Wednesday, May 23. 2007
Let's see: The head of an administration which admits criminal behaviour is forced to appoint a commission to investigate it as part of a "reorganization" campaign. He then refuses to allow it to investigate, removes one of its members arbitrarily, withholds the report it does manage to create, and finally suspends it indefinately with the claim that any future work will be determine by him alone, and any future report will go to him alone. Do we need this kind of "reorganization?"
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It's official! Herman and Kucynda have successfully made RSK the lone gunman! It is more obvious than ever that all Herman and Kucynda were trying to do from the get go was save there own rear ends! This is unbelievable! The other bishops should get together and get Herman out immediately, all it takes is 3 bishops to make that happen. The saddest thing about it is, the Holy Synod, Metrpolitan Council and Special Commission played right into Herman and Kucynda's hands...
#1 Lester Sokolov on 2007-05-23 05:33
Once again, I suggest that the only recourse left to the laity and those chose by the Lord to His service, is the calling
for an All American Council. Here is the authority to demand
and receive accountibilty and if need be the retirement of
some of our shepherds. Hopefully, before this issue has
divided us as a church.
#1.1 Father Zachariah on 2007-05-24 07:12
what this web site is doing is destroying the Orthodox Church in spirit! Christ said "let those who are with out sin cast the first stone" Who are we to judge? what give anyone of us the right to say negative comments about the Church or its leaders! Christ said" Love one another" not hate one another! I can only ask and pray that each and every one of you stop and think what you are doing to the Church! and what will be the end results! Do anyone of you love the church? over 500,000.00 in legal bills!!!!
#1.2 william paluch on 2007-05-30 08:49
Those legal bills would have been non-existent if there was a simple explanation of the truth of what happened to all the money I, and others, have faithfully donated over the years to the OCA and its various charities.
#1.2.1 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-31 08:43
well in oder to get to the truth patty. sometimes. one has to investigate! example: if this was a civil case or a criminal case in court, do you think you and your followers would be allowed to tell the judge in charge what to do? you would be arrested!! I dont know if you have ever been on jury duty or not, but the judge gives instructions to both attorneys and jury members not to read the newspaper, or talk to anyone regarding the case!! Why do you think that is????? your web site has no power, nor should it have!!!! please follow the rules of court! it works!!!!
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2007-05-31 21:07
Well, if the Special Commission was not allowed to actually investigate anything, but was only allowed to compile a "report" based upon information that it was fed, the report could only have been what MH wanted it to be.
Abp. Job and the members of the SC were really only puppets being used by MH. The whole thing was and continues to be a charade.
#2 Name withheld on 2007-05-23 06:11
You have hit the nail on the head. PR was hired by Herman. Kucynda gloated that they were hired to "build a firewall around the Metropolitan."
The client here was not the OCA but Herman. However Herman has stuck the $500,000 bill on all of us, not to mention the $200,000 paid to Lambridies SO FAR.
Herman got his report, but the special commission took it "lock, stock, and barrel" as fact. Whether they knew it or not, they played right into the dirty hands of Herman and Kucynda.
When Kondratick was asked to work with Bishop Benjamin to answer the 17 disputed points, or points in question, he was willing BUT HERMAN SHUT IT DOWN, with the help of James Perry.
So what we have is a PR report, FOR THE CLIENT, Herman, as the "evidence" used by the special commission, JUST LONG ENOUGH for Job to make his redacted report to the Holy Synod, so Herman could steal Kondratick back from Dmitri, suspend him, gather a beholden group of priest to Herman, and hang Kondratick in a feeble attempt to save his own skin.
If anyone thinks that this so-called spiritual court is legitimate, then I would like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.
The wheels are falling off the Herman bus. He needs to go before he throws another person under that bus.
Outraged in Orlando
#2.1 Anonymous on 2007-05-23 14:34
These latest events remind me of the last Tsar of Russia's struggle to supress the Duma he was compelled to call into existence.
#3 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-05-23 06:17
The Tzar's recalcitrant behavior not only led to his own destruction, but to the most tragic period in Church history. The martyrdom of millions of Orthodox Christians by the Satanically controlled Communists was a great tribulation. But the loss of faith by many millions more, was truly the greatest tragedy of all.
How many of our brothers and sisters will lose their faith due to the recalcitrant behavior of one rogue bishop?
#3.1 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-23 10:20
It shouldn't cause people to lose faith in Jesus.
The Orthodox church isn't a requirement for faith.
#3.1.1 Daniel E Fall on 2007-05-24 20:22
It seems simple enough to me. If the Metropolitan's reasoning for having the Special Commission report to / take orders from him, because he appointed it... then the Metropolitan Council should appoint their own new Special Commission that would report to / take orders from them, on behalf of the church.
And when is someone going to bring canonical charges before the Synod against the Metropolitan?! There seems to be a good deal of information "out there," if not immediately accessible on this site. Perhaps its time a layperson (or group of laypeople) make the case to remove this crook from the episcopacy.
People in other threads have made points that the clergy have too much to lose if they try to take lead in rectifying this situation. Therefore, the laity must prove to be the grassroots force for change. Not with silly websites (savetheoca.org) but with easily recognizable protest.
Until OCANews.org came along and gave an recognizable face to this movement, the hierarchs could avoid thinking about there actually being a 'movement'. There must be cold, hard, unavoidable proof of dissatisfaction within the church. Witholding money may be effective, and should occur, but its too abstract of a protest. Remember the '60s?
Until the repulsion is so manifest that it is on the tip of everyone's tongues and in the forefront of everyone's minds, nothing will truly change. And the only way to bring about this saturation is through a movement lead by a group of dedicated laypeople who are willing to make "dissention/dissatisfaction/reupulsion" so real to the hierarchs that they can no longer avoid it.
And time is of the essence: hopefully this movement can force change sometime before the OCA collapses, or it remains a hollow shell of itself after a mass-migration to other jurisdictions.
This website, and the whole 'internet forum' movement have been invaluable in disseminating information and fostering community among those who realize the need for change. But it is time to take it to the next level, from passive computer-screen spectatorship to something more tangible and unavoidable.
I would help lead the charge, but as you might imagine, I don't fall into the category of "laypeople with nothing to lose." We don't need anymore martyrs or sarifices from people like Mark Harrison or Protodeacon Eric Wheeler. We need the laity to step up to the plate. In a big way.
#4 NTK on 2007-05-23 06:30
How sad I felt when I read your post. This problem we have, and it is our problem, has been with us for some time now. This website “ocanews.org” has been essential and has done an exemplary job notifying everyone of the troubles encompassing the oca. Where would we be without it’s insightful and current updates. It is unquestionably not “silly.” But neither is “savetheoca.org”. One look at it will tell you that members of the oca concerned about our current problem are all over the country. Undoubtedly this is a serious undertaking administered by a sad and frustrated layman (I doubt a priest would dare to undertake this project). If this approach is not to your liking, and you have ideas to help find a solution, please, please post your solution to an “easily recognizable protest” that can be voiced throughout the whole country. If you look at the list on savetheoca.org, you can see that most of them are lay people throughout the country. This is not “silly.” They are willing to place their names on a petition that will certainly be more dynamic as new names are added. After all, the Church is PEOPLE. I can imagine that such a list of names would be very valuable to the MC in its effort toward bringing a peaceful and satisfying end to this turmoil in our beloved church. Please be specific to your plans!
#4.1 Hopefully on 2007-05-23 11:48
Come on! We have had people bellyaching here for 17 months and someone does something (savetheoca.org) and its "silly"? THAT IS SILLY! What's silly are those people that want to complain, are outraged, yet won't sign what is a petition with the weight of their anger clearly spelled out.
What's silly is the lack of people who have signed up. What's silly is the lack of people who have stepped up to the plate. The people that have are the ones who can be counted upon to be there to clean up the mess after these cowards are removed and we have to bring the organization back to life from its brain death. There's nothing silly with that commitment. What's silly is those who don't want to put their money where their mouths are.
We're dealing with a crew that has no shame, cannot be reasoned with, and don't care what you think or say. Are they going to listen to a "protest"? What kind of "protest"? Nothing that deals with them in terms that they can understand is silly. Where else do we have numbers that show the level of disgust? Where else do you have that shows them that there is money out there and good deal of it, but while they are in their positions, its out of their reach - that gets their attention. Remember, they just respond to the basest of motivations, we're not talking people of moral standards.
Go, sign up, anonymously if you must, but lend yourself to being a statistic. A statistic of the measure of our disgust.
#4.2 FIS on 2007-05-23 20:28
Well, brothers and sisters, it appears we are now Byzantine-rite Catholic.
I wonder if the Diocese of the Midwest will stand behind their (our) resolution now?
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#5 Marty Watt on 2007-05-23 06:36
Sdbn. John said "Well, brothers and sisters, it appears we are now Byzantine-rite Catholic."
That was not funny.
What resolution are you talking about?
Rdr. Alexander Langley
#5.1 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-05-23 09:15
It wasn't a joke. That's what the Brum doctrine is, at the core. If one bishop has authority over another, it ceases to be Orthodox (in my view).
The resolution was the Palatine resolution stating if the statutes were not fully followed by the spring Synod meeting, the diocese would begin escrowing the assessments from the entire diocese.
Sdn. JohnMartin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#5.1.1 Marty Watt on 2007-05-23 13:10
Now I understand. You could have said so plainly the first time
I agree. We seem to have a man in black playing pope and invading other sheep pens. What I don't understand is why other bishops seem to be flaccidly tolerating this.
Here I am on vacation, and reading your comment I was worried that His Eminence Archbishop JOB had actually undone what St. Alexis Toth had accomplished.
#22.214.171.124 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-05-24 08:08
Dear Mr Stokoe:
What an exercise in self-control it must have been for you to write this latest piece in so matter-of-fact a manner. Personally, one of my failings -- which I hoped that conversion to Orthodoxy would help me to address -- is being a bit of a hot-head. I was hoping that Orthodoxy would help to teach me "humility." Instead, I read about the goings-on vis-a-vis our Metropolitan with nothing short of disgust and shame -- and now, with this, utter outrage!
This has now moved beyond an "unfortunate incident," and even past "gross negligence." The Metropolitan is very clearly engaged in nothing less than a full-scale cover-up of malfeasance the likes of which makes Richard Nixon look like a fresh-faced schoolboy!
Organizationally, this makes the OCA look like an entity run totally by rank amateurs, not suited to stand-up against MH, Fr RK, and whomever else figured this out years ago, and decided to orchestrate a major theft of funds from an organization which they were annointed to lead. The MC absolutely MUST go to (secular) court, the FBI, and the IRS and get an injunction or other ruling of some kind removing any authority of MH to appoint, un-appoint, dismiss, or act in any official capacity administratively within the OCA.
This latest action is very, very clearly meant to be the final act of cover-up on his part. If there were no truth to the rumors and speculation that he was/is complicit in the theft of OCA funds, then he would be doing handstands to get the truth out. Instead, he is working overtime to stifle any truly independent, objective review of what happened and who was involved.
As a convert to Orthodoxy, my faith is not shaken by this. I have read enough about the history of the Church to know that, during many years gone-by, during the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Great Schism, and other crises -- many "questionable" acts and actions were committed against and/or by the Church, and yet somehow the faith and the message -- the Truth as taught by the Apostles -- survived, and that these historic "troubles" make what we are going through today look minor by comparison. Nevertheless ...
We live here today, and our Liturgy is too closely associated with the Metropolitan and our bishops, to ignore their actions when they are inappropriate, unwarranted, and aparently criminal. I don't know what the Metropolitan thinks he's doing for the "good of the Church," but I will say this: If the MC doesn't act to terminate his administrative control of the OCA, and if the Holy Synod doesn't step-up and properly investigate him with an eye towards deposing him unless the full truth comes out and he's not guilty, then I am going to leave this organization -- the OCA -- and participate in the Orthodox Church through another jurisdiction. This is IT. I cannot stand in my Parish any longer and accept the Eucharist offered under MH's authority. I'm very, very sorry, but I can't get past this any longer, with all due respect to my Parish priest and my own Parish community.
The current Metropolitan is destroying the OCA. If our Synod or our elected representatives (the MC) won't do something about it, then the only thing I can do as an individual layman, is to walk out the door, and seek the Truth under another jurisdiction. This one is corrupt. If it were not, then our leadership would be insisting on getting the full story out into the open, and not trying to cover up the facts, or allowing them to be covered-up by MH. If the MC and the Synod don't act -- and forcefully and quickly -- then they are indeed complicit at this point. This is worthy of the executives of MCI, Adelphi, and any number of other sham organizations whose executives are now serving time!
I'm just flabbergasted that it's come to this! I'm not even angry anymore, I'm just numb. My only regret is the affection and loyalty I feel towards my Parish priest and my fellow parishioners -- they've been very good to me as a catechumen and as a convert, and I appreciate that very much. That's what has kept me in the OCA thus far. But we are talking about very serious criminal cover-up now, and I would be a complete hypocrit to stay in the OCA and keep my mouth shut! I further regret to remain anonymous on this Website, but I'm afraid that MH would take retribution against my Parish if I signed my own name and address. And no one would be there to prevent that -- apparently!
Come on, MC!
#6 Committed Convert on 2007-05-23 06:42
Perhaps your last paragraph has the answer.
Maybe it's time to simply ignore the Metropolitan as irrelevant. Support your local parish. Throw in your lot with the local community and together, as a parish, decide what to do, how to do it, and then stick with your brothers and sisters.
Do not put your clergy in a bad spot - this should really be a discussion without them.
If you feel you can, and still be a communicant at your parish, why not resign your voting membership? Then beginning in January your presence and giving will not be assessed. Send a copy of your resignation to your bishop and to Syosset.
But please, do NOT sacrifice the sacraments to do this. And leave some key people, who will have to be assessed, to represent you at AAC/Diocese levels. We have to maintain participation in those statutory bodies.
I would encourage anyone attending the pilgrimage at St. Tikhon's to wear silver duct tape over your mouth in protest. Say your prayers, and pray especially that we will be delivered from this menace. Ask St. Tikhon for his deliverance.
I don't think the answer is to abandon anything. Rather I think we'll find our answer in faithfulness to our Risen Lord, and to our brothers and sisters in our local community. As I've thought about this (and little else) for the past 18 months, I've struggled with how to respond/react. I think the think I have to do, perhaps most of us have to do, is simply remain faithful to our local parish, our Bishops (as we are able), and do NOT let the Metropolitan steal our salvation, our Bishop, and our parish, from us.
The civil process, through the FBI/IRS, has begun already. Let that process work the way it will. Our government will not fear the"wrath" of the Metropolitan. We need to stay obedient to St. Paul's injunction against taking things to the civil courts for resolution. If our Bishops do not resolve it, then they will be accountable before God Himself.
Recall your baptism. Do you renounce Satan? Have you united yourself with Christ?
Remain faithful to those baptismal covenants.
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thes. 5:18)
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#6.1 Marty Watt on 2007-05-23 07:50
No! There is no sense in letting the bishops themselves work this out when they have already proven themselves unable to. To let the bishops "work things out themselves" will destroy the church - and there is no sense in letting that happen!
#6.1.1 NTK on 2007-05-23 14:25
Dear Sdn. John,
“If you feel you can, and still be a communicant at your parish, why not resign your voting membership? Then beginning in January your presence and giving will not be assessed. Send a copy of your resignation to your bishop and to Syosset.”
This, to me, has been the best suggestion offered thus far. Since it doesn’t look likely…to me…that the Midwest Diocese, of which I am currently a member, will follow through with any withholding at the Diocesan level, your suggestion gives the lay person the option to withhold without putting additional financial hardship on their own parish. My vote (what vote?) is worthless anyway!
(Holy Resurrection Church – Palatine, IL)
#6.1.2 Helen O'Sullivan on 2007-05-23 16:14
I've been giving a portion of my pledge to our expansion fund and the rest to a group such as Project Mexico, IOCC,OCMC. I advised our treasurer I preferred not to have any of my offering sent to Syosset, I don't want to to pay for the pictures taken whenever the Metropolitan visits a parish nor pay for housing him in an expensive hotel rather then a moderate priced one. I am weary and disheartened by the turn of events.
#126.96.36.199 Lillian M Blome on 2007-05-29 10:25
This is not bad advice, Mr. Watt. One of my problems, however, is that the Metropolitan IS MY BISHOP, so I've got no one to turn to! I've already written letters and e-mail (not anonymously, by the way) to other members of the Holy Synod, incl. Abp. Job. We can't ignore the Metropolitan for at least two reasons: (1) He is empowered to transfer, dismiss, etc, our priests at will, with no oversight; (2) he represents the OCA Church to all and sundry in "the World." On top of that, it would be morally wrong to simply ignore what he's doing; I know we're a New Testament People, but the phrase, "Thou shalt not steal" still means something, doesn't it? Further, he goes on hurting people due to our inaction. As I said, if the OCA Statute says that the bishops are equal, and the MC runs the OCA as an operating entity, then that's what should be done. If it's not that way, then what is the Statute for? Why do we act like it's meaningful if we are de facto a Byzantine Catholic organization, as was suggested elsewhere? For that matter, I could go closer to my home to a Byzantine Catholic church; they're nice people over there, and as far as I know, their hierarchy isn't stealing Church funds.
#6.1.3 Committed Convert on 2007-05-24 08:31
The reason Mark was able to comment in such a matter-of-fact way is that the bare facts are of such a nature that commentary would be superfluous, and would actually detract from their power to move and outrage.
Perhaps Archbishop Job's words to the effect of asking whether this the OCA is something of which one would to be a member are becoming more appropriate.
#6.2 Edmund Unneland on 2007-05-23 10:44
Embracing the Donatist heresy is not an appropriate solution to your issues or anybody else's issues. The Eucharist is NOT "offered under MH's authority;" it is offered under the authority of and by Jesus Christ, "the Offerer and the Offered, the Receiver and the Received," as the prayer of the Great Entrance states so succinctly. The worthiness or the unworthiness of the human celebrant is irrelevant to the validity (if we must use Western terminology) or the spiritual value of the Mystery. The Divine Liturgy remains the Divine Liturgy, whether served by a living saint, a vile sinner, or (in my parish) a complete butt-head.
Further, you need to grasp the fact that the Church in its fullness exists within your diocese, with the laity, monastics and clergy gathered around their Bishop in the Eucharist. (And remember: it is, not the Metropolitan, but your Bishop who in spirit presides at each Liturgy in your parish; that's why your priest serves on an antimins signed by your bishop and why your priest never sits in that centre chair behind the Holy Table.) There is, then, a sense in which what happens beyond the borders of your diocese cannot and dare not impede the Eucharistic Communion among the Bishop, clergy, laity and monastics of your diocese.
That does NOT mean that what happens beyond your diocese is unimportant and/or does not impact very directly upon you (cf. 1 Cor.12-14 for a thorough exposition of the issue, especially 12:12-27). But you need a much better reason than that to rupture Eucharistic Communion between you and your local Church.
Further still, you need to understand a whole lot more about the complexities of this situation before you make radical decisions. Did you know, for example, that his ordination to the episcopate, in the Third Confession of Faith, your Bishop solemnly promised, among other things, that he would "in all things follow and always obey the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America; and to be, in all things, of one mind with the Most-blessed Metropolitan and the Most-reverend Archbishops and Bishops, my brethren, and together with them [be] submissive to the divine laws and to the sacred Canons of the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers..." No Bishop of good will and sound moral responsibility can or will act hastily in attempting to balance out the conflicting responsibilities inherent in what he promised versus our current mess. Where, for example, does being of one mind with the Metropolitan have to stop in order to be submissive to the divine laws? Right now each of our Bishops is trying to tap-dance his way through a mine field of moral bouncing-betties. That needs to be done slowly, carefully and methodically. It may be that (to re-write a Protestant hymn) "Like an aged tortoise crawls the Church of God;" but we always get there in God's good time...not mine, and not yours, but God's.
Actually, beneath your obvious anger, you seem riddled by fear. I don't know what you converted from. In my case, it was Roman Catholicism(never mind how many years ago!). I went through some major "Vatican II Trauma" as I watched the religious order in which I was professed and my entire ecclesial community implode. So does our current situation give me the screaming willies? YOU BETCHA!!! But Ps.56:3 tells us what to do with that fear: "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You"...not issue ultimata, not take a hike, but trust in the God Who brought me to this group of people at this time in this place for His purposes and my salvation. You are where you are because that's where God put you. And right now you, like all of us, are called, not to be convoluted or just committed, but courageous and faithful. And don't worry is that seems like a lot; you just supply the willingness, God will supply the grace.
#6.3 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-23 11:55
I love you Father Phillip! Without putting you on the spot, how can we in the laity truly help to resolve this horrible mess without enabling those who are self-serving, yet supporting our faithful shepherds and brothers and sisters in the Faith?
#6.3.1 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-23 15:07
Dear Marc et al.,
Here's my answer; I fear you won't like it much. But it seems to me (with an admittedly monastic bias) that most of us have been far too North American in our approach to this mess, always asking or wondering "What can we DO?" And by "doing" we tend to discount prayer and fasting. How many of us (including me, I must confess) have failed to take even just one single day (I guess a Saturday for most folks) to leave aside the chores, television, i-pods, internet, and all our other tasks, toys, and distractions, to fast completely and to pray without ceasing for God's intervention and God's solution to our problems?
How mindful are we that "the weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal" (2 Cor.10:4)---not the FBI, not secular courts, not the cops, not accounting firms or lawyers or even Spiritual Courts of dubious authenticity? And how heedful are we of the blunt warning in James 1:20 that "the wrath of man does NOT produce the righteousness of God." If we want anything other than GOD'S righteousness, GOD'S solution, we're idiots, and deserve nothing but disaster. The Lord Himself commands us, in Matthew 6:33, to "seek FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Further, in Matthew 18:19 the Lord Himself gives us a powerful promise: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." If we each had the humility to lay aside our pet ideas and proposed solutions, and would surrender ourselves into the hand of God simply to agree together that, each and all, what we want and ask of God is only HIS solution, HIS perfect will...well, look up 1 John 5:14-15 for yourself: the boldness of the promise is breath-taking!
Our biggest problem is lack of faith in God. "God helps those who help themselves" is NOWHERE in Sacred Scripture! When are we going to get it through our collective head that the Apostle is right on the mark and speaking nothing but the absolute truth when, in 1 Cor.10:13, he assures us that "No temptation [trial, time of testing] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [GOD] will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." So how'bout we stop jogging God's elbow; stop trying to TELL Him how to fix this; and start asking how HE wants this fixed?
And how 'bout some honest repentance from ALL of us for our arrogance and pride? In our heyday we collectively thought we were pretty hot stuff, "the future of Orthodoxy in North America," imperiously insisting that "WE are the territorial Church," blah, blah, blah. And perhaps that was our call. But we blew it by getting too big for our britches; so God has humbled us. Maybe it's time to take the hint. We're none of us called to be the Church of the Sacred Statistic; we're all of us called to be the Church of Jesus Christ, Who humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
That does not mean complete passivity (although real prayer is hardly passive; it's bloody hard work!). In Ephesians 4:15 and 4:25 the Apostle tells us that "in love...let each of you speak truth with his neighbour..." We need to speak the truth of the concerns, the fears, the anxieties, the uncertainties and doubts, &c. that this situation raises in our hearts; and we have a moral responsibility to speak that truth to our parish priest and to our Ruling Hierarch...respectfully, lovingly, honestly, and simply, as loving children to our fathers in God...because they are the ones who, by God's choosing, "watch out for [our] souls, as those who must give account" (Heb.13:17). Any genuinely loving father cares deeply about his children's concerns and fears; but really, how much of a chance have we given them to be loving fathers to us by sharing our stuff with them, one by one, person by person? If each person in the OCA who has such concerns actually did share them with his or her Ruling Bishop, how many letters, emails, phone calls would each Bishop receive? How in the world can we expect our Hierarchs to arrive at godly solutions to the problems of their flocks if they have no clear idea of what those problems are and how commonly-held they are? And how can they get that clear idea unless and until the members of the flock individually and personally tell them? Being a mind-reader is not part of the episcopal job description.
Well, there you have it. If I'm a fool, God grant that it be for Christ's sake.
#188.8.131.52 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-24 06:18
What you are missing is that everything you ask of us (collectively) has been done. Not by everyone, certainly not perfectly. But I, at least, have no doubt that the prayers you call for and the letters, petitions, consultations, etc. with our bishops have been made--in vain. In almost every case without even the courtesy of a response. By the bishops, not God!
Collectively, they have failed the Church. Either they are so clueless that their mental competency should be questioned, or they are so arrogant that they don't give a hoot for what anyone else thinks or suggests. They ignore this crisis and wish it would stop disturbing their travel plans and other entertainments. Harsh? You bet, and at this juncture deserved with a few exceptions.
So while I find your comments edifying, to some degree, I also think that they are indeed a call to much passivity. Which is exactly why we are in the mess (your word) we are in today.
#184.108.40.206.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-24 08:45
Dear Fr. Philip,
Clearly you are no fool or butt-head, but rather a faithful and good shepherd. Your perspective and guidance are sound, compelling, and very helpful. Many thanks and many years.
With love in Christ,
P.S. Take care of the cholesterol Father, we need you more than the worms!
#220.127.116.11.2 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-24 09:02
I know what you are saying at a very basic level, nevertheless, the Eucharist if prepared on the antimension which is signed by the Bishop, who in my case happens to be Met. Herman, thus it is under his "authority" to act on this Earth!
I don't know what kind of "heresy" it is for me to leave a corrupt jurisdiction and practice the Faith with, say the Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese, for example.
Standing on ceremony, hierarchy, and theological scafolding is in fact what our Metropolitan and the group of theives he's in with and/or covering up for is exactly what he's counting on! That's why this scandal has developed into a crisis. If this were a secular organization, the kinds of shenanigans which have gone on here would have been investigated, disapproved, and adjudicated months ago, and the Metropolitan, et al., in Syosset would have been fired and possibly jailed already. But, in this case, he and they are able to hide beneath the aura of their office(s) and use their position(s) to prevent the truth from coming to the fore.
As for theology and heresy, I am personally interested in only one thing: the Truth. And I firmly believe that you get to the Truth by pursuing the truth in all things. As I have said before, my Faith is not shaken in Orthodoxy; but my trust in the OCA is completely shot -- and that is NOT heresy, with all due respect.
#6.3.2 Committed Convert on 2007-05-24 08:56
I fear Fr. Philip has been a bit hard on you in his latest post, but there is nevertheless much wisdom in what he has said. Especially, the part about God's grace and the need to be courageous and faithful.
But faithful to what? Truth and Orthodoxy! "Put not your trust in Princes (Bishops?) or in the sons of man." Of course, under normal circumstances, we are to be loyal and faithful to our bishop who bears the Apostolic grace of his consecration. But the bishop is not The Church, and when he acts in ways that clearly contravene his vows and responsibilites we owe him no alligence or obedience.
I am not suggesting you should leave the OCA--on the contrary. It may become a course we must take at some point, but let us at least be faithful to our charge to "fight the good fight."
A fellow faithful convert in Christ,
#6.4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-23 15:48
Yes, I have taken some heat; and that's okay. I appreciate Fr Philip's comments, and it's true, there is some wisdom in them. I have replied to some of that in another posting.
As I have said before, my basic Orthodox Faith is not shaken. I posted elsewhere some days earlier a comment that the "Trust not in princes and sons of men ..." saying that this point has been driven home to me to good effect by this. Neither, as Fr Philip speculated, am I fearful, at least, not for myself. The fear I have is that the Metropolitan can take action against my Parish or my parish priest if I sign my real name -- and there's no one to stop him from doing that. It would not be fair for that to happen, since my Parish priest may not share my views on the matter, so why should he be (potentially) punished for it?
As for some other suggestions which have been made, which falls generally under the catagory of "Grin and bear it," "Stand with your Parish and your Bishop and just pray," well as I've pointed out, the Metropolitan IS my Bishop, so that's not an optimal solution.
I know all of that, I know, I know. The bottom line, literally, is that some $2 million has been stolen from the OCA by one or more people, possibly including the Metropolitan, and now the Metropolitan is -- whether he participated in the theft himself or not -- is openly and forcefully leading a cover-up of the theft and the deatils of it, while saddling the OCA (that is, you and me and all members alike) with significant legal bills, loans, etc. I'm not personaly "angry" or "afraid" or "questioning my basic Orthodox faith" over it -- but I do have to ask: (1) In an organization as strictly hierarchical as the Orthodox Church (pun intended), do the faithful really want or need or deserve to have such a person (or group of persons) at the top? (2) Is it not true that he/they could steal even more money? (3) Does that not mean that we'll not be using the funds and resources (not to mention our time) to repay debt and legal bills, instead of using it to evangelize and build-up Christ's church?
Let me use an analogy:
If you wanted to be a medical doctor, you might enroll in medical school. If you got through your pre-med work and were two or three years into a four year program, and the president of your med school was found to be a thief and a liar, and upon further investigation, enormous financial (and other?) irregularities were uncovered, which led to your school losing its accreditation, would you go ahead and say, "Oh, well, here's to the ole Alma Matter," and continue with your studies there? Wondering if any licensing agency was going to license you with a bogus degree? I mean, it's just the president of the school, and it's just about money (maybe sex). It doesn't mean that my professors and the other doctors and labs and so forth are any less learned and committed. What's that accreditation anyway, but a scrap of paper! I'm still going to learn and become a medical expert, and help a lot of people." This is what people are advising me: "Just stay with your Parish. Forget that the Metropolitan's name is signed to the anitmension; forget that he's supposed to 'rightly define the word of [God's] Truth.' I mean, it's only money."
I don't think that's a very good course. No, I think -- given that you wanted to remain committed to medicine -- you'd transfer to another med school -- and hope that your credits would transfer with you.
The time for symbolic protests and so forth -- while not a bad thing -- is long past. $2 million is missing, the Metropolitan is covering up the facts of the caper, and may have been involved. As someone else pointed out many folks have known about this, clergy and laity alike, for years. It is time to act, and the Holy Synod and the MC have the right and responsibility to act. The Metropolitan has been approached about all of this in a Christian way -- his response was a very, very dismissive and imperious letter to Archbishop Job.
I argue with my Protestant relatives about the Eucharist. Of course, we Orthodox believe that it becomes the "very" body and the "very" blood of our Lord and Savior. I like that; I like it a lot; I believe it. My relatives say, "Well, it's really just symbolic, dontcha know?" No, I think it's the "very Truth." That's one of the things I like about Orthodoxy -- it's about reality. It's not about symbolic actions. Let's forget the armbands and take some action for getting the hand-cuffs!
#6.4.1 Committed Convert on 2007-05-24 11:53
$2 million? Go back into the archives of this site. It is closer to $8 million.
#18.104.22.168 Name withheld on 2007-05-24 14:50
How is it that our Bishops are accountable to another bishop? Is our primacy one of authority or honor?
This is not Orthodox.
It is time for three of our hierarchs to step up and make the canonical and statutory charges against our Metropolitan. It is time to have the other Orthodox bodies in the US, primarily Greek and Antiochian, to evaluate this "Brum doctrine".
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#7 Marty Watt on 2007-05-23 06:59
"tongues of fire with the rushing mighty wind" apparently fell upon only one man (to the rest, it was just gas). The new tropar to the Holy Spirit is "I DID IT MY WAY!" (listen for it on Memorial Day.)
Whatever happened to the Spirit OF TRUTH? Was He arbitrarily dismissed along with Nescot for revealing confidential info?
NEWS FLASH: "Osana BinLaden found with Missing OCA Report!"
#8 Loathing the Lunacy on 2007-05-23 07:12
The Holy Spirit still resides in the OCA. The vast majority of faithful clergy and laity who manifest the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are proof of this. The question is: Will those faithful servants of God need to consider another jurisdiction of the Church in order to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ?
#8.1 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-23 13:46
Well, at least all pretense has ended. From the very beginning of his response to this scandal, the Metropolitan has been engaged in a concerted cover-up to hide the involvement of many of the members, himself included, of the OCA leadership. Anyone deluding themselves on this count have now been disabused of all illusion in the the crudest and harshest way. We have as our chief shepherd a man who is utterly indifferent to the concerns of others, and is prepared to sacrifice the welfare of his charge to the continuance of his position and authority.
So what now? For those of us who care--what do we do? A short, and by no means complete list:
1. As we have heard, ad nauseum, end all financial support except for specific designated purposes at the parish level where you can be certain it will be used.
2. Boycott all bishops not on the side of reform. There may be circumstances where they can be confronted, but by all means avoid any action that can be construed as support.
3. Continue to follow this website and give it your support. We are all now suffering from malaise and fatigue (Mark excepted), but we must not abandon the good fight.
4. If only someone would step forward and lead a corrdinated effort on the legal front. Class action suit, whatever.
5. If only the Metropolitan Council would "fear" God more than the Metropolitan and his supporters on the Synod.
I continue to be amazed and disgusted by the level of denial in the OCA. Of course, many are not able to be "involved" because of age and computer illiteracy. But the vast majority of our membership now knows that a scandal of monumental proportions exists and needs to be dealt with or the OCA will wither and die.
There also exists, it must be said, a considerable number of persons who believe that the TRUTH must be suppressed and the leadership followed--come Hell or high water--for the "good" of the Church. Without making final judgments reserved to the Almighty, it is Hell and high water that are now lapping at the doors of the OCA. The enablers of this situation will bear a heavy responsibility on that awesome final day of Judgment.
#9 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-23 07:18
If the Metropolitan Council and Holy Synod do not act to constrain and depose this rogue Metropolitan quickly, the laity will have to organize rapidly to save the OCA. With the considerable legal expertise, organizational talent, and financial resources available this is still a possibility.
However if this evil is allowed to continue, the other Orthodox Churches should break communion with the OCA and let it die. This may be the last sad and tragic action necessary for "the good of the Church."
#10 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-23 08:03
At least 3 bishops have had it with Herman and I would suspect another, Job. As stated before it takes three to call a special session of the HS. It might be best for the June MC meeting to be cancelled and let a special session of the HS be called by three bishops with one topic, the retirement of MH.
A locum tendens must be named and all those appointed by MH sent packing. Sorry to the new hires like the new chancellor, secretary, who btw will make over $100,000 PLUS housing and benefits, so long to the minsitries person. All of you are tainted by the MH Kucynda cabal.
It's not to late to say "no thank you."
Dear Bishops, do the right thing, retire MH before he retires all of you. Look at his sorid history. He was the hit man for Boris, Gregory, Peter, and now he is mounting attacks against Nikolai and Dmitri, recently calling the venerable archbishop "senile." Shameful.
Enough is enough. Herman must go. He is not part of the solution he IS THE PROBLEM.
A senior priest of the OCA
#11 Anonymous on 2007-05-23 08:08
The 50 days after Pascha are to be a time of joy and celebration and yet the events that have happened the last 50 days in the OCA related to the Syosset scandal, and how our Primate is handling this, has also left me feeling very sad. I am just not seeing or understanding how the actions he has taken are for the good of the Church.
Fr. Paul Gassios
#12 Fr Paul Gassios on 2007-05-23 08:11
Well said Father Paul. I am as distressed and confused as you are.
Your parishner, Tom
#12.1 Tom Haulund on 2007-05-23 21:18
Initially I was bothered by individual parishes withholding assessments but now I am more sympathetic to their frustration. MH’s letter is dated May 4th, the Midwest Council took place on May 9th. I am really at a loss about why Archbishop Job and other council members felt “some positive changes have been enacted by the OCA” after receiving that letter. In the current climate inaction and lack of communication are exasperating.
#13 Karina Ross on 2007-05-23 08:32
I am now just waiting for MH to order us all to drink Kool-Aid.
Unlike Jones his glass will be filled with strawberry pop.
#14 Ashamed of being a member of the OCA on 2007-05-23 08:50
What else are we waiting for?? Every parish should put a pettition together to get Herman and his chief henchman (Kucynda) out of Syosset. The only group that can make this happen is the Holy Synod, 3 bishops need to present it to the rest of the Synod to get Herman out. Act now! The more of us that complain to our bishop, the more action we'll see! If we keep on top of our own bishop they'll have to act. Syosset has been a cesspool for years and we have to stop it now. Herman must go!! Call or write your bishop immediately!
#15 Andre Svetlanko on 2007-05-23 09:36
This is the end of the OCA. MH requested an invitation to Moscow for the festivities and was denied. He has lost his strongest supporter, the Patriarch... If he does not go NOW, the OCA does not stand a chance of survival...
#16 Anonymous on 2007-05-23 09:49
Can you cite a solid, reliable source for that information?
#16.1 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-23 18:46
This has turned into a chess game with only one side moving.
#17 Tmothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-05-23 10:00
How is it possible that ONE person, Met. Herman, is able to destroy the OCA. I absolutely in good concience cannot give anything to the OCA because I have zero confidence that anyone, especially Met. Herman, will handle the finances properly. Where did my money end up before? How can I give knowing the money may be used for sinful deeds? Oh I am so far from being good, but I will not be worse by contributing funds to a church that allows them to be stolen. I can no longer be a member of my parish because that means my money would go to NY. Obviously, Met. Herman has a reason for closing off any investigation. Is it really possible that he has this much authoritarian control over the OCA? Can someone answer this? Is it really possible that he can stop all investigations? Who has authority to remove him? No one? Can churches start another organization similar to the OCA? Does anyone know if this is an alternative? Does anyone know if there are fewere funds being contributed to NY as a result of the financial mess? One other item, and I hope I hear some comments on this. Someone told me that when Met. Herman became Met. he advocated that we have unification of the various Orthodox churches in America. After all that has transpired, I now can't help but wonder if he wanted this to occur so that there would be more money put into the OCA to either hide the fact that funds were stolen, or to continue to provide funds to be stolen - who knows? There must be many confused people like myself. I do not sign my name because I absolutely do not trust any of these people at the top or the potential depth of their vindictiveness.
#18 Very Very Sad on 2007-05-23 10:04
Okay folks, here's the number for the FBI in New York: (212) 384-1000. It's time to appeal to the civil authorities for whom we so devoutly pray. This nonsense must stop! These people MUST go! Lord, have mercy.
P.S. RE: RSK. A "scapegoat" is innocent, a "fall-guy" is complicit. Let's get our nomenclature straight.
Dear Fr Robert,
I called the number that you listed and after two tries, I got an "agent" . He claimed that he was not aware of the scandel and if he was he could not say. They tell the national news more about secure items than I could get. So much for that. I hope that something is underway and he just is not aware of it or just refuses to say.
#19.1 Thomas Haulund on 2007-05-24 21:31
The FBI isn't where it's at. Call the IRS. The burden is on the accused to prove he's not guilty and they can get any records. In addition to that the Customs agency might be interested in all the cash that went over the border that wasn't declared.
Maybe Andrew Cuomo would like to know that his office was lied to with that 2 million member number.
#19.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-05-25 10:55
I wrote to the NY Attorney General about the 2,000,000 lie the day I found out about it.
#22.214.171.124 Matthew Karnes of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco on 2007-05-29 01:26
Such actions by Metropolitan Herman do not signal an "end" to anything; he is only fueling the fire for justice to triumph. This will most likely mean his removal sooner than later. I hope and pray that the Metroplitan Council will be able to challenge this latest outrage.
#20 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-23 10:55
Outrage and Disgust does not even begin to express the emotions and revulsion I feel at Metropolitan Herman's latest attempt to supress the truth, prevent full disclosure of the malfeasance allowed to continue for years under his watch, and continuing efforts to punish anyone who dares to ask the "wrong" questions and seek the truth. With this latest edict, +Herman proves himself to be unworthy of the office he holds and brings further condemnation for his proactive role in the ever-expanding OCA spiritual crisis. Any hope we had that at the 11th hour this hierarch would see the light, repent of his unethical conduct, and finally do the right thing is now lost. It's time to treat him (and those that continue to enable and support him), as Christ taught: "let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15-17)
As an Antiochian deacon I am greatly saddened by this, and even I post with trepidation at retribution. However, I do know that God is on His throne, and this evil can be used ultimate towards His glory. Perhaps this will be the impetus towards an American Orthodox Church....it was never going to happen with the status quo of comfort we enjoyed....
#22 fdr on 2007-05-23 12:41
Herman will be at the pilgrimmage to St. Tikhons this weekend. Would it be inappropriate for the thousands of people in attendance to voice their opinions in between Divine Services.
#23 Anonymous on 2007-05-23 13:33
You can make your thoughts known without a word. As Subdeacon John Martin suggested, take a roll of silver duct tape with you to the festivities this weekend, wear a strip of it over your mouth, and provide it to others willing to do the same.
And maybe call a newspaper reporter in advance, to let them know of the protest.
#23.1 Josephine on 2007-05-23 15:27
I strongly suggest that this NOT be done. I have rather strong feelings about anything disruptive of the Divine Services themselves. It happened once upon a time in a neighboring parish (no, nothing is really neighboring Hagerstown, but it's the best I can come up with now) and it only added to the ugliness of an already ugly situation. Plus, it was totally bush league, as I believe this would be, and in the end ineffective. I'd refer you to the comments on the Liturgy offered above by Igumen Philip. I don't think this suggestion is at all in keeping with his thoughts (pardon me for possibly putting words in your mouth, Father--this just seems like a very reasonable interpretation of what you so eloquently wrote), and I think he has been on the money all through his posts.
I think absence at the pilgrimage would be much more effective. An empty St. Tikhon's would speak volumes.
#23.1.1 fr. Dennis Buck on 2007-05-24 09:17
I have to agree with Fr Dennis. Aside from his point about not disrupting the Liturgy (including protests immediately before or after), it seems to me that part of what keeps +MH going is the fact that he has a flock. What if he didn't? This is my point in my own posting below from a few days ago. I fear that only when the flock is all gone will message be incontrovertible and without further recourse. He can't control who/what isn't there.
Someone else said something about other jurisdictions stepping into correct corruption problems in Alexandria. Perhaps that person meant Jerusalem. Yes, if the primates or North American exarchs of the other jurisdictions apply pressure, something MIGHT happen, but are they willing to do that? If it is true that Patriarch ALEKSY outright spurned +MH, what exactly does that signal? Is he ready to step in? I doubt it. I suspect, however, that ROCOR won't be turning away people from the OCA. Perhaps there will be pressure from Moscow on Syosset.
#126.96.36.199 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-24 22:13
I don't mind having words put in my mouth when they're as sound and sensible as yours. Quite frankly, it frightens me no end to see even the suggestion of twisting the purpose and meaning of the Divine Liturgy by turning it into a "statement."
Of course I understand the drive to "do something;" I'm a product of this culture too, yea, verily, a product of the '60s (but with the long hair and beard only now, much to my mother's dismay).
But particularly in the Liturgy we, the members of His Body, have an intimate encounter with the Risen Head of the Body; we enter, across time and space, into the mystery of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. And once one has stood at the foot of the Cross, and carried that broken Body to the tomb, and gained a vision of angels sitting with an empty tomb, and actually touched Him in His Eucharistic Body and perceived that it is He Himself...well, what more is there to say? If ANY of us, clergy or laity, can participate in the Liturgy and be touched by none of what we encounter there, signs or duct tape or black arm bands would be worse than useless; they would be a blasphemous suggestion that the mystery and majesty of Christ crucified and risen in the Liturgy aren't enough to turn the human heart to repentance; that the Holy Spirit is not enough to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment. If a person does not have ears to hear, he will not hear even or especially Christ Jesus.
Related to this, let us remember that membership in the Church, the Body of Christ, comes in and through Holy Baptism, not by paying dues. Therefore, the reception of Holy Communion cannot and dare not be tied to being a voting and/or dues-paying and/or tithing member of the local parish organization. Any priest who would deny Holy Communion to any properly-prepared Orthodox Christian simply and solely because that person has chosen not to become a formal member of the parish (or as a matter of conscience has chosen not to renew his membership) is sinning gravely and violating more than one Canon. (This differs greatly from, for example, denying someone Communion because one knows for sure---the communicant having somehow said so---that there is unrepented anger, refusal to forgive another, etc. in the heart of the would-be communicant. In that case one has a positive responsibility to keep one's child in Christ from eating and drinking damnation to himself.) Cutting someone off from the Chalice for any reason other than unrepented sin is utterly wrong and merits deposition.
However, each of us, especially right now, needs to do a thorough and absolutely brutal examination of conscience on whether or not we are truly and completely obedient to the command to "be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph.4:26). If we dare to approach the Fire with anger, rage, and/or bitterness rather than repentance, forgiveness and tears, we will be burned, not blessed. We are, in such a case, unworthy to commune and must refrain from doing so unless and until we get our heart right before God in genuine repentance, confess our sins honestly, receive absolution humbly and thankfully, and pray sincerely and lovingly for those with whom we have been angry. That doesn't mean that repentance or forgiveness will be easy or that we won't have recurring battles with our anger/dissappointment/feelings of betrayal. But our call is to carry the Cross as we climb up Calvary, not sit in a barca lounger with a remote in one hand and a Guiness in the other.
A blessed Pentecost to all, as we celebrate the joyous reality that at the very heart and centre of God's being is a community of love. And Happy Memorial Day to all of you who, for reasons know only to God, don't celebrate it on November 11th like the rest of the civilised world.
(Editor's note: Fr. Philip serves in Canada, which explains his ongiong confusion about the date for Memorial Day....)
#188.8.131.52 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-25 09:26
In my comments I should have been more specific. NO protest should ever be taken into the Temple of the Church. In my opinion, anyone wanting to express opinions, through indicating their "silenced" status or what have you, should remain visible but distinctly outside the temple.
I envision people protesting along the drive, not in the midst of the temple.
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#184.108.40.206.1 Marty Watt on 2007-05-26 07:16
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2007-05-27 19:30
And just to clarify, in the US we do commemorate Nov. 11 as Veteran's Day (generalized after World War II from Armistace Day). Memorial Day in the US was actually instituted after the Civil War to commemorate the fallen from that horrific conflict.
And it was a quite lovely Memorial Day at St. Tikhon's -- hot and sunny, but cool and breezy as soon as you stepped into shade. Certainly not as crowded as it was two years ago on the 100th anniversary, but not sparse either.
No duct tape in evidence, fortunately.
#18.104.22.168.2 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-28 17:19
I attended the pilgrimage on Monday last year. Believe me, there definitely was not thousands of people there. Perhaps a few hundred maybe.
#23.2 Anonymous on 2007-05-23 20:19
Madness, sheer madness!
I had a discussion the other day with a friend about issues surrounding withholding. My friend made two sound points. The first is that in withholding, we run the risk of damaging our local community more than we do Syosset. Second is that we also run the risk of promoting within our souls a spirit of vengeance.
After almost a week of thought, I believe these are points that we all need to consider. This is not to say that withholding should be ruled out. The events in the OCA are truly signs of madness, and my position in my conversation was that in the present circumstances, how can an individual see giving to the OCA as good stewardship? I made the analogy to making a choice between giving money to a beggar and buying the beggar a meal. Simply giving money is not necessarily good stewardship, and we have been given plenty of reason to believe that in the present circumstances it is BAD stewardship.
Nevertheless, on the spiritual level, I believe my friend had a good point. In our choices, in our frustration, we need to discern whether we are acting out of anger, or out of responsible stewardship. Archbishop JOB has asked one parish that has chosen to withhold, to escrow the funds. That seems like a very responsible move, one that preserves a balance, and combats the spirit of anger.
I have been thinking about this whole issue, and so far I have not come up with any more constructive, rational, responsible way for lay people to express their position, though I can think of others that are, in my opinion, equally responsible or irresponsible, which have been suggested already in this forum. 1) Write to one's hierarch, asking (begging?) him to call for a special session of the Holy Synod with the specific purpose of addressing the Metropolitan's behaviour. The problem is, will the Synod have a CANONICAL basis for acting. I am not an expert in the canons. 2) Address one's concerns to the FBI: but they are already investigating, and either they are finding evidence that they believe they can use, or they are not. I am not sure that calling them will make any difference. I actually am wondering why they haven't brought charges already. 3) Leave the OCA: this solution completely fails to "save the OCA" but that may not be a realistic goal anyway. 4) Appeal to bishops of other jurisdictions to break communion: THAT would be an interesting sight, but on what grounds are they to do so? There is no issue of heresy here. Again we come back to having a canonical basis for acting, and that being the case, we'd need to start at home. No other bishop is going to want to interfere in the internal life of the OCA; such an act itself would be uncanonical. Breaking communion is the only option for them, but I doubt the canons support breaking communion over corruption; after all, breaking communion has implications for the faithful too. Historically speaking, when jurisdictions were physically separated into geographical territories, I should think that one would not wish to use breaking communion as a remedy for corruption because it would more punish the faithful than it would those responsible. i could be wrong. Perhaps other hierarchs in this country will show their disfavour by not concelebrating or attending social events with +Herman, but that is not an decision that I'd feel right in even suggesting to a bishop.
In the film Karate Kid II (yeah I like weird stuff) Miyagi tells young Daniel, "Never put passion before principle; even if win, you lose." Any one of the Church Father's could have said the same thing. It just doesn't work. We are all justly outraged by what has been happening. We should be disgusted, and we should not simply roll over like so many people did in Nazi Germany. It is good that this issue has us up in arms, but we do need to always set principle before passion, even if it means that the road to recovery is much longer and more difficult. Short cuts can be spiritually deadly. I thank God that nobody is asking my advice, and that I am not a bishop who would be responsible for the flock entrusted to him, who would have to give advice. I thank God because I don't feel that I have any really good answers. May God have mercy upon all of us, and raise up among us a truly wise leader.
Holy Hierarch and Confessor Tikhon, you were a locus of unity as Arcbishop in America, and a model of fideity to Christ in persecution, show us now how to be faithful steward of the talents given to us!
Holy Hierarch and Father Innocent, you acted always with patience and love, but with firmness, in teaching the native people of Alaska the evangelical way of life; help us now to be firm where we need to be firm, but to avoid a spirit of malice.
Holy Father Herman, you are our protector and ever-fervent intercessor. As once you interceded for the Native People of Kodiak, intercede now for all of us throughout this land who have inherited from them the Orthodox Faith.
All Saints of North America, pray to God for us!
Most Holy Theotokos, save us!
MOST HOLY TRINITY, HAVE MERCY ON US!
#24 mark Harrison on 2007-05-23 14:23
"Breaking communion is the only option for them, but I doubt the canons support breaking communion over corruption"
We have the very recent example of other jurisdictions stepping in to fix the corruption in Alexandria.
#24.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-05-24 05:26
Michael, could you elaborate on that? I've not really followed other church news. Or, were you perhaps referring to Jerusalem? In that case the Patriarch was indeed removed after the other Patriarchs removed him from the Diptychs. I hadn't thought of this, actually. Of course, only Moscow and a couple of other Slavic churches commemorate +Herman in the diptychs anyway, but still, pressure from other hierarchies might do more than I had originally thought.
#24.1.1 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-24 21:18
Folks: As outraged as we all are, remember. The current OCA deserves MH. This is the punishment of both clergy and laity who have let this happen over two decades because of laziness, ignorance, blindness and a weak spirituality.
Why weren't you speaking up 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Why only now? Shame on you. Take some responsibility for your (in)action.
Are we learning our lesson? I pray so. Please never let this happen again. Freedom is work and sacrifice and courage. You cannot just blindly show up for services and expect the "professionals" to do the right thing. While the OCA slept, MH and others maneuvered.
#25 Anon. on 2007-05-23 16:44
It's a bit rich lecturing others on lack of responsibility and then signing your post "anon." Your statement would have credibility if you had signed it. The anonymous of the church simply give encouragement to Herman to wait out and manoeuvre this scandal into oblivion.
KRT bullseyed Herman's latest act; at least the pretense is gone, and so should we therefore remove our gloves. It's time for all of us to withhold (i.e. escrow) assessments, without harming our local parish.
#25.1 Terry C. Peet on 2007-05-23 21:09
It's soooo true.
#25.2 Ande on 2007-05-24 07:00
due to seriously lagging sales, we have come up with some new models: the "$2-million-in-debt" marionette, the "terminator" marionette, and the "shhh" marionette, all of which can be operated by remote control.
#26 Metropolitan Novelties Co., Inc. on 2007-05-23 18:47
My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves- Mathew 21:13
I have seldom seen such a pattern of evasion, concealment, and deceit as we are now witnessing in the OCA. The loss of financial capital is far less important than the loss of the Church's spiritual capital. A Church which shuns truth, cannot witness Christ. It is time for the Holy Synod to act in accordance with its name and restore integrity to the Church by the removal of the current Metropolitan and his associates.
David M. Paynter
#27 David M. Paynter on 2007-05-23 19:38
I would give all the world to be able to be at St. Tikhon's with the silver duct tape. (I've pleaded with my family to pitch in for a plane ticket, to no avail, which I obviously expected.)
However, I wanted to leave a comment here in order to have my name on this site. I will no longer sit at home venting about it. I don't want to be anonymous. I want whatever powers-that-be to know that I am Mary Phillips, a parishoner of Holy Resurrection Church in Tacoma, Washington, and I am ashamed, appalled, outraged, saddened, and sickened by the hierarchy of the OCA.
I am in no way scared of Herman or the other bishops, I am just so tired of feeling helpless. I want to DO something.
Has the media been informed of this? Should they be? Would it be more detrimental for the church if this were made public? Would it force the hierarchy into a corner?
What needs to be done?
I'm ready to do it.
#28 Mary Phillips on 2007-05-23 20:07
I would say there are several things that can be done. Do not assume others have done this for you! This is not something we can sit back and say "My priest/bishop knows we're frustrated about this" and not communicate directly.
First, pray to your heavenly Father. A heavenly father KNOWS his Children are hurting.
Second, write to your bishop. Again, not to ask advice, but to express your emotion. A father needs to know his children are hurting.
Third, speak to your priest - not to ask advice, but to express your emotion. A father needs to know his children are hurting.
As Father Philip points out elsewhere, we should fast.
For concrete steps, I'm suggesting those desiring to NOT support Syosset should resign their membership in their parish, so they will not be assessed beginning in January. IF YOUR PRIEST WILL EXCLUDE YOU FROM THE SACRAMENTS, DO NOT TAKE THIS STEP! I cannot over emphasize this point too strongly.
What will resignation do? We do not pay assessments on gifts from non-members, therefore this mechanism will allow individuals to support their local parish without supporting Syosset.
I hope this is helpful. Thanks for being a good witness to truth.
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#28.1 Marty Watt on 2007-05-24 09:41
Your idea of resigning voting membership in order to not be subject to the head tax will not work in all parishes. In my parish, for example, "parishoners" go on the head tax census, whether or not they take the next step to voting membership. If one is over 18 and participating in the sacraments of the parish they are considered "parishoners." Anyone wanting to explore this option really needs to speak with their parish secretary and learn what the by-laws of their particular parish state. Perhaps some dioceses have uniformity in this, but, as far as I can tell, mine does not.
#28.1.1 Elizabeth Gaither on 2007-05-24 11:41
There are two things that are very glaringly obvious in all this. First is that the MAGNITUDE of the offenses this man committed all the while pretending to be a spiritual leader are hard to even imagine. The moral dereliction on the part of Herman to have to stoop to this level of action to prevent surfacing of these offenses whether to prevent colossal embarrassment or the possibility of jail time, is beyond the comprehension of most people other than those who know him well. The specifics do not need to be uncovered to indict Herman of crimes against the Church and more sadly, against God himself.
Secondly, there can be no doubt as to the spiritual bankruptcy of Herman. The OCA coffers aren’t the only accounts with a negative balance – Herman’s spiritual account is negative too. Watching him serve is like nails across a blackboard and so terribly embarrassing for those who see it that it is amazing he can even do the motions with any feelings of conscience. Let there be no doubt that the cover up shows more than if these offenses actually are brought to light. He committed the actions then he cannot bring himself to the humility this “monk” is called to by admitting and repenting of his deeds. It is one bad action compounding another upon another. Unless there is a profound and sincere change of heart on the part of Herman, his final judgment is frightening. But then again, he probably doesn’t believe any of that religion stuff any more. No man who reaches the level of Metropolitan, who has spent a life ministering in the Church, who is serious about his ministry, cannot be shaking in his shoes about what he is to face. But then again, he probably doesn’t believe any of that religion stuff any more.
It is even more disgusting how the entire Synod can go along with Herman down the sad path of corruption and moral ineptitude. Herman lost his moral authority and leadership sometime back, but the members of the Synod, a number of whom have 20-40 years left of their episcopacy are losing their moral leadership and authority that will not be gained back in a generation at least if ever. Long after Herman is gone Bishops Tikhon, Nikon, Irenei, and Benjamin will have to try to minister to their flocks under the cloud of their moral capitulation when it counted most, when it mattered most, when it was so clearly obvious. Their episcopacies are being defined and discounted daily by their silence and inaction placing them on the heap of the spiritually lost older members. How any of these members can, with a straight face, preach in front of the Altar how we should act in proper Christian behavior, how we should fight temptation, fight the good fight, don’t fold in to evil, is beyond any rational person. How can we ever trust they will do what’s right in the future when they can’t do what’s right when all eyes are upon them at a time when we need their help most? When the overwhelming call for action is ignored. When they can be intimidated into submission by those that want to harm the Church for their own good. If they can flaunt God’s law in public, imagine what they are doing behind closed doors.
God, save us from our Bishops!
#29 Publius on 2007-05-23 20:09
Very well said, Publius, well said.
#29.1 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-24 08:31
Don't sell the HS short just yet. A growing numbers of HS members are openly now voicing their discontent with Herman. He does not enjoy the confidence of at least 5 bishops and truth be told, if there was a secret ballot right now, he might just get one vote, his own.
I truly believe that this upcoming MC meeting is only a ploy by Kucynda and Herman to take the heat off of Herman. The MC is again being used to prop up a sinking administration. Herman, as you said, does not have the moral fiber to lead the OCA.
A member of our HS contemplating the 2008 AAC, eriously stated, "What could Herman possibly say to the Church without people openly scoffing." It is a powerful image to consider. We must not put our Church through such a humiliation.
Instead of a MC meeting in June, I think we should encourage or respective bishops to do the right thing and have three of them call a special session of the HS with two items on the agenda, the retirement of Herman and the naming of a Locum Tenens to administer the Church until the next AAC where we can elect a new Metropolitan and finally turn the page on this disgusting chapter in our Church history.
Duct tape and black arm bands are nice, but it is still in the hands of the HS to have a vote of no confidence in Herman. Let's voice our discontent in letters, faxes, emails to our diocesan bishop.
Entitle your message NO CONFIDENCE IN METROPOLITAN HERMAN. Ask them to call as special session of the Holy Synod to retire him and appoint a Locum Tenens.
Here is a list of their fax or email contact information
Holy Synod Fax Numbers or email address
516 922-0954 Metropolitan Herman in Syosset
570-937-4939 Metropolitan Herman in So. Caanan
724-776-5555 Archbishop Kyrill
517-522-5907 Archbishop Nathaniel
312-202-0427 Archbishop Job
613-925-1521 Archbishop Seraphim
907-279-9748 Bishop Nikolai
BpNikon@aol.com Bishop Nikon
570-937-9099 Bishop Tikhon
email@example.com Bishop Benjamin
It's time to help our bishop free themselves from the division and intimidation of Herman. Let's help them.
Fed Up in Frackville
#29.2 Anonymous on 2007-05-24 13:24
And Archbishop Dmitri's fax number is
Great Idea. Now watch Herman silence his fax machine!!!!!!!!!
#29.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-05-24 14:36
If the FAX machine is unplugged from the phone line,
would you call it Excommunicated?
#22.214.171.124 John Nicholas on 2007-05-25 04:43
Hey Fed Up in Frackville,
You forgot Dmitri's 214-526-7170.
But why stop there, you should have included a NO CONFIDENCE VOTE FOR KUCYNDA too.
His fax is
(973) 305-1478 (Fax)
Let him know that he is on the way out with Herman
#29.2.2 Feeling Fiesty in Philly on 2007-05-24 14:54
You are a coward! Why not write your name and expose yourself for the clown you really are?
For your information, only ONE person to date has been accussed of any financial improprieties, and that guy is the former chancellor of the OCA.
If you can not state fact about what you allege Metropolitan Herman to have done, then you should really keep your mouth shut. Can you back up any of your ridiculous statements with facts?
It seems to me that all of the Kondratick backers will stoop to anything to make this seem like +Herman is guilty for having caused the problem.
He inherited it! Period.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Metropolitan's decision to remain silent makes you and countless others insist that he is guilty of wrong doing. Based on what? Please provide one factual scenario where he has taken money?
You and your cronnies are evil. The disrespect shown is absolutely mindboggling and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
But then again, by refusing to sign your name, you are nothing but a coward and you're incapable of showing any shame!
Here's a thought. How about showing some annoyance at those who continually went to the bank on numerous occassions to extract $9,500 in cash and hand it over to the "boss"? Why don't any of you ever get annoyed at that? How about the former chancellor being unable to provide the name of one person or organization who benefitted from his wonderful generosity relating to the 911 funds, but yet, over one hundred thousand dollars from that fund remain unaccounted for and are still missing? Does anyone care about that? No. But the clown who wrote this garbage is absolutely sure that the Metropolitan is corrupt!
People can continue to gripe about everything under the sun. You can even protest while covering your mouths with duck tape and make complete asses out of yourselves, but the bottom line is, the guy who is solely responsible for this mess (and he doesn't wear a white klobuk), is going down, and we'll finally see who has the last laugh!
#29.3 Michael Geeza on 2007-05-25 17:35
Hello, Pot calling, Kettle your black too!
Wow...after all of the FACTS we've read here, there are actually people still defending MH?
Michael....are you aware before Herman was made Metropolitan...he was in the middle of the shenanigans too? If not, check your facts sir.
#29.3.1 K.K. on 2007-05-26 09:08
I'm not upset with the Metropolitan remaining silent. I'm (personally) upset that he is trying to silence and control others. Personally, I find it difficult to believe Met. HERMAN was unaware of what was happening, however I've seen no evidence or even anecdotal evidence to indicate he personally benefited from any malfeasance.
I do believe he needs to understand what is meant by "transparency". I can see with an impending spiritual court why the commission report cannot yet be released, but to attempt to silence everyone and control the release of all information is not consistent with transparency.
The anonymous posters will have to speak for themselves. As for me, I have no doubt that the "central figure" in all this is the former Chancellor.
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#29.3.2 Marty Watt on 2007-05-26 10:26
Michael, I thought you removed your blinders a couple of months ago! +H and Father PK have been and still are the problem.
Also' I don't give any bishop a free pass, they all have known of these problems. Most of the older priests' and all of the bishops would be characterised as sycophants in the business world.
The +H has our hierarchy and priest afraid of their own shadows.
In my short life of seventy five years, all ORTHODOX, I have seen many brutal rulers in this world, some did away with themselves, others were done away with, and many used their eyes and ears, and resigned from their despotic ruling throne.
We have people in Syosett that are oblivious of what they have and are doing to a once BEAUTIFUL CHURCH.
THEY ALL HAVE TO BE REMOVED.
Don't send money to Syostt, and don't pay the attornys. Watch them squeal.
St. James-- Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Michael, Herman and Kucynda better pray that the FBI doesn't get a hold of the ENTIRE picture. The Special Commission was led down a path by Herman and Kucynda, the FBI will not only review what PR/Herman and Kucynda give them! Herman and Kucynda knew everyting that was/is going on! The only part that amazes me that everyone else can see that they knew except for you. Wake up!
#29.3.4 Lester Sokolov on 2007-05-26 11:34
Our church is falling apart. People who were friendly are now accusing each other of everything. No, Publius is not a clown and he is not shameful. He is writing about his frustration concerning the problem we have with our church. He is right on target with his discussion about the Bishops. We look to them for leadership in what is morally right, honest, and truthful; but, we’ve gotten only sad platitudes.
You seem to be centered on the financial crises but the problem with our church is not only financial. Money is only one of the factors. It has come to much more. I’m sure if you and Publius, or many of the other people who have written about their disgust at the events that have come to pass would meet, all of you would be cordial and friendly and even pray together. Our problem now is much greater than calling each other names. Our problem is that walls have been built between parishioners who have been friends. Foundations have crumbled under any attempt at building trust and love to all. We are all in a moral dilemma. Our Bishops seem unable or unwilling to step up to the plate and take charge. This would be the time for all of us to let them know how we really feel. Also, now is time for all of us to stop this name-calling. It is time to stop accusing and to stop defending when only God knows what is right and what is wrong. We will all face His reaction to our words and actions; none of us really knows how we will fare when this happens.
It is time now to mend and, in the case of a terminal illness, the only way to mend is to cut out the offending portion. Then we need to rebuild and restore trust. A financial report was recently published from the central church in an effort to prove that all is going well, but it is not well because our members are now devoid of the important entity of trust. We can get all the financial reports from Syosset they want to produce, but many of us will never believe anything from the current leaders. This is not to place blame anywhere, but when trust is lost, it is rarely regained. It’s human nature.
Everyone, and that includes MH and Father Paul, and Father Kiskovsky, and others at the office in Syosset need to leave with honor and love, for the “good of the church.” They need to leave with a peaceful heart and continue to serve the Lord in another environment. As long as they stay, the church will divide and eventually crumble without the solidifying mortar of trust and love.
#29.3.5 Hopefully on 2007-05-26 14:05
Michael, Michael, Michael. We do hope you’re right, but when it quacks a like duck, and walks like it a duck, it’s not a swan.
Where do we begin? Your parish priest, Fr. Kucynda, once mentioned a firewall built around the Metropolitan. Maybe you should get him to explain what this firewall is protecting and why it is needed. The people here are waiting to know what is so bad that a firewall was built by a prestigious and expensive New York law firm. Proskauer Rose is not 1-800-Lawyers. This forms the trunk of the rationale that there are offenses that Herman has committed against the Church and subsequently against civilian law.
Nowhere in my post was there any defense of Fr. Kondratick. In fact, the lack of determination of Herman in dealing with FrK leads one to think that Herman is one FrK’s greatest defenders. Look at how many times he has tried to terminate any investigation. He took it upon himself to take responsibility for everything that has occurred, implicitly absolving FrK of all offenses. He was backed into creating the Special Commission. He tried with all his power to stop the Commission and prevent any of their recommendations from seeing the light of day. It took him over a month to enact the suspension that the Synod agreed to. And now, we are well past a month since the suspension and the trial hasn’t occurred. It is no coincidence either that he suspended the Commission from further work, allowing them to pronounce there was nothing else to investigate, while the trial of FrK is going on. He might just intend this trial to occur years down the line so that the Commission remains in suspended animation.
Herman needs to take his advice to Dcn. Wheeler and “take it like a man” and let the Commission pronounce that he is clean. What does he have to hide if you’re right? Why not allow people, people who have more credibility at this point, to say, “We can unequivocally say that Metropolitan Herman was in no way involved in any financial or moral improprieties.”
What can we say? If he inherited all of these problems then the moment he became Metropolitan he would have cleaned up the mess. He not only didn’t clean it up, but he allowed it to continue. He didn’t know you say? Then he was even more derelict in his responsibilities than we thought and for him to say that he has control now is just as hard to believe as anything ever said.
The bottom line is that the only person who can show us that he is innocent is the Metropolitan. The best way he can do this is to allow people delve into this scandal unfettered and with free access to everything and report what is found. If there is no fire where the smoke is, we are all relieved. His actions to this point can only lead one to believe that there is a lot to be hidden and as I said in my earlier post, what is being hidden is of a magnitude that is incomprehensible.
#29.3.6 Publius on 2007-05-26 14:12
Please look back at the archives of this site. It may very well be that +Herman never took a dime for himself. But he is still obviously in it up to his neck. He knew about this mess when he was Treasurer (even if "in name only"), and he knew about it since he has been Metropolitan. He had a responsibility to take action, but he did nothing to stop it until the crisis started hitting the national newspapers, and he now refuses to let the investigative committee report be released.
Nixon went down not for the crime, but for the cover-up.
#29.3.7 Anonymous on 2007-05-26 16:10
Also, don't forget all those trips to Europe and Russia he and Fr. Bob used to make. Where did the money come from to pay for those trips, entourages included?
#126.96.36.199 Name withheld on 2007-05-29 17:08
I truly believe in my heart of hearts that Metropolitan Herman knew something was wrong but not to the this hideous extent. If I'm wrong, I will be the first to admit it and say shame on me.
However, I think the former chancellor was so adept at being everyone's buddy and controlling all information that he succeeded for so many years in this dysfunctual and dictatoral style of management. Besides, early on, + Herman never had the backing and support of the Synod. He had to deal with 2 bullies who intimidated everyone else in that group.
Isn't the OCA a Church organization? Wouldn't one think that any information provided was true and accurate? Well you know what, it's possible that all information provided was only true to a certain extent and there was plenty of opportunity for half truth's, and outright lies, etc.
Don't forget people, Fr. Kondratick was beloved by his faithful "flock" at the Chancery. I know some of these people personally and they still to this day refuse to believe he did anything wrong. They'll say, "oh, he treated us so nicely, took us all out to dinner, etc." Yes, that is nice. But whose money was paying for those fancy New York dinners?
My own brother had graduated from St. Vlad's about the same time as (Fr.) John Hopko and Paul Hunchak and he too was being wooed to come work at the Chancery. When he refused I had asked him why and his response was "he wanted no part of it. He could see right through the sharade and the fancy dinners." So what does that tell you my friends?
This whole thing has made me sick.
For crying out loud, the Holy Synod themselves never knew the discretionary accounts were as rich as they were. Do we really think they would have allowed Met. Theodosius to get away with closing that issue had they known millions of dollars were involved?
Never for one minute forget how clever a person we were dealing with with the former chancellor. How soon do we forget his back and forth emails with Rock and Torbey? from Martinez and Murphy fame. Why was Richard Rock helping Kondratick anyway?
That is a very interesting question that no one seems to care about.
I think this whole thing is dirty, and if the FBI ever does make a move, they'll certainly have plenty to talk about aside from missing OCA money.
I remember very early on in this whole nightmare when I wrote in one of my posts that it sounded to me like money laundering was going on in Moscow. Someone wrote back with disbelief at my comment. Does it the least bit sound possible now?
What was really on that video tape from Saint Catherine's?
People, I think too many are blaming Metropolitan Herman for things he had absolutely nothing to do with.
However, as the leader of our church, I guess he undoubtedly takes the heat for it.
On a final note, some are asking why oh why isn't Kondratick being provided with the PR information? You know what? Too bad!! Go spend your own money and do your own investigation.
He knows darn well what the charges are and what he's being charged with.
My words may seem cruel, but you know what? There are consequences for actions in life.
It's time to deal with that harsh reality.
#188.8.131.52 Michael Geeza on 2007-05-30 16:56
Michael Geeza writes:
> I truly believe in my heart of hearts that Metropolitan
> Herman knew something was wrong but not to the this
> hideous extent. If I'm wrong, I will be the first to admit
> it and say shame on me.
> However, I think the former chancellor was so adept
> at being everyone's buddy and controlling all information
> that he succeeded for so many years in this dysfunctual
> and dictatoral style of management. Besides, early on,
> + Herman never had the backing and support of the Synod.
> He had to deal with 2 bullies who intimidated everyone
> else in that group.
Oddly enough, I sort of agree with you.
But I'm much less quick to excuse Met. Herman's lack of knowledge -- he had the capacity and the duty to see many things that he more or less consciously chose to ignore. Your son saw those things from Crestwood. Met. Herman must have seen tons of evidence of what was going on, and for the sake of friendship, for the sake of trust in a highly competent and efficient person upon whom it was easier to rely than to question, from sheer force of habit ... he didn't do anything about it ... for years! Yes, he and the Synod may truly not have understood the scale and extent of the issues, but they knew something, they really knew quite a lot if they'd paid attention to what was in front of their eyes, and they chose not to know more.
The other issue in all of this is Met. Herman's handling of the situation since he realized (giving the benefit of the doubt) the extent of the issues -- his whole approach has been to cover up as much as possible and to treat those who are pushing for change as enemies, of him personally and of the church.
#184.108.40.206.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-31 04:19
I agree with you and believe Mr. Geeza has done his level best to defend the Metropolitan and others, while candidly admitting mistakes have been made. Unfortunately, even this best case scenario demonstrates the necessity for new leadership and direction.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-31 16:42
Michael Geeza wrote: "I remember very early on in this whole nightmare when I wrote in one of my posts that it sounded to me like money laundering was going on in Moscow. Someone wrote back with disbelief at my comment. Does it the least bit sound possible now?"
No, Mr. Geeza, sadly I think you may have been dead-on in your appraisal of the situation then and now!
Although I hope it's not true, let's imagine for a minute that someone like our Mr. Andreas at ADM wanted to open up new agricultural markets for his firm in our beloved mother Russia. Given the corruption now rampant there (reaching all the way to the doorstep of the Bishop of the "Third Rome"-- gasp!), what better way to insure your place at the business table then by bribing certain ministers of government and agriculture? But bribes are illegal, right? Not if they are funneled through a 501(c)(3) as a contribution to, oh... let's say a Metropolitan's "discretionary account."
Our venturesome and generous businessman now not only has a vehicle for a hefty bribe, but a tax-deductible one to boot! And let's say that the person or persons through which these bribes are funneled (read: "laundered") deliver certain large amounts of these monies (on behalf of the venturesome and generous interest) in plain brown paper bags at the many official overseas ecclesiatical functions our leaders once frequented. Functions, I might add, at which these targeted public officials are almost always in attendance. Having delivered the goods, along with various and sundry ecclesiastical tributes, the conduit "mules" are then permitted to retain a certain amount for themselves as a "kick-back" for their efforts.
Stop me if this sounds like the subtext of what we already know...
For those of you who think the FBI and the IRS have no interest in our "little problem": if you will indulge me by applying my little speculative template to our situation, then you may begin to see just what may have their attention. If anything like this is even approximately what transpired (and I hope it's just one too many Tom Clancy novels on my part) then people will go to prison for it.
This scandal is serious business and the sooner we acknowledge that reality, the sooner those responsible might take a hint and resign and/or retire to face their own accounting before God and the state.
So, P.R. can read this to +MH if they like for $700 an hour. I suspect FBI or IRS personnel are monitoring this site too on mere government wages. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Pray without ceasing, that the Lord may intervene on behalf of His Church and save us!
ANAXIOS! ANAXIOS! ANAXIOS!
#30 Anon on 2007-05-23 20:42
You ask "do we need this reorganization?"
Your question presupposes that we had organization to begin with. We did not. What we had was men and women, who tried their best but were not necessarily ready to carry the mantle of being the OCA.
They tried, with limited experience, and limited resources, but with a vision of what could be. And then, in the midst of the "what could be" the architect of the vision of the OCA died - Fr. Alexander.
His loss can not be fully appreciated, but as one, like you, who learned first-hand from him, we know he left us much too soon.
Theodosius tried, but was flawed....are not we all.
Kondratick tried, and got close on sheer personal charmed, but again was flawed.
Herman, well, he is just flawed.
It has been said, and mentioned in previous posts that we deserve the leaders we get. I believe this is true, but I don't believe this as a fatalistic statement, but rather as a mirror of who we are and where we are in our spiritual maturity as a Church - at this time.
We can and should aspire to do better, but we do this not on the bones of those who went before us but taking what was good and noble in their effort and learn to do better.
What is most shameful is that our present Metropolitan is trying to save himself at the expense of others when he should simply accept the fact that he is not up to the task. The gene pool of this strand of OCA lineage has ended. It is time for a new line to begin.
I say this not as a defeat but as a natural reality for us as a very young Church, still marked by the vision of Fr Alexander and others. We must not throw out the "baby with the bath water." We must take was is true and good and apply it to ourselves going forward.
Nothing has gotten any better since Fr Kondratick was fired and nothing will get better until Metropolitan Herman admits that he had failed in his one duty as Metropolitan, "to a focus of unity" in the Holy Synod and for the entire Church. He does not have the makeup for this task. He was not raised to be that person in the Church.
I wish we could all admit that we all have been part of the problem and that we all must admit our weakness and forgive each other and commend our sins to God Almighty who will judge us justly when we stand before Him.
But, alas, we may yield to the fallen human condition of exacting our "pound of flesh." But what really will that accomplish? The death penalty in civil society has proven an abject failure. Does a similar church death penalty also really work? I think not.
Maybe it would be better to bring all the principals together, in an atmosphere of constructive reconstruction of our beloved OCA and rebuild the vision and our common work with respect for each other and not contempt and recrimination.
I am not ready to turn our Church over to the IRS or the FBI or petty lawyers and accountants. I would rather learn from our mistakes and do better. I would rather ask the Lord to give us the courage to face each other in the spirit that gathers us on the day of Forgiveness Vespers and take what is good and pure in each of us and build from there.
Pious empty words? Only if we don't act on them. Possible? Of course because the Lord has given us the Divine gift and power to forgive. Forget? Never, but only as a safeguard to not be tempted to think that the Church belongs to anyone of us. It does not. It belongs to God and to the person next to me, because I am not worthy to think it belongs only to me.
I wish we could as brothers and sisters in Christ could move past the need to judge and punish and reach the good ground of forgiveness and redemption in accepting our personal responsibility for how we all are guilty in allowing our beloved Church and its mission to be weakened.
As a father, I pray with all my heart that before I stand before my Lord and Judge, that our Church can be passed on to my children in a better place to share the Good News of our Lord. Should not that be our ultimate goal?
#31 Anonymous on 2007-05-23 21:17
Yes, my brother in Christ, we have all fallen short of the glory of God, but I do not believe that the days of the administration of Fr. Kondratick were the good old days...days of the best and the brightest (as had been written in the past)... Those bad shepherds who misused funds and power should not seek to blame the sheep they neglected and left cold and hungry. We are all called to account for our sins. Many who are no longer in leadership positions in Syosset and some who still are in power could come forward, speak the truth, and help us heal. Rather they seek to bathe in the false waters of pride and self-justification. Let us not glory except in Jesus Christ - and Him crucified!
What more can this prove ? Mh and Kucynda knew everything,tried to pin everything on Kondratick, and spent 600,000 of our money. A new leader is in order. Kucynda put all of his buddies in office with him , hoping to help them ride through this mess and nothing could save them.
#32 John Honski on 2007-05-24 05:10
Coincidentally, I will be not at my home parish this Sunday, but at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. It will be interesting to hear what Archbishop Job has to say in his homily.
BTW, the Midwest Diocesan Council meets in early June.
#33 Michael Strelka on 2007-05-24 05:20
Hoorah for Mary Phillips! God bless her!! Duct tape is not very palatable. May I suggest plain black armsbands that could be worn not only at St. Tikhon's, but in our own parishes. Who knows, if enough of us wear them, it might embolden more priests to speak out. Besides it easier to receive Holy Communion with an armband than duct tape over our mouths.
#34 Terry C. Peet on 2007-05-24 07:47
What more is there to say, really?
#35 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-24 08:21
This should not go unanswered. See my post at
Also posted on your blogsite is the following comment by "Sophocles." Any reactions to this?
"I attend St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church (OCA) in Las Vegas. Tonight we held our monthly Parish Concil meeting and I asked Father Eric Tosi, the Parish Rector and the OCA's Evangelism Director for North America about some of these things in confidence. He is privy to some good information and he urged us to continue to have confidence in the Metropolitan as what news we are receiving is one-sided and incomplete and the motives for making accusations against him should also be taken into account. Remember, this is a crisis and in crises leaders entrusted to move the entity involved(in this case the OCA Church) out of crises will inevitably not do everything to everyone's liking.
I have taken Father Eric's advice in the past regarding this issue and I will do so now. These are matters in which we must continue to pray for our Church; it will all work itself out, of that I am certain."
#36.1 J. P. Smith on 2007-05-25 08:04
I'll comment on this only: "what news we are receiving is one-sided and incomplete and the motives for making accusations against him [+H] should also be taken into account".
If the information that is being disseminated is indeed "one-sided news", is it effective to combat it with silence and stonewalling? Forgive me for not being blindly trustful to our Primate, but if there is indeed disinformation, then the best way to fight it is by revealing the truth, supported by clear & objective facts...
And frankly I do not feel like going into anybody's motives. I do not know most of the "players" personally, I did not grow up in the OCA, I am just interested in facts. For example, when the dismissal of Gregg Nescott had happened, the first thing I did was to compare his statement against published facts. Not finding any disclosure of facts in his statement other than those already known, I was forced to conclude that the reason that Metropolitan Herman cited for his "executive action" had nothing to do with reality. I have no motives one way or the other - this is plain data analysis.
So please, it is way past being satisfied with platitudes on one hand and thinly-weiled stabs on the other. Just look at whatever data is available, and also ask why do so many questions remain unanswered, and judge for yourself.
#36.1.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-05-25 12:28
You have stated the issues very eloquently and clearly! Thanks for phrasing the arguments in such a common sense and straight forward manner. I was about to respond also, but your response is spot on, and there was little I could add.
Your parish priest, and you know, you can't pray yourself out of a crisis. The Patron Saint of our Church St. James said. prayer by itself WONT do it, but prayer and work we can do everything. +H is the catalyst that put OUR CHURCH in this terrible situation and yet we have priest that still want to give him another bye. This is pure insanity. Years ago, his strong arm tactics may have worked, but today we have well educated people that stand up for our people. We are AMERICAN and not Russian AMERICAN.
We must use common sense. CHRIST HIMSELF SAID, FOLLOW ME AND NO OTHER MAN. It's apparent we are following +H. Are we like sheep following the JUDAS GOAT to slaughter? As many people have said before cut off their oxygen (MONEY) and they will wither up like a plant in an eighteen month drought. This mess is going on that long. If we do this they may open their eyes and ears.
SYOSETT NEEDS A DRAMATIC OVERHAUL!
St. James---Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
It has been suggested to me that we collectively pray for God's judgment on His Church with mercy and love. I for one am doing so.
I also agree with and like Sbdcn. Watts' suggestion to renounce my voting membership w/o sacrifice of the sacraments if possible. I will be speaking to my spiritual father about this idea.
It has also been suggested to me by someone who is familiar with fundraising, ethics, endowments, restricted funds, etc. that the place to go is NOT the FBI/IRS. It is to the State's Attorney General's office of Pennsylvania. The former will do nothing. The latter has the power to prosecute. Does anyone know if the State's AG has knowledge and supporting documentation of all of this.
#37 Philippa on 2007-05-24 14:10
It seems to me that the organizational aspects of the problem is rooted in the OCA statute. There are sufficient structural setups and instances of inexact wording to allow a particular Metropolitan to arrogate to himself the powers that the current incumbent has.
There are people better rooted in Orthodoxy than myself, but it seems clear to me that for solutions we have to look back to the earliest centuries before the imperial church was established. During most of its post-Constantine life, the clergy handled spiritual matters while governments took care of the rest. (In the West, the two realms were combined and further concentrated in one man-the Pope). It seems that the OCA statute has tried but miserably failed to solve the problem of how to run the church without governmental supervision. Some examples:
The All-American Council is supposed to be "The highest legislative and administrative authority within the Church is the All-American Council" Article III, Section 1. But, that is not really true as Article III, Section 12, makes the Council somewhat less than the highest authority: All of its decisions must be approved by the Holy Synod, whose final disposition cannot be overturned. The only right that the All-American Council has is the right to hear the Holy Synod's reasons for such a disapproval. My interpretation of this is that the Holy Synod seems to be the highest authority in this instance.
The Holy Synod is supposed to be "the supreme canonical authority in the Church." Article II, Section 1. However, it is chaired by the Metropolitan (Section 2) who is also the Chairman of the Lesser Synod (Section 6). While the Holy Synod hires the officers of the Church upon the recommendation of the Metropolitan Council (Section 7m), it is the Metropolitan who supervises them as he is the only person or body who is responsible for "the internal and external welfare of the Church." (Article IV, Section 1). It does not look like the Holy Synod is supreme after all.
The Metropolitan Council is supposed to be "the permanent executive body of the Church Administration which exists for the purpose of implementing the decisions of the All-American Council and continuing its work between sessions." (Article V, Section1). However, it is chaired by the Metropolitan (Section 1) and its decisions must be approved either by the Metropolitan or the Holy Synod (Section 2). So, the Metropolitan Council's function seems to be more advisory than executive.
Finally, look at this supreme example of fuzziness: "(The Metropolitan) has the right of pastoral initiative and guidance, and when necessary the right of pastoral intervention, in all matters concerning the life of the Church within the framework of the holy canons." (Article IV, Section II).
Ladies and gentlemen, you can do your logical analysis. No matter which way you look at it, the bottom line remains: OCA is ruled by a monarchical quasi-Pope that was set up by its own Statute of the Orthodox Church in America (see http://www.oca.org/DOCindex-statute.asp?SID=12.).
This may be the same with the other jurisdictions, I do not know. What I know is the you may just have the historic opportunity to make things right, to make sure that the Church is governed in accordance with the purest Christian tenets and practices. I do not know what this means. I do know however that what the OCA (and perhaps all Orthodox) do not have it right.
Please forgive my audacity inherent in the above criticism.
#38 Carl on 2007-05-24 15:38
I find Fr. Philip's remarks are very helpful. We are called to put our faith firmly in God. If people are so inclined a day of prayer and fasting could be selected for all of us to participate. Such days were frequently announced in Colonial New England and they were called for the sins of all the believers. Care and thought can be put into supporting local parishes without sending assessments to Syosset, but it seems to me that such actions need to be conciliar with the parish priest and bishop in agreement. The Lone Ranger is our cultural myth but is not helpful for Orthodox. I have had several hard situations over the past two years and just recently saw one overturned and with the renewal of hope which that brings comes renewed patience. The situation which was just reversed had a CEO firmly committed to the Brum style of leadership, many heads rolled and morale was at zero. In one day it changed. We are stunned and joyful. This was a secular organization. Let it be said of us that our eyes are watching God.
#39 Alice Carter on 2007-05-24 17:43
"the Brum style of leadership"? I am not aware that Fr David Brum was ever in a position of "leadership" while he worked for the OCA. Have you ever met Fr Brum or is your only contact with him via this website and the "editorial" on the so-called "Brum Doctrine"?
There has not been a counter to the posting by Mr Stokoe, a counter except for us sharing our comments. Fr David Brum is not a bad person, nor should he be painted with the broad brush of guilt just because he worked for the OCA.
Would anyone be shocked to learn that he left the RC Church because he did not believe in Papal power and infalability?
Would anyone be shocked to learn that he left everything to embrace the True Faith?
Fr David Brum is not a source of what afflicts our Church. How could he? He is a relative newcomer to the OCA. He is a fine parish priest and a man of honor. Why else would he leave Herman who now has vowed to block his consideration has a bishop?
To paraphrase James Carvel who advised President Clinton.... "It's Herman, stupid!"
#39.1 A Member of Ss Peter and Paul in Phoenix on 2007-05-24 21:24
Thank you for this information about Father Brum. Since he has been assigned responsibility on this website and others for the top down non -conciliar hierarchical style of MH it would be great to have him clarify his position on the "Brum" doctrine. May I assume that he is a strong supporter of a conciliar Church, whose Holy Synod would work in concert with the priests and laity? Certainly he is not the source of a style dating back to the connection of Church and State in Russia. Thank you again. And I am glad to hear he does not support the continuation of this heresy. Alice Carter
#39.1.1 Alice Carter on 2007-05-25 12:38
Where does such information come from as "Herman has vowed to block his consideration as a bishop" and in another post, "Met. Herman has called the venerable archbishop 'senile.'? Without documentation of some kind, these comments are only gossip, and as such, very desstructive. This site is my only source for what I can generally regard as accurate information. I have to say, though, it has uneven standards in regard to allowing certain statements to appear. I suggest this aspect of the website be 'cleaned up', so that we can accept the information that appears hear with a greater amount of faith.
(Editor's Note: I do not edit people's comments as a rule, except at their request, or to remove slanderous or umseemly personal attacks. Bad jokes too. I simply do not post those comments I know to contain errors of fact.
Other than that, I believe people have a right to express their opinions, however much I, or you, may disagree with them. I also believe that the Truth will out in the end. Meanwhile, we must slog through the muck ocassionally.
I post my articles, whose facts are corraborated and usually accompanied by the actual texts they refer to, on one part of the site, and other's comments, which assert all sorts of things, on another. I trust people can recognize the difference.)
#39.1.2 AnonPriest on 2007-05-27 05:49
I wasn't refering to any of the articles or reflections; rather , to remarks in "share your comments." To clarify, I am very grateful for this site, as it is the ONLY place to get news and information on the scandal and related topics. It gives me pause however when I see things like "Met. Herman said such and such," without any kind of documentation, not even "where" he said it, or in what context.
#18.104.22.168 AnonPriest on 2007-05-29 16:31
On this eve of Pentecost, Are we truly united in the Upper Room, in prayer and awaiting of a re-newed coming of the Holy Spirit?
Very much like the Early disciples and Apostles there is certainly a great FEAR in our midst.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful!
Oh Heavenly King conforter and spirit of Truth come and abide in us; cleanse us of every impurity and save our souls, Oh Good One!
It is my prayer, that unlike Russia who is again under the hammer and cycle; that our church will not succumb back to the dregs of humanity under the hammer and the cycle. Is our Church under a NEW Dictatorship; or is it truly under the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who fillest all things, as the Giver of Life and Bestower of Blessings!
#40 anonym0us on 2007-05-24 18:09
I had very recently been considering leaving my current parish in a non-OCA jurisdiction (for a variety of reasons) for a local OCA parish (Diocese of the Midwest), that I have occasionally attended. However, given that I converted from a Christian body whose bishops have repeatedly acted like dictators, I have no wish to repeat the experience. I am in no way speaking against Archbishop JOB who I greatly respect. Also, given that the OCA parish I would have been joining has even more issues (mostly financial due to a low attendance) than the non-OCA parish I would be leaving, I have made my peace with the issues in my current parish and am staying.
#41 Marie on 2007-05-26 05:35
Nixon fired the Special Prosecutor. Where did that get him? He subsequently became the first sitting US President to resign. Such draconian tactics will always backfire in such a public scandal as this. I find it amazing that some of the posters on this site are still giving him the benefit of the doubt. You people are either (1) ignorant of the facts, (2) blind, or (3) just stupid. All at Syosset must go. This web of deceit has entagled everyone there. All are poisoned.
#42 Anon. on 2007-05-26 09:00
This is ridiculous. At the beginnig of this scandal there would have been a great deal of mercy and forgiveness shown. It may have been possible to heal with the resignation of a few bishops. Now since one abuse has been heaped upon another I believe resignations will no longer do. These corrupt caricatures of bishops need to see jail time. I think it is feeasible and necessary to us the Rico statutes and clean house so that the faithful can get the leadership they deserve. We need an All American council and power has to be given back to the laity.
#43 gh on 2007-05-26 15:56
Glory be to Jesus Christ. Just returned from the Pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's Monastery, So.Canaan, Pa. Not to my surpise, but there were only two out of state busses, and approximately three to four hundred people, including clergy. In all the years, which have been many decades, that I have gone there, this is the worst attenndance, I have ever seen. I think M.H. had his eyes opened, this weekend in N.E. Pa.. With only 200 people attending the Grand banque last night , many of whom were graduates and their families, the showing was very poor. I think the people, of all the other dioceses, who had chosen not to at tend spoke greater words than any petition could do. No duct tape was needed people spoke through their absence.
#44 annonymopus on 2007-05-28 18:29
Was there any feedback on St. Tikhon's Pilgrimage?
#45 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-29 10:38
A year and a half ago, a fellow parishioner stuck a copy of a Washington Post article under my nose and "enlightened" me about this whole sorry mess. I have been reading this website ever since, and have gone through the same feelings most of you have--disbelief, followed rapidly by anger, sadness and frustration. I haven't written anything until now, although many times I have wanted to. But I see a growing call for folks to throw off their voting rights in their parish in order to starve Syosset financially. While I like this idea of cutting off funds, it is a REALLY bad idea to give up your vote at such a critical time in the OCA's history. You ask what concrete actions we can take right now? How about this: organize the like-minded folks in your parish to vote for YOU for All-American Council lay-delegate for next year. Or if you cannot do it, then convince someone else in your group to run. Within the next year, most parishes will be having general meetings where they elect the lay-delegate. In some instances, the parish council president may be the lay-delegate by definition. If that is so, then get yourself elected as president of your parish. Or if you cannot take on this awesome responsibility, convince someone in your group of like-minded parishioners to run. Then get out the vote for them and get them elected.
If you give up your voting rights now, you will have no input as to who will be the lay-delegate at the AAC in '08. And we may end up with a rubber stamp AAC as in previous years. The best 75th birthday present for +MH would be to hear that all of the "trouble-makers" on ocanews.org are giving up their voting rights. But what if he went to the convention next year and saw 300 or 400 Marty's and Rebecca's and KRT's in line at the registration desk?
And remember, the MC members are elected at the AAC. We can replace the do-nothing members with more Nescotts and Skordinskis. But not if we're not there to vote them in.
Believe me, I would like for this all to be over soon. Planning for action in '08 seems like dragging this thing out too long. But the reality is that we will still be suffering from the fall-out from this mess next year in one way or another. Even if things look a little better by this time next year, we still need to address it at the AAC.
As for starving Syosset financially--eventually it might work, but they have many pieces of real estate to sell, a few seminary treasuries to drain, and a diocesan treasury to plunder before they get to the bitter end. They can survive well past '08. So let's plan to confront them at the AAC, with our thoughts and plans to create a better and stronger OCA. We have been hashing out those ideas right here, and we just need to have the authority of an AAC to put them into action.
Please keep your voting membership in your parish, and get involved. Get yourself or someone you respect elected to the ACC lay-delegate position for 2008.
I feel forced to sign anonymously because if my real name were known, would I stand a chance of being accepted by my diocesan Bishop (+MH) as a lay-delegate? Not likely.
Anonymous for President in '08
#46 Anonymous for President in '08 on 2007-05-29 13:19
I have learned a very, very painful lesson that has struck me to my core -- deception and the OCA go hand in hand -- this scandal is nothing new.
I grew up in the OCA -- joining the "R Club", "Junior R Club", learning the Russian language, holding the usual and expected animosities against the "Uniates" (Byzantine / Greek Catholics), etc. because OCA members are descendants of Russians -- the true keepers of Orthodoxy -- right?
NO -- not by a long shot.
Imagine my absolute shock to learn -- after all of these years -- that I am not Russian at all. I am a Carpatho-Rusyn (aka Ruthenian) whose heritage has been stolen by the OCA and the idea that we in the OCA have historically been Russian.
Now I know the extent that the OCA deceive its own members -- to the extent of stealing from me and from my children and from my grandchildren our real and true identity. I feel like such an old fool.
Our people are no more from Russia than they are from Japan. Our people -- for whom I now have no shame -- were from what is today southern Poland, eastern Slovakia and western Ukraine.
We are NOT RUSSIAN, but Carpatho-Rusyn (aka Ruthenians).
I always wondered -- why could not my uncle, who served in the US Army in WWII, not communicate with the Russian soldiers of the Red Army that he met, even though he could speak some of the language from the old country? ANSWER -- WE ARE NOT RUSSIAN.
Why did our church once have on a sign "Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church"? I always wondered what a "Greek Catholic" was. Now I know -- it was what WE WERE when we came over from the Carpathian Mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Our people did not arrive on the American shores as "Russian Orthodox", but as Greek Catholics!!!
Imagine my absolute horror and shame when I learned that we were the people that those in my church -- including my priest -- despised and looked down upon! WE were the dreded and hated Uniates -- Byzantine and Greek Catholics!!!
Imagine my further horror at researching the Russian Orthodox Church's complicity with Stalin in destroying and dismantling the Greek Catholic Churches in the Soviet satelite states!
Oh, God forgive me and God forgive us!!!!
My main thesis is this -- is it any surprise that a church -- the OCA -- that would work so hard to DECEIVE us about our ethnicity and origin and heritage and language and customs and history, would ever deceive us about mere finances and other mismanagement?
I leave that decision up to you. As for me, I am heartbroken, dispirited, disgusted, and searching.
And, I have met some of these hated "Uniates" -- they are not so bad -- good people, just like we used to be. Amazinigly enough, I have now learned that my grandmother was one.
GOD FORGIVE US!!!!!
#47 B. Edwards on 2007-05-29 17:00
It is well known by all the "former Uniates" (that I know) that they were Carpatho Russians. Bringing this group into the Orthodox Church is what St. Alexis of Wilkes Barre was canonized for. But what is now the OCA was in existence in an unbroken line of bishops from the Alaskan missionaries. North America was a missionary diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church until Communism (St. Patriarch Tikhon was our bishop). He was called back to Russia, made Patriarch and sadly martyred. I dare say most or our bishops were Russian. My priest's parents are pure Russian, in ancestry. Both his grandparents were born in Russia. His wife's mother was born in Russia.
So calm down. You may have not "gotten the memo" but there was no big lie.
#47.1 Linda Weir on 2007-06-01 13:45
Dear Ms. Weir:
Firstly, this is certainly not the website on which to tell another OCA member to "calm down" -- there is very little to be calm about lately with regard to the OCA. Perhaps YOU have not "gotten the memo" that we are facing some very, very big problems in our Church.
I belive that the very existence of the OCA (but not Orthodoxy, of course) is in question -- our numbers are dwindling, our people are aging, and our leaders have failed us time and time again.
You can remain calm and continue to sleep walk -- I have chosen a different path, even in my old age.
Secondly, thank you for summing up my thoughts regarding the deception that the OCA has perpetrated on its congregants, at least in my area of Pennsylvania. Ah, the "Big Lie" -- that term is so appropriate for our OCA on so many levels -- historically, financially, etc.
The Big Lie you refer to -- that most OCA congregants are Carpatho-Rusyns and NOT Russian -- was begun, promoted and fostered by the OCA.
(By the way, the proper term is "Carpatho-Rusyn", NOT Carpatho-"Russian".)
We can each give alegorical accounts of whether or not our fellow OCA members know or do not know of their true heritage. As for my area of Pennsylvania, all OCA members believe they are Russian, and not Carpatho-Rusyn. This is a travesty.
Since our experiences may have been different, let me quote from an independent source that is more authoritative than either of us -- the Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture, published in 2005 by the University of Toronto Press:
"Because Toth viewed Russia as the spiritual guardian of the Orthodox faith he strove to convince Rusyn Americans that they should identify as Russians and adopt the Russian language as their own." "Russophile writers, in fact, deny the existence of a distinct Ukrainian nationality just as they do that of a distinct Rusyn nationality."
So, Ms. Weir, the Big Lie has been confirmed by an independent, outside source.
To use your incredibly condesending phrase -- Maybe YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE MEMO, Ms. Weir!!!!
Our leaders have led us astray -- in the past and the present. This cannot be denied.
Again, I repeat my thesis as first stated in my original comment -- is it any surprise that a church -- the OCA -- that would work so hard to DECEIVE us about our ethnicity and origin and heritage and language and customs and history, would ever deceive us about mere finances and other mismanagement?
No -- it is not such a surprise.
Therefore, I will not remain calm.
Continue your sleep walk, Ms. Weir. Just don't bump into the dresser -- you might wake up and not recognize what you see.
#47.1.1 B. Edwards on 2007-06-02 07:14
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