Midwest Clergy Unite
In Call For Audit, Investigation
Clergy in the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest have signed a letter addressed to Metropolitan Herman and all ruling Bishops of the OCA, calling for an audit and full investigation into the finances of the OCA. The letter, posted on the Midwest Diocese's website (www.Midwestdiocese.org) on Saturday, February 11, begins:
"Your Beatitude, Your Eminences, Your Graces:
We, the undersigned clergy of the Diocese of the Midwest, gathered around our Archbishop at the Diocesan Clergy Convocation of 6-8 February 2006, express our unwavering support for His Eminence, Archbishop JOB's call for an answer to the question: "Are the allegations true, or false?"
We humbly appeal to Your Beatitude and to the Holy Synod to initiate an investigation into these allegations. This investigation must include an independent, professional forensic audit of all church accounts from 1996-2005, in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards...
(Read full text with signatures here)
Some 80 OCA priests and deacons from the OCA's largest diocese met for their annual pre-Lenten convocation/retreat, held this year February 6-8, at the Aylesford Carmelite Retreat Center in Dairen, IL, outside of Chicago. The meeting began Monday evening after Vespers with a frank and open discussion on the issues facing the OCA. The discussion continued the next day following Liturgy.
At the request of his 'council of presbyters', the Archbishop selected Fr. Tom Mueller of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (a former Chancellor of the Archdiocese, and current Dean of the Chicago Deanery,) Fr. Ted Bobosh, of Dayton Ohio, Fr. Alex Kuchta of Palatine, Illinois, Fr. Robert McMeeken, a mission priest from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and Fr. Andrew Moore of Springfield, Missouri, to draft a letter, expressing the concerns of those present. Less than an hour later, the priests and deacons reassembled. The letter was read by Fr. Tom Mueller, changes were offered and made. It was agreed that all who wished to do so would sign the letter individually.
The actual signing of the letter took place in the chapel of the retreat center. Fr. Andrew Yavornitzky made it clear that all present were free to sign, or not sign. Those clergy who wished to sign the letter were then asked to come forward to the Ambo and sign, as the rest began singing "O Lord Save Thy People". Once completed, the letter was left in the Church until the next morning so those who wished to pray on their decision overnight would have the opportunity to do so. In the end, all six deans, 45 other priests, and six deacons signed the letter. Only a handful chose not to sign.
Tikhon's Letter Revealed
On Wednesday morning, according to participants, Archbishop Job read a letter, dated February 3rd, from Bishop Tikhon of the Diocese of the West, to the assembled clergy. The letter, a faxed copy of which was received by the Archbishop only the night before, asked the Metropolitan to consider sanctions – yet again – against the Archbishop for his "egregious behavior" and "rebellious principle". A discussion ensued among the priests as to how the Archdiocese should respond if such an attempt were made.
The 14th annual Midwest convocation concluded Wednesday afternoon, February 8th, with a discussion on general pastoral questions and local issues.