Thursday, June 27, 2013

A ROCOR priest apostatizes to the Cathedral

Ex-Fr Nathan Monk, a celebrity in his part of Florida for his charitable work. (Showing off?) He and his cute wife have dumped Christ to stand up for homosexualism. (If the secular world cared about the Orthodox, it would stand up and cheer.) Surprising news since the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is, among Orthodox, famously extremely conservative, to its credit (but they’re nasty to Catholics); mostly Russian exiles from right after the war. To be fair, he was ROCOR in about the same sense that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American. Not an ethnic Russian born into it, he was Orthodox for about eight months! (He tried to get into the Antiochian Orthodox Church first.) Readers of Peter Anson aren’t surprised. A classic case of an Eastern church being too trusting of a vagante (would-be) priest (wacko ‘independent Catholics’), using him as a priest too soon and getting burned. (‘You hate Pope too? You now our priest.’) Happened before to ROCOR with Blanco (pervs into boys set up a bogus monastery with a fake miracle icon). (And, related, with the fanatical Greeks they took in, radicalizing ROCOR, who eventually left.) Typical: when ROCOR is in the middle of canning the troublemakers, they leave. Word from some Orthodox is recently ROCOR’s hastily taken in many such priests for its Western Rite, as happened here. Delusion of grandeur: a church, with, really, just a few thousand people, desperately tries to compete head-on with the Catholic Church (or at least get some of the ex-Episcopal market) and look what happens. So desperate they took in a typical vagante liberal without really checking up. Anyway, this incident reinforces an idea of mine that the anti-Western (anti-Catholic), exotic-fetishist (anything but the old America and anything but Rome) convertodox, shopping vegan at Whole Foods, and SWPLs, the Cathedral’s most devout communicants (it’s a Christian heresy), are more alike than you think. (He even looks like one of them.) Maybe this will wise up some of the real Orthodox (the nice ethnic second-generation Americans, from the old America, who are the majority in American Orthodoxy): in American society from now on, you have only this choice: join the Cathedral or stand with us if not join us.

I’ll give him credit for not trying to change Christianity.

He even likes the rosary too. What a waste. Then again, like Episcopalians and unlike Catholic liberals, vagantes are usually high church (they believe the creeds and love our stuff).

Franky Schaeffer and now this guy. Who’s next?

Update: A reader writes:
He was not western rite. He was originally received with the western rite, quickly closed his western rite parish and became an assistant priest at a Byzantine rite parish. He, at least then, strongly condemned the western rite in the Russian Church. I am surprised no one has mentioned this, but has instead simply attacked the western rite tying his name into his personal shenanigans.
Duly noted. Still,
He was originally received with the western rite.


  1. I always found ROCOR parishs to be very welcoming and kind to me when I visit. They find I'm Catholic and usually have some strong words, but always in a good spirit. Truth be told, the only really, really antiCatholic Orthodox I've met were Evangelical converts in places like the Antiochian parishes. Usually people with Anglo names who pretend to be Slavic and love to bash Rome on everything while turning a blind eye to their own issues.

    I will say this: I appreciate this vagantes following his conscience, but I also wonder why he joined ROCOR knowing their very strong position on the issue. Was he just wanting to take a stand? Did he want to make a scene?

    1. You got it, guy.

      Good question: I don't know.

    2. I know that the CC is not always in great shape when it accepts convert ministers/priests into the sacramental priesthood, but usually they vet these guys first, particularly their intellectual formation. Nonetheless, I do suspect one case (I won't mention the name) about a former Continuing Anglican priest now a Catholic priest. On the other hand, even a former Episcopalian bishop (Jeffrey Steenson) had to go through some preparation before being ordained a Catholic priest and Fr. Steenson was a patristics scholar so he definitely is not light weight in the academic sense.

      Why are the ROCOR so naive in this sense? One would think that they would ensure at least a sound intellectual formation prior to ordaining a convert priest/minister to the Sacred Priesthood. John, you and I know of one case who had been forcibly "retired" and now having jumped ship into a non-canonical Orthodox jurisdiction who has/had no higher education whatsoever, not even a bachelor's degree. A great pretender with no real vocation to the clerical calling.

    3. Like I said, the Eastern churches have always been naive about vagantes, taking their claim at face value about being just like them but Western. They think the enemy of their imagined enemy, Rome, is their friend. Same reason they were friendly with the Anglicans for so long. Non-papalist Anglo-Catholics told them what they wanted to hear.

      That guy blew it, from his own point of view seeking status. He got what he wanted, being a real priest, recognized by everyone as one, in the Orthodox' most important church, the Russian one, and he threw it away.

    4. "told them what they wanted to hear."

      I honestly believe that is more than good enough for some bishops who are long on piety and short on scrutiny.

  2. Mr. Beeler,

    Your tone suggests a certain pleasure (schadenfreude, a sense of vindication?) concerning this turn of events. I would have thought that in such a case you would be wholly “on the side of” your former coreligionists, taking this as an opportunity to demonstrate the kind of irenic attitude towards Russian Orthodoxy which you once had for Roman Catholicism. But even here you don’t pass up the chance to take a shot at ROCOR. I guess we Orthodox are the proverbial bees in your bonnet (fedora, homburgs, etc.).

    I hope I have misread you.

  3. I don't hear schadenfreude. It's more of a resigned "oh, brother, not another crazy vagante," tone.

    I’ll give him credit for not trying to change Christianity.

    Amen to that. There's time for reflection and repentance.

  4. Where did Nathan Monk receive his education? Who was his "liberal catholic" bishop? Why did he serve such a very short time as an Orthodox priest? And, related to this, how did he not know how Orthodox follows standard views on gay sex?


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