Bishop John Martin of ACROD

Can someone fill me in on the history and background of the Chancellor of the Byzantine Catholic Church John Martin and how and why he became a priest and then Bishop in the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church (ACROD) in 1966?

What would you like to know.

He was Chancellor of the Ruthenian Church of Munhall PA, left there and joined ACROD and was eventually made bishop. Now are ya looking for the juicy bits?

No “juicy bits” as you put it. I thought it was strange for him to go from Chancellor of the Byzantine Catholic Church - a position of dedication and conviction - to the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (ACROD) where - IN THE SAME YEAR - he was consecrated a bishop. Apparently, ACROD knew and trusted him, but why the rush to make him bishop when he was just a new convert? Were there no worthy, talented ACROD priests who qualified to be consecrated bishop that year?

I have read some accounts from the Catholic Church that there problems in the Byzantine diocese back then and that Father Martin took a leave of absence to study for a doctorate at Stanford. Apparently, he had a crisis of conscience and converted to Orthodoxy. I can understand and accept that. Father Lawrence Barriger of ACROD in his book GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST A History of ACROD says only “On the recommendation of Bishop Orestes, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected a brilliant and dynamic young priest… Father John Martin” (page 99). Father Serge Keleher in Studies on the Byzantine Liturgy - 1, The Draft Translation: A Response to the Proposed Recasting of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom in 2006 says “Almost immediately the Carpatho‐Russian Orthodox Diocese invited him to consider becoming a candidate for the episcopate. Father John Martin accepted this invitation, which not only provided the Carpatho‐Russian Orthodox Diocese with an excellent Bishop but also caused a sensation in the Byzantine‐Ruthenian Catholic Church” (page 42). In a footnote, he adds “Since almost all the clergy of the Carpatho‐Russian Orthodox Diocese were and are married men, finding a candidate for the episcopate can be a problem. In 1966 the health of Metropolitan Orestes was precarious, and the diocesan administration was anxious to have a young bishop of Carpatho‐Russian ethnic background, so their invitation to Father John Martin was understandable” (page 42). That there was nothing “juicy” is shown by Keleher’s statement “Bishop John Martin made it a rule to refuse any and all invitations to express public comments on events in the Byzantine‐Ruthenian Catholic
Church; he did not even discuss such matters in private except with trusted friends. On one unforgettable occasion, Bishop John icily dismissed a Jesuit who approached him during a Church dinner in New York with the hope of obtaining some information about [Byzantine] Bishop Elko”.

Is this explanation and interpretation accepted by ACROD members? Has new historical evidence been discovered and published? I ask these questions as a retired ethnic and religious history scholar who does not have access to ACROD sources.

I believe the “invitation” to become bishop came before his conversion to Orthodoxy. As the whole reason for ACROD existing was the married priesthood issue there were no celibate priests in the eparchy at the time. Therefor the need to look outside.

Seems like you have a whole lot of information already.

Yes, but not from other ACROD sources. Fortunately, someone wrote to me privately and gave me more information (confidential).

First why post to a Catholic forum when looking for an ACROD source? Here at CAF any questions regarding the Orthodox Churches should be posted in the Non-Catholic Religions forum.

This is not considered an ACROD source?

His reasons likely were given in private conversations with trusted friends and fellow priests. So, your best ACROD source would be the priests still alive who were priests under Bishop John Martin. They may or may not be willing to disclose his reasons.

Look, I don’t want to argue with you (or anyone else) or play a game of “gotcha”. That happens too often on this forum and pushes legitimate inquirers away. I admit that I could have put this in the Non-Catholic Religions forum. If I made a mistake here, I apologize.

But, I wanted to find answers to TWO questions: why and how Martin left the Byzantine Church AND why and how he became a bishop so soon in ACROD. Frequently, I see Orthodox responders on this and other Catholic forums and hoped to get them here. As a matter of fact, one Orthodox reader who recognized my ID contacted me privately and answered my questions. So, I was successful.

It is ONE ACROD source. I hoped to find other sources of which I was not aware. As a trained historian, I wanted PRIMARY and secondary sources, and, as I said, I found one in a private message.

I apologize if I come across as harsh or sensitive, and I will consider your criticism in the future. However, as I explained, I had honest, scholarly motives and objectives. Have a peaceful Lent and a joyous Easter!

I am sorry you took my comments this way, Maybe I need to look at the way I respond.

To me your post came of as looking for “juicy bits” even though you said that you were not looking for them. Especially after you posted the information you do have, all that is left that I can see is “juicy bits” and gossip.

I apologize for that.

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