Jonah and the ides of March



Finally my story on Metropolitan Jonah, the head of the Orthodox Church in America, is out in this Sunday’s Washington Post magazine. You can see it here. And the print edition, which most people will see Saturday, is gorgeous with some really great photos by a Russian-speaking photographer who belongs to the local Orthodox cathedral where a lot of the action in the story takes place. I’ve learned more about Orthodox church politics during the past 10 weeks than I’ve known in a lifetime, especially after the story took a dramatic turn in late February when Jonah’s bishops revolted against him and he came perilously close to losing his job. Long story why. Had he resigned, the story would have had to be killed and I would have been one unhappy camper. Fortunately Jonah hung on and just this week, a high Russian church official from Moscow – Archbishop Hilarion – breezed into New York and apparently gave pretty much everyone involved a dressing down and told the OCA’ers to get their act together. Note: the drawing in red/blue is Jonah, not Hilarion.

Our lives here are quiet and the second photo is of Veeka and some friends on a bridge in the Shenandoah Valley where I went a few weeks ago just to get away. The crocuses and forsythia are finally out here and the danger of snow is past, for which I’m grateful. I’m working on more freelance stories but – alas – none of them are enough to pay the bills and so I’m also trolling for full-time work. I was talking with a lawyer friend tonight who was remarking as to how many firms are using contract help so they don’t have to pay benefits, much less salaries. This is deadly for folks like me. Another friend remarked that the only way that anyone who writes books, blogs and magazine articles can survive is to be married to someone who *is* making a salary.
Which all goes to say the world of blogging and freelancing is lovely in a fashion but economically it is not working and has not been working for me in my now-nine months of being out of work. So when the Subaru dealer informed me yesterday I was paying $618 for car repairs, that was again a reminder that my days of working out of my home cannot last much longer.
Veeka is doing better in her new school and is gaining some serious weight, making it much harder for me to lift her. She’s become a desert-aholic like me; a meal is not complete unless there’s something sweet at the end. We were at a friend’s home for dinner tonight and sure enough, she was whispering to me afterwards whether I could quietly sneak her my last piece of candy in my purse.
Veeka, WritingPermalink

3 Responses to Jonah and the ides of March

  1. ivl says:

    I understand this is just a story for you, Ms. Duin, but for the Church it is a tragedy, and to use the terminology of "dressing down", "getting their act together", etc. is highly disrespectful. Not that the article itself shows a modicum of respect for anyone involved – just cheap sensationalism and political posturing. Oh, and it would have been nice if you had done a bit of basic research for it. "The world’s Christians generally were united during their first millennium" demonstrates rather profound ignorance of Church history which is surprising in someone who claims to have a "degree in religion".

  2. Eric G. says:

    Dear Julia:

    I was at that meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion and no one got a "dressing down". There was an honest conversation in which he listened. But you are mischaracterizing the meeting.

  3. ceej says:

    Thank you for writing this wonderful story about our Metropolitan. On the whole I thought it treated the subject well considering the time constraints you were under. I think Metropolitan Jonah is a superlative archpastor because he is gentle and kind, and will always stand up for the truth. I think you really captured that essence. I especially enjoyed the photos in the print edition, and I hope this will not be the last time you write about Orthodoxy. Thank you.