Thursday, August 16. 2007
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Karlgut will not conduct an investigation in the best interests of the individuals involved in this tragic situation - he will do what he thinks is necessary to protect the OCA from litigation. Of course I can only post this comment because of my own personal experience with Fr. Alexey. God help us all.
#1 Anonymous on 2007-08-17 06:23
Is not discovering and publishing/broadcasting the truth in "the best interests of the individuals involved"? Is not discovering and publishing/broadcasting the truth the best way "to protect the OCA from litigation"?
The Holy Synod and Fr. Karlgut should (a) demonstrate their faith in Our Lord, following His direction in Scripture, not modern legal advice; (b) conduct an open, fair, and compassionate investigation, no matter where it leads; and (c) publish the findings of the investigation as widely as possible as quickly as possible. Only by demonstrating their faith in Our Lord, can the Holy Synod work to truly protect the OCA.
Mark C. Phinney
#1.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-08-21 03:52
Another Day Still No Answers....
The Feast of the Theotokos has been celebrated with much love and gratitude for her examples to Christ and the Church. The question still remains unanswered,
Are the Allegations True or False?.....
Please no more Postings on Sermons, forgiveness, obedience. I'm sick and tired of the rheteric.
Are the Allegations True or False? Where is Fr. Kondraticks Statements? Does he not want to say something. Fr. Kondratick we need to here from you, why are you silent! What is so hidden in this mess that we don't already know about? Come On! Or Should I Say Bring it On! Tell me it isn't so that you retired comfortably, are you accountable for the replacement of the money's? One would think so? I certainly would be. Why is the Commission Suspended? Come On! I paid for the report I have the right to know the answers to my quesitons. Sincerely Irene
#2 Anonymous on 2007-08-17 09:07
The topic of sexual misconduct was discussed at the 2006 SCOBA Bishops Conference held in Chicago. Please watch this video of the presentation by Fr. Karlgut. Let the words speak for themselves.
Karlgut does not, in my observation, practice what he preaches. The "words" used by Karlgut in his presentation to SCOBA are just that - words, nothing more. It is highly likely that if the victims in the Alaska situation don't sign a waiver releasing the OCA from liability in the matter - even if there is proof that allegations are true - who cares about the truth, right? Karlgut will sweep the allegations under the rug and not only that, he will revictimize the victim(s) himself - contrary to his "words".
#3.1 Anonymous on 2007-08-18 19:23
If in your opinion, Karlgut+ will not conduct an investigation in the best interests of the individuals involved in this tragic situation, then who would you nominate to do the job?
#3.1.1 Pennsylvania Coalcracker on 2007-08-19 18:54
1 million adherents? Where are they? And to what are they adhering?
#4 Anonymous on 2007-08-17 10:38
They should have just involved the civil authorities right off the bat, so that they could have handled this situation correctly. Now Karlgut will help cover all of this up, so that Nikolai can continue with "business as usual."
I wish, instead, that Nikolai was under criminal investigation by the Alaskan Police. Then the truth would come out.
#5 From Long Island on 2007-08-17 11:36
The proof is the puddin’. Let’s not judge the puddin’ before it’s made and tasted. Remember, once a report is issued, we John. Q. Public or We, the Faithful, will not be allowed to know much of its contents as it is restricted by legal statute and standard of ethics given that the issues include sexual and substance abuse. So, for the moment let’s chill out.
As for the need of the Office of the Metropolitan, which is conducting the investigation, to insulate the O.C.A. from litigation, what a novel idea! Of course, it will if it has any sense of fiduciary responsibility – not that fiduciary responsibility has been much on display in the past few years.
As for the individuals involved (Fr. Isidore and Bp. Nikolai), their reputations, whether exonerated or not, are forever besmirched; the damage is permanent. However, Paul Sidebottom’s reputation well may increase in the months to come and hopefully, he will receive some form of restitution.
The Kodiak Daily Mirror mentions a possible conflict of interest; this charge is bogus. While Atrops has done work evaluating seminarians in the past few years, he has a reputation to protect and an oath of ethics to keep. No professional of his stature in this field is going to pull any punches when it comes to Fr. Isidore or Bp. Nikolai unless he wants to kiss his career goodbye.
So far in this particular mess, we only have losers. If the Office of the Metropolitan can conduct an investigation that is beyond reproach, maybe that will be the silver lining to a very dark cloud.
(Editor's note: An investigation beyond reproach is what everyone seeks. Therefore, OCANews.org has placed a question with the APA (American Pyschological Association) concerning the issues raised by the Kodiak Daily Mirror, and many in Alaska, regarding the appearance of a potential conflict of interest on the part of Dr. Atrops, asking for the relevant citations from their guidelines. We will report those when they become available.)
#6 Terry C. Peet on 2007-08-17 12:22
I have just read the Anchorage Daily News article (Saturday Aug 18) and have seen the Alaska Television News networks carrying the story on every news cast... its not a secret anymore!
I have always believed that no-one could ever stand in front of the altar and be this evil, yet alone have the gall to actually be this dishonest and live with themselves?
I thought that God would do something to prevent it…
I was and am wrong… I realize today, that I do not know nor do I fully realize the Power of the Evil One…
I am truly fearful for my salvation for the first time in my life…
I pray today in fervent hope, and fear... that God will save us from this horrible trial we all face.
I was told (in the summer of 1966) by the priest who baptized me that the time was coming when the only place that Bozinka would be is my heart - like grandma had taught me, Bozinka would not be in the priest's cross, or in the church... That I would have to pray and pray hard - and always believe no matter what.
I was at the Holy Resurrection Church when newly consecrated Bishop Nikolai first came as Bishop.
I stood next to Fr Joeseph Kreta near the door of the church.
When Nikolai finsished venerating the relics of St Herman and walked to the Altar stairs (amvon?) a magpie flew into the open doors and began flapping his wings in a threatening manner - making the loudest agressive sounds I have ever heard.
Someone inside the church said " see Vladyka even the birds are welcoming you"
I turned pale and turned to Fr Kreta and said to him;
My (Alutiiq) ancestors have always seen the magpie as the messenger of bad news - when he comes.
It took several attempts to chase the bird away...
Anyone who reads this will know... birds like this do not come into human inhabitited buildings and behave this way, this was not during nesting season, and if it were... there are not any magpie nests there now or ever! I have been in and around this church for the 48 years of my life!
I personally believe that I am not special, I believe that God makes many miracles and messages available to us... we miss them because we just dont pay attention or ignore them...
I believe that Saints like St Herman and Seraphim of Sorov and many others were in tune with God's creation and as such had "miraculous friendships" with animals as the result.
God is everywhere, if I choose to see Him that way, should I be caught up in my self centeredness and vanity I miss all of His Works and Miracles - its my human failing, not his failure to care for me!
#7 Ted P on 2007-08-18 16:32
After reading the Kodiak Daily Mirror article and now the Anchorage Daily News article (Associated Press), it is mind-boggling that Nicholai would go the route of denying that there are no allegations! He is only digging his own grave.
Why is it that some bishops of the OCA cannot grasp simple Christian concepts like humility, repentance, confession, etc.? It's like something said by Alfred E. Newman in Mad magazine - What, me worry? (I know, I'm showing my age).
How long, O Lord?
An OCA priest
#8 Name withheld on 2007-08-18 19:31
It is true as Brian Martin has pointed out “There is a dark cloud hanging over St. Herman’s Seminary right now”. As a part time seminarian, a fairly new resident to Kodiak, and a member of Holy Resurrection Cathedral I find this “dark cloud” to be a unique source of healing and an opportunity for us to come together as a community and reach out to those who are in a time of need. This isn’t a time for us to sit back on our pedestals and cast judgments and hateful comments but a time for us to say what can we do to help, how should we pray for you?.
My first experience here in Kodiak was back in the early 90’s while serving as a deck hand aboard the USCG Yoconna, after getting out of the service I remained here for a while doing odd jobs, I also managed the transient workers campground at the old Gibson Cove camp site for one summer. After that I moved across the bay to Homer where I met my beautiful wife got married and had our first son, we moved to the lower 48’s for school when tragedy struck and our first son passed away at the age of 6 weeks. We spent a lot of time moving and trying to rebuild our family, which we now have three wonderful boys. Back in 99/2000 we moved back to Kodiak with the intentions of setting our roots down and meet a lot of great people unfortunately just as we were starting to settle down I became gravely Ill and was diagnosed with Cohn’s disease. Medical help was very difficult for us to find mostly the expense of the medicine so we once again moved back to the lower 48’s all with the dream of returning some day. During our stay in Texas, Virginia, and Arizona we worked hard to instill love and values that was shown to us through the people of Alaska that influenced our live over the years, into our children and tried to gain training and skills that would help us to become productive members of this great land and to be able to give back to those who are in need. We don’t have much but if all we can give is a kind word, or some sober and sound advice, or maybe you need help getting you bag to the garbage can or you need a friend or your hurting inside don’t know what to do. We try to help those who are in a time of need the best we can. When we were in a time of need, help was given to us, love, compassion, shelter, food, friendship, a shoulder to cry on, and a strong arm to hold onto when ours was failing.
Just last summer a “Dark Cloud” was hanging over my family while I set in the Hospital bed in Anchorage not sure if I was going to live or die during the surgery, which was believed to be cancer. I survived the surgery, blessed to not have cancer even though approximately 3 feet of my large intestine had to be removed. While in the Hospital Bishop Nickoli visited me, twice and prayed for me as a loving father would for his son, Father Chad, Father Yaakov visited and prayed for me and helped me in my times of needs. Before going to Anchorage for surgery I was in and out of the emergency room because of so much pain and feeling like I was going to die Fr. Innocent was there holding my hand at one time he help me over to the sink and stood by my side as I was throwing up. Father Innocent spends a lot of time praying with and for the people of this community, weather they are in the hospital or at home, he spends a lot of time in tears in the homes and hearts of who he serves and those whom he serves he has come to love and protect.
It is true there are a lot of things going on at the Seminary which gives those of us who are faithful to Gods command an opportunity to love and serve each other, and not just those directly involved but those in the community weather they reject message of the Church which is Christ Love or embrace it. These “Dark Clouds” just reinforce the need for the words of this prayer of Saint Herman ;”… May the hearts of your spiritual children be filled with that faith and love of the Holy Church which you manifested in your holy life; pray Him to deliver us from the temptations which cause us to fall; renew in us a child-like faith in our Heavenly Father; teach us to place our trust in God, and in Him alone; satisfy our thirst for the true knowledge of God; show us how to serve God faithfully; transfigure our life that it may truly reflect the image and likeness of God within us. O Holy Father and Patron of the Church in America: be a physician to the weak in faith; be a support to the fallen; be a defender to the defenseless; be a bulwark of strength to the weary in spirit; be a guide to the travelers by sea, by land and by air; be our heavenly intercessor. O Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, together with all the saints and the heavenly hosts, pray to God that on each of us He will bestow wisdom for our mind, strength for our will, light for our spirit, enabling us to attain to the true peace of life which is from God alone. We praise with joyous and grateful hearts, the Life-Creating Trinity: Father Almighty, Only-Begotten Son, Comforter, Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.”
This is a dark time not just for St. Herman’s Seminary or for the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, but a dark time for the community of Kodiak and the whole state of Alaska. We need people to gather around us and help pray that God will be blessed and those who do not know God will be able to see and believe in our Heavenly Protector and lover of Mankind. Now is the time to come home and pray.
#9 Ambrose Stapleton on 2007-08-19 00:09
Dear Mr. Stapleton:
An amazing post! God bless you, and I will pray for you. Just when you think that you can't stand to hear another word about one of our arrogant bishops, or career-serving priests, or corrupt administrators in this Church -- an ordinary member of the flock will come forward with a statement such as yours which shows that all the preaching and teachings of Holy Orthodoxy has not been in vain -- even when shown through the dark glass of the OCA! Mr. Stapleton, the faith demonstrated in this simple posting should get you through whatever trials you will yet face, and it is an inspiration to others! Our Church may yet collapse in a shambles, and our bishops may yet prove to be of questionable worthiness -- but there is truly something special going on in Alaska! It really is the Holy Land for the Americas! Before becoming a convert to Orthodoxy, I had never heard of St. Herman of Alaska; the more I learn, however, the more I realize what a gem we have in the lessons of his life, and the inspiration given.
#9.1 Friend of St Hermans on 2007-08-20 07:45
I am in no way really shattered or chagrined that our hierarchs may be with "sin." When we attend the Canon of St. Andrew the first week of Great Lent, it is to convict each and every one of us of our personal and horrible "sin."
What I am chagrined about is the manipulation that I have seen in getting to and covering up the truth. This is what I am chagrined about.
I am sure the secular world, who has no hold on God, would have had a much fuller answer to the question, "Are the allegations true or false?" While the secular world is not accountable to God, it apparently follows moral and ethical guidelines and principles, such as Robert Wachter so eloquently pointed out several months ago in his reflection on the accountability of our administration to our financial crisis. Even the secular world imposes these high standards because responsibility and accountability do not go away in our so fallen world.
I pray, not so much for the unrealistic goal of sinless souls leading our church (But this is still a worthy prayer). For, as the scriptures say, who is without sin? I pray more strongly and forcefully for those ethical and moral mechanisms of accountability that more effectively and swiftly thwart and overthrow the settling in of the Evil One who just wants to create havoc in any holy work.
Holy All Saints of America, pray unto God for us!
#10 Patty Schellbach on 2007-08-19 12:31
Very well put, Patty!
Your comments are echoed by all one million members, less a seemingly small handfull that have something to gain or retain in the ongoing coverup. Truth and honesty also stretches across all Orthodox jurisdictions and spans all generations. I can see our ancestors clammoring for the same honesty and our children asking for nothing less in the future.
It does make me wonder how my ancestors would have responded to this situation, given that they had the same access (or lack of access) to information. Someone commented about staying calm and I totally agree, but did not St. Nicholas throw a right hook once?
I am also deeply saddened as I see a local church promoting a conference on leadership, with speakers such as Jimmy Carter and Collin Powell. With Truth, should it not be The Orthodox Church that is promoting leadership in the workplace and in life?
#10.1 Ken Kozak on 2007-08-20 11:43
Well said...St. Nicholas did have his say. Perhaps that is why at Christmas the song goes-
"You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry I am telling you why..Santa Claus is coming to town!" Seriously, I hope some one does "come to town" and turn around this intolerable situation in Syosset and Alaska. When will it end and the truth begin?
#10.1.1 Carpathia on 2007-08-20 13:07
Perhaps what Nikolai is referring to is that apparently Isidore has withdrawn his accusations in writing from the rehab centre in Minnesota?
Either Nikolai is completely in denial, or that is what he is referring to.
The more I reflect on the tragi-comedy of the OCA financial scandal and now this, and the behaviour of some of the bishops through it all, the more I tend to believe that the OCA's autocephaly was a mistake, that God's blessing did not accompany that decision, and that these scandals are the working out of that in church life.
#11 Anthony on 2007-08-20 02:09
Why did they call him (archbishop Nikolai) second ranked official in Russian Orthodox Church not Orthodox Church of America?
Editor's note: The official referred to was not Bishop Nikolai, but Archimandrite Isidore. The OCA Diocese of Alaska is known in Alaska as "The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska" for historical reasons.
#12 Vadim Alekseyev on 2007-08-20 07:59
now that you are totally side-tracked by the Sidebottom side show, would a comment or two concerning the withholding in the Midwest Diocese be of any ihterest to your readers?..... you are swinging at phantoms, and the target hierarchs are neither wedged or moved, but rather being thrown into gales of laughter upon reading the newly posted "Part Three" ..... can we possibly return to the original search for truth.....
#13 Luke on 2007-08-20 19:51
Oh Dear God! Please take a look at the past postings on A Spectre From the Past dated 7-28-06.
It is All connected to the Alaskan Scandal, The Ghost of Nikolai on the +Innocent.... the allegations speak for themselves set forth in a lawsuit filed by +Innocent against the OCA in January of 2002 unfortunately + Innocent can not speak for himself since he died of an apparent heart attack in a hotel room in Anchorage Alaska on Bright Monday at the young age of 52. And apparently an autoposy was not performed.. Unfortunately his Sister has since been silent about the allegations and the court case simply disappeared..... Hmm one would say, Alaskan Newspaper should take a Serious look at this Scandal..... Someone needs to do some digging..... Any takers out there? Oh Dear god Have Mercy on Us!
#13.1 Anonymous on 2007-08-21 10:03
Yes, let's not get into the situation in Alaska. Please, "ignore the man behind the curtain." Or, more accurately regarding an Orthodox bishop, "Ignore the man wearing the curtain."
The Alaska situation is directly related to the Syosset situation, it is not a sideshow! Bishop Nikolai is not only the Bishop of Alaska, but he's on the Holy Synod. Maybe he won't take any (proper) action against the Metroplitan, because he's worried about his own troubles? And, is not the Metropolitan the President of St Herman's Seminary? Or, maybe he's just "president in name only."
It's all connected, and it's all related. And all of it adds up to the same thing: A complete lack of leadership on the part of our titular leaders. And I mean, "leaders by title only." And in any case, the Midwest withholding was posted and mentioned. Hooray! What can be gained by further comment -- gossip? -- from our Editor. It would be the equivalent of fiddling while Alaska -- our continental holy land -- and one of our seminaries, is burning! It's far from a sideshow, it's a direct reflection of the vacuum of leadership at the highest levels of the OCA.
#13.2 Friend of St Hermans on 2007-08-21 10:50
NOTICE: I am member of a parish in the Diocese of Washington and New York, not in the Diocese of the Midwest.
While we should acknowledge that the Archbishop +JOB finally followed the intent of the "Palatine Resolution" to withhold the diocesan assessment for the Central Church Administration, keep in mind:
a. the withholding was implemented at the diocesan level 4-5 months later than the original resolution required,
b. additional criteria for withholding were defined in late June, and
c. when only one of the criteria was met -- calling a special meeting of the Holy Synod before the end of July -- the July assessment was paid.
Words are cheap; the situation demands action. I know that action in these circumstances is exceedingly difficult; I see the difficulty in taking action in my parish.
I draw some hope from the fact that the Diocese of the Midwest has finally begun withholding their Central Church Administration assessment, but I also wait to see what the next 2-3 months bring. Will Archbishop +JOB pay future monthly assessments if only one and not all criteria are met, as he did last month, or will he follow both the letter and the spirit of the "Palatine Resolution" and withhold future monthly assessments until all criteria are met?
Mark C. Phinney
#13.3 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-08-23 03:05
I agree with your comment that "talk is cheap," and I, too, hope that +JOB will stand firm by the terms of the Palatine Resolution. However, I must observe that you are singling out the one Bishop and Diocese that HAS done something and placing even more responsibility on them than they have already had to disproportionately accept. What about the rest of us? We can't just stand back now and throw rocks at the DOM if they don't do MORE. It's our turn to shoulder some of the responsibility by organizing in our individual parishes and coming up with ways that we can peacefully but firmly demand change from Syosset. As you know, we will be attempting this at our own parish. God be with us--and with all OCA members and parishes willing to step up to the plate.
#13.3.1 Cathryn Tatusko on 2007-08-23 11:53
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