Tuesday, October 16. 2007
Now you see it, now you don't. The summary of the preliminary Report is posted. Comments?
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When you make up lies and you play with fire you can get burnt. RSK is not a dumb man. Ask one of the bishops what that report RSK said today. MH I'm sure was in ahh !!! With sign affidavits and proof that MH knew all , those bishops hearts might have skipped a beat. Between a botched AP report and crazy summary something has to give.
Mark way to stay on top of things !!! These crazy numbers they say RSK spent , wouldn't 3 audits and credit card history show this. God Bless !!!
#1 Anonymous on 2007-10-16 18:35
Why was Kucynda fired?
#1.1 Sue on 2007-10-17 17:41
My guess is the Synod and MC approved the selection of a new Treasurer during the meetings. That is only a guess on my part.
God help him or her to reestablish trust in the reporting and accounting for our Church.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#1.1.1 Marty Watt on 2007-10-18 07:02
Can someone explain to me why Robert Kondratick has not been arrested for his crimes?
#2 Jon on 2007-10-16 18:35
Can you tell me WHY +MH and P. Kucynda were not arrested for their crimes so ?
For how long such a circus. Shame on those who are perpetrators of the Church and orphans money. +MH must go.
Can you work for the OCA as OCa Communication Director and to have ZERO CENSORSHIP POLICY. It this Christian Church or Communist Party ... oca at stake ... ???
At. Papadakis, 10, 17, 07
#2.1 Athanasios Papadakis on 2007-10-17 20:49
I spent half a million dollars and all I got was a stinkin' page report that, except for figures, was pretty much known already.
#3 Anonymous on 2007-10-16 18:58
I have only three simple questions:
1. WHERE are the police?
2. Where ARE the police?
3. Where are the POLICE?
#4 Michael Gregory on 2007-10-16 19:12
This whole crew is conflicted to the nth degree. They waffle between covering up and telling the truth; indicative of a reprobate morality. We need to wipe the slate clean. They cannot be trusted. We should have know this a long time ago. This is an abortion of decency. We cannot trust any of these people currently occupying Syosset.
#5 Anon. on 2007-10-16 19:55
No less than $850,000 was deposited into the two other discretionary accounts and spent on such things as Metropolitan Theodosius' and Robert Kondratick's personal lawyers, accountants, and other consultants relating to their opposition of auditing the discretionary funds in 1999 ($125,000), Robert Kondratick's personal credit cards ($50,000), and withdrawals in cash ($195,000).
My guess is that this statement, which definitely incriminates Metropolitan Theodosius in spending hidden funds for the purpose of hiding the discretionary accounts will not be in the next report. Perhaps this is why Met. Herman has been so opposed to releasing a report.
#6 Name withheld on 2007-10-16 20:01
Yes, before we attack +Herman, we need to understand +Theodosius role in this mess.
I think the summary disappeared for a couple reasons.
Maybe the OCA wants to zing M. Stokoe for copyright infringement.
#6.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-17 05:33
We don't need to understand MT's role BEFORE we "attack" MH.
Curious, too, how you define this as an attack on +Herman rather than a defense of the OCA and intended recipients of donated money.
#6.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 09:22
Give me the basis for any statement against Herman.
I'm not a fan of his, just a critic.
#188.8.131.52 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-20 17:39
Reading this report made me physically sick. No wonder there was stunned silence when the HS and MC first read it (or some version of it).
Now having read this, knowing that there is evidence behind it, no one can think that RSK did all this alone -- even if he was the only one taking and using the money personally [which is a stretch], even if all reporting and oversight mechanisms had been gutted [which they appear to have been], only willful, irresponsible, deliberate blindness could or total, irresponsible, active ignoring of things could prevent anyone close to this [treasurers, acting treasurers, bookkeepers, etc] from knowing what was going on. Or at the very least knowing that SOMETHING was going on.
So either they were all guilty of the same offenses as RSK or they were all profoundly incompetent -- either way, time to go.
And reading the summary of proceedings of the spiritual court, MH's reasoning on the reconstituted committee is even clearer [although it was pretty much "crystal" already] -- minimize the number of people who know the full extent of what went on and make sure they are constrained from speaking.
But guess what -- if you don't want any of it to come out, then the only option is to go and for everyone, EVERYONE, who could be connected to this to go too.
So either an honest, open [or as open as is viable] investigation and some distinctions get made about who stays and who goes, or everyone goes. Just like cancer treatment -- if you don't know exactly where it's spread because the diagnostics don't work, you take more, even if it means sacrificing healthy tissue.
This has to end, and not the way all the people urging us to "move on" want it to end.
Thinking that someone who has access to posting on OCA.org is having a rough night on Long Island.
#7 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-16 20:22
I don't know about y'all but the magnitude of the offenses would cause immediate dismissal of the officers of any for profit, governmental, military and non-profit organization (while the thief would presumably go to jail). I really cannot figure out why so many people cannot extend this basic rule to the Church.
The fact that one investigation found Robert Kondratick to be personally and singularly responsible for the cited theft and misuse of funds does not in any way absolve others. Even if nobody knew about this, the scandal implicates, in ascending order, the members of the MC, the members of the HS (at least twice as culpable as the MC), the Treasurers (at least 4 times more culpable than HS members) and the two Metropolitans (at least 8 times more culpable than the Treasurers). (I guess one can use other scales; I constructed mine in accordance the their relative powers)
They are all guilty of being terribly irresponsible MC members, bishops, treasurers and Metropolitans. They failed their duty to ensure that such theft did not occur and to take swift action when they first knew of such. As far as we know, only a handful of the aforementioned, most notably +Job, have owned up to this failure. Taking no action and keeping silent is bad enough, +Herman keeps repeating that he has no culpability because he was not aware of it. Talk about being clueless, intellectually inadequate, amoral, immoral, stupid, vain, obtuse, lying, irresponsible, dishonorable, or senile--or may be all of them at the same time!
In some societies, such failures resulted in suicide by the guilty parties--as a matter of honor. Of course in the Church suicide is out of the question. However, honorable Church leaders should at least repent and atone, if not resign their positions. There are many known and, I would bet many unknown, honorable and good Orthodox Christians involved in this mess. However, +Herman is not one of them. He must resign, be forced to resign or deposed.
#8 Carl on 2007-10-16 20:43
I read the report and I am disgusted beyong belief. Literally I am nauseous seeing how depraved and corrupted someone became in the heart of the OCA all the while stealing from the faithful and ignoring all the worthy causes of the Church.
And we should remember this is just the tip of the iceberg. This report ONLY addresses the massive financial abuses perpetrated by Robert Kondratick. We still do not know what happened to the other missing millions that Deacon Eric talked about. All of this under the watch and direction of +Theodosius and +Herman.
ALL the TRUTH MUST COME OUT! NO MORE STALLING! NO MORE EXCUSES! We need a FULL INVESTIGATION of the FACTS and a comprehensive report detailing all the other abuses perpetrated on the Church. This is the only way we can clean house and have a prayer of restoring some sanity , trust, integrity, and holiness in the OCA.
Yes—ALL the truth, not a “Summary Report of the Preliminary Report of the Special Investigative Committee.” In other words, the little summary that got posted and then snatched back off the OCA web site last night is only a VERY redacted version of what was already only a preliminary report of the former Special Investigative Committee. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
We were promised the full preliminary report—both the MC and the Holy Synod approved its release to the OCA at large. We will not be silent or fail to ask the obvious questions: Who redacted the report? Why were we given only this redacted version and not the full preliminary report? What was left out of the version that was posted on the OCA site last night, and why?
Whatever the answers to the above questions, one thing seems certain. This “Summary Report” does not meet the requirement set down by the DOW in its Palatine Resolution:
“2. The August 2007 assessment payments to the Central Church will be remitted after the release to all Church members of all reports of the special investigation commission and when the commission renews its unhindered investigation, as directed by the Metropolitan Council.”
I hope that Archbishop JOB and others will stand firm and demand an end to the obfuscating, blame-deflecting behavior of our Metropolitan. By now it should be clear to all that it is simply time for this man to step down voluntarily or be removed from office. Let us pray that our Holy Synod will summon the courage and grace to take this necessary action to put the OCA on a better path for its future.
#9.1 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2007-10-17 05:59
You've got to understand that there is no paper trail for the rest of the money. They can't find out where it went, to whom or how much.
Banks only keep paper records for 7 years.
The church is lucky they got the information they obtained from the PR investigation.
Yea, I'd like to also ask Kondratick and +Theodosius where the rest of the ADM money went?
Perhaps the FED's are the only ones who can find this out?
#9.2 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-17 06:04
Ask Kucynda he was great friends with Kondratick at that time.
#9.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 06:37
The Church can make an attempt to find out by calling these men to testify under oath in the civil courts. What hasn't that happened yet?
#9.2.2 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-10-17 06:52
Ask the good Fr Kucynda, he knows. He was there, but now he and Herman was working hard to keep their tracks covered. Ask Faith Skordinksi what she thinks of Kucynda. He is the next to go and not a moment too soon for his sloppy handling of our Church to come to an end.
#9.2.3 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 07:32
FYI cowardly, anonymous person, Kucynda does NOT KNOW. Nobody does. That is the problem. There are NO records, period. Don't you remember reading long ago what Paul Hunchak said regarding withnessing Kondratich shredding stuff like there was no tomorrow.
You and other's claim that Kucynda and Herman know where the money went. Prove it already. They is no paper trail. Mondy was being mauvered between these 3 discretionary accounts like a yo-yo. The banks keep records for 7 years. When the investigation uncovered a trail, 7 years was almost up, so they obtained only what was available. My gosh, some of you people are just utterly ridiculous. You can't get blooed out of a stone.
Ask the bishops why they agreed to permanently table any audits of discretionary accounts.
They too didn't know there were 2 other accounts. The joint one and the one in Kondratick's name.
Isn't it possible and PROBABLE that +Theodosius and Kondratick concealed everything?
And if so, how could anyone know if there is no evidence?
Go way back in time to this site and look up the emails between Richard Rock and Kondratick.
Do you forget all of this that transpired?
#184.108.40.206 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-17 10:24
Hey, hey, hey ... easy, there, Mike. Yer gonna give yourself a cyber aneurysm.
1) Somebody knows. If there were records shredded, they would be records of actions of (an) individual(s), and so even if there are no existing records anymore of those actions, the individual(s) who took those actions would know!
2) Normally, papers records these days are created from electronic records, or electronic records are made from original hard copies. Its very very difficult to get rid of all documentary evidence nowadays, due to electronic trails (having some experience with that).
3) Only Fr. Kucynda knows whether he knows; you can't have absolute knowledge as to another's absence of knowledge (though you can have knowledge of another's knowledge, obviously). You can only surmise, assume, or trust. So, back the man up––sure, why not? But being so absolute about something that by its nature is necessarily out of your actual knowledge will make you even less credible. (One assumes you want to be credible, else why would so expend so much energy sharing your thoughts with the rest of the readers on this forum?)
4) Its OK to assume, surmise and trust. We all do it. Juries in criminal and civil trials when trying the purported facts often make conclusions based on such, even. So, if some surmise that two treasurers must––given merely their positions and on no documentary evidence––have knowledge of significant financial transactions, that's not a stretch, even if reasonable minds, such as yours, may disagree.
5) Its not probable that RSK and MT concealed everything, because its not about *probability*! Probability has literally nothing to do with this. The two either concealed everything, or they did not. The investigation is in part about that. Probability––if it even exists as a Reality at all––may be at play in the next spin of the Roulette wheel, but not in history.
6) Having said that, if MH and Fr Kucynda are in fact ignorant of RSK's and MT's actions, they are nonetheless––even if innocent of all other matters––malfeasant for furthering the problem for Fr Kucynda's perjury (in his sworn affidavit to the court stating the OCA membership is 2 million in order to induce Honesdale Bank to make its loan), and what would have to be MH's subornation of that perjury (unless Fr Kucynda acted entirely without MH's blessing).
7) There is evidence, Mike. But you seem to misunderstand the nature of evidence generally, and specifically misunderstand that documentary evidence––even giving it the limited definition based on which you seem to understand the concept––is not the only type of evidence.
~Yet another cowardly, anonymous person.
#220.127.116.11.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 13:14
"Banks only keep paper records for 7 years."
I have been told, by a colleague who worked for a bank and has audited banks, that banks are required to keep records for 15 years. So if they acted now, the special commission could get records back to 1992. Of course, PR may have already done just that.
#9.2.4 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-10-17 08:16
I was told just yesterday by a friend in the banking industry that most banks are only required to keep records for 7 years. I guess some could choose a longer time frame.
I don't know, but perhaps they have the records on some sort of film. Regardless, NO other records were made available from the bank in question, since the requested records were beyond the 7 year time limitation. Don't you think the Church would have gotten any additional records had they been available?
That's why the FED's and/or IRS are probably the ONLY bodies who could gain additional access to a bank's computer data.
Someone who was getting rid of evidence certainly must have known about this time frame limitation.
#18.104.22.168 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-18 10:36
In addition, the truth needs to come out regarding what exactly went on at those "gatherings" which took place at the New York Marriot. Were they really meetings?
Everyone keeps asking for the truth. Well then, let's finally get down to some of the nitty-gritty and expose what really was going on behind the scenes.
Let's see if anyone has the courage to delve into that one.
Hoping the restructured special commission hears my plea.
#9.3 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-18 08:08
You seem to know what took place at the "gatherings" at the Marriott Marquis, Michael. Do YOU have the courage to come forth?
#9.3.1 K. Carlsen on 2007-10-18 12:30
Absolutely! In due time.
In the meantime however, perhaps someone in Venice, Florida would be of more help to you right now.
#22.214.171.124 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-19 15:02
We read: Between 2001 through 2005, over $1,000,000.00 was withdrawn in cash from the operating checking account of the OCA and given directly to Robert Kondratick.
Assuming this refers to the entire years 2001-2005, that is 1826 days which amounts to an equivalent of $547 per day that was withdrawn.
#10 Christopher Eager on 2007-10-16 22:57
How fitting that Metropolitan Herman would open his address with a quotation from the opening chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians -- fitting because the quotation he selects is totally out of context with the rest of the letter. The letter as a whole is a stinging rebuke against lies and immorality in the Church.
The rebuke hits a high point in chapter 5 when the Apostle says "Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Ah yes, that dreadful word "truth" that the Metropolitan always ignores. But the Apostle continues:
"I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES."
I don't think Metropolitan Herman read that far.
#11 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 05:16
FANTASTIC excerpt from Corinthians! Very appropriate and applicable to our situation.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
I am truely amazed at the report, which to me is still hiding so much more darkness than is in print.
I'm at a loss for words just thinking about how many others stood by these crimes and did nothing, said nothing, and was just silent, all in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How can you stand and take a vow of being a priest, a lay person or bishop and just simply say nothing.... ???
My trust was placed in you, my own sacrafices was placed in you while I sent money and prayers thinking that I added a little bit of hope to the Beslan children, 911 victims and the stocking project...
My children stood with honor and a sense of being proud to help raise money for the children and their stockings, to just see there tiny little faces smiling ear to ear holding the stockings and thinking they were making a childs life a little more brighter.... just makes me sick... all the while you knew for many years that it never got to its final destinations.
I'm truely ashamed to call you my brothers... I certainly hope that the proper authorities will arrest and prosecute you for all of the dishonesty that you have created in the name of God...
I certainly don't believe that Mr Kondratick has acted alone....All of you who knew and stood by with silence are also contributors to this devastation and darkness..... If you continue to not act, then what have you to show? Crosses in your closets becoming soiled with tarnish, robes being worn with the smell of moth balls and sunlight disfiguring them from being left to hang.... or maybe just maybe you can get to your final destination in Aruba to spend you last days on the beach if you can just hold on to two more years of silence before retirement so you just hold your tongue for a little more time. I mean really, you were in church every sunday, you did your time, you helped bake nut rolls and helped with the bingo's.
The sad part of this story is that a lot of it is true.... So I sit back and leave this to my children... All in the Name of God.. To Glorify God...? Peace Irene
#12 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 05:55
Too late, the report is out there. No matter how hard you try you will not be able to un-clap that hand. It's really is time for the civil authorities, whom God appointed to "execute His wrath on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:5) to get involved.
When Andreas was asked about the monies given to the OCA/ + Theodosius under the name, "Russian Orthodox Church of America," he stated, "I gave the money to Met. Theodosius to spend as he saw fit." This statement relieved Andreas and + Theodosius of monies spent wrongly in the discretionary accounts. Very irregular.
Now, the real question for + Herman is, "What did you know and when did you know it?" The answer to this is from Dn. Eric Wheeler himself. He informed + Herman of all the irregularities he uncovered before he left Syosset. + Herman did not flinch; Dn. Eric was dismissed and + Herman assumed the title and duties of Treasurer. + Herman knew of the monies issue very early on.
+ Herman knew what was going on at Syosset. Remember, RSK was + Herman's "hand-picked" guy from St. Tikhon's to be Chancellor. RSK and + Herman worked very close together. I wouldn't be surprised if monies from this entire episode ended up at or filtered through St. Tikhon's.
As for + Theodosius, they aren't calling him "Teflon Franky" for nothing!
#14 Anonymouso on 2007-10-17 06:11
I thought we were the Orthodox Christian Church in American.
The Russian Orthodox answers to Patriarch Alexis of Moscow.
#14.1 Lillian Blome on 2007-10-18 08:21
The use of passive voice in the summary report is, I think, interesting. The passive voice (i.e., saying "this was done" rather than "so-and-so did this") is used when it doesn't matter who did it, when you don't know who did it, or when you don't want to say who did it.
Between 2001 through 2005, over $1,000,000.00 was withdrawn in cash from the operating checking account of the OCA and given directly to Robert Kondratick. Who withdrew the money? Who gave it to Robert Kondratick? It certainly matters. Does no one know? Or do the ones who know not want to say who did it?
$575,300 of the approximately one million dollars withdrawn in cash was taken from the special appeals funds and given to Robert Kondratick Who took the money? Who gave it to Robert Kondratick? Does no one know? Or do the ones who know not want to say?
From at least February 1996 through August 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius and Robert Kondratick controlled three discretionary accounts under the name of the OCA, into which at least $1,077,000 was deposited Who deposited the money? Does no one know? Or do the ones who know not want to say?
And if the discretionary accounts are part of the basis for the action against Robert Kondratick, why is action not being taken against Metropolitan Theodosius? Some $850,000 of the $1,077,000 was deposited into discretionary accounts with his name on them. That's a lot of money. Is the Holy Synod not going to hold him accountable?
Besides the generous use of the passive voice, this preliminary report also uses the name of the OCA to avoid naming names.
From 1999 through 2005, the OCA paid not less than $1.2 million in Kondratick family members' credit card charges, which covered no less than 22 credit cards. So the money came out of OCA accounts -- but "the OCA" is not an entitiy that can authorize payments. A person has to do that. Who signed the checks? Who actually made these payments?
I am not surprised by anything in this report. I am, however, deeply saddened by what it says, and dismayed by what it fails to say, what it obscures and hides.
May the light shine into the darkness.
#15 Josephine on 2007-10-17 06:28
My Russian-language instructor did a paper on the Slavic languages indicating that Russian is inherently a passive language. She related the language to the fatalistic nature of the slavic soul. Everything is fate, no personal responsibility. This is especially true in the idioms and sayings of Russian.
A native Russian speaker will have to confirm this. I can't provide examples (although she had many in her paper) as I'm still in Unit 1 of the text, and have barely learned the alphabet ...
I'm also unsure if this observation has any bearing on Josephine's observations either. We do, I think, need to take great care in how we word things, and how we interpret things.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#15.1 Marty Watt on 2007-10-17 08:52
The English Language employs passive more readily than Russian. What your instructor was referring to are impersonal constructions, indeed quite common in Russian and frequently interpreted in the way you describe. I don’t know if the prolific use of the passive voice in the Preliminary Report is an indication of an emerging fatalism in Syosset, but I imagine impersonal constructions could be of much use to them under the circumstances. Just imagine, no money, no paper trail and no personal responsibility, just fate to blame.
Dear Josephine, the wording of the document caught my attention too. It is clearly indicative of players other than the former chancellor. Is this why it was snatched of the web so quickly? Not redacted enough?
#15.1.1 Karina Ross on 2007-10-17 13:44
You'd better believe that an English speaking lawyer was involved in writing that. Those passive voice constuctions are deliberate.
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 21:43
I have yet to hear, in all of this, of the trips to Russia, etc that went with a full entourage of many of the staff from Syosset. These trips included side trips to Vienna. They were well boosted about to those of us who knew these folks. Some of these priests had their wives working in the Chancery. They were quite the "in crowd". When will the rest of this story be told. They benefitted as well.
#16 waiting for "the rest of the story" on 2007-10-17 06:44
Trips as bribes for those in the know so they would not tell? Expensive gifts and money as bribes for the in-crowd so they would not tell? How far from Syosset did the in-crowd extend?
Yes, the whole story and restitution is in order for the good of the Church
#16.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 08:21
I don't think this is very shocking at all. Didn't St. John Chrysostom state: the way to hell is paved with the skulls of clergy?!?!
This scam is just another trial for the Church. Let's not fool ourselves the Church has been in a spiritual battle, since day one. Both on the inside and the outside. Let's draw our strenght to deal with this ordeal from the Rise Christ. Let look to St. Paul as an example of a father in Christ.
Besides, if we thought everything was perfect and there were no problems, we are only fooling ourselves and sitting on the fence. Beware of being lukewarm, Christ might just spit you out.
#17 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 07:02
How much money was spent on building that silly museum dedicated to Met. Theodosius located at St. Tikhon's Seminary/Monastery grounds? It should no longer be dedicated to him.
#18 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 07:33
That area over the bookstore that is currently the museum would be a natural space to use for the national headquarters offices of the OCA after we sell the Griswold mansion and use the proceeds to pay off debts and replace mis-directed funds.
#18.1 Peter McElvein on 2007-10-19 10:27
No words can truly state how I and many others feel about this entire scandal. It is time for everyone involved to come forward with what they know. I would like to know why no civil authorities have been called in to bring charges of theft. The answer must be because the former chancellor did not act alone, but acted with consent and approval of the two Metropolitans and others. It is time for people to be prosecuted in a civil court.
#19 cshinn on 2007-10-17 08:04
The correct charge should be "Embezzlement."
Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation by a person to his or her own use of property or money entrusted to that person's care but owned by someone else. For instance, a clerk or cashier can embezzle money from his or her employer, a civil servant can embezzle funds from the treasury, or a pastor can embezzle funds from a church.
Embezzlement differs from larceny in two ways. First, in embezzlement, an actual conversion must occur; second, the original taking must not be trespassory. That is, the embezzler must have had the right to possess the item, and used that position of trust to convert the property. Embezzlement may range from the very minor, involving only a very small amount, to immense, involving very large sums and very sophisticated schemes.
Conversion requires that the theft seriously interfere with the property, rather than just relocate it. As in larceny, the measure is not by the gain to the thief, but the loss to the true owner. Embezzlement was statutorily created to deal with situations where theft could occur while the thief himself was innocent of larceny — typically because of the "lawful possession" element. That is, embezzlement fills in the blanks where larceny cannot.
Embezzlement sometimes involves falsification of records in order to conceal the theft. Embezzlers commonly steal relatively small amounts repeatedly over a long period, although some embezzlers steal one large sum at once. Some very successful embezzlement schemes have continued for many years before being detected due to the skill of the embezzler in concealing the nature of the transactions. (Wikipedia)
Let's have a little clear thinking, friends, even if we are in the midst of events that seem to stimulate the opposite. One person's call for prosecution in the civil courts, for example, does not make sense. Prosecutions only take place in the criminal courts.
And why do state and federal authorities seemingly take no notice? One possible reason, and this is only a guess, is that they are already very busy with a list of priorities that are essentially dictated to them by a) politics and b) sheer necessity. If you are a government law enforcer, what do you choose to spend your time and money on? Catching and jailing rapists and gangsters whose victims are obvious and relatively helpless in the face of the criminals who prey upon them or alleged white collar wrongdoers who are only stealing from victims (the members of one voluntary association) who can protect themselves by a) taking reasonable and customary precautions, b) seeking restitution in the civil courts, or c) quitting? Not to mention that most of the alleged victims don't live or vote in my jurisdiction.
To me it is an easy choice: the former. Why should the tax money paid by Jews and Muslims, for example, be used to pursue Christians who allegedly prey upon one another? If I were a tough-minded prosecutor in the real world of budget conscious law enforcement I would be thinking "I have other, more dangerous fish to catch and fry, and I don't want to have to explain to the voters at the next election why I spent money chasing down essentially private wrongs (among consenting OCA members) when they can pretty much do it themselves through audits and civil litigation."
#20 Fr. George Washburn on 2007-10-17 10:19
Father, with all due respect, you are mistaken.
This is not a "private matter" between OCA members. It is a serious--and actionable--case of misappropriation of funds. It not only requires handling within the Church, it also requires handling by civil authorities because there is a crime here--and the law requires that crime be reported.
I'm not sure what your point about Jews and Muslims paying taxes is all about, other than being specious. We all pay taxes, in part for law enforcement to deal with crimes such as have occurred in Syosset. At the very least, with no adequate explanation of what happened to the funds given by Wayne Andreas (NOT OCA as far as I know), there should be an investigation--a criminal one.
According to our local states attorney, who has just the barest knowledge of the case to be sure, we do not even have the choice of saying "it's just an internal matter". He further adds that no states attorney worth the title would ignore such a case on the terms you cite. He might do so because there is not enough evidence to support a prosecution.
This is not "just between us", and taxes and religion have nothing to do with it.
If some OCA member (God forbid) murdered a person in an OCA church, would we hold onto the body and refuse cooperation with the authorities because "it's an internal OCA matter"? Of course not--we would be guilty not only of obstructing justice, we would be guilty of not rendering to Caesar what is his.
This financial crime is no different.
Incidentally, the call for prosecution in a "civil" court was not meant in juxtaposition to "Criminal court". It was meant in the same sense as "civil" and "church" calendars. That is, prosecution in the civil and not church courts. Perhaps the person should have said "secular" but I think you were the only person confused.
#20.1 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-10-17 13:58
What is the truth? If, Fr Robert Kontradick was deposed, for his part "problems" that the OCA has the same should for those authories placed over him. In the chain of command he cannot work alone. If the Met. Herman explains what happened. for himself and ask for forgiveness we as Orthodox Christians have to forgive him. Looking at his age, he will not be a Met. forever. But we need to know the truth, not the ommission of the truth but what really going on. It would put all of us at spiritual ease. The trust of our hieraches need to be reestablished where it not one against each other or this sides with the Met. this one is holding funds against the Church. I agree that something needs to be done. But, there is too much hate, and it is creeping into everyones spirtuality from bisphops to laymen. We need to do some serious prayer for the truth.
#21 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 12:00
He that justifieth the wicked, amd he that condemneth the just, even they are abominations to the Lord.......A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgement.......(from Proverbs 17) having just read the appalling OCA news release concerning the totally eviscerated so-called 2nd S.I. "Committee", one must wonder whether or not there is to be any hope at all.......
#21.1 "Committee-Man" on 2007-10-17 17:36
Have you been following the events at O.R.U? the President of the university (son of the founder) has asked for leave, until such time as an investigation clears him. There too is scandal that is very similar to the OCA mess.
It is my prayer that you and that Holy Synod might summon enough male courage to do what integrity demands. You must all step down. Do sectarians have more integrity than the bishops of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? Perhaps they do-
Pity the poor dumb bastard that that searches the internet for the first time, a seeker, looking for information about the Orthodox Church and comes upon all this. Shame on all you bishops, shame. What would your mothers and fathers say! Shame!
Step down, please. Remember shome of us know who you are.
#22 Mike on 2007-10-17 12:21
To all the priests whether posting anonymously or not, with the
release of this report (which has disappeared from the OCA site) I
urge you to consider this as the moment of truth. If you suppress any discussion of this horrifying report in your parishes you are failing to live up to the promises you made at ordination. Worse, you join those who have fleeced the flock. Will you prove to be shepherds in word and deed? I hope with all my heart that you will. You need our prayers more than the Synod at this point. Peace, Alice
#23 Alice Carter on 2007-10-17 13:36
What a joke!
Dont these pitiful heretical men have no conscience?
This whole synod of criminals is just too much to take any longer.
Is there anyone who reads these posts that dumb - that they would believe that only RSK was stealing?
What about the spiritual and fiduciary responsibility of those so called bishops - who and how are they accountable to? and if they shirked their responsibilities (in honesty- God forbid!) dont they still need to step down or be replaced.
I believe this could be called treason - of a spiritual nature.
who can say that they are the only soothsayers of truth - can anyone even trust them to care for a half-dead rabid dog?
They have all proven - every one of them - that they are not responsible or worthy of even consideration, let alone forigiveness (which they dont seem to think they need to be)
Not one of them has taken any responsibility - not one iota of culpability since this whole incident has unfolded.
Can we just sit by and let them continue business as normal?
Man... if they can do this to the Church... one wonders how much worse can be going on in the darkness yet to be revealed!
Whatsmore, why hasnt one of the bishops done his part to attempt to lead our church into the light or to call for resolution.
Sure Abp JOB has asked if the allegations are true or not...
Wow... thats pretty elementary - didnt he have access to the Church's finances? If he didnt... isnt he part of the problem?
To my knowledge... not one bishop has stood apart from herman and his predecessor - correct?
Now that we the laity are revolting against the church administration, bishops and councils a few bishops are making feeble homilies that are leaked to the Church proper...
What a shame... they dont even have the integrity or honor to stand up and be counted...
How can they lead us to salvation - against the Evil One... when they cant even stand up to frail little criminal like herman?
If they cant do that... why should I follow what they say...
And of our priests;
Why hasnt anyone of the anonymous priests of varied seniority dared to call on the authorities to investigate?
Or are they just content to sign anonymous posts and judge others in their wicked solitude of anonymity?
Why is it that only a handful of priests (in the entirety of North America) sign their names? Are the rest unsure of themselves?
Are they +kissers just trying to keep their jobs?
Or worse yet... are they also part and parcel of the same cloak of deception like their superiors?
I have come to wonder...
Is this God's Will for us?
Is this how HE has chosen to send us the message?
One bishop could be wrong... but the whole bunch?
What sayeth you holy men - to this allegation?
#24 Ted Panamarioff on 2007-10-17 16:28
In line with Alice Carter's post above and Ted's regarding the handful of outspoken priests. A few months ago I went through the OCA website and counted the alphabetical list of priests.
It's around 900. That's a lot. The seventy senior priests letter didn't have any impact, did it? Quashing discussion at the parish level must be widespread in the major cities, to judge by the petition. Could it be that a posting in a city parish is more of a 'plum'? Hence the conspiracy of silence.
This is indeed a Feudal system, in the Middle Ages clerical positions and bishoprics were bought by familes for coin of the realm... I think many positions in the OCA are bought by silence.
#24.1 J. Murray on 2007-10-17 21:30
Eighteen months ago, I thought I was the only one that posted,and thought that all BISHOPS should leave. Now I feel,a sadness but relief in my heart, that others feel the same. I have not taken a personal confession in eleven years from any priest in the Kansas City area.
Reading what was posted on day two, of the present meeting, I have a real sense of skepticism, that any thing will move forward. I pray that this fiasco will come to an end soon.
St. James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
cell: 816-853 8685
I must respond to what you have said about the inaction of our bishops in the face of this crisis. In general, I agree wholeheartedly with you, but I would like to remind you and other readers of this forum that Archbishop JOB has done more than merely ask if the allegations were true or false. He did ask that question early on, and has continued to seek answers to it.
But more than that--I was present when, at Bridegroom Matins of 2006, in Holy Trinity Cathedral, Archbishop JOB stood before his flock and abjectly apologized for not having done anything sooner, for allowing himself to be absorbed with his own responsibilities in the diocese, and for not taking action on these matters. He begged our forgiveness. He called the misappropriation of these funds "intolerable." Since then, he has done (I believe) his best to make up for his previous inaction.
As far as I know, he alone of our bishops has acknowledged his own fault for not taking action sooner, and has apologized to the faithful. I believe that the text of those remarks is somewhere on this website, but those of us who remember hearing his words remember that they were even stronger than the printed text suggests.
#24.3 Leaella Shirley on 2007-10-18 14:02
Please forgive my statements where untrue...
I stand corrected regarding Abp JOB.
More strength to him and his good works!
#24.3.1 Ted Panamarioff on 2007-10-18 17:38
Hatreds cannot be ended by hatred, only love.
#25 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-17 19:13
Doesn't this latest iteration of investigative bodies constitute a complete cave on the part of the Metropolitan Council? The council once had control of the investigation (based on its responsibility for OCA legal matters), now it is to be shared with the Synod. (I could be wrong, willing to have my mind changed by "facts sumitted to a candid world.")
#26 Edmund Unneland on 2007-10-17 20:07
I'm not sure, Ed.
The joint responsibility may be a strength. First of all, it is absolutely explicit that the responsibility is to the HS, not to +MH individually. That's progress. Then it's also explicit that the responsibility is to the MC as well, so there's no "these are pastoral matters" stuff. This is one of those rare cases where the diversifying of responsibility seems that it could be positive -- one of the chief obstacles to progress on all of this has been the ability of a couple of key individuals to obstruct information and communications. The joint reporting mechanism increases the number of people getting the information.
The emphasis on "financial" in point #1 (the word appears three times in one sentence) could be read as a limitation, but it also may be the leverage point for ensuring the MC's involvement and joint control.
Time will tell. Membership matters a lot. The chair will have considerable authority, so that matters a lot.
#26.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-18 06:01
Thank you Rebecca,
I agree with you. Balance in response is wise and the MC and HS are continually trying to work it out. It takes time and effort. The new negotiating is allowing the HS and MC to naturally grow in a complicated and involved evolutionary process of leadership. Both the HS and MC have not really given up on each other which is really good news. There is enough love and trust to continue down this arduous road of developmental growth that has been long overdue but needed for the sake of the OCA.
I also think that the MC has given enough indications that it will not be bullied into doing something and is finally finding greater voice into doing the tough, but right things. The HS, too, is evolving as a leadership entity in working with the MC.
These ARE historic times. A long time coming! However, we will have to see how the new Special Comission receives real cooperation. I believe that the MC has seen every stall mechanism in the book. I dont' think it will continue to tolerate the status quo without some major discussion or further action.
#26.1.1 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-18 10:38
I believe the time has come to gather together the faithful and place a civil lawsuit against this administration. I really don't think the games placed at Sysoset will be fully disclosed and beaten down unless civil action is to take place.
I for one don't believe that anyone under these circumstances has earned the right to retire with full benefits and has the right to live at St Tikons or anywhere in the Orthodox Jurisdiction to retire comfortably, what a farse!
Our men and women are dieing at War, Iraq for example, they take their vows of duty to fully protect you and I as well as our families and they lose their lives in the line of duty.
These are the fine examples of martyrs.
Instead of Truth, Honesty, Integrity, and Honor for our Church this is turning into a war zone.
The Current Met has called those who speak out Devils and sinful people, All I see is Honorable people who have placed their heart and soul into the Church and want this to be resolved, fighting for the very Truth at the very least to be the number one priority.
Both sides of the current situation are fighting within to protect what....?
I know in my heart I'm fighting to protect the Church for my children and to cleanse it of the disease, the illness that has seeded itself 15 years ago or more. Others are fighting to hide the dark secrets, and they have lined up for 15 years or more the weak, the distraught, and the hidden culture with bonds of money, lies and promises.
So to conquer and divide is one of the tactics... Unless its drawn down to ground zero it can not be seeded and rooted and plowed, fed sunlight, and water to grow again.
I for one really believe in my prayer life that Its time for civil action to begin.
I promise to visit those in jail and to take my gospel with me that way I can preach to you the message of Christ for many to find their salvation. Who knows, Maybe I'll become the very first Orthodox Gospeler. Any takers out there to join me?
#27 Anonymous on 2007-10-18 07:52
All I really need to know, I know from +MH's opening remarks. Here this man dares to try to use the words of Scripture to silence those seeking the truth as to the theft and participation (overtly or by inaction) in theft by calling for "unity" in the Spirit. What sheer and utter blasphemy, and I would be very angry about it, except that at this point, if he's trying to use divinely-inspired Scripture to cover his connivance in the crimes committed against the OCA -- well, now he's stepping into messing-around with God's own word, and I don't have to be angry about it; I just have to be patient because on Judgement Day, he's going to have a very hard time trying to sophistry-ize his way out of that little remark! Mr. Hierarch, that heat you feel on the back of your neck isn't your temper, it's just a little foretaste of things to come, due to your own arrogance and stubborness.
What a joke! What a thorough-going and absolute joke! "I didn't know." How can one or two men fleece a church filled with officers and committees, and at least a couple of CPAs looking around, and not have it "noticed." Didn't any bright boy or girl say, "Gosh, I thought we collected several million dollars for thus-and-such, now where are the letters of thanks from the (presumed intended) recipients?" And now +MH gets up and says, "Unity in the Spirit, thus saith the Lord." Gag me with a spoon - in this case a Communion Spoon! What an utter and complete disgrace this man is, to think that we can just sit back and accept this ...
No, he has to go - maybe even more so if he DIDN'T have anything overt to do with it, because he's still trying to cover it up and paper it over, and it's not for the good of the Church, either.
The last time I checked, you didn't have to "call in the authorities," in order to have a criminal investigation. I mean, if there is a murder, as someone else posted, you don't need to call the police and say, "Gosh there's this dead body in my house. Won't you please investigate?" Charges are filed by a complaintant only in a civil case, not a criminal case; in a criminal case, it's "The People vs. the accused," and I think that stealing (call it embezzelment or whatever you want) is a crime, isn't it? I mean, if the Bank of America is robbed, the DA doesn't wait to see if BofA wants to "press charges," do they? It's a bank robbery, which is a criminal offense, not a civil case; the civil case is if the BofA wants to file for damages due to the window being broken during the robbery, right? So it would seem to me that someone - usually an officer of the corporation, maybe the Secretary of the MC in this situation? - notifies the proper authority (State's Atty of NY?) that a crime is suspected, and then they take over; the OCA doesn't need an attorney to get that going right? It's free of charge to report a crime, isn't it? Just sending over the "summary report" as written indicates that organizational action was taken (against RSK), and then the authorities launch their own investigation, which might uncover other malfeasance, no? As for recovering damages and so forth, that may be a different (civil) matter. As for politics, I don't think that stealing seveal million dollars from a tax-exempt Church would be viewed as "minor," even these days. Frankly, given the number of people at least proximate to the crime, I would say that this situation has RICO written all over it, and that means EVERYONE is going to get investigated from Syosset, to the Synod, to the MC - maybe that will finally get the latter two groups interested in this thing. (Taking a trip on the OCA's dime in order to keep quiet about potential hanky-panky might be considered accepting a bribe to hide an illegal act, might it not? I think that's part of "racketeering," but I'm no lawyer, I just stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night).
At this point, getting the OCA's money back could be a matter of debate esp. given the Andreas letter; but the crime has been committed, and further, we simply need the suspects including the Met., to leave the premises and let us all get on with our lives. An appeal for "unity" at this point is nothing short of ludicrous. I'll continue my own personal "withholding" as long as +MH is in charge. Frankly, this "joint committee" is just more of the same-old kick-the-can-down-the-road gobbledygook practiced by alligator-shoed Congressmen for years. I'm not impressed. (Oh, and by the way, interesting that RSK tried to beat-it out of town to Florida; Florida law doesn't allow for a judgement of any kind to take a person's home or retirement benefits; that's why OJ killed his wife in California, but now lives in Florida; it's so the Goldmans' can't get their hands on his NFL pension nor his $15M house as part of their civil trial settlement; so the person who commented on OCA pensions maybe being affected, just watch for any sudden "relocations" of OCA hierarchs to the Sunshine State, and that will be your clue as to who's really involved in this scandal. I'll be RSK is sporting a Florida Driver's License and Voter ID card from Lee County these days.)
Note to +MH: Still no more money, and shame on you for trying to use Scripture to hide behind! Shame! Dust and ashes and shame! I've got to go wash my face and hands now -- just considering the nerve of it all makes me feel very dirty. O Lord, please hear our prayers and help us weather this storm! Forgive us our sins, and afflict us no more!
#27.1 C.C. on 2007-10-18 10:41
Well first of all greetings to Mr. Payne if he is the same Kevin Payne I knew in Santa Cruz County all those years ago.
And then 3 or 4 brief points that may or may not be worth making.
1. Please re-read my prior post carefully. I was NOT asking prosecutors to accept the tentative explanation I advanced. I was only trying to suggest to the many souls who post on this site and who cannot seem to understand why BIg Brother doesn't do something about this the reason why a DA might refrain from doing his duty the way Mr.Payne wants the DA to do it.
2. Ah the law, Mr. Payne, the LAW. Yes indeed, based on the findings of the spiritual court we may readily assume that some point of the law in your locale had been transgressed by the former Fr. Kondratick at least. Before telling us any more about what your local minions of the law believe, I suggest a simple test. Make a formal complaint to him about what you believe the then Fr. Kondratick did. Name any others you suspect of being complicit. Accuse them of crimes in the precise words of your state's statutes against obtaining money by false pretenses or misuse of charitable contributions. Allege jurisdiction on the grounds that Syosset sent fliers to your local parish asking for the donations and you and your friends gave several hundreds or may even a few thousand. Explain to him why, after a half million dollars and more of investigation on site in NY State has not come up with enough proof to nail it all down, he should plan to spend hundreds of thousands of his investigative budget to prove a case against someone beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the criminal burden of proof, in order to track down the hundreds or thousands you gave and make sure it goes to the right place and the culprits are punished and other, would-be bad guys are deterred,and then let us know what he says. I strongly suspect he will not put the taxpayers' money when his own mouth is.
But hey, I could be wrong.
3. And what of the authorities in Metropolitan NY? Should the local robbers, securities manipulators, drug dealers and mafiosi be made to take a back seat or left to ply their respective trades sans the customary levels of opposition while public money is diverted to make up for lack of foresight, oversight, and hindsight by those presumably best situated to deal with this? Or should the minions of the law wait for the OCA to spend ITS money on investigation before swooping in to use the results in a prosecution if they conclude there is a provable case?
4. My point about Jews and Muslims was pretty transparent, I think, but I will try it once again. Unless there is some evidence that one or more conversions to other faiths are contemplated, people of other religions could be pardoned for supposing that those followers whose faith is abused by their chosen leaders, whether televangelists or other, should expect the DA to prioritize his spending and deal first with violent crime and things that threaten the ENTIRE body politic, not just one narrow interest group. Sure, sure, you can argue that a Message Needs to be Sent that the Government is vigilant about the misuse of charitable monies. But in making that argument I think you are making the same kind of passive, "somebody else is responsible" argument that former MC and administrative members can be heard to make. First and foremost it is an OCA matter, and few, if any, jurisdictions can be expected to front the hundreds of thousands of dollars to investigate and try the accused when they have so may other priorities dictated to them by the realities of life in a society of Law and law-breakers.
5. And no, I was not the "only one confused" by the misuse of terms, Kevin. I understood the mistake and tried to point it out as an aid to clear, realistic thinking. I am still trying.
#28 Fr. George Washburn on 2007-10-18 08:53
For those who are skeptical as well as those who are hopeful of a prosecutor going after our embezzlers, you should read about the Federal prosecution of John Carter who was President of the Philadelphia Seaport Museum. He plead guilty to stealing $1.5 million [tax evasion and mail fraud] and the prosecutor asked for a 15 to 19 year prison sentence.
The museum embezzlement situation has many parallels to ours. The museum has a small budget [$2.3 million] and did not provide proper oversight. Also, the theft left the museum in tough financial straits.
The FBI got involved because one of Carter's buddies was already under investigation.
Here's a link to background info on the crime.
The article notes that the Seaport's board has filed suit to freeze his assets because they claim he stole $2.4 million.
So, maybe there is hope that the Feds may investigate and prosecute our crooks if the right person drops a dime.
#28.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-18 15:27
If $125,000 of Church and Charity money (dollars) was used to pay for personal lawyers and stuff for Metropolitan Theodosous, why the ham-hock is he not being deposed too?!?! Why do all bihops get a free ride? I know -- its the good old boys club.
Bishops are not Christians anymore!
And why the ham-hock did we name a building at a monastery after a thief?!? Maybe we should rename the building The Backs of the Beslan Children building don't you all agree?
I am sick and mad and even more sick than when I started writing this sentence!
#29 Eddie Kayeti on 2007-10-18 11:12
What he said!
#29.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-18 13:10
From: +Herman and the Holy Synod of the OCA
To: All Reverend Crooks, Liars and Perverts
We now return you to your regular program, already in progress.
As for the rest of you... Resistance is futile!
#29.2 Felix Culpa on 2007-10-18 14:10
The statement of the Synod is true to form again. Surprises none, disappoints many, who still try to keep having faith in this bunch of guys who couldn’t tell wrong if it came and slapped them on their face! The Summary Report was erroneously posted on the website and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken. A bishop in Alaska is accused of serious sexual allegations, he’s still in office and no sign of any disciplinary action or the like while it’s investigated. Joe Swaiko has been systematically destroying the Church for his own personal gain and nothing happens. The FBI is involved? That doesn’t make it bad, they were just over inquiring how they can become members of the OCA and contribute to it’s many good works. Why would you ever think anything else? Anyone get the idea that these guys cannot tell what is a major infraction and what is a minor infraction? Being that they cannot tell the difference there explains why disciplinary action is so swift in some incidents but altogether missing or delayed years when the infraction is so grievous? We know now what they consider high crimes and that is when you share information. Openness, truth, these are some of the real deadly sins!
Lying, cheating, stealing, etc. is of no big deal, but if you DARE speak of it or let it be known, God help you because the punishment will be swift and severe. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
We’re starting our third year since Eric Wheeler’s letter and what do we have? It took six months before any action on these serious allegations took place and that merely the firing of the Chancellor from his job, but he can keep the house, and everything else, just take away the title. If they had their way and we didn’t care it would have been politely swept under the carpet, because stuff like this, well, just doesn’t register on the radar of an OCA bishop. But, Eric, God help him for bringing this to light! And because we really do not disagree with what Kondratick did, but we needed to take some action to appease those annoying masses, we’ll send you down to Florida and you’ll be lauded as the savior of that parish. The money, well, what’s a few dollars between friends, right? . More time goes through and only because there is a lot of moaning and groaning by the faithful (yeah, that’s the word, “faithful”, so as to distinguish us from the hierarchy which share no common characteristics with the faithful), well, they start a special commission, people are overjoyed and they think they’ve dodged the bullet with the faithful now happy there is movement. Maybe we’ll get to the core of this and there will be disciplinary action! Unbeknownst to the faithful, the commission is a sham, merely formed to do the secretarial work of Proskauer Rose. But, they go along, and bravely recommend the suspension, pending trial of Kondratick. Joe is shaking his head, saying, “Good God! What MORE do you want?! Let’s just all get along, and by the way, keep sending me money.”
So, the recommendations are considered by the MC and Joe fights it tooth and nail. None of this warrants any disciplinary action. He’s been caught, isn’t that enough for y’all? How can we even consider disciplining an action so typical, so unimportant, so unworthy of our time when there are more important things to be done like making sure nothing gets out. Yeah, we need to spend time not letting information out that, well, isn’t serious enough for us to consider disciplinary action. And anyway, you all just misunderstand so there’s really no problem, ya know? “So, ok, I’ll suspend him, but you know what? I’m really mad at all this so someone who has done nothing but tried to find the truth must pay a price and who better than a big well respected figure to show my manliness, so Nescott, I’m gonna get you! I’m going to pull you on the carpet and accuse you of gross negligence in your handling of important and confidential information and besmirch your honor and reputation. That’ll serve you right for daring to do something I don’t want done! How dare you try to make me discipline something you think is bad!? You have no right to make me do the RIGHT thing! Remember, I’M the METROPOLITAN, NOT YOU!”
So, Joe reluctantly muddles through the spiritual trial like a bull in a china shop because Ben Franklin is making rarer appearances in Oyster Bay Cove. Doing whatever wrong he can do wrong, unethically, and with an absence of integrity at every opportunity. But, hey, why take the spiritual trial seriously? We know people will be satisfied that its just occurring. But the trial ends up in a conviction and now Joe must hurry up and call the Synod to session so that before it can be second guessed he needs to dispose of Bob, because now the Midwest is threatening to withhold my money, he thinks. Damn those people who think someone needs disciplining! Ok, so breaking all procedure, not allowing time for an appeal, Joe and his merry band of goons on the Synod, go ahead and break procedure and vote to defrock Kondratick. Now, *this*, has to be the end of it, no? Now, send in my damn money! What we didn’t realize here is that he has the Synod, by, well, the neck apparently. NO ONE on the Synod was able to see the procedure was being rewritten by Joe as he went along? Of course we can’t question the little guy, after all, he IS the Metropolitan ya know.
Now we come to October and there’s no money and what am I gonna do, he asks? Someone posts information on website that Joe himself said would be posted at the end of the appeal. And what happens IMMEDIATELY?! The person who was just doing what Joe said at the beginning is now appropriately disciplined, but the miscreant who’s appeal they were considering, well, we’re going to take a good long time with that because we want to think of a way that we can avoid punishing what is in that summary report lest our own crimes get involved. How stupid was that person to take Joe at his word!?! Lord have Mercy! Didn’t this person know that when Joe says something he merely says it to appease the masses hoping they will forget it before long and it’ll be like he never said it?!
People, again and again, this merry band of people who can only serve as a bad example, again do the wrong thing. And we keep trying to force them to do good! What are we thinking? This is a religious organization or something with God as our lead?! Trying to appease the masses with yet another commission where most of the questions concerning its composition and rules are not given but details to be determined later. How many times do you hear of the name of the player to be named later? They’re hoping for the same here. Trying to cover their own behinds because God only knows what Kondratick told them. All that going on, and they tried to smear Wheeler, and they’ve smeared Stokoe, and whoever else dare speak out about this. They discipline a messenger of what is for them bad news.
There are rumors over who got disciplined and there’s no denying he needs discipline, but the disingenuous actions of the Synod in this case with their immediate action on this shows their duplicitous nature. Where was the hearing for this person? Where was his cushy assignment in Florida? Where is Joe’s defiance against all the legal entities in the Church against the disciplining of this person? You only discipline people who do harm to the image that the bishops want to portray. Just let them do what little they need to keep you quiet and sending in the money, that’s the only motivation these guys have, and the sooner you understand that the better it’ll be for all of us!
When you portray or divulge information that could show their true personalities and actions and reveal what is in their hearts deep down you are basically putting a target on your back. And then people complain about all the anonymous contributions on this website. Well, to put it bluntly, we’re afraid of our bishops. When love and admiration and dedication to and striving to be like our bishops should be the sentiment, we fear them. Not like we fear God, because God is loving and we only need to fear when we do the wrong thing. No, we fear our bishops when we follow their hollow preaching and try to do the right thing. Plain and simple! No one can make your blood boil more than an OCA bishop. That guy on the cross who’s wrists are being torn apart as he slowly suffocates on the cross for OUR sins because he loved us, well, he’s just an ornament in that building we go to do our performance weekly. NOT once does he really factor into our thinking. That’s the crying shame here. The bishops don’t even know why they’re there and what this is all about. No idea…
The more things change the more they stay the same.
Halloween is coming up. Maybe the bishops are going to take off their riassas, klobuks, and put their sticks down, and dress in layman’s clothes and go trick or treating pretending to be real Orthodox faithful.
#30 Stonewall on 2007-10-18 12:00
You write well. But you write voluminously! (Good thing you write well!) : ) Getting paid by the word? Kidding! Levity aside, they are long, your posts; any chance of getting pithier? If not, at least you make some great points!
#30.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-18 13:21
Sorry about that, but when talking about the OCA Synod, there's just such a wealth of material!
I didn't even submit the second half of that post!
#30.1.1 Stonewall on 2007-10-18 18:03
By the time the Faithful realize the OCA is dead, rigor mortis will have set in.
#30.2 anonymous on 2007-10-18 14:28
Is it too much to hope that the last sentence in the statement (regarding disciplinary action for the person releasing the original statement) was just another scare tactic by the Metropolitan, and not the decision of the entire Holy Synod?
Otherwise, maybe the petition of no confidence/please resign should be changed to address the entire Holy Synod. For, indeed, if sending out a press release in error gets immediate discipline, but the rest of this mess requires months and years of investigation and deliberation and appeals, one can imagine that murder would result in no action at all by the bishops.
#30.3 Mark on 2007-10-18 14:41
I too question the prompt action...
Yet it took years to acknowledge that something may be wrong in Syosset?
When the truth is being revealed the chosen remedy was to blame the messenger and technology?
Call on scripture to incite paranoia and fear?
It will take removal of the entire synod and all of their minions and many decades before I ever would consider trusting them again!
#30.3.1 Ted Panamarioff on 2007-10-19 09:19
years go by with huge problems being denied, but a report gets posted and action is immediate, Greg Nescott posts a reflection that contains no confidential information and action is immediate, Dcn. Eric raises an issue and action is not quite immediate because they don't want to call too much attention to it but fast enough that he's out of a job pretty darn quick.
#188.8.131.52 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-20 06:32
Every halloween I sit and wait in the big pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin! He brings toys to good little boys and girls! Every year I sit and wait and damn he never comes, I've been fooled again, UGH! I hear Snoopy in the background he's scattering up the leaves as he snoops, and year after year I sit and wait for the Great Pumpkin to rise from the field to bring joy to the world.
My sentiments exactly, how stupid am I Sally replies I listen to you every year and the same old same old thing happens I miss out on tricker or treating and I miss out on all the candy!!
Meanwhile Lucy takes a hold of Linus after he's cold and wet and places him to bed! Well somehow in this story I see all of us repeating the sentiments of the Peanuts Gang!!
Stonewall just think, we have something to look forward too, Snoopy's Thanksgiving feast! popcorn, peanuts, jelly beans and toast! Oh, I like mine served with warm cider please, before I forget! please don't ignore the white envelope placed at each table setting... Its for mission appeals, beslan children, 911 and the katrina victims after all they really are suffering and they need our help, what better place for them to find comfort and solitude in our care the OCA.
#30.4 Anonymous on 2007-10-18 15:14
When the Synod speaks its starting to sound more and more like the teacher in the Peanuts shows. There's a noise, but you can't make out what is being said. Blah blah blah blah blah..
Thanksgiving is a special day, but maybe this year its a good day to commemorate our bishops, after all, it is turkey day!
#30.4.1 Stonewall on 2007-10-18 18:10
That's a great idea! I'll see your Bishop Gobbler, and raise you one Arch-Drumstick and a side of Kondratick-berries! Gosh this is so funny, you couldn't make-up such a pitiful scenario as the "leadership" of the OCA; no one would believe it! Sorry Oyster Dressing (with Old) Bay (aka Syosset) now that the "evil" Mark Stokoe has posted your unauthorized posting on this Website, it's been captured in the daily global Internet archive (captured every day, everything that's every been posted on the net), and it's PERMANENT, baby! What's the matter, somebody accidentally divulge the facts to the masses? In case you're not keeping up with current events, Your Emminences and Graces, we've all already had it with you. You could publish the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the front of the New York Times at this point - and we all, the masses and unclean laity of what used to be called the OCA - still want you gone, and we're withholding our money 'til you're gone! Once you lied and hidden and trammeled-upon the truth for so long, oh sure, we'll forgive you and all that other ecclesiastical stuff, because our Lord and Savior tells us to do so; and it'll even be sincere. But send you any more money? Not a chance! How do ya like them scalloped taters? Retire already! Get those Social Security benefits while they're still there! Baby Boomers a-comin' to take it from you. So, retire, file, and collect - you owe it to yourself - and to us!
Friday after Thanksgiving is a slow news-day. Maybe that would be a good day to announce the collective retirement of the Holy Synod! Now that would be something to be thankful for! Please pass the gravy!
#184.108.40.206 C.C. on 2007-10-20 09:55
Stonewall, if I may offer a summary of your message...
Where bullies, thieves, and thugs hold sway,
It's Cosa Nostra every day.
"Our thing" reigns both east and west;
We hunker down and do our best
To keep a lid on all the rest,
As those we fear can truly attest,
And those we love are also blest.
Who sez that we are here to serve?
Some one with a lotta nerve!
We need some real broad latitude
To bolster our self-serving attitude.
So, do not ask, and we won't tell;
That way no one breaks the spell.
Where bullies, thieves and thugs hold sway
The people have no place to pray.
It doesn't matter anyway
As they are mainly here to pay,
And if they don't like it,
They can just go away.
(We'll fabricate the census.)
#30.5 Cate on 2007-10-18 19:31
There’s nothing in the 7 resolutions about releasing the new report to the entire church. What happened to that minor stipulation? I’m also wondering about the benchmarks set by the DOM…will these still need to be met before we release any money to Syosset?
#31 Helen O'Sullivan on 2007-10-18 15:03
Shouldn't the new commission be asked to review the documentation that was secured and to review the P&R Report?
#31.1 Bruce Trakas on 2007-10-18 22:46
I think sometimes the idea that the laity need not know is more about we have the power because we know and you don't than it is about we are protecting you (or the Church or someone in the Church) from what full public knowledge in the Church would mean -- Very sad in either case since the first is a put-down and the second shows that the leaders and teachers don't trust the laity for forgiveness.
#31.2 Anonymous on 2007-10-19 11:27
an article worth pondering vis a vis our sad OCA situation is found here:
Promises, Lies and Apologies: Is It Possible to Restore Trust?
#32 unnamed member on 2007-10-18 18:08
I think Stonewall's summary really nailed it. Stonewall, all I have to say is, this would be so much more powerful if you signed your name to it.
There was a perfectly good investigative committee formed at the end of 2006, and the Syosset Administration tampered with it from the very beginning -- probably because there are people in positions of authority who still have something to hide.
This new committee is just damage control, nothing to get excited about. Why should we get so excited when the first committee was not allowed to work unhindered? What makes us think that this second committee is going to be any more effective, or that "interested parties" won't try to interfere from behind the scenes?
I doubt +MH shed a tear when 4 members of Committee 1 submitted their resignations, the result of being jerked around for months on end. The mess with Gregg Nescott and the other committee members is eerily similar to Nixon's firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, and the subsequent resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson.
Another crisp, fall afternoon; and it is business as usual in the OCA: another Met Council meeting concluded with hardly a whimper and another Synodal meeting with more empty promises. Everyone knows that fall is great for football, and we have another football teed up for another unmakeable field goal. We are looking for a new kicker, but the holder is the same familiar guy in the white cap.
I don't know about you, but I think this game is all too predictable, and predictable football is boring. Maybe I'll spend my money on a movie. Who will join me?
#33 Greg Denysenko on 2007-10-18 18:44
I have been away from the OCA for a number of years and am only now reading about this scandal. Tell me, please, if there are parishes leaving the oCA or if there is a movement to organize another jurisdiction. Just curious.
#34 Cyndi Gordie on 2007-10-19 04:03
No parishes are leaving.
No parishes should be leaving.
We are one contiguous church, if you will.
And regardless of people's comings and goings, leavings and stayings, the OCA will remain.
#34.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-19 19:46
What happened to Archbishop Job and his benchmarks?
Will he go home and write the check?
It amazes me to think how his Synod, not very holy, can allow Herman to continue. The poor people continue to suffer! The synod of bishops is very guilty of allowing the continuation of a church in turmoil. STOP THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO ALL DIOCESE - IT'S THE ONLY THING THEY RESPOND TO!
#35 Margo on 2007-10-19 06:16
All the parishes should stop sending in money to Syosset and to their local bishop. The latest episode of posting, retrieving, and disciplining a subordinate who releases a "news release" is just another example of the Metropolitan's administration trying to cover up its blunders, errors, and sins. If money is needed to repay loans, then sell Syosset--the Metropolitan doesn't live there and is there only one day a week anyway.
#36 cshinn on 2007-10-19 07:19
I just spoke with the District Attorney's office for Nassau County, New York (has jurisdiction over Syosset).
They said that parties interested in seeing criminal prosecution should either write them a letter or fill out the online form on the website.
I also spoke with the New York State Attorney General's investigative unit for charities.
I will give full contact information below and urge eveyrone reading this to please contact them requesting criminal prosecution:
please fill out this specific contact link requesting prosecution:
Kathleen M. Rice
District Attorney's Office
262 Old Country Road
Mineola, NY 11501
(516) 571 - 3800
For the State Attorney General's office:
(718) 722 - 3949
(212) 416 - 8400
Please take / make the time to do this, as a criminal investigation is the only way to find out the truth and bring these people to justice.
#37 Mark Giesh on 2007-10-19 09:20
Dear Mark thank you for the info. I have contacted them using the link provided. I also have contacted the FBI and my Senator. I am willing to wait a little while longer but if there is no sign of reform and resolution in the next 90 days I feel I will have no other choice but to get a lawyer and bring litigation against the Synod of Bishops, RSK, officers, and the mc past and present. I pray it won't come to that. I want to believe that they can come to grips with what they have done and repent. I know at least 3 in the synod need to be deposed.
#37.1 GH on 2007-10-19 23:14
Keep us informed of your actions. I know of people, including myself, who will be more than happy to assist in any way.
One recommendation I make is that none of those people are on a lawsuit corporately. We need to list each and everyone of them as a defendant in a lawsuit so they can't go buying PK to save them because they'll just re open the OCA coffers to defend the group. Each and every member should be held responsible for the money that was missing during their time in office. Let's see how fast they get off their duffs and do something real when they're going to be on the hook for the missing money.
There's no other way. No one takes this serious and the bishops are hiding behind their hierarchical defenses. They only understand the law of the land, not the law of God, and as such action needs to be done at that level.
#37.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-10-20 20:40
Does it seem likely to other people that the principle players are staying silent because they expect criminal charges and are hoping for immunity, by giving new information? In a criminal case, who would make the decision to grant immunity?
What happens in a civil case? Is there such a thing as immunity (for example from financial restitution) in civil cases? If a group of laity were to sue, could they ask for full disclosure of the facts as part of the (award)?
Thanks in advance for any explanations...
#37.2 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-10-20 07:46
I think you are really only doing what needs to be done. While I believe the HS and MC are going through a necessary evolutionary process of cooperation and growth, the OCA is in need of MAJOR reform.
It is the issue of money. This IS is a legal issue, besides a spiritual or just "financial" issue. We really can't mess around waiting for a "dance" to be correct, because we are owing more and more to creditors every day!!! I shutter to think of what the OCA has not been able to pay back!! In the midst of taking out a loan. There have been budget cuts already.
To go two years since the big breaking news of this financial mess, and to see the type of prolonged, agaonizing, dysfunctional "dance" we have seen is really unacceptable.
JUST TOO MUCH MONEY IS AT STAKE!!
I am sure the MC And HS are finally working together in ways they should have all along. But what I am reading is it will take a lot longer! They may be well intentioned, but this is, finally, MY money and YOUR money that has been missapropriated. Things are still not fixed yet.
There is the issue of time and healing, but there is the issue of this just being one big COLLOSAL mess that needs some great strength in rectifying SO IT CAN'T happen again! PERIOD!
If this happened in the secular world, we would have had our new administration by now.
Also, I would have the OCA seriously move from where it is. Even if we own the building, it costs too much money for staff to live on Syosset. They could be comfortably and beautifully housed in an administration center at St. Tikhon's where family housing would be much more affordable.
Too many opportunities to continually save money seem to be wasted.
#37.3 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-20 17:19
I have a theory that I have not seen put forward, forgive me if I overlooked and someone else already mentioned this idea.
I think the "Summary Report" was released intentionally in order to manuplate the outcome of the Appeal of Robert Kondratick. I think someone thought that the Holy Synod might possibly reverse the deposition of Kondratick. I think someone wanted to make that more difficult by making the details of the accusations public. Someone wanted to make it just about impossible for any bishop to support Kondratick.
#38 Name withheld on 2007-10-19 15:21
I've thought the same thing -- either a deliberate effort to make sure they don't back down specifically on RSK or a more general effort to make sure that the process pushes forward.
#38.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-20 06:20
What extrordinary selfish and power hungry men, this Holy Synod of the OCA. Here we are 24 hrs after the end of all these great meetings, and no word on the many important questions. What happened to Ab. Job's call for M. Herman to resign?
I feel sorry for the converts in the OCA and elsewhere. They must think that all bishops are like these weak and luke warm-morally bankrupt men of the OCA. Not so, my friends, not so. The bishops that came before them were strong resolute men, loving and pious to a fault. To those of you out there that remember Vladika Kiprian, imagine what he would do to this group of robber bishops. They have robbed us of our very church, and the heritage of our parents. They are cruel men.
Why do I have this picture of Ab. Kiprian leading M.Herman, (or any of the others for that matter) by his nose, kicking him in his dupa and yelling smarcatch! Maybe some of you with 'stories' about the venerable Boris Borisaevich (Ab. Kiprian) will post them (for our dear converts).
No archpastor with a human heart would leave his sheep in the dark so long with such questions in the balance, if he truly,truly loved them. If he had the heart of Christ.
Ok boys! Everybody out of the pool time, time for all you wimps to go, all of you, get the hell out of my babushka's Church. I'll never kiss any of your hands again, never.
#39 Zhuk on 2007-10-19 16:21
"The Holy Synod of Bishops expresses regret that a 'Summary Report' was erroneously posted on the official web site of the Orthodox Church in America on October 16, 2007. It was a working document, not authorized for publication. Appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated."
I wonder who is being hung out to dry for the 'error'? One of the new officers?
#40 Yanni on 2007-10-19 18:41
on this name's-day, it appears that the appropriate verses are these: "And he went into the tenple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;.....Saying unto them, 'It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves'..."
#40.1 Luke on 2007-10-19 19:57
No - they'll bring the hammer down on the "Deputy Assistant Scanner Operator and (Volunteer) Undersecretary and Administrative Associate Clerk to the Assistant Webmaster." No, none of the new Officers of the OCA would have the gumption to actually think he could get away with posting 'what really happened' on the Website! Don't you think the OCA's selection process is more stringent than that? Only a volunteer with an unauthorized duplicate of the key to the back-door could have managed to do that - AND THAT CAN'T BE TOLERATED!
Actually, I think another poster here nailed it: It was intentional to preempt a last-ditch resurgence of emotion in favor of RSK.
When I converted, someone told me that "We Orthodox are really different; don't be surprised if we seem odd to you." Actually, it's not so different; in fact, I saw a Danny Divito movie which resembles the Synod, a few years ago; Mr. Divito played Al Capone, and anyone who dared to question him, or who broke the silence, or spoke to the press or the G-Men, well, he'd take a baseball bat to them! Yeah, it's just like that here. Guess who's playing Danny Divito in this re-write? And here I was, thinking all the Mobsters were in the Roman Church; must be the new rapproachment between the Churches that I read about somewhere ...
#40.2 C.C. on 2007-10-20 10:14
ON THE "SYNOD ISSUES STATEMENT"
The jewel-bedecked feudal lords are displeased.
The errant lay peasant will be punished.
Be at peace..., you ignoramuses.
...What century are these guys living in?
Maybe they are from another planet far away.
#41 Anon. on 2007-10-19 18:56
Concerning the compromise committee. What if this investigative group finds that the "root causes" lie in the time period before 1998? Are they allowed to investigate?
What if they find that Metropolitans were indeed involved and helped create the crisis before us. Will they be allowed to bring charges?
What if they find that deep moral problems lie at the heart of the financial woes. Will they be allowed to actually cleanse the Church?
What if they find that the real problem is that we have viewed the Office of the Metropolitan as a mini pope who exercises his power in places that were be better served with conciliarity? Will they be able to bring control back to the local Bishops and away from the national church.
I hope that Archbishop Job will not allow funds to be released on the basis of this verbal agreement. We have had empty promises and words before. Let us see if the deeds match the words.
Let us see if this group will be allowed to discover and actually desire to report the whole of the truth. Let us wait and see if Metropolitan Herman's control issues have been checked by the other Bishops and by the Metropolitan Council. What if they find out that financial misdeeds in Alaska that flowed to Syssoet goes back over thirty years, two Alaskan bishops and two Metropolitans ago? Will that be considered germane and come out? Let us test the unfettered access promised by this compromise by asking to look into the personal accounts of the two Metropolitans? Let this group whose names we do not yet know ask how it is that casting light on an investigation gets immediate discipline but darkness is welcomed and moral corruption is covered up for years and years.
Before we trust again we must be able to verify! We have no reason to trust right now!
#42 Fr. Andrew on 2007-10-20 09:27
So, where is all of the transparency?
Why has Archbishop Job not reported?
Has he gone home to write the check?
#43 Sue on 2007-10-23 18:02
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