August 29, 2014

Met. Jonah’s 2009 Lenten message

On Feb. 28, Metropolitan Jonah, the head of the Orthodox Church in America, posted the following message: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America Dearly Beloved in the Lord: Christ is in our midst! Our Church has gone through a tragic and bitter episode in her history. Many souls suffered shipwreck, demoralized by the sins of a few. That is over. But the lingering bitterness and mistrust, resentment and desire for retribution, hang over us. We must heal this, both on an individual as well as corporate level. The only way to do this is repentance, using this season of repentance to make changes in our lives, cleanse our hearts and minds, and embrace the hope that can only be grasped by forgiveness. Unless we forgive others from our hearts, we cannot accept God's forgiveness for our own sins. Every time we criticize, judge, condemn or despise another person, no … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah calls for ‘internal reformation’

Ecumenical News Service interviewed Metropolitan Jonah, who called for better administration and more accountability in Church governance in light of the recent financial scandals in the Orthodox Church in America. The interview was republished by UK church news service Ekklesia. ... Jonah said, "There is a lot of 'internal reformation' that has to take place in the church." He noted that the church needs to put into place systems of administration and accountability that will put it on par with "a 21st century, U.S. non-profit" organization. Other goals include making the OCA a far more visible presence within the United States, though more vigorous missionary work. Jonah notes that already 60 percent of some one million OCA laity, 70 percent of its clergy and 90 percent of its bishops are, like Jonah, converts from other denominational traditions. Jonah also wants to promote Orthodoxy unity within the United States and for U.S. Orthodox churches to explore the creation … [Read more...]

The Nativity of Our Lord — 2008

The Nativity of Our Lord

Now then I pray you accept His Conception, and leap before Him; if not like John from the womb, yet like David, because of the resting of the Ark. Revere the enrolment on account of which thou wast written in heaven, and adore the Birth by which thou wast loosed from the chains of thy birth, and honour little Bethlehem, which hath led thee back to Paradise; and worship the manger through which thou, being without sense, wast fed by the Word. Know as Isaiah bids thee, thine Owner, like the ox, and like the ass thy Master’s crib; if thou be one of those who are pure and lawful food, and who chew the cud of the word and are fit for sacrifice. Or if thou art one of those who are as yet unclean and uneatable and unfit for sacrifice, and of the gentile portion, run with the Star, and bear thy Gifts with the Magi, gold and frankincense and myrrh as to a King, and to God, and to One Who is dead for thee. With Shepherds glorify Him with Angels join in chorus; with Archangels sing hymns. Let … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah’s ‘Obama Moment’

The Washington Times' Julia Duin interviews Metropolitan Jonah who, she says, is enjoying an "Obama moment" because of his relative youth and sudden rise to prominence. In Duin's interview, the Metropolitan said he wants to expand outreach to youth and on college campuses. "The thing I am most concerned about is the despair that grips so many of the young people in our culture," he said. "There is so much nihilism and atheism, all a result of the broken families, drugs, social and economic ills that grip our culture. So many of the young are in a state of existential despair." Why Orthodoxy? "It is a very integrated way of life," he said. "It's a lifestyle, a way of self-denial as a way to greater fulfillment. It is a way of spiritual discipline to help people to bring themselves under control so they are not possessed by anger, lust and the seven deadly sins." He was persuaded to join Orthodoxy through the reading of one book: "The Mystical Theology of the … [Read more...]

Mattingly on Met. Jonah

In "Orthodox bishop on hot spot," Terry Mattingly looks at the improbable rise of Metropolitan Jonah -- in the span of about 10 days -- from newly consecrated assistant bishop of Dallas to head of the Orthodox Church in America. Snip: If nationwide change is going to happen, said Jonah, it will have to grow out of respect and cooperation at all levels of the church. "Hierarchy is only about responsibility, it's not all of this imperial nonsense," he said. "Thank God that we're Americans and we have cast that off. We don't need foreign despots. We are the only non-state Orthodox church. In other words, we are the only Orthodox church that does not exist under the thumb of a state -- either friendly or hostile. "So the church is our responsibility, personally and collectively, individually and corporately. What are you going to do with it?" … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah: Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches

In June, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America delivered a talk on "Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches: A Monastic Perspective" at the Conference of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius at St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary. The audio of the talk is available on Ancient Faith Radio along with the other presentations from the conference. The PDF version of Metropolitan Jonah's presentation is available on the OCA site, where the Church is also archiving his articles and speeches. On the subject of the Mother Churches and the “Diaspora,” Metropolitan Jonah has this to say: ... almost all national Churches have extended their jurisdictions beyond their geographic and political boundaries to the so-called diaspora. But Orthodox Christians who are faithful to the Gospel and the Fathers cannot admit of any such thing as a diaspora of Christians. Only ethnic groups can be dispersed among other ethnic groups. Yet the essential principle of geographic … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Jonah: ‘Ability and Humility’

Terry Mattingly has been following the news coverage (non-coverage?) of the election of Metropolitan Jonah to lead the Orthodox Church in America and flags a story from the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Reporter J.M. Brown offered this: Longtime friends from Santa Cruz County said the 49-year-old bishop has the ability and humility to serve the entire church, which means ironing out a well-publicized financial scandal involving misuse of church funds and bridging gaps between various sectors of the orthodox faith, including the Greek, Arab and Russian Orthodox churches. "His election points to a very strong determination to change the way things have been done in the past," the Rev. Mel Webber, the pastor of Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in Santa Cruz for 11 years, said in a phone interview from Pittsburgh Thursday. "He's got the skills to become one of the most enlightened leaders this church has seen in a long time." … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Jonah to lead OCA

Metropolitan Jonah

The Orthodox Church in America announced that Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada today at the 15th All-American Council of the OCA. Ancient Faith Radio has Metropolitan Jonah's address to the council, where he offers insights about the nature of leadership in the Church. "Power corrupts and that power needs to be renounced," he says. Listen here. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette said the 49-year-old Metropolitan "was chosen after two ballots and a vote by the synod of bishops." The following is the official statement from the OCA: PITTSBURGH, PA -- On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was born James Paffhausen in Chicago, IL, and was baptized into the Episcopal Church. … [Read more...]