News From Around the OCA
• Syosset, New York
In preparation for this week's meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the OCA (March 31-April 2) the Lesser Synod meets today in Syosset. Archbishop Dmitri, who has announced his retirement effective Tuesday, March 31st, is now not expected to attend the Synod.
• Pittsburgh, PA
In a Letter submitted the Editor of the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette Bishop Tikhon took issue with the paper. The Bishop wrote:
"To the Editor:
I would like to clarify some points that were raised in two recent Post Gazette reports (March 21 and March 24) in reference to the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania and to the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Both of these
entities are part of the Orthodox Church in America and I am involved administratively with both of them, the first as ruling Bishop and the second as interim overseer.
My main concern is with the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, to which both aforementioned articles incorrectly ascribe the title 'Archdiocese' rather than 'Diocese'. This minor
point of clarification is not as troubling as the characterizations of the Diocese as 'scandal-ridden,' 'financially troubled' and in a financial 'mess'. As is well known to the readers of this newspaper, the Orthodox Church in America is emerging from a difficult time ofscandal and financial corruption, originating within the central administration but deeply affecting and wounding the entire Church. Nevertheless, it is unfair to extrapolate from this reality and to imply, as do these two articles, that scandal and financial corruptionare presently infecting the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.
It appears that the author of the articles and/or her sources have conflated the complex issues involved and unfairly ascribed elements of the past scandal to the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. While it
is true that several issues remain unresolved, such as the financial debt weighing upon St Tikhon's Monastery and the apparent mismanagement that led to that debt, these issues are currently being investigated at the direction of the Holy Synod of Bishops. In
addition, it also must be clearly stated that, although located within its territory, the Monastery is not administratively a part of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. Rather, it is under the administration of Metropolitan Jonah and the Holy Synod of Bishops, assisted by myself and by one of the monks who has recently been appointed Acting Superior precisely in order to implement financially sound and spiritually healthy administrative practices. St. Tikhon's
Seminary, likewise located in the diocesan territory, is also administratively under Metropolitan Jonah, assisted by myself and two Deans and overseen by a Board of Trustees. Although they exist in the same territory, the Monastery and the Seminary are three distinct institutions, each with its own administration, and its own challenges.
Finally, I feel that I must express the deep sadness felt by my clergy and faithful at the implication made by these two articles that the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania has designs on the financial resources
of Western Pennsylvania and that their attitude toward their brothers and sisters is mercenary. I can express with confidence that there exists no desire, plan or intention among the clergy, laity or diocesan administration of Eastern Pennsylvania to merge with Western Pennsylvania for financial gain. I am likewise confident that rumors to the contrary are not shared by the clergy and faithful of Western Pennsylvania. I believe that the clergy and faithful of both the
Diocese of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh recognize the challenges that face each part of the state and are willing to work to serve Christ and His Holy Church and to do all things for the
glory of God.
Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Locum Tenens of
Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania"
In her personal blog, Post-Gazette Reporter Ann Rodgers continued the story on the OCA by posting the following:
"A note on numbers: Each time I have posted a story on the OCA in the past three years the number of members cited has changed, and I usually don't have room to explain why. Part of the reason is that the OCA itself is in the midst of figuring out how many it has. Its official statistics have said 1 million members for years. According to Metropolitan Jonah, there are probably 1 million people who have been baptized in or have some other connection to the OCA, but he estimates that only about 100,000 of them are active in terms of regular attendance and giving. Of those active members, he told me, about 10 percent are in the Western Pennsylvania Archdiocese."
• South Canaan, PA
The St. Tikhon's Seminary Board met last week. You can read about the story here. During the meeting the Metropolitan revealed that the Monastery had a total of $1.9 million in outstanding mortgages taken out by the former administration.
- Mark Stokoe