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Author Topic: The OCA and it's Bishops...  (Read 4539 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: March 18, 2011, 06:33:29 AM »

Lately I've been thinking (I've had a lot of time over Spring Break unfortunately) and I've been considering the current situation with Metropolitan Jonah and our other Bishops in the OCA.

I've tried to take a balanced outlook here, but I can't help but remember (though I wasn't here for all of it) the actions of some of these other Bishops during the financial scandal. Many called for Archbishop Job and his supporters to keep quiet and not to cause trouble, and we all know the problems that arose during this time.

Is it possible that some Bishops (and no, I'm not accusing all of them, and I'm not accusing specific ones) in the OCA are trying to oust Metropolitan Jonah in order to return to the status quo now that Archbishop Job (of blessed memory) is gone?

It makes me think of the many times throughout the history of our Great Church where Bishops were deposed for causing too much trouble.
One can think of many examples, such as Patriarch Arsenios (Autoreianos) who was exiled and deposed for excommunicating the Emperor who had blinded the young prince John IV to ensure his own reign.
Or St. John Chrysostom, who was exiled and deposed for speaking out against the un-Christian Empress Evdoxia.

I'm not equating Metropolitan Jonah to being a Saint. I'm just remembering what has occurred many, many times in our past.

Could it be that some in our hierarchy still hold on to the corruption and silence that existed prior to the ousting of Metropolitan Herman?
Or could it be that we've just fallen into some cult of personality with Metropolitan Jonah and are deceived by him and his proponents?

I am both fearful and hopeful about the future of our OCA. We could either fall into pieces, or we could rise far above our imaginations.

Hopefully this will all be null if the Episcopal Assembly proves successful. (for the sake of all of our Churches, may unity come soon!)
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 10:11:01 AM »

Lately I've been thinking (I've had a lot of time over Spring Break unfortunately) and I've been considering the current situation with Metropolitan Jonah and our other Bishops in the OCA.

I've tried to take a balanced outlook here, but I can't help but remember (though I wasn't here for all of it) the actions of some of these other Bishops during the financial scandal. Many called for Archbishop Job and his supporters to keep quiet and not to cause trouble, and we all know the problems that arose during this time.

Is it possible that some Bishops (and no, I'm not accusing all of them, and I'm not accusing specific ones) in the OCA are trying to oust Metropolitan Jonah in order to return to the status quo now that Archbishop Job (of blessed memory) is gone?

It makes me think of the many times throughout the history of our Great Church where Bishops were deposed for causing too much trouble.
One can think of many examples, such as Patriarch Arsenios (Autoreianos) who was exiled and deposed for excommunicating the Emperor who had blinded the young prince John IV to ensure his own reign.
Or St. John Chrysostom, who was exiled and deposed for speaking out against the un-Christian Empress Evdoxia.

I'm not equating Metropolitan Jonah to being a Saint. I'm just remembering what has occurred many, many times in our past.

Could it be that some in our hierarchy still hold on to the corruption and silence that existed prior to the ousting of Metropolitan Herman?
Or could it be that we've just fallen into some cult of personality with Metropolitan Jonah and are deceived by him and his proponents?

I am both fearful and hopeful about the future of our OCA. We could either fall into pieces, or we could rise far above our imaginations.

Hopefully this will all be null if the Episcopal Assembly proves successful. (for the sake of all of our Churches, may unity come soon!)
Met. Jonah has ssid a lot of things long unsaid that needed to be said, and for long many didn't want to hear it and they still don't, both in and outside of the OCA.  Institutions don't change easily, particularly for the better.  Met. Jonah isn't infallible, but he's made a lot of moves in the right direction.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 10:31:15 AM »

I am both fearful and hopeful about the future of our OCA.

I am hopeful.

Quote
Hopefully this will all be null if the Episcopal Assembly proves successful. (for the sake of all of our Churches, may unity come soon!)

I am hopeful that the EA will be successful. The main jurisdictions in America that I know of that are putting the most forward to evangelize the culture are the OCA and the two western rite jurisdictions (AWRV and ROCOR). I know there are many criticisms about Orthodox evangelism in general and there are few western rite churches here, but these are the main jurisdictions where being Orthodox isn't at least associated with if not equal to being of a particular foreign ethnicity, and the OCA is, to the best of my knowledge, doing the best at making the eastern rite accessable to a western culture. The EA will be a failure if it does not follow the lead of what the OCA is doing now. The Orthodox Church does not exist for the purpose of preserving any particular cultural heritage, it exists for the purpose of expressing Christ and making Him present in every culture. I am hopeful about the situation with Met Jonah and the rest of the OCA. Fr Mathias will be visiting my church soon (I think this sunday but not sure) and it will be nice to meet him. I am personally very happy to have bishops and priests that are born and raised in our culture and would have some personal insight on how to present the Orthodox faith to our culture.

I know that the OCA is not the only jurisdiction promoting an American expression of the Orthodox faith here, I just think they are taking great steps.

As for the situation, I finally heard something from my priest. He sent out an email that does a very good job of stating some facts without jumping to any conclusions or making speculations. I bolded some of it for my personal emphasis.

Quote
Dear Parish Faithful,

A few of you have approached me and asked about the current tension and turmoil that is again disrupting the internal life of the OCA.  Perhaps I can write a general letter and comment on how I am perceiving this building crisis.  At issue, as I understand it, is the current and future status of our primate, Met. Jonah.  Presently, there is a great deal of confusion – combined with innuendo and gossip – as to what has recently transpired and it is difficult to say just who is “in charge” and how to proceed toward some sort of resolution of the current impasse.  Therefore, any concern you may have is justifiable.  I do believe that there are certain facts behind the current situation and a minimalist summary would include the following:

·         There has been a build-up of the above mentioned tension between  Metropolitan Jonah and at least certain members of the remaining bishops on the Holy Synod for perhaps as many as two years.  This has at least centered around the “leadership style” of the metropolitan; but it also includes some other serious issues.

·         A pre-lenten retreat in Santa Fe, Mexico, was held between all members of the Synod and the metropolitan from Feb. 22-25 at which these issues were discussed. 

·         As a result, according to the official minutes of this meeting, Metropolitan Jonah agreed to accept a sixty-day “leave of absence” so that he could consult with a physician concerning his over-all health and then go on a“retreat” in a monastery so that he could attend to his “spiritual and mental health.”  The minutes emphasize that the metropolitan agreed to this.  Archbishop Nathaniel was appointed as the temporary administrator of the OCA. 

·         Another contributing factor to much of this turmoil was the “resignation” of the OCA’s chancellor, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, though he was actually asked/compelled to resign.  Metropolitan Jonah had attempted to unilaterally fire him in early January, but Fr. Garklavs challenged this as against the proper protocol of the OCA statute for changing chancellors.  Following Fr. Garklav’s “resignation,” Bp. Melchizedek of Western PA has been appointed as the acting chancellor.

·         The decisions of the Holy Synod were based upon a list of grievances against the metropolitan composed by the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee, concerning his alleged “actions and inactions.”  (These were not

about sexual misconduct charges against the metropolitan).  The basic tenure of these grievances – at least how I am understanding it – is that Met. Jonah is not following the proper protocol of existing policies of the OCA, some of which are of a serious nature; and that he is acting in an arbitrary manner that is sowing confusion as to the future direction of the OCA, including even issues of the OCA’s existing autocephalous status. 

·         However, upon leaving Santa Fe, and for reasons that are unclear at the moment, the metropolitan did not abide by this agreement, and he continued as the acting metropolitan of the OCA.  A Youtube video of his homily at the cathedral in Washington, DC, made this very clear.  One of his actions was to postpone the scheduled March meetings of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council.

·         At this point, it appears as if the Holy Synod did not know how to proceed with this breach of the existing agreement that was reached in Santa Fe.  Hence, a great deal of speculation and polemics on the internet and beyond.

·         An open letter posted on www.ocanews.org  by the distinguished theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko referred to the metropolitan as “gravely troubled,” and that he needs “proper counsel and care.”  For obvious reasons, this was a controversial posting!  And Mark Stokoe, of ocanews.org had posted three articles outlining all of the above in detail that were quite critical of Met. Jonah.

·         An “alternative website” – www.OCATruth.com - to ocanews.org was set up by an unnamed blogger from the Diocese of the South in defense of the metropolitan.  This website has many long postings that are highly critical of how Met. Jonah has been treated, and a veritable “war of words” has broken out between these two websites.  It has become very personal and very nasty, though in defense of Mark Stokoe the personal attacks are coming from the unnamed blogger who is using the pseudonym of “muzhik” – the Russian word for peasant!

·         Yesterday, a meeting was held between Archbishop Ilarion Alfeyev of the Moscow Patriarchate, and members of the Holy Synod as well as other prominent members of the OCA, including perhaps Fr. Thomas Hopko.  He asked to be appraised of the current situation on behalf of Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow, as the OCA has close historical ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.  We have yet to hear about the nature of these discussions.

·         Currently, I am unaware of the whereabouts of Met. Jonah, though I have heard that he is spending time with his father who is unwell.

There are some inevitable perceptions in the above, but that is how I would summarize the facts to date. This is clearly and unsettling development following the initial near-euphoria that greeted the election of Met. Jonah in 2008.  It is further developing into an unfolding crisis with an uncertain outcome.  A few immediate  questions that come to mind are:  Just what is going on with Met. Jonah that has led to this crisis?  Are there just some unfortunate misunderstandings based upon a lack of clear communication involved; or are deeper issues at hand?   Can such a strained relationship that currently exists between the metropolitan and at least certain members of the Holy Synod be properly healed so that the life of the Church is not jeopardized because of these irreparable tensions?  What is best for the future of the OCA?  How will this affect the approaching All-American Council to be held in Seattle later this year?

You are of course free to continue reading and discussing what appears on the internet.  And you may choose not to.  A great deal is speculative at the moment; and a great deal is unedifying.  It can be disheartening if you are not careful.  We are in Great Lent, and our focus needs to remain on our journey to the Cross and the empty tomb.  That is and always remain the deeper perspective in which we can absorb our disappointments in the all too-human aspect of the Church.

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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 11:55:13 AM »

I am both fearful and hopeful about the future of our OCA.

I am hopeful.

Quote
Hopefully this will all be null if the Episcopal Assembly proves successful. (for the sake of all of our Churches, may unity come soon!)

I am hopeful that the EA will be successful. The main jurisdictions in America that I know of that are putting the most forward to evangelize the culture are the OCA and the two western rite jurisdictions (AWRV and ROCOR). I know there are many criticisms about Orthodox evangelism in general and there are few western rite churches here, but these are the main jurisdictions where being Orthodox isn't at least associated with if not equal to being of a particular foreign ethnicity, and the OCA is, to the best of my knowledge, doing the best at making the eastern rite accessable to a western culture. The EA will be a failure if it does not follow the lead of what the OCA is doing now. The Orthodox Church does not exist for the purpose of preserving any particular cultural heritage, it exists for the purpose of expressing Christ and making Him present in every culture. I am hopeful about the situation with Met Jonah and the rest of the OCA. Fr Mathias will be visiting my church soon (I think this sunday but not sure) and it will be nice to meet him. I am personally very happy to have bishops and priests that are born and raised in our culture and would have some personal insight on how to present the Orthodox faith to our culture.

I know that the OCA is not the only jurisdiction promoting an American expression of the Orthodox faith here, I just think they are taking great steps.

As for the situation, I finally heard something from my priest. He sent out an email that does a very good job of stating some facts without jumping to any conclusions or making speculations. I bolded some of it for my personal emphasis.

Quote
Dear Parish Faithful,

A few of you have approached me and asked about the current tension and turmoil that is again disrupting the internal life of the OCA.  Perhaps I can write a general letter and comment on how I am perceiving this building crisis.  At issue, as I understand it, is the current and future status of our primate, Met. Jonah.  Presently, there is a great deal of confusion – combined with innuendo and gossip – as to what has recently transpired and it is difficult to say just who is “in charge” and how to proceed toward some sort of resolution of the current impasse.  Therefore, any concern you may have is justifiable.  I do believe that there are certain facts behind the current situation and a minimalist summary would include the following:

·         There has been a build-up of the above mentioned tension between  Metropolitan Jonah and at least certain members of the remaining bishops on the Holy Synod for perhaps as many as two years.  This has at least centered around the “leadership style” of the metropolitan; but it also includes some other serious issues.

·         A pre-lenten retreat in Santa Fe, Mexico, was held between all members of the Synod and the metropolitan from Feb. 22-25 at which these issues were discussed. 

·         As a result, according to the official minutes of this meeting, Metropolitan Jonah agreed to accept a sixty-day “leave of absence” so that he could consult with a physician concerning his over-all health and then go on a“retreat” in a monastery so that he could attend to his “spiritual and mental health.”  The minutes emphasize that the metropolitan agreed to this.  Archbishop Nathaniel was appointed as the temporary administrator of the OCA. 

·         Another contributing factor to much of this turmoil was the “resignation” of the OCA’s chancellor, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, though he was actually asked/compelled to resign.  Metropolitan Jonah had attempted to unilaterally fire him in early January, but Fr. Garklavs challenged this as against the proper protocol of the OCA statute for changing chancellors.  Following Fr. Garklav’s “resignation,” Bp. Melchizedek of Western PA has been appointed as the acting chancellor.

·         The decisions of the Holy Synod were based upon a list of grievances against the metropolitan composed by the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee, concerning his alleged “actions and inactions.”  (These were not

about sexual misconduct charges against the metropolitan).  The basic tenure of these grievances – at least how I am understanding it – is that Met. Jonah is not following the proper protocol of existing policies of the OCA, some of which are of a serious nature; and that he is acting in an arbitrary manner that is sowing confusion as to the future direction of the OCA, including even issues of the OCA’s existing autocephalous status. 

·         However, upon leaving Santa Fe, and for reasons that are unclear at the moment, the metropolitan did not abide by this agreement, and he continued as the acting metropolitan of the OCA.  A Youtube video of his homily at the cathedral in Washington, DC, made this very clear.  One of his actions was to postpone the scheduled March meetings of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council.

·         At this point, it appears as if the Holy Synod did not know how to proceed with this breach of the existing agreement that was reached in Santa Fe.  Hence, a great deal of speculation and polemics on the internet and beyond.

·         An open letter posted on www.ocanews.org  by the distinguished theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko referred to the metropolitan as “gravely troubled,” and that he needs “proper counsel and care.”  For obvious reasons, this was a controversial posting!  And Mark Stokoe, of ocanews.org had posted three articles outlining all of the above in detail that were quite critical of Met. Jonah.

·         An “alternative website” – www.OCATruth.com - to ocanews.org was set up by an unnamed blogger from the Diocese of the South in defense of the metropolitan.  This website has many long postings that are highly critical of how Met. Jonah has been treated, and a veritable “war of words” has broken out between these two websites.  It has become very personal and very nasty, though in defense of Mark Stokoe the personal attacks are coming from the unnamed blogger who is using the pseudonym of “muzhik” – the Russian word for peasant!

·         Yesterday, a meeting was held between Archbishop Ilarion Alfeyev of the Moscow Patriarchate, and members of the Holy Synod as well as other prominent members of the OCA, including perhaps Fr. Thomas Hopko.  He asked to be appraised of the current situation on behalf of Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow, as the OCA has close historical ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.  We have yet to hear about the nature of these discussions.

·         Currently, I am unaware of the whereabouts of Met. Jonah, though I have heard that he is spending time with his father who is unwell.

There are some inevitable perceptions in the above, but that is how I would summarize the facts to date. This is clearly and unsettling development following the initial near-euphoria that greeted the election of Met. Jonah in 2008.  It is further developing into an unfolding crisis with an uncertain outcome.  A few immediate  questions that come to mind are:  Just what is going on with Met. Jonah that has led to this crisis?  Are there just some unfortunate misunderstandings based upon a lack of clear communication involved; or are deeper issues at hand?   Can such a strained relationship that currently exists between the metropolitan and at least certain members of the Holy Synod be properly healed so that the life of the Church is not jeopardized because of these irreparable tensions?  What is best for the future of the OCA?  How will this affect the approaching All-American Council to be held in Seattle later this year?

You are of course free to continue reading and discussing what appears on the internet.  And you may choose not to.  A great deal is speculative at the moment; and a great deal is unedifying.  It can be disheartening if you are not careful.  We are in Great Lent, and our focus needs to remain on our journey to the Cross and the empty tomb.  That is and always remain the deeper perspective in which we can absorb our disappointments in the all too-human aspect of the Church.



Your priest is a wise man and his words are well worth keeping in one's pocket in these difficult days.

I do feel obligated to respond to one point in your well thought our post however. I bold faced the point I want to respond to. The problem that those of us who do not view the OCA as enthusiastically as do those of you who are part of the Church would take exception to the constant anti-ethnic rhetoric that many of you, particularly converts, espouse.

The American expression of Orthodoxy that the OCA has adopted is an Americanized version of the norms of the Russian Orthodox Church. There is nothing wrong with that, I am quite familiar with and have a fondness in my heart for Russian praxis. The eighty five percent or so of American Orthodox who do not trace their roots to the Russian Orthodox tradition view comments such as yours as evidence of a desire to create a national uniformity of praxis and tradition that would in time overwhelm the praxis of their current parish or jurisdiction. Those of us who knew some of the men who formulated the foundations and basis of the OCA in the 1970's and early 1980's would agree that such a vision was not really the vision they sought to create.

Ialmisry made a wise observation in another post today in that after a national Synod is ultimately established you will still know a Greek heritage  parish from a Russian heritage one and so on. I too share that vision and those who support the OCA and the vision of true autochephaly and a true American church ought to consider those words wisely.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 01:29:11 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

I'm currently in Greece, and while the Liturgy is beautiful in it's native language, and while I have a little book with English/Koine Greek in it, I still feel detached from the Liturgy, and I really don't have much motivation to attend the other services because I have little clue as to whats going on, and I can't appreciate what is being said (as I don't understand it).

There has to be a little give and take by both sides. As converts I don't think we are immediately opposed to many "ethnic" things, but we are indeed opposed to some more radical ethnic ideas and trends. But this goes the same (i'm sure) for cradles, who are most likely opposed to radical convertitis.

I think the convert-cradle tensions may just be a result of misunderstanding, or an unwillingness to budge.
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 01:34:42 PM »

Ialmisry made a wise observation in another post today in that after a national Synod is ultimately established you will still know a Greek heritage  parish from a Russian heritage one and so on. I too share that vision and those who support the OCA and the vision of true autochephaly and a true American church ought to consider those words wisely.

Absolutely. I think, eventually (several centuries) a uniform "American Orthodoxy" will be more prevalent. However, that should not be brought about by imposing a pre-existing culture, in Americanized form, upon the entire American Church, whether it is Russian, Greek, Arabic, etc. I go to an OCA parish. As stated already, we have an Americanized Russian tradition, Frankly, I'm very proud of that. The OCA has catechized me and brought me into Christ's Holy Church, and it is here because of the Russian Church. I am grateful for that, and they will always have a special place in my heart.

However, I love visiting other parishes. I find Romanian Orthodoxy quite beautiful, for example, and will usually visit at a Romanian parish if one is nearby somewhere I am staying. Similarly, we had the Pan-Orthodox Vespers of the Triumph of Orthodoxy last Sunday. Here, we rotate which local parish hosts the event. The Antiochians hosted this year. I arrived a little late, and came in part of the way through "Lord, I call." When I walked in, the older deacon was censing from the ambon as a single Byzantine chanter slowly vocalized the psalm. I'd heard Byzantine chant before. Quite a bit. But, it isn't standard at our parish. I was just awe-struck. I forgot how much I loved Byzantine chant! It was such a beautiful scene, as the setting sunlight peaked in through the windows of the temple, falling lightly upon the faithful, highlighting the incense as it rose to heaven.

I would never want to stamp out such experiences! It's an expression of the catholicity of the Church, and really a great expression of our American culture, celebrating the cultures of our birth. I can think of no better model for an American Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 01:43:11 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

Eh, I disagree somewhat.  I think every Orthodox Church in the U.S. should have as its liturgical language whichever language its parishioners actually speak.  The reason Archbishop Dmitri translated a number of liturgical texts into Spanish was because we have communities that speak mostly Spanish; insisting on English-only because we're in the U.S. doesn't help those communities.  Similarly, while a number of "ethnic" parishes may have services in a language their third- and fourth-generation Americans don't understand, a number of others have the same services in the native tongue of recent immigrants. 
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 01:54:52 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

Eh, I disagree somewhat.  I think every Orthodox Church in the U.S. should have as its liturgical language whichever language its parishioners actually speak.  The reason Archbishop Dmitri translated a number of liturgical texts into Spanish was because we have communities that speak mostly Spanish; insisting on English-only because we're in the U.S. doesn't help those communities.  Similarly, while a number of "ethnic" parishes may have services in a language their third- and fourth-generation Americans don't understand, a number of others have the same services in the native tongue of recent immigrants. 

I'm sorry if I wasn't very clear in my post. If the majority of parishioners speak another language, then it's ok to have it in another language. But I would argue if you have a parish where 50% speak English and 50% speak another language, then it ought to be in English. (as it's likely the other 50% also speak English)
There are parts of the United States in the far Southwest where most people will be speaking Spanish regularly (moreso than English), in those areas, Spanish ought to be used.

But the problem with the Greek liturgy is that it is in Koine, which is really hard for most Greeks today to understand. My Greek language teacher here in Greece knows many languages, and tried to study liturgical (or rather, Biblical) Koine Greek, and she couldn't believe how hard it is and she still can't understand most of whats going on in the Liturgy. Now, the situation here in Greece is for the Greeks to sort out, I won't act as a judge on their situation.

However in the United States, even the parishes that speak Greek that have their liturgy in Greek (or rather, Koine Greek) is a little inconsistent, because they don't even understand the version of Greek the service is actually in. That is why I'm more in favor of simply going to English. (unless the Church blesses a Modern Greek version of the Liturgy)

As for other languages like Russian, etc... Again, it depends on the parish, but if it's a case where 99% speak English, but 40-50% speak another language as their mother tongue, English ought to be used.

It's certainly a complex issue, and probably ought to be case-by-case. But I think we need to absolutely avoid the thought of "Liturgical Languages" in the sense of how the Roman Catholics view(ed) Latin and their Mass. Koine Greek (and Old Church Slavonic for that matter) is no more "holy" than any other Liturgical Language.

But that is getting pretty off topic, so I'll let this be the last time I speak about this issue in this specific thread.
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 01:55:58 PM »

Melodist's Priest is a pretty spectacular man.
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2011, 02:00:01 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

Eh, I disagree somewhat.  I think every Orthodox Church in the U.S. should have as its liturgical language whichever language its parishioners actually speak.  The reason Archbishop Dmitri translated a number of liturgical texts into Spanish was because we have communities that speak mostly Spanish; insisting on English-only because we're in the U.S. doesn't help those communities.  Similarly, while a number of "ethnic" parishes may have services in a language their third- and fourth-generation Americans don't understand, a number of others have the same services in the native tongue of recent immigrants. 

Quite a truly Orthodox approach to evangelism.  Meet the people where they are and offer a beautiful manner of worship in a language they will understand.  God understands them all.

And I like your patroness, too!  What a beautiful icon of her.  She hangs in our nave, but in just the usual gold-colored background.
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 02:09:30 PM »

And I like your patroness, too!  What a beautiful icon of her.  She hangs in our nave, but in just the usual gold-colored background.

That's actually a stained glass window of St. Barbara from the old post chapel at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.  You can see a photo of it here.
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 03:36:26 PM »

Just an aside although somewhat related. Do you think if someone were to send a message of support to Vladika Jonah via the email listed on the OCA website he would actually get the email?
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2011, 03:46:52 PM »

And I like your patroness, too!  What a beautiful icon of her.  She hangs in our nave, but in just the usual gold-colored background.

That's actually a stained glass window of St. Barbara from the old post chapel at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.  You can see a photo of it here.

Thank you for showing me that chapel.  I spent the first 12 years of my life just a few miles from there.
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2011, 03:47:11 PM »

Ialmisry made a wise observation in another post today in that after a national Synod is ultimately established you will still know a Greek heritage  parish from a Russian heritage one and so on. I too share that vision and those who support the OCA and the vision of true autochephaly and a true American church ought to consider those words wisely.

Absolutely. I think, eventually (several centuries) a uniform "American Orthodoxy" will be more prevalent. However, that should not be brought about by imposing a pre-existing culture, in Americanized form, upon the entire American Church, whether it is Russian, Greek, Arabic, etc. I go to an OCA parish. As stated already, we have an Americanized Russian tradition, Frankly, I'm very proud of that. The OCA has catechized me and brought me into Christ's Holy Church, and it is here because of the Russian Church. I am grateful for that, and they will always have a special place in my heart.

However, I love visiting other parishes. I find Romanian Orthodoxy quite beautiful, for example, and will usually visit at a Romanian parish if one is nearby somewhere I am staying. Similarly, we had the Pan-Orthodox Vespers of the Triumph of Orthodoxy last Sunday. Here, we rotate which local parish hosts the event. The Antiochians hosted this year. I arrived a little late, and came in part of the way through "Lord, I call." When I walked in, the older deacon was censing from the ambon as a single Byzantine chanter slowly vocalized the psalm. I'd heard Byzantine chant before. Quite a bit. But, it isn't standard at our parish. I was just awe-struck. I forgot how much I loved Byzantine chant! It was such a beautiful scene, as the setting sunlight peaked in through the windows of the temple, falling lightly upon the faithful, highlighting the incense as it rose to heaven.

I would never want to stamp out such experiences! It's an expression of the catholicity of the Church, and really a great expression of our American culture, celebrating the cultures of our birth. I can think of no better model for an American Orthodox Church.

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I believe that you have summed up the American Church as envisioned by Frs. Schmemann, Myendorff, Hopko and others when the OCA first came about. I doubt that you will find more than a few 'cradles' who oppose that vision. The problem is complex, fraught with human ego and hobbled by the typical historical reaction to thinking outside the box that is common within our Faith. Kudos for summing this up so succinctly.
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2011, 03:50:29 PM »

Ialmisry made a wise observation in another post today in that after a national Synod is ultimately established you will still know a Greek heritage  parish from a Russian heritage one and so on. I too share that vision and those who support the OCA and the vision of true autochephaly and a true American church ought to consider those words wisely.

Absolutely. I think, eventually (several centuries) a uniform "American Orthodoxy" will be more prevalent. However, that should not be brought about by imposing a pre-existing culture, in Americanized form, upon the entire American Church, whether it is Russian, Greek, Arabic, etc. I go to an OCA parish. As stated already, we have an Americanized Russian tradition, Frankly, I'm very proud of that. The OCA has catechized me and brought me into Christ's Holy Church, and it is here because of the Russian Church. I am grateful for that, and they will always have a special place in my heart.

However, I love visiting other parishes. I find Romanian Orthodoxy quite beautiful, for example, and will usually visit at a Romanian parish if one is nearby somewhere I am staying. Similarly, we had the Pan-Orthodox Vespers of the Triumph of Orthodoxy last Sunday. Here, we rotate which local parish hosts the event. The Antiochians hosted this year. I arrived a little late, and came in part of the way through "Lord, I call." When I walked in, the older deacon was censing from the ambon as a single Byzantine chanter slowly vocalized the psalm. I'd heard Byzantine chant before. Quite a bit. But, it isn't standard at our parish. I was just awe-struck. I forgot how much I loved Byzantine chant! It was such a beautiful scene, as the setting sunlight peaked in through the windows of the temple, falling lightly upon the faithful, highlighting the incense as it rose to heaven.

I would never want to stamp out such experiences! It's an expression of the catholicity of the Church, and really a great expression of our American culture, celebrating the cultures of our birth. I can think of no better model for an American Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2011, 05:42:58 PM »

Is it possible that Metropolitan Hilarion might take over the governance of the OCA temporally (Since I've heard that he is currently in America)?
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2011, 05:53:03 PM »

Is it possible that Metropolitan Hilarion might take over the governance of the OCA temporally (Since I've heard that he is currently in America)?

We cannot judge the intentions of the ROC Synod by seeing Metropolitan  Hilarion here in America.  He is here on ecumenical relations, for ROCOR meetings, and for meetings of the Board of St Vladimir's on which he serves.  Sometimes he is just here to play music Wink -- and what wonderful music it is!
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2011, 06:02:14 PM »

Is it possible that Metropolitan Hilarion might take over the governance of the OCA temporally (Since I've heard that he is currently in America)?

That wouldn't be canonical, as he already has a diocese he serves, and a Bishop cannot change diocese canonically. Unless he were to serve as locum tenes and still serve his own diocese.

However, even then, Metropolitan Hilarion is part of a completely different jurisdiction. Metropolitan Hilarion is from the Patriarchate of Moscow. The Orthodox Church in America is it's own entity. It would be like if an Archbishop from Greece (like the Archbishop of Athens) were to go to the United States and temporarily take over for Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese. It wouldn't really make sense, as they are two different jurisdictions.
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2011, 08:45:55 PM »

Your priest is a wise man and his words are well worth keeping in one's pocket in these difficult days.

Melodist's Priest is a pretty spectacular man.

I am definitely blessed to have found the church that I did. The priest is an excellent priest, the people come from a large variety of backgrounds, and the faith is presented and articulated very well there.
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2011, 01:03:11 AM »

If Metropolitan Hilarion is head of ROCOR, why is he still in Australia and not the Archbishop of Eastern America (Like all the ROCOR first herarchs used to be)?
Did they change the way the Synod Abroad was governed when the act of Canonical Communion was signed (Or is this a case of pastoral sensitivity from ROCOR towards the OCA)?

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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2011, 01:30:22 AM »

@ Robb wrong Met. Hilarion this Met. Hilarion is the head of external church relations for the MP
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2011, 01:58:58 AM »

Just an aside although somewhat related. Do you think if someone were to send a message of support to Vladika Jonah via the email listed on the OCA website he would actually get the email?

I think his assistant handles that stuff, but it's possible he'd get it.
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2011, 02:12:00 AM »

Is it possible that Metropolitan Hilarion might take over the governance of the OCA temporally (Since I've heard that he is currently in America)?

No.  Not only would that be a huge canonical abuse, Metropolitan Hilarion is already back in Russia.  My impression is that he basically dropped everything to come here for a few days.  Now he has his regular business to attend to.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2011, 02:21:54 AM »

Lately I've been thinking (I've had a lot of time over Spring Break unfortunately) and I've been considering the current situation with Metropolitan Jonah and our other Bishops in the OCA.

I've tried to take a balanced outlook here, but I can't help but remember (though I wasn't here for all of it) the actions of some of these other Bishops during the financial scandal. Many called for Archbishop Job and his supporters to keep quiet and not to cause trouble, and we all know the problems that arose during this time.

Is it possible that some Bishops (and no, I'm not accusing all of them, and I'm not accusing specific ones) in the OCA are trying to oust Metropolitan Jonah in order to return to the status quo now that Archbishop Job (of blessed memory) is gone?

It makes me think of the many times throughout the history of our Great Church where Bishops were deposed for causing too much trouble.
One can think of many examples, such as Patriarch Arsenios (Autoreianos) who was exiled and deposed for excommunicating the Emperor who had blinded the young prince John IV to ensure his own reign.
Or St. John Chrysostom, who was exiled and deposed for speaking out against the un-Christian Empress Evdoxia.

I'm not equating Metropolitan Jonah to being a Saint. I'm just remembering what has occurred many, many times in our past.

Could it be that some in our hierarchy still hold on to the corruption and silence that existed prior to the ousting of Metropolitan Herman?
Or could it be that we've just fallen into some cult of personality with Metropolitan Jonah and are deceived by him and his proponents?

I am both fearful and hopeful about the future of our OCA. We could either fall into pieces, or we could rise far above our imaginations.

Hopefully this will all be null if the Episcopal Assembly proves successful. (for the sake of all of our Churches, may unity come soon!)
Met. Jonah has ssid a lot of things long unsaid that needed to be said, and for long many didn't want to hear it and they still don't, both in and outside of the OCA.  Institutions don't change easily, particularly for the better.  Met. Jonah isn't infallible, but he's made a lot of moves in the right direction.

I agree.

God grant Metropolitan Jonah many years.
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2011, 06:56:28 AM »

If Metropolitan Hilarion is head of ROCOR, why is he still in Australia and not the Archbishop of Eastern America (Like all the ROCOR first herarchs used to be)?
Did they change the way the Synod Abroad was governed when the act of Canonical Communion was signed (Or is this a case of pastoral sensitivity from ROCOR towards the OCA)?

Ah, you are thinking of a different Metropolitan Hilarion. You are thinking of Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of New York: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Hilarion_(Kapral)_of_New_York

The Metropolitan Hilarion that was sent to the United States by Russia is Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk. He is one of the major figures of the Moscow Patriarchate, and currently holds the position that Patriarch Kirill held a few years ago before the death of Patriarch Alexy. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Hilarion_%28Alfeyev%29_of_Volokolamsk
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2011, 03:11:51 PM »

Are the Bishops that supported former Metropolitan Herman still on the Synod?
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2011, 03:19:12 PM »

I believe some of them are I could be wrong though.
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2011, 03:28:05 PM »

I believe some of them are I could be wrong though.
Ah ok...
I wonder if they have something to do with the current problems.
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2011, 03:31:32 PM »

I think that now Archbishop Job of Blessed Memory is gone things somewhat reverted to the way they were before...and it seems to me that all of this has to do with a a few bishops  and a few people on the Metropolitan council.
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2011, 05:21:41 PM »

If Metropolitan Hilarion is head of ROCOR, why is he still in Australia and not the Archbishop of Eastern America (Like all the ROCOR first herarchs used to be)?
Did they change the way the Synod Abroad was governed when the act of Canonical Communion was signed (Or is this a case of pastoral sensitivity from ROCOR towards the OCA)?

Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) is Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York...and remains Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand at the same time.  To assist him, he has two vicar bishops for Eastern America, but hasn't yet made a vicar bishop for Australasia.

...and we talk about the OCA's Diocese of the South being too big! Cheesy
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« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2011, 05:15:39 AM »

Indonesia was recently added to that list.
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2011, 09:26:55 AM »

I think that now Archbishop Job of Blessed Memory is gone things somewhat reverted to the way they were before...and it seems to me that all of this has to do with a a few bishops  and a few people on the Metropolitan council.

That is kind of what I've expected, but I'm hoping that isn't the case.
God's vine has some decaying branches, and the Church needs to do some gardening.

I saw a video yesterday from the Newmartyr Fr. Daniel. He talked about Church Scandal, and how the issues need to be dealt with (whatever they may be) but we have no right to publicly chastise and humiliate those who have committed a sin. I certainly hope that is what some of our Bishops are calling for, and I hope they aren't calling for a coverup. There is a big difference between dealing with a problem properly and quietly, and completely covering it up and ignoring it.

If there is a financial scandal, those who are guilty NEED to be brought to justice and if they be clergy, they ought to be deposed. If there is a sexual scandal, they also need to be brought to justice. If there is any violation whatsoever, then the APPROPRIATE actions need to be taken.
But that definitely doesn't mean publicly exposing the guilty and placing them in a yoke so they can be spit upon and scoffed at.

I certainly hope and pray that our hierarchs choose to do the ORTHODOX and the RIGHT thing. I don't give a flip what the "old" way was. Old ways aren't necessarily always Orthodox. We need to look to the Church Fathers and to the Saints for guidance on how to move forward. There were times when Church officials didn't handle things appropriately, and so we shouldn't use them for examples, but we need to look to the Saints for the appropriate way to move forward.

I would argue that Archbishop Job exemplified this. If there is indeed some sort of cover-up of any kind, it needs to be exposed. But the people themselves should be disciplined in private, unless they refuse to repent, then they need to be brought out into the public light.

I pray that Metropolitan Jonah leads us in the right direction, and I pray that the Holy Synod does likewise, whatever that way may be.
Let the Lord's will be done...
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2011, 04:11:21 PM »

I think that now Archbishop Job of Blessed Memory is gone things somewhat reverted to the way they were before...and it seems to me that all of this has to do with a a few bishops  and a few people on the Metropolitan council.

I don't know all of the ins and outs of the politics involved, but I did get to meet Archbishop Job's (soon to be) successor today. I don't  know how long things will take, but I am nothing but overly optimistic about things if the OCA keeps electing the types of bishops that we have been electing.
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« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2011, 04:34:45 PM »

What do you think About Fr. Mathias?
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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2011, 04:47:08 PM »

What do you think About Fr. Mathias?

I am optimistic about things. I consider myself blessed to receive a blessing (no pun intended) from him.
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« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2011, 04:55:19 PM »

He hasn't made it to our parish yet but I won't complain Father seems to like him.
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« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2011, 05:29:47 PM »

What do you think About Fr. Mathias?

I am optimistic about things. I consider myself blessed to receive a blessing (no pun intended) from him.

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« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2011, 12:20:43 PM »

What do you think About Fr. Mathias?

Comes across as a very, gentle, loving, and soft spoken man. He is the Father Confessor of the nuns who run HOGAR RAFAEL AYAU.

Was very accessible and expressed "regret" about the geographical size of the MW diocese from allowing him to perhaps develop as intimate relationship with the parishes within it as he might wish.

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« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2011, 02:17:47 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

I'm currently in Greece, and while the Liturgy is beautiful in it's native language, and while I have a little book with English/Koine Greek in it, I still feel detached from the Liturgy, and I really don't have much motivation to attend the other services because I have little clue as to whats going on, and I can't appreciate what is being said (as I don't understand it).

There has to be a little give and take by both sides. As converts I don't think we are immediately opposed to many "ethnic" things, but we are indeed opposed to some more radical ethnic ideas and trends. But this goes the same (i'm sure) for cradles, who are most likely opposed to radical convertitis.

I think the convert-cradle tensions may just be a result of misunderstanding, or an unwillingness to budge.

Verily thou maightest not know the services and their structures?  If so you can follow where you are even if you don't understand the language.  You can learn Greek too, it'll help you in all of your other non-church studies as well.
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« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2011, 02:19:38 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

I'm currently in Greece, and while the Liturgy is beautiful in it's native language, and while I have a little book with English/Koine Greek in it, I still feel detached from the Liturgy, and I really don't have much motivation to attend the other services because I have little clue as to whats going on, and I can't appreciate what is being said (as I don't understand it).

There has to be a little give and take by both sides. As converts I don't think we are immediately opposed to many "ethnic" things, but we are indeed opposed to some more radical ethnic ideas and trends. But this goes the same (i'm sure) for cradles, who are most likely opposed to radical convertitis.

I think the convert-cradle tensions may just be a result of misunderstanding, or an unwillingness to budge.

Verily thou maightest not know the services and their structures?  If so you can follow where you are even if you don't understand the language.  You can learn Greek too, it'll help you in all of your other non-church studies as well.

I know the services, but I don't know exactly what is being said.

Also, I'm learning Modern Greek, but the Liturgies are in Koine Greek, which to Modern Greeks, is almost unintelligible.
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« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2011, 03:08:41 PM »

as a convert, I don't really think we should be opposed to certain ethnic aspects. But every Orthodox Church needs to be involved in evangelism, outreach, missions etc... I also believe that every Orthodox Church in the United States should have English as it's Liturgical Language. As time goes on, and as the generations go on, and even as we see today, the younger generations don't speak their ancestor's native languages.

I'm currently in Greece, and while the Liturgy is beautiful in it's native language, and while I have a little book with English/Koine Greek in it, I still feel detached from the Liturgy, and I really don't have much motivation to attend the other services because I have little clue as to whats going on, and I can't appreciate what is being said (as I don't understand it).

There has to be a little give and take by both sides. As converts I don't think we are immediately opposed to many "ethnic" things, but we are indeed opposed to some more radical ethnic ideas and trends. But this goes the same (i'm sure) for cradles, who are most likely opposed to radical convertitis.

I think the convert-cradle tensions may just be a result of misunderstanding, or an unwillingness to budge.

Verily thou maightest not know the services and their structures?  If so you can follow where you are even if you don't understand the language.  You can learn Greek too, it'll help you in all of your other non-church studies as well.

I know the services, but I don't know exactly what is being said.

Also, I'm learning Modern Greek, but the Liturgies are in Koine Greek, which to Modern Greeks, is almost unintelligible.

How languages will change! Want to open a new thread about this? Smiley

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« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2011, 11:38:23 AM »

What do you think About Fr. Mathias?

Father Matthias is a kindly, humble and self-effacing man with a keen and quiet sense of humor. I have know him and his family since his seminary days. He and his late wife, Pani Jeanette, dealt with her protracted and painful illness with dignity, charity, grace, faith and hope.

Their children are grown with several children of their own. His son is an ACROD priest and graduate of St. Tikhon's and pastor of a parish in New Jersey and one of the co-priests of the Diocesan youth ministry.

You are indeed blessed to have a bishop who was, and will always first be a pastor, a father and pious man.

You need not worry about Father Matthias. He is indeed a most worthy successor to Archbishop Job. Axios!
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« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2011, 07:52:35 PM »

What do you think About Fr. Mathias?

Father Matthias is a kindly, humble and self-effacing man with a keen and quiet sense of humor. I have know him and his family since his seminary days. He and his late wife, Pani Jeanette, dealt with her protracted and painful illness with dignity, charity, grace, faith and hope.

Their children are grown with several children of their own. His son is an ACROD priest and graduate of St. Tikhon's and pastor of a parish in New Jersey and one of the co-priests of the Diocesan youth ministry.

You are indeed blessed to have a bishop who was, and will always first be a pastor, a father and pious man.

You need not worry about Father Matthias. He is indeed a most worthy successor to Archbishop Job. Axios!

Glad to hear it!
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« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2011, 10:26:21 PM »

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« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2011, 11:04:07 PM »


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