The above is a snap taken at St T‘s during the Pilgrimage. Note well that Yustinian Ovchinnikov isn’t there… neither is George Schaeffer, Jerome Shaw, or Peter Lukianov. Nathaniel Popp (and his vicar bishop) is MIA, as is Liolin and Golitzine. None of the AOCANA bishops are there. The only non-OCA bishop present is Hilarion Kapral… and that’s because he’s a “nice guy who doesn’t know how to say ‘no'” (as an exasperated ROCOR clergyman told me). I talked with several sources at the Pilgrimage, and they all told me the same thing:
Mel Pleska‘s too sick to wear the white hat. Don’t say precisely what the problem is, he doesn’t want it known publicly yet. He was out of the running, so, we chose the least-objectionable candidate.
What I can say is that the konvertsy stories about Mel being an alkie are lies. He’s not a Peterson, a Soraich, or a Brittain. Suffice it to say, Mel’s plenty sick, and the Sobor participants were put “in the know” as to the exact story, and that’s where it’s gonna be for the time being. That’s to say, Mollard was the choice of the Sobor, as he wasn’t Dahulich or Peterson, nor was he considered overly-much in Fatso’s camp.
The same situation faced the MP after the death of Aleksei Simansky. Of all the candidates for the funny white hat, Pimen Izvekov was the least-bad of those acceptable to the Party. As one bishop said at the time, “Pimen’s our choice… no, he wasn’t the best choice… but he was the best choice on hand”. Pimen managed to steer the Church in a workmanlike fashion until the election of Aleksei Ridiger (who was one of the greats, as his handling of the situation surrounding the breakup of the USSR proved). In like fashion, Anastassy Gribanovsky pushed forward Philaret Voznesensky in 1964, to avoid a succession fight between Vitaly Ustinov and John Maximovich. Philaret wasn’t the best choice… but he was the only choice available who could be seated without an acrimonious fight.
That’s the result of the Parma Sobor. They did NOT “kick the can down the road”. They had to choose SOMEONE as First Hierarch, so, they chose the least-nasty candidate. Peterson has a “past” and he’s known to be even more solicitous of the HOOMie cultists than JP was. Dahulich didn’t come up in the OCA (that is, he came up outside of the OCA/Metropolia institutional culture), and, even more serious, he carried more than a hint of being Bart‘s man (he’s also the most quasi-papist of the bishops). WHO ELSE WAS THERE? That was the point that my sources emphasised the most strongly. As one priest said, “The OCA’s going down, but it hasn’t sunk yet, so, we had to choose someone to lead it for the time being”.
Tikhon Mollard will stumble and bumble… as the job is beyond his abilities. As one of the Cabinet told me:
I don’t think that he wanted the job. He knows his limitations.
However, what’s needful at the present moment is something different. The OCA needs someone at the helm who isn’t going to go off on this-or-that idiosyncratic tangent, as Paffhausen did. There will be rough patches due to Mollard’s passivity… but there won’t be the rollicking and roiling antics of a James Paffhausen. The OCA neither needs nor wants a visionary… it wants someone who’ll leave the parishes alone to figure out their future. The OCA is a “dead man walking”… all except the konvertsy delusionaries can see that. It’s in the hands of the people, now… and they haven’t made up their minds yet. SVS… Syosset… Lyonyo… Jillions… they’re all superfluous now. The rest of us… it’s wait n’ see…