Wednesday, February 21. 2007
What is the standard the Commission should use? What should be its goals? Is the Metropolitan, or his lawyers seeking to improperly influence the outcome? Or should we continue to wait quietly and accept what is offered? Your comments are welcome.
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We wait quietly or use the only voice we have - withhold money!
#1 anon on 2007-02-21 17:25
Better yet ..... We wait quietly WHILE we use the only voice we have.
#1.1 anon II on 2007-02-21 22:35
Dear Anon: Think VERY carefully before your parish withholds money from Syosset. According to the Statute of the OCA, you will be allowed no representation at the next AAC. Then you will truly have no voice.
#1.2 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-02-22 08:19
There is "more than one voice" which OCA members have. Certainly, a second "voice" is to leave the OCA for another Orthodox Church, something which several people have done. A third "voice" is a class-action lawsuit against Syosset for fraud. A fourth "voice" is to file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney's office and attorneys general of the various states in which aggrieved OCA members and former members reside.
Having followed this story since slightly before OCANews first started publishing, it's my considered opinion that the leadership of the OCA is not going to substantively deal with the financial shennanigans until forced to by law. If they're going to act like gangsters (regarding their fiduciary and canonical roles--I have no insight to their interior life), perhaps it's time to break out the RICO statute (Racketeering-Influenced Corruption Organization) and treat them like gangsters. It certainly appears that the OCA organization has engaged in, and continues to engage in, a pattern of criminal behavior (fraud, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, to name a few).
#1.3 Gregory Grant on 2007-02-22 22:39
Gregory Grant has struck a responsive chord with me, since his point made as to their being "A fourth voice" to solve our OCA dilemma, as follows, coincides with my own views expressed in previous posts:
" A fourth 'voice' is to file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney's office and attorneys general of the various states in which aggrieved OCA members and former members reside."
After so many months of patient waiting, I doubt that ANY action taken by the most well-intentionned of our various committees, however competent and skilled, will solve our situation!
Only the civil authorities can investigate and subpoena and take testimony expressed in "disclosure" under oath. In the absence thereof, nothing else will work. That time has come, it is in fact long overdue.
Have mercy on me, a sinner! Keep me "anonymous."
#1.3.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-23 16:49
If the financial shenanigans that have been going on in the OCA were taking place in a publicly held business, there would be some people heading to jail. I suspect that this will be the end result unless Syosset acts responsibly. But, as I read my daily lives in the Great Synaxaristos I notice that church affairs have always, or almost always, been a mess. Hierarchs come and go and the holy ones are always persecuted, the others seem to hang on to business as usual.
#1.3.2 jacksson on 2007-02-24 17:03
The purpose of the Commission was to continue the investigation.
How to prevent the event in the future doesn't seem in alignment with said purpose.
We must be patient awaiting the outcome and report of the commission.
Metropolitan Herman has appointed perhaps the least bias person to the commission in Abp. Job. Count on him to help get to a good answer for all of us. In addition to the attorney, it seems prudent the Commission involve an accountant as well. (preferably an unbias third party)
I draw nothing from MH not signing the document. In fact, he shouldn't have to..customary, courtesy or otherwise..
#2 Dan Fall on 2007-02-21 18:08
If we have learned anything from this mess, it has been to accept nothing coming out of Syosset. Question everything. And, the worst case may well be the truth behind the facade. Otherwise, why else would they be working so hard to maintain appearances and thwart good sense and openness?
#3 Name withheld on 2007-02-21 18:42
We, the OCA should take a poll via email to relieve the Metropolitain of his duties as Primate of our Church. This would be easy and inexpensive.
St. James--Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Our words are not sufficient to express our thanks for the outstanding job you are doing since the inception of the current OCA crisis. We all keep you in our prayers. By "we all" we mean the good people of the OCA who would like to see an end of this corrupted team of Syosset ...
It is obvious that during the Great Lent everyone should focus on prayers, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation with God and each other, alm giving, confession of sins, abstinence from sins, etc.
Dear readers of this site,
Please allow me to elaborate on all the above in the light of the OCA current crisis kept on by MH and his allies, and also in the light of good thoughts and Great Lent.
How can MH and his allies and all the others who are covering up so much, DO prayers, for themselves and for the faithful who are attending the church services while their (actions) are not suitable for prayers accepted to God? This kind of hypocrisy it outrageous. ... We do not ridicule, we speak to you truthfully. How MH and all his allies can kneel in front of God praying while their hands are not clean? Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please.
How can MH speak about repentance while he is concealing his sins and his hands are not clean at all, from the time he was OCA Treasurer up to this present time? It is the second Great Lent we are going through and nobody have seen a REAL repentance from MH and his allies. Who can trust them anymore? Speak by your deeds MH and do not deceive the OCA good people of God anymore.Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please.
How can MH speak about forgiveness, while he is doing nothing to be forgiven? Nobody can be forgiven without a truly SINCERE, OPEN, FIRM, TOTALLY COMPLETE, confession. Do you people really think that MH believes in forgiveness? As of this time it is obvious that we should read his lips only, and DO NOT TRUST MH anymore. It is ridiculous to see a Church Primate taking such an attitude not only towards the OCA current crisis, but also towards himself....
Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please.
How can MH expect any reconciliation with God, while he is still being deceitful for the last 16 months? Reconciliation with God HAD TO BE the first issue MH should reflect from the very beginning of this current OCA financial crisis. Who can trust MH anymore for his poor and unsuitable leadership? Not to many people. In case MH is looking for reconciliation he must thing of his resignation, confession his sins publically, asking for "MEA CULPA" and to chose on his own to go to a monastery instead of going in a different place, where we are afraid he will go. God will not accept MH reconciliation as long as he is runnung this muddy show.
Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please.
How can MH look for reconciliation with each other, in a very genuine Christian manner, while he is still deceiving the OCA people at large and ALL other Orthodox faithful people, hierarchs, and churchces world wide by his irresponsible attitude? Reconciliation with each other should follow reconciliation with God...
Who are the people MH should reconcile with? They are the OCA faithful people from the OCA parishes and missions, the OCA parish priests, etc who suffered a lot because of MH's BAD LEADERSHIP. In this regard, IF reconciliation with each other is not done by MH, this being a moral issue he should get ready his belongings and go from Syosset. He should reconcile with the members of Special Commission, and let the do their job, and do not obstruct JUSTICE anymore.
Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please.
How can MH can appeal for alms giving of any kind, while the purpetrators are still in charge? It is absurd to thing of any kind of alms giving as long as no changes will come at the highest level of the OCA. In case the OCA people do not give their share at this time, don't you think it will be very appropriate for MH to give out of his SAVINGS accumulated over the years? WHO can give us an estimate amount of MH savings, checks, and trust money? Stop giving anymore money while MH is the OCA Primate.
Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please.
Whon can we expect MH confession of sins, while he is publically deceiving people for the last 16 months, is obstructing juctice, is intimidating clergy and people and is still using GAG ORDERS?
In case MH did confess his sins, than the father confessor should use his position and power and request to the Holy Synod MH's resignation. ...
Think about this. Call for MH's resignation, please. ....
Jeremy O'Donnel 2, 22, 07
#5 jeremy O'Donnel on 2007-02-22 02:01
Bravo Mr. O'Donnel! Why is it that persons with Irish surnames always seem to get it right on this site? Furthermore, we use our names. Maybe we're just genetically predisposed to "bomb throwing."
On a more serious note, you ask "how can MH......?" I am convinced that the Metropolitan sincerely believes he is acting in the best interests of the Church and is trapped in his autocratic ideology that equates Apostolic Succession with a blank check for running the Church. He is , of course, wrong--very wrong-- but has a lot of spurious tradition from which to appeal. He may even be confusing his "person" with his "office", another grievous mistake, which people "in authority" so often fall into.
Let us hope and pray--or bet yet through are involvement be sure--that are future leaders are not products of this mindset!
#5.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-22 06:48
You are correct in making your statement about MH and saying, """He may even be confusing his "person" with his "office", another grievous mistake, which people "in authority" so often fall into."""
MH is confusing in so many issues.
I was raised as Roman Catholic. I got rid of it and I joined the Orthodoxy long time ago hoping to get the genuine branch of the Church of Lord Jesus Christ. I was upset so much by the moral and financial crisis of the American Catholicism.
Now I am facing another disgusting crisis of the OCA. And this is happening just because of the people in church WHO ARE ABUSING THE POSITION OF THEIR POWER.
It is so sad to see so many people expressing their opinion on this site on the one hand, and also to see the KIND OF DISRESPECT of the OCA hierarchy on the other hand, like in no other church.
Are people in charge of the OCA really fearing God's judgment? I don't think so. That day is coming. Let us be honest and again call for MH's resignation.
I am part of the Orthodox Church and I am always ending my post in this way:
02 / 22 / 07
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-22 21:50
I, for one, must agree with Mr. O’Donnel. It is long past time for all of us to call for the Metropolitan’s resignation. For logistical and other purposes, I could certainly live with an announcement of his plan to resign at the next AAC—but I believe that that announcement must come in the very near future if the OCA is to have any hope of survival. I can respect MH’s desire to stay on and clean up this mess, but that clean-up process must, in the end, include his resignation. There is simply no way around that—and the longer he and others at Syosset and elsewhere live in denial on that point, the longer the OCA will suffer. As Mr. O’Donnel points out, we are now in Great Lent. What better time?
As an aside—I want to again implore people who post to this Web site to sign your names. Every time you fail to do so out of fear of reprisal, you empower the very corruption we seek to overthrow. Sign your names—and live in the human freedom and dignity for which Christ died!
#5.2 Cathryn Tatusko on 2007-02-22 11:45
Did it ever occur to any of the commentators of this site, that the reason why some of the information has not been made public and given only to the Metropolitan Council is that so the Metropolitan Council can actually do their job without all the distraction of this and other websites and forums. After all, isn’t that what everyone seems to want, is that the Metropolitan Council return to their rightful authority as being a main entity of our Church administration. I know that’s what I would like to see and it looks like they are certainly heading in the right direction.
#5.3 Anonymous on 2007-02-22 15:53
I hope there is someone among us who can orchestrate an on-line petition for the removal of the Metropolitan as Steve proposed. It seems like a great way to quickly make our collective voices known. Can anything be done via email before the next Metropolitan Council meeting?
#6 Anonymous on 2007-02-22 07:05
I agree with eveyone who has asked for the resignation of MH.
How can we begin to heal if we don't have a bishop wjo is respected by all his flock. The love of money has lead us to where we are today. The Evil One delights in what is happening. Save us THE JOY OF ALL WHO SORROW. Help this sinner who seeks your intercessoin.
#6.1 Lillian M Blome on 2007-02-23 08:38
Much has been said about MH's lack of leadership. However, what is even more sad is his lack of love and concern for the bleeding sheep of his flock.
"But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.
The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep."
#7 A priest on 2007-02-22 07:24
Mark- While I appreciate your vigilance, I think you're a bit premature in your misgivings about the commission. In the past months I have: acted as (one of several) financial counsels to atty's Nescott and Makovsky; listened to Archbishop Job's homily on Palm Sunday, as well as personally spoken to him on this matter; and attended the Diocese of the Midwest assembly. I think I can be confident that these people on the Commission are committed to resolving this "problem" in the best possible manner (i.e., to the satisfaction of the faithful). Characterizing Ms. Makovsky as being aligned with MH seems to me to be especially egregious, given my past emails and conversations with her.
Mark, what good can be expected from casting apersions on the Commission before they have completed their work, in fact before (as far as we know) they have even spoken with any of the people involved? Can't we excercise some patience, for just a little while longer?
Mike, I cast no aspersions on the Committee of any kind. I said the evidence indicates they are being pressured - not that they had given into it.
In fact, it is my personal opinion that the reason things have ground to a halt, it seems, is that they will not be thwarted in their attempts to find out the who, what, when, where, how and why of this scandal.
As for Ms. Makosky, it is hardly egregious to point out the fact that it is the Metropolitan's Memo that links her to the Metropolitan's position - not I. I do not presume to know all her reasons or Jim Perry's reasons for agreeing with Ms. Gold, but they did. I speculated as to one - fear of civil suits - which has been widely discussed by many other than this website. Until Ms. Makosky chooses to speak herself, we can only know what she agrees to - and in this case, it was the Metropolitan's Memo.
Patience is indeed a virtue. But it took 12 years to get Syosset to admit there was even a issue ( 1993-2005). It took another 9 months for them to admit there was a problem, and launch an investigatio. And almost a full year later, we still have nothing they are willing to share about this problem, or rather multiple problems, with the Church as a whole. Only an oral report has been given to less than 35 people, a written record of which is not allowed to exist.
How much patience is required, Mike?
In the end, it's not that they cannot speak - they don't want to have to explain what happened, why it happened, and who did it. My point is like any sin, it has to be confessed to be healed. You can confess it now or later - and the longer you wait, the worse it is. Now is the time. Not later. )
#8 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-02-22 08:44
"How much patience is required."
The commission set a goal of this spring. I have personally decided to wait until then (which I guess technically means June 21). Then I will do what I can do.
#8.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-02-23 16:14
While reading these post, anytime Metropolitan Herman appoints anyone, it is with a prayer that they may align people to his side.
It would be most honorable for the Metropolitan to resign, so that we, can move forward to rebuild our church.
St. James---Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO.
You sign your post "In Orthodoxy"?? Are you serious?
I respectfully request you have a long talk with your spiritual father as you are obviously very troubled by this.
I would like for you to think about this: What would you call for with regard to Metropolitan Theodosius' and Protobresbyter Robert Kondratick's involvement in this?
I hope this time of Great Lent will enhance your life.
#9 Michael Geeza on 2007-02-22 11:10
Mr Geeza, who are the spiritual fathers out there who can help us handle this crisis? Many of us have been devistated to know our heirarchs have deceived us. Family and friends have been divided. Trust has diminished. Discussing these issues with a priest have not resulted in any direction. The gag rule is in effect.
#9.1 anon on 2007-02-23 09:05
"Nobody can be forgiven without a truly SINCERE, OPEN, FIRM, TOTALLY COMPLETE, confession."
Are you sure that all, or even one of your confessions has been so perfect?
Let's pray for each other tonight at the Great Canon.
#10 Yousuf Rassam on 2007-02-22 13:39
There are basically two groups in the OCA
Group 1 wants to save the OCA by telling the truth
Group 2 wants to save the OCA by hiding the truth
Others in “both” groups want to save the OCA to protect their “livelihood and pensions”
The Church will be saved, but the OCA will not, unless both groups pull together
Ps, it doesn’t look like Group 1 is going to back down like it did in other years
Pss, it doesn’t look like those who may have committed crimes will back down
So the OCA may not survive
In either case I will have a Church to pray in and to contribute to
Kind of a simple solution isn’t it?
( of course, in the meantime, I will do everything I can to keep my family, relatives, and friends informed of the actions being taken to hide the truth!)
#11 Ande on 2007-02-22 18:11
One does not need to cast aspersions on MH or anybody else to say that the OCA's survival, which is NOT the most important thing in the world by any means, depends on three co-terminous events coming to pass: 1) An AAC is in fact held no later than 2008; 2) this crisis is resolved by the truth coming out and those who should being held accountable; this must happen before said 2008 AAC; 3) Regardless of the outcome of #2, His Beatitude steps down and the same 2008 AAC elects a new metropolitan - one in whom rests the confidence of the faithful.
To be sure, MH is not acting like an innocent bystander, but whatever his actual involvement – or lack thereof – in criminal activities, he is too close to the entire mess. He is compromised by his past positions. The wise thing for him to do is to voluntarily step down, the sooner the better, but no later than the next 2008 AAC.
The editor of this site has noted that there is no budgeting for preparations for a 2008 AAC. It was agreed that this coming Summer was unfeasable. I was disappointed, but that may well be the case in terms of getting the faithful who need to attend to be able to make their arrangements, which is an issue even if such an AAC were held at St Tikhon's. I don't know how budgeting for preparations has been done in the past, nor do I know how much more 'streamlined' and economical such preparations would be if the AAC were held at St Tikhon's, but I should think that some preparations would be needed, and should figure into a 2007 budget. Is it possible that those at Syosset have no intention of holding an AAC in 2008, that they have agreed to it on paper with the plan to stall around until it's too late? I can't dismiss that possibility. It is for that reason that I emphasised above than AAC in fact must be held.
If the Summer of 2008 closes with MH still primate, I cannot see how there will be a 16th AAC. And this statement should not be construed to mean that I think we should hold tight until 2008. Not at all. The OCA may not survive that long, and there is no reason to be 'patient,' except to allow Abp JOB's commission to act, assuming they are not being stonewalled.
As I said, it is not the end of the world if the OCA does not survive. There is no guarantee that every branch of the True Vine will endure until the end; on the contrary, the Lord's words in John 15 suggest the opposite. But, if the OCA is to survive it needs leadership in whom the laity have confidence. I'd suggest one of two candidates: Archbishop JOB or Bishop BASIL of the Antiochians. The latter received some votes at the last primatial election. If he were elected, it could be a means of united the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese, which would help the problem of Orthodox unity. He is highly respected by 'conservatives' and 'liberals' alike (insomuch as such categories exist in the Orthdoox Church). The two possible outcomes that would be intolerable would be for MH to stay in office or for the Synod to elect a bishop contrary to the popular vote. Either of those would signal that, in the end, the Synod remain committed to Byzantine intrigue and not the welfare of the OCA, or the Orthodox Church on this continent in broader terms.
#12 Sine Nomine on 2007-02-22 20:28
You are wrong. Any prepaid expenses are balance sheet items for the church and would not be considered expenses of the period.
There is little doubt that a 2008 AAC will take place, so I suggest all of us disconsider that unlikelihood and stop acting silly.
If MH violates that statute, let the Synod deal with him.
#12.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-02-23 21:54
I hope everyone has read the last paragraph of the article on the OCA website posted 12/12/2006 4:39PM entitled "Metropolitan Herman opens joint meeting of OCA Synod, Metropolitan Council". Particularly the sentence about information sharing and the caveat by one of Met Herman's brother bishops saying "it is not wise to disclose everything, especially that which is hardly edifying to everyone." How presumptuous and how sinister a view of the laity. So secrecy, not transparency, is the new rule and we are forewarned.
I certainly agree a no-confidence vote poll could be useful. Better still would be a boycot of services presided over by the Metropolitan. I read something, perhaps on this site, where that was the method used in olden days to dethrone a disappointing bishop. Just as we look forward toattending a good bishop's service, we should run from one who has diappointed badly. Without influence there is no power and stepping down becomes hard to avoid.
I certainly will not be attending the Memorial Day services at St. Tikhon's this year unless the Metropolitan is not scheduled to be there. He has demonstrated he is not the leader the church needs and has lost the credibility that must be attached to his office. The OCA must come first; he should resign, as many have stated.
Also, the history book on Metropolitan Theodosius' responsibility for the crisis should be opened. He should be a prime source for the Special Commission.
#13 Anonymous on 2007-02-22 20:40
What bothers me is that I have already begun boycotting services that +MH presides at. I realized that my gut instinct when I first encountered him as Metropolitan was much more accurate that I had guessed even then and it's sad that I have to absent myself from St. Nicholas when he's present or, like at Christmas, be present but only out of a sense of duty.
One of the most amazing realizations that I have discovered in the past couple of weeks (OK, I'm a little slow, I guess) is that, as horrifying as it is, +Tikhon of the West, now retired, was actually right last year when he begged +MH to step down or threatened him with deposition. At the time, I was appalled at Tikhon's comments but, now, I'm beginning to see how he might've gotten there and, *THAT*, my friends, truly frightens me.
I pray for the OCA but, unless the Commission is allowed to do it's job, without hindrance, I fear that all the good work done over the last 200+ years will be for naught (at least as far as the OCA is concerned).
God help us!
#13.1 Alexander Ivsky on 2007-02-23 09:22
Bishop Tikhon, blessedly retired, wants the Metropolitan gone for reasons that are totally perverse. As a staunch defender of Fr. Kondratick, BT is enraged that MH has not stifled all dissent, circled the wagons, and sacked Archbishop Job! His view of any non-episcopal commentary or opinion is that it is nothing but "noise, noise, noise."
A ranting, unreconstructed autocrat, he represents the worst the clerical world has to offer. Almost anyone else looks good by comparison.
#13.1.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-23 16:56
This latest round of hide the truth is just another example of why it seems people should vote with their feet and their wallets.
As someone who grew up in ROCOR I know first hand what it takes to keep a parish going and it is not fear of lawsuits. What's the worst that can happen? It seems that the worst case scenario is that the OCA is forced into bankruptcy. Is this really so bad? If this scandal does not cease the OCA administration will eventually not even been needed (and frankly I'm not quite sure what the real good is that they are doing on a parish level anyway).
Again to take an example from my own roots, ROCOR began with a group of bishops, priests and deacons that had almost nothing but the shirts on their backs when they left Russia. Because so many people believed in their cause, the Russian church began to thrive outside of Russia. Isn't it amazing that at this time the church that maintained the old calendar, the church that did not immediately embrace every worldy custom is as large as it is today? Many ROCOR priests today hold secular jobs not because of pride in the secular employment but to be able to live what they feel is a truly Orthodox Christian life and that it is more important to maintain the true faith than to maintain a large bank account.
On this website numerous people have said that people should withhold funds and others have said they should not. Personally I think it is time to say enough is enough. I have thought about the issue for quite some time and it just seems to me as one simply person that there is too much holding onto money in all of this. People are afraid that the church will collapse if funds are withheld or that services will get cut off, or that it will drive the OCA into bankruptcy. Okay what's so bad about this? I hate to point out the obvious but here it is: if you want the lawyers to go away there is one surefire cure, stop paying them. If there is no money in the bank account lawyers have an amazing ability to disappear. Believe me, three months of not paying their bills and they will find someone else.
If you want this to end, I can not help but come to one conclusion, it is finally time to cut off the money.
To put it back into perspective as well, I will mention that one of my fondest memories was eating peanut butter sandwiches with His Grace Archbishop Hilarion of Australia (ROCOR) during Great Lent after services in New York. We met not in some fancy estate on Long Islandl, but in a simple kitchen. When there is just simple love and kindness, your bank account is full enough. You don't need directors, and programmers, and committees, and special appointees, etc to make the church grow. God will nourish it and feed it.
May you all have a most blessed Great Lent.
#14 Anon on 2007-02-22 22:01
I have been thinking a lot this week about how entering Lent should affect our collective attitudes about all that has happened.
What strikes me during this first week of Lent is what I see as a tremendous amount of restraint and patience from the laity over the last year. Last year Metropolitan Herman implored everyone to give this issue a rest during Lent and focus on things spiritual. A year has passed. Little has changed. Very little new information has been disclosed. None of the key figures at the center of this controversy, Metropolitan Herman, Metropolitan Theodosius or Fr. Kondratick, has spoken out to explain what happened to the missing funds.
Any time someone speaks out strongly against the Administration, there are a few who continue to urge more forgiveness, more restraint, more patience . . . but is that the right answer?
Previous generations of Orthodox Christians would have never shown so much restraint. Read any history of Byzantium and you will find that people were passionate about Christ's Church, often to the point that we modern people might think excessive. Once there was a time when bishops and priests had to fear the wrath of the people and wrath of the emperor. Consider, for example, all of the violence associated with the Christological controversies and the Seven Ecumencial Councils.
Yesterday I was reading about what happened in Constantinople in 742 when an usurper tried to gain the throne, but failed. Patriarch Anastatius had supported the usurper. As punishment, the Emperor had the Patriarch bound and paraded naked through the Hippodrome on the back of a donkey. But then all was forgiven and the Patriarch was restored to office.
I do not mean to suggest that the Emperor behaved correctly or in a Christ-like manner. But after reading that, it seemed to me that the figures at the center of this controversy seem to be getting off very very lightly in comparison to what happened when an 8th Century hierarch misbehaved.
A few members of the laity get angry because millions of dollars are missing -- and they get chastised for not being more patient and forgiving. I think things would be very different in a different time and place -- when the Church was strong, when everyone had deep convictions, and when there was no room for indifference.
My Lenten reflections are probably way off base. But those have been my musings this first week of Lent . . . Pray for me.
#15 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-02-23 02:32
I am saddened to hear the voices of some of my sister and brother Orthodox, for whom I pray.
Might we pray that the problems faced by our Holy Orthodox Church in America be solved. That those in place to work on the things that may be wrong and suggest corrections, be given the wisdom by God to carry out their tasks for the good of the Church. Might we pray that all in the Church come together, that hurts are healed--our own as well as those of others regardless of their cause, that we all truly be One in Christ as we pray. Might we too pray for the strength to forgive others, to love all persons, and to grieve with those who are saddened, and rejoice with those who are joyful, regardless of the reasons and our own opinions about them. Might we pray for our Hierarchs, clergy, monastics and laity, and so for ourselves and each other. Might we?
#16 Archpriest William DuBovik on 2007-02-23 12:38
And I am saddened by your tedious repetition of the same banal advice, post after post. As for your "prayers" for some of the members of the above listed groups, I am singing and praying "Just a few more minutes" rather than "Many years."
#16.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-25 17:52
There is a reason why we are repetitive in our Liturgy; as in our call for prayer; and in reading and repeating the words of Christ; of why we read the Bible again and again--because we need to.
The message needs to be enforced and we need to compete with the fallen messages of this world.
Asking for prayer and offering prayer is never banal, sir; never banal.
#16.1.1 Archpriest William DuBovik on 2007-03-06 11:10
i was brought up in a mixed household, both in the oca and rocor churches with parents from china and europe. furthermore, i attended both catholic and sectarian schools.
i have watched and read about the oca crisis and even heard it mentioned sometime ago on vatican radio. i am ashamed after all the sacrifices and hard work of many past and present oca clergy and laity. i have decided to distance myself from the oca. time will not erase the deeds and misdeeds of this crisis. furthermore, things are becoming more complex and tangled has time proceeds. there is so much focus on father bob that others in syosset are skating for now. it would be great to interview and question fr. lenoid kishovsky, who served both under met.t. and met.h. for years. furthermore, he's part of every recent international troika picture along with fr. bob. i can't believe his public silence.....
keep up the vigil.
#17 a concerned orthodox on 2007-02-23 15:14
The OCA was running on hope.
It wasn't just Metropolitan Herman people. It was everyone. I spoke with Council Member Alice Woog this week and asked her pointedly if she had seen the compilation reports from the last 6 years and she said that last December was the first time she knew there was a problem. What burden of responsibility does MH have that she does not? What person in a responsibility role would not read a financial statement for 6 years?
If you want to start rolling heads, roll the entire Synod, the entire administration, and the entire council seated for the last 7 years.
Stop crediting one person. I'm ashamed of all of you for it.
Please forgive my anger towards all of you this Lent.
The truth isn't as important as the consequences.
The consequences are a change in chancellor, a change in comptroller, a promise to become fiscally responsible, an effort to hire competant accounting staff, changes to legal counsel, planned efforts to provide public reporting of financial statements, budgets that meet GAAP,
The OCA is a relatively young church. It is changing. Change isn't instantaneous.
Many of you need to be celebrating change this Lent.... He stopped the church from allowing standing power, overhopefulness, and kindness to keep Fr. Kondratick in place.
This is a man that as reluctantly as it may be has embraced change as much as he can.
Metropolitan Herman's time will come and he will resign in time.
For now, you should all be thanking him for firing Fr. Kondratick for failing to cooperate with auditors, and for not allowing the Administrative Committee to thwart the change.
Instead of thanking the change agent, you are working to condemn him.
Think about it just a little bit people.
For those of you heralding former Abp. Tikhon's calls for MH resignation, consider that Tikhon condemned the first whistleblower Dn. Wheeler before you start giving his verbage credibility.
I am not 100% pleased with Metropolitan Herman's lack of communications with us, nor his concern over disclosure of "unedifying" details. Frankly, his leadership could be better, but it ain't been all bad.
#18 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-02-23 22:51
Except for your comment re BT you are wrong , wrong , wrong!
Metropolitan Herman a "change agent?!!!" You have got to kidding or hopelessly naive. Everything he has done to date is to save his autocratic vision of the Church and possibly his own hide.
#18.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-25 17:43
Get your story straight , Fr. Bob went thru 3 audits. Fr. Bob is gone , it's time to drill someone else. With all the comissions and sites nothing has changed. The most intelligent priest is now in Florida. Syosset is now a ghost town. The oca needs more leaders like Fr.Bob. Look at all the issues that the others priest have there.When the heat gets turned up , let's blame Fr. Bob. In 5 years let's blame Fr. Bob.Let's forget all the good he has done in 40 years.
#18.2 mike on 2007-02-26 07:56
Get my story straight?
Fr. Bob was implied by the attorneys as the person at the center of the churches problems.
Get your story straight.
And yes, KRT, MH was the change agent in removing Fr. Bob.
Without MH acting alone, the members of the administrative committee would not have agreed and no change would have happened.
Mark, can you post the names of the administrative committee members at that moment in time? It seems there are a few people that don't understand entrenched power. When you get upset about MH, realize that a few of those folks on that committee would have allowed Fr. Bob to stay on most likely.
#18.2.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-02-27 01:05
But why did MH get rid of Fr. Kondratick? For incompetence, corruption, immorality, criminality?
I don't think so--he hasn't said so. In fact, MH keeps insisting that there was no fraud or intentional misuse of OCA funds. As you keep pointing out, that would make him, and others, complicit to whatever degree.
No, Mr. Fall, he sacked him for refusing to stand by meekly and be the "fall guy" on terms acceptable to MH. The Metropolitan has come to understand that a total "stonewall" is now out of the question and seeks to regain control of the situation by strategic concessions and feints. On two occasions, the sacking of Fr. K and the creation of the Special Commission, he has seemingly been open to change and reform only to quickly dash those hopes by his subsequent behavior. The "fall guy" strategy having now imploded, the flavour of the month is "hold your enemies close," i.e. the Special Commission. Fortunately, and predictably, considering the individuals appointed to it, that scheme will fail too.
The TRUTH is coming out and Metropolitan Herman will be seen to have been, what he is, an opponent of real reform and change!
#220.127.116.11 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-27 08:19
It has been said that those who define an issue, own that issue. One of the ways to define an issue is to present it in language that in and of itself leads the respondent to the 'correct answer' - or, more precisely, that answer which the questioner wishes to hear.
Let us look at the 'introduction' to this particular thread:
'What is the standard the Commission should use? What should be its goals? Is the Metropolitan, or his lawyers seeking to improperly influence the outcome? Or should we continue to wait quietly and accept what is offered?'
Does anyone see something in the above wording of the 'questions' that most assuredly leads the respondent to provide the 'correct' answer? I most assuredly do, and I am deeply concerned about it especially as this site presents itself as 'objective'. As in the best of such a barrage of 'leading questions', the first two queries are harmless:
1. What standard should the Commission use; and
2. What should be its goals.
I have no problem with either question. However, the next two questions are unequivocally worded so as to force the respondent - unless he holds strong views himself - to 'go where the question(s) lead:
3. Is the Metropolitan, or his lawyers seeking to improperly influence the outcome; and
4. Or should we continue to wait quietly and accept what is offered?
The first question is offensive. How on earth would anyone other than those directly involved with the process know what the Metropolitan or his lawyers are 'seeking' to do and why, if they are seeking to do anything is that necessarily 'improper'? This loaded question presupposes that anything that Metropolitan Herman does or seeks to do is 'improper' and that it is, of necessity intended to 'influence the outcome' in a way that is, it goes without saying, 'improper'. There is another example that is often used to illustrate questions that cannot be answered without self-condemnation: 'When did you stop beating your wife?' No matter how the respondent answers that type of question, he is in the wrong.
The second 'loaded' question assumes something at its outset that has not even been stated because it begins with the word 'or'. That conjunction again presupposes two alternatives 'this' or 'that', but nowhere in the text of the thread introduction is there a 'this', only a 'that' and the 'that' itself is further 'loaded' by making it in two parts: 'Or should we continue to wait quietly' followed by 'and accept what is offered?'
If the question contains an 'or', then we must be given an alternative to 'continue to wait quietly'. Of course, although the alternative is not presented directly in the question, it is present but *unspoken*. Obviously, the alternative to 'waiting quietly' is not waiting and not remaining quiet. Certainly, that part of the question need not even be spoken given the prior question about the Metropolitan and his lawyers seeking to 'improperly influence' the outcome of the Council. That 'leading question' makes the alternative which is not included in the fourth question entirely unnecessary; it is 'understood' by whomever reads the question.
As for the last part 'and accept what is offered' is deliberately placed at the end of the phrase 'wait quietly'. Why? Because it infers that to 'wait quietly' means perforce an 'acceptance of what is offered'; that is, silence in the face of an illegitimate outcome caused by the 'improper influence' exerted by the Metropolitan and his lawyers.
So, in effect, the introduction to this thread is couched in words to elicit a desired response: YES the Metropolitan and his lawyers are attempting to improperly influence the outcome of the Council and NO we aren't going to wait quietly or accept the outcome.
Frankly, these types of 'questions' are dishonest and have no place on an objective 'Christian' site. It is one thing to seek people's opinions; it is quite another to attempt - in the guise of 'openness' - to influence them in accordance with some desired response.
In my article I feel I made a strong case based on the Metropolitan's own words and actions that he was attempting to influence the Commission. I suggest you read it again.
Secondly, I could not be more "objective" than using Syosset's very words to phrase the question. Ini his only comment on the scandal "waiting quietly" is exactly what Communications Department Chairperson Serge Schmemann asked us to do in April 2006. That has not changed. As for "waiting and accepting" the outcome of what is released or not released is exactly what the Metropolitan has told us we should do on multiple ocassions - most recently in Bethesda. )
#19 Matushka Valerie Protopapas on 2007-02-24 15:23
I do not consider the editor of this site to be objective--if by that you mean impartial concerning the events and actions he has so skillfully brought to light. However, he is certainly fair in giving all parties an opportunity to speak their minds, unlike large sections of the OCA under autocratic rule.
I do not want Mark to be "objective" with respect to the criminal and immoral state of the OCA at so many levels. That is the devil's work.
#19.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-26 06:11
One must ALWAYS be 'objective', yes, even in matters of illegality, corruption - even murder. A detective that begins an investigation with a 'pet theory' will often suppress (even unconsciously) any facts that don't 'fit' and exacerbate anything that seems to support that theory. That isn't an investigation, that's a 'witch hunt'.
I would hope that if truth and fact are what in fact what is desired, then those seeking same make every effort, even to bending over backwards, so to speak, to remain objective. Like Cesar's wife, persons attempting to unmask corruption must be themselves spotless lest their efforts be dismissed as 'partisan' and *UN*objective.
#19.1.1 Matushka Valerie Protopapas on 2007-02-26 09:50
Sorry, but you are confused. Truthful and factual? Yes, always, to the best of our ability! But to then have a point of view with respect to that information is perfectly legitimate.
This site is dedicated to finding and publishing the facts with regard to the OCA's greatest scandal in its rather short history and then promoting appropriate changes and reforms. Are you?
If not, then start your own website for the beatification of Fr. Kondratick.
#18.104.22.168 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-26 15:09
You, sir, are a 'poster boy' for what is wrong with this site.
You are rude, uncharitable and nasty and then at the end of a post, freqently sufficiently hypocritical to express Christian sentments towards those whom you intentionally offend and to whom you attribute you own warped point of view. You obviously rejoice in all the scandal around you and find glory in being able to flaunt your nastiness because you are 'one of the good guys'. I've met people like you on other forums and you're all alike, sadly.
It's a shame because good might have come out of all of this but for people like you who will cause more damage to the Church and the faithful than the scandal that you profess to oppose. You are a clear example of the 'cure' being worse than the disease.
I know that this will not be posted although every one of your denigrating and rude posts make the list probably without exception. But I hope that this trend continues because it can only show to those who are objectively seeking the truth what is really going on here though it is couched in the piety of concern for the well being of the Church.
#22.214.171.124.1 Matushka Valerie Protopapas on 2007-02-27 07:18
Dear Little Mother,
You call yourself "Matushka", yet I know of no loving church mother who would scold with such indignation as you have. Our Matushka is so genuine & loving that even in the most difficult of situations when dealing with people, she would absolutely never, ever talk the way you have.
By the way, this "objectivity" that you so boldly and proudly profess is really quite a secular concept. Christ is not "objective"...it is HIS way or the highway.
Matushka, you really can do better than this....
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-27 12:11
Little matushka, should she believe what everyone believes.Please,that is what this website is for,to speak your mind.
#188.8.131.52.1.1.1 bill on 2007-02-28 06:02
If one cannot say what one believes politely and in a Christian manner - and that is all I am asking - then perhaps one should rethink what one wishes to say.
Name calling, attributing to people opinions that they have not stated but are merely assumed - frequently in direct opposition to their own statements - and just 'stirring the pot' is neither objective nor, frankly, does it have the appearance of seeking truth however much that excuse is used. It's rabble rousing, pure and simple and I don't care what side one is on, rabble rousing helps no one and nothing, including (and especially) the Church.
One does not help one's argument with such tactics. It's rather like yelling in a debate; that is, one raises one's voice but does not strengthen one's argument. However, there are those people who believe that if they are nasty and rude enough, the other side will vacate the field and that may indeed be so. I certainly have no intention of pursuing issue because I have learned over the years that it is pointless. Those who choose this method of 'debate' will continue to practice it notwithstanding and as that is the case, I at least, have better things to do - like cleaning the basement.
#184.108.40.206.1.1.2 Matushka Valerie Protopapas on 2007-02-28 11:48
I guess you didn't like the Fr. Kondratick website idea!
As to your litany of my character defects, I plead guilty with extenuatuing circumstances. Certainly strong argumentation using irony, humour, ridicule and sarcasm can often be interupted by persons like you as rude, uncharitable and nasty. I use it, selectively, hoping to elucidate the truth and to puncture the pompous piety I find rampant in certain quarters on this site.
In your case, I have tread rather lightly, believe it or not. For the silent high and mighty and the anonymous character assassins, I am not as kind and gentle.
#220.127.116.11.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-27 19:10
Do you want an answer from your readers or do you want to use the Metropolitan's words - couched in such a way as to make them condemnatory - to elicit the answers you want to hear? If you truly want a response from your readers according to their own feelings and opinions, then do not make the question 'frame' the answer.
We see this all the time is so-called 'polls' which are supposed to indicate how people feel about a subject. But they are not polls at all and, in fact, how the question is framed in such a way as to make the answer a foregone conclusion. I suggest - indeed, I firmly state - that the 'questions' you put to your readers did just that.
I also would like to point out that if you are going to use the Metropolitan's words within the question, then simple courtesy (never mind Christian charity) demands that you advise the reader that they in fact are the Metropolitan's words and, even more importantly, that you *present the context in which they were used*.
If you fail to do that, you may wind up with the same sort of dishonesty which occurs when people 'quote the Bible' to bolster a particular point of view that in and of itself might well be quite 'unBiblical' in nature. After all, you can find almost anything apparently vouchsafed in the Bible *once you take the words of Scripture out of context*. Consider the following two quotes spun together which present the reader with what appears to be a Biblical exhortation to suicide: 'And Judas went and hanged himself' - 'Go Thou and do likewise!'
Of course, no one who knows Scripture would accept that particular 'Biblical exposition', but it does present a stunning example of what can happen when words and phrases are taken out of context, which is usually done for the sake of deceiving whoever is exposed to the resultant 'quote'.
I stand by my original condemnation of the 'questions' presented and for the reasons I gave.
#20 Matushka Valerie Protopapas on 2007-02-25 18:05
Show me complete impartiality and I will show you a dead man! I have yet to see one news media faucet that isn't impartial.
We are HUMAN, we have FEELINGS, & we have OPINIONS. People, we must work together to save the future OCA instead of this incessant bickering. If you don't like the question(s) then either don't post a comment OR post a comment that rephrases the question in a more “objective” manner.
This website & forum is Mark’s gift to us and the OCA (although I don’t think M.H. sees it that way). We have a way to speak and be heard, however, negativity seldom, if ever works well with anyone. So I would hope that we would use this “voice” to the benefit moving the OCA forward.
The reality is many things within the OCA are NOT good right now and because of the current situation, WE are upset and some of the questions WE are asking are rightfully difficult & uncomfortable.
Bottom Line: This is Mark's website and it is pretty evident how he maintains it. So get over it and let’s have productive conversations that will facilitate moving the OCA forward instead of having a verbal civil war.
#20.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-26 10:28
Stick to your guns. If that is what your belief is that is great. Some people on this site are so close minded , good for you.
#20.2 Mike on 2007-02-28 05:58
This was a lot longer before I decided to be more circumspect. Let me just say this: there needs to be the announcement of a date certain before this summer by which we can expect a report that satisfactorily resolves serious factual issues in this case. This date should be set from the top down. If that does not happen, it should be set from the bottom up, i.e. the laity should politely state their specific expectations.
Without a date certain to focus attention on resolving a matter like this, it is just too easy to continue to counsel patient waiting.
A date is necessary to avoid loss of credibility on the part of the people charged with investigating this matter.
It would be difficult to convince me that there are very many mysteries left after all this time, and after PR's "investigation." It is reasonable to infer that it is less a matter of not knowing what happened than figuring out how to resolve it with the least collateral damage possible. Everyone should read the handwriting on the wall and do what needs to be done as quickly as possible now, instead of pretending there is going to be a happy ending if we "just wait awhile longer."
If enough people agree upon a date certain for a satisfactory report, things will become much more clear much more quickly, one way or the other. I propose those that have access press for a date and for that date to be publically announced. If there is resistence to setting a date, I propose that people get behind a reasonable date or their own choosing and see what happens.
#21 J.D. on 2007-02-25 21:17
OK, I admit I am in a bad mood.
I am a member of St. Mark Parish where Met. Herman "graciously" answered questions. He was almost incoherrent, seemed to have a language problem and seemed to be not in reality. I believe he is unfit to be the Metropolitan. He showed no compassion for a woman who was almost bleeding at the microphone about feeling betrayed by the Church. She asked what plans they had to rebuild trust- he basically said nothing. When someone asked him if he would resign for the good of the Church. He said basically "NO". That was an improper question.
And always the investigation isn't over. Watergate took less time than this.
As for the commission, although I have a friend on it, I believe it was a very wise move by the administration. They put the "chief complainers" on the commission. They are not part of the "establishment" nor invested with secrecy for the "sake of the Chruch."
And I don't care what "Caesar" does or does not do. I want the person responsible defrocked ...or persons. I want the enablers to resign and I want an apology to the "whistleblowers." Almost in that order.
I am very disguested right now. I will not leave the Church becasue it is the Body of Christ. But the same bishop who said, "Where the bishop is there is the Church, also said we should not follow an ungodly bishop. And during my catechism, Fr. Hopko's Rainbow series said there had been many times whent he laity had risen up against ungodly bishops and had them removed. My sole loyalty is to Christ and His Church, not to a bunch of liars and crooks.
Forgive me if I have offended anyone.
Linda Elizabeth Weir
St. Mark, Bethesda.
#22 Linda Weir on 2007-03-05 01:29
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