Tuesday, May 29. 2007
Gregg Nescott is back. Your comments and thoughts on the Scandal are welcome.
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It seems to me that this is the first time there has ever been any "daylight" between the positions of Archbishop Kyrill and Metropolitan Herman. This may be significant.
#1 Ed Unneland on 2007-05-29 14:36
This is like a bad movie. Who's running the church ? Why is it that MH is not providing Kondratick with proper docs.. What is he afraid of ? Bishop Kryll has alot of guts to stand up to Stalin. What do you believe will happen next in this cluster , I'm totally tired of guessing.
#2 Joseph on 2007-05-29 14:56
Dear Mark, I have been wrestling with this comment about your site for a long time: it is cumbersome and time-consuming to have to pick back among previously-read posts in order to read some of the new comments.
Now I see that by making your site's "Post Your Comments" section purely chronological, you could do your bit to save the OCA on administrative expenses, specifically those which cost $700/hr. (!!! is that even possible?) for a New York lawyer to read your site and the comments posted by readers.
PS. Are the New York lawyers allowed to post their own comments, and if they do so, is that "on the clock"? Cate
#3 Cate on 2007-05-29 15:41
once the thread becomes long, click the "linear" option at the top instead of the default "threaded" option.
Then all the new posts are at the bottom, and it's usually pretty clear what they're responding to, so it's easier than scanning the whole thread for deeply embedded new comments.
#3.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-30 06:53
Rebeccah, That is an amazing revelation to me. I had no idea there was a "linear" link, and/or how it works. Thanks so much.
I wish all the other issues could be sorted out so easily. Cate
#3.1.1 Cate on 2007-05-30 14:48
Fr. Mark Sherman's joining the Metropolitan Council is as good news for the cause of accountability, honesty and transparency as + Kyrill's reinstating Mr. Nescott is. Thank you Bishop Nikon! Thank You, Fr. Mark!
#4 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-05-29 15:54
If you're reading this you're costing us money: money that should be used for the real work of the Church. Who are you people representing anyway, the church or the Metropolitan?!
Count this as a vote of "No confidence" and pass it along to your client...
I'd like to echo Rachel Andreyev's comments on Fr. Mark. He is a mature and sensible man, who had a long and successful secular career before becoming Orthodox and studying for the priesthood. Does having such a career make him "better" than others? No. But it does mean that his experience is more diverse and he comes at things with some perspective and independence.
I also agree with Ed that the "light" now visible between Abp. Kyrill and Met. Herman is intriguing. What will come of it, who knows? But to the extent that Met. Herman is following a path that diverges from that agreed to by the Holy Synod, he is setting up a non-tenable situation.
Abp. Kyrill was not at St. Tikhon's on Monday. I don't know if he had attended other events over the weekend.
The legal fees strike me as extreme, and to use one blanket rate for all work seems strange. I've asked a friend who's a NY lawyer (and totally unconnected to this) about this and will be curious about the answer. But it strikes me that there are two things that the bills for website monitoring could refer to ... if one of the senior lawyers working on the issue sometimes looked over the site and (in well-trained firm lawyer mode) noted a quarter hour here or a quarter hour there on his/her timesheets, that's bad, but not egregious (although I'd expect the client to contest it). If on the other hand an associate or para-legal was assigned to regularly monitor the site, that's a different matter. First it at least appears that then it was somehow part of the agreed scope of work for the firm (and if not, the hours should have been contested). Second, why would such activity be billed at the full rate rather than some lower rate reflecting who did the work? At the very least, that seems to my untrained eye to reflect a very bad agreement on the part of the client. And if this monitoring was agreed to in the scope of work, what does that say about what PR was actually being asked to do? It would confirm as clearly as anything else has that they were really hired for damage control and to manage the crisis rather than as in an investigative capacity. And that means that those doing the hiring see the revelations as the problem rather than the underlying bad acts being revealed. Not that that's particularly surprising at this point.
#6 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-29 17:44
It's called "build a firewall around Metropolitan Herman." Whoever heard of hiring a law firm to investigate yourself? Absurd. Lawyers are hired to defend the one who is paying them. They are not hired to find the truth. They are hired to get their client off the hook.
Herman used the coffers of the OCA to defend himself. Herman even went so far as to encumber the Church by paying off internal debt. Again, absurd.
Now Herman wants us to believe that he is pure and "fighting against the Evil One" who is working against him, as his minions extolled at the not so Grand Banquet over Memorial Day Weekend.
Having attended this less than edifying event, purely for historical purposes, I felt as if I was at a grand dinner for Tsar Nicholas, surrounded by those who owed all to the Emperor, and praised him regardless of the surrounding reality mounting against him. It was like stepping back in time and I did not like it.
#6.1 One Who Attended the Not-So-Grand Banquet on 2007-05-29 22:08
For whatever it may be worth, I am fairly sure that some who extolled Metr. Herman at that banquet were not expressing their own personal opinions on the matter but simply were doing what they perceived as their duty.
Anyway, I was under the impression that it was to be an event honoring the graduates of St. Tikhon's, but of course it quickly shifted away from that theme into a lengthy, desperate plea for folks to love Metr. Herman. The $35/plate food was awful, and it was honestly one of the more oppressive events I have attended in my whole life. My friends there and I generally regarded it all as strangely farcical.
#6.1.1 Another who attended on 2007-05-30 05:53
I asked a lawyer-friend's opinion on the $700 rate and on the application of this rate to stuff like website monitoring. His reaponse:
> i have to imagine $700 p/h is a partner rate,
> not a blended rate.
> i also imagine they'd be flexible if you can
> show them that this rate was applied to non-
> skilled work.
> seems way out of whack to me.
To me this raises loads of questions not only about what PR was hired to do, who they considered their client to be, and what their goals/scope of work were, but also about simple matters like proper oversight, review and contesting, where necessary, of their billing.
Okay, this is a complicated matter where a lot of documentation had to be reviewed. But no law firm has a partner doing all that -- some associate or summer intern did the bulk of the grunt work, so why is everything billed at $700/hr?
Who at Syosset is responsible for reviewing and approving the bills from PR?
Clients review and contest aspects of billing all the time. Happens in any professional services field.
#6.2 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-30 07:03
I have enough experience with corporate attorney's fees in NYC and other large metropolitan areas to confirm Rebecca's information - $700/hr is partner's billing rate. "In-the-trenches" lawyer's billing rate to a corporate client should be in the range of $400-$500. Most data research (internet monitoring would fall into this category) in large law offices is typically done by paralegals or legal assistants and no responsible organization would ever sign off on the invoice with high-end rate for this scope, unless the involvement of more senior people is justified by the nature of said research.
I would also like to see justification for this scope of work to begin with. If this website was the only source of information to PR when they were supposedly working FOR the administration and should have had access to all records, then this is ridiculous beyond any measure. If, on the other hand, that scope is defined as part of "damage control", then I'd like to know why the OCA should pay that bill.
All in all, I am beginning to take this "little" issue very personally... I pay my dues, so it is MY money that was paid to PR for something of no comprehensive value to the Church as far as I can ascertain. In a corporate world, it is not unheard-of for an executive to be sued by the board to recover legal fees if the lawyer's work can be demonstrated to benefit an individual rather than organization. (That is, provided that the lawyers were engaged to serve the organization rather than explicitly defend the individual). This is big money and I can see many ways in which it could be used with far better results - fund the work of the Special Commission, for instance... (Especially considering that lawyers like Alexandra Makosky are DONATING their time - anybody stopped to consider what their billing rate would be should they go under contract?)
#6.2.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-05-30 08:45
Well, this is another one you can lay at the feet of the Metropolitan Council. The time for them to complain was the first day they learned of PR's involvement. Instead, they've gone along with it, accepted "reports" from PR and generally ratified the decision to hire PR at enormous expense to the church, even though it appears that PR is working narrowly in the Metropolitan's interests.
Perhaps the Metropolitan and his cabal in Syosset is viewed as the embodiment of the church, and what's good for him is good for the OCA as a whole. It would be hard for PR to come to that understanding if they read the OCA statute, but who knows? I suspect insufficient consideration was paid to the niceities of the OCA Statute after the Metropolitan dangled a check with a lot of zeros in front of their noses.
As for reading this website, maybe they are looking for a way to bring legal pressure against Mark and to shut it down. That would be my guess. You don't have to have a sound theory to huff and puff and threaten to blow a little guy's house down. Or maybe they are reading the legal opinions posted here to see what the lawyers that post might have up their sleeves. Or maybe someone just asked them to do it, and they said, "Sure, why not," thinking, heck, if they're dumb enough to pay for it then who are we to disappoint them?
I wonder how PR would explain going through so much of the Church's money on the say-so of a single person, when the decision to act in legal matters is expressly reserved to the Metropolitan Council? If PR is advising the Metropolitan, instead of the Metropolitan Council, and that advice continues to drain the church treasury and undermine the institution as a whole, how would they explain the apparent conflcit? Did PR advise the Metropolitan that it would be okay to summmarily remove a member of the Metropolitan Council, when such action is clearly illegal under the OCA Statute? Wow. That would be very bad, don't you think? Make things pretty clear? If the State of New York authorities asked PR point blank just who their client was, then requested that they demonstrate that through the paper trail of this case, I wonder how easy a task that would be?
The MC has never been so pusillanimous as in this, the most serious unrecognized scandal in the whole mess: the plunder of the church treasury by Metropolitan Herman's lawyers. Talk about adding insult to injury.
I don't know who signs the checks to PR, but the next such signature should be interpreted as a resignation. It is long past time to cut these people out of the picture.
And what is OCA general counsel getting paid for if PR is providing legal representation? Does the budget for the OCA even justify full-time general counsel? How much does that position pay, assuming the OCA has one? Just who is General Counsel, and what is the published job description? Was that one of the positions that the search committee was looking to fill? Who hires the General Counsel, anyway? How many applicants were in the pool from which he or she was selected? Where was the opening advertised.
(Editor's note: The OCA has not had "official" general counsel since Mr. Jonathan Russin was relieved of that position last year. Yes, there was a line item in previous budgets for legal expenses. Mr. Jim Perry has been serving in the capacity of the OCA's de facto legal counsel, pro bono, since late last year. As to who hires the General Counsel, that is a good question - one would assume it is the Metropolitan Council since they are charged with handling "legal" issues. No, it was not one of the committees established to search for new candidates for Syosset. Perhaps it should have been. Perhaps it should be at the next meeting. No, the position has not been advertised.
#126.96.36.199 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-05-30 15:35
I share Inga's views. I do not like to pay assesment money to he central adminstration to be spent for someting of no value to the church. What adds an insult to the injury is that our bishop will not permit my parish to hold back OCA assesments in an escrow account. At least we can stop financial abuses like this untill the crisis is resolved.
Perhaps PR can give our hierarchs some statistics of the many souls suffering over this whole mess. Therefore, I urge all the members of our national OCA church to post their opinions to this page. At least their voices will be counted.
Holy Annunication Orthodox Church
#188.8.131.52 Michel Michail on 2007-06-05 10:10
Even if PR is being paid $00.07 does that not *re-*raise the question of who their client is? As someone else said, an attorney isn't hired to investigate his/her own client. Furthermore, exactly what purpose is there to having an attorney's staff read this site? How might the OCA, if the OCA really were the client, legally benefit from this monitoring? Is the FBI going to use something here against the Church as a whole? Might the MC be interested in the answers to these and any related questions?
#6.2.2 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-30 13:14
Thank you Archbishop Kyrill, for doing the right and just and true thing -- reinstating your diocese's MC representative Gregg Nescott.
Will 3 members of the HS meet and call for Met. H to be removed? Will the HS let an AAC vote stand? As we all know, MH was not elected by the AAC, but by the HS.
May the Holy Spirit be our guide! Lord have mercy!
Finally a member of the Synod does the right thing, even though it may be painful amongst other Bishops.
Thank you Abp. Kyril, much respect, wish you had said so sooner, only criticism. This really turns the tide and returns some respect to the Synod, even if we didn't agree with Metropolitan Herman, at least a Brother Bishop is willing to look closely and make a decision under his authority. This makes our Synod and the governance actually a little more appealing [as a method of governing]. I pray that Metropolitan Herman agrees to this reinstatement. Any further political battling would really be a sore spot for me.
I STILL WOULD LIKE TO SEE A WRITTEN DISCLOSURE POLICY. Then all parties would understand what is considered confidential and what is not and these petty disagreements go away. Even lay persons like me would know what to expect. If I expect nothing, I give nothing and that is the fair trade.
If I were Fr. Kondratick, I would not attend a "spiritual court" unless I had the charges against me. The Synod basically has agreed implicitly or explicitly that Fr. Kondratick abused church monies, so why not levy the charges? Makes no sense.
As to the Kutner defense, the only thing I can say is throw pride out the window Metropolitan Herman and Fr. Paul. Accept responsibility for that which you are responsible for and don't for an instant before God blame all financial problems on Fr. Kondratick.
If this is all about Twinkle Toes and nothing more, then our entire Synod should resign tomorrow for wasting our time over something so petty.
Finally, Mark, you didn't post anything about the income statement posted on the OCA web site. The income statement is a start, but the balance sheets and cash flow statements are missing. Those statements, along with compiled notes or condensed notes are critical to me accepting the financial statements. I support those churches and additional churches holding assessments in escrow until those statements are provided. Given the facts, these reports are a minimum requirement, successful audits combined with quarterly reporting will have my leave of OCANEWS.ORG.
None of the things I ask are unreasonable.
#8 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-05-29 18:59
What wonderful for the OCA and the Metropolitan Council. This is great news. Another bishop has carefully reviewed what happened with Gregg Nescott and wants him returned to the Council. I hope Bishop Herman and Fr. Paul Kucynda take seriously Bishop Kyrill's admonition/advise/directive (I couldn't decide on which word fit the best) to return Gregg Nescott to the Metropolitan Council. He is backed by senior priests of the Diocese of the West as well as another careful review of the circumstances of the situation. I hope he gets all the documents that other Metropolitan Council members are, or have, received, for their upcomming meeting in June.
The ensuing few weeks could be interesting, however. Another fellow bishop has just challenged Bishop Herman's authority. But the review of circumstances seems to have been thorough and with support of senior clergy.
I wonder if Bishop Herman will accept this and allow Gregg to be at the Metropolitan Council's June meeting without an argument. For the sake of the OCA I hope Bishop Herman will listen to what a fellow bishop has recommended to him.
#9 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-29 18:59
To whoever from Proskauer Rose that is reading this:
Would you join and contribute to this Church seeing what you see?
#10 Publius on 2007-05-29 19:20
If Proskauer's reviewing this site, it strikes me that they have arguably confused (or not ....) what should be a clear distinction between the client (the OCA) and and at least one of its officer(s). Its basic law school stuff: lawyers representing corporate clients must not only remember that the client is the organization and not the management, but also must advise (and remind) the officers and directors of this fundamental principle.
Sure, there may be some vaguely plausible reason that monitoring this site is in the best interest of the organization; but then again maybe not.
I for one would not mind seeing a complaint made against Proskauer with the NY State Bar. Were it so (that the firm was not acting in the best interests of its client), it apparently wouldn't be the first time in recent history that that firm has not acted above board: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1145283104293
Follow the money.
#11 Ann X. Ios on 2007-05-29 19:27
If the OCA is the client, then when did the OCA authorize PR to monitor the musings of its members on this website, and promise to pay for it?
If MH is the client, then who authorized him to spend OCA funds to monitor the musings of members of the OCA on this website?
We have some real embezzlement going on here.
#11.1 Name withheld on 2007-05-30 09:19
The best laid plans of mice and …. (we can’t use the next word to describe the principals in this case).
In an organization where they must have much more time on their hands with the reduced travel, reduced money coming in, etc. you would think they’d like to spread their precious few activities like an MC meeting and trial of a former chancellor so that they could enjoy both. But no… they have to be done at the same time. A mix up in scheduling? Ha! Could it be that with Nescott gone (at the time of the setting of the time of the trial) and Faith Skordinski being occupied with the trial that good ole Herman thought he could breeze through an MC meeting without his biggest annoyances on the council not there? Herman meet Gregg, Gregg meet Herman!
He must be going nuts! Could a higher power being thwarting his cleverly thought out plans?
#12 Stonewall on 2007-05-29 19:34
The actions of Archbishop Kyrill should send a very chilling message to Herman. He is losing his grip on the Holy Synod. Archbishop Dmitri's letter of concern to Herman about denying Fr Kondratick any evidence against him prior to the so-called spiritual court was backed also by Archbishop Kyrill. A letter is on file in Syosset to confirm this. That means that Kyrill has gone on record TWICE to say NO to Herman.
This means that the two senior hierarchs on Holy Synod both have serious issues with Herman. It goes without saying that Bishop Nikolai also is at odds with Herman. It would not take much now for Archbishop Job to go public in an negative way against Herman and the upcoming Midwest Diocesan Council may be the venue for that open break with Herman, especially if the special commission's work is at an end.
Truth be told, and this site is about truth, even Archbishop Job at the last Midwest Diocesan Council meeting lamented how bad things are in Syosset and "praised" of all people, Fr Kondratick for his skill and dedication in keeping the members of the Holy Synod focused on the work of the Church and the responsibilities placed on the Holy Synod, which they needed to be reminded of again and again.
That leaves Archbishop Seraphim and Bishop Benjamin as swing votes against Herman. Seraphim is still smarting from being so close to being elected Metropolitan in Orlando. Remember, Herman won the "unanimous" vote of the Holy Synod by a 4-3 margin. At least 2 bishops now regret their votes.
It would not be a stretch to think that if a secret no confidence vote was cast by the Holy Synod today, Herman would only have the support of Nikon and Tikhon.
I applaud Archbishop Kyrill for taking a stand against Herman. Even if the special commission is dead, Nescott's presence at the Metropolitan Council meetings will be a major pain in Herman's hind section, assuming that he will be allowed to attend, which he may not and if he is not, then we will finally see that Herman and his inner circle consider Herman to be the OCA Pope, who can do what he wants and considers himself ABOVE the other bishops on the Holy Synod that thus above all of us.
Don't think this to be far fetched. Just look at how he dictated his will over others even from his earliest days when he arrived at St Tikhon's. His rise to power and influence was only on the broken backs of anyone who dared to get in his way.
Wouldn't it be a clarifying moment for Herman and for the history of The Orthodox Church in America if the Metropolitan Council passed a NO CONFIDENCE on Herman in June? It would certainly make it easier for the Holy Synod to do the same, either in a special session or in its regular session, that is JOINT SESSION, this fall.
Brothers and Sisters, we can do better and we must insist that Herman step down, retire, resign, whatever you want to call it. Until he does, this saga will continue. It's time for a clean sweep.
OUT WITH THE OLD GUARD AND IN WITH THE NEW.
Only then can we move on and build again what we are called to be as The Orthodox Church in America.
#13 A Senior Priest of the Orthodox Church in America on 2007-05-29 21:45
The no-confidence vote in the Metropolitan Council may backfire ... Bishops promise not to do anything out of fear of the people. It could be used as a canonical version of a 2x4.
#13.1 Ed Unneland on 2007-05-30 06:09
Dear SP of OCA,
You said: "Seraphim is still smarting from being so close to being elected Metropolitan in Orlando."
FYI, he has never had (the perverted) ambition to be Metropolitan. That he received the popular vote (i.e. from the "mere laypeople", as MH refers to us) at the Assembly was because he cares deeply and personally about everyone he meets, and wherever he serves he knows and greets parishoners BY NAME, and takes the time to talk with them.
+Seraphim is a true shepherd of his flock, a proper (arch)bishop, full of love and the desire to serve them, NOT to be served by them.
I think you owe him an apology for your libelous remark.
Hopefully all members of the Synod (funny/sad how the adjective "Holy" has been put aside for a long time now) will be guided through the prayers of all of us to the Lord, and by the work of the Holy Spirit to set things right.
#13.2 Larissa on 2007-05-30 10:26
I meant no offense to Abp Seraphim. He is a very caring man and has worked tirelessly for the Archdiocese of Canada. Smarting does not mean he is ambitious for the job, why would anyone want it? It's just a matter of fact that it stings to know that you were not elected by your brothers while being the overwhelming choice of the clergy and laity of the Church.
His time may come sooner than we think.
SP of the OCA
#13.2.1 Senior Priest of the OCA on 2007-05-31 13:44
The impression which I was given by one present at the election of the Metropolitan was that (at the time Bishop) Seraphim was devastated at the prospect of becoming Metropolitan after the first two votes. Of course that is hearsay, but it is keeping with his character. Many of us in the Archdiocese of Canada were horror-stricken also at the possibility that we might lose our beloved Bishop. It does not serve any good purpose to speculate about motives, feelings, morals, spitituality, schemes and thinking of others, including Metropolitan Herman and members of the Synod of Bishops. Because there are very serious matters facing all of us in the OCA at this time, including in my one the extremely crucial one of proper ecclesiology, both in doctrine and practice, it is important that the faithful have access to matters which deeply affect them, since they are members of the Body of Christ, but important information is one thing and gossip, judging, speculation and slander another. The latter things serve only the purposes of the evil one.
#13.3 Name withheld on 2007-05-30 10:53
If any attempt in made to bar Gregg Nescott from the next meeting of the MC, then the rest of the Council must refuse to function without him. Better yet, they should adjourn to a secret location with Gregg, but absent Metropolitan Herman, and declare the Metropolitan in contempt of OCA rules and procedures--a virtual outlaw in his own Church--and DEMAND his removal by the Synod or funding of all OCA functions will cease immediately
Despite what they may have been previously told, they have power and responsibility over many facets of OCA administrative life and should have the gumption to exercise it. How about a motion to terminate PR and forbid any further hires without approval from the MC. Futhermore, stop kowtowing to MH by refusing to appeal his rediculous rulings from the chair, which can be overturned by a majority vote!
#13.4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-31 05:47
How is it that Kucynda is the treasurer ? Does he have a degree in finance ? It is like a money tree that everyone plucks and he has no control over anything. I would love to be a fly on the wall when MH and Kucynda decide what's important , the church or the firewall. We know the answer 700,000 times over. WE need a new treasurer bad who knows finance. Will the tree ever run dry ?
#14 tom on 2007-05-30 05:18
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Oh the politics! My gut is telling me that Kyrill is certainly looking out for himself in the legal department.
I only wish that in the beginning of this scandal that he would of been more careful and helped Eric Wheeler, Greg Nescott and Mark Harrison along with the Blessed Bishop Job, to rectify the situation and to of been along side each of them on this journey.
I still continue to pray that Senior Priest and Laymen will help Kryill to make the right choices and to guide him with honor to save our Church. We will be paying for these wrong choices in our pockets for a long time.
I still believe in the only resonable solutions, Dry up the well, send no money put in all in Escrow. Remove the current Administration. No confidence is my vote. This has remained in my mind for over 18 months now.
I Deeply want to move forward and to restore our Church. Tears in Heaven have been flowing from Christ For Too Long! I will continue to pray each and everyday. I know that so many posting are full of hurt, exhaustion and sorrow along with confusion.
Dear brothers and sisters each and everyone of us is feeling your heartaches. This is what makes us Brothers and Sisters. Go Forth today! Follow Scripture I will continue to offer my Prayers To All of You. Signed With Love....
#15 Anonymous on 2007-05-30 05:45
I am curious who you are representing and why?
If you were ethically hired by the OCA to the tune of $700+/hr to monitor the ocanews.org website, then we don’t need your services anymore as we are all perfectly well aware of what is transpiring within the OCA.
However if you have been hired solely by +Herman to monitor the ocanews.org website and if he is paying you with OCA funds then +Herman is using the OCA’s money unethically. Obviously if he were authorized to use these funds, it would have appeared on the recently released budget on the oca.org website.
If the aforementioned is true and considering you are aware of our current financial scandal, does this mean the OCA (Metropolitan Council) needs to hire legal council to see if fraud is being committed?
Make no mistake about this; you may have been elected our leader, but you have yet to exhibit actions worthy of your position or reflective of the expectations of our High Priest, Jesus Christ that should inspire you to lead us as our shepherd. You have failed us, but Jesus Christ has not. You are one man, an individual (translated from original Greek means idiot), but we are Christ’s church. Despite your antics, Christ’s church is prevailing and there is nothing you can do to stop this.
#16 Juliana on 2007-05-30 06:16
He may have been elected, but there is a feeling that that election was rigged - maybe "by the will of the Holy Spirit".
Hey, PR, nice to meet you. It is nice that you are finally listening to what the people who are paying your invoices are saying. Too bad you aren't representing us as well! When are you gonna give us a look at that report? Or is that just for the "client" to see?
#16.1 Stonewall on 2007-05-30 09:16
One priest I respect and trust has speculated that things would actually be worse had Bp. Seraphim been chosen as Metropolitan. Not because of dishonesty or anything like that, but because of a natural aversion to rocking the boat and to controversy, so he never would have removed RSK.
Don't know and don't know that it's really very useful speculation.
The election did follow the correct procedure. The only question is whether some were encouraged to include a variety of names on the first ballot and misled about the consequences of doing so. Had Seraphim met the required super-majority, his name would have been sent to be confirmed or not by the Synod. But there is never, nor should there be, quite frankly, a direct election by the assembly.
#16.1.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-30 11:14
I don't believe it is in anyone’s best interest to speculate what Bishop Seraphim would have done..... passing judgment on actions that never occurred is disrespectful to the Bishop and in part becomes distasteful propaganda.
We need move past the “what-ifs” and deal with the “here and now”. Whether we like it or not, +Herman was elected our metropolitan and he needs our continued steadfast “encouragement” to BEGIN fulfilling the duties he was elected to do...or at least until the Holy Synod of Bishops deem otherwise.
As for how the election should actually take place or be changed….the AAC and Holy Synod must decide.
#184.108.40.206 Juliana on 2007-05-30 18:02
Just because the election followed the proper procedure for those in the audience doesn't mean that it was above board.
Do we know who the vote counters were? Did it strike anyone that it took a very very long time to count that first ballot?
With the mess that we are slowly coming to know more about do you think that they would be so sloppy as to let anything left to chance in electing the Metropolitan?
#220.127.116.11 FIS on 2007-05-30 20:53
All love and respect for Archbishop KYRILL, but he is both elderly and ill. He is still able to do work and make decisions much of the time, but he lacks strength and the endurance to put in anything like a full day.
In my estimation, he did not write the letter, nor did he do any significant investigation. This action is predominantly a response to clergy and/or laity comments.
He stated that Mr. Nescott should be reinstated to the MC only, not his other positions.
I am hopeful that Vladika KYRILL's request will be honored, and look forward to Mr. Nescott's inclusion in these issues. But I don't see this as any real "split" between Archbishop KYRILL and the Metropolitan.
Archbishop KYRILL is a conservative churchman. He has a long history of unhappiness with the situation in Syosset which to my knowledge has included (1) statements that they were wasting huge sums of money and suggestions on dramatically scaling back the central church administration, (2) advising clergy not to accept positions with the central church administration, and (3) blessing requesting clergy not to participate in the central church medical and retirement plans.
But these things were said and done privately. He also campaigned for and voted for the election of Archbishop HERMAN to the office of primate of our church, and was not in favor of other candidates.
Anything can happen in this sad, benighted mess which seems to have become our status quo, but I would be surprised if any serious rift developed between Metropolitan HERMAN and Archbishop KYRILL.
Remember, the first and most important thing we can and must do is pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit on all those involved in these issues, and on us all.
#17 Fr Andrew on 2007-05-30 07:22
I was commiserating with a friend on the phone about the sorry state of the OCA, when the news came flashing on the computer concerning the reinstatement. My first reaction, before reading the entire article, was that Metropolitan Herman had cleverly thrown a bone to his hungry serfs. It was with a sigh of relief that I subsequently learned that Archbishop Kyrill had proactively and unilaterally reinstated Gregg.
Perhaps in my eagerness for good news, I am overreacting to this development, but it strikes me after reading the Archbishop's letter several times that a bridge may have been crossed. Or perhaps a bridge too far in the case of the Metropolitan. It seems that his actions are beginning to be questioned by some of his erstwhile supporters. It's about time!
Maybe, just maybe, the disastrous state of the OCA, and its reputation in the greater world, are starting to alarm some members of the Synod. Let us hope so, and pray that enlightenment will strike those still in spiritual and mental darkness so that truth, reform and healing can begin.
#18 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-30 07:31
To Those Who Are Reading This Website and +Herman to whom they report:
If you are reading this site you have undoubtedly noted, if not counted, the number of individuals who post here. Be aware that this is only the tip of the iceburg. Do not be under the delusion that is only a few "disgruntled" mere laypeople. The discontent is pervasive; the number of scandalized, outraged people is huge.
+Herman is surrounded by "His People" in PA...where he has been all his life and is out of touch with reality.
It strikes me that if all those who follow the posts on this site and are of a like mind would post....even a short post saying they agree that the administration has to go, beginning with +Herman....the Readers would get a true picture of what the laity and clergy believe and what they want to happen.
So, I challange you, if you are reading this and have never posted, do so now. It doesn't have to be long, and sign your name. Even if you disagree that the Metropolitan should retire. At this time in our history feel like you at least tried. Your voice was at least heard. You didn't let Herman think it is only a few malcontents....
On another note, it may be that PR gets more out of this website than from Syocett.
#19 Linda Weir on 2007-05-30 11:35
Linda, there are those of us who have the Metropolitan as our bishop and are in parishes where signing our name would bring the wrath of God down on our heads. I full support all the efforts to bring full disclosure to this whole mess and am not sure if I am more upset by the moral issues that were repeatedly made a mockery of or of the total disregard for using "my" money for unintended purposes both moral, immoral and personal use. It is quite unbelievable that after so much time and money spent, we are still without answers. I will always be orthodox, but remaining a member of the OCA is in doubt. Add my voice to the silent majority who have never posted before but unfortunately have to remain annonymous.
#19.1 Name Withheld by Request on 2007-05-30 18:26
The wrath of wannabe Pope Herman would be more accurate.
#19.1.1 Name withheld on 2007-05-31 02:56
Just so you know, Linda and I both have the Metropolitan as our bishop.
This "state of fear" in the OCA is in my view a sign of the devil and his sway over us. It should alarm us that fear rather than love seems to be in such control. Perhaps this is what was meant by those extolling the virtues of Metropolitan Herman recently?
#19.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-31 05:59
I hope that the next All-American Council will revise the Statute of the OCA so that the statute cannot be used, as it has been, to establish a overly powerful Metropolitan. In a previous post, I showed how the AAC, the Holy Synod, and the Metropolitan Council are not "supreme" in their respective areas of competencies and authority.
Suggest the following changes:
1. Article 3, All-American Council: Delete Section 12, Approval by Hierarchy.
RATIONALE: The Council is composed of the Metropolitan and all bishops; the priests of each parish and a comparable number of lay delegates, as well as some others. Notice that the clergy outnumbers the laity. You also know that bishops have (or should have) great influence over their priests and their congregations. The point is that everybody has the opportunity to have their say so--why give the bishops any more power than they already have? If a decision goes against their wishes, then either (a) the bishops have lost that particular argument or (b) they have lost their moral authority in that instance.
I submit to you that if Section 12 is retained and the hierarchy ejects an AAC decision, they will have won the battle but lost the war, as they would be acting not as our spiritual elders but as our run-of-the-mill bosses. This goes completely against the servant/leader example established by our Lord. This proposed change does not in any way detract from the bishops' authority in spiritual matters.
2. Article II, The Holy Synod: Delete Section 6, The Permanent Lesser Synod.
RATIONALE: Although the powers of the Lesser Synod are somewhat limited by this section, they still include:
- Examination of annual reports by the Metropolitan and the bishops on the fulfillment of their pastoral duties;
- Appointment, upon recommendation by the Metropolitan Council, of the Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer, and other officials whose competence or service extend beyond the boundaries of a single diocese;
- Pastoral supervision over all Church organizations whose activity extends beyond the boundaries of a single diocese;
- Appointment of committees on matters belonging to the competence of the Holy Synod;
- General supervision over Armed Forces Chaplaincies, with the Metropolitan being particularly and immediately responsible in this field;
- Decisions in cases involving non-Orthodox clergymen applying for admission into the Orthodox Church;
- Supervision over theological schools;
- Establishment of standards required for ordination; and,
- Overseeing the missionary, educational, and social programs of the Church.
Please note that the Lesser Synod is composed of "of at least three diocesan bishops, presided over by the Metropolitan, may receive from the Holy Synod a delegation of power to make necessary and provisional decisions on all matters, except those covered by points a,b,c,d,e,f,i,j,k, and l of Section 7." (The above list omits all of these exempted matters).
In accordance with Article IV, the Metropolitan "supervises the internal and external welfare of the Church" (Section 1) and "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." (Section 2i) This means that the Metropolitan can exert inordinately great powers over his fellow bishops, particularly if they are reduced in numbers as in the Lesser Synod.
3. Article IV, The Metropolitan, Section 1. Delete phrase "supervises the internal and external welfare of the Church"
RATIONALE: This phrase is superfluous in a conciliar church, where all are co-responsible for the internal and external welfare of the Church. Obviously the Metropolitan is the figure who represents the OCA to the outside--that is one of his jobs. However, this phrase has the potential of allowing/seducing a Metropolitan to arrogate to himself too much power.
4. Article IV, Section 2. Eliminate (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."
RATIONALE: Too vague and potentially extremely dangerous delegation of power. This power has no place in a conciliar church, whether conciliarity is confined to bishops, to bishops and priests, or to bishops, priests, and laity in the setting of the AAC or the Metropolitan Council.
5. Article V, The Metropolitan Council. Generally edit to remove citations of the Lesser Synod and revise Section 2 to read as follows "A majority of the members of the Metropolitan Council will constitute the quorum. All matters of the Metropolitan Council are decided by a majority of votes of those present; in case of a tie, the deciding vote shall be cast by the Chairman."
RATIONALE: This change deletes the requirement for "the decisions of the Metropolitan Council (to) become effective upon approval of the Metropolitan or Holy Synod, depending on the nature of the decision." Please note that the Metropolitan is the Chairman of the Council; and membership consists of the Chancellor, Treasurer and Secretary (all hired by the Holy Synod and supervised by the Metropolitan), as well as "two representatives from each diocese, one priest and one layman to be elected by the Diocesan Assemblies, three priests and three laymen elected by the All-American Council. As I argued in first change proposal, either the Metropolitan and fellow Holy Synod members have personal authority or they do not. If they have such authority, there should be no need of approving decisions of the Metropolitan Council. If they do not have that authority, exercising statutory authority is ultimately futile--they win the battle but lose the war.
I would ask our leaders at all levels whether the prefer to rule with love and persuasion or by dint of worldly authority. Let us not repeat the errors of the Roman Church--change the statute to make OCA truly conciliar.
#20 Carl on 2007-05-30 13:15
I've been reading this blog with more scrutiny than PR for 17 months.
Your proposed changes in the statue and your accompanying reasoning for their adoption are by far the most important and potentially productive thoughts ever to appear.
You've given many of us a milestone to strive to reach on our way to retake the OCA from the current authoritarian rule.
#20.1 Sergei on 2007-05-30 19:55
The issue of Statute reform has come up from time to time. Remember that the original reasons for having the next AAC in 2010 were 1) save money and 2) need time to develop statute reform. And when the pressure on these issues started to build, the first line of argument against an early AAC by the powers that be was that it couldn't happen because the main agenda item needed to be Statute reform and time was needed to prepare the new Statute.
The direction of those changes would have been to bring the Statute more in line with canoncial norms as understood by certain elements. In other words, to remove checks on episcopal action.
The changes you suggest go in the other direction, but don't strike me as wise or even as consistent with our nature as a hierarchical church. Just because we are in a very difficult and frustrating situation does not mean that we should throw out the baby with the bath water.
We have to solve our problems within the context of maintaining good church order.
#20.2 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-31 03:45
No, the reason for 2010 was so that this entire mess would die down and have little impact on an AAC...
#20.2.1 Stonewall on 2007-06-01 13:13
Wow! This posting -- and the work it represents -- as well as several others in this thread, show how very much people truly love the OCA as an institution, and are willing to devote considerable time and effort to see it restored to its rightful place in the firmament of "institutional churches" in this country and in the world! It reminds me a bit of what's going on in Venezuela right now: A socialist president who was elected with all due form and process finally PO's the people enough to get them into the street to demand redress -- yet they still wave Venezuelan flags! It's very encouraging, esp. with people like +Kyrill and others stepping up to the plate.
Hmmm ... maybe there's hope for the OCA after all. Still, there is a lot of hard, distasteful work yet to be done, and people (clergy and laity alike) need to stick to their principals and gather their courage!
Frankly, I'm still disappointed that ANYONE posting to this site when to St. Tikhon's. The "other side" is going to inevitably take the "head count" as a vote of support, and have the photos to show for it! We must collectively withhold our presence at such events, as well as our money!
In a belated response to previous posts, I'm not advocating the Donatist heresy -- I'm just saying I feel uncomfortable giving the appearance of support to my Bishop, the Metropolitan. It emboldens him to stay-the-course, and that course is ruinous to the OCA, in my humble opinion.
#20.3 Committed Convert on 2007-05-31 08:38
It is important to make clear that voluntarily refusing to receive the ministrations (communion, confession, etc.) of your priest or bishop, for good and sufficient reasons, is NOT heretical! Believing or claiming these sacraments are invalid or spiritually deficient because the cleric is evil or wicked IS.
PS: Thank you God/Mark for spell check!
#20.3.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-31 12:12
Sorry, I can't let this one go. It is too important.
Actually, to use the gift of Holy Communion as any kind of "statement" about someone or as an act to accomplish something other than an expression of your total love, devotion, need for and committment to Jesus Christ is a heresy (i.e. deviant/destructive choice).
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2007-05-31 16:45
To abstain from reception of the Sacrament is not, in my view, to be equated with "using" the Sacrament. While I believe in frequent reception as a general rule, there are many circumstances that lead people not to receive at any given service of the Divine Liturgy. It is not hard to imagine what circumstances might make people feel "unprepared" to receive in our current environment.
#22.214.171.124.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-31 19:40
If a person does not receive communion because they are not at peace with their brother (or sister) in Christ, you are correct it would not be a kind of heresy. In fact, the scriptures are pretty clear about that.
If this is the case, it would mean that the person would not receive communion anywhere, though... in any church and in any jurisdiction.... and the person's first action would be to try and reconcile with their brothers (or sister). which includes asking forgiveness of them for their own sins and contribution to whatever is causing them to be in emnity with him.
If, however, you refrain from communion to make some kind of impression to either your priest, bishop, or as some kind of "witness" to others as how to show protest... that is a heresy ..
Not wishing to cause a fight here, but God forbid anyone of us to misusing the Sacrament.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Ken Sanders on 2007-06-01 08:43
It is quite sad that anyone would be so upset about this issue that one would be prevent from receiving the sacraments. That's part of why sin is bad for the entire Body and "wishing it would go away" is not going to work.
It's one thing to be upset, concerned and curious about the truth. It's another thing to be obsessed with this issue to the point of losing one's sight of the reward for which we struggle. Hopefully no one is using this scandal as an excuse to be obsessive, angry, unforgiving, or uncharitable. That would be a complete waste of time and energy. The sins (whatever they are) of the OCA leaders are nothing new.
#188.8.131.52.1.2 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-06-01 21:13
"OCANews has learned that Syosset has paid Proskauer Rose LLP its full fee (over $700 an hour) to read and monitor OCANews.org.on a regular basis. Our financial statement shows we cannot fund evangelism, education or youth work, indeed, practically any programs beyond salaries - but we could afford to pay lawyers to read a free site for a Metropolitan and administration that claims not to? Madness."
Astonishing if true....
#21 george cingolani on 2007-05-30 13:38
Have you ever seen anything posted on this website by its editor that didn't check out?
#21.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-05-30 21:34
+Metropolitan Herman's policy thus far (under your counsel?) seems to be "ignore the problem and it will go away." That won't work anymore. If the people who post here and elsewhere are any indication, we won't soon forget the grave injury done to the Church and to the faithful, and we won't let the perpetrators of these crimes escape without a full accounting.
Surely we will forgive any genuine act of confession and repentance, and it will be our collective task to reconcile and rebuild the mutual love and trust we once shared in Christ. But first things first.
I fear that the next All-American Council will get quite ugly for the Metropolitan. I'm not sure his life-long dream of wearing the white hat will mean much when he is greeted with shouts of "Anaxios!" from the floor. I sincerely hope he doesn't have to face that kind of humiliation. If +MH really wants to save the day and act for the good of the OCA, he should announce his retirement and a new election for Metropolitan at the next AAC. Then we will all need to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth behind this sordid mess. Better now than at Judgment Day!
I chose the wrong line of work. I'm sending my resume to Proskauer Rose LLP right now!
#23 Wayne Matthew Syvinski on 2007-05-30 18:12
If Syosset is listening, I'll read this website for only $350/hour.
#23.1 Weekly Reader on 2007-05-30 20:57
From what I understand from talking to attorneys,RSK has no chance to beat an internal court. They said you better already start your appeal. What's your take on the kangaroo court?
(Editor's Note: The court is duly authorized, and convened according to the Statutes of the OCA. I am told Fr. Kondratick has been informed of the charges. Indeed, that it is an internal court is not in itself a failing; such has been the Church's system for over a thousand years. So, it is hardly a "kangaroo" court. I do find it ironic that Fr Kondratick, now faced with the same procedures he used against scores of priests in the past twenty years, should now claim they are unfair...)
#24 tom on 2007-05-31 05:22
"I do find it ironic that Fr Kondratick, now faced with the same procedures he used against scores of priests in the past twenty years, should now claim they are unfair"
So Mr Stokoe, at what point in time has Fr Bob complained of the procedures?? Is that first hand knowledge of your's? I've yet to see Fr Bob comment on your website from day one. Please don't put words in his mouth.
(Editor's note: Fr. Kondratick's supporters have been more than vocal in complaining of the procedures on this site and even more so on others. Fr. Kondratick himself has raised complaints in recent letters to his hierarch in particular. That he has not chosen to post openly on this site is a great shame. We would welcome his own words, from his own mouth anytime.)
#24.1 Anonymous on 2007-05-31 13:08
Mark, I can't say for sure, however I do believe your mistaken. I don't think Fr. Bob is complaining about the Spiritual Court itself, I believe he is complaining about this specific case. There are many discrepencies regarding the way procedures are supposed to be followed and the way they're being followed in this specific instance. Everything from his Hierarch not presiding to charges that are not themselves canonical.
(Editor's note: Since no information on the trial has been released by Syosset, nor has Fr. Kondratick spoken publicly on the issue, it would be helpful to evaluate your claims if you would cite your sources. If Fr. Kondratick has a problem with non-canonical charges, then he should publicly state that.)
#24.2 Natasha Trubetskoi on 2007-06-01 09:17
In making "non-cannonical" charges, not providing any information regarding the so called charges that are being brought against RSK, changing accusers, changing judges, supposedly having one of the "jury" members say they would take a bat to RSK, doesn't Herman and Kucynda realize, A. they look like they don't know which end is up, and B. all these things make them look guilty as sin? It boggles my mind, as guilty as RSK was made out to be, how this so called Spiritual court looks like an episode from The Three Stooges, except instead of Larry, Moe, and Curly, we have Herman, Kucynda, and Jim!
The bottom line is Herman, Kucynda, etc. MUST GO!
(Editor's note: It is frequently put forth by supporters of Fr. Kondratick that no "canonical" charges have been leveled. Since no documentation has been put forth by either side, the claim is impossible to verify. On the other hand, common sense tells us the 10th commandment alone should suffice as "canonical" enough charge for anyone.
Finally, the issue at trial is not the guilt of Metropolitan Herman or Fr. Kucynda, but Fr.Kondratick. If Fr. Kondratick knows of any "guilt" on their part, he has a moral, pastoral, and perhaps legal obligation to make his allegations known, and request they be brought to trial as well. Failing to do that, his supporters are just blowing hot air at best, and at worst attempting to threaten and intimidate people. He himself diminishes what is left of his present rank by allowing and encouraging them to do so. )
#25 Andre Svetlanko on 2007-05-31 05:44
Dear Andre, Mark, et al.,
The term "canonical charges" is of dubious value and confuses more than illumines. The issue is that when a priest or deacon is tried in a Spiritual Court, he is usually charged with violating this or that specific canon. From what I understand from posts here and elsewhere, Fr. Kondratick has yet to be informed of what specific canon(s) he is charged with violating. That would indeed be a major departure from what I understand normal practice to have been in the OCA up until now. It is certainly not how things are done in this Archdiocese.
(Editor's note: It has been reported to OCANews.org by informed sources close to Syosset that Fr. Kondratick has indeed received a letter outling the charges against him.)
#25.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-31 15:33
During the advent season just past, the scriptures for the time, St. Paul wrote several epistles regarding the qualities of those who should be made a Bishop. In his epistle to Timothy 3:1-7 Paul writes, "The saying is sure, if anyone aspires to the office of Bishop, he desires a noble task. Now, a Bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, and apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome or a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with deceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil; moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil".
Are these same rules applied to the naming of our bishops? When you read about the goings on of the former Bishop of the West and his behavior and the Bishop of Alaska and his recent firing of an innocent person for speaking the truth, of our former Metropolitan and his behavior and our present Metropolitan? In fact, the last two metropolitans were not the choice of the people but rather the doings of the HS. Archbishop Dimitri was the choice of the delegates in Toronto and Bishop Seraphim the choice of the delegates in Florida at the respectice ACC's. Would things have turned out differently if +Dimiri was installed as the Metropolitan?
My deepest thanks to +Kyrill for having the courage and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in doing what is "right for the church", in putting Mr. Nescott back on the MC where he was chosen by his delegates. It is not right for +Herman to interfere with the decisions of another bishop and his diocese.
My deepest thank you also to +Nikon for naming a sincere candidate to the MC that has no ties with the former regime in Syosett.
My deepest thank you also to my bishop, +Job who stood alone for so many months taking the brunt of accusations, criticisms and name calling.
I think it is time for all of our bishops to come together and stop this nonsense that is going on in Syosett. It is time for the MC to take control of their responsibilities and do what is "right for the church". If +Herman wants to desolve the Special Investigative Commission, so be it, but I ask that you have the courage to appoint your own investigative committee to complete the work that has to be done. This committee did not have the opportunity to talk to "all" of the past treasurers, +Herman included, as to their part in all this mess. They need also to talk to +Theodosius and anyone who worked at Syosett during his tenure and get the facts. Not one stone should be left unturned. This is "our church" and we need answers. There is no doubt in anyones minds that +Herman is covering up, either for himself or for the past administration. If wrong was done, let it be known and lets get on with our church life. If +Herman had the courage, this whole mess could have been over with when it was first came to light. Unfortunately, his actions have only prolonged the inevitible, the truth will be made known in due time.
And, if we are indeed paying PR to monitor this site at such a rediculus rate, shame on you +Herman and your handlers.
Two hours of "their" snooping would pay the months rent at our mission. And can you imagine how many missions could have been helped with the amount of money that has been wasted in legal fees. If +Herman would have done what was right from day one, there would be no need of PR.
Think about this +Herman and the HS. Enough of this wasteful proceedings. If you cannot lead, then it is time to step down and allow someone who can lead.
May the Good Lord have mercy on all of us!
#26 Harold Pukita on 2007-05-31 07:59
If we do not draw the line in the sand here we will become the Episcopal Church of the twenty-first century. Remember that before Gene Robinson there was John Shelby Spong and before Spong was James Pike. All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to be silent.
#27 Reader Nicholas on 2007-05-31 13:02
The most crucial "good men" that must not "keep silent" are the bishops of the OCA.
The rest of us can talk all we want, but the bishops must stand up for the Truth.
#27.1 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-06-01 10:57
I read the last reflection by Fr. Garvey and frankly he had me agreeing with him until his last statement. I was supporting many of the things he said and then he hit me with a left hook suggesting to keep the civil authorities out of the issue. What was that?
I had a course in technical writing and the reflection really fell apart with that last statement. He never supported that assertion with any reason, for example, why the civil authorities shouldn't be handling this issue. In fact, his reflection convinced me just the opposite.
The very best thing that could happen is for the government to step in and manage the mess.
Most of the politics would go away and truth would prevail and people would start singing like canaries to make deals to stay out of jail for years.
Metropolitan Herman could be cleared or otherwise and get a free pass or otherwise. Justice would be certain, rather than subjective and untrusted. Let's face the music here Fr. Garvey. The vocal critics of the administration don't trust anything the administration is doing today, the less vocal are equally uncertain, and some just want a nice Liturgy each Sunday and don't care further.
The basis for the one's with mistrust is uncertainty. There is an uncertainty about what happened with the Andreas millions while Theodosius was in charge and +Herman was treasurer. And frankly, we may wonder what RSK did with 4.5 million, but noone has made a single assertion about what it was... I'm guessing the civil authorities would report on it. The interesting thing is that I took a big leap crediting RSK for it. That charge hasn't been leveled against him. If so, what idiots are charge that wouldn't tell us?
+Herman hasn't said the church used the money, which would be acceptable, so even an optimist assumes something worse happened.
So, getting back to the reflection for a moment.... why wouldn't we want civil authorities involved? Fr. Kondratick wouldn't if he would face jailtime. If twinkle toes actually twinkled his toes, we wouldn't want the person that may have extorted cash to keep quiet brought into the public eye. That would be really bad because then the truth about the twinkle toes question would be certain. If +Herman did something wrong, whether intentionally or just for being dumb enough to trust RSK, that would be clearly exposed as well, so maybe even +Herman has a reason to not want the civil authorities involved to expose his at best stupidity for trusting RSK.
So, let me see, according to my math, there are 3 clear beneficiaries of the civil authorities not getting involved. The last two Metropolitans and Fr. Kondratick. Seems to me the best thing that could happen is for the civil authorities to decide the appropriate course of action. What other person or the entire OCA benefits by not involving the civil authorities?
And Fr. Garvey, I apologize for being such a nit, but really, truly.. If you make such an assertion, support it.
Why wouldn't we want the civil authorities involved? Doesn't the Gospel tell us stealing is Ceasar's business?
#28 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-05-31 18:44
The civil authorities should make the determination to get involved or not. They are aware of the goings-on, and may end up using our evidence. My guess is they will make their determination with their own evidence.
I think what Fr. Garvey said (as I interpret it) is that the calls for punishment are inconsistent with a Christian ethos. If the state desires to prosecute, we must fulfill our obligations as citizens and cooperate truthfully. Not to say we leave the accused with the keys to the safe ...
Let them go to a cell in a monastery not a cell in a prison. However if the government decides to prosecute, be it for embezzlement, fraud, or tax evasion, then so be it.
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#28.1 Marty Watt on 2007-06-01 07:14
Fr. Garvey’s last sentence suggesting that civil authorities be left out of this is neither a non-sequitur nor illogical. What I believe Fr. Garvey is asserting is that the resolution of the scandal through confession and repentance offers the best, quickest and cleanest way out of the mess. Bringing in the law (civil authorities) will only increase the stakes (fines, jail time, attorney fees, etc.), force defendants and plaintiffs to retreat to their corners, prolong the process and ultimately further divide and confuse the faithful.
What we need is something akin the South African Commission on Apartheid that offered a venue for confession without fear of reprisal (i.e. no canonical sanctions, no resort to civil law), but with the sincere offer of forgiveness. The only penalty for those confessing sins of any sort is self-humiliation on which the Lord will look with compassion.
#28.2 Terry C. Peet on 2007-06-01 07:29
Please consult Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 for the reason why some of us are not comfortable with calls for secular intervention. The Lord commands us, not only to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but also to God the things that are God's. And in a visciously secular society, where Caesar always ends up thinking that he is God, it's always best to smack Caesar up side his head with a two-by-four at the ballot box; get very vocally on his case when he steps over the line; then keep him as far from the Church as possible the rest of the time. The nostalgia some feel for the "Byzantine symphony" is best treated with thorazine; it was a disaster for the Church both in Byzantium and Rus'.
#28.3 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-06-02 08:46
Leaving it in the hands of God means that he will use us as he deems appropriate in this situation. Our involvement of civil authorities can be likened to when children can't handle a situation you have to call in the adults. We need adults to come in and sort out this mess. In addition, seeing what the allegations are, it is very likely that there are a good number of sins against Caesar to which Caesar needs to take care of. In the course of that occurring he can get these people out of our hair because we can't do it ourselves.
If Herman didn't fear what he has done to Caesar he wouldn't be mortgaging our future to pay PR. PR isn't needed if he was merely doing some innocent emergency actions to keep the organization afloat. No, it's not that simple.
If he's doing this much because of he is afraid of Caesar it is very telling of what is in the heart of Herman when you look at his lack of actions to do what's right in the eyes of God. Caesar is not who will judge how he spends eternity. It's not good.
#28.3.1 Publius on 2007-06-03 18:36
Re Fr J Garvey's recent well-written reflection, I would comment only that heeding his admonishment to forgive, which has been rightly echoed by other contributors to this site, does not necessarily mean that consequences (understood punitively or otherwise) need not follow. If my friend or child or colleague steals from me time and again, and I forgive her, that does not mean that I should trust her with my ATM card and PIN, or that I should share with her the keys to my apartment. That said, should my forgiveness not inspire her to change, then involving the civil authorities may be necessary for the protection of others ... and even for the long-term welfare of the malefactor. Also -- and here I may risk departing from a X'n worldview -- involving the civil authorities may be necessary to disincentivize others from acting similarly ... this, not to be punitive, but to protect those who would be the next victims.
#29 Anon on 2007-05-31 19:25
Rebecca Matovic said "the changes you suggest go in the other direction, but don't strike me as wise or even as consistent with our nature as a hierarchical church."
My proposal is to indeed have a hierarchical church, but the hierarchical relationship would be based on love and respect, not on formal and rigid lines of authority.
I haven't quite figured out how to make this work in practice but I believe it is essential NOT to give power and authority with one hand and then to take away by the other as the current statute does. In the current statute, there is too much "smoke and mirror," so that it seems to establish a conciliar structure but actually concentrates real power in the person of the Metropolitan.
I do not dispute that many Orthodox jurisdictions have, and are continuing to concentrate such quasi-Papist authority to their chief hierarch. I simply question the need to continue in this manner. As has been said by many scholars, there is "Tradition" and then there is "tradition." May be it is time to reflect on this matter beyond the usual appeal to history, habits, and those things that differentiate the Orthodox from the heterodox. Is it all possible that may be some of our beliefs and practices are less important than the others?
#30 Anonymous on 2007-05-31 19:31
Precisely! Thanks for your valuable and well reasoned contribution.
#30.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-06-01 06:34
I am hoping that the upcoming MC meeting in early June will give our Church renewed focus on the critical changes that need to happen within the OCA!
I hope that Gregg Nescott will remain as driven and bold as ever to lead the charge in helping the faithful regain its confidence in our leaders!
Godspeed Gregg! You have the support of many of us who want to see a better, brighter future for the OCA.
#31 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-31 19:32
When will this ever end ? Probably never with so much difference of opinion. With RSK out and Herman not going anywhere , where does this take us. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
#32 Tom on 2007-06-01 03:12
As everyone here has read, this whole thing "stinks." Why? Because monies were misused by the leaders of the OCA for whatever. The three closest to all of the mismanagement were Mets. Theodosius & Herman and Fr. Kondratick. Met. Herman must also step down. Next, a full written account by each of what they knew - don't hold your breath. Then, a full OCA Convention to decide and choose a new Met. with lay people having equal say with bishops. + Dimitri should be retired. + Nicolai should remain in Alaska. New bishops? Only well-educated ones.
Let's move forward with the American Church.
#33 Joe Puscudnock on 2007-06-01 07:28
Education is important, but a righteous life is more important in my opinion.
It is my understanding that bishops are supposed to have been monks first. I believe Bishop TIKHON of Eastern Pennsylvania was a monk at St. Tikhon's Monastery while Metropolitan HERMAN was the bishop there. The biographies of some of our OCA bishops are available at the OCA website.
What good is being well-educated if one has no love and does not live a holy life?
#33.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-01 21:24
would urge the orthodox people, both concerned and unconcerned, to click on the link: OrthodoxNews.com (OCL) and read the very top article therein (top of US news)......perhaps the involvement of the US Supreme Court is the medicine that is needed......just click on "links" provided on first page (of ocanews.org)
#34 Metropolitan News Guides Co., Inc. on 2007-06-01 17:40
Everyone should read this article. Should the Supreme Ct accept the writ, how they decide the case will have a direct impact on all Orthodox in the United States. Can anyone provide a link to the lower courts' decisions in this case?
#34.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-06-02 12:17
This response is to Fr.John Garvey's reflection.
HS has done nothing, and the MC members are afraid to stand up and say anything except Gregg Nesscott.
As for fixed notions, it's the strong arm tactics of +H that has them all afraid.
The OCA should forget about the so called autocephaly, that has got us nowhere. We should focus on, ORTHODOX CHURCH in AMERICA nothing less. By doing this we would have more respect from other Orthodox denominations, that would want to join the OCA. Talking to the people of the other dioceses, they really don't like the Patriarch that is the head of the Orthodox Church.
We all saw the change in the OCA when +Theodosius took over. It has been a long down hill slide.
I have stated before, the OCA needs a real overhaul from the top down. Most older priest, the bishops and the two metropolitans all knew what was going on in the OCA, and I would hear many of them say, oh it will get better, but it got worse. The two metropolitans were the true culprits in this mess.
+H has to be removed,along with all of the priests and bishops that squandered or money to protect those who ruined our BEAUTIFUL CHURCH.
On forgiveness, let the authorities take care of that part.
All of us who have let this issue anger us are responsible to forgive.
#35.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-01 21:16
It seems to me that ... you will have one of the best sellers in case all the materials of this site will be put together in such a way to have at least 2 - 3 volume of the OCA saga printed black on white. Everyone is waiting for this current crisis to have a happy ending and to read the book about it.
I was striken by some comments presented above ... "I do not dispute that many Orthodox jurisdictions have, and are continuing to concentrate such quasi-Papist authority to their chief hierarch."
This kind of terminology "QUASI-PAPIST AUTHORITY OF CHIEF HIERARCH" ... IS SOMETHING everyone should have knowledge about. It came from none existence into existence due to the abuse of both biblical and canonical principles. There is no doubt that so many clergy and lay people are disgusted by the dictatorial attitude of most of the OCA hierarchs.
This quasi-papist terminology in proper for the OCA hierarchs who did study in Rome and not only there. The Brum doctrine is the cause of the entire OCA mess. ....
There are some similar messy situations in every OCA diocese. One of the most uncertain situation is in the ROEA as per the agenda of the last ROEA Council meeting held on May 26, 2007, according to one of my friends who as a member of the ROEA Council attended the meeting. It is a very disturbing situation, hearing about at least one civil lawsuit in which the ROEA and its Archbishop is involved since 2005.
It is the appearance that financial improprieties are part of the ROEA daily bases operations and only YES people are selected as part of the ROEA Council. The auxiliary Bishop is persecuted by his superiour just because he is Romanian born. Priests have been kicked out from the diocese, or suspended without being able to know the accusations against them and one of them has been cleared by the OCA Holy Synod of all fabricated charges of the ROEA Archbishop, and he is still without assigment.
It is the proper time that all OCA hierarchs (except Job, Benjamin, Nikon, Irineu, Tikhon) should retire or resign. The others are all responsible for the current crisis. Do they not believe into the DAY OF JUDGMENT OF JESUS CHRIST?
It is time for the MC to take a non - confidence vote at the upcoming meeting.
Fr Kondratick MUST speak truthfully about everything and everyone. He can help us clean the OCA.
A sick and tired former OCA member,
John Agatopoulos, 6 / 2 / 7.
#36 John Agatopoulos on 2007-06-02 00:59
Glory To Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
I'm writing to ask anyone if you can tell me why did the Metropolitian Herman hire the Proskauer Rose Law Firm in the first place? What are they hired to do? Does anyone Really Know the answer to my question!
I Ask Proskauer Rose to challenge my question and to respond.
Secondly Why has Archer Daniel Midland not filed a law suit against the Orthodox Church in America demanding the accountability of the money that they donated to Russia? Was this mob related? no really? or is it just plain old politics you do for me and I'll watch out for you, certainly someone at the level of Metropolitian Herman or Theodosius knew that all of this money was being hand carried over to Russia. Didn't metropolitian Theodious take many trips to Russia with his own family members alongside him. Did they not know what they were doing?
Third Can someone tell me why the Senior Priests and Bishops have not taken this Administration down, why have you not broken up the close nit connections of these people who are ruining and running Our Church! Are you weak as human beings, are you in denial? are you afraid, How could you knowings support all of this for this many years and fully not ask questions just sit back relax and enjoy the ride, I truely challenge you to do something about Your Faith Your Parishioners families and Most Importantly the Orthodox Church in America to be A Place Of Fullness, Truth and A Home For Your Children and Gods Children for Generations~ You Are Responsible for the failure of the OCA if you stand back and do nothing. God Will question you on your day of judgement. God has placed you in this Diocease for each of you to become one voice and to not allow this evil to distroy the work of True Faith.
I Pray that You Find Someplace Inside of your own being to not remain in silence and to Try to Clean up This Mess In Our Church, if not it will remain here for Generations to come, and the work of the devil will forever creap up and grow stronger if you don't rebuke it. True repentence is making a change.
Yours Truely in Christ. With Love...
#37 Anonymous on 2007-06-03 15:01
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