Tuesday, February 26. 2008
Your comments on the latest developments in Alaska are welcome.
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It's pretty clear that + Nicolai is digging in. If he won't take the advice of + Herman and step down then he will have to be deposed and removed. As far as all the clergy are concerned, they would surely be welcome in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Eagle River has a very nice, growing community under the Antiochians and this same success can be duplicated all over Alaska.
#1 Anonymous on 2008-02-26 20:52
Amen. +Nikolai appears to be massively deluded and it will take force to rid the Diocese of Alaska of its master. If the Synod of Bishops does not act fortrightly, we could loose the Diocese and the loss of this particular vineyard where Orthodoxy was first planted on this continent, would be the harbinger of the OCA's death throttle. And by the way, we have seen bishops removed/retired [e.g. Bishop Basil of the West] for much lesser concerns. Getting rid of +Nikolai should be a no-brainer.
I repeat (from last year) the kondakion composed by Fr. Paul N. Harrilchak on the ocasion of the Bicentennary of the Orthodox Catholic Church in North America: "In this year of your favor, Lord, visit this vine your right hand has planted. In Alaska you cleared it a place; it took root and spread through the land. Prune and cleanse us by your Word that we may bring forth the fruits of repentance. Now as we mark this milestone of your grace, put an end to all our divisions, make us perfectly one, and show us true disciples, Lord, for apart from you we can do nothing." [Tone 7]
#1.1 Terry C. Peet on 2008-02-26 22:45
Why should the Alaskan Diocese go under the Antiochians? Why are the Antiochians the automatic go-to when discussion goes to "what jurisdiction comes next?"
The OCA has its roots in the Russian Orthodox Church (though you wouldn't know it with the attitude that pervades in the administration and seminaries). Despite what converts and "American Orthodox"-minded folks might say, the interests of the Diocese of Alaska are better suited to attempt to join with the Moscow Patriarchate or ROCOR, that is, if +Nikolai hasn't alienated the Diocese from the Russian Church altogether with his legalistic bullying. The Alaskan Diocese has more in common with jurisdictions more friendly to ethnicity, particularly parishes with distinctly Russian lineage, than it ever will with the Antiochians. With the Act of Canonical Communion, one must ask whether or not the Patriarchal Parishes are now allowed to expand after signing away their future in 1970.
It will be very interesting to watch when the OCA experiment fails and the great schism occurs between those parishes that want to acknowledge their Slavic roots, and those who think the Americanized Antiochians are the answer. It's sad, but it will happen. If you look at what's happening in the older Orthodox communities, where ROCOR and MP parishes are growing and older OCA parishes are shrinking quickly, the writing is on the wall. The cradles want their church back, and the OCA is rapidly forgetting their needs. It will be interesting to see what Alaska does when +Nikolai and Archimandrite Isidore refuse to leave and the parishes have to decide where their allegiances stand.
#1.2 Anonymous on 2008-02-26 23:33
You make some very good points; I am not convinced that "Americanism" is the answer either. People don't like to hear these things, but they should consider them very carefully...I also don't think that the Antiochian drift towards making Orthodoxy "respectable" to ex-Protestants is going to pay off in the long run, it might just become a bland "going through the motions" sort of thing. This idea that we should all just jump into the melting pot and assimilate is odious. The West and the East are two different places, even if we pretend otherwise...if there isn't a difference, then where does that leave us?
#1.2.1 Moses on 2008-02-27 21:30
Its posts like this that make me want to be a hermit and never see another alleged orthodox christian as long as I live.
#1.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-02-28 05:52
What a great idea! Let's all go back to 19th century czarist Russia! NOT! That's a real vision for the future, Mr. Anonymous.
#1.2.3 Michael Strelka on 2008-02-28 08:18
Or 20th century Red Russia....
#22.214.171.124 AnonyCat on 2008-02-28 14:44
Oh, what a wonderful suggestion. Have another Orthodox Church pick at the bones of a wounded brother. How dare you, if you are a member of the Antiochian Church or any other Church make such a suggestion. The matter will be solved. Maybe not in your timetable, and maybe not to your total satisfaction.
Has this become an "either or" Church? It is all so "black and white" all so simple.
More than offended by the un-Christian behavior of Nikolai, I am offended by the suggestions of leaving the OCA. That won't happen. If anything the faithful of Alaska have proven to be more patient and longsuffering then us "wimps" in the lower 48 who would not last a month, let alone a lifetime living and being Orthodox in Alaska.
Smacks of reverse racism to me. The white man, whether Nikolai or Stokoe or any of us white folk will "enlighten" the natives. They have spoken, they are speaking up. They will always be the heart of the Church in Alaska. Keep the run away to the Antiochians idea to yourself.
#1.3 Anonymous on 2008-02-27 07:14
Just a quick point here, let's not forget what it is the diocese of Alaska is getting at, ALL WE WANT TO DO IS FIND PEACE LOVE AND HARMONY amongst our people and to get rid of the source that has caused all this turmoil. That is all that we want to do. Let's not start another fight amongst ourselves by debating what (jurisdiction?) we the faithful should be under. HELP US, PRAY WITH US, LOVE US is all that we ask.
#1.3.1 Pauk on 2008-02-28 09:24
Elect Metropolitan Philip as Metropolitan of the OCA! Its the simplest and best way forward both for the faithful of the OCA and for the future growth and development of Orthodoxy in North America. Turn a negative into a constructive positive. PLEASE!
#1.4 anon Canadian on 2008-02-27 11:28
Thank you very much for the offer, I'm sure it is welcomed by others also, but WE MUST RESOLVE the issue at hand first before making a move of any kind.
With BN reply to MH, you all can see what we have been up against over the past years,HE (BN) seems to think that absoultely no one can tell him to do anything,well let me say that we are reversing his words,"no one can tell me what to do" We are saying that we can do something and that we are DOING SOMETHING about the current situation.
By the grace of God, may all this be resolved somehow before we enter the Great Lent, so that we can truly ask for forgivness from one another.
#1.5 Pauk on 2008-02-27 11:48
It does sound a bit overbearing to phrase it as saying the priests would be welcome in the Antiochian without the approval of your Archbishop, but I think that the statement was made in good faith and from a desire to be helpful. There might be a different approach with some interesting possibilities. The Church is the Church, Catholic and Apostolic. The problem is the conduct of some of the current hierarchs and a bureuacratic meltdown which took years to reach this point.
The sin of jurisdictionalism will continue to be a problem as long as ethnicity is our focus even "American" ethnicity. It sometimes seems that Russian Orthodox parents would prefer their sons and daughters marry a Russian atheist than marry an Arab Orthodox while the Arab Orthodox would prefer to have a Moslem son in law than a Romanian and so on
The best jurisdiction from a historical standpoint would be Russian given the introduction of Orthodoxy on this continent. A recent posting on this site suggesed all the OCA hierarch should resign en masse. This might be a good thing if coupled with an invitation to Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese to become the Metropolitan of the OCA. A realignment of the various dioscian boundaries could go a long way toward eliminating the sin of jurisdictionalism. Some bishops could be from the various Russian jurisdictions, some from the Antiochian. Apostolic succession could become more seemly.
Whatever is done in regards to administrative or ministerial issues, all our jurisdictions should begin to honor the history, martyrs, customs, etc. of all our backgrounds. I would like to see every parish celebrate the contributions of Orthodox saints from every Orthodox nation during the year.
#1.6 Max Higgs on 2008-02-28 05:15
HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU PEOPLE SLEEP AT NIGHT!!!!!!! DOES MET HERMAN CONTROL EVERY ONE? I DONT THINK SO!!! DID MET HERMAN TELL KONDRATIC TO STEAL MONEY FROM THE CHURCH? ONLY A FOOL WOULD BELIEVE THAT! AND MOST OF YOU ARE FOOLS! THIS WEBSITE HAS CREATED A PANNIC! IT WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CHURCH DESTROYED BY PUTTING OUT FALSE INFORMATION!! EXAMPLE: LAST SUNDAY IN CHURCH A PERSON STATED" THE OCA HAS TWO MILLION MEMBERS! HE THEN STATED TAKE TWO MILLION TIMES EIGHT DOLLARE THAT IS SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARE!!! WHAT IS THE CHURCH SPENDING ON? IT APPEARS HE GOT THIS INFORMATION FROM THIS 'GOSSIP WEBSITE' WHICH A REPOTER FROM A NEWSPAPER (PITTS) PRINTED THE STORY STATING THERE WERE 2 MILLION MEMBERS IN THE OCA ( DO NEWSPAPERS PRINT WRONG INFORMATION? YES! ALL THE TIME! IF YOU GO TO THE LIBRARY AN GET A BOOK ON DIFFERENT RELIGIONS, YES IT JUST MIGHT SAY THERE ARE 2 MILLION ORTHODOX MEMBERS!) NOW THIS FAIRY TALE HAS SPREAD TO ACCUSE THE MET THAT HE BARROWED 2 MILLION DOLLARS BY TELLING THE BANK THERE ARE 2 MILLION MEMBERS IN THE OCA. HOW STUPID IS THAT REMARK???? ( ST TIKHONS ALONE IS WORTH MORE THAN 2MILLION WITH OVER 300 ACERS) CALL ANY BANK, THEY DONT GO BY MEMBERS! YOU GOSSIP PEOPLE! THEY GO ON HOW MUCH MONEY YOU BRING IN MONTHLY OR YEARLY!!! IF YOU HAVE 19 MEMBERS AND THEY CAN COME UP WITH 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH TO MEET THE MONTHLY PAYMENT ON A 2 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN! THATS ALL THE BANKS CARES ABOUT. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LIKE TO BASH THE MET AND MAKE UP STORIES! PLEASE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH DR. PHIL OR BISHOP JOB!
(Editor's note: It was not the newspaper that made up the figure, it was Syosset, in an official court document, signed by the then-Secretary of the OCA, Fr. Paul Kucynda. The writer of that comment was being sarcastic, since the number was known at the time to be false, and fantastic.)
#1.7 Anonymous on 2008-02-28 17:58
Good to see you back, all-caps anonymous guy. This just in: the Church cannot be destroyed by a mere website if the very gates of hell can't do the job. Why are you so afraid? And why do you continue to yell at us? And why do you persist in distorting the historical record about inflated numbers in the OCA? And why don't you spend twenty bucks for a new keyboard?
#1.7.1 Scott Walker on 2008-02-28 20:08
I think this babble speaks for itself.
But to clarify, although I was not present, I did hear of a discussion at a church in Akron, OH last weekend, where a long-time member of the parish raised a question concerning the 2 million members and potential $16 million dollars being collected for the AAC. The gentleman is no fool, and certainly understands that the OCA membership is below 50,000 and falling. However, I understood his issue to be a simple matter of what numbers should you believe:
The membership number that the Metropolitan uses when speaking with reporters? 1 million
The membership number that the OCA uses when applying for large loans? 2 million
The number from the 2005 census (Toronto AAC) (which shows many errors of its own)? 47,000
Or use the 2007 data provided by the OCA administration in the Associated Press report? 400,000
In light of everything that has occurred in the OCA, wouldn't it be best if the leadership could provide honest and truthful answers?
My comment regarding the 2008 AAC funding is that with 47,000? members, the OCA is looking for $376,000 up front to fund the Conference. In light of the financial and moral scandal, this was to be a drastically scaled down conference compared to those in the past. Instead of Orlando or Toronto, Pittsburgh was selected. Instead of 6 days, the conference was cut to 3 days. Instead of peak summer rates, the venue was moved to November. Instead of exhibits, displays and banners, the 2008 AAC is supposed to be focused on prayer and righting the ship. So, the question remains, if all of the delegates are paying for their own rooms and travel, how is the administration spending $376,000 at a hotel in Pittsburgh for 3 days of meetings?
#1.7.2 Ken Kozak on 2008-02-29 09:52
Were you in church that sunday Ken? THE PERSON DID NOT KNOW HOW MANY OCA MEMBERS THERE WERE! HE WAS ALSO VERY RUDE TO THE PRIEST! THAT SUNDAY! wHY IS IT KEN THAT THE SO CALLED RICH PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH ONLY CARE ABOUT ONE THING "MONEY" THEY LOVE THEIR MONEY? AND THEY LOVE TO BE IN CONTROL! IS THAT A FAIR STATEMENT? WILL THESE SAME PEOPLE HELP PAY OFF A TWO MILLION DOLLAR LOAN? WILL YOU HELP KEN? OR WILL YOU AND OTHERS SIT ON THE SIDE LINE AND BASH THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO DO GOOD FOR THE CHURCH! WHO ARE YOU WITH THE BASHERS OR THE GOOD DOERS?
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2008-03-04 12:53
IT'S A MIRACLE! His keyboard worked for an entire sentence -- then back to all caps again.
#188.8.131.52.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-04 20:56
I am sitting here stunned, hurt and in total disbelief that a fellow parishioner of mine is spewing such anger and vitriol. I have not been to church for awhile, choosing instead to go elsewhere temporarily to find peace until the dust settles. I am well aware that there is a very strong difference of opinion in the parish.....BUT...that does not mean that those who disagree are "bashers" and those who choose not to question or choose not to see the truth for what it is are do-gooders. We are all adults and can, and should, be able to discuss and share differing opinions, ask valid questions and get reasonable answers. One's financial status has nothing to do with any of this. The question is where did all the money go, and why is it two years later and we have no better answers today than were had two years ago. People work hard for their money, no matter the amount, and when they give to an appeal for the benefit of those in need, they expect that it will be sent to those for whom the appeal was made. There is an express fiduciary duty on the part of those who collect, and to do any less than what was stated, is fraud. None of us want to believe that any fraudulent activity occurred, but with the blatant lack of response, doesnt one have the right to question?
I ask you, Anonymous, PLEASE, PLEASE, stop with the angry outbursts. It is hurting people in the parish that I love and respect, and it is only divisive in nature. People have right to question. And they have a right to answers.
I know, whoever you are, that you are a better person than this. Take the high road.....it is always a better way to travel.
#184.108.40.206.2 Tamara Bogner on 2008-03-05 18:49
Dear Anonymous,too! You must be a member of my parish. I will not insult my parish by mentioning it in this response. Please do not write emails like this and embarass yourself and the parish. The question asked was what the number was and there was no answer given. The person asking the question asked for information. None was given. the next day an inflammatory answer was sent to the email list of the parish and caused a number of days of heated responses. If you cannot report the FACTS and respect the TRUTH then you may find yourself " hoist upon your own petard".
By the way, with all due respect-could you refer with respect to Metropolitan Herman as the Metroppolitan and not the "Met" or do you want us to know you have close ties to him?
I pray that you receive patience and help for managing your anger. In all honesty, I wonder why you read this website and care? why not just go to the library and read a good book. You may not need Dr. Phil, however, there are many fine doctors in our community. For your own sake- search one out! Oh yes, if you need $20 for a new keyboard let me know.
God help us all!
#1.7.3 Anonymous on 2008-02-29 14:36
You might do well to recall the words attributed to a variety of greant Americans (Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain, Groucho Marx, Albert Einstein after naturalization).
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
Start tossing around stink bombs like calling OTHER people fools (and in all caps yet) and...well....Mark responded adequately to your misinformation.
Now to put on my Dr. Phil hat...
So why does it bother you so much that these people talk about issues that concern them? If you think it's all so much gossip and untruth why not take your own advice and ignore it and treat it as if it's not worth your time or effort?
Why do you let people whom you obviously dislike have so much control over your life?
I recommend a good round of confession to your priest. Better than a barium enema!
#1.7.4 Anonymous on 2008-02-29 15:44
This line of thinking looks strikingly similar to information that has recently circulated. No, those who hold differing opinions are not fools, nor are they evil. There doesn't seem to be any compassion for those with differing views.
It is also not a matter of anyone thinking that MH told Fr. Kondratic to steal the money. To my way of thinking, it is a matter that MH is the leader. A leader must have the courage to confront wrongdoings....when they are alleged, and he is responsible for investigating whether or not they are true, and then take appropriate action . Along with this comes the responsibility to communicate with those he leads. It has now been over 2 years, and we are all still in the dark, and not permitted to question anything, nor are we given any solid answers. Two years is more than enough time. If there truly is disinformation floating around here, our leader needs to confront and correct. As one of our past presidents said, "The buck stops here". I dont see MH stepping up to the plate to stop the buck, in fact he seems to be saying "send more", as evidenced in the latest appeal that I received in the mail this week. It is time for a new leader who has the courage to take back the flock and lead.
Also, it is insulting and hurtful to incinuate that one with a dissenting opinion should seek Dr. Phil. That is just plain out of order.
#1.7.5 Tamara Bogner on 2008-03-01 14:04
Dear Friend! It appears you still hurt over money? you claim you want a new leader? You claim Met Herman (MET for Metropolitan Herman) did something wrong but you dont know what! only what THIS GOSSIP WEBSITE hAS TOLD YOU! DO YOU EVER GO ON THE OCA NEWS? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON JURY DUTY? WOULD YOU AGREE SOME CASES TAKE LONGER THEN OTHERS? MOST GOOD ATTORNEY'S WANT ALL THE FACT BEFORE GOING FORWARD IN A CASE! IS THAT A FAIR STATEMENT? WHEN THEY HAVE THE FACTS, DO THEY TELL YOU OR ME? I DONT THINK SO! QUESTION? IS MR KONDRATIC STILL A PRIEST? I DONT THINK SO! DID HE REPENT? WOULD YOU AGREE! THAT'S BETWEEN HIM AND GOD? SO WHERE BACK TO ONE ISSUE! MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! HAS THE OCA MADE GOOD ON THE 911 FUND? I THINK SO! AND I'M SURE THEY WILL MAKE GOOD ON THE OTHER FUNDS AS WELL! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO STILL WANT TO THINK NEGATIVE! YES! PLEASE GO SEE DR. PHIL
(editor's note: In fact, not all the monies collected for 9/11 have been disbursed.)
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-03-06 12:35
Perhaps it is time you take a step back and look at the situation for what it truly is -- money is just one symptom of an even larger problem. The true problem is a corrupt hierarchy, not all, but many of them.
Lies, deception, financial waste, self-pride, sexual sins, abuse of clergy, abuse of laity -- NO Orthodox Christian should live such a life, and unfortunately all of these issues touch many of our bishops in one way or another. I am witness to all of these, but I do not name names here out of respect for the Church (no respect for these terrible so-called bishops).
My humble advice to you is to not be so fast to support someone without the facts. If you do know these facts and yet still support them, what is it that you have to hide yourself?
#18.104.22.168.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-06 13:45
SORRY I'M NO FOOL! WHERE ARE YOUR FACTS? AND I DONT MEAN "GOSSIP"! SHOW ME FACTS! COURT DOCUMENTS! GIVE ME NAMES! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SUPPORT WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE! AND I DONT MEAN 2ND AND 3RD HAND ME DOWN INFORMATION! your comments are not only rude! but it sounds like you know so much, but you have no facts to back it up! am I surprise? not at all! I KNOW! BLAME THE CHURCH FOR NOT GIVING YOU ALL THE FACTS! SO YOU AND OTHERS CAN TWIST THE TRUTH INSIDE AND OUT? WHEN WILL ALL OF YOU GET OVER THIS MONEY MESS! BY THE WAY MARK S. WHY DIDNT YOU MENTION THAT 911 FUND HAS RECEIVED OVER 5 MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE OCA! editor's note: In fact, not all the monies collected for 9/11 have been disbursed.) HOW MUCH IS MISSING EDITOR? I HEAR BISHOP JOB DOES NOT ENDORSE THIS WEBSITE ANYMORE?
(editor's note: There is no evidence that the 911 Fund recieved over "$5 million" from the OCA. That is absurd, since we raised less than $400,000 from the appeal; and there is no evidence any monies were given from the general budget. As for how much is still missing I will quote the Chairman of the MC's Charity Committee, Fr. John Reeves in a posting to this site on January 30, 2008:
"As has been reported on the OCA website, the $90K from the loan to replace 9/11 funds was donated to NYDIS--an interfaith agency which helps victims of the 9/11 tragedy who have exhausted all other means of aid, their status having previously been assessed by a social worker. These monies were transfered in August 2007.
Each individual helped by NYDIS from these funds has been documented and reported to OCA, down to the penney. As of this date, all of these funds (the $90K) have now been depleted.
HOWEVER, there remain approximately $176K yet to be distributed which the loan did not cover.
Fr John Reeves"
In short, there is $176,000 that has yet to be distributed from the monies raised from the appeal. That is a fact, evidenced by the person responsible, appointed by the Church to be so.
Secondly, Archbishop Job has not withdrawn his "endorsement" of this website. He never "endorsed" it to begin with; nor was any "endorsement" ever sought. )
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-07 09:10
I have witnessed these thing with my OWN eyes and my OWN ears, and that is all the proof I need for myself. I know right from wrong and I am intelligent and honest enough to identify it when I see it. Those who deny the truth run the risk of becoming spiritually corrupt if they are not already.
My advice to you:
#1 Face reality
#3 Quit with the all caps already, it's getting quite tiresome.
#126.96.36.199.1.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-07 14:51
This person must of ment to say 5million dollars was given to the 911 fund from O.C.M C.
#188.8.131.52.1.1.2 Anonymous on 2008-03-07 17:01
The Antiochians in good conscience cannot accept our Alaskan clergy in view of what they did to those Evangelicals in California.
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#2 Nina Tkachuk Dimas on 2008-02-26 21:05
As an evangelical convert who lived through "Ben Lomond" from 1973 (yes, 1973!!) when I first moved to that area until 2006 when I accepted a new assignment, and who still has a home and many friends there, I would like to ask Ms. Dimas not to be quite so sure of herself as to what the events of February 1998 were or stood for, let alone their possible relevance might be today.
#2.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-02-27 23:20
How ironic is it that Herman suggests to Nikolai that he take a "leave of absence" during an investigation? Does anyone else see the humour in that one? Do these bishops not listen to themselves when they speak? They know they know everything and yet they do not take their own advice.
Call and write to your bishops and tell them that you support the people in Alaska so that it isn't just characterized as a "few dissidents".
Tell them also that you support Herman's own suggestion that a bishop should take a "leave of absence" during an ivestigation, and that Herman should do it.
#3 Anonymous on 2008-02-26 21:21
Leaving the OCA for a jurisdiction where personal and cultural integrity can be respected is not an option here in Alaska. We do not see jurisdictions - just like we do not see race or color. We are one CHURCH one PEOPLE. (Forgive me for using the pronoun we. I do not mean to imply that I am a born native of Alaska or an Alaska Native, but I have chosen to work on my own spiritual salvation in this land for 30 years.) It is not the OCA who has tried to take away our culture and traditions, but rather, the local hierarchy and it's defenders or "loyalists."
I can't believe that upon hearing of the manner in which +Bishop Nikolai has offended and mistreated his clergy to the point of them asking for his resignation, that the Holy Synod would not look seriously into this situation.
To All Alaskan Clergy in our beloved land; I humbly stand behind you (and yet beside you) in your plea for Ecclesiastical Intervention. It is because of your letters that I can publicly voice my support to you as we all face this situation together - united as one.
Although my lack of a blessing and withholding of the precious sacrament was a terrible low in my spiritual and personal life, little did I know that you and your parishes were suffering from the same type of abuse. Please forgive me for my self-centeredness. I ask for your prayers. Please know that you are in my prayers.
With love in Christ,
Marilyn (Mary Magdalene) Kreta
#4 Marilyn Kreta on 2008-02-26 21:29
Christ is in our Midst! He is and shall be!
I was so saddened when I had heard that you were denied the Body and Blood of Christ Himself, in the church where laid the relics of or ST. HERMAN. I dearly miss the days when you were directing the Choir in the cathedral. Now there is not really anyone, who can direct. When I was there, I was not happy when they would ask me to direct, when I knew you were there. I dearly want to ask your forgiveness, and ask for your prayers. And thank you for the wonderful memories that you gave us in Kodiak. Do not be afraid to write your name down now! As we take the stand together, for the Glory of Christ. Whatever the outcome, we have nothing to fear, because we are being witnesses to the truth. Thank you and Keep me in your humble prayers, unworthy though I am.
Your Loving Friend, and unworthy priest
Fr. Vasily Fisher and Family
#4.1 Fr. Vasily Fisher - St. James the Apostle parish on 2008-02-28 04:48
I see nothing self-centered in your message. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with them. God bless you.
#4.2 Valentine on 2008-02-28 10:45
What a wonderful warm Northern light coming from the Yup'ik clergy and families of the Kuskokwim Deanery to stand up against abuse. They are firm and faithful.
May God strengthen your prayer. Remember Psalm 37 as Archimandrite Father Innocent (Theodore Fryntzko) of Alaska instructed me too to pray daily to stand up against abuse
perpetrated by bishops of the OCA Synod.
1. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither
as the green herb.
3. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.........
You are restoring hope to my heart that is some end in sight
for the suffering victims of abuse in Orthodox America.
Thank you for your stand.
Matushka Carol Klipa Bacha
P.O. Box 381
Christmas, Florida 32709
God Bless Fr. Michael Oleksa and his brother priests in Alaska !
The most telling paragraph that perhaps those of us in the lower 48 should think about is:
"I have urged the clergy to write and to tell the truth, noting that we have nothing to fear compared to the confessors and martyrs of the past. No one will torture us or murder us. We are not in danger of being burned alive or thrown to wild beasts. We might get a nasty letter from a nasty man. Aren't we men enough to take that? Of what can the Holy Synod be afraid? Bishop Nikolai has no moral authority here."
Could there be that many "malcontents or dissedents"? As one poster asked earlier this week....." I wish I could DO something."
I will not be anonymous for much longer. I grew up in the Metropolia, knew Fr. Roschak as a seminarian, and am disheartened beyond words with our situation.
+Herman "suggests" a leave of absence? How could that be possible? +Nikolai and Fr. Isadore should be suspended pending the outcome of the federal investigation. He suspends clergy for looking the wrong way. Why is he given a pass?
No explanations from Fr. Karlgut either, I take it? Anybody heard from him lately?
So, another meeting of the Lesser Synod next week......yawn. They don't have to travel to the Oyster Bay Cove Estate for that. It can be conducted on the phone while they are all on mute putting a load of clothes in the washer.
What else has to happen?
Anonymous but not for much longer.
#6 Anonymous on 2008-02-26 21:48
I am in support of my brother priests in this God-protected diocese.
Everything that has been written is true. These are not rumors and lies.
Our priests in this diocese will not lie to the world.
#7 Fr. Thomas Andrew on 2008-02-26 23:03
I truly agree and am in total solidarity to my Native Brother Priests and if this is a signature in any way it would truly help them and the Orthodox Church here in Alaska, therefore if it be one I so sign at the bottom in their support.
All that the people write and say are true and is not what a God loving hierarch would do to his people.
One of my fellow priests called and also informed me that a Yu'pik lawyer was used to say not so nice things to Archpriest Phillip Alexie and several other Kuskokwim Native Alaskan Priests concerning the Priest's gathering in Anchorage but I know Fr.Phillip is still standing in solidarity with us in saying he is NOT going to that meeting.
If I am not mistaken this person is Calista Corporation's lawyer? And aren't we shareholder (Native Priests & laity) of that Corporation? I have completely no legal knowledge of any kind and speak only wondering about this situation?
Also as the Deanery in the Kuskokwim stated the clergy will negotiate no more, I'm in solidarity with my Brothers.
Most Holy Theotoko Save Us.
#8 Archpriest Peter Askoar on 2008-02-27 00:59
Let's all pray that the LS will deal decisively and do the right thing - remove Nicolai.
#9 Anonymous on 2008-02-27 07:26
Praise God for the courageous clergy and laity of the Diocese of Alaska! You are a model for all Orthodox faithful. God bless you and keep you in His care.
#10 Grateful in NJ on 2008-02-27 08:03
+Nikolai continues to resemble your standard totalitarian despot rather than a Christian steward.
Our Solzhenitsyns and Sakharovs have spoken. They are not just a "few dissidents;" some of the most loved and revered names grace the letter from the Kuskokwim Deanery. And they are backed by numerous other respected clergy and laity in the diocese.
There is no going back.
#11 K. Carlsen on 2008-02-27 08:29
"Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly as God would have you, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but by being examples to the flock." 1 Peter 5;2.
I am a simple man and I try to live the life that the Lord gave me. I read my bible and when I see whats happening to the Alaskan Orthodox faithful and their church because of one man and his minions, I am ashamed of our other bishops for letting Nicolai be so distructive. Well, the passage I quoted above keeps coming back to me. By quoting it here I'm not trying teach anybody any lessons. Also I am no mans judge either. But I can tell you this that Nicolai has no moral authority. Alaskan Orthodox people are not stupid and they turn their backs to him and so the decision has been made. Alaskan Orthodox people suffer but that suffering will cleanse them of Nicolai. I pray our bishops soon see the reality. The rest is merely a formality for the bishop of the OCA.
#12 anonymous on 2008-02-27 08:35
I think every parish in the lower 48 should sing Fr Martin Nicolai's Cherubim Hymn #2 this Sunday (available on podoben.com), just to show solidarity with him and the Alaskan people.
#13 Michael Strelka on 2008-02-27 09:30
Here's something interesting. As of this past week a great many of our parish became aware of the situation in the OCA and the Alaska Diocese. The people who have been following the situation have not run to their brethern with talk and gossip but have pretty much kept it to themselves, pretty much following the same path that has kept the Alaskan people quiet for so long. Well, more people were in church today than there has been in years(except for funerals), and the service was absolutely beautiful. The choir sang the Martin Nicholai #2 Cherubic hymn. We have in our choir books a similar version but this is the first time for everyone that we sang this version. It is beyond words to explain how wonderful it sounded. Thank you brother Strelka for the suggestion and thank you everyone for all the prayers. They are being answered. What tomorrow holds for any of us no one knows but the comfort that I have felt in the past 48 hours gives me hope.
#13.1 Alaskan, looking for humility on 2008-03-02 23:04
Thank you, Michael, for your great suggestion. Our choir sang not just the Cherubic hymn, but also litanies composed by Alaskan clergy. To carry it one step further, we will sing the Troparion to St. Herman and the Kondak to St. Innocent at the end of the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers. I urge all of you, in some way, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrations everywhere, to lift up our beloved brethren in Alaska by singing their beautiful compositions. Lord, hear our prayer!
#13.2 MamaPete, a priest's wife from the Midwest on 2008-03-03 10:28
The Chancellor thinks he can intimidate us? A little lapdog with an even smaller bark? Please. Mr big-shot bishop is going to find that he is heading towards becoming a "Diocese of Two", he and his "buddy" the underboss. Where do these guys think they are? This is ALASKA...
Moses the Tlingit
#14 Moses on 2008-02-27 10:37
I remember, and never will forget, my December, 1992 plane trip to Bethel, and then a truck drive down the frozen river to Kwethluk to attend Fr. Martin Nikolai's Kuskowkim's music deanery conference. We have continually sung his beautiful Cherubic Hymn that he composed. The village, as well as the church, was built on stilts so that Spring floods would not destroy the buildings. I flew to a different world, with no running water or gas heat.
I will never forget all the faithful who came to this conference in their "snow-gos." One faithful had frost bite on his cheek from a zipper because he was on his "snow-go" (snow mobile) for three hours! When you live out on the tundra, the bishop does not need to alienate. I believe he needs at least to have a leave of absence during this time, but I am for his resignation, too.
Going to the Antiochians may be their only way out of bad leadership in the OCA.
#15 Patty Schellbach on 2008-02-27 10:56
The sake of the people are our first concern. And it should be for all priest who have taken up the calling to be proclaimers of the truth. And being one of the the Clergy in the Kuskokwim Deanery, have taken the stand to say that he should not be here anymore, for the sake of our children's children. And for the sake of his salvation.
#16 Fr. Vasily Fisher - St. James the Apostle parish on 2008-02-27 11:37
We all know what Jesus told those who not show the true meaning of the Love of God to His people, (Mt. 23). If it were not so that we as Servants of the Altar could speak up for those who are being abuse through improper use of Authority that Jesus showed the example of. As one of my fellow native priests said ( about '02,'04) some one is going to bump heads with this man one day, well, here we are as one bumping heads with one who not only treated his clergy and laity but even his own brothers, +Job for one and we were so much into speaking for our people we forgot one who taught us what it really took to be a Priest. Many have spoken so fondly about this example of a Shepard that we forgot to say that he not only taught about obedience to those set over you but he himself practiced it. His Eminence Archbishop Gregory, when practically asked to retire (no forced) did, when asked to leave the Diocese of Alaska he did. In all of this he taught that the Holy Synod of Bishops is the highest authority, under God and that we should follow their request and as we (the clergy) at one Diocesan Assembly that be Archbishop Gregory awarded someone in his Parish with the property of BN (the St. Herman's Cross) he Archbishop Gregory's retirement money was taken away from him and even though we didn't say a word I know we were all shocked at this happening. Since when does a Saint become just a property of a bishop when the Saint is the Saint of the Whole World, how much more narrow and selfish is this man (BN) to become. As one of my parishioners still question how can a man require more attention than God whom I have come to Worship?
Most trusty and faithful Subdeacon before he (BN) came now one who doesn't come, why you ask. BN: who is responsible for building this warehouse, why is the ceiling built so low? All the young men and women who worked so hard helping to build a Church, were so disgraced, all that work they did and on time at that, impatiently waiting for the men to start working, now dismayed, belittled, thought that their work wasn't good enough, but I know that it was because it came from their HEART, please find one,BN. Then came time for me to explain to the elder what has been said, because as one put it, "it doen't feel good, I mean what he (BN) said in Church: I can still see the face, pale, hurt, confused, and probably thinking what happened to the teaching of his elders, in dismay he just replied "naklleng, with tears streaming down his face. How can one comfort such a broken heart? but to remind him what as a child he taught me "Jesus loves you even you're a sinner, we should never speak to hurt others, above all asking forgiveness and still loving that person."
So today, he comes for funerals, and Pashka,"until the man that made fun of God's Holy Church is no longer with us."
And the Subdeacon, I'm letting him know that things will now be better for the Glory of God!
Is it because BN we're natives you call us a "few"? Remember John the Baptist, one crying in the wilderness.
Once again I must state and sign that I'm in solidarity with the Kuskokwim Deanery, YOU (BN) must resign, and please ask the Yu'pik lawyer to buzz off them, we're for the Truth!!!
Holy Apostle Peter,pray unto God for us.
#16.1 Archpriest Peter Askoar on 2008-02-28 02:20
Well said Fr. Vasily!! The laity of Kuskokwim are all in support of their fathers!!! If His Grace can be disgraceful by not listening to his authority and the request of our priests, then so the laity will not listen to him anymore!
#16.2 Anonymous on 2008-02-28 13:01
When the God loving people in Alaska all rise up and drive he and the chancellor from our shores, it will still only be a few dissidents who are causing the trouble in his eyes. Lord have mercy.
#17 Anonymous on 2008-02-27 12:12
Forgive me for being blunt, but you don't have a clue about what is happening. Get out of your comfort zone, and spends some years getting to know rural Alaskan Orthodoxy as it is lived in the villages, listen to the elders quiet voices, share the seasons and patterns of living, and being Orthodox, not just intellectually but in being. Then you will know what is real and what is not. Eagle River is the beginning of being Orthodox, born out of The EOC. While it has come a long way, It has far to go before it reaches the knowledge and spirit that is found in rural Alaska. Your bones are not in
Eagle River, rural Alaska's bones are everywhere around them for generations beyond memory. Do not think the mantle of Antioch can make them whole.
Enough said. I could go one ad nauseum to no purpose.
Pray for your brothers as they walk this path.
They are precious in the sight of the Lord.
Pray for me.
#18 Gerasim on 2008-02-27 12:18
Commemorated on February 27
St Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn (+ 1915)
Proclamation on the Glorification of Our Holy Father Bishop RAPHAEL (30-Apr-2000) Our holy Father Raphael was born in Syria in 1860 to pious Orthodox parents, Michael Hawaweeny and his second wife Mariam, the daughter of a priest of Damascus. The exact date of Raphael's birth is not known, but he estimated it to be on or near his Name Day, the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven (November . Due to the violent persecution of Christians, at which time their parish priest, St Joseph of Damascus (July 10) and his companions were martyred, the Hawaweeny family was forced to flee to Beirut for their safety. It was here that the future saint first saw the light of day, and not in the city of his parents. Indeed, as the child's life unfolded, it was evident that he would have no continuing city in this world, but would seek the city which is to come (Heb 13:14).
On the Feast of Theophany in 1861, he was baptized with the name Rafla, and later that spring the family was able to return to Damascus. The child attended elementary school, where he did very well, but in 1874 it appeared that Michael Hawaweeny would no longer be able to afford his son's tuition. Fortunately, help came from Deacon Athanasius Atallah (later Metropolitan of Homs), who recommended to Patriarch Hierotheus of Antioch that Rafla be accepted as a student of the Patriarchate in preparation for the priesthood.
He was such a good student that he was selected to be a substitute teaching assistant in 1877. The following year he was appointed as a teacher of Arabic and Turkish. On March 28, 1879 he was tonsured as a monk by Patriarch Hierotheus, and served as His Beatitude's personal attendant.
Since the Balamand Seminary had been closed in 1840, Patriarch JOACHIM III of Constantinople invited the Patriarch of Antioch to send at least one deserving student to study on scholarship at the School of Theology at Halki, and Saint Raphael was the one who was selected to go.
On December 8, 1885 he was ordained to the diaconate at the school chapel. In July of 1886 the young deacon received his Certificate of T heology, and returned to his homeland in the hope of serving the Church there. Patriarch Gerasimus of Antioch was impressed with Deacon Raphael, and often took him along on his pastoral visitations of his parishes. When His Beatitude could not be present, Deacon Raphael was asked to preach the Word of God to the people.
Deacon Raphael was not satisfied with the extent of his knowledge, and thirsted to learn even more. This did not stem from personal pride or ambition, but came from his fervent desire to benefit others. Truly, the words of King Solomon could be applied to Saint Raphael: "Give an opportunity to a wise man, and he will be wiser; instruct a just man, and he will receive more instruction" (Proverbs 9:9). Therefore, he asked Patriarch Gerasimus to permit him to do graduate studies at a school in Russia, promising to return and serve as the Patriarch's Russian-language secretary. The Patriarch gave his blessing, and Deacon Raphael was accepted as a student at the Theological Academy of Kiev.
In 1889 Patriarch Gerasimus ordered the young deacon to take over as head of the Antiochian representation church in Moscow. He was ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop SYLVESTER, the rector of the Academy, at the request of Patriarch Gerasimus. A month later, he was raised to the rank of archimandrite by Metropolitan IOANNIKII of Moscow, and was confirmed as head of the Antiochian representation church. After two years, Archimandrite Raphael was able to reduce the representation's 65,000 ruble debt by 15,000 rubles. He also arranged for twenty-four Syrian students to come to Russia to further their education, hoping that they would return to Syria and teach others.
When Patriarch Gerasimus resigned in order to accept the See of Jerusalem, Archimandrite Raphael regarded this as an opportunity to free the Church of Antioch from its domination by foreign hierarchs. Burning with love for the Church of Antioch, and wishing to restore the administration of the church to its own native clergy and people, Archimandrite Raphael began a campaign of writing letters to some Antiochian bishops and influential laymen. He also wrote articles in the Russian press, drawing attention to the plight of Antioch. His courageous efforts did not meet with success, however, and there was a price to pay for his outspoken criticism.
In November of 1891 Metropolitan SPYRIDON, a Greek Cypriot, was elected as Patriarch of Antioch. Many Arabs believed that he had purchased the election by distributing 10,000 lira to several notable people in Damascus. Archimandrite Raphael refused to commemorate the new Patriarch during services at the representation church. As a result, he was suspended from his priestly functions by Patriarch SPYRIDON. Saint Raphael accepted his suspension, but continued to write articles in Russian newspapers in defense of the Antiochian cause. The Patriarchs of Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem successfully petitioned the Tsar to forbid Russian newspapers from publishing his articles. With this door closed to him, Saint Raphael began to publish his writings in book form.
Eventually, Patriarch SPYRIDON wrote to the Assistant Overprocurator of Russia, a friend of Saint Raphael's, asking him to persuade Father Raphael to ask for the Patriarch's forgiveness. He did so, and the suspension was lifted. Saint Raphael was allowed to transfer from the jurisdiction of Antioch to the Church of Russia, and to remain there. He went to Kazan, taking a position as instructor in Arabic studies at the theological academy. He remained there until 1895 when he was invited by the Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Society of New York to come to that city to be the pastor of the Arab Orthodox community.
When the holy Apostle Paul had a vision of a man entreating him to come to Macedonia to help them (Acts 16:10), he set off on a great missionary journey. When Saint Raphael heard of the needs of his countrymen who were scattered in a strange land, he crossed the ocean to labor in yet another foreign country.
Archimandrite Raphael arrived in New York on November 2, 1895, and was welcomed by a delegation of Arab Christians who were awaiting their leader from Russia. On November 5, his first Sunday in America, he assisted Bishop NICHOLAS in serving the Divine Liturgy at the Russian church in New York city. Less than two weeks after his arrival, Archimandrite Raphael found a suitable place in lower Manhattan to set up a chapel, and furnished it with ecclesiastical items that he had brought with him from Russia. Bishop NICHOLAS blessed the new chapel, which was dedicated to St Nicholas of Myra.
This zealous pastor remained in New York teaching, preaching, and celebrating the divine services for his parishioners. It was not long, however, before he heard of smaller communities of Arab Christians scattered throughout the length and breadth of North America. Since these Arab immigrants had no pastor to care for them, it was not surprising that some should turn to other denominations, or completely neglect their religious duties. This was an ongoing concern for Saint Raphael throughout the course of his ministry. Although he was not opposed to dialogue with non-Orthodox Christians, nor to friendly relations based on shared beliefs, Saint Raphael never lost sight of the clear line of distinction that exists between the Orthodox and the heterodox. He always insisted that any church unity must be based on the teachings of the seven Ecumenical Councils.
The Orthodoxy of Saint Raphael's life and teaching was demonstrated over and over again by his words and his actions. He always upheld and defended the spotless Faith which was "delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Although at first he did not understand the teachings of the heterodox, he later discovered how far removed they were from Orthodox doctrine. When he realized this, he took steps to protect his flock from harmful influences. He directed his people not to attend heterodox services lest they become confused by "divers and strange doctrines" (Heb 13:9). He believed it would be preferable for the head of the household to read the Hours at home from the Service Book when it was not possible to attend an Orthodox church.
In the summer of 1896, Saint Raphael undertook the first of several pastoral journeys across the continent. He visited thirty cities between New York and San Francisco, seeking out the Master's lost sheep in cities, towns, and on isolated farms. He fed the spiritually hungry people with the Word of God in each place where he stopped. He performed marriages, baptisms, heard confessions, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the homes of the faithful where there was no church building. In other words, he zealously fulfilled his ministry as a preacher of the Gospel, enduring many hardships and afflictions, and he was watchful in all things concerning the care of his flock (2 Tim 4:5).
In 1898, with the blessing of Bishop Nicholas, Saint Raphael produced his first book in the New World -- an Arabic language Service Book called The Book of True Consolation in the Divine Prayers. This book of liturgical services and prayers was very useful to priests in celebrating the divine services, and also to the people in their personal prayer life. The English version published by Archimandrite Seraphim Nassar is still being used today.
Between May-November 1898, Saint Raphael set off on his second pastoral tour. During this trip he became convinced of the need for Arabic-speaking priests to serve in the new churches he had established. When he returned to New York, he made a report to Bishop NICHOLAS expressing these concerns. With Bishop NICHOLAS's blessing Saint Raphael was able to bring qualified priests from Syria. He also sought out educated laymen whom he could recommend for ordination. Both as an archimandrite and later as bishop, Saint Raphael would appoint pastors only after obtaining the blessing of the Russian hierarch who headed the American Mission.
This was the normal state of affairs in America at the time. Archimandrite Raphael welcomed Bishop Tikhon when the latter replaced Bishop NICHOLAS as the ruling bishop in America. On December 15, Saint Tikhon came to serve the Liturgy at the Syrian church of St Nicholas. Raphael told his people that their new Archpastor was one who "has been sent here to tend the flock of Christ -- Russians, Slavs, Syro-Arabs, and Greeks -- which is scattered across the entire North American continent." At that time, of course, there were no parallel jurisdictions based on nationality. The Church united those of diverse backgrounds under the omophorion of the Russian Archbishop. This was the norm until the Russian Revolution disrupted church life in Russia, and also in America.
In March of 1899, Saint Raphael received permission from Bishop Tikhon to start collecting funds for a cemetery, and for building a new church to replace the chapel which was located in an old building on a dirty street. In the spring he left on another pastoral tour of forty-three cities and towns. Traveling by land and sea, and undeterred by the obstacles and difficulties before him, he spent seven months in the northeastern, southern, and midwestern regions of the United States. Saint Raphael ministered to Greeks and Russians as well as Arabs, performing weddings and baptisms, and regularizing the weddings of Orthodox people who had been married by non-Orthodox clergy. He also chrismated some children who had been baptized by Catholic priests.
In Johnstown, PA he reconciled those whose personal enmity threatened to divide the Arabic community. Although civil courts had been unable to make peace, Saint Raphael restored calm and put an end to the bitter feud. While in Johnstown, he received a telegram informing him that Metropolitan Meletios (Doumani), had been elected Patriarch of Antioch. With great joy St Raphael told his people that for the first time in 168 years, a native Arab had been chosen as primate of the Antiochian Church.
After the new Patriarch had been installed, Archimandrite Raphael was proposed to succeed Meletios as Metropolitan of Latakia. The Patriarch, however, stated that the Holy Synod could not elect Father Raphael because of his important work in America. In 1901, Metropolitan GABRIEL of Beirut wrote to Archimandrite Raphael asking him to be his auxiliary bishop, but he declined, saying that he could not leave his American flock. First, he wanted to build a permanent church, and to acquire a parish cemetery. The latter goal was achieved in August of 1901 when Father Raphael purchased a section of Mt Olivet cemetery on Long Island.
In December of 1901 Archimandrite Raphael was elected as Bishop of Zahleh. Patriarch Meletios sent a telegram congratulating him and asking him to return. Father Raphael thanked the Patriarch, but again declined higher office. He said that he wished to complete the project of building a temple for the Syrian community in New York. The following year, he bought an existing church building on Pacific St in Brooklyn, and had it remodeled for Orthodox worship. Bishop Tikhon consecrated the church to the great joy of the faithful in attendance. Thus, Saint Raphael's second major project was finished.
Since the number of parishes within the Diocese of North America was growing, Bishop Tikhon found it impossible to visit all of them. The diocese had to be reorganized in order to administer it more efficiently. Therefore, Bishop Tikhon submitted a plan to the Russian Holy Synod which would transfer the See from San Francisco to New York because most parishes and individuals were concentrated in the east. Since various ethnic groups required special attention and pastoral leadership, Bishop Tikhon proposed that Archimandrite Raphael be made his second vicar bishop (the Bishop of Alaska would be his first).
In 1903, the Holy Synod of Russia unanimously elected Archimandrite Raphael to be the Bishop of Brooklyn while retaining him as head of the Syro-Arab Orthodox Mission in North America. The Holy Synod announced the election to Patriarch Meletios, who was pleased by their decision. Bishop Tikhon wrote to Saint Raphael to inform him of his election, and Father Raphael sent him a letter of acceptance. Meanwhile, Fr Innocent Pustynsky was consecrated as Tikhon's first auxiliary bishop at St Petersburg's cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan.
On the third Sunday of Lent in 1904, Saint Raphael became the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated on American soil. Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Innocent performed the service at St Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. The new bishop's vestments were a gift from Tsar Nicholas II. Following his consecration, Bishop Raphael continued his pastoral labors, ordaining priests and assigning them to parishes, and helping Bishop Tikhon in the administration of the diocese.
At the end of 1904, Bishop Raphael announced his intention to publish a magazine called Al-Kalimat (The Word) as the official publication of the Syro-Arab mission. This would help to link the people and parishes of his diocese more closely together. Bishop Raphael knew that he could not visit all Orthodox Christians across North America in person, but through the ministry of the printed word, he could preach the word of salvation even to people he would never meet. The content was to be spiritual, moral, and churchly so that the magazine could reinforce people in their Faith. The Word would focus on five primary topics: dogmatic truths, ethical teaching, historical and contemporary ecclesiastical subjects, a chronicle of baptisms, weddings, etc., and official pronouncements. The first issue was printed in January 1905, and Saint Raphael considered this milestone as one equal in importance to the acquisition of St Nicholas Cathedral and the parish cemetery.
In July of 1905 Bishop Raphael consecrated the grounds for St Tikhon's Monastery and blessed the orphanage at South Canaan, PA. Three days later, he presided at a conference of diocesan clergy at Old Forge, PA, because Archbishop Tikhon was in San Francisco. Among the clergy in attendance were three who would also be numbered among the saints: Fr ALEXIS Toth, Fr Alexander Hotovitzky, and Fr John Kochurov (the last two would die as martyrs in Russia).
For the next ten years Bishop Raphael tended his growing flock. With the growth of his New York community came an increase in the number of children, and he was concerned about their future. He wanted to establish an evening school to educate them in a Christian atmosphere, because the future of the Church in this country depended upon the instruction of the youth. Children who did not speak Arabic were already going to non-Orthodox churches where Sunday school classes were conducted in English. Bishop Raphael saw the absolute necessity for using English in worship and in education for the future progress of the Syro-Arab Mission.
Taking heed of St Paul's words to pray in a language that people understood (1 Cor.14:15-19), St Raphael recommended the use of the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church (translated by Isabel Hapgood) in all of his parishes.
In March of 1907 Saint Tikhon returned to Russia and was replaced by Archbishop PLATON. Once again St Raphael was considered for episcopal office in Syria, being nominated to succeed Patriarch GREGORY as Metropolitan of Tripoli in 1908. The Holy Synod of Antioch removed Bishop Raphael's name from the list of candidates, citing various canons which forbid a bishop being transferred from one city to another.
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1911, Bishop Raphael was honored for his fifteen years of pastoral ministry in America. Archbishop PLATON presented him with a silver-covered icon of Christ and praised him for his work. In his humility, Bishop Raphael could not understand why he should be honored merely for doing his duty (Luke 17:10). He considered himself an "unworthy servant," yet he did perfectly the work that fell to him (St Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians).
Toward the end of 1912, Bishop Raphael became ill while working in his office. Doctors diagnosed him with a heart ailment that eventually caused his death. After two weeks he felt strong enough to celebrate the Liturgy in his cathedral.
In 1913-1914 this missionary bishop continued to make pastoral visitations to various cities. In 1915 he fell ill again and spent two months at home, bearing his illness with patience. At 12:40 AM on February 14/27 he rested from his labors. They called him, but he did not answer. They shook him, but he was gone.
From his youth, Saint Raphael's greatest joy was to serve the Church. When he came to America, he found his people scattered abroad, and he called them to unity. He never neglected his flock, but traveled throughout America, Canada, and Mexico in search of them so that he might care for them. He kept them from straying into strange pastures, and he protected them from spiritual harm. During twenty years of faithful ministry he nurtured them and helped them to grow. At the time of his death, the Syro-Arab Mission had thirty parishes with 25,000 faithful.
He was also a scholar, and the author of several books. He wrote many, if not most, of the articles that appeared in The Word. He served his own Arabic community, and also reached out to Greeks and Russians, speaking to them in their own language. He became fluent in English, and encouraged its use in church services and educational programs.
St Raphael came into contact with all sorts of people, and was a gentle father to them. He gained their love and respect by first loving them, and also through his charming personality and excellent character. He was always kind, merciful, and condescending with others, but was strict with himself. He accomplished many good things during his earthly life, and now he joins the holy angels in offering ceaseless prayer and praise to God.
Through the prayers of the holy Bishop Raphael, may we also be made worthy of the heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
#19 Anonymous on 2008-02-27 13:02
"As far as all the clergy are concerned, they would surely be welcome in the Antiochian Archdiocese."
What a wonderful comment as we celebrate the repose of St Raphael of Brooklyn today who consecrated at the hands of his fellow bishop St. Tikhon at a time when Orthodoxy was united in this land. It would be better for us to help one another and not "shoot our wounded."
Shame on you for such a comment.
#20 Anonymous on 2008-02-27 13:08
In the parish where I was received into the Holy Orthodox Church, our dear priest had served for years in Alaska. He spoke so lovingly of the people and the land. It seems so peculiar to me that a bishop has the "right" to hold onto such hallowed ground. What kind of tyrant is this man? He is, after all, a man. I have been and will continue to pray for our dear, suffering brothers and sisters in Alaska and for the protection and strength of their holy priest, deacons and readers. Most Holy Theotokos, pray to God for us.
#21 Rebecca on 2008-02-27 14:01
I said in an e-mail several days ago that the faithful in Alaska should "flee to Eagle River". This apparently got the attention of some of the OCA brothers who in turn brought it to the attention of Bp Job. I talked to Bp Job who has been on the road and unable to look at OCA news for several days. He mentioned that he had heard that I had said this "flee to Eagle River" thing. It was no big deal but I was surprised that this got anyones attention or that it was even worth mentioning. Then I Recalled a conversation with a group of priests of our diocese several years ago about my early Antiochian contacts in Orthodoxy. Eagle River came up and then Ben Lomand, He said, "you don't know what kind of things are going on up there".
Imagining something sinister (like the sacrificing of chickens or some Alaskan animal like musk ox) I peaked into Eagle River during a salmon fishing trip to see all those unorthodox things. Being a spy and trying to catch them doing their unorthodox things I did not wear a cassock but standard wilderness attire. They never knew I was there. Because I was in a hurry to start hooking Kings we stayed only a while. During my time there I can only report what I saw. The things they did looked, and sounded, and the people acted, like Orthodox. After all that is what they are! Then I thought that maybe what I said was really radical after all not because of what Eagle River is but rather because of what we are.
Sometimes my thoughts come all at once so I'll spare you the streams of consciences and the circular thought patterns and try to put things down in a linear manner.
I thought to myself:
We have a pseudo-Bishop in Alaska who is not acting Orthodox. The Pseudo-Bishop (not like Christ) has suspended faithful Orthodox Christians from the Mysteries of Christ for unchristian reasons.
The mysteries of Christ are mysteries precisely because they create oneness with Christ (so they are important).
Our chief concern as shepherds is the eternal well being of the souls of the people of God.
The bishops are not allowed to Shepherd (that is speak to the sheep) because they would be deposed for interfering in another diocese. The sheep may be lost but at least the other bishops can't be deposed it.
They (the sheep of Alaska) need encouragement and strengthening in the Holy Mysteries.
I can't go to Alaska my wife and Bishop would kill me and its not salmon season.
So, I told the faithful people rather than being prevented from Christ, flee to Eagle River where Nick cannot prevent them from receiving the Mysteries of Christ.
Since Eagle River didn't to my knowledge kill alaskan animals as part of their worship and were in fact part of what we call Orthodoxy in Alaska it made sense to me that they might be part of the solution. That thinking outside the box we call the OCA sure upsets people. Why?
Is it because Nick is not really that unorthodox in what he has done? Or is it that Eagle River is not really that Orthodox in what they are doing?
Nick has brought himself to the brink of ruin and really still doesn't have a clue about it. So I'll talk about Eagle River. The simple question we must ask: Is Eagle River Orthodox or not? But the question to the nash thought police: Is it Orthodox like us? Having been outside of the Nash (like us) circle for almost a decade this distinction does not surprise me. Eagle River may be Orthodox but we still have our subsets of Orthodoxy which make one at lest a little better that the other.
Mine kind is better than your kind!
But Not if they are both Orthodox!!!
Eagle River as far as I know is canonically Orthodox. It is not outside of the Communion of the Orthodox Church but it is outside of what some of us in the OCA consider "really Orthodox" or "like us" Orthodox. Eagle River could only be considered not a choice because it is not like us. As long as we can not see the Eagle River experience (and others like it) equal to our own Orthodox experience we will continue to restrict the vision that our autochephaly should have given us. That being a vision of what "on behalf of all and for all" is really all about.
Does the administration of the mysteries of Christ at Eagle River heal the souls of those entrusted to her care? Now that is an Orthodox question! Does the action of the heirarchs in the OCA prevent the healing of the faithful even as the mysteries are properly administered? That is another good Orthodox question.
The Antiochians, for many (not all) in the OCA, are not really like us. Many still define the OCA (despite all of our pretenses to the contrary) as a particular and narrow type of Orthodoxy. For me a convert it is a different worldview. I have no allegiance to a particular flavor of Orthodoxy. I am so childish that I believe that the Greeks have it as good as us, and that the Antiochians are just like me! God forbid! I said it, just like me!
Eagle River is Not Nash. But Eagle River is Orthodox and that makes them nash to me!. Increasingly, grass root members of the Orthodox Church in America are looking at Antioch as a good example for what the Orthodox Church can be. They are seeing a reality there that is not manifest currently in the OCA. Our own people are seeing a stable Episcopacy capable of leadership. They see assessments caped at 10% of parish income. Is everything perfect in Antioch? NO! At least they have a functioning Episcopacy which has stretched itself to be defined outside of it's Syrian roots!
We are the very last group of Orthodox in America that should at this moment cast aspersions or rocks in the glass house that Syosset has built.
Yet still it is reported to my dear Bishop Job that Fr. Andrew has uttered this unthoughtful thing. Flee to Eagle River for me was nothing more than a statement to flee to Christ where he really is present in the mysteries. Nick is blocking access to him in the places he has authority (the OCA places) so do what you gotta do. If someone has a better idea I'd love to hear it! Alaska is on the verge of schism and the bishops are silent and this dumb priest said he was concerned enough for souls to go to the not nash Orthodox Church in Eagle River.
Shouldn't we be sorry in the OCA for our constant "thank God I am not like those Antiochians or Greeks, or whoever. The agreed upon litany goes something like this: thank God we are not like them with a Ben Lomand. Thank God we are careful with liturgical practices and care about the way the liturgy is conducted not like them. Thank God we do not allow a priest a second marriage like they have. Godliness begins in the knowing of oneself!
We allow those in Episcopal roles to steal from orphans of Beslan. The Episcopacy is allowed to slander men who speak out about the theft of millions. The Episcopacy stands by and says nothing when a Metropolitan tells entire dioceses that they are going to hell and that they work for Satan. They lie and say there is nothing to the allegations and that things have been fully investigated. They have stood by allowing a false bishop to destroy Alaska and have yet done nothing even though according to our own standards of conduct Nick should have been suspended during a real investigation. We have not even approached the subject of the reported homosexuality of some of the bishops. Thank God we are not like the Antiochians? They certianly must be praying that God would keep the likes of this from befalling them and deliver us in the OCA from it quickly.
We have set by and watched a do nothing Episcopacy create a void of leadership that inevitably will get filled by something. The inaction of the OCA's episcopacy has tempted people into that very leadership that Christ himself has given to the Episcopal office. That is in fact the congregationalism and protestant outcomes that Bp Benjamin could identify but demonstrated that he had no understanding where it was coming from. It was Job that was trying to stop it and it is the do nothing attitude of the Bishops and their vacuum of leadership that invited it. This rising tide of "grass roots" leadership has not seen this kind of encouragement since Stalin tried to take the property.
I said over a year ago that this was not a financial crisis but a moral one. At that time I also said that Bishop Job has jurisdictional choices. Boy did that rial everyone up! In the absence of hard choices being made by the Episcopacy people will be forced to make those choices for themselves as we see playing out in Alaska. Now I am not the one saying it, Mark is, and he is right. Alaska, it is reported may have to look at it's jurisdictional choices.
When the people have to lead themselves it invites anarchy. It can invite schism! In this Episcopal vacuum the people are left in despair. The OCA's financial and moral decay will mean that many souls will simply be destroyed as their hope is snuffed out. The one's left over will with their faith small as a mustered seed, (scripture describes their faith as bruised reeds and smoldering wicks) will look for and find that which is Orthodox, even if it is not like us. They will by the grace of God look for a functioning Hierarchy for it is a mark of Orthodoxy. They will look for that place where their souls can be safe and will care very little of what flavor it is.
On that day they will not care if it is Carpathio, Greek, or Rus. They will only care if it is true and can heal their souls. Much of what we have been doing in the OCA is not true! Bp Nikon says we are already going through a resurrection in the OCA. Sadly, Pascha is impossible without good Friday. We have yet to go through the death that repentance brings for even a glimmer of hope of an OCA Pascha.
Right now who is doing those manifest things of Christ the OCA or the Antiochians. I say it again Alaska flee to Eagle River! It may not be the right flavor but it is Orthodox! I won't fall on my sword for a particular flavor. I am in love with all that is Orthodox. And I won't be treated like a traitor for saying that their Orthodoxy is equal to ours. At this moment maybe their flavor is superior to ours for the simple reason that they have not separated faith (what they say)and practice (what they do) in the functioning of the episcopacy.!!
When people look at Antioch they see a concentration of like minded Christians, they do not see Damascus. When we see the Antiochians trying to express themselves in an American context they do not try to make us be Lebanese first. Sounds like us! You may or may not like all the ways they have explored at being Orthodox in America (western rite) but at least they had the courage to try. You don't see Met. Philip granting any more second marriages, and you don't see the vast numbers of convert priests acting in the mindset of Ben Lomand. They have learned from their mistakes. We have not even begun to recognize ours in the OCA much less repent of them.
Nick has a narrow view of what Orthodoxy should be. He has tried to force that on the Alaskan people. There are many others apparently in the OCA that have an equally narrow view. I still think Eagle River is just as Orthodox as I am. It's nash enough for me! Is it nash enough for you?
Fr Andrew Moore
#22 fr Andrew on 2008-02-27 15:35
Dear Fr. Andrew:
You have written in the spirit of St. Tikhon (Patriarch) and St.Raphael of Brooklyn. Thank you for your inspired words.
#22.1 Karen Jermyn on 2008-02-28 07:53
I have been to OCA, Antiochian and Greek churches across the United States. There are two distinctions and one commonality that I have seen. First, most churches West of he Mississippi I attended were less ethnic than those that were in the East, regardless of the jurisdiction. Second, the Antiochians were generally less ethnic than the rest. The commonality is what Father Moore just pointed out: they were (and remain) all Orthodox.
Father Andrew: I say "yes, it is nash enough for me." You are not a traitor except to the ignorant and narrow-minded. You are indeed a breath of fresh air, candid and honest like the Prophets.
#22.2 Carl on 2008-02-28 10:12
May God bless and protect the courageous, faithful, and steadfast priests in Alaska who have suffered enough at the hands of a bishop who has forsaken his sacramental duties, has defiled the holy office he holds, and betrayed Christ and the Truth. We stand with you and pray for you! Do not be intimidated and do not fear, God and the Holy Spirit is with you!
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:26-29)
I am comforted and humbled by all the loving people that are praying for us here in Alaska, Thank you. As everyone can see 'the whole world' knows whats going on, we are standing up- ONLY for love and the salvation of the people, so the churches can be open for everyone to come and respectfully, whole heartedly, peacefully pray. There is no color of skin, native or non-native,rich or poor, smart or ignorant, Antiochan or Russian, big or small, clergy or laity, elders or infants, convert or cradle, as we all should know TO SEE CHRIST IN EVERYONE. I encourage our clergy and people to keep our teachings we have learned from our wise elders, keep vigilant for the evil one knows our weaknesses. So, in all this... we have our word out - we are united as brothers and sisters for peace and prosperity in our churches. In all of this let us be careful with our words, and let not pride swollow us. Or we will let the evil win. Bishop Nikolai, Fr. Isidore, and all the Bishops know what we are praying for and will continue to pray for. Lets keep God in front of us at all times, in our souls, and let not our windows to our hearts get blurred with smears of hurtful words and actions. Let's continue to pray, and give Glory to God. Forgive me if I offend anyone.
#24 ana on 2008-02-27 23:29
Hearing about many orthodox christians not attending church services anymore, Iam worried and very concerned about the future of the Orthodox church in the Diocese of Alaska under the care of Bishop Nikolai. I stand in total solidarity with my brother priests in Alaska and support the Kuskokwim Deanery"s petition to have Bishop Nikolai resign immediately.
#25 Fr.Alexie Askoak on 2008-02-27 23:45
Oh dear, oh dear, how has it come to this? Could it be that the appointment of Nikolai to Alaska is but the final confirmation that the OCA hierarchy is spiritually bankrupt and destitute of moral authority?
Why could they not see that this man was totally unsuitable to be hierarch of such a sensitive eparchy?
I can well understand those who regard this as the death knell of the OCA and who look in desperation to the MP, the Antiochians, nay, even ROCOR as an answer to this predicament.
The only hope for the OCA lies in a decisive resolution of this situation. dear +Herman, act now or see any moral and spiritual authority that is left slip away.
#26 Anthony on 2008-02-28 05:55
Apparently many here did not read what Father Michael Oleksa wrote. When Orthodoxy was founded in Alaska it was NEVER meant to become a "Little Russia." Yes, it took on all the appearances of Russian Orthodoxy, but St. Innocent saw early on that Orthodoxy in North America must take on its OWN Orthodox ethos. It's the 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation adults and converts that want to make Alaska "Little Russia." Or the Greeks making their parishes "Little Greece" or some Antiochians "Little Syria." The Orthodox Churches in Alaska have already taken on their own "ethos," but the current + Nicolai wants to impose 18th century Russia - this is ridiculous. Now, regarding Eagle River, if you go there and see, it is a PAN-ORTHODOX community. Russians, Greeks, Native Alaskans, Converts, etc. are all welcome and worship in the particular American Orthodox Ethos. This is EXACTLY what St. Innocent spoke and wrote about; not a "Little Russia." So, for those who see the OCA Alaskan diocese failing, the answer doesn't lie with Moscow or ROCOR who wish to impose foreign authority over American lands; the answer is in a REAL, INDIGENOUS, American Church which is open to ALL the Alaskan faithful worshiping united in Christ in the True Faith. It really is time for the Antiochians and the OCA to merge as one. This is what St. Innocent spoke of; this is what Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff spoke of and this what none of our hierarchs have taken SERIOUSLY since Ligonier in 1994. WHERE IS THE AMERICAN CHURCH? In "Little Russia?" In "LITTLE GREECE?" In "LITTLE SYRIA?"
#27 Anonymous on 2008-02-28 07:51
A seriously compromised Metropolitan who won't resign - Herman, calling on a seriously compromised Bishop Nicolai who won't resign -We should all retire to bedlam!
#28 anonymous on 2008-02-28 10:49
I want to express my gratitude to the faithful Orthodox Christians in Alaska who have been suffering for so long, in ways much worse than I, and who are being incredibly brave and at the same time loving in coming forward, confronting un-Christ-like behavior.
I have a story to tell too - and the bravery of the Alaskan clergy and laity are helping me be brave enough to tell it.
I was spiritually and emotionally abused by my priest when I stood up to him regarding a church financial matter. When I wouldn't capitulate, he continued abusing his position and power and finally, he used confessional information about me as a weapon, shared the information with others without my consent. I have been trying to hold him accountable for a long time now. Syosset knows what happened, as I finally reported the situation to them. They "investigated". No action was taken - I believe because I refused to sign a waiver promising not to sue them and promising not to talk about what happened - and worse, Syosset is, in my opinion, condoning the abuse of the sacrament of confession by not addressing what my priest did and continues to do. Not only do I have more than one witness and witness statement about this and other violations, but Herman, the entire Central Administration, the Synod, the MC and their attorney all have first hand knowledge of the abuse because the priest, in his anger and arrogance, was foolish enough to demonstrate it to them directly, and yet, they do nothing, in my opinion, but stall, dodge accountability, and worse, revictimize me by for all intents and purposes saying that the confessional violation is my fault - in the same letter as stating they are "concerned".
So, I will keep moving forward toward accountability.....I have to .....and take as comfort the example of the people of Alaska....Paul Sidebottom....the people of St. Mark in Bethesda....the people of Ansonia....please keep me in your prayers and I will keep you all in mine.
#29 anonymous - but not for long on 2008-02-28 10:55
Dear Anonymous, Certainly you are not alone, I have a story to tell as well, and in time mine will also be revealed about the abuse that my family has dealt with over these past couple of years, I too will speak in time,and will not remain quiet for the rest of my life.
I feel your pain, please take comfort in knowing that others do care and are fighting the good fight.
With Love in Jesus Christ, and asking for God to reveal himself to us all in our precious and tender time of need.
Lord have Mercy on Me a Sinner.
#29.1 Anonymous on 2008-02-28 16:01
ear Annoymous,NO PRIEST OR BISHOP has the right to reveal a Confession.I am the priest who posted earlier and evidently led Mr.Tobin to believe that before my ordinaton in ROCOR the sanctity of Confession was violated in regards to my wife's status prior to our marriage.I wish to clarify,NO ONE revealed the sanctity of confession in this case.And yes,I believe the Canons regarding ONE marriage for Clerics and their wives should be upheld.I have a dear friend who was a deacon.Then he found out that his wife's having been married twice before was a canonical impediment to ordination.He turned himself in to his bishop because his conscience botherered him,although his priest advised him to keep quiet abou the matter.Even here,the bishop said,"What if I just let you remain a deacon without the possibility of advancing to the priesthood?" But the man, being consciencious,asked to be deposed,and he was.Sad to say,the wife left not only the former deacon,but Orthodoxy as well,joining an extreme Protestant sect.(The man did meet and marry a very nice Roman Catholic lady:I performed the wedding).Back to Confession,my Bishop in ROCOR told me that even if someone preparing for ordination confesses a sin which would prevent ordination,even then,the priest may NOT reveal the confession,he may only tell the bishop that there IS a canonical impediment, then it's on the shoulders of the bishop to talk to the candidate for Holy Orders and act accordingly.I also heard from a former parishoner that a Russian priest in occupied Yugoslavia committed suicide in his cell,because he feared the Nazis would attempt to torture information gleaned from confession out of him.He took this sin upon himself to protect the confessional.May God have mercy on his soul!In Seminary,Archbishop Kiprian told us that an Orthodox priest may NEVER sit while hearing someone's Confession,because the priest is NOT a judge.That left a deep impression with me,during all; my years of hearing confessions,I would pray NOT to let personnal bias interfere, even when I would see someone who had been antagonistic to me coming for confession.Your priest had NO right whatsoever to use information gleaned during confession and you had every right to complain to Syosset.Archbishop Kiprian,despite my issues with him,was right on target here.Of course, when we dismiss traditional piety and observing the canons as something just "Russian" or "Old World",we do see abominations such as the Sacrement of Confession being abused.
#29.2 Anonymous on 2008-02-28 17:21
WELL SAID FATHER! WHY SHOULD THIS WEBSITE CONTINUE TO MAKE RUDE COMMENTS ABOUT OUR BISHOPS! PRIESTS! YES AND EVEN KONDRATIC! WHERE DOES "COMPASSION " FOR ONE ANOTHER COME IN PLAY? I DONT SEE IT VERY OFTEN ON THIS GOSSIP WEBSITE! IS IT OUR BUSINESS TO KNOW IF KONDRATIC REPENTED OR NOT? ALSO SOMEONE MADE A COMMENT ABOUT MET HERMAN "STATING HE HAS NEVER ASKED FOR FORGIVENESS, BECAUSE OF THIS "MONEY" MESS! BUT ON SUNDAY DO BISHOPS, PRIEST IN CHURCH, EVER TURN TO THE PEOPLE AND SAY THESE WORDS "PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR I AM A SINNER" TODAY! DO WE REALLY FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER? I DONT THINK SO!
#29.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-02-29 18:54
Here's my guess. Nikolai was protected as long as Mr. Kondratick was in charge. Nikolai knew he could do whatever he wanted because he was untouchable. Now, with Kondratick gone, Nikolai is trying to continue as though he is still untouchable. Whatever happened to obedience? Nikolai is asked to take a leave of absence but refuses. In any case, I believe both he and Fr Isadore should be on a leave pending the outcome of the EEOC investigation. They were both directly involved in firing Paul Sidebottom, which has the appearance of retaliation. So how will +Herman and our bishops deal with Nikolai given the outcry from Alaska? Will Nikolai still attempt to bring charges against +Job? The work arrogance comes to mind....
#30 Sad State of Affairs in Alaska on 2008-02-28 11:03
Dear sad state,
Until someone goes to the civil authorities, apparently and unfortunately, nothing will be done.
Perhaps the Lesser Synod will demand a leave of absence at next weeks meeting?
If the Diocescan Heirarch refuses, then I assume that could be grounds for a deposition?
It appears the bishop is more impressed with being a bishop rather than acting as one.
#30.1 Michael Geeza on 2008-02-28 14:35
To the faithful people and priests in Alaska:
You humble me. You remind me of why I became Orthodox. You are so far above me spiritually. If you, who have suffered so much do not loose faith, how can I loose faith over the financial mess and lack of leadership in Syocett?
Words fail me to explain how I feel for you, beloved of God, and how much I pray for you.
I was on the Pilgrimage to Spruce Island a few years ago and was so moved by the spirituality of the native people. May God bless you and keep you and protect you from the Evil One.
With love in Christ,
Linda Elizabeth Weir
#31 Linda Weir on 2008-02-28 15:13
At one level, this crisis is about the moral and leadership failures of the Metropolitan and all of the OCA Bishops (save +Job.) At a deeper level, the thinking of the laity represented on this board who fret about the best way to ‘rescue’ the OCA reproduces in miniature the ‘me-first’ mindset of our Bishops.
The way forward here is not backward into a self-promoting, inward-directed jurisdiction that hasn’t any serious intention to roll up its sleeves and build a unified North American Orthodoxy – the embarrassing expressions of Russian tribalism that one can read in some of the messages above are an unfortunate and unpleasant reflection of this lack of serious commitment within the OCA to evangelizing the continent.
Elect +Philip Saliba as OCA Metropolitan with a merger mandate. Let’s get down to real business and shrug off the current OCA leadership as a relic of the past. Turn a negative into a positive. Will this course create countless new problems? Yes, of course, but far better to spend energy in doing something really significant for the salvation of future generations than on spinning wheels to make the present OCA hierarchs “accountable.”
#32 anon Canadian on 2008-02-28 16:16
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