OCANews: Mischief in Moscow, Aporia in Syosset
Mischief in Moscow, Aporia in
Various Russian websites are reporting that Archimandrite Zaccheaus (Wood),
the former OCA representative to the Moscow Patriarchate who had been officially
placed on Leave of Absence and recalled to the United States in the wake of
allegations of misconduct late last month, served the Divine Liturgy at his
former parish at St. Catherine’s in the Fields last Sunday (August 21).
According to these websites Fr. Zacchaeus“...reported in his sermon after
the Liturgy, (that) he celebrated the Liturgy with the blessing of the
Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Jonah.”
The unexpected development in Moscow, and the reasons given, prompted some
overseas Orthodox bloggers to suggest intrigues, from the promotion of the
“Russian World” to yet another chapter in a “power struggle” within the OCA.
The sad reality is much less conspiratorial.
If the Archimandrite’s claims prove to be true (and there is no reason to
doubt his veracity on something that can be so easily ascertained) his actions
represent no conspiracies, foreign or domestic, but only the latest situation in
which Metropolitan Jonah has once again acted unilaterally and secretly, against
the decisions of his Synod, the counsel of the OCA’s professional and legal
advisors, ignored the concerns of alleged victims and overturned the established
policies and procedures of the OCA. In so doing, he has one again put the OCA at
potential legal risk.
The Metropolitan’s apparent “about-face” concerning the Archimandrite -- who
has hired a lawyer, contested the misconduct allegations, threatened lawsuits
and repeatedly refused instructions of the Metropolitan to return to the United
States so an official investigation could begin (all the while claiming he was
indisposed for medical reasons that seem to have required hospitalization
shortly after he was placed on Leave) -- has left the Synod of Bishops, the
Metropolitan’s Council’s Legal Affairs Committee, and the Synod’s Sexual
Misconduct Panel Advisory Committee in what can only be called ”aporia”.
In Greek philosophy, "aporia" is a seemingly insoluble impasse. The only way
beyond " aporia" is to make a conscious decision -- to abandon the problem
altogether, or overcome it by re-examining one's presuppositions.
The Metropolitan,for his part, choose to abandon the country and leave for an
eight day trip to Prague today.. The visit to the Church of the Czech and Slovak
Lands is at the invitation of Metropolitan Christopher of Prague, and includes
Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco. The Synod, based on past experience, prefers
another bishop accompany the Metropolitan whenever he is abroad.
- Mark Stokoe
(Update 8.24.11: Given Archbishop Dmitri's worsening condition, Metropolitan
Jonah decided not to leave for Prague as scheduled with Bishop Benjamin and Fr.
Eric Tosi, OCA Secretary. Rather, he flew to Dallas to visit the ailing
hierarch, and will now join the OCA delegation on Friday.)
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