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8.6.07 The Synod of BishopS Meeting

+Herman Stalls: +Job Pays:

+Nikolai Walks

The Synod of Bishops of the OCA met in an extraordinary two day session last week, July 31-August 1, in Syosset. With the exception of two press releases, the first on July 30 stating that the agenda would include a report on the trial of Fr. Kondratick, the forthcoming 15th All-American Council and "the current status of the OCA", and a second, issued on July 31st, indicating a judgement had been returned in the case of Fr. Robert Kondratick (but not releasing the verdict), no other information has yet been made public.

What the Synod Did

Considering the great interest in the outcome of the case, as well as in the other decisions affecting the ongoing 22 month scandal in the OCA, has learned:

• That the decision of the Synod on Fr. Kondratick has been communicated to Fr. Kondratick, the accused, as well as to the Dr. Faith Skordinski, the accuser for the Metropolitan Council. Only two Bishops protested the spiritual court's recommendation: Archbishop Dmitri and Bishop Nikolai. The final decision, however, is not expected before the October meeting of the Synod, after appeals from the verdict, if any, are considered.

• At present, the next All-American Council is on track for Pittsburgh in July or August 2008.

• The Metropolitan continues to stall in regards to the Special Investigative Commission or the release of its preliminary Report. The Metropolitan announced the Special Investigative Commission remains "temporarily suspended" and will not be allowed to resume its work until mid-October, if then. He remains unwilling to release the preliminary Report of the Special Commission at all.

• Archbishop Job released the July assessments of the Diocese of the Midwest to the Central Church as the Midwest's July benchmark (to hold a special meeting of the Synod) was fulfilled.

• According to the Diocesan Council of the Midwest though: "The August 2007 assessment payments to the Central Church will be remitted after the release to all Church members of all reports of the special investigation commission and when the commission renews its unhindered investigation, as directed by the Metropolitan Council." (Read that story here)  The Archbishop has said repeatedly, in public and in private, that he will adhere to the decision of his Council.  A showdown clearly looms.

• Like Protodeacon Peter Danilchik, who recused himself from advising Metropolitan Herman "due to the interference of lawyers", Attorney Jim Perry, the lawyer who has been assisting the central administration pro bono, has now recused himself from further participation in helping Metropolitan Herman deal with this continuing mess.

• Mr. Paul Bodnar was confirmed as the new Secretary of the OCA. At the direction of Metropolitan Herman the new staff members, including the new Chancellor, Fr. Alex Garklavs, were not allowed to address the Synod.

• Fr. Paul Kucynda remains the "Acting Treasurer". As such, Fr. Kucynda is responsible for why the $90,000 donation to New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) for 9-11 relief, authorized by the Metropolitan Council on their June 12-13th meeting, in partial repayment for the diverted 9-11 funds, has still not yet been distributed - some two months later.

• The Metropolitan will not resign, nor retire, still refuses to leave St. Tikhon's to take up residence in Syosset, and visits Syosset on the average of one day a week. Almost unbelievably, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, signed, blank checks are still left to be used by the staff.

• Finally, "the current state of the OCA" acquired drama beyond the existing scandal when, during the first day's discussion, Bishop Nikolai threatened to walk out in anger of the opening session. The Bishop of Alaska accused the Metropolitan and three other Bishops ( +Job, +Seraphim, +Nikon) of holding "secret" meetings to interfere in his diocese. has learned there was a not-so-secret meeting the week of July 25th of the four bishops at St. Tikhon's to discuss the implications of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Alaska.

• Bishop Nikolai subsequently left the Synod meeting early anyway, following the second session of the Synod, in the afternoon of the first day. He did not attend the evening session on Tuesday, July 31st, nor the entire second day of the meeting on Wednesday, August 1st.

- Mark Stokoe

Wednesday: Turmoil in Alaska



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