Monday, October 1. 2007
Your comments, thoughts, reflections on Fr. Reeves' statement are welcome. Welcome too are comments about Fr. Berzonsky's Report offered today to the Midwest Diocesan Assembly meeting in Cleveland.
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This description of a paralel Junta operating (and calling the tune) alongside the designated official group would make Vladimir Illych Ulyanov proud.
The Communist Party would have it's committee on Agriculture, for example, that would be the real authority over the Soviet Government's Department of Agriculture. Consequently any apparant "government" agency would be steered by the Party. This would allow the
show to be made of a separation of Government and The Party.
Clearly, the lines were blurred and 'the government' was in name only -- I just love to work that phrase in.
#1 J. Murray on 2007-10-01 07:56
It would seem that my belief all along was correct. The Special Commission was but a sham, a plan by MH to have Abp. Job et. al. do the work of rubber-stamping a report that was designed to place all the blame on RSK while protecting MT and MH. It was all part of Herman's plan.
Any further work by a reconstituted "committee" will be nothing but a further sham.
#2 Name withheld on 2007-10-01 08:56
It really a shame that Proskaur Rose was paid so much to do exactly what Herman could have done without them. The outcome of this was predetermined. Many innocents could have been save from this horrific ordeal. There is NOWHERE to go with half truths and lies.
The guilt lies with those who have created this pretending to be nobel in their efforts, but really creating the outcome that they have spun.
It's a shame that the cost of PR and all of the accountants that have been staging this will never be known. Herman and Kucynda will proceed with the script that they had written a long time ago. The OCA is bankrupt of any moral leadership. The "newcomers" are just puppets of the old puppeteer.
#3 Margo P on 2007-10-01 11:10
Sue Proskauer Rose.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-01 21:27
Thank you for your thankless service Father, and for trying, to the best of your ability, to shine light on the darkness that envelopes the OCA.
I share your frustration and conclusion with respect to the judgment of history (and God). At least you have set the record straight--would that others would do so as well!
#4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-10-01 11:43
Thank you for your letter. I had wondered whether or not the resignation of the majority of the Special Commission was in the best interest of the Church. It is clear from your comments that those who resigned did the only honorable thing.
What angers me most in this squalid affair is how the Metropolitan and the Bishops who support him have compromised the witness of our clergy as they are torn between loyalty to their bishops and fidelity to the truth. You have chosen the latter and I thank you for it.
#5 David Paynter on 2007-10-01 12:13
Having just watched a safety video of the horrific burning of the Piper Alpha Oil Rig in the North Sea, I could not stop relating the situation to our OCA. In the Piper accident, numerous errors occurred, including worker complacancy and failure to audit and correct deficiencies. The result was the death of 165 of the 225 workers. There was also a huge economic loss with the shutdown of several offshore rigs. A very painful event, but what followed was a FULL UNOBSTRUCTED INVESTIGATION. It was from the FULL INVESTIGATION that lessons were learned on 1) how not to make the same mistakes; 2) how to improve monitoring of the rig operating conditions, 3) what additional safeguards are required to operate and prevent such a catastrophe and 4) additioanl emergency management measures in the event of a future catastophe.
It appears that OUR OCA is just jumping to items 2 & 3, changing personnel and implementing "Best Practices" and new financial software to make improvements. As many have pointed out, those are just bandaids. It is like starting to weld new higher strength beams onto the failed oil rig, without verifying that the rig structure (foundation) that lies beneath the ocean is sound. Without a full investigation, we don't really know the true problems, and thus have no idea how to really correct the problems. We're just throwing more money at problems and hoping they will go away. Sorry, it doesn't work that way in the real world. (Yes, the church does have to operate in this fallen, but real world).
In the Piper Alpha catastrophe, the investigation was conducted by the government and industry; not neccessarily Christian organizations. But they would not rebuild until the independent investigation was complete and a full understanding of the deficiencies were evaluated. How much more important is it to us Christians, followers of our Lord, to get it right. The government owed the investigation to the dead workers, families and to their citizens. Do we not owe a full investigation of our failing church to Our Lord himself? (Don't get me wrong, The Church will prevail, but our jurisdiciton certainly may not.)
#6 Ken Kozak on 2007-10-01 12:44
I read Father Vladimir's letter. My thoughts are you have enough people gathered in Cleveland right now, DO IT!!!
Restructure, take a stand against inquity, and be the leaders you are called to be.
THINK - Prophet Jeremiah. Father Thomas Hopko said it through the 1990's.
Father John Meyendorff was called to action to attend to these inquities before the Miami AAC in the early 1990's. He died right before the council.
How many of you fathers knowing what you know can
hold out for more time?
Matushka Carol Klipa Bacha
Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ,
My Greatest Concern at this point is to Keep prayers towards Archbishop Job so he may be lead on the straight and narrow path.
The wolves are certainly great for him and are trying each day to deter him from the Truth! I remember quite often in my prayer life Mother Teresa stating so many times that It is with great love that God calls all of us to be Faithful, and Truthful.
All of the rest of our gifts will fall into place, but always remember the greatest is to Be Faithful!!!
This Whole Entire Mess to Me is The Calling of the Truth! Why So Many Just seem to hide behind Christs clothes, vestments and hats, along with their sermons is behond my comprehension.
This is a great shame! This is the Greatest Shame Of All!
For so many years I have heard wonderful and awesome touching sermons from great leaders, all across the country, from Ohio, to California, New York and the South, but I just can't seem to get a grip on this silence....
You all know the truth, and now that the Church In America Needs you the most you deny her. Why! For the fear, the fear of what another human being, a man who is made to be a leader in falsehood and surrounds himself with people who are of the same mind frame and they all can control you.
Are they attached to your feet, do they control your tongue? will they be there for you when Christ asks the Ultimate Questions to you, I think not! What Have You Done To Be Faithful For Christ and the World?
Have you Been A Minister to Your Children? Have You Helped Your Brothers and Sisters Who Are Faithful and in Dire Need Of Loving, and Bringing the Church into Truth!!!!! Let me be truthful.
I can deal with the truth of there being a hidden cultural agenda involved with this mess, hiding the truth of people being gay and having lavish liftstyles, outings ect, but to hide it in the Church behind Christ... he sees all. Who are you kidding? Only yourselves... The Greatest shame is not loving another human being, the Greatest Shame is how you each hide behind sheeps clothing and use the church to hide your faults, failures, and secrets.
That's the Greatest Shame of All!!! God will not Bless this Church if you keep your games in place and continue to hide, and not bring the truth out into the open.
You are only fooling yourselves... This my Brothers and Sisters is the Greatest Shame..... Denial..
I for one will be the first to Say I Forgive You.... But you Must Act and repent... The Church is Suffering... Don't be a part of this great Shame....
#7 Irene on 2007-10-01 14:48
I sympathize with Archbishop Job's predicament. However, I am also reminded of Thomas Paine's writings on the American and the French Revolutions. He observed that although a tyrant would have you believe otherwise, when tyranny is overthrown it is the tyrant that suffers and not the people.
Despite his title and raiment, Metropolitan Herman is still a man and he deserves our understanding. Nevertheless, his intransigence continues to harm the Church, even though he probably believes that he is helping the Church. It is time to step aside.
#7.1 Jim Fisher on 2007-10-03 11:45
What "understanding" from us does Metropolitan HERMAN deserve? Did you mean something else, like compassion, mercy or forgiveness? Did you mean pity or sympathy?
What I do "understand" is that the sin of at least this one man has bolstered a great deal of rebellion in many others.
That much I understand.
Rdr. Alexander Langley
#7.1.1 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-04 13:49
I understand that earthly power was the third and final temptation faced down by Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry. It was Satan's trump card and for good reason. Power is very enticing and addictive, and two thousand years later we admire a Genghis Khan more than a depressed Albanian nun working in the slums of Calcutta.
If someone treated you like the Patriarch of the Western Hemishpere, you would probably like that person. Whether you would overlook his squandering of the Church's treasury is another thing, assuming that you really understood what was going on. Regardless of whether you knew or not, you would be embarrassed and defensive. Your earthly power would be dribbling away and you wouldn't like that at all. It's only human.
I sort of understand what's going on, but I don't feel any pity or sympathy for the Metropolitan. Moral leadership, not powerful leaders, is what the Church needs.
#126.96.36.199 Jim Fisher on 2007-10-04 19:00
Compassion, mercy, forgiveness? Yes, especially if and when he publicly repents and attempts to make some sort of restitution for all the damage he has done.
Pity and sympathy? No, save that for his numerous victims.
As for "the sin of at least one man" bolstering rebellion in others-- well, rubbish! I suppose we should be grateful that at least you didn't use the God/Satan analogy. Authority does not trump righteousness!
#188.8.131.52 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-10-05 05:54
Dear Fr. John,
I, too, thank you for your service to the Church and for your working on the special commission. I am, however, still puzzled by a few things:
(1) What, exactly, is the hold up to getting Proskaur Rose to understand that they had a duty to you, the Metropolitan Council, the client? Was there ever a meeting with the managing partner of the firm to get this straightened out? Clearly if Proskaur Rose thought that they were only working for Metropolitan Herman then it's no wonder they weren't exactly helpful.
(2) In my professional work I have worked with clients and law firms on extremely serious and potentially large lawsuits resulting from the disclusre of information. In all of those cases, I sat down with the lawyers involved and no one left the conference room until there was and agreement about what could be discussed and what couldn't. In your reflection you alluded to others calling or trying to influence the spin. Did you ever sit down with Proskaur Rose and have this type of meeting? Or for that matter did you ever actually sit down with counsel from Proskaur Rose?
(3) Who was actually heading the investigation?
Thanks very much.
#8 Anon. on 2007-10-01 16:51
Great suggestion re:(1)! Yes! The MC must request a meeting with the lead attorneys at PR and show them the OCA statutes that clearly and specifically designate that the MC is the one to whom PR owes a fiduciary and legal duty to, NOT the Met. Herman. This should be done ASAP! It should have been done before, but it's becoming more critical by the minute. Do not leave that room until PR releases their findings and starts being accountable to the MC and not +Herman alone.
Please know that Metropolitan Herman hired Proskaur Rose without any permission from anyone. He is very talented at telling one body a story and another body another story making certain that the two bodies do not meet.
Well, the two bodies did meet and compared notes.
Now the only truth revealed is that MH has lied to both parties.
He lies and Kucynda swears to it - and the good people believed it - for a while.
As long as MH is in office, there will be more of the same.
He and Kucynda have lied about so much, many people are confused. Maybe that is their strategy?
#8.2 Margo on 2007-10-02 12:13
Fr. John Reeves' very courageous and revealing statement is much appreciated. Our leader's reaction to it is not.
Any sensitive human being, having been thus exposed, would just melt away from shame. But not our Metropolitan. How many revelations have there been in the past two years, exposing him as an incompetent leader on an ungodly mission? And yet he has remained solidly frozen in place.
What more do we need, Church? Where's the outrage? How much more testimony needs to be written and shrugged off before the righteous outrage sets in and becomes action?
In the name of Almighty God-
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION,
PLEASE STOP PAYING ASSESSMENTS until the sun shines and melts the frozen.
#9 BLM on 2007-10-01 18:04
The fable of the naked Emperor resembles the events of today, but there are many telling the "Emperor" that he is naked, but he continues to believe (his cronies) that he is not naked, that he can escape the situation and not have to pay for his deeds. What is done in darkness will be brought into the light, evil deeds done in the closet will be exposed. And, more importantly, we will all stand before the awesome Judgement Seat of Christ where He will separate the sheep from the goats, the tares from the wheat. Kyrie eleison.
#9.1 Yanni on 2007-10-02 10:01
Thank you for your support of the petition calling on Metropolitan HERMAN to resign.
I want to take this opportunity to explain why the number of signatures has just gone down this afternoon (Tuesday, October 2). A number of people had signed from "St. Nicholas" anonymously (which was their option), but had not given the city and state of their parish. Instead, you may have noticed that they typed into that field either "no reply" or "no answer."
As has been stated numerous times, those who wish to be counted as having signed the petition MUST fill in the three required fields: full name (which you can then choose not to have show on-line), name of OCA parish, and city/state of OCA parish. In fairness, I have to delete those petition signers who do not abide by these rules, which were made clear at the outset.
Those of you who have thus had your "signatures" deleted from the petition (you know who you are if you signed "no reply") still have the option of going back to the link and signing the petition properly:
I hope you will take the time to do so.
#9.2 Cathryn Tatusko on 2007-10-02 10:35
I have a question for the Tatusko gang.
Why did you only seek the resignation of Metropolitan Herman when others have been involved in the financial collapse as well?
Surely you don't believe that not one single Metropolitan Council member isn't worthy of an equivalent demand.
Those members in place in say 2002, or 2003, or 2004, or 2005?
Did they not know the church had misused restricted funds for operating expense?
What is the rationale for calling for the Primate's resignation, but no others? Is it vividly clear that he sanctioned the misuse of funds?
Did not Archbishop Job himself understand funds were misused for these years? It seems not in that he himself asked a somewhat puzzling question which apparently indicates he himself was not a wise reader of financial statements.
The former Abp of the West himself said the 2002 compilation report indicated the financial problems from 2001 reported sometime in 2003.
Why then isn't the rest of the Synod to blame?
Sure Metropolitan Herman has been dragging his feet miserably, but perhaps he has legal advice to suggest as much.
I struggle with the calls for his resignation. I would like for him to recuse himself from the "Investigation" and to install an acting Treasurer immediately that is not Fr. Paul, but why doesn't your petition ask for these things?
If you ask for resignations...it seems to me it should be a list of names... I can think of a few.
Hindsight I understand is 20/20, but it seems like the eager call for one head should have been a call for reasonableness, or it should have been a call for many heads.
Interested in hearing your thoughts.
#9.2.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-03 20:36
I couldn't agree with you more that there are others who should resign in the wake of this scandal. As our group drafted the petition calling on Met. HERMAN to resign, we considered adding other names to the list. We decided against doing so because we felt it would get too confusing (i.e., people might say "I agree with asking for this person's resignation, but not this persons" etc.). To put it bluntly, we (our group) felt strongly that our primary problem is our Primate. Clearly, a large number of our fellow OCA members, several priests, and at least one of our Bishops agree with that assessment.
And, speaking only for myself now, I believe that if we hold the line and refuse to go forward under the leadership of Met. HERMAN, any who remain in or come into leadership roles after him will understand that the OCA will no longer tolerate the brand of "leadership" we have seen from him. I personally am sick to death of hearing of good priests living in servile fear of this little man. Such is the call of Christ on their lives? Have some compassion on these men and help free them, for the love of God!
As to the suggestion made by others that we shouldn't seek Met. HERMAN'S resignation because there is simply no one in the HS who can do a better job--gracious! If I believed that nonsense I would be in absolute despair. I don't believe it. I continue to hope that, by the grace of God, the OCA can survive this period of humbling and chastisement--and that someone is being prepared to be a better shepherd of this flock.
Of course, you are free to sign or not sign the petition, but I would ask you to reconsider.
#184.108.40.206 Cathryn Tatusko on 2007-10-04 09:14
Daniel, talking to a person that was let go, and he said that there are not any left from the original THIEVING GANG. Your question does merit investigation, and they should also become history.
St. James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Good people have resigned (or been fired) by the current administration. Several people have tried to influence the MC to no avail.
Abp. JOB, in his first letter to the clergy two years ago, acknowledged his failure of oversight, and begged our repentance. You seem to indicate, however, that acknowledgment and repentance isn't enough.
Talk to former Metropolitan Council members (like Mark Stokoe and Fr. Ted Bobosh) and ask them about the environment and their struggles to seek information, and affect change. I suspect you will find that while individuals were complacent, there were those inside and outside the MC who were paying attention, who were asking questions, and who were simply ignored (or worse, told "its not your place").
As for our Synod, there are several Bishops that seemingly have their interest only in their particular ethnic enclave - Bulgarian, Romanian, Albanian - and appear to be oblivious to the effect on the remainder of the OCA. Truthfully, we only have seven OCA bishops - +Seraphim, +Herman, +Job, +Tikhon, +Dmitri, +Benjamin and +Nicolai. The remainder are represent ethnic enclaves in and amongst other dioceses (like +Kyrill of blessed memory, Bulgarian, +Nathaniel, Romanian, and +Nikon, Albanian). +Alejo in Mexico is a vicar bishop of +MH.
Who else should resign? Obviously the former Chancellor has already left, and the Acting Treasurer will presumably leave when a permanent Treasurer is hired. The Controller is no longer involved in financial activities.
It's not enough to say "whoever was involved". At this point, you'll have to name names.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#220.127.116.11 Marty Watt on 2007-10-04 10:01
A preface to this forum response is that I have not followed the Orthodox way in discussing my questions directed at Abp. Job with Abp. Job in person.
Well Marty, the financial health of the OCA was really an obligation of the MC by the Statute if my read is right. I've established the MC to be a weak, powerless body of the church, so although they own the responsibility, the Synod was ultimately responsible as the Statutes lack the authority for the MC to take any action. So, by the Statute, all seated members of the MC in place before July, 2005 AAC to me bear a responsibility and should be called to resign if you call for resignations. The Synod seated before the July, 2005 AAC as well, if you consider the Statutes real impact in governance is zippo. The Metropolitan clearly as a member of the Synod firstly among all his brothers would be a party. Other members of the administration as well. Its a long list. +Job would be on it, too.
The Synod bears a responsibility. Why? Not one person on the Synod has made clear whether they had the information via compilation reports to have been able to ascertain the financial well being of the church.. Not one. The one trinket of detail I've seen is the citation offered by retired Bishop Tikhon of the West (heaven forbid). That trinket is the 2002 compilation report cited in accountant's language that suggested use of restricted funds for operating expenses dated back to the 2001 statements (this would be 9/11 monies). The fact that Bishop Tikhon used accountant's language lends significant credibility to the likelihood this was a real report in the hands of at least one member of the Synod at some point.
Archbishop Job himself has never stated that he received timely compilations and if he were smarter (this is conjecture not to be taken out of context) he would have understood the financial ills of the church. He has asked for our forgiveness for his weakness, but he also asked are the allegations true or false. This is doubletalk, intentional or not. To me, as disappointed as I am in +Herman, I haven't been able to give +Job full credibility because he hasn't reported the very basic facts to us about what he did or did not know.
Now, if Archbishop Job did receive compilations from the central administration, he could just report what the compilations were, could he not? We could see if the compilations reflected a continued pattern of financial errors and if they did, we'd know the entire Synod was equally responsible.
My own Archbishop has not made it clear to me what he did or did not know. If we are so willing to forgive him, why not the Metropolitan? As far as I'm concerned, the Metropolitan accepted responsibility for the financial collapse. The one difference is Metropolitan Herman has stifled any reporting and Archbishop Job has provided none.
Did the Synod accept budgets? Abp. Job has not made this clear either. If he accepted budgets when compilation reports were showing problems, does he still have copies of the submitted budgets?
Rather than asking are the allegations true or false, which is meaningless and accusatory, the good Bishop of the Midwest, my bishop, could report to us what he did and did not know. He could say something like, yeah, I got the compilations, but didn't know what they meant and threw them out. Or, he could provide copies of the compilations to Mark Stokoe. Or, he could say I never got any financial report. He could say something concrete. He could show us what he got or at least say he chucked the stuff.
So, on an equivalent footing as the question from +Job to +Herman. Dan Fall to +Job would say:
Did you receive compilation reports for the years from 2001 through 2005?
Did you understand what they meant?
Did they accurately reflect the financial mismanagement of the church?
Where are they?
Did you approve budgets for those years? Do you have them? Did they reflect the mismanagement of the church?
You see Marty, I don't care if Metropolitan Herman is a jerk. Haven't seen it. I don't care if he felt he needed to carry the legal torch for the OCA. I don't care if he is following legal advice in his silence. I do care if +Job calls for the resignation of the Metropolitan when I still have questions about what +Job knew.
When you attack someone with calls for resignation, it is important to have all your credibility ducks in order and Abp. Job is close, but not quite there in my book.
Abp. Job, what did you know over these past 6 years from 2001 to 2005 about the financial health of the central church?
My points should not be laughed at. Abp. Job has paid close attention to my points in the past. I didn't expect mass calls for the resignation of the Metropolitan. If I knew these things were going to happen at the Assembly, I would not have given my blessing until I had a chance to discuss these questions with Abp. Job himself, and not until he had a chance to reflect on my questions to him, which are now worthless.
Why is it too much to ask the Abp. himself how much he knew and what documents he has or doesn't have?
A one liner saying I was weak isn't any more of a report than the Metropolitan saying I was responsible.
I doubt I'll ever get this answered by Abp. Job and that is no different than not getting a report from Abp. Herman.
Mark, I welcome your editorial comment.
(editor's note: There is no question, Dan, that the Synod was asleep at the wheel. But in the eyes of most, +Herman was driving the bus, and so bears most responsibility for the wreck. +Job, and the Diocese of the Midwest were the first to complain about the lack of reporting prior to the 2005 AAC. They were ignored; but that questioning led to a change of events that has brought us to this day. From that time +Job has sought to uncover and disclose, +Herman to cover-up and hide. You are wrong in saying +Herman has taken responsibility. He has not except in the most perfunctory terms. To his clergy, in private he offers to excuses: I was treasurer in name only, I never did anything so I was not involved; and, I never signed any checks. The concept of fiduciary responsbility seems not to be in his vocabulary. +Job, on the other hand, has publicly apologized at length at two Diocesan Assemblies for his lack of oversight during these years. What is the difference you ask? +Job and +Herman, like the entire OCA were being conned by Kondratick and crew from 1994 on. At the very latest, Herman knew this in 1999, having been told by EEric Wheeler. He did nothing. +Job, according to his public statements, discovered it only late 2004, went to Herman with it to deal with it privately; tried to get it discussed at the 2005 AAC; and once Eric Wheeler made it public has been relentless in fighting for the truth. +herman has fought him on this at every step. So, yes, Dan, there is a difference.)
#18.104.22.168.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-04 21:53
I want to comment on my own words above. Since deleting these names from the petition, I have heard from one of the individuals who had worked very hard to get them posted. For reasons that are not at all spurious, it simply is not possible for these individuals to identify themselves. My heart goes out to them, and I trust they will continue in prayer for the situation within the OCA...
#9.2.2 Cathryn Tatusko on 2007-10-04 09:25
Thank you Fr. Berzonsky and Fr. Reeves for your candor and your honesty. My heart cries for a good resolution to this dilemma. We have a beautiful gift in our Church and our faith. I pray we have the strength and courage to shelter and respect the preciousness of this Gift.
#9.3 Carpathia on 2007-10-02 18:40
OK. Let's take what we do know. While moneys intended for people in need were not made available to those whose situation merited them, Metropolitan Herman, a prince of a church established by One who had no place to lay his head, had at least two places to lay his. A nice and large home at the seminary in Penn. and presumably a similar place in NY. He has a nice Cadilac to get from one place to another. While laity struggle to make their tithes and priests struggle to make the parish budget, the Metropolitan makes trips.
Now, take what is not known. What will the faithful do about the mess that has become this jurisdiction?
#10 Max Higgs on 2007-10-02 05:09
We had a parish meeting last Sunday and I came away from it incredibly discouraged. Our priest was open and frank with us, and made it clear that withholding probably won't be an option for our diocese because our bishop thinks that enough progress has been made. He also made it clear that many senior priests whom he has been consulting recently still regard this website and the movement towards accountability as "inciting mob mentality", wrong-headed "congregationalism", and full of lustful vengeance.
People! Arm yourselves with as many facts as you can muster, and with several examples of the thoughtful reflectons posted from this site or others, and (*take them to your priest, your parish and your diocesan representatives*). Try to be sure they have seen the information you have seen- much as we would like to think that many are reading here, obviously many are not, including at least one bishop. (Our bishop stated that no one, "even himself" could really say how much money has gone missing, not as though that were an issue of concern, that he, a bishop, still wouldn't know, but as though that were an example of the kind of hyperbole found here). We have to make sure the experiences of respected priests like Fr Vladimir and Fr John are known to all. It looks like there is a very long slog ahead.
I don't usually post as anonymous, and my priest will know who I am if he reads this. I do so this time out of respect for his frankness with us.
#11 Name withheld on 2007-10-02 07:59
I was not surprised when people of integrity quit the sham investigative committee. Perhaps I am jaded by the work I do as a mental health provider. In any case, I cannot help thinking about the priests and bishops of the church in this situation. How can they be silenced?
It is easy to come up with a list of ways that the priests could be silenced by the men who have the ability to manipulate their paycheck by moving them into places where they will no longer be able to send their children to college, etc. They have families that need care and the bishop with the power to move them at will can decrease the priest's ability to care for his family..
The bishops are another thing altogether. These men have made a committment to poverty and chastity and thus have no family that they must support nor lifestyle to be changed by the whim of the metropolitan.
How can one silence a bishop? It makes one wonder. Blackmail is the only thing that comes readily to mind and cannot be argued away. Blackmail tends to be used in three areas: Illegal monetary activities (fraud and the like), addiction (substance abuse or dependence - alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, pornography) and illicit sexual activity (straight or gay).
I don't want to think that blackmail is at the root of the silence of the bishops. But what can be used to silence a bishop? It makes one wonder.
I do not believe they are being silenced. I believe they were made bishops because they were of the same moral fiber as those that are at the center of this scandal who chose them for the episcopacy. In other words, a band of brothers, who, when seeing one persecuted for transgressions he looked forward to making in his due time, how can he go against something that he basically sees nothing wrong with and was salivating at the thought of?! You make an assumption which is charitable, but in all likelihood wrong. Your assumption is that these are men of God and not men that are basically out for themselves and working to keep the gig going. Men, that when faced with a situation that is in no question diametrically opposed to everything they stand for and preach, cannot bring themselves to turn from their ways and finally accept that it is wrong, and take the right path. Most men who are silenced have a breaking point where they can just take no more. After two years the only one who has shown he has that level of conscience is Job. I keep going back to how these men are chosen as the proof of why they are doing nothing now. They were bought off and remain bought off come hell or high water. Maybe they already partook of the corruption fruit and would face fearful consequences.
Let’s put this into perspective. Hearing what you hear of how these men have behaved in this scandal and their intransigence at getting to the bottom of it and the truth, if these men were officers in a corporation, would you buy stock in that corporation? Would you, knowing that a corporation is corrupt, can’t account for millions of dollars, dollars that are alleged to have been used for, amongst other things, personal reasons, a cronyism that reeks of the worst of any government we know, and a bunch that rather than answer to the shareholders hides behind the wall of high priced lawyers, invest in that company? Sounds a whole lot like Enron. I doubt that you would put your hard earned money into the stock of that corporation. If a corporation did what is alleged here the long arm of the law would take the situation into its grasp and shake the bad apples from the tree. We need to look no further than the corruption and excesses of major corporations earlier this decade. Acts that are deemed crimes by the government for the protection of the public.
Now, let’s look at our Synod (Herman, Dmitri, Nikolai, Nathaniel, Seraphim, Nikon, Tikhon, Benjamin, Alejo, Irineau – I mention them by name so there’s no mistaking who we’re talking about). Take away the klobuk, take away the riassa, take away all the clerical garb, let them walk without a stick, and put them into business attire. You now have what matches the description of the executives of the corporation above. Why do we give any more money? This is bad enough. But you know what we do, and still do while they are exhibiting all the behaviors of a corrupt corporation that you wouldn’t risk building your retirement upon? We entrust our souls to these men! UNTHINKABLE ! These are actions that are deemed crimes by God. ONLY when one does not truly believe in the power of God can one continue along this path with impunity and the arrogance that what they are doing is in the best interest of the Church.
You wouldn’t trust your money, your retirement money, to men of the character and integrity that we have if they ran a corporation, but you entrust your eternal soul and its fostering to these men. What a disconnect ! It’s beyond comprehension.
Never has the saying “clothes make the man” been so true as with our bishops. You put that klobuk on their heads, you put a riassa around their body, you put a stick in their hands, and all of a sudden that lack of integrity and character becomes a whole lot less disturbing than it was. In some cases it totally disappears. It’s masked, but it’s still there, deeply ingrained in the souls of these men. We need to wake up, people!
You won’t entrust your retirement money with men like these, money that you can’t take with you, but you entrust your soul to men of this character. You allow your kids to be in their presence and listen to their words and now have to explain why these are bad men. I doubt that you would even associate with men of that corporation knowing of their actions and corruption, but with these men, sadly to say, we seek their “blessing.” In some cases we even defend them as “nice” men. Look beneath the façade which is the clothing that gives them an appearance that is nothing more than a movie set – a façade with nothing behind it, but a few pieces of wood propping that façade up. One good wind, one good trembling, and it comes crashing down. People, we have our wind, it’s a hurricane, we have our trembling on the scale of an earthquake and what’s happening? The façade of these bishops is coming crashing down revealing the nothingness that is behind it.
#12.1 Stonewall on 2007-10-05 08:10
These letters, from two reasonable and prudent men of the church are enough to convince me it is time to change the guard.
The only way Metropolitan Herman could rebound from these politically damning letters is to plead for these people to return to the investigation.
He will have one final chance to do the right thing.
#13 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-02 10:18
Thank you Fr. John and Fr. Vladimir,
You have both shed more light on what has been happening behind the scenes for the Special Commission. It is with great sorrow that you have resigned from what appeared to be a promising journey of moving the OCA forward.
It is apparent that you were trying to conduct an investigation that WAS hindered and WAS obstructed by the continual meddling into your affairs by Father Paul Kucynda and +Herman. How can Fr. Paul direct the Special Commission that no interviews were going to conducted? +Herman kept puttin off this investigation, generally saying that this was not a good time for an investigation.
My question,as was noted in the recent comment, too, is how the lawyers all fit into this situation. Proskauer Rose is a great place to start. Gregg Nescott is a lawyer. Are there legal rights here that the Special Commission has to be concerned about that were not apparent to them when they started out on the road of conducting an investigation "unhindered" and "unobstructed?"
Was the Special Commision briefed by any legal council on what considerations to lawyers had to be made?
Does this mean I can hire a lawyer to see who has absconded with my money that we have given to the OCA over the years? Would my lawyer be able to get documents from other lawyers? Would client privelege be invoked?
I don't know how the climate of the current administration can heal or move forward in any meaningful way if there are all these lawyers involved.
I am absolutely not understanding where all the lawyers are coming from. Can someone explain this? Who's interests are being protected?
#14 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-02 10:45
Fr. Reeves and Fr. Berzonsky present a clear picture of exactly what has been going on behind the Potemkin Village facade of the Special Commission. It's depressing beyond words to have absolute proof that what one feared as the worst possible scenario has been the case.
There's something deeply dysfunctional about the gap between the formal allocation of power and responsibilities in our statute and the actual day-to-day working of the organization. Such gaps are common in many organizations -- but usually when there's a breakdown of the day-to-day there is some recourse to the formal checks and balances. Although normal business goes on on a more informal basis, there's a way to invoke the formal to bring order when things have gone off course.
But there seems to be no such recourse in the OCA. The MC can be ignored, the Synod can be manipulated, the AAC can be managed as a show ... the Metropolitan can do what he will and somehow has enough people willing to play his game.
I'm hardly a fan of Grover Norquist, but if ever there was a time to "starve the beast" this is it. If other dioceses will not join with the midwest, it is time for as many parishes as possible to withhold at the parish level. If diocesan initiatives suffer as a consequence, that's something we'll just have to live with. Myself, I live in a diocese where there is essentially no diocesan activity that is discernable at the parish level.
#15 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-02 11:19
Do they really do that?
It seems to me that we are dealing more with individual interpretations of what the members of the Special Commission were charged to do by the initial directive given by the Metropolitan.
What should have happened was that the Metropolitan whould have sat all of them down together and tell them face to face what was expected of them, so that there would be no miscommunication or misinterpretation of their duties whatsoever.
When you have 6 or 7 individuals involved in such a body, surely you will have 6 or 7 different interpretations of what their job would entail, unless they were given a specific directive by the one who appointed them.
Was that not done?
(Editor's Note: In point of fact, the initial charge to the Special Commission came at the joint Metropolitan Council and Synod meeting.You can read that in the Minutes of those meetings. The charge from the Metropolitan came only after the Commission had already had its first meeting to determine its course of action based on that engendering charge. You can read their statement of intent, written in an attempt to report to the Metropolitan Council, on this site as well. Both the statement and their course of action were halted by the Metropolitan, who then issued his own charge when he realized the Commission would not be doing his bidding. To argue "confusion" is nothing more than ex post facto justification for the Metropolitan's interference in the Commission's unanimous agreement on how it would proceed with its work. It is at odds with the facts and the truth; a pathetic attempt to rewrite history, to now cover-up the cover-up. It won't work, Mike. The facts are here for everybody to see, posted in real time.)
#15.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-04 06:38
This whole Special Commission has been exposed for a complete fraud and the good intentions of those who were on the Commission as unwitting accomplices to the Herman, Kucynda, Perry unholy trinity.
Kucynda and Perry have been and continue to run the OCA. They manipulated the PR investigation, they force fed that report upon the MC and HS and got their indictment vs. Kondratick the rushed it on to the spiritual court with made up rules to ensure that Kondratick would never see ANY evidence against him and that NO record of the court proceedings to be shared.
Now the appeal of Kondratick is being handled by Kucynda and Perry to make sure that no evidence against him will be given and he will have to defend himself blind.
If the evidence against Kondratick is so damning, why has he not been able to see it? Why are Kucynda and Perry so afraid of allowing him to have a chance at defending himself.
Decisions are now being made not by Herman, not by the MC, not by the Holy Synod but by Kucynda and Perry, without anyone's approval.
Shortly a letter from Ab Seraphim to Kondratick will be delivered and in that letter, written by James Perry on orders from Kucynda, Kondratick will be told he has only one hour to present his case with no evidence that has been the basis of the charges made against him to be given to him. WHO IS RUNNING THIS CHURCH?
Unless we wake up very quickly and realize that we have a runaway train and a wreck is just around the corner, this episode which was about fiscal issues is going to morph into a full blown ecclesial crisis that will destroy the OCA.
We have a madman in Paul Kucynda running the OCA. He must be stopped are all of us will suffer and there will be no winners.
#15.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-04 14:43
Kondratick has to go too. This appeal is just lengthening a long ordeal as is. He had his hand in all this, and even if totally innocent, he knew something wrong was going on and never brought it to like. Don't play this man like a persecuted saint. He should take his punishment for no less than his silence on all that was going on.
Didn't at some point he said he could go to jail for something?
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2007-10-05 13:42
Now we see clearly that MH appointed the Special Commission to rubber stamp his own conclusions, placing all the blame for everything on RSK. Sadly for him, but fortunately for the church, he made the mistake of appointing to the commission men of integrity, who have refused to be a part of such a sham.
We are fortunate to have such men in the OCA. Please God, eventually, they may be able to help in rebuilding it, when we are finished with this mess (if indeed the OCA survives).
St. Herman of Alaska Chapel
West Bend, WI
#16 Leaella Shirley on 2007-10-02 13:31
What would an All American Council really accomplish at this point? After 20+ years in the OCA, I have yet to see an AAC that is much more than a week long, expensive coffee klatsch. what would be on the agenda? Would we really be able to accomplish something? Or would there be more meaningless motions that are summarily read and and passed? Who would run it? The same old gang? why are we waiting another year to meet? Current technology gives us the means to have a nationwide meeting, with people in different locations - why can't we do that - and do this sooner?
#17 Khouria on 2007-10-02 19:09
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver or gold.....By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.....He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity and the rod of his anger shall fail.....He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor..........farewell, Herman
#18 Luke on 2007-10-03 02:48
Although Abp. Job has also called on Metropolitan Herman to resign, I still will not make that call without other persons named on that list.
All those responsible for the collapse or none.
#19 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-03 09:30
>All those responsible for the collapse or none.
Thereby assuring that there will be no change whatsoever.
You have to start somewhere, and the resignation of the man at the top is almost certain to shake out a number of the others, in the end.
Be realistic. Start with one and work on the others as we proceed.
Anyway it's NOT one, it's two. RSK is already gone.
#19.1 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-10-04 09:42
Poor old Herman. Some Metropolitans, who are God centered, good, holy, and humble men, end up on icons. The only lasting image of Herman we'll probably get is a mugshot.
#20 Anonymous on 2007-10-03 10:59
Today Brothers and Sisters I had a family member who wanted to attend the local Russian Festival that was being held in Mogadore Ohio.
I knew that this would be difficult for me since last year I had a situation with a priest at the festival and he told me to not pay any attention to the situation in Sysosset for it didn't concern me, and he let me know of this in front of at least 8 other men standing near by.
I however felt completely saddened and horrified that he shammed me in front of a standing audience.
In fact I had horrific nightmares for two months after this. I just couldn't believe it, later after the dust settled a bit, a new friend of my husband's and mine who was standing near by asked me why and how I could of brought him into the church with knowing about this scandal, and what my thoughts were on this.
He was Concerned that he knew nothing of this from his local parish. I apoligized and told him to forgive me for I didn't know the depth of the situation, and I too felt responsible for him and his wife at the time.
To sum up the difficult situation, I later found out that the encounter that I had with this priest was so difficult because he too had just found out about the scandal and I believe he was in a state of mind that was very difficult to deal with... I forgive this.
The family had been brought into the church from Met. Herman. Oh My God I thought, he had a difficult situation on his hands, and still remains one that is difficult, but I just couldn't understand why we can't take a stand for the truth. The only Truth lies in the face of God, the Ultimate is to face him with full disclosure and take up our Cross no matter how difficult it may be and follow him, no others are to be followed but Christ. This became the main prayer in my life throughtout the year, asking God why is it so difficult to simply show the truth...
I must report to you that yesterday afternoon was a turning point for me.
I gave into my family member wanting to go to the Church and celebrate the festival activities. I took my family members there and an amazing thing happened.
My two year old niece said to me I want that aunt.... and I said what do you want ? she said, I want that cross on my neck.... I looked at her and my sister handed her the cross that was for sale on the table...she picked it up kissed it and said I want to wear my cross.... She proudly displayed her cross on her neck and kissed it throughout the day and as we were in the car she said Aunt .... I wanted a cross like you have....
Dear brothers and sisters, God reveled himself to us yesterday this little child picked up her cross and in the midst of stillness in the air..... her cross shined forth on her tiny little neck...
this parish is under the direction of Archbishop Job of Chicago...
#21 Anonymous on 2007-10-03 13:17
I thank Frs. Bobosh, Reeves and Berzonsky for there fearless wisdom and love of Christ to bring this catastrophy to a hopeful resolution soon.
Since the OCA is thirty seven years old, we have NOT had a GOD fearing Metropolitian in our midst. Likewise, most of our Bishops were/are true sycophants, afraid of there own shadows.
I also want to thank all of the people who made this site available and all that posted and signed there names on this site.
As St. James said, with WORK and PRAYER we can do everything!
GOD BLESS THE OCA!
St. James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Beginning with Deacon Wheeler's October 2005 letter and onward to
Father Reeves with "... no way to run a parish."; Father Berzonsky with
"I do not find enough grace among our leaders ..."; Ab job with "... I ask
him to step down ...", i think herman might get the idea that respected people,
among others, have lost confidence in him as a leader. my apologies if i have
misrepresented or misinterpreted any of the above individuals.
to the parishioners of St Nicholas Orthodox Church in Mogadore, Ohio, and
to everyone else in general - i speak for no one but myself. here is a portion
of an email i received from Fr Nicholas, my parish priest:
"I would also ask that when you express your feelings and desires in a public
forum that you not act as a representative of the entire parish with regard to
the Bishops that will attend our 90th anniversary. You may find that not
everyone cheers in support of what you have posted and I've been directing
them to call you rather than me for the answers to their questions. You are free
to speak for yourself and have every right to do so. I have not seen your postings
nor am I inclined to search for them, but I am a bit tired of answering for you."
under 'Share your Comments', in 'Special Commission in Crisis - and Now
Resignations', i commented at 17.1, 17.6, 17.7, and 22, and don't believe i inferred
to speak for, or represent, the parish. i am 'just' a parishioner.
I note that Fr Nicholas, evidently, was not too tired of some people reading into my
postings that i spoke for anyone but myself. Nor did he try to confirm what he was
told i wrote...... that bothers me.
i was told at our church festival, by a caring individual, that for the sake of the OCA,
the matter should, basically, be dropped. that the OCA would not survive if herman
stepped down. while i am certainly not an anarchist, i don't know who would be
capable of providing trusted leadership if [when] herman steps down. that, i suppose,
would be in the hands of the MC. (?)
i do have faith that Christ's church will prevail - but it won't be an easy road forward
for the OCA.
i look for an end to this period of church life, and wonder, as a 'stockholder' in the OCA,
if a lawsuit can be brought against those culpable to regain missing funds. i would
include going after the pension funds of the Synod of bishops and all involved - nonfeasance
is also a crime. that seems much better than all of us assuming the debt of paying into
accounts with funds missing, and repaying bank loans.
oh, and i have learned something too - it's not often [ever?] i've seen 'snarky' in print.
i looked it up at Dictionary.com
michael j molenaur
parishioner, St Nicholas Orthodox Church
speaking for myself
#22 michael j molenaur on 2007-10-03 23:38
sorry for the difficult readability. my notepad and this window
don't represent the same spacing. i apologize.
#22.1 michael j molenaur on 2007-10-04 11:05
Here's the bottom line. People are the source of funding to the church. Many people will discontinue funding if they feel the church is not properly run from a financial standpoint. Funding dries up. Whose fault is it? Those that are/were in charge of the finances of the church are at fault, not people doing the donating.
The internet is here, and now information is made available. This is just the way it is. This is true for any organization. They must come to grips with the fact that the internet is here to stay, and they must be prepared to be held accountable for their actions or inactions.
#23 No more donations until there is an effort to get to the truth on 2007-10-04 08:42
I believe that the truth is not possible.
Herman and Kucynda have spent too much time and money burying it. In fact, the more time that passes, the more facts that will get confused, exactly what they like - confuse the people, tell this group one thing, tell another group another thing and let's get through this meeting. Well, they cannot confuse GOD. He will make the final determination.
I really think we need a new person to begin with a clean slate.
We need a Jerry Ford, so come forward and say "from this day forward".
Everyone will have their opinion, but I really believe the truth will not be made know in this lifetime!
#23.1 Margo on 2007-10-04 13:19
I am very pleased to see the 'revolt' of +Job and Frs. Bobash, Reeves and Berzonsky. It indeed is time that definitive action taken. I am disturbed that our 'esteemed' leaders may have sinned so seriously when the basis of our faith and beliefs is to avoid sin and do good works. And when sin is committed, our religion teaches confession, repentence, forgiveness. Only then can we progress as Christ has taught us. Maybe there is a glimmer of light ahead in the very dark tunnel we all are walking. God Bless +Job.
#24 (Please list AS"GGC"} on 2007-10-08 01:59
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