Tuesday, June 12. 2007
Moving forward or "business as usual"? Your comments welcome.
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On the surface, His Beatitude's address to the Metropolitan Council seems so reasonable and well-tempered. Of course, it's a careful, selective, and skewed re-working of history and just a look through His Beatitude's statements along the way reveals that the re-telling is far less than forthright.
But put that aside for a moment ... for the sake of argument, say that this account is a more or less accurate one (which in a certain, limited sense it is). Does this address, in and of itself, show the leadership and direction needed to move forward in a constructive way?
For me the answer is no -- because there is not even a hint of regret, of self-examination, of considering that things might have been handled differently. It's a tale told of a steady progression towards resolution, with the Metropolitan pushing forward to get to a positive outcome. He gives no indication that he had ignored warnings for at least 6 years before his narrative begins.
I really am not particularly hard to please. It might not resolve everything, but I'd be infinitely more inclined to get aboard the "moving forward express" if he would just admit some mistakes, articulate some regret. But instead we're treated to the George Bush and Hillary Clinton never-admit-a-mistake style of leadership.
As depressing as this is in politics, how very odd it is in the Church where we are all called constantly to humility and repentance.
#1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-06-12 17:46
Of course they want repentance and humility. Those calls have served them well in the past as cloaks for their misbehavior. Why not keep trying? Sorry guys. Your false piety has been exposed. Give it up.
#1.1 Anon. on 2007-06-12 20:04
The repentence and humility should be practiced by those that theorize and hypothesize. The Metropolitan is "righteous" as you can see from the nature of his "suffering". Our hearts bleed for him. Actually our backs do from the knife he sticks into it.
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 10:51
I wonder how things in the OCA might be different...for everyone...if we still confessed our sins publically. This sort of horse puckey wouldn't happen much, methinks.
#1.2 Anonymous on 2007-06-12 20:14
GOSSIP!! GOSSIP! GOSSIP! WHY IS THIS WEBSITE MARK SO HATEFUL! WHAT EVER GOOD THINGS MET HERMAN SAYS ABOUT THE CHURCH, THIS WBSITE, IT APPEARS,ALWAYS TENDS TO SLANDER THE MET! DID MET HERMAN EVER STEAL MONEY? NO!!!!!!! BRing OUT THE FACTS!! THERE IS NONE!! MARK PLEASE GO SEE DR. PHIL!! I THINK,BUT I'M NOT SURE HE CAN HELP YOU! OR GO SEE BISHOP JOB! TELL THEM YOUR INTENTIONS TO SPREAD GOSSIP!!! AND TO HURT THE SIRIT OF THE CHURCH! YOU ARE WHAT I CALL DYSFUNCTIONAL TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS!
#1.3 Anonymous on 2007-06-12 20:15
This must be PR responding! Good job, boys!
#1.3.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-12 20:41
Its not PR; the grammar and vocabulary are flawed (and that's not their job, anyway, even if they read this site now and then). For my money, this contributor (call him "Gossip Man") probably once wore a mitre fit much too tightly for his hat size over a prolonged period.
#184.108.40.206 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 09:45
Wow!...... How dare you judge.
#1.3.2 Anonymous and Disillusioned on 2007-06-13 06:53
Don’t be deceived as there are many bishops throughout history who have fallen and betrayed the Orthodox Church under the guise of “love” and “humility” (ultimately many souls perished with them).
Personally, I don’t think MH is keeping up this guise too well…I am certainly not “feeling” the love….and the humility…it took an uproar to cancel his extravagant B-day party.
#1.3.3 Juliana on 2007-06-13 21:39
Rebecca, you are far too kind! The patent lying and dissembling in this pathetic address condemn its author to zero sympathy or respect. The only open question is whether this is conscious and deliberate misrepresentation of his role and motives or a delusional understanding of what he has really done to the OCA.
As virtually everyone who cares about this scandal is saying, the time for effective action has come. First the MC must act at this meeting to curb the tyrant's most egregious actions in the ways outlined by Mr. Wachter et al. Then the Synod must do its part to dethrone our pseudo pope.
For the moment, we can only hope and pray.
#1.4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-06-12 20:51
I find it appalling that in this matter of financial mismanagement, gross misconduct and possibly fraud, our hierarchs constantly hide behind their position in the church. Let us take out of this equation the fact that we are dealing with our church and view this matter purely from an analytical perspective. MH stated that misinformation and false accusations in the guise of truth are being spread, yet from him “the truth” is still not forthcoming. We, through our donations have paid for various investigations and are entitled to know “the truth”. We are hammered with comments that we should be more spiritual, have trust and faith in our church leaders, etc. If anyone dares to question the authority or actions of MH they are castigated as being harmful and against the church. Samuel Johnson in 1775 made this pronouncement that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. What would one be called that uses religion as a refuge?
#1.5 Rob on 2007-06-20 08:15
No surprises there! Nothing has changed in the stratified air of unaccountability and unrepentance in Syosset. The messengers are again blamed for the problems. If only we would keep our mouths shut and blindly obey, everything will be all right with the OCA. What hypocrisy and gall!
I truly believe that Herman has gotten to the point of believing the lies that he has spewed for almost 2 years! I'm sure by now everyone knows that RSK's trial is a sham. RSK showed up with Kutner and Silver in tow, Nathaniel and company refused to allow a stenographer, court reporter, minutes or recording of any kind. RSK and company thought it best that in the current climate of the OCA it would be best to document the proceedings in some way. To make a long story short, Nathaniel found RSK in contempt and told him to leave. It was found out later that after RSK and company were TOLD to leave, the court kept hearing testimony and interviewing witnesses! That is correct without the accused or his attorney present!
If that's not bad enough, in Herman's press release today on oca.org, he made it seem as though there was nothing unusual about the proceedings and a normal day at the Spiritual Court was conducted! When will the lies stop?
(Editor's note: OCANews.org sources have confirmed that no court recorder was allowed, that Fr. Kondratick did leave, and the trial did continue in his absence.)
#3 Lester Sokolov on 2007-06-12 18:01
Lester, that doesn't make any sense. If Herman has all of this "evidence" what are they afraid of? If there are minutes for AAC, Holy Synod meetings, Metropolitan Council meetings, Diocesan meetings, parrish meetings, why can't they have an accounting of this Spiritual Court? What is even more disrespectful is Herman's press release, it sounds as if everything went on normally? The accused not being there is FAR from normal! I realize that the statutes are meaningless to Herman, Nathaniel, et. al, but what do they say is the proper course of action? It's amazing that Herman managed to screw this up as well, this debacle makes the whole thing look like a set up!
Where oh where have are bishops gone, oh where oh where can they be?!?! I gues it goes by the old saying, the fish stinks from the head down!
#3.1 Natasha Trubetskoi on 2007-06-13 05:30
It's pretty simple why MH won't allow any minutes or recording of the trial. Fr. Bob let it be known that he would tell the whole truth about others involved, and that, presumably, would include the sexual misconduct of MT and probably others. MH cannot allow any of that to be "on the record".
#3.1.1 Name withheld on 2007-06-13 10:43
In the immortal words of Col. Harry Potter: "Horse hockey!"
#4 Anonymous on 2007-06-12 18:24
Sherman Potter... ;o)
Perfect reference otherwise!
#4.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-06-13 10:22
Thanks! I wonder where the heck I got Harry from ... oh! Those movies! Ha! And I've never even seen one of them. Too funny.
Sorry, Sherm, wherever you are!
#4.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-15 19:29
It is amazing how smoothly he glosses over the facts and paints such a beautiful self-portrait. "Look at how much I have done. I thank God I am not like those lowly Publicans on the Internet."
Well, his beatitude could save the OCA some money by not sending out any more of those "archpastoral messages", which I and other priests I know will not be reading. The man has lost all credibility.
#5 Name withheld on 2007-06-12 18:31
With all due respect to those reading here...
Today, Herman, in front of the Altar to our Lord, stood there and making a long story short, told us **** ***.
There can be no sugar coating this speech. It is what it is. There can be no better rallying cry than to read this speech.
#6 Stonewall on 2007-06-12 18:51
To the Holy Synod:
PLEASE! We IMPLORE you. Save us from Herman! What more does he need to do or say? Save those of us who cried when we read this speech and *SAVE US*. Seriously. Do something NOW to save the suffering souls of this Church! He spoke these words in front of the Altar of our Lord! His disrespect covered all levels.
Herman needs to be retired at the very, very least.
Please, do not let our pleas fall on deaf ears! Meet NOW and do something, firm action, to save this Church from a fall that looks more and more inevitable every time he speaks or acts! Please! Enough is enough!
Do NOT let us down. We are really depending on you to do what's right and do it now. If anyone thought this was a game, there is no doubt any more that this isn't.
Please, please, please. Do not abandon us now. What more do we need to do to have your action?
#7 Publius on 2007-06-12 19:04
#7.1 C.C. on 2007-06-13 08:55
At every turn, when Herman has been given a golden chance to show integrity, character, and love of God and His Church, he has not only turned his back, but he has slapped the parishioners, clergy, bishops, and God Himself on the face. Not since Peter heard the cock crow has anyone in such a position denied God and all that was good and right. Today was one of those times. A moment in history when a Metropolitan of an Autocephalous Orthodox Church stood in front of the Altar and proclaimed his denial of God and the Gospel and in tones that made it unmistakable. A truly pathetic performance by a man who has surprised us continually with the depths to which he will go and is capable of going. Take note of the time, for this will never happen again in our lifetimes and hopefully not in the lifetimes of any of our future generations.
The speech itself is sufficient to raise one’s blood pressure to dangerous levels upon initial reading and some reflection. Further reflection, though, has to give thanks to Herman for a rambling, self serving, un-Christian tirade, definitely not Orthodox in any sense of the word. This speech brought out the death throes of the reign (of terror) of a Metropolitan. Lashing out against any one who disagrees and making stands to further cement his position. Basically telling the Council to “bring it on!” This week the Metropolitan Council meets, in two weeks the Midwest meets, and next month the Synod. Each of these meets on the heels of a terribly misguided act on Herman’s part. A speech written by lawyers when it should have been guided by the Holy Spirit. In a one page speech, Herman has laid the ground for the MC to act, for the Midwest to withhold, and the Synod to take what will in all likelihood be a very difficult, trying, and very necessary action to be taken. He not only gave the grounds, but solidified a more unified and determined laity and clergy to free ourselves of him.
While the speech stands on it’s own with little commentary needed there are a few points that should be emphasized to undoubtedly show the state of mind of this “leader”. First was the emphasis of the Best Practices. We all know that the Best Practices are nothing but a Trojan horse to put in jeopardy anyone who goes against what the Metropolitan does. He made this very clear that he wants this passed and he wants it passed now. If there is going to dissent then whoever does is going to pay a very high price. He will deny the fiduciary responsibilities of the council when it doesn’t benefit him, but will use the force of law against those that disagree with him. What a great guy, let alone a bishop graced back through to the Apostles.
He blasts the theorizing and hypothesizing by those who are impatient by the progress of the investigation. Well, the investigation was over some time back and he suspended the Special Commission, so we don’t have to speculate, he can just give us the report. No where does he mention he will do that.
He has been subjected to “righteous suffering”. What utter nonsense. He is the cause and the continued cause of the suffering and in NO way is his suffering “righteous”. He is the core of the problem, the obstructionist extraordinaire. He preaching about the suffering, the relentless criticism, etc., is all as hollow as anything else he says because he knows he’s the root of the problem and can end the suffering if only he was able to take one for the team. But no, he can’t do that. He knows best because he’s the Metropolitan and he’d rather see the Church go down in flames than to be responsible for what has happened and “take it like a man” as he told to Eric Wheeler.
The moment of truth is here. The moment upon which the future of the OCA hinges. While the MC has a lot to do and God willing they are truly being guided by the Holy Spirit we know and worship, we must implore to the Holy Synod that enough is enough. You see what’s going on and we cannot see how you can be comfortable or put up with what you are seeing. You, Holy Synod, can do something about this NOW and save a lot of souls who are truly in a lot of pain. We need you, we need you to step up to the plate, and to live up to your vows that you took at your consecration. We need to work together. You be there for us now to rid this cancer and we’ll be there to work with you to rebuild this Church to the vision we all share.
#8 Publius on 2007-06-12 20:02
If you Dont like the OCA or its leaders! Start your own church! I suggest you call it "MARKS HOLY ROLLERS" You just might get alot of followers from this website! It would put a stop towards mocking the OCA Church and its leaders! Go! Dont wait! and God Bless!
#8.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 09:25
You don't realize, if we went so would the money!
#8.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 05:11
Well said...Goodbye and God Bless! We don't need anymore neg. towards our church...we ALL have suffered enough!
#8.1.2 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 08:30
Alas, a fool following a fool.
The insults only strengthen us in the fight for Christ's church in America.
#8.1.3 Juliana on 2007-06-14 10:49
No chance! We're not interested in starting a schismatic church. We're not interested in closing our mouths, and allowing a group of theives and criminals to loot the OCA. WE built this church -- not MH and FrRK. It was our money, and our attendance, and our support of local parishes, etc, etc ...
I can't fathom why some people are so intent on protecting thieves who have stolen money from the mouths of widows and orphans - simply because of their position. Aren't you outraged by police corruption? Doesn't it bother you when a public official uses his or her public position to steer contracts to their relatives, or to line their own pocket at taxpayer expense? If not, then brother I've got some prime swampland in South Florida I'd like to sell you!
We don't "hate" people in the church. What we don't understand is, how can they take money, and then engage in no small effort to try to hide the truth, spend even more money of the church to put up a wall to protect themselves.
I don't KNOW whether the Metropolitan is guilty of theft. But, if he's not a thief, he's doing a really good imitation of one! The most basic function of any organization that accepts funds from the public is, to have its books audited by an outside, neutral, objective accounting firm; the responsibility for this lies with the organization's Treasurer. In the OCA, this person, during the period in question, was none other than the man now the Metropolitan. If he were not involved in criminal behavior, he would be turning-over file cabinets and tables in an urgent effort to get the books audited and presented to the membership of the church! Instead, what?
He allowed FrRK to enter the OCA offices the week he departed WITH A SHREDDER! And to spend several hours shredding documents. Now, it would take a considerable effort to find receipts and so forth to create a paper trail of evidence; but it could be done to a certain extent. Presumably, this is what the P-R law firm did in their investigation. And the report? Released to the church? No, buried (and I think, illegally so). The OCA as an institution paid for that report -- and it should be released to the OCA. If I were innocent, I would be trying to get that report out to as many people as possible, that's for sure!
So, why should "WE" leave the OCA? To enable those who've stolen its funds to get away with it all? It's really very sad to see posts like yours on this site. People need to get an adult attitude, and start demanding some accountability from these church leaders you seem so protective of.
#8.1.4 C.C. on 2007-06-14 12:45
The charge you make that Herman allowed Kondratick to return to the chancery office after he was fired with a paper shredder is not true. When Kondratick was fired, his office was cleaned out by him and staff. He only took his personal belongings, no files were copied, thus none to be shred. All keys were turned over and in fact the locks at the chancery we changed. If you want to know where receipts went, ask Strikis. If you want to know where receipts disappeared, ask any one who worked at Syosset how Strikis routinely misplaced them. One look at his office and you would understand what I am saying.
C.C. stop with these ridiculous statements and Mark, you should be a bit more careful in letting such unsubstantiated charges be posted.
A Former Chancery Employee
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2007-06-16 08:19
I wonder if it signifies that those who seem to have spittle hitting their keyboards usually have issues with spelling or grammar or both? Goodness, fellows, can we not preview before dispatching the next bit of hysteria and snarkiness? Otherwise, carry on; it's always interesting to watch denial and projection operating simultaneously. His Beatitude is a master of both.
#8.1.5 Scott Walker on 2007-06-14 14:51
Oh, sorry. I meant, "... church leaders of whom you seem so protective." Next time I'll run my grammar check just to make sure it's acceptable.
#18.104.22.168 C.C. on 2007-06-15 09:39
If all the people on this website and many more who are upset with the current status of our church went elsewhere, you who are left would never be able to afford to keep things going for this gang in charge!!
#8.1.6 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 14:55
4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they then commit APOSTASY, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. Heb 6:4-6 RSV
(The greatness of the sin of apostasy. It is crucifying the Son of God afresh, and putting Him to open shame. They declare that they approve of what the Jews did in crucifying Christ, and that they would be glad to do the same thing again if it were in their power. They pour the greatest contempt upon the Son of God, and therefore upon God himself, who expects all should reverence his Son, and honour him as they honour the Father. They do what in them lies to represent Christ and Christianity as a shameful thing, and would have him to be a public shame and reproach. This is the nature of apostasy.
From Matthew Henry Commentary)
Is this why we did not have any sign of remorse, sadness, or humility in Metropolitan Herman’s opening speech?
#9 Downhearted on 2007-06-12 20:22
(Editor's Note: As monk James Silver was present at the trial, and offers quite a different view of it from Metropolitan Herman, we re-post his note posted this evening on the Orthodox Forum so our readers may compare their two versions of the same events.)
Dear Friends --
While I'm not at all surprised by Met. Herman's distortions of reality in his address, I must admit that I'm truly amazed that he failed to mention that Fr Robert Kondratick (and his attorney and even I myself) were unceremoniously ejected from yesterday's session of the spiritual court to which FrRK was called.
MetH goes on to say that the court will reconvene later this month to hear FrRK's responses.
Responses to what?! We were thrown out, so we have no idea what happened.
You're wondering, I'm sure, why we were thrown out -- so I'll tell you.
We strenuously objected to the very notion that procedural rules -- contrary to the OCA Statute's Article XI.4.k -- were imposed, the worst of them being a requirement that there be no court stenographer present.
While there were other problems in those rules, not the least of them the rules themselves being imposed without the authority of the Holy Synod of Bishops, our objections to that fact and the absence of any permanent record's being made notwithstanding (we could live with a video/sound tape), what was most egregiously arrogant on the court's part was that they refused to postpone the proceedings until the Holy Synod had an opportunity to clarify which -- if any -- of the court's proposed rules would actually be in force.
Of course, FrRK would abide by the decision of the Holy Synod.
But our refusal to proceed without a permanent record was unjustly determined by Abp Nathaniel to be a statement of contempt for the court. Met. H's attorney, James Perry, unceremoniously told us to pack up out things and vacate the room, so we left the Syosset chancery's chapel after two hours of unproductive discussion.
The 'trial' continued well into the evening. If the court reached a decision, it hasn't been communicated to us as of twenty-four hours later.
Met. H's statement that the court will meet again later this month to hear FrRK's responses is astonishing. Are we to be invited back, now that we've been thrown out?!
Please remember Fr Robert and me, our bishops and our OCA in your prayers.
Peace and blessings to all.
#10 Reposted from the Orthodox Forum on 2007-06-12 20:38
You ask, "rsponses to what"?
Didn't your friend RSK receive a letter in the mail spelling out all of the charges?
Are we to assume that you, RSK and Kutner have NO idea what you will be responding to?
Stop already with the innocent confusion. You know darn well what the charges are and what he's responding to.
You continually insult the intelligence of every single person who reads this site with your insistence that nothing wrong has occured and that you have no idea what RSK is supposed to respond to.
I guess the dog and pony show didn't work.
#10.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-06-13 10:24
Seems like what's been good for all the priests that have been railroaded during the Kondratick regime isn't good for the one who set up the process when he's caught in it.
If they make special rules for this court then every priest who has been tried and found guilty during the past 16 years should ask their diocesan bishop for a retrial with the new rules.
Does anyone know of what kind of crimes other priests have been defrocked for? Can we put these allegations into perspective with respect to other clergy?
#10.2 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 10:56
One standard for all! Yes, Fr. Bob, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Lord have mercy on all the clergy wounded and trampled under foot during Fr. Bob's reign as Chancellor!
Lord have mercy on us!
Best Practice #1 is DO what you vote to do! If the MC can't see through the smokescreen (aka address) and succeed in forcing the release of the PR report to the church as they previously decided, the show's over. This is the one issue being overlooked that will test their will and competence. (Who paid how much for that report, again?!)
#11 Senile Priest on 2007-06-12 21:23
His Beatitude says that "Conjectures by some who have limited access to facts have used the Internet as their medium of choice in their 'quest for the truth.' What began as their attempt to share factual information has degenerated over time.... At this point, I question the motives and methods of such individuals." Also, his Beatitude suggests that a "complex spiritual trauma beyond his Beatitude's control was caused by the restriction on the release of information.
The difficulty is that his Beatitude does not see that it is the "limited access to facts" that causes the vitriol. Were the former Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America to have simply let the church know everything that took place, people would have processed the information and moved on. Without the confidence that we are finally getting to the bottom of things, the controversy lingers on. Instead of the "complex spiritual trauma" being out of his Beatitude's control, is it not possible that it was precisely his Beatitude's policies on information that lie at the heart of any such trauma.
#12 Edmund Unneland on 2007-06-12 21:23
It is difficult for me personally to hear about these acts. To have a Christian act in such a manner is unfathomable for me. Historical revisionism (to be charitable) has no place in Christian behavior.
One would think that Metropolitan HERMAN would be going the extra mile to ensure no impropriety (either real or perceived) in the spiritual court, bending over backwards to accommodate Fr. Kondractick, and letting the Truth manifest itself.
I still believe, as Fr. Ted Bobosh indicates in his reflection, that the Central Church is unnecessary, and the Church would be better served by devolving authority to the diocesan bishops and letting common activities (seminaries/education, liturgics) be under the direct supervision of the Holy Synod.
Let the Synod share "Best Practices" of diocesan life with one another. "Best Practices" will change nothing without a change in attitude toward transparency and forthrightness.
Do we need a Metropolitan? I submit not. Do we need a metropolitan council? I submit not. Can an All-American Council be held without a metropolitan council? Certainly. We can draw from resources across diocesan lines.
Metropolitan HERMAN refused to be first among equals. He acts without regard to his "equals", thus I am forced to conclude he holds himself as higher than the Holy Synod.
What do the funds held/raised by Syosset support? The funds do not support any discernible ministry, to my knowledge. What does my "fair share" pay for?
We are not foot soldiers under the command of clergy who obey the command of hierarchs. We are your brothers and sisters in the Risen Lord. Humbly we pray that we might find leaders who foster, rather than prevent, our salvation.
Sdn. John Martin Watt
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#13 Marty Watt on 2007-06-12 21:36
I don't see what the big deal with the Best Practices are!
A contrived set of standards to conform to NY State Law while he flagrantly disregards the best practices given to us by Moses.
What gets me scared is that it looks like they might be adopted as already some aspects of it are!
#13.1 Publius on 2007-06-13 08:53
Instead of doing away with the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan Council, you could achieve the same effect by:
1. Have the Metropolitan be a term-limited position: truly first among equals, a spokesman, but in no way superior in power to any of the other bishops. This would have the practical effect of forcing each bishop to be involved in the affairs of the national church as each one would probably rotate through this position.
2. The Metropolitan Council would remain the supreme executive body--similar to a Board of Directors. But, the council's decisions would be binding--rather than the current situation where the decisions must be approved by either the "super" board (the Holy Synod) or by the ultimate power (the Metropolitan).
3. The composition of the Metropolitan Council should be changed so that you would have bishops serving on it (also on a rotating basis). Bishop-members of the council would be charged to advise the council if any of their decisions spill over into the spiritual arena.
I would also advise that care should be taken so that people with practical talents are recruited for Council membership: lawyers, accountants, doctors, fund raisers, grant writers, bankers, management types... This would create a strong Council, a body strong enough to properly oversee central bodies.
4. The Holy Synod would of course remain supreme in all spiritual matters and, as referred by the bishops on the Metropolitan Council, review Metropolitan Council decisions (see above).
5. Instead of a Chancellor (or super-Priest), hire an Executive Director as the Metropolitan Council's only employee. The Executive Director would then be responsible for hiring other personnel to run the central functions of the Church. Of course, this arrangement would not preclude a priest from being hired as the Executive Director or to any of the staff positions. The principle should be to hire people strictly on merit: hire the best man or woman for the job.
Finally, it may be time to apply some workforce development principles to the episcopate. It may be that we do not have a sufficiently large pool of candidates because we continue to restrict the office to monastics.
It has long been acknowledged that the current rule that bishops must be monastics is not a Biblical requirement and was established centuries after Christ and the Apostles as a practical way to improve the quality of the episcopate. Keep also in mind that the Church was The State Religion and the Emperor ruled both the state and the Church. We are now in a different situation, especially in the Western world: as in the pre-imperial church, we are one of many competing religions or denominations. In the pre-Constantinian Church, we had married clergy--but not just deacons and priests, many (most?) bishops were married.
#13.2 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 19:16
The problem with that is a priest can be "disciplined" (pressured) in ways (even subtly) that a layperson cannot be.
#13.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 06:39
With so much progress being reported by our Metropolitan and so much “completed”*…you’d think we would all be so inundated reading all those reports and financial charts that we wouldn’t have time to write on this evil website!
Where are the “deliverables” from all those completed investigations and things? If lawyers were hired “on behalf of the entire Orthodox Church in America,”* why wasn’t the OCA provided with their findings? If the investigation by PR has been completed, then the “restriction on information that could be made public while the investigation was in process” should no longer be a problem…right?
“The $1,700,000.00 loan procured from The Honesdale National Bank was properly distributed in accordance with the specifics of the loan application and acceptance documents.” I don’t believe I’ve seen any detailed report of how the loan money was disbursed. And…did anyone see the “specifics of the loan application and acceptance documents?”
Is there something wrong with being on a “quest for the truth?” So, we’ve “degenerated over time into a forum for more conjecture, theorizing, hypothesizing, vicious personal attacks, half-truths, exaggerations, distortions, and even totally false information as 'the truth’”…?! Give us the facts and the whole-truth and I’m sure that Mark would be very happy to shut this website down!
How very sad!! Please dear Lord…have mercy on us all!
(Holy Resurrection Church – Palatine, IL)
#14 Helen O'Sullivan on 2007-06-12 21:49
It is with sadness that I read the address. An entire segment of the church -- anyone who has questioned the actions of the Metropolitan -- is dismissed as having questionable motives. This means you, if you have posted here, or gotten information here. The scholarly opinion, the legal analysis, the sober discussion, and bald facts; the sorrowful posts and the posts showing yet a willingness to forgive. All lumped together as hateful lies. Your motives are questionable. This means, apparently, that you have personal reasons to seek the destruction of the Metropolitan and his church.
Worse, the Metropolitan washes his hands of the spiritual suffering of everyone who has been hurt by this scandal. Regrettable, but not something in his control.
On the other hand, the heat felt by those questioned because they have squandered church money, fired critics without justification or legal authority, thwarted investigations, suppressed reports, and hidden behind a smokescreen of expensive lawyers is --incredibly -- characterized as "righteous suffering."
This rhetorical exercise begs comparison with this: http://www.midwestdiocese.org/news_070604_1.html Which one looks more like true "righteous suffering?"
The motives of people who ask for answers when millions of dollars disappear are not questionable. To put it bluntly, persons who are close to the disappearance of millions of dollars who resist a complete and open investigation are the ones whose motives are questionable.
After this Declaration of Irrelevancy it remains only to be seen how much more damage the OCA will sustain before it is all over. Judging from the tone of the address, the answer is somewhere between "a lot" and "too much."
#15 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-06-13 00:34
In his speech, +MH complains about the fact that the rest of us are operating on half-truths, and outright lies; that we are conjecturing and theorising, as well as impugning his character, that of the MC and the Synod of Bishops.
These kinds of things can and do happen in situations like this. If I were just now starting to look at this site, I'd probably be persuaded by his words. However, I have not just now come to this site, and I am not persuaded. Why?
Primarily because his entire course of action has raised more questions than it has answered. It is difficult to imagine that if EVERYTHING he was doing under an imposed silence, as he maintains, were truly for the welfare of the Church, we would be seeing no evidence whatsoever of the benefits.
I have never personally met His Beatitude. I have not lived in his diocese. I have no personal reason to dislike him or think or speak one way or another about him. However, I do know that the hiring of Proskauer Rose, which I lauded at first as a sound move, in spite of the costs, has not only not brought answers, we are even more in the dark, and it seems less likely that we shall ever see the light. I should like to hear from the Metropolitan why we can't be apprised of the findings if PR was indeed hired to represent the Church? Why was the report of the special commission authorised for releasse by the MC and the HOly Synod and never released? That's not a conjecture or a lie, to the best of my knowledge. if it has been released, I'd expect that we'd all know of it by now. Post it on the OCA website, if it's been made public and we just don't know about it.
We may still ask why Mr Nescott was summarily removed from the commission and the MC when the plain evidence - in print for all to see - showed that he had not violated any confidentiality, as his own hierarch agreed. Similarly, why was the special commission "suspended" when it had not completed the tasks assigned? It may have been the Metropolitan who assigned members to the commission, but I do believe it was the MC and Synod that called for the commission.
Possibly the biggest question of all is why H.E. Archbishop JOB felt compelled to write his "sorrowful epistle." If all is indeed right, why is the ranking hierarch on the special commission, a member of the Holy Synod, feeling the need to call for a special session and expressing the feelings he expressed in his letter; or does the Metropolitan claim that was a fabrication? Surely he doesn't want us to believe that Vladyka JOB doesn't know what he's talking about!
These are not matters of speculation and half truth. Mark Stokoe provided us with documentation. The "sorrowful epistle" was posted on the official web-site of the Diocese of the Midwest. If the Metropoltian claims that the documentation was falsified, let him make his case. If he denies that he ever suspended Greg Nescott or the speical commission, let him prove that we have been mislead. Otherwise, I must assume that the evidence is legitimate and so are the questions that arise from it.
Yes, the Internet is a great venue for spreading lies, half-truths, inuendo, gossip, speculation, etc. The only problem is that Mark Stokoe has been careful to document the information he has provded. PERHAPS (in general theory) Mark has erred on the side of presenting facts that were damaging to have come out prematurely, but again, let the Metropolitan make his case, and if that is the case, his own clams are false.
As I said, it would have been easy to buy into the Metropolitan's claims had I come into this discussion completely ignorant. I tend to respect people in uniforms until the respect is shown to be misplaced. I know I'd have bought the whole thing. Sadly, however, I can't ignore the evidence I have seen.
Your Beatitude: When these basic questions are answered, clearly, fully, unequivocally, and with compelling evidence to support your case, I'll receive that evidence with joy and satisfaction. Until then, I hardly think it a lie, or speculation, or even exaggeration, to state that your own actions, including the wall of silence have raised far, far more questions than they have answered. I need not rely on, or even pay attention to, the opinions or claims of fact of others. The first-hand evidence quite suffices. As such, the ball is your court. Do we play, or do we go home?
Sdn. Mark Harrison
#16 Mark Harrison on 2007-06-13 01:46
It looks like someone might be getting a little hot under the klobuk these days. Last night someone added some entries on savetheoca.org. Two of them gave negative amounts so that the total would go down to zero and in one of them the name given was "This website is destroying the OCA with inaccurate information". I wonder who could have done that and especially around midnight after the first day of the MC meeting. Might this be a sign of how things are going and hopefully the little man on the ropes?
People, you're being heard. People who enter on savetheoca.org you are really being heard and it's having an impact.
Who ever it was it's apparent they feel that what's being said is wrong. To this we say, your man, Herman, holds the keys. He can show some character, rather than being a character, and tell us the accurate information. He can tell us the whole truth. To paraphrase from back in the 70's, we need to know if our Metropolitan is a crook.
Those that have not entered on savetheoca.org, this is a good time. Every entry, no matter the monetary amount, is a vote of no confidence in Herman. He may not follow up with any action, but we can see the steam from the under the klobuk!
#17 Publius on 2007-06-13 05:02
Reading the Metropolitan’s opening remarks reminded me of reading yet another charitable appeal my husband and I received, signed and sent by MH long after this scandal broke and the whole of the OCA knew that charitable funds had been “misappropriated.” I had to ask myself then—and I am asking myself now—is this man completely delusional? Doesn’t he realize that we all know he is attempting to spin reality here? Thankfully, God is not taken in by spin (not one little bit)—and neither, increasingly, are the members of the OCA. Please, MC and HS, take the necessary action to free us from this man’s spiritually oppressive rule. That is the only hope for the OCA.
#18 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2007-06-13 05:17
Dear Metropolitan Herman,
Thank you for your reflections. They are interesting.
However, before this MC session retires:
Please work witht the MC to allow the Special Commission to complete it work.
Please work with the MC to release the Proskauer Rose report.
Please work with the MC make sure Fr. Kondratick gets due process as established not only by OCA statues but by moral, ethical, and legal common law.
I am a faithful OCA Christian that is seeking to know what happend to each and every penny I have donated to the OCA over the years.
I think just telling the truth about it all will help me, and countless others know.
#19 Patty Schellbach on 2007-06-13 07:09
+Herman's address reveals both denial and delusion:
denial of any responsibility for events leading up to our current crisis; delusion (possibly, even "very sincere" delusion) regarding his own innocence and victimhood at the hands of his "relentless" critics...Indications, perhaps, of addiction to power, or at least, to its external trappings and privileges.
TIME FOR AN INTERVENTION!
#20 Subdeacon Henry Shirley, a Free Orthodox Christian of the Midwest on 2007-06-13 08:50
Dear in Christ,
Keep in mind from the very beginning of my post the words of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ: "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Matthew 7, 2. They will apply to MH and Nathaniel too.
As virtually everyone who cares about this scandal is saying, the time for effective action has come. Hierarchs, priests and lay people MUST ACT NOW. Every delay is going to be costly for the OCA as a whole.
First, the Metropolitan Council must act at this meeting to curb the tyrant's most egregious actions in the ways outlined by Mr. Wachter et al, in his outstanding presentation as of 6.4.07 New Series: Initiating Change. CAESAR'S DECREES: Fiduciary Duties in a Hierarchical Church. The NO - CONFIDENCE vote against Met. Herman, has to be a MUST of the Met. Council and a basic the upcoming OCA Synod MUST act in July. The MC MUST stop the MH monthly salary as of June 1, 2007.
Secondly, the Synod must do its part to dethrone our pseudo pope at the upcoming meeting in July, 2007, and show respect to the Head of the Church WHO is our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Holy Scripture, to the Canons of the Holy Orthodox Christian Church, to the OCA Statute, to the OCA members (bishops, clergy, monastics, lay people as a whole), and the entire Orthodox Church.
Thirdly, make NO MISTAKE, Met Herman is very revengeful, and he has some YES bishops who support him at least now, even though they did not vote for him as he was elected OCA Primate in Florida. Nathaniel did not vote for Herman in Florida as every OCA bishop knows this. At the present time Nathaniel was picked up to preside at the Kondratick trial to please Herman, because he is the only hierarch Herman can rely upon.
For this moment, we cannot only hope and pray, we hope to make plans for the future, and use this site for further visible action.
Fourthly, make sure the OCA hierarchs should ask for help from the OCA Mother Church's Patriarch, His Holiness Alexei II, outlining all the abuses done as of this time by the MH.
Fifthly, stop donating / sending any financial support to the OCA.
Everyone can realize that nothing has changed in the stratified air of unaccountability and unrepentance in Syosset. The messengers are again blamed for the problems. If only we would keep our mouths shut and blindly obey, everything will be all right with the OCA Metropolitan and his FEW cronies / irresponsible bishops. What hypocrisy and shame! Time to act is near.
I truly believe that Herman has gotten to the point of believing the lies that he has spewed for almost 2 years! .....
To Fr Kondratick:
a) Did you know that yesterday (June 12, 2007) was Archbishop Nathaniel 67th birthday, and he had to preside over your ecclesiastical court, using Bolsheviks practices contrary to the OCA best practices, and not allowing a stenographer, court reporter, minutes or recording of any kind? Why so ... because he is accustomed to this "BAD PRACTICE?
b) Did you bring any birthday cake for Nathaniel's 67th birthday, and why not?
c) Did you know that Nathaniel was unhappy for you and your entourage to come at the trial and demand a stenographer, court reporter, minutes or recording of any kind?
e) Are you not planning to look for any secular resort for having the justice served in your case?
f) Did you learn nothing from all this site postings within the last two years about WHO's who as the OCA hierarchs, and you really don't know WHO's WHO?
DO NOT GIVE UP. Just wait and give them (MH and Nathaniel) a lesson. Use all ammunition at your disposal, and let the OCA flock be united and the unworthy shepherds jailed. Time is coming when everyone will see this dream coming true.
Everyone can see that MH has lost all credibility. Every Orthodox Church around the world has access to the ocanews.site and reads every posting. SHAME on all the Orthodox bishops around the world who do not call for MH resignation. SHAME on all the OCA bishops and clergy for not being united and acting in such a way to empty the Syosset office of the undesirable tyrant and papistic despot ... MH.
Time has come when people are screaming and saying: Save us from Herman! What more does he need to do or say? Save those of us who cried when we read this speech and *SAVE US*. Seriously. Do something NOW to save the suffering souls of this Church! He spoke these words in front of the Altar of our Lord! His disrespect covered all levels. This is a circus.
We have to admit that Herman needs to be retired at the very, very least. Please, do not let our pleas fall on deaf ears! Meet NOW and do something, firm action, to save this Church from a fall that looks more and more inevitable every time he speaks or acts! Please! Enough is enough!
The moment of truth is here. The moment upon which the future of the OCA hinges. While the MC has a lot to do and God willing they are truly being guided by the Holy Spirit we know and worship, we must implore to the Holy Synod that enough is enough. You see what's going on and we cannot see how you can be comfortable or put up with what you are seeing. The Holy Synod, can do something about this NOW and save a lot of souls who are truly in a lot of pain. We need you, we need you to step up to the plate, and to live up to your vows that you took at your consecration. We need to work together. You be there for us now to rid this cancer and we'll be there to work with you to rebuild this Church to the vision we all share.
There are so many good bishops within the OCA Holy Synod who can dethrone MH at the upcoming July meeting. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. And I think MH is not the only one that has to go, and least 1 or 2 more OCA bishops have to go.
Met. H's statement that the court will meet again later this month to hear FrRK's responses is astonishing. Are we to be invited back, now that we've been thrown out?! Please remember Fr Robert and me, our bishops and our OCA in your prayers. Peace and blessings to all. Monk James" ... This is a real CIRCUS.
The ecclesiastical COURTS do not need the presence of ANY Lay people ... WHILE cases involving PRIESTS / CLERGY are to be discussed / judged. Arch Nathaniel DOES not know the canonical provisions AT ALL. He is one of the most UNQUALIFIED presiding officer to any ecclesiastical court deliberations. ... if the fish STINKS from the HEAD ... WHAT you can do ...?
It is obvious that Nathaniel had to be kicked out and let Fr Kondratick stay. I am convinced that Fr Kondratick will give a lesson to the MH and Arch. Nathaniel very soon.
It is obvious that the OCA orchestrated V Rev Fr Kondratick's farce trial will end up in the civil court, because it started with the WRONG foot. The OCA people will pay financially and morally for all the abuses of MH and his cronies bishops.
I have to sympotize with the ideas of Patty Schellbach:
Dear Metropolitan Herman,
Thank you for your reflections. They are interesting.
However, before this MC session retires:
Please work witht the MC to allow the Special Commission to complete it work.
Please work with the MC to release the Proskauer Rose report.
Please work with the MC make sure Fr. Kondratick gets due process as established not only by OCA statues but by moral, ethical, and legal common law.
I am a faithful OCA Christian that is seeking to know what happend to each and every penny I have donated to the OCA over the years.
I think just telling the truth about it all will help me, and countless others know.
#19 Patty Schellbach on 2007-06-13 07:09 (Reply)
Thank you for your dedication to the noble cause of the OCA. You are not a saint. You will be blessed by Christ the Judge for the many good thinks you are doing for Him as the Head of His Church, including the OCA.
Keep my name out of the woods. I am afraid of my hierarch retaliation.
A disappointed OCA priest, 6 / 13 / 07
#21 RFVS on 2007-06-13 08:50
I hope the Metropolitan's speech is indication that he wants to further the discussion on the critical issues facing the OCA at this time. What follows are a few of my thoughts regarding this discussion:
In his opening speech as it was released on oca.org, the Metropolitan asked, 'What is God's will for us at this time in the history of our young, modest, yet autocephalous Orthodox Church in America?' It is a good question. Is the answer to have hitched our fate and future to Proskauer-Rose? Somehow that doesn't sound right. Is it Proskauer-Rose that can and will save the autocephalous OCA from rather unceremoniously sinking to the bottom of the sea? It doesn't seem as if Christ appointed lawyers to provide oversight for the Church. Is it God's will for us to enliven the entire Body of Christ and open up the Church so that all members actively, joyously and lovingly participate in all aspects of the Church's life? That sounds more like it. The Metropolitan did not attempt to answer his proposed all important question and offered little insight into what he is thinking regarding this question, but certainly it would be a refreshing change if our bishops would publicly speak to each other and to their dioceses regarding the question.
Regarding Best Practices, Metropolitan Herman said, "Without such a document, we are daring to function without necessary safeguards in place to properly move forward". If the Gospel itself, the Sacrament of Confession and The Body and Blood of Christ were not able to lead us in the path of truth and help our chancery staff be honest, are we to believe that Best Practices will change the hearts and minds of sinners? There is no doubt that the OCA needs to commit itself to total financial transparency, but this will best be done by everyone in Syosset always telling the truth, working for absolute financial transparency, and by releasing investigative reports not suppressing them. The Church is supposed to be about bringing light not only to the truth but to everything including exposing what is done in darkness.
The Metropolitan said, "as Primate of the Church, and therefore, on behalf of the entire Orthodox Church in America (and not myself as some have alleged), I engaged the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP to investigate the allegations of financial mismanagement of Church funds." If it was on behalf of the church, thank you, but then release the report to the Church, otherwise a suppressed report seems to say there is something to hide from the church. If PR was indeed hired to investigate, release their investigation. If PR was hired to protect some few leaders, that will be obvious as the report will be kept from the Church. The Church has nothing to hide and is supposed to make every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5), not to attorneys.
The Metropolitan said, "The Honesdale National Bank was properly distributed in accordance with the specifics of the loan application and acceptance documents." I would hope this means that those records of the loan and the disbursement of the money is thus a financial transaction of the Church and thus will be posted on oca.org so we all can see the good stewardship of our donations.
The Metropolitan said, "That there was a restriction on information that could be made public while the investigation was in process ". Restrictions on information? Restricted by whom? Who has the authority to restrict such information? Who made that decision? If the OCA is the client of PR then PR should report to its client. And since the investigation is now complete as the Metropolitan stated in his speech, isn't it time to release the reports since the reports could not be released only while the investigation was ongoing?
Finally, he said "Conjectures by some who have limited access to facts have used the Internet as their medium of choice in their 'quest for the truth.' ... At this point, I question the motives and methods of such individuals." This sounds like you are blaming the people who actually care enough about the OCA to publicly speak to the issues. The Internet is simply a forum for people to express their ideas. It is not the Internet that makes people think critically. People form their opinions with or without the Internet and have done so for years. The Internet is not the cause of people thinking critically but it has allowed more people to actively care about the OCA. What the Internet has done is help end bishops being insulated from the thoughts, concerns and cares of their flocks. The Internet has helped make the Metropolitan and others aware that quite a number of members in the OCA actually care about what goes on and are willing to speak up for a better Church. Even the Metropolitan noted with thanks the numbers of people offering volunteer help to the OCA - and guess what? They learned of the church's need and offered their help through the Internet!
#22 Fr. Ted bobosh on 2007-06-13 09:07
Hey Syosset! You're very quick to put up the Metropolitan's tirade. Where are the photo's from St. Tikhon's Pilgrimage? Is it something not suited to put on pravda.org?
#23 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 11:06
There are 15 photos from the Pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's on the MP/US site:
#23.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 20:14
I wondered why no photos were posted on OCA.ORG! It looks like a ghost town! Just compare the pilgrimage photos from the last two years alone! Does anyone think that those photos would have been captioned "And the church was filled to capacity"????
#23.1.1 Sophia Weisheit on 2007-06-15 14:45
About those photos of the pilgrimage, well, you know what they say--a picture is worth a thousand words...
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2007-06-15 21:29
The only photos in on that site are at the beginning of the liturgy -- looks about when we arrived, and it was shockingly empty at that point. It did get much fuller later, but I'd say that at the end the pavillion was about as full as it would normally be at the beginning -- about 3 - 4 times as many people as in the linked photos, but nowhere near the normal number.
#126.96.36.199 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-06-16 06:45
Here is a link to quite a few pictures of the Memorial Day Pilgrimage posted on St. Tikhon's website.
#23.2 Matushka Anna on 2007-06-18 19:08
Thank you, Matushka.
The photos of communion (25ff) give a good sense of what the crowd ended up being.
Shameless self-promotion -- on the right of photo 30 is a nice shot of my kids who ran ahead to take photos of the procession.
#23.2.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-06-20 08:18
I've gone back and forth on whether Met. Herman's resignation is necessary to resolve this. For a time, I was very much in favor. Then someone I respect greatly shared his fears about the danger and unintended consequences of removing MH too soon. I wavered.
I've sometimes wondered if one of the reasons that savetheoca.org doesn't get a bit more support is that maybe some are not quite ready to call explicitly for MH's resignation or removal.
I still think the best of all possible outcomes would be for MH to honestly admit past error, announce his retirement effective the '08 AAC and devote the next year to implementing simultaneously the reorganization already under effect and some kind of "truth and reconciliation" commission that could grow out of the Special Commission's investigation.
Think about what trauma could be avoided were MH capable of such brave and self-effacing leadership! No matter what he has done in the past (or more to the point, not done), he would go down in history as a great Metropolitan who did his duty at great personal expense and set an example of true, honest repentence. Think about what that example would mean -- the courage to speak plainly and openly about past errors, the will to confront and set right the errors of the past, to take upon himself the full responsibility for misdeeds that may in large part not be his own -- Wow! That would renew the OCA and make this whole mess simply a stepping stone to restoration and rededication.
Please if anyone close to the Metropolitan is reading this, consider this!!!
But, increasingly this seems a pipe dream. And rather than getting lost in delusional daydreams, I have to call unequivicably for MH to be removed or to resign -- no leadership, complete chaos, would be better than this false self-serving pretense of leadership.
And just a personal note -- I struggle with how to speak about these issues. I'm at war with myself. Something in my personality makes silence impossible, and perhaps that is sinful pride. But every time I write something about these matters I agonize over how to be constructive, how to not give in to passion, how to say something that will move us forward instead of backwards. There have been many attacks of late (including in MH's address) on the tone of this website. There's one post I made recently where I kind of let loose with some stuff I normally keep bottled up and I've been self-critical of having posted it because, apart from being highly critical, it also crossed the line into a personal attack on MH. But may God judge me (and I am sure He will), I can't in all honesty regret what I said in that post.
If the tone here is negative it is because those who are stepped on, spit on and insulted into the bargain reach a point where they simply cannot respond with good grace. Is that a failure? Sure. But at whose doorstep lies the blame for that failure? Is it with those who have failed under undue stress or those who have cynically and relentlessly applied the stress by their utter disregard for even common decency?
#24 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-06-13 11:19
I don't have much to add to the excellent posts in this thread, except just a few words. First of all, I am so happy to see that there is still much kindness and Christian spirit in many posts in the face of the recent events. It is such a common "Christian" trick to turn back at accusers with "thou shall not judge". What a wonderfully convenient attitude - regardless of trespassings, nobody can raise a voice against them because that would mean they are being "judgemental". Yet I still see that people are mostly expressing sadness - sorrow, rather - at the grandiose failure of our spiritual leadership. Is it judging the man, or the sin? I believe it is the second - and an inability of a man to repent of the sin...
Which brings me to the second point. At any good leadership training, there will always be an agenda item on "admitting mistakes" and "publicly dealing with personal failures". Apparently many people in the positions of leadership, including some heads of state, have either never taken those courses or have slept through this part. Yet what may be merely annoying in a politician (after all, who goes into politics?) is tantamount to complete moral bancrupcy in a head of a Christian Church since our "training" is not about high-level management - it is about spiritual leadership in a fallen world. All we hear most Sundays, all that our many fasts are about, is repentance and *forgiveness*. We hear about the self-righteousness of the Pharisee at the beginning of Great Lent as one of the worst human failures, the fruit of the Fall, the manifestation of pride. We are being chastised at confession if we are confessing a sin and then hurry to offer explanations for it. Don't we all have the same "training"?...
And yet, when I put side by side the Metropolitan's address and the "Sorrowful Epistle" of Archbishop Job, I just cannot see the two "brother bishops". Worse, I see that the bishop who time after time (if not in so many words, yet transparently enough) claims the supreme authority over - and responsibility for - my Church is lacking what I have been taught is the fundamental Christian quality - ability to repent. "I have done nothing wrong" has been said before and is being repeated. It has not fallen on deaf ears. Can any communicant of the Orthodox Church come to confession and say this?..
"I have done nothing wrong" easily transforms into "I cannot do anything wrong". It transforms into "I am above reproach". It transforms into "I make the rules". How can the Spiritual Court violate due process??? The Statutes of the OCA are not there just to demonstrate to the "world" that we have "rules". They are not perfect, but they are there to ensure there are due processes and accountability. The Spiritual Court should be ABOVE the civil court morally and ethically - as a Church Court, it should be clean and true and above reproach. That it felt empowered to violate the most basic legal rules of a not-quite-perfect civil legal system is yet another symptom of how deep our disease is.
By the way, I owe an apology to Igumen Philip. Whatever his motivation, his cautioning was proven right.
#25 Inga Leonova on 2007-06-13 11:24
No need for an apology! I don't claim infallibility (mostly 'cause I'm too fat to look good in white, waving from a Roman balcony).
Concerning "judge not," please note that often in Scripture "to judge" is the semantic equivalent of "to condemn." An example is John 5:29, where the literal translation is "resurrection of judgment," while most modern translations render the sense of it: "judgment of condemnation" (which is how the NKJV puts it). So it seems to me that the Lord's words have to do more with a condemnatory attitude than with objective evaluation.
Note also one verse of Scripture which gets overlooked all too frequently, viz., John 7:24, wherein the Lord says, "Judge not according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
As Christians we do indeed have to judge: we have to judge actions; we have to judge attitudes; we have to judge whether words and spirits, whether they be of God or not (1 John 4:1).
But we have to be careful in two crucial areas. Firstly, we have to dig deeply into the matter rather than just skim the surface, so that we can factor in all of the facts, not just appearances. Somewhere in the Desert Fathers (I forget where, exactly) we are told of the monk who saw one of his fellow monks having intimate relations with a neighbouring lass. Indignant, the first monk ran up to the couple, yelling at them and kicking them to make them stop. Only then did he get a grip and see that what he was kicking was a bale of straw. "Judge not according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
Secondly and even more importantly, we are never to judge another person: what he says or does, yes; who he is, no. Why? Because when we judge another person, almost inevitably we tend to reduce that person to the sum total of his failures; we tend to think "What's wrong about you is the only important thing about you; what's wrong with you is all you are." In theological terms, that's Calvin's doctrine of total depravity; and it's heresy. If all we were is the sum total of our sins, there would be nothing there for God to redeem in Jesus Christ; we'd be total write-offs. But the Father sees us as more than as just big lumps of sin; so He sends His Son into the world "not to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved" (Jn.3:17).
When I was in Grade 1, the teacher was Mrs. Kay. She appeared a very formidable woman indeed, but the kids loved her. Why? Because she was always careful to make and to articulate this distinction: "I am angry at what you did, but I am not angry at you!" Yes, she did hand out punishments for bad behaviour; but not one of her kids was ever left feeling like a failure as a person. Her class was the best-behaved in the school, not because the students feared punishment, but because they feared disappointing someone who obviously loved them. Am I wrong in thinking that is how our life in Christ should look, or how we should deal with one another in our inevitable failures?
On the matter of the current trial, I have to wonder at what is happening in the Spiritual Court. Monk James is quite correct that The Statute assigns both authority and responsibility to the Holy Synod to establish procedures for Spiritual Courts (Article XI,4,k). Whether or not the Holy Synod has done so, I don't know. (If not, then the procedures used in Spiritual Courts held in each Diocese during Fr. Kondratick's time in office would have been created either by the Diocesan Bishop or by the Spiritual Court, not by the OCA Chancellor.) But it strikes me as rather weird that in this case it is the accused who wants a verbatim record made, not only of his defense, but also of all the testimony and evidence against him, while the prosecution wants no verbatim record kept. And in what jurisdiction anywhere in North America is it permitted to hear evidence without at least the accused's attorney present? The Statute does provide for trials "in absentia," but only in the case where the accused fails to appear for a trial after being summoned three times (Article XI,4,c). I don't know how it is elsewhere, but in our Archdiocese notes (at the very least) are indeed taken and trials "in absentia" occur only in accordance with The Statute. So what in the world is going on in this rather high-profile case? "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees..." (Matt.5:20).
One further thought (which I suspect is going to get me verbally beaten up again): the Metropolitan holds office because he was chosen for that office by the Holy Synod. As a monastic and as an Orthodox Christian who at least tries to trust that everything comes from the hand of God, I must therefore accept the Metropolitan's election as God's will for us. Thus, I disagree vigorously with calls for his resignation, deposition, &c. This is not to say that I agree with all of his ideas, policies and/or actions; I don't. Some of them have raised my blood pressure to dangerously high levels. Neither do I think that he is above the need for fraternal correction from his fellow hierarchs and from us, his brothers and sisters in Christ, any more than any of the rest of us is above such correction (which brings us back to Mrs. Kay, I think). But for whatever reason, God has given us this particular Metropolitan at this particular time in our history; and we need to make that work.
#25.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-06-14 05:52
God made the angels and one of them went bad. God made Adam and Eve and one of them went bad. God made the apostles and one of them went bad. All of the bad characters were punished. God made the Bishops and (we pray) only one went bad. The bad angel was thrown out of heaven. Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden. The bad apostle was destroyed from the earth. Prayer will help and perhaps someone’s prayers brought this all out in the first place. It may also be that prayers to God have encouraged some to take action. Remember, it was a difficult vote that brought our current Metropolitan to office, and this may be God’s way to reverse that vote. Never forget that all we do is done with free will, even the Bishops.
#25.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 20:22
Nonsense! To equate God's will with everything that happens is to say He is the author of our evil or wrongful acts. So murder, robbery, etc., not to mention heresy and schism, are God's will and we are to sit idly by and let it all happen?
You need to reexamine the role of Free Will in the operation of salvation. God allows us to flaunt his will, which to my feeble mind is not the same thing as "willing" it to happen. And we are certainly called to act when conscience so dictates--even if we are ultimately proved to be wrong.
Your background and current vocation make you subject to a kind of authority and deference to same that I don't share. Certainly, it appears to be up to the bishops to remove MH as Metropolitan--and I only wish they would get on with God's Will!
#25.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-06-15 05:25
I offer simply for reflection the following excerpt from the morning prayer composed by St. Philaret of Moscow: "Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all...In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You..."
#188.8.131.52 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-06-15 13:57
Information on spiritual court procedures is hard to come by, and they can vary with jurisdiction and even with dioceses within a jurisdiction. However, I am aware of one person who initiated a spiritual court proceeding for sexual misconduct against a GOA priest. This person was told that no one could be present during this person's testimony before the court -- not an attorney, not even a support person. There were also no records made of the proceedings.
This has nothing to do with this string but I found it interesting considering our present mess:
Former Salvation Army Financial Manager Charged with Embezzlement
The late Jim Croce sang about Bad, Bad Leroy Brown from the south side of Chicago, and there is a Leroy Brown in New Jersey who has been charged with stealing over $385,000 from the Salvation Army from 1995 to 2002 while he worked for the organization as a financial manager. A press release (here) issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey states that the indictment (here) alleges that Brown "used his position at the Salvation Army’s Newark office to generate fraudulent rental assistance checks. According to the Indictment, Brown and a co-conspirator, who was not employed by the Salvation Army, would cash the checks at a business in Newark and divide the proceeds. Brown and his co-conspirator, who pleaded guilty on Monday, allegedly cashed approximately 585 fraudulent checks between October 1995 and July 2002, stealing approximately $385,760 from the Salvation Army." Brown is charged with conspiracy, embezzling from a program receiving over $10,000 in federal funds (Sec. 666), and tax evasion. Jim Croce's Leroy "looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone" after messin' with the wife of a jealous man, while this Leroy may be facing a substantial term of imprisonment for defrauding a charitable organization. (ph)
#26 Linda Weir on 2007-06-13 12:12
Does any of the following sound familiar?
1. Never admit a fault or wrong;
2. Never concede that there may be some good in your enemy;
3. Never leave room for alternatives;
4. Never accept blame;
5. Concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong;
6. People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
Sounds like our current Metropolitan and the current administration?
"Taken from a report prepared during WWII by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler's psychological profile" (Wikipedia on the Big Lie)
#27 Anonymous on 2007-06-13 14:05
With all due respect to Metropolitan Herman, the transparency that he alluded to in his report is virtually non-existent. How, exactly, was the money from the Honesdale National Bank dispursed? Where are the audited financial statements? Where are the current financials? How much debt does the OCA actually have now? How much has actually been spent on all of the lawyers and accountants?
Please note that I didn't mention a word about the current spiritual court taking place. Just leaving this major issue aside for just a moment, it is certainly not transparent to me how anything has really changed. It appears to me that the folks in Syossett got lucky that they could find a bank that would loan them some money and bail them out.
I have followed this site for over a year now and some of the defenders of the current regime appear to be delusional. I believe there is some reasonable doubt as to whether the former chancellor did everything that he is accused of and again, I think this is worthy of a separate discussion. But there is one thing that is undeniable, without this loan it is most likely that OCA would probably be struggling on its last leg.
If you just follow the financial reports and information that has leaked/trickled out over the past year I think a reasonable person would conclude that Syosset is in a complete financial mess. Why on earth then did the otherwise rational flock of the midwest vote not to withhold assessments?
Dear friends, would you give your paycheck to your five year old to hold onto and invest? Why would you give money to Syosset when there is clearly no Treasurer/CFO/Accountant taking care of it?
Do not throw pearls before swine.
#28 Concerned in CA on 2007-06-13 14:32
The Metropolitan "question[s] the motives and methods" of those "who have limited access to facts [who] have used the Internet as their medium of choice in their 'quest for the truth.'" Certainly, it would not be hard to find examples of crazed and uncharitable-sounding attacks by mostly-anonymous Internet posters. As Sdn. Mark Harrison wrote, "If I were just now starting to look at this site, I'd probably be persuaded by [the Metropolitan's] words." I'd like to make two points about this situation:
1) The years-long withholding of facts and stonewalling has engendered a crazy-making climate of distrust and suspicion. The Metropolitan expresses "regret" over "this complex spiritual trauma", but says it is something "over which I do not have control", despite the "restriction of information" having been largely his own personal choice imposed upon the rest of the OCA. When some (such as myself) have allowed themselves to be driven past endurance to sins of un-Christian anger and judgment, then those who have participated in creating this situation should share a measure of repentance for these sins. I have heard and loved hearing such a remorseful pastoral response from Archbishop Job, but nothing from the Metropolitan.
2) I question how much of the "vicious personal attacks, half-truths, exaggerations, distortions", etc. posted on the Internet should be taken at face value. A large percentage appear to be the work of a handful of individuals posting stylistically-similar rants under a variety of pseudonyms or anonymously. It is even possible that some of the most absurd attacks have come from agents provocateurs in order to tar responsible critics with the same brush. In general, I have seen relatively few "vicious" postings from verifiable individuals, instead a great wealth of genuine concern for the well-being of the Church.
Timothy Capps' pithy quote cuts to the heart of this matter: "The motives of people who ask for answers when millions of dollars disappear are not questionable. To put it bluntly, persons who are close to the disappearance of millions of dollars who resist a complete and open investigation are the ones whose motives are questionable."
#29 Stephen Schumacher (OCA-DOW) on 2007-06-13 22:00
Did anyone else notice the "minor" change in the OCA's photo gallery? Such little things reveal much.
Prior to the recent posting of the pictures from the Metropolitan Council meeting, the location of events taking place at the Chancery was "Syosset".
Now the photo gallery refers to the location as "Oyster Bay Cove."
Hard to rail against "Oyster Bay Cove."
#30 Christopher Eager on 2007-06-13 22:51
Great catch! Oh, that's just a hoot. Let's put on a dress on this pink elephant and pretend he's a world class ballerina.
Not only that: the OCA site now lists, under the Parish Listings link, the St Sergius Chapel as being in Oyster Bay Cove, NY, and gives its address as 6850 N Hempstead Tpke, Oyster Bay Cove, NY 11791.
The US Postal Services website, however, records that zip code as belonging to Syossett, NY (http://www.switchboard.com/_1_HYDUKB02O5HYD1__usps.1355/dir/poresults.htm?MEMID=&SD=100&CN=100&CID=1222&A=&T=&S=&Z=11791&Search.x=17&Search.y=6&Search=Search);
and, if searching for that street address on the USPS site using Oyster Bay Cove it returns the zip code as well as a corrected address using Syosset rather than OBC (http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp)
Maybe its a real change to the town's name, and the USPS website hasn't been updated. Or maybe its just a really pathetic marketing attempt. The timing is curious, though.
#30.2 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 11:03
As a person in the suburbs of New York City (and as a person with a real estate license who has had to speak to this conundrum), let me explain the seeming discrepancy in the place name of our church organization on New York State Route 25A (which we love dearly, but which also excites other emotions on an occasional basis).
In New York State (outside of New York City) there are at least two, but sometimes three, levels of local government. Everyone is in a county (in the case of the OCA, it is Nassau), and in a town (Oyster Bay, for the OCA). Some people are in a formally incorporated village. In the case of the headquarters of the OCA, it is in the Village of Oyster Bay Cove.
The U. S. Postal Service, on the other hand, has other criteria. Since the formally incorporated villages in New York State often exist as a means to have control over zoning --- the postal authorities are often unwilling to have zip codes and places recognized for their purposes, for such small jurisdictions. Therefore, the post office deems Oyster Bay Cove to be in Syosset, despite the formal governmental situation.
(Don't get me started on school districts, unless you're moving to New York .)
#30.2.1 Edmund Unneland on 2007-06-14 21:26
A little more research revealed that, for ZIP code 11791, "Oyster Bay Cove" is deprecated (according the the USPS, "NOT ACCEPTABLE", and that "Syosset" is the correct name of the city for this ZIP code.
#30.3 Wayne Matthew Syvinski on 2007-06-14 18:47
I will be unusually brief.
I believe the OCA financial scandal is one of the easiest, most solvable political problems I've seen. It was certainly complex related to Fr. K., though, and I understand the need to hire a lawfirm.
What makes it politically easy is we all want the same thing, from Metropolitan Herman to his biggest critics. We want a financially responsible administration that provides us with a few reports.
The reports are required for our comforts largely in light of the great uncertainty the administration has caused. The absence of reports is cause for continued uncertainty.
What an easy problem to have.
I expect to better understand the extent of the misuse of funds by Fr. Kondratik. I don't believe the financial problems are solely his fault and we really need a full and fair assessment of investment problems, etc. No so we can be nasty and ask for more heads to roll, just so we understand the extent of what Fr. Kondratick did. This should be done by Abp. Job.
It was encouraging today to see a note about the 2006 audits on the OCA website. It would have been more encouraging to see the audited financial reports from 2006 along with the auditor's letter. If the church releases these 2006 audited financial statements, I will not support the Palatine Resolution.
I will support the resolution absent the report and absent first quarter full financial statements because Metropolitan Herman's own words suggest disbursement of the Honesdale loan monies as planned, yet restricted funds were an audit exception. RESTRICTED FUNDS have been the entire problem!!! Report them already.
I'll be looking for the audited financials and I pray it is by Friday.
#31 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-06-14 08:23
Monk James (and I use the term monk loosely),
1 Quote the statute that no lay person can be at a spiritual court involving a cleryman.
2. Give precedents of previous courts that allowed a transcription and or recording of the proceedings.
3. What is your proof that you were "thrown out" rather than just leaving?
That is if you are able to answer these questions. I suspect that you would not want us to know the answers. So, if you know the answers prove it. (But rememer the old adage: never ask a question that you don't know the answer to.)
#32 Linda Weir on 2007-06-14 13:58
Linda Weir asked Monk James Silver:
Does this assertion refer to the composition of the spiritual court judges, or simply to who may be present during the proceedings? (I couldn't seem to locate such a quote by Monk James.)
I suspect it refers to the former, but if it refers to the latter, I admit to some confusion. Isn't Monk James a layman, albeit one who has taken monastic vows? Wouldn't he then be prohibited from attending the spiritual court by Monk James own rule?
Dear Friends --
It's almost against my better judgement to respond to Linda Weir, giventhe insulting tone of her questions here and her unprovoked but consistently expressed hostility toward me. May the Lord forgive her as I do.
I'll interpolate my responses between Mrs Weir's insults.
LW: 'Monk James (and I use the term monk loosely),'
JAMES: Mrs Weir can use the term as loosely as she pleases, but since she's out of her depth and knows nothing of me personally or of monastic practice, we'll just hope that she gains a little education. The good news is that ignorance is curable! In the meantime, it wouldn't hurt for her to be more polite.
LW: '1 Quote the statute that no lay person can be at a spiritual court involving a cleryman.'
JAMES: Wherever did Mrs Weir get this idea? The Statute does NOT say 'that no lay person can be at a spiritual court involving a cleryman'. The Statute merely requires that the Court (the judges) comprise four priests and no laity 'in cases involving accusations against members of the clergy' (Article XI.2).
LW: '2. Give precedents of previous courts that allowed a transcription and or recording of the proceedings.'
JAMES: There is nothing in the OCA Statute to preclude any form of a permanent record's being made of a spiritual court. While not at liberty to provide names and dates, I can say for a fact that most of the recent spiritual courts of which I'm aware were convened in the Romanian Episcopate; perhaps this is why Met. Herman designated Abp Nathaniel to preside over the present court. In any event, there are audio/visual recordings of at least some of those trials archived on CD-ROMS.
LW: '3. What is your proof that you were "thrown out" rather than just leaving?'
JAMES: 'He who saw this bears witness, and his testimony is true.' What more can be said? I've already made it more than clear that NO RECORD WAS MADE, so there is no 'proof'. What happened was that we were given an ultimatum: Accept the Procedural Guidelines (inlcuding #3's requirement that no record of the proceedings would be made) or be held in contempt of the court. We refused to go forward in the trial by submitting to these unfair rules, so we were informed by Abp Nathaniel that we were in contempt, upon which Attorney James Perry said 'Pack up your things and leave.' That's pretty much getting 'thrown out' by most definitions, since we didn't leave voluntarily.
LW: 'That is if you are able to answer these questions. I suspect that you would not want us to know the answers. So, if you know the answers prove it. (But rememer the old adage: never ask a question that you don't know the answer to.)'
I hope this helps a little.
Peace and blessings to all.
#32.2 Monk James on 2007-06-15 14:19
I'm glad I'm not the only one who questions the venerable monk's interpretation of how things went.
Was he present as a Canon Law expert on RSK's behalf?
If so, I didn't realize he possessed such credentials.
I thought this was a church court and NOT a civil court.
If so, why would a court stenographer be needed?
All of a sudden they're interested in the need for having records?
It's interesting that their side has NO records of any one individual or organization which benefitted from the gracious generosity of the 911 financial distributions isn't it?
But yet, they feel it's wise to have a record of these proceedings. Amazing.
It's time folks.
It's time for Moe, Larry and Curly to pack up and just go away already. We've had enough of their clever, yet ridiculous banter.
#32.3 Michael Geeza on 2007-06-15 15:08
We all know your loyalty to Kucynda but please do not insult us with your ridiculous interpretation of things. You are no more objective than Monk James. You have thrown your lot in with Herman and Kucynda ignoring as best you can that they are not part of the solution but the very source of the problem. Don't make comments you only know from Kucynda, a truly flawed person who is in so far over his head with his obtuse advice to Herman, advice the consequences of which the OCA will pay a heavy price for years to come. The three stooges are Herman, Kucynda and Perry.
#32.3.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-15 20:04
Oca.org reports that "Council members unanimously authorized distribution of $157,000.00 in charity funds. These funds had been collected or granted for specific purposes -- for 9/11 victims and for Bibles to be distributed in Russia. Today's decision continues the process of correcting the effects of financial violations in which funds with specific purposes were diverted for unauthorized uses and for which a major portion of the $1.7 million loan was needed."
Pardon my confusion, but is this report saying that part of the $1.7M is being distributed only now, as a result of this meeting's decision? That's my reading of it. Yet, at our last Midwest Diocesan Council meeting -- not too many weeks ago -- it was reported by our MC representatives that, at the previous MC meeting, His Beatitude asserted that all the money had been distributed already.
What am I missing here?
Fr. Bartholomew Wojcik
St. Nicholas Mission Church
#33 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2007-06-14 19:13
The same thing the rest of us are missing from Oyster Bay Cove (f/k/a Syosett): a true, correct and complete explanation, one that is not, and is not intended to be, misleading; one that contains no material misstatements; one that does not omit to state any material fact required to be stated in order to make the statements that are made not misleading. Oh, and you're (we're) missing some money, too. Yeah, that's it money. And integrity. Mmmm hm. Maybe a display of a bit of fortitude, to boot. On the other hand, we're not being shorted on chutzpah; gots us plenty of that, mmmmm hm.
#33.1 H. Inga Thteen on 2007-06-15 10:52
I am also very confused Fr. Bart! In fact, on the “official” www.oca.org website, and in the Metropolitan’s address at the opening of the Metropolitan Council meeting that just concluded, where he says “This complex spiritual trauma is something that I deeply regret has occurred, but over which I do not have control.”*…he also states: "4. The $1,700,000.00 loan procured from The Honesdale National Bank was properly distributed in accordance with the specifics of the loan application and acceptance documents.”* So, this poor man that has no control over what has occurred is the one leading this institution! I guess he's not very good with numbers either! It’s obvious to me that we are all being played as fools!
I continue to trust Archbishop JOB and hope and pray that the Lord will grant him strength and wisdom to do what has to be done. “God knows!” is what a friend always tells me in tough situations…and I believe her…and most of all, I believe in Him!
Our prayers are with you Archbishop JOB and with all those working towards a good Christian solution to this very Un-Christian situation!
(Holy Resurrection Church – Palatine, IL)
#33.2 Helen O'Sullivan on 2007-06-15 13:44
What you are missing Fr. Bart is the fact that the OCA has great uncertainty over restricted fund balances.
It appears they are taking a shot at some number, I hope the numbers in distributions reflect the loan documents.
As I said earlier, balance sheets are really owed to us to clarify this uncertainty.
#33.3 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-06-15 20:31
Yes Fr. Bart there is great uncertainty, but look at those fund repayments again. Of all the accounts, there is one that is repaid with interest. Is it the suffering children from Beslan, the 911 victims, our OCA Seminarians or Charities appeal? No,...it is St. Tikhon's. They are repaid $140k plus nearly $10k in interest. Someone at St. Tikhon's, who would authorize the $140k advance appears to be financially astute to require interest payments. I understand that Fr. Reeves is pleading to have the 911 funds restored, and yet there is argument to restore them with 2008 funds? Had those $267,000 of non-disbursed funds been set aside and managed properly for the past 6+ years, the fund value would be over $500,000 (a 10% return, not a difficult return when you are tax-exempt and your dividends are reinvested). This was one of the straws that helped to break me. I watched a documentary on the kids from Beslan about the same time the Honesdale repayment information was published. My heart broke.
From the Oct 6, 2006 OCA web news:
DISBURSEMENT FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA HONESDALE BANK ACCOUNT ON SEPTEMBER 20, 2006
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery. Check in full payment of loan and interest on $140,000.00 borrowed on November 17, 2005 to pay the outstanding 14th AAC expenses to Sheraton Centre Toronto. $149,299.29
And yet these funds that are being restored are truly only the tip of the financial iceberg. I consider them almost to be a diversion when compared to the ADM monies. Yes, $5M received 10 years ago could have been growing and still supplying $300-500,000 per year for perpetuity to help support church growth and evangelism. What could 20 mission parishes do with $20,000 each, for every one of the last 10 years? I think there is a library or historical building that was built at St. Tikhon’s named for the former Metropolitan. It’s nice to have a place to store history; the pyramids are fascinating, but King Tut is dead. Where is the money?
It is so amazing to me that the OCA had been losing money year over year at least since Met. Herman was acting Treasurer and it continued after he was installed as Metropolitan. Traveling near and far with and with no small entourage to boot! Could you do that? If any reasonable person were traveling about and going into debt, what is the first thing that you would do? Yes, cut expenses! Cut travel expenses! It was remarkable to see the report released back in September of 2006. Somehow after this scandal broke, travel budgets and other expenses were suddenly slashed. If the legal fees and excessive audit fees were removed in 2006, guess what? The OCA would have been in the black. Yes, even with significantly reduced donations, they still would have been in the black and not by a small amount. What were we doing over the past 10 years? Were we playing high society?
I have struggled to accept what has happened. I did not want to hear what this web site had to say, but my eyes are open. I pray for the health of our Archbishop Kyrill. He is suffering, but his recent actions show signs that his eyes may have also been opened. Yes, he is old guard and has toed the party line, but we also know he is financially conservative. The financial losses with the Chancery are astounding. The recent 1st quarter financial report shows the OCA in the black, but where are the legal fees? Who is controlling the legal expenditures? Dear Vladyka, please be remembered for taking a bold stand on this issue. How can we support all the nonsense that continues? Let’s keep the belt tight. Until we understand where all the money is going, please place all Diocesan assessment dollars into escrow.
The faithful who have prayed for Orthodoxy in America suffer with this unnecessary mess. I continue to pray that our Lord will help restore humility, truth and order to the OCA.
#33.3.1 Ken Kozak on 2007-06-16 17:41
From the regular oca.org site, it seems as if the MC is making progress with getting our financial house in order!
I like that we now have a Best Practices adopted, an Ethics Commitee, in which Gregg Nescott is part of, and that the Special Commission is back on track.
However, I am a bit confused about how MH is stalling on release of information with the "ongoing" "trial" of Fr. Bob. Even if all said documents were released, the Proskauer-Rose report and a preliminary Special Commission report, so what?
Fr. Bob, and anyone else implicated in those reports, would all be in the report. There may have to be more than one trial!
Is that the problem?
#34 Patty Schellbach on 2007-06-14 19:15
Apparently its round one out of three goes to the forces of evil. Based on the track record, it don't look good. The Church of Herman is now started.
Let's see if the Midwest and Synod wish to join the MC.
We have shown that the only thing that differentiates us from the RC's and other "heretical churches" are the long services and elaborate vestments. Today, begins the end of the OCA because of one despotic man.
I hope he savors the destruction. The Church of Herman is now started. Hermanistas unite!
#35 Anonymous on 2007-06-14 20:48
The letter posted on the OCA website regarding the work of the Council was perhaps one of the best, most forthright documents thus far presented and it created expectations for future information the administration and Council plan to share.
The last few press releases from the OCA were very helpful for me in tempering my concerns.
I am still hopeful for the release of the audited financial statements and putting some closure on the investigation of Fr. Kondratick and the other financial problems that occurred.
I can forgive failed investments far quicker than I can forgive the administration for forcing me to assume Fr. K was responsible for everything.
Financial statements really need to be shared. Along with that will be those that question every line and nitpick the spending, but disclosure is what is most important for me. I don't care what they decide to spend the money on...
#36 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-06-15 08:24
Where they spend the money is most paramount. Our priorities are manifest in how we spend our money. That goes for us personally as well as corporately. If they were spending the money properly the financial statements of the past 10 years would not be of dubious quality and we would not be here. Would you be satisfied with falsified reports because they appear to be transparent?
#36.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-15 09:26
As a layperson, I do not consider it my place to prioritize or critique spending decisions by the administration, council, and Synod.
I consider it my place to be informed and demand information.
Currently, the OCA owes me and the rest of us the audited financial statements and the auditor's letter.
Upon the release of this information and the quarterly reporting by management, I will not support the Palatine Resolution.
The implementation of Best Practices is indeed a priority today. Rather than criticism and damnation of this effort, we should be applauding it.
#36.1.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-06-16 13:44
The report of the meeting of the Metropolitan Council was encouraging. It is good to see Mr. Nescott not only reinstated (without comment) but on an ethics committee. The MC seems to be taking a stand. Taking charge of the investigation and insisting on the release of the report are excellent and needed moves.
Mark should be working overtime. There are a lot of balls in the air at the moment, aren't there?
Anyway, I am going to take the good news at face value until convinced otherwise. Contrary to some statements, I don't think there is a single person here who desires the failure of the OCA as an institution or any person as an individual. While there do appear to be two very sparsely populated "camps," of pro- and anti- Kondratickites that post here, most of the discussion is over and around them on broader issues of the welfare of the church.
#37 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-06-15 11:58
If you feel encouraged, please help me feel that way, too.
Is the Synod going to accept the Ethics Committee? What if they don't?
The MC requested reinstatement of the Special Commission, but +Herman said it cannot be done at this time "for confidential reasons". Great reason. Very convincing.
The MC insisted on releasing the report - so? The Metropolitan would not do it at this time because of the Spiritual Court (I am sure lawyers here, beginning with you, can see better than I can that this is a dubious argument); and following the Court's judgement, he "will consider the appropriateness of its release." Will consider!
Best Practices? No disrespect at all intended for their authors, but this is really not the top priority issue at the moment! The Metropolitan seems to want us to believe that once this document is in place, all the problems will miraculously disappear. Just like by the grace of the fabled accounting software, I am sure. Please!
And while I am awfully glad to see Gregg Nescott's name back where it belongs, it would help tremendously if somebody who booted him in the most dictatorial manner found a suitable - Christian - way to publicly make amends. We are the Church, no? Even in the corporate world there is a process of due apology - it is considered the right thing to do for the company morale, and I have witnessed it happen more than once.
But this is all back to my old adage. "We are going forward with head held high and no doubts assail us, because nothing wrong has been done, except by that one evil man that everybody should be focusing all their ire on." Until this is the guiding spirit, I think we are steadily marching down, not forward. Sorry Timothy, but I do not think we've hit the bottom yet.
#37.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-06-15 19:37
Inga, as usual, you have said what I would have said albeit with more clarity and charity.
While awaiting more info from those in the know, I can only surmise that the MC, yet again, missed an opportunity to reclaim its authority and to demand immediate and substantive change, thereby allowing the "Big Fish" to get off the hook as usual. We can only hope this is part of some plan to allow the Synod to act at its special meeting next month--if indeed it does meet, let alone take any action.
So the MC continues to play this game of "chicken" with MH, hoping he will eventually blink and stop obstructing every effort to really get to the truth. But by buying himself time and deflecting attention to Fr. Kondratick, MH makes more and more likely an outcome where he manages to cling to office and survive any accountability. What is so sad is the number of persons who seem to be prepared to accept this result.
As Inga so rightly says--we have not reached bottom yet. Maybe we never will.
#37.1.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-06-16 05:25
"Encouraged" doesn't mean I think everything is okay now, or even going to be okay. On the other hand, there are positive developments of both a practical and symbolic nature. In a previous post I said it was like a chess game with only one side moving, and that is the way it has looked for a long time. Now the Council has found its voice and do not believe for a minute that elements of the Holy Synod had nothing to do with Greg Nescott's return.
As I said, I am choosing to take these developments at face value until proven otherwise. I believe that if we fail to acknowledge at least apparent movement in the right direction we do run the risk of looking like a bunch of malcontents.
So let's just see what happens next. I'm sure there will be disappointments, but I think recent developments provide reason to hope the trend line is favorable.
#37.1.2 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-06-16 07:30
Regarding your query as to when the Special Commission's report will be released, you can bet that it won't be while Fr Bob is in spiritual court. Although the court received the report, or at least the redacted version that Archbishop Job gave to the Holy Synod, Fr Bob has not. In fact, Fr Bob has not been allowed to see ANY of the evidence against him. His request for any and all documents, evidence, reports, etc WAS DENIED by Archbishop Nathaniel.
As an aside, you also might want to know, since you have mentioned that you think the proceedings should be fair, that Fr Bob was held in contempt of court last Monday when he had the temerity to ask that a written record or transcript of the proceedings be taken. That request WAS DENIED by Archbishop Nathaniel.
One may ask why would such a logical request be denied? Well apparently the OCA has never kept a written record of any spiritual court. So how does the Holy Synod know about what goes on in a spiritual court? A simple summary of the proceedings is given to the Holy Synod. Now keep in mind that 99.9% of all spiritual court cases are perfunctory. Usually the person in question never shows up, therefore a simple summary is sufficient. But there is NOTHING SIMPLE about this spiritual court and to use the same “tradition” in non-contested spiritual courts for this contested case is the height of stupidity.
But what is the real reason there will be no transcript of this spiritual court? It's rather simple, if you have a record then that record could be demanded as part of the discovery process if there should be a civil or criminal case. It is also not too difficult to conclude that there were members of the court who did not want such a record so as not to open themselves up to further action in the future. Interesting how honest people are not afraid of a written record and how things get so complicated the moment lawyers step in.
No Patty, those reports will never see the light of day. Nor will there be a meaningful resumption of the Investigation Committee. Herman got through the MC meeting and said what he had to say so that he could get in his car and be driven back to South Canaan. It's all about doing whatever you have to do and say whatever you have to say to get through a meeting, any meeting and then do what you really wanted to do in the first place.
Sorry to say it really is business as usual and it will be as long as Herman is metropolitan.
#38 A Senior Priest of the OCA on 2007-06-15 14:37
Now that all parties have approved the Best Practices policy, which contains the OCA Whistleblowers Policy: (http://www.oca.org/PDF/finances/BestPracticesPolicyFinalVersion06-13-07.pdf),
I assume that some efficient OCA office manager has ordered a very large box of whistles.
#39 Michael Gregory on 2007-06-15 14:44
How do you know I know nothing about monasticism?
you admit that not all spiritual courts allow a record of the proceedings. How about the ones at which Fr. Kondratick was present?
No layperson is a judge, so it would seem the statute was followed. And as someone else pointed out, you are a layperson and as you are not a lawyer, it begs the question why it is OK for you to be there but not another layperson.
Do you believe a court...any court....must agree to the accused requests?
Are you going back for "round two"? Since there has been no announcement of the "end of the court" it doesn't take a genius to figure out there will be "round two".
I am glad I finally got you to answer one of my questions. I must have struck a nerve.
Someone (single or pural) almost brought down the OCA. They took our money...not our money...the Lord's money and did God knows what with it. Right now the court must hear the evidence against your advisee?...Fr. Kondratick and make a decision. You can't finess this. You can't talk your way out of it. You can't threaten your way out of it, ala, St. Catherines. (Speaking of tapes). Anyway you look at it the game is up. History will look more gently at you and your advisee if you behave with dignity and not try to disrupt the proceedings, play by the rules and refute the claims, if you can.
#40 Linda Weir on 2007-06-16 16:33
You are right, the court followed its rules correctly, but that does not make those rules right. As for the spiritual courts you refer to and the participation of Fr Kondratick, of which do you refer? Are you also aware of the nature of previous spiritual courts by dioceses and the reason for those courts? Spiritual courts are diocesan in structure. I was not aware that Archbishop Nathaniel was Fr Kondratick's bishop, and no, Herman can't just appoint another bishop, he must be someone else from within the the diocese. And which diocese are we talking about, Washington and New York, or stavro status institutions?
Objection to rules is the right of any accused and if you were honest you would agree that the accused has the right to see the evidence against him or her. Vague charges not backed up by specific evidence and then that evidence not shared with the accused may be the way this court wishes to operate, but that does not make it right and certainly not Christian.
Miss Wier, your assumption that funds that don't have back up documentation necessarily went into Fr Kondratick's pocket is a very giant leap. You are not to blame since you get your information only from this site. This site calls is "diversion of funds" others call it "internal borrowing." BTW, why was it so easy to ascertain exactly how much money was borrowed internally with regard to special appeals? Because the borrowing was documented, with approval based on the internal controls at that time. You may call those controls inadequate, they may have been, but they were the controls in place at that time and the borrowing was approved by others. It was not done by one man.
Please try and read through the hype here, the 1.7 mil, or 3 million or 5 million, or whatever a writer wishes to pen as to what is "missing" does not mean it simply vanished, it did not. It was spent, mostly on aid to Russia, but those funds may lack "documentation" as set forth by definition of generally accepted accounting principles." Such GAAP does not mean that accounts cant say in general where the money went, they just can't say they can put their name on an audit because eventhough a Fr Kondratick or a Fr Strikis can say, yes it went to Russia, they don't have a receipt, thus no accountant will put his or her name on it. That is their rule. They will not, nor can they say in this matter that the money was stolen. And if fact it was not.
It's so easy to sit here and be a monday morning quarterback and judge everything from the lens of hindsight. It is quite another to lead and make decisions in real time.
Miss Wier, whatever bone you have to pick with Monk James is your business. Why not write him offline and work out your issues because using your disagreement with him as a basis to gord Fr Kondratick based on your limited knowledge of all the facts does not serve you well.
#41 Someone Who Knows The Situation Much Better Than Wier on 2007-06-19 06:26
Show us the documentation and tell us where those funds went to. Enough of muddying the waters. Everyone who defends Fr. Kondratick is so quick to tell us that things are not as we think and that nothing is really wrong, but they never want to show us evidence to prove it. Until that day whatever does reach the public is the current reality . You cannot complain about facts being "wrong" if you do not have the facts to prove them wrong. It's likely that a lot of the alleged facts are being used to exert pressure on the Metropolitan and others to stop the investigation. If that is the case then he was not referring to himself when he referred to people who are "weak" in this opening address.
As for the missing receipts. They are not a problem if we can confirm with the receiving party that the money was received and then follow up with them how it was used. Any reputable organization that received the money would have it on record and could provide a copy of the receipt. Tell us who received it and someone here will contact them and report back.
#41.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-19 12:08
"Internal borrowing"... Now there's an interesting euphemism for misappropriation.
When the Church solicits donations for a specified cause, be it for Beslan orphans, or missions, or stockings for Russian kids, or whatever, and then spends that donation for something else than what it was solicited for, that is ILLEGAL. It is misappropriation and misrepresentation. It is theft and lying.
#41.2 Name withheld on 2007-06-19 20:06
Dear Name Withheld,
I really don't know what planet you are living on, Mars, Pluto, oh wait that's not a planet now, but anyway, yes, it is called internal borrowing. Let me go slow and try and explain:
1. If you set out to defraud people, that is bad. But if you use the money for another purpose, keep a record of it, get permission to use it on a temporary basis for another purpose, that is not misappropriation of funds.
2. Remember, you report it and carry it on the books as a non-dispersement.... get it? You collected it but did not use it yet. Why? Because you use it for another purpose, again with permission.
3. You report it, and you plan to replenish those funds. That is legal and I hate to break the news to you, every parish, diocese does this.
Stop living in some fantasy world and wake up. It's not a crime to use money that is self-disclosed for another purpose. Geez, take a basic economics course.
#41.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-19 21:41
Let me get this straight. You send out Letters of Special Appeal for 9/11 victims, widows, orphans, missions, Bibles for Russia, stocking funds, etc., collect the money, do not disburse the money, but use it for multiple trips to Russia, to Vegas, to the Caribbean, lavish dinners, parties, etc. You keep doing this, always planning to replace it, but somehow never getting it replaced, until you are forced to take out a loan, with interest, to put the money back into the designated funds.
So, this is all ok, good accounting and management.
Perhaps your diocese and parish operates this way. Mine does not. I'm the current treasurer.
#184.108.40.206 Name withheld on 2007-06-20 13:18
Who said it was ok? It stinks. It is not the best way to run things. Who ever likes to "rob Peter to pay Paul." But if you have to, you do it, but you do it within the rules you have been given. Were the rules the best. No. But they were the rules. Now the rules have been changed. Great. But don't look back and say, "now that we have better rules, they should have known better and followed our new rules."
As for Las Vegas, etc. did the great PR investigation ever look at the income side of things to see where reimbersements were made to offset expenses? NO THEY DID NOT. Great investigation.
Oh, and by the way, the Las Vegas expense was for a DOW Pastoral Conference, which happened to be held at their retreat center outside of Las Vegas. And all the rest, accounted for if a credit card was used for personal expenses, the church was paid back. And after 2002 the church did not have a credit card any longer so workers had to use their own credit cards to do their jobs. Personal cards with personal expenses on them and church expenses. Messy, you bet, but necessary after the OCA found out one fine morning that we were $400,000 in the hole after Fr Strikis kept such information away from everyone and the AMEX cards were no longer extended to the OCA. Thus a line of credit was necessary to pay off the hotel. And please, to be fair, once Met Theodosius announced his retirement, an entire new AAC had to be planned, in 4 months, which cost money. And then the cost of Herman's installation in which every Orthodox church decided to show up! What was the Church to do? Invite them and say, opps sorry, we can't extend hospitality to you?
So, if you are really interested in the truth and not just a scapegoat. there is so much more to look at.
#220.127.116.11.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-21 10:47
Unfortunately the process was not about new rules - they simply stopped having oversight by not having an annual audit. They were told, beginning in the mid-1990s, the rules were ineffective and needed to be changed. Rather than hear the message, the leadership (including the Metropolitan, the Synod, and the Chancery staff) fired the messenger.
And now Fr. Strikis is the scapegoat? Granted, he isn't a trained accountant, however good management (which Fr. Kondractick was the "chief") would have inquired periodically about the finances. Like every month! Weekly! Daily! And, for the record, IMNSHO, Fr. Strikis should not remain working at the Chancery. If indeed he is even partially to blame, he must be prohibited from any involvement in the administration of the OCA.
Let's say it was covered up by Fr. Strikis. This deficit (apparently) developed over a period of YEARS. Fr. Strikis is awfully talented to hide that kind of loss for that long, particularly since the notions of bad practices date back to the late 80's.
Did the PR investigation look at the reimbursement? I don't know - no one will release the report. I think I recall the estimate of 300 pages - that's about $2,500 per page at last count.
The 13th AAC was held right on schedule - three years after the 12th AAC. Why did an entire new AAC have to be planned? All that had to occur was to place an item on the agenda to elect a Metropolitan. Frankly, given the outcome, why bother having the people vote at all? The result was ignored by the Holy Synod anyway, wasn't it? In fact, only one Plenary session was devoted to the election and installation of the Metropolitan. None of the other events involved the election at all.
I was at the enthronement of Metropolitan HERMAN. I was at a conference held at the Omni Shoreham on Connecticut Avenue in Washington. Was it really necessary to have the "visitors" on the OCA dime staying at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel? There are very nice budget hotels nearby. And renting limos? Heck, I walked from the hotel to the Cathedral.
My colleagues attending the conference with me wanted to know if I had seen all the "wizards" at the hotel across the street ...
Do we have receipts, or canceled checks, where the "personal" Las Vegas expenses were paid back? I find it difficult to believe no records were kept by the party doing the reimbursing.
If such documentation exists, why are we not able to see it? It would seem to be such a simple solution for the past 18 months of struggle.
Personally, I don't care who did what. I want the truth. And I want my Church to stop being a third-rate crime drama and start fulfilling her mission - to embody Christ to a world desperate for meaning.
The simplest solution - if the evidence exists, produce it. Blow the whistle long and loud, and back up what you say with facts, not speculation. Otherwise, you'll never be believed, even if your knowledge is accurate.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#18.104.22.168.1.1 Marty Watt on 2007-06-21 20:07
Fascinating. Your spin on things, in multiple posts, is all about self-justification and shifting the blame. You were just following the rules, even if they were bad rules. You documented everything. Fr. Strikis is to blame for everything.
It seems likely to me, at least, that you are, in fact, Fr. Bob.
What you don't want to admit, though, is that regardless of what rules you supposedly followed, to solicit donations for a specified cause, and then to use them for something else, is not "internal borrowing". It is FRAUD. You have defrauded the people of the OCA for many years. Well, no more.
#22.214.171.124.1.2 Name withheld on 2007-06-22 08:22
So Strikis comes into work one bright and sunny morning and springs it on everyone that AMEX is cutting off their ticket to fun cause of a $400,000 hole. $400,000 is not built up over night and it takes a while for AMEX to get to the point of cutting off someone and those that signed to get it there knew what they were spending. It's a bit disingenuous to say that the person writing the check for the bills is responsible for the problem. In most worlds it is the person who spends the money that is the one who should have at least had an idea about their ability to pay for it and is the one who is responsible when the bills come due. Considering how long it takes to get cut off from AMEX you would think that someone would have reviewed the financial state just as normal business as usual.
Somewhere up the food chain those expenses had to be signed off on. The same authorizers had the responsibility to know if it could be afforded or if monies had to be transferred from elsewhere. It basically means that Strikis wasn't at fault. Those in authority never asked? Those in authority didn't know they were racking up a bill of such enormous proportions? It doesn't matter if Strikis didn't say anything. It's an admission of not minding the candy store. Negligence. Dereliction of duty. Call it what you will, but it wasn't being a diligent manager. Where was the treasurer during this? In 2002 that would have been Oselinsky? Was he so derelict in his duties that he never cared to find out the state of the treasury he was the secretary of?
There can be all kinds of excuses as to why something happened, but the reality is that no one really cared until it was a problem or at least until it became a known problem. While it may not be criminal in this instance, it is clearly reason that people be relieved of their responsibilities.
How many people's assessments make up $400,000? $400,000 is more than what was collected for the 9/11 fund. It's more than what was the high water mark for FOS. How many missions could be funded on $400,000. It's a lot of money for us! Lord have mercy!
#126.96.36.199.1.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-06-22 15:30
When the OCA delegations made trips to events such as the foreign delegations made to Herman's installation, did the OCA pay the tab or the did the host?
Did the OCA pay for the visiting delegations to attend the installation?
#188.8.131.52.1.3 Anonymous on 2007-06-22 10:20
In a more reasonable tone, I would like to say that of couse the accused can object; however, when a ruling is given, then they sit down and accept it...under protest maybe...and bring it up in appeal. I agree that it would be better to hear the evidence, althouth we both know Fr. K was informed of the charges against him by mail. But that is not the same as actually hearing the witnesses. Would it have not been better to stop objecting, and on learning "These are the rules", to stay under protest? We both know if they had done that they wouldn't have been told they may as well leave. Are you caiming that they were not (aware) that if they left, the trial would continue without them? We both know that isn't true either.
As far as the presiding bishop is concerned, I believe we are on new ground here, since Fr. K was "working" for the whole Church. Have we ever had anyone from the central administration be the accussed at a spiritual court? And if Met. Herman had presided, s ome would have said he was too involved to be neutral. As far as Fr. K being present at trials, I have been told that he has been present....and not in "his" diocese, although I dispute that he has a "diocese". Well, I question. For the purposes of a trial.
Now what do you do? "The trial is unfair! Unfair!" They should have stayed under protest. But no. In a court of law, they would not have faired any better. Granted the rules would have been different but this is not based on English Common Law, now is it?
We have a right to see this end in our lifetime. We have a right to see the report which it appears we will not do until after the trial.
You say the money was given as aid to Russia. I am sure some of it was. However, NO ONE had the right to take money given for special purposes and use it in another manner.
Also, you are aware that the "report" had beaucoup pages of "attachments" which we all can assume is evidence, as in canceled checks, credit card statments, etc. And EVERYONE who has seen it came to the same conclusion.
Please, please, just let this end. Remember all the "gates" this nation has witnessed....from Watergate on. It always comes out. And everyone always says, "It would have been better if they had just admittted it from the beginning.
I can tell from your post that you may know me or know someone who does since you know I am a "miss" and not a "Mrs." Then you know I feel deeply about the Orthodox Church and would be careful about making empty accusations. I am also willing to sign my name as you are not. Not sure what that says......
Rest assured, I am sure (not from any personal knowledge or even having been told)that Fr. K. is not the only guilty party. I am equally sure that to a certain extent he is being the scapegoat. That is not to say he did nothing wrong for which he has to answer. There are others who have to answer and go. Not necessarily in that order, in my opinion.
So peace. We are all very emotional about this situation. We are family and families are not unknown to disagree and argue. At least mine isn't but that does not lessen the fact that we love each other.
And we can throw Bible verses and statutes and canons back and forth, which can be circular exercise, as you can usually find one that agrees with your argument.
With few exceptions, we just want this to end, justice to be done, and good practices restored to our beloved OCA. And I believe the exceptions THINK they want these things. I think they may truly believe they have done nothing wrong or worst case, have a personality disorder that make them....what is the word when you...ah, sociopathic.
Please forgive me for having offended you and Monk James.
#42 Linda Weir on 2007-06-19 13:46
Well, if I have done nothing else, I have gotten this former employee of the administration to start a substantive discussion.
And I have nothing against Monk James. I do not know him. I do not approve of his actions. I assume he is stravro, actually I think I know that....something I checked out...which means Met. Herman has the right to silence him...since he is a monk he is supposed to obey. And Herman has publically done that. I believe Monk James's actions bring monasticism into disrepute and bring scandal on monasticism, an institution for which I have great respect.
I have said my piece on the Monk Jame issue.
As far as "robbing Peter to pay Paul"... for 15 years? You must understand how this looks to us ordinary mortals. And having dealt with a budget in a previous occupation for 15 years, I know you have would have records of this, records of paying it back.
Taking money donated by Military chaplins to buy Bibles for Russia, the 9/11 fund, the Christmas Stocking Fund, pulease. As a former president said, "That dog don't hunt."
If you think that is OK and "everybody does it", I ask you to prove it. That everybody does it. Maybe at Enron. Seriously, who told you that? I am sure you don't know it from personal experience. Did Fr. K tell you that? Did any of the "former" treasurers?
Also, if you want to be believed, have the courage to sign your name.
Personally, I think God has had it, and that is why this is coming out into the open. I can just hear what would been said about us in the the book of Revelations. "To the Church in North America I have this to say. I remember your former zeal, but you have taken money meant for victims of violence, orphans, needy children and used it for worldly glory, to look good to other Churches. You have cared more for the glory of men and women than the glory of God. You are worldly and have forgotten your mission - to proclaim the Good News. Return to the Truth and to the teachings of Christ, or I will cut you off from the fig tree onto which you had been grafted. Thus says the Spirit to the Churches."
#43 Linda Weir on 2007-06-22 07:45
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