Thursday, March 27. 2008
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"Abandon Hope all ye who enter here.."; should be the welcome on the OCA's web page. They find new ways to disgrace themselves.
Abandon Hope that the $ynod would do anything other than lift the oriental carpet in Slyosset and sweep Alaska under the bulging rug.
To think that The Holy Spirt would guide and look upon this decision with favor is very sad indeed.
#1 Jim Murray on 2008-03-27 11:55
The Spirit had nothing to do with this! This was solely the decision of a dysfunctional group of easily intimidated men. Nothing more.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…well, in the OCA it always seems to get worse.
#1.1 Staupitz on 2008-03-27 14:19
They caved to threats of their personal exposures. They are hoping against hope that their sins will not be exposed by this capitulation to the bully, currently Nicholai. The SOB is corrupt, to the core. If there was ever a doubt, this proves it. Time and time again when Syosset and the SOB have been given the chance to do the right thing, they do the opposite... always covering themselves in the flowery language of ecclesiastical double-speak worthy of Soviet disinformation. Let us put away all hope of repentance in this SOB and deal pragmatically with our reality folks. This SOB must be disbanded forthwith and the criminals in their midst exposed and prosecuted. There must be consequences, otherwise it will happen again and again.
#1.1.1 Anon. on 2008-03-28 05:49
"They caved to threats of their personal exposures."
So writes one of the contributors to this forum, speaking negatively of the members of the Synod of Bishops. The amusing part, of course, is that the particular contributor in question posted anonymously *himself*, wishing to avoid personal exposure.
May I make a suggestion to the operator of this website? Highlight the text of posts made anonymously in red (on second thought, perhaps yellow would be a better choice) so that we readers may quickly determine if a writer is himself "wishing to avoid personal exposure".
Sts. George and Alexandra Orthodox Church
Fort Smith, Arkansas
#126.96.36.199 Barry Kurth on 2008-03-29 06:52
If that helps you avoid the issues Barry, then you are welcome to believe what you write (which has no substance). What the SOB is doing is very public and scandalous. Why should anyone wish to be sucked into this vortex unnecessarily? My identity is irrelevant to these issues.
#188.8.131.52.1 Remaining Anon. for personal reasons on 2008-03-29 23:09
"My identity is irrelevant to these issues."
Or so you'd like to pretend. Your personal integrity and courage (or, more to the point, the LACK thereof of those desirable human qualities) ARE relevant to these issues, sir.
You berate others for (you allege) caving to threats of their personal exposures, while you yourself continue to hide, avoiding personal exposure. What a tremendous "profile in courage" on your part.
Unlike you, I don't hide my identity. And, unlike you, neither do the members of the Synod of Bishops.
Sts. George and Alexandra Orthodox Church
Fort Smith, Arkansas
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Barry Kurth on 2008-03-31 06:05
While I agree with you, that in most cases, anonymity is undesirable, even the coward's way out when directly attacking others, I do think it is a bit of a stretch to claim that the members of the Synod are not hiding their identity. Since they can't hide who they are, they hide by recourse to secrecy and silence, even in the face of a scandal of monumental proportions that threatens the very existence of the Church (OCA) that they should be prepared to lay down their own lives to defend. The words cowardly and traitorous come to mind.
Oh yes, some have issued statements, that do not rise above banal inanities (save one), but this does not constitute in my mind a true dialogue with our fractured and bleeding Church. They cower in the shadows hoping for the storm to pass or, even worse, arrogantly discount and dismiss all criticism and dissent by contemptuously ignoring it.
#220.127.116.11.1.1.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-03-31 09:30
The anonymous poster is NOT a person in authority as the members of the Holy Synod are, so you are comparing apples and oranges.
People have reasons for posting anonymously. You don't know their reasons and you have no right to pass judgement on them for posting as they do.
To paraphrase the Old Knuts from Lake Wobegon "don't kid yerself....yer not so much" just because you post with your name--which for all we know could be you trying to get the real Barry in trouble, couldn't it?
See how easy it is to start all kinds of trouble for someone if they sign their name? Add in vindictive clergy and similar actions on the parts of some of the more radical element and I'd think twice about posting with my name attached too, if I weren't already a fool.
#18.104.22.168.2 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2008-03-30 05:52
It is obvious that morally and ethically challenged bishops do not have the moral authority, conviction, character, guts, and courage to do the right thing! They are weak and compromised. An unloving, power-mad, and unrepentant tyrant and abuser like -Nikolai can sense this and easily challenge and intimidate them.
No wonder +Job had to get down on his knees, ask for forgiveness, and kiss -Nikolai's hand, even though he did nothing wrong. No wonder +Benjamin jumped in support of -Nikolai and denounced +Job's "interference". No wonder -Nikolai can so boldly continue with his reign of terror and ignore the Synod.
Clearly, nothing substantive and meaningful has been learned from the RSK fiasco, the Bishop Tikhon (retired....of the West) fiasco, the Alaska fiasco, and the millions stolen and wasted from the Church coffers. Back to "business as usual" in the OCA, with more "meetings", "committees", stalls, delays, and other such nonsense for window dressing to fool and distract the sheep.
Let's hope the EEOC can accomplish something since it's obvious our Synod is unable to lead and do what's right, holy, and just no matter how evil and clear the choices.
We are witnessing the end days of the OCA. What a tragedy! My heart is broken, once again. I weep for our poor Church and wonder how much longer we will wonder in the spiritual desert created by our very own bishops.
I would like to remind Mr. Banescu that God can be trusted. This might help him calm down and avoid writing in such an unthinking way, placing his hope in the EEOC.
Since the investigation of Sidebottom's charges against Bishop Nikolai and Archimandrite Isidore completely exonerate them both of those charges, I'm sure Mr. Banescu will understand why Metropolitan Herman's lawyers and Mr. Sidebottom's lawyers are suppressing that report! It's as plain as the nose on any lawyer's face. In the hopes of recovering some face, and praying mightily that the report will never come out, a civil suit with the EEOC is being floated. The most such a suit could accomplish is to hold the Diocese of Alaska, and its Bishop responsible for whatever damages a jury may find appropriate. Being found guilty and being punished by the award of damages, would not make the Bishop ineligible for continuing in his Cathedra. Having to pay damages for (as an example) wrongful termination of employment is not a crime or a sin, and any attempt to hold a Bishop responsible for being found against in a civil suit in a Church Court would be doomed to failure. No basis for charges, and the right of the Bishop to subpoena the actual report would tend to discourage anyone minded to do so, if they were not already pressured by the accuser and his lawyers to keep their mouths shut. For what damages against Bishop Nikolai and Archimandrite Isidore are many loud-mouths liable to be held monetarily accountable? Bishop Nikolai and Archimandrite Isidore, I and others, would not ordinarily contemplate such going to court, but those lawyers of the Metropolitan's and of Sidebottom....let's see how far the EEOC matter really goes, ok?
You've all been eagerly awaiting FBI and IRS attacks against Kondratick, the Metropolitans, etc., etc. Hey, why not keep waiting for the EEOC to do something. There is NO Santa Claus, and there is NO Easter Bunny!
There is comedy though! An Archimandrite in Russia has been clandestinely taping visitors to his office over the years, visitors who are completely unawares. No honest or respectable prosecutor in an AMERICAN court would accept anything recorded on those tapes as anything but polluted evidence. The comedy, however, is that the Archimandrite (and HIS lawyer...who pays him, I wonder) REFUSE to give evidence if the Archimandrite is taped doing so!!!!
I repeat, God can be trusted. If God can be trusted what is all this fuss by those who claim they believe in Him? Oh well, neither Judas NOR Peter thought God could be trusted and both denied Him. WE, however, know of His death on the Cross for us (and Resurrection).
Shame on us if we can't trust Him, even enough to reveal our names! Mr. Banescu got that part right, at least.
#2.1 Bishop Tikhon on 2008-03-28 19:36
Your Grace, kindly go fishing or something. Please. Many of us in the Diocese of the West trusted God, and, behold, you retired. Glory to God! Now stay retired. As it is, you're continuing to make temptation for me. For the love of God, stop already.
#2.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-03-29 10:13
You say that God can be trusted but when push comes to shove you seek shelter in the comfort of the canons, of which you said in another posting that you "tend" to follow. When anyone wants to beat a rap whether in the Church or in the secular world, one goes to reading the letter of the law and whether one has committed an offense depends upon the wording of the law of canon in question, damn the spirit of the canons. What you and Nikolai have basically resorted to is "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is". Have we become a Church that is a canonical police state as you and Nikolai would have us live under or do we fall into the Church that Christ created? We have too much in this mess hidden behind the canons even when they have done nothing but provide cover for any infractions upon the ten commandments themselves!
Do we trust in God and His ability to sort things out or do we resort to the canons which when they were written had no idea of an EEOC or lawsuits for wrongful termination.
We know what your answer is, fortunately others DO trust in God and because of that there is hope that all the less than desirables are removed from their positions of power.
Why should we not consider the promissory note an infraction of Canon 17 against usury?
#2.1.2 Anonymous on 2008-03-30 17:34
I’m not sure how much credibility and discernment ability Bishop Tikhon has left given his, many false and misleading public comments he has made in the past regarding the allegations of Deacon Wheeler (he claimed they were all false), the character and guilt of Robert Kondratick (he did nothing wrong and is completely innocent), and the smears against Mark Stokoe regarding his efforts to bring truth and light into the OCA and rescue it from the dysfunctional culture and unethical leadership that squandered Her treasure and scattered her sheep.
Let’s do a brief review the public proclamations of Bishop Tikhon for a reminder of just how "discerning" this man really is:
Bishop Tikhon on the OCA Financial Scandal and Weeler's Allegations
Posted Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20 on Indiana Listserv
All allegations of criminal conduct and financial malfeasance are false."
Bishop Tikhon regarding Those who Accused Robert Kondratick
Posted on Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20 on Indiana Listserv
"I also must say with all honesty and insofar as God has awarded me any talent of analysis, that *those who are attacking him are beneath him, in a human sense, every one of them*. I am grateful to him personally for many things, especially for his support of me when he has not agreed with me and the support of many, many Priests and their families, but, above all, for the encouraging Scriptural example he has always afforded most consistently: that of being a CHEERFUL giver." I pray most fervently for those who resent that CHEER, whether it's a disgruntled former Chancery worker, an unreconstructed Seventh Day Adventist/Pessimist in my own diocese who runs his own list as some kind of compensation for personal and priestly goals not achieved, a spoiled Protodeacon and/or a disorderly Hierarch."
Bishop Tikhon regarding Robert Kondratick Deserving a Mitre
Posted Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20 on Indiana Listserv
" I would add that the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, has devoted his life to The Orthodox Church in America. He is a *devout Priest*, fulfilling in every respect these admonitions of Saint Paul to Timothy: "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" as well as "Blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, Not given to wine, no striker, NOR GREEDY OF FILTHY LUCRE; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in all subjectivity, with all gravity..."
In the normal way of things, *Father Bob should have been awarded the Priestly Mitre long ago*. Every other item of the blessed apparel of a Bishop at the Eucharist has its corresponding item in the blessed apparel of a Priest, saving only the Omophorion, with which no Bishop may invest a Priest. … I feel it would be even more appropriate for Father Bob to wear one, especially when the Patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople sometimes put him in a honored place at Liturgy, among or ahead of other high ranking Presbyters, both married and monastic, who wear mitres!"
Bishop Tikhon on the OCA Financial Scandal & Weeler's Allegations
Posted on Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20:12 on Indiana Listserv
"The Holy Synod has certainly answered Protodeacon Eric (Eros) Wheeler's complaints long ago and declared more than once that the matter is closed. There is not one word of Scripture or Tradition that requires the Holy Synod to add a word to that, no matter how loud the noises and outcries of this or that claque of malcontents, even if one of the Holy Synod's members acts in a rebellious or seditious, even taunting and challenging way."
Bishop Tikhon regarding Deacon Wheeler's Allegations
Posted Sat, 4 Mar 2006 15:22 on Indiana Listserv
"Our Holy Synod recently held a special meeting to address the unimpeded, unhindered, free-wheeling, irregular, shameless and disorderly allegations which became the source of so much totally unnecessary and uncalled-for disorder in our Church and which were even bruited on the internet and in the press, finally leading senior clergy to cry out for someone to address the lack of control at the top. Most of the allegations had been made by those who followed that canon for scoundrels: "Start at the top and work your way up!""
Bishop Tikhon regarding The Seventy Senior Priests' Letter to the Synod
Posted Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20 on Indiana Listserv
" I'm heartened, too, rather than disturbed, by the absence from the list of signatories to that Priests Soviet petition of those who have a sense of the Church, of decency and good order. As for those who did sign, whew, some of them are considered by their peers to be, as Servant of the Altar, real doozies, industrial strength doozies! But of course, that is unfair to them, They've been given a bad example and rather twisted leadership. It's perhaps odd that more of them are not real economy-size doozies!"
Bishop Tikhon regarding Robert Kondratick (Ode to Kondratick)
Posted Sat, 4 Mar 2006 15:22 on Indiana Listserv
"I know of single human being alive in our Local Church today who has done more for more people in this Church than "Father Bob." Before we had a program (often considered the answer to this or that problem) to assist the Clergy when there seemed to be no possible recourse at hand in the Church, there was Father Bob. Even though we now have a very good "Pastoral Assistance" program, I know that recourse to Father Bob personally remains the best possible solution in some cases. I would hesitate to estimate the unwieldy inundation of paper that would load down the Syosset Post Office at some future date if, on the occasion of his retirement, a call for personal testimonials to being helped by him or Bette by letter were to be solicited!"
"That and *the loving image of our Local Church as exemplified by both Father Bob and Metropolitan Theodosius*, would not have taken place as it did, without their preparing the way for it.
I hope that our Church leadership will find a way, perhaps after the Spring Session of the Holy Synod, to *cite this outstanding model of a Christian Priest and his wife*. I'm only writing this now because I feel that SOMEONE should do so, especially during a period when Father Bob has been the target and focus of most of the egregious behaviour being tolerated on and on and on and on, and Bette both have endured ***unimaginable" calumnies and abuse"
Bishop Tikhon regarding OCANews.org
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 3:34pm on Yahoo Forums
"ocanews.org" seems to be candidate for either the Banality Ribbon or the Duplicitous Ribbon this year; however, I'm sure the Award for Disingenuity will eclipse them both, just as the Academy Awards eclipse the Golden Globes and the Directors' Guild."
Bishop Tikhon regarding Mark Stokoe's Efforts
Posted Tue Jan 10, 2006, 1:47 pm on Yahoo Forums
"Not much has been heard or seen of Mark, in public, that is, until this latest promise of being able to get someone through another fishing expedition, masquerading as the all-holy and sacrosanct American Gospel of Accountability, according to this or that Apostle of the Constitutional Church."
"I believe the only mention of accountability for the finances of the Church to be found in the Tradition is in the demand for accountability by Christ's "Economos", Judas Iscariot, who objected to the funds of the Apostolic College being expended purely at the First Hierarch's (i.e., Christ's) DISCRETION."
Bishop Tikhon regarding Fr. Thomas Hopko Comments on the Crisis
Posted 4/4/2006, 3:34 pm on OCANews.org
"I am perplexed by the role of faculty members, clergy members of the faculty of Saint Vladimir's in advising Your Beatitude and/or fomenting greater disorder and chaos. I'm especially perplexed by the *irrational advice gratuitously afforded me and others by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko*, who may be having some kind of stress incident. He first wrote us that the ONLY solution was his advice. No sooner had he done that, than, after the sensational and scandalous and arbitrary discharge of the Chancellor, he generously afforded us copies of the wisdom he has dispensed to the Metropolitan Council!
I have my own diocesan council, and a Presbyterium second to none. What do I need with a dogmatic theologian's, (I should say, 'popularizer of theology for the educationally challenged') kibbitzing advice? *Any matushka and many other ladies in all my parishes have as good a grip, as advanced piety, and as many brains as Father Thomas Hopko*. His letter to the Metropolitan Council is an unconscionable and mob-inciting RANT. What arrogance and self-delusion! He and that Protodeacon Danilchick, former Exxon or Enron accountant are, I understand, among Your Beatitude's most favored advisors, though why anyone would curry their favor is way beyond my ken."
There's more, much more misleading, vile, and false accusations that Bishop Tikhon has spread publicly about anything and anyone (including deacons, priests, bishops, presbyters, laymen, etc. etc..) who dared challenge the corrupt and dysfunctional culture in the OCA and tried to help the Holy Orthodox Church. One only has to do some research on the Indiana Listserv https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A0=orthodox and www.ocanews.org to locate many other countless gems.
Given what we now know and the mountain of evidence that has shown that the allegations were indeed TRUE, it make a mockery out of the public reassurances and comments Bishop Tikhon has made to the entire church and how far from truth and reality he really is.
There’s some usefulness to being a lawyer who actually cares for the truth, for reality, and justice, even if you become one more target for a retired hierarch who seems to care little for the truth, for integrity, ethics, accountability, and genuine love for the sheep and Christ's Church.
There is an old saying that one should make one's words sweet because one might have to eat them some day.
I can picture Tikhon gagging right now grimmacing in pain as dines...
#2.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-30 18:22
Thanks to Chris Banescu for re-publishing some of the high points of my contributions to this peculiar site.
By the way, I STILL, in reference to the original letter of Protodeacon Eric Wheeler to the Bishops, which has NEVER been published on this site, state "All allegations of criminal conduct and financial malfeasance are false."
All this time, the only thing readers and writers on this site have ever seen is the opinion and evaluation (without documentation) of the subjective hypothetical opinions of some who have asked and answered, subjectively, questions NOT in Wheeler's letter.
I do not consider any of this post to be a rant; however, I don't believe that "ranting" has EVER prevented Monsieur Stokoe from printing any of my messages here. Nevertheless, I will be surprised if this reply to Chris Banescu's "kitchen-sink" but, somehow flaccid broadside precis of my writing appears. I'll survive.
I never did hear what Archbishop Job and the rest were being blackmailed by Bishop Nikolai FOR. Previously, when I mentioned that, Mark didn't let it through. Was that a "rant", Mark?
(Editor's note: Yes.This one is not. And as for Deacon Wheeler's original letter, you are incorrect. Much of it is available on this site under the Documents section. You, however, as a member of the Synod, have a copy of the full letter. I do not . Since you criticize me for not publishing the full letter, which you have, and I do not, I will take the example of Mr. Nescott to James Silver: Put up or shut up. And let me be very upfront - I will not publish a rant in reply. Publish it or don't. )
#2.2.2 Bishop Tikhon on 2008-03-30 19:18
Seriously, can anyone have confidence and faith in the SOB with decisions like this? With decisions of covering up the financial mess for years? With their inability to bolster credibility in the entire OCA? It really is time for all of them to submit their resignations and let's start over.
#3 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 12:10
This is what happens when the requirements for Bishop are lower than the requirements for garbage collector.
The only requirement for being bishop is you must be able to act well so that you can appear to be a man of God and that you have to be able to keep secrets. For that they will pamper you and people will fall at your feet, kiss your hands, and wait on because you were a hat with a veil on it and walk real slowly to make people think you're suffering in your position as bishop. It takes no special talent to be a bishop in the OCA. There's no floor to what we will consecrate!
#3.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 13:48
Nah --it's simpler than that. The only requirement for bishop has been that you have some weakness that will allow you to be controlled.
-NS has just figured out that the only bar to actually controlling the synod is being ruthless enough to use all those weaknesses.
#3.1.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-03-27 14:58
No, there is also a physical. One must be single & male. high standards to meet to be sure.
#3.1.2 anon on 2008-03-28 10:07
This has gone too far for Bishop Nickolai to cover up his issues with Alaskan people and intimidating the holy synod bishops. If OCA wants to send Bishop Tikhon and Archbishop Nathaniel, they both should travel to all the orthodox villages of the yukon/kuskokwim and other parts of Alaska to hear the laity what they have to say and how Bishop Nickolai had treated elder/children and adult very harshly. The TRUTH will come out. I am sure of it. Hope God guides the ones who will listen to our cry.
#3.2 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 11:40
What good will his reinstatement make? If you really want him as your bishop have him. Keep him out of Alaska! I sure will not serve or go to any of his gatherings here in Alaska. I guess my whole family and I will have to turn to a different religion once he is back. So I guess the next step for most orthodox christians in Alaska is to look for another religion with a leader that is not abusive. Who wants another TSAR here in Alaska? I am just a laity speaking for myself and others who are tired of threats from your bishop Nikolai especially through media!!! And for sure he will not change and nothing will be the same!
#4 anaan, 2008 on 2008-03-27 12:27
At first too, I was ready to abandon the Church when I read the announcement. However, as a wise priest told me about a personal matter, despair is the work of the Evil One. There is talk here in Kodiak of a "boycott" (I have no idea among how many) of the Church. My suggestion for Alaskans is "protest" services for those still attending Church and those who left within the last 7 years - i.e., reader services outside the Churches. Let the two investigating bishops know how many people haven't attended Church for up to the last 7 years as Bishop Nikolai's behavior or edicts pushed Christ's faithful out the door. Many reference Bishop Nikolai's attempt to reinstitute "19th Century" Russian Orthodoxy, but the Native Alaskans, who received their tutelage from 3 (count 'em, 3!) 19th Century saints of Russian background, preserved their faith for over 100 years without help from the outside world. They had remarkable, well-educated readers who faithfully transliterated liturgies, hymns, etc. It is they who preserved "19th Century Russian" Orthodoxy - only to find out from Bishop Nikolai and recent converts that they don't worship "correctly". Somehow, I'll take their simple, devout faith over Bishop Nikolai and his defenders' "order". The Native Alaskan Orthodox have withstood the Methodist, Baptist and Catholic missionaries to whom Sheldon Jackson gave religious authority in Alaska; they withstood the nice American GIs' looting of their Churches in the Aleutians. Surely, they can withstand Bishop Nikolai and his ignorant supporters. The question then becomes how they can regain the physical churches which they preserved and - in some cases literally - defended, and the way is not to give in to the Evil One and despair but to continue - not by going to Church in passive acceptance of the rule of Evil but by continuing to stand against it. At this point, perhaps the last stand will have to take place next week - round up all those who oppose this Evil, including those who have been banned from or avoided the Church during Bishop Nikolai's reign. Show these 2 bishops how many of the faithful Bishop Nikolai has alienated by holding protest services in whatever cities or villages they go. Perhaps a head count by these bishops of those inside versus those outside the churches will reveal the extent of the problem and the need for the Synod to take action.
#4.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 15:01
Dear anaan: I would urge you to reconsider. Nikolai is not the reason you go to church. You (we) go to church to worship God and to partake of His Body and Blood for the salvation of our souls. What other religion offers this?
#4.2 Michael Strelka on 2008-03-27 15:32
I agree. Only avoid the particular church where Nikolai is at. Go to another church if possible, or stay home and pray -- anything is better than being soiled by his presence.
#4.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 00:22
Thank you for reminding not to turn to some other religion. You are right. I personally do not attend church for bishop, but to glorify God and to pray! You just gave me an idea of boycotting when it comes for the tyrant to park to our parishes. Yes, yes that is exactly what I will do!! Thank you!!
#4.2.2 anaan, 2008 on 2008-03-28 12:16
Nakleng!!! Wangkuta yugni Agayumacirput teguumiaqlaut. Let's follow our Faith. Don't blame on anybody for the path you and your family are going to take. Do whatever you want to do and let us not know, it is you and your families decisions.
#4.3 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 23:49
anaan - One must be strong and brave to leave the church, but there is a life after the OCA. I have found it and am enjoying focusing on Christ's teachings, love, and my fellow man. I am not torn apart with disappointment and anger at misguided OCA heirarchs who have no conscience. God is love. Love is gone from Syosset other than love of self. My discovered serenity is a balm after struggling with my long ties to the OCA. May you and your family also find this peace.
#4.4 Anon on 2008-03-28 11:05
Now folks, let's just calm down a bit.
We all know that Bishop Nikolai probably came to this meeting waiving the Canons and insisting he has done nothing Canonically wrong, and therefore taking the attitude that you guys (HSOB) can't do a thing to me. Right??
Maybe, just maybe they are finally learning how to play his game.
Okay, sure, we'll send a couple of brother bishops up to Alaska so that they can conduct whatever investigation it is they intend to do, just so that we're playing by Canonical rules.
I for one absolutely refuse to believe they aren't planning to do something much more constructive than this.
They know + Nikolai by now and understand how he operates.
That being the case, why not follow the letter of the Canonical law now, appease him so that he will no longer provide interviews, press conferences, etc., all the while claiming the bishops aren't following the rules of the church, and then, once Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Tikhon return to the lower 48, provide their report to the HSOB, then THEY, the HSOB, will deal with the Bishop of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska, render a decision and NO ONE can then say they didn't do it the Orthodox way.
I can be dead wrong in my assumptions, but I'd like to think the HSOB learned a valuable lesson from the financial fiasco regarding the former chancellor, realize they can no longer try to lead like they once did (not) and continue to endure the public bashing they've taken over the last couple of years.
Let's just be a bit patient and see how this plays out. I think they know what they're doing on this one. Surely by the next Synod meeting in May, this ordeal should finally be resolved one way or another.
While we are in the midst of Great Lent, all of us, myself included, should not be out for blood, but rather pray and trust the Holy Spirit will guide our bishops to do what is God's wish for our beloved church.
If nothing else, let's make a concentrated effort to dwell in unity during the remainder of the Great Fast..
#4.5 Michael Geeza on 2008-03-28 11:23
Well as a villager here in yk/delta area it is very heartbreaking that the HS of bishops seem to be ignorant, Bishop Nikolai, please ,if you really love and respect us please leave Alaska peacefully, we will forgive you. I know that I an not an intimidating person but you will not take my faith away just because you have a “title’ as a ‘Bishop”. And I beg you not to travel to the villages since we don’t know how to treat you now, where ever you go you will only scare us away.
And it would help if you stop making media appearance since your reports and comments are so getting old. O yeah, it’s all about you and your appearances, I forgot.
Please ‘’Bishop Nikolai’’ resign from the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska.
#4.6 ataan'aq on 2008-03-28 12:27
I guess the people that are writing these bad letters to stick on this OCA bulletin board are the ones that are going to be afraid to face him. Nakleng!!!!!! You don't tell anyone to get out of anyplace or anywhere, if you listen to your ELDERS what do our elders tell us??? Does anybody know??? Reading these comments you all have been posting about: our elders and how we really respect them, why not listen to them??? Wangkuta nepaunata yugni uitaurarkauyaaqukut, cat assiilnguut uniitaarluki ilagautevkenata. Someone started this and it's like a fire now, it's getting bigger and bigger. When is this going to end??? Nepaitengnaqluta. Anglill' tunernaqvagceta.
#4.6.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 21:13
Aklleng! that is pitty in yupik. I know you are fellow yupik, know that I can read your grammer. I applaud that you keep our elders qaneryaraq BUT, we cannot fear a man that keeps joy and Love out of our churches. The fear that we feel for God should be greater than the fear for princes of men. Jesus Christ preached to people and corrected men of the earth, and he suffered more than we will ever. He never stood silent when He knew of things that weren't right. He gave us an example. If you keep silent of something bad, especially towards Gods people, in a way becomes your sin. And how will we answer to God when the day comes? We need to sacrifice ourselves to Christ, and I'm sure our tegganeqs would agree, ask one today. We keep our qaneryaraq but, it should always be God first.
#22.214.171.124 Wiinga on 2008-03-30 00:33
With whom are these inquiring bishops going to talk with? All the clergy have just attended the diocesan council and spent their meager salary on travel. They told Fr. Alexander Gerklavs that they can't serve under this bishop. No one can afford another $1200 trip from Unalaska to repeat themselves. The story heard will be mostly bishop Nikolai's and Fr. Isidore's .
It is an dreadful betrayal of us all alaskans.
Fortunately the OCA is not the only diocese here.
#5 Benjamin on 2008-03-27 12:30
Of course, this is something that the HS has absolutely no understanding of. They have no idea the expense of travel within Alaska, nor the limited resources of the people in rural Alaska.
I will make this offer. I will personally help a priest who cannot afford travel to meet with the bishops if they will contact me personally. I hope that others will also help.
Fr. Daniel Swires, email@example.com
#5.1 Fr. Daniel Swires on 2008-03-28 18:54
So, the Synod has taken of it's mask. It has made it plain that as far as the spiritual welfare of the diocese of Alaska is concerned they don't give a damn.
Incidentally there are other dioces in Alaska besides the OCA where the clergy and parishioners are not trampled upon. Good bye OCA!
#6 Polly Miller on 2008-03-27 12:43
My Dear, the Synod of Bishops cares about no one but themselves, it's all about them!
#6.1 MP on 2008-03-28 12:31
Well, what did I tell you. The chicks were counted before they hatched and now all we have is a basket of unfertile, rotten eggs.
Remember the cryptic comment about this whole thing going international? Well, why do you think the OCA was not allowed to serve at the funeral form Met LAURUS? Why do you think the Greek bishop of Boston fired that shot at the OCA for its' naming a bishop in Boston? These were just shots across the bow.
I shall continue to wait in Alaska. But what I am wating for is the retributions to begin. And mark my word, they will begin, and soon.
If bn was serious about changing his image/restoring peace, he would have restored Protodeacon George Nelson from the suspension he is now under. This has not happened.
There is no joy in Mudville tonight.
#7 Waiting in Alaska on 2008-03-27 12:59
You have got to be kidding. Enough is enough with the OCA. I live in area where the OCA is our only Orthodox church and since I have been a member of the OCA-- born Cradle Greek--the last 5 years I have seen a panopoly of ridiculous caricatures act as bishops.....It is time for this "experiment" to end and for the financially.... solvent Greek and Antiochan diocese to absorb this catastrophe. The western states are in need of immediate help. This "outfit" is incapable of governing itself. We have crossed the line to even continue to call this organization a church.
#8 anonymous on 2008-03-27 13:00
Well, it's not unexpected but, it is so very, very sad!!!!!
All the work that went into the building up of Christ's Church reduced to ashes.
Dear people, the only way we will be freed from the evil one's control of our Church, at this point, is when all of these men are DEAD
So very, very sad.
#9 Alexander Ivsky on 2008-03-27 13:07
Let's not utterly lose hope. This is bad, but it is possible that what's happened is that the Synod's decided that, for tactical reasons, they need to go back and do this very strictly by-the-books. Perhaps they even got a call from Moscow or some other local Church, warning that +Nikolai would get a hearing from them if the Synod kept to this tack. Or maybe the Synod members thought +Nikolai might be able to accomplish something in the courts, somehow. Or maybe his arguments started to convince a couple of other bishops, putting their unified front against him at risk.
In short, maybe this is only the start of a process of making the case bulletproof. If so, that means that the Synod acted irresponsibly before -- especially in that they got everyone's hopes up -- but carelessness is better than evil, and far more correctable.
Oh, how I hope this is correct.
#10 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-03-27 13:19
dear fellow Christian;
I'd like to beleive this; but if the SOB wanted to do this 'by the book', they could have put forth charges and suspended Nikolai. The leave of absence thing was just plain the wrong approach. My theory on that is that the bishops wanted to spare Nikolai the humiliation of suspension. But since Herman was also insisting that Nikolai not be commemorated, etc. there was an inconsistency in that; AND Nikolai went on the offensive and showed how irregular and --yes; we probably have to admit -- unccanonical the imposed leave of absence was. So, when offered a means of saving face; Nikolai instead came on like a pit bull and ; knowing him ... what else did the SOB expect. So basically all this is just another example of the ignorance of the SOB, its total inability to lead. Now again; you may be right in your theory, but how can we expect Herman and the Synod to really 'do it right'? .....
I wonder if the Antiochians would accept my parish . . . .
#10.1 AnonPriest(Arch.ofC. on 2008-03-27 16:56
I'll admit I gasped when I read the headline.
If Bp. Nikolai really wanted to take whatever action is necessary to restore peace, he would resign today. What is worse, the Synod's announcement shows them taking no real responsibility for the outcome. They have simply sent two bishops to do what Fr. Garklavs was already sent to do-- to inquire-- and then to report, at a regular meeting no less. Meanwhile they have cut Bp. Nikolai loose.
I would like to think they are doing what they are doing because they hope this attempt at the appearance of impartiality will help them make a solid case for deposition. Well, no one has explained to us ordinary folk why any such case is needed--the tonsuring of a recognized, even convicted by the laws of the land, sex offender is a deposable offence. Why are they afraid to take the decisive action needed? Why, after the mess made by hiding and denying the financial troubles for so many years, have they not learned their lesson? Why does it still take outcries from many, many people, undeniable evidence on the internet, and the attention of the news media, to get anything at all done? And now even that appears to be coming to nothing?
This is not only about getting Bp. Nikolai removed (desperately as the suffering people and clergy of Alaska need that)-- it is about whether we want to live righteously in the OCA. Again and again our leaders fail to give any credible explanation for their failure to protect and guide the flock.
Dear Hierarchs-- so many of us have wanted to be patient, to give the benefit of the doubt, to keep hoping things will finally start to get better-- but when you act as a group, at every turn you disappoint our hopes. Worse, you blame us for not just shutting up about things-- even though what little progress we have made in our ongoing crisis is thanks to the whistleblowers like Dn. Eric Wheeler and the reports on this site. You shoot the messengers who bring you the bad news that all is not well, then you clumsily try to cover it up and pretend things are all right when they are not.
I want very badly at this point to sign the petition and these posts with my own name. Why do I not? Because the endemic troubles of the OCA have a local effect. We have wolves in our neighborhood, and our shepherd has not dealt with them, and does not want to hear about them.
Yes, I still hope that Nikolai will ultimately go, though my heart goes out to the suffering people of Alaska as he returns there. I'm waiting, yet again, for a better development in this whole saga, but it is getting harder and harder not to become cynical.
#11 Valentine on 2008-03-27 13:21
Ladies and gentlemen,
There will be lawsuits. What happened after the Synod deep sixed the report about Isidore? Paul Sidebottom went to the EEOC. What's it going to be this time?
When people don't fear God but fear the civil judiciary you have to fight them where they will respond. Fight them where they are scared and that's with the earthly authorities. You must believe in God to fear God.
Put on your seatbelts. That EEOC complaint, I'd be willing to bet, will become a full fledged wrongful termination lawsuit.
(editor's note: The EEOC complaint charges sexual harrassment and retaliatory dismissal. No lawsuit has been filed, although, one should expect one in the coming month, once the EEOC process is completed.)
#12 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 13:24
So, is this all about Nikolai staying on so the RODA pays his legal expenses to defend against the inevitable lawsuit?
Maybe sell some land to get the best lawyer that corrupt money can buy?
#12.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 14:51
This just makes me sick! Is there no courage to do the
right thing in this Synod?
Nikolai never should have been
accepted from the Serbs in the first place
Looks like the only criteria to be a bishop are 1) Orthodox 2) male 3) single and 4) breathing
Check your spine at the door and come on in!!
#13 Pauline Costianes on 2008-03-27 13:24
We know with the former bishop of the west, tikhon, that education isn't a requirement. We have shaky stories as to the educational credentials of Nikolai as well.
A few years back Nikolai tried to push his boy, Isidore, to the episcopacy. His accomplishment making him worthy? Housemate of Nikolai. Consolation prize? A mitre and more time with papa! The interview was a complete failure, word has it, and we have been spared of another nightmare bishop running around claiming to be infallable and God's gift to man. This is probably around the time that Nikolai still had, and probaly after today they are as strong as ever, delusions of being Metropolitan. If it came down to this Synod casting the deciding vote on it, you can bet your bottom dollar he'd be Metropolitan.
#13.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 14:20
Don't forget, the synod does have the deciding vote on it. They proved that the last 2 metropolitan elections. The clergy and people are insignificant as long as the money keeps coming in.
#13.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 00:27
Why don’t we just cut to the chase and admit the OCA failed. It’s time to start over.
#14 A Stunned OCA Priest on 2008-03-27 13:31
The OCA didn't fail, the people failed.
In the greatest land on earth with some of the most brilliant people to grace this planet, we have to suffer through the low lifes in the Synod we have now?
That's what failed, the idea is still worth fighting for. We owe it to our parents, grandparents, and others who worked their duffs off to build up this church. A bunch of lowlifes like we have on the Synod should not be able to destory the work of many thousands of people preceding them.
#14.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 13:56
Re: "In the greatest land on earth with some of the most brilliant people to grace this planet, we have to suffer through the low lifes in the Synod we have now?"
Is this "greatest land on earth" great in the eyes of God?
How does America measure up to:
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Are the "most brilliant people in the land" shining with the Uncreated Light?
The systemic problem of the OCA is that its laity, clergy and hierarchs have conflated America's "superpower status" in this world which is marked by material wealth and military might (all worldly marks of greatness) with the OCA's spiritual identity.
Not in vain has the Lord warned us, "Beware the leaven of the pharisees." Sadly, this leaven is working its way through the whole of the OCA.
#14.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 08:38
Slava Isusu Christu!
What a horrible shame all of you are for carrying on like this! Like a bunch of spoiled schoolchildren-who want the liberty to do whatever they want. Why not become independent of organized religion (that is what your attitude expresses)--there is always a superior who is going to do things the way you don't want it to be done--that is life in every vocation, but the Bishop is a full ikon of Jesus Christ and even if strict must be obeyed, unless he is an apostate. I cannnot believe this un-Orthodox nonsense. And that comment about the Czar was plain ignorant and definately a sign someone is not Orthodox in belief.
(If you don't post this I am speaking to the owner of this malicious un-Orthodox Forum!)
Alexis in Sitka
#14.2 Alexis on 2008-03-27 14:52
The bishop, Alexis, is an icon of Christ if, and only if he acts like Christ. Otherwise, he's just a man with a title and some vestments. Like Nikolai. Enjoy your Kool-Aide.
#14.2.1 Scott Walker on 2008-03-27 18:57
I am with you and May our Lord Bless you.
#14.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 19:51
14.2.2 was for the one befoe 14. I am with you.
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 15:25
You want Orthodox?
- How about sexual morality?
- How about financial moral responsibility (really, how many vestments can one man wear)?
- How about conciliarity?
- How about compassion?
- How about honesty?
- How about basic, good, old-fashioned respect?
If you can understand any of these questions, share it with your so-called bishop because he honestly doesn't have a clue. Me, me, me....that is his main concern.
Remember, there are those who have known him for many years. I, and obviously the moderator of this forum, respect your right to express your opinion. Your zeal to defend a bishop is commendable to an extent, but don't over-step your place. It could just make you look foolish.
PS...God bless the Czar. He was a good man. Truthfully, he had many more of those above-mentioned qualities than Nikolai.
#14.2.3 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 00:35
The Bishop an Ikon of Christ? You've got to be kidding. And the Czars? Those same Czars that stole Alaska from us and then "sold" it to the Americans? Again, you've got to be kidding?!? I am a child of the Kaagwaaantaan Artisocracy in Sitka and I would love to know what you are doing there?
Delusional man, to say the least. If you are Tlingit, rise above your colonial conditioning man! The Creator gave us free will to think for ourselves, that's what it means to be made "in the image of"!!!
Moses the Tlingit
#14.2.4 Moses on 2008-03-28 10:58
Moses the Tlingit. Please pray harder for argueing will not take you anywhere but find yourself destroying yourself. Please pray for me too. Using that Tlingit make me think that is prideful. I am sorry forgive me.
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2008-03-29 00:47
Destroying myself? Please. Pray harder and stop being dramatic.
#184.108.40.206.1 Moses on 2008-03-29 10:37
One more time... the only positive way forward here is to leave this mess behind and pursue Orthodox unity in North America through electing Metropolitan Philip as OCA Metropolitan asap. Failing that, individual parishes should flee the OCA and join with Antioch asap. Who can concentrate on prayer in the midst of such a soap opera scandal? We humble OCA parishioners and priests are all victims here but this most recent betrayal of the Alaska faithful plumbs new depths. Enough of trying to refloat the OCA boat... its already sunk... are we obliged to go down with it? (I don't sign my name because I fear retaliation - doesn't that say it all?)
#14.3 anon Canadian on 2008-03-27 15:05
You have it right. Any semblance of integrity is gone - the flock has been abandoned in Alaska. How do we start again? Any suggestions.
#14.4 Rich on 2008-03-27 15:37
Start over? Why start over?
THEOCACNA was the original unified Orthodox Church in North America. Though at times a rag tag band of misfits, they have faithfully persevered in their faith.
It's time to start over!!?? " NO", The best thing is for the OCA to just tumble down period...All of this crapt will never be resolved, this soap opera just goes on & on... What a total DISGRACE the OCA has become..In world wide Orthodoxy we have become a JOKE..There is so much dirty laundry scattered everywhere that it will never be cleanned throughly!
My heart weighs HEAVY for all my brother's & sister's in Alaska...What a JOKE to send Bishop N, & Tikhon to Alaska...How many rural priests can even afford the travel expenses etc. to meet once again..Will Bishop Nick be picking up the tab? These remote priests & other's aren't ignorant, they know nothing will be resolved...
To the Alaskan faithful in remote areas :may you find some peace being so far away from your false shepherd...
To those in the city find another Orthodox Church to go to & let this false shepherd sit alone in "HIS "Cathedral...
In the mean time I will only support my local church here in OHIO ,& pray for the day when we can be free from the OCA period....
#14.5 Anoymous on 2008-03-27 15:38
Dear Fr.,I'm afraid it's a sign of the times we live in.Our society is going to hell in a handbasket and so is the church,we in ROCOR face a similar situation where a corrupt bishop supposedly has the "goods" on his brethren and therefore they can't do anything about him.It sounds like Bishop Nikolai.I currently serve in another SCOBA jurisdiction.I've thought of asking Archbishop Job for a parish,he's an old friend,but who knows how long he'll be able to hang on?
#14.6 A ROCOR Priest on 2008-03-27 16:15
may be this was the right decision for the time being.the investigation must be conducted by bishops.being mean is not enough ground to depose a bishop.vladyka KYPRIAN was not very nice either,although he essentially was a good bishop but just not very pleasant.and by the a way he had been married,he was a widowed archpriest when he was elected to be bishop.these issues are very complicated.patience is needed here. i feel for the people who have been hurt and they must continue to speak out.just keep in mind that in our days ,,especially here in the western world ,a bishop practically has no power,especially over the laity.what can he do to a layman,refuse the mysteries,just go to another orthodox jurisdiction or pray at home before the holy icons.if you have wrongfully been mistreated or accused or abused GOD and HIS MOST PURE MOTHER and THE SAINTS will not abandon you with their grace and protection,as long as you are faithful to THEM and totally honest in recognizing also your own faults.if you are being talked to rudely,you tell him at the very moment,loud and firmely DON'T YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT and walk away.should he then attack you,press charges ,take him to court.for clergy who's livelyhood may depend on the priesthood the issue becomes more difficult because the bishop has canonical power over the clergy.That is why i would tell any young man before entering the seminary,MAKE SURE YOU HAVE OTHER QUALIFICATIONS TO MAKE A LIVING besides the priesthood.in conclusion i would like to add that this comment is general.i have never met vl.NIKOLAJ and could not say anything about him.May be as a symbolic gesture,send him lots of candy for PASCHA.TO YE ALL IN CYBERSPACE,LETS HAVE A BLESSED LENT SO THAT WE REJOYCE IN CHRIST'S GLORIOUS RESURRECTION.
#15 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 14:23
>being mean is not enough ground to depose a bishop.
Tonsuring a convicted sex offender is, regardless of whether he later agreed to annul it.
Lying to the Synod about WHEN he annuled it (the young man served AFTER the bishop said he was no longer a tonsured reader) is too.
Evicting a widow from her home may not be, but probably should be.
There are numerous other things this bishop has done as well, though they are less authoritatively documented.
His meaness is irrelevant, true, but his deposable acts are not.
#15.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 22:36
How many thousands of dollars were spent on this canonical abortion (travel, legal, etic.), money the OCA doesn't have! Garklavs, Herman, et. al need to GO and GO Quickly! Larry, Moe and Curly......Herman, Garklavs, Kucynda...the hits keep on coming!!!
#16 Peter Pappas on 2008-03-27 14:24
Luckily those that work in corporate America can still work under people who have some level of integrity. Whatever you may want to think, corporate integrity is by far higher than Synodal integrity because corporate America has standards, something sorely lacking, even though they have taken vows to follow the Gospel in Synod. For all they believe they might as well have taken a vow to a comic book.
Just think about it. If these guys were around when the Church was just starting out and persecution was rampant and early Christians were being martyred, we would not have a Church today.
#17 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 14:34
What a spear in the side to the Alaskans!! The SOB has betrayed us and whoever they send had our priests waste money! So I encourage our priests not to attend the same old crap!!! They will not listen!!! Those bishops whom they are sending will not listen either another waste of money! They are part of the Nikolai clan!!! If they really want you OCA will pay all expenses of all of our priests!! So according to OCA and SOB Alaskan's are nothing. So my dear brother's in Christ, if they cannot listen let us form our own Orthodoxy of Alaska here? Either split up or convert to Moravians!!! There are a lot of them, and they don't seem to have problems!!!
From humiliated and betrayed Orthodox thinking of converting!!!
#18 Anon on 2008-03-27 14:39
We need to pray for the 41 clergy who attended the meeting with the chancellor. Their courage in standing up for their people and for Christian decency in the church is about to be very, very unkindly repaid.
God help us all!
#19 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-03-27 15:01
41 dead men walking
#19.1 no name on 2008-03-27 19:50
Married bishops have already proven they have some stones.
Time to change tradition here in the New World.
#20 AnonyCat on 2008-03-27 15:39
I am disappointed in all of you.
Most of you just spent the last week complaining that the OCA was being uncanonical in its investigation. Agreeing with BN's interpretation of the canons that a bishop can not be told to leave his diocese and that he can only be investigated by bishops (something I disagree with, but no matter). Yet now when you get what you want you get all up in arms. BN has been officially recalled from his leave of absence which you all called uncanonical, remember? He is now being investigated by the Synod itself, which is what you called for, remember? This is what you wanted, so let's not act all shocked when we see it happen.
The bishops will investigate, yes. Let us call on them to take their investigation seriously and to listen carefully to the complaints they have received, whether written or heard by Fr. Garklav's the past few days. Let us call on them to make a careful, prayerful, and courageous decision, one that even BN will be unable to stand up against even with his incessant whining. This is what we want, no? Then let us give them time to do their jobs before we accuse them of failing before they have even begun.
Maybe Cappy was right, maybe we really are a bunch of belly-achers.
#21 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 15:41
"Most of you just spent the last week complaining that the OCA was being uncanonical"
Were you and I perhaps reading different forums? I know I said this, but I don't recall getting very many "amens." And, for my part, I'll tell you -- I was hoping, deep down, that they had other, solid charges they were going to bring. I mean, either charges that were too sensitive to make public at first, or ones they pulled together after +Nikolai complained. After all, he's done enough that he could be charged with!
Know this: even if the Synod really is intending to go back and do this by the books, the people have a right to be angry over what has happened. To have those beleaguered -- and far from wealthy -- clergy travel from all over Alaska to meet with Fr. Garklavs, and then to hang them out to dry! I mean, +Nathaniel and +Benjamin will need over a month to get their "report" ready for the Synod? The Synod can't even bother to have another special session?
To raise the Alaskans' hopes like this, and then to say, "Oh, whoops! Never mind. We'll be sure to deal with this down the line, though" -- unthinkable!
#21.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-03-27 19:33
"I was hoping, deep down, that they had other, solid charges they were going to bring. I mean, either charges that were too sensitive to make public at first, or ones they pulled together after +Nikolai complained. After all, he's done enough that he could be charged with!"
Yes, but charges need to be investigated, no? So far all the Synod has before them are allegations. In order to actually charge anything they need to investigate those allegations, which is why Fr. Garklav's was sent to Alaska, and why Nathaniel and Tikhon are being sent there now. No investigation was complete when they met (even Fr. Garklav's investigation was not complete though its no matter now since he's not a bishop, hence his findings are now deemed irrelevant). Charges need to be verified, with sworn and substantiated testimony. Until the Synod has that, they can do nothing to BN.
#21.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-29 07:06
If the EEOC finds in favor of Mr Sidebottom, then we can see what happens next.
If Mr Sidebottom chooses to file a lawsuit, then he will have to face the inevitable countersuit.
Since Mr. Sidebottom is not a member of the OCA, one could conclude that his motives are not about the OCA but about hurting the OCA.
For all of you who were stunned, understand this, the Holy Synod was presented a very compelling case by Bishop Nikolai. In the face of such a case, they saw the ERROR OF HERMAN and said to all of us, THEY MADE A MISTAKE.
THAT is taking responsibility for their actions. Also it should be noted that Fr Garklavs totally made a fool of himself in Alaska and DID NOTHING to get to the bottom of the issues there.
Tikhon and Nathaniel will go to Alaska next week WITH THE FULL AGREEMENT OF NIKOLAI.
HERMAN was exposed today for his stupidity as the first bishop of the OCA. Garklavs was exposed today for how inept he is to be called the chancellor of the OCA.
The OCA will not turn the corner on its recent history until Herman is gone and all those who have been put into office by Kucynda are swept out too.
The battle is still on and Nikolai will need to prostrate himself before his clergy and BEG THEIR FORGIVENESS. He will also need to face the fact that all those clergy who do not accept his sincere forgiveness need to decide if they can work with him to rebuild trust or for them to move on.
Nikolai must learn from this situation. He must change.
The question now becomes can we who have condemned him as guilty, especially those of us who are not part of the Diocese of Alaska, also forgive and let the Holy Spirit work in the Church and not just this site.
I applaud Mark for providing this site, but the internet is a two-edged sword and in the final analysis, the Orthodox Church is a Hierarchial Church, like it or not.
(Editor's note: Thanks for the compliment, but you are wrong, wrong, wrong. You are wrong in asserting that Paul Sidebottom is out to hurt the OCA because he is not a member. How do you explain his going to Alaska to work under difficult circumstances for the OCA in the first place, his not being a member? You are wrong in asserting Fr. Garklavs represented the OCA poorly in Alaska: certainly none of the priests he met with ( 41 our of 45 in Alaska) has said so - in fact they said the opposite. You are wrong in asserting a hierarchical church inevitably implies acceptance of abuse, or one should " move on". Reasonable people may agree or disagree with your other opinions, but on these three you are dead wrong. )
#22 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 16:12
One can speculate on what the expectations were of Paul Sidebottom when he went to Alaska.
One can speculate on the role that Fr Garklavs played in this.
But the result of today's meeting is clear, Paul Sidebottom is on the outside looking in and so it Fr Garklavs.
Abuse? Maybe, depending on how you define it. But if the Bishop of Alaska repents, then what is our defense to question his repentance?
Will we now have a repentance police in the Church? Why not just bring back the Spanish Insquisition!!!
(Editor's note: No one has questioned the Bishop's repentence, not that he has made any known. But there are many abuses, actions, etc., for which one can repent, and find forgiveness, that nonetheless disqualify one from maintaining an office one has held. The canons, which the Bishop loves to cite, are full of these. It is not inquisitorial, Spanish or otherwise, to recognize this judgment of the Church through history. It is common sense. )
#22.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 19:39
"You are wrong in asserting Fr. Garklavs represented the OCA poorly in Alaska."
Well, I'd say setting them all up and then pulling the rug out was pretty poor work. Of course he performed well in a room full of people he had been sent to agree with. But was he so naive about the other end of things? I don't expect parish clergy in America, who are almost universally swamped with work, and especially those who must also do secular work to feed their families, to have a handle on the minute dynamics of the Holy Synod, or even the canonical tradition as it regards the deposition of a bishop.
But Fr. Garklavs? What's his excuse? You didn't (for whatever reason, perhaps technical) post my earlier message, asking if what that letter said was true -- that Fr. Garklavs' response to being challenged was to suggest that laity couldn't fathom such mysteries, and to tell them to "follow orders." You know, you can tell a lot about a regime by the way it treats its dissidents, be they right or wrong. (Or haven't you noticed?)
It seems like, for the Synod, this was never about what is Orthodox or even merely what is just in a human way, but about who had the most power, and may the best thug win. Perhaps that is why we laity -- along with Fr. Garklavs, if the letter is accurate -- were never provided with a good explanation of the canonical issues. Because, who cares? For a while, the odds on "people power" looked pretty good, so who needed substance? (Not that there wasn't plenty of substance lying around -- but why bother engaging it?) But then +Nikolai came back with -- something -- and suddenly his odds were better.
At least that's how it looks to me. In any event, I hope the Synod is sending this new delegation to build a substantial case -- that they're doing it right, even if it's only because they have no choice.
God help me to keep hoping. I guess we'll know soon enough.
(Editor's note: I have no writ for Fr. Garklavs, but I do for the facts. As reported today, Fr. Garklavs did not pull the rug out on the priests in Alaska. He was not allowed to appear before the Synod, nor present his report. Perhaps he should have kicked the door in and done it anyway. Perhaps he will in the future if circumstances warrant. Nevertheless, your arrows should more fairly be shot at the person who prevented rather than the one prevented. That would be the Metropolitan.)
#22.2 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-03-27 20:32
You're right -- the issue here is Herman. He (of course) was the one who sent Fr. Garklavs. The thing is that, just because of that, it's only on the basis of his actions in Alaska that one could judge the Synod. What was his brief? If the Downing letter is to be believed, he was sent -- on behalf of the Holy Synod, which is why one should care -- to side with the overwhelming majority and to answer dissenters' questions by telling them to can it and follow orders.
Was he really sent with no good answer to the challenges +Nikolai's supporters would make? If so, it bothers me greatly, not only because the Church's representatives have to pastor every Christian; but also, and even more, because it suggests that actually there is no good answer.
I think the overwhelming majority is right about +Nikolai needing to go, but I suspect that it was not their rightness that made the Synod decide to side with them. And I suspect this because of how they -- and their representative, if Mr. Downing isn't a flat liar -- have been acting. If that's how it is, then the Alaskans will find that the enemy of their enemy won't stay their friend for long.
Surely you have to contacts to find out if these claims have substance. (I mean, did Fr. Garklavs really lead off his questioning asking about the land? It's seems too convenient a portrait to be true -- but, then, remember just who he was representing.)
FInally, I'm sure Fr. Garklavs was as shocked as anyone about the reversal. I was only saying -- and it was a minor point -- that I thought he shouldn't have been, that for the reasons I named he should have known better than to tell the Alaskans this was going to work. I suppose it was a side-effect of virtue -- that he believed what he was told, and that if he told anyone to "trust the bishops" and "follow orders" it was because he himself trusted them. It took a lot of courage to write that letter. God help him.
#22.2.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-03-28 16:05
Garklavs was used. Herman uses EVERYONE and then throws them away like used paper towels. I treat my recycleables better than Herman treats people. Garklavs and Kucynda taught that they were going to rule the roost. Naught! The fun has just begun, trust me!!!!!!Herman will throw anyone under the bus (like the entire OCA)
#22.2.2 MP on 2008-03-28 16:16
Mark is far too kind!
I just love the commentary that comes forth from the element you so perfectly typify on this site (always anonymous by the way), that castigates Metropolitan Herman, etc. for not being ENOUGH of a tyrant and autocrat. No doubt most of it comes from the remnants of the Kondratick regime, embittered over his fall from grace and preferment by the powers that be.
The only contribution you have to make is to make Herman look good by comparison with your ranting megalomania and lust for hierarchical control and dominance. Unfortunately, a time machine is not yet available to take you where you truly belong and where you would be most happy.
#22.3 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-03-28 05:54
I have a different take on all of this...
Bishop Nikolai finally got a bowshot.
Rather than a black or white, he's a great Bishop or a condemned Bishop mindset, doesn't some middle ground seem appropriate?
If the Oleska termination stands, I would never agree with the Synod's action, but during Lent, we all need to work to forgive the sins of each other along with our own. Contrary to the teachings of Islam as I've been told them, we can forgive, it isn't only God's right.
I am not a fan of Bishop Nikolai. I believe his school of thinking is greatly explained by the letter of Kishkovsky in the OCA newsletter this month, however, I believe in the general goodness of people and I believe he can be a good person especially given he understands when he is not and is held accountable in a timely and responsible fashion.
The next 6 months will be telling. If he embraces those that were against him rather than firing a bunch of priests, it would say a lot. If he fires some of the 45 or so priests in a retaliatory measure, the Synod should act or bear the consequences of nonaction.
Those consequences will be severe. The most likely result for a lack of transparency and a lack of ethical and decent behavior including no wrongful terminations will be a civil suit against the Synod and MC for breach of fiduciary duty. If a lawsuit from Sidebottom prevails, and Nikolai is still in power, I'd suggest another lawsuit.
I pray they will do the right things. Now from a wiser man than me...
O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,****
of lust for power,****
and of vain speaking. ****
But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
and of love. ****
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages.
One final question for the Synod of the OCA. How was Bishop Nikolai held accountable for kicking a lady out of her house without notice? In most civilized societies, this action is only allowed by the police when lives are at stake. The action is unforgiveable without reprimand or unless the person who was acted against unjustly is given a forum and publicly forgives the villian. Saint Ephraim didn't help us here.
#23 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-03-27 16:23
I have been an Orthodox Christian for many years, and my ancestors have carried on this tradition since the early Russian Missionaries came here. But it is time to leave the churches associated with OCA. It is obvious that the synod is ineffective, they just rolled over for this tyrant. Makes me wonder how much corruption runs throughout OCA. I am leaving OCA and taking my family with me. Thank God the Antiochians are here, perhaps we may find refuge among them. I guess the old saying is true: "There is no honor among thieves.
#24 Peter on 2008-03-27 16:29
Well, just from reading the insightful comments above, I don't think the OCA has hit ground zero yet.
+Nikolai has just let go of too many good people. What I have read about his actions he just sounds plain MEAN (And I though +Tikhon was bad who just didn't plan CARE; and I thought +Herman was bad who just didn't plain GET IT). I really feel for all the Alaskan clergy up there. They could petition another jursidiction. I don't doubt what they might do.
There is just too much nonsense still going on for the OCA to stablize out yet. The bottom is yet to come. The AAC should only confirm this.
#25 Patty Schellbach on 2008-03-27 16:58
This should be the final proof needed that there is no reason to have an AAC. Why do we need to have a big corporate event when Herman and his goons on the Synod are going to do what they damn well please no matter what ANYONE else has to say. In fact, the only person that has to go is Nikolai because its obvious that he's the person running the show at this point. Hopefully his bank account is big enough to handle the money that's going to dry up all the more. Oh, wait! He can sell land (what he hasn't sold yet)! How did we forget THAT?
If anyone talks seriously about the AAC after this comedic tragedy today they are not firmly rooted in any reality as normal people know it.
#25.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 20:28
As Lord Action most appropriately verbalized, " Power tends to corrupt, but, ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.
Closer to home, Abraham Lincoln once said, "most men can handle adverstiy; if you want to know the real character of a person, give him power." These quotes seem very applicable to the problems seen with the Synod, Bishop Nikolai, with the administration of OCA and the Diocese of Alaska, in particular.
A solution must include asssertive action my the laity. It must refute and abandon its subservient role in the Church; it must reassert actively that IT, NOT THE PRIESTHOOD OR BISHOPS is the body of Christ.
In the time of Christ, Judaism had a priesthood, now it does not. Yet, that body which is Judaism remains as viable as ever.
The action of the Synod very much reflects I Corinthians 13:13, with the Bishops being as hollow bell.
How shall these men stand before their Judgement; what excuse shall they give for allowing the flock to scatter? I would like to be as a fly on the wall when that day comes.
One thing for sure, their actions certainly put my sins in a proper perspective.
#26 Joe Beckford on 2008-03-27 17:18
Great. The OCA spits in our faces during Lent! But what do I know? I'm just an Indian.
If this is "Orthodoxy" I want out...
Moses the Tlingit
#27 Moses on 2008-03-27 17:24
Dear Moses, The Synod of Bishops is not the OCA, and even the OCA is not Orthodoxy. Clergy and faithful throughout the church are praying for our brothers and sisters in Alaska. I don't know what will happen, but many, many of us care deeply about you. I won't say don't give up, it would be too easy for me to say when I am not in your shoes-- but still, we are praying for you.
#27.1 Valentine on 2008-03-27 19:08
On Monday, March 24th, The Holy Synod to meet, was the topic for the day.
My posting was #3.1, and I said the that this meeting was going to be another B - -L S - -T session, and our beloved bishops, or what ever they are??? did what I forcast they would do. They are ALL spineless, and not worthy of being a priest let alone a bishop.
Now, more than ever,I have no respect for those guys.
When this FIASCO started to be revealed to us, I made a statement to STOP THE FLOW OF MONEY, it will suck the oxygen from those spiritually bankrupt clergy in charge of this once Beautiful Church.
Gee, what a naive bunch. How else could any sane Orthodox Christian expect the Holy Synod to react with all of the talk on ocanews about forcing the whole "SOB" to resign and the laity voting in a whole new Synod, even throwing in a call for a married episcopate!
It's obvious even to this non-OCA Orthodox layman, that if the Synod gives this mob an inch they'll take a million miles.
#29 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 17:54
ICHABOD! The glory hath departed.
Today we can lament that the curtain behind the Iconostasis has been torn asunder from top to bottom and the Royal Doors ripped off their hinges. The Sanctuary is vacant. The Tabernacle is empty.
Oh the shame! The disgrace! Wolves are allowed to feast on the flesh of the sheep. No one will stand for what is true or righteous. The powerful are allowed to abuse the lowly while the Pharisees parade in outward show in their splendid vestments.
Arise, O Lord! Arise, and uproot the serpents that creep forth in Thy vineyard! Save thy flock before the Wolf of Souls devours them all.
#30 Tikhon Griffin on 2008-03-27 18:01
#30.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-03-28 05:37
The SOB just doesn't get it! This is the last straw. People vote with their wallets and their feet. If they think money has already dried up, just wait. And when clergy and lay people continue to leave to the Antiochians & Greeks, what will these fools of the SOB do then?
"The Orthodox Church exists in spite of it's hierarchs. The Holy Spirit has to be here!"
#31 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 18:19
Oh please. Stop with your outrage.
Are you going to stop giving to your parish because of what happened in New York? If you do, then you have an issue with your priest and not with the Bishops.
#31.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 22:06
What's in the envelope? What is it that Nikolai is holding above all their heads that they essentially crumble in his presence? Whatever it is, it better be good, because this gathering of church leaders continues to shamefully choose its own self-preservation over the good of the Orthodox Church in America. How else could you explain their bizarre flip-flopping? Shame Shame Shame!
I say it's time to begin the preliminary preparations for Dr. Meyendorff's proposal and try to salvage what, if anything, will be left of the OCA during the November AAC. There are too many good men and women who have worked for the good of this church to let it all fall to pieces.
#32 Lynn on 2008-03-27 18:22
Slava Isusu Christu!
Antioch is not 'greener pastures'. The OCA is not 'like the Titanic'. There is no other "diocese" in Alaska other than the OCA diocese--the creation of an Antiochian diocese is non-canonical--but, so are all the other Jurisdictional claims in Alaska--the Russian mission was the first diocese in North America and the canonical prize-winner of the territory of North America:) Bishops come and go, period. Institutions tend to stick around, especially religious ones. So this nonsense about the OCA crumbling is the stuff of Youtube conspiracy theorists.
Now since the OCA is the Church of Christ and has not been deemed uncanonical, except by Old Calendarists--which really means nothing since they anathatize everyone practically--respect is due for OCA hiearchs and the Synod.
Orthodox are monarchists and follow a monarchial episcopacy. You wanna have your ecclesiastical Boston Tea party--be a congregationalist--Orthodoxy doesn't seem like your 'cup of tea'--Don't use words like conciliarity and Sobornopravna without using them in the context of Orthodox tradition. Some models of Church are defective and the ocanews American 'demos' or mob- rule model, where the laity can use media campaigns to remove leaders, is not even Protestant at best--even Luther directed submission to lawful authority in the Gospel. Orthodoxy is a word you clearly do not comprehend, or may be misapprehending because of improper formation. Let me give you the lowdown. The bishop is the Catholic Church, with him there is the mysteries, which is also the Church, and by being in koinonia with the eparchial bishop you are a member of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Laity and clergy who unlawfully dissent by disobeying or slandering their ruling bishop because of leadership style and not because he has been deposed seperate themselves from the Catholic Church. That it what it means to be a Catholic, plain and simple.
There are alot of people here who have seperated themselves from the Church or will and are going the way of the Novus Ordo liberals.
(Editor's note: The truly sad thing is that you have confused obedience with the "fuehrer-prinzip". The Psalmist tells us not to put our trust in princes, nor in sons of men; and that includes Orthodox bishops. They are our leaders, often for better, sometimes for worse. But blind obedience to them will not save, nor would any honest and caring bishop lead you to believe it could. Those who drove the trains to Auschwitz were only doing their patriotic job in a time of war, only obeying lawful orders, and never personally killed anyone. Yet their obedience directly led to millions of deaths. One has to ask: how do you think they will answer at the dread judgment seat of Christ? )
#32.1 Alexis on 2008-03-28 00:08
I wonder if the atheist Bolsheviks would have lost in the Revolution if the hierarchs who followed the "monarchist" principle hadn't been in place - given the atrocities committed against innocent monks, priests and nuns at the hands of the Bolsheviks and Stalin, I often wonder if that was not God's way of reminding the Church, including its laity, to take a stand against the evils of worldly concerns. Bishop Nikolai, in his interests and behavior, frequently reminds me of the worldly Russian hierarchs whose interests and behaviors inspired the horrific murders of hundreds of thousands of God-fearing clerics. Furthermore, Alexis' description of the cleric-layman relationship strikes me more as Roman Catholic than Orthodox Catholic. Our bishops are, yes, supposed to be obeyed by dint of the grace conferred upon them at consecration, but what does one do when an evil minion sneaks in? Your solution, Alexis, is to obey evil. There are some of us who do not condone hysteria, but not fighting evil is to allow it to win. The question simply then is how to fight without succumbing to evil in going the other way. How does one protect the church when it is under attack from within and without? Again, prayer; again, reader's "protest" services AT but not IN the Church - worship God, but demonstrate that the Church is harboring evil within itself and not confronting it.
#32.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 16:06
Let's keep perspective. Yes, there has been MUCH failed leadership in the past.
There has also been no final ecclesiastical decision on Bishop Nikolai's future - or anything else. Those who had inflated hopes or expectations for this week's session, despite advise from seasoned people that the time is far from ripe for a decision, are now very, very disappointed.
It is very hard to blame them. Perhaps, however, it is possible to advise or console them, not because this should or will go away quickly or easily or come out in Bishop Nikolai's favor, but because God and the Church have been in the business of dealing with leadership difficulties for millenia, especially if you count the OT as I do. A guy we all recognize as an expert in Orthodox Church government used to go around to churches "exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22 ASV) And note the "many" and the "must."
Later, after he had years more of experience, he told others in the stunning farewell to the leaders of the Ephesian church:
"..grievous wolves shall enter in among you..." AND (hear, hear ye FEW pessimistic partisans of the internet who believe that only the bishops have warts, the sky is falling, and they have been anointed to decide and spread word of the complete demise of the OCA) "from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things..."
(Acts 20:18-35 ASV)
There is so much wrong to be righted. Based on the power of God to raise one from the dead who had carried the weight of all human sin, if it is really His Church then change is truly possible to move mountains for those who have faith the size of a mustard seed. Yes, there are people in the way who seem have egos fears or blind spots the size of mountains who could stand to trade them in for XXXXXS mustard seed.
I for one continue to hope that people will continue to express great firmness here while coming from a more steady, patient inner balance than their current disappointment might normally allow: Sure it is tough. I had it tough in Ben Lomond for about four years before our split and four more or so after. Join the club, and if your stripes and bruises were bigger I will gladly yield my place in line. I know some here have undergone vastly more than I.
But I am not just talking in the abstract.
The modern spiritual Father Vasileios, former abbot of Stavronikita and Iviron on Mount Athos, wrote a wonderful analysis of the indispensability of the role of the laity in true, Orthodox trinitarian leasdership in Ch. II of Hymn of Entry, SVS Press (1984) "The suffering and the struggle inherent in the universal responsibility of the laity is something which has cost and continues to cost dearly. It is painful for the whole body of the church, and for that very reason leads to salvation." Find it and read it. What a consolation!
For various reasons, not the least of which has been long experience with certain imperial bishops who did not believe, teach or live this doctrine of indispensable lay involvment in authentically trinitarian government of the Church (as far as we can tell) the people have been slow to take up this role, or in the case of a few, to exercise it responsiblywhen they try. Those who decry the tumbrils and the guillotine, though, need only look to the ancien regime for the inspiration - abuse begets reaction.
We can and must with God's help rise above what the world thinks, believes, does, and endlessly repeats without learning.
Meanwhile what of substance has happened in the last week or so? Fr. Alexander visited to do the spade work. Two bishops are being sent to investigate very shortly. A questionable (but perhaps necessary) temporary tack has been abandoned so that resources can be focused on doing what is right in the right way.
I am wiling to wait and see what will happen, and to encourage responsible and firm lay participation in the meanwhile.
#32.2 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-03-28 14:06
I am saddened by the actions of the Synod today. It is clear they don't have any backbone to stand behind their previous statements. And for a moment assume that +N is correct about the canons, don't these holy men(SOB) understand the canons well enough to do things the right way? STOP SENDING MONEY TO THE OCA, STOP PAYING A$$ESMENTS,LACK OF $ IS THE ONLY THING THESE GUYS UNDERSTAND! One crisis after another, nothing ever resolved, lack of Christian morals, it will never end!
How long do we have to endure these ungodly princes. All of you bishops if you love God and his Holy Orthodox Church please announce your retirements tomorrow. You all are unworthy of your office. Again another Great Lent distracted by this OCA crisis. Forgive me for ranting during this time of the year.
#33 David Rudovsky on 2008-03-27 19:00
This may be it for me
#34 LInda Weir on 2008-03-27 19:09
Do you have some more "reflections" from our clergy or seminary professors or other church leaders lined up? Do you know if the senior archpriests or any other groups (such as the deanery in the Midwest that spoke out before) are planning any response to this latest travesty?
Is there a 'last straw', and is this it, or are we waiting for the AAC in November?
And what happens to the camel if it is the last straw? I suppose I am asking everyone, not just Mark....
(editor's note: I cannot speak for everyone, but everytime someone speaks of the last straw, I am is reminded of that old classic - "There's a hole in the bucket".... For those who do not know the song, it begins with the attempt to fix a hole with straw, but it never ends. After an inordinate amount of excuses as to why the hole cannot be fixed, the singer always ends up back at the beginning, with straw that is too long. Too often, these days, it seems the OCA is no different.
It is curious, isn't it? Our Lord preached the entire Gospel, worked miracles, died, rose and ascended into heaven - in three years. In the same period the OCA can't even clean its own house. )
#35 Valentine on 2008-03-27 19:22
Dear Metropolitan Phillip...
#36 Another priest of the soon-of-blessed-memory OCA on 2008-03-27 20:11
I expect Herman, now that's he wedded to the canonical process and the statutes to revisit the deposing of Fr. Poulson, I believe it was, who Nikolai brought up two non diocesan priests, Kondratick (what a surprise) and Brum, to serve as judges at his trial. Its another case where the process is used to protect the guilty and ignored when the deviants want to get to the end point no matter the means.
Nikolai, what say you about THAT? Oh, sorry, you don't answer to anyone, how can we forget?
#37 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 20:18
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ-
As shocking as this turn of events may be, the voices here by and large sound like whining children. We sound like a people devoid of all hope.
Have we forgotten that Christ is the head of the Church?
Why do we talk of abandoning the Orthodox Church?
Why do we attack the venerable Traditions of the Church?
Have we entirely forgotten the Master Whom we serve?
Will we abandon Him?
This is where Satan will win, when the faithful become so dismayed at their disapproval of the bishops that they are willing to go somewhere else. What is this of the Church? The Church has always been filled with sinful people who make terrible decisions. And what have the people done? Stood up for the Truth! Prayed and fasted and offered their lives as living sacrifices, so God would spare His People! Remember the Old Testament Prophets. Remember the fight for the Holy Icons, the people stood for over 100 years against the heretical hierarchs. But they did not abandon the Church!
Pray, fast, offer your repentance for the sins of your brothers in Christ, but be very careful not to abandon Christ and His Holy Church.
My prayers for you all,
Priest Matthew (DOS)
#38 Priest Matthew on 2008-03-27 20:22
Notice to everyone and especially to Fr. Tassos. We expect to see a line item on the next financial report to show us what this farce cost us today. I'm sure it will be buried in some line item like, oh, "Postage".
Fr. Tassos, we will remember and will be looking out for it. If its not there we'll remind you. We have long memories in case you forgot.
What did it cost us, no doubt in the many thousands, to fly these guys in for a day to roll over and have Nikolai throw them a bone after which they wagged their tails to show their happiness and scattered back to their holes.
#39 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 20:23
Get real. If we saw a line item for BN problem on a budget, that would be pure comedy.
Seriously, those costs ultimately land in legal.
#39.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-03-29 21:53
"Please tell me this is a pre-April fools joke!"
Why? Why should we take this? We know it's not from The Holy Spirit, because we know God to be a Loving God, and He is the very Love we have in our churches.(when BN isn't there.) To hear him laughing in the Alaska news tonight we are peirced in the heart. Our yupik elders spoke of this years ago; "A man will come to tear our church apart, be aware. He will come with decieving eyes and heart. Do not let him destroy our God Loving Church". Is this the very man they spoke of? I believe so- God forgive me. Everyone young and old are so broken hearted today, and to tell them yes, our very own church leaders are allowing him to come back. If only the bishops with loving hearts could see the hurt in their eyes turn into anger!!! So very sad, and we are in our journey for Holy Pascha. We know that God hasn't abandoned us, because He never will. And I hope and pray our people will not convert to other churches- we cannot let this man win. I am pleaing for everyone who reads this that they will pray for our people not to convert to other churches here in Alaska. If you personally know these bishops please make every effort for them to open their hearts and let God in. We know BN has a very painful, dirty secret that he is holding back everyone involved to do whats right. Bishops, it is your call to sacrifice for the Love of God, for the hundreds of people. Even people who are not from our church know why he has this power to hold men captive. Today I was asked by co-workers "Doesn't your fellow Orthodox people see they allow homosexuals to serve in the churches?" How hurtful this was. We all know, and have been reading and hearing people to forgive, as we will be forgiven. It can't happen instantly, and yes we forgive- we cannot allow same things to happen again. So, even if we forgive BN we can't accept him as bishop here. We won't see it in him. As Mina Jacobs had repeatedly spoke of verses in Matthew- Yes. But, the Greatest Commandment is LOVE, and God is LOVE. So, we will continue to serve God but, not the man who wants to be recieved like The One. Bishop Ben, you personally know us here- you ate with us, you laughed with us, you cried with us, prayed with us, and you celebrated Feast of Feasts with us. Please make a difference! Forgive me as I am very upset- pray for me. Again, I encourage everyone to pray fervently to God and all His Saints that God through the Holy Spirit will enter the hearts of the bishops and let our churches be free of BN so, we can celebrate Holy Pascha with joy and love as we proclaim our Risen Lord. Forgive me a sinner.
#40 Wiinga on 2008-03-27 20:25
Why are so many of you inclined on saving the OCA?
"EVERYTHING " about it is CORRUPT & TARNISHED, & The good days of Metropolitan Leonty are long gone..The orginal tree he planted & envisioned for America is now reaping ROTTEN FRUIT..
In my opinion the down fall of the OCA started when M Thed. took the poistion...Was not B. Dimitri the one with the most votes??? Then same crapt happens when Herman somehow gets the poistion when Bishop Seph.once again had the most votes....Nothing like mixing politics with religion!!
Let's face it folks the truths are never gonna be revealed, & how many truthfuly want to hear more & more of this misery that is like a cancer that never goes away.. Our faith is being shattered, GOD does live & reign outside of the OCA!!
It's time for parishes to hold meetings , then meetings at the deanery level to pettion our churches out of the OCA...We live in AMERICA, there are other jurisdictions that "HAVE" changed to the usage of English in services that we in the OCA have come to appreciate...You have the Carpatho, Bulgarian, Antich, Ukra. (MP, ROCOR,Greeks at a lower level as far as incorporating ENGLISH into a service that the majority can understand & appreciate)
#41 Anoymous on 2008-03-27 20:30
This afternoon in Alaska there was an earthquake= 5.2 mag. Even our great state itself is so hurt by the news. This is just the beggining.... Lord Have Mercy!
Anna (not "the humble Anna" from that Diocese of Alaska post)
#42 Anna (not the "humble Anna") on 2008-03-27 20:34
Is it possible, just possible, that we can wait to see how Nikolai reacts upon his return to his diocese.
Is it possible, just possible, that we can suspend our judgment and see if it is possible for Nikolai and his clergy to be reconciled?
To all those who wish to put a knife in the heart of the OCA, I say to all of you, shame, shame shame.
My God, can any of us possibly think that maybe we are wrong in all of this and that our Bishops have a better view of things then we do?
God forgive us for our arrogance.
#43 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 22:03
Archpriest Alexander Garklavs did a splendid job interviewing the clergy and concerned laity in Alaska the last two weeks, and wrote an excellent, lucid and forceful report. His Beatitude did not read it or copy it to the other bishops, so they began the meeting no better informed of the situation than three weeks ago. The Synod operated and deliberated in
the dark about the basic facts, so the made a poor decision. But Alaska is only getting what Alaska originally requested: an investigation into their plight. The process may take longer, but truth will prevail eventually. Then we need to believe that the Holy Synod will act appropriately. This is not about canons. It's about people, the salvation of souls, and in a wider sense, the survival not of just Alaska as an OCA Diocese, but of the OCA itself. If the Synod cannot intervene in such an obviously deplorable situation, how can anyone have confidence they are competent to deal with anything?
#44 Alaskan on 2008-03-27 22:10
Many years ago, I lost a close friend suddenly. I feel like I did that terrible morning she died; not only grief, but disbelief as well, bordering on denial: "This just can't be real." For a week before her funeral I expect to see her. It wasn't until I saw her laid out in the middle of the church, that I fully accepted the reality.
I want so badly to believe that the bishops have a plan, that there is more to this than meets the eye, but it seems like a fool's hope. What reason do I have left to have any confidence at all? What kind of cruel joke was it to have Fr Garklavs go to Alaska only to have this happen? That's what it feels like. if the reversal is indeed because of procedural questions, why didn't they just suspend him instead of putting him back into a position of power? The thing with Dushkin should have been enough, one would think. What must those poor priests in Alaska be thinking? What of the laity? I see here comments from people saying they're leaving the OCA, and perhaps even the Orthodox Church, and I can't blame them. How could I ever explain this to a non-Orthodox person?
I expected Bishop Nikolai to accept the decision of the Synod, now I must too. We'll see what the outcome is in May.
Lord, have mercy.
#45 Anonymous on 2008-03-27 22:39
Dear Alaskan Faithful,
Remember one important fact (as sad as it is) when it comes to this synod -- MONEY TALKS.
When those bishops come up there, tell them straight out that you will build a church next door to every OCA church under Nikolai, you will all leave the OCA churches, and you will petition the Greek Archdiocese to start a Metropolis of Anchorage in order to minister to the deserted Orthodox Christians of Alaska.
If the OCA wishes to abandon you in your time of despair, then you can easily find another jurisdiction who will truly act like "the Church". My hunch is that the synod really wouldn't like to face an Alaskan "walk-out".
#46 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 00:48
So here is the crux of the problem.
You have a dirty Metropolitan. You nave a subordinate with issues.
The problem with this whole thing is that Herman cannot discipline any of his staff, as he has this pesky little multi-million dollar financial scandal that he is embroiled in. Any effort for Herman to come down on his people, results in his people threatening to come clean and put Herman possibly behind bars.
Herman MUST go! This is a side affect of the original cancer that is consuming the OCA. The OCA is feeding on itself right now. It has been for years.
#47 Robert Holowach on 2008-03-28 03:34
I do not sign, as now we are in the crosshairs of BN. The Holy Synod has freed him to do what he wishes. As we have heard, the Metropolitan received the report from Fr. Garklavs but did not make copies or present it during the meeting. BN took over the meeting and spoke to them holding the dirt he had on the other Bishops in his hands. HE BLACKMAILED HIS WAY BACK! This is a Bishop? This is who we are speaking out against. REMEMBER HE BLACKMAILED HIS BROTHERS! this is a brother? this is the image of a blackmailing ICON OF CHRIST? I for one am sickened to the pit of my stomach. and now he is freed from his chain, with saliva dripping from his canines as a wolf in the trees, looking at the sheep whom he loves to eat. This is what we are looking at in the future of our beloved Diocese of Alaska. The Mother Diocese of the OCA, who may soon lose it, to another jurisdiction. Bishop Nikolai and Archimandrite Isidore, continually look into these websites, and write posing as other people, so do Deacon Pontelamon, who was forced into monasticism by Bishop Nikolai. He wanted to marry, but was forced instead by Bishop Nikolai. This was sad to see, because Paul (Pontelamon) was a wonderful person before he was cloned. I have alot to be bitter about, the OCA giving us +Nikolai who tortures us, abuses us, and belittle us. Then we turn to the Synod for help, but they betray us, and leave us with the WOLF OF SOULS, who keeps dirt on his BROTHERS, who Kills off those who do not blindly follow, who will DRIVE the Orthodox in Alaska to other faiths, such as Moravian, and Pentacostalism. This is the future we see now, this is what we must fight to keep from happening. Christ will show us in the Icon of the priests in Alaska, who peak up for the Truth, and who are the Good Shepherds(Not Nikolai), who know the names of each and every sheep in their flock. NOT NIKOLAI!!! WE WANT HIM OUT!!! I CALL ON OTHER DIOCESE OF THE OCA TO COME AND HELP US!!! PLEASE!!! PLEASE!!! HAVE MERCY!!!!
#48 Anon Alaskan Clergy on 2008-03-28 04:49
At the recent clergy gathering (in particular) my thoughts, words, and deeds were generally directed by what I believe is correct; rather than by love of God and love of neighbor.
Please forgive me.
Also, I was never coerced into monasticism. I beg your forgiveness for anything and everything that I have thought, said, and/or did to even suggest otherwise.
Asking your prayers,
It really is time for the Alaskan people to take things into their own hands. As has been mentioned before, this fellow needs to be ushered from his residence and taken on a nice long fishing trip to St. Paul Island. After all, + Nicolai deserves at least a 6 month vacation.
#49 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 05:07
Here in Kodiak we've been getting nostalgic about the 1964 eviction of some particularly pesky Baptist missionaries in the wake of the tsunami and wistfully thinking that the men behind that eviction were still around. They would probably be willing to take the Bishop on a nice trip to Chirikov and leave him there (with supplies of course) for 40 days or so of soul-searching reflection and meditation
#49.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 16:26
Fervent prayers needed.
The Synod may ultimately remove Bishop Nikolai. I definitely should not try to predict the outcome. As a bishop he dose deserve a fair hearing. But most import for now is that we all pray fervently that the Holy Spirit guides the upcoming investigation and Synod decision. This matter is of grave importance to the OCA faithful.
One thing does disturb me. Leaving the Nikolai in charge during the investigation is not prudent. Just consider for a moment the nature, number and source of allegations that have surface. Such allegations are very rare and deserve to be taken more seriously. The prudent decision would place him on immediate administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Why the Synod did not do so is a mystery. Sadly it says something negative about their decision process at a time when confidence in them is at an all-time low among the OCA faithful.
#50 Samuel Osman on 2008-03-28 06:41
"The prudent decision would place him on immediate administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Why the Synod did not do so is a mystery."
Perhaps you had not been paying attention, but they already tried this. BN called it uncanonical, and many people here agreed. A part of BN demands was to have this "uncanonical" order rescinded.
#50.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-29 08:17
Dear ROCOR priest,
Are you referring to Bishop Michael?
Meanwhile, the Antiochians are looking better each day.
Who would have thought it??
#51 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 06:52
Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. John 12:24
Where is our faith? Is it in human beings or in God. Are we so arrogant to equate our desires with the will of God? I know I tend to be that way. Bishops will always fail.
Maybe it is time for the OCA to cease to exist, maybe not. Simply because one wishes to leave in good old American Protestant style, does not mean it is that simply. There has to be a hierarchical release for the clergy. When I went from one Antiochian parish to another in the same town, I had to have the release of the priest from my original parish. I suspect a mass exodus from the OCA would meet with some resistance. Met. Phillip has endured criticism in the past of accepting orphans, but this is a different situation. The Greeks tend to not want anybody but Greeks.
It points up the disarray we Orthodox have in this country that there is even a perceived choice. To establish "good order" means no more separate-but-equal jurisdictions.
If all the OCA Bishops resigned, that would mean no authority to administer the sacraments and how would new bishops be consecrated? Clearly, the OCA situation seems to demand the efforts of the entire American Church to bring it to a fruitful end. It is certainly not in any of our interests to leave the OCA and her people dangling in the wind slowly disintegrating. In any case, the solution of leaving is no where as simple as it sounds.
#52 Michael P Bauman on 2008-03-28 07:51
I predicted the SOBs would cave and show no leadership on another thread and I was told by a couple of posters that I was pessimistic and bitter because I had experienced spiritual abuse at the hands of the OCA.
For people who have been spiritually abused in the OCA this turn of events is no surprise. Because we have seen this coming for a long time.
I believe that +Nikolai has dirt on the entire SOB and +Nikolai is holding it over them. In my opinion +Nikolai has told them that if he goes down, he will take the SOBs with him.
No decsion made by the SOBs has anything to do with doing the right thing.
The SOBs need to go.
Of course then we have the problem of all the problematic priests that have been taken by this corrupt leadership especially in the DOS and the DOW.
It's not going to be an easy job, cleaning things up.
It just might be too late.
Just my opinion.
Well, back to the drawing board once again. The comments made about our people belly aching are disturbing. when we make our comments they are from deep within, especially those that came from the Alaskan people. As I have continue to read some these comments, it hurts me to see people continue to "attack" the faithful in RURAL Alaska. I will let you know that the RURAL faithful and perhaps most urban faithful know how we are feeling. On the news, last night, 03-27-08. it seems that what Fr. Isidore said while he was drunk are different from what he would say if he were sober, well let me tell what, as a past substance abuse counselor,and having studied abuse of all sorts, I have found out that, when people are intoxicated their true feelings come out in a rather "positive" state while they are intoxicated. Most people will not openly discuss their hurts and pains openly, they just bury them, then when they get intoxicated, these hidden pains come out, because the person feels "safe" enough to let them all out, in the case of Fr. Isidore last summer. Now he's tring to cover them up. or rather they are trying to cover them. We know they were lying when they said all was "well" again.On another note, BN knows about a certain clergyman who was VERY PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE to his Matushka, and he did nothing to the cleryman. not even suspend him. BN kept him, under his wing and would not let anyone touch him, I don't think that even the State was allowed to touch him. Today the dear lady cannot receive communion, because all the incidents were "her fault". Well, let me tell you, the lady is barely over 120 pounds if that, DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THAT SHE WOULD PROVOKE HER HUSBAND TO BEAT HER!!! I don't know about you but, I certainly wouldn't do such a thing.These are some hidden issues that our people have kept hidden because of fear of being put on suspension and/or defrocked. Forgive me, brothers and sisters in Christ, if I have offend you with the last statement, you know who you are, but I feel that this had to come out in order to build a stronger case against BN "to let our people go".
Asking for forgiveness from all of you, during this joyous lenten season, and contiuing to pray that we will be delivered.
#54 Pauk on 2008-03-28 14:03
It seems that everyone on this website just complains? they are like the author! print gossip and people will listen? will they? hate to throw a monkey wrinch into your agenda, but the met has 94% of oca members on his side! I think that is great! these are facts by the way! so all you bashers the met is not going anywhere! and thats the rest of the story! good day!
#55 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 14:33
All Caps Anonymous Guy! It's good to see you got a new keyboard, finally. Unfortunately, correctly punctuated horse dookey is still horse dookey, but, hey, not screaming at us is a start. Silly of me to ask, but you wouldn't happen to have any documentation for your claim that "...the Met has 94% of OCA members on his side!", would you? Or are you once again just blowing smoke? Inquiring minds want to know.
#55.1 Scott Walker on 2008-03-28 16:57
you wrote, "the met has 94% of oca members on his side" whatever it is you're smoking... I want some!
#55.2 Anonymous on 2008-03-28 19:56
How did you arrive at this percentage and what does this reflect..94% of 2 million members, 1 million members, 47,000 members or 27,000 members? If this 94% reflects those who have signed the "No Confidence" peition- I believe you would have to consider that many will never sign but that does not suggest a 94% approval rating. Think this over again and then forget about it because it is not a personality contest. It is about truth and facts...mostly found on this website.
#55.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-30 10:06
In 32.1 above Alexis maintains that the Orthodox Church is *monarchical in structure*. That is *wrong*. Oh, I do not dispute that the monarchical model has been a temptation and widely used since at least Constantine, but it is not the real model. The genuine Orthodox model of the Bishop is the kenotic and martryic one. The Bishop is the Shepard who by the grace of the sacramental chrism and his love unites, protects and nurtures the flock Christ has given him. The Bishop is willing to surrender his own life to protect his flock and witness to them and the world the truth of Christ. That is why the Church tells us that where the Bishop is there is the Church, not because the bishop has dictatorial power. The fact that there are many who accept the model that Alexis articulates, is part of the problem. To reject authoritarianism in bishops is not to reject the Church in any way, it is simply to call the bishop and ourselves to the way of Christ, the Cross.
There are ample examples of Orthodox bishops who have followed the kenotic and martryic path to which they were called and into which the were consecrated by the laying on of hands. At least three have done so here in America: St. Innocent; St Raphael; St. John of San Francisco.
For those here who ask if what is happening is Orthodox I say an emphatic *YES*. The Orthodox Church is a martial Church. We are called to battle not to serenity. The mind of the modern world teaches us that there should be no struggle, no conflict, no podvig. That is foolishness. The hope we have as Christians is that we know that the battle has already been won on the Cross. However, we must still put on our armor and take up our weapons and engage the enemy: first on the battle ground of our own heart, then in the Church. Fortunately, unlike most sheep, we are not left defenseless by unfaithful shepards.
I don't believe in co-incidence. It is no accident that the struggle we are facing is occuring during Lent. What more perfectly Lenten exercise could there be than to face our own passions of despair, anger, judgement, lust of power, and idle talk.
"Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers and all the Saints throughtout the ages, especially the Saints of America, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and save us"
#56 Michael P Bauman on 2008-03-29 08:37
Excellent post! Your points are well taken and not expressed on this site as often as they should be. Your portrait of what a bishop should be stands in marked contrast to the ranting hierarchical egomaniac, once again heard on this thread, defending his evil spawn in Alaska. Just as important is your timely reminder that passivity in the face of evil is no virtue.
#56.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-03-29 09:38
Do you want to know how we Alaskan clergy feel? We feel betrayed. Period. We hoped that the HS would act and give us some relief, but that relief did not come. Instead the wolf was given the key to the sheep fold. And we are all genuinely afraid of what is coming over the next few weeks.
The bishop has characterized us as disedents, as adolescents just acting out. Naughty school children that do not want to do as teacher says. Then when the whisper became a shout, he deflected the whole thing away from himself by calling it a plot hatched in Syosset to get control of the Alaskan lands.
Isidore himself, on TV, said that those priests who spoke out have problems in their villages, including alcohol abuse. And the intimation was that it was the clergy who are abusing the alcohol and that is the root of the problem.
The village clergy are whining, complaining, naughty, drunks.
I am sick to my stomach and I must say that I don't know how much longer I can hold out.
But thank you Fr Alexander G., for your efforts on our behalf. It is not your fault that things turned out the way they did.
This is my next to last post. The next time I write it will be to announce to world my stepping down from this jurisdiction; from this diocese; from this parish; and very possibly from the Orthodox Church altogether.
The only love here is for the rubrics, the typicon, the canons, and for a church that never existed in the first place. Even those who tow the line, who bow and scrape are not loved. Even they are dismissed as those who had better keep it up and watch out.
Enough. Good bye. For now.
Anon Ak Priest (for now)
#57 Anonymous Alaska Priest on 2008-03-29 08:50
"...from the Orthodox Church altogether?!"
Is this what it takes to drive the clergy of the OCA from the Orthodox Church itself, a martinet of a Bishop?
Doesn't the OCA take any lesson to heart, some note of courage from the cloud of witnesses, the Saints of the Orthodox Church, namely the Holy Martyrs and Confessors?
Strange that a jurisdiction that has the predilection to mock its Mother Church as quote unquote Holy, "19th Century" and overly scrupulous and pharasaical, fails to notice the over 20000 New Martyrs of this Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th Century alone.
Against the full warring of a satanic host, these New Martyrs fought to the death and won victors crowns.
Here in the OCA we have laity and now, priests, ready to throw in the towel, and threaten to leave the Orthodox Church altogether, because their bishop is a meanie or their bishop won't come clean on their accounting sheets, or their synod won't come to heel.
Are these the same Alaskan Orthodox who claim St. Herman of Alaska as their spiritual forefather, the same St. Herman who told us:
"The true Christian is a warrior making his way through the regiments of an invisible enemy to his heavenly homeland." [?]
It seems indeed that St. Herman was truly a Russian Orthodox Saint rather than the patron of the OCA-type unbelievers.
Echoing St. Herman of Alaska is a 20th Century Saint, Elder Joseph the Hesychast:
"[I]n every battle with the enemy, you must emerge victorious. Either die in the struggle,or win with God. There is no other road."
May God help you and forgive you, Anon Ak Priest (for now), for cutting the heart out of your flock as well as your other OCA brethren and during this season of askesis/podvig.
If you must leave THIS OCA for the sake of your own salvation, leave, but don't leave the Church. For the sake of your own salvation.
#57.1 Anonymous on 2008-03-29 11:42
Let's get on thing straight, those of us who criticize current practices as being outdated or through backs to another era are not denigrating the rich heritage we are called to build upon in our own time. But to make an idol out of the non-essential is to betray the very legacy which one seeks to preserve, and thereby undermines the ability of the Church to grow and adapt its message and work to future generations, just as the saints you so rightly referenced did.
As for the millions of martyrs of the Russian Church, one can only marvel and bow down to their heroic witness in the face of evil and tyranny. I rather doubt they would prefer to substitute the tyranny of the church for that of the state. I also imagine that most of them would be appalled to see the leaders of their church attempting, yet again, to resurrect an alliance with the state--a deal with the devil if ever there was one!
#57.1.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-03-30 04:49
Sorry for the sloppy editing--"Let's get one thing straight....or throwbacks to another era."
#220.127.116.11 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-03-30 14:30
"But to make an idol out of the non-essential is to betray the very legacy which one seeks to preserve, and thereby undermines the ability of the Church to grow and adapt its message and work to future generations,"
The current spiritual state of the OCA is a perfect example of the making of idols out of non-essentials (i.e. their own preferred and self-invented American little t's) that have betrayed their Orthodox heritage and have undermined the ability of the OCA (but not the Orthodox Church as a whole) to grow and adapt its message to work for future generations. What growth has the OCA experienced since 1970? What growth are we seeing now? What fruit? Wheat or tares? Looking at the history of the OCA, we can see that schism is just as much the heritage of the OCA as Uniatism and Russian Orthodoxy. So how is this schism going to impact future generations?
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-03-30 18:30
Keep the faith, Father, for what use is a bishop without a flock? Nikolai is not welcome in the Bush villages and even in the cities, his supporters are few. Perhaps he will be banned from even landing in the villages. We must save our inheritance.
We know that even if the Synod tells us in May that Nikolai walks on water, he will never again be welcome in our churches or our towns. The trust has been irrevocably broken. We must save our souls and and our Othodox Faith from this jackal and his pack. He will try to divide us by wearing his Sincere Guy mask until the Synod "absolves" him. Then it will come off as sure as night follows day.
Perhaps some of Nikolai's supporters from the States would like to adopt him. Or perhaps they can come spend a year or two in an Alaskan town (not Anchorage) and get a feel for life in a police state. They'd SWIM back to the States!
#57.2 Dear One on 2008-03-29 11:44
Dear Anonymous Alaska Priest:
What an example courage to abandon your flock because things did not work out the way you wanted them to. Good thing you weren't a priest during the Russian Revolution.
Shameful self-pity. Grow up.
#57.3 Anonymous on 2008-03-29 20:39
It's curious to note that the people who would have used the term 'well, we might be strict, but we are following the law!' were called Pharisees.
Rules without the proper intent are worse than useless, they are harmful. Considering the fact that Love and Humility are some of the most important cornerstones of Orthodox Christianity, then an individuals lack of willingness to display any of those characteristics - indeed to be the opposite, arrogant and cruel - is a sign of someone who has lost touch with what it means to be an Orthodox Christian, much less a Bishop.
It is a sad state of affairs, and it behooves us not to back down in the face of the tactics that shall try to get us to accept that a man can be so heartless and poorly behaved and hide behind the 'rules'.
The Pharisees haven't aged well in a historical context. I'm sure the rule lovers loved them.
#58 Michael on 2008-03-30 04:27
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