Friday, January 25. 2008
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Can this get any worse? Really, can it? So why is Met. Herman still the Met. of the OCA? How has + Theodosius managed to escape all this? And really, where did all that money go??? There has to be $7-10 million spent somewhere, somehow and I doubt if it went to Russia. Who invested where and how? Condos in Florida and Las Vegas?
#1 Anonymous on 2008-01-25 09:23
Just a thought-
Is it just me, or did Herman admit to a federal crime? It is my understanding that US citizens cannot carry more than $10K in cash outside the country without officially declaring it and filling out all the necessary customs paperwork. FURTHERMORE, that law makes it clear that people who intentionally "work around" the $10K limit are also guilty of breaking the law (for example, give 3 people $7K each or, as in Herman's alleged case, even more people $5K each to carry through customs).
Is someone going to report him to the proper federal authorities based on the deposition? I would think it would warrant an investigation.
#2 Anonymous on 2008-01-25 10:13
As a current U.S. Customs Officer you are correct he (+Herman, as well as, the other priests) did brake the law by failing to declare the money and also by distrubuting the money to fellow priests. To open an investigation you would need to contact both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The latter is the investigative unit of U.S. CBP. I would say with everything posted here today would be enough to prove intent and criminality.
#2.1 anonymous on 2008-01-25 11:49
I recommend not bringing the efforts to uncover the facts of this egregious scandal into the secular judicial system. Such an effort is scripturally prohibited and would protract it even more than the existing "process" is taking. It would also place it into a non-Orthodox Christian realm that isn't quite known for achieving just conclusions.
I fear a worse outcome, for the Church, than what may come of the "process" that is currently occurring. You have an AAC coming up; you have the Metropolitan Council; and you have Orthodox Christians for Accountability. Don't minimize the positive effects you're achieving, herein. We are learning lessons in developing the Christian virtue of patience, in any event.
Just my two cents. I'm an Orthodox Christian in the GOAA, who has alot of concern for the well being of Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy on this continent.
Dear Sir, As I just read your comments about the future of Orthodoxy on this continent I have to also comment. I have read and been observing this web site for over 2 years now, and have come to a conclusion that All Of the Orthodox Christians on this Site are Truely people who want Orthodoxy on this continent as well. But Lets be real honest here, keeping closets full of secrets and bundles of money and lies in shoe boxes are what is distroying, distorting the truth is distroying.
The Church Will Remain Solid Under the Righteous, WholeHearted People Who Offer Her Purness of Heart, Soul and Dignity with Respect to Who The Church is~Its not a Building~ A Secular judicial system is also offered prayers in our Liturgy every Sunday if you listen closely. Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord will not place his hand in dirty waters or in this case, all of this dirt!
The Gospel of Saint Paul offers much insight to us as we continue on with this scandal, I advise us to read it, but make no mistake, Our Church is suffering due to man's sin, not the Church itself.
There is a clear difference. Also Take a look at history, the Roman Catholic Church is Stronger by her mistakes, and I believe we will all learn valuable lessons from these as well. I wish you a Blessed Sunday and A Prayerful Week. With Love
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-01-27 11:53
I've been thinking since I posted 2.1, of other potential problems that may very well be encountered if these matters are litigated in the civil, secular realm. There would not necessarily be legal advocates on the side of full disclosure with a legal investigation by the secular civil authorities. Such a process could result in a stipulated settlement, for instance, possibly with the Metropolitan's resignation, only, that could bar public release of testimony and relevant documents. It's way too risky to remove this matter from Church forums.
Mark, you are right, these affadavits and papers prove that many were involved. Why was only one per accused? Why has the report that everyone agrees must to have cost the OCA $400,000 never been released. You and I both know that if only one person were named, that report would have been released long ago. As A human being, I am insulted that Herman and his band of cronies do not give the good people, who pay his salary, any credit. We all know of his long time involvement. We all know that he continues to prolong the agony. He needs to retire or resign. No one trusts him. Everyone knows he does not care about anyone but himself and his minions. Why make us all suffer? It is painful to hear his name elevated. It is painful to think of the wonderful people who have left and gone to another jurisdiction because of this corruption, yet it continues. The Synod of Bishops allows it to continue. I feel we need to elect a delegation to investigate the possibility to guidance from a higher aughority. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE. THE UPCOMING AAC WILL JUST BE ANOTHER FARCE.
We need someone to lead us back to God.
#22.214.171.124.1 MP on 2008-01-30 08:24
Mr. Trakas --
You say that the non-Orthodox realm isn't known for achieving just conclusions.
Right now, I trust the judgments of the non-Orthodox realm much more than the Orthodox realm. The legacy of communism has left a great deal of corruption in our church, and we have only begun to come to grips with it. Our Holy Church is cluttered with renewed Caesaropapism, triumphalist thinking, and KGB-tainted bishops. Yes, there is a major problem in the OCA, but it is only part of a wider problem that has infected world Orthodoxy. So far, we have not done a very good job of cleaning our house.
#126.96.36.199 Greg Denysenko on 2008-01-29 14:21
With RSK the metropolitans puppet who is to blame ? The hierarchs answer to nobody and RSK takes the heat , thats a joke. The spinning of this story is funny because in my eyes there is many villians starting with the man in the white hat.
If people believe that the HS and councils didn't know what was going on , I got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Cover up after cover up and one person could settle this RSK. Hang them out to dry like they did to you.
Mark you need RSK views and not papers made up by the oca.
#3 Anonymous on 2008-01-25 11:03
We don't need any more RSK views. RSK views are that he knows where the money went but he won't tell anyone. We need RSK answers. Where are those?
#3.1 Oh Brother! on 2008-01-25 12:36
In the last 20 years what if all the money, energies used for cover-up, money thrown away to lawyers ( $60K to Bodnar, a drop in the bucket); junket trips with an entourage....all the money, all the effort, all the lies. Plus Alaska? Wow!
What if the money, efforts and Truth were directed to The Church? What if? What if I spent more internet time reading websites based on spirituality? Why do people read supermarket tabloids and not The Gospel? This is my failing.
If the priests have not spoken up, taken the lead, taken action by now .. they never will. Never. Yes, you silent clergy reading this website. A Church should need legal advice how often? Maybe a corporate law issue, or an accounting/ legal question ... but malfeasance? Cover-up? Lawsuits? Depositions? This is far from routine.
I had front row seat about a year ago when Herman was at Bethesda. The question was asked "Will you resign?". He didn't hear it, was repeated by both the questioner and a priest on the dias. If the question would have been "Will you sprout wings and fly?" His response would have been the same. It was a fleeting double blink ..."... no, absolutely not, out of the question..."
I'd like to end with something positive. I'm ever more positive that the OCA is doomed.
#4 Jim Murray on 2008-01-25 11:30
No Jim, the OCA isn't doomed. Realize that the OCA is relatively new, since 1970. Many other Orthodox jurisdictions like the Greeks have had a myriad of scandals. The Antiochians too. The OCA isn't doomed, just a good house cleaning, but some the furniture won't leave. That furniture will have to be broken first and then thrown out. You have heard more about the OCA stuff because of this site. Maybe the Greeks and Antiochians need one of these too.
#4.1 Hey there on 2008-01-25 14:41
In your words, "And so......The long defeat continues".
There are no longer any adjectives left to describe our situation. Maybe it's time to invite the Synod along with the Metropolitan to a meeting, lock the doors once they've all arrived then call the authorities ! Just like a sting on CSI.
#5 Anonymous on 2008-01-25 11:48
I would like to see all the documents and the court reporter notes and all the evidence made public. When correct speaking laity, clergy, and bishops can be made to to submit to the Synod because of fear, its time to remove the abusive, lying bishop(s). Individuals such as I have no voice except through the "channels", which have proven to be insufficient in resolving the scandal. I suppose the only recourse is through the Courts of New York State in order to have full disclosure and closure of this financial mess. What sins can be so "horrible" that the laity can't have knowledge of? Really, in 2008 and all the church scandals of various denominations where all kinds of crimes and sins are reported in America's newspapers.The Orthodox faithful aren't toddlers who have to be protected. And if these "sins" have been confessed to why hasn't the mess gone away. Most laity have full-time, time consuming jobs and families to support. The have left it up to the Metropolitan Council, the administration and the Metropolitan, who were given the authority to act on behalf of all the faithful. The Metropolitan words if correct, aren't ones of a father's concern for the welfare of "his" children (flock). Why haven't all the bishops been unified in getting to the bottom of the scandal and resolving it. Questions have been raised and the Synod and Metropolitan are only silent. I suppose they think it will blow over. Well folks withholding of money has been the only sword the laity have.
#6 cshinn on 2008-01-25 13:20
As you can see, the real trugh is the MH never allowed for any records, transcripts or minutes. WHY? So he can once again change his story and claim to not know what is going on.
I have one question, "don't we pay him to know"? This man is paid very well for the one day of week he spends in his office and his latest lackies Jarmus and Garklavs are paid just as well. It's amazing that no one knows. Herman was very shrewd, but he is also incapable of the truth. Public records have shown him to constantly change his story. He will NEVER release any report because Kondratick reported to him. Herman was Kondratick's boss and from the letters posted, Kondratick reported to his boss. It is clear to me that Herman and Theodosius wearing the white hat and collecting their checks were ultimately responsible to the OCA. Treasurers and co-signers of checks were responsible for what they did. They took their checks didn't they? And how about the church auditors, were they not responsible? How about the Comptroller, was he not responsible? To the person of average intelligence, it is crystal clear that the good people of the OCA have been lied to by HERMAN. He is corrupt and has intentionally caused so much pain, suffering and spiritual murder just to save his white hat. How pathetic!
#6.1 MP on 2008-01-28 11:45
Thank you, Mark,
For your most recent posting. The situation has been, and is, awful. The faithful of the OCA are having to live in a sea of corruption. I hope there will be effective and productive action taken at the upcoming AAC in November, if not before.
#7 Patty Schellbach on 2008-01-25 14:23
Mark asks, "Does anyone care?"
I say until a group steps up and files a Qui Tam lawsuit for tax fraud in the State of New York, the answer is clearly, no, people don't care enough to put any teeth into their complaints. File the Qui Tam and then turn the case over to the U.S. Attorney. Why should the U.S. Attorney be expected to step up if knowledgeable people in the OCA are not willing to step up first and do the basic groundwork for the lawsuit first? The U.S. Attorney always has a full docket. Why should he care if we don't?
#8 Anon. on 2008-01-25 18:13
From the mouth of Mr. Kutner to Ms. Gold of P-R:
*please remind your client of his latest assured promise*, etc.
Can there be any further doubt as to who the client of P-R was? It was NOT the OCA - it was +MH! The entire purpose of the P-R "investigation" and the "preliminary report" of the first SIC, which was nothing more than a summary of the P-R report, was to protect MH, not to investigate for the OCA.
#9 A priest of the Midwest on 2008-01-25 20:26
During the Office of the Laying-on of Hands (Consecration of a Bishop), while the bishop-elect is kneeling at the Holy Altar and the presiding bishop has his right hand upon the head of the one receiving the Laying-on of Hands, a prayer is read by a deacon “in a low voice, so that only the bishops there present can hear and respond.” This prayer, which begins “O Lord our God…” continues on to ask, “Do Thou Thyself, O Lord, make this man also, who has been revealed a Steward of the episcopal grace, to be an imitator of Thee, the True Shepherd, Who didst lay down Thy life for Thy sheep…”
Can one imagine the True Shepherd (Jesus) saying to one of His disciples, “Nobody is going to check on it and nobody will know the difference, or care”?
And secondly, can one imagine Herman laying down his life for his sheep when he won’t even step down for the life of his flock (the church)?
#10 Ben Kalemba on 2008-01-26 08:32
Fr. Westerberg States:
“His Beatitude then said in the absence of proper records, he had advised father Bob (Kondoratick), to ‘just fill in any names’ as recipient of funds. ‘Nobody is going to check on it and nobody will know the difference or care’ was his Beatitude’s advice”
I wish I could say this statement is a lie. Unfortunately Metropolitan Herman’s behavior in the past few years clearly supports this statement. What an insult to the members of the OCA and its faithful contributors. How long are we going to turn the other cheek for such insults. How long are we to allow Metropolitan Herman to abuse his canonical authority to hide the truth. Is this how corrupt our life in the OCA has become? Is this Metropolitan Herman’s vision of the OCA? Clearly he, and those who blindly support him, prefer to see it this way. They are counting on it as Mark rightly remarked.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we care. We care about the truth. We care about the security and well being of our parishes and clergy. We care about our seminaries and missions in AMERICA. We care to bring moral integrity to the OCA that our fathers entrusted to us. Let us, who care, demand that Metropolitan Herman step down so we can start a new chapter of our life in the OCA without corruption. Let us take effective actions at the upcoming AAC to send a clear message to our hierarchs that we really care. And because we care we hold them accountable for our crisis.
Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church
#11 Michel Michail on 2008-01-26 12:51
"Does anyone care?" Here in Alaska the apathy is as thick and crusty as the winter ice. You would think here at "ground zero" with all of the ugliness that has transpired in the name of Orthodoxy that there would be some movement amongst the clergy and laity, but there isn't. Colonialism has a way of deadening people to pain, and teaching them that the bars are there for thier own good.
Moses the Tlingit
#12 Moses on 2008-01-27 11:59
Here's what you have to do. Saturday night, cut all the electricity and heat to where + Nicolai lives. Make it so that it can't be repaired for weeks. Next, cut all the electricity and heat at his cathedral. Next, remove all the tires from his car. If you can get a polar bear into his house, this would be ideal. Pour water all around his house and let it freeze. Now, just maybe he'll get the idea that something is wrong.
#12.1 Euplus of the North on 2008-01-29 09:48
Troopers release findings of Alaska sexual abuse study
By Rachel D'oro | The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE - Alaska has long led in the nation in sexual assaults, but it's the state's rural areas where children are being molested at the most alarming rates, according to a report released Tuesday.
In nearly 1,000 cases studied over a two-year period, the average age of victims was 16 while the average age of alleged abusers was 29. In four out of five cases, the suspects were relatives or friends or acquaintances. Overall, 89 percent of the victims were female. One out of three cases were reported more than a month after the abuse occurred, leaving evidence hard to collect.
These numbers are unacceptable, troopers said at a press conference.
"Each of us has a role in ending sexual violence in Alaska," said trooper Col. Audie Holloway. "We need to think into the future."
The study, conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage's Justice Center, looked at 989 sexual assault cases reported statewide to Alaska State Troopers in 2003-2004. Researchers did not look at cases reported during the same period to municipal police departments, including those in Anchorage or other urban centers that account for 80 percent of Alaska's 670,000 residents.
Overall, 46 percent of the cases were referred for prosecution. Of those 452 cases, about half resulted in convictions.
The study is believed to represent only a fraction of abuse that was actually committed in trooper jurisdiction. Still, Alaska has had the nation's highest per capita occurrence since 1995. According to statewide figures for 2003-2004 alone, there were 89 rapes per 100,000 people, almost three times the national average of 32 rapes per 100,000, said Andre Rosay, the Justice Center's interim director.
"There are a lot of excellent programs here, so it could be reporting rates are higher here. We don't know, though," he said. "But even if there are higher reporting rates, our rates far surpass those in the Lower 48."
Just under half of the cases studied occurred in the troopers' immense, sparsely populated Western area known as the C Detachment. The largely Native region contains a third of the state's land mass, stretching from Kotzebue in the north to the Aleutian Islands chain. With few communities connected by roads, about 50 troopers working in the region must fly out to villages to respond to crimes beyond the scope of village safety officers.
Capt. Steve Arlow, commander of the detachment, said the numbers were not surprising. Sexual assaults account for the bulk of work done by troopers, he said.
"Our troopers are out there dealing with it every day," he said.
What was startling to Arlow was the age difference between the youngest victims and their attackers. He hopes the study leads to increased trooper staffing and more equipment to enable them to do a better job.
"Time is critical," he said. "We need to give troopers more time. We need to refocus them."
Alcohol was involved in only 43 percent of the cases, although researchers said that number may be skewed since significant time elapsed before many of the cases were reported.
#12.2 Moses on 2008-01-30 16:10
I would like to add that I find the continued number of anonymous postings here puzzling and discomfiting, more than 2 years after this site begun and after so much evidence has come to light!
Above, someone wrote (anonymously, ironically) that "clearly... people don't care enough to put any teeth into their complaints."
Well, as of now, there is substantial evidence that the former priest Robert Kondratick did not operate on his own in a vacuum, or that His Beatitude was the client for P.R. (not the entire OCA who footed P.R.'s bill), or that RK is being made a scapegoat for this entire mess, etc., etc. The irregularities and inconsistencies go on and on.
I believe that the Metropolitan, Holy Synod, etc. will continue to not take people or complaints seriously so long as we continue to voice our thoughts and complaints anonymously!
If one cannot stand behind an on-line comment with his/her name, how will he/she ever voice his/her opinion in person? How will anyone ever have the courage to make a stand or take corrective actions, voice alternative agendas, etc. at the upcoming AAC if they are afraid to sign their name on an on-line forum??
Regardless of the importance of a comment or point, every anonymous posting is one more for the status quo.
The only exception I can think of is for clergy whose well being may be harmed in voicing comments publicly. But I imagine this caveat does not apply to the vast majority of us.
Gregg Gerasimon MD MAJ,MC,USA
#13 Gregg Gerasimon on 2008-01-27 14:41
People just don't want their names exposed here. What we are all getting here are the feelings of what people really think - that's important. I believe that at the AAC, the entire SOB's (Synod of Bishop's) should be required to resign. At that point, delegates from each diocese could vote to re-install their own bishop or wait for re-elections after the AAC. This includes the Metropolitan if he hasn't stepped down before the AAC which SHOULD be the case. As for Moses the Tlingit, you have to take matters in your own hands. Get the biggest guys around, escort + Nicolai to an awaiting car and take him to Barrow. I'm sure you can find nice accommodations for him for several months or until a locum tenens is appointed.
#13.1 Anonymous the Anonymous on 2008-01-28 11:23
I would like to add a general "amen' to the thrust of Dr. Gerasimon's comments on the net impression of all the anonymity. Making allowance for the fact that some MUST keep identity private for good and sufficient reasons, I tend to think that many are doing it out of lesser reasons: fear or convenience or the desire not to be accountable for what they say. I tend to think that the quality of the contributions will tend to increase, and their impact will multiply - perhaps at some cost to those speaking - if people choose to use their true names.
#13.2 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-01-28 13:17
Though perhaps not nearly as puzzling as why some find anonymous postings puzzling. Lets take our fellows as we find them. All have their respective reasons, and if it be cowardice for some, then that's their struggle for which our better input would be quiet prayer rather than a public indictment resulting from imputing our own character traits to others. Yet, there are reasons for anonymity other than either cowardice or the legitimate desire of a clergyman to not be slapped by his bishop.
But, in any event anxiety over anonymity seems to miss the main point. Opinions posted sub rosa do little or nothing to further entrench the status quo, just as postings signed openly by 20,000 individuals, each in her or his own John Hancock, would usher in little or no change. There is at play here an ego which understands only its own survival in the light in which it deems itself most favorably viewed by itself; and since that ego appears to care not one whit for any other -- and certainly not for the opinions of the laity -- that ego would neither be moved nor even concerned one way or the other with signed public statements. It seems to understand and respect money to a certain extent, but not nearly as much as its own opinion.
#13.3 Anonymous on 2008-01-28 13:17
Thank God for you, Mark.
#14 anonymous on 2008-01-27 23:00
None of this is surprising news to me.
We need a full reporting of the past 7 years or so compilations reports and some ideas about how the church admin ran itself 1.7M in the hole (we understand a million of it, but not back into financial results) and some idea about what happened to the ADM monies. Kondratick doesn't deserve full credit, if he gets it, a couple of Bishops will need new hats.
Another challenge is forgiving these men for the things they have admitted. Metropolitan Herman telling someone to fill in the names sounds really bad, but how about this hypothetical exchange..from a Chancellor to any Metropolitan..
I can't remember who I gave the money to, what am I to do now?
from the trusting Metropolitan and (bad accountant)
Just fill in some names.
In that context, it doesn't seem as absurd, albeit wrong.
#15 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-29 21:48
A sincere effort to address the "scandals" plaguing the OCA means releasing the "wolves now guarding the hen-house" from this responsibility. As long as the wolves guard the hen-house (and everyone following the scandal can identify them) ... giving in response to assessments or campaigns will suffer. What these wolves have done in the past warrant new leadership at the top levels of the OCA.
I am sure such thinking has everything to do with parishes placing assessments for Syosset in escrow. Likewise, this thinking confronts all other funding requests from Syosset. It takes very little wisdom to figure this out.
#16 Sam Osman on 2008-01-31 12:44
Why are PDFs of the original documents not posted? It's hard to take these revelations at face value without seeing the actual documents. We lawyers call it the "Best Evidence Rule."
I'm not accusing anyone of monkey business, but I find it curious that all we're seeing is transcriptions of the documents.
(Editor's note: The pdfs of the original documents are all available on the Yahoo group called the Orthodox Forum, links to which are provided in the "links" section of this website. Feel free to check out the originals there.)
#17 Orthodox Lawyer on 2008-02-04 11:28
Believe me, there is no doubt the OCA is in trouble.
Herman will be represented by PR, who he hired to defend him.
The entire church is in disarray and Herman is worried about himself. I believe the OCA will be tied up in litigation for years to come.
#17.1 MP on 2008-02-04 18:17
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