Friday, April 27. 2007
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On a personal note, having known Fr. Valdimir Borichevsky, or I should say having had the privilege to know him; having had him as a professor in seminary, and as a mentor for my thesis, I can say that he is one of the wisest priests I have ever met. His wise counsel, his advice, his teachings are missed, and it is nice to learn that they are still alive. Now I shall try to see how I could hear his words again through this site.
#1 Very Rev. William DuBovik on 2007-04-28 08:47
I too knew Fr. Vladimir. I greatly respected his wisdom. I wonder however what he would say today if he were alive about the present situation. I wish we could have that wisdom.
Please withhold my name
#1.1 Anonymous on 2007-04-28 20:48
The pompous attitudes of the hierarchy and archpriests in the church is the underlying scandal. It isn't about Fr. Bob taking money; if he did. It almost doesn't matter.
If Fr. K. stole money from the church years ago and pomposity hadn't rued the day, the matter would have been closed long ago.
If the hierarchy and archpriests embrace this website, embrace change, embrace concillarity, the scandal would end. It would run out of its proverbial gas.
Some of that has been happening, but when Nescott got booted from the Council, the scandal started anew, and any trace of it leaving disappeared.
A warning would have been enough for Mr. Nescott. If you post on OCANEWS.ORG, you will not serve the OCA in any capacity? Where is the disclosure policy he violated? Was it clear that anything said in a meeting was confidential, or that specific details were confidential. Hogwash rulings, hogwash.
Not one hierarch said, in the absence of clear policy, clear policy need be written, and if the policy was extended to not posting here, he could have been informed and that would have been the end.
Instead, more pomposity, more autocracy, more of the same scandal. Not one hierarch even questioned it. Even the great Bishop of the Midwest didn't act with humility. Instead of requiring clear policy of the Shepherds, which is done in all corporate governance and a proven, successful way of dealing with issues like disclosure, our pompous Bishops wish to retain all privileges of booting someoe for any reason at any time if they don't like them.
We are beginning to get it.
This isn't a financial scandal. I wanted to believe it was. Nope. Its a pomposity scandal. The church in Clayton gets it. Many of you here get it. I'm sorry I've been slow on the uptake.
This website has a problem. The title shouldn't be Orthodox Christians for Accountability. Nope. It should be the Orthodox Pomposity Review. Maybe then they'd get it.
It'd be interesting to hear a bunch of pompous fellows having it out in a Spiritual Court, but the Spiritual Court won't resolve the underlying scandal. It is only a treatment for the underlying stage 4 pomposity.
The best thing that could come of it would be for all of them to find a way to be humble together and display the finest in Orthodox brotherhood, humility, and forgiveness, but I won't hold my breath.
#2 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-04-29 09:09
Perhaps "pomposity" isn't the best word. As several have reflected, including Fr. Hopko, we're really dealing with an incorrect understanding of what the Church is supposed to be, what hierarchs are supposed to be, what the relationship of the hierarchs to the Church as a whole should be, what the relationship of the hierarchs and clergy to the laity should be, what the central Church should be, etc. In short, we are dealing with an unOrthodox ecclesiology that has held sway in our Church for too long.
I wish I could remember which AAC it was (either Chicago or Pittsburgh) where the motion was made and approved to officially give the title of "primate" to Met. Theodosius. At the time I realized that something wasn't right in Dodge, but I couldn't put my finger on it, then. I voted against it, but I was in the obvious minority. Since then I have looked at the online "minutes", but they don't mention it. And, all the past "history" type documents have been edited to use the term "primate", going all the way back to St. Tikhon, as if the Metropolitans have always been "primates". Such was not the case, though, prior to that resolution. Was this the beginning of the Brum doctrine in the OCA?
#2.1 Name withheld on 2007-04-30 05:56
CHRIST IS RISEN!
You write: "Not one hierarch even questioned it" (I.e., the canning of Mr. Nescott.)
FYI, that statement is false.
Fr. Bartholomew Wojcik
St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian Mission Church
P.S. Most likely, I will be unable to read this site for the duration of the coming week, if not longer. (Business is beginning to pick up.) So, any response will go unread. Sorry.
#3 Anonymous on 2007-04-29 19:04
apparently our new "trick" marionette did not work on Archbishop Job......therefore we are sending you a "Nescott" in the hope that OCA rules permit him to be nominated to replace +Job as the 'accuser' at Fr. Bob's trial......we do come up with a winner, now and then
#3.1 Metropolitan Novelties Co., Inc. on 2007-04-30 17:00
Show me where it is written that a member of the Synod publicly renounced the banning of Nescott, otherwise, my statement is true.
Something more to think about.
As a child I didn't care about Bishops. I rather like that idea. It would be nice to return to my childhood notions of church, where the only leaders were priests telling me to love people, not hate.
I think we need to abolish fair share and the assessments altogether and just let the Synod live off donations.
That way they'd actually have to worry about being just, they'd talk of love, not hateful banishment, and they wouldn't teach me to hate their actions.
Reduce Fair Share to donations. Then those that want scandal can finance it.
#3.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-04-30 21:39
I don't know whether a given hierarch took a position re Gregg or not. I do know two things, however:
First, the availability in writing of a purported statement is not the sine qua non of the veracity of the claim that such statement was made; and
Second, Fr B's integrity (as anyone who knows the good Father will attest) is beyond reproach. Accordingly, if he says a heirarch took such a position then it is either an accurate statement; or, the statement is objectively inaccurate but he, in good faith, believed it to be so. Inasmuch as he also is not prone to acting without the exercise of due dilgence, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps Fr B's claim be given some credence ... even if something hasn't been seen in writing by you, by me, or by ayone else; in fact, even if nothing in writing exists.
#3.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-05-08 18:47
To the editor:
It is alarming to see our crisis getting worth every day. I am hoping you publish this letter in order to encourage all members of the OCA, clergy and laity, to speak up and help our hierarchs know what kind of job they are doing!
In published remarks by Mr. Gregory Nescott, who was elected to the special investigation committee, he states that Metropolitan Herman called him at home and told him at least four times that whatever must be done must be “for the good of the church”. Is this what Metropolitan Herman and the Holy Synod really believe they are doing? Do the latest events justify their belief that they are doing a good job “ for the good of the church “? If Mr. Nescott is fired for bogus reasons, then one wonders about the special committee report that remains locked and keeps the truth secret as also for the good of the church.
It is easy for church leaders to lose sight of their responsibility and convince themselves that they are doing a great job by covering up their failures. There is only one way to open their eyes to recognize what kind of harm or ”good” they are doing to the church. That is, for all of us, the members of the OCA to let them know what kind of job they are doing. I urge all members of the OCA, laity and clergy, to write and express their opinions to their bishops, etc. about the events that are occurring in the church. NEVER accept anything in blind obedience. I also call upon Metropolitan Herman and the members of the Holy Synod to insist on a complete investigation to identify the errors and tell all members of the church the whole truth. Once the facts are known to ALL then it will become clear what is needed to be done to lift us out of this crisis.
Being secretive about the truth and continuing to do business as usual will only create statements and counter statements, a divided Synod, failing leadership, and most of all loss of the confidence and support of church members to their hierarchs. Suspending a priest or trying him in a “church court” will not eliminate the mess we are in. Only when the truth is told and those who have deceived us for so long are gone including bishops, clergy, and laity, can the church renew its life in Christ.
Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church
#4 Michel Michail on 2007-05-01 07:22
EXCELLENT comment! I will mail it to all my friends that don’t have computers. I hope others will do the same.
#4.1 Ande on 2007-05-01 10:00
I believe Ken Tobin wrote a very insightful reflection about the current state of the hierarchy. The hierarchy is capable of much good. But it is also capable, unfortunately, of abusing its power and control as we have all witnessed and experienced in the past actions we are still trying to recover from. A properly functioning hierarchy is a topic worthy of much discussion and reflection.
The two churches that should, or could be united, with constructive dialogue and discussion, are the Catholics and Orthodox. Yet, we can't seem to get the constructive dialogue to have credence when internal actions in both churches weaken their own witness to Christ. The division within Christianity with so many sects is heartbreaking. Personally, I have advocated a married episcopate for Orthodoxy as was allowed in the early church. Monasteries will forever have an eternal calling in our world. But I have not seen too many good bishops who really know how to deal with the matters of a church with all its challenges. There just seems to be a handful of wise bishops out there who really do their jobs. The OCA is just creeping along with the necessary changes for a better witness to our world. I believe Ken Tobin's reflection is a good place to start a real new birth of spirit filled (rather than autocratic filled) leadership for our church.
#5 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-01 09:38
"The two churches that should, or could be united, with constructive dialogue and discussion, are the Catholics and Orthodox. Yet, we can't seem to get the constructive dialogue to have credence when internal actions in both churches weaken their own witness to Christ."
Are you kidding? We cannot even as Orthodox Christians unite among ethnic jurisdictions! There is a definite lack of unified perspective on many issues between the various jurisdictions........just this past month, the news hit the streets that the Antiochians are allowing subdeacons, not priests, to serve as military chaplains. Where is Syosset on this? Nothing has come forth from the powers that be. Are the important works of the church being accomplished while we are distracted by this scandal? Enough already!
Married bishops? What difference would that make? Marriage does not sutomatically convey wisdom or compassion. Key players in the present scandal are married. Just as the married priesthood for the Catholics is not the solution to the sex scandals, a married episcopate is not the answer for the present Orthodox scandals.
Perhaps the best solution is for the OCA to move away from the Good Old Boys network, and to find those people among its clergy and membership who have the gifts and talents to lead in a moral, ethical and compassionate manner. It does not seem that our present scandal can be resolved primarily through ecclesiastical courts, because we don't trust those already in power to do the ethical and moral right thing - it is NECESSARY for there to be impartial investigation and adjudication of these matters.
#5.1 Wendy C. on 2007-05-02 07:14
Here are a few further thoughts on the "authority issue" being addressed by this thread of comments.
First, my compliments to Messrs. Orr and Watt and Fr. Phillip for their contributions on the previous thread and to Messrs. Fall and Michail on this one. While I strongly disagree with Mr. Orr in many respects (see my response to his comments on the last thread), he at least concedes, I think, that North America needs a more responsive heirarchy that takes into account our cultural and political heritage. Fr. Phillip rightly identifies the problems with a primate acting beyond his authority, but then seems to give to individual bishops operating in their own jurisdictions almost unlimited authority. Mr. Watt valiantly strives to find some mechanism for decentralizing authority and making it in the process more responsive and accountable.
Setting aside for a moment the theoretical limits, if any, to heirarchical authority, can we not at least agree that when that authority has been delegated to other individuals or institutions it should not be snatched back or overruled except in extraordinary circumstances? In this scenario, the decisions of the AAC and the MC would not be ignored or reversed "willy nilly," but respected as the normal decision making processes of the Church. If this were the case, it would be Metropolitan Seraphim now serving as Primate, to use but one obvious example of how this would work.
If the authority of the heirarchy is truly unlimited, and I don't concede it is, then let us at least have it exercised in the manner of Archbishop Job, who can listen, tolerate criticism and dissent, and even change his decisions when circumstances warrant it, showing not only wisdom, but true humility in the process.
#6 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-01 10:41
While I can appreciate where Fr. Jillions is coming from, I find that his reflection is missing the point. I am not by any means a scholar in patristics, but I think that the root of the thinking of Pseudo-Dionysius is in ascetic, mystical contemplation of the divine order. In my mind it goes back to the teachings of St. Ignatius of Antioch and his view of bishops.
I am not sure I would fault Pseudo-Dionysius for the abuse of hierarchal concepts. I don't think I agree that his system "identifies the hierarch’s and God’s mind too closely". I would be more inclined to view it in the ascetic light, similar to the teachings of St. Maximus, whereby the ascetic reaches the communion with God through contemplation and ascetical struggle. Moreover, I find obedience to be an extremely important cornerstone of the Church structure - provided it is free obedience (and governance) in love, as I have written elsewhere.
I would rather agree with Ken & see the foundation of most of our today's "institutional" troubles in the institualization of the Church, in its becoming an institution of the Empire, and too often since foresaking the way of Christ in favor of the way of the world... One of my biggest disappointments with the OCA is that it chose to forego the unique opportunity afforded to it by the American puralistic religious culture to be free of allying itself with any form of governmental institution. More precisely, it turned out that the first - in many centuries! - free Orthodox Church did not know what to do with its freedom. How sad.
#7 Inga Leonova on 2007-05-01 19:08
Dear Mrs. Leonova,
Thank you for your "Reflection" and for all your website postings. I look forward to reading what you write.
However, in your most recent posting I am not sure I understand what you mean when you write about the OCA "allying itself with any governmental institution". Could you elaborate your point a bit further. I really do want to understand anything you have to say.
#7.1 Jean Langely Sullivan on 2007-05-03 19:10
Thank you for your kind words. I said "FREE from allying itself with any form of governmental institution." My point is that the OCA's position is unique among the Orthodox Churches is that it is neither a state church nor a persecuted church, and yet it still acts like it would like to be an institution of the state, in external forms of its governance, in the attitudes of its hierarchy, in its obsequious dealings with the Moscow Patriarchate... Or rather it appears that after 1,600+ years we just don't know how to function if we are not "in bed" with the emperor, whatever form "the emperor" may have.
#7.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-05-04 10:18
Thank you for your reply to my question. I thought that was the meaning of your comment but I wanted to be sure.
I hope you will continue to provide your comments and reflections to the website. They have encouraged me and I am sure many others.
#184.108.40.206 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-05-04 15:51
As a former Roman Catholic, I have given a lot of thought to the subject of the limits of authority of a bishop....
Scripture, as is very often the case, gives us an idea of those limits.
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
So, the authority of the office of Apostle is limited to acts which serve others, in the manner in which Christ served others. A fortiori, then, is it so for their successors. Self-serving acts by those in authority are absolutely forbidden by Christ Himself. (Is anyone in Syosset reading this?)
What then to do about the bishop who acts according to self-interest? Scripture again tells us.
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Therefore, the steps are: fraternal correction, fraternal correction with witnesses, correction by the Church, expulsion from the Church.
One may wonder, however, the laity would expel a bishop from the Church. That is left as an exercise for the reader. However, one may reasonably infer that even bishops are subject to fraternal correction by the laity. The consequences of the Council of Florence bear this out.
One of the unstated assumptions throughout many of the comments posted on this board is that defying a wayward hierarch should not result in negative consequences (read: retaliation). Christ disabuses us of this: (John 16:2-3) "They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or Me." In other words, do not expect the religious authorities always to do the right thing, even when you are.
So what do we make of all this? Well...(Matthew 5:10-12) "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
A rich reward can await us, but only if we act in a prophetic manner: without self-interest, without a desire for revenge, and only a desire, first, for the glory of God, second, for the preservation of Orthodoxy, and third, that innocents are no longer hurt.
Expect to suffer along the way.
#8 Wayne Matthew Syvinski on 2007-05-01 19:48
PROGRESS TO DATE IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!
We need GREG NESCOTT back!!!
The Statutes have been abused so badly that they are no longer valid.
They have been ignored for 15 years.
Why start following them now???
#9 Ande on 2007-05-02 07:31
The two new reflections, by Fr. Plekon and Mark Harrison, are breathtaking in their eloquence and perspicacity. They should be read by everyone who visits this website!
For me, these reflections offer the vision of what the Orthodox Church *should be*, and what I thought it would be, when I converted to it almost twenty years ago. Of course individuals, and institutions, usually fall far short of their ideals, but at least the vision sets forth the path to follow and the objective to be sought.
It is not the failure to achieve this vision that upsets and angers me as much as the complete rejection of the vision itself by so many in our leadership. When tempted to despair of ever finding it again, I find refreshment and renewal from many of the posts and reflections on this website.
#10 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-02 09:55
While I mentioned Fr John Garvey at the top ofmy essay, yours two was a true inspiration for what I wrote. We are ALL in this together. We are the living proof that the CHURCH lives, in spite of all that we are enduring. The Church lived in spite of all of those bishops who signed up with the Pope at Ferrara-Florence. Then, as now, only one hierarch stood forth, and then as now, the laity stood with him - and here we are today, neither Muslims nor Latins, but Orthodox.
While I am honoured by your words, I need to reciprocate. You hit the nail on the head with your very title. Your essay is no less significant or eloquent and it is the common voice (the "one mouth and one heart") being raised that should tell us all just how right Fr Michael Plekon is in what he has written. That book by Fr Nicholas Afanasiev sounds like a real important one for our day. Another would be Bible, Church, Tradition by Florovsky.
Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
#10.1 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-02 11:02
Dear Mr. Tobin,
In reviewing some of your/my posts, it occurs to me that we have both failed to state an important theological point: the Church in its fullness is what we now call "the diocese," with the faithful and clergy gathered around their bishop. The beginning of the Russian/Ukrainian form a hierarchical Divine Liturgy, with the bishop among his people, is an ikon of the Church simply being itself.
The "holy Churches of God" for whose well-being we pray in the Great Litany are NOT the OCA, the Moscow Patriarchate, etc. They ARE (starting with what for me is home) the Archdiocese of Canada, the Diocese of New England, the Metropolis of Toronto, etc. Each OCA diocese, each Metropolis of the Greek Archdiocese, and so on, in our crazy-quilt North America, and beyond our shores, is in and of itself the Church in its fullness. I suspect that any other "ecclesiology" is (to be very blunt) either crypto-papalist heresy or just plain old "lust of power."
Is, then, complete devolution the answer to our current problems? I suggest it is not. The issue, rather, is one of maintaining communion and effecting cooperation among "the holy Churches of God," and of how best to fulfill the mandate and ministry of the Body of Christ most effectively. And I submit that the central administration, problem-plagued and paranoid though it be, has a legitimate role to play. For example: God knows that we have enough trouble educating future clergy with only three seminaries to pay for. How in the world could each diocese support its own seminary (although Canada has come up with a creative approach, more about which another time)?
The point is that there are needs, functions and decisions which are better met or made by collective effort than by individual diocesean struggle...which, by the way, is part of the thrust and intent of Canon 34 of the Holy Apostles.
Given also the way the Incarnation impacts on every aspect of life, that communion and cooperation should be, as it were, embodied in a Metropolitan or First Hierarch or Primate or Whatever, whose ministry is to nurture that communion and cooperation. That is precisely what The Statute envisions in Article IV. The fact there seems to exist a gap between vision and implementation does not invalidate the vision; it merely highlights the reality that in all its earthly aspects the Church is not a hotel for plaster saints but a hospital for struggling sinners...of whom I am first.
#10.2 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-02 14:28
I fully agree with your characterization of the Church.
While I have championed the devolution of control, I fully recognize that there are some functions, like education, that should be centralized. I note there are no staff in Syosset in an oversight role for seminaries, for example. I have said before, the function of the central church should be limited to educational oversight, and perhaps liturgical consistency, neither of which require a central staff. Each diocese does not need it's own seminary. Each seminary board, through their chancellor or dean, should report to the Holy Synod. It would be nice if the Synod could see fit to produce a church school curriculum, or an adult education curriculum.
Devolution need not mean isolation. Cooperation is imperative. But is cooperation best achieved through a strong central government (as in the relationship between the states and the central US government), or more of the federation model (similar to that of the relationships between the provinces and Ottawa in Canada)?
What I saw, and see, in Syosset is basically fundraising apparatus, and not a very successful at that. Little if any support for parish life comes from Syosset. We have no curriculum for church schools, no significant youth programs, no adult education programs. Liturgical materials are published by the seminaries. How difficult should it be to have a common service book? Surely our learned heirarchs could adopt such a text.
The role of the central church should be, in my opinion, one of support to the people of God as they execute the mission and ministry of the Church. The central church should not usurp that blessing of caring for others from us.
We've seen how centralizing has worked -- our seminary funds, our mission funds, our charitable funds were raped. I believe simply decentralizing will be more effective in enabling the people of God to fulfill the Church's mission.
The local parish is where the money meets the need - and the closer the money stays to the local parish, the more the needs will be met. Having said that, I do not believe there is a place in the Orthodox Church for checkbook Christianity. Our obligations, as Christians, go much deeper than writing a check.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#10.2.1 Marty Watt on 2007-05-02 18:36
The Statute is not just something the OCA can choose to obey or ignore at whim. The picture is complicated because the State of New York has extended recognition of the OCA by act of legislature and provided the benefits of its not-for-profit corporations statute in return for its adherence to the governing statute. One would think the people in charge would want to clear up this mess if only to act before the Attorney General of the State of New York is invited to do so for them.
We really need to follow the Statute, but that would require a willingness for confrontation that is achingly absent in the OCA. If the OCA doesn't like its Statute, then let's just be honest and make the necessary changes to conform it to the Brum doctrine and strip the Metropolitan Council of the duties it has been too feeble to exercise. As it stands now, since the firing of Mr. Nescott, it is clear that every member of the MC serves merely at the pleasure of the Metropolitan and we haven't heard boo from them. Even a coop-full of chickens will squawk when one of them gets dragged out for the pot!
We have a commission that abstracted hundreds of thousands of our church dollars of legal investigation into a report they do not allow us to see, even though they promised it would be released. We are looking forward to an ecclesiastical trial where patent conflicts of interest make even non-lawyers shake their heads in amazement.
People are still trying to finesse this thing, one side digging in its heels, the other wringing its hands like old women (although the real old women I know in my church would set things straight inside of ten minutes). Let's just have a good old-fashioned Orthodox knock-down-drag-out and get it over with. (Where's St. Nicholas when you need him?)
#11 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-05-02 09:56
to whom it may concern:.....the final scene of the yet-to-be-released epic entitled "OCA up from the ashes" -depicting +Herman going out kicking and screaming- has been delayed and will need a retake....... sets will need to be added for the part of the scene involving the former hierarchs in limbo.....please be patient
#11.1 Metropolitan Film Studios Co., Inc. on 2007-05-02 19:12
At the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg, Edward Everett was the main "attraction." In keeping with the oratorical fashion of the time, he held forth for a couple of hours on the battle and what it meant for the Union. Then President Lincoln gave his few words that have so long endured in American memory. (To his credit, Everett realized immediately that the President did a much better job.)
In much the same way, I have commented at some length from time to time here and elsewhere, but my former professor at Baruch College (Fr. Plekon) in his few words got to right the heart of the matter --- better than I ever could.
#12 Edmund Unneland on 2007-05-02 09:58
IS THERE A PLAN ?
WHAT IS THE PLAN ?
DOES THE MC HAVE A PLAN ?
DOES ANYONE HAVE A PLAN ?
ARE THERE ANY TARGET DATES ?
WHAT ARE THE TARGET DATES ?
I SAID :
PROGRESS TO DATE IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!
We need GREG NESCOTT back
If necessary, we should sue Metropolitan Herman to get the PR report released to us.
The Statutes have been abused so badly that they are no longer valid.
They have been ignored for 15 years.
Why start following them now?
One comment that I received said: “The State of New York has extended recognition of the OCA by act of legislature and provided the benefits of its not-for-profit corporations statute in return for its adherence to the governing statute”.
I guess this did not apply to the clergy over the last 15 years.
Too much time and money has been wasted already.
#13 Ande on 2007-05-02 19:18
Are we drifting off the track of the original intent of this web site? (ocanews.org)
“To inform members of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) of the origins, nature and scope of allegations concerning financial misconduct at the highest levels of the central church administration of the OCA by providing news and supporting documentation about the scandal ;”
Also, many extremely excellent religious articles have been posted on this web site. However, we really need more information on the status of the investigation, action, results, plans, priorities, target dates, meetings, meeting minutes, committee reports, progress reports, missed targets, reasons for being missed, and a realistic target completion date. etc.
Less petty squabbling, less filibustering, and less creating of diversions.
We must keep the pressure on the subject of the scandal and demand action and results!
(Editor's Note: While I agree with your impatience for more information, I disagree with your analysis that these "excellent religious articles" are not contributing to drift. On the contrary. The reason we are getting no information is that Syosset feels no need to do so; they feel this way because of assumptions regarding authority in the Church, which the recent essays have sought to expose. It is not enough to just treat symptoms - we need to also treat the disease. Exposing false theologies, bad assumptions and dangerous ideologies is part of the cure, even as disclosing financial records is part. We shall continue to do both.)
#14 Ande on 2007-05-03 20:46
Today's Orthodox quote of the day that I received in email is:
From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 156):
"No one who lies is linked to God. God is the truth. He says, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' (Jn. 14:6). See how we sort ourselves out and what position we take up through lying – clearly on the side of the evil one. If, therefore, we want to be saved, we must with all our hearts love the Truth and guard ourselves from every kind of falsehood so that we may not be separated from truth and from life."
May this truly be so of our hierarchs, all of those who have anything to do with this "scandal", and the rest of us as well.
#15 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-05-04 11:08
I know what I am about to say is overly simplistic, but it would seem not inappropriate.
There are two kinds of people in this world: CREATORS and CONSUMERS. It would appear that Syosset and the Synod (and their dutiful minions of the last 20+ years), save Bishop Job, are CONSUMERS. They know how to spend, consume, take, react, criticize, follow, use up, tear down and respond -- in short, they know how to be consumers of the creativity and work of others. They do not know, it appears, how to create, make, give, encourage, solve, love, build, lead and preempt -- they do not know how to be creators of solutions.
We must stop expecting from them what they cannot give. They cannot be what they are not. There is nothing left to consume. These takers are an empty shell. We are expecting them to be proactive when they only know how to react. We are expecting them to be magnanimous when they only know how to be greedy and self-centered.
It is time for the CREATORS to stop waiting for what cannot and will not be provided by the CONSUMERS and to get on with the task of restoring love and trust in this Church.
#16 Anon. on 2007-05-04 15:35
JUST READ ABOUT THE NEW ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE AT HQ. BLAME ALL THE ACCOUNTING ISSUES ON 18 YEAR OBSOLETE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE. I HAD TO LAUGH SINCE I WAS EXPECTING PERSONNEL CHANGES. WHAT HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE, DECENCY, AS WELL AS HONESTY.SYOSSET NEEDS TO BE REPROGRAMMED AND/OR BOOTED.
JUST WANT TO ADD. MANY OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ALASKA'S WEB, POSTAL, AND EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE NOT SHOWN ANYMORE. FURTHERMORE, I CALLED ST HERMAN'S SEMINARY AND FATHER BOB IS APPARENTLY STILL ON THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS. YES, AS WAS MENTIONED IN EARLIER POSTS BY AN ARCHDIOCESE STAFFER "THINGS ARE DFFERENT HERE AND WE DON'T UNDERSTAND." WE'RE LEARNING. I LOVE THE NEPOTISM IN THE OCA ESPECIALLY IN ALASKA.
THE CHURCH WILL SURVIVE BUT THE OCA IS ANOTHER QUESTION.
#17 a concerned orthodox christian on 2007-05-04 16:58
In reading about the new accounting software, at least it does seem to have all the appropriate controls to make a good accounting, and to make it far more difficult for theft and misappropriation to occur in the future. That, in itself, of course, does not constitute repentance or confession, or any such thing, but it sounds like something that is much needed.
#17.1 Name withheld on 2007-05-07 07:03
Very important to remember that software controls, while admirable, do not replace the need for adequate internal controls. Software controls can be easily circumvented unless installed properly in an adequate control environment.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#17.1.1 Marty Watt on 2007-05-07 12:30
In your overview of current events, you comment on the timing of the Spiritual Court...rather mistakenly, I fear. Article XI,4,e, says only that "The ACCUSED [not the prosecution!] has the right to trial in court within 30 days of the day when the penalty is pronounced by the bishop." The Statue does NOT say that the trial MUST take place within 30 days, but rather that the accused has the right to it if he so request. This provision prevents either
a. a malicious prosector dragging the process on interminably;
b. any prosecutor forcing the accused to trial before the accused has had that "appropriate time to prepare his defense" promised in Article XI,4,c.
Given that Article XI,4,d, leaves it up to the court to determine what defense witnesses and expert testimony are "acceptable," having a little control of the timing of the trial is about the only counter-balance an accused has against prosecutorial power.
And regardless of what some folks feel as they throw pathetically adolescent tantrums, it is absolutely crucial that the Canons and The Statute be followed exactly and precisely, and that this trial above all others be conducted with scrupulous fairness. Not only must justice be done but also be seen to be done; but it is, after all, disregard of the Canons, The Statute, justice, equity, charity and humility that got us into this mess in the first place. To think that continuing on that path will do anything but dig us in deeper (as well as set horrid precedents for the future) is just plain silly.
#18 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-05 03:51
Many thanks to all the contributors of these very thoughtful reflections. It is very important for all of us in the Church to recognize how the journey of the Church through history has encrusted it with barnacles and debris that can inhibit the spiritual growth of many people who are blessed to be aboard this Ark of Salvation. These encrustations also dim the image of the Church to those who are seeking to find the illumination and fullness of truth in the Gospel.
As members of the crew of the Ark of Salvation, we are all responsible to restore Her, and maintain Her in the condition She was in when She was launched on Pentecost in A.D. 33. Without a comprehensive performance review system for those ordained into Holy Orders, the Laity can only exercise this responsibility through prayer, persuasion, or by ending any support for rogue bishops and priests. We will all be held accountable for our own personal actions or inactions, and for any enabling we do of those in Holy Orders who harm the Church.
#19 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-07 07:49
Is Bishop Job still leading an investigation? Is this supposed to be done at any point in time in the near future? Or was it done and we just aren't hearing about it?
(Editor's note: I don't think anybody knows the answer to this, but it is not clear if they are, they will be allowed to investigate anything. Since it is not clear they are still in existence officially, no time frames have been given. The original limited and directed mandate given by the Metropolitan was fulfilled - and no, we don't get to hear about it, apparently. It may be that some sort of redacted, heavily edited report is given after the Kondratick trial is completed. That seems to be the most we could hope for, for what it will be worth. )
#20 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-07 16:14
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