Monday, October 8. 2007
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Very well written, Mark! With writing this good, I cannot see how anyone could miss the point.
#1 Appreciative on 2007-10-08 16:52
Why has the Diocese of the West has been so quiet for the last 2 years? With a few exceptions, contributions to this website from the West have been few and far between. Is that because people in the West do not believe that the scandal is important? Is it because they have chosen to pray silently rather than to speak publicly? It would be helpful if a representative from the DOW posted a reflection on this site to explain the thinking behind the new resolution. Do people out West see progress? Do they see an administration making a serious effort to address the crisis? Do they see funding the new commission as the primary obstacle? Why or why not? I would prefer to withhold criticism until the DOW explains its position. An explanation might help move the process forward, but without any explanation I think this resolution only makes matters worse.
#2 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-10-08 18:32
The Diocese of the West has been, in many ways, without a bishop until last week. Our former bishop was not fully capable of doing his job for some time before he retired. Bishop Benjamin was just now enthroned.
The issue of the problems in the national Church have not been discussed in our parishes, as far as I know. There seems to be a real lack of awareness of the issues among most folk, perhaps because we're physically so far removed from Syosset. Among those who are aware, I think there may have been a hope that, when Bishop Benjamin was enthroned, he would take decisive action -- action his predecessor was incapable of taking.
That, of course, has turned out to be a vain hope.
As for the resolution from the DoW, I was genuinely surprised both by the content and by the tone it took. But I wasn't there when it was drafted or voted on. Hopefully someone who was there can comment further.
#2.1 Josephine on 2007-10-09 09:10
We should all resign our membership in the OCA.
#3 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-08 21:48
Daniel, then +H will say he has finally succeeded!!
St. James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
If this is done, it should be done in writing, with a copy of the letter sent to Syosset. Imagine the impact of One Million letters of resignation arriving at OCA Headquarters!
We might not save the Church, but we might aid the US Postal Service in putting its finances in the black this year!
#3.2 C.C. on 2007-10-09 08:35
Throwing in the towel, Daniel?
My wife, children and I are Orthodox Christians. We are members of St. Mary's Cathedral in Minneapolis. It happens to be a parish of an OCA Archbishop, but we don't consider ourselves "members of the OCA".
Suppose we had the "American Orthodox dream" of just a single jurisdiction in North America, with one primate, and suppose that primate was Metropolitan HERMAN. Then what would you do?
The sacraments are no less valid, and true Most Pure Body and Precious Blood are no less pure or precious because of the Metropolitan or this scandal. I do not believe the Holy Spirit can be tainted by human wickedness. The Holy Spirit condescends greatly to dwell in us sinners.
I wish you would stay. You seem to love the truth.
Of course, if going to a parish that is not in the OCA is what is best for the salvation of you and your wife, then run, don't walk, to that other parish. But what will you do when you discover what they have swept under their own prayer rugs?
Rdr. Alexander Langley
#3.3 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-09 10:02
Very well said. I am a new convert to Orthodoxy, and I did notice that nobody mentioned anything about the scandal (which now seems to be all anyone wants to talk about after Liturgy) while I was attending catechism classes. Even knowing all that has transpired, I still believe in the Orthodox faith as the One True Faith, and feel blessed to live in a town with an Orthodox church, so that I may partake of the Divine Liturgy each week. Nothing a human being can do can shake my faith in a church started by Jesus Christ Himself.
#3.3.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 15:53
It would seem to me that the upcoming Metropolitan Council meeting will be a perfect opportunity to take a NO CONFIDENCE vote on Herman. In front of all the bishops, Herman will not be able to hide.
VOTE NO CONFIDENCE.
#4 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 05:46
The pen is truly mightier than the sword, especially when it's the Sword of the Spirit that's directing the flow of the pen.
#5 Karen Jermyn on 2007-10-09 07:49
The DOW's comments do not really seem logical. Several of the members of the Special Commission RESIGNED due to meeting an investigation with HINDERANCE and OBSTACLES, not the money. They are trying the ploy of a distrator from the real 800 pound elephant of denial coming from Syosset's administration into the depth of its crises.
It is not money that the Special Commission needs. I don't even know where they are getting that. It is UNHINDERED and UNOBSTRUCTED cooperation from Syosset that they need.
Mark, you are doing a great job to try to keep this OCA administration on the straight and narrow. Mr. Wachter, I too, I curious about the DOW's reasoning, but I don't think there is any... just more rationalization into allowing Syosset to stall into cleaning up a collosal mess that is growing every day in unpaid bills.
#6 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-09 08:51
Just when we think that what is coming out of Syosset could not get any sicker or more twisted comes the news that the little man still (inexplicably) at the helm of the OCA has managed to draw our newest and one of our best Bishops into his web. How sad and disgusting it is to see this.
I pity all of you who have been “offered a chance to serve” on the new Committee—your reputations within the OCA (and probably outside it) will be forever tarnished by your willing participation in this charade. Think hard before you give a final “yes” to this offer. There are now over a thousand members of the OCA who know very well what’s been going on in our central church and who will not stomach +HERMAN’s continuing games—or his continued reign as our Metropolitan. Not one of us will have the slightest confidence or even interest in the outcome of an investigation carried out by people who are all under the thumb of the person who is chiefly in need of being investigated—particularly while he is calling the shots! This does not seem to me to be a difficult concept—why don’t you get it? Do you need to have it spelled out for you by the new Ethics Committee of the MC? If so, please ask them to render a formal opinion for you—and submit yourselves to their answer. You are wasting your time and the OCA’s, and I personally don’t believe we have much time left to waste. Refuse to be a party to this latest effort at manipulation from the grand manipulator.
And if the above doesn’t beat all--if having had our donations to the OCA siphoned off for who knows what purposes when they were originally elicited from us for the most noble of causes (bibles for Russia, 9/11, relief after the Beslan tragedy, etc.)—we now have the SCANDAL ITSELF trotted out as the latest fundraising gimmick! We are now called upon to give our money so that we can get to the bottom of what happened to the money we gave previously—while we pay more and more legal fees to keep the perpetrators from being prosecuted! Isn’t anybody else just floored by the astonishing audacity of this latest request for donations—and by the fact that our newest Bishop would try to use this argument to persuade the DOM to stop withholding their assessments? I find it just incredible!
And by the way, I’m sure I must have missed Metropolitan HERMAN’s instructions to the new Committee regarding how the OCA at large would be informed of the results of the Committee’s thorough investigation. I only recall seeing that the HS should receive reports and recommendations. I’m sure that was just an oversight on +HERMSN’s part, and that he fully intends to inform us all once _____________. (You can fill in the blank with any number of excuses that will be generated as to why the church at large should never know what actually happened in the last 15 years of her existence.)
#7 Cathryn Tatusko on 2007-10-09 08:51
Yes, you put it so well: the audacity of it! The chuzpah! Well, that's one thing Syosset doesn't lack!
#7.1 Leaella Shirley on 2007-10-10 06:27
Now diocese are being pitted against each other. The sun is growing dark behind the wall of stones being launched by people in both camps. Like Leonidas and his 300 spartans, you will "fight in the shade". The blood will soon flow, as if enough blood has not been spilt this day, this year. But, the ends justify the means. Sick of the injustice and oppression perpetrated by the powers that be you enter this dialogue, diatribe, altercation among brethren strapped with your home made explosives, stealthily, under the guise of brotherhood. And in your zeal you pull the string or you hide your IED, waiting to see your enemy blown to pieces. You blind, poor souls. You think by your verbal violence you will accomplish anything. You think that by your example of despondancy and frustration you will move the OCA one step forward? Poor souls. You hermanites and jobites have chosen to fight. Fine. But, please, leave those of us who refuse to take up arms against any of our brethren alone.
#8 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-09 08:58
Interesting choice of a "nom de plume." Bautista Cabrera was an ex-Catholic priest and the first bishop of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church (La Iglesia Espańola Reformada Episcopal)--the representative of the Anglican Communion in Spain (c. 1880).
So, who are you really?
More to the point, how dare you insinuate that the "hermanites and jobites" are morally, ethically and spiritually equivalent!
This is not about fighting per se. It is about a struggle to save the integrity, indeed the soul of the Church. Furthermore, only one side, the "jobites" as you call them, is "fighting" for the truth and the spiritual, administrative, and fiscal health of the OCA.
In this instance, "peace at any price" is not an option--not if you care for the Church and thus for your own soul.
#8.1 Carl on 2007-10-09 12:05
This is my real, honest to God name. You can check my passport,
Just like the injustices carried out by the Israelis against the Palestinians, I believe some wrong has and is going on with those that hold the reigns in our Church. Out of desperation, some of the Palestinians feel they have no more options than to blow themselves up and take several other people down with them. In a manner of speaking, I feel that something simmilar is being done by those (one both sides) who feel they are being dealt a great injustice by MH et al. Here they have a platform to say all manner of mean, violent things against others, even to those they have never met or seen. Sure we can use good judgement and say that something is definitely wrong in syosset, and to ask for change. That's not my issue. Its when people from the west or midwest begin taking up stones with brethren in another diocese. Yes stones, verbal stones. They launch them here and have no idea who they will hit, they just throw. Catachumens, seekers or new believers reading these verbal wars will definitely been among the casualties.
Am I saying we should not discuss our problems. No. But, the manner in which we carry out that diologue needs to be first of all done out of love, charity and mutual respect. Those qualtities for the most part are absent from the exchanges here. Some, however, like Mark Harrison, for example can disagree with others, state his position without flinging one stone at another brother. His manner of speach exemplifies charity, love and respect. That is what I'm advocating. I'm not buying the "truth at all costs" garbage. Truth can be got at in humane ways. If you have to use evil to get to truth, something wrong with your theology.
To another critic, this is nothing like the resotration of icons. I'm as free now to worship in the orthodox manner as I was when I first came to the church many years ago. The sins of others is not hindering me from living the gospel or from working out my salvation in the orthodox manner.
#8.1.1 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-10 10:53
Wow glad you weren't around during the banning of the Icons! Glad those people took a stand and we have our beautiful Icons surrounding us in our churches and our homes!
#8.2 Happy to be on the Right Side on 2007-10-09 15:15
Not so Bautista.
You can't find a label for me. I am an independent free man. I didn't agree with the efforts, nor the discussion of the recent assembly of the Midwest, but Metropolitan Herman has not done right by us and Bishop Benjamin is flat wrong in his resolution and assessment.
Not so Bautista, the real problem is our Synod is dysfunctional. The people are tired of it.
#8.3 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-09 19:20
Your words of despair and despondency are exactly what I'm talking about. Those are best shared with your priest or in fervent supplications to our Lord. Despair, frustration, anger, etc, are all contageous; bombs, if you will. They destory both you and those who read them.
Reread and reread Mark Harrison's posts. He gets to the point of what he wants to say without bringing out the worst in himself and others.
#8.3.1 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-10 09:56
I don't accept subjective personal attacks unless there is related objective dialogue on the subject matter which identify my failure in logic or reasoning on the objectives. Since you do not care to address objective matters, consider this conversation over and keep your subjective "bomb" language to yourself.
Everyone visiting this site has learned long ago that there is a trend where some in the church have had a habit of attacking the way in which the objective matters are discussed, rather than discussing the objective and I simply won't engage in this tomfoolery and skirting around objective issues. In fact, I make an effort to point it out!
In other words, if you won't engage the content. Be quiet.
In my post, I stated the resolution of the Diocese of the West was an invalid assessment. I stated I was disappointed in the Metropolitan (related to the Special Commission), and I stated I was disappointed in the subject matter of the Diocesen Assembly of the Midwest, of which I'm a member. I stated that the Synod was dysfunctional, which it clearly is.
In a previous post, I suggested my own resignation, which for the first time in my life this weekend, became a real consideration. I'm tired of the baloney from the hierarchy.
You suggested I should talk like someone else and that I needed to speak with my priest which has nothing to do with the content of my post.
So, to recap, if you really look at my comments closer, I am stating that I am not pleased with any of the three Bishops, and I gave the reasons for the most part.
If you don't want to take me to task on the content, go away!
#126.96.36.199 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-10 19:29
I hope you find the peace you're looking for, brother. I'll take your advice and simply....go away.
#188.8.131.52.1 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-11 12:08
Boy, did I chose the wrong profession and the wrong church!. I went to college,then got my masters and have been working in a non-Orthodox church for years and just started to make 2/3's as much as the housekeeper in Syosset!! We have always been told our salaries are low because church workers are paid less than secular jobs. How does Syosset rationalize that salary???
#9 disbeliever on 2007-10-09 09:20
I agree with Daniel, you should all resign! The OCA will still be here with or without you, in fact it might even be stronger then it is now. Holding back money, you should be ashamed of yourselves, God will take care of you people! Just as bad as stealing! Do not be judgmental for we will all be judged and will have to answer to the higher power which is none of us...so stop it! This carring on and stupid talk is doing nothing good for the church! God Bless you all.
humble servent and a frequent sinner
#10 do not judge as you do not want to be judged! on 2007-10-09 09:52
The Midwest is not holding back money from the Church, its holding back money from thieves who cloak themselves hypocritically in the trappings of the Church. More important, the Midwest is as much (arguably, more) the Church than Syosett. In fact, their aim is to see to it that funds are donated to worthy recipients (the needy!) and not wasted or stolen.
You, who say do not judge, you not only judge, but you call white black by turning the pyramid of stewardship on its point.
#10.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 11:34
Mr. (or Ms.) "humble servant and a frequent sinner" is as judgmental and hateful in his words to those he says should be ashamed of themselves and resign as anything said on this Website. Those who believe that those criticizing +Herman should just pray and not protest should perhaps do the same thing instead of attacking those who voice their discontent with Syosset.
#10.2 bumbling servant and a frequent talker on 2007-10-09 12:22
The Lord said, "Judge not ..." He did NOT say, "Don't use good judgement."
I don't know you, my friend, but to say, "Shame on us," for withholding funds to a group of thieves trying desperately to keep the lid on their thievery ... there's not shame in that. At this point, it doesn't even evoke pride. Merely deep sadness. I have read practically every word on this Website, and only in the past couple of days have posts such as yours started to come to the fore! I frankly suspect that +MH's partisans - for reasons which are completely inexplicable in a moral way - are behind this, a coordinated effort.
And always, the cry, "How dare you hold-out from the church." I won't even say, "How dare the thieves steal for this church!"
One thing I can say for certain: If the OCA continues to have +MH at the helm, and folks with the sentiment expressed in your post as the laity - then it will truly NOT be a better church. It will be a "church in name only."
I truly have to shake my head at people who are willing to put up with the scandalous behavior and outright audacity being evidenced by the OCA's "leadership," - not counting +Job - and then I remember: Scott Peterson still gets letters in jail from women who want to marry him. Go figure!
Well, the Lord and the New Testament prophecies warn us that such thieves and wolves would descend upon the Church. We Orthodox in America might be actually proud that the Enemy is so worried about us that he's sent one (or more?) into our midst! We must have been doing something right, or we would have been ignored!
The SHAME in this little operation is that: (a) monies were collected in the name of the OCA, and (b) our archbishop and former treasurer can't come forward with a simple answer worthy of a first-year undergrad accounting student and say, "Here's where it was spent." I mean, let's ignore for a minute that it clearly was not spent in support of the causes for which it was raised. I don't know what kind of theology, hierarchy, or good common sense one has to use to come to the conclusion, "Let me send in some more money to the same person."
You want to quote, "Judge not ..." to me? How about this one: "The foolish man builds his house upon the sand. And when the rains came ..." You know the rest.
You can do what you like, but as for me, I'll be making no more deposits in the "Met. Herman Sand-bagging Bank of In-Name-Only" organization. If he's just going to be a "figure-head" treasurer and a "figure-head" dispenser of a highly-filtered truth, then he can "go figure" what happened to my donations!
And by the way, you think it gives me pleasure to send my hard-earned money to other charities and not to my own church?! Guess again.
#10.3 C.C. on 2007-10-09 13:11
Now you all see what Akron Ohio has to deal with each and every week, Herman's Cronies...... You think you can hide behind the Church but God Sees All! People know who you all are.... The holy spirit has a sense of knowing about your presence when your near and it exposes you....
I feel sad though in a sense that you have to hide behind fake masks, you want to belong so badly, and you use people as if your actually their friends, but have personal agenda's.... then you sign off again using God as your mask saying God Bless.... As for my Baptism I will spit on you the devil and rebuke, your every desire to hide in the True Church..... As for Mr. Herman Swaiko, too bad you had to hide at friends in Akron three weeks ago, when you visited us... I would of had a list of questions to ask you.... And I would of had the Cleveland Plain Dealer take your Picture.... Or maybe your mug shot.
#10.4 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 13:46
I keep asking myself, where is the outrage? I want to stand up and scream, especially when I hear, “do not be judgmental”. When I see someone committing a crime, I shouldn’t call the authorities because I don’t want to be judgmental?? Haven’t we heard and read and seen enough to know the plot of this heartbreaking who-done-it? Do we not know the difference between judgmental and criminal? And then there’s the little issue of what’s been done to the faithful, unsuspecting and trusting members of the OCA by this merry band of thieves and liars.
This cast of characters has been pulling the wool over our eyes for a very long time. It all runs down hill, and in this case it’s running fast from the very top. THESE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE RIGHTEOUS, PIOUS, CHRISTIAN LEADERS OF OUR FAITH!! Apparently, this has become their blatant and arrogant Standard Operating Procedure. The lies, omissions and vindictive chess moves make me ill. God knows all and sees all. And yes, I will be judged, if I watch this behavior and look the other way! Actually, you can bet they’re counting on it! Everything should be out in the full light of day, not hidden in the darkness where unspeakable deeds live. And that’s exactly what’s happening. The mountains of dirty little secrets are coming out for all to see, whether we want them to or not. It’s not about the money, it’s about the truth and it’s clear who’s standing in the way of that vigorously!
My personal thanks to Mark Stokoe and Cathy Tatusko for standing up against all odds and taking many hits to bring these issues to my blind attention.
#10.5 Lifetime OCA Member on 2007-10-09 14:07
Oh, so the carrying on that brought to light all the misconduct was a bad thing?
#10.6 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-09 19:44
You would do well to mind your own words.
Judge not lest ye be judged.
>Holding back money, you should be ashamed of yourselves, God will take care of you people! Just as bad as stealing!
And pray tell me, what makes you think I am using that money for myself? Or that others are? Whatever makes you think the Diocese of the Midwest is tossing that money away (as Syosset has done AND managed to cover it up so far)?
In point of fact, while I am still giving to my parish and my diocese, I am designating--using my God-given gift of understanding and discernment to decide where His gifts to me can best be deployed. That's not your choice. That's my choice--a God-given choice. I choose to designate that the money NOT be given to the central administration. That's not the "Church", you know. That's just the administration and I am certainly not "stealing" by choosing instead to support local charities, the local church, and my archbishop.
As for the Midwest, the monies that would go to Syosset are being held in escrow. They cannot be used for anything else at this point. If Syosset takes the necessary action, the money will be there--IN FULL--and sent in once the situation is resolved.
That's not stealing. Again, it is using God-given gifts of discernment and wisdom in distributing what He has given us.
How dare you accuse anyone of stealing? Who ARE you? From your words it is sadly evident that you may be deceived by the Father of Lies, though I must assume out of a sense of duty to the Church--but still deceived.
May God forgive you, as I do--currently somewhat unwillingly, but my priest will help me straighten that out in confession.
#10.7 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-10-10 10:00
This scandal become more bizzare and disgusting every day.
Stonewall has presented a simple, yet pointed post on the previous comments that does quite well in summarizing the issues - #43:
"This scandal is all about right, wrong, and the ability to tell the difference between the two and acting accordingly. Plain and simple."
Now, how do we get there.
If you think of Christian Love, we are not asking for much. However, we now see MH and PK cutting salaries and stipends for others but making no cuts on themselves or immediate staff. They are sucking off the money that remains and cry out against the Midwest for more. What rubbish! We've seen many such historical examples of tactics like this, fortunately not many involve Christian organizations.
When our business went through a difficult time about 10 years ago, all of our employees took reductions with the biggest salary reductions made at the top. We endured through that difficult period and grew together. We were able to quickly restore wages and repay the reductions. The business has grown and has been able to provide profit sharing checks ever since. This isn't a novel concept, we see leaders in every industry, organization and environment that make significant sacrifices when times are tough in order to help sheppard the flock through the crisis. Yes, it does take leaders! Leaders to stick their neck out; leaders to stand up for truth; leaders to make their voices known; leaders to walk the talk. Don't preach of the efforts of Dietrich Bonhoffer, St. Maria Skobtsova, or Mother Teresa and then cower to injustice.
While Rome burns . . .
#11 Ken Kozak on 2007-10-09 10:19
I have heard that there were two resolutions that the DOW passed regarding all of this.
Does anyone know what the other one was?
I have not been able to find the text of them any where, other than the one that Mark got from somewhere and posted on here.
Perhaps the text of the other resolution can shed light on this one.
#12 Ken Sanders on 2007-10-09 12:17
You can depend on this: whoever wants to be a bishop aspires to a noble task. A bishop must be irreproachable,...of even temper; self-controlled, modest, and hospitable. He should be a good teacher. ..He must not be contentious but, rather, gentle, a man of peace. He must be a good manager of his own household,....for if a man does not know how to manage his own house, how can he take care of the church of God? ....He must be well thought of by those outside the church, to ensure that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil's trap.
#13 the first letter of Paul to Timothy on 2007-10-09 16:34
Just a few comments here:
I see that no parish or diocese has said that it has ceased to commemorate the Metropolitan during the Great Entrance.
So we are contuing to remember him in our prayers. Well, we should!
I was not at the Assembly of the DOW, neither was my rector, who was in Russia at the time. So I don't know who proposed the motion, nor by what proportion it passed. That would be nice to know.
No official pronouncements have come out from the DOW or at my parish level regarding the 'scandal'. It seems that we in the DOW are trying to sweep it all under the rug hoping it will just go away, but it won't.
From now on I think I will give only to designated funds so the money doesn't go to Syosset. The national church is no longer funding for missionary activities? Bah!
#14 James Morgan on 2007-10-09 18:05
This is a very good point, Ken, about your company pulling together when they were in crisis with the largest salary reductions being made at the top.
When I worked as a secretary in 1993 for the Armenian Seminary, located in New Rochelle, NY, and my second time at SVS as a married student, I was amazed at the energy of particularly one person who helped build up their church's endowment fund in a rrelatively ather short period of time to 20 million dollars. I was so impressed that I had sent off information to our own OCA people managing our own entirely relatively too small endowment fund.
If the Armenian church can have financial stability, what happened to to the OCA? If the Antiochians can have financial stability, what happened to the OCA?
As Mark so correctly indicates, the Diocese of the West has made a very weak and misleading response to the Diocese of the Midwest and our current crisis.
#15 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-09 19:08
This whole mess becomes more & more ridiculous. How much more obvious can it become that + Herman and Kucynda are stonewalling everything? Of course they want the commission to continue and once it has conclusions, only + Herman will be allowed to edit it and disseminate it - AS BEFORE. To even think people believe ONLY Kondratick was soley responsible is ludicrous. The guilty are + Theodosius, RSK and + Herman. Will the rest of this ever be revealed? They certainly are doing everything to hide it and Kucynda is just in la-la land. It's simple - THROW + HERMAN and KUCYNDA OUT and then REALLY begin to expose the truth. + Benjamin needs to be quiet and let the laos speak & lead. Afterall, we wouldn't be in this mess if we didn't give the bishops and Syosset such a free hand without checks & balances.
#16 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 06:17
No credible or meaningful investigation of our past can take place while Herman and Kucynda are manipulation the Church and all of us. They either leave or they will be responsible for the fiscal ruin of the OCA.
Leave next week or suffer the consequences.
#17 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 06:38
The last two times I have attempted to post comments critical of the editorial position of this website they have not seen the light of day. The editor has told me the comments got lost and deleted in the volume of material that floods his in box. I trust that this time will not be strike three.
Mr. Stokoe's editorial accusing Bishop Benjamin and the West of prevarication is itself a disingenuous mischaracterization. As such it shows the bias of the editor, if not more.
Let us start by reading the actual language of the resolution. It does not anywhere say what Mr. Stokoe claims. He claims that it says, in effect, the OCA hasn't functioned well over the last few years or investigated and corrected effectively for lack of money.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! It says the lack of money will handicap the OCA's efforts to go forward to investigate or "retool."
Those propositions, it seems to me, cannot be gainsaid. How can people lead a nationwide organization well or conduct a difficult investigation of this nature in our times without a lot of money? It can't be done.
If the resolution actually said what Mr. Stokoe claims, I would be posting a message in his favor. Or remaining silent.
What we really have is a difference of opinion between Bishop Benjamin and his diocese, and Mr. Stokoe. One says it would be better to starve the central office out moneywise and the other says it will be worse.
I do not presume to judge between the two. Good arguments are being made by both sides, and it ain't my job to choose.
What is my job, if by nothing more than self-appointment, is to call Mr. Stokoe on faulty reasoning and mischaracterization of the evidence. At the very least this objection should be sustained and the charge of prevarication against the resolution of the West should be stricken. Indeed counsel for the prosecution (he is not really, at this point, an objective editor) should be admonished not to mislead the jury.
Fr. George Washburn
(editor's note: As I have explained privately to those who have wondered where their posts went, when the site has over 20,000 readers a nite, it is attacked by webots posting ads for the usual spam: on-line gambling, medicines and ways to enlarge what ever needs to be enlarged, etc. In deleting scores of these, it happens real comments sometimes get deleted. I am not aware of the deletion until and unless someone, like Fr. George, brings it to my attention. I offer to repost, but few have taken me up on the offer, preferring to cast aspersions on my veracity instead.
That being said, I have never claimed to be "objective". No one is fully objective, whatever that means. The facts I report are objective, in the sense they are true. Fr. George does not state my facts are untrue, merely that I have misinterpreted them. I disagree. Readers are free to make up their own minds on examining the text themselves, and I encourage them to do so. It is true that I often write as a prosecuting attorney. On the other hand, Fr. George is hardly "objective" either. He made his career in cyberspace defending Bishop Tikhon of the West; and now apparently, feels compelled to continue as the defense attorney for Tikhon's former diocese. I welcome the exchange of opinions as we search for truth. As I have said, all points of view are welcome here.)
#18 Fr. George Washburn on 2007-10-10 07:59
Fr. George Washburn said: “What we really have is a difference of opinion between Bishop Benjamin and his diocese, and Mr. Stokoe. One says it would be better to starve the central office out moneywise and the other says it will be worse.”
I agree with Mr. Stokoe. Bishop Benjamin wants to continue funding this current administration in Syosset and the proposition passed at the DOW meeting will continue the status quo. It would appear that money is out there to fix any problems, Fr. George, it all comes down to who do we trust to fix those problems: the ones who were part of the problem or honorable Orthodox Christians both clergy and laity who will receive all the money collected on savetheoca.org. to correct our situation when certain terms are met. It is obvious that those who signed on will not want their money to go to the current administration. We are not adverse to funding the central church and the amount on that site is close to $50,000 now. There are many, many very generous OCA members out there, however, certain criteria need to be met to inspire our trust. It is impossible for any of us to continue funding where trust does not exist!
#18.1 Withholding Funds for Syosset at this time on 2007-10-10 10:07
As a "lurker" on the Indiana list I can vouch that Fr.Washburn spent a great deal of time on that list supporting the now retired bishop of the west. He also spent a great deal of time attacking the Pokrov ladies. He's not a member of the OCA. He's in the Antiochian jurisdiction. It seems to me that the Antiochians have enough problems of their own without their lawyer/priest coming into our cesspool trying to straighten things out.
#18.2 nicholas skovran on 2007-10-10 12:01
Dear Father George,
I disagree with your interpretation of the proposal of the OCADOW Assembly.
The premise of the proposal is:
Whereas withholding financial support from the central administration of the Orthodox Church in America presents an impediment to the work of the Special Commission/Committee and the efforts of the Church, in general, to address the current crisis,
To that I say "Baloney!"
What are the "efforts of the Church in general" other than to proclaim the Gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit captives, take care of orphans and widows? What did I miss?
As for the work of the Special Commission/Committee, are they paid a fee, stipend, honorarium or salary for being on it?
If they don't already, the committee members could raise support for their plane tickets and other expenses, like many missionaries do in order to proclaim the aforementioned Gospel all over the world.
Perhaps His Beatitude has enough rooms in his house to accommodate them? They could take turns cooking meals for each other.
The investigation, as well as any money need to further that investigation, would be obviated were the responsible persons to admit their wrongdoing, defrock themselves (where applicable) and spend the rest of their breathing days in repentance.
I had previously (months ago) voiced my opinion against withholding because I didn't want to "choke" those doing good at Syosset, but from what I've learned from various sources, most of them were let go BEFORE the Midwest Diocese actually began withholding. I also had much no desire to use money, or withholding it, to manipulate the people in the Central Administration.
But, I trust Archbishop JOB.
Even I know that at times I have to withhold desirable things from my children for their own good.
At this point, I see money to Syosset used among other things to perpetuate a game of deception.
Hungry people could be fed with all the money that Syosset "needs" to further the work of the "special committee".
#18.3 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-10 12:12
"WithWRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! It says the lack of money will handicap the OCA's efforts to go forward to investigate or "retool." Those propositions, it seems to me, cannot be gainsaid. How can people lead a nationwide organization well or conduct a difficult investigation of this nature in our times without a lot of money? It can't be done. "
With all due respect, why would anyone in his right mind give to an organization run by the same group of individuals who misappropriated funds, concealed their actions, and villified those who questioned them. I am sure the DOM would release funds to the national church if there was new leadership and a commitment to accountability. The DOW's resolution is part of the seemingly endless strategy of Syosset to always blame others for what they themselves have created. I would have hoped better from Bp. Benjamin.
It is to the great sorrow of the Orthodox Church that its clergy as a whole have not expressed their outrage at the actions of the leadership of this Church. You strenuosly object to the "bias" of Mr. Stokoe. I would suggest your anger should be directed those who have lied, stolen, and corrupted this Church.
#18.4 David Paynter on 2007-10-10 12:30
Fr. George, please,
Your 5th paragraph . . . "How can they lead and conduct a difficult investigation of this nature ... without a lot of money?"
What are you saying? In terms of the investigation, MH is setting up the investigating committee for an expeditious rubber stamp of what he wants to see. This is not an independent investigation at all. The cry for money is a farce. They want $'s to pay for the Proskur Rose firewall. If MH and PK need cash have them explain where the $5.7 of ADM money is squirreled away.
In terms of leadership, good leadership does not require a lot of money. Quite frankly, it's usually the other way around; I find that those with money and silver spoons are often poor leaders; while those who have had to risen from the bottom have learned the ropes and become good leaders. Obviously not true in all cases, but money is not the answer, vision, good people, communication, humility, patience and truth are qualities of a leadership, whether that is for an individual or an organization. For you sports fans, you've got the NY Yankees and a $200 million payroll going up against Eric Wedge and the Cleveland Indians with a $60 million payroll. Manager Wedge stuck to his guns all year long; many questioned him having Paul Byrd start in Game 4 of the series (Byrd was shelled by the Yanks earlier in the year – why not go to your ace on 3 days rest?). The Yanks felt pressured and started Chen Ming Wang on 3 days rest. Not only did Paul Byrd get the win, but the entire team developed even greater respect for Wedge with his decision to start Byrd. As Wedge said, "Paul Byrd earned his place to start and win game 4" and that is true. It was Byrd pitching in the game not Wedge, but Wedge provided the vision and leadership to make it happen.
OUR OCA has thousands of dedicated and faithful members who have provided support for what they thought was a truthful, conciliar, and hierarchical church following The Word. That same support will return to this jurisdiction, but only when it begins to behave in an orthodox manner.
Time to clean this thing up and get on with the mission of Orthodoxy!
Is orthodoxy for the OCA too much to ask?
Leadership –Yes! Money – No!
#18.5 Ken Kozak on 2007-10-10 13:56
Fr. George, I don’t know where to begin replying with you. First of all, there is money there to retool when Herman leaves. There is growing money on the savetheoca.org site that is pledged to be available for "retooling". When Herman is gone and those that have aided and abetted him are gone, the good people of the OCA are ready to step up to the plate. The Midwest is piling up over $50,000 a month that will be available when Herman starts playing nice with others and shows that he’s more interested in the good of the Church rather than what’s good for Joe Swaiko.
The lack of money for investigating this properly is yet another red herring that those that have a lot to hide and are in the corner of deeply ingrained corruption are using. When you can’t argue any moral or justifiable cause you then just have to present the actions of people with consciences in the worst light possible to justify why you must keep your ungodly course! Just to refresh your mind, the investigation was started well before there was any withholding of major portions of the assessments. It was started and it gave a report with people fully funding the Church. The Metropolitan then decided to stop the investigation because it was getting a tad uncomfortable for the old guy. The money stopped when the Metropolitan stopped the investigation. The resolutions of the Midwest say that money will flow when the investigation with the original committee restarts. Sounds like there will be money to do it, don’t it?
Where was Benjamin and your diocese when the hindrance was from the Metropolitan? You only started bellyaching when there was action from people who want to resolve this, who are sick and tired of the completely unchristian behavior exhibited by those with the klobuks and are doing the only thing that we can to get the attention of the leadership because it’s the only thing they value! Money!
It was because of Herman’s intransigence and his wanting to cover up his behavior that the investigation was stopped and then the resulting money flow stopped. NOT the other way around. Go review the articles on here. It’s in plain sight. Now, the West has the gall to say we can’t continue because money isn’t flowing in! It’s enough to make your blood boil! You need to review the order of events in which this happened. The investigation cannot continue in earnest not because of financial bankruptcy, but because of the moral and spiritual bankruptcy at the top levels of this Church that permeates the very moral governing body we have. It can’t continue because good people continue to be reeled in by the lies at the top levels of our leadership. THAT’S the hurdle to investigating, THAT’S the hurdle to closure, THAT’S where people should be aiming their angst, NOT at people of conscience who can’t stomach having their money going to lawyers to shield people who have done nothing wrong. BUNK! The only handicap we have, morally and spiritually, is the person who holds the office of Metropolitan! Don’t create the smoke screen of withheld money as to why we can’t get to a conclusion of this. It’s disingenuous and intellectually dishonest!
We don’t need a lot of money to investigate this. We aren’t going to be going making crime scene investigations and costly lab work. We can do this on the cost of a few phone calls and cheap internet access if those that have plundered and used the Church for nefarious purposes came clean. Plain and simple, no? In an organization that should be the sterling example of honesty, openness, and healing, we are hindered not by a lack of money, we are hindered by people forgetting what this entire organization is for. It is only when we lose sight of what this is and put ourselves first does this occur, not because people of conscience can’t stomach feeding the serpent any more!
You say you can’t chose between two good arguments? What is the good argument for leading us into this scandal? What is the good argument for continually lying? What is the good argument for spending over half a million dollars on high priced lawyers when you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong! Good Lord! It is your job to chose, the same as it’s mine to chose between right and wrong. God isn’t going to take favor because you didn’t want to rock the boat by not making a moral choice.
What do we need to convince you that the two sides represent completely opposite moral arguments and that its not a parsing of words that differentiates them, but a mentality and morality that is diametrically opposed to each other?! By people that preach Godly words at liturgy and then participate in corruption threatening to bring down His very Church! You chastise Mark for misrepresentations, but say nothing of the Metropolitan who has been shown time and again to be lying and misrepresenting. Where was your righteous chastising of Kucynda when he gave a figure of 2 million to the Attorney General of New York?!
You can twist words around however you like and question what the meaning of word “is” is, but the gist is that the West is happily processing with Herman down the trail towards disintegration of this Church. By this time there should be NO question in ANYONE’S mind that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. It would be, to quote a great and “holy” man, “unthinkable” for people to not think that. Any person with any degree of common sense and a conscience can see that’s there something wrong and we need to find out what that is and correct it. Where ever it may lead. It is only when people attempt to cover up and deny the expression of individual and group consciences that we hinder getting this resolved. THAT is more disconcerting and troublesome than any lack of money. THAT is what good people should be bellyaching about!
#18.6 Stonewall on 2007-10-10 14:29
The financial cuts recently made by Syosset are not in the best interest of the national church; such as Youth Ministries and Evangelism. However, eliminating staff directly in connection with Syosset; such as the Metropolitan salary and compensation--since he is our head monk--would show that he is serious about cleaning up the finanical mess and other problems which are hindering the spiritual growth of the church.
#19 Constance Barna Shinn on 2007-10-10 08:02
Constance, do you know what percentage of your money that you gave in appeals and assessments went to programs such as Youth and Evangelism? Do you know the absolute value?
#19.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 15:30
You are doing an outstanding job by presenting the OCA crisis as it should have been presented by the oca.org which is the official site of the OCA. Your are so kind and respectful to everyone interested to post on this site. This site IS NOT YOURS, as you have been accused, THIS SITE IS OUR ORTHODOX CHURCH CHRISTIANS SITE.
The most vulnerable people against this site are the “Orthodox Church Bishops”, not only from the OCA but some other dioceses. Glory to the Almighty God for the inspiration and protection given to + Job and his supporters, and I mean by this the OCA bishops who will diligently cast out the irresponsible + MH, together with the MC at the upcoming October meeting scheduled for next week, based on the canonical and OCA Statute provisions, and breach of fiduciary duties as the head of the OCA = a not for profit organization.
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IT IS NOT ABOUT MONEY, AND IT IS THE METROPOLITAN, WE HAVE MONEY, and BUT WE DO NOT NEED THIS metropolitan anymore. Let’s start from back to forth.
As Mark so correctly indicates, the Diocese of the West has made a very weak and misleading response to the Diocese of the Midwest and our current crisis. It is hard for me to believe that Herman and Kucynda now expect anyone to believe that they will not interfere with the Special Committee Part II.
We should speak out clearly and loudly that “No investigation with Herman in office and Kucynda behind the scenes pulling the strings is going to be stomached by anyone anymore.” They MUST GO at the same time.
It’s over Herman and Kucynda. Get out now while you have a chance. The door of opportunity is about to slam shut and you will have no options left. Whatever happened in the past and can be found out after all these years, will come out and the more you try to stop it the more determined people will be to get to the bottom of it.
We have to agree that + Herman is correct about himself as he often says when things are going exactly the way he wants things to go “It is out of my hands, there is nothing I can do about it.”
You hammered the nail, Your Beatitude and you MUST GO now, you are exactly right. It is out of your hands now and there is nothing you can do about it! There is no point in staying silent any longer Fr RSK, and Special Investigation Commission members. You must speak out now about any misappropriation and findings. Those who you wanted to protect sacrificed you.
The Diocese of the West blames the Diocese of the Midwest for stalling the Special Investigation because the Midwest is withholding their assessments to Syosset. This is not correct, STOP MISLEADING ANYONE. Now, suddenly, Bishop Benjamin, the bishop of the Diocese of the West is being assigned the task of leading the “new and improved” Special Investigation Committee, to do WHAT, to distract the attention we are focusing upon the real issues of the crisis which are + MH cover ups? NO WAY. Metropolitan Herman has just installed Bishop Benjamin as the new Bishop of the Diocese of the West and is + MH expecting from + Benjamin to do exactly the communist were doing, namely to be slaves of their superiors and execute their orders? NO WAY, this is the Orthodox Church not any P. B. …
We are mature enough to think about this: does Herman really think that Bishop Benjamin will actually investigate the man who just installed him as bishop in San Francisco and will suddenly be impartial so as to investigate him? Do anyone and I mean ANYONE really thinks that we are going to buy any reports?
We are not at “the market place” to buy whatever + MH would like us to buy, and as for the "special committee" , the membership except for Bp. Benjamin, are all the members from the Metropolitan's own diocese or connected with Stavropegial institutions (St Vladimir's & St Tikhon's ) - hardly an impartially constituted committee. The other interesting criterion appears to be their participation in the trial of the former Chancellor as it was said: "Since all of the above were directly involved in the Diocesan Trial of the former chancellor, they are the only ones to have heard all of the evidence presented and are certainly in the best position to address the issues impartially and quickly."
ONLY the MC members can take charge of the NEW SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE COMMISSION, not the +MH, and those proposed by +MH, should not accept the +MH proposal / nomination for so many reasons.
Even though +MH makes statements that "No witnesses are off limits, including myself, and I would expect that you and the Committee would follow the evidence wherever it leads you." – We cannot trust him because he already DID SET OFF LIMITS for the previous SIC and made the SIC job as miserable as possible as the records / posts show this. + MH cannot be trusted anymore, he MUST GO. So many bishops, clergymen, and the whole LAOS have long since stopped believing in this man's honesty and sense of duty to the Church and let us read and comprehend the Old Testament saying: "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."
Song of Solomon 2:15
Mark and readers,
To date, that +Job supported the no-confidence and resignation of +Herman, and the DOM's assemblies support of these resolutions, with a majority vote to these effects indicates that Syosset DOES NOT HAVS much work ahead of them to prove to the faithful, as well as to NY state law, the IRS, to professional CPA as well as attorneys at law, that they are sincere in cleaning up the mess. The actual Syosset inhabitants DO NOT have anymore credibility. They must go now. Their ERA IS OVER. Syosset is being held to great accountability for so long. This story will not end soon, as long as the +MH and PK are in control of money, people and records. The longer they stay in the offices the finances are only getting worse. +Job had also said that he did not want to see +Herman resign, but +Herman is not giving us great confidence in continuing in this present state of affairs. The DOM has given us cause for hope to eliminate +MH and PK. After they will be out of Syosset than a normalized financial situation for the OCA can be expected.
Even though +MH decided to fight the criticism and Olimpiada was appalled to learn what Archbishop Job and his diocese had done and denounced it, it is too little and to late. Now reading the last posted articles and seeing the ramifications of His Eminence's decision I am even more convinced he is right, and +MH MUST GO at the speed of light. +MH is hurting the church not helping her. I hope Metropolitan Herman is able to overcome his BAD JUDGMENT and lead us out of this mess, by resigning. I have a new confidence in OCA Holy Synod and MC, and everyone should understand that NOBODY is on his side cheering for +MH.
It is obvious that it may seem to some who look only at the immediate effect of withholding that the mountainous route back is too painful; but step back and view it from the perspective of the mountain itself. Doing so will result in the unavoidable conclusion that sending money to the OCA's central administration furthers what amounts to no less than O…….. C…. (And/or its cover up) being masterminded at OCA headquarters. [O]……. [C]…. in [A]…… --- it is into this that wolves in sheep clothing (remember the omophorion) having turned the Orthodox Church in America, and since money is the blood of any criminal enterprise, it must be withheld.
It is obvious that the recently concluded Diocesan Assembly of Midwest, was giving us the understanding that it is a diocese in action and very orderly and the Assembly was one of the best in terms of organization and order. + Job did show his respect for the OCA establishments including some hierarchs. He is not an unqualified whistleblower; he is an outstanding hierarch the American orthodox should be proud of.
Everyone should know that the basic problem we have currently is a person, +Herman, who has shown tremendous determination and backbone to do whatever he can as long as he can to once again prove his lack of character and integrity. His problem isn't the result of any systematic failure in Orthodox procedures or institutions. His problem is the result of a lack of faith and idolatry to worldly possessions. The Orthodox monasticism does not have any impact on +MH attitude, because he is guided by ye of the evil one = MONEY.
As for the fact that OCA is a hierarchical church, something like this was published by Fr Al. Shmemann St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4, Fall 1959, pp. 36-41. A hierarchical church doesn't mean that there is no accountability of resources. If there is no accountability then the laity has the right to withhold resources, they are not committed to fund an enterprise that can't tell them even how much money was received for appeals. We have to at least know that and how it's used for us to have a conscience to give our hard earned money under their care!
Everyone as clergymen and Laos should observe and understand the following presentation ONCE and FOR ALL:
One of the basic descriptions of the Church is that it is a “council.” Sometimes we use the Russian word sobornost, which means “a unity of persons within the organic fellowship of the Church, each [person maintaining his personal freedom and integrity.” The notion of conciliarity or sobornost stems from the ancient understanding of the Church as being the Body of Christ, with each member having its own function and yet being under the headship of Christ.
According to the Orthodox tradition, the bishop maintains the unity of the Church while at the same time encouraging those under his care to live out their baptismal calling to fully live according to the gospel of love. People obey the authority of the bishop since he is the symbol of unity in the Church, and is tasked with rightly teaching the gospel and proclaiming the truth of Christ to the world. The bishop’s authority is not to be lorded over people, but is ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ, each member fully living out his or her call, all helping and assisting one another for the glory of God and the Church. The bishop cannot make decisions by himself, nor can the laity make decisions without consulting the bishops. Both the bishops and laity work together. Within conciliarity there is room for debate, discussion, and common decision making.
There is a basic equality among the people of God. This does not mean that the Church is a democracy where one group or party with the majority of votes wins or loses. There is no place for winners and losers in the Church. The Church maintains a hierarchical structure bishop, priest, and people in order to maintain peace and order in the church body. However, we shouldn’t think that power and authority “trickle down” from the clergy to the laity, but that the source of power and authority in the Church is Christ Himself, who is a model of love, humility and sacrifice.
Thus the Church is a community of the baptized persons who work together to build up the Body of Christ one person at a time through the exercising of the variety of gifts and charismas that are distributed to each by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Body only exists because it is Christ’s Body and is held together by a continual outpouring of love.
Therefore, if both the clergy and laity are truly seeking to live according to the will of God, even among a fallen humanity full of human sinfulness and arrogance, there must be an expression of love based on the example of Christ Himself. Jesus gave us the supreme example of love through His Passion and crucifixion on the cross, giving up His life for others. His life was an example of loving and serving others, not imposing power and authority over His disciples or anyone else. Thus, clergy are not called to have power and authority over the laity, nor are the laity called to increase their power or authority over and against the clergy. Rather, all are called to work together for the common good of all members of the Church.
This “Ask Father” column appeared in the Spring 2007 Issue Vol. 29, No. 1 of AGAIN Magazine, and the response is from Fr. William Mills, rector of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He recently published Baptize All Nations: Reflections on the Gospel of Mathew for the Pentecost Season.
"Ask Father" is a feature of AGAIN Magazine.
You can write to “Ask Father”, P.O. Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005, or e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. This material is from the internet.
It would seem to me that the upcoming Metropolitan Council meeting will be a perfect opportunity to take a NO CONFIDENCE vote on Herman. In front of all the bishops, Herman will not be able to hide and he MUST STEP DOWN. VOTE NO CONFIDENCE.
Thank you mark, and may God bless all the readers of this site in peace and good health.
Anonymous OCA senior clergyman afraid of +mh retaliation on 2007-10-10
#20 Jean Pierre on 2007-10-10 11:28
Wow, friends! I guess I should have known a lot of people were reading this site and had strong feelings, but....
Replying one by one to some of the comments:
1. Mr. Stokoe thinks I spent a lot of time on the Indiana list defending Bishop Tikhon!?!?!?!?! (I finally had to choose which punctuation mark to end with and the exclamation point was the winner by a narrow margin.) I think Bishop T and his supporters would tell everyone exactly the opposite! I may have said here and there that he had the better of a particular argument or exchange, or that as the occupant of his office he deserved to be treated more gracisouly than he himself often treated others, but that hardly equates to being his defender. Now I WAS a critic of his critics (especially pokrov) when I felt they were unfair or just plain wrong, but disagreeing with X's opponents does not make one a supporter or defender of X by a long shot. I personally believe I went out on a limb REPEATEDLY to criticize the tone and content of many Bishop T postings, and received a lot of venom in return!
2. I am Antiochian. I am not in the OCA DOW. So I am not beholden to Bishop Benjamin, who I like and respect. I also believe strongly in the wisdom and integrity of Bishop Job, a man I also like and respect even though we have never met.
3. Someone seems confused about what I think is the issue with good reasons on both sides. It is not whether or not misuse of money by church authorities is OK, but rather whether or not withholding support at this time is the best way forward.
If forcing a change in administration is what one believes to be necessary to go forward, then withholding is a clear choice. If one believes that a change at the top is not the sine qua non of progress, then a good argument for non-withholding can be made.
The whole withholding question is really nothing more than a litmus test for what the person has already concluded is the best way forward. It is on that question that I am NOT taking a public position.
4. I AM taking a public position on one thing, and one thing only at this time in this place. I am saying that it was wrong to accuse Bishop Benjamin and the West of prevarication for saying that withholding makes it tougher to investigate and tougher to get a new start. That may or may not be a misjudgment on the part of His Grace and the West, but it is FAR from a lie or falsehood or whatever Mr. S intends that word "prevarication" to convey.
5. Speaking of Indiana list, I find myself back in a very well known position here that I assumed there, daring to differ with partisans of two sides and taking fire from both in return. Old dog (me), old tricks, old result!!!
#21 Fr. George Washburn on 2007-10-10 21:47
before "Syosset Strikes back" you said you had difficulty finding time, what with your job and family responsibilities. I repeat what I said from my very first post to OCAnews, seperate reporting from editorializing! If you focus on the first and leave the second to times of greater opportunity, I am sure you will have more time after work for your family. But see below.
Dear Father George,
As someone who knows and loves both you and Bishop Tikhon, I almost fell out of my chair when Mark attempted that feeble ad hominem. Mr Skovran, if you lurked only occasionally you must have come accross at least one sharp exchange! Mark Stokoe and Nicholas Skovran are the ones prevaricating there.
That is sadly typical of Mark: criticism must be from a tikhonite, a kondratickite, a hermanite, some "other", some bad "them" not from a fellow human being, a fellow christian.
Fr. George makes a simple point, based on a plain reading of the text. Note how the responses fail to actually deal with what Fr George W said. The "dog pile" on Fr George W only goes to show how sick OCAnews has become: an echo chamber of those who are following passion more than reason.
But the prevarication which Fr. George correctly noted in Mark's reading was only the beginning. Come on, Mtka Patty! Of Course it seems illogical! Think! He spent over a page treating Resolution 8 as if it was an attempt to assign blame for the past before admitting the obvious: the resolution was in the present tense. Yes of course, it is illogical as a way of assigning blame for the disintegration of the last Investigation- since it was not designed to play that "blame game". Throw that red herring out!
All of us who were there at the DOW assembly know, beyond a peradventure of a doubt, just who is pravaricating: Mark Stokoe. He presented Resolution 8, with not a whisper of the existance of Resolution 5. Now either Mark knew about Resolutuion 5, and chose to ignore it because it did not fit the way he chose to read resolution 8, or he did not know about resolution 5 at all, and prevaricated that he had the inside scoop when he didn't. I have appended Resolution 5, hithertofore unavailable on this site.
So the glorious revolution goes apace, and many write in their gushing gratitude at being being mislead, and OCAnews remains unaccountable and untransparent. Didn't we all read Animal Farm in school?
RESOLUTION 5 (Archpriest Matthew Tate):
That the 2007 Assembly of the Diocese of the West endorses in the strongest terms the
absolute necessity of the following to the Special Commission/Committee:
• that the members of the Special Commission/Committee of the Orthodox
Church in America be selected independently by the Chair of that committee
and be given the freedom to investigate any and all areas of concern
• that it function with absolute and complete independence relative to any
and/or all levels of church authority (especially those who have a conflict of
• that it present its report and recommendations for action to both the Holy
Synod and the Metropolitan Council in a complete unaltered form
• that said report be, after legal review, presented openly and honestly to the
• that any legal review be considered only for advice and not for compulsion
• that the proposed action upon recommendations of the committee also be
reported to the Church as a whole
The Diocese of the West affirms that the absolute and complete freedom of the Special
Commission/ Committee to conclude its investigation and publish its report is a necessity
for the healing and health of the Orthodox Church in America.
It is our choice to make this resolution independent of threats (financial or otherwise) and
not be construed as a lack of firm resolve. This course is an ethical, moral and spiritual
Motion to accept: Archpriest Matthew Tate
Second: Dmitri Solodow
Delegates: unamniously (sic) accept
(Editor's Note: I was not aware this was resolution #8 until they were all posted on the diocese's website, including #5, just today.
Nevetheless, it does not change what I wrote. The football is still being teed up; and the new IC has asserted conditions the Metropolitan has agreed to, and then denied, once before. If the new IC wants to run at the football yet again, it is their choice.
Upon reading, I welcome Fr. Tate's Resolution #5 in the spirit I assume it was intended. I am less sanguine about it squares with the Metropolitan's subsequent letter. They seem at distinct odds, on point after point. Is the Deacon suggesting Bishop Benjamin suggested the new members as per the resolution? Or did the Metropolitan as he seems to be suggesting in the letter? Or did they both agree beforehand before the letter was sent? If either of the latter is true, it seems to go against the intent of #5 doesn't it? More mysteries, it seems.)
#21.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 11:22
I did not suggest in my comment above anything at all regarding the Metropolitan's letter.
You would be well served to not rush interpretations beyond what people have actually said. Then perhaps you would not so egregiously misinterpret things like DOW Resolution 8, among other things. It's like your argueing with phantoms and straw men in your head and then pour it all into cyber space.
For that matter, I do not have confidence in your reading of the Met.'s letter. I do not see where he has appointed anyone explicitly. It seems rather more a suggestion, maybe a strong one. Maybe even a good one: you yourself praised those clergy them when they were passing judgement on RSK. I do not think those clergy are dishonorable.
If there is a difference between Met. Herman and Bp. Benjamin, they can try to work it out, and if neccessary bring their case to the Synod, MC etc. Until then, speculation is useless, except to further stir up passionate discontent.
3 other things:
1. I am sorry that I forgot to fill in the box. I do not want a whiff of anonymity around my posts.
2. Someone asserted that Bp Benjamin has only been "in charge" here in the DOW since the installation ceremony last week. Not so, he has been the ruling bishop since his election by the other bishops at the Spring Synod.
3. Someone also asserted that Bp. Benjamin could not be objective because the Met. just installed him. Not so. Installing him was not the Met.'s choice, much less some sort of "favor" that would make Bp. Benjamin "owe".
He was nominated unanimously by the Special Diocesan Assembly.
He was then elected by the SYnod, where his Beatitude got one vote like all the other bishops.
Thereupon Vladyka Benjamin became our ruling hierarch.
The installation was put off until the regular assembly to spare the Diocese three assemblies / assembly travel like events in one year. It was ceremony to mark what has been the de jure reality since the Spring Session of the Synod. It is the Met's responsibility to preside over such celebrations or delegate some one to them.
Any one who thinks that laity ought to have a voice ought to remember something that was so important to the American founders as it is in the Church. That is an educated, thoughtful citizenry. No one, of any rank in the Church, has the right to spout off speculation as if it is fact, to create imaginary discrediting theories of influence and then refuse to trust the real flesh and blood bishops, clergy and laity, and encourage others in the same.
In this and in all my posts I seek to represent no one but myself.
Dcn. Yousuf Rassam
Los Angeles CA
#21.1.1 Deacon Yousuf Rassam on 2007-10-11 17:01
AGAIN I SAY - CUT THE MONEY AND HEAR SOYSSET SQUEAL!!!
WE ARE STARTING TO GET RESULTS!!!
St James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Thank you for your comments. Certainly we need a thoughtful, educated laity. For that we need a reliable source of information. OCA News is not perfect or complete, but neither is ora.org. I think we need both to get a balanced picture of the situation in the OCA, and we need to read between the lines regardless of the source. Your criticisms are welcome -- I hope you and others in the West will continue to post.
I have one point to nitpick about your post. I think that it is proper -- even necessary -- to question the objectivity of the men the Metropolitan selected to judge Robert Kondratick, when the same men are subordinate to the Metropolitan, subject to his authority, and nominated for a position where they would now be expected to evaluate his own potential misconduct. I am shocked that you would overlook the possible conflict and suggest that Mark has suggested (even indirectly) that "those cleargy are dishonorable." If fact, I think the most honorable thing Bishop Benjamin and those honorable men could do is to insist that the committee include some of the Metropolitan's critics from the Diocese of the Midwest. That would not only cement the integrity of the investigative committee in fact, but also give the investigative committee the full degree of integrity it needs to complete its task.
#184.108.40.206 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-10-14 05:45
The bottom line is there was an IC before +Herman affected its failure.
The idea that the DOW would suggest the withholding is bad, given the fact the original IC failed and mention the IC as a basis for withholding being bad is a preposterous notion, and logically just incorrect. IC failure results in withholding. Not withholding results in IC failure, get it?
Bias in reporting? How about this idea? The DOW should demand the reinstatement of former members, along with unimpeded investigation (5) and reporting by next month or started withholding themselves. Anything less is simply more chivalry and more waiting games in an already dysfunctioning Synod. Mark didn't even get close to this suggestion, but it makes the best sense to me. If the DOW had demanded reinstatement along with unimpeded investigationand reporting, I would not have signed the petition, for example, but the dysfunction belongs to the leader, and the DOW resolution pushed me over the proverbial edge. I didn't need Mark to editorialize. The publishing of (8) had me churning and honestly, had me crediting +Herman for the idea, not Abp. Benjamin.
I don't know the timeline here, but if Abp. Job had any idea this resolution was in place, I can't imagine how he'd have felt either. Criticizing him for withholding, when he was handcuffed as chair of the IC, when his flock has already slammed him for sleeping at the wheel say from 2001 to 2005 at least has got to be enough to push any sane person over the edge, or into a corner, or sideways.
I'm sorry folks, there have been some obvious times where Mark has been bias, but this isn't one.
Resolution 5 is refreshing and I'll take Mark for his word on not recognizing 5 until it was published today.
Metropolitan Herman has caused all of this really. He is the source of the need for Resolution 5 and the source of the need for Resolution 8 (made clear by decisions taken by DOMW for the IC failure). Metropolitan Herman is the source.
If we all laid down and accepted Metropolitan Herman had corrected the ship and the church was fine now the RSK were gone, sure, +Herman could say we are the problem. The trouble with that theory is credibility restoration doesn't work that way and +Herman's credibility is falling every day he is silent and there is no IC and no reporting.
Is this the legacy of RSK, that he will cause people like me and at least a thousand others to hate +Herman? Seems to be working...
#21.1.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-11 19:25
I'm sorry, Dcn Yousuf, but I completely fail to understand your point.
Resolution #5 from the DOW was indeed a great Resolution--and Fr. Tate and the entire DOW deserve much credit for writing and passing it. What I fail to understand is why you in the DOW have not been the first to cry "foul!" when you held your Assembly (and passed Resolution #5) from Oct. 1-3, and Metropolitan HERMAN posted his letter so absolutely in contradiction to Resolution #5 on the morning of Oct. 5. What say you about this? Why are you all not coming to the defense of your Bishop and demanding that he be allowed to recuse himself from this rubber-stamping Committee that Met. HERMAN announced subsequent to your Assembly? Please explain.
By the way--a very belated "Thank You" to the DOM and especially to Archbishop JOB for your actions on behalf of the OCA. God be with you! We will keep +JOB and all who stand with him in our prayers as the MC and HS meet in the next week.
#22 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2007-10-11 17:01
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