Spring 2012, Vol. 14, No. 1

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Spiritual Politics
Mark Silk's blog
on religion and politics 

Table of Contents

From the Editor:
    It's Baaack...

Religion and the Awakening

Repaving the Arab Street

Bishops in the Dock

Faithless Ireland

No Love for

The New Dominionist Politics


Without Benefit of Clergy

Cirque d'OCA

No Standing for It



Cirque d'OCA
by Andrew Walsh

Does or should anyone outside the group care what happens to a tiny, historically ethnic religious body like the Orthodox Church in America, or OCA, which has a paying membership of only about 30,000?

Over the last two decades, the church that one combatant blogger recently described as “the Orthodox Circus of America” has traversed a cataract of misfortunes of remarkable scope—plunging membership; attendant resource crises; financial, managerial, and sexual misconduct scandals among its senior hierarchs; and the sputtering of its animating vision of a new and unified American identity intended to supplant the divided realities of the nation’s small cluster of Orthodox Christian churches.

But during 2011 the church lived through a spectacle almost certainly unprecedented in the history of organized religion in America. At the end of February, after a series of tumults over the actions, attitudes, and proposals of the church’s chief bishop, the OCA’s synod of bishops, meeting in Santa Fe, suspended Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen for 60 days and asked him to submit to a psychological evaluation to determine his fitness to continue.

In office only since the end of 2008, Jonah seems to have accepted the “intervention” while it was taking place, but changed his mind as soon as he left the meeting. He spent much of the rest of the year denying that it happened and fighting hard against it.

What followed over the course of the spring and summer was a period of trench warfare between his supporters and critics, waged mostly on the Internet. Then, on the floor of the church’s “All American Council” in Seattle November 1, Jonah reversed direction and agreed to submit to an evaluation at St. Luke’s Institute—the Catholic “treatment and education center” known mostly for its controversial role in the Catholic clerical sexual abuse scandal.

“These last three years have been the three most difficult years of my life,” Jonah said in his opening address to the council. “I have been under a relentless barrage of criticism for most of this time from every forum I am meant to oversee: the Chancery officers and staff, the Metropolitan Council, and—most troubling to me—the Holy Synod of Bishops.”

“I admit that I have very little experience in administration, and it was a risk for the 2008 Council to elect me, the newest and most inexperienced of bishops. I have worked very hard to fulfill your expectations. But this is not an excuse. These three years have been an administrative disaster, and I need to accept full responsibility for that.”

After that statement, silence fell. The two main sources of Internet contention and, dropped their weapons and shut down. The OCA contented itself with running occasional reports about official worship services at which the metropolitan officiated.

As for the general media, throughout 2011 there was no substantial coverage of the crisis outside of a single Washington Post Magazine profile of Jonah, published March 17.

This stands in contrast to the quite detailed coverage of the OCA’s extended crisis from the late 1990s to 2008, which culminated in the forced retirement of the preceding metropolitan, Herman Swaiko. It is a striking measure of the drastic diminution of American journalism’s capacity, or will, to cover such a story.

Does it matter that the OCA now struggles in profound darkness? Does anyone outside the OCA really need to know more about this train wreck? What is lost when the struggles of religious organizations are waged chiefly via Internet and only by intense partisans?

The case for covering the small, shrinking, and obscure OCA is, simply, that its experience offers significant insight into the shifting contours of American religious identity and experience.

Fifty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Metropolia of America, as the OCA then called itself, was largely composed of the second and third-generation descendents of Slav immigrants, many of whom clustered in the coal and steel towns of Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes states. Led by a small but intellectually gifted group of émigré Russian clergy, the group reshaped itself in the 1960s as the first Orthodox church in the nation to try to move beyond ethnic identity and into an embrace of English language worship and American cultural norms. It sought to unify the various ethnic strands of Orthodox population into one, national Orthodox Church.

But since then, across the board in America, inherited religious identities have proven harder and harder to maintain. The OCA’s old ethnic constituency has shriveled dramatically and its vision of ethno-Orthodox union hasn’t gained traction.

Meanwhile, a certain number of converts have moved into Orthodoxy from the broader culture. The result, five decades on, is a smaller, but much farther flung religious body. OCA churches, now consisting mostly of convert clergy and convert congregations, have been planted all over, and arguably are thriving more in the Sunbelt than in the Rust Belt.

Most of the converts have felt drawn in some way to Orthodoxy’s liturgical worship, deep-rooted sense of historical identity, and fidelity to ancient theological formulations and views.

Some, inspired by the work of the leaders of the 1960s, have embraced the challenge of developing a church both authentically Orthodox and authentically American. For them, that has usually meant a commitment to developing a more consultative and “conciliar” style of church government that includes lay and priestly participation in episcopal elections; church councils with lay and clerical representatives who have statutory, and not simply advisory, powers; transparent financial rules; and firm discipline for clerical misconduct.

But others have been drawn to Orthodoxy because they perceive it as a resolutely anti-modern haven from secularization—a church of their own that won’t ever ordain women or gays, recognize same-sex marriage, or countenance abortion. Many of these yearn for a church active in the culture wars, one resolute enough to assure that their children will choose to shelter inside its walls for the rest of their lives.

In the struggle over Jonah’s leadership, these two tribes—both consisting mostly of converts—plunged into sharp conflict.

The immediate background was the long struggle by a group of lay and clerical leaders to uncover and then to address institutional scandals in the OCA that began in the 1990s and broke out openly in 2006. (See “Scandalous Days in the OCA,” Religion in the News, Vol. 11, No. 3, Winter 2009.)

At the core of the struggle was the increasing refusal of the church’s top bishops, most notably Metropolitan Theodosius Lazor and his successor, Herman Swaiko, to follow budgets, publish professional audits, observe the stated wishes of donors, and police the misconduct of clergy and hierarchs. There were suspicions that several million dollars in grants given by the Archers Daniel Midland Foundation to support the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church had been diverted by Theodosius and his chancellor, Father Robert Kondratick, to support the administrative costs of the OCA and for personal use. Even national collections raised to provide support for victims of the 9/11 attacks and the 2004 Chechen terrorist attack on the Beslan school in Southern Ossetia, where 388 children and teachers were killed, were diverted.

For most of the late 1990s and 2000s, Herman and his colleagues on the synod quashed attempts to investigate, banished whistle-blowers, and asserted their episcopal right to silence lay and clerical critics and to operate without the detailed approval of the church’s Metropolitan Council of elected laity and priests.

In 2006, following the example of Greek-American Orthodox lay and clerical reformers unhappy with a Greek archbishop in the mid 1990s, a group of OCA activists founded (Orthodox Christians for Accountability) to circumvent Herman’s chokehold on the flow of information in the church. The website promised “to inform members of the OCA of the origins, nature and scope of allegations concerning financial misconduct at the highest levels of the central church administration of the OCA by providing news and supporting documentation about the scandal.”

The site was run by Mark Stokoe, a convert of the “conciliarity” school who had been educated at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the 1980s, worked for Orthodox church groups as a young man, and served briefly as a lay member of the Metropolitan Council in the 1990s (before Herman threw him off it). did its own reporting and editorializing, collated news reports, published legal documents, and opened up a comments section that soon became the site of fierce charges and countercharges.

Under the gun, Herman first blamed the problems on his chancellor, the Rev. Robert Kondratick, whom he fired. By 2008, the evidence of various forms of misconduct was mounting and the number of bishops willing to continue the cover-up was shrinking. Dogged by investigations, Herman was forced into retirement.

Jonah—a convert from the Episcopal Church—had been an OCA bishop for only one month when he was elected the church leader at an All American Council in Pittsburgh at the end of 2008. In fact, he was the only bishop who was not tainted in some way by either misconduct or cover-up.

“Hundreds of clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in America wept for joy,” reported Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on November 13, 2008. Support for Paffhausen was galvanized by his responses to questions at a public forum that included “forthright admission of wrongdoing at headquarters” and words that clergy and lay delegates accustomed to episcopal claims of unilateral authority longed to hear from one of their bishops: “Authority is responsibility. Authority is accountability. It’s not power.”

 But there wasn’t much of a honeymoon. Within a few weeks, Jonah stirred up an intra-Orthodox tempest by publicly disparaging the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (ultimate head of the much-larger Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) as dominated by Islam, and a “foreign bishop.” He was immediately pressed to back down, and did so.

And the new metropolitan’s vision of his role has turned out to be more unilateral than conciliar. At a time when the Metropolitan Council was pursuing a painful effort to cut the church’s budget to fit the OCA’s diminished resources, Jonah was pressing the bishops to drastically restructure and reduce the central church administration (and in particular the structural role of lay and clergy consultation with the bishops). He also began pressing to move church headquarters to Washington, where he proposed to build a new monastic community and administrative center.

Jonah’s unilateral tendencies irritated his fellow bishops. In 2009, without consulting them, he signed the Manhattan Declaration, a joint statement of opposition to abortion and gay marriage floated to a large group of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox leaders by Charles Colson and other evangelicals.  He also broke ecumenical ties with the Episcopal Church in favor of “Anglican” conservatives who had broken away from the denomination after the election of Gene Robinson, a partnered gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire.

In addition, Jonah worried some OCA priests and laity by suggesting that it might be beneficial to return the church to at least some degree of supervision by the Russian Orthodox Church. (Unlike most OCA members, Jonah had close ties to Russia and the Russian Church, where he had spent time in monasteries during the 1990s.)

By 2010, was paying more and more attention to Jonah’s behavior and plans, treating him increasingly as a loose cannon. At a synodal meeting in February in Santa Fe, he fulfilled their worst fears with a blistering address to the bishops that began:

“This is a critical time of judgment for us as the OCA. Do we want a church that is led by the bishops, with advice from the clergy and laity? Or do we want a church controlled by the Metropolitan Council, its committees and officers, criticizing and marginalizing the bishops?

“Are we going to permit the Church to continue to be torn apart by endless controversies, endless investigations and reports which destroy mutual trust. Are we going to cede episcopal responsibility to self-appointed watchdogs, wolves without even a shred of sheep’s clothing, that have their own personal power as their sole agenda? Stirring up endless controversies where they can become the great saviors of the Church?”

If Jonah and his advisors thought this would rally the other bishops, they were mistaken. Their response, instead, was the 60-day leave of absence for “medical/spiritual” evaluation. According to the official minutes, which were in due course posted on the OCA’s own website, Jonah agreed to have this be announced as a request from him in order to preserve appearances, but as soon as he left the meeting, he reconsidered.

Within a few days, he was at the OCA’s Washington cathedral denying “inaccurate reporting on the Internet stating that I have been deposed, that I had resigned, or that I am on leave of absence.” Into the fray leaped the cathedral’s dean, Father Joseph Fester, whom Jonah had just moved to Washington from Dallas, where he had served after being a key assistant to the discredited Metropolitan Herman.

On March 2, Fester sent a message to a “private email list of OCA clergy” calling on them to rise to Jonah’s defense. His chief target was the head of

“Mark Stokoe is a master manipulator and a liar,” Fester wrote. “He has used this church and all of us too long and now he is trying to manipulate the removal of His Beatitude by ginning up the mob (can you hear Crucify Him, Crucify Him!) If we don’t stand up now and move out, and he is banking that we will be too scared to say anything, we will not only lose His Beatitude, but we will lose the OCA. This is not hyperbole.”

It is in the nature of Internet combat that this email immediately became public and a spur to more vitriol. In a three part series headlined, “Jonah Goes Rogue,” published it along with evidence that Jonah had indeed been put on leave by his colleagues.

On March 3, entered the picture with a pseudonymous posting by someone calling himself “Muzhik” (Russian for “The Peasant,” or more colloquially, “The Man”). The new site took aim at, accusing it of “seemingly plotting to remove Metropolitan Jonah…currently under attack by members of the OCA old guard who are afraid that he is going to make the OCA into a living, vibrant church, instead of a timid, fearful, withering-on-the-vine enclave that is has been.”

A response came on March 7, from the Rev. Thomas Hopko, retired dean of St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary and a product of the church’s old, old Russian-American guard. In a letter posted on, Hopko asked that the bishops and Metropolitan Council be supported “in their unanimous efforts to fulfill their duties responsibly, which now most sadly include insisting upon and providing for proper counsel and care for our gravely troubled Metropolitan Jonah.” He also asked readers to support Mark Stokoe’s “continued efforts” but “not to trust, honor or support Fr. Joseph Fester’s opinions and views since his record hardly demonstrates worthiness of serious consideration.”

It was at this point that the Washington Post weighed in with “Metropolitan Jonah goes to Washington,” a March 17 profile by former Washington Times religion writer Julia Duin, now a freelance. Duin gave a sympathetic account of Jonah’s campaign to move the OCA’s headquarters from Syosset, New York, to the capital—designed, she said, to “enable advocacy on behalf of the religious freedom of the Orthodox Christians around the world” and to let the OCA “stand equal with evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics in opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning and euthanasia.”

Jonah, Duin wrote, “sees American Orthodoxy as a crossroads where the choice is to remain in ethnic enclaves and be irrelevant or jump into the mainstream of culture and politics and make a difference.” Unlike the combatants in the blogosphere, however, she felt obliged to provide the perspective of the other side, and quoted Stokoe, among others.  The plan, Stokoe told her, involved “a major decision that should be considered carefully in the context of finances and the strategic plan by the entire church. To play the game in Washington takes a lot of money, and the OCA is not a wealthy church.”

The story provoked Bishop Tikhon Mollard of Philadelphia, the secretary of the synod, to write the Post to say that Duin’s article had accurately conveyed “the reality of tensions that exist within the administration of the Church.” But Tikhon denied the claim that other hierarchs were reluctant to take public stands or that Jonah was out of step with the synod in opposing abortion or same-sex marriage.

“While it might be true that Orthodox in North America have not been on the front lines of the culture wars and political conflict, this is not necessarily out of reluctance or hesitation,” he wrote. “In countries like the United States, all citizens are blessed with the possibility of engaging in culture wars and political conflict. We also have the freedom to express our views in a multitude of ways, which, while something that we should be grateful for, is nevertheless a gift that carries with it the obligation to speak and act in a responsible and prudent manner.”

This sort of even-keeled approach didn’t appeal much to Jonah’s supporters, who believed that new life for the OCA was to be found on the culture war barricades.

Over at, meanwhile, Muzhik was taking the criticisms of Fester personally.

“If his side wishes to use the past of Fr. Joseph Fester in an attempt to discredit those defending [Jonah], and if he wishes to allow OCANews to serve as a platform for ad hominem attacks on one of [Jonah’s] defenders, then he has implicitly opened the door to similar public questioning of his acts with relation to his personal history, as well as the statements and acts of his supporters, like Fr. Ted Bobosh,” Muzhik posted March 17.

“Mark Stokoe is openly gay and lives openly with his partner. Both of them are active in their OCA parish, which is pastored by Stokoe’s fellow Metropolitan Council member, Fr. Bobosh,” Muzhik wrote. “Like many Orthodox Christians, I have known about Stokoe’s domestic arrangement for a while, but declined to make it part of this discussion, partly because I wanted to stay focused on the arguments, and partly because I didn’t want to ‘out’ Stokoe, out of respect for his privacy. In the past week, however, I have learned that he is not in the closet at all.”

Muzhik then posted texts, including Stokoe’s mother’s recent obituary from the Dayton newspaper, to support the charge. In the post, Muzhit said he would not stoop to place Stokoe’s home address or the records of his partner’s political contributions online, but then described how to find them on Internet sites. The intolerable problem with Stokoe’s gay identity, Muzhik wrote, was that he served on the Metropolitan Council.

Stokoe’s response was muted. “Do I want to see homosexuality openly embraced by the Orthodox Church? Do you think I am a fool? Or a heretic? I am neither. Period. The issue here is not Mark Stokoe, and has never been Mark Stokoe. It is the actions of Metropolitan Jonah who created this crisis, and it is his actions, or lack of them, that will resolve it….The teachings of the Church on homosexuality, abortion, the ordination of women, etc., are not in question by me, or anybody I allow to publish an article on this site.”

Terry Mattingly, editor of the online religion journalism review and a prominent Antiochian Orthodox lay activist, weighed in on March 21 by way of an analysis of Duin’s Washington Post profile. Noting the difficulties she faced keeping up with the fast-moving crisis and the bitter antagonisms, he provided links to and “You can tap in into the venom behind this battle,” he wrote. “Then go take a shower.”

Mattingly himself parsed the drama as a socially and religiously conservative convert to Orthodoxy. “The key is how to define the nature of the battle line that divides the two sides, the divide between those who see Orthodoxy as a partner for the Church of Rome and most evangelicals and an old guard who want to retain their decades of ties to the Protestant left and the National Council of Churches.”

For an “ethnic” Greek Orthodox insider like myself, the scenario of an old guard motivated by loyalties to the Protestant left is absurd. But be that as it may, the OCA’s drama rumbled forward into the spring of 2011.

Jonah initially postponed scheduled meetings of the synod and Metropolitan Council, and then, at the end of April, mounted a brief campaign to reassert his personal authority at OCA headquarters.

On April 30, published “The Truth Behind,” a story based on scores of internal email communications accessed on a Dallas computer that Fester had used while serving as pastor of St. Seraphim’s Orthodox Cathedral.

“According to the emails, was designed by Jason Folsom and is written by Jesse Cone and Rod Dreher,” wrote Stokoe. “All three are current and former parishioners of St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas. It was established with the support and cooperation of Fr. Joseph Fester, the former Dean of St. Seraphim’s (and current Dean of Metropolitan Jonah’s St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington DC), who provides information and direction; and done so with the knowledge and blessing—and all evidence would suggest—cooperation of Metropolitan Jonah.”

The post included long quotes from exchanges between Dreher and Fester about how best to combat “Team Stokoe” with “Team Jonah.” None of this aligned very well with the claims to having a broad base of support in the OCA and no links to Metropolitan Jonah that had accompanied OCATruth’s description of itself as “an independent source of real inside information and analysis in this critical time in the life of the OCA.”

Jason Folsom and Jesse Cone are not well known figures, but Rod Dreher is. Employed at National Review Online and then as a columnist and editorial writer at the Dallas Morning News, Dreher was for a number of years “Crunchy Con,” the most read religion columnist at He most definitely knows his way around the culture wars toolbox.

Much of his writing in recent years has concerned his family’s painful decision to leave the Catholic Church because of its poor handling of the sexual misconduct crisis and the subsequent refuge he found in the OCA. In 2010 and 2011, however, he was in charge of publications for the Templeton Foundation, and felt constrained to anonymity. did not reveal how it came to possess the Dallas correspondence, but it soon became clear that it came from Bishop Mark Maymon, a Dallas-based auxiliary bishop who had been assigned to be the temporary administrator of the Diocese of the South by Jonah in January 2011. The year before, Mark had transferred to the OCA from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of America, after that jurisdiction’s metropolitan, Anthony Saliba, had demoted him and other regional Antiochian bishops from being leaders of independent dioceses to auxiliary bishop status.

A convert who had graduated of Oral Roberts University as well as a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration, Mark hardly fits the image of “liberal compromiser,” so the provenance of the disclosure damaged the case that OCATruth was trying to build.

“Muzhik” turned out to be Dreher’s nom de plume. Stokoe charged that Dreher had also appeared on the website as an anonymous poster. OCATruth was, in Stokoe’s counterclaim, pure pro-Jonah propaganda.

The email cache included extended exchanges on strategy and tactics and focused on shaping messages to discredit Stokoe. Because Dreher had been Orthodox only a few years and didn’t know most of the OCA players well, he took his lead on the interpretation of the scandal from Fester. He reported on his repeated discussions with Julia Duin and advised Fester on how to maximize the impact of the new site.

“Julia is wondering what the heck is going on, saying that this latest information looks bad for Jonah,” Dreher wrote to Fester in a March 2 email. “She’s right—and I say this purely as a public relations matter. You all know the background information, not I and certainly not Julia Duin. But she’s a journalist sympathetic to Jonah who is having a hard time figuring this one out. To be clear, I trust your judgment re: the picture you’ve painted for me about what’s really going on behind the scene, but as your friend and supporter, I need to tell you that this stuff needs to come out, because the release of the minutes of the meeting do put Jonah’s case in a negative light.”

A bit later, Dreher explained, “Please understand that I am offering you this media management advice not as someone in the peanut gallery throwing spitballs, but as a friend and supporter, one who wants Jonah to triumph. I have a lot at stake in this too, not only in that I want my church to live, but some of the dearest people in the world to my family.”

The revelations about caused a stir. Within days after an early May synod met in Chicago, Jonah removed Fester from his post in Washington and eventually transferred him to what amounts to ecclesiastical Siberia in Orthodox America, the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, a smaller, even poorer and less post-ethnic Orthodox jurisdiction.

OCATruth sputtered with rage, denouncing the “iniquitous Maymon,” as a thief. At the synod meeting, Jonah retained his office, but the bishops passed four resolutions that hemmed him in. The first required that all hierarchs sign official minutes of the synod—because Jonah had argued that the Santa Fe resolution putting him on a leave of absence wasn’t valid because he hadn’t signed anything.

The other resolutions stripped Metropolitan Jonah of his locum tenens (oversight of a diocese before a new bishop is elected) positions and the salaries that went with them; clarified that the OCA’s chancery officers worked for the synod and not just the metropolitan; and expanded the number of bishops serving on the church’s Lesser Synod from two to six and increased the frequency of its meetings from two to six, while describing it in new language as the synod’s executive committee.

Things moved the other way over the summer, when a new bishop elected to oversee the Diocese of Midwest removed Stokoe from the Metropolitan Council: “In the months that I have been administrator of the diocese and now its archpastor, I have observed the divisiveness 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 distain (sic) and sometimes outright hatred for the Church, the hierarchs, the clergy and its faithful.”

Stokoe responded by saying that he had been removed “not for my questions, but for simply allowing others to ask theirs. If the past few years in the OCA have taught anything, it is that denying, ignoring, delaying or dismissing those who ask questions does not work.”

Things went forward more or less in that vein until the convocation of the All American Council in Seattle in November, when Jonah made his startling admission of administrative disaster and agreed to go off to St. Luke’s. No one really knows how this came about. OCATruth suggested that Jonah had read the text of a statement written for him by the other bishops.

On November 9, Stokoe announced the suspension of, saying that he had discussed closing the site with co-workers a year earlier but had kept it going due to the press of reform business. simply faded away. Its final message, posted November 4, praised Jonah’s decision as selfless and proclaimed that his vision of the OCA’s future would eventually prevail.

Dreher had already summed up what he had learned in an October 18 post on, published under his own name. In it he allowed as how “the fallout from all that made me decide that I need to stay the hell away from anything to do with bishops.” But going on to address an imaginary episcopal audience, he wrote: 

“Many of us parents are trying to raise children to be faithful to our churches in a secular, pluralistic age. As these children grow up, they will be able to entertain thoughts of believing in other churches, in other faiths, or in no faith at all. If we’re serious about our Orthodoxy, or Catholicism, or Anglicanism, what have you, we will want our children to stay loyal to the faith. There are so many forces pushing and pulling them away from it. We’re living with it daily, and doing our best to build our kids (and ourselves) up in the faith: to know what we believe.

“Nowadays, Your Graces, leaving the faith for another church, or no faith at all, has never been easier for Christians. Wake up. Can’t you read the signs of the times? Things are hard now for small-o orthodox Christians, and our families, and they are going to get harder.”

The culture wars—even for somewhat chastened combatants like Dreher—are now a pervasive presence inside even insular religious groups like the OCA. Indeed, the dominance of converts in America’s smaller Orthodox churches has made this tradition particularly susceptible to culture war conflict, and perhaps a window on the American religious future.

 Americans increasingly recognize that religious identity is more a choice than an inheritance. And when they choose a new religious institution to belong to, they feel entitled to shape it to their needs—spiritual, social, and ideological.

Under the old regime, identity mattered more than ideology. Now, you get to try to remake your church according to your lights, and those who don’t like it, should leave and find one more to their liking. The case of the OCA shows what happens when the inheritors of a tradition have become inconsequential, leaving the “choosers” to fight to the bitter end for their competing visions of what the church should be. 

As for those who only want to follow what’s going on, they are left mostly in the dark. 

Like most institutions, the OCA apparatus has no interest in covering itself. A single story in the mainstream media, one heavily spun by one side, is a sad commentary on the state of secular religion coverage today.

This leaves the “news” provided by combatants flaming each other on websites—distorted images but better than nothing, which is what remains when the websites themselves flame out.


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