9.15.07 BREAKING NEWS
CHAIRMAN, MAJORITY OF MEMBERS RESIGN FROM SPECIAL COMMISSION IN PROTEST
In a letter to the Metropolitan, posted on the Diocese of the Midwest website this morning, Archbishop Job, Archpriest Vladimir Berzonsky, Archpriest John Reeves and Mr. Gregory Nescott resigned from the Special Commission in protest. Their letter reads:
"His Beatitude, The Most Blessed HERMAN
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
PO Box 675
Syosset, NY I l79l
Glory to Jesus Christ!
After a great deal of frustration, and thought, and discussion, the undersigned members of the Special Commission investigating the crisis in the Orthodox Church in America have decided to notify Your Beatitude of our resignations from the Commission, effective immediately.
We do so after carefully considering all of our options, and after offering prayers for guidance. We have reached this painful decision with difficulty, but are convinced that there is no other choice.
On December 12,2006, Your Beatitude created a committee charged "to work together with one another and with the attomeys from Proskauer Rose to bring the investigation to a conclusion in the most appropriate way."
On March 13, 2007, following the presentation of the Preliminary Report of the Special Commission to the Metropolitan Council, the Council unanimously endorsed the continued work of the Commission, authorizing its members "to serve on a Special Commission continuing the investigation to a conclusion in the most appropriate way," while agreeing that "the work of the Special Commission be independent and free of interference from anyone outside the Special Commission." That action by the Mehopolitan Council was thereafter approved by the Holy Synod at its March meeting.
On June 13,2007, the Metropolitan Council approved, by a vote of 20-1, the following motion: "As also previously authorized and directed by the Metropolitan Council and the Holy Synod, the Special Commission is directed to continue, without delay, its investigation of financial malfeasance affecting the Church, without any hindrance or limit, and to report its findings and recommendations no less often than monthly to the Metropolitan Council and the Holy Synod." The minutes of that meeting reflect that Your Beatitude said you did not object to the motion.
On September 10, 2007, I wrote to Your Beatitude, advising you that based on the actions of the Metropolitan Council and the Holy Synod, the Commission would be restarting its work this week. You responded on September ll that the status of the Commission will be on the agenda for the upcoming joint meeting of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council, and said that reconvening the Commission "at this time would only add further complexity to an already difficult situation."
Our resignations from the Commission are based, in part, on these facts:
l. The failure to promptly release the Preliminary Report of the Commission to the whole Church, even though such release was recommended by the Commission and authorized by vote of the Metropolitan Council in March 2007.
2. The failure of Proskauer Rose to cooperate fully with the Commission and to provide all documents requested in a timely manner.
3. Certain actions taken by members of the central administration of the Church which impeded the work of the Commission.
4. The removal of Gregory Nescott as a member of the Commission by Your Beatitude.
5. The refusal to permit the Commission to pursue any part of the detailed course of investigation first set out in January 2007, at the Commission's meeting in Parma, Ohio.
6. Repeated delays in permitting the Commission to restart and expeditiously complete its work, without interference and unimpeded, even while the people of the Church continue to seek honest answers and our Orthodox Church in America suffers, mired in scandal, for nearly two years now.
It is with enormous sorrow that the undersigned members of the Special Commission take this action.
I have instructed the undersigned members to promptly retum all materials related to the investigation to Alexandra Makosky.
Asking your holy prayers for my unworthiness,
Your brother and concelebrant,
Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest
Very Reverend Vladimir Berzonsky
Very Reverend John Reeves
Mr. Gregory Nescott Esq. - Former Member"
The letter was sent to all members of the Synod of Bishops and members of the Metropolitan Council. Only two members of the Special Commission did not sign the letter: Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and Dr. Faith Skordinski.
- Mark Stokoe