BUSINESS AS USUAL
In the midst of an FBI investigation into financial misconduct at Syosset (much of the misconduct
occurring in the last 7 years when the Metropolitan
was Acting Treasurer, Locum Tenens for the Primate and later Primate himself);
In the midst of an investigation of the same things by the Special Commission (including the diversion of charity and appeal funds which the Metropolitan signed off on) used for, among other purposes, expensive and large celebrations;
With the work of almost all OCA departments and ministries scaled back or cancelled in 2007 for lack of funding due to costs associated with ongoing lawyers' fees (see above);
With $67,000 in “Bibles for Russia” funds still unaccounted for (not to mention 9/11 funds);
And having just mortgaged the OCA for $1.7 million in order to repay the diverted funds and accumulating debts;
- it is nice to know there’s still money, time and effort to throw a party for the man at the top, or rather, in the center, of it all.
Clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Washington and New York received printed invitations with the following message late last week:
His Beatitude, HERMAN
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
is being honored by the Diocese of Washington and New York on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday.
You are cordially invited to attend
on Monday, the twenty-third of April
at six o’clock in the evening
at the New York Athletic Club
180 Central Park South
New York, New York
For those unfamiliar with the city, the NY Athletic Club (NYAC), located at 180 Central Park South, “occupies one of the finest locations in the city” according to its website. Overlooking Central
Park, the NYAC, its website continues, "is ideally situated for those wishing to take advantage of all the sights and sounds that the New York City has to
offer.” The Club has been used by for OCA celebrations before, most recently a 2004 dinner for St. Tikhon's Seminary.
Sadly, it appears it is still 'business as usual' at Syosset. Like the Bourbon pretenders to the French throne in post-revolutionary France, the Metropolitan has learned nothing from his experiences. Perhaps the OCA’s sternest critics are correct - nothing has, can, or ever will, change in the OCA. The OCA is corrupt to its core. Certainly the total inappropriateness of this event can only add fuel for such cynics and skeptics. But for those of us who tenuously hold faith, who believe the OCA is worth fighting for, and continue to hope that things can change, indeed will change, it is now more clear than ever that the Metropolitan is not being cautious, prudent, circumspect or just misunderstood with regards to the scandal. He, and his sycophants he surrounds himself with who thought up this event, just don’t care. They just don’t get it. And as this ill-conceived celebration evidences, it's unlikely they ever will.
By the revelers eating their cake while the ministries of the Church go without their bread, one is forced to conclude that what the Metropolitan does or does
not do, what he says or does not say, is no longer relevant to those who do care about the OCA. The Metropolitan need not resign; he has already abdicated leadership. So, let him have his party. Enjoy the
$100 a plate steak (or grilled salmon) dinner. Bon appetit. Those who attend eat and drink to their own condemnation.
The remaining relevant body in the OCA, the hope for our common future, is now the Metropolitan Council and all who support them - bishops, clergy and laity. Moreover, the credibility of the Council itself rests increasingly on the integrity of the Special Commission. If the Commission and its work are allowed to be thwarted, by the Metropolitan, by his lawyers, or whomever, well, the OCA shall indeed be fully on the road to lost. For then we shall have lost our last means of restoring the integrity of our Church.