Friday, December 7. 2007
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No surprises here! Those who deceive, mishandle, mismanage, and squander the treasure and gifts they have been entrusted with and then lie to cover up their mistakes and incompetence, continue to do so. Did we expect any different?
Did the now retired (thank God!) bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) of the West ever change his delusional, vicious, and demented ways? Was he ever called to task for his ignorance, mismanagement, sacramental failures, abandonment of many of his flock, and lack of action to help parishes in his care? Did anyone in the entire OCA ever officially challenge that lunatic hierarch and his unethical and abusive conduct? Did anyone in the OCA leadership ever bother to do something, anything in any official manner to remove and depose a bishop who many priests described in private as "insane" and "delusional"?
Does anyone honestly believe that +Nikolai of Alaska will ever be called to task for the abuses, corruption, and spiritual destruction he is spreading in his dioceses? Has anyone seen or heard anyone in the OCA leadership or in the Holy Synod publicly dare to challenge the unchristian, egomaniacal, and power-mad conduct of +Nikolai and rise to the defense and protection of the innocent priests, seminarians, and lay men and women terrorized and abused by him? How much longer will the Church in Alaska be allowed to languish and implode under the unaccountable, abusive, and unethical tyranny of a man who betrayed his calling and besmirched his office multiple times? This hierarch is squandering the legacy and heritage of St. Herman and St. Innocent and scattering and abusing the sheep he has sworn to protect and defend with his life. The Orthodox saints in America must be weeping!
Without real due process, real accountability and oversight of their duties and actions why should our derelict and dysfunctional "first" hierarch and his administration, and the power mad and tyrannical +Nikolai of Alaska, change their ways? The spiritual cancer in the OCA continues to spread and destroy.
The OCA continues to give band-aids to a patient who needs a heart transplant.
Chris flip the record over and come up with more complaints. Not everything is your way ,if you don't like it this way maybe others do. Just pray and worry about yourself.
#1.1 Anonymous on 2007-12-07 14:50
"...if you don't like it this way, maybe others do." Of all the lame comments (as opposed to stark raving looney comments) from various anonymous posters on this site, that has to be the leader in the clubhouse. Yes, the suffering faithful in Alaska like it so much that they are staying away from church and keeping their money in their pockets. Denial: not just a river in Egypt. And would you consider posting under your name? You are, after all, parroting the party line; what in the world are you afraid of? Monk James, for example, is regularly taken to task hereabouts, but one must respect him for putting out what he has to say under his own name. He is evidently a big boy and can take it. Emulate him. You shall gain credibility for your argument and respect for yourself. (And for those who labor under vengeful hierarchs, we understand your need for discretion; the preceding comment deprecating anonymity does not apply to you.)
#1.1.1 Scott Walker on 2007-12-07 18:09
Monk James is a good man with the vision of truth. People who believe in this garbage are not christians. You Scott if that's your name are the killing the oca with your bashing everyday. Soon this will all be over because fewer people write everyday. 20 can't make a difference.
(Editor's note: I can think of twelve men who did.)
#184.108.40.206 Anonymous on 2007-12-08 08:11
Yes, that's my name. Any chance you'll grow the guts to post yours? God will decide whether I'm a Christian, without any help from anonymous bravehearts on the internet.
#220.127.116.11.1 Scott Walker on 2007-12-10 09:14
One more thing, anonymous. You assert that I am "killing the OCA with my bashing every day," and that, "soon this will all be over because fewer people write very day." We have here two assertions which contradict each other. So, which is it? Am I killing the OCA or will this all blow over? Both cannot simultaneously be true, no matter how much you hammer at them. Pick one and defend it, or concede that, besides the occasional primal scream, you have little to offer. (And do you really think that the OCA is so puny that I, here on the Left Coast, can actually kill it by posting on the internet?.... Stalin could not kill the Orthodox Church, and somehow I can? Wow. Who knew?)
#18.104.22.168.2 Scott Walker on 2007-12-10 17:17
Anon: Have you ever considered becoming a Christian? Christ, the Truth, loves you and will change your heart if you will turn to Him.
#1.1.2 Name withheld on 2007-12-07 19:13
Very nice. It's good to see that this forum finally allows the truth to surface. Most people in the OCA never knew what a tyrant the wicked bishop of the West was. Those on the internet knew and the ROCOR nuts loved him because he sympathized with them. He was as dysfunctional as most of them. However, what do we do about + Nicolai and how do we prevent such people from being consecrated in the future? I believe a panel of educated lay people, bishops and priests to review all the OCA bishops yearly with a report submitted. Also, before any consecration, a complete review by this same panel including a complete psychological assessment. And please, no more bishops with only Sunday School theological education. Please note, both + Tikhon (retired) and + Nicolai do not have REAL Orthodox theological credentials.
#1.2 Anonomouse on 2007-12-08 09:51
You seem to be eloquent and knowledgable so why don't you speak your mind in an official protest and request the deposition of +Nicolai. What stands in your way? My thinking is either put up or shut up.
#1.3 anonymous on 2007-12-09 14:41
If you mean Chris, he can't, because he's not in Nikolai's diocese.
#1.3.1 Michael Strelka on 2007-12-11 11:04
So Mr. Bodnar was given hush money to ride off into the sunset.
If he was not an employee, why do they fear litigation?
I really think these people fear the wrong thing.
#1.4 MP on 2007-12-10 14:24
If anyone had followed my previous posts, we too, had suffered under +TIKHON (now retired, yes, thank God) of the West. I don't know what ecclesiology from any church upholds a bishop not tending to a hurt and suffering flock when they vote their own bishop out, as had happened at St. George OCA Church in Hesperia, CA some years ago. He did not drive the approximate 2 hours from his residence in Los Angeles to get to know the grievances, admonish, correct, console, love, or show any concern or interest in the sorrows and anguish of this hurt flock who "voted" him out. A brief letter just does not cut it when he is the person being requested to leave. As a result, there was fallout from such ineptitude. I believe we lost half the flock that day of "bloody Sunday" of the "vote." And it only got worse.
Our OCA is continually suffering from poor episcopal ministry. Many have voted a vote of "no confidence" in +HERMAN. Like +TIKHON, it seems to be falling on deaf ears.
I do believe there is protection within the laity of trying to steer the OCA to higher ground. I do believe the laity is getting heard.
I don't think it will tolerate a whitewashed Special Investigative Committee report.
We continue to patiently suffer with all of this, but the laity and certain courageous clergy are trying to move us forward to a healthier functioning of our church.
#1.5 Patty Schellbach on 2007-12-11 06:53
The only thing that can salvage the OCA at this point will be the movie rights to the years-long story. Made-for-TV miniseries would be the best. Like the Sopranos, a base locale where deals are made and people are in the know - revolving characters that disappear (like Bodnar lately). Off shoot episodes to Alaska, Russia, money in suitcases; moral innuendo... and some 'good guys' along the way. However the operation is ill-fated with a lesson to be learned.
If you had a detached view of the OCA, picture some sort of Bible Belt quasi-church, multi layered staff, plenty of money .. and only 20,000 Faithful, not OCA's 2 Million, but imagine. If you read all these shenanigans of cover-up, shell game, failed/ thwarted investigations... many 'see-no-evil' clergy; wouldn't YOU wonder why these 20,000 keep coming around? Of course you would wonder.
Not as a faith based issue, but in my fictional church why do 'these people' continue to enable this crooked church as an entity? How could the clergy look the congregants in the eye as they preach? Of course you would wonder. I actually think Christ-as-human would walk by an OCA parish at this point and feel at home in a small storefront church in a ghetto neighborhood.
#2 Jim Murray on 2007-12-07 12:41
Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It would be funny if it weren't so sad and depressing. Not only is MH so stubborn and unloving, he seems to be a little lacking in the intelligence area. He surrounds himself with people who are only interested in kissing his foot. Ironically, it is probably the best thing that could happen to Paul Bodnar. Now he is out of the cesspool.
#3 A priest of the Midwest on 2007-12-07 13:01
All will be called to task. It might be in this life. It might be in the next. I for one hope and pray it will be in this life.
God is not mocked. He will repay. He said so.
Lord, have mercy.
#4 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-12-07 20:26
The following letter was received by a parish in the NJ/NY/DC diocese. This was not a confidential letter, but addressed to a parish.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Your parish is extremely far behind in payment of assessments to the Diocese of Washington and New York. I need not remind you that this hurts our ability to pay for the programs and expenses of the Diocese. The Diocese is still responsible for paying your share to the central administration of the church. When any one individual parish does not pay, the other diocesan parishes must carry the load.
Your delays are part of significant monies in arrears. We currently have delinquencies as follows: 2005 - $17,194, 2006 - $11,688, and 2007 - $95,146.50.
Since you are one of those parishes that have not paid for a long period of time, I request a written explanation for the reason of this non-payment.
I await your prompt response.
Yours in Christ,
Isn’t that nice! Last month he stands before the diocesan assembly and says that if what has happened were to come to light that it would tear apart the church, now he is requesting that you continue to pay for those horrible things to continue.
What is more telling, though, is that the diocese is nearly $100K in the hole. This is very good news and says that a good number of parishes are not sending in money to fund the diocese of a corrupt Metropolitan. Keep it up! Those that are considering not paying, you would be joining an expanding group.
#5 Anonymous on 2007-12-08 12:00
Dear Anonymous etal.,
How exactly do you expect to fulfill Christ's mission when you sit back in your easy chair and pontificate but do nothing? Everyone who sits back and conveniently leaves the work of the Church to others is not doing the work of Christ but the work of the devil.
Contributions to the OCA's seminaries, monasteries, missions, charitable appeals, and many others are down signficantly. And I'm not talking about the money that goes through Syosset, I'm talking about the direct contributions to these other organizations. And if you don't believe me call them directly.
How amazingly convenient it has been that those that pontificate on this web site about withholding funds have "accidentally" or coveniently forgotten to write their checks for the continued health of the Orthodox Church. You are a disgrace and you should repent of your misdeeds.
If you hate Metropolitan Herman, fine, that's between you and him, but the work of the Church needs to continue. If you don't like Syosset, fine, leave it alone but if you have any amount of dignity you should be opening up your wallet and helping the Church. I'm sure that St. Vlad's, St. Herman's and St. Tikhon's will find a way to deposit your check, and I'm sure that if you were to write a checking for $5,000 Fr. Eric Tosi would find a way to help another mission.
I'm sick and tired of idiots pontificating about nothing while they sit idly by and watch their own Church destroy itself. If you actually care about your church get off your butts and do something about it. It may stink in Syosset but that should not be an excuse to destroy the rest of the church.
#5.1 Anon. on 2007-12-08 18:45
There are many ways to keep contributing to the work of the church while at the same time not contributing to Syosset: earmarked funds, donations to OCA charities like Raphael House, donations to St. Vladimir's, donations to missions, etc. There are many places the church that have a solid track record of good stewardship. Let us fulfill the words "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away."
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-12-08 21:43
Does it occur to you that people are witholding ALL contributions to the OCA precisely because they are sending a message to Met. Herman that they have absolutely no confidence in him; that his administration has lost all credability? A few years ago my parish had a bake sale in order to send a contribution to the Christmas stocking fund. A small, elderly parish, they managed to raise a tidy little sum, and I was very proud of them. We dutifully sent in our check. Then I head a couple of years later that a huge amount of the Stocking money didn't even go to that project! So; whenever I get something in the mail about the Stocking project, or any funding appeal that comes from Syosset, or anything OCA for that matter, I toss it. The letters for the Stocking project give me a particularly sick feelilng in the pit of my stomach. I will NEVER ask my parish to work on this; as long as +Herman's administration is in place. It's this lack of credability that is causing contributions to dry up. The tragedy is, +Herman simply cannot see that this has anything to do with him! This interesting bit of news about his own diocese being nearly $100,000 behind in assessments speaks VOLUMES. Clearly an informal type of witholding is in place. Clearly, so many parishes are withholdilng that the parish Rectors are not being disciplined / transfered / let go ... ; otherwise +Herman would have a significant number of parishes without priests, and how would he explain that? So, dear Anon., it is not the Faithful who cannot bring themselves to contribute while this corrupt administration is in place who are to blame for the low contributions. It is the corrupt administration! What is amazing is that this "no-brainer" seems completely beyond said corrupt administration. For my part, NOTHING it does will redeem it; everything has just gone too far; there is no reason to trust anyone connected with Syosset (the recent coverage of the Bodnar story by Syosset proves that). This administration is NEVER going to be open, transparent, honest. That's why it simply has to go.
#5.1.2 AnonPriest(A.ofC.) on 2007-12-09 18:11
Dear Anon and others with similar thoughts:
Interesting posting, since you have it all completely backwards! I don't "hate" Met. Herman; but it is quite clear that he is a liar and a thief; the comments at the Diocesean assembly by none other than Mr. Tosi himself confirm this, in stating that, "... if the truth came out it would destroy the Church." Rubbish! What this means is that, in fact, as many of us suspect and contend, +MH is covering-up what happened, something(s) did in fact happen, and if disclosed to the weak-kneed laity, it would destroy the Church. I submit that, if truth destroys the organization, than it is an organization that does not need to exist. I refer you to the dialogue between Christ and Pontius Pilate regarding "truth."
I joined the OCA because I wanted the truth, and I felt that Orthodoxy had access to the truth; only to find that like many amateur-run organizations, there was a group of professionals at the heart of it all, who were abusing the organization for their own personal benefit; and now, a huge and on-going cover-up! And we're supposed to continue to send-in money?
No, Anon., you've got it all backwards. We who are withholding funds are the ones taking action! We are the ones risking our reputations and relationships up and down the line, in order to put pressure on our corrupt administrators, of which Mr. Tosi is a part. He has obviously obtained access to some information which is being withheld from us - the membership of the OCA - and made the statements which he made at the most recent Diocesean assembly, that the information which he has access to would, if told to me/us, would "destroy the church." First of all, that means that there is information, it is damaging to at least one if not more of the people engaged in the cover-up, and that certain individuals within the Administration of the OCA or the NY and Wash Diocese know about it, and are engaged in lies, in order to in their opinion, "protect" the church.
Well, I'm very sorry, but that's not the way to run a church, and it's not the way to run any organization that seeks support from the public, or from a membership. What assurance do I or any of us have that any money we send-in, will be spent to "do the work of Christ," as you assert? It is Mr. Tosi himself who has said, "If you knew what was going-on here, it would destroy us." By the way, send in more money so that we can continue to do whatever it was that was done which would destroy the church if you knew about it! Ridiculous!
We may actually save the church, but making it impossible for these men currently in charge, abetted by +MH in any case, and possibly led by him as a perpetrator, to continue their work. Furthermore, the money as I understand it, is being held in escrow to give it to the new leaders of the OCA if and when they are appointed/elected and empowered.
No, it is not we, The Withholders, who are threatening Christ's Church, and the OCA has demonstrated that under the current administration it is NOT doing the work of Christ. We are working and risking everything by withholding, and by insisting that we all at large, be made aware of whatever it is that Mr. Tosi, and other +MH-hand-picked insiders, know, and that we be given our rightful role in helping to rectify the damage to the OCA, and not kept in the dark like some benighted, sniveling, Old World serfs!
Despite whatever "good" they are doing - and I have no doubt that some of the work being done at the OCA Seminaries and the seminarians themselves are "good" - but I say, "NO MORE MONEY," to them as long as +Herman is on their Board, chairman, president, assistant professor, or whatever; as long as +Nikolai continues to run Alaska and St. Herman's as a private personal fiefdom, totally out of control and out of all boundaries of proper management for a not-for-profit organization, and a small group of cronies remains in-control of the organization, having knowledge to which they refuse to release to we who are expected to fund it.
This is serious business, and we The Withholders are not lazy, not "sitting on our butts," and the other things you said. It is those who are continuing to provide funds to this corrupt Administration who are intellectually lazy, and just want to "keep the good time rolling" by paying for the likes of +Herman and +Nikolai to act like they have no accountability to anyone, and to do what they please. Stopping them IS for the "good of the Church" and the OCA. Period. You can tell Mr. Tosi, if he sends the document he's read that will "destroy the Church" to Mark Stokoe, for publication on this site, I'll personally send a $1,000 check to the Diocese to help cover part of the arrears of the parish in question. And if I were a betting man, I'd be willing to bet him that it won't "destroy the Church." May make a few bishops sweat under their robes, however! You know what Harry Truman said about it getting a little heated.
#5.1.3 C.C. on 2007-12-10 07:49
Well, for funding missions, the central administration hasn't funded our tiny mission in the midwest diocese. Our midwest diocese has been financially helping our tiny mission. We are so small in numbers, that we wouldn't qualify for a planting grant. Yet, our mission is in a rented storefront with an Orthodox priest serving our mission in our small midwest city. I don't believe the administration in Syosset (while they were misappropriating funds that were donated for charity) were concerned about funding the programs it had already established. The facts speak for themselves, which Mark has provided a website to publish them. cshinn
#5.1.4 cshinn on 2007-12-10 12:54
How do you know people are sitting idly and doing nothing?? And what's with the "idiots" talk? Can you not express yourself more articulately; and can you not consider something other than that since every member of the OCA isn't sharing with you personally what they are doing that therefore they are doing nothing?
C'mon, bro ... thi-M-k things through before gettin' all medieval on the rest of us. Don't make me pronounce "Bettlejuice" 3 times fast .....
#5.1.5 Anonymous on 2007-12-10 20:09
Exactly right--the more they threaten and scream the more it sounds like music to my ears!
As for Mr. Tosi, tax collector and enforcer extraordinaire, please refer him to this website if he is confused as to why there is non-payment of assessments and shrinking contributions to episcopal slush funds masquerading as charities.
#5.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-12-08 18:47
On what basis do you refer to the Metropolitan as the "corrupt Metropolitan"?
Please provide one bit of evidence that he is corrupt.
Why don't you have the guts to sign your name? You certainly have no problem whatsoever announcing to the world that the Metropolitan is corrupt.
Now, let's see if you can back up your statement with facts, or will you continue to hide behind the cowardness of remaining anonymous.
Let me start. "Corruption" is being informed in September 1999 of massive misuse of Church funds by the Treasurer of the Church, then advocating he be fired, take his job, and assist in the cover-up. "Corruption" is reappointing the officer accused of this misuse of funds to additional terms in office.(2002) "Corruption" is being knowing, indeed signing off, on the diversion of charitable funds to cover general expenses, in part because of the losses engendered by the misuse of funds by the accused officer. (2003,4) "Corruption" is receiving a video tape alledgedly showing the corruption by that officer and doing nothing about it (2005). Call it "depraved indifference", call it " co-consipirator", call it whatever you like. "Corruption" works for me.... What part don't you get?
#5.3 Michael Geeza on 2007-12-10 14:01
Am I correct in thinking that the the Diocese of Washington and New York is over $100,000 in arrears on the Central Church Administration (CCA) assessment even after $56,000 was transferred from the diocese to Syosset/Oyster Bay earlier this year? If so, that means that the various parishes not paying their assessments are actually in arrears on CCA assessments to the tune of $150,000-$160,000 ... which means that those parishes are probably also in arrears paying their diocesan assessments (a similar amount?).
What's wrong with this picture? In a diocese of 68 parishes and missions, the income for the current year is running $200,000-$300,000 arrears and it is not widely known within the diocese? And this in the diocese with the member of the Holy Synod with the strongest "business background" and a long-held reputation within the national church -- until recently -- for being the most informed about the finances of his (previous) diocese. Doesn't this situation shout "misfeasance", if not "malfeasance", applying to the Metropolitan, as well as Diocesan Assembly? If not, what am I missing?
An angry and perplexed member of the Washington (DC) Deanery ...
#5.4 Mark C. Phinney on 2007-12-12 05:56
Right, Mark. Right on! The reason is, with the Massive Cover-Up on-going at the +Met and Central Church level, made even worse by the fact that the +Met is also the head of the Diocese in question (Washington & New York), it is all merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the many and sundry mini-cover-ups that are no doubt going-on throughout the OCA and its subordinate and affiliate entities. That is why people need to cut-off ALL MONEY to the OCA, and if you feel the need to make contributions, make it only to your parish, and designate it for a specific use. The reason this entire episode continues is that people have a tremendous loyalty to their parish, their own parish priest, and in many cases, the "designated amounts" just flow-on to the Diocese and the OCA HQ. It's understandable; it's also why everyone has disdain for Congress, but continues to re-elect their own local congressman - and then they wonder why nothing changes!
I am also in a parish of the W&NY Diocese, and what word I get from the Diocesean level, well, what word? It's basically never discussed at my parish, I've seen no report of any kind, and the only thing I ever hear about is an invite to a lunch about twice a year on "deanery day." I am a very active member of my parish, and I have absolutely no idea what is going on or being done at the Diocesean level in W&NY, and I pay attention. Frankly, I don't really expect much, since it too is under the absolute control of +Herman, "the Coverer-Upper-in-Chief," and I know what that means. I'm just waiting for the money to dry-up, and for +Herman to finally throw-in the towel; and I keep my eye out for +Herman's appearances at my parish, so I can absent myself on those days.
However, it seems that maybe there are many parishes in W&NY which are engaged in de facto withholding, since the Diocese seems to be pretty short of money, at least according to Mr. Tosi's letter. All I can say is, "He's got a lot of nerve to ask for money under the current circumstances." I wonder if our non-resident presiding bishop (who in contravention of the canons lives outside of his diocese, in Penn.) is aware that the Diocese of W&NY is broke? Or, as in many other things, is he our bishop "in name only"? Sorry, now I'm getting all disrespectful and such; see why I want to be absent when His Emptitude is coming to town?
Okay, time for me to get back to "sitting on my butt," and being a "lazy Christian" again, as a previous poster on this site accused.
#5.4.1 C.C. on 2007-12-12 07:49
Expect that number to go up if the Synod decides to reinstate the Former Fr. Bob Kondratick.
Just a few more days until we find out whether there is some degree of conscience and a minimum of integrity and the former chancellor remains laicized or we find out that there is no integrity and fidelity to the Gospels and its just every man out for himself. Do they fear a lawyer or do they fear God? It all comes down to this. Its a pity that we even have to think odds as to which it will be!
#6 Anonymous on 2007-12-08 17:44
No way will RSK be back. That would mean that the HS was wrong with their decision , that will never happen. He'll stay deposed and be believe that the great HS solved the problem. The fireworks will begin after the announcement and I'm sure lawsuites will fly.
#6.1 Anonymous on 2007-12-09 06:09
If money is the "lifeline" that gets Herman's attention, then listen up folks. You can stop the money to the OCA. It won't get a Herman response.
You can stop the money to the Diocese of Washington and New York. It won't get a Herman response.
But if you turn off the money flow to St. Tikhon's. THAT he will pay attention too.
NO MONEY TO ST TIKHON'S Seminary and Monastery, that will get Herman's attention.
Don't worry about the seminarians, nor the monks. They will be ok. Heck, they would love to see Herman and Klimechev and Martin go away.
Short term pain for long term gain, that is worth it.
NO MONEY FOR ST TIKHON'S
#7 Anonymous on 2007-12-08 19:41
...you write as you sit in your warm, cozy room. Its sweeping statements like this one that disturb me the most about the "solutions" people concoct. As with most ideologies, the individual is marginalized, sacrificed as it were, for the "greater good". What rubbish.
Some seminarians, at least some that I know, are able to attend seminary because the seminary allows students to pay on a plan. Obviously, the doors of St. Tikhon's do not remain open because of tuition. Donations play a large role. If those donations dissappear, either the seminary will be forced to adopt a more stringent repayment policy, or maybe cut back on heating, food and eventually education all together.
"Don't worry about the seminarians...they'll be OK?"
Not to long ago people were berrating silent priests, seminarians and professors for not being vocal enough. They were, in essence, being accused of being silent perpetrators of the scandal. According the prevailing winds, they, too, should be chastasized, no? So...remind us who will help the seminarians if they are being inculcated in this mess?
No seminary, no seminarians: no seminarians: no candidates to the priesthood; no candidates to the priesthood: no priests; no priest: ?
Can the OCA continue without priests? the OCA has placed all of the responsibilities of church life in the hands of the priests. They have done so, not because they trust the priests or because they hold such a high view of priests, but because they, we, are lazy. If there's not a priest, we can't come together and worship. If a priest is not present we cannot develop and carryout an evangelistic program. Without If there are no priests we are content.
Furthermore, if there aren't any "worthy" priests or heirarchs, all must come to a standstill, until we find "worthy" priests to do all the work for us.
I don't think it wrong for us to demand answers. But I really doubt that finding out the "answers" will solve the OCA's problems. Before too long, we'll be content, once again, to let the clergy do all the work of the Church. Then when those weak souls are crushed under that unbearable load (us), we'll be there to chastise , sacrifice, and crucify them for letting us all down.
I wonder how much more the morale and life of the OCA would improve if everyone who spent hours writing and reading this website spent just as much time visiting the sick, poor and encarcerated? Notice I didn't say, "instead", but "as much", because I'm sure this website is a great spiritual oasis for all who read it.
I wonder how many lay people who read and post hear spend just as much time edifying themselves by learning more about the history, theology and worship of the Church, so they can in turn help to spread the Gospel, plant missions, re-envigorate declining parishes, etc. How many lay catechists are there among us who are working just as hard to spread the message of the Gospel as we are working to post our comments?
"But, how can we preach the Gospel when our leaders are so corrupt, boo hoo hoo, sniff, sniff?"
Laziness, plain and simple. If you can find hours to read and post here, you can find another hour to find work in the Lord's vinyard.
"But, I'm helping to root out the evil in our midst by my zeal for truth and brutal search for answers to the scandal, boo hoo hoo, sniff, sniff?"
Another excuse to sit no our duffs.
"But I do visit the poor, help spread the gospel, pray with my family, visit the sick, attend church whenever its open, contribute to worthy causes, etc.,etc.,etc.
Then, forgive me, brother or sister. My tirade is not directed towards you. You are seeking truth in the midst of the lies of the scandal while not neglecting your obligations build up your fellow man, your brothers and sisters, your family, and local parish. This is commendable.
My frustrations is with those who think that by just posting here and withhodling funds they are somehow edifying the Church. I will side, anyday, with those priest who have never read this website, but work tirelessly zealously edifying their parishes to the Glory of God over those who only read and post here. Those priests are doing much more for the health of the Church than all of us who have, or will ever post here.
#7.1 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-12-10 14:47
You just don't get it, do you. Met. Herman must go. This is one way he just might be forced to go.
I think withholding contributions from St. Tikhon's is worth the gamble. If it could be pounded into the Metropolitan's head that contributions would resume once he wrote up his resignation, then all would be worth it. I am convinced that the suffering in our Church will not be put to an end until the entire central administration, including Met. Herman is no longer in the picture. As another post very well put it: it is not that people are angry, or indignant, or full of hate, or seeking revenge --people are SUFFERING and in great sorrow over the state of the Church. For the sake of the salvation of so many, Metropolitan Herman must go. And if St. Tikhon's has to close for a semester or two because an arrogant failed 'leader' cannot give up his power, then so be it.
#7.1.1 AnonPriest on 2007-12-11 08:49
This is the most ridiculous posting I've ever read! First of all, you have no idea what I do, what I read, how I serve, and what my plans are. It will do no good whatsoever for young seminarians to go through and get their divinity degree, if the Church to which they hope to be ordained is dead because of corrupt seniors (bishops, the Met) and administrators!
I think your post would have been a delight to hundreds or thousands of German officers in Nazi Germany in the second world war: "Just keep those shoes shined, and those uniforms pressed! And pay your Party dues! Got to keep-up the appearance of the glorious German Army! Can't let a little thing like these Nazis who just happen to be in charge right now ruin the German Army's reputation." No! When you find yourself to be part of a totally dysfunctional and corrupt organization, you have to resist.
As for Church history, let's review a little of that, shall we? Here was Paul, an outsider. He taught a Gospel which supposedly, he received directly from the risen Christ; and this Gospel was that Gentile believers did NOT have to first become Jews (circumcision, kosher laws, etc) to later become followers of Christ, and that they (the Gentile converts) should have table fellowship and full fellowship within the Church of Christ, as co-equal to the Jewish converts. And who stood against him (at least, at first)? The "pillars" of the Jerusalem Church, including Peter, James, and others who supported the Judaizing of the Gentiles prior to fully accepting them as Christians. It was basically the first schismatic crisis in Christianity. And despite the ridicule he received from the "pillars" and the Jerusalemite Christians, Paul triumphed, and the rest as they say, is history.
Well, this is in many ways what we face today: Only the "pillars" of the Syosset Regime, and those like you who exhort us all to follow them, would have us "cease and desist" our resistance to blatant corruption, unfeeling arrogance, and so forth, on the part of a large number of our OCA Bishops and the Met in particular! I wish to stand with Paul and say, "No! This isn't the way it is supposed to be." You can't try to fulfill the mission of properly training future priests WHILE THE CHIEF COVER-UP ARTIST is the Chairman of your Board or president of your seminary! Eject +MH from these various positions (since it seems essentially impossible to remove him as the Metropolitan), and THEN the donations will flow. That's not "lazy" thinking, and it's not "un-Christian." Is what Paul did to stand-up to the "pillars" in Jerusalem "un-Christian?" I think not! We have a corrupt group of administrators being further enabled by a weak-willed group of hierarchs (the HS), and an MC with no real authority (due to the way the Statutes are written), and in any case having divided loyalties and in any case being lied to (as confirmed by Mr. Tosi in his, "If you only knew what I know" speech). It is up to us the membership of the OCA to cut-off the funds for this vicious cycle, and to say to the "pillars" of the OCA, "Enough! Out!"
This is what's happening, if slowly. And, as for remaining anonymous, I can't speak for anyone else, but as for me, I have explained many times why I chose to remain nameless: it would be of no use whatsoever for my 'actual name' to be used, and it would only jeapordize my Parish and my Parish priest, since we come under the sway of +Herman as he is our Diocesan bishop, and has carte blanche to "punish" our Parish if he doesn't like my thoughts here posted. It would not be right for me to expose the entire Parish to his wrath, since I am writing these words on my own, and without consultation with the entire Parish.
As for the rest of your diatribe, you know not of which you speak! Indeed, I find that, in my Parish, those who are the most upset about the OCA's scandal of corruption, are in fact those who are the most committed, most involved, and most active in supporting and doing those things you accuse us in your post of ignoring.
#7.1.2 C.C. on 2007-12-11 10:29
You grossly misread me. Did I claim to know what you, C.C. do? No. I put my comments out their for all people on all sides to judge their conscience for themselves. If people are spending hour after hours, fighting and arguing here and not serving the Lord by physically, literally being about His business, then it is to them that my words are directed. If you have judged your own heart and fealt that your approach is balanced, then disregard my tirade.
But, you, and anyone who reads this must agree that whatever side you take here, it is clearly wrong to just sit back and complain about the sad situation of the church, make accusations, point out sins, make personal attacks, etc. It is not enough to fight for MHs resignation, it is not enough to answer Monk ....whatever his name is, point by point why RSK if a fiend.
It is not enough to right and re-right all the misdeeds of priest and former priests. That in and of itself will not save the Church.
You have grossly misread me sir. I said, we should seek answers, get rid of those who have perpetrated crimes against the Church. But that will not be the salvation of the OCA. The salvation of the OCA is bound up in correcting the nationwide OCA climate that put people like MH, +Nicola, etc. in positions of authority in the first place. That can only be addressed and corrected at the parish level, by rediscovering a real evangelical zeal and love for Christ, his Church and sharing our faith with those around us.
You imply I would have been a great Nazi propogandist. How did you extrapolate that from my comments? I suppose you think yourself a Bonhoeffer. By all means, this is the internet...point, aim, fire. The ends justifies the means, right?
But, your wrong. Am I telling you not to withold? Am I telling you to stop asking questions? Am I asking you to stop seeking the truth? No, and I stated that clearly in my comment.
Again, my statement was for all of us, who naively think that by simply posting witty remarks, vicious attacks, sincere pleas, etc., we will cure the OCA. Getting rid of the metropolitan or even the whole Synod will not save the OCA. It is deep spiritual renewal, from the ground up which will save us in the long run.
My conviction, which I have stated and will continue to state, is that the OCA will only survive, nay, thrive, if at the parish level the priests, deacons, readers, and the laity committ themselves whole heartedly, spirtually and physically to the original mission of our fathers: The spreading and living of the Orthodox faith. When was the last time any of us shared with a joyful heart the good news of the Gospel with some one? When was the last time we shared God's love with our cooworkers? When was the last time we reached out and embraced the poor among us? If we aren't expending ourselves in service to God and our neighbors, literally, physically, we are doing nothing to help the OCA, I don't care who or how many Bishops are run out of their sees.
You'll turn your head in disgust to hear me say it again, but I believe that those clergy and lay people who are busy about the Lords work, literally and physically sharing the gospel, helping the poor, edifying the faithful are doing more to save the OCA because they are doing all they can to ensure that the next generation of Orthodox Christians do not fall into the sin of spiritual apathy, materialism and minimalism that has plagued our Church. They have a long term vision for the Church, one that's not predicated on whether or not there are worthy heirarchs. They are not silent perpetrators of the syosett mess. They are not cowardly shepheards. They are not sweeping this under the rug. They are not MH goones. They are brave men and women who are working, giving their lives to spread the good news of Christ.
As for anonymous who insists on depriving seminarians of aid, my only advice is that you go to any of the semenaries. Visit with the young men and women who have given up everything to prepare themselves for ministry. I want you to look at the children of those semenarians in the eyes and tell them what you bravely, and wisely write here. Tell them they can live without the donations of generous people. You can tell them why they'll have to sleep with 3 or 4 blankets this year. Or maybe you can explain to them why daddy has to quit his studies, all so we can make a political point.
But, I guess, the ends justify the means. Rubbish.
#22.214.171.124 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-12-11 22:36
Whatever I am, I'm no Dietrich Bonhoeffer! I hope that one day, if and when I encounter the kind of true Evil he encountered, that I can have his courage! And whatever he may be, +Herman is no Hitler. He's merely someone who somehow wound-up in charge of the OCA and either (a) directly participated in theft of funds, or (b) exercised his near-dictatorial powers in order to assist/administer what is now a rather large cover-up of financial malfeasance in the OCA. I, for one, am not advocating that anyone stop personal outreach, delivery of food baskets, boycott of parish-sponsored outreach and relief efforts. But, what admittedly few seminarians I have spoken with, are beside themselves with anguish as to the state of the OCA - and it's not because of withholding or resistance - it's because they don't want to be tainted by association with what is clearly a corrupt administration and a deceitful, enabling Metropolitan and a terminally-weak Synod! And I categorically reject the notion, that we can have fine parishes, and loving people at the "grass roots" who are effective - while the national Church administration at the OCA level is corrupt. Rather than Hitler, I suggest that the better model in our case is the Nixon Administration. Seems to me that the country nearly tore itself apart over Mr. Nixon, while the pot-holes in the streets were still getting filled, and the electricity kept flowing, the USDA continued to inspect beef, etc. People in the modern world, be they clergy or laity, want an honest and open hierarchy, and won't tolerate corruption at the top, no matter how well the local organizations are bumping along. What we face in the OCA is a further debilitation of having no effective way in-place to suspend a corrupt hierarch other than a Holy Synod appointed by said hierarch! The only way the laity can respond is to withhold funds; our priests and other clergy speak out at their own risk, and as long as you mentioned Herr Bonhoeffer, let's not forget what happened to him, this Godly man and emminent educator: His family was destroyed, and he was hanged at sunrise just three weeks prior to the liberation of the prison camp where he was being held. Withholding funds from known corrupt administrators is NOT standing in the way of Christ's work! As I have said many times here, there is much work to do and that can be done, outside of the OCA in support of the work of Christ. As our faith teaches the VALUE of each human being, similarly, I believe that each person put into a position of authority, especially within a church, has a RESPONSIBILITY and an ACCOUNTABILITY, and that several (not all) of our hierarchs and a handful of clergy (such as RSK, for example) abbrogated their responsibilities (by actually stealing, lying to cover-up a known crime, or serving in a position 'in-name-only'), and so far only one (again, RSK) has been held accountable, and even at that, not required to pay any restitution. And none of that is acceptable, in my humble opinion.
That's all I'm saying. Forget the mysticism and so forth; I don't set the agenda of Christ's church, but bishops and clergymen do; and in the OCA, many in a leadership position have by action or by omission engaged in a cover-up of misleading the people, stealing from Church funds, and who knows what else. Remember, it was another officer of the Church, Mr. Larry Tosi, Treasurer of W&NY, who said, "If you knew what happened, it would destroy the Church." I didn't say that; he said it. And I think he believes it. I'd like to prove him wrong, by "forcing" him or someone else in authority to reveal what really happened, so that we collectively and through our rightfully-appointed leadership (HS & MC) be energized enough to remove the perpetrators from their positions of authority over us (and over our clergy), precisely so that the rest of us can get on with the building-up of Christ's Church on this Earth, and get the OCA back on-track in fulfilling its mission on this continent.
That's not laziness; nor is it being against the work of Christ's Church! Come on!
And if by implication in my previous post I called you a Nazi sympathizer, I apologize. I didn't really; I merely suggested that we cannot simply be "good soldiers" if it means being servants to a corrupt regime, as many Germany Army officers convinced themselves during WWII. As based as +Herman et al. might be, they in no way rise to the level of genocide and global destruction as did the Nazi leadership! I just would like to point out that, we can't just blithely go on inviting people to join the OCA when we know that the men at the top of it have nothing but contempt for the people, and by their actions, demonstrate contempt for Christ and any good standards, by any measure. For me, it's all very simple: What part of 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' and 'Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness' is hard to understand? If I can understand it, isn't it reasonable to presume that a Theologian/Bishop could understand it?
#126.96.36.199.1 C.C. on 2007-12-12 10:37
Apology accepted. We could go round and round on the ethics of Bonhoeffer, but that's for another forum. I understand where you're coming from and stand side by side with you in seeking the truth of the scandel. I would argue with you, though, that those who aren't emotionally, physically and spiritually consumed with the issue, but are working tirelessly for the Church are not just being "good soldiers" for the metropolitan. My argument is that by building up their local communities, they are actually working against the corruption that exisits. That is the point I want to get across, because it seems to me that those in the anti-+MH camp only see two camps: your are either for or against the Metropolitan. If you are not out their picketing, you must be navel gazing and just as guilty as MH. As I've said before, there is more than one way to find healing for the OCA. I respect others' decision to publically denounce the metropolitan and call for his resignation. I would hope that the same people would afford the same respect to those who choose not to.
I would also argue we can and should continue to invite others into the faith, even our OCA, regardless of who wears the white hat. What kind of message are we sending to the world? Can our faith flourish only under favorable circumstances? Or is our faith for all peoples and all times? Is our faith larger than the sins and foibles of men, even those who claim to be the "rulers"? My answer is, yes.
We should not slow down or look back, but keep our hands to the plow and work hard in the Lord's vinyard. Wait, be patient and you'll see. The OCA can and will grow, despite the sins of our leaders.
Keep your hands to the plow.
#188.8.131.52.1.1 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-12-13 16:25
The problem is, though, that most people, even, gasp, seekers and catechumens these days, are internet savvy. A quick Google search of "OCA" brings up a lot of dirty laundry.
It is a very real probability that seekers and potential catechumens will quickly determine that there are some very serious problems in the OCA and that perhaps it is not the place to be.
As a mission priest, I am running into this.
#184.108.40.206.1.1.1 Name withheld on 2007-12-13 21:10
Larry Tosi. Who is his parish priest?
Fr Paul Kucynda.
You can connect the dots.
#8 Anonymous on 2007-12-08 19:45
It is very disappointing. If they would stop worrying so much about their image their image would improve. I'm beginning to understand why Jesus "made of himself no reputation".
#9 Matt Karnes of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco on 2007-12-09 00:40
I don't follow why it is important to funnel our charitable acts and programs through the parish/diocese/Syosset. It is equally pleasing to Our Lord (in my humble opinion) that we help Second Harvest or other food bank, or help a Salvation Army soup kitchen, or help a Goodwill thrift store.
There are certain acts that only the Church can do - education and liturgy being pre-eminent among them. It is there we need to focus our attention. Church Schools through Seminaries.
In my opinion it would be better if we, as Orthodox faithful, participated in charitable programs that already exist, and offer our witness and our faith not only to those we serve, but to those we serve with.
Truthfully, the seminaries and the seminarians could write and maintain a curriculum for our church schools, and there would truthfully be nothing left for Syosset to do. Support of missions should be at the diocesan level, retirement oversight should be outsourced.
Syosset/Oyster Bay structure should be nothing more than the secretariat for the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Council and All-American Council. The Metropolitan need not be Bishop of New York/New Jersey/Washington DC. The secretariat can be housed much more efficiently at St. Tikhon's. We can build a conference center (or better yet, join with the Antiochians to build larger conference facilities in Ligonier). The Metropolitan could stay in his diocese.
Let's return our focus to our diocese, and eliminate the assessments to the National Church.
Mr. Bodnar - thank you for your willingness to serve.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#10 Marty Watt on 2007-12-09 11:14
Would that you served on the Holy Synod!
#10.1 Anonymous on 2007-12-11 06:52
"THEY" accomplished their goal, ( or did they?).
For years they have been plotting to gain total control.
Writing bylaws, statutes, and changing rules to control the peasants.
It looks like they did such a good job, that even local parish priests now have lost their rights.
Parish priests are running scared and not able to speak the truth. Not wanting to speak against the hierarchs, fearing being transferred or losing their pension. The peasants now have more rights than priests do, not having to worry about pensions or salary. Peasants can just move to a different jurisdiction.
This is just a suggestion, but parish priests might want to consider forming a LABOR Union to protect their legal rights .
#11 Ande on 2007-12-10 16:14
How sad that there is only enough money for two Church Planting Grants in 2008 but there was enough money to payoff Mr Bodnar $72,000 to walk away from the OCA.
May I suggest that the newly released Dn John Zarras offer a good portion of that money back to the OCA for his bungled hiring as the OCA Transition Officer of Mr Bodnar so that funds can be restored for missionary growth.
Another example of the cure not being much worse than the original disease of mishandled money.
(Editor's Note: I most strongly disagree. In the ancien regime money was not " mishandled" - it was diverted ( "Stolen" might be the more appropriate term?) . The current regime made a poor choice, which is not the same at all. Their mistake was not dealing with it openly, but secretly, thereby allowing people like you to draw such unfair comparisons.)
#12 Anonymous on 2007-12-10 20:30
I'm not sure if $ 72,000 is accurate.
But you want money for two Church Planting Grants???
Why are there six priests on the Chancery Staff ?
I have no idea if they are paid or how much, if they are paid.
(There may be more than a few planting grants there?)
There is a possibility that the newly "RESIGNED" Deacon did not receive a salary?
If he did receive a salary or expense account; it could now be used for planting grants.
#12.1 Ande on 2007-12-11 20:54
What exactly does the Secretary do that we need to have a separate full time position for it anyway?
#12.2 Anonymous on 2007-12-12 08:08
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