The following questions recently appeared on OCAtruth.org. Here are my replies:
“Mark, please take the opportunity to answer some questions on your site. Your clear, candid answers would be very much appreciated.
Why have you failed to disclose Ret. +Tikhon’s letter in its entirety? Why have you not mentioned your leaked email and explained its contents?”
I already did so in my Comments sections in response to the same question days ago. Please go back and check for yourself.
As for your second question. I answered it today, in the context of the third part of my ongoing story about these events. It seemed the most appropriate place. Feel free to disagree.
As for the delay, the timing of this crisis was unfortunate for me, as I had a long-scheduled professional conference in the Third World planned for the first two weeks of March. It was a hike to get here by plane and van, and I was away from the internet for all that time. Moreover, you will probably not hear much of me over the next week as I have professional duties to attend to and can only write and post comments during the few breaks, when the generator is working and the internet is up. At least it is warmer here than in Ohio.
“What is the extent of your knowledge of the SMC report? Have you seen any portion of it? If so, do you plan on reporting (not necessarily publicly) whoever leaked it to you?”
I have not read it. I have not seen any portion of it. I never discuss my sources. nor will I. That would make me as unethical as you claim I already am.
“Your name has been connected with many Bishops being removed or pushed out of office. How many to be exact?”
Connected only by you and Fr. Fester. The answer is simple: "none". I have no authority to remove or “push out” any bishop from any office.
I did post documents, reflections, reports, articles and appeals on OCANews.org about Bishop Nikolai of Alaska. Yet it is clear to all that the revolt of his native clergy of Alaska was responsible for his retirement, not me. I just gave them a forum for their voices to be heard.
It is also unlikely that without OCANews.org Fr. Kondratick’s misuse of funds would not have been fully exposed, or Metropolitan Herman’s misdeeds revealed, as reported in the Special Investigative Committee Report. To tbe accurate, +Herman fired Kondratick, not me; and the Synod retired +Herman because of the SIC revelations, a committee he himself appointed.
As for the snarky inuendo about Bishop Basil Rodzianko by Fr. Fester, check the facts. I was his administrative assistant for a little less than a year (September 1981-August 1982). I was offered a job with SYNDESMOS in July 1982. The Bishop, who was a founder of SYNDESMOS, encouraged me, a young man, to see the bigger world through the eyes of the Church as he himself had experienced them 40 years earlier. I left in August 1982 for Finland. Over the following year and half, the Bishop lost the trust of the Synod, his diocesan council and many of his clergy. I knew of the Bishop’s growing troubles from both he and from other friends. But I had no part in the Synod’s decision to put him on leave, or his decision to later retire from diocesan ministry - as I had, by that time, been in Finland for almost 18 months. But then, I forgot. I am a :"master manipulator:" - even at age 25, it seems.
“Why did you not change the term, “Leave of Absence” in your posts from the time of the oca.org press release and Metropolitan Jonah’s announcements till the posting of the minutes? Is it because you were confident the term would be affirmed by the Synod later on? Is that because you have a source (or two) in the Synod?”
A) Because I do not rewrite my stories in the Orwellian style of correcting mistakes made in the past; b) Because it was the accurate term - unlike the press release which +Jonah altered, and unlike his later public statement; c) I was not confident that the term “leave of absence” would be affirmed by the Synod. However, it was the truth, and I reported it. The Bishops held to the truth as well. Unlike another....
And again, I do not discuss my sources.
“Why then, did the Synod agree to the termination of Fr. Garklavs’ employment? If you have sources in the Synod, I assume you know.”
Assume away. I do not discuss my sources.
The Synod has not given a reason to th public, nor the Metropolitan Council for agreeing to the Metropolitan’s demand for the termination of Fr. Garklavs. I assume they will to the Metropolitan Council when we meet after Paschaltide. (And by the way, your slip is showing. The Metropolitan states Fr. Garklav’s resignation was offered and accepted. I am the one who says he was terminated. Oops.)
“We have heard criticism on your site of the Metropolitan’s signing of the Manhattan Declaration. Please speak to your stance on the Declaration. Have you signed it? Do you support it?”
People criticize most everything in the Comments section of my site. From Celtic Christianity to married bishops, to the New Calendar, whatever. Those are not my opinions, nor do I affirm or deny any of them. They are the opinions of others, not mine.
I have not signed the Manhattan Declaration. I didn’t realize anybody could. I thought it was a statement of Church leaders, not a public petition. Live and learn.
No, I will not sign it now. I have always thought such Statements, as a whole, are of little value. How many of you have read the Hartford Statement? Or can tell me what it was for, or who signed it, or what it said, without looking it up? Or even remember it at all? My point exactly. Feel free to disagree.
“If moving the Metropolitan’s Chancery to Washington D.C. was financially beneficial, would you support it?”
Financially beneficial to whom? The Primate? The Staff? The Diocese of Washington? The OCA as a whole? All or none of the above? Please be more specific because there may be conflicting interests here that need to be sorted out, prioritized and reconciled, if possible, for such a claim to be made.
Moreover, it is not just a financial decision. It is a canonical one, a pastoral one, an administrative one, and a practical one. Ideally, the move, if it were to take place, should be shown to be “beneficial” to the OCA in all, or at least most, of these areas as well. Examining such aspects of a decision is called responsible leadership, as opposed to the whim of the day.
That being said, my opposition to the Metropolitan’s insistence on moving the national headquarters to DC is primarily based on process, not the outcome of that process, whatever it may be. The decision process of something like this - a decision that affects the entire Church- should be done openly, transparently, accountably and in a conciliar fashion. Not a diktat, taken by one man, who claims it is his right, no matter the consequences to the Church, or others. We have a strategic plan process underway - this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss this issue in the context of the larger vision, goals, and ministry of the Church. But no, it has to be done now, according to +Jonah. Well, pardon me if I dissent. And will continue to dissent, until the process is done openly, whatever decision results.
But, personally, if you want my opinion, I think if you think we can sell Syosset, in a collapsing market, and turn around and house the Metropolitan, staff and archives in equivalent facilities in DC, a growing market (even in this economy ) and do so, such that the outcome will be “financially beneficial” to the OCA, I have no doubt you believe one can spin straw into gold as well. But I am open to a demonstration of either.
Now, do I get to ask you questions?
- Mark Stokoe