Wednesday, March 2, 2011





La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

22‐24 February, 2011The Holy Synod’s Concern for the Health of His Beatitude, Jonah


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.


The Holy Synod took the following actions and reviewed them with His Beatitude:

1. The Holy Synod accepted Archpriest Alexander Garklavs’ resignation as Chancellor effective immediately.

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.


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.


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

B. Bishop MICHAEL will meet with Archpriest Alexander Garklavs on Friday to convey to him that the Holy Synod accepts his resignation. He will also meet with the other members of the staff and inform them of the above developments and appointments.


Jeremiah said...

Sighted many times throughout these minutes is a concern for Met Jonah's health, and that the synod is still obedient to him. Maybe Met Jonah was using wisdom by not declaring himself to be taking a LOA due to health problems. Seems that either way, his actions are subject to the kind of slander and innuendo this blog puts out.
The things going on within the OCA are no different than those going on in every jurisdiction, indeed every patriarchate as well. Sin within the episcopacy is nothing new. Our Church history is riddled with it. Yet Orthodoxy prevails by the Grace of God in Christ, our ONLY head.

The Orthodox Church said...

Jeremiah, God bless you for constantly looking for the silver lining. Glad to see you finally acknowledging that there is a problem. The fact that +Jonah unequivocally denounced stories that he is “not on a leave of absence” then the synod releases the minutes which really only expounded that he did so because they ‘suggested’ it to him. Your ability to disregard the facts and justify your logic by accusing “every jurisdiction, indeed every patriarchate” has problems is anemic at best. If I said +Paisios is just a bishop accused of sexual abuse but there is sexual abuse in other jurisdictions, is at a minimum ridiculous. Synodical and ecclesial anomalies are anomalies none the less, even if you are less than equipped to deal with them as responsible communicants of Orthodoxy in America. Sorry those who agree with your position can only deal with the situation by slinging insults instead of constructive perspective. It is easy to ‘villainize’ the messenger than cope with your own insecurities.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

The Synod placing Met. Jonah on leave is not love and kindness it's public chastisement and humiliation. It is time you substantiate your claims of other church leaders ever placed on administrative leave taht were not terminated for corruption and scandal. You will be hard pressed to find me one example where a leader of a church was forced by the Synod to take of leave of absence. Corruption can be found wherever there is man I suppose but the OCA has 50 co-current years of scandal and corruption since its inception and founding.
You must recognize that in any legal corporation NPO, for profit, or government body have legal protocols. Essentially the Synod in this case serves as the board of trustees who has just put their CEO on leave with pay. It is a way that employers and can legally sanctions employee with formal reprimand. Enlighten me which physical ailments are resolved which require 60 days? While mood disorders and mental illness can be contained in that time frame. There have been allegations of intermittent explosive behavior i.e. ranting and raving. Jeremiah, church elders, bishops and priests are not off limits but are held to a higher standard and scruitiny. They don't have a greater piece of the Kingdom only a greater responsibility.

Isa Almisry said...

The Diocese of the Midewest (OCA) last Fall made a formal request for Met. Jonah to take a rest, observing his health while here. Their last bishop, Abp. Job of blessed memory literally worked himself to death on his way to retirement

Jeremiah said...

Elias, I find it ironic that you accuse me of villanizing. You make a lot of other baseless accusations and assumptions against me.
I do not excuse the sinful actions of any bishop or jurisdiction. And Angela is right, they are not off limits. I do believe that there is a godly alternative to the jurisdictional paranoia that seems to be the real catalyst for these posts. Elias is right, maybe it is easier for you guys to sling mud than cope with your insecurities.

The Orthodox Church said...

Lets see on Elgreca262 blog we have both written

You say:
“the kind of slander and innuendo this blog puts out”
“the Kool-aid of self righteousness tastes better I guess”
“the snarky dig”
“you will repent of such insults”
“I say that to rib some observers of this thread”

I say to you:
“God bless you for constantly looking for the silver lining”
“Glad to see you finally acknowledging that there is a problem”
“You're so John the baptist these days”

Though ‘jurisdictional paranoia’ is a cleaver term it’s the real irony. It’s you that is constantly divides us into individual jurisdictions “I got your back, bro”. You still see the Orthodox Church as broken and find issue when “others” comment (‘others’ btw would be a false presupposition on your part).

I perceive one Orthodox Church in a process of healing and any bishop(s) practicing ecclesial anomalies I will draw attention to and defend the church over the anomaly, similarly any lay persons or groups with ulterior motives is up for a questioning and challenge. I don’t abide the xenophobia of culture, ethnicity, jurisdiction or language

Furthermore until UNITY is achieved I will not consent to “autocephaly” being forced into the conversation. After we have proven unity for a few years and display a maturity of ‘oneness’… autocephaly is not part of the dialogue, it is only a distraction.

Have a blessed Lent

The Orthodox Church said...

Jeremiah, its been a carefully orchestrated plan involving members of the Metropolitan Council, five principles, members of the chancery staff in Syosset, including the former chancellor, Alexander Garklavs, working with Stokoe [and others] to discredit His Beatitude

Jeremiah said...

I guess we are not able to fully communicate our full intent, heart, etc in the short space allowed by a blog comment. We are both for unity, both understand that there are truly no "others" within the understanding of the Church and desire to see injustices stop. We just have different approaches to that.
I will agree, we have not displayed the kind of maturity necessary to make autocephaly work. Until we are ready to do the work of the Gospel, everything else is just show.