Reflections On The Scandal
An Open Letter From Young Adults of St. Mary's Cathedral to the Parish Board and Delegates to the Midwest Diocesan Assembly: Minneapolis, MN
This letter presents our opinions and perspectives as young adults regarding the ongoing unrest in the OCA. Many in our parish, diocese, and across the OCA have spoken about this situation and discussed the proposed resolutions at the upcoming Diocesan Assembly.
As most of us, especially in our parish, have been raised Orthodox, we have been raised with
certain values. We grow to respect our Deacons, Priests, and Hierarchs. This is both because we
are taught to do it, but also because of the paternal relationship that develops as we are mentored
and guided through childhood.
As a young generation we learn to endure a harsh reality that is American culture, which often
contrasts sharply with that of the Orthodox Church. We live in a world where ethics and morals are
becoming a valued commodity rather than an assumed trait. We live in a world where millions lose
their life savings through scandals like Enron and Tyco so that a handful may become rich. We live
in a world where soldiers are sent to fight and die and we can’t even agree on what we’re fighting
for. We are surrounded with corruption and encounter self-serving tendencies daily.
As Orthodox Christians, we are taught to live our faith everyday, not just on Sunday mornings.
We see ethics seminars as laughable, how else would one go about their job? Ethics and morals are
something built within us, without the need for Codes of Conduct and Best Practices. We go to
work every day and endure stress and challenge in the pursuit of success by serving God. We take
comfort in the fact that there is one place where within which we can trust to find relief and peace -
and that is the Church.
We now are faced with a situation that threatens the very basis of that trust – our church
leaders have been accused of the same things we seek the church to escape. Our faith in our
leaders and fathers is being challenged. Now lines have been drawn in the sand. In our own
Church, where we are called to stand together and be One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,
there is division.
The sad fact is that many youth and young adults may become turned off by what is transpiring
within our Church. Some have already. We have learned to become sensitive and adverse by
nature to the types of things now occurring due to what we see every day in society.
We are educated as accountants, managers, programmers, lawyers, business professionals,
consultants, and in other professions. We know how businesses and organizations are correctly
run. We are not easily fooled by good public relations into believing that finances and
accountabilities are in order. We struggle to maintain respect for those who dodge the real issue
and avoid directly addressing problems. We now find ourselves in conflict with the core concepts
we were raised with.
Things cannot continue as they are, there must be change. Despite a multitude of testimonies and documents concrete truth is not known and many of our leaders do nothing to help us understand it. As the Orthodox Church in America it is our responsibility to strive to be a saintly example to others both individually and united. This unfortunate situation is an amazing
opportunity to be that example in how we respond to it.
As young adults we unanimously and strongly support Archbishop Job in his efforts not to ignore the situation, but to address it head on and discuss openly as a church community how we heal ourselves and overcome.
It is unfortunate that it should need to become a Diocesan Resolution that we have full financial disclosure. As a church we have a responsibility to use the gifts God has given us to do his will,
including money. We need to know that this is indeed being done when we entrust our donations
to our national church. Perhaps there are reasons why full disclosure is not an option, if so those
reasons should be explained honestly and openly so that trust and confidence are protected.
We ask that everyone involved in the upcoming Diocesan Assembly do all they can to do the will
of the Holy Spirit in whatever they decide. The most important thing of all is that whatever course
of action is judged the most appropriate, that we do it together and united. If we cannot stand
together as a Diocese and speak with one voice we are doing nothing to be One Church and only
add to the crisis. We have been taught forgiveness, compassion, and understanding and the
actions we choose should keep those things in mind.
In our support for Archbishop Job, we also strongly support the need for an emergency All-
American Council so that the entire church, not just one Diocese, can come together to mend these
divisions and return our church’s focus to that which we are called to do, spreading the Word of
God. Unity, not financial reorganization, is the most difficult goal for us to attain, and also the
most important. Church policy, statutes, canons, tradition, and wisdom can only be followed if we
stand behind them together.
We respectfully submit our views and opinions to the delegates of the upcoming Diocesan
Assembly and hope that they are taken into consideration during discussion and voting.
On behalf of many young adults,
St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral Trustee