Monday, January 21. 2008
Your comments and thoughts on the news of the day are welcome.
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Realizing that he was not in a position to excommunicate the so called " urban monk" it seems that +MH decided to "skin this cat" by option 2. This occurred in an email sent to the clergy of the NJ Deanery of the Diocese of Washington on Sat 19 Jan 2008 at 4:58 PM. It reads: " At the direction of our Diocesan authority, His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman, Riasaphor Monk James (Silver) is not permitted to partake in the parishes of the Diocese of Washington and New York. This is effective immediately...Under no conditions, unless directed by His Beatitude Metropolitan HERMAN , his Chancellor or myself are you to impart Holy Communion to Monk James..."
If I understand correctly, the ban imparted to the clergy of the Wash-NY Diocese only applies in that particular Diocese
or Eparchy (as Monk James prefers to term it.)
What happens if a priest in another diocese/eparchay being
genuinely concerned for the state of Monk James spiritual welfare were to invite him to receive Holy Communion? After all Pennsylvania (another diocese) is only a 2 hour drive from Monk James' residence in Lodi, NJ. Connecticut (still another diocese) is even closer. What are priests in such dioceses/ eparchies to do if Monk James appears in their parish?
Could it be that the ban imposed on the Wash-NY Diocesan clergy came about because Monk James had crossed the line
when he recently named names of bishops associated with behaviors that until recently had only been hinted at? It seems that Monk James put in print what so many already knew or at least had heard rumors.
Is it time to ask that often referred to question: "Are the accusations true or false?"
A Saddened Senior Priest
#1 name withheld on 2008-01-21 14:09
As absurd the Monk James may be, he is still a human being, capable of sin, error, and misjudgement, among others.
I don't understand how he can get this judgement from the Metropolitan without cause. Many, many people in our church commit sins and never even know to Confess them.
I believe that a priest in another diocese has an obligation to hear the monk's Confessions and allow him to participate in Communion.
Would you allow a confessed murderer? I think so.
There is no question here in my mind.
If this is the church, that no priest would offer this man a chance, I want no part of it anymore, as its Teachings would be lies and void all that was taught in the New Testament and the illumination of Christ.
Just a perspective from a laymen, who is not a Monk James fan.
#1.1 Daniel E Fall on 2008-01-21 20:44
I think I can speak for everyone when I say this is in no way a surprise. Nikolai and Herman insist on continuing to rule as queens of their dioceses, and good people, especially the Protodeacon, suffer for that which they have sworn to uphold by virtue of their ordination.
As for Monk James's situation, did Herman extend this ban to the Albanians, Bulgarians or his thug Nathaniel? Couldn't Monk James just go to one of the local OCA ethnic churches?
Father, you said it right when you said that Monk James is just putting in writing what so many alreay know or have "heard". We need to send the message to the bishops that we know .
#1.2 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 20:45
Despite the close proximity of other dioceses, his Beatitude seems to be proceeding properly. Art XI (4)(e) of the statute permits the diocesan bishop to impose "temporary excommunication upon members of the laity. The accused has the right to trial in court within 30 days of the penalty is pronounced by the bishop." I seem to remember that the canons forbid bishops and presbyters in other eparchies to lift canonical penalties imposed on persons under another bishop's jurisdiction.
In what may be an internal contradiction in the statute (or just something needing creative legal construction), Art XI (4)(j) says, "Those protesting canonical penalties imposed or confirmed by bishops in the normal course of their pastoral responsibilities may appeal to the Holy Synod of Bishops, as the Supreme Court of the Church, within 30 days of the day when the penalty was pronounced." I guess what is being said is that there are two routes of appeal in such circumstances: one through the diocesan court, another directly to the Holy Synod.
#1.3 Ed Unneland on 2008-01-22 16:09
Well... I will die one day. Leave all of this or even take a lot of it with me for all the silence I have struggled to keep.... God help me. I am a convert to Orthodoxy only six years or so. An American who was lost in the soup of self delusion, arrogant opinion and novelty of the West. Now, I see the Orthodox Church in America is totaly affected in this soup, too. It is time for us to suffer. We deserve it. We have lost our first love. The monks are the last guard aganst this folly. Even they .. are fearful. Imagine a fearful monk for Christ's sake !!! No wonder the monastics ran to the desert for solitary caves. They would have been killed at the doors. The populated Chruch is ... Ahhh. What word describes the vomit of our sins.
Read the SVS Press booklet ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY.... Sermon on Marriage page 81. Then look at the guest book of who we invite to the wedding feast. The good, the bad... and the Free Masons with their republics, democracy and bloated minds. Rebellion against the order of Kings. Our King. Repent Repent Repent........ we need to Repent, Repent, Repent. Christianity is an exclusive cult... not inclusive of the world. We need to get over the milk and take the hard food. Or... go back to the houses with the Cup and the Spoon and try to be the elect in secret. What I see of other jourestiction here in North America... there is no better. Oh.. how we have been an example to these small 't's and small 'o's. I can go on. This is my only defense for being silent all this time. At the last judgement all of this is pointing at me.... by myself... with not a word to speak .... only to know I should have been sceaming... SCREAMING ..'' YOU BUNCH OF DOUBLE MINDED, FORKED TOUNGED JERKS " ALL THE LAWYERS CAN CARRY US TO HELL ON THEIR BACKS IF WE SLEEP LONG ENOUGH.
Theodore Short ... a nobody under a rock with a Psalter for a pillow because he doen't read it !!!! I am sick, ill, and crying. Lord have steadfast love !!!!!!!!
#1.4 Theodore on 2008-01-24 16:05
Now + Nicolai is going to torture his deacon - how ridiculous. In cases such as this the bishop would just release him in good faith. + Nicholai should be taken up on charges and certainlt deposed.
Silver should have been laicized years ago.
The promissory note belongs in civil court.
Matushka Schmemann has it right. As Fr. would say time and again, "The Church guided by the Holy Spirit exists in spite of it's bishops."
And, the lay people should do everything possible to prepare for the AAC. + Herman will do everything in his power to silence everyone and do as he wishes. He really should step down NOW!
#2 Prof. on 2008-01-21 14:19
Prof. said, "Silver should have been laicized years ago."
To my knowledge, the monk James has not been ordained into any minor or major order which would classify him as a layman. Most monks are laymen. How can a bishop laicize a layman?
Monks, while not necessarily ordained, are obligated to remain monks once they are tonsured as a rassophore. If a stavrophore monk (or higher) abandons monasticism, he is liable to excommunication.
Thus, leaving monasticism is, in a real sense, laicization.
#2.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 21:18
-MH can only fool the faithful for so long. The stories of his "adventures," once whispered of in secret, are just beginning to come to light on the internet forums. His smokescreen is quickly evaporating, his time is up, and -NS is not far behind him!
I don't know which is more bizarre: the evil deeds themselves or the self-delusion (prelest) that imagines that there will be no accounting for them either on Earth or in Heaven.
#3 Felix Culpa on 2008-01-21 15:22
This should relieve Mr. Silver of the hypocrisy that he has been acting through. For all that Mr. Silver has said about the bishop of the diocese in which he resides and has said he doesn’t recognize the authority of that bishop, how can he partake of a sacrament authorized through that bishop? Something doesn’t add up. Now it does. So, Herman has just straightened out Mr. Silver’s stand and beliefs in that if Mr. Silver doesn’t believe in this bishop’s authority then he should not be receiving the sacraments.
It’s a great day in the diocese of NY/DC to be rid of this fraud.
Now, Mr. Silver, are you going to take this from the Metropolitan? What are you going to do to regain your reputation and access to the sacraments in his diocese? You're not going to just take this are you?
#4 A.P. on 2008-01-21 15:36
Will stokoe be next? to be thrown out of the OCA? Lets it be so!!! you see what this Gossip website has done? This website as i predicted is nothing more than the devils work!! When will people realize that the Met and the Bishops are the head of the church!!!! not some GOSSIP WEBSITE!!!! STOKOE SHUT THIS GOSSIP WEBSITE DOWN!!!!!!
#4.1 Anonymous on 2008-01-24 16:29
There's a key on the left side of your keyboard. It's called a "caps lock". People who find and use it do not give other people the impression that somebody may be off their meds.
Stop screaming at us. Please.
#4.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-01-24 20:24
Amen Anonymous! Somewhere these simple peasants got the idea that the Lord Bishops are supposed to be like HIM, that they are supposed to tell the truth, be humble and loving, and serve rather than be served. Someone needs to remind them that myth was dispelled long ago. The peasants must be taught the lesson "Do as I say, not as I do", and for that they must first respect the Lord Bishops' absolute authority. Stokoe, shut this website down and let's get back to the way things were before.
#4.1.2 The Cardinal Grand Inquisitor on 2008-01-25 03:32
Strange, it was words out of Mr. Silver's mouth with his own golden tongue that caused this to come about to him, not anything that happened here on this site. Mr. Silver chose to participate and put himself center stage, not this site.
You are just one of the one's who's world of favor and sucking at the Syosset trough has to an end and your bitter til the day you die that the party is over.
#4.1.3 Anonymous on 2008-01-25 11:03
One more thing, anonymous. You say "...the Met and the bishops are the head of the Church". You are wrong. Christ is the head of the Church. If you can't get that basic piece of theology right, why in the world should anyone pay you any mind at all? In all of your all-caps and exclamation point laden posts, I have seen lots about the power of the Metropolitan and the bishops, and lots about shrieking invective, and not one word about Christ. Isn't that odd? Just asking.
#4.1.4 Scott Walker on 2008-01-26 10:52
Many people called upon Monk James to "put up or shut up" and he did indeed finally put up. I have to give him credit for that.
While I do not agree with many of his opinions and positions, I feel that I must say "Thank you Monk James." A couple more bricks from the wall.
#5 Guy & Christine Kogut on 2008-01-21 16:17
Herman basically said to us all that Silver has nothing. Zip! No information of any consequence or else he wouldn't have done this for fear that Silver would expose something damaging.
Herman called Silver's bluff and now Silver is gong to have to move or find some other jurisdiction that's going to want to accept him and burden themselves with his unGodly behavior. He truly is, now, a free agent monk!
The question now is are we going to see what this relationship between Silver and Kondratick is all about? Will Kondratick defend and allow Silver to reveal damaging information about Herman or will Kondratick let Silver dangle in the ecclesiastical winds in New Jersey?
#6 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 16:18
In general, I am a rather sober-minded person, but I must say that I am reaching the point where I believe that we have been looking for people with the wrong skills set to deal with these issues in the OCA. We have sought lawyers, business advisers, Canon law experts, etc., when all along what we may have needed is just a few very good comedians. +Herman, +Nikolai and their ilk seem driven by pride and envy—the sins of the Devil himself—and perhaps the best way to drive them out of the OCA would be through the mockery they deserve. Who was it who wrote: “For the Devil, that proud spirit, cannot abide scorn?” Forget the search for the lawyers, etc—do we have any Dennis Millers in our midst? Please step forward and put your skills to good use—certainly +Herman et al. have provided sufficient fodder!
I hope that the subdeacon will get a good laugh out of his “spiritual court” and move on to greener pastures in life. God speed!
#7 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2008-01-21 16:40
Who was it who said, "He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble?"
#7.1 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 20:44
And who said this?
"Mockery and abuse issue from the proud man,but vengeance lies in wait for him like a lion."
#7.2 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 21:10
Very sad; I feel awful for Protodeacon George, but I also have to say that he has shown more courage than any of the higher ranking clergy here in Alaska thus far, I guess "rank" isn't everything...I hope the other clergy will muster some courage, or are they just going to leave him out to dry? I wonder...did the Lord call his people to courage or cowardice?
#8 Moses on 2008-01-21 17:49
Although I don't buy all of what Monk James has been singing recently, to cut this man off from the body and blood and reconciling himself to Christ, is sad. Here again is another power play by Pope Herman. Monk James there is NO MAN on this earth who can keep you from the glory of God! It is evident that this site and the Orthodox forum are being read at the home office in Oyster Bay or whatever its called this week.
#9 David Rudovsky on 2008-01-21 19:08
For those who are not members of the Forum list, I believe Mark should still write the piece on what the documents revealed. Many still do not know.
#10 Name withheld on 2008-01-21 19:34
I agree. PLEASE write up a synopsis of the report for those who are not members of the Forum list.
#10.1 anonymous distantobserver on 2008-01-22 07:39
I heartily endorse the Metropolitan's action in connection with Mr. Silver. Aside from his arrogance and other issues involving him, there is no place for itinerant or decorative monks in the Church. If they do not wish to live in a monastery in obedience, there is no excuse for calling them monks since obedience is a preeminent activity of a monastic. But there are, as everyone is aware, far more serious issues in the Church to deal with. Let us hope that someday they will be dealt with. I must say that while one may not always, or even ever, agree with your website, it is refreshing to see lay people taking an active and caring position on matters of the church life and ministry. The laity have a clear place in the direction of Church life and they should not be treated on a "pay and obey" basis, but rather as intelligent and caring human beings.
There is no doubt, if a monk is going to be a monk, let him be a monk with all the responsibilities of a monk. Silver has not acted as a monk. However, let us not forget our history. It was in times of crisis in the church that the monks rose up and saved the church. Point in case was the restoration of icons (read this story). Silver has ardently spoken out against the actions of making RSK the "fall-guy" by + Herman and the SOB. RSK is guilty, but so are + Theodosius and + Herman. The cover-up continues and + Herman remains in power. + Herman's immediate resignation is warranted.
#11.1 Prof. on 2008-01-22 08:17
I appreciate Archbishop Lazar's point of view regarding the important contributions of the laity to the Body of Christ. I think it dovetails with the previous thread concerning the governance of the Church. Although I believe the family model is more in keeping with Holy Tradition than the democratic model, any father worthy of the title will always consider the needs of his family and give great weight to their viewpoint, especially the adult members. It seems that we must have some episcopal fathers that don't understand this reality. Perhaps it is because unlike Archbishop Lazar, many have not had the opportunity to experience fatherhood in the marital way or to develop it fully in the monastic way. I must confess, I am sure I learned more from my three children than I was able to teach them while they were growing up in my home.
#11.2 Marc Trolinger on 2008-01-22 11:57
Yes, a real father would never give financial favors to his child that is already well-off, while neglecting his child in poverty. If he gives to the one who has influence, power and money, he is then a kyriarch (lord and master who is politically-minded, sucking-up to maintain his power) and not a patriarch who is a wise and loving father.
I have heard through the grapevine that there is a man who gave a LOT of money to the OCA over the years because he was selfless and a true Christian; and now through unforeseen circumstances, he is in poverty subsisting on oatmeal. Did his money go through the bishops to the already well-off and influential lay members or priests and their families , members of the clique, members in the know? Finding out who received financial favors may help to give light to this mess. Perhaps that is why the bishops continue the cover-up of a system of pay-offs for keeping peoples' mouths shut and a skewed system that rewarded the influential whose silence would ensure that the boat would not be rocked. Keeping the Light out, even to protect reputations, will only cause the wound to fester forever, just as a wound that never gets light and air will not fully heal.
#11.2.1 Karen Jermyn on 2008-01-23 07:35
As Orthodox Christians Karen we can be sure of two things regarding the experiences you shared. First, the selfless brother who gave so freely of his resources to the Church has stored up treasures in Heaven by doing so. Second, if his offerings were mismanaged and squandered by any bishop or other member of the clergy, they are at great risk of perdition. That the man who gave so much is now in need may be the Lord's way of bringing the sinful clergy to shame and repentence before it is too late for them.
I think that is important for all of us who love the Lord and His Church to fully consider the concept of accountablity that this website seeks to bolster. Failed episcopal fathers are still our brothers in Christ. If we do not help them to be accountable even if that means forced retirement or deposition, we are enabling them to not just harm the Church, but to put themselves at great spiritual risk of perdition. As a family we are responsible for each other in many ways, and our Lord will hold us all to that account.
#18.104.22.168 Marc Trolinger on 2008-01-24 11:54
You said it! A father would be interested in his family.
These unholy fathers are just interested in protecting themselves.
#11.2.2 MP on 2008-01-24 08:22
Your Eminence's remarks are kind and welcome. Almost alone among the episcopate, your Eminence understands that the people posting here are not animated by malice, or engaging in some sort of Soviet-era anti-church activity. From the start, I have tried to emphasize that the actual existence of this site represents more a failure on the part of the episcopate to do that which is necessary to keep the loyalty of the people, and not a failing on the part of the people posting or of Mark Stokoe.
It seems to me that the normal channels of deliberation and discussion have been stifled. The U. S. Declaration of Independence speaks of the legislative powers being incapable of annihilation; in much the same sense, as it is human nature to engage in the consideration of matters of common concern, eliminating the ability of people to deliberate leads to their finding other outlets. When these outlets are outside the direct aegis of the church, perhaps statements can get a bit more intemperate than they ought. I think the better way to look at such statements is that they underscore the old saying that the opposite of love is indifference.
#11.3 Edmund Unneland on 2008-01-22 17:01
James Silver has done more to stir the pot in this scandal than anyone else. He was already disowned because of his disobedience and downright insubordinate behavior to his bishop, what was he expecting, a vase of flowers thanking him for belittling and whittling away at the bishop in which he resides?
Mr. Silver went out on a limb to defend Mr. Kondratick for reasons that I would think go beyond just his belief that Kondratick has been unfairly accused. We do not know the rest of the story with Mr. Silver and without knowing that we cannot condemn the actions that have occurred. From the amount of bad stuff aimed at the Metropolitan from Mr. Silver, what is surprising about the action? Remember, this is not the actions of a priest or bishop against a regular parishioner who has made no overt actions against their priest or bishop. This is a person who has done his best to besmirch the reputations of his own bishop and other bishops with severe accusations that he fails to back up with facts while using his position as a "monk" to lend credibility to what he has slung. Unless he can back up his claims of theft and homosexuality with hard facts, then what he says has to be viewed as slanderous and the punishment fits the acts.
There is a lot to disagree with the Metropolitan about and a lot to be questioned about his behavior and responsibility in this scandal, but this is a no brainer regarding disciplining a parishioner in his diocese, let alone a "monk".
Herman has been merciful in that Mr. Silver can go to friendly ground, like the Diocese of the South and continue to spew his, what can only be termed, at this point, as slander against whoever he wants without ecclesiastical punishment. Bottom line is he played with a snake, taunted it, and got bit. So be it.
He still, after this, shows no signs of humility and continues the innuendo and slanderous remarks. Somehow Mr. Silver just doesn't get it. If he wants us to believe him at face value, why should we not believe the Metropolitan at face value?
#12 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 20:14
Right on the mark anonymous!!!
#12.1 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-22 10:03
I have known Fr. George Nelson in days past.
A good man. It looks like he's going to pay for having a spine and a conscience.
Our prayers are with you, Fr. George.
#13 Fr. John A. Peck on 2008-01-21 20:35
And people wonder why priests don't give their names on this site? Herman is no more my bishop then he is the metropolitan of the OCA.
Monk James knows the dirty secrets of Herman and his communion ban proves it.
#14 Anonymous on 2008-01-21 20:44
That's BS. If he had something on Herman then Herman wouldn't do such a provocative act which would force Silver to divulge what he has. Herman put his chips all in and called Silver on his bluff. Let's see what Silver does now, I doubt it'll be much more than whine about how bad Herman is and continue with the unsubstantiated innuendo which is the hallmark of James Silver. A monk mesmerized by his power plays with information and his willy nilly handling of truth and love for the Church. He will complain and blast the bishops without any introspection on his side as to how he has performed as an alledged monk.
Silver has been one of the many disgraces in this mess and one of the worst at that because he constantly puts himself in the fore giving people who know very little about monasticism a distorted and false picture of what its all about. His lack of humility and continuing this game has brought him to this. This might once and for all get him to either put up or shut up. If he had any REAL concern for this Church and knowing what he says he knows, he’d be the lead of a purge of all the bad apples, instead, what he tries to do is taunt and threaten with information that he may or may not have so that those that are being threatened capitulate to the Kondratick faction. Herman had enough and, even though we don’t agree with him on anything else, Herman did the right thing here. Silver should be in a monastery showing his humility submitting himself to a superior.
In one letter that was put on the forum written by Silver he asks Fr. Vernak for advice on what to do. It’s fairly plain and simple at this point: Get to a monastery! With haste we may add!
#14.1 Anonymous on 2008-01-22 07:11
Anonymous accuses Fr. James of "a lack of humility." I don't see it. I don't know the monk personally, and am bewildered by the question "whose the bad guy," I have always been impressed by Fr. James graceful responses to those who heap insults and scorn on him.
He may be guilty of much....but I am not seeing "lack of humility."
#14.1.1 fdr on 2008-01-23 19:01
While we are discussing the Monk James not being in a monastery, should we not also discuss the goodly number of Monk deacons and Monk priests who are not in monasteries but rather in parishes? Should not they too be in monasteries?
If you are a monastic, then you should be in a monastery. That is what I am hearing. Is that correct? Take a look a the list of monastic clergy who are not in monasteries. Don't just pick on one guy, if your idea is good enough for one it should be good enough for all monastics.
#14.1.2 Anonymous on 2008-01-24 10:42
No, that’s not what is said. You cannot equate an autonomous monk on the loose with a monastic member of the clergy who is sent to minister to a parish. While we know what the latter does, what exactly was Mr. Silver doing as a monk on the loose? Is going for one’s Ph.D. a necessary requirement for a monastic? Does it make him a better monastic? Does a monastic really care what official levels of education he has? I mean, its an earthy care, no? Why is a monastic bringing himself down to that level? He can pick up a book or read scholarly writings without having to go for a Ph.D. Before he was released by Herman, what was he doing on the loose and under who’s direction? Nobody knows, but he appears to have been at every major decision the moment it was made. All we hear is if we understood his personal situation it would all be very clear which very few if any know. What’s there to hide? All we know is of a arrogant person who calls himself a monk, is not associated with any monastic community real or imagined (ok, maybe imagined), and is under no obedience to anyone not located on the Florida peninsula, proudly proclaims that all he says and does is the truth and sits on information that would help clean up the church, but he doesn’t want to reveal any of it for the sake of saving this Church which he proclaims he cares about. That in no way can be equated to a monastic member of the clergy.
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-01-25 11:17
Before getting into some more substantial matters, I'd like to wonder out loud: Why does the author of this diatribe against me seek refuge in anonymity? It's not like I can depose him from the priesthood, deprive him of his parish or cut his pension or otherwise make him regret his words, except to disagree with them and hope to demonstrate his errors.
The time has come for people to own their publicly expressed opinions honestly, perhaps even more especially if there is the possibility of unjust retribution on the part of Met. Herman, who does that routinely.
Or is the age of martyrs officially over, and we're now in the age of cowards, snipers who take potshots from safe cover but never really enter the fray?
Mainly, though, I want to dispel a very serious misimpression created by 'Anonymous' here. In my experience and training as a monk, I've come to appreciate that the meaning of the four monastic vows is best expressed in repentance, prayer, study, and service. I'm sure this is not difficult to understand.
Still, I'd like to emphasize that study -- especially theological study, if he is blessed by God with the inwit for it -- is one of a monk's most serious obligations.
We will soon commemorate the three holy hierarchs, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Gregory the Theologian. Two of these three sainted fourth-century bishops were monks, and very well educated monks, at that.
Whether bishops or not, monks with a firm or even stubborn fidelity to the truths of the Christian Faith resisted Areios, the heresies of the ikon-smashers and those who promoted union with uncorrected uniatists and schismatics from the fourth century down to the fifteenth -- Gregory Palamas and Mark Eugenikos come to mind -- and continue to do so even now.
It is not possible for monks (or anyone else) to do this without a rock-solid theological education, an active prayer life rooted in Christ, and a very deep grounding in the authentically orthodox catholic Christian Tradition.
For our anonymous correspondent to minimize the importance of this in my life as a monk does not speak well for his understanding of all the concerns I raise here.
He should also know that -- except for going out to earn a living and attending services at the parish church -- I remained in near solitude in the monastery for a dozen years before I was blessed by my superiors to return to school.
Perhaps 'Anonymous' will find this hard to believe, but I have never done anything important in my life as a monk without a blessing, and (God bless me!) I have never been disobedient, not even to Met. Herman.
#126.96.36.199.1 Monk James on 2008-01-27 17:22
So, if Met Herman has the authority to tell bishops what to do, what does that make him... a Cardinal? A Pope?
I thought the Orthodox Churches operated differently than the Roman Catholic Church. I thought their ecclesiology and hierarchy was different. I thought they used their difference to argue against the Papacy and Papal Infallibility.
I guess I've been told wrongly. A Papacy by any other name...
And if this is the case, then why should one accept the Orthodox Church's claims to be the true church vis-a-vis Rome when it is Romish in all but name only?
#15 Monk Key on 2008-01-22 14:59
Congratulations to Metr. Herman for doing the right thing with Mr. Silver. He is not a monk and his disobedient actions are a disgrace to monasticism.
As to Bishop Nicholai, I hope and pray that the Holy Synod will not simply whitewash the bishop's action iof tonsuring a convicted sex offender. The canons are very clear on this point, a convicted sex offender can not serve in any capacity. The canons are also very clear that a bishop who tonsures or ordains such a person should be deposed.
#16 Anon. on 2008-01-22 19:29
Much thanks and credit should be given to the OCA preconciliar commission for willingness to put all of the comments on the OCA website.
There were many good and helpful comments. It is clear that the new central administration is trying hard to move things in a new direction.
One thing that I read here that doesn't appear to be the least bit helpful is the group of people that is planning their own agenda for the next AAC. These people should work with the current committee and within the OCA not from without. If they wish to be outside the church, then it's time for them to find a new church.
#17 Anon. on 2008-01-23 04:28
I don't think you understand how this will work. The "powers that be" will have their own agenda and it will all be pre-decided. Anyone at the AAC who will be disruptive or present things contrary to what the "powers that be" have already decided, will be silenced and ostracized. Working with the existing committee will be a way to let the "powers that be" know who and how to silence opposition. What is really needed at this AAC is a chair throwing, name calling, fisticuffs brawl. Maybe then and only then the SOB and + Herman will get it. THE PEOPLE ARE THE CHURCH. The hierarchs are in positions to serve the people and when they cease serving the laos then they MUST be removed.
#17.1 Prof. on 2008-01-23 07:59
Sounds like you need some supplies. How about a bucket of tar, some feathers, and a rail?
#17.1.1 Yanni on 2008-01-26 21:13
There was a very troubling line in the update on the Pre-conciliar committee's activities:
"Those that are selected to be presented at the AAC will be distributed to the wider membership of the Church well in advance of the Council."
While I admire the current transparency in activities of the committee, and hope and pray they are able to bring their perspective to fruition, I suspect the members of the "loyal opposition" (for lack of a better term) are correct to formulate a strategy and response outside of the committee structure.
I believe this actually supports the work of the committee, because if indeed the committee is committed to openness, transparency, and dialog, they can expect to receive full support by the "loyal opposition". In addition, the committee should be recognized as a "para-parish" group and solicited to submit resolutions. If not, they will be submitted through the parishes anyway.
The common theme to this whole sorted mess is that people who do the right thing need not live in fear. At this point it appears the pre-conciliar commission is doing the right thing, and need not fear - but time will tell.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#17.2 Marty Watt on 2008-01-23 16:14
Just a point, from one who wishes to advance an alternative agenda, at least from this perspective: amendments to the statute and resolutions are normally at the end of the AAC, almost as an afterthought. At this next AAC, the agenda should be changed right at the outset to put the amendments and resolutions first, otherwise they just kinda become meaningless, or even worse they could be excluded from discussion by an adoption of the agenda as proposed by the pre-conciliar commission.
#17.3 Michael Strelka on 2008-01-24 09:26
While the Pre-Conciliar Commission (PCC) appears more open to input and transparent in some of its operation, the choice of email for input of suggestions and comments and a PDF file posted to show the suggestions, comments, and responses leaves me puzzled. Those reading the postings don't know whether or not those are all that were received. Neither do we know what, if any, editing was done to the postings. Why not use some form of social networking software, like that used for this web site or Yahoo Groups, to allow people to easily post suggestions and comments without the possibility of editing and seeing all postings as soon as they are posted?
The PCC seems to be the one part of the Central Church Administration that has an understanding of the need to communicate with the clergy and laity in a timely and (relatively) transparent manner to keep from having its activities dismissed by a rightly suspicious OCA membership.
As the creator and moderator of "2008 All-American Council Planning" on Yahoo Groups, why would I limit myself to an AAC agenda and resolutions that have to be approved by a Synod that has time and again proven themselves unworthy of trust? While I believe that the members of the PCC have the best of intentions, and some have certainly proven themselves able planners of previous AACs, I have no reason to believe that the Synod will approve an agenda and resolutions that will address the crises that confront the OCA in any meaningful way. Since each and every member of the Orthodox Church takes a vow at chrismation to guard and protect the Church, each of us must make an effort to see that the OCA in council does address the various scandals that the Synod refuses to address in any meaningful manner.
Contrary to what you think, the members of the "2008 All-American Council Planning" group are in fact working within the church. The alternative agenda and resolutions that may come from the group can only have an effect if they are proposed during the council, that is the national Church assembled for its periodic "business meeting". Remember that we honor as saints people who were "members of the loyal opposition", such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Mark of Ephesus, much vilified and even persecuted by the "powers that be", who the Church now reveres for their courage and faithfulness.
If the approved and published agenda for the AAC focuses on dealing with the multitude of scandals confronting the OCA, then there will be no need for the fruits of the "2008 All-American Council Planning" group or the fruits of the clergy group in the Dicoese of the Midwest working along the same lines. But there is no indication that the PCC is working towards that goal, and there is certainly every reason to believe that the Synod will actively oppose any such efforts.
#17.4 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-02-04 06:05
Why not include "Other" or "Miscellaneous" on the agenda and allow discussion from the floor? I know this is a hated and rediculous idea in the view of the bishops, but it is the only way that they can at least have the appearance of being open to hearing the concerns of "the Church". Maybe it will take longer and they'll have to wait an extra hour or two before they can parade off to vespers, but it is truly the only open, fair and helpful way to restore at least some trust in the AAC.
#17.4.1 Amonymous on 2008-02-04 10:26
I just want to say, "God bless the Archdeacon". What we have needed from the beginning were men (I use men literally ,since they are the ordained leadership) who were willing to stand up and by martyrs for Christ. I ask God's blessings on him and his family.
#18 Linda Weir on 2008-01-23 10:43
On a somewhat related note, I'd encourage you all to read the AAC comments thus far received at OCA.org, posted yesterday. Very surprisingly, there has been no editing or censoring - as far as I can tell. Repentance, resignation, etc., are all there. Again, I am surprised that such harsh and honest reactions are to be found anywhere in public on that site.
#19 Benjamin on 2008-01-23 13:52
Something just struck me...
If I was an Orthodox bishop in the OCA (or a priest, or held any other rank in the priestly orders) and someone, anyone, anywhere publicly made the types of accusations and statements about me and my fellow bishops, as "Monk James" and others have stated/posted, and I had a clean conscience, was completely innocent of such misconduct, I would immediately issue a statement with a categorical denial of any and all of the allegations, clearly stating they were false, condeming the person(s) who dared accuse me of such travesties, and immediately calling for their excommunication from the Holy Orthodox Church. Not for my own sake, but for the sake of the Church, for the sake of the office, for the sake of the Synod, for the sake of the truth, and for the sake of the people.
Yet, a deafening silence is being heard all across the OCA regarding these claims, especially from all of the members of the Synod. Many others have been attacked, deposed, silenced and ostracized for much, much smaller offenses. Why is nothing being said about the specific and descriptive public accusations leveled by "Monk James" and a few others? What are they afraid of?
Reading this reminds me of a conversation with a young Catholic Chaplain when I was in the Army. We were at a Chaplain Training Conference exchanging stories and his went something like this":
"Before I left the Diocese and came into the Army, the Diocesan Bishop had a talk with me concerning what he expected and to wish me a good journey in the military. After we talked a while he told me what to expect if I had problems.
"Father, if you have problems with women, no problem. (as it is natural for men and women.)
But it you have problems with men, BIG PROBLEM!!!!!! (Of course, meaning that homosexuality is a real problem!)"
Evidently, for some of the Bishops in the OCA, it is the other way!
We have waited to long for the "Truth" about this current scandal in the OCA to come out, as well as to be resolved. The only ones getting rich seem to be the lawyers, as nothing has been done to clean up the mess, as well as no charges filled against anyone for missing funds or miss use of authority.
Perhaps it is that old phrase "Those who live in glass houses, do not throw stones!" that makes them afraid to respond? Therefore we have "No response or quiet." from Bishops and clergy alike. And there are many who know what the truth is but do not reveal it.
Instead of "Quiet" we should have "Confession and Repentance" as did Saul who is now know as Paul.
#20.1 Chaplain (MAJ) Nicholas A. Czaruk, US Army Retired on 2008-01-23 21:26
And why should anyone within the Synod stoop to his level and even render a statement?
Doing so simply gives creditbility to someone who continues to deflect any criticism away from RSK but rather toward's other's, all the while continuing to shoot arrows in all directions with no evidence or substance.
Ignoring him leaves him floundering in his own little world.
Just look at what he posted regarding Robert Kondratick's appeal. It proved and showed nothing.
What's sad is there is NO admittance of guilt or accountability for anything whatsoever.
So why in the world should anyone respond to him? It would only give credibility to someone who hasn't shown his opinions and statements deserve it.
#20.2 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-24 08:17
You are right. No admission of guilt. Why has not Paul Kucynda, who also should be deposed, not come clean? Why does he get to walk away? Is it maybe because he did the dirty work of Herman so now he is also covered in the on-going cover up? Monk James is trying to get at the truth, as is Mark. They may be coming at it from different directions, but the truth is the point. And what truth can you offer except your rabid defence of a man who was also the treasurer of the OCA? Who was also a close friend of Kondratick? Who went on annual vacations with Kondratick to places such as ARUBA?
Why should anyone respond to Monk James? Because everyone who is interested in the whole truth, should respond. Are you interested in the truth, or just defending Kucynda? I think your postings here answer THAT question.
#20.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-01-24 08:54
Here we go once again responding to a cowardly anonymous poster who obviously has no facts to back up his or her ridiculous statement.
You may take my posts any way you wish. But I ask, have I ever lied in any of my factual statements? If monk Silver can defend Kondratick with nothing but BS, then why am I not allowed to defend Fr. Kucynda with facts?
You say Fr. Kucynda should be deposed. Based upon what?? Has he been found guilty or accused of any wrong doing?
He was NOT the treasurer when millions were disappearing under the "careful watch" of Kondratick and + Theodosius.
You say monk James is trying to get at the truth? That's hysterical. All he does is besmerch his Diocesan bishop and others in print without any facts, walk away and continue to defend someone who has already been found guilty of solely ripping off the church.
Perhaps he would find the truth if he were to join a Monastery somewhere as a true monastic.
I want to get at the truth more than you'll ever know. What I do know is that you ain't gonna get it listening to monk James' epistles.
It's no wonder you post anonymously because if you believe his nonsense, you most certainly wouldn't want your identity to be revealed.
If you have anything further to say, please post your name. I would at least respect you for having the courage to share your opinion.
#188.8.131.52 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-24 14:09
I forgot to mention that in my original post, I asked why should anyone within the Synod respond?
You have taken my post entirely out of context.
#184.108.40.206 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-24 15:00
Michael, It's not just "Monk James" who's saying these things. Rumors about similar behavior have been floating around and been posted on Orthodox forums online for many years. The latest allegations are simply the latest in a string of similar comments others have stated. Even Deacon Wheller mentioned payment of "blackmail requests" by the hierarchs in the OCA. Things have spun further and further into chaos and darkness. Silence is NOT an option. It never was an option. It cannot continue to be an option. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth MUST come out.
Your sad !! RSK has lawyers to talk for him and will fire back with the note . Believe me this just the beginning. RSK doesn't need the internet or the oca , this will be settled in court. Your crap that Kucynda feeds you is funny and will mean nothing in court unless he wants to burn with the rest of the liars.
#20.2.3 Anonymous on 2008-01-24 11:07
If people haven't realized, this entire financial scandal has turned into a feeding frenzy similar to what is found in the shark world. One small smell of blood and all the evil in people starts coming out, grabbing, tearing and ripping for their pound of flesh. And this will continue up and through the AAC. Why? Because + Herman has not done the right thing initially with the investigation. He hid and deleted information. So now we have another investigation, but + Herman remains in control. HELLO! + Herman needs to resign immediately so the OCA can at least begin to recover. He is holding the recovery back and instigating more and more of this crazy frenzy. Resign and let the church recover before it is an impossibility. You can't put new wine in old wine skins and a new broom sweeps clean.
#21 Anonymous on 2008-01-24 07:37
I have been reflecting about this whole scandal in the OCA. While I know there have been several sympathizers to +Herman, I wonder if someone may not write a reflection (or something) from +Herman's point of view. Why is +Herman doing the things he is doing, from his view point? This strategy and methodology is used in at least the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, and psychology (if not the hard sciences, too, such as biology, etc.) You see this on TV when a commentator, or TV shows, will try to tell the audience what was in a criminal's head when he did his or her nasty deeds.
Hmmmmmm. Perhaps this may calm those of us down a bit who would like to see +Herman's resignation or retirement and perhaps spur on better problem solving with all of this. +Herman has his qualities and he has done quite a bit for the OCA (particularly I think with his past energy with St. Tikhon's and the Diocese of EPA).
I believe that if +Herman did retire or resign, some official in the OCA would describe his positive service, strengths, and legacy. I don't think anyone would not do this.
Perhaps such a reflection may move us forward somehow, someway. And instead of focusing on this guy, we can focus on what we can change! The AAC is not far away.
#22 Patty Schellbach on 2008-01-24 10:16
You have to understand the mind of Met. Herman, so here it is. He was a poor kid from Wilkes-Barre, PA with only a bookkeeper education. Back in the 60's he felt that God and the church called him. So, he went to STOTS and acted like the good little Carpatho church boy with anal tendencies. He pushed and maneuvered himself into running STOTS and becoming the Bishop of Wilkes-Barre. No one ever thought he (could) become anything else, but he believed that God was calling him. He pushed RSK into the Chancellorship in Syosset and knew RSK would help him become Met and so it was. He felt called to clean up the OCA mess and do as he needed to because he "was called by God." So you see Patty, this guy is delusional. He believes he can do no wrong and whatever he does, is blessed by God. He sees himself as a living, walking saint and savior of the church. Talk about meglomania!
#22.1 Whodat on 2008-01-24 19:12
What you' re talking about might be diagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The DSM IV describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a
a "pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
(4) requires excessive admiration
(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes."
Here's what the Wikipedia article on Narcissistic Personality Disorder has to say:
"Psychologists commonly believe that pathological narcissism results from an impairment in the quality of the person’s relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy, empathic attachment to them. This results in the child conceiving of themselves as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe that he or she has some defect of personality which makes them unvalued and unwanted.
To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others' needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen. They may also demand certain behavior from their children because they see the children as extensions of themselves, and need the children to represent them in the world in ways that meet the parents’ emotional needs. (For example, a narcissistic father who was a lawyer demanded that his son, who had always been treated as the "favorite" in the family, enter the legal profession as well. When the son chose another career, the father rejected and disparaged him.)
These traits will lead overly narcissistic parents to be very intrusive in some ways, and entirely neglectful in others. The children are punished if they do not respond adequately to the parents’ needs. This punishment may take a variety of forms, including physical abuse, angry outbursts, blame, attempts to instill guilt, emotional withdrawal, and criticism. Whatever form it takes, the purpose of the punishment is to enforce compliance with the parents' narcissistic needs.
People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility...
The exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, disregard for others, and constant need for attention inherent in NPD, adversely affects interpersonal relationships. Individuals with NPD frequently select as mates, and engender in their children, "co-narcissism," which is a term coined to refer to a co-dependent personality style similar to co-alcoholism and co-dependency. Co-narcissists organize themselves around the needs of others. They feel responsible for others, accept blame readily, are eager to please, defer to others’ opinions, and fear being considered selfish if they act assertively."
#22.1.1 unsigned on 2008-01-27 23:04
Thank you for sharing, unsigned.
I had the same thoughts in mind.
Of course, you said this "might" be PND and did not make this conclusive. But I found your explanation very interesting.
I wonder if NPD could also stand for Non-Productive Despot?
A great mistrust has developed with me about our Metropolitan for just how the previous Special Investigative Commission resigned because they felt that they were getting unnecessary interference from +Herman.
If such interference, or such road blocks HAD to be put in place, it should have been the HS or MC to do so, not just one person. This Commission was given the blessing for the investigation to take place.
If +Herman would have not interfered and with the comments of interference from those who resigned, he would have been much less suspect in my view. But having done this on his own now we have a new Special Investigative Committee.
Hopefully, +Herman may stay out of its way. Maybe NPD may come to stand for New Person Disciple (of Christ). Repentance is always a possibility.
These are very trying times for the OCA.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-01-30 10:07
It basically comes down to this, if it isn't hemans way, it isn't the way. Look at the track record of this man, it is not very good. Honestly, what good has he done for the oca since he became a bishops? Personally, I can't recall- anything. He is little man with a power trip, he has no compassion for the church or her people. He might as well retire, which would be the right thing to do. After all, with all the money that he has, from his salary, $100,000+, thats monastic, and the money he took from julia and anna (memory eternal) he could retire on his own little island, where he can be met. of who cares. He could live his earthly life worring about his eternal life. As for what he did to FR. James, who I never met, it is nothing new nor the first time that he has refused the body and blood of Jesus Christ, he has done this years ago to adults and CHILDREN. He walked out of the Altar with the chalice and turned around into the Altar. This because he knew he started a battle which he could not win. This man deserves the best, an 8 x 8 concrete room with bars on the door and the window. All those who support this man, are either a) are in this for their better, b) are just plain blind or c) scared. Churches are decreasing in members, money is being withheld, rumors are flying, people are being made scapegoats, brother against brother, scandal around and salvation is being faded away. For the good of the church, let the truth out, let the people be aware, let the flock be able to follow their shepard. To much time has gone by, to much respect has been lost and people are starting to feel fed up with this situation, just give the truth. After all, we are taught that from a young age- to tell the truth. For love of Holy Mother church and her people, it is time to put an end to this and hope we can salvage what is left of the oca. In my long life I have seen alot, happiness, sadness, war, the change in the oca with teaching and practices. I feel we need to nip this in the bud and try to continue, bring in a new synod if there is anyone worthy and start over, try to becomce what the oca has been so many years. We need bishops like +Platon, +Theophilus, +Leonty, +Ireney and +Kiprian, are there any monks like them around?
Tired old coal cracker from NEPA
#23 Stephan on 2008-01-24 19:14
How do you really feel about +Herman?
St. James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
E - email@example.com
c - 816-853-8685
If you really must ask that question, I am not sure if it can be any more open. However, my feelings of such do not just stop at him. I extend that to others in the oca. Over these past 8-10 years I have become very dissappointed with the oca and the bishops. I will be one of the people to say that my support for them and the oca, either by financial or phsyical has come to a yield. Most likely will be until all this mess is cleaned up. There is no TRUST, and I can not take part of such a travesty. Mostly likely I am not alone.
#23.1.1 Stephan on 2008-01-28 19:22
of course we know that +MetTheo is receiving a pension far exceeding that of any other retired clergy or hierarch........as the Kondraticks may have ascertained, a large part of the ADM/D. Andreas funds may have been deposited to increase the hierarchs future pensions........money talks, buys silence.....
#24 Guileless on 2008-01-24 21:15
It's just amazing how firmly some people express themselves about their perceptions of how monks ought to be, live, and function in the Body of Christ. Not being monks themselves, how EVER did these people get to be experts on monastic practice?! Or gain a franchise to comment on a life totally outside their frame of reference?!
These firm but uninformed opinions about monks and monastic life form only a subset of only one of our many problems here, that people -- with input from only one side of a rather wide-ranging set of very serious OCA concerns -- offer strident and strenuous opinions to which they're really not entitled, given their obvious unawareness of the basic concepts at issue.
If people wish to disagree with my point of view, or my take on all these urgent matters, or even my choice of which pair of socks to wear, well, then, by all means, let them have at it.
But to assume that what I do and what I say is incompatible with the monastic life is a bit over the top, considering the long history of uppity, loud-mouthed, never-say-die monks like myself who've resisted heresy and episcopal and civil oppression for the last millennium and a half or so, give or take a few years.
If I am a failure as a monk and if I'm a bad Christian, too, I promise you I won't be so condemned at Christ's judgement because of what I've written here and elsewhere on the Internet.
#25 Monk James on 2008-01-25 18:34
Right you are, Monk James! The nerve of Archbishop Puhalo! Presuming to comment on monasticism from...a monastery. In British Columbia. Where he is the Abbot. Oh, never mind.
#26 Scott Walker on 2008-01-27 11:50
Directly after a comment appeared here referring to me as 'Mr Silver', apparently signed by 'Archbishop Lazar Puhalo', I sent him a note by e-mail asking if he'd really written those words. I haven't yet had a reply from him.
Please bear in mind that the link at the end of that message could have been added by anybody, and so is probably not the most reliable verification of its author's identity.
I asked Abp Lazar to verify his authorship because his words seemed rather out of character for him and at some variance with his own history, which even now motivates some bishops (OCA and others) to refer to him not as an archbishop, but as a deposed deacon.
Out of respect for the decision of the OCA's bishops several years ago to receive Abp Lazar as a bishop, albeit retired and with no jurisdiction, I defended him in public against insinuations and outright insults.
Now, I didn't -- and don't -- expect Abp Lazar to return the favor, so to speak, but the words attributed to him just don't ring true to me, especially since he knows -- or ought to know -- that I've never been disobedient to my superiors. Whoever wrote the words attributed to Abp Lazar doesn't know me as well as he does, after a couple of meetings and several cordial exchanges by e-mail.
On the other hand, if it turns out that Abp Lazar did indeed write the words attributed to him, he may have more problems than I!
#26.1 Monk James on 2008-01-28 11:01
Or, just maybe, you could identify who has the "problem" by looking in the mirror. You continue to amaze me. The attempt at sliming by referring to the Archbishop as a "deposed deacon" in some eyes is noted and appreciated. It's always good to see a master at work; it's kinda like watching Bill Clinton with that big ol' aw shucks grin as he twists the knife. Fortunately I have been honored to know a couple of real monks. The kind who live in community and eschew manure dumps on the internet. Who's your Daddy (abbot) Monk James?
#26.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-01-28 18:16
He's a strange monk, indeed. When he should be practicing humility, he's sliming others, mostly clergy, in order to make himself look good and authoritative. First degree fraud.
In the world of monastic free agency, I wouldn't think there's many abbots who want to make an offer to get this one on their team.
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-01-30 06:42
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