Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Byzantium, Slouching

Lest you missed it, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America just kicked out its primate, Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen.  Read about the ugly details here.

Jonah was a former Episcopalian.  He had previously been suspended by his peers, and asked to sumbit to a psychological examination to determine his fitness for office.  At that time, he also admitted that his first three years in office had been "an administrative disaster." 

Mark Silk, writing a column at RNS, places Jonah among those Americans who have converted to Orthodoxy, seeking both "an uber-authentic form" of Christianity (whatever that means) and an ally in the culture wars.  Silk sees Jonah's removal as a response by the "old-timers," whose vision of Orthodoxy is less beholden to American theoconservatism.

Meanwhile, theocon converts to Orthodoxy Terry Mattingly and Rod Dreher are up in arms.  Naturally.  Dreher calls the Holy Synod "a pack of ravening wolves," "dirty, filthy," and so forth.  Also claims they have signed their church's "death warrant."  Mattingly calls Jonah and the converts "the authentic voice" of the OCA, which is likely a hard claim to sustain against "old-timers."

But we really don't know.  Maybe Jonah is the greatest thing since canned beer, and the other bishops are just a bunch of KGB plants.  Stranger things have happened, not least in Orthodoxy.

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