Monday, October 3. 2011
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If he accepts, he's a fool.
Leave full time academic employment? If he accepts, I would fire him, for it would be an insane act.
Get out your thickest prayer rugs kiddies. He's gonna need prayers.
(Editor's note: A fool for Christ, perhaps. But he is no man's fool. FOr those who would write the epitaph of the OCA, consider the caliber of people still willing to put their lives on the line for the OCA: and the fact that we had multiple choices for candidates, all of them fine men.)
#1 HR on 2011-10-03 15:30
Fr. Jillions is crazy for wanting this job. He will be crucified unless there is a new Met. Would he be a good Chancellor? He certainly is a wonderful man, educated and well-respected. Yet, I remember that RSK was trying to bring him under his wing as his possible replacement. Fr. Jillions was lucky he ran and ran far!
(Editor's note: Well, let's hope he is not crucified. The last time a crowd shouted at "Crucify Him", it did not work out so well for them, did it?)
#2 Anonymous on 2011-10-03 16:16
I recommend he rent.
I recommend he be a Republican, because it will help him in this religion.
I recommend he only speak when spoken to first.
I recommend he only write with the approval of the leadership.
Just my observations applied for'd.
Truly wish him luck...truly.
#3 Daniel E Fall on 2011-10-03 17:21
#4 HR on 2011-10-03 18:09
Well, I guess I'll have to get used to a slightly higher public profile in the OCA if this goes through. But as Mark notes this still must have the approval of the Holy Synod (I'll meet with them on Wednesday). And no formal offer has been made or accepted. Otherwise, his report is correct except for a few details: I was in charge of the Doctor of Ministry (not MDiv) program at Saint Paul University until this year, and while I speak Russian fairly well, I am not at all fluent in Greek.
Prayers will be much appreciated.
(Editor's note: Father John is far too modest. We apologize for the error - and join in prayers for every future success. )
#5 Fr John A Jillions on 2011-10-03 18:39
Fr. John would be a superb choice. He is spiritual. He is intellectual. He is a caring pastor. He has his life priorities in balance. He is a visionary. He is not greedy or power-hungry in my experience. He is a man who puts character and integrity first. Novel thoughts. Better days will be ahead when we start making such hiring recommendations on a regular basis, not simply as an anomaly. If Fr. John had men and women of similar character and integrity around him, great things could be done. He would definitely need to hire his own and should not be simply expected to hire the landed gentry and their lords.
#6 Anon. on 2011-10-03 20:27
Caliber? Yes, fully suited for the academic life, but I don't see where that translates to a church bureaucrat. As you noted, he is tainted by his familial ties and brings nothing new to a Church in desperate need of a new direction.
Any ties to the past should make the Holy Synod uneasy. If .......... were the finalists for the job, all nice men, I think it points to a deeper question - why clergy with more experience did not apply? I also wonder if the bishops would have a chance to offer names if any of the finalists would be their choices? There would no great harm if the Synod decided to pass on all three and keep looking. With Fr Alexander still the de facto Chancellor, time is not running out.
(Editor's note: "Tainted?" Cheap shot, friend - and naming the other candidates who were not chosen and saying there were "more experienced" ones is a second cheap shot, and yet a third against all those who did not apply - many of whom no doubt had good personal, professional, financial, familial or other reasons for not doing so. Three cheap shots in six sentences. Wow.)
#7 Anonymous on 2011-10-04 05:39
Fr. Jillions is an excellent choice. I suspect though that he is going to have an incredibly difficult time with Metropolitan Jonah and Metropolitan Jonah with him. As Mark said, Fr. Jillions is no fool. He is very bright, articulate and he's not afraid to stand up to others. All of this is going to make for yet another showdown between the chancellor and the metropolitan. I hope that this time around it will finally bring to light the fact that Metropolitan Jonah is just not capable of leading the OCA.
I am sorry that there are so many people who are enamored with Metropolitan Jonah. He is without a doubt, charismatic, friendly, loving, and intelligent. But anyone who has actually worked with him for a period of time will tell you that he is also almost impossible to work with because he is scattered, inconsistent, stubborn, childish, short-sighted, naive, and refuses to accept that these "other issues" affect the life of the church. I believe that he feels that they are just minor offenses.
It is going to be a very interesting 2012.
#8 Anonymous on 2011-10-04 06:57
Actually, Fr. John, this could work out quite well if:
1) + Jonah is put in Dallas for the DOS
2) Fr. Golitzin is made Met
I could see you two working well together!
(Editor's note: It would be appropriate for Fr. Golitzen to be elected a bishop before you make him Metropolitan, friend. Secondly, if the Metropolitan has been unable to administer 12 parishes in DC, why would you inflict him on 40+ parishes in the South to mis-administer? Seriously, think about it.
Besides, why not let the South decide on its candidates, as the Statute states. If the parishes of the South nominate him, their choice. But I wonder, outside of Dallas, if that would be a popular choice. One way to find out. Let the Metropolitan resign, and then let the DOS nominate him if they will. Their choice.)
#9 Anonymous on 2011-10-04 09:24
The time has long since passed for some posters to use pseudonyms out of fear for retribution. What case can now be made to continue to allow anonymity?
The cheap shots above are only made by cowards. There can be no other reason.
In other words, sign your name or crawl back under your rock!
(Editor's note: That may be true in the OCA, where I agree, only cowards do not sign their names. But that is not the case in the AOCNA, where retribution can be swift and terrible for expressing dissent. Since I have no way of determining to what jurisdiction people belong....
or should only OCA types speak about OCA matters, and only AOCNA about Antioch? So much for Orthodox unity then.... I do not know the answer, but until someone can suggest a way to insure the safety of everyone, either everyone gets to be anonymous who wishes, including cowards and shills, or there should be no comments. And speaking of shills, what good is a fake name? Look at OCATruth where people created fake names to post, while decrying anonymity here. Its a complicated issue, that's for sure.)
#10 Fr John Reeves on 2011-10-04 09:33
Why would read into that post cheap shots? Wheeler has family ties to Jillions and that could taint him since not everyone on the Synod is a Wheeler fan as are many laity.
Where is the knock on the other candidates? Are they the most experienced OCA clergy? No.
The question about the those did not apply is rhetorical.
Stop being so defensive or we might think you are campaigning for Jillions.
(Editor's note: Since I didn't nominate him, select him, nor will elect him, "campaigning" for him seems a bit pointless, don't you think -- unless of course, wishing someone well in a new job is "partisan". As for the "knock" on other candidates did you ever think that those not chosen may not want their current parishioners to know they were looking elsewhere - especially when it didn't work out? Moreover, to call others " more experienced" who did not apply is a sideswipe by any standard. I think it is you who are being defensive, having been called out for what you did - taking cheap, unnecessary shots.)
#11 Anonymous on 2011-10-04 09:36
Just curious if anyone can give a plausible explanation as to why not even one bishop in the OCA could manage to make it up to Crestwood, NY for the St. Vladimir's Education Day? Instead the OCA seminary had only the Russian Bishop present. Where was Metr. Jonah? Is it just me or this an incredible slap in the face to the clergy in America who volunteer as chaplains to serve in the United States Armed Forces?
#12 Anonymous on 2011-10-04 10:04
Even though we've been through posts like this before, I don't understand why a post containing nothing but negativism needs to be here.
I am someone who has the greatest respect for Fr. Garklavs. That being said, I join others who are amazed (and thankful) for the quality of candidates like Fr. Jillions.
As to the comment "why clergy with more experience didn't apply": outside of some retired clergy in their 70's & 80's, I can't think of too many who could be considered more experienced.
I don't believe Fr. Alexander should have been removed, but he has been. Let's pray that Fr. John can bring back stability to the position.
#13 Fr. Stephen Mack on 2011-10-04 10:11
"Tainted by his familial ties"?!!?
#14 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-10-04 10:29
??? who said +MJ cant administer to his 12 parishes in DC? you?
Finally, he still is the Metropolitan unless you know something different.
(Editor's note: Ask anyone at his cathedral. And yes, I am more than aware he is still Metropolitan.)
#15 robert on 2011-10-04 10:50
+Johna not showing up is a slap in the face to Orthodox Chaplains.
#16 sasha on 2011-10-04 10:53
Bishop Nikon is ill and Bishop Michael's cathedral's feast day was October. I can't speak for the others...
#17 anon on 2011-10-04 11:43
Sorry, Should be "October 1"
#18 Anonymous on 2011-10-04 11:46
Maybe you didn't notice, not only were bishops absent at St. Vladimir's this past weekend, but priests as well. OK, many thought it would rain, but when hasn't early October offered that possibility? Attendance was down and there seemed to be something missing. I guess support for Orthodox theological education just isn't important anymore!
#19 anonymous on 2011-10-04 12:15
As someone who has worked in a number of capacities alongside Fr. John Jillions since his arrival in Ottawa at the Sheptytsky Institute, I can say without any reservation whatsoever that he is a fine, fine man--a gentleman and scholar in every sense. I have had--and told him and others of this--nothing but the highest respect for him not only as a scholar and priest, but quite simply as a human being. I pray selfishly that he not leave MASI in Ottawa, but I would quite understand if the OCA wants a man of this caliber in such an important position. Our loss will be the OCA chancery's gain. Axios!
>(Editor's note: Well, let's hope he is not crucified. The last
>time a crowd shouted at "Crucify Him", it did not work out
>so well for them, did it?)
So God visited divine wrath and retribution on the Jewish race because they killed Christ?
Funny... I recall Christ saying, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Methinks the Jews are not the best example to use.
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our Jewish God,
(Editor's note: Since I have never subscribed to the "his blood be on our hands" theory, that was not what was intended. I meant the Resurrection happened, when what they wanted was for him to go away. But I see your point, and if some interpreted that way, or anybody can interpret it that way, it was not an appropriate choice of imagery. Lesson learned.)
Speaking of Metropolitan Jonah, I would like to know if the Holy Synod plans on holding him accountable for his blatant obstinance concerning matters within the synod as it relates to his poor judgement and cavalier attitude towards many issues.
The recent report of OCA News concerning His Beatitudes managerial style and aloofness at the recent MC meeting is quite disheartening to say the least!
If the man has issues, (and I say this with true Christian concern and without comdemnation), well then, please address them for the good of the Church!
If he can't or will not address whatever his issue(s) are, then I must ask if the Holy Synod in their heart of hearts is really doing what is right for the good of the Church? It appears there is major decension within the synod and MC and I just can't understand how this childish nonsense is allowed to continue. Does the synod realize how bad their leadership is indirectly perceived? What in the world is discussed during their meetings? Surely a synod who sees what's happening before their very eyes can't be so blind as to not do something already. What must happen for us to finally wake up, admit we made a mistake and move forward?
There is absolutely nothing wrong for someone to admit they are way over their head in a particular job or if they feel they can't get along with the rest of the people they need to work with. I would respect that person even more if they were truthful and honest with themself and with us, and step aside.
That does not show failure, but rather honesty and integrity.
If the head of a corporation were to behave in this manner, wouldn't that individual's job be in jeopardy? Would a board of directors stand for that? I think not!
Why do we as a Church continue to accept poor behavior?
Have we not learned anything over the last 10 years about poor leadership and awful management?
Doesn't anybody care anymore? Does God really want us to sit by and watch our OCA deteriorate even further? Are our parishes full on Sundays? We all know how poorly Vespers is attended! How about Feast Days? I am not trying to lay blame on everything on our bishops. However, does their inaction show leadership? I humbly ask if someone can explain this to me I would be most appreciative.
When the recent scandal was going on, we continuously heard the phraise, "FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH".
I beg and urge our synod to not sit with eyes closed and hands thrown up in the air not knowing what to do. This primatial authority is clearly not working.
With that said, FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH dear bishops, please, PLEASE do something already. This is embarassing and very sad.
As one who earnestly prays for our synod and the peace of our church I continue to be dumbfounded that poor behavior is still tolerated and accepted.
I will close with this question for our beloved synod to ask of each other at this time in our OCA's history: ARE WE DEAR BROTHERS, PART OF THE PROBLEM OR WILL WE BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you meet in session this week!
#22 michael geeza on 2011-10-04 13:26
I am the wife of a retired Navy chaplain. We were at Ed Day. To paraphrase an Army slogan, Ed Day 2011 was not all that it could be. It was very disappointing not to have any of our OCA bishops in attendance. Our military chaplains are under the omophor of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah. Met. Jonah was in DC for their Diocesan Council meeting. Why was this scheduled on Ed Day? Our hierarchs who could not attend (and in this case – that was all of them) could have sent a message/greeting honoring our military (including chaplains), retired and active-duty. Why didn’t this happen?
Our chaplains and those serving in the military are serving in our name. What have you done to reach out to an active-duty member or retiree? What can you do? What can your parish do?
God bless all who serve and have served in our name. For those who passed from this life, may their memory be eternal!
#23 Matushka Jan Koczak on 2011-10-04 15:10
The above post acknowledge that Fr. John is a scholar my question is why isn't he being appointed to a professorship at St. Vladimir's Seminary. He would be able to use his experience and talents to build bridges with other jurisdictions; such as the Greek Archdiocese etc. Or is this a "bridge" to get Fr. John at SVS until a time where there is a vacancy at SVS? Besides his wife is from the NYC area.
#24 anonymous on 2011-10-04 15:15
Dear Mark, Dear Readers,
Here are some comments from far-away Manchuria, China concerning Fr. John Jillons.
As is the Chinese custom, I will begin with everything positive.
1. He is truly an excellent candidate.
2. He is a highly educated, literate and intellectual candidate.
3. His moral integrity is without any doubt beyond question.
4. When stationed in Montreal and later in Ottawa, I actually met him, and I believe, his wife.
Now my concerns.
1. Firstly, there have been too many sacrificial lambs of outstanding quality that have been tortured, abused, and rendered asunder in Syosset, New York by a succession of incompetent metropolitans.
2. Secondly, Fr. John deserves something far better and far more enduring than this employment tightrope that he will have to walk with a group of undereducated, underperforming bishops, and in one case, a "reigning" bishop who appears to be desperately in need of psychiatric care. I worry for the well-being of Fr. John in such an environment.
3. Thirdly, Fr. John, as some idiot on this site has so inappropriately written, has NOT been tainted by family connections. On the contrary, they are a badge of honour and of respect -- a long line of honest folk.
4. Fourthly, I am, however, deeply concerned by the fact that Fr. John was rector of the Ottawa Cathedral when all of these terrible, terrible things concerning Archbishop Seraphim were coming forth, and Fr. John appears to have done nothing at all. That, somewhat mitigates, my overall outstanding intellectual views of the person.
5. Fifthly, Fr. John is a creation of Fr. John Tkachuk in Montreal, who while being somewhat Orthodox, is still a modernizer, a "low" Orthodox, like a "low" Anglican. That church still does not have an iconstasis. In Ottawa, services at the cathedral were often cooked up on the fly and never followed any kind of real "ustav" at all. There was a serious lack of what the Russians called "paryadok" as to the manner and form in which the Orthodox services were conducted. Sometimes they appeared more Catholic than Orthodox and for that I blame Montreal.
In any case, I wish him every well and great success. Nonetheless, Fr. John, please have an escape hatch, a Plan "B" ready because no chancellor since RK and before RK has ever survived very long.
Finally, there is another saying in Russian : if you don't want to play with wolves, don't go into the forest.
The synod showed their true lack of courage and failed to seize a golden opportunity in their opening session.
When +Jonah was questioned about his lobbying to annex the south to the Diocese of DC, the synod made it perfectly clear they would never approve such a move. +Jonah was told if he wants to be the bishop of the DOS, he needs to resign as metropolitan and the DOS needs to nominate him to be their bishop. +Jonah replied on more than one occasion, “What do you want me to do?” Unbelievably, the room fell silent, not a single bishop had the courage to tell him, “resign.” +Jonah even admitted he does not like nor is he suited to the administrative aspects of his office, continuing to state that he is better suited to personal pastoral ministry. Some synod members spoke of him needing psychological help and wanting to see him get well. Beyond logical comprehension they don’t understand that no matter what treatment +Jonah would agree to, which is doubtful to begin with, he will never be capable of adequately handling the basic requirements of his present office. To compound or accentuate his problems, he has repeatedly demonstrated an innate propensity to be a poor judge of character in choosing people with whom he surrounds himself.
As was the case at last week’s MC meeting, +Jonah continually contradicted himself regarding his actions taken relative to Fathers Zacchaeus, Fester and the SMPAC report. What more does the synod need to stop this disaster? If they don’t wake up now and act with conviction and fidelity, they all deserve to be taken to the proverbial wood-shed at the forthcoming ACC.
#26 fly on the wall on 2011-10-05 05:36
there was a Florovsky society lecture at Princeton University,"the Growth of Orthodox Christianity in 20th Century America", that same weekend. An unfortunate conflict for the truly interested Orthodox Christian. Add to that the price of gas and recent toll increases. Don't assume there was any face-slapping or disinterest in the plight of our soldiers and chaplains. everyone can't always do what they wish they could or be everywhere they want or need to be.
#27 margaret on 2011-10-05 05:49
Fr. John was under consideration when SVS was looking for a new Dean. Fr. John was under high consideration and would have made an excellent Dean. The cards did not fall in his direction, but could have. As the Chancellor of the OCA, he could still teach a course at SVS since he will be in the NY area. Whatever the future holds, who knows!
#28 anonymous on 2011-10-05 06:50
I'd just like to point out that Metropolitan Jonah was SCHEDULED to attend Ed Day. Bishop Savas certainly expected him to be there and said so as late as the night before.
The fact that Metropolitan Jonah did not wind up coming to Ed Day points to unforeseen circumstances, rather than indifference or malicious intent.
Metropolitan Jonah has great respect for military chaplaincy and for St. Vladimir's Seminary. I am sure he would have been there for Ed Day if it had been possible.
#29 Cordelia on 2011-10-05 06:50
First off, you aren't in China. Your comments under your #5 clearly show you are a right-wing Russophile with an axe to grind. You are probably uneducated regarding the Church, it's services and any format. Nice cheap shot at Fr. Tkachuck which again shows your ignorance. Why did you bother to post? If you have something against Fr. Tkachuck, why not visit him and talk to him directly? Oh, you're afraid and would rather trash a good man behind his back. Typical of reprobates!
#30 Anonymous on 2011-10-05 07:03
Not only could Fr. John Jillions teach at SVS when he is Chancellor, but so could Fr. Golitzen when he is Met. in Syosset. That's the ticket! A strong Chancellery with well-educated, sane leadership who could help to educate future leaders of the Church. Yep, Fr. Jillions and the future Met. Golitzen - this is how to save the OCA!
#31 Anonymous on 2011-10-05 08:09
"Cordelia," my husband and I are members of the Diocese of Washington DC. I know that the Diocesan Council meeting was scheduled for October 1st at least 2 weeks prior to that date. I don't think you can call a scheduled Diocesan Council meeting "unforeseen circumstances." Please do not attempt to put words in my mouth, attribute motives or underlying thoughts. You do not know me. You are wrong.
It is quite sad that none of our OCA hierarchs were in attendance or sent greetings/remarks to be shared at the SVS Ed Day in honor of our military and our chaplains.
Lord have mercy!
I wasn't replying directly to you, Matushka Jan. I was responding to the general tenor of the criticism of Metropolitan Jonah for not being there, even though the OCA has several other bishops who were equally not there. SVS may be Met. Jonah's bailiwick, but Bishop Michael lives LITERALLY TEN MINUTES AWAY. And Ed Day lasts all day, whereas Liturgy at the cathedral didn't.
It may have been a scheduling conflict Metropolitan Jonah didn't realize until the last minute. Perhaps he had hoped to reschedule the Diocesan Council meeting, but couldn't get another day when everyone else was available prior to the All-American Council.
Since you are in the Diocese of Washington (or is it the Archdiocese?), why don't you call the Metropolitan and ask him? I am sure he would love to talk to someone who doesn't just bark "RESIGN!" into the phone and then hang up.
#33 Cordelia on 2011-10-05 15:39
People of Old Harbor, AK, have wonderful memories of the time when Father John was a seminarian. I wish him the best of luck and will keep him in our prayers.
#34 Tatiana Berestoff on 2011-10-05 17:29
Old Mediterranean proverb: "The most painful nerve is attached to the truth."
#35 fly on the wall on 2011-10-05 17:40
If your board logs ISP numbers, with my permission, can you please post my ISP in order to shut "anonymous" up.
I have been following his idiot posts on this board for a period of time and frankly he is belligerent beyond belligerent.
Sorry, anonymous, I am in China. I hate to disappoint you.
Next, here is my email address for anonymous so that he or she or it can send me his dribble : email@example.com.
163.com is the Chinese yahoo.
Sorry anonymous but I am highly educated, I am highly educated concerning the church and its "ustav" and no cheap shot at the person in Montreal. Either his church has an iconostatis or it does not.
And there is nothing wrong with being a russophile, a francophile, etc., an anglophile; there is, however, something wrong with being a pedophile like a certain Archbishop. So let's leave the "philes" alone, shall we?
In my mind, however, you exceed at that one thing : rudeness.
(Editor's note: C'mon boys: take it outside. Rudeness is a two way street, and best you both do it in the street rather than here. But as a point of fact: The Sign of the Theotokos parish in Montreal does have an iconostasis. You can see the pix online.)
Dear Friends --
Rather than condemn everyone who wasn't (able to be) there for SVS's Ed Day this year, it might be better to encourage SVS to schedule Ed Day for the first Saturday in October which does NOT fall on the first of that month.
This would enable a great many more of us to attend Ed Day since we wouldn't then have to make a painful choice between observing the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God in our own parishes or going to SVS.
For that very reason, Bp Michael deserves to be above criticism here.
Peace and blessings to all.
#37 Monk James on 2011-10-05 19:04
Look, I'm not the one who is trashing Fr. Jillions & Fr. Tkachuck publicaly here - you have! Furthermore, you aren't in China nor are you posting under your correct name. At least I am "anonymous" like so many other posters here. The fact remains, you have found this venue to trash two very good & well-respected priests. And I'm rude? Where is your apology?
#38 Anonymous on 2011-10-06 08:28
Yes, Margaret, you are correct. We did schedule our symposium on that day. It should be noted, however, that we scheduled it before SVS scheduled Ed Day and it should be noted that because these are such different events, I doubt we drew too many away from Ed Day. That said, we will be much more careful in the future and we at SOCHA have already committed not to schedule at that same time again. If nothing else, it would allow SVS seminarians, instructors, and staff to attend if they so desired.
With all due respect to SVS, and I'm an alum, Ed Day has had ups and downs and I suspect that given the economy, problems in the OCA, and societal changes, the Ed Day format might not be the draw it once was. Indeed, I'm not so sure it ever will be. May I be wrong!
The issue has nothing to do with +Jonah's position with SVS.
In the case of the Chaplains in the US Military, +Jonah is not just "A Bishop", he is "THE Bishop". He is the Ecclesiastical Endorsing Authority for every Orthodox Chaplain in the US Military, regardless of their jurisdiction of origin.
But then, when has the OCA really known the meaning of "THE Bishop" and his central role to the Christian community? Dioceses are left for years without a ruling bishop. They are "administered", but left without a permanent pastoral Bishop (THE Bishop) regularly and routinely. Pure and simple episcopal neglect, and the OCA has elevated the practice to an art form. +Jonah is simply refining it to an even higher level.
So, when THE Bishop of the chaplaincy is absent, and when THE Bishop of the chaplaincy doesn't even think to send a message to his gathered chaplain clergy flock, I for one was not surprised. Just another example of episcopal neglect.
Mat. Jan is spot on. Having myself retired from a US Military career, I understand her point perhaps a bit more clearly. +Jonah was at best AWOL, and at worst a deserter. He showed no interest whatsoever in a portion of his flock ("The Troops", as we would say). NONE WHATSOEVER.
#40 Overseas Observer on 2011-10-07 00:18
You might be on to something, given if the $50 OCA Assessment passes in Seattle there won't be enough money to pay full-time church officers in Syosset. They may need to be "dual-vocational" like so many other clergy in the OCA. At the very least, if Fr John wants the job under those circumstances, then he could teach at SVS and work in Syosset or be a full-time parish priest and a part-time Chancellor ala Fr Joseph Pishtey. Not the worst thing that could happen to the OCA, unless you want a centralized church over a decentralized model. Why do we have to follow the Moscow model?
(Editor's note: Yes, it is the worst thing that could happen to the OCA. It would end the OCA, period. Decentralization is just another word for "extinguish". Don't fool yourself, or others. )
#41 Anonymous on 2011-10-07 06:06
I need to make a correction: Metropolitan Jonah is the ecclesiastical endorser for the chaplains of all services from the OCA. There does still exist an endorser for SCOBA (I met him on Ed Day) from the Greek Archdiocese, and I am aware that ROCOR has also has one of their own persons in that role.
Met. Jonah's position letter on the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is widely quoted and used as an example by churches that have the same stance. Despite a fast approaching deadline, it was written and released in time for the Orthodox voice to be heard loudly within the discussion of these issues. For that, I must commend him.
That said, there have been times when Met. Jonah has been in our area (a diocese not under his omophor) but prefers to serve at a local parish--instead of our chapel, which IS under his omophor as a military chapel. As a parent, I'd never dream of visiting a place where my children were and not attempting to see them - and it was only by accident that we found out the Met. was coming to town. Because the chaplain was deployed, we had Typika - while the other parish had a full blown hierarchal Liturgy. Since some of our military attendees cannot leave the base, closing our service to attend the other was not an option.
We're all busy people, with lots of commitments. It's just a question of prioritizing.
#42 Matushka Wendy on 2011-10-07 07:46
But if the church speaks in Seattle - conciiliary - to a less centralized Church, then so be it and then who are you kidding, only yourself!
(Editor's note: I am not arguing with you: the OCA has every right to vote itself out of existence. But people should know the consequences of their actions, and cast informed votes. A $50 assessment is akin to dismantling the entire OCA, and with it, their dioceses, sequentially. Like 17th century Poland between German and Russia, a group of highly decentralized dioceses cannot long survive in any sort of independent existence between the EP and Russia. Simple as that. Feel free to disagree - but we will have to carry on the conversation in Russian or Greek, I'm afraid. )
#43 Anonymous on 2011-10-07 12:42
Adding to the discussion concerning a couple of items discussed above....
(1) I've been on active duty in the US military for more than 12 years, and I've been in the OCA for a lot longer than that. I really had no idea that the Metropolitan was the sponsor, or effective "bishop," for the military chaplaincy. I've encountered a lot of excellent military chaplains in my time and have worshipped at a fair share of Orthodox liturgies/vespers on military bases/posts in the States and in the deployed setting in theater. Never in the foggiest reaches of my mind did I ever even imagine encountering a bishop at a liturgy or vespers on a military base. It's still simply almost unthinkable.
It's sad, but honestly sometimes I feel like the military is used by certain folks to achieve an end (i.e., using the end of DADT to rail against homosexuality, etc etc), but when it comes down to it, our bishops (and even worse, our military chaplains) are forgotten about and left hanging. Yes, the SOCHA event in Princeton was the same weekend as OED at St Vlad's, where the focus was on the military chaplaincy. With Princeton and NYC being only an hour apart, those two events coinciding should NEVER have happened. Bad planning all around. But the Bishop of the military chaplaincy should have been in attendance at OED (or should have, at a bare minimum, sent a long letter or video message explaining why he couldn't attend) , at his church's own academic seminary, no less!
Don't use the military as a tool to rail against homosexuality, and then forget about it when it is not convenient.
(As a total aside, fighting the repeal of DADT is a waste of time. In ALL societies, the military is a reflection of society and its culture. If the military repeals DADT, it is simply a mirror against the culture that it serves. Sorry, but in deployment, even homosexual guys aren't thinking about having sex when the mortars and bullets are flying. Heterosexual sex downrange is a FAR FAR FAR more substantial problem and results in a much larger expense to return pregnant (and usually unmarried) women to the USA, who may or may legally abort their "deployment baby." And the dads of these babies are long gone. If you need to obsess about sexual activity in the military, then deal with women deployed alongside men in theater. But again, our co-ed military exists because it reflects what society wants. Change society first, then the military will follow. Don't rail against the military for repealing DADT. Rail against society and be a Christ-like witness to change society. End of long aside.)
(2) I disagree that a centralized OCA is crucial to its survival. I disagree completely with the concept of paying "dues." I support my parish by at least tithing, and if the parish wants to send a portion of my tithe to the central administration for whatever, then fine. But I refuse to write out a separate "dues" payment. Ridiculous. It's akin to simony, like I'm paying for the right to partake in the sacraments.
Mark, I also disagree with you -- there are enough of us in the OCA who have grown tired of overseas episcopates for a long, long time. Even in a decentralized system, we will not go to the GOAA or to the MP. Crazy -- what's the benefit? We're not simply pawns to be used in a political game.
All you need in Syosset or wherever the central church is located is a few competent people to coordinate things and get things done. The Holy Synod should meet regularly (more than twice a year -- more like 5 or 6 times a year) to ensure that the goals of the national church are being met and that the dioceses are functioning well. It's no longer the year 1200 -- we now have airplanes, which facilitate bishops from geographically distant dioceses to meet as a synod. And these same airplanes allow bishops to visit EVERY SINGLE ONE of their diocese's parishes regularly. My parish hasn't had a bishop visit in more than 3 years -- appalling beyond all belief. And how many "locum tenens" have we had during that time? The locum tenens bishop position is like a revolving door.
Even though I can't stand the concept of "dues," even at "dues" of $50 per person, for 30,000 or so paying members of the OCA, that's $1.5 million. You're telling me that the central church can't run on $1.5 million per year? What are they doing, buying platinum-plated toilets?
Finally, thank you Mark for your site. By far, this is the most even-keeled and least nutty Orthodox news blog on the web, even when we disagree with you. Kudos to you for your persistence. We all love our church from the bottoms of our hearts, or we wouldn't waste our time posting on here discussing her so much. Keep it up, my friend!
(Editor's note: Thank you for your kind words. I can assure you that the OCA does not have platinum toilets. Or even gold plated ones. Not does it buy $16 Donuts. A decentralized OCA would be as effective as the US military would be if there were no joint chiefs coordinating strategy, policy, finances, personnel, procurement and actions. Sure, the AF, Army, Navy and Marine corp would all survive - for a time, and would be nowhere near as effective as they are now. )
#44 Military observer on 2011-10-07 14:30
> but we will have to carry on the conversation in Russian
> or Greek, I'm afraid.
Just FYI, but that's not really entirely true. While there are GOAA parishes particularly in the northeast, or in Chicago or Florida, which serve entirely in Greek, there are many others - such as my own, which is around half Greek/half convert - which serve a signiicant amount of the Divine Services in English.
And at that I believe there are under the EP some American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese parishes which serve entirely in English.
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our God,
(Editor's note: LOL. Look, the nice man said we can have a significant portion of our spiritual life in our native language. Goody-goody!
David, seriously, I appreciate your advocacy for the EP; but do you really think the world gives two hoots whether either Moscow or Istanbul runs the Diptychs in the old world or the new? Wake up and smell the tea. 1/3 of the world is Chinese and Indian, and the capitals of the 21st century are in Beijing and maybe Delhi, not New York; let alone on the Bosporus. I guarantee you no one in either city is thinking about - to the extent either is thinking about any spiritual life - having it in Greek, in any amount. )
" Fourthly, I am, however, deeply concerned by the fact that Fr. John was rector of the Ottawa Cathedral when all of these terrible, terrible things concerning Archbishop Seraphim were coming forth, and Fr. John appears to have done nothing at all"
Wrong, so wrong. Fr. Alexander Pihach, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Canada was in charge at the Cathedral until Fr. James Griggs was appointed Rector, during the time you speak of. Fr. John Jillions was not the rector, and hadn't been for some time.
#46 Please don't rewrite history on 2011-10-07 19:39
The fight above is indicative of the infighting in the OCA. The remaining faithful of the OCA deserve competent leadership and they aren't getting it. Why is the OCA shrinking overall? Bad leadership.
I was in Pittsburgh when Metropolitan Jonah was elected. He was elected because when the time came for the bishops of the OCA to step up and explain why they let the OCA fall apart under Herman and Theodosius, no one but Jonah stepped up to the plate. It was so extraodinary people thought that Jonah must be the right person. But it was a rebound marriage. Since that fateful election, what has really been accomplished in the OCA?
Let's see: election of several bishops, weakened relationship with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a partial dismantling of the chancery, unresolved controversies in Canada and Moscow, an attempted dismantling of St. Tikhon's seminary, and numerous complaints about His Beatitude not following the policies and procedures of the OCA. Did I miss anything? Did the OCA actually grow over the past few years? Did the ministries of the OCA actually grow? Was the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards brought back to life? Is the OCA spiritually better tpday than when he was elected?
I remember a friend of mine mentioning that what would have been the most ideal situation would have been that Archbishop Job was elected and it would have allowed the church some time to stabilize. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.
My hope and prayer is that Jonah will do the right thing and step aside at this upcoming AAC. What I've written above is the brutally honest truth. Jonah is not the future of the OCA and it will be a tragedy if he stays on in his current role.
#47 Anonymous in Arizona on 2011-10-08 06:40
You are absolutely correct! The tragedy is that all + Jonah had to do, was do nothing and he would have been a hero. No, he had to make a total mess again and again and again. Some believe he will grow into his position, but if he grows anymore...The Synod must seriously vote him out as Met. A resignation would be the proper thing for him to do and go back to a monastery.
#48 Any Mouse on 2011-10-08 16:28
There is no need for the bishops to "physically" meet with hotel costs, plane flights, etc. more than 2-3 times a year. We now have Skype and every bishop should have a 24" monitor or bigger with camera and use Skype or another service for groups. In this manner, meeting and important urgent matters can be discussed with personal interface at a moments notice!
(Editor's note: Our Bishops have just discovered the telephone. You want them to Skype? I agree it would be a welcome advantage, but there is little chance, alas. It's just not in their mental vocabulary. )
#49 Anonymous on 2011-10-08 16:34
I don't know if either of you is right or wrong. But. With all your vitriol, you seem to gave forgotten to include your name. Xiao Lin, unless it's not the writer's name (possible) at least write politely and not anon. I'm anon. But then, I'm not taking any position. Just saying that if one is gonna body slam a brutha, at least say who ya be.
#50 Anon on 2011-10-08 20:34
You two take the cake. Now, knock it off. You're both going to bed without any supper. And, no TV or dessert for a week. Go to your rooms and dont come out until you've gotten through adolescence.
#51 Anonymous on 2011-10-08 20:41
I am confused. Fr. John resigned as dean of the cathedral for Canada to focus on his academia. He has been doing some great work preparing Uk Catholics and Orthodox in Theology. Why suddenly take a pastoral heavy role again? I see that Fr. does read comments perhaps he could explain.
#52 Reader Mike on 2011-10-08 21:57
To my fellow "Observer"-
For all his faults, Metropolitan Theodosius was no stranger to military chapels, and I remember him on several occasions making pastoral visits during my three plus decades in uniform. Sadly, his successor has more important fish to fry than pastoral care for his military flock.
As to +Jonah's "DADT Letter", what he signed not only bore a striking similarity to the words of an OCA priest (and now retired reserve chaplain) who has written articles praising and justifying the invasion of Iraq, but presents a strawman that runs counter to my experience of 35 years in the military, and exhibits ignorance of the Chaplaincy, Military Law and the Constitution.
If our chaplains were in any way forced to minister the sacraments to those involved in such activity; or forced to teach that such behavior is either good or acceptable, or prohibited from denouncing such behavior as sinful and self-destructive, it would create an impediment to their service in the military. If such an attitude were regarded as “prejudice” or the denunciation of homosexuality as “hate language,” or the like, we would be forced to pull out our chaplains from military service.
Chaplains have never been " forced to minister the sacraments" in a manner counter to their faith's principles. Chaplians have never been forced to teach that behaviors proscribed by their faith is "good or acceptable". Chaplains have been free to minister to their own faith groups in accordance with the tenets of their faith group. Nor have chaplains ever been forced to proclaim false doctrines when dealing with the military population at large. At worst (if one wishes to call it that), and for very valid reasons, chaplains are expected to refrain from publicly (outside of denominational services and counselling) condemning their fellow service members' religious beliefs and practices and legally permissible behavior. Something about a First Amendment?
What I found even more interesting was that rather than state that he would have to discipline and revoke endorsement of any Orthodox chaplain who did violate the teachings of the Church if they complied with with these ridiculous possible demands by the military, he simply would abandon his military flock by withdrawing all chaplain support. As I said of his absence from the Chaplains's Day at SVS, the man considers AWOL acceptable.
But, if standing firm against civil law is so vital, why has +Jonah not threatened to withdraw the clergy from the states that legalize same sex marriage. Has he signed (I cannot say "written") similar letters to the governors? Or, was the DADT letter a purely partisan, political stunt? Does he think the Chaplains's Board is ignorant of Orthodox teaching, or was the letter intended for another audience?
Lastly, I find it quite amusing that the event at SVS was titled "God and Country". Which country? The web page shows a sole bishop, from Russia, entertainment from Georgia (not the one where Atlanta is located) and Macedonia, and the serving of "ethnic food". I am hoping that at least the "ethnic food" was Western Hemisphere" in tradition.
Thank you for you taking up the torch, Military Observer. This old retiree senses it is in good hands.
#53 Overseas Observer on 2011-10-09 07:49
I do not know where your parish is, or what it is doing, but I doubt that the Metropolitan or even your local bishop is responsible for lack of attendance at your parish's Saturday Vespers services! Go out there, Michael, and look at the hedges and ditches and bring them into the worship of the church, and also, make it beautiful so that they want to attend.
#54 Jim of Olym on 2011-10-09 21:30
This is very sad indeed. I live on the edge of a large military base in Washington state, and there is no coordination between the Orthodox chaplain there and the parishes in the area. And he mostly serves with his wife and kids alone, from what I hear, since it is hard for civilians to get on post. I wonder if the 'normal parishes' neglect their local chaplains and service members. we should be praying constantly for thier faithfulness.
PS I'm saddened very much by the neglect of our First Hierarch not attending the event at SVS, seeing he is the Bishop of all the chaplains.
#55 Jim of Olym on 2011-10-09 21:59
The Princeton event had nothing to do with the numbers at Ed Day. Most attendees in Princeton flew in from afar (Mississippi, Kansas, Illinois, Canada, etc.). The rest weren't OCA or weren't even Eastern Orthodox. In short, not the same crowd at all.
#56 Historian on 2011-10-10 18:25
If my husband can skype (he does), anyone can!
Although he does have technical support in the form of our kids.
(Editor's note: Groan. Please don't open the married bishops debate again!)
#57 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-10-11 14:14
I know a bishop that even does email and Facebook.
Back to Father John: you asked for or prayers, so I'll pray for you. I am certain you already know that no man is greater than his Master, and that you expecting some amount of suffering.
#58 Alex on 2011-10-12 05:25
oops -- not my intention! Just pointing out that technology is becoming simpler and more intuitive as it advances, creating ways for the Luddites among us to painlessly leapfrog their way into the world of modern communications.
#59 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-10-12 06:24
As a "cost-cutting" measure; in Seattle a motion should be passed to have every bishop of the OCA be wired into Skype for on-line meetings. If they can't set it up themselves, a consultant should be hired to set this up at each bishop's office or residence. If not a consultant, then a "local" consultant in each bishop's city to do this and show them how to use it. In this manner, travel & hotel costs go away. They could then meet just once or twice a year while having weekly or monthly on line meetings!
#60 Anonymous on 2011-10-12 07:01
I was speaking in terms of generalities Jim, not my parish.
The people feel the church is leaderless. Hence, our numbers within the OCA are dwindling.
Support is no longer coming somewhat because of this.
Look at the recent posts concerning St. Vlad's Orthodox Education Day. Attendance has dwindled and not one bishop was even there. Things have changed and people have become disinterested.
#61 michaelgeeza on 2011-10-12 11:37
dear Historian: I suggested the Princeton event because it posed a conflict within my own household about which to choose. Had we not chosen Ed day, it would not have been because we didn't care about the chaplains. Sadly, "life" intervened and we went to neither one. Also, when I did attend another Princeton forum, there were many priests and other people i usually see at seminary events there. You know, like the same 20 people go to everything? Not that they are the only ones who go to everything. Obviously, those who would go to both events are a small subset of those who would attend St. Vlad's Ed Day, regardless of the themes..Nonetheless, I'm glad organizers now are more aware and may be more sensitive to this and other conflicts in their future planning
#62 margaret on 2011-10-12 14:18
We are just weeks away from the "OCA Fiasco" in Seattle. Will anything really happen there? The proposed agenda is BOGUS! More of nothing that is important. Look, + Jonah IS THE PROBLEM! Discussion of him is no where on the agenda! Unless "HE" is the main topic to be addressed, this assembly is for nought. The OCA needs "REAL" leadership; not a bozo as we've experienced since Pittsburgh. We need a Met. who believes in the OCA; we need a leader who believes in our autocephaly; we need a leader who believes in the vision Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff died for. We don't need a leader who wants to give the OCA away to Moscow or Istanbul. "WE" are the American Church - BELIEVE IT!!!
#63 Omnibus on 2011-10-12 16:53
It really was just an honest oversight and one we realized before the events occurred but after they were scheduled. I even contacted Frs. John Behr and Chad Hatfield personally to assure them there was no ill will intended. I know them both and they know me and they knew none was intended, but I felt I owed it to them nonetheless.
For what it's worth, I don't think we drew a single person away from Ed Day and, in fact, despite our good attendance and a most enjoyable symposium, there were several who went to Ed Day who had expressed interest in our symposium. So, I honestly think it will be to SOCHA's advantage not to duplicate dates in the future.
I am glad you are someone who might attend a future symposium and I know that SVS and other parishes are blessed to have dedicated folks such as yourself.
A letter from Jonah (as eccliesiastical endorser) was necessary to clarify the Orthodox position on DADT. If it had not been written, THEN the military could censure our chaplains for refusing to do same sex weddings, counseling, My understanding of the official policies in place is that the endorser has the last say in what their clergy can or cannot do regarding these issues.
#65 Matushka Wendy on 2011-10-14 20:35
Why hire a consultant to set up Skype for communication?
We could get most teenagers from most parishes in every bishop's diocese to set up Skype for our bishops in a matter of minutes.
I think that we should be using the talents of our own parishioners from across the country, including using teenagers to set up Skype to facilitate our church leaders' communication. Most people would jump at the chance to help the church that we all love.
One of the problems is that it seems that there is a small circle of influential people who run things, and that's not good for our church or for our mission to America.
It's so true that evangelism and our mission to America is the future of our church, even in the very old parishes in the northeast. The south, the midwest, and the west realize this I think.... I'm not so sure about northeastern parishes. Am I wrong?
#66 LV on 2011-10-15 15:46
On the first Saturday of October, Metropolitan Jonah was in DC for the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Protection of the Theotokos at St. Nicholas Cathedral followed by a poorly attended meeting of the Diocesan Council. I attended as a lay member of the Stewardship Committee. The Diocesan Council meeting was held in preparation for the Dioccesan Assembly meeting yesterday, I was unable to attend.
#67 Mark C. Phinney on 2011-10-16 20:45
Which is more important: (a) the Metropolitan finally making the time for a Diocesan Council meeting (Oct 1) trying to address some important matters in preparation for the Diocesan Assembly (Oct 15) or (b) making a public relations appearance at the annual open house at a stavropegial institution on a well-established date with a sensitive theme? I attended the Divine Liturgy celebrating the feast day at the cathedral and the immediately following Diocesan Council meeting.
Of the three other hierarchs within reasonable travel distance for Ed Day -- Bishop Tikhon, Bishop Nikon, and Bishop Michael -- why did none of them attend? Bishop Michael understandably attended the patronal feast of one of his cathedrals rather than attend Ed Day. What excuses did Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Nikon have for not attending Ed Day?
(Editor's note: Bishop Nikon was awaiting surgery and ill: as for Tikhon, I have no idea. )
#68 Mark C. Phinney on 2011-10-19 04:03
The presentation of this subject at Ed Day was a first. And, for those of us in this ministry field, finally a glimmer of recognition of the validity of what we do - instead of the condemnation and ridicule that has been a regular part of commentary to those priests (and their families) who serve in the military sphere.
This topic was scheduled to be part of Ed Day from early summer. When was the Diocesan Council meeting set? Like I said, it's all a question of priorities. And those are crystal clear - we are just not a priority for hierarchs. It's too bad, because the military presents to us one of the largest singular groups for youth and young adult ministry - will we support it and seize the opportunity that so many other denominations are targeting?
#69 Matushka Wendy on 2011-10-19 09:22
I agree with you that it is a matter of conflicting priorities, exacerbated by a lack of appropriate time management skills on whoever's responsible for planning the Metropolitan's schedule.
Thank you for highlighting the young adult outreach aspect of a military chaplain's ministry.
Perhaps one way to deal with the inherent pastoral conflicts facing the Metropolitan is to (a) create a diocese of the stavropegial institutions, (b) designate one of the OCA cathedrals in the New York City area the "national cathedral," and (c) make the "national cathedral" the primatial see. Then the Archdiocese of Washington would no longer have a part-time archpastor, and the primate could in live in Syosset in good conscience, meeting the spirit as well as the letter of Canons.
#70 Mark C. Phinney on 2011-10-20 03:49
Have the laity truly become disinterested in their church or have they become disheartened because of the actions and inactions of those called to be servant-leaders? I think the latter is the case. People are not interested in attending SVS Ed Day in part because of the apparent inaction of the faculty in helping deal with the problems in the OCA: no statements on whether or not the ecclesiology espoused by a hierarch truly embodies Holy Tradition; no explanations concerning the relationships between the various canons addressing territorial jurisdiction or the relations between hierarchs. Most people see no connection between life in their parish and what takes place at SVS (or St Tikhon's); they see the seminary faculties as cloistered in their ivory towers. The clergy and the laity saw what happened to Bishop Nikolai when the SVS faculty made their public statement concerning his mistreatment of the Alaskan clergy; why is there apparently no similar concern regarding the relations within the synod? I find it hard to believe that the hierarch of Holy Tradition is the exarch of the Ottoman Empire or the hierarch of Imperial Russia; if I am wrong, is it not part of the calling of the SVS faculty to help educate those like me in the church?
#71 Mark C. Phinney on 2011-10-22 06:39
I would not call more than two weeks notice for the Diocesan Council meeting, on the same day as SVS Ed Day, as "unforeseen circumstances. It sounds as if (a) no one was checking the Metropolitan's schedule when setting the dates for his various commitments, and (b) no one was notifying people when changes in the Metropolitan's schedule were made. These are mistakes that should not happen 3 years into the job.
#72 Mark C. Phinney on 2011-10-24 03:18
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