Wednesday, October 10. 2007
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Let's be real. Herman will only allow for one conclusion. He wants the same people who handled the spiritual court to handle his. What is wrong with this picture? Are these people not held to the confidentiality statement they signed?
This man is a real angel of satan. He corrupts everything he touches. The Special Session of the Synod this summer was called to call him to accountability. What did he account for?
I really think it is time to hold the rest of the synod accountable. They constantly accommodate him. The poor people of this church! How much longer will we take this? I think everyone should hold back on giving in every diocese. Support your local parish and give directly to the charities of your choice. It's amazing!
Herman has not missed a check, yet he has cut others. I ask you again, what is wrong with this picture?
#1 Margo on 2007-10-10 13:12
There IS something we can do. Watch how our money is spent. In parishes where the board still insists on sending money to Syosset, or where the priest preaches "can't we all just get along," individual parishioners can choose to write a single check directly to the power company or mortgage lender, rather than putting any money on the plate. Money talks, and that seems to be the only thing that Syosset cares about. The more parishes withhold, the more likely Syosset will shape up and do the right thing.
#1.1 Greg Denysenko on 2007-10-12 10:55
It really is too incredibly depressing! Other than withholding, it truly does seem that there is no way to get rid of this devil-serving cabal!
Under "Syosset Strikes Back", the comment #126.96.36.199 which altho it was signed "anonymous", was very informative on the actual crimes that may've occured, was, frankly, one of the few rays of hope that I've seen in a while. My question is to the attorneys on this list, if the actions of Herman & Co can actually fall under the RICO statutes, why have the Feds (seemingly) lost interest?
Frankly, folks, as incredibly difficult as it is to say, the ONLY real way out of the morass is for all of the "playas" to be arrested and jailed.
How long, O Lord, how long?
#2 Alexander Ivsky on 2007-10-10 13:17
The Feds may or may not have interest. Its a busy world with lots of crimes to prosecute, after all. On the other hand, the Feds typically patiently build a case so if a prosecution is initiated its done right.
The number of crimes, State and federal, committed by these bungling nincompoops is pretty high, though. Its as though they've some notion that they are immune to prosecution ... heck, maybe they think they have Divine protection. But, they're not even really all that good at it ... were this a traditional crime ring (the kind for which RICO was originally crafted), they'd be so much more careful. But these guys are just idiots---sorry to say it so bluntly, but they cannot be all that smart, or if there is any among them of any significant cerebral voltage, his (or her) ego has totally gotten in the way. Its like the Three Stooges decided to open a church and they pilfer the collection plates ... and they only ones more incompetent are those (not all!!) on the MC who've sat back and let them do it. It would be entertaining, were it not so darned maddening.
P.S. Its hard to imagine that at least one lawyer along the way (more, I wouldn't be surprised) has been involved as an accomplice. Its all very very sick.
#2.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 17:10
I have an absolutely horrible vision of what has occurred, as we stand by and wait for Federal action.
I see a girl who was terribly injured in the Beslan tradgedy, I see the weekly collection bag from our church and then I see someone in priestly garments reaching into the bag, but instead of providing aid to the girl in the bed, they take the money and run. Is that what happened? They just reached their arm into the collection bag, took out what they wanted, gave out a couple bucks to make things look good and serve as bait to allow for a cry for more money? It's sick!
Why was St. Tikhon's paid back with interest to cover the AAC expenses, while the charitable funds that were ripped off received no such payments?
Has MH been making the $150k for the past 5 years? I can't imagine much expenses as the parishes have to pay for his visits and then he has the stipends and honoria payments when he visits. Wonder what his tax return looks like? Is it available under Freedom of Information request? Hmm
#2.1.1 The tax man on 2007-10-10 19:55
I'm trying to figure out if I'm more depressed now than I was back in the spring when +MH dismissed Greg Nescott. Maybe it's a tie. Somehow there was more despondency back in the spring -- maybe it's the petition that cheers me a bit now, although that cheer isn't really rooted in any reasonable expectation of impact.
Out of a stubborn sense of not wanting things I value to be taken away by this mess, I went to Ed Day. Even factoring in the fact that there has been declining attendence for a while, it was emptier than I could have imagined. Maybe when "they" see that they blame "us." What's massively depressing to contemplate is how many years it might take "them" to figure out that they haven't solved the problem if they do ultimately succeed in shutting "us" up.
Fr. Chad spoke inspiringly about missions, and there was an upbeat panel on the topic. I didn't hear the whole thing and didn't hear the later discussion of the seminary, so maybe someone somehow injected a bit of reality. But for me during the hour and half that I did listen to, every upbeat word and admirable sentiment just made me want to cry. What's the line about building a house on sand? Sure it's a pretty house and the blueprints look great and the architect has an amazing vision -- but you still know how it's going to end.
The most hopeful moment in the past two years was immediately after the joint meeting of the MC and the Synod. The most depressing moment was when +MH swooped in to undo that moment of promise.
Maybe the upcoming joint meeting also offers some hope -- but if and only if they take matters in their own hands and do not leave ANYTHING in the hands of the administration to carry out later. So, for example, if they resolve to release a statement or some information, then someone should pull out a laptop, log on to a wireless network and post whatever it is they want to post *before anyone leaves the room*.
The new committee ... what to say about that? I trust and respect some of the proposed members. I'd love to believe that they'll be able to do what needs to be done. But it seems they're being asked to simply put a seal on the idea that it was all RSK, no need to ask any more questions. The task itself is dishonest. I hope some refuse to participate. But I suspect they will participate because they think that it'll be different ... Charlie Brown again. I also worry that they will buy-in to the idea that the only way through this is to put a lid on it and that they think it will all blow over if they do that. They may not understand the depth of the discontent. They may be too insulated from the realities of parish life.
I get the sense that everyone who has tried to play nice and work constructively to resolve things from the inside has ended up burned and disheartened. There are still a couple of people "close in" that I know and trust and whose perspectives I haven't heard -- maybe they're not as negative and disheartened as the people I have heard from.
If you are trying to help constructively from the inside and you still do have hope, well and good. But if you don't have hope any more, here's a thought for you: the presence of honorable people dealing with this has the potential to give hope to others, but if that hope is false, if you are seeing your advice disregarded, if you know that your advice is being distorted or used to dishonorable ends, then, please, just leave -- and do it publicly. False hope is no antidote to falsehood. You are being used. Don't lend your honorable names to dishonorable goals.
#3 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-10 14:02
Don't be depressed: Christ is risen!
#3.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 17:11
Yes to your question about many people feeling the sorrow and the depression, or shall I call it the spiritual depression of this whole mess.
This all goes along with the roller coaster ride that Bishop Job was expressing in his speech. Be aware of it, but focus on the Good that has come out of this whole mess.
I certainly do see a lot of good coming to light.
May I give you an example of this, you simply can not explain to me the words that Gregg Nescott felt and stated during Pascha were his own, so many friends as well as my husband all said how is it that he could feel and know what was in my heart at that vulnerable time.
Gregg was suffering with the truth wanting to be exposed, suffering with the acceptance that this happened in the church, he had a sleepless weekend and many of us felt his same frustration and the words that he stated in a posting were so similiar to how many people in my parish were feeling.... how could it be?
Rebecca our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave him the words and the courage to express himself that so many others who have never before met him felt and understood.... this is the work of God. God is definitely in the midst of this whole mess, God will also allow each of us to see and hear the bad as well as the good so that we may reach our destiny through him, our cross is heavy at times yes!! but always remember...
We are called above all to be Faithful...
this roller coaster ride is not easy, or fun, or full of laughter... but its full of honor, respect, and dignity and full of a lot of love, courage and sacrafices... Peace Irene
#3.2 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 19:38
This is a absolutely brilliant. I hate the term "speaking truth to power" because it is so overused nowadays. Nonetheless, you really spoke the truth to power most elegantly--with indisputable logic and facts, and a passion that is so remarkable because it was so restrained.
Thank you and may God give you the strength to continue fighting this good fight.
#4 Carl on 2007-10-10 14:42
This is to all the faithful, loving and caring people of the OCA. I have followed this scandal of corruption mainly through this website for almost two years, and yet, this is my first post. God bless you all for your courage and fortitude in your search for truth and transparency.
I am an Orthodox Christian convert and I find my heart and soul screaming, "I want to leave this Church!" I cannot, though. You see, I am an Orthodox Christian. But now, I pretty much think of myself as "homeless". Sure, I will still go to church, sing the liturgy, and commune. But my Orthodox faith has no home until the truth be brought forward, even how awful it surely must be. Are there any others out there that feel like me?
#5 Anonymous on 2007-10-10 15:07
Yes, I understand how you feel. I go to church with a heavy heart. We have a gag order in our diocese ("hear no evil, speak no evil, just enable evil"). This rotteness attempting to be covered up by our hierarchs has filtered down to the local level and makes a mockery of Christ. The joy of the truth of Orthodox Christianity is shadowed by the unwillingness of all (except +JOB and the Midwest Diocese and those resigning from the Investigating Commission) in positions of power to cleanse this cancer from the church.
As for me, not one dime will be given to fund this corruption.
#5.1 anonymous on 2007-10-10 22:07
What do you mean you have a gag order in your diocese???
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 08:43
Dear friend and bewildered convert:
Your heart and soul are screaming the wrong scream! As an Orthodox Christian, your mother is the Virgin whose heart was pierced and then rejoiced. Your brothers and sisters are persecuted but glorified Martyrs, threatened but faithful Confessors, belittled but single-minded Fathers, and beleaguered, harassed yet undefeatable faithful men, women and children from every generation. If you must scream, scream this: "I will never give up God's Church, of which, by His will, I have been made a living member!" You have been placed here to suffer and rejoice with the rest from all ages.
Providence has brought us to this time. Important lessons are flying around us to be grasped and secured for even more difficult challenges ahead. We American Christians, far too comfortable and distracted, are being ripped out of our comas into a front-row, Red Sea, Resurrection-type experience of the New Life. In it, tribulations are glorious, producing perseverance, character and hope. We persevere as we await a hope we do not yet see [Romans 5]. Priceless!
Perhaps we all long for a stress-free status-quo, like it was before the “difficulties” began: prayers of gratitude cut short; prayers of repentance delayed; prayers for the incorrigible neglected; gifts dormant; vigilance over-looked; tolerance exaggerated; compassion misapplied; admonishment withheld, discourse impossible, whining incessant and love impotent. To this miserable status-quo, let us all say: “Never again! Lord have mercy!”
We might prefer the good old days when we could make our short-sighted plans, execute them and watch them mow down the obstacles that separated us from short-lived satisfaction. To such miserable, self-centered days, let us all say: “Never again! Lord have mercy!”
Now, at all levels and on all sides, our plans don’t succeed, we drown in frustration and we are brought to our knees by the sheer folly of our strategies and the tyranny of our own reasonings. In our weakness, we are pulled again into the hands of the Holy Trinity—our one and only sure Hope. Never again can our God-given gifts remain unused. Never again can anyone side-step his or her responsibility for the Church. Apathy and a healthy community cannot co-exist. Here is the God-given opportunity to renew our active cooperation with the Lord in the care, feeding, cleaning and extension of His Body on earth.
I have been silenced from any specific references or calls to action about current events, but may I say that today—at this moment, at every level, on all sides of this issue—we are all being called to be grown-ups who face the Cross instead of seeking a detour; who are willing to lose in order to gain; who solve problems instead of masking them; who stand in the light that singes and then heals. We must be so very grateful that the Lord has not abandoned us, but has sounded a beneficial alarm that must not be ignored. At every level, if we are still alive and teachable, we must take the action appropriate to our individual gifts, building a community with a Life consistent with the Way illumined by the Truth.
Every cubit of the Ark, from the wheel house to the bilge, is producing a gut-churning odor and the seas are rough. But this Ark of Salvation was designed for heavy seas. There is safety on her decks and the Lord chose you as part of the crew. “Man overboard” is not an option.
Look, is that a raven over there?
With Hope in Christ,
Fr., Jason Kappanadze
Elmira Heights, NY
#5.2 Fr. Jason Kappanadze on 2007-10-11 06:31
God be with you always, Father. You can truly say: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7)
#5.2.1 Glad to have a Priest with courage in my Diocese on 2007-10-11 08:16
Nicely stated. Should be presented on this site as a Reflection worthy of a read by all.
#5.2.2 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 11:57
Dear Fr. Jason,
God bless you. Thank you for throwing me the life raft. I ask God to forgive me for my weakness, and pray to the Most Holy Theotokos to save me.
#5.2.3 Man overboard on 2007-10-11 12:02
Thanks, Father Jason, for this bittersweet and salutary essay.
We might remember, though, that even after being saved in the Ark, God's people Israel were enslaved by Pharaoh, and that's how we find ourselves now.
What new Moses will lead us out from our godless 'Holy' Master's cruel bondage, oppressed as we are by his egotistic vanity and selfish greed?
What land is promised us once we are free? How will we get there?
#5.2.4 Monk James on 2007-10-11 16:29
Moses (the Man of God who may have been done in by by the weariness caused by his own people, BTW) was followed by a Joshua.
We had a Fr. Schmemann; who will rise up to lead us as a new Joshua? Perhaps Fr. Kappanadze or a group of priests who can bring us hope? Or perhaps the laity themselves???? Recently read an article about swarming...
i.e., self-preserving direction can be found not from an individual, but from the group that comes togther seeks the good for itself. God has built this into his animals, perhaps it functions when needed also in the Body of Christ??? Wondering........
#188.8.131.52 Karen Jermyn on 2007-10-12 06:41
There is more of a swarming lemmings suicidal rush over a cliff kind of vibe on OCANEWS than any kind of swarming of the self-preservational variety.
#184.108.40.206.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-14 18:40
Could also be *the worms have turned*, if you get my drift.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Karen jermyn on 2007-10-15 07:03
Re: "Look, is that a raven over there?"
No, Father. It's an incoming shell fired from the laity.
#5.2.5 Anonymous on 2007-10-13 12:35
There's more to the Orthodox Church than the OCA. The OCA is a mere jurisdiction. It is equal to the Church itself.
Really, during the last couple thousand years there have been issues like that.
The Holy Spirit, the Gospel, the Bible and Holy Tradition remain there for us as constants.
I am a convert too. There really is no where else to go, in my opinion.
Rdr. Alexander Langley
#5.3 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-11 18:20
Now that Archbishop JOB has pretty much made his position public, have any bishops stated support of Archbishop JOB? Is anyone contacting the other bishops and saying something like, "With all due respect, we, the members of the church would like to know where you stand on this issue. We need leadership and we need to know in what direction our leaders are leading us. I cannot understand one Archbishop expressing no confidence in the Metropolitan and calling for his resignation and the other bishops saying and doing nothing.
#6 Erik Fender on 2007-10-10 15:16
I am writing this time anonymously so as to protect my priest.
There is no one n the Synod who has not looked the other way. +Job has stated as much with repentance for his part in that. If none want to make the truth known so that we can become a truly faithful church, then perhaps it si time for all of them to go. This scandal has been going on for decades. Enough!
Otherwise it may be time for all the rest of us to go.
I certainly understand the feelings of those who voice a sentiment of leaving the OCA. But, please, do not think in terms of leaving the Holy Orthodox Church. That would be truly tragic.
Let's pause for a bit, at least let Abp. Job meet with the Holy Synod at the upcoming meeting. That should be interesting, to say the least. He has already stuck his neck on the chopping block, and the vast majority of his diocese has confirmed their complete trust in him, and will back him and follow him.
Let's all voice our support and prayers for him in this coming meeting!
#7.1 Name withheld on 2007-10-10 18:36
Folks, Herman says that no witnesses are off limits. Let's just see who is called to the stand.
It may be true that the investigators are idiots, but let them have a chance to show what they are made of before we dismiss them as lackeys. They may yet surprise us all!
This is a moment of truth. If the new comission really begins to perform its' work and really gets down to the nitty gritty, we could all be proud of the OCA again. Let us not judge them before we have something to judge.
#7.2 George Kruse on 2007-10-11 04:32
No witnesses are off limits, but we have to see how he defines a "witness".
It's been his way to say one thing, excite people into thinking something is being done, then he changes the rules. So, while no witnesses are off limits, exactly what will he feel is a "witness"
ONE thing we know for sure, he won't be called as a witness for Christ!
#7.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 10:42
How many times do you have to land on your back before you realize that Lucy just ISN'T going to tee up the football, Charlie Brown?
#7.2.2 Greg Denysenko on 2007-10-13 08:31
I think it will be more of the same.
Herman will reprimand Job and Job will repent. This has gone on since day one. Herman and his puppets will not allow anyone to try and uncover what he has covered up. It is so blatant. He wants to appoint the same old people to do the same old things. He will not allow his firewall to be cracked.
The one thing you have to give him credit for is that he know how to utilize people for during his necessary up front work and then discards them.
Some examples are Archbishop Job - he headed the commission to do exactly what he wanted him to do and then said - NO MORE. The good Archbishop realized what was going on, resigned and played right into his hands giving him the opportunity to place those people he now trusts to do what he wants them to do.
Greg Nescott - used, discarded. Now recycled.
Proskaur Rose - used - did exactly what he wanted them to do - however still owes them some money - will the report and more importantly the evidence ever be seen by anyone?
The accountants - used - and gave him the report he wanted. Now they sold them the software and manage the finances. How cozy! I wonder what this is costing?
We can go on and on, but it's too depressing.
I agree. Stop supporting all of the people who are only concerned with protecting themselves.
#7.3 M. Post on 2007-10-11 06:47
Yeah, just stop the money. We can last forever, we can go to other jurisdictions. Their well is drying up. The serpent is gasping for breath (money). Herman's strategy of waiting this out, maybe just for the statute of limtations to hit, works against him because his time is limited, we're holding the money, and we got all the time in the world. He's got bills to pay.
It may be that if we can't get him into court that the creditors that he can't pay without our money will.
#7.3.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 10:45
I had a laugh at the Lucy analogy of Vladika JOB.
I would laugh longer if I didn't see the mirror fo the tradegy that befell me in court in regards to the legal struggles I
was entangled in with just trying to be a mother, when the process waas sidelined by some other Lucy like players of the OCA.
The best advice I ever got was 'to start my own tribe'.
You can't engage with people who change the rules as they go. If you pick up your cross to follow the Gospel of Christ, that is the direction you need to go. You can't be sidelined and fragmented by the folks who change the rules and the game.
I pray for Archbishop JOB and his leadership of the Diocese of the Midwest to use their collective power to walk away from
those who hoard 'the Ball' and who make the playing field of a place of fumbling and bumbling. Do what is needed to engage in making the goals that count.
If Lucy takes the ball, have 3 pieces of equipment ready to hand off to a speedy quarterback, a running half, and the place kicker for the punt. Don't let the game be called for time. Keep the players in practice and moving.
It is time to be fruitful.
Matushka Carol Bacha
P.O. Box 381
Christmas, Florida 32709
Regarding Dahulich and the St. Tikhon's seminarian who signed the petition:
One can be sure that this apology letter was almost certainly at the behest of +Herman, who has unfortunately repeatedly attempted to humiliate the longsuffering and hardworking dean of the seminary. The metropolitan does this sort of thing to the dean on a regular basis, because of course all the faculty, staff and students of St. Tikhon's should be lock-step Company Men.
Thanks be to God that this is not the case. A letter of apology is really a relatively trivial thing, all told. Fr. Dahulich is an excellent pastor and well knows how to help keep his seminarians from doing things which, while noble in some sense, may well not be the smartest thing to do at this point in their spiritual and ecclesiastical lives.
I'm extremely biased in favor of the man, though, because he went to the mat for me on several occasions and did so for many of my seminary friends. May God grant him many, many years.
#9 A former St. Tikhon's seminarian on 2007-10-10 19:07
I would like to echo the sentiments of the above former St. Tikhon's student. Fr. Michael Dahulich is the real shepherd of St. Tikhon's Seminary. I feel so badly for him. His Beatitude continues to ask him to be in compromising situations and the only reason His Beatitude asks him is because he knows that people respect and trust him. It is bad enough that Fr. Dahulich has to deal with all he deals with in the muddied waters of the St. Tikhon's Seminary staff, administrators and +Herman cronies. I am sure that he doesn't need this.
Fr. Michael's efforts are motivated by his love for the seminarians and their families and the hope of a future truly American Orthodox Church. Much of his time is spent trying to protect these young men from becoming the "Lock-step company men." Since taking over as Dean of St. Tikhon's the number of students has tripled. Since taking over as dean it has become a true Pan Orthodox Seminary with student from all Orthodox jurisdictions. However there is a concerted effort from those in the "old guard"(+Herman's leftover staff and cronies) to squash this work and make St. Tikhon's into a "Russian Acedemy."
Fr. Michael continues to persist and endure showing a better way and leading by his own example. Fr. Dahulich has a real vision however, there is a daily effort to keep the man down and many of us former students don't know how he is able to endure this cross. Those of us who lived the St. Tikhon's experience are so greatful that Fr. Michael does and continue to endure!
Perhaps His Beatitude believe's that he his the father of St. Tikhon's. Or perhaps even Bishop Tikhon might believe that he is. But, those of us who have lived the experience will tell you that the real Shepherd and father and glue that keeps St. Tikhon's together is Fr. Michael.
Another former St. Tikhon's Seminarian
#9.1 Another former St. Tikhon's Seminarian on 2007-10-11 10:27
Maybe His Grace +BENJAMIN and Diocese of the West are onto something. The reconstituted investigative committee will probably need funds if it intends to conduct a thorough investigation (beyond the minimum scope that the Metropolitan requested). What if the investigative committee hires its own independent legal counsel? That would cost money, and in that light, the DOW resolution sure would make a lot more sense. Let's wait and see how His Grace +BENJAMIN chooses to proceed.
#10 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 05:56
What is the money needed for for the investigation? Oh! I know! They need more Proskauer Rose expertise! Stupid me!
#10.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 10:49
If Met. Herman was truly interested in an impartial investigation, why not choose from the ethnic dioceses like the Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Mexican. As the committee/ commission now stands, the results are predetermined.
This scandal could be brought to a halt very quickly if the oxygen (money) that is feeding the scandal is cut off. Thought should be given to all parishioners requesting their parish boards to stop paying monthly assessments to their Diocese. The money should be placed in escrow as + Job is doing. If the parish board refuses, then the parishioner should place two-thirds (2/3) of their yearly pledge in escrow and give one-third (1/3) to their parish for operation. The pressure will mount rather quickly to bring this embarrassing financial scandal to a halt and expose the guilty. Peter J. Sredich
#11 Peter J. Sredich on 2007-10-11 06:01
Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your hay,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he says nay,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Don't let it go away
That once there was a day
For one brief shining moment that was known
#12 camelot on 2007-10-11 06:27
This assessment is absolutely correct. The investigation has ALREADY been done and + Herman has hidden the evidence or destroyed it. This entire episode is like having the police dept. investigate itself - who do you think will come out on top? Get rid of + Herman and Kucynda, then have a REAL independent investigation if all the evidence hasn't been already destroyed.
Oh, about Orthodox Education Day, it was 85 degrees and Columbus Day weekend. Anytime this occurs, OED has less people attend. Most people took the 3 day weekend and went to the beach or leaf peeping in upper NE.
#13 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 06:30
On Ed Day ...
Maybe. But I've been going most years for over 30 years and never saw so few people.
#14 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-11 11:39
Has anyone noticed that complete lack of confidence implicitly shown in the MC lately? There's a meeting next week, and the acronym "MC" has been greatly missing from the majority, if not all, of the posts here. It's like they passed back into the nothingness they were before this broke.
We must not forget them, they are legally liable for the money that is missing. Don't let them off with an easy pass and nice two day trip to New York. Maybe what we need to do is discuss a lawsuit against each member of the MC since 1992, including all officers, and auditors, save John Kozey, asking for damages from each person equally for the missing money. They were legally negligent and they should be held legally responsible. They could each be sued for maybe $100,000. I wonder how many of them have that kind of money that they would want to risk it let alone the legal costs.
Again and again, the only way you get people to move in this organization isn't by invoking the name of God, it's by invoking the name of Caesar. When God speaks, people turn on their selective deafness. When Casesar speaks, people jump!
#15 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 13:40
I've seen a number of suggestions about suing the various players in this mess. I don't know enough about the law to understand who could sue, and who could be sued.
Would anyone in the OCA who donated funds to any appeal be able to bring suit? If so, would the suit have to be brought in Syosset? Or could it be brought where we live?
Against whom could a suit be brought? And by whom? Could PR be sued for the return of fees paid to them? If so, who would have to bring suit? Could the MC be sued for failing to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities? If so, who would have standing to bring the suit? Could the OCA itself be sued? Or the Metropolitan?
#15.1 Josephine on 2007-10-11 14:44
The problem is that you would need to seek damages and recovery.
What are your damages and what recovery would you seek?
As laity, if you sued for your hundred bucks back, you might prevail and your damages might be the hundred bucks.
Perhaps the clergy could bring a lawsuit if we all stopped attending, because then a reprecussion of the gross financial mismanagement of the Synod and Metropolitan Council from say 1998 on would be the loss of clergy wages. Unfortunately this is the worst idea because the church would have no money to pay a recovery to the clergy then and our priests would suffer for the sins of their Bishops.
What will happen to the OCA if Metropolitan Herman doesn't provide reporting to the laity is that it will wither like an unwatered plant.
It won't take a day or two for it to wither and then a quick recovery when more watering takes place.
It will wither over years as people like me don't worry about whether we expose our children to the notion of Bishops and such and our children and our childrens children grow up knowing a bit about God and nothing about the Orthodox Church because we are too ashamed to talk about it. ...as people like me say phooey to going to church on Sunday and just stay home with family..
#15.1.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-13 19:05
It seems to me that there's another way to look at this particular piece of the mess that the OCA is in.
Let +Herman and his cronies (aka "the Spiritual Court") write up their report. It will keep them entertained and out of the way.
Then, let the MC constitute their own investigative commission, as is their brief according to the Statute. Such a commission could work independently, and in full sunshine. It could call whatever witnesses that it felt were needed, and could make note (official note, mind you) of who cooperated and who didn't. That commission could be charged with making regular reports back to the MC and to the Church at large.
The MC could then make decisions (including budgetary decisions based upon the information that it received from the commission.
For instance, if Fr. X (you fill in the blanks) is on the staff of the CCA, and Fr. X refused to cooperate with the MC's Commission, what would keep the MC from cutting the budget for Fr. X's department... or even cutting Fr. X's position ialtogether, in order to compel cooperation.
The MC is on the hook in this mess. Up to now, they have merely been reacting to +Herman and the Syosset Staff. It seems only fair to me (not to mention that it's their obligation under the Statute) to give them the opportunity (and the tools) to make it right.
#15.2 Eat at Joe's on 2007-10-11 17:02
Agreed; the MC cannot pass the buck. I was horrified to talk recently with a priest on the MC, who dismissively informed me that he "was not losing any sleep" over the scandal and it hadn't affected his parish in the least, although there were a couple parishioners who read ocanews.org and got themselves all upset. He then drolled on about "Best Practices" as if poor bookkeeping was the problem. Willful blindness? I don't know, but pray that they come to grips with reality and do their duty. If they won't, they need to resign NOW.
#15.3 anonymous on 2007-10-11 19:34
I really can't imagine how we are even staying current with all the bills due in the OCA. Are they not supposed to be paying back Proskauer Rose, as well as the bank loan, along with the interest?
The ploy that the Diocese of the Midwest is hindering the process of a Special Investigation is just down right rationalization. I did not hear one ounce of sorrow over the efforts they did expend or all the roadblocks that were put in its way by the current administration.
At this rate, I don't know how long there will be a central church left that can be funded.
I don't think Syosset has yet hit bottom. We are all seeing the Titanic sink as if in the movie, the financial impact being like the impact of the glacier. I really hope the faithful of the OCA have more power to help it stay afloat than the orchestra did in their last moment of sentimental song, like the comment about Camelot.
I don't think it will be the constant manipulation that does the administration in at Syosset, but what Anonymous just said; the fact of money. It isn't getting any better, only worse.
The fact of the money will be the fact that does the OCA in by not being able to pay their bills. When the lawsuits start flying from the bank and Proskauer Rose, then we are in deeper trouble.
No money, no central church administration of the OCA. It appears that Caesar is having his say in this matter, because, as Anonymous said, they are turning a deaf ear to God.
The administration is not able to hear Jesus' words, "Give unto God what is God's and give unto Caesar what is Caesar's." It just wants Caesar. What depth of understanding of God is there in the Diocese of the West picking on the Diocese of the Midwest? No depth of understanding God or the suffering that has happened over the years in the OCA or with the Special Commision at all.
#16 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-11 16:50
I know that even if the MW was NOT withholding that Syosset would not have enough money to pay their bills.
Herman and Kucynda have driven our beloved OCA into fiscal disaster. Even RSK had the ability to raise money OUTSIDE the OCA to keep the Church afloat. Neither Herman (who wants all money to go to St Tikhons) or Kucynda who couldn't talk a dog off a meat truck to raise any money for the Church, can do what is necessary to pay the bills.
#16.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-11 20:35
I just finished watching All the President's Men and then began to read about Watergate online. According to Wiki, "In 1972 [Dwayne] Andreas [of ADM fame] unlawfully contributed $25,000 to President Nixon's re-election campaign via Watergate burglar Bernard Barker." (my brackets added for clarification--BWB)
Maybe someone has pointed this out before. I searched OCANews but couldn't find it discussed. Dwayne Andreas' money has been involved in Watergate AND in Syossetgate? Is that wierd, or what?
#17 Brent Beasley on 2007-10-11 22:22
Make no mistake. The ADM money was never about the OCA. It was always about buying influence in the new Russia via the Patriarchate of Moscow. The OCA was the conduit. However, Duane Andreas was getting old and probably did not monitor his giving. Hence, his millions became the playground for FRK and those to whom he lavished gifts and bought influence (and likely bought silence in the West and other trouble spots... "for the good of the church" of course). A pretty heady existence for clergy used to living from stipend to stipend. Darn, it could've been fun if it weren't so darned immoral, unethical... and illegal. It is unimaginable that those who surrounded FRK at Syosset, and many in the Synod, esp. the two former Treasurers, did not see $4-6 million pass through FRK's hands. The $25K donations to Pres. Nixon is petty cash compared to the OCA misappropriation of designated funds.
#17.1 Anon. on 2007-10-12 19:16
This is an interesting thread. Look, it's clear now: +MH and his cronies care not one whit about lawsuits against the MC, nor about any Commission which might be set-up by the MC. The OCA Statute is at this point a useless piece of paper, as +MH and even the MC itself sees the MC as capable of being over-ruled by the Met at any time. +MH and indeed the MC itself obviously views itself as the "Metropolitan's Advisory Council," and not the governing body (as pointed out in the Statute) of the secular/admin/financial matters of the OCA; and as has been pointed-out in many posts here, the Holy Synod also refuses to act. It has become quite clear to me over these past many months that: (a) the Holy Synod is a group of men all of whom are essentially +MH's stooges (except for perhaps +Job), and has no desire to act for the OCA, being more concerned with their diocesan prerogatives, and (b) the MC stands in awe of the Metropolitan, and having exercised not power or authority for so many years, isn't about to do so now. All you have there are a few spark-plugs who are routinely ignored or over-ruled by the others and have been for a decade or two.
The Metropolitan (be it +MH or +MT) with his Chancellor of the moment, is quite simply in full dictatorial control of the OCA as an organization, due in part to his God-annointed position, which is highly respected by most of the laity, and due in part to the competing concerns and issues which keep the other players at bay, including the other bishops which make up the Holy Synod. He's the fox, and the OCA is the hen-house; and there is no one to say any differently, since in essence, it's all an inside game, and people who are well known are the MC - in essence all are de facto the Met.'s cronies, with one or two exceptions who have somehow sneaked-in. But, given the numbers, they are powerless, except to raise a few sparks.
Accordingly, it is up to the laity, and the only real power which the laity have is: the power of the purse, and the withholding of funds. That is ALL we have; yet it is also quite powerful!
Being in a parish in the Diocese of NY and Washington, our parish has wrestled with withholding; this puts our priest at risk, and also raises questions about, "If we withhold, does that mean that we won't be able to be represented at the AAC?" and so forth. So, we keep sending in the money.
The inevitable conclusion is, the only thing a concern layman can do, is to withhold from the parish, and our receipts this year at the parish level are down significantly - sadly, this does hurt the parish, but it's like pouring iodine on a foot-wound: It hurts, it really hurts, but if you don't do it, then it could get infected, and you could lose the foot, or even your life!
My bank says, "If you have an account with us, you can establish another one for free." So, I've set up a second account, into which I put my parish contribution. Once in a while, I'll designate an amount for a specific purpose and put it into the plate, but no general contributions. I'm keeping that money, which I will ultimately give to an Orthodox cause or initiative - but not until +MH is gone from the scene, AND I see what the next leader of the OCA is going to do, and how this mess is going to be dealt with. Yes, there are many other things I'd like to do, but if +MH is involved, I'm skipping the event; no contributions to SVS, Tikhon's, no Hierarchical Liturgies. I'm not bitter or angry; I've never met the man, and I'm new to the OCA, so I don't have a "history" like some people do in the dealings with +MH. But I've seen his like before, and I know what I'm looking at.
Yes, it's true, this "crisis" is a very minor blip on the screen of Trans-Orthodox History-at-large over two millenia. But, it's what we've got to deal with, and the only way to deal with it given our cowed Synod, our powerless MC, is to starve it - starve it of funds, starve it of participation, starve it of the ego-supporting adoration which it has come to expect.
It's all very, very sad - but I'm in this for the long-run (eternity), and as someone else here has said, I've got time on my side. And my bank will let me transfer that money into my "holding account" for the rest of my life, and I can leave it to the IOCC in my will, or something like that. +MH and any organization he and his cronies have anything to do with have gotten the last of my money!
So, for those of you who see any "hope" in the idea of a new "Committee" to investigate this thing - give it up. We have a man in place in +MH who could instantly reveal all - at least all that's been learned to date from the previous investigations - and yet he will not. No "committee" that he constitutes and appoints the member to will find anything, and it does not matter anyway; even what has been found to date in the previous "investigations" has not been revealed. And further, if it were true that Mr. Kondratick were behind ALL OF IT, then it would be revealed, and he wouldn't be the scapegoat, he'd be the FULLY GUILTY PARTY. That +MH is still hiding information tells me all I need to know: Mr. Kondratick is/was not the only thief in the house.
You can say what you want about "best practices" and so forth, but unless the AAC formally dissolves the OCA as a corporation, and reestablishes it as a new entity with truly meaningful and operationally consistent governing documents, and forces the assets of the former OCA into the hands of the new/successor organization, which I believe that it could do, legally, then it's all a waste of time, because the Statute has proven to be worthless and unworkable, given that it has empowered a dictatorship in the democratic USA, and the church is imploding while the Man in Charge is still in Charge some two years later. And no one is talking about doing that; just empanelling another committee appointed by the same man! And some people actually defending this outrage, such as the priest (an MC member, no less) mentioned in an earlier post in this thread!
Okay, you can do that. And maybe it's all canonical and proper and polite and so forth. But not with my money, thank you.
#18 C.C. on 2007-10-12 08:20
Thanks, I thought I'd heard that " I am not a crook" song someplace before!!!
#19 Sophia Weisheit on 2007-10-12 11:50
Glory to Jesus Christ!
I did not come into the OCA from the Byzantine Catholic Church to enter a Church as corrupt as the Latin Church in America. SHAME on those who are a part of this mess! At least as a Byzantine Catholic I could take pride in my Church. To have hierarchs and their servants participating in such evils--my God! Corruption abounds! Kyrie Eleison!
In Christ God,
#20 Alexis of Alaska on 2007-10-12 11:57
Many posters think understandably, and sadly, that the only power the laity has in this crisis is the "power of the purse." Practically speaking, this is certainly true, but let's not be satisfied with such a pauper's existence. The laos, the people of God, are the Body of Christ. The fact is, the current leadership practices within much of Orthodoxy worldwide are largely the vestiges of feudalism. This must end. Feudalism is the practice of a fallen world and should not be accepted as a norm for the Church. Feudalism must be expunged from any notion of Holy Tradition. We deserve better. God deserved better of us; of our stewardship.
The Metropolitan, the bishops, the clergy are not some sort of alien race come down to lord over us. They are set apart for service, as all the parts of a body have unique functions, and are all members of the Body of Christ. The Metropolitan is just as accountable to the laity as a coach is accountable to his/her players. The sports dynamic is a close parallel to the human leadership dynamics needed in our Church... indeed, in any gathering of human beings organized for a purpose. Indeed, St. Paul used many analogies from athletics.
A Metropolitan who sees himself a dictator instead of a shepherd will eventually come to a sad end. We must take our lead and example from the way God the Father relates to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is first among equals. Such should be the relationship of Metropolitan to bishops and laity. Mutual respect and honor motivated by love.
"You will know them by their fruits." Matthew 7:16
#21 Name withheld on 2007-10-12 19:39
Greek myth records that when Prometheus stole the gift of fire, Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create Pandora, the 'All-Gifted', whose pithos (jar/box) contained gifts from all the Olympians...... her acceptance by Epimetheus resulted in the scattering of those 'gifts', including all the evils of mankind, save only Hope, which remained in the jar/box when the lid was replaced............can we hope that the one who now sits upon that box will move?
#22 Theogony of Hesiod on 2007-10-12 22:54
There are other lessons that the OCA can draw from Greek Mythology.
In many myths, mortals who display arrogance and hubris end up learning, in quite brutal ways, the folly of this overexertion of ego. The Greek concept of hubris refers to the overweening pride of humans who hold themselves up as equals to the gods.
Hubris is one of the worst traits one can exhibit in the world of ancient Greece and invariably brings the worst kind of destruction.
The story of Niobe is a prime example of the danger of arrogance. Niobe has the audacity to compare herself to Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo, thus elevating herself and her children to the level of the divine. Insulted, the two gods strike all of Niobe’s children dead and turn her into a rock that perpetually weeps. Likewise, young Phaëthon, who pridefully believes he can drive the chariot of his father, the Sun, loses control and burns everything in sight before Zeus knocks him from the sky with a thunderbolt. Similar warnings against hubris are found in the stories of Bellerophon, who bridles the winged Pegasus and tries to ride up to Olympus and join the deities’ revelry, and Arachne, who challenges Athena to a weaving contest and is changed into a spider as punishment.
Indeed, any type of hubris or arrogance, no matter the circumstance, is an attitude that no god will leave unpunished.
Yes, the current Metropolitan and Bishops of the OCA may be "bad" ones, but what happens to the laity the seeks to elevate itself not just in nasty words, but in action by seizing ruling authority? I just read the Greek Myths and weep over the future of the OCA.
#22.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-13 06:41
We don't have "ruling authority" in the Orthodox Church other than Christ, so there's no authroity to "seize" from the Metropolitan.
But, he still needs to get out of Dodge.
#22.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-13 20:33
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