Tuesday, November 6. 2007
Your comments on the diocesan assembly of Washington- New York are welcome.
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Thank you Mark, for another superb posting:
Towards the very end you reported:
"Tosi, a lawyer, then insisted with great emotion that all the details and facts of the OCA scandal could never be made known. To reveal all of what was in the Proskauer Rose report , Tosi averred, "would kill the Church". To reveal all about the scandal would "bring embarrassment to individuals" and leave the OCA "open to federal and other prosecution"."
This is it. Tosi is confirming what we all suspected all along. But why does he have to say that if we knew about what was in the Proskauer Rose report it "would kill the Church." This is nonsense. It would only affirm our resolve to get rid of the bad actors, how ever many they are, sooner than later! This is the tragic problem of this whole mess. We could have cleaned house much sooner and it drags on and on.
The current scandal is not the doing of the "Church." It is the doing of however many corrupt persons allowed it to happen or had a part in it. Period.
So many people can not come out from under the rock to stop protecting the egos of a few misguided individuals.
I think Tosi's revelation just brought a whole bunch of resolve that we laity are determined to fix this mess. We are not the bad, disgruntled, malcontent "employees" but know bad management when we smell, taste, and hear, and see it!
Thank you Larry Tosi! Your words have just put a whole big piece of the puzzle in focus!
We must get to the truth. We weren't crazy about wrongdoing after all.
However, it sounds as if RSK may finally, possibly, talk. Maybe. Even though he appears to have had a big hand in this mess, he would be another person who could set this right. PLEASE TALK! Larry Tosi just about told us the truth!
#1 Patty Schellbach on 2007-11-06 19:35
Sometimes it is what is NOT said that says it all.
Herman has made his decision to blame one person. He will not release any details, not about the firing of Kucynda or the INS situation with Bodnar. We are forced to live in Herman's world - pay and obey!
#1.1 Margo on 2007-11-07 10:36
I sit here a happy person but at the same depressed. In my town, today, we took those in power and defeated them by a 2 to 1 margin. Tax increases, shady deals, money disappearing. It became so ridiculous - it was the talk of the town. Now, tonight, I can rest assured knowing that the smell of lysol is in the air - we're cleaning house! But at the same time, a cloud of depression comes over me when I read this post here. There will be no election in the OCA, there is no way for the little guy to speak up. The situation is bordering on hopeless. And now we read that when Mr Bob is denied his appeal, he'll start talking about everything that really happened. Friends, this is only going to get worse before it gets better.
The silver lining on this situation is that I can just stop donating. That's my only option. Didn't have that option with property taxes... But i'd rather donate and clean house than withhold. Oh well. In my case, its 1 corrupt regime down, 1 to go!
#2 SBora on 2007-11-06 19:56
We have gone from Christ's teaching: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) to: "To reveal all of what was in the Proskauer Rose report , Tosi averred, "would kill the Church". To reveal all about the scandal would "bring embarrassment to individuals" and leave the OCA "open to federal and other prosecution"." If that does not wake the rest of the OCA leadership, priests, and lay people who are still either (a) supporting the cover-up or (b) still unsure whether the allegations made by Deacon Wheeler are true, then NOTHING ever will.
What is amazingly sad is that so many priests and delegates still deny reality and either continue to support the status quo or sit silently by doing nothing to help. No wonder things have gotten so bad in the OCA. We're reaping the consequences of such moral and spiritual lethargy and delusion.
I can't decide whether to sing from Handel's Messiah (by way of the Bible):
"But who may abide the day of His coming? For He is like a refiner's fire, and who shall stand when He appeareth?"
Or to lament with Mendelssohn's Elijah (wow, another Bible text :):
"It is enough. O Lord now take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers..."
Lord, have mercy!
#3.1 Kevin Nikolai payne on 2007-11-07 17:06
I doubt that the OCA will survive another ten years as a religious entity.
#3.1.1 Stephen Mamikonian on 2007-11-15 06:16
Today, November 6, 2007, the citizens of New Jersey overwhelmingly voted to remove archaic words such as "idiot" and "insane" from the New Jersey Constitution.
Perhaps if they had been witness to the fiasco that transpired at Saints Peter and Paul Church, in South River, New Jersey, on the previous day, the voting contituency would have been overwhelmingly convinced to keep those words in place.
Oh, the irony!
#4 Archpriest Daniel Degyansky on 2007-11-06 20:37
We need to include those words in the OCA Statutes to keep out the people, in the future, that we have had and have now in power in this administration.
Godless. These people couldn't pick out the cross from a lineup if they had to.
#4.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 11:52
Fr. Daniel makes me realize something ... we have been running a make-work jobs program for the disabled on the north shore of Long Island. Had I known that, I could have saved myself a lot of grief.
#4.2 Edmund Unneland on 2007-11-07 20:11
I have come to the conclusion that the OCA, envisioned by Fr. Schmemann will survive the brutal attempts of Herman, a company clergy in the Army and a non metriculated "graduate" of Robert Morris College- a man who Schmemann would only have to look at to send skulking off the stage.
The OCA is the legacy of Fr Alexander and no hack like Herman will destroy it and those who were taught by Fr Alexander must continue to fight for that vision of the Church in North America that he dedicated his life to.
If we have to survive Herman, let us do so knowing that he will have no lasting impact on this Church. Within 5 minutes of his death, we will forget him and thank God that we still have a Church despite his best efforts to consume it for his own purposes.
#5 Herman Who? on 2007-11-06 21:01
sorry for the misspell , make that a "company CLERK."
#5.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 09:25
I beg to differ with you. Was Adolph Hitler forgotten?
I don't think so.
#5.2 Sue on 2007-11-07 15:51
To equate the Metropolitan to Hitler is a gross exaggeration, at best, and at worst, equates the Holocaust and the killing of millions with a pesky financial scandal. Rewind and reconsider next time you compare an individual to a ruthless dictator bent on wiping out an entire race of people.
#5.2.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-08 10:10
"a ruthless dictator bent on wiping out an entire race of people."
Change "race" to "church" and it all fits just fine, sadly.
Will the last person to leave the OCA please blow out the candles.
#18.104.22.168 Guy Kogut on 2007-11-09 20:18
I have to agree with the statement by Anonymous in posting # 5.2.1: To compare +MH to Hitler stretches the point. However, I believe it is more apropos to compare +MH to Richard Nixon: both engaged in lies, cover-ups, and gag orders. Now, if +MH would complete the parallel behavior and, like Nixon, resign!!
#5.2.2 David Barrett on 2007-11-09 01:44
Mr. Tosi can't be correct. The Catholic church has certainly weathered its storm of lies.
#6 Dan Fall on 2007-11-06 22:13
Of course, the Catholic Church has more than 2,000,000 (I mean 20,000) members.
#6.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 10:10
Some time ago, the phrase "cognitive dissonance" was very much in vogue, at least in my line of work. It may not be as fashionable now, but the account of the NY/NJ/DC assemby reminds me of it.
How exactly is it possible to say that such terrible things have happened that, were they to be revealed, the church would be destroyed (as did Mr. Tosi), and at the same time vote that everything is fine and we have complete confidence in the current administration (the key members of which, particularly MH, were around when these too-terrrible-to-reveal things happened)? You would think that the cognitive dissonance would blow people's heads apart!
It's extraordinarily edifying to know that RSK is trying to blackmail his way back to the priesthood. Nice.
I think it is time to give serious thought and discussion to how to reach people who are defaulting to support of MH because they're falling (in good faith) for the "few troublemakers" spin on the whole thing. I can well believe that many of these folks are repelled by some of the rhetoric by those of us who have been paying more attention -- but I have to believe that accept for the group (not necessarily small, but certainly not dominant) of people truly beholden to or complicit with the old order, many people who now are opting for peace, order and silence are actually reachable.
Framing the issues, developing the right arguments and evidence, and finding the right ways to reach them is critical if this whole thing drags out until the AAC next year.
#7 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-11-06 23:35
You can "bet the farm" that this thing will drag out until, during and long after the next AAC. Herman, for the sake of his own skin, will hold on to his job and drive down the OCA in the process. What point is there to going to the next AAC if Herman is still the Metropolitan? What could this man possibly say to any of us that would be credible? Listening to his apologists is enough to make one want to puke.
What if that called an AAC and no one showed up? An interesting thought?
#7.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-11 06:57
In the aftermath of the NE Assembly, what I have been hearing is that many people are simply against withholding, while not supporting MH. Bishop Nikon apparently stated himself that he believed withholding was against the teaching of the church, although I was unable to get any more details on which teachings those would be.( I was also unable to find any other suggestions coming from that group other than "pray and fast".)
Another crticism I have been hearing is that people disapprove of the crisis unfolding over the internet. They call this akin to "exposing our father's nakedness". I really don't know how to answer this, partly, I suppose, because I think it Is a shame that it has gotten to this point, and a shame that a lot of ugly rhetoric is out there now from both sides, at the same time it seems so obvious to me that nothing would have been done if this site hadn't been started. In any case, with a bishop calling for a teaching on the Christian use of the internet, I have a feeling that this is another element of the dialogue where some work is needed.
#7.2 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-11 11:52
I just wanted to add that along with the criticism I have heard about the internet, is the question of whether a full accounting of the truth will be about the same as a forced public confession. Some people have questioned whether this is truly Christian. Again, I don't know how quite to answer that.
I really do feel though that we need to be speaking to each other , talking through the different points of view now, long before the AAC. The discussions that happen at the assemblies are like waves on the beach- there's a build-up, they crash, they disperse. Is there a way to make significant progress in the discussion between all parties before we get there? Short of a miraculous experience of metanoia (and here's prayng for that), we can be pretty sure, I think, that our Synod is not going to lead us out of the mess. The petition and acts of withholding have been crucial in letting the church at large know that the concern doesn't lie with a "small minority of troublemakers". The danger with those two actions (I signed and I'm considering withholding although our parish isn't) is that they sort of draw a line in the sand. Is it a true one - can we make "our" side a little broader? Where do we start?
#7.2.1 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-12 11:06
There are so many unfortunate aspects to this whole mess that's it's hard to say that any one is the "worst," but certainly among the more unfortunate things is that has been allowed to get as ugly as it has (and I'm all but certain it's going to get much uglier) by people who are fully invested in protecting themselves no matter what the cost, financial and spiritual, to the church at large.
The ugliness begins to repel people of good will whose efforts and support are necessary to resolving this.
The questions on my mind these days are:
is there any way to make +MH go?
if +MH doesn't go before the AAC, is there anything that could happen there that could make him go? (much as I would like to pursue the option laid out by Julianna below, I don't think it's viable given the hierarchical nature of the Church -- just like the community at 97th Street in NYC lost the building to the Living Church because of the principles of hierarchy, we're losing our battle here. In both cases, there isn't much recourse when the people filling the role of hierarchs are actually anti-church activists)
if there is an honest investigation, but nothing happens as a result, is there a way to force some result at the AAC?
if there isn't an honest investigation, is there something the AAC can do to force one to happen going into (God help us!) 2009?
if absolutely nothing that needs to happen has happened and shows no signs of happening by next November, are there constructive things that people can do to "work around" the mess?
how do we make sure that everyone going into the AAC understands the issues and the history of this mess?
how do we make sure that those who care about this are coordinated among themselves at the AAC and have a plan of action?
if nothing else, how do we use the AAC as an opportunity to educate and enlist support going forward?
how do we make sure that everyone is properly prepared with a full understanding of the rules of order and ready to fight?
how do we get MC candidates nominated and elected who will fight for the right thing tooth and nail?
I'm stubbornly refusing to believe that we can't accomplish something in spite of the organized effort to surpress this all, and I recognize that I have to do a certain amount of selective denial of reality in order to maintain my optimism.
#7.2.2 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-11-13 08:38
Sorry for formatting -- I wasn't trying to bold every other question.
Note to self: don't use asterisks as bullet points!
#22.214.171.124 Rebecca Matoviv on 2007-11-14 09:08
As a member of the legal profession I read Larry Tosi’s comments about the legal consequences of potential disclosure with great interest.
I assume that Mr. Tosi has greater knowledge of the Proskauer Rose investigation than the rest of us do. I also concede that the vast majority of the legal profession generally favors nondisclosure -- if for no other reason than disclosure opens a Pandora’s Box of consequences that are impossible to predict. Lawyers are paid to predict the future and advise against unnecessary risks. It may be, as Mr. Tosi suggests, that disclosure would subject the OCA to an unreasonably high risk of federal prosecution. Maybe a federal prosecution would destroy the OCA as a legal entity. Without knowing all of the facts, I simply do not know.
What I do know is that Gregg Nescott is a federal prosecutor, a member of the Metropolitan Council, and a member of the dissolved Special Commission. He has publicly taken a position in favor of disclosure. He has sworn allegiance to Christ’s Holy Church. If the Metropolitan and Mr. Tosi believe that it is in the best interests of the Church to conceal the whole truth, the best thing they could do is approach Mr. Nescott and make their case to him. If they can change Mr. Nescott’s mind and convince him that nondisclosure is better for the Church, they should let Mr. Nescott make the case to the rest of the Church for why nondisclosure is better under these circumstances. If they refuse to trust a federal prosecutor with the truth, then the rest of us should be skeptical whether any case for nondisclosure exists at all.
If the Metropolitan and Mr. Tosi refuse to trust their secrets to a federal prosecutor and an officer who has sworn allegiance to Christ’s Holy Church, and if they insist that the Metropolitan must take these secrets to the grave, then the only honorable option is for the Metropolitan to resign. It may be that an honorable man in the Metropolitan’s position would refuse to disclose the truth under any circumstances. Without knowing what he knows, or the circumstances of how he came to know what he knows, it is impossible for the rest of us to make a reliable judgment.
What we can say for certain is that the Metropolitan cannot have it both ways. He cannot keep secrets of malfeasance and at the same time continue as steward of Christ’s Church. The Church must at all times be committed to Truth. The Metropolitan has a choice to make, and it is a very difficult and painful choice. He can disclose the whole truth, and ask for forgiveness for his own failures -- in which case he risks that the Church will ask him step down. He can disclose what he knows and try to convince his critics that secrecy is best interests of the Church -- and rely on them to make the case to the rest of us for why the truth cannot be made public. Or he can resign, take all of his secrets to the grave, and let the OCA take a fresh start under a new Metropolitan. Each of these options may be the most honorable option available to the Metropolitan, depending on the circumstances. What the Metropolitan cannot do is bury the truth and continue to pretend like it does not matter to the OCA or to the future of Orthodoxy in America.
#8 Robert Wachter on 2007-11-07 02:12
Educate us on who would have fiduciary responsibility. Is it all signators on a check, all officers of a corporation, parties who signed checks. I think that most people agree that one person cannot be soley responsible especially when they were not a financial officer, so please inform us so we can at least make this a learning experience.
#8.1 Margo P. on 2007-11-07 11:35
An officer/director breaches a fiduciary obligation when the person has actual knowledge of financial misfeasance and fails to disclose the facts to others in the organization who have the right to know about it.
Financial officers have an additional fiduciary duty to know what's going on with the finances. If the treasurer does not manage the books directly, the treasurer has a fiduciary obligation to use reasonable care to supervise whoever is managing the books.
#8.1.1 Robert Wachter on 2007-11-07 17:30
I get real sick and tired of all of this “one person can’t be responsible” nonsense because its mostly used as an argument for us to not look upon the offenses of our former Chancellor and rather shift blame to Joe Swaiko. It’s the ole, “well, look at THAT guy cause he did bad things too!”
No, I do not agree, that just one person could not be responsible, in a very important sense. Let’s be honest, there were a bunch of people who, in all reality, are singularly responsible for this going on and for going on as long as it did. Let’s just look at the five central players here: Joe Swaiko, Frank Lazor, Bob Kondratick, Dmitri Oselinsky, and Paul Kucynda. The Pennsylvania Cabal, if you will. All five of them knew what was going on, and we don’t know how many of these five actually partook of the fruits, but they all knew what was going on. Now, why are all of these guys singularly responsible for it? Because NOT ONE of them, while they knew this was going on, and knew it was bad, and knew it was illegal in every moral and legal sense, did anything of any character or Orthodox behavior to stop it. They turned blind eyes and allowed it to continue day and night, week after week, month after month, year after year. It took all five of them to allow the scheme to proceed, but it would have taken only one of these, then respected men, to come forward and put an end to it and NONE DID! They signed checks, they glossed over reports, they were lax in their responsibilities. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in this chain it was strong to allow this to continue for the time it did and it would be going on to this very minute if someone else didn’t act responsibly and say something. They had to actively subvert their pastoral vows and singularly permit themselves to allow it to continue.
How they can look themselves in the mirror each day, let alone have the gall to vest up and act out a liturgy and preach to us about truth and repentance is completely unthinkable and repulsive to this writer! Makes my blood boil just writing that! Something not be discussed on a full stomach! The dissension they are allowing to fester, the animosity, the growing anger, the division, the THREATS against God loving, caring people who love their Church, how can they even look at themselves in the mirror. With all this raging one of them feels he should be reinstated to the priesthood. Good Lord! If it wasn’t so damn tragic it would be comedic! Does anyone really grasp that?
Speaking of these five people doesn’t even taken into account the pliable See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil bishops, the pliable MC members, the pliable auditors, who are also each singularly responsible. Two people we know of the entire large group, John Kozey and Eric Wheeler had the character to say, “no”. Some, to this very minute, are still relishing the old days wishing to go back!
If you see a crime being committed on a little old lady walking home from Church and she’s being beaten because she’s holding on to her purse from being stolen and she ends up badly beaten and dies, is the slime who did that the only person responsible for her death? Legally, yes, morally, no. No, you stood there and allowed it to happen. You could have called for help or stepped in and acted in a responsible manner that saved her life. You alone could have saved her life. You, it could be argued, were just as responsible for her death as the person who beat the daylights out of her. This is no different.
Any one of these men were significant enough that if they protested and brought it to light back in, say, 1998, we would not be where we are now. Four of these men signed checks as official corporate officers. FOUR OF THEM SIGNED THE CHECKS. What could we have prevented if ONE, just ONE, of them said, “No, I cannot sign this check!” That was not said, that person is singularly responsible. One of them was the general in charge over the entire organization and he did nothing to stop the carnage claiming now he only did what the Metropolitans told him. But he did nothing to stop it, he’s singularly responsible. He could not see that if this was SO bad then that he just couldn’t be a part of it and resign. But he did not do that and now he wants us to take to heart his defense of just following orders. BS. His excuse smells worse than a fish market in Asia, my friends. Three of them were directly responsible, as treasurers, for the books during some point in this mess. NOT ONE OF THEM CAME FORWARD. They knew it was bad, they knew it was illegal, they knew it was unorthodox, but they allowed it to continue. Each of them singularly responsible. ANY ONE of them coming forward would have saved us from the torture of having Joe Swaiko voted in as Metropolitan and allowing this to continue even MORE and then being an obstructionist of the first degree when it finally did come to light. We may not have this resolved, but one person, basically saying something, is why it’s not continuing on to this day, or at least not with the momentum and vigor that it was. One person said something, one person was responsible for it being brought out to fix and stopping it. It’s called dereliction of duty, a failure to perform your fiduciary responsibilities, and it’s an offense of ONE person.
Yes, all four of them, while maybe not singularly responsible for PUTTING the hands in the cookie jar for YEARS on end, are all singularly responsible for allowing it to continue to the proportions that it did. And now, ALL of them are dead silent, while people who defend the former Chancellor, who actually got a just, and in some ways, lenient punishment, are saying its unfair because he’s being singularly accused of this. It was in HIS hands, most of all, to be able to bring this to a stop when he started to smell the stench of the filth if he truly knew nothing about it. He did nada!
Don’t worry, he’s, well, just the tip of the iceberg, in this. We’ll get to the rest, but for now, yes, he was singularly responsible for allowing it to continue. Oselinsky is/was. Kucynda is/was. Swaiko is/was. Lazor is/was. Any one of them, ANY ONE, if they had any integrity would have called a halt to it and brought it to the attention of people who could stop it. We should have been doing this at least 9 years ago, but because each ONE of them allowed it to continue and, basically saw nothing wrong with it, we are where we are today. God gives us each free will to follow him or plunder his Church – that free will is exercised on a singular basis and our actions with that free will are ours alone, not the other guy’s fault.
#8.1.2 Stonewall on 2007-11-08 12:38
You said, "four of them signed the checks". Here is where you are wrong. I know for a fact that Metropolitan Herman never signed one check as interim Treasurer. Kondratick and Theodosius were the only two who signed.
As for the other's, I think you might be wrong about those as well. They may have been Treasurer's, but one person controlled the finances.
Kondratick would simply go to Fr. Strikis and tell him to pay this or that.
In late 2005 when Metropolitan Herman and Fr. Kucynda became the sole signatories for any disbursement of Church funds, it is my understanding that the former Chancellor went ballistic, yelling and swearing at the Metropolitan. Nice, huh. Nobody ever mentions that.
Stonewall, I know how difficult it may be for you, myself and many other's to even think that Kondratick had such power and control, but that is the truth.
#126.96.36.199 Michael Geeza on 2007-11-08 15:22
There you go again, getting things wrong because you don't check your facts before writing. Rather, you just shill for Kucynda. Herman DID sign checks as Treasurer, as did your buddy Kucynda.
And while we are talking about it, how about the malfeasance your YOUR BUDDY KUCYNDA is now responsible for with hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on a law firm that has produced nothing for the public to see. How about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that has been spent to pay off an internal debt, a debt now the Church can't pay because of that malfeasance. Daily calls from Honesdale Bank looking for their money, PR, looking for their money. And how about the money it is going to cost to repair the damage done by YOUR BUDDY KUCYNDA who knowingly hired an illegal alien, who now has disappeared from OCA sight and the OCA website, while his "temporary" immigration status is resolved in a paperwork delay? Yeah, right.
And now, Paul Kucynda, having totally screwed up the OCA central office WHILE HE WAS IN CHARGE, with another of his hare brain flow charts leaving the officers of the Church to try and work out a his thoughtless administrative structure, quietly slips away as the waterline of the OCA continues to rise.
Please STOP trying to defend a man who did nothing to improve the as anyone else did. He not only is to blame for his part of the past misdeeds of the OCA but he is to blame for the current state of the OCA.
How different is Kucynda who brought in all his buddies and how pays them over $135,000/yr and brought in all his buddies to be the Transition Team, and brought in all his old buddies to be on the spiritual court, and hand-picked EVERY new hire in Syosset and got rid of every other person who Kondratick hired, even his last hire, poor receptionist Ludemann. But its ok to pay all these other folks six figure salaries, including the Metropolitan who is double-dipping from NY/WA and the OCA.
Again, Michael, GO AWAY, Kucynda is HOPEFULLY FINALLY out of the picture. Carry his cloak in Wayne, not here any longer. You can try and say he is innocent when the Feds and Homeland Security knock on his door.
#188.8.131.52.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-09 06:10
Well, well, well. Here we have another coward (possibly from the Dallas, TX area?), who continues to spew venom all under the guise of ANONYMOUS.
You are gravely wrong and an idiot to even think the Fed's have ANYTHING on Fr. Kucynda.
The only 2 who should be shaking in their cassocks in fear of the Fed's are Kondratick and + Theodosius.
That being said, perhaps you are one of the individuals who can enlighten us about Town House NY?
Your tactics of attacking everyone else in order to shift focus and the truth about you and your "friends" is most revealing and childish.
Too bad you aren't as concerned about the orphans and widows who didn't benefit because of your friend.
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-11-09 12:36
Orphans , the only concern you have is to bash Fr. Bob. How can you cast stones?... The orthodox forum tells all.
#220.127.116.11.1.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-10 17:37
what about doing nothing further at all?
the only current consequence is withholding by the Diocese of the Midwest..
#8.2 Dan Fall on 2007-11-07 12:55
You say that the Metropolitan "cannot do is bury the truth and pretend like it does not matter to the OCA or the future of Orthodoxy in America". Why? Why can't he?
He seems to have done exactly that for the past two years. What is going to prompt him chose now to exercise instead any of the other three options you propose?
Some truth has been unearthed by others in those two years, it is true. But what part did the Metropolitan play in that struggle? Why would he choose to change that behavior now?
#8.3 jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-11-07 14:16
I think the tide has started to turn. People are figuring out the truth and they are starting to take more courage to stand up for the truth. You see that in the Midwest, in Western Pennsylvania, in New England, and now Washington-New York. Resolutions may have been defeated this year, but the pressure is growing on those who would rather cover everything up.
Mr. Tosi tells us that what has been disclosed is only the tip of the iceberg. Robert Kondratick's new lawyer tells us that what has been disclosed is only the tip of the iceberg. I believe them both. Don't we all? If the new Investigative Committee fails to find any icebergs, the resolutions that were defeated this year will be back.
#8.3.1 Robert Wachter on 2007-11-07 18:34
Unfortunately, it appears that they refuse to converse with RSKs lawyers on all levels. This entire situation will probably end up being decided in a court room. It is also obvious that MH refuses to acknowledge anyone who disagrees with him and his approach. The is the USA everyone has a right to defend their truth.
#18.104.22.168 Suzanne on 2007-11-08 04:27
In my post on this thread, I expressed the sentiment that resistance is futile, at least for now with respect to any meaningful change in the OCA's direction. Nevertheless, I agree with your first paragraph, although it may be a bit of a stretch to say that the tide has turned. But illuminating and disseminating the truth is the one victory, thanks to this site, that can be claimed and it is not an insignificant one.
That said, all the phony institutional change in procedures and personnel is utterly worthless so far. Furthermore, I reject the notion that the new commission will try to find the truth in any objective and comprehensive way. Finally, the situation in Alaska continues to be a disgraceful failure of leadership that stinks to the heavens.
#22.214.171.124 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-08 06:26
I liked your thougths very much in this post.
Unfortunately, "evil" does not think very clearly or logically, as you are! "Evil" appears to take on forms of darkness, desperation, and alienation the more convoluted it becomes.
I am not convinced +Herman will step aside for the good of the church.
I believe, as some have jsut recently stated, that if we can ammend the statutes of the OCA to allow a vote of resignation of the metropolitan out on a 2/3 vote with no overrrides from the bishops, we can start a new day!
But the amendments have to be written and submited before the AAC. Perhaps you, or a group, could help us write these amendments.
#8.4 Patty Schellbach on 2007-11-10 09:00
Mark, you are so correct about Mr Tosi's comments being the "most telling". If his comment is correct, and if, indeed, full disclosure or the report would "kill" the OCA, then the OCA, or at least it's leadership, is already dead. On life support, perhaps, but still clinically dead. All that is keeping the body warm is secrecy.
Note that I did not use his full quote, "kill the Church". A slip of his tongue, I pray, but the OCA is not "THE CHURCH". It is "THE CHURCH" for which we have Christ's assurance of protection against the Gates of Hell, not just one "jurisdiction".
Maintaining a veil of secrecy will not cure the ills that put the OCA on life support. Equally depressing is the fact that lifting this veil is no guarantee that the OCA can be brought back to life. Only God's great and rich mercy can breathe life back into the dead. The quandary you face in the OCA is how to be worthy of this great and rich mercy, if we are every really worthy of it at all.
Tosi clearly alludes to death, embarrassment and crimes. If he is not "speaking through his hat", then there is ever so much to be concerned about, and ever so much reason to understand the spiritual pain being suffered by those who are calling for change and repentance.
This is not just an issue of human failure in a secular organization. It is a betrayal of trust within the body of Christ. It is the misuse of people's love offerings falsely accepted in the name of the Church. It is an issue of "embarrassing" actions, crimes and fatal actions by people in positions of trust.
How many times have the offending clergy and laity prayed, "pardon my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, of word, or deed, both known and unknown"? The very words of our preparation for receiving the Eucharist make it clear how there is no excuse for transgressions. A transgression is a transgression. Even a simple, "My brothers and sisters in Christ. I have failed you as your shepherd. My failures have been both voluntary and involuntary, of word, of deed, both known and unknown. I beg your forgiveness.", would be a step forward. Rather, the call seems to be, as so many have said, "Everything is just fine. Pray, pay and obey."
We are all sinners. Our goal is to become more Christlike, not to use our sinfulness to justify continued sinful behavior. People are suffering spiritually because they have involuntarily and unknowingly financed sinful behavior, and are called to continue to finance perhaps even more. Would the OCA suffer so terribly if a new synod was put in place that could earn the trust of its flock? Are the trappings of office so vital to the hierarchs that they cannot pass the torch?
Mr Tosi seems to have made it clear that what is known is truly "only the tip of the iceberg". Something very terrible, sufficient to "kill the OCA", has transpired. Would it not ease the spiritual pain of many to be placed under the care of new shepherds? And, if this were done, what would be the loss to those who are happy to "pray, pay and obey"? I can only assume that they care not who they pay and obey.
Your Church is at the point where it no longer matters WHO IS RIGHT. You must consider WHAT IS RIGHT and go forward with it.
#9 Overseas Observer on 2007-11-07 02:37
It was then that the most telling moment of the Assembly took place. Larry Tosi spoke again, scolding those who were withholding or might consider doing so. Tosi, a lawyer, then insisted with great emotion that all the details and facts of the OCA scandal could never be made known. To reveal all of what was in the Proskauer Rose report , Tosi averred, "would kill the Church". To reveal all about the scandal would "bring embarrassment to individuals" and leave the OCA "open to federal and other prosecution"
What is this supposed to mean?
That we should not rock the boat? That we should leave well enough alone?
No way... not me..
No one wants to touch stinky rotten fish...
if you leave fish rotting it continues to stink - only by cleaning it up will the smell go away
The same goes for our current problem.
We need to get our hands dirty... get to foul stinky center of the mess and clean it up... all of it!
Anything less is worthless.
I wonder what is meant by; " Would kill the church" and "bring embarrassment to individuals"
Hasnt the current state of affairs already done most of the damage stated?
Bring embarrassment to whom... what about the rest of us? those of us who are receipients of their foul deeds?
What is my shame and embarrassment worth? do I matter?
Because I am not a global jet-setter with golden jeweled crosses and brocade rament does this make me insignificant?
Who are these frauds, these charlatans that have crept into these positions of reverence or respect? How did they get there? Whats more... why are they still there?
What is the sign of Evil... do we know... can we see the "mark" on them?
Are my eyes blinded to truth? What more does God have to prove to me to bring me/us to our senses?
#10 Ted Panamarioff on 2007-11-07 03:12
Without saying it, he said it. The person who has been in charge for years is responsible, but still sits in the very chair of power and control. He rules with fear and intimidation. If what he did at both St. Tikhon's and the OCA was revealed, it would leave the church in a very vunerable position. HOWEVER, he still owns it all!
#11 Suzanne on 2007-11-07 03:24
Dear Larry Tosi,
I had a long chat with my lawyer son-in-law who has
extensive experience with a non-profit/quasi-church which went south. He states and I agree that there will be no federal or state case brought against the OCA regardless of how embarrassing the facts are. Unless the IRS or the Security and Exchange laws have been violated, or a felony committed, such as assault, murder etc., the law could
care less about lavish lifestyles, undercover relationships. I can't imagine anything the law should concern itself with; bad management is not a crime, there is no bank account in anyone's name that we can find with the missing millions, nor is sexual behavior, unless a minor is involved, considered criminal. Not to mention the statue of limitations which applies to the money matters. So it comes down to this, after almost 2000 years the Church can be "destroyed" by the disclosure of sinful behavior. If true, which it is not, we shouldn't
bother to show up at our parishes next Sunday. See you in the choir, Larry. P.S. I have no interest in the "gory" details, most adults don't. Alice
#12 Alice Carter on 2007-11-07 05:58
I write this comment with a very heavy heart. soul and mind. I have prayed about whether or not I should even write it, but I truly believe what I have to say needs to be said.
What if church money was used to facilitate and fund certain types of sexual behavior and conduct within the ranks of some of our clergy in the OCA? (THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE.)
Would that change your mind???
Mind you, although this lifestyle is contrary to Gospel teachings, I am not judging or condeming anyone. However, if church monies were used to encourage and foster certain activity, then I will condem it and each and everyone of us should do the same!
I for one, am sick and tired of good, honest and Chrisitian people being ridiculed, humiliated, tarred & feathered in print for having done nothing more than not releasing certain reports/information or acknowledging any previous knowledge of certain poor financial behavior.
We are all to blame for not taking a stronger stance years ago in dealing with the former administration.
Most recently, some people are more concerned about legitimate but legal glitches within the immigration system as related to one's visa, as oppossed to much more troubling issues which no one ever wants to address.
You know what folks? I can't take it anymore. It's time for certain issues to rise to the top.
Do we really want truth and transparency?
Then let's begin by asking if anyone knows what really went on during those alleged "meetings" taking place at the New York Marriot Hotel? (ATTENDEES KNOW WHO YOU ARE)
Let's also ask if anyone within the ranks of OCA clergy over the last 20 years is familiar with an establishment in Manhattan called Town House NY? Was this place ever visited at the expense of orphans, widows and causes worthy of a blessing?
Was church money ever spent at either of these places for reasons other than church related business? "Entertainment" is NOT church related business.
Would somebody care to respond to my questions?
We want the truth. Is anyone capable of providing it?
There are differing degrees of cancer within our church. It's time they are all cut out so that the body (the church) can begin to heal.
Will we ever be ready for the surgical procedures??
I hope we all prepare and pray for the right answer as the cancer is spreading.
#12.1 Michael Geeza on 2007-11-07 13:30
Google Town House New York.... lot's of good information as to how to dress appropriately for a night out in New York.
They make a point in the dress code - no hats.
#12.1.1 Jim Murray on 2007-11-08 09:07
Is this the Townhouse place you're referring to: www.townhouseny.com?
#12.1.2 Felix Culpa on 2007-11-08 13:40
Thank you, Michael, I believe that this present crisis is woven together from several strands of unresolved issues in the Church. Not to remove the blame belonging to those who have participated in a conspiracy of silence. Just to mention one or two strands: celibate bishops, and one issue whose relevance is often overlooked: non-violence which was no longer a given for the Christian after our long cohabitation with Empire. It will take a great deal of theological/archaeological work to begin to unravel the distortions. I do not think that two lifestyles as opposed as celibacy and sexual relationships are can be healthy for the Synod and the Church. Since we have had both the celibate requirement and the violation of it, we need to do some serious work. That is the primary reason I am not interested in the "gory details." Our bishops do not live in monasteries, they are traveling, and lack the stability that monastic or parish life can provide to Christians struggling with passions. When I think of all the kind hearted and generous people who are there for me at times of struggle, I can't imagine what the lack of such ongoing support means in the lives of our bishops. I think there is a connection that needs to be revived in a serious way, which either stable monasteries or married bishops can address. Or both. The other strand, the loss of non-violence combined with the kind of power the relationship with secular empires has engendered has lingered for a long time in Orthodox churches. I do not think we will not recover the the icon of Christ as Servant until we relinquish that power. So beyond this crisis the revelations of sinful behavior should call us to examine what and how we need to change. We cannot set up our bishops to undertake the difficulties of their ministries in a context which cannot provide them with the constructive relationships which will make their pastoral work possible. Alice
#12.1.3 Alice Carter on 2007-11-08 17:01
Well said, Alice,
#126.96.36.199 Patty Schelllbach on 2007-11-10 17:12
Dear Mr. Geeza,
I honor you as the semi-official spokesman for the "powers that be" and especially for your willingness to engage in debate and discussion on this site, which is far more than can be said for those you seek to defend and excuse. This post of yours, in particular, raises important issues that need to be addressed.
You imply that full disclosure of the truth will result in a sexual scandal implicating many members of the clergy and even mention several venues where this may have taken place. Well forgive me--but so what! It hardly comes as any surprise to me, and I dare say most people, that the clergy are subject to sexual temptation. Of course, those under vows of celibacy have an issue with their confessor, but that need not concern the rest of us. But when church money is also involved, that does rise to a level of greater concern for all of us.
No, what greatly concerns me, just as in the case of Rome's handling of their scandals, is how the hierarchy has reacted once it became aware there was a potential or actual problem. Silence, obstruction, denial and punishment for those daring to raise a warning flag or demand answers. Then circling the hierarchical wagons and identifying an appropriate lower level, albeit the Chancellor, fall guy. Stating, in the face of incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence, "I did nothing wrong" and asking the Church to move on, forgive and forget--the truth. So now what where primarily sexual and financial lapses, as serious as they may have been, have escalated to far more serious issues of governance, truth-telling, and accountability.
Imagine, for a moment, if the bishops had taken another road. Just suppose they had demanded a full disclosure of the truth when Deacon Eric first alerted them and then asked sincerely for forgiveness for any role they may have had in all this once the full truth was made known and thrown themselves on the mercy of the faithful, being mindful that they might have to resign for the sake of the Church depending on their own role in the scandal.
Fantasy--I know. Rather than humility and repentance, we are given pride and arrogance instead. Satan rejoices--heaven weeps.
#12.1.4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-08 18:06
I suspect your son-in-law is correct. However, there are issues that the IRS would certainly be interested. It is called a private enurement, and it is the taking of charitable money for private uses.
It has been said that Abp. JOB is blackmailing/extorting the OCA by withholding. I rather think that label applies to RSK, by saying "unless you reinstate me, I'll tell all." Are we to assume reinstatement would assure silence? That isn't right, in my not-so-humble opinion.
No, RSK needs to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. I'm sure if he presents evidence that causes repentance in the OCA, and exhonorates himself, he will be restored by a grateful fellowship.
your brother in Christ,
Martin D. Watt, CPA
Dayton, Ohio / Las Vegas, Nevada
#12.2 Marty Watt on 2007-11-07 20:52
The idea that full transparency would kill the OCA is also shared by at least one member of the SIC. Perhaps they are right. If what went on what we all think went on there would likely be a huge sum of back taxes and penalties due to the IRS as well as numerous white collar fines to other governmental agencies. Can the OCA handle that? Selling "Oyster Bay Cove" (never a bad idea) might cover these things. It might not even begin to cover them.
What is ridiculous in this situation is that it is obvious that those running the OCA for at least the past decade, if not longer, had no idea what they were doing. The Appeals only underscore this point. The raised a lot of money in the 9/11 appeal and had absolutely no way of distributing it. So it sat around while the secretaries wrung their hands over it. But then the money went away, and the secretaries said good riddance. Now the OCA has borrowed a huge sum of money to pay back this appeals money and still don't have any way to distribute it, so they cut a check to a Catholic Charity. Who did that money help? Who knows but God alone. In this one act of bungling the OCA missed a huge opportunity to make a difference and put their name out there in the media. Not that charity needs to turn into a publicity stunt, but getting the word out that we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars is important. Now all who know is us and a Catholic Charity. Not helpful at all.
Same thing with the Russia appeals. Could no one think of a better way to distribute the money than cash hidden in suitcases? Of course this all went wrong. Doesn't take a genius to figure out this is a bad idea. Even if this was the only option, a simple application of controls to make sure that the money that went into the suitcase in America came out the other end in Russia would take 5 minutes. Is this so hard?
The cover-ups and lies are a great reason not to trust those employed at "Oyster Bay Cove". But through all of this it is even more obvious that the people there have no idea how to properly run an organization. For that reason alone they should go.
Will a full report kill the OCA? Maybe. In that case those who were in charge or implicated in the things which would kill the OCA if they were found out should all resign. This is obvious. Then the new leadership could "save" the OCA. Decide if the truth would indeed kill the OCA and if yes, then start over with a clean slate.
That those who were in charge or implicated in the things which would kill the OCA if they were found out think that we will continue to trust them to exhibit good leadership of the OCA in the future they are delusional. Their continued leadership only makes the cry for the truth louder, and if it is this truth which would kill the OCA, then they themselves are the one's killing it.
#13 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 06:25
I beg to differ with you that a portion of 9-11 monies went to a "Catholic charity". $25K went to the Pentagon Survivor's Fund and $90K went to NYDIS, an interfaith charity roundtable founded in the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy. Neither is a "Catholic charity".
In the case of the latter, OCA is given a case by case report bi-weekly on the individuals who have been helped by the monies donated by OCA, down to the penny. Each individual's need is authenticated by a social worker and such support is only provided when all other means of assistance have been exhausted. Orthodox priest Fr David Kossey participates in the work of the roundtable making these grants at the behest of the OCA.
More than $160K remain to be distributed. Further information may be found at NYDIS.org or http://oca.org/news.asp?ID=1305&SID=19.
Fr John Reeves
Chairman, OCA Charity Committee
#13.1 Fr John Reeves on 2007-11-07 19:13
Clarification on the OCA donation to NYDIS:
I have been a charter member of NYDIS from its inception in 2002.
Indeed, 90K was indeed given to New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), and Father David Kossey has been entrusted to oversee how it is spent.
Father Kossey is a priest of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, NOT the Orthodox Church in America. He has diligently followed developments of the OCA scandal for the past two years and has been, and continues to be, outspoken in his criticism of the OCA administration; making his views clear in a Reflection submitted to, and posted on, this format.
Now do ya' think (just maybe) the good ol' folks in Syosset would have done their homework, and seen if somebody (just maybe a priest or a deacon) from one of the fourteen parishes in the New York City Deanery of the OCA was a member of NYDIS and could be entrusted to oversee distribution of the 9/11 funds?
As a matter of fact, upon learning of the donation I called Fr Kucynda (then Treasurer) to inform him of my membership in NYDIS, and he referred me to Fr Reeves. I contacted Fr Reeves via email, and he merely acknowledged receipt of my message.
Nothing else happened.
OK ... so ya' don't want to talk to me ...
So ... I spoke with Fr David Kossey on the matter (at the Annual Meeting of NYDIS), and asked him if he ever bothered mentioning my name when discussions were held in preparation for the OCA donation to NYDIS.
Of course, he had an "oversight" and forgot to mention to representatives of the OCA that one of their own clergy was a CHARTER member of NYDIS.
Kinda' sound like selective amnesia?
With that kind of a donation, not only should there be a representative from the OCA overseeing distribution of the 9/11 funds, but he, or she, should also have a seat on the NYDIS Board of Trustees for fiscal year 2008.
But it ain't happenin'.
Fr Kossey will settle for the duty of overseer, and continue in his criticism of the OCA, but he won't go so far as to shanghai a seat on the Board of Trustees.
Why can't we do our homework before any action is taken, and then be thorough when we act? Do we have to go to such lengths to show the world how unprofessional we can act?
I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, the donation to NYDIS was merely a weak attempt by the OCA leadership to placate the outcry of righteous indignation by the Faithful.
Shame on them.
Shame on us.
#13.1.1 Archpriest Daniel Degyansky on 2007-11-08 18:28
As a point of clarification, Fr Kossey has been a participant in the NYDIS Roundtable since inception, orginally as a paid consultant for IOCC. Fr Degyansky is a NYDIS chaplain. Those are two different portfolios. It is the Roundtable which distributes funds.
Fr John Reeves
#188.8.131.52 Fr John Reeves on 2007-11-09 10:56
Dear Father Reeves,
Thank you for filling us in on what is currently being done to disburse the 9/11 fund. I also appreciate your contributions to this web site. Could you please clarify if the funds you are going to distribute are from the loan to the OCA? Is is true the actual funds collected are still missing? Is there any way to trace at what point the funds went missing? So many of us who contributed would like to know the details of the missing 9/11 funds. I can't understand why a fund collected fairly recently cannot be traced at least to the point where they went missing.
#13.1.2 Would like to know on 2007-11-09 07:55
The $90K which was distributed to NYDIS in August did come from the Honesdale Bank Loan. Had these monies been in OCA accounts, there would have been no need to include them in the loan. The point at which the funds went missing is ascertainable on central administration’s own books. That much, we do know.
The additional $160K+ monies yet to be distributed were not included in the loan nor were another $67.5K for Bibles for Russia. The latter is proposed in the 2008 budget, adopted by the Metropolitan Council last month, under general operations. The former will have to be paid, most likely in similar fashion, once conditions allow for it. For further information, please contact Fr Mathew Tate, Finance Committee Chairman.
Fr John Reeves
#184.108.40.206 Fr. John Reeves on 2007-11-09 14:40
Dear Father Reeves,
Thank you so much for this information. You are most kind to answer my questions. This one post of yours openly giving information has me feeling that I would want to help contribute. Is there a way for us to truly know that if we contribute to these funds that they will be appropriately distributed? I would contribute if I knew the funds would go to the cause for which they were intended. Although I do not know you, I feel from your posts and other writings that you are most trustworthy and that you would see that the funds are distributed appropriately. I truly hope that if others feel this way they will also let you know how you have helped many of us.
Please pray for me a sinner.
#220.127.116.11.1 Hopeful on 2007-11-09 22:10
I have had three main goals this year: to determine the total amount of charity funds yet to be distributed; to begin disbursement of the same; and to develop objective criteria for the distribution of further funds by a charity committee. These goals have basically been met, although as noted, not all monies have been distributed because the loan did not cover all our charitable obligations. The one matter pending is filling the charity committee with individuals who have experience with 501(c)3 non-profit corporations (excepting parishes).
I hope that this begins to restore your trust.
#18.104.22.168.1.1 Fr John Reeves on 2007-11-10 08:56
I am familiar on a scale of about 3 out of 10 on eastern European business practices and cash transactions from my limited understanding are fairly commonplace.
Where this breaks down is in a formal receipt process. From the "tape" (whatever happened to that tape, by the way?), it seems there was a lot of strange stuff going on with the cash, though.
#13.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-11-07 21:07
No matter where the meeting,the cover ups continue. You know when your own diocese is against you it's time to pack it up. I hope RSK hits Herman where it counts.If the Bishop's have read the appeal and iy shows Herman's wrong doings what are we waiting for , IMPEACH !!!
#14 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 06:59
I only assume some person or coorporation whose money was not used as they intended may sue. At least that was what Mr. Tossi meant. By the 'end" i believe he means financial ruin, thouh lack of money has never killed the Church. Now who do we know that fits that bill?? hum..
Fr. Gregory Safchuk from St. Mark, Bethesda spoke and said, "So what if they sue? That may not be the worse thing that could happen. If this doesn't end, there may be nothing to sue for.
What I say is the Church, the CHURCH, should go to _ , admit that the money was not spent as intended but diverted for personal use, or whatever. and say we want to pay it back. And set up a payment plan. Isn't that what we would be advised to do by our confessors?
Instead we are being advise bu lawyers, who bless'm are doing what they were trained to do. We need leaders who will "come to themselves, leave the pigsty, repent and retury to there Father."
I was an observor and I can report, that although the precedure sickened me and I did not like the motion that passed praising the current administration and denoucing any withholding and petitions, I found priests there who were willing to stand up in front of the Met and beg him to tell the truth. some of them left the microphone in tears, Many in the audience were in tears.
#15 Linda Weir on 2007-11-07 07:39
I spoke with a few people I know quite well just after they attended this Diocesan Assembly. I was chagrined to hear about the tight rein the lay chair, Scott Anderson, kept on the proceedings. There was a feeling that Mr. Anderson had "orders" to stifle any dissent or "rebellious" motions or resolutions. Shame! I was greatly moved to hear the words spoken by Frs. Kappanadze, Shimchick, Garretson, Vernak and a few other courageous clergy, who spoke in moderation while seeking to bring healing to our suffering diocese and church. The Diocesan Treasurer, Larry Tosi, seems to have appointed himself the grand arbiter of truth and the parent of all attending. “You can’t take/hear the truth” is a paraphrase of a statement of his, as, he continued, “the truth” would end our OCA’s tax-exempt status. Lord have mercy! So is it better we have no truth, no healing, no repentance?
MH+ continues to be unable to be a pastor to his flock. Even with laryngitis, one could reach out in love!
How to understand the resolution made by Fr. Koblosh and supported by many at the Assembly? It was not supported by all!
As you point out, Mark, there was dissent at this Assembly, despite the attempts to clamp down on it. Let not the truth be “in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.” Even in MH+’s Diocese, our brothers and sisters in Christ are seeking the truth, in love. Let us affirm, as St. Paul says:
(1 Corinthians 2:2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And since we're on the subject of Shakespeare's Richard III, it is worth noting that in the end, after the Earl of Richmond has defeated the crumpled little usurper Richard, he utters this two-edged benediction:
"Let them not live to taste this land’s increase,
That would with treason wound this fair land’s peace!
Now civil wounds are stopp’d, peace lives again:
That she may long live here, God say amen!"
There can only be one end for those who have perpetrated, enabled or continue to enable this scandal. As our Lord says, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 11:15)
I came away from the Assembly saddened and more than a little ashamed of our Diocese's inability to collectively assert itself in the cause of the truth. Fr. David Vernak's motion was made out of love for Christ and His Church, nothing more and nothing less. The motion was not about being "out for blood," as Fr. Igor Burdikoff later characterized it. It was about the dire need for truth and repentance in this dark hour. And, I would add, it was made out of love and true pastoral care for those who have perpetrated the malfeasances.
Mr. Anderson's out-of-order declaration was certainly ready-made and waiting for any hint of rebellion. It is quite distressing to me that a call for true repentance, "a radical change of mind, heart, intention, priorities, and action," could be termed "unproductive." For Satan, yes, I suppose it is. But for the true good and spiritual health of our Church? I think not.
Further, Mr. Anderson's declaration and the ensuing chaotic path toward a proctored vote on overturning that declaration spoke volumes about the chairs' posture of distrust toward the delegation. A minor clarification to your article: Dr. Skordinski's objection was really about the incongruity of the chairs' insistence that the vote on the out-of-order ruling be done in one way, while other votes were taken in casual, show-of-hands fashion. In fact, the vote on the Koblosh/Whitestone resolution was taken in just that fashion: a casual show of hands. No one called for the room to be cleared of observers for that vote as had been done for the vote on Anderson's ruling. This overt hypocrisy clearly demonstrated where the priorities lay: keeping the firewall intact.
Lastly, Mr. Tosi's assertion that full disclosure of the facts in this scandal would "destroy the Church" is indeed telling. Do we really want to go forward with our edifice's foundation being lies and deception? With its beams rotting from within? Or is it perhaps better to tear down a weakened, termite-ridden structure so it can be rebuilt anew, strong and founded on Truth?
As the lay delegate from Christ the Saviour in Paramus, I'd like to state how proud I am of Fr. David Vernak for his courageous stand. I'm equally proud of Frs. Kappanadze, Shimchick, Garrettson, and others who spoke so eloquently, movingly, and equally courageously in support of truth and repentance and in opposition to the self-congratulatory Koblosh resolution. As disappointed as I am in the Assembly at large, these men represented the best our Diocese has to offer. My sincere love, gratitude and admiration go to all of them.
(editor's note: I sincerely thank Mr. Maliniak for his clarification of what was reported.)
#16.2 David Maliniak on 2007-11-07 11:56
Let us hope that there is enough integrity in RSK to actually carry through with his threat. The Holy Synod could only reinstate Robert's priesthood if they were willing to call Herman a lier. They are not willing to do that. They are not even willing to deal with the fact that he has anathmatized two dioceses and consigned them to eternal separation from God! (Seems like you quiet Bishops would want to defend the sheep from such an attack). So the course is charted. Now we will see if the assurances of Monk James are accurate. He has stated all along that RSK desires to tell his side. Let's see! Up to now it has been all words.
The bishop's have all been their normal silent, timid selves. Great leadership not talking and feeding and reassuring the sheep! Maybe a refresher course for the Holy Synod in basic pastoral theology when all of this is over. Can you imagine a Holy Heirarch not talking to his sheep during a persecution, a famine, a time of war, during death, sickness, uncertainty, moral failing of some of her cheir pastors.
O well better to be silent than to anger papa Herman! If I got a letter like the one the Bishops received from RSK I would have said "bring it". But alas most of the bishops are not much different than an abused housewife who says after being smacked around, controlled, and manipulated, "I'm just lucky to have a man like him." Of course she says this smiling through her fat lip and squinting through her black eyes. After a while this sort of life just seems normal and change is even more frightening than a raging Herman, I mean husband. It is the bishops who will have the most difficult time in dealing with the aftermath of Herman's leadership. When the money dries up and people designate their gifts for specific purposes and trust not the diocese or the central administration then the difficulty for the Bishop's codependency will begin.
Come on RSK, be man of your word, tell what you know! Lance this boil once and for all and let all the puss ooze out. Tosi believes the best we can do is just leave the boil alone. Ouch! Infection spreads and that is lethal. Lancing the boil will hurt but it won't kill! This won't go away by just leaving it alone. Those who think so are practicing witch doctor medicine and not the spiritual way of healing revealed in the Holy Church. Repent of all of it! Lance the boil. Then God who cuts us to pieces may in His mercy heal us again! RSK the scalpel is in your hand. Will you ignore the infection like the bishops (like Herman wants you to) or will you lance the boil?
#17 anan on 2007-11-07 08:44
I think the analogy between domestic abuse and the events in the OCA is apt --- it explains much.
#17.1 Edmund Unneland on 2007-11-10 13:47
To reveal all of what was in the Proskauer Rose report , Tosi averred, "would kill the Church". To reveal all about the scandal would "bring embarrassment to individuals" and leave the OCA "open to federal and other prosecution".
So, the answer to the problem is to allow the assumption to stand that the OCA and its leaders are so corrupt and/or immoral that to reveal what has gone on would kill the Church? Seriously? This, in fact, should be a call to clean house, to shout repentence from the rooftops and to emulate the late Patriarch of Romania who retired and stepped down after the fall of Communism because of his collaboration - that is preaching by deed rather than platitude. And platitudes are all that the preaching of our leaders will be seen as going forward IF the assumption is allowed to stand that the Church would die (a serious claim given Christ's promise regarding the Church) should the truth be revealed. In fact, the level of corruption and immorality assumed will likely be far in excess of reality since people's imaginations will run wild.
Would any priest accept a sacramental confession prefaced by "well, I can't tell you everything and won't take actions to rectify the situation in any official way because it would destroy my life, embarass myself and others, and open me up to prosecution"? The fact that fact underlying this situation may be this bad is the reason why the facts must be laid bare so as to give the Church, hierarchs, clergy and laity involved the opportunity to repent and allow the OCA to move forward cleansed.
The well-being of the Church must not be confused with the well-being of persons that served the Church.
The Lord bless all involved to achieve His will with couragous honesty, humility and repentence.
Wait a minute now. A motion passes with 50% + 1 -- but it takes a 66% majority to overrule a ruling on a motion by a meeting chairman? Hello?
There should have been a riot at that point, and a new meeting chairman elected.
Certainly folk would do well to express their views wiith the pocketbooks. I hope the clergy who supported such effete meeting lunacy will rethink their position --- perhaps while they are doing the part time job outside the parish they wouldn't have to take but for their defacto support of a leader who wastes more in a week than they earn in a year.
Our theological teaching is clear -- folk shouldn't join churches who do what we do. Seems while other churches try to inspire the everyday folk not to be 'Cafeteria Christians' -- we retain very special 'Cafeteria Bishops' to lead our parish clergy, who lead us. Fewer of us every day. What a shock.
#19 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 09:40
Tosi said that revealing the truth would destroy the church!!!!! Can you imagine? Christ was about THE TRUTH!!!!! If there is no truth, the church is already non-existent and meaningless. If the church is tainted by whatever happened, hiding the sins is not the way to bring the church to life again.
This is really all about certain people not going to jail. It has nothing to do with the church! The OCA can exist without these people. These people are more afraid of their own self preservation than that of the church! I believe with all my heart that our Lord will NOT allow our church to fall into the abyss if the truth is fully known to all and those responsible confess and repent. I believe also with all my heart that our Lord will NOT allow our church to continue on this evil course as it is now and still exist.
It is important for all our parish priests to once again regain that spiritual grace that made them go into the priesthood. It is important for them to once again lean on the shoulders of Christ to help us through this mess and not depend on our useless bishops. Christ has a place for those bishops already prepared.
It is important for our parish priests to stand up for truth and honesty and bring our church back from the downward spiral. If we try go on without cleaning up the stench of the evilness, we will have nothing because we will be forever tainted. Kudos to Frs. Vernak, Garretson, Kappanadze, and Shimchick. It is men like these that show that our recovery is possible. Kudos to the 14 parishes in the Washington-New York Diocese that are withholding. To continue to support, as we have been, the corruption in the OCA is to support the dirt that covers our sins. It is time for all our priests to help uncover the dirt and bring to the light the source of our pain to destroy it forever.
(1 Cor 6:9-11) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (RSV)
Parish priests do not be deceived nor deceive your sheep. There is still time to be washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Christ is in our midst.
#20 Sweep Clean New Jersey and the whole OCA on 2007-11-07 10:07
I love how sneaky MH and his new administration is.... they now have taken off Paul Bodnar's picture from the OCA web site to "hide" him from homeland security: http://oca.org/CAchancery.asp?SID=8
Well Dn. Zarras, is he here legally, or not???!!!!!
#21 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 10:18
I posted this in reply to a comment about "peace" on "News from Around the OCA", but on second thought I realize I am also speaking to "The Winter of our Discontent", so I hope Mark won't mind if I copy it over to this thread as well.
The Lord by the mouth of the Holy Prophet Ezekiel tells us what he thinks about whitewashing wrongdoing with a veneer of "peace":
"My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations They will have no place in the council of My people, nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel, that you may know that I am the Lord GOD.
10"It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, 'Peace!' when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash;
11so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out.
12"Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, 'Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?'"
13Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath. There will also be in My anger a flooding rain and hailstones to consume it in wrath.
14"So I will tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation is laid bare; and when it falls, you will be consumed in its midst And you will know that I am the LORD.
15"Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, 'The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone,
16along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,' declares the Lord GOD."
Larry Tosi claims the truth will destroy "the Church", but it isn't the Church that will fall, it is only these whitewashed walls. The whitewash is already peeling off. We have known all along that there is something to hide, and Tosi admits it. What form the violent wind will take we have yet to see-- but indeed we will see it. May God have mercy on us all.
#22 unnamed member on 2007-11-07 11:30
It gets more and more ridiculous every day. Tosi is referring to allegations of sexual misconduct by more than one person in OCA leadership. Monies were paid out to keep people quiet - alleged. We really just need to dump MH and move on. Waiting until next Nov. is ridiculous. It really is time to think about how we choose hierarchs; what authority should they have with checks and balances and why not married, well-balanced bishops?
#23 Anonymouso on 2007-11-07 11:33
It gets more and more ridiculous every day. Tosi is referring to allegations of sexual misconduct by more than one person in OCA leadership.
Bingo! This is exactly what is being hidden, and what MH will go to his grave fighting to hide. He believes that if the truth about his predecessor were known, it would destroy the office of Metropolitan, which would destroy the OCA, since he equates the two. Truth and repentance are completely irrelevant to him.
If we have to read one more pronouncement of the glories of MH, we should all just run out the back door and puke.
#23.1 Name withheld on 2007-11-07 18:13
On my desk, I have a humorous trio of famous monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. I sometimes direct the attention of the criminals I represent to the one with his hands over his mouth to drive home the importance of not discussing his criminal activity.
Insisting on non-disclosure is the most basic advice experienced lawyers give to criminals.
It is undoubtedly impious to visualize the monkeys wearing episcopal garb, and even worse to imagine a fourth such monkey holding out one hand for peanuts while pointing to the others. To succumb to the temptation of such a frivolous image is one side of the sin. Clergy who engage in monkey business and thereby tempt the faithful is surely the other.
Speaking of Speak No Evil, Monk James, if you are reading this, I respectfully invite you to come here and justify this one: “OCANews.org has learned that the letter states that if Kondratick was not restored to the priesthood what he has revealed about the scandal so far would be ‘only the tip of the iceberg’.” Dispute it was said at all, but let’s not pretend it is anything but naked blackmail, the threat of a Speak No Evil monkey to drop his middle name and rat out his co-conspirators. The winking whisper of the snitch is offered in barter for what? Restoration to the priesthood? The mind boggles. Simon was condemned for a straightforward quid pro quo. How is extortion more acceptable?
And speaking of icebergs, I have read of the tradition that requires the captain to go down with the ship. The OCA is unique in requiring the ship to be scuttled with all souls if the captain happens to fall over the side.
#24 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-11-07 11:39
If Tosi is correct, then the OCA died a long time ago, and all you are seeing is an animated corpse.
If Tosi is correct, then the OCA should die. Now. Put it out of its misery, and put us out of our misery. Let the parishes align with Antiochian or ROCOR churches.
If Tosi is correct, then the OCA is no longer Christ's church, and to "save" it would be worse than the proverbial sow returning to the mire, or the dog returning to its vomit. (2 Peter 2:22)
#25 what_tosi_said on 2007-11-07 11:49
My sympathies indeed! Save one difference which is that it may not be the death of the OCA, but the death of the OCA as it has been. Didn't Jesus assure us that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church? If Mr Tosi's comments are correct he has been successful in removng all of my doubts. I am an Orthodox convert of 15 yrs.-out of ROCOR, which I left only because I craved English and a convenient distance for travel. Of course they too are dealing with their own demons these days. I'm only 4-5 years old in the OCA and have been reluctant to comment for that reason(new kid on the block syndrome) and out of respect for my pastor. Your comment however struck a cord in me and bumped me out of my silence. Thanks for the boost. I've been silent too long.
#25.1 Yvonne Martin on 2007-11-10 15:18
I think the year-to-year November timetable has been trumped by MH's visit to Bethesda, when, last February? He told us then that all this would come out and be addressed in good time, be patient, etc.etc. So by next February all this will be resolved. We have these assurances.
Here's the deal, last chance February; OCA $lyosset 'in crowd' only. Cash only transaction, just the way to do OCA business. Let's meet at The Oak bar at the New York Athletic Club, we can exchange bag check tickets and I'll pick up the $uitcase. Wink.
I have ownership of an old, historic, yet useful bridge that connects Manhattan and Broooklyn. Indeed, YOU can buy The Brooklyn Bridge - tell the remaining faithful that it's an investment- you've pulled off plenty up till now, another scheme just to keep in practice.
Seriously; I was very moved by the report above that some of the priests, and attendees, were in tears. Tears of frustration... how can your brother priests read this site, while promoting the OCA News site 'all is well & rosey'.
This is a disgrace, to have 'see-no-evil' priests jump through ethical hoops in their parishes and make a decision to maintain silence in the face of the ever present and simple question 'Are the allegations true or false?' Merely a nagging question to some, a fundamental question to many more.
#26 Jim Murray on 2007-11-07 11:59
If a full report "would kill the church", then maybe we would all deserve it.
#27 Anonymous on 2007-11-07 13:25
I believe the man meant to say if the truth be known, it would kill MH.
#27.1 Sue on 2007-11-08 04:34
In the aftermath of the latest diocesan meeting a few observations:
1. At last someone has discovered that you can appeal a ruling of the chair in any meeting where rudimentary rules of procedure apply (usually Robert's). Normally it takes a simple majority vote to overrule--but, of course this, is the OCA. The recent ruling, as outrageous as it was, would have been upheld, in any event, since not even a simple majority voted to overrule the chair.
2. It is certainly fitting that Fr. Michael Koblosh was the one to offer a resolution of approval and praise for Metropolitan Herman. Fr. Koblosh, a number of years ago, nearly destroyed St. Mark Church, Bethesda, MD, when he succeeded its founding rector Fr. Basil Summer. After countless letters and phone calls to then Metropolitan Theodosius, months of division and anguish in the parish and finally a rare personal visit by The Man himself--Fr. Kondratick--Fr. Koblosh was removed. In my view, the parish has never totally recovered from that bitter experience.
3. Resistance is, for now, futile. Many on this site are deluding themselves that some progress has been made, but unfortunately the reverse is actually true. One step forward, two steps backward is the stark reality and continuing mantra of the OCA as long as our leaders "precious" authority takes priority over all other considerations. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic does not constitute progress.
4. Finally, on a far more positive note, I recently read the remarks of Metropolitan Philip to the graduating class at St. Tikhon's last May. I can only say that they are an inspirational contrast to what most of our bishops are saying and a gentle rebuke to those obstructing a unified North American Church. But what most struck me was +Philips eloquent and moving invocation of St. John's Gospel directing the soon to be deacons and priests to "Feed my Sheep." I hope someone will provide the link to this address so that we all may be edified and see what a righteous Orthodox Bishop should be doing and saying.
#28 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-07 14:15
"What the Metropolitan did not reveal was what was said in the letter. OCANews.org has learned that the letter states that if Kondratick was not restored to the priesthood what he has revealed about the scandal so far would be "only the tip of the iceberg"."
I need to ask two things:
1. What has Krondratick "revealed about the scandal so far" --and to whom & with what credibility*;
2. Isn't the content of this sentence an extortion attempt? Isn't this illegal? And how could he hope to have the priesthood restored if he is trying to use extortion to get it back? There must be a canon somewhere against allowing extortionists access to the priesthood!
This makes absolutely no sense! If Kondratick's priesthood is restored then the Holy Synod will appear to have capitulated to his 'extortion' tactics. If it is not restored, then what Kondratick claims to know will be revealed--which may well exonerate him (at least partially) from being the ONLY scapegoat (which many people do not believe to be true anyway), in which case he will be owed a huge apology plus damages ($$$) from a 'defamation of character causing loss of income' lawsuit.
"oh what a tangled web we weave
when we practise to deceive"
Lord have mercy! Please untangle us from this mess!
*the credibility of his witnesses AND the credibility of his statements, backed up with authentic paperwork
#29 Larissa on 2007-11-07 14:49
Please be aware that the letter which Fr Robert Kondratick's attorney sent to Abp Seraphim as secretary of the Holy Synod made no such statements or threats as 'Larissa' asserts.
Her comments here, as well as those in Mark Stokoe's editorial, could be made only if they hadn't read that letter, but responded only to reports of REACTIONS to it, all of which appear to me, at least, to be based on some serious misunderstandings of language and intent. Met. Herman and Abp Seraphim both misinterpreted that letter as 'blackmail', but they're in a very defensive mode at the moment, and they're mistaken.
I have the full text of the original letter, and it says nothing resembling blackmail or demands for FrRK's official rehabilitation and reinstatement to the priesthood.
In fact, acknowledging the present paranoid position of the Holy Synod, and their noisy public reaction to his original letter, FrRK's attorney has sent them a second letter clarifying his intent, which is merely to (re)establish lines of communication between FrRK and the bishops, who really haven't heard all he has to say, hence the 'tip of the iceberg' idea.
(Editor's note: The letter was read to me, and I stand by what I have written. If both letters are as innocent as Silver suggests, I would recommend he make them both public and let our readers judge for themselves. I doubt, however, he will do it. )
#29.1 Monk James on 2007-11-07 18:01
Communication occurs in many forms. One may look you in the eye and you can get a message and tone of what they want to convey. There is the term, “read between the lines”, to obtain meaning from the written word that isn’t really written, but can be inferred from what is written. There is the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words – when no words are present. One’s mannerisms when one speaks speaks volumes. What one doesn’t say speaks volumes. So, when we are told that there is grave misunderstanding in the letter to the Synod and it has been ‘misinterpreted’, don’t buy it. Don’t buy it because there is a tremendous amount of non communication in that written letter that it speaks volumes. The lawyer could have written “have a happy Halloween” and given his best wishes for their endeavors and safe travel not mentioning the defrocked ex-Chancellor once and the message, friends, would have been the same as whatever was written on the letter sent to the Synod. Just to emphasize it a second letter was sent and could have wished the bishops a happy Thanksgiving and a holy and blessed fast as we approach it. But the same message was there.
The non written communication which conveyed the message wasn’t the words, it was the messenger. When a lawyer writes a letter there is unspoken communication that the recipient is under watch and under the gun of legal or civil action against them. By the lawyer sending a message to the Synod it has been put on notice, regardless of what was said. You dare act in accordance with your ecclesiastical responsibilities and you will pay. Yes, it resembles blackmail, yes, it was a threat, no it wasn’t misinterpreted
#29.1.1 Stonewall on 2007-11-07 20:45
When I was a kid, Monk James, there was a hideous canned food product called "Beefaroni". Nasty stuff. I remember, though, one of the commercials for this canned swill that featured a long cartoon parade of various cartoon kids extolling the virtues of Beefaroni. At the end of the parade came a tyke with attitude, saying, "Talk, talk, talk! When do we eat?" Monk James, I read your postings with your claims of inside knowledge, and I'm to the point where I call BEEFARONI on you and your patron. Talk, talk, talk! When do we eat? If you have real information, share it. Quit alluding to it. Post this letter you talk about. Ex-father Bob could tell us everything, if he was concerned more for truth than for covering his sorry self on advice of counsel. Try this one. If you don't want to look as if you have something to hide, stop acting as if you have something to hide. Enought of veiled allusions from you and extortion attempts from the disgraced ex-priest to whom you so desperately cleave. Beefaroni.
#29.1.2 Scott Walker on 2007-11-08 10:41
Since I am neither the author nor the addressee of these two letters (among others), and since they don't at all refer to me personally, I don't own them in any sense. As a result, I haven't the right to make them public at the same time as I can make honest references to their content and purpose. My providing those letters would be unethical, of course, but it wouldn't make what I've already said any more true than it is, and it IS true.
Mark Stokoe seems to have an understanding of these letters which is far different from mine. It seems he misunderstands them in just the same odd way as the bishops, but they're getting very odd indeed in their understanding of things in general, not to mention the sacred canons and the Statute of the OCA. Mr Stokoe might want to read (or at least hear) those letters more closely and react more circumspectly.
It does no good for correspondents here and elsewhere on the Internet to bait me with suggestions that I must publish them in order to bolster my credibility, or to tease me with insinuations that I lack integrity. I'm doing just fine in both departments, thank you very much.
Oh, the usual suspects will pipe up with smarmy amusement at my reference to credibility, completely ignoring the fact that not a single aspect of the current crisis which I've presented or predicted has not been vindicated as true -- it's just that some people continue to PREFER to believe the lies told by Met. Herman and Fr Paul Kucynda who (as I predicted....) is STILL safely ensconced in the Syosset chancery.
Monday's DC-NY eparchial assembly was an amazingly surreal event, clearly embodying the dissension and division now at work all through our OCA, but amplified here because Met. H is also our local bishop. One thing which emerged from those sessions was the unavoidable fact that -- while Met. H mostly got his way (per usual), he didn't have much of a margin when the votes were tallied.
So I think I might just ratchet up my efforts a couple of notches, and provide more information to the clergy of at least the NJ Deanery than they apparently had at hand the other day. Opposition to Met. H among the clergy is about to reach critical mass here in NJ, and that movement should be encouraged in every parish, deanery, and diocese.
(editor's note: Clearly, there is a difference of opinion as to what the first Kondratick letter intended. There is now a second, more irenic letter as well. Of the 16 people I know who have read the first letter, 13 found it "threatening" ; only Kondratick, his lawyer and Silver seem to have understood it as a plea for more open communication.
Once the letter is made public I think people will be able to make up their own minds. I would encourage anyone with a copy to do so.)
#29.1.3 Monk James on 2007-11-08 16:13
More Beefaroni from Monk James. When, o when will you understand that arm waving and table pounding is not argument? You assert that our host has the wrong interpretation of this letter. Then when you are challenged to produce said letter so that all of us can judge for ourselves, you fall back, sputtering that you're neither the writer nor the recipient and therefore cannot release it. Your pal the disgraced ex-priest could release it...but he won't, and neither will you. Sooner or later, Monk James, somebody actually has to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Otherwise the crowd gets restive and wants their money back. Beefaroni? More polite than the other word that begins with a "B".
#22.214.171.124 Scott Walker on 2007-11-09 08:46
You have been discredited. You have said on many occasions that no money is missing and we can't account for millions. You also said that Kondratick didn't use money for himself, but the summary that was posted said otherwise and Eric Wheeler said he WITNESSED it. Until you can back up your claims with real evidence, reading the summary and the words of Eric Wheeler, your credibility has gone negative.
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2007-11-09 09:12
Dear Monk James,
I agree with Stonewall! ANY letter from Kondratic’s lawyer sent to the synod at this time would be menacing and threatening! No?
#188.8.131.52 Wondering on 2007-11-09 10:12
I personally think that no matter what RSK says, it will be taken out of context. MH from day one built the firewall at a cost of about one half million dollars, appointed committees that only HE can control and has ignored the good people of God. HE will not change, he has not from day one and will continue to say whatever it is he has to to get through the moment and then go back to live in the residence of the Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. Everyone must accept this, the bishops have allowed this in order to maintain their own personal lifestyles. It is sad, but true. Now we have survived the shock, endured the pain and now must accept reality.
#184.108.40.206 Margo on 2007-11-15 10:36
It is telling that FRK covets his priestly moniker to the point that he threatens blackmail to get it back. What does this tell us about the state of the priestly moniker? It shows me that what was once a coveted, holy calling has deteriorated into a position of covetousness, greed, and power-mongering for many who hold are called "Father". Years ago I suspected the sanctity of the confessional. This proves these suspicions were well-founded. DO NOT CONFESS TO A PRIEST UNTIL THE PRIESTHOOD TEMPLE HAS BEEN CLEANSED OF THESE CRIMINALS.
I know this posting will be considered controversial, but think about it. If you are confessing to a man who takes your vulnerability and uses it against you, why are you being so unwise and naive? Keep the confession of your sins between you and God until such time as the integrity has been restored in the priesthood of our Church. Right now your privacy is clearly at risk by these interlopers.
#30 Name withheld on 2007-11-07 17:38
Dear Name withheld on 2007-11-07
You are on target with your comments about the deterioration of the coveted calling to the priesthood. For increasingly more, certainly not all, it is a good JOB. Many reap the financial rewards and benefits of being a priest while they have other means of income on the side. These other interests detract from the obligations of priestly duties. Consequently, the faithful are shortchanged.
It is difficult to respect and follow these priests. They set a poor example in their continuing exploitation.
I pray they examine their conscience, mend their ways, and uphold their vows.
#30.1 ANON on 2007-11-08 07:54
Interesting reading and the church he came from is not destroyed.
#31 Comparing thieves on 2007-11-07 18:38
More interesting reading. What made this man admit what he did?
#32 Still Comparing Thieves on 2007-11-07 18:43
Dear Still Comparing Thieves,
Thanks so much for sharing these 2 articles!! The second one especially shows that a parish not only survived but was actually brought closer together after a similar crime was committed against them. Here's one short statement made by the current priest of a parish that had 1.4 million dollars stolen from them by the previous priest:
“Although many have been deeply hurt by the events at issue, the parish family continues to grow through its many new ministries and exciting movements of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Many parishioners comment that in recent months the parish has come together in greater love and unity, shown more care to the needy, and has grown in its spiritual well-being. As we look to the future, our focus will be to continue the healing process and spiritual growth."
They survived and so can we! The OCA may go under, but Christ's Church will reign forever!! Of course, most of us would prefer to have the OCA standing when all is said and done!!
Lord have mercy!
Holy Resurrection - Palatine, IL
#32.1 Helen O'Sullivan on 2007-11-08 13:57
"We are the Borg, resistence is futile".........."Comply, comply !"
#33 The Borg on 2007-11-07 19:57
There is one thing that I am having problems figuring out that maybe someone can explain to me. Many people have said that when the former Chancellor and now defrocked priest announced a decision of the Holy Synod he would say that it was the influence of the Holy Spirit itself that the Synod had acted, or that working through the Synod, the Holy Spirit acted and that the Synod was just working the Spirit’s will. With the exception of two people, this Synod has the same composition as that of the Synod that he said was acting on behalf of the Holy Spirit. Surely, the Synod did not act solely through the former bishop of the West, Tikhon (please don’t laugh), and surely because of the West’s new bishop the Spirit did not suddenly take a walk and refuses to do its work through the Synod.
Having looked at that, what I cannot fathom is, why now, the same said man, no longer a priest, and we pray will never be again, is fighting against an act of the Synod. He’s fighting against the Holy Spirit itself! If what this man has said for 18 years is correct then it was an act of the Spirit that he was defrocked. Why, all of a sudden does he not recognize the work of the Spirit after 18 years of being so keen an observer of all the Spirit did through the Synod. Likewise, after 18 years of announcing that the Spirit was working through the Synod he now directs his secular lawyer to issue threats to the same Synod so that he may be reinstated to the priesthood. What makes me stop in my tracks is that the man who always said the Spirit worked its will via the vehicle of the Synod is now threatening, well, the Holy Spirit itself by sending his new lawyer to inform the Spirit, through the Synod, that if He does not do what he, the defrocked priest, wants, that he is going to spill the beans on the Synod which was only doing the will of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit must reverse itself or the body it works through is going to pay a price!
When you see this you have to come to the conclusion that this defrocked priest is maybe telling us that what he’s said for 18 years was a sham and just blasphemy so that you would ingest the lies and deceit when he said the actions of this corrupt Synod were actions of the Holy Spirit. If he believed what he was saying he would accept his defrockment in a humble and sober manner. Surely the Holy Spirit will not move these men to consider the appeal seriously because a defrocked priest, through his secular lawyer, is threatening the Synod through which it acts. Truly, the Holy Spirit is not going to be moved to act in a way favoring the defrocked priest because the defrocked priest had the gall to threaten the body that it works through, thereby threatening the Spirit itself. The Holy Spirit acts regardless of what some secular lawyer is threatening to do to it. Is the Spirit going to cower and succumb to the threat?
What good, honestly, does a reinstated priesthood mean if it is done by a body that you no longer believe does the will of the Holy Spirit? Would a reinstatement, and the reversal of an act by the Holy Spirit, be the true act of the Holy Spirit or would the Holy Spirit reverse itself again after further thought? Is he saying that the Holy Spirit was wrong in it’s initial action resulting in the defrockment? Did the Holy Spirit just act hastily? Is the defrocked priest now saying that the Holy Spirit can be wrong and that he knows what the right path is? If he believed what he said for all these years the Holy Spirit acted to defrock using the wisdom which only the Spirit has in coming to that conclusion and it’s inconceivable that the Spirit would turn around and say it was wrong in the first place and reverse the defrocking. The Holy Spirit does not make mistakes. Sadly, it appears the defrocked priest never believed the Spirit worked through the Synod or he would never think, let alone act, to question or threaten that body into actions favorable to him. He would humbly still recognize the wisdom of the Spirit and it’s actions.
The bottom line is that the said defrocked priest has gone against everything he preached and announced, denouncing the Spirit’s acts in the process, and now wants the same Holy Spirit, and us, to allow him to go back to perpetuating the fraud which is so clear now he pulled on us for 18 years. The Holy Spirit was used as a front to cover for the corrupt acts of the men at the center of this scandal. The Synod is seriously considering giving that damnable offense a pass.
So, we must ask, what is the real truth? Is the Spirit working through the Synod in it’s actions which resulted in the defrocking or was it all a lie for 18 years when we were told that the Holy Spirit worked though the Synod and all the actions of the Synod were because the Holy Spirit willed it? You can’t have it both ways. How can we allow a defrocked priest who has no reverence for the Spirit to go back to being its agent again, where he will again tell us the Spirit acts through the Synod, but, only when it does what he wants and that the Spirit is not acting through the Synod when it goes against his wishes. The defrocked priest is neither sincere nor worthy to be afforded the honor of serving the Spirit at the Altar ever again.
#34 Stonewall on 2007-11-07 20:07
AS I read your comments I thought of the words of Psalm 51 in which the Psalmist's pleads:..."take not thy Holy Spirit from me."
There are instances in Scripture in which that is exactly what is described: the Holy Spirit is taken from the person. Should not each of us as individuals fear that this could be the consequence of our own actioins as well? And should we not likewise fear that this could be the consequence for us all as a collective called the OCA?
I ask myself where is hope that the Holy Spirit has not been taken from the OCA to be found?
When I think of all the generous, caring, and quietly holy people who will attend next Sunday's Liturgy, bringing their most precious treasures, their children, with them, all desiring to be nourished, encouraged, and inspired by the fact that really and truly "Christ IS in our midst!", I see "hope" made manifest.
When I think of some the clergy who have courageously risen up to confront wrong and speak truth to power, I see "hope" made manifest.
When I read behind the words on this website the struggle of each of the contributors to overcome his or her own personal sense of disillusioned betrayal by the leadership of an institution that was so deeply loved and trusted, and to persevere in the effort to correct wrongs and set things aright, I see "hope" made manifest.
Where these manifestations of "hope" appear can we not believe that they reveal that the Holy Spirit yet truly abides somewhere in the OCA, even if not everywhere?
Anyway, that is the basis for my hope.
#34.1 jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-11-08 08:58
Well said Jean. Given that the "virgins" mentioned in our Lord's parable recorded in the Gospel of Matthew are symbolic of all the baptized members of the Church, only the faithful ones in whom the Holy Spirit dwells will be judged worthy to join our Lord when He comes. We should all take very seriously the warnings of this parable, which are amplified in the Bride Groom Matins during the beginning of Holy Week.
#34.1.1 Marc Trolinger on 2007-11-08 15:13
PUBLIC APPEAL TO GREGG NESCOTT
In response to the excellent, well-reasoned comments of Robert Wachter (#8), PLEASE Gregg just give us a word: "DISCLOSURE" or "NONDISCLOSURE."
(absent your reply to this appeal will assume continuity with your previous position in favor of DISCLOSURE.)
MANY are anxiously awaiting your word! Please help us; "for the good of the Church!"
#35 Itching Ears on 2007-11-07 20:10
Dear Itching Ears,
#35.1 gregg nescott on 2007-11-08 21:06
Dear Mr. Nescott,
Thank you for your reply. Your opinion is highly regarded by many of us reading on this site.
#35.1.1 Thanks to Mr. Nescott on 2007-11-09 10:05
MANY MANY THANKS, Gregg, for your word *"DISCLOSURE"*; and your continued leadership "for the good of the Church."
I would STRONGLY URGE ALL to re-read Robert Wachter's comment #8 in light of this word; and ambitiously pursue appropriate measures.
#35.1.2 Satisfied, Itching Ears on 2007-11-09 10:51
Tosi's comments at the assembly confirmed what many already believed. The Synod of Bishops have the power and authority to "clean house." However, they do not wish to do that because it would mean they would all (with the exception of Bishop Job) to step down, which, of course, they are not willing to do. Bishop Job has been the only bishop who wants full disclosure to the laity and the clergy. Full disclosure is the only answer. This website is much needed. We thank you Mark for providing this tremendous service. Without this website information would not be available to us. The clergy who are honest, truthful, and forthright are a blessing to the Church. The dishonest bishops don't seem to be afraid of "GOD" and his judgment. They are just trying to keep the ship afloat by silence. The truth will come out whether they like it or not.
#36 cshinn on 2007-11-08 07:55
This whole thing is a big joke. The OCA is not any larger than a small business operation. Money has been stolen or diverted from the accounts. The only people that had/have access to the funds are those that have signing authority on the bank's records.
I am sick and tired knowing that I gave money to the 911 Fund, etal and find out it is lining the pockets of a person or persons that I have put my faithful trust in for nearly 72 years.
I can't believe it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars and years to discover the TRUTH! This in itself is criminal
#37 Anonymous on 2007-11-08 10:53
Quite a few years ago, when he was the bishop of Eastern Pennsylvania, +MH was at a banquet for the faculty of the local seminary. A young boy, when asked by his mother, if he knew who the bishop was, loudly replied, "Yeah! That's Pee-Wee Herman!"
Unfortunately, with his actions of the past few years, the boy's faux pas has hit the mark more than we realize. .......
It is becoming apparent that this is all affecting our Church adversely, turning it into a "theater" or "circus" in the process. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will grant courage to the delegates of next year's AAC, as He once did to Joseph of Arimathea, and that we can move beyond this scandal of "Syossetgate"!!!
#38 An observant "theater" attendant on 2007-11-08 13:24
Amazing that MH really thinks all of these troubles are being caused by a handful of malcontents. Truly living in a world insulated from reality.
#39 Anonymouso on 2007-11-08 14:13
Gene Roddenberry (the genius of Star Trek) probably didn't know about our situation when the following scene was filmed, but boy, he has it spot on!
Check out the youtube link below. This is a clip from the old Star Trek spinoff, Deep Space Nine. Go to the scene in which Erzi Dax is talking with Worf--starts at 1 minute 04 seconds and runs to 2 minutes 30 seconds into the complete 7 minute video. Substitue the words "OCA" or "Orthodoxy" for "Klingon Empire" and see what you think...
#40 Quark on 2007-11-08 15:44
In the words of Worf: NNNnnrooooorgggghffffft!
#40.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-08 23:06
Several of the above posts are talking about the alleged sexual misconduct that could have been taking place within the hierarchy at Syosset some years ago. With no prompting of our own, we heard about the sexual misconduct rumors when my husband and I were at St. Herman's Seminary when I taught there back in 1992-1993.
We did not seek such information, but even in being so far away from the "lower 48," let alone Syosset, the world comes to you anyway! This information was offered to us by our sources all on its own, with no prompting at all, and with probably the same amount of disappointment that we had that such activity was going on. In this day and age, however, with what we see in the media and with what the Catholic church just went through with its own sexual scandals, nothing surprises me. But of course, this is still sad and tragic that it reached such levels of church administration, particularly as a new autocephalous church that had other matters to address!
I have never doubted our sources and I think they told us because living in Alaska can seem quite remote and when people from the "lower 48" come up to work, it is like a visit from "civilization." I don't doubt our sources, because our sources seemed to have friends with a direct pipe line to Syosset.
However, because we heard the rumors some some 14 years ago, I can not remember everything exactly what was told me and I may get something inaccurate. However, what I do want to relate is that we were told that the clergy involved were warned to stop their escapades lest they embarass the Orthodox Church... hmmm... that seems to have happened anyway!
#41 Patty Schellbach on 2007-11-08 19:30
My question is once this initial moral failing(s) happened which reportedly included a cover up and hush money paid, were men then vetted and accepted for positions in the church (including Episcopal) precisely because they also evidenced these same moral failings? Were men acceptable to RSK (who was the primary vettor) not because of their holiness but because of their weaknesses?
This could have made the first hierarch feel better about his own failing but primarily is would make some of the new leaders very controllable to people who like to practice power. The new hierarchs could now be kept quiet and told how to vote; their passiveness was guaranteed because others knew about their failings and could "out" them at any time.
Is this not part of what RSK is threatening? Until this is all cleaned up through light, and truth, and repentance most of the hierarchs look suspect! Until that repentant day the very quiet, unresponsive, almost effeminate Holy Synod looks increasingly like a den of secrecy for the purpose of self preservation in their fig leafed sin. Each one (with one exception) seems to have a stake in the other keeping quiet. Prove me wrong Holy Synod! If this is not true then speak up about the truth, respond publicly and reassure your sheep, and for the sake of the MAN/GOD Jesus Christ act like men!
Where is the outrage of the Holy Synod at this unGodly set of circumstances that has befallen the OCA these last 15 years? Maybe it is just too personal for some of them to deal with. So the Holy Church along with the the orphans of Beslan et. al. just suffer because of of a few acts of preserving unrepentant iniquity!
#41.1 anon in the Midwest on 2007-11-09 07:04
Thank you for the information in your posting. It cannot have been easy for you to share it.
When advised of the sexual misconduct by clergymen in the Catholic Church, Pope Paul VI is said to have responded with these words, "The smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary...."
as indeed it had.
All the wickedness of the perpetrators was matched by the delierate efforts of their superiors to conceal their evil-doing, and after "treatment" in private clinic settings, transfer them to different parishes where the risk of repetition was present. To this was added the effort to supress the knowledge of what had occurred by paying sums of money or silencing by intimidation those who brought accusations.
None of that is news to anyone who has not been living in a cave for the past few years.
But perhaps it is less widely known that some Catholic clergy and laypersons willfully blinded themselves to the incontrovertible facts by insisting that the matter was being "blown out of proportion by a Catholic-hating media". They dismissed the conduct of the numerous sexual predator clergy as the actions of "a few mentally ill" persons. And this denial was obdurately maintained even while facts were being piled upon facts about the misconduct of not only American priests but bishops but their overseas counterparts as well. To challenge this determined refusal by many Catholic clergy and laypersons to confront reality was to invite fierce retaliation.
No wrongdoing, however revolting, is ever as irredeemable as is its cover-up. The deeds are what they are. Perhaps, in some degree at least, they were nonvolitional. But the cover-up of those deeds was a deliberate act of betrayal of trust that wounds much more deeply. Its healing is not likely to be immediate or complete for anyone. And for some, that healing may never come.
Now the OCA faces its own time for truth. Its own time for facing facts. Its own time for dealing with "the smoke of Satan" in its own sanctuary. And the outcome is still in doubt.
For the past two years, I been grateful for all your postings, Patty. Your earnestness, candor and determination to confront and correct what is wrong in the OCA have been an encouragement to me. And never more so than in this your most recent posting. I just wanted to tell you so.
#41.2 jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-11-09 09:10
Thank you Jean,
We are in a critical time in the OCA. The story of how this will all turn out is still being written. The laity have many valuable and meaningful things to say.They are helping to determine a better future for the OCA and thus the Orthodox Church at large.
#41.2.1 Patty Schellbach on 2007-11-11 15:04
All of us, from myself to His Beatitude, ought to pray this prayer regularly, and intentionally, every word, even the "for which, I know, I am deservedly suffering."
O God, our help and assistance, who art just and merciful, and who hears the supplications of Your people; look down upon me. a miserable sinner, have mercy upon me, and deliver me from this trouble that besets me, for which, I know, I am deservedly suffering. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that all trials of this life are given by You for our chastisement, when we drift away from You and disobey Your commandments; deal not with me after my sins, but according to Your bountiful mercies, for I am the work of Your hands, and You know my weakness. Grant me, I beseech You, Your divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to Your Will. You know my misery and suffering and to You, my only hope and refuge, I flee for relief and comfort; trusting to Your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, when You know best, You will deliver me from this trouble, and turn my distress into comfort, when I shall rejoice in Your mercy, and exalt and praise Your Holy Name, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
#42 Tired of this on 2007-11-08 21:36
Dear Mr. Tosi,
You may be frustrated with those of us who refuse to contribute to the OCA at this time, but we are also frustrated that the OCA will not be truthful with us. I refuse to donate to an organization that is not transparent with their financial situation, or one that is hiding information. Somehow you are privilaged to know what has happened, but apparently think that information must be kept secret from the OCA members. Well, you may keep it secret, but I may withhold my donations. If that upsets you, so be it. I myself am extremely upset that the OCA is not forthcoming with information.
#43 Will not donate until information is forthcoming on 2007-11-09 08:05
Thank You for your Heartfelt Prayer,
I will copy this from my computer and carry it with me to reflect upon it when I feel down and distraught. Amen!
Mr Tosi I must reply to your comments, with all due respect Sir, I must say I am not a person who can for see or predict the future. I do know that God is Pure, and Flawless only will he Bless A Church, Organization ect with pureness of heart and mind.
So if we continue on the path of no repentence, no remorse ect, it is with great failure we will endure all of this pain and suffering due to man's own sins. These sins were all of choice, we can choose to ignore this statement for example, turn our selfs inward and take a strong stand to ignore them or to repent and do something outward and cleanse them to absolve the wrongdoings and become pure again. As for making a statement that this will kill the church. That is all Nonsense in my mind. You nor I have the Power to interupt God inside of People, the Holy Spirit is sealed inside of each of us during our Baptism and we are Tonsured with the Blessing of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
A True Christian Knows that No one, can remove the Image and Likeness of God that Dwells inside of Us. We breath, live and are alive in Christ due to his Life on Earth, not only from his presence from the beginning of him walking on Earth and teaching us to be like his disciples, but each and everyday that we live.
I vote for Disclosure. Glory to Jesus Christ!
Ps. Mr Tosi when all is said and done, I will give you a phone call, I hope to have your vote for rebuilding earthly treasures.
#43.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-09 10:12
Glory to IC XC!
We read of the events at the assembly of His Beatitude's own diocese, and we're supposed to think that an AAC run by his appointees will be useful in some way?
Let's see the agenda before we book our flights and hotel rooms because if election of his successor is not on the agenda, it'll be an absolute waste.
Fr. Bartholomew Wojcik
St. Nicholas Orthodox Mission Church
#44 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2007-11-09 14:46
Christ is in our midst!
"Should I go or shouldn't I go?"
This is something that I have been going back and forth on since I will most likely be the delegate that will represent our church. Like many, I have no confidence in MH and the forthcoming agenda. Nonetheless, I would like to think that a unified room of clergy and delegates should have some clout.
I was looking through the statutes and Article 13 Section 1 states:
“This Statute may be amended by an All-American Church Council. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Church 90 days prior to an All-American Council. The parishes must have all proposed amendments to be acted upon by the All-American Church Council in their possession 60 days prior to the Council.”
So I was thinking that maybe a church could propose amending Article IV "The Metropolitan" by proposing to add Section 5 which would be the removal of the metropolitan by two-thirds vote of the clergy and delegates....and no overrides by the Holy Synod!
In addition, Article 14 “Effective Date” should also be amended to change the date that the amendment becomes effective to immediately.
Then the AAC could vote MH right out of office!!!
Although this seems like a good idea to me….I am sure it is flawed….but is there any weight to these thoughts????
Looking for suggestions.
#44.1 Juliana on 2007-11-09 18:40
Is that consistent with the (captial-T) Tradition of the (captial-C) Church? Can the laity with clergy acting in council without the bishops remove a primate and elect a successor to a primate? +H needs very much to leave, and the OCA needs very much for him to leave, but even if a proposal such as this passed, it would be spiritually moot if its not in accordance with the Tradition.
#44.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-10 09:41
I think that you should double check. I think the Synod of Bishops has the final say.
#44.1.2 Sue on 2007-11-10 12:07
I did some more reading and according to Article III Section 12, you are correct...the synod has the final say. Nonetheless, I think it should still appear on the agenda. It would be rather telling if the clergy and delegates of the AAC had a majority vote in favor of this resolution and the synod overode it.
I think the articles in general need to be rewritten so the "good ole boys club" can go back to being what they were intended to be.....the Holy Synod. (+Job has my utmost respect.)
#220.127.116.11 Juliana on 2007-11-10 22:38
Look at the OCA Statutes; the amendment process says nothing about the HS having final approval. You might be thinking of resolutions, over which the HS does have veto power.
#18.104.22.168 Michael Strelka on 2007-11-11 17:00
Since I am not a lawyer, I don't know how to "read between the lines." So hear me out, because I am not quite sure how the Articles are supposed to be interpreted when it comes to amending them.
I was reading Article III Section I and it says:
“The highest legislative and administrative authority within the Church is the All-American Council. (Cf. Article III, Section 12)"
Then if you scroll down to Article III Section 12, it says:
"All resolutions adopted by the Council shall be examined by the bishops at the end of each session (morning, afternoon, or evening). No resolutions shall be valid unless approved by a vote of at least a majority of the bishops attending the Council. "
But then Article XIII says:
"This Statute may be amended by an All-American Church Council. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Church 90 days prior to an All-American Council. The parishes must have all proposed amendments to be acted upon by the All-American Church Council in their possession 60 days prior to the Council."
Now you are saying that amending is not the same as a resolution.....I wonder how this would all play out?
Unless someone knows the answer to this, I think a church (with articulate parishioners who have great composition) should propose making the two amendments for the next AAC...we have nothing more to lose at this point and as least it would give us something on the agenda worth talking about....and since the proposal will be made ahead of time, the motion cannot be called "out of order"!!
I guess I am still looking for a definite "Yes, this will work/could work" or a "No, this won't work at all".
Yours in Christ,
#22.214.171.124.1 Juliana on 2007-11-12 16:36
OK, I had a brain spasm; it's 7 a.m. Yes, amendments (resolutions can be proposed at the AAC) have to be in Syosset 90 days prior to the AAC, then they have to mail them to the parishes not less than 60 days prior to the AAC.
Better send them by certified mail or by fedex a week before the deadline.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-11-13 06:18
While this seems like a great idea to me, I have a feeling that the resolution would be ruled "out of order" like several resolutions in recent assemblies. Are there any actual guidelines where we could find out what sorts of things are within an assembly's "scope"? Or anything within the statute itself about the ammendment of it? Learning from these recent assemblies, people going into the AAC with a critical resolution should perhaps be able to show the admissability of it, and should also know in advance how to overrule a decision of the chair.
#44.1.3 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-11 11:29
Rachel & Juliana: Resolutions and amending the statute are two separate things. Resolutions can be vetoed by the HS, an amendment to the Statute cannot be vetoed, unless it involved a conflict with Canon law, which the bishops have authority over.
btw, the chair can rule the amendment out of order, but the assembly can overrule the chair. And the statute says nothing about the amendment having to be proposed 90 days in advance. Buy yourself a copy of Roberts Rules and study it before you attend the AAC. You will need it.
#188.8.131.52 Michael Strelka on 2007-11-13 06:05
Thank you, Michael. I was thinking that there had to be a 'resolution to ammend'... If you wouldn't mind one more question- has Robert's Rules been formally adopted as the OCA's procedural authority? (Just wondering if that would be important, for example, if it came to how much of a majority was needed to overrule the chair).
Okay - I guess more than one question- doesn't it seem like there would be something in canon law regarding the removal of a hierarch that should be looked at first?
And do you have any thoughts on the way some resolutions were judged 'outside the scope of the assembly'? Would that be an opinion (which could be over ruled) or are there such boundaries defined?
Thank you very much.
#184.108.40.206.1 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-14 11:45
I really appreciate you taking the time to provide some insight into this process.
#220.127.116.11.2 Juliana on 2007-11-14 16:32
Amen ! ! It really is as simple as this.
#44.2 AnonPriest(Canada) on 2007-11-09 21:05
It wouldn't even take a fledgling first year law student to figure out why Syosset (MH, et al) as well as R. Kondratick have kept quiet . They all know the clock os ticking on the statute of limitations. In NY it is 6 years. Once beyond that, they will all be free from any suits or prosecutions.
Plus I want to know why no member of the MC has not just gone into the office of Proskauer Rose and demanded to see everything they have. As offiers of the church, they are entitled to.
#45 PFC(poor frighten Christian) on 2007-11-10 10:18
However, as any second year law student knows, a conspiracy is an ongoing crime until the conspiracy ends, and the SOL period thus does not begin until the conspiracy ends. And so, to the extent the cassocked cabal is engaged in conspiracy (under federal and various state laws), they would be like a dog chasing its tail if they are in fact waiting for the SOL period to end.
Moreover, each crime has its own SOL period, and not all are 6 years; some are more and some less. Moreover, each Sate has its own SOL provision for each crim, and these idiots have undoubtedly committed crimes in multiple states. And these morons have certainly also violated the federal criminal code: federal money laundering (domestic and foreign; they are separate crimes), federal mail fraud, federal wire fraud, conspiracy, the RICO act (itself a complex crime involving a period of time, thus, again implicating the calulus of the SOL period). There also has to be some tax evasion crimes involved in this, and perhaps other tax crimes.
They have a long wait, if that's what they are doing.
#45.1 Anonymous on 2007-11-10 23:21
Do not Blame the St. Nicholas Church Parishioners of Whitestone for the resolution submitted by Fr. Michael Koblosh to support Met.Herman from resigning. We were never informed of or voted for this resolution.
#46 Anonymous on 2007-11-10 10:44
Very interesting. This is in stark contrast to the way in which the motion presented by Fr. David Vernak of Christ the Saviour in Paramus made its way to South River. The proposed motion was read to the parish on Sunday, Nov. 4 following a Baptismal Liturgy. We took a vote and Fr. David brought the motion to the Diocesan Assembly with the parish's full support.
So if the motion was "out of order," "contentious," "unproductive," etc., then I suppose we are as well.
Notice the pattern that emerges here. Conciliarity cohabits with openness and calls for truth; unilateralism aligns with suppression.
#46.1 David Maliniak on 2007-11-11 16:54
Thank you, Mark, for keeping us informed and connected through this Web site—the OCA’s collective indebtedness to you for your diligence over the last two years cannot be overstated.
As to the new signatures on the petition, I am very pleased to see them. I was told that at an education day recently held at our parish in Bethesda, Maryland (which my husband and I missed because we were out of town), Father Hopko stated that he would not have gone the route of creating the petition (I am paraphrasing, as I don’t know his exact words). His reasoning was that it would have been more effective to have everyone write individual letters to their Bishops.
I think the world of Father Hopko and have profited tremendously from his teaching, but on the subject of the petition I must respectfully disagree with him. My husband and I did write to the Bishops individually at the beginning of this scandal, and much later we wrote to them again, pleading with them to encourage Metropolitan HERMAN to resign. We received no response to our letters. Perhaps the letters made some sort of impact, but we will never know. We were simply acting as individuals writing to those in power, and those in power could choose to ignore us without anyone being the wiser.
Conversely, from the time we launched our group’s petition on-line, all in the OCA who feel strongly that Metropolitan HERMAN must resign if our jurisdiction is to have any hope of survival have had a means of expressing their convictions publicly. No longer can it be credibly claimed that it is only a handful of malcontents in the church who want the Metropolitan to step down—far from it! And no longer are we suffering in silence, isolated in our own prayer corners, writing letters to unresponsive Bishops.
Through Mark’s efforts with this Web site, through the Orthodox-Forum, through the Save the OCA site, and now through this petition, we have built the means of publicly supporting and encouraging one another through this very difficult time. We have given voices to those who otherwise might have been marginalized and silenced, and we have persevered in the face of many obstacles to state publicly that we want the OCA to be cleansed and set on a right path. We have not given up, and we have not been silenced. In short, we have been that part of the living body of Christ we have been called to be, and not simply a bunch of scattered individuals futilely writing letters to unresponsive Bishops. If our Bishops won’t support us, we will support each other—and “bear one another’s burdens”—just as we are called to do in Christ.
I can't say how often I have been quite discouraged, only to read an email or see a new signature that breathed life back into me. So much good has come out of this present darkness, and I give thanks to God that, rather than acting only as individuals in this struggle, we have found ways to come together as a body and support one another.
I thank all who have educated themselves on the issues confronting the OCA, who have advocated for truth and holiness in our church, who have posted so thoughtfully, and who have signed the petition. Christ is in our midst!
#47 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2007-11-10 12:37
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tatusko, Thank You Thank You Thank You, May I say 40 times! Thank You's!!
We all know that Something had to be done to break the ice. Remember that childs game that is.. don't break the ice...? And when it does break, all of the rest of the cubes fall down then, while they are falling down everyone watches with anticipation that their's doesn't go next. This was only a matter of time....
Well the Ice glaciers are breaking all over the Map!
I do feel as though we have to be voices for all of the innocent Children, Widows, and Orphans who have no warmth with coats, boots, hats, and gloves to keep their flesh warm during these winter days, and I do feel for those who have been poorly fed from nourishment, food, and medicines, let alone a simple aspirin from their medicine cabinets is out of reach due to the failure of our money not getting to its final destinations.
I just have to pray harder for the souls that have been ignorant and I can only hope that I will teach my own children to take courage and conviction even when its a difficult challenge, I want them to know that God is forever with us. I feel very blessed to of met you and your husband on this site, as well as many brave and loved souls that have the courage to speak up for what is right. God will Prevail! Yours Truely In Christ, Sasha
#47.1 Sasha on 2007-11-10 22:35
Amen, my sentiments precisely!
Just a word "on" and "to" Fr. Hopko, who has the remarkable capacity to inspire and exasperate simultaneously. No one, in an OCA leadership position, has more articulately and forcefully identified the many problems that face our Church. No one.
At the same time, he is trapped in an outdated concept of authority that paralyzes and prevents any effective action on his part or by others not so directly under episcopal authority. This inevitably leads to passivity and fatalism and the notion that this is all "God's will." Well no, not really. What is often called God's will is actually Free Will being exercised, frequently inappropriately, with God sorting out the resulting mess as history and creation unfold throughout time.
It is time for our theologians to find a basis for insuring truth and accountability in the Church without destroying all vestiges of hierarchical authority. Our tradition makes this difficult, but not impossible.
#47.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-11 06:08
You have expressed exactly what many of us feel and have experienced. So many appeals, letters, and emails have fallen on deaf ears and cold hearts. The sheep are scattered and suffering while many of those in positions of authority whose sacramental duties require them to speak the truth, reflect Christ in words and actions and protect the sheep with their lives not only remain silent, but they refuse to repent, refuse to do what is right and just, and continue to perpetuate the status quo.
Thank you for the support and love you have shown in working to help all of us and our bruised and battered Orthodox Church in America. I know how hard it is to stay the course and do what's right, but given the treasure of faith and illumination we have been blessed with as Orthodox Christians we have no other choice. We must bear witness to the truth and must stand our ground especially when so much corruption, confusion and deception persist and the culture of fear and self-preservation continues to be the status quo. If those who do see and understand what's going on and comprehend the terrible consequences of ignoring truth and Christ don't speak up and take a stand, then who will?
Thank you for the ever-needed reminder that God does, indeed, bring light out of darkness and healing out of suffering. I, also, wish to second your comments on the invaluable service that Mark Stokoe and this website (along with the other similar ones) have done to serve our Church, keep us informed, bring us together, and give everyone a chance to speak their piece, whether we agree with them or not. Also, I commend the four priests from the NY/NJ/DC diocese (Frs. Kappanadze, Shimchick, Garretson, and Vernak) for bearing their crosses and speaking the truth during this crisis. It shows us that not all of our priests have their heads buried in the sands of denial and delusion (not to mention the real motive behind some of them, i.e., brown-nosing +MH on the cusp of their own retirements), and are willing to bear witness to the truth, however painful that may be for all of us. May God bless us all to continue working together for the good of our Church, to the glory of God. May I also suggest that we pray for those in our midst who are in denial and delusion, that the Lord will open their minds and hearts to the truth of our crisis, so that we may heal and move forward!
#47.4 David Barrett on 2007-11-11 18:37
Since the thieves will not confess of their own volition, is it not time for the laity to avoid the confessional until such time as our houses have been cleansed and integrity restored to the bishops and priesthood in this country? Is it wise to allow thieves in hiding to hear our innermost thoughts when the person to whom you are confessing may be running down the street with our every word to his fellow conspirator in this cover up?
Is it time to demand an ethical representation from each priest and bishop in our midst? If we wait for action from this leadership and/or lawsuits we probably will be waiting proverbially until Jesus comes.
Of course, the counter from these thieves will undoubtedly be a power-mongering move instead of one founded in love. They will withhold communion. If that is that case. So be it. That action in its own way will tell you what you needed to know even if that person doesn't confess his sins.
#48 Name withheld on 2007-11-11 06:05
If you are so truthful, sign you name.
The one thing I do not like is all of these people who rant and rave and will not own their words.
You are just like MH. He says the Synod of Bishops is responsible, the Synod says the MC is responsible - it's like a cat chasing it's tail - NO ONE cares to step up and BE responsible. So the delusion continues. EVERYONE wants to be heard, but FEW are willing to stand behind what they say and what they do. This entire situation has been perpetuated by something else forthcoming. It's like one someone refers to "they" say. WHO, WHAT and WHERE needs to be clear. I'm sorry, the only thing these people relate to is $$$$$$$. The big fat salaries in Syosset cannot go on forever with some parishes and dioceses withholding. Unfortunately until clarity and purposefulness begins to come out of these meetings, nothing will be accomplished. More and more people will be disgusted and leave. Maybe that's what our leadership would like to have happen. No people, no one to be responsible to, no communication.
#48.1 Margo on 2007-11-12 13:15
That's devil talk!
If one doesn't trust one's confessor, find another, but wow, talk about a trap if I ever saw one, tempting us to give up this and perhaps other sacraments. The only compromised confessional is the one where the person confession "has the greater sin" for refusing to confess something he/she should confess." The priest is only a witness.
Confessions are made to God, and you are suggesting we stop confessing our sins to God because of a few bad men!
You and quite a few others have made the OCA an end in itself. It is a means, and merely a jurisdiction among many.
How dare you suggest that the Holy Spirit cannot work through any of the priests in the OCA. Like you, and me, all those priests and bishops are sinners. God has already deigned to give our bishops, sinners, the keys to bind or loose.
Get behind us, satan!
Rdr. Alexander Langley
#48.2 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-11-13 05:50
See Metropolitan Philip's address to St. Tikhon's Seminary Commencement at: www.antiochian.org website in the November Word Magazine.
#49 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-11 10:58
Again CONGRATULATIONS for this outstanding posting. Everyone SHOULD KNOW that you are doing everything FREE OF CHARGE. This expression means that you do not get any financial compensation.
You are POSITIVELY CHARGED by those people who are posting on this site and express their best for the way you ARE HELPING EVERYONE to get rid of this MALIGNED CANCEROUS TOUMORS which are eroding the OCA starting from the head ... Also, you are positively charged by the Almighty God who is helping you overcome every bad feeling coming from the OCA hiererchy and clergy...
Keep in mind that your NEGATIVELY CHARGED by those FALSE CONFESSORS OF JESUS CHRIST...who are seeing you as their enemy JUST FOR THE SIMPLE FACT THAT YOUR ARE helping us to find out if "THE ALLEGATIONS ARE TRUE OR FALSE".
It is very shamefull to listen to the OCA HIERARCHY and BRAIN WASHED CLERGY and LAITY and to their lack of interest for the truth.
People who are seeking the truth is not "A SMALL MINORITY GODLESS and FEARLESS, we are the majority of the OCA. We are not afraid to face the truth or to see it posted. Those who are buying time WAITING after the Kondratick's appeal and final resolution are manipulated by all the oca.org postings and some comments done on this site by the PRO KONDRATICK EXTREMISTS.
The time for justice HAS JUST COME.
It is the proper time for this site to LANCH a petition to REQUEST the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops to pass a resolution at their December 12 - 13, 2007 meeting in regards to the ELECTION OF THE NEW METROPOLITAN during the 2008 AAC. It would be more appropriate for the +MH to respectfully STEP DOWN NOW, and not to face the turmoil of the upcoming AAC of 2008. He will not survive at that time.
The R Kondratick's appeal will be resolved on December 11, 2007, ONE DAY PRIOR to the date of the OCA Holy Synod session, as per the proposed of one OCA bishop to the other which just transpired most recently.
So many priests do not want to see the truth coming out of all this crisis BECAUSE IT WILL SMELLLLLLLL very (bed-ly) ... badly. The allegation regarding the previous OCA metropolitan covered up the actual components of the OCA Holy Synod should come out, and +MT MUST be defrocked ... together with his allies.
R Kondratick SHOULD speak truthfully, should not be regarded as using BLACKMAIL in any way, BUT R Kondractick should use the BLACKNAIL to NAIL for ever the BLACK TRUTH HIDEN by the OCA criminals dressed in black robes.
The OCA faithfull are entitled to know the truth ... not only to PAY, PRAY and OBEY. This slogan is outdated versus the OCA hierarchy conduct.
A disturbed OCA member, Lukas ... 11, 12, 07..
#50 Anonymous on 2007-11-12 02:00
MORE FROM THE DEVIL
Dear Christians who I hate:
Glory to me! I am in your midst!
Dealing with you all is like a vacation. You really make my life easy and I’m getting flabby just sitting around while you do my work.
This last Assembly was a hoot! There you are, singing that infernal “Heavenly King” song, asking for the Holy Spirit (I hate him!) to guide your meeting. I know, it’s what you guys do, but do you mean it?
Look, the Holy Spirit (I hate him) literally inspires one of your parishes – one of the few that are still alive -- to challenge the status quo with a pretty mild resolution questioning the direction of the Church.
So what happens? (Now remember, you asked the Holy Spirit to guide you, right?) What happens? The chairman, without even really hearing or considering the resolution RULES IT OUT OF ORDER with a ready-made list of objections that just happen to pop into his mind in a split-second. How Spirit-filled and spontaneous. I love this!
Let’s review: Holy Spirit is asked to lead, Holy Spirit leads, Holy Spirit is OUT OF ORDER!
Now I just love hypocrisy, but I’ve got to ask: Why do you still ask the Holy Spirit to lead you when you don’t want His leadership? (This isn’t the first meeting where this has happened, you know.)
Why do you prefer Bobby’s Rules to the Holy Spirit’s freedom?
Why do you ask for divine guidance (I hate it!) and then let a few people steer the meeting to their own advantage?
Will you really realize the power of the Holy Spirit in an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and manipulation? Much to my delight, there are more than a few among you who don’t trust the Holy Spirit any more, no matter what songs they sing.
Why won’t you let the Holy Spirit rock your boat? You could have avoided this scandal if you had let Him shake you up years ago. Then and now, you actually choose the sleepy, calm seas of my delusions, thinking that you’re all so holy because you’re so above that icky, career-threatening fight against evil. You are quickly putting me out of work, and I love to work.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this. These are usually my trade secrets. But you’re so hapless and lost – I actually feel sorry for you (I can’t believe I said that). Wake up, folks. At least make this a fair fight – struggle, put up some resistance to my wiles. You’re so easy.
Actually, I hope you keep thinking the Holy Spirit is leading you and that He’ll take care of everything so you can relax. Keep believing that the Church’s agenda is the self-preservation of a chosen few. I’ll be on the beach in Aruba.
I hate you!
The Big, Bad D
#51 Anonymous on 2007-11-12 10:26
Thank you Screwtape, a.k.a. the Big, Bad D! We've heard nothing so "bad" since your former publicist, C.S. Lewis, was called to glory.
#51.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-11-12 12:15
Again, the level of specificity regarding the sins of Arch. Isidore is unnecessary, especially in a document that overtly asks to be kept confidential. Items left on the bedside table need not be idenitified to make clear the spiritual difficulties the Archimandrite was facing. A simple editorializing on your behalf referring to 'material inappropriate for a priest-monk' would get the point across, especially since the issue for OCANews is not his sinfulness but in the cover-up and scandal associated with not properly addressing such sin once it has/had become public - and how it may or may not reflect upon the diocesan Bishop.
Such lapses in editorial responsibility and discretion only undermine OCANews as a responsible source of information and guidance in what should be done rather than a kaffeeklatch - remember, gossip can be both true or false information - seeking to tear down rather than to call for repentence and responsibility. Let us be wary of the difficulty between discerning when to apporiately cleanse the Temple and inappropriately pointing out our father's drunken nakedness (cf. Noah). Unfortunately, the posts regarding Arch. Isidore have not properly discerned this distinction.
(Editor's Note: While I appreciate and sympathize with Mr. Orr's points, it has been the policy of this website to publish documents as we receive them, not to edit them. This whole scandal is in great part predicated on people thinking that some information was " inappropriate" for others - in this case the auditors, internal and external, the Synod, the Metropolitan Council, and the the OCA as whole - to know. Their justification, not surprisingly, was exactly the same analogy used by Mr. Orr. Having strongly objected to this position, I do not desire to make the same mistake here.
Secondly, the detail, while embarassing, was important in that it further cooraboration of Paul Sidebottom's account. To delete it would have been to distort the evidence, however minor.
I have made exceptions to this rule twice in the past two years, I have openly stated what was edited, and why I did so. In both cases, potential embarassment was not a criterion. We as a church have been embarrassed enough these past two years by the shenanigans of our hierarchs and clerics. They should not be misled to feel they are somehow exempt from the shame they continue to bring on us. Some may feel this is inappropriate, but once again, this scandal is predicated on people feeling that the rules that apply to everyone else, do not apply to them. They do.
That being said, in this specific case, the decision was moot since the document in question had already been published, in full, in multiple other venues. To distort it by editing would simply have raised more questions than the minor embarrassment it may have caused.
I hope this clarifies my position. I have no desire to embarrass people - but will not edit things to save them from it either. )
I, too, cringed when I read that. But there is something to be said for erring on the side of disclosure when the illness we are suffering from is concealment. Mark has taken upon himself a dirty job, there's no doubt about it. I'm willing to cut him some slack.
There has not been a lot of public discussion of the sex elements of this scandal until recently. I think there are differences between this sort of thing and the financial misconduct we have been openly dealing with. These differences bear on how -- or if -- we may properly discuss them.
The financial allegations were reasonably focused. Certain sums were allegedly taken by certain people, cash was taken overseas under suspiicious circumstances, etc. The sex allegations, however, at least as far as anyone seems to be willing to discuss in public, have not risen above innuendo. We have read about "meetings" in a hotel (wink) and been provided with a link to a gay club (wink).
This casts a broad shadow of suspicion but -- unlike the investigation into finances -- sheds no light. First of all, innuendo is not evidence. We don't know the basis for these suggestions or how those making them would learn of such goings on. (I am assuming none of the posters are admitting they or their patrons participated.) In other words, we have no idea if this is true or false.
Worse, we don't know who is alleged to be involved. On the basis of what has been posted here, it could be anyone, or everyone. This is really unfair. We have enough problems without creating this kind of atmosphere.
I very much regret the turn the conversation has taken. Not because we should not discuss it all, but because if we are going to discuss it we should do so forthrightly and not like sniggering shoolboys spreading rumors about the faculty. Frankly, there are a couple of posts above that really cheapen this site, which is a shame. (And if the innuendo is true, what does it say about those who have been willing to keep the secret until now, when they no longer have any reason to benefit personally from slience?)
Furthermore, if it is the failing of one or two persons (consenting adults and all that) no matter how highly placed, I'm not sure it is relevant to public discussion.
If it is widespread, or institutionally tolerated, however, then it is absolutely relevant.
If the institutional rot that seems to have overtaken the OCA did not just feed on money, if there is a culture of sexual perversion and tolerance of same, then we have a more serious problem than we thought. (Is this what would "kill" the OCA if people learned of it?) But if it is not going to be discussed frankly and seriously, then it should not be disucssed at all. Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying we should never talk about it. There are just not enough real facts in circulation to start yet.
Mark has set the right example, in contrast to a couple of posters. His information was specific and attributed. However, in the future, I respectfully suggest that such corroborating details wait until there is something specific to corroborate. We are not even to the point of making specific allegations of sexual misconduct that are relevant to the status of the OCA. Until then, what's on whose nightstand is just an unpleasant factoid I would rather do without.
#52.1 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-11-13 09:46
But no innuendo was made. Mark simply published the letter. You seem to say the letter itself is innuendo. The letter mearly states what the writer of the letter observed. There was no rumor associated with the letter, no comments stretching the observations to another level of guessing what the observations mean. I make no assumption until there is additional information. I agree with Mark that the letter supports the information offered by Paul Sidebottom, and that part is important. If people leave things lying around, well they leave things lying around, and that was observed. There is no innuendo mentioned in that letter.
#52.1.1 Just the observations on 2007-11-14 05:55
The innuendo I am referring to is contained in the posts about "meetings" and the gay club. I was contrasting that with the specific and attributed information provided by Marik in the published letter. The latter is not innuendo. My concern is that even verifiable facts of this nature must be handled very carefully for several reasons, including the requirement of a relevant and established context. The "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" posts that contain only innuendo have no place at all, in my opinion.
#18.104.22.168 Timothy Capps., Esq. on 2007-11-14 11:26
Dear Mr. Capps,
I understand now what you meant in your post. I did read it more than once before I commented, and now that I read it again. I see your comment about corroborating information refers to the other posts. I apologize for jumping to conclusions.
#22.214.171.124.1 Just the observations on 2007-11-14 13:25
That's okay, I'm supposed to be a professional communicator and I agree that I was running two ideas pretty close together. I think part of it is that I am conflicted on this issue. The big problem is we just don't know whether this is institutional failing that must be addressed part and parcel with the rest, or whether it is a sideshow that would only prove a sad and sensational distraction. The people who purport to know aren't saying enough for us to decide one way or another.
However, it is the nature of secrets not to remain so, especially where interested parties can use disclosure and the threat of disclosure to their own personal benefit. Given what is already out there, it is going to be hard to put all of this behind us without somehow addressing everything, one way or another.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-11-15 13:56
>>>Furthermore, if it is the failing of one or two persons (consenting adults and all that) no matter how highly placed, I'm not sure it is relevant to public discussion.
If it is widespread, or institutionally tolerated, however, then it is absolutely relevant.
#52.1.2 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-14 12:06
the other half of that post seems to have gotten lost in the ether....
The nagging question for me is whether the matter (s?) really have been between consenting adults. Paul Sidebottom's letter at least suggests that we shouldn't be very comfortable with that assumption. And what we have seen so far of the official response to his letter doesn't leave me feeling any confidence in the OCA's Sexual Misconduct Policy/Procedures.
If the innuendos refer to something that was in fact between consenting adults and was known and tolerated then I think it still might be a matter for public discussion. Among others, the faithful who have struggled with their own orientation issues would deserve an explanation of the double standard.
#188.8.131.52 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-11-14 15:30
The "nagging question" for me has less to do with whether we are discussing consenting adults or not. The bar is much higher for hierarchs and clergy in the Church. If sexually inappropriate acts and relationships have been undertaken, what does this say about the moral fitness of those in charge - and about our Church's respect for the canons of the Orthodox Church that normally require defrocking for such offenses? Forgiveness is one thing and should be given liberally - we are all sinners - but whether such a person should be allowed to continue in Holy Orders or to continue holding authority in the Church is a very different issue.
From the beginning I have said that it is telling that financial conduct is what everyone is so worried about. The real issues for me revolve around whispers and winks regarding sexual sin and teaching about sex and sexuality, canonical infractions going well beyond economia (e.g., communing non-Orthodox Coptic and Ethiopian Christians as a matter of course, not conversion), the 'mythologizing' of many aspects of Holy Tradition by our seminaries and priests, unilateral changes (at the parish, diocesan, and jurisdictional levels) in the liturgical services of the OCA, etc. Winking at financial impropriety seems simply to be a symptom of a deeper moral, spiritual, canonical and theological sickness that needs to be addressed
Thanks for the clarification Mark. As any journalist knows, there is really no such thing as publishing documents or facts as they are - the medium is as much the message as the message. Choosing where to shine the spotlight is a choice that skews the perception of reality, i.e, nothing seems to exist outside of that illuminated patch. There is a great difference between hiding facts and simply referring to, rather than quoting, facts in hand that have been corraborated and fact checked by the editor. The most obvious examples of this regard not naming of giving identifying information on underage minors and victims in sexual abuse cases.
The OCA quite obviously needs a Fourth Estate to keep watch over those entrusted with guiding her, and in helping the laity to be responsible stewards of their God-given wealth, their parish and jurisdiction. OCANews has served this function quite well over the past years and no one can honestly believe that the malfeseance and negligent management heretofore uncovered would have simply fixed themselves.
However, the reputability and credibility of OCANews has also been rightly questioned by many, and not just those seeking to hide, those fearful for their jobs or that are the lapdogs of the powerful. This questioning stems from a lack of journalistic and editorial sophistication on the part of OCANews evidenced, especially and most recently, in the handling of details surrounding Archimandrite Isidore - a man alternately denounced as a pervert, patsy and abuser, and then as the abused and suffering addict (journalistically, one can not have it both ways and maintain credibility).
What I question is not the intent or integrity of the information provided by OCANews, but of the editorial choices made (or not) to maintain the journalistic credibility that OCANews requires to achieve its goal of accountability in the OCA - and a change for the better. One need not provide every last detail to still achieve 'full disclosure' and transparency in a summary medium such as OCANews. This is a more difficult path, journalistically, but the endeavor you have undertaken requires more sophisticated journalistic and editorial choces to maintain your integrity which will allow you the standing to demand accountability and transparecy on behalf of Christ, the OCA and its faithful.
These are Mr. Orr’s comments because Mark published a letter on this website? Mark, you are doing a great job and a great service for many of us. We are still here and hoping for resolution because of THIS website. That was quite a putdown by Mr. Orr saying "lack of journalistic and editorial sophistication". Mr. Orr seems to imply it is better to hide information. Isn't that what prompted you to start this website in the first place? I did see the letters that were published, and I did read people's comments, but I don't recall where any of the references to Fr. Isidore's character were made as the derogatory descriptions of him that were written by Mr. Orr. I find this particular post of Mr. Orr's disturbing as he seems to be presenting misleading information about what was said about an individualon this web site when in fact those comments he describes about Fr. Isidore were never made.
#52.2.1 Just the facts on 2007-11-14 09:26
But of course Archimandrite Isadore can be both abused and an abuser. It is absurd to set up a false rule that says otherwise.
I too was put off by the details regarding items on his bedside table, and would have been, to some extent, even if the items had been aspirin or dental floss. It seems a violation of personal space and boundaries to detail such things. And that is what it would be under normal circumstances.
However, given the context, and given the allegations made by Paul Sidebottom, who has since been subjected to efforts to discredit him, normal circumstances are not prevailing. Mark has already stated, in reply to your first message, his policy on publishing a document intact, and why he has that policy. Were you listening?
#52.2.2 Cate on 2007-11-14 11:14
I understand the policy, my point was that the policy should become more journalistically sophisticated so as not to undermine the stated, important purpose of this website. OCANews does not just offer facts and unredacted documents for the reader to 'make up their own minds', it offers analysis and is engaging in editorializing. This is proper, but it requires an editorial policy that meets the needs of a source for analysis and editorial rather than a repository of facts and documentation.
I'm arguing for Woodward & Bernstein, not transcripts and definitely not muckraking. I am arguing for information and analysis rather than mere data. A choice has to be made to be on either one side or the other, confusing the two simply leaves OCANews open to attack as having motives other than accountability, transparency and an answer to whether the allegations are true or false.
I agree that although the contents of that letter are disturbing, the letter corroborates Paul Sidebottom's account. Because of the mistreatment of so many people in Alaska under +Nikolai's tenure, I am glad someone had the courage to give permission to post this letter and was not afraid of Nikolai's retribution.
#52.3 It is what it is on 2007-11-13 11:01
All joking aside, I have wondered before as to why the Holy Spirit appears to ignore the invocations to guide the thoughts and actions of the OCA at various assemblies. Fine, some (more each time) are speaking up and taking action; but overall the blessings of the Holy Spirit do not make themselves manifest.
Is this because one cannot expect good fruit from the bent and misshapen tree that The OCA has grown into?
#53 Jim Murray on 2007-11-12 12:58
serendipitously was I listening to an FM radio bible reader when he comes to Psalm 109........."And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hated me for my love.....,..Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.......When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin........Let his days be few; and let another take his office......."
#54 Guileless on 2007-11-12 14:13
For some time I hoped, in reading this site, that things would get better, even a little better, but each week brings a new, lower level of bad news. The latest information, once again hinting at sexual misconduct at high levels, makes me almost physically sick.
Lord, have mercy on us all!
#55 Theodore on 2007-11-12 16:42
When arriving in Alaska, Bishop Nikolai required that we change our "Lords Prayer" to say "deliver us from the EVIL ONE". Little did we know that the evil one would become HIM. In a healthy church a Bishop of this nature would be immediately removed by the council of Bishops headed by the Metropolitan, but because our OCA church is so sick, weak and full of evil itself, it has not the strength to take such decisive action, at least not currently. Our Alaskan Bishop has won a very unique prize, the trophy for being the worst (in almost every way) Bishop the OCA has ever had. Let us, the faithful in Alaska, take a stand and see that this man is removed from the ranks of the Apostles and removed as our Bishop... or anyones Bishop for that matter. Maybe he can find salvation in some Holy Monastic community where at least he can save himself, his or anyones salvation is not beyond hope, but here it appears he is destined to be damned, not only for failing in his office, but for destroying the humble, precious and Holy Orthodox Church in Alaska, for how can a church be holy with such a sick Head. No repentance or apparent/actual change in character can reverse the damage to our Alaskan Orthodox Church. In fact, the truest sign or indication of our Bishop acquiring humility, humility being an actual understanding of the consequences of his actions, would be for this Bishop to resign. For any true man, honest with himself and others, a true man even of the world let alone one of God, would see fit to step down....for the greater good of himself and all others.
#55.1 The Faithful in Alaska on 2007-11-13 11:17
The synod of bishops have the power and authority to correct the problems. Parishes Withholding funds is the only way to keep the pressure on. Why should more money be collected to reimburse chairty funds which were inappropriately used? It seems to me repentance means to change ones ways and give back more than 7 times what was taken in the first place. Individuals who were responsible for the disbursements of funds should be held accountable and repay them. Does the hierachy need such lavish estates? Perhaps the bishops should resign and give all they own back to God, then retire to a monastery as a simple monk.
#56 cshinn on 2007-11-13 12:46
I was thinking how we can protect the Chuch from such inept and destructive leadership in the future. One idea that came to mind was term limits. I know it sounds democratic but its not. When a Bishop is elected it should be for five years at which time he should be reelected by the diocesan assembly for another term or not. He will always be a Bishop after the intial election/consecration but he doesn't have to continue being the ruling Bishop of the diocese especially if he has proven unable to lead spiritually, ethically, financially. They can go to the monastery and live there as a monk which is what they are suppose to be anyway. I'll tell you this is a wider theological issue all this talk of authority reeks of papism. Both our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles would see this as foriegn to the Gospel so why are we and our hierarchs so caught up with it? You can't question your bishop? Since when? Did not Paul withstand the mighty Peter when he was wrong? The same Paul never having met Jesus while he was alive. I think that is very telling of the Apostles idea of leadership and authority.
#57 GH on 2007-11-13 22:27
Please read on to understand my question...
Why is it that a monastic is celibate?
Is that a requirement?
What is this based on?
If a monastic has straight or homosexual sexual relations is this wrong? If so how or why?
Can then anyone have sex with the monastic? why or why not?
I ask this only because if the allegations against Fr Isidore are in any part true - does this make him guilty of something?
If so... at what cost - what is the penalty or price?
Aren’t sexual feelings a part of human life - created in the image and therefore the supposed likeness of God?
Sure it may be used for procreation - but is anything else a major sin?
What about those who have more money than is needed to keep for food shelter, bills etc...
Is this a sin? Why or why not?
The question then becomes....
If any of the above issues is a sin... why then can monastics that covet and misuse or steal monies (entrusted to them) pay no penalty or reprimand for it? How grave are these actions when committed by Bishops performing these deeds in the name of Goodliness and Godliness?
If an ordained man stands [drunk] or incapacitated at the Altar does this constitute a crime in the eyes of the Canons of the Church?
Why or why not? What sin or crimes are acceptable and by whom?
I have witnessed persons told to "get out" for much less.
If a drunk man can stand at the Altar of God... why then can’t I? or why can’t a women being no less "sinless"
To tell the truth... haven’t we all had "hands" laid upon us at our Chrismation? Why is the hand of my baptismal priest (who never committed any sins or indiscretions like those by our synod) any less "clean" [read holy] when and where does Apostolic succession begin?
I am lost...totally lost here... no one... not one of our leaders have come clean... what is this ecclesiastical court about.... can or is it supposed to make interpretations on canon law? If it can’t police its own ranks why should anyone else pay heed to its directives?
I don’t know that Isidore is wrong here... He is still the Chancellor of Alaska... what then can I make of this? Is there any mention of what or why this is allowed to be; for goodness sake?
Those of us who witnessed the very intoxicated behavior of the man - know what I mean.... some of us are professionals who can make legal decisions on matters such as these... under the laws of our state and country!
Many a lesser ranking man has paid dearly for much much less... shouldn’t he be called to a standard in line with his rank and responsibility?
I dare anyone who reads this post and website to lay bets on the future of Fr John Dunlop… I have known this man personally for a great many years....
I too have witnessed his so called bishop call him Fr Nobody... and make some sort of comments that maybe someday he might be somebody...
In our legal system this a chargeable offense of verbal and psychological abuse... emotional strangulation too...
Imagine a man who is multi-generational cradle orthodox.... called to serve the Lord and Church from an early age... being tortured by word and deed while being held fast by the bindings of "obedience"
What breaks first.... and for those of us who are not only human but devout Christians... where will our well placed allegiance put us?
Is this the same allegiance we should all view our actions by and through? What if our trust and allegiance is placed in the hands of a less than honorable place - maybe even upon the sweat of Satan's evil deeds themselves? What then? Is this wrong?
Now I am back at the beginning of my quandary...
We Alaskans kept Orthodoxy alive in our hearts for over 200 years once before
Where do I go from here?
#58 anonymous in pain on 2007-11-17 00:46
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