1.25.06 Just Released!
Leading Russian News Agency,
Interfax, Picks Up OCA Story
Interfax, a leading Russian news agency based in Moscow, posted the following story from its Washington DC news bureau early this afternoon:
The Administration of The Orthodox Church in America Acknowledges Financial Violations
Washington. January 25th. INTERFAX – An external audit of the financial records of the Orthodox Church in America for the past two years began on Wednesday. The audit is expected to be completed by the end of March. This decision was adopted by the "Lesser Synod”, the Church’s administrative body.
At its session at the end of last week, the Synod acknowledged that "mistakes" had been made. In the “context of accountability and repentance”, this church body, meeting under the chairmanship of its Primate, Metropolitan Herman, deemed it important to “implement procedures that would prevent future mistakes".
Included in such procedures are the need for "strict adherence to accounting regulations for non-profit organizations" and for an annual audit of ! the
Church’s financial records, carried out, not only by auditors elected by the All-American Council, but also by a professional accounting firm.
According to the Synod’s published statement, in "the Church’s human aspect", “errors, lack of good judgment and sin" can take place", but the sin of the Church’s members is "always is a sin against the Church, but not a sin of the Church".
The Synod session was preceded by a massive internet exchange in which a number of officials of the Orthodox Church in America – both current and former (including Archbishop Job of Chicago) - drew attention to the refusal by the church leadership to undertake an open investigation of the serious violations, revealed as early as 1999, in the financial administration of the Church.
The internet-site "Orthodox Christians for Accountability" published a number of documents, including official reports of the audit firms confirming the existence of confidenti! al bank accounts that had been excluded from the
church’s financial records.
According to the statements of church activists, no less than $2 million was placed in these accounts, and their existence was been hidden even from responsible members of church administration. Attempts to investigate the
matter resulted in the removal at the end of 1999 of the Chairman of Church’s Audit Committee, John Kozey, who had been elected by Church’s [All-American] Council. Thereafter followed the removal of the Treasurer of Orthodox Church in America. Eric Wheeler.
(Translation from the original Russian by OCANews.org.)
In addition to business, finance and politics in the areas of the former Soviet Union, Interfax covers religious news of concern to Orthodox Christians. According to Interfax, it is the most quoted Russian news agency by other mass media.