Thursday, July 19. 2007
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Yes, one parish in the Diocese of the South has not paid their OCA assessment, but please remember that the assessment is on the Diocese, and thus the Diocese sends its obligation to the OCA whether it is collected or not. So I am not sure what point you are trying to make. Really, one parish not paying its assessment says much more about the solidarity of this diocese around its Bishop then trying to suggest that witholding has spread to the South!
Oh and by the way, Fr Kirill also called for Metropolitan Herman to resign or retire at the special session at the end of the month.
(Editor's Note: I was making no point, either about the solidarity of the diocese, or about the reasons for the protest. I was simply reporting a new bit of information, that yet another parish was witholding monies from Syosset, and in this case, from their Diocese as well.)
#1 Anonymous on 2007-07-19 07:25
Does anyone outside St. Seraphims Cathedral suspect that Archbishop Dimitri is allowing Fr. Kondratic's buddy, Fr. Joseph Fester, to run the show? i have heard from good families that have left the cathedral that this is the case.
#1.1 Anonymous on 2007-07-20 10:10
It's about time somebody finally gets it!
Good job Anonymous.
It's time to cut off the blood supply to the prior dysfunctional regime. What's amazing is that "they" are still behind the scene trying to manipulate people, facts and information.
We are much smarter than that and it just won't work anymore.
#1.1.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-07-23 06:41
In three decades of polling, I've found that while individuals make mistakes in judgement, America as a whole rarely does. A collective wisdom emerges from a poll or vote that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
John Zogby, Pollster
#2 Anonymous on 2007-07-19 09:07
God hates one thing above all others, and that is pride. If the episcopal arrogance so prevalent in the OCA continues, the Holy Spirit will deal forcefully with it. I believe the faithful of the OCA will know by the beginning of next month whether Satan and his demons have deceived and captured the majority of their episcopal leadership. If he has, then I would hope to see a mass exodus to other jurisdictions.
But what I fear is that perhaps Satan and his minions have deceived and captured more than the leadership in the OCA. Lord have mercy on us all!
#3 Marc Trolinger on 2007-07-19 09:44
Well, it is 'unthinkable' for those without all of the facts to call for the deposition of any priest. Now, once the facts have been laid out and it is clear that a priest (or bishop or deacon or reader) has trangressed in a way that calls for deposition, canonically, then he should be deposed. The fact that an MDiv with no experience outside of Church administration is not good with money and is not up to date on the administrative and financial best practices should surprise no one - but incompetency is not a deposable offense. Dismissal and defrocking are different consequences for differing failures - the punishment (canonical or administratice) should fit the failings committed and not our mob feelings about the failings.
Incompetency of action and oversight is an offense that needs to be taken into account seriously by those responsible for overseeing the management of the Church - the Synod and the MC. The Synod and the MC should also consider whether the Metropolitan is up to the task of overseeing the administration of Syosset given the sytemic failures that have come to light under his leadership and while he was an active participant in the management of Syosset as an Archbishop. The Synod and MC should also consider whether they themselves, individually and as separate wholes, are capable of appropriate administrative and financial oversight, given their track record. Past performance is the best determinant of future results, at least this is the talent measure found to be true in the Corporate world.
Perhaps humility requires mass resignation and repentence across the board - or, at least the offer of resignation (a la Patriarch Teoctist [or, Maxim?] after the fall of Communism) to be accepted or not by the AAC and/or the various diocesan councils.
Oh, please! Have you been paying no attention to the absolute crisis the OCA is in? This is way beyond "incompetence." Money was not lost - it was STOLEN. Fr RSK did not "misplace" $2 to $8M of church funds; he participated and possibly led the way in stealing the money, and then is a key figure in participating in a huge cover-up of the theft. No "all of the facts" aren't known - because he is leading the charge in a massive cover-up which may involve certain others of the church, including possibly the Metropolitan. That's not incompetence, it's corruption, and it most certainly IS grounds for dismissal and defrocking! Stop being so naive, with all due respect! If it were merely incompetence, our auditors would have found out what's happened by now, and we'd be in the process of healing, not still reeling from the on-going deceit and stonewalling going on! Like someone else said at one time, "Archbishop Job's questions were really so simple." And yet, they still have not been answered. It takes a huge amount of effort and determination to cover-up something so simple for so long. Far from being incompetent, it's masterly, in a diabolical kind of way.
And frankly, bringing to life a defunct mission parish is not a big deal; if someone pays attention to it, it can be done. My kid sister could bring such a mission "to life," just by showing up and claiming to care! What is shows is this: The OCA is failing to reach-out to people hungry for the Gospel according to Orthodoxy, but our leadership is so busy dealing with hiding their role in the scandal, that they're failing the OCA as an institution. Leaving someone so clearly at the heart of this scandal in the priesthood is an affront to every honest, hard-working Chrisitian who wears an Orthodox collar - and frankly, it's an affront to our collective intelligence as well.
There had better be an Earthquake of major proportions by the end of July (i.e., Holy Synod meetings) or this organization will have demonstrated that it has been corrupted by evil - and how unfortunate for so many of us members of the flock! I for one, am not going to continue supporting the OCA as long as Fr RSK and +MH remain in their positions!
A hasty statement, since I don't have "all of the facts"? No - it is precisely those two men who are the VERY REASON we don't have the facts here more than 18-months on. They are engaged in a cover-up of a major theft of which they are a part. There is NO OTHER plausible explanation! Enough is enough! I mean, even Bill Clinton finally went on national television, after months and months and months of denial, and said, "... in fact I did have an inappropriate relationship with Ms. Lewinsky ..." NO KIDDING, Bill! Well, it's well past time that these men finally make such a statement, or face the consequences, which should be severe. They are still engaged in a full-scale cover-up of what happened, and it is NOT incompetence! It is willful and quite possibly criminal.
These two men - and possibly others as well - have demonstrated fully that they may be many things, but incompetent is not among them. It takes a lot of skill and capability to ride-out a scandal like this for as long as they have, and still be on the payroll! Indeed, one of them is still in charge! The other has a nice, fully-paid, relocation paid package to the retirement capital of Southwest Florida.
#4.1 C.C. on 2007-07-20 07:32
Can you please keep your politics out of this discussion?! I thought there was a consensus on that not long ago. You have the audacity to call someone else a "left-wing provocateur" and then come out with a right-wing jab. This forum is NOT about politics. We have enough disagreements as it is!
#4.1.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-07-20 12:42
I also dont want politics on this board .. but his was not a political statement ... it was an historical one. Lets try not to be unnecessarily sensitve and alllow people some freedom to wrte as they are moved.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2007-07-22 12:26
Dear Inga Leonova,
I believe I was the one who used the term "agent provocateur," not "C.C." above. I do agree with you that politics should be kept out of it. I do not agree with you that C.C.'s reference was political. It is a matter of record that he first denied and then confessed. Nothing unusual here: most people first go through denial. Let us hope and pray that those guilty of malfeasance will admit to that fact eventually--primarily for their sake.
#18.104.22.168 Carl on 2007-07-23 14:09
My sincere apologies for mixing up the posters. However, I still object to using current (or very recent history) political examples. While they may be perfectly relevant facts, they have the potential to lead this discussion in the direction that has nothing to do with the ecclesiological issues we are all wrestling with!
All the best to Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, etc. on this forum. We are supposed to focus on Christ, not Mr. Bush or Mr./Mrs. Clinton, right? ;o)
#22.214.171.124.1 Inga Leonova on 2007-07-26 12:38
You really don't have a clue of what you are talking about. I am not sure what diocese you belong to, or if you are even in the OCA, but believe me, this crisis is not consuming everyone in the OCA. You may think it is, but it is not. And I am waiting for RSK to have stolen $10 million. Your numbers are so out of whack that it is comical. Two million eight million....stolen. Do you simply explain that Mr Andreas of ADM gave a letter to Theodosius and said you can use the private money (Mr Andreas' personal foundation money) "any way you see fit." So take off $4 million right there." Oh, yes, the appeal money. All documented and approved to be used on a temporary basis for other things, like help people because charity money was insufficient to help people in need. So take a couple of million of your list. So what is left? Your mounting frustration. Have you ever met Fr Kondratick? I wonder how many people on this list who write as if they know him personally have ever met him or ever had the benefit of his experience.
#4.1.2 Anonymous on 2007-07-21 12:58
Kind anonymous soul,
Where is the documentation and authorization of which you speak? Such evidence would indeed be exculpatory for Fr. Kondractick, and needs to be produced forthwith! Why has Fr. Kondractick put the OCA (and himself, his family, and his friends) through all this for 18 months if the documentation and authorizations are all in order?
And, according to the tax authorities, if the Andreas gift was given to the Church (and deducted as dontation to Charity), then Met. Theodosius is not allowed to "do what he will". If it wasn't given to the Church, but rather directly to Met. Theodosius, then I hope he paid income tax on the receipts.
That behavior, intentional or not on the part of the participants, could be easily determined to be a "private inurement", subjecting the Church to an additional tax of 200% of the amount diverted to private funds. Let's assume $4 million. The OCA would then owe the IRS $8 million.
I have not met Fr. Kondractick personally that I know. It is possible I ran into him at the Installation of Metropolitan Herman. My parish priest knows him quite well. I'm sure the 70 Archpriests know him quite well. I trust their judgement, and Fr. Kondractick has few supporters among the clergy.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#126.96.36.199 Marty Watt on 2007-07-22 17:04
A friend of mine who has seen the report of the Special Commission says there is at least 5 million that was misappropriated.
You see, your documentation means nothing. When you solicit funds for one cause, but then use them for something else, even "charity", that is fraud. Your documentation only proves your fraud.
#188.8.131.52 Name withheld on 2007-07-22 18:39
If it was a simple lack of oversight or mismanagement or just bad administrative capabilities, why the half a million to build a firewall around the Metropolitan and complete and utter silence from Kondratick? Why do we have lawyers present at a spiritual court based upon canon law?
We don't have to know the specifics to be able to judge by these behaviors that what has happened is beyond our comprehension and has the principals in legal jeopardy. We cannot have a Church where decisions are made by if a bishop or priest says something that could put them into legal trouble.
Over $350,000 ago this stopped being about oversight and administrative abilities.
#4.2 Anonymous on 2007-07-20 10:53
It would be most helpful in understanding the relationship of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops to the scandal as it has evolved if you could start a separate page on each bishop to which their parishioners could contribute what is known about their public and private postions on the issues. Obviously, their Graces would also be free to e-contribute to their own pages. I would like to know what my bishop actually thinks - its pretty much a mystery to me -but am afraid to ask either him or my priest. Thank you for considering my suggestion.
#5 Troubled Anon. on 2007-07-19 10:21
GOSSIP! GOSSIP! GOSSIP! SORRY TO INFORM YOU THAT ONE CHURCH DID PAY ITS O.C.A. DUES! AND SO DID ST. ELIAS.SORRY KEN, YOU DONT SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH! NOR DOES THIS GOSSIP WEBSITE SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH! THIS WEBSITE HAS NO SALVATION EITHER! THINK! COULD IT BE THE DEVILS WORK????????????
#6 Anonymous on 2007-07-19 14:47
It sounds as if a medication may be needed here! And I am not talking about ASA!
Delusion is the great destroyer of Christian Communion -- the systematic estrangement of one from another in Christ as an evil product of pride and control. Delusion has been the very dark shadow that the OCA has been walking in, or should I say slithering in, for some time and it is a shadow cast through its own arrogance and pride. How the initial preaching, witnessing and literature of the early years of the OCA so moved many of us then and in the same breath it convicts us all now! The DOS is full of this delusion and arrogance previously mentioned! The adage that the "fish stinks from the top down" is very appropriate here. Why does HE D have such an all too public delusional allegiance to VR K? The words “quid pro quo” comes to my mind at this juncture. I say that the detectives should be looking in Dallas, too! The DOS is toxic.
The parable of the unjust steward fits this situation like a glove. The VR K is and always has been very cunning. Alas, I would not ever think of praising him for that but I would only praise him for his repentance after his deposition! The Lord said: "Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you." The Lord is very ironic here and He is longing for the VR K to repent and become an anchorite so as to save his soul. How often did he sit in his ecclesiastical arm chair of judgment and politicking and spew all sorts of pious clap-trap which he never, in the first place, ever obviously practiced?
"Group think" is the order of the day in the DOS. Like lemmings they all go off the cliff's edge preening each other and affirming each others arrogance as they splat on the rocks of oblivion in the sea of cultic practice window dressed as pastoral ministry. If I was looking at Holy Orthodoxy and I saw with un-naive eyes what I now see in the DOS under HE D's see*nile leadership I would run away from Orthodox Christianity for fear that I would loose my soul to the ego of my pastor. The DOS is “defective” as it is becoming so obvious now. And I mean it.
Propaganda aside, the DOS is a miserable place to be for a man or women of God who wants to experience liberation for Christ – the Russian Pharisees are alive and well and living in convert skins in the DOS. Control and manipulation are the order of the day and, of course, I need to remain anonymous so that I am not punished or "cast out of the synagogue" for actually thinking in Christ apart from the "group think" herd. God save us from the DOS!
I hope I have shed some light on uniformity and conformity being a cover for human weakness and how "wanting to belong at all costs" have dearly harmed many a soul. Saints are not born they are made in the crucible of humiliation. And it is humiliating to be truly Orthodox at this time in history.
#6.1 ANONYMOUS but known to Christ! on 2007-07-19 22:24
Be VERY, VERY careful! False accusations are terrible sins before GOD and until you (and the rest of us) have ALL the facts, I suggest you reevaluate your accusations. After personally attending the DOS assembly, I have learned that there is still too much hidden information to make an accurate assessment of the COMPLETE situation.
FYI - Your verbal attack against the DOS sends the demons into an ecstasy of laughter as you have attacked a part of Christ’s church.
I know of many good people in the DOS, including Archbishop Dmitri who passionately love Christ’s church. If you look historically at some of our great theological saints, they too did not always act very quickly in times of crisis, but over a period of time. Quite honestly, did you ever see Christ in a rush to do things in the gospel??? Patience my dear friend. Patience. God works slowly. Unfortunately we have become an impatient and insatiable people and this will be difficult for us…and the devil will use this to turn on each other. God willing, the OCA will arise out of this mess stronger, with more devout Orthodox Christians. The church needs to work together, not against each other.
#6.1.1 Juliana on 2007-07-20 08:08
You said: Quite honestly, did you ever see Christ in a rush to do things in the gospel??? Here goes: Matt 8:13 Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment. - Matt 8:14-15 4 And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever; 15 he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him - Matt 9:5-7 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he then said to the paralytic - "Rise, take up your bed and go home." 7 And he rose and went home. - Matt 9:22 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well. I just got started (note all Matthew) and I thought it would get too long!
#184.108.40.206 Anon on 2007-07-20 11:56
I seldom waste my time with the foolishness of debating semantics, but in this case, I refuse to let my words be twisted. I was quite clear when I said "in a rush". None of your examples indicate a "rush". Does it say in the gospel, that Jesus ran? Does it say he was in a hurry? I never said Christ didn't do his ministry, heal the sick or perform his many miracles. I indicated that everything was performed in His good time.....and make no mistake that in His good time the OCA scandal will be resolved in His own right.
Please note that I run all of my posting though my priest before I post. If you have theological issues, take them up with your priest and then come talk to me.
#220.127.116.11.1 Juliana on 2007-07-20 15:19
Why would an adult human being have to run this stuff by their parish priest? Or are you referring to spelling? Or are you meaning approval? Hummmm . . .
It is a miserable and an abusive thing when priests make their congregation dependant upon them for activities of daily living -- that is a cultic practice I see in the DOS. Actually, if you came from a free Orthodox parish where Christian liberty and freedom are expected you would not have to run to your priest for approval, spelling or otherwise.
You should be able to handle reality and a mature living of the Orthodox Christian life through the sacraments, prayer, reading the Holy Bible and the Holy Fathers and so on but through prayer especially!
I totally dispute your evaluation that Jesus, our Master, was slow to act. There is no actual proof for this "mellow" Christ in the Gospels. He, the Lord, lived each day he was here amongst us revealing His Father's love in actual time. No basis for your reading in the Holy Bible. It is simply justification for protecting thieves and liars and other sundry sins against justice.
I have taken your recommendation, nonetheless, and drank 2 to 3 quarts of holy water. I did not sizzle, even in the least, I am glad to report.
#18.104.22.168.1.1 ANONYMOUS but known to Christ! on 2007-07-21 11:21
You have to be kidding! Right?
There is not enough information available? Because it is intentionally controlled and kept secret! Wake-up and smell the incense! Consider your self "spiritually" slapped side the noggin and given a “spiritual” noogie! Wake-up!
The sin here is abusing the good order of the Church by evasiveness, self-serving backroom politicking and disinformation. I thought our “yes” should mean “yes” and our “no” should mean “no” or did PR not read that part of the Holy Bible? The Church is called to be decisive and not waffle. As a Baptized Orthodox Christian I deserve to know if the leaders of our church are amoral, immoral or, please God it would be nice, moral! Don’t patronize me by telling me the truth is too much for me to understand or to bear! The Gospels and the teaching of the Holy Fathers all point to this as normative for a HEALTHY and HOLY church! Waiting is all we have done and it is now an abuse of the good order of the Church and an abuse of every Orthodox Christian individually also. EVERYTHING must come out into the LIGHT! Otherwise we are a brotherhood of hypocrites and a sisterhood of whitewashed tombs. Period! We offend God by remaining silent.
I have never been this anguished before in my life. Nothing has ever been able to penetrate the depths of my soul and psyche as the Faith of Christ. This abusiveness by our pastors and healers is true and real suffering. I believe firmly that we get the pastors and healers we deserve because of our sins of silence and apathy and mediocrity. This is humiliation in its rawest form! It is humiliating being an Orthodox Christian.
You have to be kidding, right? I just can't believe that a hydrated person would say:
"FYI - Your verbal attack against the DOS sends the demons into an ecstasy of laughter as you have attacked a part of Christ’s church."
This direct quotation is an obvious sign of "cultic mind control." There is no dissent allowed. No thinking apart from the "will of the powerful and self-anointed" is permitted. If you think or have any intelligence and it is in legitimate Christian opposition (prophetic) to the "power elite" then you are soiled by the cult followers and accused with being "under the sway of the devil!" And I honestly don’t even know how to spell Beelzebub!
I do not believe HE D is saintly. Is salvation and holiness found in the length of ones beard? I believe he used to be cunning in the days when he "played the game" of churchiness as he developed a mutually beneficial need for the VR K. Now I believe he is incrementally diminished in personal responsibility for his actions and we should expect more embarrassments. He should retire so as not to give scandal to the church with his sentimentality and longing for the old K days and his all too public infatuation with the VR K in the post K days.
The VR K needs to become an anchorite. HE D needs to retire to a monastery in Mexico and grow pedigree iguanas.
#22.214.171.124 ANONYMOUS but known to Christ! on 2007-07-20 18:10
Bravo for this informative post and Amen to its conclusions. You have laid bare the sorry state of the DOS and its Denethor-like (LOR) bishop.
#6.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-07-20 08:12
And what makes you think Fr Bob hasn't repented for his part in this?? Oh yeah, that's right... the only repentance for this website is to say it out loud for all of you to see and read. How do you know what goes on his mind???? Do you live with him??
All you are is the A-typical "what have you done for me lately" commenter on this website. Like something is owed to you. Once again, an OCANews henchman not hearing what he/she (or whatever you are) wants to hear. I guess all the hierarchs should be like the Bishop of the Midwest who's playing the game with this website. +Dmitri simply made a comment about how he feels.
If you're humiliated to be an Orthodox, then become a Catholic or any other religion you think would fit the best interest of yourself.
#6.1.3 Michael Livosky on 2007-07-20 08:55
An important part of Orthodox Christian praxis, as I understand it, is the "public" confession of sins. Where that confession was once literally public, tradition has allowed it to become "public" through confession to a spiritual father or mother. Personal confession to God, and God alone, is not considered "confession" in Orthodox praxis.
For the good of his his soul and the good of the Church at large, not just the OCA, Fr. Kondratick needs to make a literally public confession of his sins, whether of commission or omission, to the whole Church. With the truly public confession, all parties -- Fr. Kondratick, the OCA, and the Church at large -- can move forward with true reconciliation.
Mark C. Phinney
#126.96.36.199 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-07-21 06:00
#6.2 Reader Gregory Sagan on 2007-07-19 23:32
No, the Devil's work is a Church (the OCA) that can't even get the audit of its financials signed-off by its own audit firm! The Devil's work is when the Metropolitan of a Church (OCA) comes to my parish for a "frank and open discussion," and replies to question after question with the phrase, "The Lawyers won't let me talk about that." That, dear Anon., is the Devil's work.
I don't really care whether it is reported on this site or not whether one parish or one diocese wants to withhold its money, and whether that's accurate or not; if it's not, that will come out in time. The Devil's work is that it's even a topic of discussion at a parish or diocese level. No, the Devil's work in this sorry affair is being done (or was done) in Syosset, New York. And I don't look for "salvation" on this Website, but rather in the Gospel. And Christ's first preaching word was, "Repent."
Someone once said, "I hope there's not justice on the Final Day. I hope there's mercy!" You hear a lot of calls for "justice" on this site because, given the lack of "repentence" from the perpetrators in this affair, it's hard to offer mercy, since it hasn't been asked for. What we get from those involved instead is, "I am shocked, SHOCKED that anyone thinks there's been any malfeasance here!"
If there were no malfeasance, there would be auditted books available for every year of the OCA's existence, and chancellors and archbishops lying prostrate before the altar at the chapel in Syosset, asking for forgiveness for any 'qualifying remarks' which might be in the footnotes; not the imperious and stonewalling activity currently going on, and a lack of auditted books for some years in their entirety!
No, we know where the Devil works ... Syosset; or was that Oyster Bay Cove? Or is it Venice, Florida? Oh, that Devil ... he's so hard to pin down!
#6.3 C.C. on 2007-07-20 08:14
Please be much more careful about your wording. "The devil's work is a Church... ." No, the devil's work is NOT a Church! The devil's work may be my own behavior and my own sins, but the devil's work is certainly NOT my Church, however polluted my own soul may be/is; and, if you come from where I think you come from (just down the road from me, if I read your post aright about the "frank and open discussion"), it certainly isn't yours, either. And, whatever certain leaders at the Chancery may or may not have done over the last few months and years, it isn't the OCA, either.
My Church, very much in spite of me and quite possibly in spite of some of my higher-ups, is the Body of Christ as it exists in our place. It is from the Lord and it is holy, even as I myself am not, which, of course, is why I need to be there.
#6.3.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2007-07-20 13:01
With all due respect, how are you privy to information on who has paid or not paid their dues? Were you not the same individual "shouting" at us using all Caps in a previous post that clearly promised retribution towards Mark, ocaneews.org, and the individuals who used a persons name in their post? I am wondering, therefore, why you are using an individuals name in this post?
St. Elia is a good parish with parishoners who love the Church and want to do what Christ expects us to do. We are, however, all entitled to our own opinions. We do not all have to agree about every issue but we can, at best, be respectful of those who have differing points of view. This is America-land of the free and home of the brave. Have a nice day!
#6.4 Carpathia on 2007-07-23 14:08
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
Mark, May God Continue to Hold you Up with strength, knowledge of the truth and the courage to go forth to spread the news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through this website and more.
Ken forgive those in your church for they know not of what they are doing, they are tainted with the illness of Hermans regime. A Friend
#6.5 Anonymous on 2007-07-30 10:30
My first feeling on reading this was a very deep sadness. How broken we are. How rarely is God's justice found on this earth. Again there is a tug-of-war again over Fr. Kondratick between Metropolitan Herman and Archbishop Dmitri? Isn't Fr. Kondratick under MH+ pending the outcome of the ecclesiastical court findings and the ruling of the Holy Synod? That means he does not belong to the DOS. Of course, he could have attended this Diocesan Assembly as a guest. Seems more like guest-of-honor.
Fr. Kondratick "does not wish to abandon his priesthood..." Did the widows, orphans, 9/11 survivors (and all others left in need and betrayed by the raiding of special appeals funds) wish to be abandoned? Did the clergy brought before ecclesiastical court during Fr. Kondratick's Chancellorship wish to abandon their priesthood?
As children we learn that actions have consequences. As Christians, we know that we will face the Our God on the Great Day of Judgment. Why should Fr. Kondratick not face the consequences for his actions in the years he was Chancellor? From all that I have learned these many painful months, I do believe that Fr. Kondratick committed financial malfeasance. Is he alone culpable? I don't think so, but I do believe he was a major player in this scandal, and has to answer for his actions. We have a process to address this in our Church. I am sad that Archbishop Dmitri made this premature statement. Let the process go forward.
Pray for our Holy Synod, that God's will be done! Pray for Fr. Kondratick, that he seek only God's will.
And I pray, Thy will be done!
For every POTENTIAL orphan who you say was robbed, widow stolen from and 9-11 victim not ministered to, a list of THOUSANDS of real people who were helped by the generous spirit of Met. Theodosius and Fr Kondratick while they were in the Church administration can be listed. Real people, with real suffering, sadly some who are his harshest critics on the website. I don't know any of these potential people who were not helped but I do know hundreds of people who were helped. God knows how many people who ministered to by Met. Theodosius and Fr Kondratick. God knows what was in their heart.
Anyone of us can look back and have the benefit of hindsight to say "I would not have done it that way but another way, a "better" way if I was in charge." But real people making real-time decisions don't have the benefit of hindsight. They have to lead and do their best with what they know and what they believe is right.
As for Dmitri not letting the "process" continue before he expressed himself? What a joke! What have we all been doing on this website for the last 18 months but express our opinions while whatever "process" there has been went forward. Reflection after Reflection, Comment after Comment. On this site that is ok but I guess a disruption to "the process" if an Archpastor of our Church offers his prayerful wish that Fr Kondratick not have his priesthood taken from him by a man (Herman) who hatred for anything that Fr Kondratick has ever done is well known to all of us in the Diocese of EPA.
Yes, Archbishop Dmitri thinks that it is "unthinkable" that Fr Kondratick's priesthood would be taken away from him, and so do I; especially after a corrupt process done for ignoble reasons by an administration that is in it death throws and will do anything to hold on to the power that Herman covets.
God help free us from this man Herman who is killing the mission of our OCA.
#7.1 Anonymous on 2007-07-20 04:19
The fact is, though, that to solicit funds for one purpose and then to spend them on another, even if it is "helping" someone, is Fraud, a felony.
The only legal (and Christian) way to do that is to go to the donors and ask their blessing to use their designated donations for the other purpose and to offer to return their donation if they do not wish it to be used for the other purpose.
It seems the thinking in Syosset was always that the funds that came in, for whatever purpose, were theirs to use for any purpose they chose. This kind of thinking is neither moral nor ethical.
#7.1.1 Name withheld on 2007-07-20 06:05
A Felony? Be careful. Did you get a tax deductible receipt for your gift that you gave? Did you count that against your income tax? It is a gift. Maybe you gave it for missions, but it was temporarily used for helping a mission priest who could not pay his health insurance. Is that a fraud? Is that a felony?
Please, let us be so very careful. Can anyone of us step into the heart of another?
It is easy to say something is a "felony" but quite another to stake one's life on such an accusation.
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2007-07-21 20:07
The answer to the question is, it depends.
If the intent was to pay back the mission fund (to use your example), then no, the raising of the money was not fraudulent. In this case, however, no records were maintained about the "borrowing", nor was anyone told of a higher priority. It can be reasonably posited that the intent was to never repay the designation for the gift. While a court of law would have to make that determination, the circumstances would indeed indicate the strong possibility (some would say prima facie) case of fraud had been committed.
We must remember that good people do bad things all the time, sometimes unintentionally. Yet they still must be held accountable under the law.
The problem in this case appears to be the participants were at a minimum ill-advised. Unfortunately, the situation is similar to that of a tax return. The taxpayer is responsible for the return, even if it was prepared by someone else. And the taxpayer is responsible for any punishments as a result.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#184.108.40.206.1 Marty Watt on 2007-07-23 09:11
Did he help those MILLIONS (based on the THOUSANDS for each "POTENTIAL" orphan and widow) with the money he solicited for the orphans and widows? In the real world what he did then is called a bait and switch. Any way you cut it, the actions were illegal.
The laity are a very giving people, if he had a need, he could have presented it. He had no right to act as Solomon or Robin Hood to determine where the money went after it was specifically requested for a particular group.
It's low of you not to consider the orphans and widows cheated of money given from us as REAL. Given that you are defending Kondratick it shows the kind of thinking that is at the heart of that group.
#7.1.2 Anonymous on 2007-07-20 14:10
An example of the generous nature of the laity and clergy of the OCA. At the Twelfth All-American, held in Pittsburgh, PA, during the summer of 1999, one of the items of business was a decision concerning which of five proposed church-wide initiaitves to fund for the coming three years. The Central Administration planned to spend $50,000 a year for three years on the chosen initiative.
Fr. Kondratick was in charge of the session in which the decision on the church-wide initiatives was to be made. He presented each of the initiatives. He also informed the AAC that there was no identified funding for the whichever initiative was selected.
After the delegates ranked the initiatives, a delegate from a very small mission in the Diocese of the South stood up and made a touching pledge, on behalf of the mission he represented, to help fund a second initiative. This pledge was a very significant financial sacrifice for that community. In less than half an hour, delegates pledged over $120,000 for each the coming three years to fund the church-wide initiatives.
When presented with a need important to the life of the Church and its mission, and evidence that the Central Church Administration had made great effort to keep the cost of meeting that need as low as possible, the laity and the clergy responded generously.
That same generosity is evident at the "Save the OCA" web site (www.savetheoca.org).
Mark C. Phinney
#220.127.116.11 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-07-21 06:51
Question? Did the money get to the three initiatives?
#18.104.22.168.1 Yanni on 2007-07-21 20:19
To be frank, even at this late date, it had not occurred to me to raise the question you have. I don't know (a) how much of the money pledged for the church-wide initiatives was actually received, or (b) if any or how much money of the received was actually spent on the church-wide initiatives. If I remember correctly, during the summer of 2000, my parish -- St. Mark Orthodox Church in Bethesda, MD -- hosted one of the six seminarian interns from one of the church-wide initiatives implemented by the Central Church Administration (aka Syosset) in response to the actions of the Twelfth All-American Council in 1999.
Mark C. Phinney
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-07-23 03:14
The subtitle to this editorial should have been “Dmitri shows us its time to retire”. The poor archbishop really should retire because he just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it that the days of the good ole boys doing what they want behind closed doors and getting away with it are over. He doesn’t get that he can’t mindlessly absorb information from the Kondratick spinsters and take it to be gospel. He doesn’t get it that he can’t say something is “unthinkable” and people are going to blindly accept that that’s fact and gospel. He doesn’t get the new world and for that reason he would be wise to retire from active administration of a diocese in a world he no longer grasps. He can continue with his scholarly works, but he has made it very apparent that he doesn’t understand the world we live in. The Church doesn’t change, the Faith doesn’t change, but the world in which it exists does change.
He may respond that we don’t get it. That’s very true. We don’t get, seeing all we have seen, why it is “ unthinkable “ that Fr. Kondratick would not be reduced to laity. Why does he feel this way? Because he’s living back 10, 15, 30 years ago when the bishops controlled information and could do what they wanted because the laity were ignorant and believed the crumbs that the bishops tossed out at us. We were naďve and thought our hard earned money was going to where we thought it was and was doing works worthy of a Church. We didn’t know the corruption which was at the core of the Church – for us that would have been, to use his word, “ unthinkable “. The self interests, the threats, the money, etc. The result of this is that now all these bad things are “ thinkable “. So, if he said that we don’t get it, that’s right, we don’t get it that that was a good way and the way we need to continue. In that context, yes, it is very unthinkable that the man who was the central figure would be deposed. After all, he ran the show, how could he get to a point of deposition. Gladly the laity have changed and now get it. The world changed and unfortunately our most senior bishop has failed to recognize that change and change with it and for the good of the Church and his own good, should retire. He’s an anachronism in these times. He doesn’t have to give up any scholarly work, but he needs to retire from the administration because his world view is very incongruous with reality.
In the new reality its “ unthinkable “ that a deposition would not occur. People, the priesthood is not a right, it’s not something that we take possession and keep and decide if and when we want to give it up. The priesthood is a gift of Grace from God – it’s a sacrament. It’s not a job. It’s not a position in an organization. It’s the Grace of God imparted on man – given as a loan for as long as he is worthy, not for his eternal possession. When the underlying person acts in ways that tarnish that Grace or does not live up to that Grace, it is the responsibility of the bishop, who doesn’t have to even be a good bishop, to deal with that and maintain the integrity and sanctity of that gift of Grace because he alone is answerable to God for his stewardship of that Grace. It’s perfectly understandable that Fr. Kondratick doesn’t want to give it up, it would be highly strange if he was to! But it’s not his choice or his decision to keep it, although if he thought better he could chose to give it back.
His choice was made years ago when he ventured down the path that brought us to where we are now. It was his choice then to be a bad steward of the treasures of the Church. It was his choice to, based on what the allegations of very smart and honorable people in our midst say, to commit the acts he is accused of. All along he had the choice and he still has the choice now. Up to this point his choice has been to disregard the Grace that was given him. To disregard the Sanctity of the Sacrament he was bestowed with. To this day he has yet to speak to all those that are eager to hear what he has to say, but his silence is an indictment that further fuels speculation that he is indeed guilty of crimes not only against the Church, but against Caesar. We do not make this up. As time goes along the silence speaks volumes. The investigations confirm the speculation. But, he still has the choice to do what’s right, and speak openly and repent, and if he was honorable, to by his choice return the gift that he has not taken care of.
As a result of his actions, though, he has cast doubt upon the priesthood and has brought disgrace to it. He’s only one priest, but the actions of one cast a shadow upon the image of the all priests. Dmitri doesn’t understand that the bishop is the preserver of the Grace or allows other earthly concerns to weigh more in his mind. He took vows at his consecration and will have to answer for his stewardship of the Grace of God that was under his authority. But Dmitri, it appears, places more weight on what the old reality would do when people didn’t watch and shortcuts could be taken in secret. How was Grace abused before we started to become aware of it?
But, Dmitri, will say, Fr. Kondratick has done a marvelous job reinvigorating the Venice parish. And to be perfectly honest, that’s probably the truth, but there’s always more to what you see. Fr. Kondratick is a charmer. He can make the hardest hearts melt and would be able to convince Eskimos of the need to buy snow. He has a talent for dealing with people that made them feel good and it’s a crying shame that rather than having this charm and incredible ability to deal with people of all temperaments we are faced with the inevitability of taking him from a position where that talent is most desperately needed. It is no wonder that the Venice parish is energized and excited. Any parish that Fr. Kondratick would be sent to minister to would, without doubt, experience the same. It’s the charm that got us into this problem but don’t let his charm be used to have us think that all this should be glossed over. For all the good uses of charm, the charm can as easily be used for nefarious purposes as well. If the allegations are true, and his silence gives us no doubt. If the jury comes through with a recommendation to depose. If all these things happen Fr. Kondratick’s charm should not blind us to the fact that the Grace that was a gift from God was abused and the bishop, who is ultimately responsible for it, must do what must be done to maintain that Grace’s integrity and sanctity.
This does not mean that we have to lose Fr. Kondratick’s many talents. If he is true to his work in that parish and is not using this as a smokescreen to give us doubt over all the proceedings, he can work with parishes in the context of a layman to keep strengthening them. His talents work equally well no matter what the wardrobe. A deposition does not mean he’s excommunicated or thrown on his kiester on the sidewalk. It merely means he did not properly care for the Grace he was given and it needed to be removed from his stewdardship. It’s the responsibility of the bishop to take care of that Grace.
In the end, it is “ unthinkable “ that a bishop would consider it “ unthinkable “ that Grace needed to be preserved, protected, and it’s sanctity maintained. It is “ unthinkable “ that other concerns would weigh more on a bishop’s mind than what he has been entrusted with from God. While it’s not surprising based on other incidents, it is nonetheless disappointing and does not bode well for us moving ahead on the 31st when our most senior hierarch makes statements such as these.
#8 Publius on 2007-07-19 18:25
Thank you, Publius, for that thoughtful reply. I would add that we need to think about how we will choose to act when the decisions are made known. What are we ready to tolerate? Will we tolerate a Church that removes Fr. K from the Chancellor's seat, yet allows him to remain a priest? Will we tolerate a Church that allows MH to stay in place, with restraints on authority?
Will we let our desire for vengeance overtake our capacity to forgive?
We do need to know what happened - that much is certain. You cannot fix an unknown problem. We do need to create accountability and transparency. We do need to eliminate clericalism in all its ugly forms. We do need to recognize that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
What are we prepared to accept? What are our options if we do not have our expectations met? What is our "unthinkable"?
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#8.1 Marty Watt on 2007-07-20 07:02
I must say Publius, that was a brilliant post! Very insightful and on the mark.
However, I will say that with all due respect to Archbishop Dimitri, he is in all probability being influenced and manipulated by someone who recently landed in the DOS.
Other than that, an excellent and eloquent observation.
#8.2 Michael Geeza on 2007-07-20 07:47
The "Unthinkable" and the EMPTY SEAT
A Memory of St. Nicholas Church in Ft. Lauderdale and the first Diocese of the South Assemby
It was the empty seat of the St. Nicholas, Ft. Lauderdale Church, Florida in the first Diocese of the South Assemby
that brought only a very short speech from the Chancellor,
Father George Gladky. "Fill the vacancies!"
All the mission hoopla, the cut and paste of MISSION every where stamped on fliers and themes for keynotes etc., by the then energetic young Deacon later to be priest, Daniel Kovalak made little impression to this Chancellor, after he had left the bedside of a dying priest.
Death and the sobriety of how someone in their 30's could
die, in a way that may have been changed by intervention,
weighed on the heart of this Chancellor whose soul knew he shared in the responsibility of the priest's death.
Sober, short with no jovial expression, this Chancellor made his speech for the first Assembly of the Diocese of the South and went off to weep and to cry in great sadness.
This chancellor, Father George Alexandrovich Gladky did not see sin as a private affair. He understood what was needed to collectively make a change.
The tears were not only for the newly departed priest, they for the newly inherited Bishop that would now come and ineffectively administer the diocese fragments that were formerly Father's George's “family”.
Ft Lauderdale and St. Nicholas had already seen one priest come and burn the ikons of the ikonstasis. The people of St. Nicholas in Ft. Lauderdale knew this was not right and asked this priest to leave. But the replacement priest that was sent, no one knew of his troubles that led to his death.
This is why the Father George cried. As he cried he said to me, Carol "If I knew, I would have done anything to help him."
"Secrecy, secrecy", he said, “killed him. I would have done something.”
Now in Ft. Lauderdale in the St. Nicholas Church there is a spark of some refutation to the hoopla of a Diocese Assemby at the Don Shula Hotel in Miami Lakes being held today. Here one candle remains for their short term priest who in life served them less than one year. Maybe his memory and the memory of the Chancellor, Father George Gladky that wept, is calling us to repentance.
It does not take a majority to lead a vigil for repentance.
It takes a few no's and the memory of those who wanted light and not darkness as the mission for the "New Jerusalem" of their expectations.
Perhaps like Sodom and Gommorah a few will be able to leave. (See Genesis in the 18th and 19th chapter).
A few can make a difference and break away from sin and lead us to a new path.
Pray to strengthen the form of “No” coming from St. Nicholas Church in Ft. Lauderdale.
#9 Carol Bacha on 2007-07-19 20:42
Your posting is confusing to those who do not have background information on what has transpired at St Nicholas in Ft Lauderdale.
Was Fr Daniel Kovalak the priest who died? Why then is he listed as keynote speaker at the DOS Assembly held this past week?
How does this effect the current OCA problem?
#9.1 Confused on 2007-07-20 19:08
The keeping of secrets and the addictions wrapped up in them led to the death of a priest in his 30’s in the very start of the Diocese of the South. A Metropolitan, an Archbishop and a former Chancellor who are alive today can know who I making reference to as well as Father Kovalak. I believe this to be relevant to today because the secrecy continues that feeds the addictions. The act of passing a priest to another diocese instead of supporting him and his family to deal with situations that feed addictions continues. An Archbishop who is incapable of ministering in a pastoral manner to his hurting clergy and clergy families continues. The Archbishop continues with support to continuing the addictions and not to resolve them.
The thematic shout of missionizing when you are not caring for or attending to the needs of troubled clergy and or his family continue with poor archpastoral care. The wife of the young priest was ignored and unassisted by the diocese when her husband died. Father George Gladky as Chancellor at the time wanted to help Matushka by giving her a paid position in the newly formed diocese office commensurate with her highly skilled secretarial experience. Father George was also concerned the clergy wife have housing as part of the compensation package for working for the diocese since she would no longer live in the Fort Lauderdale, St. Nicholas Church rectory. Archbishop Dmitri was disinterested in this form of secretarial support. He declined to be involved or bear any responsibility to the new clergy widow.
Given the festering wounds of the history in this diocese from the lack of accountability, the best I can do is try to bring up some passage of a past time where there was once upon a time “tears” at the planting of this new diocese. If my fragmentary account is confusing to you as a reader, I hope you can at least take away from my writings the attention I am trying to bring to real needs of supporting a church administration where there is an accounting system in place in which funding and ministry can operate in a healthy manner. It is some small part of the responsibility I bear in being knowledgeable of this history and having been asked by the past chancellor Father George Gladky to write an account of it. Perhaps outside of the restrictions of the website I can continue a documented format.
#9.1.1 Carol Bacha on 2007-07-21 08:56
Thanks for your attempt to pass on more information about the situation in St Nicholas, Ft Lauderdale. Having read between the lines, I see a mirror image of the OCA's actions and inactions. The question remains, have our heirarchs and priests forgotten their vows? The laity is in desparate need of our prayers to survive this bad time in our history
#126.96.36.199 Confused on 2007-07-24 11:15
In all fairness to the aged bishop, one has to wonder just who is actually writing the things on the DOS website?
#10 Name withheld on 2007-07-20 06:13
With all fairness,
What is your point? Archbishop Dmitri is firmly the archpastor of his diocese and any attempts to say that he is anything less is a sin you should repent of. Is being old now a crime too? Your comments reveal your anti-clerical bias. STOP IT.
#10.1 Anonymous on 2007-07-21 09:55
On a completely different subject:
I would like to say "God grant you many years" to frequent contributor Daniel Fall. Daniel and his fiancee Jennifer are scheduled to be married tomorrow (Saturday, July 21) in Minneapolis.
We wish you all the best!
Priest Christopher Wojcik
(Editor's Note: "Best Wishes" to the bride and "Congratulations" to the groom from all of us here, as well!)
#11 Priest Christopher Wojcik on 2007-07-20 11:21
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is very disturbing to read so many of these posts lately that are full of hatred towards one another. It is one thing to disagree, it is quite another to be filled with venom against your own brothers and sisters in Christ.
So much of the discussion lately has eroded into anger.
Just a thoughtful reminder, we are all judged by our actions. All of those involved with this scandal will be judged by God in due time.
In times of crisis, thoughtful prayer works best.
#12 An Orthodox priest on 2007-07-20 17:30
I read all the parish reports on the Diocese of The South's web page. Optimistic with true missionary zeal, pleased with a Baptism here and there, plans to acquire land/ or a building of their own ... connection and outreach through the established humanitarian programs in their community ... DOS is to be applauded. Hey! I bet they could use some money!?
Ahh money. Million$ gone (anonymously but to all the right widow$ and orphan$, by Herman and Fr. Kondratick).... six figures to you attorney$ reading this site.... and an OCA Diocese the area only seen on The Weather Channel has fellow congregants sharing basement space. This is so sad, who said 'charity begins at home'? Or did that refer only to the Martin Drive property in some quarters? Home ...charity.. get it?
So many of the architectural jewels of Orthodox Churches all through Pennsylvania (for example);many founded before World War One. Will the missionary churches in The South thrive and someday have a treasured modern style Orthodox Church with bells and distinctive dome. It takes money.... Oh what might have been if a fraction of what is, err 'unaccounted for', was available to any or all of the missionary parishes. OCA money invested in the next generation through Sunday School programs,
but no. Maybe Honesdale Bank will endow a missionary Sunday School since the OCA is such a good customer...why, we would be indebted to them!
#13 J Murray on 2007-07-20 19:06
Dear J: Approximately one year from now, you and I and all of us have a perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to change all of this. We can reverse the $600k for external affairs and $12k for evangelization, and move towards the vision of Sts Innocent and Tikhon and all the rest of our North American Saints to evangelize the American people. Through the prayers of the Theotokos and of all the Saints, have mercy on our Holy American Orthodox Church!
#13.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-07-21 07:20
An interesting thought. However, the question is much larger than the AAC. Who prepares a budget? In the past, of course, it was always prepared by Syosset, and everyone else was expected to simply rubber stamp it.
The budget has always reflected the priorities of Syosset, hence the huge expenditures on external relations, and almost nothing on evangelism. The priority has to be changed, beginning with the makers of the budget. One would think it should be the MC, but the MC mostly has functioned as a rubber stamp, too.
Go ye into all the world with entourages and celebrate pontifical liturgies is quite simply sinful. Can this be changed until there is a thorough change in leadership?
#13.1.1 Name withheld on 2007-07-21 10:03
We can only avail ourselves of this opportunity (the All-American Council in '08) if we keep our memberships current in our local parishes, and get ourselves elected to be the lay delegates representing our parishes. I mention this again because I see a lot of peple calling for "cutting off the money" and starving Syossett. While I support not writing any checks made payable to the OCA for the 3 appeals, and FOS, etc., I do not support quiting the parish so that the "head-tax" will not go to OCA. I think this is premature. Keep your membership, get elected to lay-delegate (or parish council member even) and show up at the meeting next year and VOTE for everything we've been talking about. We can reorder the priorities, since our leadership has no cear vision of what these should be.
I no longer hold out much hope that the trial and Synod meeting will produce anything fruitful, and have been very disappointed in the Midwest's slow pace. The only thing I see on the event horizon that could turn this ship around is the AAC in '08. If I am wrong--if the AAC in '08 turns out to be a rubberstamping affair supporting the status quo--then I will give up my parish membership, although I will still attend and participate to the extent that I am allowed.
But I want to give the OCA one last chance before I do something so drastic. That's why I am running for lay delegate. You should, too. We need you.
I am anonymous here because I am in the Diocese of Washington and NY, and my candidacy would be torpedoed if my name were known. My priest regularly tells us to read only oca.org, that is the only website for official news. And he is also a member of the Metroplitan Council, which is another reason why I think the AAC is our last chance.
Hope to see you next year at the conference. And no, I won't be anonymous there!
Anonymous for President in '08
#13.1.2 Anonymous for President in '08 on 2007-07-21 18:02
1. My parish, also in the Diocese of Washington and New York, is very much split over calls within the parish to withhold the Central Church Administration portion of the parish assessment. I have urged what you suggest: pay the assessment, to prevent any disciplinary action by His Beautitude, and send not a single penny more to Syosset. As for the quarterly church-wide appeals, send not a penny to Syosset in response, but rather send directly to the seminaries, the IOCC, and the OCMC what you would have sent as a response
to the appeal. Do however return the appeal envelope with a note saying that you will not send any money to Syosset in response to an appeal until a complete and unhindered investigation of the OCA finances has been completed and the results made public to any and all interested parties.
2. What would you suggest as a proposed agenda for an Fifteenth All-American Council? Would the questions posed by Fr. John Hopko in his recent reflection form a reasonable outline of a proposed agenda?
Mark C. Phinney
#188.8.131.52 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-07-23 03:51
"What would you suggest as a proposed agenda for an Fifteenth All-American Council? Would the questions posed by Fr. John Hopko in his recent reflection form a reasonable outline of a proposed agenda?"
I have already formulated one resolution for consideration at the AAC. I suspect there will be scores. The bylaws, the budget and this current scandal will provide more than enough agenda.
The questions posed by Fr Hopko will take far more than three days to discuss. But discuss them we must. Perhaps another resolution for a panel to do just that.
#184.108.40.206.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-07-24 08:55
Would someone from the parish in Venice, Florida please share some information. How many members do you have, has your membership increased since your new pastor arrived, are you as the body of Christ discussing the scandal in our church.
With love in Christ,
#14 Lillian Blome on 2007-07-21 05:10
I came across this reading about Aaron Burr today:
“Burr showed no embarrassment in promoting friends for office or doing favors for them in the legislature because for him that was the way politics and society worked, befriending people and creating personal loyalties and connections. Aristocrats were patrons, and they had clients who were obliged to them. Hence Burr sought to patronize as many people as he could. His celebrated liberality and generosity grew out of this need. Like any ‘great man’ of the age, he even patronized young artists, including John Vanderlyn, who he sent on a grand tour of Europe. In fact, in bustling republican America no opportunity to create an obligation or interest could be overlooked.”
Taken from page 235 of “Revolutionary Characters – What made The Founders Different” by Gordon S. Wood. Wood included Aaron Burr, not usually considered a founder, because of his contrast with the great founders like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, and Paine, thereby gaining greater insight into them.
#15 Publius on 2007-07-22 13:53
Ladies and Gentlemen; Brothers and Sisters; Bishops; The Metropolitan Council:
I am not surprised the OCA is going through its "times of troubles." I am very grateful, however, that these "times of troubles" are now exposed so that we can all have a better constructive empowerment in trying to deal with and heal its difficulties:
Let me relate to you some previous facts that allows me to have concern, but hope at the same time: These are the facts:
When Fr. Paul was assigned to All Saints of America Orthodox OCA mission in West Jordan, UT, we did not receive any physical visit from Bishop TIKHON of the West. This is a fact.
When we were reassigned to St. George OCA Church in Victorville, CA we had to liquidate nearly our entire retirment account to make ends meet. It has been totally liquidated with our most recent move back east. This is a fact.
When Fr. Paul was at St. George, Bishop TIKHON was voted out by an angry council and church who did not like Bishop TIKHON. He never phsycially came up to put his loving pastoral arms around a hurting church because of the last priest before Fr. Paul had stolen funds. The parish never had a visit from Bishop TIKHON aswith our time in Victorville. This is a fact.
Fr. Paul was serving in Iraq as a military chaplain when I contacted our DOW administration what to do: sing English, Greek, or both. I was told to sing mostly English. I then was told by a few strong-willed Greeks (to put it diplomatically) to leave St. George because they did not want to sing English. I then submitted a letter of resignation as St. George's choir director to the DOW administration. I did not hear from one soul from the DOW administration (!) after that letter of resignation of why I had resigned. This is a fact.
I eventually wrote the entire MC my ideas of Crisis Intervention in the summer of 2004 with how to help troubled OCA Churches (little did I know at the time that we had a troubled OCA) as I seemed to get very little support from anyone in the DOW administratin while my husband was in Iraq. This is a fact.
I heard from one MC person in the 34 letters I sent out on my ideas of Crisis Intervention to make a stronger OCA. This one person even sent my husband and I a monetary check to help with our personal finances. This is a fact.
Fr. Paul heard from two people within the DOW administration, however, quite some time later after this crisis, at the Toronto AAC how dare his wife write the MC. These two people never contacted me personally about this letter in any way. This is a fact.
I challenge anyone in the DOW to challenge the story I just related. It is true and this is why I give my full support to the ongoing OCANews.org. It is trying to get to the bottom of the "regions dark and deep," as we sing on Holy Friday, because Jesus, himself, went to the "regions dark and deep."
Jesus was not afraid to conquer hell itself!! Our current OCA administration is afraid of their own shadow, let alone hell!! What courage or nobleness is there in that?
Dear Brothers and Sisters; Dear Bishops; Dear MC:
The crisis in the OCA is real. It is up to +Herman, the HS, and the MC to get it right. It can be made right. We can have a church of integrity and nobleness. The administration can constructively descend to the "regions dark and deep" by telling us the tragic truth about our funds, and continue investigations, and release reports, which will not be a pretty sight for the OCA. They can be as brave as Jesus was himself on that dark and tragic Holy Friday. Or they can ignore it. Jesus did not ignore the "regions dark and deep." He did not ignore the Crucifixion. He did not turn away from the horrible humliation and shame. But he Resurrected and He gave us eternal hope and everlasting life and love.
The HS has to do the work of Christ at the end of July: descend into hell itself if there is to be any hope of the Resurrection.
It would be a very wise move on the part of the OCA administration to allow those who have served there for some years (such as +Herman and Fr. Paul Kucynda and possibly others) to now say goodbye. Their time is done. They did what they could. It is time to move on with new persons who are not carrying any OCA administrative baggage from the past. Perhaps then we will get the needed truth, investigations, and reports.
It can be done. The time is now; the time is at hand.
#16 Patty Schellbach on 2007-07-22 20:32
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Your experiences with a derilict, unethical, and spiritually bankrupct OCA administration and a dysfunctional (now retired, thankfully) and spiritually troubled Bishop Tikhon similar to what our parish endured and suffered for many years. Yet, even now, when we ask questions of the new Bishop Benjamin, and beg for help, his only response is "everything is fine" and "I will not make any changes." This is a disgrace!
Come on, folks.
It's time to stop signing with "Anonymous" , "Name Withheld" and all the other silly handles. Why should anyone take you seriously when you speak from the shadows ?
Want transparency? Start with yourself. Sign your name.
#17 Don Motel on 2007-07-22 21:33
Folks, get serious!
This has nothing to do with religion. We are dealing with a union.
A clergy union, a STRONG CLERGY UNION!
A fraternity, team players.
It has to do with MONEY, power, control, total control.
Stacked decks: Parish councils, MC, are all stacked with clergy and relatives/friends of clergy.
Statutes, created by a bunch of bearded men in black dresses, to benefit their UNION. We keep getting suckered into falling for the stall tactics in the bylaws as to when we (THE EMPLOYERS) can have the AAC.
Anytime that salaries are paid, someone is the employer and someone is the employee.
The problem will never be resolved until it is realized who pays and who receives money.
STOP THE MONEY
#18 Ande on 2007-07-23 12:47
Your right, the scandal is about money, power, and control.
You may be wrong about the Metropolitan Council now.
You may be right about the parish council in your parish; you are definitely wrong about the parish council in my parish ... throughout the 35 years it has existed.
I don't think you have correctly characterized those who originally drew up the Normal Statute, voted on the adoption of the Statutue at an All-American Sobor, or who have voted on amendments at AACs since then.
The clergy is not a union, and the laity does not employ the clergy, whatever their rank. We are all supposed to be servants of Christ. And the Gospels caution both clergy and laity alike to be cautious, very cautious, regarding how we treat one another.
I think you are right on the right track regarding the calling on the next All-American Council. We, the concerned laity, need to beginning working together to draw up alternative plans for the next AAC: date, location, agenda, and resolutions.
Mark C. Phinney
#18.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-07-28 09:08
There have been rumblings that the bishops are going to "give Herman another chance". I pray this is not true! Next week might be the most important Holy Synod meeting ever! My only hope is that Herman and company are shown the door!
#19 Peter Pappas on 2007-07-23 13:32
Folks, most other Orthodox churches do NOT recognize the OCA as legit; All we are doing here is proving that they may well be right.
Let us never forget that our lives belong to the Lord, not the OCA and if the OCA ceases to exist, there are other Orthodox churches we can all go to and serve the Lord. If the OCA needs to be purged, so be it. If it needs to cease, then so be that as well. Sometimes people lose their way, but the Lord will find you a place to worship Him, don't worry about that. No matter what happens, remember that it is the Lord we serve. Not anything or anyone else.
#20 George on 2007-07-24 09:11
You are quite wrong in saying that most other Orthodox Churches do not recognise the OCA as "legit," by which, presumably, you mean "canonical," with valid Orders, etc.. If that were the case, they would be forbidden by the Sacred Canons to serve with us at all. But in fact we do serve together. Go back on the OCA's website, for example, to the photos of +H's enthronement as Metropolitan or to the 2006 pilgrimate at St. Tikhon's, to see pictures of hierarchs from other jurisdictions serving with ours.
Rather, what is in dispute is whether or not the Moscow Patriarchate had the canonical right to grant autocephaly to the North American Metropolia and whether or not the OCA is therefore legitimately the one and only canonical territorial Church in North America. Constantinople, on an extremely dubious interpretation of the "barbarian lands" provision of Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, claims jurisdiction over North and South America, Australia, and the penguins in Antarctica; in giving us autocephaly, Moscow obviously disputed this. The squabble is about turf (and, let's be honest, money), not canonicity.
Nothing new here, BTW. The Bulgarian Church declared the restoration of its autocephaly in the 1870's (1875, if memory serves), after becoming free of the Turkish yoke. Constantinople didn't recognise that autocephaly till 1945.
La plus ca change...
#20.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-07-25 04:26
Get your facts straight. Every canonical Orthodox Church is in communion with the OCA. Some may not recognize our self-governing status, but so what. That is their issue not ours. We are legit, but we are acting like a bunch of spoiled children trying to get our way.
#20.2 Anonymous on 2007-07-25 13:10
If some entities do not recognize our self-governing status- as you stated- should we not be trying to bring about unity in this country? I disagree, it is our issue-not theirs. We may be legitimate but we are ineffective and unable to demonstrate our abilities to bring the faithful to Orthodoxy and the fortitude to represent Orthodoxy in this country.
We are not spoiled children-we are children looking for our leaders to step up and demonstrate the love of Christ towards their flock. I think we are very concerned and devastated children trying to make sense of the crazymaking in Syosset- a crazymaking that is sending many individuals and families to look for other places to meet their spiritual needs.
If we are not evangelizing, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and helping the poor- we are not legitimate in our actions --only in our talk. We must pray for unity in America and demonstrate through our interactions that we are worthy of our self-governing status!!! This will require honesty, repentance, finding the money, and making full restitution. It does not require a "so what-let them eat cake attitude". Such a sadness...
#20.2.1 Carpathia on 2007-07-25 17:57
Folks, sorry I didn't write what I meant clearly enough. My 'legit' comment was directed at autocephaly, not are we really Orthodox. We ARE really Orthodox, thank God.
But let us not lose sight of what I am trying to say here. Being Orthodox Christians is the first and foremost thing! If the hierarchs go down the road and lose their own souls do we follow them? I hope not!
There have been quite a few examples in history where the bishops decided to do things that were clearly wrong, and the faithful simply did not follow them. If all else fails, we can certainly move to other jurisdictions. I would leave the OCA before I would leave the Lord, I can tell you that. If the OCA no longer exists due to all this scandal, let us hold ourselves together and continue on in the Lord. This, if truth be told, is all a distraction from the most important work of a believer which is getting closer to the Lord and trying to live His way as much as possible. Let us all remember what we became Orthodox Christians for, and live for that. The bishops will stand or fall before their own Master.
#220.127.116.11 George Kruse on 2007-07-26 11:56
"Some" people may not recognize the OCA's autocephaly? May I ask, just who is it that does recognize the OCA claim? Finland, I think, and maybe Japan... but not, it would seem, Albania, Antioch, Bulgaria, Jerusalem, Romania, or Serbia, all of whom claim jurisdiction in America. I'm sure I'm leaving a name or two out.
(And let's not forget ROCOR, which now constitutes a huge proportion of the diaspora of the unified Church of Russia.)
Even the Moscow Patriarchate—I mean, they recognize the status officially of course, but what are we to make of the thirty-odd American parishes they keep under their own jurisdiction, neatly organized into four "deaneries"?
And this is after all the cash the Syosset's spent on "external affairs."
Consider that, perhaps—just perhaps—some things may have been done wrong at the start. Maybe receiving the grant of autocephaly from such a compromised hierarchy was not a great idea after all? Maybe people have been a little too cocky regarding the grand destiny of the OCA—the one we've all been hearing about endlessly since it's inception?
What is it they say goes before a fall?
I'm not saying that the OCA should renounce its autocephaly.
But I am suggesting that less bluster is in order, now and in the future, and fewer assumptions of superiority.
#20.2.2 a fellow Orthodox on 2007-07-26 14:58
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