Some kind friends have kept me informed of what’s going on over at the loopy Monomakhos blog. It’s par for the course, sadly enough… ignorant, unfocused, and poorly-centred… the usual dreary slog (which is why I normally avoid it… I’ve little enough time to follow the legit Russian press and Church, thank you very much). However, it’s time to speak of a thing or two in order to keep OURSELVES focused and on-track (I hasten to tell my Kitchen Cabinet members, “Do keep me informed of what goes on in places like Monomakhos, for I don’t have the time to monitor them”).
Firstly, don’t forget that the internet’s a megaphone. Small groups, if they use the ‘net skilfully, can make themselves seem much larger than they are in reality. According to Qunatcast, the audience for Monomakhos is so small that they can’t estimate it with any accuracy. What that normally means is the readership is below 2,000 “people” per month. This isn’t “hits”… this isn’t “page views”… this isn’t “cookies”… rather, it means actual people. For instance, a blog with an “addicted” readership (over 50 percent of all readers logging in more than once daily) will accumulate quite a few page-views and hits on a small readership base. It’s simple for such a site to record over 100,000 hits a month. If there are 30 days per month, multiply that by 2,000 (readers), and you get 60,000 just there. If there’s a hot thread going on, an addict could very well “log in” several times a day. Therefore, sites such as Monomakhos and Byzantine Texas aren’t as important as they claim to be. As for this site, 74 percent of my hits come from one-timers, “passers-by” in jargonese. Therefore, 26 percent are from “regulars” and “addicts” (and addicts are a small percentage of my readership). That’s more typical of the average “mature” site (I’m in my fifth year of operation).
Just how many people do the Monomakhos crowd represent? If we’re talking the konvertsy cohort as a whole, they’re a minority of Russian Orthodox in this country indeed, probably far less than 10 percent of the total. My SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess) on the number of US Russian Orthodox is 125,000 in total. Do NOT rely on the crank figures in the latest survey from the “Episcopal Assembly” (much touted by oca.org)… it’s nothing but unsupported self-reportage (mucho opportunity for cooking the books, no?). My guess is based on ARDA figures (click here for the table) for 2010, which are more accurate than the “soft” Krindatch study (he was just following orders, no doubt). Very few of the Monomakhos lot come from ROCOR or MP/US parishes, who’re some 40,000 of the US Russian Orthodox total (about a third of all US Russian Orthodox believers). I’ll go so far as to say that the number of Monomakhos-minded konvertsy in the OCA’s less than 10 percent. In my experience, and from what people report to me, the average konvertsy conventicle, as compared to a normal parish, has less than 100 attendees in all. The absolute outside figure for konvertsy, therefore, can’t be more than 7,500 individuals, who, however, may be scattered in over 100 miniscule “congregationlets” (which is to a congregation what a statelet is to a state). That’s to say, they’re “over-clergied” and “over-parished”, having more parishes and clergy than their numbers would normally warrant.
Remember, we’re talking about the “blind leading the blind”. Most of the konvertsy clergy have no Orthodox formation, and, what’s worse, they DO have a heterodox formation (Patrick Henry Reardon being an all-too-typical example). What I’m talking about isn’t minor or picayune. It means that many of the neophytes are being led by those just as “green” as they are, meaning that there’s no one about to correct missteps and outright errors. Formation is, in not only my opinion, but of all clergy that I’ve asked, the MOST critical thing in priestly background. Ergo, a man with a heterodox formation is stunted and deformed in Orthodox terms. Yet, this is what one finds in the “average” konvertsy conventicle. What people have told me of what goes on in these establishments! It’s enough to curl your toes and frizz out your hair… no need to go into all the gory detail. Therefore, don’t be alarmed at what the sorts like “Helga” post… they’re such punks that they won’t sign their legal names. I DO. As for Eric Wheeler denying that he’s “Diogenes”, Kitchen Cabinet members advise me that “Diogenes” has a habit of posting what Mr Wheeler holds in private. Of course… that’s NOT conclusive, but it sure does point that way, nicht wahr?
Illegitimi non carborundum! Pass me the jug and take a hit yourself. Don’t let the yahoos get you down… for all that’s holy, don’t argue with them, all that does is to encourage them… SHEESH!
Thursday 3 May 2012