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8.29.07 Breaking News

Kondratick Appeals Deposition

In a letter dated August 26th to Archbishop Seraphim, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Robert Kondratick, the former Chancellor of the OCA, formally appealed his deposition from the priesthood. The Office of the Metropolitan announced the appeal to all the Bishops, members of the Special Court and members of the Metropolitan Council in an email marked “private” and “confidential” on August 28th. No further information was given.

Following his March 2006 dismissal as the long-time OCA Chancellor, Kondratick was transferred to the Diocese of the South in July 2006 and in October 2006 assigned to Holy Spirit parish in Venice, Florida. In April 2007 Kondratick was suspended from the priesthood, and following a Church trial in June 2007, was deposed earlier this month.

Little Has Changed

This is not to say much has changed. Since his deposition Kondratick has been hired by Holy Spirit parish, with the knowledge of Archbishop Dmitri, as the “parish outreach coordinator” at his former salary he received as parish priest. Although he has been deposed, he still wears his riasa, and is still addressed by parishioners as “Fr. Bob”. Moreover, while his name has been removed from the list of clerics on the website of the OCA, it continues to appear on the list of clerics of the Diocese of the South in the following manner:

Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
700 Shamrock Blvd.
(941) 497-7041
Protopresbyter Rodion Kondratick*
Archpriest Stephen Plumlee (Retired, Attached)
Great Vespers 5:00pm
Divine Liturgy 10:00am"

The asterisk is not explained.

A Confusing Appeal

It is not clear why the announcement of Kondratick’s appeal should be held to be either “private” or “confidential”. Nor is it clear why or even how an appeal will be treated by the same body that heard his testimony on March 20th and reported the following:

“In a letter of March 18, 2007, Archbishop Dmitri forwarded a request by Protopresbyter Kondratick to appear before the Holy Synod to ‘... answer any questions we might have related to the current situation in The Orthodox Church In America.’ After a consultation among the bishops, we agreed to permit him to appear as requested. On March 20, 2007, Fr. Kondratick appeared before us, presented his statement, and answered questions relating to his time as Chancellor. After substantial deliberation in executive session, we concurred that the explanations provided were neither credible nor persuasive, and found ourselves in agreement with the recommendation of the Metropolitan Council.”

This appearance was then followed by the Church Court, whose verdict was then read and effected by the Synod of Bishops on July 31st. In their announcement of the verdict one week later on August 8th, the Bishops stated:

“After hearing the report and recommendation of the spiritual court, the Holy Synod of Bishops resolved that the suspended Father Kondratick be permanently deposed from all sacred functions of the priesthood, effective July 31, 2007, and that his name be removed immediately from the list of clergy of the Orthodox Church in America.”

It is unclear what an appeal, therefore, is expected to accomplish. Fr. Kondratick has testified in front of the Synod even before his trial and had his defense rejected. He then had a Church trial at which his defense was rejected. That verdict has subsequently been put into effect by the Synod. What more does he expect an appeal before the same judges to do?

What is the Goal?

Recent postings on the Orthodox Forum by Kondratick loyalists have indicated the intent of this appeal may be to prepare the ground for a later, extraordinary appeal to a Patriarchate (either Moscow or Constantinople). Loyalists hope that either might agree to hear Kondratick’s case, accept him as a layman once his appeal is successful, and on that basis, restore his priesthood. This, in turn, would lead to public embarrassment for the OCA; and especially for Metropolitan Herman, whom they blame for their fall from power. Critics of Kondratick complain that Kondratick’s only goal now is to breed further discord in an already wounded Church, wounds that they blame on Kondratick’s decades of misdeeds.

These goals are not mutually exclusive; and neither bodes well for the OCA.

- Mark Stokoe


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