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Author Topic: Interesting development in the OCA  (Read 9195 times) Average Rating: 0
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TheodoraElizabeth3
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« on: August 09, 2011, 11:23:29 PM »

Very interesting development in the OCA:

http://byztex.blogspot.com/2011/08/mark-stokoe-of-ocanews-removed-from.html

God love Vladyka Matthias! Axios! Grin

On the heels of His Grace's pastoral letter last week, reaffirming the Church's traditional stance on homosexuality, this is not surprising. His Grace definitely has a backbone!

Vladyka's pastoral letter:

http://www.midwestdiocese.org/news_110802_1.html

Note the last bulleted point in the letter.
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 11:50:19 PM »

Its unfortunate that it has come to this. But you cannot really be Orthodox and live an active homosexual lifestyle. As Bishop Matthias said, if you struggle with other Orthodox Christians and recognize homosexuality as what it is, and as long as you don't contradict the teaching of the Church, then you are fine.

Groups like "Axios" are rightly excommunicated and put out of the Church. You cannot try to justify your behavior and expect to be allowed to commune in our church. It doesn't matter what sin you're committing.

With discussions like this though, I also feel like we are all guilty of the sin of gossip and loose tongues. Lord forgive us!
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 11:56:33 PM »

Hmmm......


Never a dull moment I suppose.
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 12:05:07 AM »

With discussions like this though, I also feel like we are all guilty of the sin of gossip and loose tongues. Lord forgive us!

Possibly, but Church officials affect all of us. St Paul said that bishops must be "above reproach", but I would think that command extends to everyone in Church leadership, even lay leadership. For our Orthodox brothers and sisters who are struggling against the passion of homosexuality, it could be a major stumbling-block to see someone like Mr Stokoe in such a position in the Church.

I applaud Bishop Matthias' letter, and on the heels of the Antiochian Archdiocese's resolution last weekend dealing with gay marriage, I am glad to see the Church putting her foot down on these issues that have risen in the cultural consciousness recently.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 12:05:40 AM by bogdan » Logged
TheodoraElizabeth3
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 12:30:46 AM »

What a  joke. Hopefully they'll find some other excuse than his alleged homosexuality or else they'll have to explain why nothing happens to those afflicted with similar "passions" in the hierarchy.

Given that there has been a lot of questions and concern about Mark Stokoe's very apparent conflict of interest (being on the MC and the things he's published and some of the methods used for getting the information), I'd say His Grace had quite enough to go on to remove MS from the MC without the homosexuality issue.
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 12:34:58 AM »

What a  joke. Hopefully they'll find some other excuse than his alleged homosexuality or else they'll have to explain why nothing happens to those afflicted with similar "passions" in the hierarchy.

Given that there has been a lot of questions and concern about Mark Stokoe's very apparent conflict of interest (being on the MC and the things he's published and some of the methods used for getting the information), I'd say His Grace had quite enough to go on to remove MS from the MC without the homosexuality issue.
For the conflict of interests issue, I'm actually somewhat surprised Mr. Stokoe was even appointed to such positions of responsibility within the OCA.
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TheodoraElizabeth3
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 12:39:34 AM »

What a  joke. Hopefully they'll find some other excuse than his alleged homosexuality or else they'll have to explain why nothing happens to those afflicted with similar "passions" in the hierarchy.

Given that there has been a lot of questions and concern about Mark Stokoe's very apparent conflict of interest (being on the MC and the things he's published and some of the methods used for getting the information), I'd say His Grace had quite enough to go on to remove MS from the MC without the homosexuality issue.
For the conflict of interests issue, I'm actually somewhat surprised Mr. Stokoe was even appointed to such positions of responsibility within the OCA.

Well, you can blame the Diocesan Assembly in the fall of 2008 for that! The Diocesan Assembly is usually held in early October. Met. Herman had just been retired, a lot of stuff had come into the open that MS helped crack open - or at least provide the forum for the info to be revealed. So you can see why he was elected to the MC (with an unelected seat on the Diocesan Council as a result). Our Diocesan Assembly this year is being held on October 31, right before the AAC in Seattle. I was really praying MS wouldn't be reelected for a second term. At least we don't have to worry about that now.
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 12:55:02 AM »

What a  joke. Hopefully they'll find some other excuse than his alleged homosexuality or else they'll have to explain why nothing happens to those afflicted with similar "passions" in the hierarchy.

Given that there has been a lot of questions and concern about Mark Stokoe's very apparent conflict of interest (being on the MC and the things he's published and some of the methods used for getting the information), I'd say His Grace had quite enough to go on to remove MS from the MC without the homosexuality issue.
For the conflict of interests issue, I'm actually somewhat surprised Mr. Stokoe was even appointed to such positions of responsibility within the OCA.

Well, you can blame the Diocesan Assembly in the fall of 2008 for that! The Diocesan Assembly is usually held in early October. Met. Herman had just been retired, a lot of stuff had come into the open that MS helped crack open - or at least provide the forum for the info to be revealed. So you can see why he was elected to the MC (with an unelected seat on the Diocesan Council as a result). Our Diocesan Assembly this year is being held on October 31, right before the AAC in Seattle. I was really praying MS wouldn't be reelected for a second term. At least we don't have to worry about that now.
Yeah, I guess they found out how much of a two-edged sword he is.
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 12:55:11 AM »

[Tit for tat ...]

Mark Stokoe "got" Met. Herman and was trying to "get" Met. Jonah.

Met. Jonah / OCA "got" Mark Stokoe.

[/Tit for tat ...]   angel

EDIT: Note that the above sentences retain their meaning if one uses "out" rather than "get"
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 12:56:46 AM by SolEX01 » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 01:07:20 AM »

Hasn't it been proven Mark Stokoe is a practicing homosexual? (or rather, hasn't he "outted" himself?)

Yes, I would say he's done more than just be a "homosexual" to warrant his removal. This isn't some sort of witch hunt, but we have to recognize that practicing homosexuality isn't compatible with Orthodoxy, and people in our Church need to realize this. (yes, I know most do, but there are some who don't)

I don't think it's fair for us to say that they are being picky-choosy when it comes to removing certain people. We don't know the full stories on issues, and we aren't the ones involved in these scandals.

As has been mentioned before, we can certainly have monks, Priests and Bishops that are "gay", but they absolutely cannot be practicing, and cannot try to justify their actions or feelings. Look at Fr. Seraphim Rose, he was a homosexual, but he left his partner and his lifestyle when he entered the Church, and rejected the homosexual lifestyle.
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 01:37:43 AM »

Frankly, at this point, I'm happy I've got a bishop who isn't afraid to actually publicly take a stance.

God love Archbishop Job, but he was adverse to confrontation...

ETA: And aside from the Metropolitan, the two diocesan bishops (+Matthias and +Michael) to come out publicly in support of traditional marriage (aka hetero marriage) are both widowers.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 01:40:57 AM by TheodoraElizabeth3 » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 01:45:15 AM »

I'd always supported Mark Stokoe because I think we all owe him for the consistant campaign that thwarted the financial malfeasance and other errant behavior that characterized the OCA's Central Administration for nearly 20 years.  But, I haven't understood his strong opposition to Metropolitan Jonah, except I am critical of Met. Jonah's lack of tact when addressing serious matters, not that his positions are wrong, and his embrace of his corrupt predecessors, especially because he had to understand he was elected as the reform primate.  Never-the-less, while I've recently been told Mark Stokoe's deviant life style was common knowledge, though not know to me, the publication of his mother's death notice and the revelations therein, should preclude his membership on the higher councils of the church.  As for OCANews, it's still is a control for the need for administrative transparency, something for which all of our ecclisial jurisdictions could benefit.
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 04:57:29 AM »

His Grace's actions (including the Holy Communion prohibition), which may not be so popular in the politically correct culture of today's America, yet hopefully, are popular among the Orthodox  faithful,  demonstrate a boldness for executing the responsibilities of the office of an Eastern Orthodox bishop, and are an example that the OCA's Diocese of the Midwest is once again blessed with a most honorable Chief Sheppard.  I think today is Bishop Matthias of Chicago's name day; "Our Master, and our Archierarch, Lord protect him, for Many Years."   Not-with-standing our opinions about Mr. Stokoe's life style, he has a good deal of support within the administrative circles in the OCA and the Midwest Diocese, and he operates a news site that enjoys a high readership.  It took a strong sense of the responsibilities of his episcopal office, to take this action against Mr. Stokoe.  Too many hierarchs today would have either ignored the problem, or resorted to Byzantine intrigue and privately passed word to one in the situation such as Mr. Stokoe, that his resignation for whatever reason he would want to publicize, would be welcomed.  But, no, His Grace took a clear and public stand consistent with the teachings of our Faith; "...This is the Faith of the Orthodox; This is the Faith that established the Universe."  These actions bode well for the success and progress of his episcopal tenure.
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2011, 05:10:14 AM »

His Grace's actions (including the Holy Communion prohibition), which may not be so popular in the politically correct culture of today's America, yet hopefully, are popular among the Orthodox  faithful,  demonstrate a boldness for executing the responsibilities of the office of an Eastern Orthodox bishop, and are an example that the OCA's Diocese of the Midwest is once again blessed with a most honorable Chief Sheppard.  I think today is Bishop Matthias of Chicago's name day; "Our Master, and our Archierarch, Lord protect him, for Many Years."   Not-with-standing our opinions about Mr. Stokoe's life style, he has a good deal of support within the administrative circles in the OCA and the Midwest Diocese, and he operates a news site that enjoys a high readership.  It took a strong sense of the responsibilities of his episcopal office, to take this action against Mr. Stokoe.  Too many hierarchs today would have either ignored the problem, or resorted to Byzantine intrigue and privately passed word to one in the situation such as Mr. Stokoe, that his resignation for whatever reason he would want to publicize, would be welcomed.  But, no, His Grace took a clear and public stand consistent with the teachings of our Faith; "...This is the Faith of the Orthodox; This is the Faith that established the Universe."  These actions bode well for the success and progress of his episcopal tenure.
But why for this and not for the fact that his whole position has been one big conflict of interest? That's what I don't like about this. I hate to speak ill of Bishop Matthias, but it just seems fishy- especially if it's true that there are other OCA officials who are openly gay or in some other unrepentant sin but haven't been disciplined.
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2011, 05:27:57 AM »

But why for this and not for the fact that his whole position has been one big conflict of interest? That's what I don't like about this. I hate to speak ill of Bishop Matthias, but it just seems fishy- especially if it's true that there are other OCA officials who are openly gay or in some other unrepentant sin but haven't been disciplined.

This was alluded and would be problematic.
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2011, 07:35:43 AM »

He also shared a cell, apparently, with Gleb Podmoshenski. The irony...
But yeah, I can see how formerly conservative Protestants get all excited over this stuff. It's actually what made them come into the OC. Who cares.

Agreed. The content of Bishop Matthias' letter is hardly new stuff to those of us brought up in the faith. Nor should it be surprising to any convert with a proper understanding of Orthodoxy and our moral teachings.

This is what he was taught by his parents at an early age, at his home parish of Christ the Savior in Parma,Ohio and as a Seminarian at Christ the Savior Seminary in Johnstown, PA. These words are what has been written in numerous pastoral letters over the past forty years of his priesthood by his Bishops in ACROD now of thrice blessed memory - Bishop John (Martin) and Metropolitan Nicholas (Smisko) and said teachings have been available online for years: http://www.acrod.org/readingroom/ethics. GOARCH links to the same teaching materials.

What is the big deal and why the rejoicing? It would be a big deal if he and Bishop Michael had said something different. There are plenty of other issues that are important to the Church as well, let's hear from our Bishops on them as well. I suspect that some of our conservative friends would not be as excited about those teachings as they are about the ones related to sex.
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2011, 09:42:58 AM »

For the conflict of interests issue, I'm actually somewhat surprised Mr. Stokoe was even appointed to such positions of responsibility within the OCA.

Indeed.
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« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2011, 10:29:51 AM »

His Grace's actions (including the Holy Communion prohibition), which may not be so popular in the politically correct culture of today's America, yet hopefully, are popular among the Orthodox  faithful,  demonstrate a boldness for executing the responsibilities of the office of an Eastern Orthodox bishop, and are an example that the OCA's Diocese of the Midwest is once again blessed with a most honorable Chief Sheppard.  I think today is Bishop Matthias of Chicago's name day; "Our Master, and our Archierarch, Lord protect him, for Many Years."   Not-with-standing our opinions about Mr. Stokoe's life style, he has a good deal of support within the administrative circles in the OCA and the Midwest Diocese, and he operates a news site that enjoys a high readership.  It took a strong sense of the responsibilities of his episcopal office, to take this action against Mr. Stokoe.  Too many hierarchs today would have either ignored the problem, or resorted to Byzantine intrigue and privately passed word to one in the situation such as Mr. Stokoe, that his resignation for whatever reason he would want to publicize, would be welcomed.  But, no, His Grace took a clear and public stand consistent with the teachings of our Faith; "...This is the Faith of the Orthodox; This is the Faith that established the Universe."  These actions bode well for the success and progress of his episcopal tenure.
But why for this and not for the fact that his whole position has been one big conflict of interest? That's what I don't like about this. I hate to speak ill of Bishop Matthias, but it just seems fishy- especially if it's true that there are other OCA officials who are openly gay or in some other unrepentant sin but haven't been disciplined.

Are we certain that the reason for Mark Stokoe's removal is his alleged lifestyle and not the ethics complaint brought against him concerning his publishing of allegedly stolen e-mails, which the OCA Ethics Committee said was a matter for Bp. Matthias to deal with?
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« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2011, 10:37:56 AM »

His Grace's actions (including the Holy Communion prohibition), which may not be so popular in the politically correct culture of today's America, yet hopefully, are popular among the Orthodox  faithful,  demonstrate a boldness for executing the responsibilities of the office of an Eastern Orthodox bishop, and are an example that the OCA's Diocese of the Midwest is once again blessed with a most honorable Chief Sheppard.  I think today is Bishop Matthias of Chicago's name day; "Our Master, and our Archierarch, Lord protect him, for Many Years."   Not-with-standing our opinions about Mr. Stokoe's life style, he has a good deal of support within the administrative circles in the OCA and the Midwest Diocese, and he operates a news site that enjoys a high readership.  It took a strong sense of the responsibilities of his episcopal office, to take this action against Mr. Stokoe.  Too many hierarchs today would have either ignored the problem, or resorted to Byzantine intrigue and privately passed word to one in the situation such as Mr. Stokoe, that his resignation for whatever reason he would want to publicize, would be welcomed.  But, no, His Grace took a clear and public stand consistent with the teachings of our Faith; "...This is the Faith of the Orthodox; This is the Faith that established the Universe."  These actions bode well for the success and progress of his episcopal tenure.
But why for this and not for the fact that his whole position has been one big conflict of interest? That's what I don't like about this. I hate to speak ill of Bishop Matthias, but it just seems fishy- especially if it's true that there are other OCA officials who are openly gay or in some other unrepentant sin but haven't been disciplined.

Are we certain that the reason for Mark Stokoe's removal is his alleged lifestyle and not the ethics complaint brought against him concerning his publishing of allegedly stolen e-mails, which the OCA Ethics Committee said was a matter for Bp. Matthias to deal with?
Thank you for bringing this up. This actually makes more sense to me.
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« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2011, 11:55:35 AM »

Very interesting development in the OCA:

http://byztex.blogspot.com/2011/08/mark-stokoe-of-ocanews-removed-from.html

God love Vladyka Matthias! Axios! Grin

On the heels of His Grace's pastoral letter last week, reaffirming the Church's traditional stance on homosexuality, this is not surprising. His Grace definitely has a backbone!

Vladyka's pastoral letter:

http://www.midwestdiocese.org/news_110802_1.html

Note the last bulleted point in the letter.


The Orthodox Church has backbone! Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2011, 02:22:13 PM »

If someone tried to defend lying as a perfectly natural action people would be just as up in arms about it as they are when homosexuality is given that pass. If everyone agreed that homosexuality is a distortion as much as hate or greed is, then there would be a lot less threads about it. Things are suddenly much less interesting when everyone agrees.

This is really the whole point, and it is why we get hung up on this issue. Not because we view it as a greater sin, or a greater issue, but because so many would minimize it.

Far more minimize usury (ie credit cards) than homosexuality.  There are dozens of canons about usury.  Where's the outcry about that?  Divorce numbers are obscene in this country.  While the Orthodox Church allows for such a thing, it is also patently clear that it is a sin and lamentable.  More Orthodox go to great lengths to defend divorce (esp. online vis-a-vis RCs) than who lambast this practice.

I agree with everything you've said, but how does that have any effect on how one should feel about homosexuality? All of those things are big problems, yes, and warrant discussion. Start one.

It's as if I said that the New England Patriots are a good football team, and you responded by saying, "but the Eagles are good, too!" This, while true, doesn't negate the fact that the Patriots are good. If I said, "the Patriots are undeniably going to win the Super Bowl", then there would be an argument, just like if I had said, "homosexuality is the gravest sin of our time, and the only one worth addressing", you would have an argument, but no one said this.

My point is that the way people go on and on and on and on (to the point where we once had to have a moratorium on homosexuality on OC.net!) is that while it may not explicitly be stated that it's the gravest sin, it is implicitly acted as if it is such.  Note that people such as myself, who do not deny and even actively say that homosexual acts are objectively sinful and against the law of God, get absolutely and utterly sick of hearing about it.  Who on here exalts the practice?  Who even brings it up in a positive light first?  The only time it is mentioned on here is in yet another post whereby we hear someone condemn it once again.

I ignore 99% of them.  For some reason, this one put me over the edge.
I can understand why. Someone brings up the idea that Mark Stokoe was removed from his seat on the Metropolitan Council for ethical reasons connected to the publication of possibly stolen emails and not for reasons tied to his alleged homosexual orientation, yet no one wants to address the ethical charges. The discussion of homosexuality goes on unabated.
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« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2011, 02:23:21 PM »

Yeah, I'm ugly in real life, so thank goodness I'm gay!   Undecided
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« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2011, 02:25:06 PM »

Yeah, I'm ugly in real life, so thank goodness I'm gay!   Undecided

but you are pretty in the picture  Kiss
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« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2011, 02:26:30 PM »

There are dozens of canons about usury.  Where's the outcry about that?

Please ask your parish to submit a resolution for consideration at the ACC AAC. Seriously.
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« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2011, 02:26:55 PM »

Yeah, I'm ugly in real life, so thank goodness I'm gay!   Undecided

but you are pretty in the picture  Kiss
Photoshop does wonders.
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« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2011, 02:28:43 PM »

You two bring the fun back after I leave . . . I so wanted to chime in with Ani Difranco with anecdote.

This is where the "discussion" about musicals began:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12518.msg614683.html#msg614683
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« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2011, 04:32:12 PM »

We are way off topic. I am locking this thread to consult with fellow moderators on what to do. Thanks, Second CHance
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« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2011, 02:49:15 AM »

I have split this thread into three:

1. This one will be limited to Bishop's Matthias' action in removing Mark Stokoe from his official positions on the Midwest Diocesan Council and the OCA Metropolitan Council.

2. Discussions about homosexuality and the Church have ben moved to a new thread: "Homosexulaity and the Church--was part of Re: Interesting development in the OCA" at http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38747.0.html

3. Discussion about lust and any other matter not germane to the original thread have been moved to "Lust and other matters--Re: Interesting development in the OCA" at http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38748.0.html

I realize that I may not have done folks justice in trying to bring some semblance of order to this maelstrom and I apologize for that. Second Chance
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« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2011, 03:38:25 AM »

Apparently Mark Stokoe posted the letters from Bishop Matthias...
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« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2011, 04:15:02 AM »

It seems that Mr. Stokoe was removed from his positions of responsibility because Bishop Matthias doesn't like his Web site, which--I guess--is certainly His Grace's prerogative if he thinks ocanews.org is a force for division in the Church. Whether I agree that his decision was proper or not is another thing.

Personally, I don't like Mark Stokoe's Web site, either. It served its original purpose of exposing the great OCA financial scandal of years ago, which could explain why Archbishop Job liked it, but I think it's degenerated into a vigilante rumor mill since then.
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« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2011, 04:16:47 AM »

It seems that Mr. Stokoe was removed from his positions of responsibility because Bishop Matthias doesn't like his Web site, which--I guess--is certainly His Grace's prerogative if he thinks ocanews.org is a force for division in the Church. Whether I agree with his decision or not is another thing. Personally, I don't like Mark Stokoe's Web site, either. It served its original purpose of exposing the great OCA financial scandal of years ago, which could explain why Archbishop Job liked it, but I think it's degenerated into a vigilante rumor mill since then.

I agree wholeheartedly...
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« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2011, 04:25:58 AM »

Even the OCA's favourite Varvara has some opinions. Bit of a jumble and hard to follow.

http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/10-august-2011-moriak-lives-in-a-glass-house…-he’d-best-be-careful…/
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« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2011, 05:14:38 AM »

I don't know for sure, I think all the Orthodox ecclesial jurisdictions in North America need far more openness in their administrative work of the church.  This is an evolutionary development since the 1970's as the hierarchy has marginalized the role of the laity in church administrative matters, at least the common laity, not so with the big donors who remain in the inner circles of power and are comfortable keeping everthing close to the vest.  The church is far too Byzantine in its non-Liturgial operations.  Don't ever forget, the financial malfeasance, right smack dab in the Central Administration of the Orthodox Church in America, existed for at least 19 years, from what we now know.  I would go so far as to say, without OCANews and the deligent determination of its editor, the OCA's malfeasance may have never been exposed and terminated. The GOAA had Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) providing the news of administrative activities that were secretively conducted in the 1990's (+/-), but OCL has elevated its mission, and there is no regular source of information that the church does not wish to be known.  The GOAA had "Voithia" too, but its sponsor, GOAL (Greek Orthodox American Leaders), agreed to shut down with the forced resignation of Archbishop Spyridon (9/99).   For GOAA independent reporting, we have a Greek-American newspaper, "The National Herald," but the biases and yellow style (Old World) journalistic inclinations of its primary church reporter/commentator, minimize its benefits.   OCANews has been helpful in exposing AOCANA secrets too; and to some extent information about the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese.  And lately, if OCANews hadn't exposed the data in the e-mails (so to speak), the truth would likely have remained in question (aside from whether you agree with the method of the publication of the information), and the OCA could have drifted back to its mode of operation that enabled the financial malfeasance.  Overall, I think OCANews serves a vital need as a source of information.  Even when contentious matters are revealed by the churches, it could be that they know something will get out due to OCANews' existence.
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« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2011, 05:32:23 AM »

Even the OCA's favourite Varvara has some opinions. Bit of a jumble and hard to follow.

http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/10-august-2011-moriak-lives-in-a-glass-house…-he’d-best-be-careful…/

Speaking of glass houses, maybe Stan/Vara should stop teasing Metropolitan Jonah about his weight.  Stan/Vara is not exactly a Bolshoi ballerina himself.
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« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2011, 06:17:33 AM »

So what was the point of the pastoral letter if this has nothing to do with his homosexuality?

Anyway, imo for better or worse probably a good thing he's gone, though for different reasons. It was great Stokoe was able to whistle blow where he was, but his presence in that capacity just screams conflict of interest.

Too bad the closest Church to me is OCA *takes a swig of vodka*
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« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2011, 07:55:24 AM »

Here is the text of the letter to Mark Stokoe that is similar that in the public announcement:

"In the months that I have been administrator of the diocese and now its archpastor, I have observed the divisivness and the promoting of gossip that your website “Orthodox Christians for Accountability” provides. It is not a healthy vehicle for the Church. It has hampered Pan-Orthodox unity, and it has encouraged those who disrespect the clergy and the Church to express their disdain and sometimes outright hatred for the Church, the hierarchs, the clergy and its faithful.

As the archpastor of this diocese, I can no longer tolerate the existence of this website being administered by a member of the Metropolitan Council and Diocesan Council. Your representation on these Councils leaves the impression, whether correct or not, that I approve of your website, and I do not!"
http://ocanews.org/news/StokoeDismissed8.10.11.html

 
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« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2011, 07:58:51 AM »

And, here is some text that is not present in the public announcement:

"The final straw that “broke the camel’s back” for me was when you printed a lengthy article promoting homosexuality, written by an anonymous author. That article was a complete distortion of the Church’s teachings and twisted the canons of the Church to justify its position. If that isn’t bad enough, the author did not have the courage to put his name on the article. It appears to me that if someone cannot reveal temnselves in the light, they they are coming from darkness.

I can only hope and pray that someday you yourself will realize the harm this website brings to the Church and you will decide to close it down."

http://ocanews.org/news/StokoeDismissed8.10.11.html

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« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2011, 08:36:53 AM »

Well, that makes sense then. Thanks. Good for Bishop Matthias  Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2011, 10:48:10 AM »

Good job.

I don't understand where homosexuals want to be accepted in Christianity.

Abomination is abomination.  Period.
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« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2011, 10:56:38 AM »

Even the OCA's favourite Varvara has some opinions. Bit of a jumble and hard to follow.

http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/10-august-2011-moriak-lives-in-a-glass-house…-he’d-best-be-careful…/

Speaking of glass houses, maybe Stan/Vara should stop teasing Metropolitan Jonah about his weight.  Stan/Vara is not exactly a Bolshoi ballerina himself.
Really?  The photo must be slimming then.
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« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2011, 10:59:27 AM »

It seems that Mr. Stokoe was removed from his positions of responsibility because Bishop Matthias doesn't like his Web site, which--I guess--is certainly His Grace's prerogative if he thinks ocanews.org is a force for division in the Church. Whether I agree that his decision was proper or not is another thing.

Personally, I don't like Mark Stokoe's Web site, either. It served its original purpose of exposing the great OCA financial scandal of years ago, which could explain why Archbishop Job liked it, but I think it's degenerated into a vigilante rumor mill since then.
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« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2011, 10:59:40 AM »

Abomination is abomination.  Period.
Well, we are all abominations, no? Or are they especially more repulsive than us liars, usurers, those of us who are drowning in cesspools of lust, gluttons, murderers...
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« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2011, 11:01:15 AM »

They can be accepted just like gluttons, greedy, angry people. What they, nor any of the other mentioned, can't do is to try to change the teaching of the Church about their sins. It's like a doctor. Maybe he can even smoke. It's bad as it is, but you don't get his license for that. If he starts teaching people that smoking is harmless and in fact natural and even healthy, than he loses his license.
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« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2011, 11:02:23 AM »

Good job.

I don't understand where homosexuals want to be accepted in Christianity.

Abomination is abomination.  Period.

As I have indicated above, all discussion on homosexuality and the Church must be held in another thread. The first part of this post is germane to this thread but the rest crosses the line. I am leaving it here, as well as two responses to the offending parts, as an example of what not to post here. Please cooperate in the future. Any violation will result in moderation for violating the following rule: "Keep Threads on Target -- For the forum-challenged, a thread is a sequence of postings, or messages, related to a primary topic.  For purposes of continuity and consistency, please keep ALL threads on target to their original purpose.  If you want to deviate, start a new thread." Thanks, Second Chance, Section Moderator
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« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2011, 11:02:55 AM »

Frankly, at this point, I'm happy I've got a bishop who isn't afraid to actually publicly take a stance.

God love Archbishop Job, but he was adverse to confrontation...
No, just weary of it coming constantly, starting with his conversion.
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« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2011, 11:54:15 AM »

Frankly, at this point, I'm happy I've got a bishop who isn't afraid to actually publicly take a stance.

God love Archbishop Job, but he was adverse to confrontation...
No, just weary of it coming constantly, starting with his conversion.

And this is you and augustin agreeing. Prepare for lightning strike in 3 . . . 2 . . .

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« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2011, 12:32:22 PM »

Even the OCA's favourite Varvara has some opinions. Bit of a jumble and hard to follow.

http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/10-august-2011-moriak-lives-in-a-glass-house…-he’d-best-be-careful…/

Even? Some opinions? Bit of a jumble? Understatements of the year, Father.
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« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2011, 12:38:03 PM »

Personally, I don't like Mark Stokoe's Web site, either. It served its original purpose of exposing the great OCA financial scandal of years ago, which could explain why Archbishop Job liked it, but I think it's degenerated into a vigilante rumor mill since then.

Since Abp. Job reposed.
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« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2011, 02:29:00 PM »

I have removed some posts that are off topic. Again, if you wish to discuss homosexuality, homosexuality and the Church, and related matters, do so on other threads. In case you have not been to page 1 of this thread, please review Replies #27 and 43. Thanks, Second Chance
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« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2011, 02:44:04 PM »

I agree that Mr Stokoe's site has denigrated into a rumour mill promoting divisiveness and anger.  I also agree with the bishop's actions. 

I think the website should be shut down.
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« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2011, 03:53:40 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?
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« Reply #51 on: August 11, 2011, 04:01:17 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.
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« Reply #52 on: August 11, 2011, 04:05:15 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.

I am surprised that one bishop can have that much power (vesus the Holy Synod acting in consensus).  Isn't Mark serving on the Metropolitan Council which represents the whole church?
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« Reply #53 on: August 11, 2011, 04:13:51 PM »

I agree that Mr Stokoe's site has denigrated into a rumour mill promoting divisiveness and anger.  I also agree with the bishop's actions.  

I think the website should be shut down.

I respectfully disagree with the recommendation that OCA News should be shut down. OCA News has done more for the health of OCA than many folks who would rather not face problems in the light of day. I think that Stokoe was unfairly (at times viciously) attacked when his revelations (not rumors) embarrassed some important bishops, who happened to have been the primates of the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese. He did err in exploring the issue of homosexuality in the Church, particularly after having been accused of having that agenda drive his reporting about Metropolitan Jonah. I have also witnessed rigorous efforts on his part in trying to keep posters' comment within bounds of decency and propriety to the point of editing out allegations that he knew to be untrue. I would compare his record anytime to that of OCA Truth and Monomakhos. Bottom line: he is a flawed hero.
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« Reply #54 on: August 11, 2011, 04:32:24 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.

I am surprised that one bishop can have that much power (vesus the Holy Synod acting in consensus).  Isn't Mark serving on the Metropolitan Council which represents the whole church?

He represented the Diocese of the Midwest on the Metropolitan Council.
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« Reply #55 on: August 11, 2011, 04:35:32 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.

I am surprised that one bishop can have that much power (vesus the Holy Synod acting in consensus).  Isn't Mark serving on the Metropolitan Council which represents the whole church?

He represented the Diocese of the Midwest on the Metropolitan Council.

Thanks, but since he was serving on the metropolitan Council and not a DiEparchial Council, should the decision be made by the Holy Synod of Bishops?
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« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2011, 04:46:09 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.

I am surprised that one bishop can have that much power (vesus the Holy Synod acting in consensus).  Isn't Mark serving on the Metropolitan Council which represents the whole church?

He represented the Diocese of the Midwest on the Metropolitan Council.

Thanks, but since he was serving on the metropolitan Council and not a DiEparchial Council, should the decision be made by the Holy Synod of Bishops?

Those states which allow a recall of congressmen do not need the permission of either the Senate or the House to oust their elected official.  Since Stokoe needs the blessing of his bishop to sit on the Council, by removing it, His Grace is doing the recall himself.

I, for one, think it's a good step.  Bishop Mathias is showing he's not going to be ignored or messed with and damn the torpedoes, so to speak. 
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« Reply #57 on: August 11, 2011, 04:48:03 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.

I am surprised that one bishop can have that much power (vesus the Holy Synod acting in consensus).  Isn't Mark serving on the Metropolitan Council which represents the whole church?

He represented the Diocese of the Midwest on the Metropolitan Council.

Thanks, but since he was serving on the metropolitan Council and not a DiEparchial Council, should the decision be made by the Holy Synod of Bishops?

You may be thinking of members elected by the AAC, not members elected by their respective dioceses. In any case, if the bishop didn't have the authority to remove him, I doubt he would have accepted it so graciously.
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« Reply #58 on: August 11, 2011, 05:25:50 PM »

Question - how is it that a bishop can unilaterally remove someone from an elected position?  Is there an appeals process?

Any person serving on Diocesan bodies, or as a representative of a diocese on a national body, must have the blessing of the ruling bishop. In this case, Bishop Matthias was certainly within his right to withdraw his blessing. I don't believe that there is an appeals process.

I am surprised that one bishop can have that much power (vesus the Holy Synod acting in consensus).  Isn't Mark serving on the Metropolitan Council which represents the whole church?

In each of the American ecclesiastical structures that I'm familiar with (GOA, AOA, OCA), their top-level Clergy-Lay bodies (Archdiocesan Council, Metropolis Council) contain many types of representation: those directly appointed by the Primate, those representing certain interested parties (seminaries, philanthropic organizations), those who are in diocesan administration (hierarchs and chancellors), sometimes there are members who are elected (one way or another), and then there are those selected to represent the diocese.  With each level, membership in the body can be rescinded by the authority which granted representation rights in the first place (and without the consent of the council itself): those appointed by the Primate can be removed by him, those appointed to represent diocese can be removed by their diocesan bishop, etc.  It's a fairly standard procedure (which is why Schultz brings up the parallel situation of the recall of Senators and Representatives).

In some cases, diocesan reps to the higher council are elected, or selected, by a diocesan council or assembly; in those cases the hierarch usually retains veto rights - he can say "no" to a selection, but cannot unilaterally appoint someone to the position.  That is what appears to have happened in this case: the hierarch has removed his blessing for Mark to serve on the council, and (as Mark indicates in his article on OCANews), there is an automatic procedure for determining who will fill the place (the 1st runner up in the election that selected Mark to begin with).
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« Reply #59 on: August 12, 2011, 08:45:16 AM »

I respectfully disagree with the recommendation that OCA News should be shut down.

Of course, the site cannot be forcibly shut down. Mark would have to shut it down himself.  Did the site contribute to an effort to uncover improprieties during the financial scandal? Yes.  Is there a purpose being served now with all the rumours and divisiveness? No. 

His Grace is hopeful that Mr Stokoe "will come to the conclusion that this website is not a healthy venue for the Church and that he take down this site."

I hope that Mr Stokoe is obedient.
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« Reply #60 on: August 12, 2011, 09:49:54 AM »

I respectfully disagree with the recommendation that OCA News should be shut down.

Of course, the site cannot be forcibly shut down. Mark would have to shut it down himself.  Did the site contribute to an effort to uncover improprieties during the financial scandal? Yes.  Is there a purpose being served now with all the rumours and divisiveness? No.  

His Grace is hopeful that Mr Stokoe "will come to the conclusion that this website is not a healthy venue for the Church and that he take down this site."

I hope that Mr Stokoe is obedient.

It seems to me that your argument is similar to:

Did the fire department put down fires? Yes. Is there a purpose for its existence now that the fire is out? No.

Please note that I am not commenting on the current state of affairs. All I am saying that an independent news source is a good thing-- just in case. Just as a fire department; just in case.

Also, I cannot agree with you that this is a matter of obedience.
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« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2011, 10:41:44 AM »

It seems to me that your argument is similar to:

Did the fire department put down fires? Yes. Is there a purpose for its existence now that the fire is out? No.

Fire departments are not swayed by rumours and bias.....so your analogy fails.

Also, I cannot agree with you that this is a matter of obedience.

You are not compelled to agree with me.
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« Reply #62 on: August 12, 2011, 11:05:18 AM »

It seems to me that your argument is similar to:

Did the fire department put down fires? Yes. Is there a purpose for its existence now that the fire is out? No.

Fire departments are not swayed by rumours and bias.....so your analogy fails.

Your criticism fails. How do you know what goes on in every fire department? Ever hear of affirmative action? And the fallout that it caused in many fire departments across the States? Lowering physical standards for women and written test standards for "minorities".

You do realize if you are not in a tiny blip on the map, the fire department is enmeshed in city politics? Budgeting, quid pro quo union support for politicians in return for favors and the like?

You might want to consider what you are going to write before being so dismissive.
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« Reply #63 on: August 12, 2011, 11:05:29 AM »

The problem with OCANews is that Mr. Stokoe was at once an 'insider' within the OCA's structure, yet running a news web site reporting from the 'outside.'  It is tantamount to someone working for the White House while also being a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Those who wish to fulfill the role of reporter need to have some distance from what or who they report on.  Having two roles is just undoable over the long haul.

This became a real problem when Mark decided to start 'reporting' on the topic of the Manhattan Declaration and homosexuality.

The danger with mark running OCANews by himself is that it ego boundaries tend to get a bit blurry.  He has no one to check his work before it goes out, and people tend to perceive OCANews as an extension of Mark.  I'm not sure that is all that inaccurate in either case.  So, when the topic swung towards a matter having to do with a condition of Mark's personal life, he lost the ability to deal with the matter with even the appearance of impartiality and he opened himself up to inquiry as to how much he was 'guiding' the discussion on OCANews in favor of his own preferences.

Bishop Matthias had the canonical right remove Mark, and did so on substantive grounds: you can't sit in a room with Bishops and laity that you will then report on with a less-than-friendly light and expect confidential conversations to be kept confidential.  We all know that meetings change once the tape recorder is turned on.  Mark is a walking (and posting) transcription machine.  That's why his site was effective, but it also becomes a liability when you are supposed to work together with the people you publicly criticize.

In this last case, the matter of homosexuality and gay marriage is a hot-button topic.  Mark did not, in all fairness, treat the matter in a balanced way, but posted a number of extreme (by Orthodox standards!) essays without a counter-balanced approach.  He also opened up a can of worms for the clergy who posted (for example, Fr. Vinogradov wrote something which was refuted by his own Bishop), which ran the risk of opening up another wound in the OCA.

If Mark is going to criticize the moral standards of the OCA, then he has pushed the boundaries of his own role as a 'trustee' of the OCA.  He is expected to uphold and protect the morality of the Church, not to lobby for change.  He was expected to represent the people of the Midwest in advising the Holy Synod rather than directing the latter's pastoral activity.

He went a step too far.  Whereas before he was holding the bishops accountable for upholding morality, he started to get into the topic of changing morality.  These are very different concepts.

I think everyone is grateful that Mark was instrumental in exposing the corruption of the Ancien Régime, but I think that being on the MC while trying to run OCANews is simply not workable.  Furthermore, mark would do well to have other people involved to make sure that OCANews runs as a less-than-personal-crusade.  One must always be careful in  reporting on a topic tangential to one's personal life.
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« Reply #64 on: August 12, 2011, 11:08:30 AM »

You might want to consider what you are going to write before being so dismissive.

You are entitled to your opinion.

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« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2011, 11:09:25 AM »

I can say one thing. I've met Bishop Matthias, when he was Bishop-Elect. Not a more sincere and unassuming and seemingly genuine caring man have I met.

Everyone who has met him says nearly the same.
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« Reply #66 on: August 12, 2011, 11:13:26 AM »

The problem with OCANews is that Mr. Stokoe was at once an 'insider' within the OCA's structure, yet running a news web site reporting from the 'outside.'  It is tantamount to someone working for the White House while also being a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Indeed.


This became a real problem when Mark decided to start 'reporting' on the topic of the Manhattan Declaration and homosexuality.

Yes.


Bishop Matthias had the canonical right remove Mark, and did so on substantive grounds: you can't sit in a room with Bishops and laity that you will then report on with a less-than-friendly light and expect confidential conversations to be kept confidential.  We all know that meetings change once the tape recorder is turned on.  Mark is a walking (and posting) transcription machine.  That's why his site was effective, but it also becomes a liability when you are supposed to work together with the people you publicly criticize.

Yes. I thank God that Bishop Matthias took this action.







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« Reply #67 on: August 12, 2011, 12:27:32 PM »

Greek Orthodox American Leaders (GOAL) shut down the "Voithia" ("Help") web site in late 1999 and regretted it when new controversies arose, i.e. when the revised constitutional charter was being negotiated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, prior to it being "granted."  OCANews exists and the powers that be know it, thus, serving as an internal control in and of itself.  Critics now say it is passing around rumors, but when it documents them, the critics criticise the method with which the documentation was obtained.  OCANews' reporting history demonstrates that it isn't a gossip and rumor mill; there is fire where it reports smoke.  Many in the OCA suspect RSK still wields influence.  Bishop Matthias wasn't a player when Central Church Administration was operating in the deviant mode RSK had established and so, may not fully appreciate how significant the contribution to the catharsis that it facilitated.  He probably can't even fully appreciate the findings in the SIC Report, as a result; (which rational person could?)  Mr. Stokoe still has respected collaborators who will keep him and us informed, as needed. And OCANews will not have the restraints that have existed the past 3+ years, due to Mr. Stokoe's position on the MC and Diocesan Council.

Keep OCANews up and running "for the good of the church," to quote former Metropolitan Herman, in quite another context.
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« Reply #68 on: August 12, 2011, 12:55:03 PM »

The problem with OCANews is that Mr. Stokoe was at once an 'insider' within the OCA's structure, yet running a news web site reporting from the 'outside.'  It is tantamount to someone working for the White House while also being a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Those who wish to fulfill the role of reporter need to have some distance from what or who they report on.  Having two roles is just undoable over the long haul.

This became a real problem when Mark decided to start 'reporting' on the topic of the Manhattan Declaration and homosexuality.

The danger with mark running OCANews by himself is that it ego boundaries tend to get a bit blurry.  He has no one to check his work before it goes out, and people tend to perceive OCANews as an extension of Mark.  I'm not sure that is all that inaccurate in either case.  So, when the topic swung towards a matter having to do with a condition of Mark's personal life, he lost the ability to deal with the matter with even the appearance of impartiality and he opened himself up to inquiry as to how much he was 'guiding' the discussion on OCANews in favor of his own preferences.

Bishop Matthias had the canonical right remove Mark, and did so on substantive grounds: you can't sit in a room with Bishops and laity that you will then report on with a less-than-friendly light and expect confidential conversations to be kept confidential.  We all know that meetings change once the tape recorder is turned on.  Mark is a walking (and posting) transcription machine.  That's why his site was effective, but it also becomes a liability when you are supposed to work together with the people you publicly criticize.

In this last case, the matter of homosexuality and gay marriage is a hot-button topic.  Mark did not, in all fairness, treat the matter in a balanced way, but posted a number of extreme (by Orthodox standards!) essays without a counter-balanced approach.  He also opened up a can of worms for the clergy who posted (for example, Fr. Vinogradov wrote something which was refuted by his own Bishop), which ran the risk of opening up another wound in the OCA.

If Mark is going to criticize the moral standards of the OCA, then he has pushed the boundaries of his own role as a 'trustee' of the OCA.  He is expected to uphold and protect the morality of the Church, not to lobby for change.  He was expected to represent the people of the Midwest in advising the Holy Synod rather than directing the latter's pastoral activity.

He went a step too far.  Whereas before he was holding the bishops accountable for upholding morality, he started to get into the topic of changing morality.  These are very different concepts.

I think everyone is grateful that Mark was instrumental in exposing the corruption of the Ancien Régime, but I think that being on the MC while trying to run OCANews is simply not workable.  Furthermore, mark would do well to have other people involved to make sure that OCANews runs as a less-than-personal-crusade.  One must always be careful in  reporting on a topic tangential to one's personal life.


I agree with you on both points. Indeed, I had urged Mark not to wear two hats at the same time: he could have chosen not to serve on the MC or to have other folks help him run OCA News if he did. Similarly, I do think that he was not as objective as he could have been once he himself became a major factor (both the email and personal life issues). He has been trying quite hard to report facts and not rumors; his main problem stemmed from the fact that as he was on the inside his reports were necessarily vague. I can understand why folks may have misinterpreted such vagueness as rumors.
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« Reply #69 on: August 12, 2011, 01:01:19 PM »

OCANews' reporting history demonstrates that it isn't a gossip and rumor mill;

It did not begin that way...but I believe it has evolved.

Many in the OCA suspect RSK still wields influence.  

More rumours?
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« Reply #70 on: August 12, 2011, 01:16:24 PM »

I'd have to say that in the past year or two, I've become increasingly dissatisfied and frankly, disappointed in the reporting of OCANews. It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore, it was simply damaging to the soul. This became especially true when OCATruth was founded, and the two started having their childish "your bishop smells", "well, you're a liar" fights...

As many have said here, this became a conflict of interests, as Mark should not have been serving in such an administrative role while at the same time running the website. This was not just for his own good, but I'm sure this helps our relations with other jurisdictions as well (especially the Antiochians).

This especially became a problem when Mark started representing viewpoints that contradicted Orthodox teachings. As mentioned before, because he was doing this, our Church had to become completely hands off, and bid him farewell (as far as his administrative role goes), because the Church cannot support someone who is publishing things that contradict our basic teachings and morals.

His website has just become a haven for the rumor mill and as mentioned many times, has incited more divisiveness in the Church. We have dealt with the old regime and removed the main problem. Sure, some of our hierarchy may still be the "old guard" and want to continue the status quo. Maybe that does need to be reported on, but it definitely should be someone who hasn't taken it upon themselves as a personal crusader and who has started representing un-Orthodox morals/viewpoints.

Sure, having the microphone off changes meetings. I think this is often a good thing. Look at the Assembly of Canonical Bishops, for the most part, they don't record their meetings. But as far as we know, they've been very cordial and brotherly. So just because the mics are off doesn't mean they are plotting against someone.
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« Reply #71 on: August 12, 2011, 02:35:27 PM »

I hear folks say that OCA News is a rumor mill, that Mark is reporting rumors, etc... I have yet to have that accusation backed up by examples so that we can understand exactly what is been said. It may be that folks have different definitions. I'll put on the table just one example that was widely labeled as rumor mongering: When Mark reported that Metropolitan Jonah was put on a leave of absence, it was labeled a lie, a malicious rumor, etc...To be sure, the Metropolitan himself denied it, forcing the Holy Synod to publish its minutes that showed the whole world that (a) he was indeed put on a leave of absence and (b) Stokoe had been right all along.

Getting back to the letter from Bishop Matthias, did anyone think, as I did, that it was odd that +Matthias said that OCA News "has hampered Pan-Orthodox unity, and it has encouraged those who disrespect the clergy and the Church to express their disdain and sometimes outright hatred for the Church, the hierarchs, the clergy and its faithful"? It seems to me that Mark himself is not guilty of any of that, although some of his posters certainly have crossed the line, speaking of which, I have never seen greater disrespect for hierarchs than that displayed by Fr Fester and also by some of the writers of "OCA Truth", the blog site for fans of Metropolitan Jonah, and "My Antiochian", the web site for the fans of Metropolitan Phillip. Concerning Pan-Orthodox unity, OCA News actually did just that by uniting folks from all jurisdictions against the machinations of Metropolitan Philip. Kidding aside, Mark today told a poster that once the Antiochian Holy Synod had decided, he quit covering the Archdiocese. Now, it is true that Mark reported on indications that the Metropolitan had talked about giving up autocephaly for "maximal autonomy" under Moscow. May be Bishop Matthias was referring to this reporting as hampering unity with Moscow? I don't know.
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« Reply #72 on: August 12, 2011, 03:16:55 PM »

It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel. 

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« Reply #73 on: August 12, 2011, 03:26:10 PM »

It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel.  



I also stopped reading OCANews as it no longer objective but appeared to have an agenda of getting rid of Metropolitan Jonah.
Stokoe's whole exposure of the former Bishop of Alaska, Nikolai, bordered on the pornographic.
Definitely, Nikolai was in the wrong, but there is a limit that should not be crossed in reporting news.
How many souls have been scandalized by Stokoe's revelations? How many souls have crossed the line and sinned through satisfying their own curiosity by avoiding custody of the eyes, ears, and tongue.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
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« Reply #74 on: August 12, 2011, 03:47:19 PM »

It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel. 



He could have been more respectful in that headline. Yet, it was not a rumor, nor was it untrue. Rogue also means "no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade: a rogue cop; a rogue union local." It was obvious from the facts of the case that the headline was conveying that sense of the word. Certainly this was not polite or respectful way to label an ordinary bishop without any good reason. The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly. The fact is that, after accepting that decision, the bishop who had agreed to that discipline decided to fight it, to misrepresent it, and act as if he did not have to carry out its terms--in other words he was no longer obedient to the decision of the Holy Synod. And, in order to come to this conclusion, you don't need to read anything beyond the official documents of the Holy Synod and the speeches/sermons of the Metropolitan. The system worked and there is accord once again between the presiding bishop and member bishops of the Holy Synod. But, that extraordinary measure, the subsequent misconduct, the unprecedented publication of the minutes of the Santa Fe Retreat,and the subsequent embarrassment, was not caused by Stokoe's reporting. Yet, folks still are throwing bricks at the messenger. I will close by saying this; even a stopped clock is right twice a day. even if Stokoe was all bad, all the time, you cannot overlook the fact that he was right not twice but a multitude of times. You cannot overlook the fact that, homosexual or not, he had been a servant of the Church for most of his adult life. You should not allow yourself to overlook all the good that he has done just because he has dared to report misdeeds of church officials or because you do not approve of his journalistic style or his life style. I am not closing my eyes to anything; I am saying this as a signer of the Manhattan Declaration.
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« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2011, 03:50:19 PM »

It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel. 



He could have been more respectful in that headline. Yet, it was not a rumor, nor was it untrue. Rogue also means "no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade: a rogue cop; a rogue union local." It was obvious from the facts of the case that the headline was conveying that sense of the word. Certainly this was not polite or respectful way to label an ordinary bishop without any good reason. The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly. The fact is that, after accepting that decision, the bishop who had agreed to that discipline decided to fight it, to misrepresent it, and act as if he did not have to carry out its terms--in other words he was no longer obedient to the decision of the Holy Synod. And, in order to come to this conclusion, you don't need to read anything beyond the official documents of the Holy Synod and the speeches/sermons of the Metropolitan. The system worked and there is accord once again between the presiding bishop and member bishops of the Holy Synod. But, that extraordinary measure, the subsequent misconduct, the unprecedented publication of the minutes of the Santa Fe Retreat,and the subsequent embarrassment, was not caused by Stokoe's reporting. Yet, folks still are throwing bricks at the messenger. I will close by saying this; even a stopped clock is right twice a day. even if Stokoe was all bad, all the time, you cannot overlook the fact that he was right not twice but a multitude of times. You cannot overlook the fact that, homosexual or not, he had been a servant of the Church for most of his adult life. You should not allow yourself to overlook all the good that he has done just because he has dared to report misdeeds of church officials or because you do not approve of his journalistic style or his life style. I am not closing my eyes to anything; I am saying this as a signer of the Manhattan Declaration.

One of the few things my grandmother ever told me (she died when I was 12) was that, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."

One can expound the truth w/o being a jerk about it.  Ever since Met. Philip demanded that the OCA "do something" about "Stokee," OCANews appeared nastier to me with each passing post.
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« Reply #76 on: August 12, 2011, 04:01:44 PM »

It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel.  



I also stopped reading OCANews as it no longer objective but appeared to have an agenda of getting rid of Metropolitan Jonah.
Stokoe's whole exposure of the former Bishop of Alaska, Nikolai, bordered on the pornographic.
Definitely, Nikolai was in the wrong, but there is a limit that should not be crossed in reporting news.
How many souls have been scandalized by Stokoe's revelations? How many souls have crossed the line and sinned through satisfying their own curiosity by avoiding custody of the eyes, ears, and tongue.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

What as reported was indeed bordering on pornography. You could use a similarly revolting appellation for the conduct of Mr. Kondratick and the previous two Metropolitans. I would hope that folks were indeed scandalized by these revelations but I would think that their ire would fall on the perpetrators and not on the reporters. Nobody forced anyone to read the reporting and everybody has a quick way to turn the page or click the computer off. I cannot fault anyone for having delicate sensibilities and for those folks, I definitely would recommend they do not read the daily papers, weekly magazines, television or radio news, the Internet, etc... Trust me; they are full of very disturbing information and pictures. We have always had a fallen world but I do not think that we had ever been so exposed to its fallen state. Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #77 on: August 12, 2011, 04:20:01 PM »

even if Stokoe was all bad, all the time, you cannot overlook the fact that he was right not twice but a multitude of times.

Indeed he was.

You cannot overlook the fact that, homosexual or not, he had been a servant of the Church for most of his adult life.

I do not overlook that fact....and it does not matter to me if he is inclined toward homosexuality.


You should not allow yourself to overlook all the good that he has done just because he has dared to report misdeeds of church officials or because you do not approve of his journalistic style or his life style.

No....I have never said I overlook any of his contributions.....I just feel that his website has run it's course and now borders on a vehicle to invite gossip.

I am not closing my eyes to anything; I am saying this as a signer of the Manhattan Declaration.

Yes. I signed it too.
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« Reply #78 on: August 12, 2011, 04:22:43 PM »

One of the few things my grandmother ever told me (she died when I was 12) was that, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."

Wise words.


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« Reply #79 on: August 12, 2011, 04:34:29 PM »

It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel.  



He could have been more respectful in that headline. Yet, it was not a rumor, nor was it untrue. Rogue also means "no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade: a rogue cop; a rogue union local." It was obvious from the facts of the case that the headline was conveying that sense of the word. Certainly this was not polite or respectful way to label an ordinary bishop without any good reason. The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly. The fact is that, after accepting that decision, the bishop who had agreed to that discipline decided to fight it, to misrepresent it, and act as if he did not have to carry out its terms--in other words he was no longer obedient to the decision of the Holy Synod. And, in order to come to this conclusion, you don't need to read anything beyond the official documents of the Holy Synod and the speeches/sermons of the Metropolitan. The system worked and there is accord once again between the presiding bishop and member bishops of the Holy Synod. But, that extraordinary measure, the subsequent misconduct, the unprecedented publication of the minutes of the Santa Fe Retreat,and the subsequent embarrassment, was not caused by Stokoe's reporting. Yet, folks still are throwing bricks at the messenger. I will close by saying this; even a stopped clock is right twice a day. even if Stokoe was all bad, all the time, you cannot overlook the fact that he was right not twice but a multitude of times. You cannot overlook the fact that, homosexual or not, he had been a servant of the Church for most of his adult life. You should not allow yourself to overlook all the good that he has done just because he has dared to report misdeeds of church officials or because you do not approve of his journalistic style or his life style. I am not closing my eyes to anything; I am saying this as a signer of the Manhattan Declaration.

One of the few things my grandmother ever told me (she died when I was 12) was that, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."

One can expound the truth w/o being a jerk about it.  Ever since Met. Philip demanded that the OCA "do something" about "Stokee," OCANews appeared nastier to me with each passing post.

So now we have a factually correct but attitudinally challenged site, a news source that is not unbiased; quelle horreur! I have never met your grandmother and my own died when I was only four, but my grandfather used to say "what you say and how you say it are equally important."
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« Reply #80 on: August 12, 2011, 04:59:57 PM »

The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

The minutes do not reflect your claims.  According to the minutes, it was suggested that Metropolitan Jonah take some time off to recover his health.  The minutes explicitly call this voluntary on the Metropolitan's part.  There is not even a whiff of the idea in the minutes that this was punitive or disciplinary, so I'm forced to assume that you took the idea off Stokoe.

Furthermore, on what grounds do you claim this was a unanimous decision of the Synod?  There is no breakdown of their individual votes in the minutes.  There were seven voting bishops present at the meeting; four constitutes a simple majority.  Thus the will of four is "the Synod".

Quote
The fact is that, after accepting that decision, the bishop who had agreed to that discipline decided to fight it, to misrepresent it, and act as if he did not have to carry out its terms--in other words he was no longer obedient to the decision of the Holy Synod.

How did you come to that conclusion?  Because Metropolitan Jonah was hanging out at St. Vladimir's with two of his brother bishops, or meeting the Patriarch of Serbia along with one of his brother bishops?  If the Synod disapproved of what Metropolitan Jonah was doing, joining his party was certainly a strange way of showing it.  For the rest of his leave, Metropolitan Jonah stayed at his cathedral in Washington, resting, as he promised, from his many labors as Metropolitan.  The idea that Metropolitan Jonah went "rogue" was planted in your mind by Stokoe and company.

Furthermore, Schultz is right about the importance of how something is said.  Obviously, there was some misunderstanding between Metropolitan Jonah and some other bishops over the exact details of the leave.  That does not mean Metropolitan Jonah lied.  I am amazed, however, that people who were not at the Synodal meeting would take it upon themselves to accuse him of having done so.  If he were truly lying in that video taken at the cathedral, I would have expected to see him display anger and self-justification, not the meek tone of voice, and tears, that were actually there.  Stokoe went beyond a lack of tact, and was actively demonizing the Metropolitan at that point.

Quote
You cannot overlook the fact that, homosexual or not, he had been a servant of the Church for most of his adult life. You should not allow yourself to overlook all the good that he has done just because he has dared to report misdeeds of church officials or because you do not approve of his journalistic style or his life style.

Somehow, I don't think "fomenting rebellion against the teaching of the Church" fits the definition of a servant of the Church.  But I'm crazy like that.
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« Reply #81 on: August 12, 2011, 06:07:07 PM »

The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

You asked for chapter and verse and you will get it. This is from the Minutes of the Santa Fe Meeting that was published after Metropolitan Jonah said he was not put on a leave of absence and did not act as if he was on such a leave.

Source: Orthodox Church in America web site announcement;

"Holy Synod Minutes from Pre-Lenten Retreat
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]. Upon instruction of the Holy Synod of Bishops, minutes from the pre-lenten retreat in which they participated February 22-25, 2011 in Santa Fe, NM are now available in PDF format"

Here are the relevant parts (my highlights in bold):

"Wednesday, February 23, 2011
SESSION IV
The Holy Synod’s Concern for the Health of His Beatitude, Jonah
HEARD:
The Holy Synod discussed matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH. Holy Synod members affirmed their love and obedience to the Metropolitan and reminded him that love and obedience are also reciprocal between the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod. There must be mutual obedience.

Metropolitan JONAH was asked to absent himself from the meeting.
Discussion followed.
Metropolitan JONAH returned to the meeting.

DECIDED:
The Holy Synod took the following actions and reviewed them with His Beatitude:
2. The Holy Synod expressed concern for the Metropolitan’s health. Once again they affirmed their love and concern for him and their earnest desire to see him succeed. After further discussion, the Holy Synod determined that a sixty day Leave of Absence for His Beatitude would be beneficial. Metropolitan Jonah accepted to do so. The Synod asked him to request to do so, as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this. Metropolitan JONAH then requested a Leave Of Absence for not less than 60 days during which time he would see a physician and devote himself to his own spiritual and physical health without concern for the burdens of the primatial office. This could include a time of retreat at a monastery. His Grace Bishop Benjamin asked if he was ready to make this decision or if he needed additional time and the Metropolitan said he did not need more time to make the decision.

3. The Holy Synod appointed Archbishop NATHANIEL as Administrator of the OCA for the length of His Beatitude’s leave.

4. The Holy Synod appointed Bishop MELCHISEDEK as interim Chancellor.

5. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South and appointed Bishop NIKON Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South with Bishop MARK continuing as administrator.

6. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Midwest and appointed Bishop TIKHON as Locum Tenens of the diocese of the Midwest with Archimandrite MATTHIAS continuing as administrator

HEARD:
Bishop BENJAMIN conveyed to His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH, the above decisions of the Holy Synod. He noted that these decisions were made out of love for His Beatitude and out of concern for the spiritual and physical health of the Primate.

The members of the Holy Synod emphasized that it was their desire for His Beatitude to sincerely take this time to address issues of his well‐being so that he could most effectively fulfill his responsibilities as Primate of the Church.
Metropolitan JONAH thanked the brothers for their concern and acknowledged that a leave of absence would be beneficial and noted that he had not had much time off since his election as Primate.

Bishop TIKHON asked His Beatitude if he needed any time to reflect upon these matters.

Metropolitan JONAH declined and confirmed that he would abide by the counsel of his brothers.

DECIDED:
A. The Holy Synod accepted the request of Metropolitan JONAH for a leave of absence for 60 days.

Thursday, February 24, 2011
SESSION V
Final Review

HEARD:
The Holy Synod reviewed the decisions from the minutes from the previous days.

Bishop TIKHON presented a draft of the Press Release.

Metropolitan JONAH inquired about several upcoming events which he had been scheduled to participate in.
The Holy Synod recommended that it would be best for His Beatitude to begin his leave of absence immediately and allow the Administrator, the Interim Chancellor and the members of the Holy Synod to assume the responsibility for those events
Metropolitan JONAH agreed to this recommendation
."



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« Reply #82 on: August 12, 2011, 06:45:24 PM »

The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

You asked for chapter and verse and you will get it. This is from the Minutes of the Santa Fe Meeting that was published after Metropolitan Jonah said he was not put on a leave of absence and did not act as if he was on such a leave.

Source: Orthodox Church in America web site announcement;

"Holy Synod Minutes from Pre-Lenten Retreat
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]. Upon instruction of the Holy Synod of Bishops, minutes from the pre-lenten retreat in which they participated February 22-25, 2011 in Santa Fe, NM are now available in PDF format"

Here are the relevant parts (my highlights in bold):

"Wednesday, February 23, 2011
SESSION IV
The Holy Synod’s Concern for the Health of His Beatitude, Jonah
HEARD:
The Holy Synod discussed matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH. Holy Synod members affirmed their love and obedience to the Metropolitan and reminded him that love and obedience are also reciprocal between the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod. There must be mutual obedience.

Metropolitan JONAH was asked to absent himself from the meeting.
Discussion followed.
Metropolitan JONAH returned to the meeting.

DECIDED:
The Holy Synod took the following actions and reviewed them with His Beatitude:
2. The Holy Synod expressed concern for the Metropolitan’s health. Once again they affirmed their love and concern for him and their earnest desire to see him succeed. After further discussion, the Holy Synod determined that a sixty day Leave of Absence for His Beatitude would be beneficial. Metropolitan Jonah accepted to do so. The Synod asked him to request to do so, as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this. Metropolitan JONAH then requested a Leave Of Absence for not less than 60 days during which time he would see a physician and devote himself to his own spiritual and physical health without concern for the burdens of the primatial office. This could include a time of retreat at a monastery. His Grace Bishop Benjamin asked if he was ready to make this decision or if he needed additional time and the Metropolitan said he did not need more time to make the decision.

3. The Holy Synod appointed Archbishop NATHANIEL as Administrator of the OCA for the length of His Beatitude’s leave.

4. The Holy Synod appointed Bishop MELCHISEDEK as interim Chancellor.

5. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South and appointed Bishop NIKON Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South with Bishop MARK continuing as administrator.

6. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Midwest and appointed Bishop TIKHON as Locum Tenens of the diocese of the Midwest with Archimandrite MATTHIAS continuing as administrator

HEARD:
Bishop BENJAMIN conveyed to His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH, the above decisions of the Holy Synod. He noted that these decisions were made out of love for His Beatitude and out of concern for the spiritual and physical health of the Primate.

The members of the Holy Synod emphasized that it was their desire for His Beatitude to sincerely take this time to address issues of his well‐being so that he could most effectively fulfill his responsibilities as Primate of the Church.
Metropolitan JONAH thanked the brothers for their concern and acknowledged that a leave of absence would be beneficial and noted that he had not had much time off since his election as Primate.

Bishop TIKHON asked His Beatitude if he needed any time to reflect upon these matters.

Metropolitan JONAH declined and confirmed that he would abide by the counsel of his brothers.

DECIDED:
A. The Holy Synod accepted the request of Metropolitan JONAH for a leave of absence for 60 days.

Thursday, February 24, 2011
SESSION V
Final Review

HEARD:
The Holy Synod reviewed the decisions from the minutes from the previous days.

Bishop TIKHON presented a draft of the Press Release.

Metropolitan JONAH inquired about several upcoming events which he had been scheduled to participate in.
The Holy Synod recommended that it would be best for His Beatitude to begin his leave of absence immediately and allow the Administrator, the Interim Chancellor and the members of the Holy Synod to assume the responsibility for those events
Metropolitan JONAH agreed to this recommendation
."
Second Chance, after having read the above excerpt of the minutes from the Santa Fe retreat, I find myself agreeing with Orual and wondering where you got your interpretation of this document and of His Beatitude's subsequent conduct.
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« Reply #83 on: August 12, 2011, 07:23:25 PM »

The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

You asked for chapter and verse and you will get it. This is from the Minutes of the Santa Fe Meeting that was published after Metropolitan Jonah said he was not put on a leave of absence and did not act as if he was on such a leave.

Source: Orthodox Church in America web site announcement;

"Holy Synod Minutes from Pre-Lenten Retreat
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]. Upon instruction of the Holy Synod of Bishops, minutes from the pre-lenten retreat in which they participated February 22-25, 2011 in Santa Fe, NM are now available in PDF format"

Here are the relevant parts (my highlights in bold):

"Wednesday, February 23, 2011
SESSION IV
The Holy Synod’s Concern for the Health of His Beatitude, Jonah
HEARD:
The Holy Synod discussed matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH. Holy Synod members affirmed their love and obedience to the Metropolitan and reminded him that love and obedience are also reciprocal between the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod. There must be mutual obedience.

Metropolitan JONAH was asked to absent himself from the meeting.
Discussion followed.
Metropolitan JONAH returned to the meeting.

DECIDED:
The Holy Synod took the following actions and reviewed them with His Beatitude:
2. The Holy Synod expressed concern for the Metropolitan’s health. Once again they affirmed their love and concern for him and their earnest desire to see him succeed. After further discussion, the Holy Synod determined that a sixty day Leave of Absence for His Beatitude would be beneficial. Metropolitan Jonah accepted to do so. The Synod asked him to request to do so, as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this. Metropolitan JONAH then requested a Leave Of Absence for not less than 60 days during which time he would see a physician and devote himself to his own spiritual and physical health without concern for the burdens of the primatial office. This could include a time of retreat at a monastery. His Grace Bishop Benjamin asked if he was ready to make this decision or if he needed additional time and the Metropolitan said he did not need more time to make the decision.

3. The Holy Synod appointed Archbishop NATHANIEL as Administrator of the OCA for the length of His Beatitude’s leave.

4. The Holy Synod appointed Bishop MELCHISEDEK as interim Chancellor.

5. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South and appointed Bishop NIKON Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South with Bishop MARK continuing as administrator.

6. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Midwest and appointed Bishop TIKHON as Locum Tenens of the diocese of the Midwest with Archimandrite MATTHIAS continuing as administrator

HEARD:
Bishop BENJAMIN conveyed to His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH, the above decisions of the Holy Synod. He noted that these decisions were made out of love for His Beatitude and out of concern for the spiritual and physical health of the Primate.

The members of the Holy Synod emphasized that it was their desire for His Beatitude to sincerely take this time to address issues of his well‐being so that he could most effectively fulfill his responsibilities as Primate of the Church.
Metropolitan JONAH thanked the brothers for their concern and acknowledged that a leave of absence would be beneficial and noted that he had not had much time off since his election as Primate.

Bishop TIKHON asked His Beatitude if he needed any time to reflect upon these matters.

Metropolitan JONAH declined and confirmed that he would abide by the counsel of his brothers.

DECIDED:
A. The Holy Synod accepted the request of Metropolitan JONAH for a leave of absence for 60 days.

Thursday, February 24, 2011
SESSION V
Final Review

HEARD:
The Holy Synod reviewed the decisions from the minutes from the previous days.

Bishop TIKHON presented a draft of the Press Release.

Metropolitan JONAH inquired about several upcoming events which he had been scheduled to participate in.
The Holy Synod recommended that it would be best for His Beatitude to begin his leave of absence immediately and allow the Administrator, the Interim Chancellor and the members of the Holy Synod to assume the responsibility for those events
Metropolitan JONAH agreed to this recommendation
."
Second Chance, after having read the above excerpt of the minutes from the Santa Fe retreat, I find myself agreeing with Orual and wondering where you got your interpretation of this document and of His Beatitude's subsequent conduct.

I got my interpretation from my exposure to church affairs from a young age, my studies, and work experience. It is entirely true that  the minutes do not expressly say "Metropolitan Jonah, we find you guilty of x, y and z and put you on leave of absence as a punishment." That's not the way it works. Let me ask you how often you have seen the minutes of a Holy Synod or a Board of Directors tell its chairman that he/she really need behave in accordance with a, b, or c. I am sure that most everybody is by now familiar with Apostolic Canon 34, where the metropolitan (head of the local church) is enjoined from doing anything without the consent of his fellow bishops. This is a very important Canon that if invoked would have necessitated a trial, with all the complications that would have ensued. For one thing, nobody wanted to find yet another metropolitan. You also had the problem of having to recruit additional bishops for a court, +Jonah's right to appeal to the EP or MP any decision, the close ties between +Jonah and Moscow, etc..

In any case, when you effect discipline at such a high level and want to give the offender another chance, you do things diplomatically and in a way that saves the face of the offender after the disciplinary period. So it was with +Jonah. He was put on a leave of absence. The real reason was his acting without the consent of his Synod ("There must be mutual obedience"), the fig leaf was concern for his health, the face saving device was +Jonah asking for leave for health reasons. The nature of the leave of absence was also made clear: his duties were given to other bishops, and when he asked if he could still participate in scheduled events, they said no.  In all of this, he was asked over and over if he agreed, and in each instance he said yes.

So, what happened after he left the meeting? Did he in fact act in accordance with the decision of the Holy Synod, with which he had freely and fully agreed? No. One can quibble whether he was disciplined. But one cannot deny that he was put on a leave of abscence and that he broke his word. All that is in the record.
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« Reply #84 on: August 12, 2011, 08:15:13 PM »

The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

You asked for chapter and verse and you will get it. This is from the Minutes of the Santa Fe Meeting that was published after Metropolitan Jonah said he was not put on a leave of absence and did not act as if he was on such a leave.

I didn't ask for chapter and verse, but thanks for copying the text and proving me right about the leave being voluntary, inasmuch as it's stated explicitly in the minutes.

Metropolitan Jonah should not have had to spend Lent on Walden Pond in order to "act like he was on leave."  He took leave of his wearying schedule and duties as Metropolitan for exactly the duration suggested and agreed upon.  Their agreement to have him take a break from some scheduled events does not mean he was forbidden from the events he did participate in.

I don't give a rat's behind about Stokoe's sexuality or whether he sells poisoned milk to school children.  My problem with Stokoe has always been his vicious and unscrupulous campaign to undermine Metropolitan Jonah's leadership and ruin his good name.

If that doesn't suffice, I cannot help you anymore, and refuse to engage in this any further.
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« Reply #85 on: August 12, 2011, 08:37:39 PM »

Frankly, I thought Mark was making a parallelism to Sarah Palin...   Undecided


It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue

That was uncalled for. The primary definition for “rogue” implies a dishonest, knavish scoundrel. 


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« Reply #86 on: August 12, 2011, 08:41:00 PM »



Frankly, I thought Mark was making a parallelism to Sarah Palin...   Undecided


It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue


Was that rogue or rouge?  Shocked Tongue laugh
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« Reply #87 on: August 13, 2011, 12:18:56 AM »

That all depends on your perspective, I guess...





Frankly, I thought Mark was making a parallelism to Sarah Palin...   Undecided


It just got to the point where I couldn't even read it anymore

Yes. Same here.

Stokoe lost much of his objectivitiy. There were headlines such as:

+Jonah Goes Rogue


Was that rogue or rouge?  Shocked Tongue laugh

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« Reply #88 on: August 13, 2011, 10:32:37 AM »

The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

You asked for chapter and verse and you will get it. This is from the Minutes of the Santa Fe Meeting that was published after Metropolitan Jonah said he was not put on a leave of absence and did not act as if he was on such a leave.

I didn't ask for chapter and verse, but thanks for copying the text and proving me right about the leave being voluntary, inasmuch as it's stated explicitly in the minutes.

Metropolitan Jonah should not have had to spend Lent on Walden Pond in order to "act like he was on leave."  He took leave of his wearying schedule and duties as Metropolitan for exactly the duration suggested and agreed upon.  Their agreement to have him take a break from some scheduled events does not mean he was forbidden from the events he did participate in.

I don't give a rat's behind about Stokoe's sexuality or whether he sells poisoned milk to school children.  My problem with Stokoe has always been his vicious and unscrupulous campaign to undermine Metropolitan Jonah's leadership and ruin his good name.

If that doesn't suffice, I cannot help you anymore, and refuse to engage in this any further.

I am not going to let this go unanswered. If you read it slowly and carefully (and without preconceptions) you will see that a chain of events occurred:

1. The Synod discussed "matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude and then told +Jonah to act in accordance with normal procedures, that is, on the basis of mutual obedience. Strange that such a basic concept had to be reiterated just for the heck of it, no?

2. The synod than asked its presiding officer to leave the room so they can deliberate. Strange that they did so, unless of course they were going to deliberate on what to do about him, no?

3. They brought him back in the room and told him he was being placed on leave of abscence. Strange that some folks consider this to have been voluntary on the part of the object of the Synodal action, no?

4. Then, "The Synod asked him to request to do so, as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this." The reason for the Synod extending this courtesy is important. I stand corrected, they did not do so to give him a fig leaf, but to ensure that the Church at large was assured that the Holy Synod, including +Jonah, had agreed to this course of action.

5. Only then, "Metropolitan JONAH then requested a Leave Of Absence for not less than 60 days during which time he would see a physician and devote himself to his own spiritual and physical health without concern for the burdens of the primatial office. This could include a time of retreat at a monastery."

So much for this being a voluntary action on +Jonah's part. Of course, if one believes that the Metropolitan of the OCA is a super bishop like the Bishop of Rome, it would make perfect sense that the decision of the Holy Synod would have been just a recommendation and the final and true decision on the matter would have been taken by the super-bishop Metropolitan of the OCA.
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« Reply #89 on: August 13, 2011, 11:09:40 AM »

Here is the important part: whatever happened before, the present circumstances appear that all concerned are operating in much closer cooperation.  I don't think that we can continue to think of the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Jonah as two separate entities, as was the 'partisan line' formed by the online commentators.  The bishops have definitely started to work together, which is exactly what the Church's Tradition calls for.

You can go back and forth over history, but I think what is more important is that the OCA has a future, unlike so many other institutions in history.



The fact is that the Holy Synod unanimously took a grave decision to discipline its presiding bishop for not acting properly.

You asked for chapter and verse and you will get it. This is from the Minutes of the Santa Fe Meeting that was published after Metropolitan Jonah said he was not put on a leave of absence and did not act as if he was on such a leave.

I didn't ask for chapter and verse, but thanks for copying the text and proving me right about the leave being voluntary, inasmuch as it's stated explicitly in the minutes.

Metropolitan Jonah should not have had to spend Lent on Walden Pond in order to "act like he was on leave."  He took leave of his wearying schedule and duties as Metropolitan for exactly the duration suggested and agreed upon.  Their agreement to have him take a break from some scheduled events does not mean he was forbidden from the events he did participate in.

I don't give a rat's behind about Stokoe's sexuality or whether he sells poisoned milk to school children.  My problem with Stokoe has always been his vicious and unscrupulous campaign to undermine Metropolitan Jonah's leadership and ruin his good name.

If that doesn't suffice, I cannot help you anymore, and refuse to engage in this any further.

I am not going to let this go unanswered. If you read it slowly and carefully (and without preconceptions) you will see that a chain of events occurred:

1. The Synod discussed "matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude and then told +Jonah to act in accordance with normal procedures, that is, on the basis of mutual obedience. Strange that such a basic concept had to be reiterated just for the heck of it, no?

2. The synod than asked its presiding officer to leave the room so they can deliberate. Strange that they did so, unless of course they were going to deliberate on what to do about him, no?

3. They brought him back in the room and told him he was being placed on leave of abscence. Strange that some folks consider this to have been voluntary on the part of the object of the Synodal action, no?

4. Then, "The Synod asked him to request to do so, as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this." The reason for the Synod extending this courtesy is important. I stand corrected, they did not do so to give him a fig leaf, but to ensure that the Church at large was assured that the Holy Synod, including +Jonah, had agreed to this course of action.

5. Only then, "Metropolitan JONAH then requested a Leave Of Absence for not less than 60 days during which time he would see a physician and devote himself to his own spiritual and physical health without concern for the burdens of the primatial office. This could include a time of retreat at a monastery."

So much for this being a voluntary action on +Jonah's part. Of course, if one believes that the Metropolitan of the OCA is a super bishop like the Bishop of Rome, it would make perfect sense that the decision of the Holy Synod would have been just a recommendation and the final and true decision on the matter would have been taken by the super-bishop Metropolitan of the OCA.
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« Reply #90 on: August 13, 2011, 02:31:58 PM »

One can expound the truth w/o being a jerk about it.

Is this some sorta Zen koan or something, cause my brain is killing me here.
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« Reply #91 on: August 13, 2011, 02:47:46 PM »

The problem with OCANews is that Mr. Stokoe was at once an 'insider' within the OCA's structure, yet running a news web site reporting from the 'outside.'  It is tantamount to someone working for the White House while also being a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Those who wish to fulfill the role of reporter need to have some distance from what or who they report on.  Having two roles is just undoable over the long haul.

This became a real problem when Mark decided to start 'reporting' on the topic of the Manhattan Declaration and homosexuality.

The danger with mark running OCANews by himself is that it ego boundaries tend to get a bit blurry.  He has no one to check his work before it goes out, and people tend to perceive OCANews as an extension of Mark.  I'm not sure that is all that inaccurate in either case.  So, when the topic swung towards a matter having to do with a condition of Mark's personal life, he lost the ability to deal with the matter with even the appearance of impartiality and he opened himself up to inquiry as to how much he was 'guiding' the discussion on OCANews in favor of his own preferences.

Bishop Matthias had the canonical right remove Mark, and did so on substantive grounds: you can't sit in a room with Bishops and laity that you will then report on with a less-than-friendly light and expect confidential conversations to be kept confidential.  We all know that meetings change once the tape recorder is turned on.  Mark is a walking (and posting) transcription machine.  That's why his site was effective, but it also becomes a liability when you are supposed to work together with the people you publicly criticize.

In this last case, the matter of homosexuality and gay marriage is a hot-button topic.  Mark did not, in all fairness, treat the matter in a balanced way, but posted a number of extreme (by Orthodox standards!) essays without a counter-balanced approach.  He also opened up a can of worms for the clergy who posted (for example, Fr. Vinogradov wrote something which was refuted by his own Bishop), which ran the risk of opening up another wound in the OCA.

If Mark is going to criticize the moral standards of the OCA, then he has pushed the boundaries of his own role as a 'trustee' of the OCA.  He is expected to uphold and protect the morality of the Church, not to lobby for change.  He was expected to represent the people of the Midwest in advising the Holy Synod rather than directing the latter's pastoral activity.

He went a step too far.  Whereas before he was holding the bishops accountable for upholding morality, he started to get into the topic of changing morality.  These are very different concepts.

I think everyone is grateful that Mark was instrumental in exposing the corruption of the Ancien Régime, but I think that being on the MC while trying to run OCANews is simply not workable.  Furthermore, mark would do well to have other people involved to make sure that OCANews runs as a less-than-personal-crusade.  One must always be careful in  reporting on a topic tangential to one's personal life.


There are those in the OCA who think he's been running a personal campaign from the very beginning and that there's been as much distortion as so-called exposure.

As an outsider watching I believe that OCAnews is such a virulent near occasion and occasion for sin, for so many Orthodox who are active on the Internet,  that should it continue, Mr. Stokoe is in grave spiritual danger knowing what his site promotes...and he'd have to be a mental cripple not to know.

M.
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« Reply #92 on: August 13, 2011, 09:54:45 PM »

I am starting to think the same myself.  I'm starting to think that while some things may have been true (and maybe enough to lose them their jobs), but I do wonder if it was as bad as he painted it.  Mark has not always been honest about what his motives are.  For instance, Mark didn't bother to let people know that Fr. Bob Kondratick had fired him from his position at Syosset (I believe he worked in the Youth Dept).  Of course, Mr. Stokoe didn't bother to inform people as to why he was so upset about +Metropolitan JONAH signing the Manhattan Declaration.  He talks so much about transparency, but he isn't being transparent about his own life.  In both cases, he was not transparent about his own motives.  He passes himself off as an objective reporter, but can you truly be objective in either of these cases?  Could he have wanted to get Fr. Kondratick back for having fired him?  Did Mark feel threatened by +Metropolitan JONAH's signing of the Manhattan Declaration that he felt that he had to try and get him removed?  I think it is a little dishonest to pass yourself off as being an objective reporter when you might very well have motives for wanting those people out of there. 
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« Reply #93 on: August 13, 2011, 11:54:45 PM »

It almost goes without saying that doing anything on one's own is spiritually dangerous.  Of course, saying that is something like the effect on a smoker's psyche while, in a moment of utter boredom, he actually reads the Surgeon General's label on his packet of cigs.

There has been a whole range of opinions about Mark Stokoe and OCANews.  I know people who hated him and the site who are now ardent supporters, and just the opposite trend as well.

What cannot be denied is that he did uncover several scandals which otherwise might never have been dealt with in a thorough manner.  The question becomes that of a mill devoted to a kind of grain which is no longer grown.

Will the mill continue to turn?  If so, what will it grind?


There are those in the OCA who think he's been running a personal campaign from the very beginning and that there's been as much distortion as so-called exposure.

As an outsider watching I believe that OCAnews is such a virulent near occasion and occasion for sin, for so many Orthodox who are active on the Internet,  that should it continue, Mr. Stokoe is in grave spiritual danger knowing what his site promotes...and he'd have to be a mental cripple not to know.

M.
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« Reply #94 on: August 14, 2011, 12:35:50 AM »

It almost goes without saying that doing anything on one's own is spiritually dangerous.  Of course, saying that is something like the effect on a smoker's psyche while, in a moment of utter boredom, he actually reads the Surgeon General's label on his packet of cigs.

There has been a whole range of opinions about Mark Stokoe and OCANews.  I know people who hated him and the site who are now ardent supporters, and just the opposite trend as well.

What cannot be denied is that he did uncover several scandals which otherwise might never have been dealt with in a thorough manner.  The question becomes that of a mill devoted to a kind of grain which is no longer grown.

Will the mill continue to turn?  If so, what will it grind?

I don't believe in muckraking, but even so, who's to say there will be no more scandals?
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« Reply #95 on: August 14, 2011, 01:31:21 PM »


What cannot be denied is that he did uncover several scandals which otherwise might never have been dealt with in a thorough manner.  The question becomes that of a mill devoted to a kind of grain which is no longer grown.


I think I have heard it said that he uncovered quite selectively and that what was uncovered would ultimately have been resolved without the selectivity and perhaps faster without all the noise and confusion:  and most likely would have included a much earlier demise of Mr. Stokoe's influence and exercise.

The thing that cannot be taken back is the rumor mongering that his work encouraged and continues to encourage and the ill will, I would say virulent ill will and calumny, that was expressed for months on end and based almost entirely on his site that stirred the pot and encouraged such excess in behaviors that were at very least objectively and exceptionally sinful. 

One must ask: In the Body of Christ was that necessary?...was it useful?...was it avoidable?

I think Mr. Stokoe's bishop asked those questions and we have the answer.

I say, praise God...and the bishop.

M.
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« Reply #96 on: August 16, 2011, 03:18:34 PM »

I am going to say one more thing and then I will heed Father Giryus' word and cease to comment. Here it is:

If anyone is interested in researching this episode in the life of the OCA, in addition to oca.org, ocanews.org, ocatruthcom, and monomakhos.com, the following blog might be also helpful: http://spartiongeometrias.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html
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« Reply #97 on: August 16, 2011, 04:59:12 PM »

I am going to say one more thing and then I will heed Father Giryus' word and cease to comment. Here it is:

If anyone is interested in researching this episode in the life of the OCA, in addition to oca.org, ocanews.org, ocatruthcom, and monomakhos.com, the following blog might be also helpful: http://spartiongeometrias.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html

I agree out of all the blogs/discussions groups that the above blog is the best.
As for Mary's post:  yes, I really believe that Mark Stokoe's web site was for the good of the OCA and thw whole Orthodox Church.

Mark was elected to his post on the Metropolitan Council not appointed by a bishop.  He could be elected again but I believe he has said that he will stand stand for election this time.
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« Reply #98 on: August 22, 2011, 02:02:00 PM »

I think I have heard it said that he uncovered quite selectively and that what was uncovered would ultimately have been resolved without the selectivity and perhaps faster without all the noise and confusion:  and most likely would have included a much earlier demise of Mr. Stokoe's influence and exercise.

The thing that cannot be taken back is the rumor mongering that his work encouraged and continues to encourage and the ill will, I would say virulent ill will and calumny, that was expressed for months on end and based almost entirely on his site that stirred the pot and encouraged such excess in behaviors that were at very least objectively and exceptionally sinful. 

One must ask: In the Body of Christ was that necessary?...was it useful?...was it avoidable?

I think Mr. Stokoe's bishop asked those questions and we have the answer.

I say, praise God...and the bishop.

M.

Agreed.
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