followed in the wake of revelations from other sources. You'd have to be a real fool to think he's privy to insider information as some like to allege. For instance I don't think he participated in the Sante Fe episcopal retreat! Not even Mark has that kind of pull or influence. If I'm correct, his first article about this whole Jonah stuff focused on an article that appeared on another orthodox website, announcing the "leave".
Everytime Mark reports it is done after the fact. I don't understand, then, why so many people try to blame him for the percipitating events. It is within the realm of possibility that he doesn't have his facts straight all the time - in which case Mark is quick to apologize and correct himself, as any good reporter would. What's wrong with that?
Okay, enough about Mark. It just cracks me up when people like Fester want to demonize Mark in an attempt to divert attention from the real situation. In truth neither Mark nor Fester have told us about the concerns the synod must have had about Jonah and I'm pretty sure those concerns haven't gone away. That means there is still a potential problem facing the church.
That brings me to my second point - a theme which I have often stated. I guess I'm just hung up on it! It still stuns me into disbelief and utter shock that so much humanism and politics continue to run and manipulate the church. "Monastic" may be a cute "title" now used by Fester to describe Jonah, but monasticism is a real way of life based on true spirituality rooted in the Father, established by the Son and lived/taught by the church fathers and genuine monastics. There isn't a bishop around who even comes close to having experienced that way of life and now brings it to the episcopal table for the good of the church. The true monastics are found among our priests and the good people who work hard to live an orthodox life and to build their local church communities. Step outside these circles and face a world of bishops, archbishops, metropolitans and patriarchs who do nothing but haggle over their perception of their earthly powers!
We see the revolts taking place the world-over by people just tired of wornout regimes that do nothing to address the needs of the people who have for so long supported those regimes. I look at the OCA and I look at the orthodox church and I pray for the day when Christian people will rise up against such oppresive regimes and demand a spiritual renewal among the leadership. Historically the method was always to break away but the secular world of today is teaching us that's not good enough. Egyptians don't want to stop being Egyptians. Libyans don't want to stop being Libyans. They want a more realistic leadership. Orthodox dont' want to stop being Orthodox...we just want a more realistic leadership in touch with today's world, today's issues, today's need for faith and today's need for a living religion!
God bless Mark! God bless the good priests who work so hard in the vineyard! God bless the good people who are the church! I guess we just need to take our strength and example from them.
#10 Lots Of Laughter! on 2011-03-07 11:14
Agree or disagree with Mark Stokoe's reporting and editorials on this website, but one stark contrast stands between him and his detractors: I don't recall him ever applying emotive, denigrating words like "devils," "pornography" and the like to them, as they have done to him. When someone resorts to demonizing language and ad hominem attacks, rather than address issues and deal in facts, one wonders how much truth is really on his/her side and how mature a Christian he/she really is.
#11 Diogenes on 2011-03-07 11:28
This is a simple thank-you to Mark Stokoe. Thank you Mark for your responsibility, accountability and honesty. Thank you for standing in the face of unbelievably ugly and undeserved mud-slinging on the part of others. Thank you for your commitment to stating the facts as facts; opinions as opinions and your unwillingness to stoop to the level of name-calling and narrowmindedness found in the words of numerous of your "adversaries." Thank you for your commitment to the church and your belief that it can be better; that by demanding the same qualities in our leaders as we strive for ourselves (responsibility, accountability and honesty) the church can and will be that place of love and compassion we so desperately need. I don't know how else to say how much you and your work is appreciated except thank you. Sincerely, Fr. Timothy and Lisa Lowe
#12 Fr. Timothy and Lisa Lowe on 2011-03-07 11:32
Is this just another example of Jonah-boy gone rogue? This is from oca.org, today:
"As has been reported, there will be a special pilgrimage to Sitka, following the Council, for the consecration of the new bishop of Alaska. FOS Tours will also be handling the arrangements for this wonderful event; you can contact FOS Tours and check with the Diocese of Alaska website at http://dioceseofalaska.org for detailed information. To simplify your traveling arrangements, a package deal with FOS Tours is available for the All-American Council and the Sitka trip.
Did I miss something, or are they planning a consecration for a bishop that hasn't been elected yet? Unless, don't tell me, is Jonah planning on that HOOMIE for bishop? Hey! Holy Synod, don't look now, he's ba acck!
I'm just Joenuts for Jonah!
#13 the whale on 2011-03-07 12:08
"You will know them by their fruits!" (Mt 7:16) We can also say that we will know them by their methods! As he himself stated, Mark has always been upfront, transparent, accountable, and self-revealing (signing his name) on this website. The other website, newly-formed, contains the name of no one: not the editor, blogger, commentator, etc. As has been asked repeatedly of others (+Herman, Kondratick, +Tikhon-of-the-West, +Nikolai, etc.): What is there that you have to hide? If your actions and intentions are above-board, why not reveal your identity(ies)?? As our Lord again said elsewhere, "And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For, every one who does evil hates the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed! But, he who does what is true come to the Light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God!" (Jn 3:19-21)
#14 David Barrett on 2011-03-07 13:03
You keep going Mark ... this is a wonderful forum where people can express facts and opinion and they can be openly contradicted or agreed with. There's no conspiracy here. Just an effort to find openess and the truth and I for one appreciate that.
#15 Sean O'Clare on 2011-03-07 14:00
Thank you Fr. Hopko for your integrity and bravery.
St. Andrew Parish
Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
#16 Sue Stratton on 2011-03-07 16:12
I don't believe it. I don't believe Father Hopko is giving me sound advice; I think he too must have other motives. I don't think he used wisdom in his wording, either. As I read this site, I often think of the reporter Rita Skeeter in the Harry Potter books. Believe me, it's the words I'm talking about. And I'm not worth criticizing or being put down for saying what I know is true. I've seen and experienced, from others who say they are Orthodox Christians, enough self-justifying, "righteous" hypocrisy and unholiness to last ten lifetimes. Without any ability to do any good whatsoever, I just want to say that I, one small, broken human being, support Metropolitan Jonah 100 percent. I hope he gets some sleep. I hope he laughs. I hope he takes his vitamins. I hope he is able to take a break and get some rest for his brain. I like his smile. I love reading his sermons. He is a good and wise and human and spiritual-minded man, appointed by God to lead, and he can lead the OCA, I am sure of it. Sincerely, me
#17 Anonymous on 2011-03-07 16:42
I don't think anyone can credit Mark Stokoe for unilateral decision making and general unilateral behavior on the part of the Metropolitan. Most of Mark's last editorial is defensive and unnecessary. Quite humorous for folks to start on Mark Stokoe's reporting after the Metropolitan disobeys the Synod of the OCA, don't you think? I'm not going to be reading the other blog, I saw the minutes of the meeting and I heard the sermon given laters; they weren't in agreement.
I'm not as kind as Mark.
The Synod bears plenty of burden.
The Synod's hearing of an 'appeal' by Garklavs; followed by accepting his resignation is mind boggling. No one can defend it; one minute an appeal for your job, the next minute you resign? I don't know Garklavs at all; wouldn't recognize him at the same table. I don't have any ax to grind with any one person, but I can't stand dishonesty, so my ax is about how people in leadership in the church can stand up and lie to 'protect dignity'. The worst part about the Garklav's matter is that with the Metropolitan's Washington goals; Garklavs appeared to be in the way.
Outside appearances are that the removal of him helps a 'master manipulator' get closer to making the Washington whimsy a reality. And outside appearances are that the Synod has blessed it. It is a sad comedy the Synod would ask him to resign for his dignity, because it leaves everyone wondering what the hell is going on there. Foul language is deserved.
Another poster suggested we have a serious governance problem and its true.
Our governance problem is that the Metropolitan, any Metropolitan, is an autocrat. The Metropolitan Council, by its very name, is designed to be a support arm; it can't even meet unless he says so.., when in today's world, it needs to be a check and balance.
The Synod appears powerless next to the Metropolitan as well. Leave of absence not taken, for example.
When the church reorganized; one of my concerns was/is the Metropolitan's position still has too much power.
My priest told me years ago he was staying away from this website because it was too troubling for him.
Why should it be troubling for anyone to hear about the goings on of our bishops?
#18 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-07 18:07
I wondered where the heck you have been? It is good to see the revival of "The Antiochian" under the guise of "OCA Truth". I must admit the new version is a little more sophisticated than it's inspirational father.
At least The Antiochian allowed comments from the loyal opposition something I guess "The Truth" just isn't able to stand or tolerate?
Can't wait to see the disparaging remarks about Fr. Hopko's comments. Ouch that has got to hurt just a little?
#19 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-03-07 19:41
Mental health excuses should not be used as a "get out of jail free card". If MJ was the fall guy for the Diocese of the South OCA on issues of Clergy Sexual Abuse, and then the national group felt MJ could do the same job for them, there is a lot more responsibility to share and things to change.
#20 ANON in USA on 2011-03-07 19:45
I am glad Fr. Tom wrote what he did and it is now posted.
The church is in the hands of its checks and balances, not ever one person. The OCA Holy Synod, Statutes, Metropolitan Council, Ethics Committee, and all other checks and balances systems are in place to do the job of stabilizing and safeguarding the church.
Why say anything more at the start of our Lenten journey.
#21 Patty Schellbach on 2011-03-07 19:57
Why does it have to get to this?
Once again, we have a leader (Met Jonah) who is more focused on his POWER and POSITION then on doing what is right for the church and the faithful. Once again we have a "loyal group of (young) men" deflecting the issues so as to bury the truth, shown in both actions and in words, and protect the POWER and POSITION of the leader at all costs. As a member of the faithful, I do not and will never stand for this type of blatant manipulation of power.
It seems many of our leaders lack the self-awareness that is needed to lead or the moral courage to do the right thing, admit personal failings, repent and tell the truth.
#22 Anonymous on 2011-03-07 20:25
As one whose back is full of arrows from this same crowd, you called it right. They are recycling the same character assassination tactics. Fortunately such backbiting is not effective any longer since the truth is more quickly revealed. The Holy Spirit moves where He wills. With the truth no longer held hostage among cloistered clerics, we have an opportunity to see vitality emerge; vitality embodied in conciliarity, love and community. However, the autocratic fantasy that many of our control-hungry clerics secretly pine for is still a strong pull. The trips to the Old Country seem to infect our clergy with a desire for that "old time religion." We need to start living in the present, where God is.
#23 Anon. on 2011-03-07 22:33
Nothing that has anything to do with the Holy Order of MANS/Christ the Saviour Brotherhood will ever be of any benefit to the Orthodox Church. This neo-Gnostic movement is motivated by ideologies and concept that are inimical to Orthodox Christianity.
Both Jonah & Fester must go! Garklavs must be reinstated and a rooting out process of sympathizers must be seriously considered or more turmoil will ensue. Destroyers of the OCA are working diligently!
#25 Anonymous on 2011-03-08 06:55
I want to add my voice to that of Fr Thomas Hopko, as a priest in the OCA and a university professor and most as a Christian. As one of the elders of our church, Fr T has soberly and with discernment described what is real. Mark Stokoe has served the church well, does not need to be vilified or accused. Where would the OCA be without his witness to truth as well as that of many other clergy and laity. I call on the holy synod and metropolitan council as leaders in the OCA to continue pursuing what is best, not only for the metropolitan, but for all the people of God.
Fr Michael Plekon
Baruch College of the City University of New York
St Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church, Wappingers Falls NY
#26 michael plekon on 2011-03-08 07:28
What happened to Fr. Hopko's geat letter on OCA News?????
He was right on target.
(Editor's note: It's still there.)
#27 Father John Ealy on 2011-03-08 12:31
For all you people who want desperately to protect your Church-Cult leaders at any cost, watch this documentary about RC abuse against Alaska Native children and reflect on your own actions to "protect" the monsters in your church...and then reflect on how SO many of you have attacked POKROV and the women who work so hard to stop the monsters:
Moses the Tlingit
#28 Moses on 2011-03-08 17:34
A conspiracy? Ah, yes! Just like the one propagating the idea of global warming. Not only are politicians and scientists in on it--now, even the weather and ice-caps are in on the grand deception!
#29 Fr. Isaac Skidmore on 2011-03-08 19:27
I just wanted to thank Mark (yet once again) for his work exposing the craziness to the light. We are a healthier church for confessing our sins not a sicker or weaker one embarrassing as it may be! Such a basic spiritual point you would think would need no defense - but sadly I guess it shows the spiritual level of many of our wonderful contributors (lay & clerical alike). I also wanted to thank Fr. Tom for adding his voice to the conversation. It's reassuring to hear a strong and outspoken voice coming from one of our elder presbyters speaking boldly out of love for our Holy Church. Personally, I have no desire or patience to deal with the lunatics that masquerade as chief shepherds or faithful Orthodox. I prefer the company of those who actually believe they are in need of God's mercy and don't just say the right things but do the right things. Maranatha!
#30 Andrew A. Lukashonak on 2011-03-08 20:09
It's time for the putting on of sackcloth and ashes and for "torn clothes." There have now been TWO scandals / upheavals with TWO Metropolitans during the past two years.
These two events CANNOT mean that Eastern Orthodoxy in the United States is healthy or thriving. These events have sullied the reputation of the Eastern Orthodox Church and have put the Church and Christ to an open shame.
May God Have Mercy on Us and Help Us!
May The Lord Give Us a Holy and Healing Lent
#32 Anonymous on 2011-03-08 20:37
Glory to IC XC!
You wrote: "There isn't a bishop around who even comes close to having experienced that [monastic] way of life and now brings it to the episcopal table for the good of the church."
I can't speak about the others bishops because of my personal ignorance, but Fr. Matthias, our bishop-elect will (God willing) soon fill what you perceive as a hierarchical gap.
Working a FT side job precludes keeping up on all the news in any detail. But, what gets through is that Met. JONAH said two things (cf. Mat. 5:37) and affirmed that it was okay to do so because he hadn't signed anything (cf. James 5:12). This alone is sufficient cause for concern for his well-being by the Holy Synod, and anybody interested in his spiritual and psychological well-being.
Add what Fr. Thomas Hopko said. He doesn't say or write stupid or hostile words. When Fr. Tom speaks, people listen, and rightly so. And recall his enthusiastic joy for the newly elected Met. at the All-American Council as presented on Ancient Faith Radio (when, if I recall correctly, he made a parallel to 3 John v. 4 with himself vis-a-vis his former student). Father Tom isn't an enemy of the Met.
St. Nicholas Mission Church
#33 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2011-03-08 21:03
I have a question. As an outsider it appears that the OCA Synod asking Met. Jonah to "take a break" is actually a pre-emptive strike to protect the OCA from Met. Jonah from his ultimate goal of dissolving OCA autocephaly. Is this correct at any level?
(editor's note: On no level I am aware of. The Metropolitan has no power "to dissolve the autocephaly of the OCA". That can only be doneby Statute, that is, by the Synod, MC, and AAC working in concert over two successive AAC's. No one thinks that is going to happen in any foreseeable future.
No, the issues with +Jonah concern for a multitude of reasons, the only one they publicly spoke about being his mental/ spiritual health, which then they tried to keep quiet for his dignity. Well, he made sure that didn't work either. Now we have a Metropolitan who broke his word to his Synod; and refuses help. Is this sustainable? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Time will tell.)
#34 Outsider on 2011-03-08 21:14
For all the good they have done, Pokrov is not above criticism.
Pokrov is unforgiving and willing to accept accusations, even unproven, as claims of bad deeds. Once a person has done wrong or been accused; there is nothing they can do to escape the Pokrov website. It is not a Christian behavior.
They have no stated standard for forgiving anyone; society has standards for that.
I'm not attacking Pokrov or defending any of the accused on their site; I'm just identifying Pokrov's two primary weaknesses as I see them-unforgiving and willing to label the accused. It is easy to understand why they take that position; many sexual offenders repeat; the statistics are alarmingly high. I know of a guy who should never be let out of prison; he is in for a second time for molesting an 11 year old acquaintance( he's one sick puppy). Society will let him out, so I'm not saying society is right either! But for someone like Khoury, perhaps he deserves to be forgiven for his drunken behavior someday?
Overall, Pokrov has stood to heighten awareness of abuse and that part is great. Noone needs to endure abuse. I'm perhaps the only person that I've ever seen criticize pokrov and I'll stand by my criticisms; I think they are fair and they don't miss the forest for the tree; the authors of pokrov certainly don't agree with me, so be it.
Now, taking the forgiveness concept a step further...
I'd like to be able to forgive Metropolitan Jonah's mistakes. They are vivid and well enumerated. I would do so if he first admitted making them. I think he has lost the trust of many people by acting unilaterally on many fronts, though, so I'm not sure if it'd help him.
He was given a gift and instead of learning about the people in his care, he had an agenda, and it has hurt him badly.
He'd need an entire change of heart. The first thing he'd need to do is to stop all his agendas: -accept the leave, -stop the DC madness stuff, -recognize the agenda of +Bart is dangerous and stop pursuing a correction to an 80 year old canonical anomaly. After he stopped all his agendas; he'd probably need to ask Garklavs to return to let us know he isn't continuing the DC quest and others, and he'd need to consult with the Synod on how they'd like him to operate, and he'd need to take himself out of the center of the strategic planning process and become an overseer to the process and only work on that and visiting churches, which is all he should have been doing; I'm sure I missed some of the SMPC stuff and probably more, but the truth is Metropolitan Jonah's friends are his enemies and his perceived enemies (he has no real ones) are his friends. Perhaps everything I'm saying is all too far gone; I don't know, I'm just a gentle observer. I doubt very much Metropolitan Jonah will call an emergency meeting of the Synod and ask all of his brothers to give him a chance to be the Metropolitan we had hoped for, to reinstate Garklavs, to never speak about DC again, and to never discuss autocephaly publicly without first discussing and getting public statements approved by the group, i.e. ManDec, +Bart stuff, etc. And he would also need to discuss trips to Russia and the intent of them first with the Synod lest we all think he has Maximal Autonomy on the brain again. Get a clue about the culture before you do that kind of funny business; many of his people's parents risked life and limb to get away from Russia. I know people that won't even sing a hymn in slavonic, let alone accept the MP as the ruler of the OCA. Jeepers.
#35 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-08 21:24
Thank you, Fr. Thomas for making clear your feelings; it helps me to clarify my own. This week has been bewildering. First, I hear that the Synod I trust and the Chancellor I trust had come to a disturbing crossroads with the Metropolitan I thought I trusted.
Next comes claims that the website I trust and the commentator I trust are all of a sudden not to be trusted. And that there is a conspiracy to depose the Metropolitan, a plot, nefarious and evil in nature led by Mark Stokoe in cahoots with Fr Garklavs and my own Bishop! This based on a private email, although off-putting in its frankness, revealed no plot whatsoever.
As of yet, I don't know the reasons for the profound concern for Metropolitan Jonah's well-being, but I know they must be serious. With sadness and sincerity, I will pray for his healing and for the grace of the Holy Spirit to guide those that are seeking to help him.
Here's what disturbs me most today. I am shocked at the content of the email from Fr. Joseph Fester! It's stunning that a Christian priest would use such tactics to manipulate his colleagues and his spiritual children into joining his "side", in disdaining another human being, a brother in Christ, in believing in a frightening conspiracy theory, in distrusting those in authority.
This is the mind-set of the Dean of the Cathedral and one of the main advisors to the Metropolitan?! Those who can, please intervene, for his sake, and for his parishioners in Texas and DC. They are being duped, I fear.
Readers of ocatruth.com: please dear brothers and sisters, you have been influenced in a way that is unconscionable. You don't have to like Mark Stokoe's style, but he is not some enemy to be destroyed. Conversely, Fr. Fester is not my enemy. Open your minds to discern truth from fantasy. Get help for your priest (and hopefully help from another priest).
If you are new to Orthodoxy, read all the evidence and reports on what was unearthed over the last 6 years on ocanews.org. Learn who was removed from leadership and why. Do you know the story? You will understand why I trust the current Holy Synod of Bishops and Fr. Garklavs, and why I'm devastated that the Metropolitan is having troubles. Email me, if you want to "talk": firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm just an ordinary parishioner, but I'm worried for you.
Jodie (Joanna) Captein, Diocese of the West
#36 Jodie Captein on 2011-03-08 23:57
Thank you, Mr. Stokoe.
Please keep up the good work.
God bless your efforts.
#37 Pavel Sorokin on 2011-03-09 01:59
It is quite clear what has been going on these last two and a half years. Jonah was NEVER the Metropolitan. Instead, Father Fester was the power behind the "man," pulling the strings and feeding him disinformation and contrived bureaucratic talking points that Jonah could not comprehend. This isn't about Jonah not being a spiritual man; I have no doubt about his devotion and love for the church. It is his reckless and seemingly oblivious incompetence that is once again leading the OCA into ruin.
Father Hopko's statement is a breath of fresh air and a thankful reminder that not everyone in the OCA has been duped by the shenanigans of Fester and his cronies. Now more than ever the name "Fester" seems appropriate for the wounds he has inflicted upon the national church.
There will still be critics who support him; those who he brought into the fold in Dallas who are hopelessly and helplessly devoted to his every whim. But they are in the minority. It's time to de-Festerize the OCA and finally elect a Metropolitan who can not only be a spiritual leader but a worthy and efficient administrator as well.
#38 Steven on 2011-03-09 02:57
Thank you Mark for being willing to speak the truth and put yourself in the crosshairs of those who will viciously attack those who cross their fantasy. The current crowd infers that they are social conservaties but they always use one of Alinsky's rules for radicals; "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
My family was on the receiving end of this same treatment from some of these same people when we were part of a group that identified the HOOM/CSB 'metropolitan' as a child molester.
Unfortunately this same 'cult of personality' has now been visited on the OCA. The Metropolitan has clear ties to the HOOM/CSB cult and has promoted former members/affiliates in the OCA. He has also promoted others who follow the same cultic mentality to positions of authority. These people are now engaged in a campaign to smear you because they need to change the subject. It doesn't work when there are people with courage to stand for the truth. I pray that the synod will have the courage to do what is best for the OCA. + Jonah is not what the OCA needs.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill
You are especially brave to be so public; after more than 20 years it is still necessary for me to be anonymous. These people have long memories and are willing to wait a long time to extract their revenge. Be careful.
#39 Ex cult member on 2011-03-09 05:39
Deposed? On what grounds?
Editor's note: I am aware of no grounds on which the Metropolitan should be deposed, or even could be deposed, given the canonical requirement. But he has been asked to take a leave for medical reasons and refused. Is that a problem? Yes. Because recognizing there is a problem is the first step in resolving it. As long as he ignores, denies, fights, etc, the issues discussed witih him by his brothers, the whole body will suffer. To what end this disobedience? No, that is not leadership, no pastoral ministry, nor integrity. Because it is not about issues in the end; it is about his spiritual well-being which he refuses to deal with except on his terms, in his way, at his time, in his manner, without counsel, guidance, instruction or care about those who have been doing it longer. And that is just sad, in the end. Not heroic. Or exemplary. Or worthy. )
#40 seminarian on 2011-03-09 05:55
Question: Could +JONAH's perceived problems be due to his former membership in the Holy Order of MANS? Some of those converts to Orthodoxy in both the Antiochian and OCA jurisdictions have turned out to be quite weird.
(Editor's note: OMG. If we started chucking out all the people in the AOCNA and OCA who were weird in some way, our churches would be depopulated in an afternoon. Heck, you kind of have to be little weird to end up in Orthodox these days at all. I mean who fasts, has 90 minutes liturgies ( at the most abbreviated), services at midnight, and the rest....)
#41 Al Green on 2011-03-09 06:14
It only takes a moment to observe that the one TRUE leader in all of this has been Fr Alexander Garklavs, who is a true servant to the servants, and humbly followed the directives of the Synod. We all must pray for he who has been so derided.
#42 Ellie Calabrese on 2011-03-09 07:07
Fr. Thomas Hopko can be a complex, sometimes conflicted man. But he loves the the church and is sober in his faith, in his words, and in his actions. In his retirement, he has chosen to live near one of our healthiest monastic establishments -- that choice speaks to his priorities.
The very bluntness of his language speaks to the seriousness of the situation.
Metropolitan Jonah is a decent man, who has lived a spiritually edifying life in his monastery, has clarity of vision and the ability to convey that vision in words that inspire. Even when I disagree with him, I find that his views must be taken seriously and he challenges me to examine my conscience and my assumptions. All of that when he is at his best, as he was at the AAC, as he has been at moments during his primacy.
With great sadness I have also come to see that he is inconsistent in his words and actions, that his admirable energy is often manic and unfocused, that he appears to listen and agree with each person in turn, either to be agreeable or just to placate, then turns around and does something totally different. The problems go far beyond poor management skills to a level of confusion and inconsistency that sows chaos.
He disregards the advice and loving counsel of his brother bishops and of everyone in a position to inform and educate him on the needs of the church and her people. These advisers are not in a conspiracy -- when it comes to 'agendas', they are diverse and disagree on many things. They do not represent some kind of anti-monastic or liberal cabal -- just to use one example, have you read Bp. Melchisidek's biography?
And, most disturbingly, he is under the sway of a small group of insiders from the old regime who have proven themselves to be seekers after and abusers of power. Some, like Fr. Fester, have great gifts -- I have heard him speak and been very moved by him. But actions speak louder than words. Revisit the SIC report -- not the most beautiful or inspiring lenten reading, but edifying in that understanding our own sins and temptations, understanding how even service to the church can be distorted by the devil is instructive.
How and why the Metropolitan has become so reliant on this group to the exclusion of every wise and loving counselor is a great mystery and a sorrowful tragedy. I believe they've played him -- planting doubts and undermining his views of the good people who surround him, painting him to himself in the heroic role of defender of a particular vision of the faith, exaggerating divisions ... read Fr. Fester's publicly available letter. It really says everything anyone needs to know about how the Metropolitan has been used.
I do not want the Metropolitan ousted -- I want him to take time and consider and return to his natural sobriety of thought. I want him to learn.
But to reject the advice of his Synod? To act at the start of Lent in the divisive way we've been seeing? To countenance the words of those who seek to cast this as some battle between different "camps" within the church? These are not the choices of a man who is acting with sound judgment.
There are very few simple things in this world, but there's one simple test of who is leaning in the right direction in this mess ... anyone exacerbating divisions and promoting cartoonish characterizations that cast whole swaths of the church as enemies cannot be in the right.
I do not believe that there is some vast cultural divide within the OCA. I do believe that there are differences of style and of opinion that Fr. Fester and his small band of cohorts are seeking to exploit for their personal ends.
There is no conspiracy against His Beatitude. What we are seeing is a deeply personal tragedy playing out in an unnecessarily, and unhelpfully, public way.
The bishops sought to deal with this lovingly, privately, personally. Others made this a public battle, undermining the possibility of His Beatitude taking a personal, quiet, sober, and prayerful break.
May God have mercy on us all,
#43 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-03-09 07:32
I, too, want to thank Fr. Tom Hopko for his letter.
To everyone behind the website ocatruth.com and its supporters - yes, you can publish and say anything, unfortunately, including lies, slanders and half-trues, and statements designed to inflame and divide, but, please remember (from I Cor. 10:23) "Everything is permissible--but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible--but not everything is constructive."
All are sinners, all have fallen short. Let us strive to keep Holy Scripture in our hearts.
Mark, I am pained by the personal attacks against you. Thank you for your reporting.
To all my brothers and sisters in Christ in the midst of the first week of Great Lent, forgive me.
(Editor's note: Thank.s Matushka for the expression of concern, but I am little concerned for myself. I have been a target for years now. This is no different than what +Tikhon was peddling six years ago. What is more concerning, is where does such end? Its one thing to attack me - I am a big boy - but what of someone in the Church who speaks out and is not as grounded? What then? Are we to become a church of bullies and thugs who slander people with impunity? They will claim that OCANews.org is no different. Really? Has anybody ever seen anything like they scream on OCANews,org? Ever? No, never. Nor will they. That is the only answer I will give them: I will not become like them, because even "winning", whatever stupid thing that might mean, one will have lost. And what gaineth a man if he gains the whole OCA, as they desire, but lose their souls in so doing? Sorry, not a good trade.)
#44 Matushka Jan Koczak on 2011-03-09 07:43
Bravo to Fr. Hopko!
Allow me to share my "Fester" experience with you all, especially those in Dallas.
I am a convert to Orthodoxy. When taking my spiritual journey to explore my conversion I was "assigned" to Fr. Joe as my advisor. We spent one night a week together for a year reading and discussing the many questions I had about our faith. I daresay we had a close relationship which included his entire family. In the interest of full disclosure I would say I had a close relationship with everyone at the chancery at that time. Until the financial scandal hit when everything took a sharp turn.
As the chairman of the audit committee at that time, my future husband John revealed some very shocking truths about what had been transpiring in the church. Our family was shut out for years. Father Fester was no longer willing to work with me on my spiritual growth nor was he willing to be the officiant for our marriage. He along with RSK said that no one would be willing to marry us. They actually went so far as to ask other local priests to deny us Holy Communion, not to bless our cars or our home.
I leave it for you to decide if this is a man you want to be your Shepard? This man knows nothing of the Christian way. What he knows is his agenda and how to manipulate the system. He has learned from his cohort, the top of the heap, none other than Robert Kondratick himself.
As always, I stand tall and proud next to my husband for always doing what is right for our family and for our beloved church. It turns out that the time I spent studying with Fr. Fester learning about "what is good and right" about our faith would have been time better spent learning from the man I married.
#45 Name Removed at Author's Request on 2011-03-09 08:39
How is that that every time the people accused of wrongdoing run for the hills they land in the Diocese of the South? This says alot in my eyes.
Mark and Fellow Readers: Our prayers and efforts must turn to the long suffering people of Alaska. They have suffered enough and they deserve better. It is imperative that this sham of an "arranged marriage" to a person with clear ties to HOOM be ended quickly.
People of Alaska do not be bullied or seduced. Please find the strength to send your arranged HOOMie candidate back. You have suffered enough. Nothing good can come out what is being imposed on you.
#46 Ashamed Orthdoox on 2011-03-09 08:46
Mark...re: Manhattan Declaration you wrote:
"No, I will not sign it now. I have always thought such Statements, as a whole, are of little value. "
Mark...If you really think of it as having so little value why then did you even bring up +Jonah's seemingly infamous "unilateral signing" of it? May I suggest that his signing it retains the EXACT same personal significance of your now being unwilling to sign it?
Beyond that, this whole affair is sad and embarrassing. It grieves me to read this all here and I will admit that when +Phillip was the punching bag I piled on. Alas, I know the punching bag personally in this case and the characterizations gleefully being made here hit too close to home. Maybe it's shaken me into some semblance of reality...or delusion - I've no doubt people will pile on at this juncture with regards to that.
It particularly hurts to hear someone I deeply respect (Fr. Hopko) note that +Jonah (someone I also deeply respect) is "gravely troubled." It hurts because I trust Fr. Tom. But I also know that +Jonah is a good man...and he played no small role in my family becoming Orthodox. I want to know what is really going on.
So...this is not a time to take sides, dig trenches, and hammer one another...how is it I can come here and by reading the comments I would have no notion that the people yelling here are any different than those yelling at one another in the secular political arena? If our leaders actions are scandalous I am here to tell you that ours are no less! What IS the appropriate Christian response to all of this? Seriously?
We should be weeping and mourning over all of this - particularly in this season. Our Lord tells us that we shall be known for our love of one another and at this juncture I am beginning to think that the vast majority of us will be told: "I never knew you!" I spent years in Protestant clergy and I've never seen the likes of these things...I'm sorry to say.
My prayers for the Synod and for the Metropolitan and for all who may be advancing agendas and playing politics through all of this - I do not know the turth of any of it and I surely do not know people's motivations...please let us keep that in mind: there is far far too much assumption and innuendo with regards to people's motivations and intentions.
If +Jonah is indeed having serious issues then we need to get him help...but not with joy that we see him fall, but sadness. He is our brother!
We've given up meat and we now sumptuously feast on one another.
(editor's note: Too true. As to your question, whether I would sign or not is irrelevant, as I represent only me; the Metropolitan is an official of the OCA, and while he is fully entitled to his opinion, synodal conciliarity would suggest, and I only suggest, he discuss expressing his public opinions on such matters that receive national coverage, with his brothers. I never made the ManDoc an issue: OCATruth.org did. But it is symptomatic of the greater issue facing the Metropolitan: acting unilaterally.)
#47 irenaios on 2011-03-09 08:48
Morton Dean, by any chance? If so, a journalist indeed and a consummate pro!
#48 Ed Unneland on 2011-03-09 09:16
Dear Archbishop Lazar,
What we need is another book, the ones published to date about this group are not sufficient. Perhaps you will write it. I hope so.
#49 the whale on 2011-03-09 09:43
Your circular argument is entertaining, to say the least...thanks, homie.
#50 Moses on 2011-03-09 10:21
It may be a small point, but Bishops Irinee, Job, Melchizedek, Nathaniel, and Tikhon were all full-time monastics for many years before they were called to the episcopate. (I'm probably missing someone in there.) They lived and trained in monasteries, both here and abroad (+Melchizedek was at Mt. Athos for a number of years) and are very familiar with the monastic path. One can certainly question whether or not that is good preparation for a bishop--and many on this site do and have questioned it. But it's not accurate to say that our Synod is lacking in men of true monastic experience.
(Editor's note: One small correction: +Melchisedek was not at Mt. Athos. He was most active in restoring/rebuilding a community at another monastery during his years in Greece. +Job was not. )
#51 Morton on 2011-03-09 11:04
I began my participation on this site years ago now with an attempt at humor in order to make a point: criticizing the "headline writing department" for the occasional tendency to tendentious and breathless shading of the facts ... seemingly in an effort to "stokoe" fires the editor wanted lit and burning.
But we know some things that needed burning got burnt, and I for one didn't know at that point which or how many there really were. And probably still don't, but they're cinders and ashes now. And with much, much more at least smoldering.
Among the many questions that remain unanswered is whether or not the fire tender, as a result, has come to love the 'rush' of good pyrotechnics and to believe himself anointed to a significant role in causing the events and facts he wants us to think he is merely reporting? Perhaps time will tell. That one e-mail that came out certainly implies that a great deal has been said and done behind the scenes which is not being subjected to the same "transparency" Mark demands of others. The definitive double standard: 'you must be transparent but I get to work in secret!' One accuses a properly consecrated Metropolitan of going 'rogue' when the accuser himself, regarding these affairs, has never been anointed to office or made himself "accountable" to anybody for *anything*! Does that add up?
However I must admit to checking out the ocatruth site and being mightily annoyed with the initial post in which the "muzhik" blithely informs us, near the end, "Finally, I will apologize for being anonymous but we all have to be here to protect the sources who have been telling us the real behind-the-scenes story." Made me want to ignore the whole rest of it.
How dumb does he think we are? A "reporter" has to hide his own name in order to protect his *sources*? Rubbish! Double rubbish!! If secular reporters have the courage and integrity to give their real names while refusing to reveal their sources' names, surely he (who believes he is protected by God and His angels) can step up to the plate with a real name if he wants credibility on such crucial issues. We have to give a BIG nod to Mark Stokoe on this point, because at least he puts his name to what he says in public.
I have great respect for the OCA bishops I've met and the Dean Emeritus, who I think I know ... as well as for His Eminence. Can it be that he is right on many issues, but not for the job? And if so, then what ...?
And can it be that just as a fine person might rise to a level at which his skills seem exceeded by the demands of a job, this new method of church government by internet, which has proved to have its uses, but which can also be seen as a weird, hybrid form of radical congregationalism where the purported advocates and voters largely hide behind pseudonyms(!!) - while daily purporting to venerate martyrs who were boiled in oil under their real names - can rise to the level of its own methodological incompetence, where more damage than good gets done and the actual church becomes almost impossible for good people to govern unless they're bland that they never stand for or accomplish much lest a hue and cry be raised by those it might offend?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but it sure looks like we may get to find out. Yikes!
(Editor's note: As usual, Fr. you ask important questions that deserve thought. Thanks.)
#52 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-03-09 11:05
I second you on that but would like to add one thing since you don't know Fr. Garklavs...
I know Fr. Garklavs personally and can vouch that he is as honest as one can get and did not deserve what was done to him. Fr Garklavs is one of the most selfless, humblest, God-loving priests I know. Met Jonah should have been sent packing; not Fr Garklavs.
#53 Anonymous on 2011-03-09 13:27
Dude. I hope this is not true (?) Of course, F.O.S. means something completely different to me (denoting being "Full of" something), which would describe the current situation here in Alaska pefectly...having said that, I would hope the high-profile celebrity Priest(s) and "Intelllectuals" here in Alaska who have been (and still are) playing both sides, would use thier infinite wisdom and celebrity status to form a human chain around the cathedral in Sitka to prevent such a bold-faced farce from taking place! By the way, even most of us Tlingits gave up arranged marriages a century ago!
#54 Moses on 2011-03-09 17:32
aaah its good to see that some things never change i guess. Archbishop Lazar is still making a living out of disagreeing with Blessed Seraphim Rose and anything associated with him!
of course, in reality, i know many good clergy, monastics, and laity who were/are in the CSB, and who have done much good for the Church. Fr. Gerasim will make an excellent Bishop, i have no doubts about that.
aaah its good to see that some things never change I guess. good ol' Abp. Lazar is still making a living out of disagreeing with Blessed Seraphim Rose and anything associated with him!
of course, in reality, there are many good parishes, clergy, monastics, and laity who were/are connected to the CSB. Fr. Gerasim will be a good bishop, I have no doubt about that.
Why does Fester ask for forgiveness in his attack on Mark? Is he sincere or is it merely a mechanical thing befitting the season?
It's time for our church leaders to set behavioral examples for the laity to follow.
#57 ANON on 2011-03-09 18:59
Please tell us more about this concept. This is the first I have heard about Fester's alleged behind the scenes with Jonah. While I am not surprised, I was not aware of this. Am I just clueless? Is this the elephant in the room? Given the SIC stain on Fester, his conduct demands public scrutiny. Our Church leaders need to realize they cannot hide behind the cassock with these intrigues when they spend our money and preach. Such behavior invites public comment and scrutiny. This is the nature of free speech. The idea that they can put themselves in the public, and yet avoid public scrutiny under the banner of authority, or confidentiality, or status, or privilege is the kind of abusive authoritarianism that our country was founded to put an end to, or at least put in strong check.
What has Fester been doing to control Jonah that we need to know about? Such conduct should not be confidential or hidden.
#58 Anon on 2011-03-09 21:06
Either I am nuts or Mr. Green is. Met. Jonah was never a member of HOOM. And neither was I, in case anyone wonders...not even close.
(Editor's note: I think the confusion comes from the Metropolitan having worked for a publication in Russia they sponsored and supported; and his close personal connections with many former members.)
#59 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-03-10 08:01
Either I am WAY off base or Mr. Green is. Met. Jonah was never a member of HOOM. And neither was I, in case anyone wonders...not even close.
Whether a) His Eminence gives too much scope or credence to converts from that background, and b) such people have weird agendas that are a threat to the church seem to me to be completely legitimate questions to ask and discuss if that can be done without resort to stupid overgeneralizations like "all former _ are _." But let's at least have the fundamental facts straight first.
#60 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-03-10 08:16
It should be crystal clear to all that the American "CONCILIARITY" view of the Church and Bishop's authority is not only part of Orthodox Tradition, but of prime importance in the proper Orthodox understanding of "HOW THE CHURCH WORKS." A bishop or group of bishops cannot unilaterally make decisions contrary to the entire Church. Unless the laity & leaders of the Church act together, then the Church is not working properly. In this case, + Jonah is directly responsible to his fellow bishops and the entire Church. He has gone "ROGUE" and therefore, has divorced himself from the Church. This in itself, is sufficient reason to be deposed. So far, his fellow bishops have been lenient with his antics, but inaction only hurts the entire Church. It is time to do what is right! It is time for the Metropolitan Council to meet ANYWAY and make decisions - Skype meeting or "Go to Meeting" is a good way to do this. The senior Archpriests must also meet in council to assure the Church is being led properly.
Let this also be a lesson to all of how foreign bishops view themselves. They believe they are the "elect of God" and can make any or all decisions for the Church disregarding the people. This brings up the work of the Episcopal Assemblies which are bishops planning on how to divide the entire Orthodox world among themselves. Not taking into account current Canonical norms nor the wishes of Orthodox people worldwide.
It is time for the OCA to AGAIN show the Orthodox world how the Church was set forth by the Apostles to operate and work as the Body of Christ.
#61 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 08:21
Can we stop focusing in what Stokoe signs or doesn't sign. Sheeesh! I don't give a rats ass what Stokoe does or doesn't do. He is not the problem here. It is the culture of the OCA and those in charge of it. How to solve the problems, and not repeat mistakes. That is what this is all about. How to build on the idea of an American Church, and how to save souls.
But, before I go..... Does anyone know if Stokoe builds ships in a bottle? It may be important..... please write the answer on a yellow 3 x 5 card, put it in an unmarked brown paper bag, and leave it on the old pool behind the Syosset mansion.
#62 the whale on 2011-03-10 08:42
Dear Irenaios--I also share your feelings. I am very unhappy that we find ourselves at yet another critical juncture. There are, as you said, good men in the center of this storm and yet this crisis may devolve into the refiner's fire and not only make each one of us better persons and Orthodox Christians but make our Church polity a stronger, more rational one.
A few years ago, I analyzed the OCA statute and found that it was not as conciliar as it was advertised, mainly because lots of smoke-and-mirrors was employed throughout, giving some authority to church officials and bodies in some sections only to make them meaningless at other sections. I said to myself that it was at least proceeding in the right direction and may be we can come out of this crisis with leaders who will respect the OCA statute and the canons (especially Canon 34).
I was greatly encouraged by the election of Metropolitan Jonah, and I remained a partisan of him to the very end. It is now apparent that his style of leadership, although common in World Orthodoxy, is not in accordance with OCA conciliarity. Don't take me wrong; I love +Jonah as a pastor, but he must change to become what he was elected to be: the President of the Holy Synod who acts in accord with the Holy canons, the Statutes of the OCA, and the policies established by the Holy Synod in an unanimous fashion.
Grant this, O Lord!
#63 Carl Kraeff on 2011-03-10 09:40
Your piece was translated into Russian for publication in Religion in Ukraine
#64 Zenon on 2011-03-10 10:04
> As to your question, whether I would sign or not is irrelevant, as I represent only me
Respectfully, that's not true. As a member of the Met. Council from the DoMW, you represent me.
#65 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 10:10
The OCA just released its "Pastoral Changes" from February, and lo and behold, there are no mentions of any cleric going on Leave of Absence.
+Jonah is still making decisions as Met (ie cancelling of meetings); he is still meeting with dignitaries as Met.; he is still attending OCA functions at our seminaries as Met.; he has publicly declared that he is not on Leave.
My question to any and all hierarchs of the OCA is this:
Is +Jonah on Leave or not?
Arpr. Christopher Wojcik
#66 Archpriest Christopher Wojcik on 2011-03-10 10:39
When Gula was to be consecrated for Alaska, his candidacy was pushed through by RSK. Many people said, "NO!" Yet, RSK wouldn't listen and had his mind made up. The result: Gula was a complete disaster that ended with him being deposed.... and ultimately, death. Why is + Jonah going down this road? ...
#67 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 11:19
Re that trip to California +jonah made. I t might interest you to know
that on top of all the responsibilities (too many for one man) +jonah
went to San Diego to his family. His father has been fighting cancer.
Cancer of the lung and cancer of the colorectal system. Does anyone care
about the person? Sixteen hour days, travel (as locum tenens) plus all
the backbiting gossip and two faced actions of those he trusted. This is
Christian? Not in my book.
#68 Anon on 2011-03-10 12:00
It is my understanding that Kondratick's right hand men are now +Jonah's right hand men. And that Kondratick himself is somehow ingratiated again into Jonah's inner circle. This makes no rational sense.
Maybe some dots need to be connected.
#69 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 13:05
We all have our bad moments, Kerri.
Did you ever think that Fr Fester was looking out for your spiritual welfare by handing you off to another priest for your formation if he felt he could not give you the attention you deserved?
#70 Anonymous on 2011-03-10 13:17
After reading both websites I can not help but truly be confused because Fr. Hopko is a very good man and on the other hand reading the emails it seems it was "possibly" a forced out by a group of people. These were your emails I think that were posted, however Fr. Hopko defends you so I know there is truth some place in this. Unfortunately, this has become sadly entertaining as well. I can see truth from both sides, however this site primarily because Fr. Hopko spoke out and that is enough for me to realise something is off kilter.
#71 Happy on 2011-03-10 16:55
Thank you Mark for your continued courage and reporting of these issues. I like a good soap opera, but I take no pleasure in seeing +Jonah acting like he's been partying with Charlie Sheen, Gadhafi and Glorious Leader. He needs help as does the Church in this continent.
#72 VSO on 2011-03-10 20:43
I am not even presenting an argument so not sure how it can be circular. I'm presenting two criticisms. Perhaps you can explain your point because I don't understand.
#73 Daniel E. Fall on 2011-03-10 21:41
i am very disappointed by all of the accusations against +Jonah. This is anything but Christian and nothing less than harmful innuendo. What ever the issues they do not warrant this type of attack on someone we are to hold in highest esteem and frankly we not to receive any accusation against our leaders without honest and truthful evidence, and this is to be done with meekness and fear, something not being shown on this site.
I am a new convert to Orthodoxy and if I would have come across on my journey to Orthodoxy I would have most likely walked away. I thank God that He spared me this mess before I was baptized on May 23, 2010 along with my wife.
I can only hope that the owners of this site will repent and start to actually live the life we are called to line in Christ.
Forgive me a very unworthy sinner for this post but I am so frustrated with all this ungodly behavior that I needed vent my frustrations here.
Let's stand behind +Jonah and pray for him and those who are trying to undermine his calling. none of us are any better than +Jonah, at least I am not, therefore let us repent and become the Church that Christ has called to to be, unified and living the faith.
#74 Constantine Ramirez on 2011-03-11 00:27
To say that Father Hopko's warning is a good thing is at the least a very irresponsible letter. There is no reason in this letter that just outright tells everyone to not listen to the opposition? Really?
What I see here is nothing less than the sin of division, self righteousness, arrogance and pride. I don't really care if you post this or not, I just wanted to make it clear that I will not be sending anyone to this site, especially new converts. This site is a place of division and there is no justification for what Father Hopko stated in his waring. He does not mention any facts as to "why" we should follow his advise, Father Hopko just simply says don't pay attention and insinuates that listening to the opposition would be the wrong thing to do.
We all need to repent and really step back and ask ourselves a very serious question, is this the kind of Church I want to be a part of? If this is Orthodoxy then I am second guessing my choice to come in. DO NOT tell me the Church has wheats and tares because that is just a sorry excuse that we all make to justify our sins.
Lord Jesus Christ son of God, have mercy on all of us sinners.
#75 Constantine Ramirez on 2011-03-11 01:10
***I like your answers to OCATruth.Com. One question you might ask them is why they hide their identity? And, in registering the domain name, the owner(s) have gone out of their way to use what I am lead to believe is a Mormon-owned hosting firm in Provo, Utah (Bluehost.com) that specializes in hiding the identity of domain owners. Veracity is contingent on honesty. Hiding one's identity and then going on a progressive-like attack (on you) is hardly honest.
1958 South 950 East
Provo, Utah 84604
#76 Al Green on 2011-03-11 07:06
If his father is that ill, it only makes "perfect logical sense" to take a leave of absence. I myself am a cancer survivor of less than a year. The stress on the family is great. Years ago I was an advocate for victims of crime in our local court and my mother was gravely ill. The advice I was given was to take some time off from the court work, because one can't help someone else until they take care of their own health and family first. It was good advice. It is very sad that the Metropolitan isn't taking the advice of his fellow bishops.
#77 anonymous on 2011-03-11 07:37
The evidence is there. The Editor has only posted evidence. You can see for yourself the minutes of the Holy Synod meeting, and the video of what Metropolitan Jonah said. You can see the photos of his activities in New York and later in Chicago. The editor has posted his evidence, and connected the dots for you.
As for bypassing Orthodoxy, recall that we sing each Sunday "Put not your trust in princes and in sons of men in whom there is no salvation." Doesn't exclude Bishops, or Priests or Deacons. Every action of the hierarchy, those that we follow, should be pointing us to Christ. If you believe the actions and activities of the Metropolitan points you to Christ, then follow them. If you find a priest who directs you to Christ, then follow him.
The Editor does have an agenda - disclosed in bold on the front page. Transparency and accountability. It is and has never been about personal feelings toward anyone, or judgment of anyone. It is about process, regardless of the outcome. The Editor is passionate about playing by the rules, and will call us on it, regardless of who, when we choose to ignore the rules.
I happen to agree with him on that point. Plus, there has never been (to my knowledge) an uncorrected error on the News page. After five and one half years, that is an incredible record for a one-person operation. Worthy of trust.
#78 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-03-11 08:16
So Met Jonah aligning himself with the people who caused the horrible scandal a few years ago means nothing to you.
Also means nothing to you that Mat Jonah is blatantly disregarding the decision of the Synod for him to go on immediate leave of absence.
Also means nothing to you that Fr Alexander Garklavs whistleblows on Met Jonah for not doing his job in regard to sexual misconduct cases, among other things, and loses his job.
#79 Anonoymous on 2011-03-11 09:06
Yet again...wake up and smell the coffee.
#80 Anonymous on 2011-03-11 09:08
OCATruth is run by a recent convert in Dallas who attends the cathedral there. Big revelation!
#81 Anonymous on 2011-03-11 09:22
Ohhhh please! Get a life!
#82 the whale on 2011-03-11 10:22
Congratulations on choosing to enter the faith on my birthday. I just wanted to comment that I for one did work for + Jonah in the past and unfortunately he really is bringing alot of the angst on himself. The truth is that he does not have a very good track record (and that's putting it politely) of working with other people and running the day to day administration that is necessary, whether you are an abbott of a monastery or the first hierarch of an autocephalous church. He was very much an absentee abbott in his days at St. John's monastery and he has been an absentee hierarch with the OCA.
Someone posted that +Jonah's father is ill. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and to +Jonah. However, instead of taking the time to put aside his responsibilities with the OCA, he continues to stubbornly insist that he can do it all. With all due respect, he wasn't doing what was necessary before his father's illness, what makes anyone think that he is going to do it now?
I just personally believe that he is bringing most of this pain and criticism on himself. There are numerous things which require the attention of the metropolitan and simply can not be handled by anyone else. That's just the way it is. You can only delegate so much. By insisting that the headquarters be moved to Washington, by unilaterally forcing the resignation of the chancellor, by unilaterally making statements which imply the giving up of the autocephaly of the OCA, by unilaterally putting people into positions of authority that go contrary to most of your constituents, by ignoring and reneging on promises you made to the Holy Synod, you are bringing it on yourself.
In the words of Harry S. Truman, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." My hope and prayer is that His Beatitude will take some time to reflect that after all of the euphoria of his election in Pittsburgh, at the end of the day he probably is not the right person to lead the OCA and should step aside.
#83 Anonymous on 2011-03-11 11:12
BlueHost.com is a pretty well respected, inexpensive web hosting service. Like may other hosting services, they do provide, for a fee, a service where their client's identity is safeguarded by showing the domain name as registered to BlueHost itself.
One can subscribe to BlueHost as your web hosting provider on-line with absolutely no person contact with the company, also a very common industry practice. I doubt anyone at BlueHost has the slightest idea of what OCATruth is about, or cares.
Yes, their CEO, Matt Heaton, is of the Mormon faith. I, for one, doubt his religion has anything to do with OCATruth, it's "editor" or the issues being addressed. No Mormon conspiracy, I'm sure.
In short, BlueHost is not suspicious, but you can wonder if the motives of the operator of OCATruth are.
And all of the above could be easily figured out from overseas!
#84 Overseas Observer on 2011-03-11 11:39
Dn Marty....you said it yourself in quoting the words sung during the liturgy..."Put not your trust in princes and in sons of men in whom there is no salvation."...yet Fr. Hopko asks us to do just that. And he also gives Mr. Stokoe the same "trust, honor, and suport" line that he gives to the Synod. It made me very uneasy to say the least. Not to mention that he makes these statements without any further information. We must believe him because he is Father Hopko. Interesting.
Mark...why would you not open up the comment section specifically on Fr. Hopko's letter?
(Editor's note: Oversight. So busy posting, just forgot. But upon reflection, what would be the point? I like Hopko? I don't Like Hopko? I like Stokoe? I like Fester? Such comments on their own are pointless.)
#85 Anon on 2011-03-11 12:32
Why is it that every time the "National OCA" Apparatchiks are here in Alaska visiting, I hear Prokofiev's "Crusaders in Pskov" playing in the background? Like, weird, man...
Moses the Tlingit
#86 Moses on 2011-03-11 12:58
According to the OCA Treasurer's report for 2010, the Metropolitan's travel went over budget by $3,880.51. His Beatitude's total budget for travel expenses is $34,000, so he was over budget by 8.76%. His office expenses were significantly under budget, so his total expenses were over budget by $2,310.96.
For the sake of comparison, the OCA's budget for their legal expenses was $350,000. (That is not a typo.)
Do keep in mind the budget figures appear to be from the 2010 budget that Mr. Stokoe says has not yet been approved. However, if this budget was solid enough for Ms. Ringa to work from for her report without qualification, it should be reasonable to use it to address the issue of the travel expenses.
#87 Cordelia on 2011-03-11 13:20
Re-read what she wrote. She was not being "handed-off", she was being shunned. Trying to get other area priests not to provide sacraments? Perhaps you misunderstand.
#88 Anonymous on 2011-03-11 13:39
A man sat in his Barcalounger, trying to read his Orthodox Study Bible. Noticing that he was having a good deal of trouble making out the words, he first thought it might be that his eyes were failing, or that he was having a bit of attention deficit disorder, perhaps brought on by stress.
Looking up at the track lighting that was supposed to illuminate his book, he noticed that all was not well. Of the six lamps that should have produced more than sufficient light, one of them, larger than the others, was sparking in a way that he suspected might be dangerous. On closer examination, he found that it was rated for outside use only, and had a dark band inside the glass. A second bulb was only 15 watts, not nearly enough to be used in a ceiling strip. A third was the right wattage but appeared to have a crack running down its side. The fourth simply was dark and the fifth not fully screwed in. Only the sixth bulb was shining brightly.
The man called the tech support number for the lighting manufacturer, seeking advice. He should exchange the first five for each other, the man said, and put them in a different pattern. "And what must I do with the sixth?" "Why, throw it away!," said the techie."-- it should be marked 'Garklavs.'"
#89 Alexander Patico on 2011-03-11 14:16
Al, you need to update your "other Orthodox" page to include this obvious attempt by the Mormons to infiltrate canonical Orthodoxy.
#90 Anonymous on 2011-03-11 14:26
15 hours later and nothing on the OCA website about Japan, and I don't mean the Orthodox there.
Do you think we could get someone in this poor excuse of a jurisdiction to post something meaningful? My God! Who the hell cares about some central Texas pan-Orthodox hooptiedoo!
See, this is part of the problem in the OCA, it is not a Christian Church! Will some poor bastard of a bishop PLEASE get on the ball and get us back to basics!
(Editor's note: Your frustration is as misplaced as your concern is worthy. There are many sites to cover Japan: OCA.org need not be another. As for the ORthodox in Japan, Sendai was one of the bishoprics of the Church of Japan. We can only hope and pray our brothers and sisters, and all the people of Japan as they face this terrible disaster. I am sure the IOCC will be offering assistance, and I encourage people to support them.)
#91 the whale on 2011-03-11 14:47
In reading some of the comments here from the faithful who are scandalized by what is going on, I commend this to you for your meditation…
Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble. (et non est illis scandalum) (Vulgate)
Psalm 119 (118):165
#92 GregF on 2011-03-11 15:14
#93 Moses on 2011-03-11 15:55
Never mind, I guess someone else will need to do the "human chain" thing:
#94 Moses on 2011-03-11 16:06
I will admit I was taken aback by Fr. Tom's letter. However, he did have intimate involvement with Fr. Fester while Fr. Fester was the director of FOS, and Fr. Hopko was dean at St. Vladimir's.
My most significant regret is that this whole issue has become personal, and it didn't have to be. The Holy Synod and Metropolitan are using actions to show strength and power, rather than answering the central question: What is the role of a bishop, and a metropolitan/primate, in the OCA? I believe that is a discussion that adults should be able to have, and all of us should have our say, without getting personal toward anyone.
The issues this time are vastly different than the well-documented corruption of the past. There was a real potential to resolve these issues. Sadly, it doesn't appear that will now occur, at least not without the help of a mediator (Deja Vu all over again?).
I still maintain that hierarchs get only the respect we give them through our obedience. Other than the money they waste and the ability to move priests around, what authority do they have?
They may believe themselves to be able to levy taxes (excuse me, assessments), but people can refuse to give without consequence. We cannot exclude people who refuse to give from communion - that would be simony, and untenable by anyone.
A person I very much respect made a statement once I completely agree with: The Church must focus on doing those things that only the Church can do. In my mind, those things are liturgics, sacraments, and education (including preaching).
Ok, I've rambled enough. Sorry - please forgive me, a sinner.
In Christ, who was homeless,
#95 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-03-11 16:13
My prayers have been with Metropolitan Jonah since the beginning of this mess, but I had no idea if he still had living members of his birth family. Thank you for posting about his father's illness. How difficult it must be for the Metropolitan to have such a tremendously painful family situation, in addition to everything else. And I hope Mr. Paffhausen knows that his son is very much loved and prayed for in the Orthodox Church in America.
I hope Met. Jonah and his family have a peaceful time together, without any intrusions. I will keep them in my prayers, and may God grant them many years.
#96 Cordelia on 2011-03-11 16:17
Bishop Benjamin has told the faithful in Alaska a number of times that we can decide on whomever we want for bishop; HOWEVER, the synod of bishops will then decide on whomever THEY want (and he's made it very clear that he wants Fr. Gerasim, "the Synod's candidate" who is "someone we can work with"). He says "Bishops elect bishops." Rather invalidating to the faithful in Alaska, no?
(Editor's note: Then just nominate only one person; and if the Synod then elects someone else, you will have your answer. )
#98 Deer One on 2011-03-11 18:21
There is a new phenomena in church life; public blogs. A Metropolitan or bishops are not above criticism.
If criticism is constructive and heard; it can be beneficial.
If Metropolitan Jonah didn't expect criticism, he wouldn't have said "of course it was a political statement", for example.
A call for him to wise up is not unwarranted.
The most interesting thing to me is his failure to hear his critics and engage and learn or shift to them. Garklavs apparently was one.
#99 Daniel E Fall on 2011-03-11 20:27
Morton, why do you regard that site as less than credible on the basis of its unnamed sources, on a site that doesn't name its sources either?
(Editor's note: I do name my sources when they allow it. More importantly, I have six years of veracity and facts behind my reporting. I allow criticisms, comments and post opposing reflections. I don't just report on one thing, for one purpose. So the differences are many, serious and profound. Let the people judge.)
#100 Cordelia on 2011-03-11 22:14
Fr. Hopko's letter is a welcome relief for all those who are in the know and who have, for personal reasons relating to their jobs, been unable to speak out for fear of retaliation. Those priests, deacons and laymen in both the Diocese of the South and now in the Washington, D.C. area; those who are well aware of the way Fester whispers into the Metropolitan's ear and does his best to quickly assert his authority and power, even when none need be asserted, can now feel a weight lifted from their shoulders as one of the most beloved leaders in the OCA finally speaks truth and asks for our gravely troubled Metropolitan to seek help, while at the same time pointing out the un-trustworthiness of Joseph Fester.
And for those who are not in the "know," who feel that Mark's website and all the attacks are baseless and scurrilous, it is important to realize that any body, even one founded on the principals and teachings of Christ, will encounter politics, and likewise there are people who will do anything to claim power and hold it. And yes, this includes priests. Again, for those not in the "know," we here do not make the accusations lightly. We know Fester, we know Kondratick, we know +Jonah, and we know the manipulation, the scandal and the unfortunate things those men have done.
And our rationale for remaining anonymous is linked inextricably to the knowledge that those men in power can easily make our lives difficult if our names were mentioned. You may remain ignorant and naive, but believe us -- we do not come here to vent simply for "cathartic" reasons. We do so because we know the truth and the sooner people like Fester and Kondratick are removed and Jonah steps down, the better off the OCA will be. And Mark's site is a means to a better end that must be achieved. Father Hopko's letter only reconfirms the desire of many to see those men gone one and for all.
#101 Anon on 2011-03-12 03:22
***I suppose one could ask OCATruth why they would choose a company headed by a Mormon where a percentage of that company's profits are tithed to the Mormon cult. Why support, directly or indirectly, a false religion?
#102 Al Green on 2011-03-12 07:20
Sorry Mark but I agree with the poster. It would be more appropriate if the first hierarch of the OCA (whoever that is at the moment) offered up prayers and condolencese to those affected by the massive earthquake in Japan. As of yet, there is no mention on the oca.org website.
#103 Anonymous on 2011-03-12 07:45
Fr. Hopko's letter WAS INDEED NEEDED! And, it came at the right time. Both + Jonah & Fester are trying to spread "disinformation" regarding their antics. Most Orthodox don't really know who is telling the Truth and who is lying. Fr. Tom clears this up! + Jonah needs a long rest or he should just resign at this point....
#104 Any Moose on 2011-03-12 07:47
***You make good points, Anon. But, if what you say is true...about succumbing to the politics of power...why replace +JONAH with another who in all liklihood will be as bad or worse? After all, two previous primates were removed for a variety of nefarious reasons and the problems still remain.
#105 Al Green on 2011-03-12 07:54
Hey Mark! One of the things that pissed me off is that we have a former Bishop of Sendai in the OCA, and still, Na THINGGGG! Double arrrrrgh!!!
Domo for your comment though!
(Note: Check out the website today, Whalesan. And I urge you all to contribute, and pray that the nuclear fuel cools quickly.)
#106 the whale on 2011-03-12 08:05
Good morning friends;
There must be something wrong with me. I agree with Mark again. The Whale is showing signs of being beside himself with all the venting. But I guess that's what blowholes are for.
The OCA office is in disarray for the time being. The Metropolitan is under siege, on the road and (in the whale's view, if I am not mis-recalling) in need of a break if not a lot more. And the cetacean is spouting off about the absence of some cheap, formal expression of sympathy from the OCA website!?!
Give us a break! The Japanese are doing a whole lot more important things right now than surfing oca.org. Or getting the vapors for lack of mere verbiage from Syosset. Money, prayer and equipment - sure - but you would no doubt go balleenstic if even a penny in relief money gets sent from the constricted denominational budget.
Jesus commented on just this sort of mentality, o sea monster, in Matt. 11:15-17 - the children in the marketplace for whom the tune being played was never quite right. And now, with the image of a giant water mammal pirouting in a some souk firmly in mind, perhaps we can face the day... if we add a little prayer and subtract the love of complaining.
(*Editor's note: You see, Fr. George, wonders never cease. Although in this case, the Whale is venting for a good cause, so don't be too hard on him.)
#107 Fr. George Washburn on 2011-03-12 08:30
I am sorry beyond the ability of words to express that you suffered spiritual violence at the hands of the people working at the time in Oyster Bay Cove. Thank you for reminding people of the modus operandi of that group and why the controversy has redeveloped, seemingly out of thin air.
#108 Ed Unneland on 2011-03-12 09:21
Fortunately, we don't need hierarchs to tell us when to pray for disaster victims. They were prayed for in our church last night and I dare say many others.
That said, I agree that in this country (and lots of others) we've become accustomed to public leaders giving some sort of scripted message of condolence. But for OCA.org, they'd have to have a separate tab under "messages of condolence for disaster victims" since disasters of varying degrees occur daily.
With everything else going on, quibbling over exactly what is posted on the OCA website under current events is kind of trivial.
#109 Matushka on 2011-03-12 10:09
Mr Green, That was not your stance when a website attacking me was published by anonymous parties who used a host that specializes in anonymizers. Just saying. In fact, you were part of a group who publicized that website. Maybe you've changed and you really do see how wrong that sort of conduct is on so many levels. I sure hope so. But even if you only see how wrong it is regarding the anonymous attacks on Mr Stokoe, and believe, for whatever reason, that it was ok for people to do what they did to me on their anonymous website, I'm happy with that little bit of progress and humanity.
#110 Kristi Koumentakos on 2011-03-12 11:06
Based on the behavior of His Beatitude, I have to conclude that the OCA does not have a first hierarch - we have a Metropolitan, who desires (demands?) obedience from the Holy Synod of Bishops. We have a Holy Synod of Bishops that disagree with that viewpoint. Thus our current conundrum.
The real issue here is ecclesiology. Are we a conciliar church? Who is included in that conciliarity? It is a council of one, the primate? A council of eight bishops? A Sobor of everyone?
Implications are significant. Who is the Church? Who is included in the body of Christ, and the vessel of the Holy Spirit?
Other than the Holy Chrism, what do we need, what should we need, from a Primate?
I've had this devolution discussion with others, including the editor of this site, who disagree with me on this point. His Beatitude at one time advocated the centrality of the diocese, although he seems to have retreated from that position of late. For me, the foundation of the Church, and of Orthodoxy, lies in the local eucharistic community, under the leadership of the priest - the locum tenens of the parish, in the physical absence of the Bishop. The gathering of these presbyters and their Bishop mimics the gathering of a Metropolitan and his bishops of old. The Bishops then sit in a primatial synod, guarding the faith, the very Orthodoxy of the community represented there, under the presidency of a Primate.
Perhaps I am incorrect - I frequently am - but isn't this the real issue here? Isn't this what we need to discuss, rather than our current effort of attempting to find people we believe agree with our ecclesiology and elect them, only to be disappointed?
His Beatitude, in his speech in Pittsburgh prior to his election, stated these fundamental principles. Now, his behavior indicates a different model. I feel as if I have been the victim of a "bait and switch". And it still leaves the central question unanswered.
Please forgive me.
#111 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-03-12 11:58
I find the latest post at OCAtruth is worth entering into a dialogue about. I would be very interested in knowing what other people here think about it. Here is the link to that post: http://www.ocatruth.com/?p=344
Lord have mercy on your world.
(Editor's note: As you wish, if people wish. I find it personally absurd to be challenging Bishop Nikon on this pastoral issue after being locum tenens for two weeks, when the writer lauds Archbishop Dmitri who failed to address it as he desires for twenty years; or Fr. Fester, who failed to address it while he was Chancellor of that diocese for four years; or Metropolitan Jonah, who failed to address it for the more than two years he was locum tenens. Morever, the call to "clean house" in the Church is extremely dangerous pastorally and personally, as it involves real people's lives. Some people can take a blasting on the internet; others can't. Is the writer prepared to shoulder the painful potential consequences of so doing, if it ends in tragedy? How many more kids have to jump off bridges?
I am not arguing his issues one way or the other; I won't do that on the internet because lives are involved. Real people, who may be sinners, but are people, my brothers and sisters, nonethless. This is not a misuse of church funds for which people need to be held accountable - these are personal sins which are best - and only - handled by competant priests and bishops according to their training and judgement - not by an anonymous somebody "cleaning house" on the internet, clearly pushing their agenda, while claiming others have a "secret" one they oppose. Only evil for our Church can come of this mad dash -not to the heights of Orthodoxy - but the bottom of the barrel as the worst aspects of communal life - intolerance, self-righteousness, insensitivity - are paraded as virtue. This is a moral shipwreck in public view; akin to Charlie Sheen's self-destruction. We cannot stop Charlie, but we have no need to participate in his despair by watching it, or God forbid, encouraging it for our entertainment. So too with "OCAtruth". I won't, which is why I have not commented on his articles. The absurdity of them is fully revealed in my opening sentences. This serves no rational, pastoral or ecclesiastical purpose but to hurt and harm any who disagree with their views, like radioactivity from a melting core, indiscriminate and unbounded....Who's next? Me? You? The Greeks? Where does it end?
I can tell you how to end it though. Be the change you want to see in the Church. If they sow hatred and division, do as Christ says, turn the other cheek, pray for them, and go about doing His work in your parish, diocese and throughout the world. Do not respond to their provokations, but do your work as Christ has shown you in doing His. And be of good cheer, for Christ has conquered the world.)
#112 anonymous on 2011-03-12 14:31
Faithful Alaskans! I plead with you. Send your HOOMIE candidate for bishop back and demand the same election process as the Midwest and WPA. You are not second class citizens. Alaskans has suffered enough.
#113 Ashamed Orthodox on 2011-03-12 15:01
Looks like that "BlueHost" web hosting is simply the first option when setting up a wordpress blog.
As far as not having the name associated with the domain itself thats a pretty common thing, its called "Domain Privacy" it takes no extra effort to do that.
If you WhoIS ocanews.org you will find only contact information is for "Domains by Proxy". Which is owned by GoDaddy.com to hide the identity of the web address owner.
So, Mark does the same thing with his blog, its a very common thing to have domain privacy enabled.
Also, so what if BlueHost is owned by mormons? GoDaddy has raunchy whoreish ads on TV.
Who hosts either blog is an irrelivant issue to bring up considering ocanews is using domain privacy and hosted by GoDaddy.
(Editor's Note: I agree, the issue is absurd. I use GoDaddy because it was cheap. And as for their ads, I wish I was their ad agency, but I am not. Finally, it is absurd to compare OCATruth, which is anonymous on all levels - although everyone knows who is behind it - and OCANews.org which openly states at the bottom of the page who is behind it, and every article and reflection with the OCA is signed ....)
#114 Anonymous on 2011-03-12 19:49
Thank you (#64 Anon) for your insight, and I'm sorry that in Christ's Church you fear retribution! Do you know how a lone parishioner in another Diocese can lodge a grievance against Fr. Fester? I looked on oca.org and couldn't find any description of the proper protocol.
His recent condemnatory email plus the lending of his name in support of the ocatruth.com website reveals that either he has a lust for power (if true, he's being pretty obvious about it) or he lacks the ability to discern truth from delusion and therefore should have no spiritual power over a layperson and have no spiritual influence over other clergy (including Bishops and Metropolitans!). Both of these I would hope would be grounds (if unrepentant) for removal from the priesthood. As Christians, we reveal who we are by WHAT we say, think and do.
Thank you also to Kerry Kozey for her eyewitness testimony further up in this discussion. I'm sorry that the first responder to you was at best inconsiderate and didn't read your comment closely; at worst it was a wolf in sheep's clothing hurling more spiritual abuse your way. May God's grace continue to protect you and your family.
It is not my intention to offend anyone who has had positive experiences with Fr. Fester (nor to offend Fr. Fester himself), but I would just ask you to re-read his email that is so proudly displayed on ocatruth.com. Although he claims that others are manipulating us, do you not see that the email itself is a clear act of manipulation?
#115 Jodie Captein on 2011-03-12 20:18
I find it ironic that the finger always seems pointed at others. There have been abuse cases involving native Alaskans as well (and yes, Orthodox) - situations that were allowed to go unaddressed for years. Sexual misconduct/abuse is sadly not limited to white people. It is a human thing.
#116 justamom on 2011-03-12 22:00
If +Jonah is so awful, why did the Synod accept him and elect as the Metropolitan? A monk in a small monastery with "poor administrative skills" who had only been a auxiliary Bishop for two weeks? Seems like that would have been enough of a red flag to hold out for someone else. Sorry, I just dont understand this.
(Editor's note: You will have to ask them. Some of us waved a red flag. No one was watching.)
#117 Anonymous on 2011-03-13 04:08
Mark, I saw this headline on the “other” site: “This is not a game. This is real life.“ In light of the events of the last few days, the audacity of this headline in mind boggling.
So, this church in-fighting is Real life? It is sickening , yes , but lets not exalt ourselves by claiming that it is REAL LIFE. This might be something that we like ponder as we sip our morning tea, or as we choose up sides like some perverted sporting event, but this is far from real life. The only REAL life is the Gospel. Perhaps the writer of that headline, Mr Muzhik, will one day explain to all of us, just how the Gospel fits in here.....I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d sure like to know.
Right now, rather than entertain ourselves with all of this garbage, perhaps we should be figuring out how to bring the Gospel to the suffering people of Sendai. I know that this might be hard for some of us to believe, but they don’t have the luxury of choosing up sides, or worrying about which priest or bishop P.O.’d which priest or bishop. Right now those poor people are up to their eyeballs in REAL LIFE, and somehow, I don’t think this stuff matters to them one bit. After watching live TV and seeing people’s lives being washed away before my eyes, it makes me sick to hear this church cat fight being called REAL LIFE.
Canadian folk singer Gordon LIghtfoot wrote in the song Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours.” Would any of the principal players on either “side” care to tackle that one for the good people of Sendai?
#118 Sophia Weisheit on 2011-03-13 07:05
#119 sasha on 2011-03-13 10:00
Contributed today! Thanks! I hope others follow your suggestion in the days to come.
GOD HELP JAPAN!
#120 Whalesan on 2011-03-14 15:38
The present controversy is not about homosexuality.
Stokoe’s not saying that’s what it’s about. The Synod is not saying that’s what it’s about.
+Jonah isn’t saying that’s what it’s about.
The only people saying that’s what it’s about are two guys in Dallas who won’t even sign their names to some very incendiary stuff. I think its really unfortunate that anyone felt the need to go there. We’re now not even talking about the issue at hand. We’re now attempting to characterize what +Jonah represents, or at least what people think he represents. I’ve never met the man and honestly don’t know a lot about him, other than what’s in his official bio, so I can’t really speak to that myself.
The authors seem to be suggesting that we take our bishops aside and ask “Hey Vladika, are you gay and do you know anyone who is and condone it?” Or even “Are you anti-gay enough? Are you willing to jump up and down and declare to the world just how anti-gay you are? Should you want to prove your credentials, just sign this declaration.” This will rapidly create a very toxic atmosphere in the OCA.
The authors do, however, raise some interesting points with regard to culture differences in the OCA. A large faction of converts are, in a sense, what I call “culture war refugees,” people who left other denominations often times largely because of the homosexuality issue and become Orthodox, in part, because of what they perceived as the Church’s uncompromising stance, thinking they would never again have to deal with the issue in their own churches. They are the ones who, increasingly, are trying define what it means to be Orthodox in the context of the American “culture war,” which I think has the potential to distort Orthodoxy every bit as much as liberal revisionism.
We are Orthodox because of the fullness of the sacraments, doctrine, and the Communion of the Saints, not because it’s the most reactionary church on the block. Just as there is an exodus of conservative Episcopalians to Orthodoxy, I fear there may also come to be an exodus of gay and liberal Orthodox out of the Church. There’s a place for conservatives in the Church, just as there’s a place for liberals, a places for gays, and place for everyone. The Church is a place where all people ought to grow and love and be transformed by God’s love, not shout accusations at other people and cling to resentments.
The writers also raise a very legitimate fear, that younger people are leaving the Church, and the Church will become less and less relevant to both society at large and even the lives of its members. They way to combat this, however, is not to narrowly define ourselves as politically conservative. In terms of public perception of homosexuality, the right is fighting a loosing battle. People of our generation, by and large, simply aren’t repulsed by it, have gay friends, and aren’t interested in curtailing the civil right of gays.
This is not to say that the Church should kowtow to every trend that comes along or change its fundamental stances (I actually would be a little bit off put is suddenly, tomorrow one could have a gay Orthodox wedding), but simply that we should be compassionate to gays living within the Church and let go of our obsession with what society at large sanctions. I think that the homophoic tone of a lot the church rhetoric these days, particularly the Manhattan Declaration, makes the Church look reactionary and rather than principled, dogmatic rather than spiritual, and fearful rather than compassionate.
The authors are right to say the Church ought to address the most relevant issues of society today. In my view, however, those issues are not homosexuality and abortion.
They are poverty, militarism, and the environment.
In my first Divine Liturgy after returning from Senegal, I was treated to a rousing sermon on the Manhattan Declaration and the evils of “Obamacare.” I left feeling truly devastated. I’d seen a lot a lot things in my year abroad, things I needed the support of the Church to make sense of, things I need the Body of Christ to care about, and hear was a priest driving away the hypothetical queer kid in pew three away with a verbal scourge, a kid who would need Christ, the Church, and the Sacraments in his life every bit as much as I did.
The writers of OCAtruth are right on another count, too. The Church is not about the power plays of bishops. It’s also not about which Archdecons are remiss in their monastic vow and with whom. It’s about the People of God, imperfect people who live in a baffling world who are in dire of need of God’s love and grace. If our clergy fail to provide even one of those people with opportunity to grow in, that is a real tragedy and matters far more than who screwed who, metaphorically or otherwise, in Syosset, as fascinating that that little game may be.
Mark Stokoe, who has an impressive track record on uncovering real financial mismanagement, has taken his spin of vestry gossip to a mass audience. This is unfortunate.
The vitriol, paranoia, bile and mean-spiritedness the writers of OCAtruth.com have injected into the conversation, however, is unconscionable. As a liberal in the Church, I try to be very conscious of not crossing the line when comes to respecting doctrine and respecting hierarchs. This particular piece crosses every line imaginable. Accusation are leveled about the sexual morals of our hierarchs on the strength of the evidence of “six minutes googling.” Even if all those allegations are true, presenting them in this way does no one any good. It even goes so far as to insinuate that one bishop staying at another’s house while on vacation somehow makes them gay.
So, anonymous writers, for the sake of your own souls, for the sake of the Church, please stop. You’re unleashing forces which may well transform the Bride of Christ from a place of love, grace, hope into an Institution which distorts them into fear, paranoia and judgment. If that happens, our beloved traditions, our sacred doctrines, and our solemn sacraments will all become, in a phrase, just so many “bells and smells.”
This has gotten so ugly. .....
(Editor's note: Thanks Matt, for your words. While one doesn't have to agree with you, and I am sure many reading will not, no one could have expressed your sentiments better, nor more clearly, from the depths of their heart.)
#121 Matthew Gates on 2011-03-14 17:26
I have debated whether to post anything, but thinking through it and about it all day, it becomes apparent to me that I must. I am from the Greek diocese and therefore have no absolute bone of contention in this "discussion." Yet having said that, I feel that after many weeks, my once hazy neutrality in this subject has become focused in a particular direction.
Last night (Sunday, March 13) I was in attendance at Holy Trinity Greek church in Dallas for the first of our pan-Orthodox Vespers. It is a time that, above all, shows the unity and fellowship of brother and sister Orthodox, regardless of ethnic identification. There is no Greek or Russian or Antiochian or Bulgarian or Serbian -- there is simply Orthodox and it is a joyous time for our North Texas community.
Last night after the Vespers a reception was held. Staff from Holy Trinity of course were on hand to help out and were identified by named placards. But strangely, I also saw other people wearing different placards that clearly identified them as members of St. Seraphim's parish council. I must say that I was offended.
To me, and to several others I spoke with, it seemed like a pompous exercise in self-promotion and perhaps even grand-standing. The rumors that members of the council were prepared to corner Bishop Nathaniel and complain about the treatment of Jonah are well known and, having knowledge of that, this seemingly innocent act looked like a contrived stand of unity and a push back against those bishops that were there last night.
Again, I have no bone in this debate, but as a fellow Orthodox, I find it arrogant that people would choose any venue of shared worship as a place to visibly demonstrate their support for a controversial Metropolitan. The proper place is at their own church and within the discussions of their council.
Perhaps I am over-reacting, but as I read more and more about the doings of the Diocese of the South and, specifically, those associated with the Cathedral, it becomes apparent to an outsider that there is blind, almost fanatical Jonah worship that seems wholly and completed unwarranted. Why they continue the support so vociferously is beyond me. However, I may not have all the facts.
I plan on going to next week's pan-Orthodox service as well where I will be attentive as to which members of St. Seraphim's council show up, proudly wearing their name placards and eager to show, once again, an ignorant disregard for the walls of communal brotherhood that these services try to achieve.
#122 Constantine on 2011-03-15 00:15
With regards to Festerated, do you know of the
Orthodox church located just outside of Seminole County, Florida?
I believe it's Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Fr. Hamati is the
priest, well, this priest has an amazing homeless program that I've never seen in any Orthodox community- his church feeds every Friday over 450-500 homeless people from the church hall/kitchen-
They had a minor feature on Anderson Cooper's CNN show, you might want to look into helping them- Al Nemoura- St. Stephens OCA church, Orlando-FL.
(Editor's note: Thanks for sharing that, Al. My parents ran a food bank for 25 years at their church, and feeding the hungry is a scriptural imperative. Bless them for this work. )
#123 Alfred Namoura, PHD on 2011-03-15 02:33
Whoever writes ocatruth is seriously touched. The disinformation there isn't worth reading. The site is extremely verbose and lacks any objectivity. The site is a waste of time for anyone seeking a balanced, objective view.
#124 Anonymous on 2011-03-15 07:53
I am sorry I wasn't more specific. I did not mean the whole discussion about sexual morality part of it. Personally I cannot understand the church's teaching on this. Indeed this is the only issue that brought me close to leaving the church when I honestly asked myself how I would feel if my child were gay or bisexual. I watched the documentary "For the Bible tells me so" and was sickened to see the people against whom spiritual violence was exercised-- even to the point of literally destroying them. Lord have mercy on your world.
I meant the part in the post about this not being about the culture war and instead being about evangelism within the church versus "mainline protestantism." The part where it asks the question how will Orthodoxy survive and flourish in this country.
#126 anonymous on 2011-03-15 09:57
Dear Editor, I take this part of your comment absolutely to heart:
"I can tell you how to end it though. Be the change you want to see in the Church. If they sow hatred and division, do as Christ says, turn the other cheek, pray for them, and go about doing His work in your parish, diocese and throughout the world. Do not respond to their provokations, but do your work as Christ has shown you in doing His. And be of good cheer, for Christ has conquered the world."
#127 anonymous on 2011-03-15 10:08
Archbishop Job never lived in a monastery, but Bishop Ireneu did lead a monastery in Romania before founding Detroit's Holy Ascension Monastery. Archbishop Nathaniel also lived for a time as part of an (informal?) monastic community at the Vatra in Michigan and I believe Bishop Alejo led the monastic community at the OCA's Mexico City cathedral before being elected to the episcopacy. Bishop-elect Matthias has never led a monastery as far as I'm aware, but he's spent time in them, most recently as the chaplain for Holy Myrrhbearers' in New York. That makes most of our hierarchs monks in life and name if my math's right .
How do I unsubscribe to this thread?
#129 Al Green on 2011-03-15 14:10
Have fun with your nagging sense of irony, pilgrim...Where in my post am I pointing the finger at white people? It is what it is...and please, don't get me started on the how the 1948 Genocide Convention (Article II especially) should be brought to bear against this country...your sense of "irony" would probably make your face melt off...
#130 Moses on 2011-03-15 15:20
Some good among the turmoil -- the opportunity it gives for fresh voices of reason and balance to emerge. Matthew, I infer from some of your references that you are young -- maybe young in years, but also wise. Thank you for a reasonable response in the face of people trying to provoke and excite passions.
#131 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-03-15 16:45
Dear Mr. Gates,
While I do not share your political convictions, I wholeheartedly endorse your rejection of a spiritual jihad directed at persons perceived to have the wrong sexual orientation. Talk about getting right into the gutter of personal destruction and recrimination!
Furthermore, as a conservative (albeit of a libertarian bent) who did flee the Episcopal Church many years ago, I also endorse your vision of an inclusive Church that embraces the World in mercy and redemptive love.
Would that we all could find common ground on this at least.
#132 Anonymous on 2011-03-15 17:55
While the Bride of Christ, the broader church, wont be transformed, the OCA is already transformed it appears into an institution driven by fear, paranoia and judgment, along with denial, incompetence, multiple layers of disinformation or hidden motives.
How can a parishioner, convert or otherwise, have peace in this Lent, when either Metropolitan or our diocesan bishops, our seminary faculty, our lay leadership representatives are so fallen. Frankly, I dont see "good guys" here on any front.
Maybe we should give up autocephaly and go back under a more mature church for a while to sort things out.
(Editor's note: Alas, your first sentence describes every Orthodox church in the world as well. Thus, one can only conclude that the "more mature church" you are advocating we go back to, would be the Roman? LOL. I think the same applies to them too. No, we are adults, and if we are to witness something to the world besides our own shrillness, it must be that we can, like adults, resolve our own problems in the way Christ himself taught us. Now there's a novel idea!)
#133 Anonymous on 2011-03-16 10:34
Thank you for the interesting post. Next week, you be sure to war a placard saying "Not St. Seraphim's Parish Council"
Be well Brother!
#134 the whale on 2011-03-16 14:50
>>"How can a parishioner, convert or otherwise, have peace in this Lent, when either Metropolitan or our diocesan bishops, our seminary faculty, our lay leadership representatives are so fallen. Frankly, I dont see "good guys" here on any front."
Because our peace isn't coming from outside circumstances? We should be so faced with our own fallenness that that of others is lower priority -- after all we are all the chief sinner.
This whole drama has made me go back to read the prophets -- for the most part, they were trying to live a life pleasing to God but Israel was in various states of serious apostasy. These circumstances, if not our own failings, should remind us to retreat into our room, wherever we are and pray "Lord have mercy."
#135 Anonymous on 2011-03-16 16:22
Just saw your response. Thank you, what good news. I will contact Father.
Thanks again Habibi!!
#136 the whale on 2011-03-16 19:40
Thank you. I certainly mean not disrespect to former Episcopalians nor to expect everyone will agree with my political views. I think that the wildly irresponsible allegations being make my OCA Truth right now, ought to give all of us, irregardless of our views on homosexuality and the Church, pause to think "what have we become that this kind of thing can be used as a political weapon?" This is just not an acceptable thing for Christians to do to each other. Our Bishops need to silence these people.
#137 Matt Gates on 2011-03-17 08:08
Thank God for OCA Truth.
Now I have more than one source of information to give me a better chance to see things more accurately for myself. I also find the postings on OCA Truth to be more humble, civil and prayerful than here, which makes it more convincing and acceptable to me. Also, I believe the decision of OCA Truth managers to remain anonymous is most wise because it prevents them from becoming cult-like leaders which is the trap that the management of this blogsite is falling in to. I also find that the postings on OCA Truth do not prompt Editor's comments believed necessary to correct their thinking.
And finally, and most importantly, I will leave you with the following, quoted from "Saint Gregory Palamas, The Homilies" (Mount Tabor Publishing, 2009), "Homily Eleven, On The Precious And Life-Giving Cross," paragraph 20:
"The Cross means crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires (cf. Gal. 5:24). Do you think he [Apostle Paul] is referring only to the passions of sensual pleasure and gluttony? In that case he would not have written to the Corinthians, "Since there is among you strife and divisions are ye not carnal and walk as men?" (I Cor.3:3) Consequently, anyone who loves glory or money, OR SIMPLY WANTS TO IMPOSE HIS OWN WILL IN HIS EAGERNESS TO PREVAIL, [emphasis, mine] is carnal and walks as men, since such things are the source of divisions. As James, the Lord's brother, says, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust and have not: ye fight and war" (Jas. 4:1-2). Crucifying the flesh with its passions and longings means stopping all activity which is displeasing to God."
(Let them who have ears to hear, hear.)
(Editor's note: Methinks the Deacon doth protest too much. I openly state who I am, and allow dissenting comments, and that makes me more of a cult-like leader than someone who refuses to state their name and doesn't not allow dissenting opinions? Really? You think that? Good luck.)
#138 DnNicholasJ (DOS) on 2011-03-17 12:44
This dog has more sense of shame than the folks running that other website:
#139 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-03-17 14:26
I also find the postings on OCA Truth to be more humble, civil and prayerful than here, which makes it more convincing and acceptable to me. Also, I believe the decision of OCA Truth managers to remain anonymous is most wise because it prevents them from becoming cult-like leaders
#70 DnNicholasJ (DOS) on 2011-03-17 12:44 (Reply)
At least the good deacon almost let's us know who he is unlike the civil humble prayerful and anonymous for the sake of his sources character assassin at OCA Truth.
So which prayer was it that led the malicious whisperering editor at OCA Truth to call into question the moral fitness of Mr. Stokoe because he dared comment on matters ecclesiastical? Please let us know.
#140 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-03-17 16:52
Dear Dn. Nicholas:
why wonder whence the truth comes out?
Just wait for your bishop to proclaim it from the amvon!
then all will be revealed, as far as you are privileged to know.
I hope some of the laos have really big ears so they can actually hear what is said in conclave. There is much that is hidden that should be revealed, I think.
#141 Rdr. James Morgan on 2011-03-17 17:25
I think YOU, DnNicholasJ, fail to appreciate what the managers of OCATruth not revealing their names actually means. First, no one is accountable since no one is taking responsibility.
Second, by not revealing who they are, they could just as easily be ANYONE associated with Jonah, including Jonah himself or Fester, who at this point realize that their job is not only on the line, but their entire priesthood as well. That would be most self-serving and selfish in principle (not exactly keeping in the Lenten spirit)
And third, well, it is on good authority that OCATruth is run by only ONE manager who has been a hard-core Fester follower for many years and who would gladly bend over to preserve his stranglehold on the OCA for whatever ridiculous reasons he has.
I see that you are from the DOS...hmmm...perhaps YOU are the manager of OCATruth. It would make sense why you are defending it. But I suppose we'll never know since no one from that site, which purports to speak the "truth," ever comes clean and announces who they are.
Since the site asks for priests, deacons and laymen to sign a page expressing their support for Jonah, surely the man behind it can put his real name in his posts. It's only fair, wouldn't you agree? What does he have to hide...except admission of his own desire to spread lies.
And yes, there are plenty of people who know who it is. It will be coming out soon, so there's little point in hiding it further.
#142 Anon on 2011-03-17 23:40
I believe the decision of OCA Truth managers to remain anonymous is most wise because it prevents them from becoming cult-like leaders which is the trap that the management of this blogsite is falling in to. I also find that the postings on OCA Truth do not prompt Editor's comments believed necessary to correct their thinking.
#70 DnNicholasJ (DOS) on 2011-03-17 12:44
Sometimes certain posts are so pregnant with meaning or in this case meaninglessness they beg for comment. Alas it is Lent and we should not ridicule our venerable clergy no matter how nonsensical their comments. So I will make somewhat of an effort.
One can only hope the good Deacon is not given much opportunity to preach.
#143 Kevin Kirwan on 2011-03-18 07:30
Just what did you find more humble, civil and prayerful on the OCATruth website, Deacon? The publisher's total unwillingness to be questioned or held accountable by maintaining anonymity, refusing to post his/her identity and disabling comments? The one-sided editorializing and saucy language used to demonize those who take a different viewpoint than its webmaster? The anonymous moral denunciations of individuals who may not even realize they're being publicly accused of sin online, with no fair opportunity to defend themselves? Which of any of that do you think would square with the Desert Fathers and Mothers -- or Christ Jesus our Lord, for that matter?
Sorry, but a 21st-century American convert misusing my people's word "muzhik" in some fantasy that he/she is living on some spiritual plane akin to 19th-century Russia (as if all was so well, Christian-wise, back there and then) counts neither as humble nor prayerful. It's simply delusional.
#144 Diogenes on 2011-03-18 11:47
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