Voices from Russia

Thursday, 29 September 2011

29 September 2011. The Fall of the House of Stokoe

Editor’s Foreword:

Here are the URLs for the below information:




What I’ve also noted is that Quantcast figures for “visits” don’t correlate with WordPress “visits”… but that doesn’t affect “cookies”, which is the dominant factor in counting “readership”.



I checked the latest Quantcast figures, and they’re a revelation. The audience for both oca.org and ocanews.org, the official OCA website, and Stokoe’s website (for all intents and purposes Lyonyo’s internet presence) has imploded… their audience has dissipated. Indeed, the “new look” OCA official website has received a leaden response… there wasn’t even been a “spike” in readership out of curiosity. Look:

Readership for oca.org


Readership for ocanews.org


Readership for Voices from Russia


There’s not a dull moment in any of this, is there? Before we read the tealeaves, let’s look at readership composition:

Composition for oca.org


Composition for ocanews.org


Composition for Voices from Russia


Here are the raw readership figures:

VFR 25,600
OCA                        11,400
Stokoe                        4,400

Now, these don’t mean much in and of themselves. I’ll tell you how Mark and Ginny are going to “spin” this. They’ll give you an entirely different figure, that is, for “hits”. “Readership” is how many particular users access a particular website. “Hits” count the number of times a website’s accessed in total, regardless of user. That’s to say, the number of “hits” always exceeds the number of “readers”. For instance, I have, as of today (according to WordPress), 124,000 “hits” for September, giving me an “average” of about 4.8 (hits divided by readership)… that’s normal for a well-trafficked website. The higher that the “average” is, the higher the actuality that a given site is “preaching to the converted”.

Now, let’s look at another figure, proportion of addicts (readers who log on daily) in the readership:

Stokoe 76 percent
OCA 63 percent
VFR >1 percent

One can easily see that Stokoe and the OCA are only “preaching to the choir”. The higher the proportion of addicts a website has, you’ll find a higher number of hits per a given readership base. Out of a readership base of 4,400, Stokoe has 3,350 addicts who log on daily; this guarantees him a little over 100,000 hits a month… but he’s only reaching a limited audience, even considering the small “universe” of internet users who happen to have an interest in the doings of the OCA.

The OCA has 7,200 addicts, which guarantees them at least 216,000 hits a month. Again, it seems impressive, but it’s not reaching a mass audience, and the number’s been dropping like a stone, even after the website makeover.

Now, let’s look at the proportion of hits generated by the “addicted”:

Stokoe 97 percent
OCA 95 percent
VFR  4 percent

There’s not much readership outside of the “true believers” for both Stokoe and OCA… my figure means that about 5,000 hits a month come from the addicted, which means that I have about 150 readers who log on each and every day.

Now, let’s flip everything over! Let’s look at the number of “passers-by”, the number of people who log on once in a given month:

VFR 80 percent
OCA  5 percent
Stokoe  3 percent

If you don’t attract passers-by, your readership won’t grow. If I can “convert” 1 percent of my “passers-by” into regulars (logging on once a week), I’m happy. Since the figures cut the same way for everybody, it’s clear that the OCA and Stokoe are running sclerotic websites that don’t attract much new readership.

Now, how many hits do these passer-bys generate? Let’s see:

VFR 52 percent
OCA  1 percent
Stokoe  1 percent

For me, it means that 64,000 hits a month come from passers-by. To make an educated SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess), I’d say that the OCA gets about 2,000 hits from passers-by and Stokoe gets less than 1,000. It’s in the nature of things… it’s inexorable… it’s simply mathematical.

Yet, the most-desirable demographic is “regulars”, people who log on more than once a month. These people are the core of your readership. They’re not “addicted”… they have lives! If you have a healthy number of “regulars”, you’re doing well in the internet game. Let’s look:

OCA 32 percent
Stokoe 21 percent
VFR 20 percent

This means that the OCA has 3,650 regular readers, Stokoe has 900 regulars, and VFR has 5,100 regulars. The regulars are your “meat n’ potatoes” readers… they should be giving you the largest percentage of hits. Let’s look at that:

VFR 44 percent
OCA 4 percent
Stokoe 2 percent

This means that the OCA is getting about 9,000 hits from regulars, giving them 2-3 hits per month per regular. Stokoe’s getting about 2,000 hits a month, giving him about 2 hits a month per regular. VFR has 55,000 hits per month from regulars, which means that I’m getting about 10 hits a month from my regulars (a little over twice a week per regular… not bad). Monday’s my big day… Saturday and Sunday are DEAD… Friday is a balloon leaking air from several puncture holes. I conjecture that most people log in on Monday and one other day in the week.

If you think that all of the above is bad news for Mark and Ginny, there’s MORE. Let’s look at the percentage of readers with a 100K+ USD household income:

VFR 33 percent 121
OCA 15 percent 53
Stokoe 5 percent 17

The last figure is how one’s website stacks up against the internet average. I needn’t say anything about this one, need I?

Now, let’s see “households with children under 18”:

VFR 26 percent 64
OCA 25 percent 60
Stokoe 8 percent 20

Note Stokoe’s abysmal performance in this area.

Now, let’s look at “graduate school” education levels:

Stokoe 51 percent 355
OCA 36 percent 251
VFR 22 percent 154

This simply put, tells you where the clergy and some of their overeducated allies are (seminary staff, EdD’s, and other assorted academic flotsam). Stokoe’s the most priest-ridden, OCA is a little better… I’m the closest to average (but still a sharp bunch). I think that you can tell what’s up without a long dissertation. It’s time to get out the humane killer. The OCA, the Metropolitan Council, and SVS deserve to be in the dustbin of history. The OCA is nothing but a superannuated and spavined relic of the Cold War, the Metropolitan Council is nothing but an American version of the Holy Governing Synod (with all of its faults and none of its good points), and SVS has become nothing more than an overly-expensive “white elephant” that consumes more than its fair share of Church resources.

At this point, I don’t think that the “end” is going to be neat. The OCA isn’t going to go en bloc to Moscow, although it should. The saddest part is that there’s going to be a “rump OCA”… if you think that there’s much Sturm und Drang from the konvertsy on the internet now… just wait! They’ll make up for their lack of numbers with their stridency and zealotry. I can’t tell you what to do. However, these figures expose Mark Stokoe and Ginny Nieuwsma as frauds. Mark is Lyonyo’s willing Uriah Heep… and he’s been such ever since the days that he worked at the Chancery. I’d like to think that Ginny’s an immature kid taken in by Fathausen and the Coneheads… she’s not carrying out her responsibilities as a journalist… you don’t write hagiography, dear… you write the truth, and take whatever they give you for it.

A small coterie of about 200 people runs the OCA and the ROCOR… and they piss on the rest of us. You can’t be “nice” or “polite” about it. What do you want? Think hard on that. Again… look at the above figures, they’ll tell you much.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 29 September 2011

Albany NY


Abuse Case Court Date Set

The case of an Orthodox archbishop facing sex-crime charges in Manitoba is headed back to court for a preliminary inquiry later this fall. Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was the highest-ranking Canadian cleric in the Orthodox Church of America until church officials suspended him in November 2010. Winnipeg police laid charges following the church’s suspension. The preliminary inquiry is scheduled for two days in mid-November, Storheim’s lawyer, Jeff Gindin, said Friday. The charges against Storheim came after a lengthy police investigation into allegations the former Winnipeg cleric sexually abused two teenage boys 30 years ago. A Chicago-based advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse that’s monitoring the case said in an e-mail Friday the archbishop may be violating his bail conditions… to avoid contact with minors… by visiting a church this weekend in Victoria BC. Not likely, according to his lawyer. Gindin said his client is restricted to two addresses, one in Edmonton, and another in Ottawa. One is his home, and the other is his sister’s house. Even to visit his sister, the cleric must submit dates of the trip through his lawyer before the court approves the travel. “He’s got certain bail conditions, and as far as I know, he’s abiding by every one of them”, Gindin said.

26 September 2011

Winnipeg (MB) Free Press


Editor’s Note:

Is it a surprise to all of you out there that oca.org is lying to you by omission, yet again? They posted NOTHING concerning this affair. Mark Stokoe did likewise, he refused to cover this story in his last post. He has no better sources than I do… in fact, you can assume that he’s nothing but Lyonyo’s internet voice. They’re a piece of work, aren’t they? How much longer, Lord?


29 September 2011. What Jews Have Given the Rodina… Isaak Levitan: The Painter of the Soul of the Lands of Rus’

By the Lake

Isaak Levitan



Her Pets

Isaak Levitan



An Autumn Day: Sokolniki

Isaak Levitan



Isaak Levitan (1860-1900), famous Russian artist


Jews gave much to the Rodina, and not all their history in Russia was pogroms, shtetls, and persecution. Indeed, Jews were, and are, a vibrant and necessary part of the Great Russian tapestry. Over the Days of Awe, I’m going to present some parts of Jewish Russia that you might not know about. Isaak Levitan is one of the greatest Russian painters, and no educated Russian is unaware of his work. Levitan created the “mood landscape”, an evocation in colour of the Great Russian scene. He is the founder, along with Shishkin, of the present school of landscape paiting in Russia. Reflect on this… Levitan lived only some 40 years, yet, he left us some 1,000 canvasses.

Don’t let them tell you it was all Black Hundreds and drunken peasants… it twasn’t necessarily so. Raise a glass and cheer… here’s to one of the greats.


29 September 2011. Stokoe Resurfaces… He Has NOTHING of Substance to Relate

Stokoe talked about… Christianity in Syria, a supposed WikiLeaks dispatch from the American ambassador in Moscow, and a resignation on the Metropolitan Council (Faith Skordinski has her fans… I’m not one of them). He said NOTHING about Lyonyo… NOTHNG about Bobby… NOTHING about Dickie Wood… and NOTHING about JP Fathausen. It’s GIGO from stem to stern, especially the WikiLeaks rubbish. A little over a month ago, WikiLeaks released supposed documents from the US Embassy in Moscow saying that the UOC/MP regretted supporting Yanukovich in ’04… that was a lie from start to finish… it was a crank intel précis… it wasn’t a report of factual events (that’s why I didn’t post on it… it wasn’t worth my or your time). The thing that Stokoe posted was of similar provenance and accuracy. It was wishful thinking on the part of the American ambassador (don’t forget, Mark’s paymaster and string-puller, Lyonyo, is on the CFR). As someone familiar with the Russian press, I saw what was in Beyrle’s  appreciation bore NO relation to reality. Only a navel-gazing American rightwing fanatic would take ANY credence in it. Look at this boobish comment in Stokoe’s comboxes (exactly as posted, solecisms and all):

The ROC only surfaced from Communistic rule in 1991. Now, after only 20 years, everyone thinks THEY have the answers. That they have the theologians. That they have the real vision & leaders of the Church. In reality, THEY HAVE NOTHING! The ROC is nothing more than a political arm of a very corrupt Russian govt. The ROC is equally corrupt. They have no answers for America or the Church here. They offer a church following rules and forms going back to 1800. The govt is using the church as a way to extend it’s tentacles in America and through out the world. They may not call themselves Communists, but the Russian govt is just as corrupt, paranoid and still trying to dominate the world!

Such people DEMAND us to take them seriously. They do… I’m NOT kidding… they truly think that they’re making comments that grounded people have to take into account. It’s amazing, but that’s what passes for informed discourse amongst the konvertsy. Firstly, the “thaw” began in ’85, under Gorbachyov. That became formalised in 1990; see this (I don’t totally agree with it, but it’s brief and to the point):


As one can see, the Russian source says one thing… this disjointed convert says another. It’s no contest as to whom to believe… I do daresay that RIA has a bit more heft and substance. Nevertheless, it does show one not only how ignorant these charlatans are of the sources, it shows you, in no uncertain terms, that they hate the reality of what’s out there, and that they intend to fight against it.

Stokoe posted an encomium from one of his friends gushingly praising him. Mark must really feel that he’s against the wall to have to do such. I’ll post it in its entirety… you have to know what these weasels are up to… this is the sort of pernicious and distasteful pabulum that Lyonyo’s pushing (Mark’s nothing but Lyonyo’s obsequious running-dog-lackey). You CAN hold down your lunch.


Is This What the American Bishops Want?

The recent news that Mark Stokoe had been dismissed from the OCA Metropolitan Council and his Diocesan Council by Bishop Matthias is deplorable, but not surprising, given the history and culture of the Church, and a pronouncement this spring from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Among their concerns, many laudable, the bishops pointed out that June was “internet safety month” and urged “priests and parishioners to raise awareness and secure appropriate protection for our children and communities from the many and diverse prevalent dangers, including pornography, cyberbullying, perils by predators, risks of geotagging, and in particular dissension in the Church” (emphasis added).

Dissension in the Church is apparently more important than pornography for the bishops when it comes to the Internet. It’s interesting that they coupled dissension with the Internet. Did they have Mr Stokoe’s website in mind? A few years ago, in the Greek Archdiocese, then-Archbishop Spyridon would have liked to have the web-site Voithia (Help) taken down, but Voithia was “speaking truth to power”, and it was the Archbishop who was removed by Patriarch Bartholomew, after the groundswell from the faithful. With the massive financial scandal alone that took place in the OCA (has it ever been resolved?) one would think that OCA bishops would want the Stokoe website, OCA News, to continue to be a Christian watchdog about finances and other governance matters. Who else will point out wrongdoing? Who else will have the courage to speak out about transparency and accountability? If we follow Bishop Matthias’ logic, no lay person would have raised any questions about the financial scandal.

Other churches run by bishops also suppress dissent. Catholic bishops are relatively quick to dismiss a priest who advocates for a married priesthood, say, but they take years to dismiss, let alone defrock, a priest for child rape… if they ever do. Are the Orthodox bishops really telling us that what they call dissension is more important than Internet pornography or perils by predators? Of course, the Internet isn’t the only place that children ought to be protected from. Shouldn’t the bishops be pro-actively creating an up-to-date policy on sexual misconduct, for instance, now that SCOBA no longer exists? If Bishop Matthias’ reasoning for removing Mr Stokoe is representative of his fellow bishops, we need to be raising concerns about what kind of American Orthodox Church we would have under their leadership. I submit that trying to silence a Mark Stokoe is “old world” thinking and does not belong to a prospective American Orthodox Church where a more democratic governance should be the model.

Let’s grow beyond the stock answer that “the church isn’t a democracy”. James Carroll, a former Catholic priest and author of Constantine’s Sword, put it well when he said:

The next time someone tells you the church is ‘not a democracy’, reply that that’s exactly the problem. Checks and balances, due process, open procedures, elections, a fully educated community, freedom of conscience, the right to dissent, authority as service instead of domination… all of this must come into the church.

I believe that Carroll’s words can be applied to Orthodoxy, as well. If we’re going to have a united Orthodox Church in America, it should be more democratic. Mr Stokoe is to be applauded for answering the bishop that he will be continuing the website. Instead of trying to silence Mr Stokoe and shut down OCA News, the Orthodox community should be awarding him the “Orthodox Pulitzer Prize” for his work over these past six years.

A P Cromidas


Firstly, Tyotya Vara says that you should take a shot of something good, neat, no ice, and no mixer, to clear away the unpleasant taste that this disgusting goo left in your mouth. These people truly believe this rot… that means that they’re Proddies in their heart-of-hearts. Then, they have the goddamned gall to lecture the rest of us about how “un-Orthodox” we are. I’m not going to waste your time refuting this… its manifest Renovationist trash. The edifice is swaying… but no one dare say so. In fact, a faction at the Sobor’s going to try to act as though we have “business as usual”… and they might succeed this time… they could reject some people’s “credentials”… it’s been done before, it COULD happen again. Sudden and dramatic falls only happen after a long period of rot and senescence. Usually, as in the case of the August Days in ’91, the triggering event comes out of the blue, with no warning. That’s to say, the Sobor MIGHT resolve the issue… there’s an equal chance that it won’t. The OCA is just as doomed if they manage to sweep it under the rug… all that’ll happen is that the explosion will happen later, with more violence. Some people prefer this… then, the blow-up won’t happen in their time, they have an “après nous, le déluge” attitude.

What do I think? I think that NO ONE knows what’ll happen… not even Almighty God. We’re NOT automatons… we DO have Free Will. That’s why God Himself doesn’t know… He’s waiting for US to act. That’s a terrible (in the classical sense) and freighted responsibility. What shall we choose? I haven’t the slightest bloody idea… and neither do you. However, I DO know this. Whatever we choose WILL resonate, not only for us, but for our children… choose well.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 29 September 2011

Albany NY

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