I receive almost weekly emails asking after the status of Met. Jonah. Here is the most recent information from the minutes of the Spring Metropolitan Council meeting available here (PDF).
(OCA) - Metropolitan Tikhon delivered his attached report (vide infra) regarding all aspects of his ministry since his election at the 17th All-American Council in November 2012. He also provided an update on ongoing discussions with Metropolitan Jonah towards a final resolution of his status and future ministry within the OCA. Specifics of the financial settlement package for Metropolitan Jonah will be presented to the Council for approval later during this meeting. Extensive discussion concerning Metropolitan Jonah’s situation and other matters took place. The hierarchs stressed the Holy Synod’s pastoral concern for Metropolitan Jonah. In response to questions, the chancellor and hierarchs provided explanation on the development of policies on the transfer of unordained monastics as well as the vetting, nomination and election of episcopal candidates.
A financial package being offered to Metropolitan Jonah was presented and extensively discussed. It was suggested that eventually revenue from the cell tower could fund this package.
To approve a financial package for Metropolitan Jonah, including $1000 per month until age 65, full medical coverage for three years, assumption by the OCA of amounts owed by Metropolitan Jonah to the Diocese of the South, and moving expenses not to exceed $25,000. To recommend that the Holy Synod consider the impact on this package should Metropolitan Jonah leave the OCA and that general release and non-disparagement clauses be included in the agreement. CARRIED with 6 opposed (Tosi, Shimchick, Jury, Mikhalevsky, Ringa, Van Duyn).
Metropolitan Tikhon Notes: I need to spend some time in this report to address the situation of my predecessor, Metropolitan Jonah, with particular emphasis on developments since the last Metropolitan Council meeting in September of last year. At the Fall Session of the Holy Synod (October 9-11, 2012), the Holy Synod appointed me to enter into a process of negotiation with Metropolitan Jonah. The purpose of this negotiation was to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution to his situation following his resignation as Primate of the OCA in July.
I was assisted in this process by a member of the Metropolitan Council who is an experienced mediator and both of us were assisted by the valuable and competent advice of our legal team. Beginning on October 19, 2012, we entered into a process of negotiation that would continue until November 12, on the eve of the All American Council in Parma. On that initial date, we met together with Metropolitan Jonah and his legal counsel in a neutral location for a full day of discussion.
The basic presupposition of the negotiation was contained in the phrasing of our opening question to Metropolitan Jonah: “Where would you like to be in five years and how can the Orthodox Church in America and its Holy Synod help you to get there?” This presupposition continues to be the basis for approaching this issue and it is the basis for the final proposal that has been offered to Metropolitan Jonah and which I would like to request formal approval from the Metropolitan Council for the financial component. This will take place later in this meeting.
Many options for Metropolitan Jonah were discussed, including various pastoral options and locations throughout the United States. We were unable to come to a resolution on that initial date or at any time in the following month. After my election, the Holy Synod presented a package to Metropolitan Jonah, where he would have a pastoral assignment in another diocese, complete with financial support and health insurance for a period of two years. This also was rejected by Metropolitan Jonah.
During this time, I was in conversation with members of the Russian Orthodox Church, including correspondence with Patriarch Kirill, and personal discussions with Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), Archbishop Justinian and Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. I mention this because one of the options under discussion was the possibility of a release of Metropolitan Jonah to another jurisdiction. This was his request at several points of our negotiation, but at this moment there has not been a request for his release from any jurisdiction.
In dialogue with the above mentioned members of the Russian Orthodox Church, we have come to a final proposal which would offer him an honorable situation and appropriate financial support. I believe that our Holy Synod has been very patient and very generous within the limits of what we can do as the Orthodox Church in America. The Holy Synod is asking the Metropolitan Council to give your approval to the specific financial package, which will be provided later.
I will end here and offer an opportunity for questions. But ultimately, the goal that each of us has is to strive for the love and grace of Christ and this is our common work for the glory of God.