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Three Questions For The Metropolitan

The Metropolitan, to his credit, has agreed to publicly answer questions regarding the scandal during a question and answer session at St. Mark’s parish in Bethesda, Maryland. If the questions being asked
in the Comments section on this website are any indication, some of them will be hard, some are likely to be skeptical in tone, and others downright harsh. Such is the price of continuing silence in an
atmosphere of distrust.

And silence is the key word here, lest distrust overwhelm the process. After a flurry of timely and welcome postings during the historic joint meeting of the Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council seven weeks ago, the OCA has released precious little additional information about anything substantial. Oh, there was time to let people know OCPC was
suspending service for yearly inventory, pictures from a trip to Mexico by the Metropolitan, and of course, 75th birthday greetings. But at least three events of concern to everyone in the OCA have occurred without notice being given, without statements issued or without explanations offered. The Metropolitan’s appearance would be a good time to ask “Why?”

1. “Why have the Minutes of the Metropolitan Council meeting not been published yet?"

The meeting was held December 11-13th. Council members received their copies before Christmas. It is now February. What is the delay with sharing the minutes of a most important meeting
with the clergy and laity of the OCA whom the Council actually represents? It would be best if the MInutes came from the OCA. What's the problem?

2. “Why have the internal auditors not issued any statement about their work yet?”

The internal auditors of the OCA, composed of the V. Rev. Paul Suda, the V. Rev. David Mahaffey, Mr. David Donlick and Mr. Frank Tkacz (Alternate),

after a two-year hiatus, met in Syosset at the end of December. Yet this meeting, too, was not announced, nor has any report been issued. Nothing. Although elected by the All-American Council, the internal auditors' total lack of fiduciary responsibility over the past 10 years cries out for the Metropolitan to accept their resignations, and for the Metropolitan Council
in March (which is, according to Statute, the continuation of the All-American Council) to replace them before the next. Failing that, they should at very least not be afraid to state their findings publicly. That is what they are there to do.

3. And most importantly: “Why has the Independent Special Commission not issued any statement about their work yet?"

The Independent Special Commission of the OCA, charged with completing the work begun by Proskauer Rose LLP, met last week in Parma OH. This was widely known in clerical circles in Cleveland. Now no one expects to hear anything about their investigation until they report to the Metropolitan Council in 40 days. Yet we have been given no information about their meeting schedule, plans, methods, procedures, or scope of their investigation. There are no good reasons to keep such things confidential. Indeed, the opposite
is true. They are to be independent, not secret.  Like Moses, this Commission was charged with going up the mountain. And unless the people hear something soon, the New Israel risks the same fate as the Old. “When the people became aware of Moses’ delay in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, 'Come, make us a god who will be our leader; as for the  man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.'” (Exodus 32:1)

These are the three questions I would ask in Bethesda. In an atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust, silence is a formula for disaster for the Independent Special Commission’s credibility. It is even worse for the damaged credibility of the auditors who ignored the scandal for years. And most of all, it is damaging for the Metropolitan. Continuing the silence risks losing what little credibility he has gained since March 2006.

The Church deserves to know.

-Mark Stokoe



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