Tuesday, September 4. 2007
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Thank you, once again, Mark, for pointing out so clearly all the lies that are spewing forth from MH, and now his new Director of Communications.
Can MH really be so stupid as to think he can continue lying when there are so many that actually know he is lying? And the number is growing daily!
Let us hope that +Job does not fall into MH's trap and "edit" the report. If he does, he will destroy our trust in himself.
An OCA priest who is about ready to leave.
#1 Name withheld on 2007-09-04 10:51
I likewise thank you Mark & agree with the above comment. However, how does one get counted among those 70 senior priests?
#1.1 Another senior OCA priest on 2007-09-04 14:21
Dear "Fr. Another,"
Those who were to "get counted among those 70 senior priests," signed the letter back in February of 2006. (It was the second large group of clergy that same month to call for an investigation, coming a fortnight after the the clergy of Midwest submitted a letter at our annual Convocation.)
Here's the URL of the letter of the Seventy with the list of all who signed it:
Fr. Bartholomew Wojcik
St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian Mission Church
#1.1.1 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2007-09-06 14:53
What can we as christians need to do to get rid of all the oca crew , nothing with MH in control. How sick what MH has done to Fr. Bob , I think all of them are guilty together. He threw RSK under the bus and most of these people in power now were given jobs by RSK.
What is next , everything has been lies. Does this show now that RSK was involved but both metropolitans called all the shots. How can these priests do this to one of their own. Every lie have heard , I believe is true.
#1.2 Sandy on 2007-09-05 03:48
The Special Investigation Report is only PRELIMINARY. Why would anyone want to release such a report. The FINAL report is what must be developed. Look at what a mess referring to the Preliminary Report has caused for the OCA.
#1.3 Anonymous on 2007-09-06 11:28
I see a mess created by people who diverted church funds for personal use and abused their office in myriad ways.
I guess I don't see what mess is caused by the preliminary report -- can you clarify?
#1.3.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-09-06 15:05
Your article mentioned that Eastern PA asked that the stavropegial communities be audited. I hope they remember to include the monastery listed separately as "Under the Metropolitan's Omophorion."
Melanie Jula Sakoda
I don't know who wrote the letter,for Herman, Beginning of the Ecclesiasticl Year, should be read by Herman. This letter talks about the Family and the Church Family, however Herman has plundered our Church Family.
In his last sentence of the last paragraph he states:
Let us pray and work together in a spirit of selfless love,that this indeed may be "the acceptable year of the Lord."
I pray that the Metropolitan, steps down, and the CHURCH can really start THE HEALING PROCESS.
St. James--Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
I am really disappointed that you have never interviewed RSK.
Why is this?
(Editor's reply: He has never agreed to be interviewed. I have, on this site, and privately, offered to do so on several ocassions. He knows how to reach me, so when he is willing, I am able....)
#4 Suzanne Wilson on 2007-09-04 15:47
If a motion of "No Confidence" in Metropolitan Herman was presented at the Midwest's upcoming Diocesan Assembly at the beginning of October, I would vote for it.
I may even be the one to make that motion.
#5 Anonymous on 2007-09-04 16:19
A no confidence vote would resonate through out the The OCA like a 105 yard, opening kick-off return, at Soldiers Field. You would become the HERO of the year!
GO FOR IT!
St. James-- Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
This site has been a resounding vote of no confidence for the past 20 months!
He's blind as a bat and deaf as a doornail and less of a heart than the tin man!
At the FOCA convention last week, the man who has been going through "rigtheous suffering" didn't attend sessions and was never available to those who would have loved to ask him a few nagging questions.
What good, Herman, is being Metropolitan if you don't want to be with your flock? Oh, that's right! You can control the information, keep this under lock and key, and get to spend our money for your personal defense. Talk about a job with PERKS! Talk about a man with no soul.
Vote of no confidence? When he makes one of his now rare pastoral appearances, don't go! That's a vote of confidence that appears on his precious photos!
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-09-06 11:30
Wow - hitting him where it hurts...the photos...
I wish I had thought of that! Well...there is always a baba or two who would still show up, but it is a good idea!
How about no one show up for Memorial Day?
(oh wait, I think that's already happening...)
#22.214.171.124 Christine on 2007-09-08 19:08
Thank you, Mark,
For your continued commitment in trying to establish and let us know the truth. You continually fill us in on all the gaps of this important story.
+JOB has a very critical task in front of him: releasing the Special Comission's report.
It will take the releasing of the hard facts in this report to get the OCA where it needs to be on a higher moral and ethical plane.
#6 Patty Schellbach on 2007-09-04 17:22
It will also take +Job to be truthful to the Church and tell us exactly how long ago did he know about the financial shennanigans at St. Catherine's in Moscow and the existance of the damaging video that his former deacon, Fr. Wood created, BEFORE he said anything to the Holy Synod, or posed his infamous question, "are the allegations true or false".
Since everyone is out there screaming for people to resign, recuse themselves and tell the truth, how about asking this simple question?
Could this perhaps be a conflict of interest in having the Archbishop continue to serve on the Special Commission if and when it is reconvened?
Some may think this point is trivial, however, with all the intrigue involved in this horrible mess the Church finds Herself in, I don't think so. Especially when all anyone is asking for is transparency.
#6.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-09-05 07:48
Who's really guilty Herman or the lawyers for 500,000 for nothing ? RSK deserves an apology from the oca and a reimbursement. I don't think he's innocent alone but what a mess this is now. What kind of lawsuites can RSK go after them with now. His contract was for 3 years plus slander. OUCH !!!!
#7 Reese on 2007-09-04 18:17
Sue Proskauer Rose for restitution of the fees they've accepted. They were not retained by anyone with authority to retain them (Mt Herman did not have the actual or apparent authority); this is strikingly clear in the OCA's governing documents, and PR knew or should have known that.
Sue Proskauer Rose for restitution!
#7.1 Anonymous on 2007-09-05 07:56
Depressingly enough, the case might not go our way.
It would be possible for MH to claim that since the Orthodox Church is hierarchical, he has right to engage legal counsel even though statute outlines different process.
I'm not a lawyer, but we lost the Cathedral on 97th Street in NYC to the Living Church in the '20s because the Supreme Court recognized the hierarchical nature of the church as taking precedence over the will of the local community.
The only way not to become completely overwhelmed and depressed in the face of this mess is to take one step at a time -- right now the most important step is that +Job not compromise the findings of the Commission and that the preliminary report be issued in a manner that does not gut it [I'm not opposed to all editing, there might be reasons for some].
Pushing locally for witholding wherever possible is also a priority.
And the idea of a "no confidence" vote is also an important step.
Who knows, MH may yet be so completely out of touch that he believes his own spin that the only people who are upset about this is a small group of malcontents on the web.
#7.1.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-09-05 08:32
I believe that you are referring to Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 344 U.S. 94 (1952) – one of the two landmark cases involving the Orthodox Church that has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case Metropolitan Leonty tried to take possession of St. Nicholas Cathedral from Archbishop Benjamin. Archbishop Benjamin claimed the right to possession on the ground that he had been designated as archbishop of North America the Patriarch of Moscow. Metropolitan Leonty based his argument on a New York Statute that purported to grant administrative autonomy to the American Church.
The Kedroff case was not about local control, or the internal limits of hierarchical authority, or how hierarchical authority relates to a hierarch’s fiduciary obligations. Rather, it was which hierarch the government would recognize when two different hierarchs claimed possession of the same cathedral. The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution forbid the New York State Legislature from deciding the issue by proclaiming the American Church autonomous.
The opinion indicates that there was uncontested evidence “that the Russian Orthodox Church was, until the Russian Revolution, a hierarchical church with unquestioned paramount jurisdiction in the governing body in Russia over the American Metropolitanate. Nothing indicates that either the Sacred Synod or the succeeding Patriarchs relinquished that authority or recognized the autonomy of the American church.”
Under those facts, it is really hard to imagine the Court deciding the case any other way. How could the State of New York decide who the valid Metropolitan should be? Especially when there was uncontested evidence that the Russian Church had historically exercised "unquestioned paramount jurisdiction" over the American Church?
The case was a slam dunk.
The issue in Kedroff is very different from whether the Metropolitan may disregard the OCA Statute or his fiduciary obligations under New York law. He might claim "unquestioned paramount" authority -- but very few people would agree with that.
You can read the entire Kedroff decision here:
#126.96.36.199 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-09-06 03:47
I thought the case was far earlier than 1952.
>> He might claim "unquestioned paramount"
>> authority -- but very few people would agree
>> with that.
Looking back about a year and a half or so, you can find the former bishop of the west trying to lay the groundwork for the un-canonicity of the Statute. And there was lots of buzz about Statute reform being the priority for the next AAC. Clearly those with a vested interest in keeping the lid on this whole thing [remember at that point the RSK camp and the MH camp were not yet attacking each other but working together to supress everything] understood that there was a danger in the status quo if the MC or AAC began to assert themselves and demand that issues be addressed.
#188.8.131.52.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-09-06 15:03
I believe there were two seperate cases,one involving the Living Church in the 1920's,whose "Archbishop'"s last name was Kedrovsky,later he or his son shortened the family name to "Kedroff", no doubt to make things simpler for Americans.The second case would have been between the MP and the then-American Metropolia.The ruling bishop for the MP for North American from about 1931 to the mid-late 40's was Bishop Benjamin(Fedchenkoff),later given the title of Archbishop and,I think,Metropolitan, by the MP.Around 1945-47,a Bishop Makary of the then-Metropolia, joined the MP and later reposed in 1953, at a ripe old age,having been given the title of Metropolitan of the MP parishes of North America.I'm not sure about the exact dates,since I don't have the info. in front of me,but I'm sure there were two seperate cases,one between the Living Church and the Metropolia and the second between the MP and Metropolia.
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Old Ukrainian on 2007-09-09 11:44
Its true the case might not go "our way" ... but that's true with any litigation.
I have some experience with NY law as it pertains to religious organizations, and, yes, hierarchical institutions are treated differently than, e.g., congregational churches. But, this situation is substantively different from the one to which you refer. What we have here are the internal governance provisions of the OCA that clearly enumerate the powers delegated to the several authorities within the OCA (the Met, the Synod, Diocesan bishops, AAC, the MC, et al); and the power to retain counsel—viz, to "initiate ... all legal matters affecting the interest of the [OCA]" Statute of the OCA, Art. V(4)(l)—is expressly enumerated to the MC. It is not even implied in the Statue, I would contend, that the office of the Metropolitan enjoys such power or anything resembling it. As a corporation formed under NY law (specifically, by a special act of the NY legislature), the OCA is subject to the laws of the State, which, while they include deference to the hierarchical nature of the Orthodox tradition, also require applicable internal governance provisions to be followed by those entrusted with the administrative and governance matters concerning the OCA (qua OCA). It strikes me that no attorney could review the Statute of the OCA and reasonably conclude that she or he could be retained on behalf of the OCA by the Metropolitan acting in his capacity as such. (As an interesting sidebar, I also note the PR has not of late enjoyed the most perfect reputation with respect to its client relations (elsewhere on this site someone posted links to articles pertaining to suits against PR by former clients which suggest gross disregard for the client's best interests).)
As an aside—and although this may be somewhat esoteric it is nonetheless important—it should be remembered among those of us in the OCA that the OCA is an organization as such, a human institution, a corporation formed under and subject to the laws of the State of NY; it is not the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church: witness, that 50 years ago, there was the Church, yet there was no OCA. The OCA is only one of many organizations through which the Church operates in modern America. To the extent that any civil law is in opposition to the (capital-T) Tradition of the Church, that civil law becomes, for us, spiritually unlawful and to it we are not bound. But, to the extent that the civil law is not so contradictory, but instead is a law to which (even if inconsistent with or otherwise foreign to certain of our (lower-case-t) traditions) we have voluntarily subjected ourselves—by virtue of entering into a contract with the State by having agreed to operate under the form of a corporate entity known by the moniker “Orthodox Church in America”—to it we are, in fact, bound.
This latter type would include, I should think, the delegation (as a matter of internal governance) to an administrative body (such as the MC) rather than to a hierarch of the power to retain secular legal counsel, to "initiate ... all legal matters affecting the interest of the [OCA]," in a secular, capitalistic, litigious society. This would seem particularly so in a society such as ours which is now grounded, fundamentally, in a complex of labyrinthine common and statutory laws, administrative regulations and mandatory financial practices. Such laws, in the case of the OCA, would include the very civil act by which the OCA was formed and the correlative laws, therefore, under which the OCA's human agents are bound to adhere in carrying out certain non-canonical, extra-Traditional functions. Moreover, as a pragmatic matter, our bishops (to my knowledge, anyway) have no practical experience with these laws, regulations and mundane practices on which they might base a decision to retain counsel; and, perhaps, we do not want them to be so experienced or involved, lest they place in a secondary position their roles as spiritual shepherds rightly dividing the word of truth and overseeing the liturgical lives of their respective parishes.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2007-09-07 05:34
Amen and Amen.
Acts 6:1-6 (RSV)
Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#18.104.22.168.1 Marty Watt on 2007-09-07 09:17
Kondratick should thank his lucky stars he's currently not in jail.
The Church owes him NOTHING.
His actions and the evidence against him have condemmed him.
#7.2 Michael Geeza on 2007-09-05 11:20
I would be very curious about whether any parishes in the Diocese of Washington and NY/NJ have instituted witholding? It's a difficult thing for us. But increasingly I feel that it's necessary and as a parish council member want to press for it.
But is it practical given where we are? Is it putting our priest in an impossible situation if we push for it?
Any thoughts, comments, advice are much welcome.
[temporarily anonymous only because I don't want to cause difficulty for our priest or parish without fully considering all the ramifications first]
#8 Please withold this one time on 2007-09-04 19:42
How can money be withheld from Syosset when the priest and other parishoners refuse to acknowledge there is a problem. They are of the obedient group which follows blindly, without questioning. It's a sorry mess.
#8.1 Frustrated on 2007-09-05 10:47
Actually, my parish has considered it, and it failed by a pretty close vote of the entire parish, not the parish council. The problem, as you point out, is that it puts the parish priest in an untenable position with his Diocesean Bishop, in the case the Met. I know that it's easy to sit back and say, "Stand up, oh priest, for what is right! The Church and the Truth honor martyrs, so this is nothing compared with what the ancient martyrs have suffered."
But, ask a priest who's devoted his life and career to building-up a parish to simply put it all on the line to "send a message" to the Metropolitan? I personally have a lot of trouble with that. And, what would it accomplish, really? The Met could reassign the priest, browbeat the parish council, and essentially force the issue; funds transfer would resume, and a community would then have to decided whether to remain intact or to disperse. And the priest? Who knows - transfered for sure, possibly deposed.
No, I personally don't think it's fair to lay this on the parish priest's shoulders. We in the NY/DC diocese are essentially powerless to take that kind of action, without heaping improper punishment upon our local clergy, who are in most cases (if not all) righteous and hardworking and dedicated to building-up the Lord's house. What we CAN do, however, is to reduce our contributions to cover ONLY parish expenses; respond to NO APPEALS coming from Syosset; support NO OCA affiliated institutions of which the Met is nominally the head of. Send your contributions instead to the OCMC and IOCC. Don't attend events "led" by the Metropolitan; don't have to get nasty about it - just don't go! This message is getting through, and it can be made louder by more "participants" or non-participants, as the case may be.
#8.2 C.C. on 2007-09-06 13:45
CC, please ask your Parish Treasurer how he can morally sign the check to the Diocese, knowing that the Diocese sends the money to Syosset. Does he close his eyes? Say a prayer and hope? Wince and let out a yell? Perhaps he doesn't know what has occurred, but then again, only a few really do know what has occurred.
I just can't do it. I've had the pen out, but my brain wont let my hand sign that check. It seems funny, but I'm actually being serious.
MC time to do your job and manage the administration of the church. Get the Special Commission re-started and help end the suffering of the OCA faithful. Anybody willing to make up some pins to wear? Nothing gaudy, just a small pin, black & white, with a statement like "Where's the Special Commission?" I'm a donor, if anyone is up to the task.
#8.2.1 Ken Kozak on 2007-09-07 08:04
FYI - Note the following: Per the Diocese of Washington and New York Financial Report as of July 18, 2007 - the CAA assessments collected were $289,943.54. The CAA assessments due and forwarded to Syosset were $345,951.62. The difference of $56,008.08 came out of the Diocese of Washington and New York’s own budget by not funding budget items such as: eliminating the diocesan newspaper (budgeted $25,000 actual 0), Legal ($1000 actual 0), Evangelization (budgeted $10,000 actual 0 as of July 18), Theological Education Aid (budgeted $6,000 actual 0 as of July 18), and St. Andrew’s Camp (budgeted $5,000 actual 0 as of July 18). The total 2007 Budget for Departments is $90,500.00. As of July 18, $25,768.35 has been spent and the year is more than half over. To be fair, the Department of Youth was budgeted for $2000 and already $4,389.59 has been spent. This is a good thing. However, as to the overall shortfall, is this due to oversights, delinquent payments or quiet protest? Take your pick.
#8.3 Watching those figures!! on 2007-09-06 16:12
This is astounding! Tell us, who exactly authorized all those NONexpenses in order to be able to forward the additional $56,000 to Syosset? The Diocesan Council? A Diocesan Assembly? The Diocesan Treasurer? WASH/NY parishes should be charging the castle and begin withholding EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY under such conditions! Sheesh!
#8.3.1 One of MANY others watching figures on 2007-09-07 17:54
Is anyone surprised by the extra $56 grand going from Wash/NY to Syosset to help balance the books? Here's what Fr Kuchynda's church bulletin says the assessments go for: "As a member of the Diocese of Washington and New York, we are obligated to pay a monthly assessment for each member of our parish. These assessments fund activities for the Diocese such as support for college ministries, support for our seminaries, support for mission parishes, and various workshops."
#8.3.2 Who're you kiddin on 2007-09-07 18:05
Local government taxes property and without fail some properties don't get the taxes paid. The only way to manage shortfalls in taxes are to short budget line items. So which ones?
It would seem fairer if the Diocese reduced all budget line items by the amounts of the shortfalls pro rata. This way, a large budget item takes a proportionate share. This would imply, unless I'm mistaken, about half the assessment shortfall should have gone to New York.
On the flip side, any church with a surplus doesn't usually give any extra, so if this were the case, the best both the Diocese and central admin could hope for would only be a shortfall.
If this were the case, the budgets (both) should include lines for anticipated assessment shortfall based on the experienced prior year amounts. This P&L line would help manage for the likelihood and allow real zero base budgets.
Hopefully someone in a position of assured trust will see my note and recognize the importance.
It would be interesting to know what the assessment shortfalls to budgets were for the OCA and each of its Dioceses since 1998 and it may be a telling small portion of 1.7M dollars (or not).
Of course, politically, it would be unpopular to budget this line, but it is also very real.
My assessment of the assessment situation is that 50% of the Diocesan collection efforts should not have gone to New York unless it is just a timing issue, which is does not appear to be... and New York should have a line for anticipated shortfalls.
And a final point.. If they actually did budget this line, I wouldn't know because I can't find the OCA budget on OCA.ORG because it is so poorly available.
#22.214.171.124 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-09-08 07:07
"and he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him......As he spake these words, many believed on him.......Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;......And ye shall know the truith, and the truth shall make you free."
#9 Luke on 2007-09-04 20:59
Preparations for "THE WALK".
I am giving prayerful consideration in how to lead
a movement to "start anew" in Florida.
If there are others that would would like to write to me about this, please do.
My first consideration is that "THE WALK" ANEW group, would
not entangle themselves with any exisitng OCA marked properties. Th ebuildings, the vestments, etc.
This would avoid most legal issues.
From what I have seen and experienced, the things built for holy purposes have been desecrated.
All the more reason not be concerned about properties and material goods.
Second consideration and foremost:
The WALK ANEW group would be concerned first and foremost about charitable acts, the love of God and neighbors.
This would mean, any new structures built, or church articles or furnishings gathered, would need to be less then
10 per cent of what monies are gathered.
If the WALK ANEW Group, wants to carry an ikon and $1000 is to be given to the person writing it,
$10,000 is the community gift receiption.
The ikons then has a purpose of representation of an act of love for the charity given.
ALL ways and means of past extortion under the name of religion must be changed.
As Father Thomas Hopko remarked, we are dealing here with theology.
The misuse of funds has changed our creed.
THE WALK ANEW must show a turn around from the practices of idolatry.
I welcome hearing from others.
Matushka Carol Klipa Bacha
P.O. Box 381
Christmas, Florida 32709
Who would be the bishop? What priest would serve the liturgical services and where would you hold these services. I think you are way out with your ideas.
#10.1 A Floridian on 2007-09-05 07:57
The real issue is that the conduct in the OCA is such that it drives faithful people like Matushka Carol to consider such ideas. At least she is standing up and saying so ... how many are simply drifting away?
#10.1.1 Edmund Unneland on 2007-09-07 18:52
The OCA website has an archive of almost 70 of Metropolitan Herman's Official Statements, Speeches, Addresses, and Sermons. Truth has never been much of a theme in the Metropolitan's writings. Even the word "truth" appears infrequently, and almost never as part of the main point. What does that mean? I am not sure it means anything, and it is dangerous to read too much into what the man does not say. But it sure is different from the epistles in the New Testament where St. Paul warns the Romans of judgment for those who suppress the truth, urges the Corinthians to celebrate the feast in sincerity and truth, admonishes the Ephesians to speak the truth in love, and asks the Galatians rhetorically "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" I would like to hear Metropolitan Herman preach about truth as much as he preaches about harmony.
#11 Anonymous on 2007-09-05 02:54
Toward the end of this piece, Mark Stokoe writes:
' "I was just following orders" didn't work at Nuremburg, didn't work for Kondratick at his trial, and won't work for the new crowd
This is a misapplication of the Nuernberg principle, since Fr Robert Kondratick not only didn't offer any such excuse at his trial, he didn't get to say ANYTHING at his trial.
In fact, FrRK was expelled from the 'spiritual' court before proceedings began, and was illegally, unethically, and immorally tried in absentia by a biased panel convoked by evil men for the express purpose of condemning him.
All of this is crystal clear to all of us who bother to learn the facts of the situation rather than simply repeat the lies we've been told.
(Editor's note: Nice try, monk James. Time and time again over the past two years we have read RSK's supporters blame Metropolitan Theodosius, Metropolitan Herman, Fr. Kucynda, Fr. Oselinsky, Fr. Strikis, Protodeacon Wheeler, Paul Hunchak, everybody it seems BUT Kondratick for the finanical misdoings at Syosset. So whether he uttered the words at his trial, or his supporters have filled the ether with the lame excuse, makes no difference. As everyone who was present in any way in the administration of the OCA for the last 20 years knows, RSK gave all the orders. To claim otherwise is farce.
Farcical too, are your claims that the panel was biased. If you have evidence that the 8 members of the Special Commission were biased, present it. If you have have evidence that the 27 members of the Metropolitan Council were biased, present it. If you have evidence that the 9 members of the Synod were biased present it. If you have evidence the 5 judges were biased present it. Otherwise you are continuing to slander 48 Bishops, clerics and lay men and women and should be reprimanded for the same.
If you have evidence the panel acted unethically, as opposed to just making decisions you didn't like, then present it. If you have evidence they acted immorally, you are required to present it. That is why we have an Ethics Committee. Either present such evidence, or stop slandering people. You are entitled to your opinion that they may be all " evil"; but you are not entitled to slander people by saying they did things without being able to offer any evidence of the same besides your increasingly hysterical
What is "crystal clear" here is that you talk the talk, and most of it is ugly; but you cannot walk the walk, when it comes to evidence. Since your boy was convicted in a trial he chose to absent himself from, all you can do is attempt to smear others by casting aspersions on anybody. It is a typical Soviet trick: throw enough mud at the wall and some is bound to stick. Well, no thanks, monk James. We've had enough. Give evidence for your assertions, or give it a rest.
#12 Monk James on 2007-09-05 05:35
The clearest evidence for the bias of the court is that it heard evidence only from the prosecution (the same entity as the court).
Additionally, as Fr Paul Kucynda infamously said to several priests at the Chancery, Proskauer Rose's task was to 'build a firewall around the Metropolitan', and that's what they tried to do. $500k later, the OCA has NOTHING to show for that enterprise except Met. Herman's expensively elaborate exercise in CYA.
And because P-R's report was biased in this way, and since their Sarah Gold lied to the Met. Council in her oral version of the report (which the MetC apparently believed) and since the special commission's report was based on P-R's biased report (the commission did no investigating of their own), followed by the MetC's acceptance of that condensed version of the P-R report, which formed the basis for the MetC's recommendation to the Holy Synod that FrRK be tried with a view toward his deposition, HECK, YES, the court was biased!!
How blind must we be not to make sense of what we know? All this impugns the integrity of nobody but Met. Herman, P-R, FrPK, and Abp Nathaniel, who all conspired in this travesty of justice.
And, wearily, once again: Fr Robert Kondratick did not leave the court voluntarily. I was there and I saw it happen. I was part of it. Is that not sufficient proof? Is there contrary and credible testimony from other eyewitnesses?
Maybe it's the gullible people who so easily believed the worst about FrRK rather than MetH ought to 'give it a rest'. There's no justification for such an attitude, although I've noticed a gradually increasing awareness of MetH's selfish and manipulative pattern of lying to the Church in order to make himself look at least innocent or at least uninvolved. But the stench is too great, and the Church is getting closer to the source of the foulness.
(Editor's Reply: That the court only heard evidence from the prosecution does not make the court biased if the defense chooses not to participate according to the rules of the court.
These were the same rules, the same court structure that RSK oversaw and participated in for twenty years. Surely you are not saying that every case he participated in where no defense was offered was biased, immoral, uncanonical and invalid?
You are correct in that PR's report, and hence the Commission's Report, and hence the Council's decision, and hence the Court's verdict were all based on a biased report that focused all attention on RSK to the exclusion of any other participants. That does not invalidate the evidence they did produce, nor does it make RSK innocent. It simply means they were very good in building that "firewall"; which is why the Special Commission wishes to resume its work - and why the Metropolitan cannot allow them to do so. It is not reasonable to assume that any further evidence they discover will exonerate RSK; rather, it will indict those who participated or looked away from his misdeeds, beginning, one imagines, at the top. The evidence they presented against RSK does not impugn the integrity of Metropolitan Herman - it is the fact that he refuses to allow them to continue their investigation to examine all the evidence that impugns his integrity.
You say RSK did not leave the court voluntarily, and are an eyewitness. Others have said that is not the case, but not publicly. In that you are totally correct. I would encourage them to do so, so the OCA may judge. Until then, allow us to withhold judgment until we hear both sides.
Finally, you are totally correct in that the way this has been handled stinks to high heavens. The source of the stench is not unknown. Once again, I implore you to use your influence on RSK to speak out, and reveal not just self-serving justifications, but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I would be happy to publish the latter. But I doubt we will ever hear anything. And that is why your protestations are not credible.)
#12.1 Monk James on 2007-09-05 08:06
I can already hear the uncontrollable laughter coming from the FBI offices after reading your post.
Your boy had an opportunity to speak at the church court but CHOSE NOT TO BECAUSE HE DID NOT WANT TO ABIDE BY THE RULES OF THE COURT. THEREFORE, HE REFUSED TO COOPERATE AND DECIDED NOT TO PROCEED.
WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO HUMOR US BY SAYING HE WASN'T GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK. HE DECIDED NOT TO CONTINUE WITHIN THE PARAMETERS SET FORTH, AND BY DOING SO, GAVE UP HIS RIGHT TO BE HEARD.
Why would an "innocent" man do that?
Time and time again, he has been given opportunities but has been unable to provide one bit of information which would exonerate himself.
That in and of itself is telling and utterly amazing.
He could have come out okay from all of this over a year ago had he admitted to wrong doing, asked forgiveness and dealt with the issue. But no, his stubbornness and continuous denial that he's done anything wrong is what has brought him to such a low point. He has done this to himself Monk James.
It's time you face up to this already because many of us don't believe what you write.
#12.1.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-09-06 11:19
When I read your messges I continue to wonder who you are.
Are you attached to a monastery? Does your abbott approve your continued support of RK? Why are your so certain that your views are correct and the views of others who comment on OCANEWS are wrong? When I see your name with your comments, I just shake my head. I truly believe you should be with your monastic community praying for our church. Praying is your mission in this life . Stirring the pot to cause discontent is not what monks do. Reflect on the vows you took before submitting your comments.
#12.1.2 Name withheld by request on 2007-09-08 16:18
Truly amazing that the laos continues to let MH & Kucynda get away with this stuff. People must demand a CLEAN slate in Syosset. Who in their right mind believes RSK is "soley responsible?" Remember the original "Frankenstein" movie? Well, the laos needs to gather outside the Syosset mansion (when MH is there) with torches and pitch forks (as farmers do) and oust the current malfactors. Too bad the Syosset mansion doesn't have a wind mill!
#13 Anonymous on 2007-09-05 06:44
Replying here to Mark Stokoe's comments:
'(Editor's Reply: That the court only heard evidence from the prosecution does not make the court biased...'
Please recall that -- unlike the civilities and conventionalities assumed in civil law -- this 'spiritual' court and the prosecution ARE THE SAME ENTITY.
Now, if that's not the very definition of 'bias', there must be a new and very peculiar dictionary out there whose unique meanings are being applied by Mr Stokoe.
'... if the defense chooses not to participate according to the rules of the court.'
The defense did NOT choose 'not to participate according to the rules of the court.' All the defense did was ask that the trial not proceed until those rules were clarified, upheld, or rejected by the Holy Synod in accordance with the Statute. And in defiance of the Statute, Abp Nathaniel refused to refer the rules to the bishops.
The defense was unwilling to contravene the Statute, and so we were accused of 'contempt' (not an operative concept in such a venue) and expelled from the court before they proceeded illegally, unethically, and immorally to try Fr Robert Kondratick in absentia.
How much more clearly can I say this so the serious principles at stake here can be appreciated by all and FrRK not be blamed for the court's irregularities and absurdities -- including their odd and unreasonable requirement that no permanent record of the proceedings be made?
These were the same rules, the same court structure that RSK oversaw and participated in for twenty years. Surely you are not saying that every case he participated in where no defense was offered was biased, immoral, uncanonical and invalid?
Actually, that's not so. And what's even more important to note is that nearly all spiritual court cases involving the possible deposition of priests went uncontested by the priests in question, so there wasn't even an attempt at a defense.
'Once again, I implore you to use your influence on RSK to speak out, and reveal not just self-serving justifications, but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I would be happy to publish the latter. But I doubt we will ever hear anything. And that is why your protestations are not credible.)'
My protestations are thoroughly credible for two signal reasons.
First, I've always told the truth about these events to the very best of my knowledge and ability, and I am not known as a liar no matter who prejudicially chooses not to believe me.
Second, I've never said or written anything different from what Fr Robert Kondratick would tell you, since I make a point of confirming my impressions with him.
FrRK will not express himself directly here or in any other public venue which lacks the authority to vindicate him and bring justice to our long suffering OCA.
And why would he do so here, especially, since that would expose him to the same sort of castigation as I myself suffered from Mr Stokoe in his earlier comments?!
If Mr Stokoe doesn't believe me, why should it be thought that he'd believe FrRK saying the same things as I myself did?!
(Editor’s Reply: Monk James' replies are always interesting. It says a great deal that the monk James is only now criticizing the structure of the ecclesastical Court system that has operated for thirty years in the OCA - that is, since his patron became a “victim” of it. He is, as the saying goes, a day late and a dime short, in such criticisms. What makes his protestations so lacking in credibility, though, is if RSK really objected to the court’s structure - that is that the prosecution and judges are both on the same “team” - why has RSK now appealed his verdict to the very same “biased” court? What is the point of that?
As for RSK’s unwillingness to speak publicly, but to continue to use shills to take pot shots at the OCA, the thing speaks for itself. This website cannot “vindicate” him, that is true, but if he wishes to have his story told, in his own words, rather that relayed through intermediaries, there is no more read venue that this. My offer stands.)
#14 Monk James on 2007-09-05 17:16
His request was denide. That being the case, why didn't your boy just continue with the proceedings?
What good would have delaying the proceedings done to his defense? NOTHING!!!
The fact is, he had NO DEFENSE for his actions but rather grasped at the next best thing, delay tactics.
Gosh, let him accept responsibility and give it up already.
Your endless posts which address nothing but excuses really need to stop.
How about for once dwelling on the truthfulness of the allegations. You will rant and rave about procedures and that RSK wasn't given an opportunity to speak, but not once have you ever addressed the allegations.
Why is that? Isn't that what this is all about, whether the allegations are true or false?
Do you mean to tell us that 5 individuals of the spiritual court heard countless hours of testimony from numerous people and
came back with a guilty verdict and a recommendation to depose and you continue to find reasons why this should not have happened? Stop already.
Facts are facts Monk James and the facts have spoken loud and clear.
#14.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-09-07 13:03
I am blessed to know a couple of elderly monks in northern California. They spend their days in prayer and in work. What they do not do emit smoke and twirl mirrors on the internet. They seem to have more important things to do. But what do they know? They're just elderly monks.
#14.2 Scott Walker on 2007-09-10 19:03
What ever happened to the request of Dr. Skordinski regarding a contingency plan? Also, whatever happened to actually hiring a competent treasurer? It appears that both issues have been dropped.
And just a point on the treasurer issue. I believe it has been acknowledged by Syosset that they did not have the technical competencies to financially administer the OCA. They did not have a sufficient computer or software system. They tried to hire someone who later backed out of the position. There are numerous comments about the financial incompetence by the administration.
Despite all of this there just doesn't seem to be much of a push to oust Fr. Kucynda and hire a competent treasurer and there has been no public acknowledgement that a contingency plan needs to be developed. I believe I read that the OCA is using an outside CPA firm to help them. And what, exactly, do you think the billing rates for a Long Island CPA firm are? My guess would be around $75 to $100/hour at an absolute minimum. So no new treasurer, no contigency plan, loss of funds from the midwest, and they are paying most likely around $100/hr. for services that could be done for half of that. Good management if you are trying to drive an organization into bankruptcy.
Seriously Mark, if you would continue to highlight theses deficiencies I would appreciate it. In conversations with a number of friends the debates continue to center around the deposed Robert Kondratick and yet at this point he is frankly irrelevant. Like the Monk James posts above, I have yet to see him or many others comment on any of the issues I have just brought up.
The request of Dr. Skordinski I believe is of paramount importance. A contingency plan does need to be developed and this request from a member of the Metropolitan Council is fundamental to the administration of the OCA. If a person on the Metropolitan Council doesn't have the right to request certain information about the running of the organization what on earth is the point of them being involved in the first place? If the Metropolitan Council is irrelevant then say it and let the OCA membership know this. Then at least they will have the opportunity to either change it or vote with their feet. Frankly, if it was me I would have asked for Fr. Kucynda's resignation a long time ago.
Mark, thanks for everything. This web site is one of the only forums that seems to be making any sort of difference.
#15 Anon. on 2007-09-06 07:37
Your question with regard to the outdated computer software program is indeed a good one.
However, I personally think that particular question should have been directed to the former Chancellor years ago. Ask yourself this question.
If a new, less antiquated and updated system were made avaialable years ago, wouldn't ALL MONETARY transactions had t have been recorded?
Perhaps this wasn't done simply because someone didn't want certain financial information inputted anywhere?
Don't forget, we were dealing with a Chancellor at the time who had total control over every single aspect of the finances.
This problem should have been corrected many years ago. It wasn't for obvious reasons. We don't need to be rocket scientists to figure out why.
#15.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-09-07 07:13
One important note: the OCA Treasurer must be a member of the OCA, since he is a member of the Metropolitan Council. That narrows the talent pool considerably. It also is just a fact that relocating from, say Des Moines, to Long Island is a difficult financial choice to make.
The last news on the OCA web site indicated that they had five candidates for consideration by the MC at their October meeting.
#15.2 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-09-07 10:37
Perhaps this is not practical, but should it be required for a person, otherwise qualified, to have to physically relocate to Syosset? Could it be that we are looking at this the wrong way? (Not being dogmatic about it, just suggesting a possibility.)
#15.2.1 Edmund Unneland on 2007-09-07 18:46
No. The treasurer needs to be there. Every day.
#126.96.36.199 Michael Strelka on 2007-09-10 09:00
Unless the entire Chancery were relocated to someplace cheap to live, like, say, St. Tikhon's / South Canaan.
Martin D. Watt
#188.8.131.52.1 Marty Watt on 2007-09-10 14:17
I think the idea of Mr. Unneland to consider the possibility
of a Treasurer not located in Syosset is a consideration.
If the position is not filled as yet, perhaps the parameters and particulars of the job description need some tweaking.
Also included in the Treasurer (Office of the Treasurer) should be structure for added growth.
What is the Special Commisson saying, the Metropolitan Council recommending, the reviews from P. R?
How might an outside auditing team of professional independent
accountants, CPA's etc., be utiltized to facilitate a return of good order, and accountability for an improved non profit status?
Of course if there continues a corrupted core, all this thought of improved implementation is rather useless, eh?
The OCMC, Orthodox Christian Mission Center, located in
St. Augustine does not have its treasurer living in Florida.
What about the physical oversight of this Office of the Treasurer
rotate in some fashion through the various Bishops who have shown an ability for greater accountability?
For instance Mark Chestnut, the treasurer working with Bishop Nathaniel.
What would preclude advancing him, and having him supervise
In some monastic adminstrations these duties rotate?
How might a treasurer representative to work together from the Albanians or the Bulgarians, Romanians that are part of the OCA, with salaries being paid by these groups in part contribute to over all unity and growth of unity for a renewed OCA?
Monk James, even if the spiritual court wasn't interested in hearing RSK's side of the story, I think there are very many of us who are. I certainly am. If he knows where the money went, and why, and by whose authority, why will he not share that information with the rest of us? I understand why the Metropolitan wants to withhold that information. But why is RSK withholding it? Can he not present to the Church at large what he would have presented to the Spiritual Court had he been allowed to present his defense? Mark has already said he'd be willing ot publish it here. Why has RSK not responded to that offer?
I don't know RSK, or the Metropolitan, or anyone else in Syosset personally. I don't have any reason to support one person or side more than another. I just want to understand what happened, and why. If RSK would tell us that, I would be grateful.
#16 Josephine on 2007-09-06 09:49
I echo Josephine's eloquent and simple plea. If RSK truly cares about the Church, he will do as Josephine, and Mark, and most of us here ask. Tell us the truth. If he won't tell the truth here, it can only be because he is still concerned ONLY for his own self-interest; i.e., that he will put himself in legal jepardy by "spilling the beans" here.
RKS, be a man, and tell us the truth--without consulting lawyers; without Monk James at your side.
#16.1 John Montgomery on 2007-09-06 18:53
The OCA would do well to take the advice of such persons as Robert Wachter and Robert Klancko. Those are the people the OCA should have hired instead of P-R. The OCA is not in the 21st Century yet when it comes to getting our OCA house in order. No, we are in the Stone Age with people trying to figure out what the truth is in this matter.
Robert Klancko is absolutely right. This fiasco is absolutely frustrating for us faithful to witness. I guess RSK risks much by telling the truth. But if the Special Commission report gets released soon, I believe we may finally be on our way to a more sound 21st Century. The report will be painful to hear. But it will also give us the hope of not repeating that pain.
#17 Patty Schellbach on 2007-09-06 19:45
Keep in mind Patty, the same people that released the Washington Post interview, prepared the information for the Proskauer-Rose/Special Investigative Report! Forget about conspiracy theories this is a blatant CYA move on Herman and Kucynda's part!
#17.1 Peter Pappas on 2007-09-07 06:53
Thanks Peter, for your comments,
I was also talking about the special commission/investigative report (perhaps those are not the right name) that our Metropolitan Council is supposed to be doing, as well. I am not sure why this process stalled. I have great concern over a process that should be taking place "unobstructed" and "unhindered."
#17.1.1 Patty Schellbach on 2007-09-08 18:15
While I am a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese, I attend weekday services at an OCA parish near my office, for reasons of rush hour traffic. Even though this parish is under Archbishop Job, after months of reading this website, you can be sure that I designated the several donations I've made to this OCA parish.
Even though the Midwest Diocese is now withholding, I don't want the chance of a penny going to Syosset.
#18 Michele Hagerman on 2007-09-06 21:04
Dear Mr. Stokoe:
There is an incredible cognitive dissonance between your news item “New Year, New Lies”, and your emendations to the comments posted by Monk James. In your reaction to Fr Andrew Jarmus’ statement on the OCA web-site, you declare that Syossett’s statement contains deliberate lies. In the comments you inserted into James’ posting, you declare that the Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan council, the Special Commission, and the Spiritual Court were unbiased arbiters of the evidence against RSK.
So, which is it? Are the folks in Syossett liars or honest judges?
The fact is that the above named are indeed biased, because they have a vested interest in promoting the “one man is solely responsible” theory. This theory diverts attention away from their culpability in the financial misconduct of the church’s affairs. Let’s review a little history documented on this very web-site.
The Synod of Bishops ignored Pdn. Eric Wheeler’s detailed allegations. They acquiesced to his firing. They ignored the warnings of their own auditors, among others. The members of the Metropolitan Council failed to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility of oversight over the course of many years, allowing this debacle to occur. The members of the special commission are drawn from the above named bodies. The members of the spiritual court were under direct obedience to Metropolitan Herman. Those judges were, and are, dependent on the Metropolitan’s good will for their careers, income and pensions. Are these folks biased in regards to the trial of RSK ? Of course, they are. One would have to be incredibly naďve to think otherwise.
As regards the “fairness” of the RSK trial, you declare that RSK does not ‘deserve‘ an open trial on the record; because he participated in unpublished spiritual courts in the past. Your position fails to account for the unprecedented nature of his spiritual court trial. Typically, spiritual courts deal in family issues involving members of the clergy. Such trials deal with uncontested issues, where the facts of the case have already been established in a civil court (i.e. divorce or re-marriage).
This court attempted to try allegations of criminal misconduct, allegations involving both Federal and State felony offenses. It tried these allegations before a civil court heard the evidence, before an indictment was issued, before the civil authorities had even completed their investigation. This court trial involved issues that affect not just one family or parish; but the entire OCA, indeed the entire Orthodox community in America. Regardless of the former chancellor’s rights, the CHURCH deserved an open trial on the record !
As regards “evidence”, we need to maintain the difference between evidence and hearsay. The PR report is indeed evidence. The various comments about the PR report (The evidence is astounding, incontrovertible, etc) constitute mere hearsay, regardless of the stature of those making said comments. Evidence is admissible in a court of law. Hearsay is not. A reasonable, fair minded person ought to use the same standards in the court of public opinion, as apply in a court of law, don’t you agree? The actual evidence remains secreted away in Syosett. Every one who has seen the evidence has been sworn to secrecy, and threatened with retaliation for disclosure (witness Mr Nescott’s fate). This begs the question: What are the folks in Syossett so terrified of? Why do they refuse to simply tell the truth? The obvious inference is that the evidence points to others besides RSK.
As regards RSK’s silence. The obvious inference is that he has been instructed to remain silent, by his own attorney, or others. It is not without the realm of possibility that he is cooperating with the FBI investigation, and that he remains silent at their request. One of the pseudonymous posters on the Yahoo Orthodox Forum has stated as much. It is generally assumed that said poster is an associate or close relative of RSK. In any case, RSK’s silence may simply indicate, that he is preparing to testify in a court of law.
Does this mean, I think RSK is innocent? No, it means I don’t know, and neither do you. We have not seen the evidence, and if the leaders of the OCA get their way, we never will. Without evidence, it is unreasonable and unfair to call a man guilty. If the judgment against RSK is to stand, then the evidence against him MUST be released and tried in an open court that operates according to accepted and verifiable procedures.
It is not just RSK on trial. In very real way, the OCA is also on trial. The OCA’s autocephaly has never been universally accepted in the Orthodox world. The fact that the Bishops and leaders of the OCA act like the gang that can’t shoot strait, makes it far more likely that the worldwide Orthodox community will dismiss the OCA as a failed experiment. On a more practical level, as a layman, RSK is now free to file suit against the OCA, its hierarchy and its administration. The recent statement posted on the OCA website is indeed slanderous, unless it can be substantiated with actual evidence in a court of law.
In the past, the prime supporter of the OCA’s legitimacy has been the Moscow Patriarchate. It now seems likely that MP will abandon the OCA. Indeed, the recent reunion of the MP and ROCOR occurred without the OCA’s participation. The MP has very specifically violated its agreement to not establish rival parishes or dioceses on the territory of the OCA. Can a complete renunciation of the Tomos be far behind?
The failures of the OCA’s leadership would be laughable, if these failures were not so destructive. This is all so sad – the squandering of our legacy as Orthodox Christians here in America. This church is our legacy passed on to us by St Herman, St Innocent, St Tikhon, Metropolitan Leonty, Frs Florovsky, Schemmann and Meyendorff. For me personally, it is the legacy of the Belarussian babas, who taught me everything worth knowing about an Orthodox Christian life. To see the church on the precipice of ruin is too painful for words.
Thank you, Mr. Stokoe, for the opportunity to speak out.
A blessed Feast Day to you all.
#19 Francis Frost on 2007-09-08 11:44
Francis, a very cogent, passionate and fair statement. I, too, found the same "cognative dissonance," though I'm not sure that there's an equality between what we experience as spin from the administration and what we experience as lack of focus and will on the part of the other bodies, esp. the Synod, are quite equal and worthy of the same condemnation. I would anticipate a sttement of clarification from Mark.
I do hope your predictions vis a vis the MP?ROCOR & the OCA are untrue, but they ring possible.
Rdr. T. John
#19.1 Rdr. T. John on 2007-09-10 00:40
--- Francis Frost wrote:
>The MP has very specifically violated its agreement to not
>establish rival parishes or dioceses on the territory of the >OCA.
True. And something important to keep in mind: Under the agreement that led to the Tomos of Autocephaly, the MP
agreed that its bishop would not bear the title of any American city. Yet the ROCOR bishops have been allowed to retain the titles to sees which belong to the OCA even though - on paper at least - the MP recognizes the OCA as the legitimate Autocephalous American Church.
That says a lot.
With love of Christ's Holy Orthodox Church,
"Can a complete renunciation of the Tomos be far behind?"
Once it has been granted, I don't see how it could be rescinded. That aside, only the EP and the Jerusalem Patriarchate, among all autocephalous churches, have not recognized the OCA.
But one need only look at the worldwide tour of the Sretensky Monastery Choir, along with a delegation from the MP, to see where relations with Moscow are headed.
#19.3 Michael Strelka on 2007-09-10 11:31
Does it really matter?
My first instinct when all of these issues started getting talked about with the opening of dialogue between the MP and ROCOR was that it did matter -- the OCA's status has to be preserved and recognized. But now I'm not so sure.
Perhaps my instinct to feel like it matters is just a by product of a lot of the distorted priorities of the OCA over the past 20 years or so. How many issues of TOC lead off with pictures of OCA delegations to this or that? Maybe even those of us who consciously reject those things as priorities have been unconsciously influenced to think that they matter.
Rescinding the tomos is a practical non-starter. Remember that the Metropolia had functioned autonomously for decades before autocephaly and the formal granting of autocephaly was more a matter of regularizing the relationship with the MP and acknowledging the reality of our long-standing independence rather than initiating our independence.
So we go on as what we are ... a small missionary church in America, without active ties to any foreign "mother church." It's only if we've become accustomed to the delusions of grandeur of the RSK, Theodosius and Herman administrations that we'd have any reason to think that we're anything else.
And, personally, I'd much rather be what we really are than that distorted Potemkin village version of the OCA.
#19.3.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-09-10 13:24
Of course it matters !
A 'small missionary church', unaligned with and unreconized by the ancient Patriachates would no longer be an Eastern Orthodox church; but an independent denomination.
The OCA is, I hope still part of the Orthodox family; but the OCA could lose its place at the family table.
The mutual commemoration of the heirarchs in the Dyptichs is a big thing. It is the sign of our participation in a larger community of Orthodox believers.
We recently witnessed the re-establishment of communion between the ROCOR and the MP. You could feel the almost palpable sighs of relief that a painful separation had been healed. Now, imagine that in reverse; but worse.
Perhaps, you don't remember the time when clergy of the GOA were forbidden to concelebrate with OCA clergy. Imagine, if the OCA clergy were forbidden to concelebrate with any of their fellow priests. Or, if our seminarians could not attend or visit seminaries in other jurisdictions. Or, our children attend summer camps together.
Loss of recognition could mean that sacraments performed in OCA parishes would be viewed as " invalid " by the rest of the Orthodox.
This consequences of the current crisis are serious, indeed.
Would that the Bishops might take the situation seriously to heart before it is too late!
#184.108.40.206 Francis Frost on 2007-09-10 20:01
Well, certainly the things you outline in your post as the possible result of a breach with the MP matter, but I'm very far from convinced that those consequences actually flow from what might realistically happen.
Worst case scenario, the MP unilaterally withdraws the tomos and asserts authority over the OCA. The OCA doesn't recognize that action. Then all the consequences you outline would follow IF the other Orthodox Churches fell in line behind the MP. Looking at the way the rivalry between the MP and the EP has played out in place after place, is such support of the MP asserting authority in America likely? Even though it would be logically consistent with the way the EP has viewed the tomos in the past, still it's inconsistent with the overall political interests of the EP in asserting its own primacy in barbarian lands.
And on the local level, the OCA was a founding member of SCOBA long before the tomos at a time when the MP and OCA were estranged and the then Metropolia was a sort of free-floating autonomous body. But in spite of the lack of clarity of our status at that time, the consequences you outline above weren't really in play.
I don't advocate going out of our way to offend Moscow, but I also don't think that our canonical standing is totally dependent on us putting on exagerated airs and acting as a larger, richer organization than we are.
#220.127.116.11.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-09-11 16:02
Michael, who cares about a renunciation by the MP. We are in the USA. Can any one show me in the BIBLE that the MP's blessing is needed for us to survive and grow. He is part of our problem with the mess we now find ourselves in.
St. James-- Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Are you saying that splitting from the MP was a bad idea? I am sure that the forefathers did not have a multi-million dollar scandal in mind when they were considering whether the OC in American could flourish and manage itself.
Hindsight being 20/20 vision, the answer is not. It is apparent that thier was and is still very little financial control in the OCA.
There are new stories emerging every day about mismanagement and financial improprieties in Syosett as well as St. Tikons.
I believe that Faith tipped her hat around the PR report and let loose some numbers that represent the magnitude of scale of this scandal.
In the end whether its the flock who demands the resignation of the management team, or the IRS who finally wakes up and converges upon Syosett and St. Tikons and demands accountability, either would be better then the certain death the OCA is facing today.
Todays article about the 9/11 money is case and point. Theres still lies and deception going on on every level. The laypeople are suffering, the parishes and dioceses and the clergy are too. How much longer will anyone wait before a class action lawsuit is filed for full disclosure and full accountability.
They are painting a clever ruse with the scripture quotes and empty excuses. They are also painting the OCA into a sealed vault 6 feet below the ground.
If not now, when? If not you, who? Isn't it time to demand a change?
#18.104.22.168 Robert Holowach on 2007-09-11 16:48
The Churches that recognize OCA autocephaly are: Moscow, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, and the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
Yep. That's all of them.
#19.3.3 Anonymous on 2007-09-11 19:40
Re: "Indeed, the recent reunion of the MP and ROCOR occurred without the OCA’s participation. The MP has very specifically violated its agreement to not establish rival parishes or dioceses on the territory of the OCA. Can a complete renunciation of the Tomos be far behind?"
No. The Russian Orthodox Church will apply the Tomos of Autocephaly to a new OCA, something along the lines of the "Russian Orthodox Church in America" or ROCA. It will be made up of the mission parishes of the ROCOR (all English services - I've been to three of them.) and any OCA parishes that seek refuge after fleeing the burning house of the OCA. Oh, and add the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska to the rolls too. Didn't anyone else catch that small news item from the Interfax (Russian News Service) a few months back about how the MP is in the process of encouraging those generous Russian billionaire donors to help fund the "missions" in the United States of America?
#19.4 Anonymous on 2007-09-11 18:29
That was most eloquent, Francis!
Thank you for your perspective and wisdom.
I hope the FBI is on this case and I hope RSK will soon testify in a court of law.
#20 Patty Schellbach on 2007-09-09 18:21
I had a dream one night. I dreamt that I was in my grandmother's (now deceased 12 yrs.) house, a humble little home, adorned with many Russian Orthodox Icons, and other religious items of the orthodox church. I seen many of the elder women of my parish (also all deceased) in her living room, they were all crying, and I could only wonder why? I looked out the window at the back of the house, and seen what I thaught was a black bear attacking my grandpa (also deceased 16 yrs.) who was once a very devoted family man, lay church reader in the Russian Orothodox Church for over 50 yrs., he was laying on the ground and what looked like a black bear mauling him turned out to be Bishop Nicholai beating him with his arch ? pastoral staff, and all my grandpa did was lay there and take his beating with this staff by bishop Nicholai, and the elder women, my grandmother, my great aunts, and great aunt I barely remember from my childhood, but I do remember her, and other highly respected elder women from my village, all honorable, all humble in the presence of GOD, and devoted to service to GOD, family, community and all in our parish, and even those few in our village who were not of the Russian Orthodox faith. We learned alot from them, they passed on alot to us, and many of what was taught to them was passsed on to the newer generations born into the Russian Orthodox Church, and oh the faithful they were. I was so puzzled by this dream, why did it depict the bishop beating my grandfather who was so devoted to GOD & GOD's work. I was fearful & affraid, til I was talking to an older relative, and it came to me then that the "OLD" mother Church was being beaten out of us by a tyrant in a bishops robe. We are now being told that all we had been taught is wrong, and we are in dire need of salvation from these perverted teaching of the "old" church. Now this all sounds so familiar to me, seems the name lucifer comes to mind, who had a better idea than GOD about how the heavens should be? who had a better plan than ALMIGHTY GOD? he that was so much imaginative than GOD. Well, does the story go on to say that lucifer was cast from heaven with his followers? I seem to recall that was the case. Why should it not be the case now? Scandal, Alcohol abuse amidst our clergy, milliions of dollars turns up missing, we the faithful who have been Russian Orthodox all our lives, myself for 42 yrs, does my forty-two yrs. exceed the existance of the O.C.A.? They came along with a better idea than what has been in place for over 2000 yrs.? Who died and made them better than GOD, and better than us the faithful? I was told by a priest that the churches were for sinners, not clergy. I am a sinner, and because of deep resentments against this bishop nicholai, and others like him, I sin more by going to church than NOT going. I remember when i was a child an elder close to me told me that "there will come a day when bo-shingka is only in the heart". The wolves in sheeps clothing is everywhere & the den of theives is back. The defenders of Orthodoxy is not the church, it is it people. The church is but a gathering place consecrated by GOD through the hands of his bishops, maitained by HIS priests, supported by HIS children. The church in my village was re-built in 1946 with the humble donations of ALL the poeple of the parish in my village, NOT THE O.C.A. Seem to recall the what we now know as the O.C.A. came into being in the early 70's? note the difference in years between the two. There it is again, why is it something that was in place for 2000+ yrs. and these O.C.A.'s seemed to think they had a better idea than the first Ecumenical Council? Sounds like that "lucifer" thing again. How many examples of that will we find if we the faithful continue to let these atrocities against our Mother church to continue? If I am correct too about the start of the "O.C.A.", I pre-date them by 6-8 yrs. along with over 50% of the people from my parish in my village.
I heard the story of the building of the church in my village by one of the deceased elder women from that dream I spoke of earlier, she was an avid historian of my village, my family & our church & my parish. She had alot of pride & joy that her father, uncles & older relatives of her family were a part of something great that was prepared for me and others like me before long before our birth. There was no O.C.A. in 1946 or 1965. I breaks my heart that our mother is being so torn apart, her icons & other religious artifacts being sold on e-bay to the highest bidder, and none of that money going to the restoration of some of our older churhes in our parishs through out Alaska. The "artifacts" on e-bay were accidently found by one of my cousin in-laws who uses e-bay on occasion, and the contact name was a residing bishop of the O.C.A. and the items were ornate gospel covers, (all antique quality) icons, ornate chalices, candle holders, icons galore, all things of veneration, adoration & commemoration priceless to us the faithful going to the highest bidder as common art work and items of status, sure money maker items to this residing O.C.A. bishop.
This is the one thing that happens today too that is new, & an O.C.A. thing, paying to attend Pilgrimage to Spruce Island to commemorate the cananization of St. Herman of Alaska. A fee? for what? and whom? Back in the days of my childhood, we never paid a fee to go to Monk's lagoon, money was donated to the boats & skiff operators that took us there for this event to honor the life of St. Herman of Alaska, and the birthplace of Orthodoxy in the "new land". Where does that money go, and for what? The restoration of Monk's Lagoons chapels & the church is all done by donations from Ouzinkie faithful, who don't do it for recognition, pomp or a pat on the back, they do it because it is what they have always done. Along with those parishes around the Kodiak area. 4 years ago at the pilgrimage they (O.C.A.) even attempted to put a price tag on the holy water from the spring at Monk's Lagoon, for what & whom? That the acts of a den of theives?
GOD does not destroy HIS temple, who or what has in this case is very apparent. Satan is hard at work to tear us apart and tragically he is winning.
The humble beginnings of the O.C.A. has turned to madness.
In my life time of 42 yrs. so many have left the mother church we have been raised in ALL our lives, I pray for them that they come home again. I understand only now 17 yrs. after his death that my grandpa said he was "going home". I hope & pray that I don't have to die to go home now. Prepation for where I get to spend enternity is now, not later. Traditionally that place was always the church our hearts, our homes, and hopefully in mind too. My mind is not a pleasant place for this madness, I don't go to church to hear madness, lies or deception. I go to church to pray and congregate with the rest of the faithful. I go to church now & the numbers of the faithful have dwindled to maybe a dozen or so in the larger parishes like Anchorge at St. Innocents cathedral, and Holy Resurrection in Kodiak. WHY? When my younger cousins ask me why things are going on like this in our church, all I can say is "I don't know" and then they ask what can we do? I tell them "GOD cleanse me a sinner, O GOD cleanse me a sinner & have mercy on me, oh LORD wash away our sins, HOLY ONE visit and heal us, LORD have mercy, LORD have mercy, LORD have mercy, and if that don't work, do it again til you feel better about how things are, and if it still feels painful, do it more & pray for others."
I confess my sins, GOD knows all the ones I have missed, or have not confessed, and HE know them even before I have committed them, and HE knows that of ALL HIS children, be they a common sinner like me, a rich benefactor, common lay reader like my grandfathers & grandmothers before me, the clergy, the heirarchy, the synod of bishops, HE knows ALL our sins. "that with one mind we may confess" has that no meaning anymore? I hope & pray for all our sakes and salvation that the answer will be "yes". GOD help us, save us & have mercy on us.
#21 anonymous for now. on 2007-09-20 00:26
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