Midwest Parish, Seeking Answers,
Withholds AAC Special Assessment
In response to the special invoices sent to all parishes for the forthcoming All American Council, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Clayton WI, has announced it will be withholding its special assessment until the reports of the old Special Commission and the new Special Investigative Committee are released. In a letter addressed to the new OCA Treasurer, Fr. Michael Tassos, the parish writes:
"January 21, 2008
The blind man cried out, saying, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!'
Dear Fr. Michael Tassos,
As you are aware, trust in our Church is paper thin at best. We, the faithful of the Church, have a desperate need to see that the administration is working to rebuild that trust, and not simply trying to silence us and keep us in the dark. As we are now in receipt of a bill for the forthcoming All-American Council (AAC), we are calling out for light to be shed on what it is we are being asked to support.
As the Parish Council of Holy Trinity Church, (Clayton, WI) we need satisfactory answers to the questions below before we can consider supporting the next AAC. These are very serious and heartfelt questions; we hope they will be given serious and heartfelt answers.
We are aware that, as Treasurer, you may not be able to respond to these questions yourself. We ask that they be forwarded to Metropolitan Herman for answers.
1) Metropolitan Herman spoke hurtfully against the Assembly of the Diocese of the Midwest and the Assembly of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, attributing to the devil the work of the Holy Spirit that was accomplished through open and prayerful discussion.
A. How can we be assured that open discussion will be encouraged at the AAC?
B. When can we expect a public apology from Metropolitan Herman to both dioceses?
2) The Preliminary Investigative Report implicated Metropolitan Theodosius, as did the documents released by James Silver, yet Metropolitan Theodosius was not called to spiritual court. Furthermore, a man was fired by Bishop Nikolai for reporting sexual harassment by Bishop Nikolai's chancellor, and Bishop Nikolai promoted a child molester to the lower ranks of clergy. He too has not been called to spiritual court.
A. If the Synod of Bishops governs the AAC, how can we have confidence that they will govern rightly when they themselves appear to be free of any and all accountability?
B. How is it possible that Archbishop Job had to endure a hearing by his brother bishops for reporting blatant immorality, while Bishop Nikolai sat as accuser?
C. Does the OCA as a whole take on financial or legal liability when a convicted child molester is promoted within the lower ranks of clergy?
In addition to these questions, we have recently read that the new Special Investigative Committee may want all of 2008 to complete its work. However, the full report of this Committee is essential to any fruitful reflection and discussion, both before and during the AAC.
Therefore, we cannot financially support the AAC until our parish receives full reports from both the first Investigative Commission and the new Investigative Committee.
As you can see, these are weighty issues. Again, we ask that you forward our questions to Metropolitan Herman for his heartfelt and forthright answers, and we patiently await the full reports from the Investigative Commission and the new Special Investigative Committee.
Yours in Christ,
Jerry Fall, Council President
On behalf of the entire Parish Council of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church"
- Mark Stokoe