Progress or Standstill
By Nick Skovran Sr.
If you remember when this scandal re-surfaced two and a half years ago, there were many in the OCA---in fact, probably most of the OCA---who brushed off the allegations of Fr.Deacon Eric Wheeler as "sour grape" by a discharged formed employee of the OCA.
Now, after thousands upon thousands of words written on the subject on the Internet and elsewhere, after hundreds and hundreds of man/women/hours spent in meetings discussing the scandal, after a scuttled first Special Investigating Commission, after a Spiritual Court trial complete with Appeal, after expending hundreds of thousands of dollars for legal fees relating to the scandal, perhaps it's time to sit back and think about what happened to Deacon Eric's
The reader will remember that at first, the Metropolitan and the Synod of Bishops (except for Archbishop Job) dismissed the allegations out-of-hand and said that there were no problems and if there were, they were minor administrative problems which they (the Synod) would handle. What followed was a massive and continuous parade of deception, misrepresentations and cover-up.
Deacon Eric was treated very badly, as were others, who dared to express their views on the subject.
Yet, after all this time, effort and expense, after all this
deception and obfuscation, there has yet not been a single allegation of Deacon Eric's that has been disproven. Archbishop Job's classic query "Are the allegations true or false?" is no longer discussed or questioned. The ONLY question at this stage is who was involved in
the chicanery and to what extent. And this is the question that has been ---and still is---being resisted so fiercely by the Metropolitan and others in power.
Has there been any progress in the OCA?
Certainly, there has been progress. No question about it.
• Rodion Kondratick has been deposed and is no longer a priest.
• Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) was forced to retire early.
• Bishop Nikolai was forced into retirement after an unprecedented display of unity among the embattled priests of Alaska who decided that the abusive behaviour of the bishop had reached a breaking point.
• Through the Internet sites as ocanews.org and the Yahoo Orthodox Forum, the actions of the central administration ----both good and bad---are now better known than ever before.
Are we on the way to recovery?
Not by a long shot.
The cover-up continues up to the present time.
The report of the Proskauer Rose law firm and the report of SIC # 1 have never been disclosed to the faithful. There is widespread concern that the report of SIC # 2 will be incomplete or not disclosed in full to the
members of the OCA.
The lack of confidence and trust in the leadership of the OCA is as bad as it ever has been .The Metropolitan has successfully- --up to now----shut off all inquiry into his own participation in the events leading up to the scandal. The appeal of almost 1300 faithful (ccirculated by several members of St.Mark's Bethesda) in expressing
their lack of confidence in the Metropolitan and asking for his
resignation was ignored and treated with contempt.
The lack of trust and confidence in the Metropolitan continues though. Despite the good work of the Synod in forcing the retirement of Bishop Nikolai, before any real progress can be made in resolving the split in the OCA the Metropolitan MUST step down.
"For the good of the Church", of course.
(Nick Skovran Sr. is a retired attorney living in North Carolina.)