Wednesday, May 28. 2008
Reasonable questions deserve answers. Many of these issues go back years - so "the rush of current events" is not the issue. What do you say? Any other questions you would like to ask?
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Excellent! Just excellent! I believe this says it all. Really, it is time + Herman steps down and let the OCA heal. How many more times does all of this have to be rehashed before + Herman gets it? He's not part of the solution, but the problem!
#1 Anonymous on 2008-05-28 06:43
These are good questions that deserve good answers. They raise a lot of legal and moral issues. It's no wonder the players in the drama want to cover it up. Imagine if any of them ended up doing prison time! At the very least, anyone who has his name attached to the scandal should step aside or be removed. There is no way one can expect the people of the OCA to have any faith or confidence any other way. When I entered the Orthodox community and the OCA I was handed two things - an icon and a pack of envelopes! I personally want to be assured that anyone - and I do mean anyone - tainted by this financial scandal is gone and no longer has access to my money. With this and Alaska and some of the other stuff I hear I have to wonder why I ever left my former religion for Orthodoxy.
#2 good questions on 2008-05-28 07:10
After spending nearly 1 million in lawyers over 3 years , when is enough - enough. There is so much covered up and going after "one" , your kidding right. If the mets. in charge won't confess of the wrong doings is blaming "one " fair. Herman will never bend or tell the real truth so let's go after anyone. PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!
#3 Anonymous on 2008-05-28 07:13
Lawyer T.'s questions would seem to be rhetorical at this point. I looked at the 2002 financials and came to the same conclusion: $2 million or so went unaccounted for. Some of that was spent on all the visiting bishops that came in for +Herman's installation as Metropolitan. As for the rest, the CPA firm stated that receipts were missing for almost everything. Will we ever know the answer? You'll have to ask the SIC. Which prompts the question I'd like to ask: Since +Benjamin is preseumably busy now with Alaska, will the SIC ever meet again? Or is that rhetorical question too?
(editor's note: I do not think Mr. Tatusko wrote these as rhetorical questions. I think he, like most of us, expect answers. And should they not be forthcoming now, they certainly will be asked again and again and again, all the way to and through the All American Council. For, if we cannot ask questions, or get answers, so that responsible administration can take place, what is the point of supporting further an administration dedicated only to its own self-serving goals, without accountability or transparency? We've had that for the last 15 years, and look where we are.
That being said, the SIC continues to meet on a regular basis, interviewing witnesses according to reports from around the OCA. A report is expected this summer. )
#4 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2008-05-28 07:49
Here's a question for Wayne.
Wasn't his friend Robert Kondratick, still employed by the OCA as Chancellor during the time frames posed in his 16 questions to Father Jarmus?
I guess it's still hard for people to grasp the fact that the former chancellor had TOTAL CONTROL over every single aspect of life within the OCA Chancery.
This went from total financial control to the control of what information was shared and to whom.
Perhaps some of these same questions should once and for all be posed to Robert Kondratick?
#4.1 Michael Geeza on 2008-05-28 12:17
Your good friend Paul Kucynda made sure that RSK would never have the opportunity to show his evidence. Ask James Silver - and he's not seen it all. It will all be revealed - in a court room where Herman and Kucynda do not have control of the outcome.
#4.1.1 MP on 2008-05-28 17:49
That's a load of farm animal production...
Listen, NOTHING in the world is stopping RSK from speaking his mind and telling what he knows other than his own fears and embarrassments. He has an audience that is waiting with baited breath to hear from the man who never was at a loss of words until this came to light. If something bad was done, he can just claim the Holy Spirit made him do it, after all the Holy Spirit is the cover he gave to all of his actions through the years. Where is he now? He's COWERING in Florida praying his behind off that Herman survives until his earthly end because if Herman leaves office, he no longer has his hand over all the evidence and RSK will FINALLY have to actually speak a word or two about his involvement and his defense.
Last fall they came out with him ACKNOWLEDGING he took $137K and no word from him about it publicly. There's a question of another million and, yet again, quiet as a church mouse. There's no one holding a gun to his head if he speaks unless you're talking about state and federal officials who would then have something to take him down on.
Listen, stop blowing this wind at us that RSK hasn't had a chance to show his evidence. Its all a publicity gimick by him and his allies to sow the seeds of doubt into the minds of people who think he's a living, conniving thief and are probably right in their thinking of that. He and his allies know that Herman ain't going to reveal squat because then the whole house of cards falls down. Don't try to make us believe that RSK is some choir boy who was led to the slaughter by the metropolitans. Its been said many times that nothing, NOTHING, happened at Syosset with RSK knowing, approving, and having a hand in it. So, all the while he's quite and cowering down in Florida, claiming he can't speak his evidence, he knows deep down in his stone cold heart what he's done and that's why he's not going to speak.
But, MP, its always nice to read a little delusional fiction on here! Thanks!
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 11:27
Why should RSK speak to fools and argue about WHAT!! We'll see in court and see who's guilty. Please get a life Geeza , this man kucynda was the same man on vacation with RSK and all the chancery crew. Watch where you cast your stones.
#184.108.40.206.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 20:55
Where's the proof?
#220.127.116.11.2 MP on 2008-05-30 14:34
So where is the evidence from Herman? Just words!
Millions spent on lawyers and accountants, accounting systems, etc. So where is the proof?
#18.104.22.168.3 MP on 2008-06-02 15:37
Speaking of Mr. Silver. Cat's got his tongue since he was banished from Herman's churches!
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 11:37
Oh for goodness sake MP, give me and everyone else a break!
Kondratick had ample opportunity to show whatever it is you claim, Silver claims or anyone else claims for that matter. The fact remains he was UNABLE to show anything of substance.
He came before the Holy Synod on several occassions with whatever documents or evidence he had, and what happened? They, the Holy Synod MP, NOT Fr. Kucynda OR Metropolitan Herman found him to provide nothing of substance and they acted accordingly.
Stop blaming everyone else for Kondratick's actions.
You guys have an uncanny ability to do that. Divert attention away from him and put it somewhere else.
To my knowledge, NOT ONCE has he EVER made an apology or shown any public remorse for what his actions did to the Church. He is in complete denial and his stubborness will continue to make him spiral downward into oblivion.
And all of his followers like yourself and Silver continue to defend him. Tell him to bring on his so-called "information". This idle threat is getting old.
He and those who continue to defend him will be made to look like fools.
What's amazing MP is the fact that Robert Kondratick is probably the only person on earth who knows what happened to the millions of ADM monies and yet, the Church continues to suffer.
It's time to move on MP. It's really sad that you can sit there and still defend such hideous actions.
Give it up already. Your argument is getting boring and old.
#126.96.36.199 Michael Geeza on 2008-05-29 11:43
So is yours Mr. Geeza - you constantly push Kucynda's story.
Paul Kucynda thought that he could ascend to greater things in life. He and Herman were both signators on the checks. That is a fact. Furthermore, Kucynda lied on an affadavit to the courts to get a loan - that is in black and white - furthermore, when Herman needed to, he threw him off the bus. These people are not even christians. They have destroyed any possibility of the OCA being THE center of Orthodoxy in America by their corruption, deception and putting themselves first. They have had others do their dirty work - Faith Skordinski and others.
NO ONE HAS ANY CONFIDENCE IN HERMAN'S LEADERSHIP!
#188.8.131.52.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 04:13
Whatever the case may be, the Metropolitan still can stand up and publicly answer the questions. That would be considered a normal function of a leader. Let him go on public record with his comments, even if his position is going to be "it was all Kondratick's fault." His avoiding the questions gives the impression of guilt or that he has something to hide. And if he is listening to attorneys and protecting himself because anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law, well that speaks volumes about his role in the scandal. If he will not or cannot publicly answer all questions, then let him step down from office and allow someone else to handle the mess that was exacerbated by his decisions and how he handled this whole scandal from the beginning. The crisis confronting the OCA is not simply the scandalous behavior of a chancellor or a bishop, it is also how these scandals were dealt with by the men in power. They need to acknowledge their role in compounding not solving the mess and then to step down from office to allow a total housecleaning to take place.
#4.1.2 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2008-05-29 05:37
Let's do some math here. You accuse rsk of millions of dollars of "missing" funds. We will let the courts decide that issue once and for all.
But what is not in question is the complete incompetence of Kucynda while he ran the OCA chancery, thank God, for only a couple of years. Yet in that time he put the church into debt with a totally ill-advised loan of $1.7 million dollars to pay off internal debt - a debt that was totally unnecessary because such a debt could be scheduled out for repayment of a course of time without incumbering the holdings of the Church. But know, Kucynda knew better.
So we start with $1.7 million dollars, but that is not all.....
Now we come to his great chancery reorganization plan, which we know already has cost the Church at least $60,000 in having to buy out the contract of Mr. Bodnar because Kucynda did not do his due diligence related to Mr Bodnar's immigration status.
Ah, and we come to the great software upgrade for finances that Kucynda lamely led the OCA chancery into.....let's see that was over $100,000
And lest we forget the cost of the FIREWALL built around the Metropolitan. The good old PR law firm that Kucynda and Herman unilaterally indebted the OCA to the tune of $500,000
And now more lawyers to counter sue the Kondratick case, another $200,000 when that case goes to court.
And that is what WE KNOW and what about what we will find out when Herman and Kucynda testify in the Kondratick case.
So please, once and for all, stop with this lame defence of Kucynda and Herman. Both of them should go the same way as RSK.
#4.1.3 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 09:31
When you anonymous, have the courage to sign your name, then you will get an appropriate response.
Until then, keep hiding behind your words. What are you so afraid of?
#184.108.40.206 Michael Geeza on 2008-05-30 07:35
You know what really differentiates what you said about Kucynda as opposed to RSK? You know the amounts and you know where it went. With RSK we lost millions and no one knows where it went, or at least not MOST of it. People will accept misjudgements done in the open, we are all human. People will NOT accept blatant theft, in the millions for stuff such as tanning salons and wine for the family dinner.
You gave us an accounting of the money lost by Kucynda, none of which was really personally used for himself, by your accounting. NOW, can you give us an accounting of all the money that that lying, conniving thief RSK did and how he used it?
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-05-30 11:03
Thank you for taking the time to formulate these questions and to ask them. All of your questions are important for the OCA to deal with the root of the scandal. The willingness of leaders to take questions and answer them is certainly a sign in an open culture as exists in America about the honesty and integrity and trustworthiness of these leaders. The Metropolitan's failure to understand this point of what a leader does in a free society is indicative of why the OCA will continue to suffer a directionless demise.
#5 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2008-05-28 07:57
Unfortunately MH is not a leader he is a dictator. He has been in charge for years and will not let go. Continue to pay an obey. One last thing - MH took over as Treasurer of the OCA after Wheeler left, he's in up to his eyeballs but won't admit to knowing a thing.
#5.1 MP on 2008-05-28 13:09
And you're probably right, but where is RSK to come as the knight in shining armor and to shed light on the person he and his allies consider the dictator? Let's hear it, let's have you all come forth and SHOW us the bad things that Herman has done. After all, RSK is no longer a priest, what does he have to lose now? MH maintains no control over him. He's no longer a priest, he's a simple, humble parishioner in Florida. What would he have to lose if he spoke out?
Oh, that's right, HIS FREEDOM! He loses his freedom if he speaks and will be joining Bubba in the prison yard if he speaks!
#5.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 11:31
Mark asked if anyone had some other questions. I have a couple that came to me by thinking about the name of this blog, Orthodox Christians for Accountability. Since a basic tenet of accountability is a healthy respect for data and outcomes, I would like somebody to comment on the following.
1. At the 2004 Evangelization Conference, Father Jonathan Ivanoff (OCA, Department of Evangelization) briefed that "The OCA in the continental US has been declining between 6 and 9% for nearly 20 years. The OCAs Census population in 1994 was 29,775; in 2004 it stood at 27,169. And this is just in the continental U.S., not including Alaska, Canada or the ethnic dioceses."
"Some more statistics: In the past ten years, 177 parishes have declined in membership or have had flat (i.e., no) growth. Of this number, 148 parishes declined in double digits. Collectively, this represents a loss of 6,129 people, while those churches that are gaining in membership showed an increase of 2,960 people (note: remember, these figures represent adults only)."
"We are not reaching America! While the overall American population has increased by 11% from 1990 to 2000, the OCAs reported membership declined by 13%."
2. According to the 2006 edition of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the OCA has 1,064,000 members, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2005. This figure places the OCA as the 24th largest Christian denomination in the United States, and second to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It should be noted that these figures were self-reported. However, a study by Alexei D. Krindatch of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, performed in 2000, presented a substantially lower figure115,100 adherents (baptized Orthodox who attend services on at least an occasional basis and their children) and 39,400 full members (persons older than 18, paying annual Church membership fees). If you take out the Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian numbers, the figures are very much in line with Father Ivanoff's: 29,600 full members (and 76,000 adherents).
Incidentally, the Krindatch study showed 41,840 full members and 83,700 adherents in the Antiochian Archdiocese, the fastest growing Orthodox body in America. This makes the Antiochians the second largest Orthodox body behind the Greek Archdiocese.
Question One: The figures above are our outcome data. So much for making progress on our Lord's commandment for the Church to evangelize and convert everybody, everywhere. Clearly the OCA has failed a basic task. Who will take responsibility for this failure?
Question Two: How long do we have to live with leaders who have failed? There has to be a way to get new leaders without waiting for the current ones to pass on, retire or be deposed. What is that?
#6 Carl on 2008-05-28 10:29
Prof. Meyendorff submitted some time ago that at the AAC in Nov., all of the current hierarchs submit their resignations. Then, each diocese on the floor, either re-vote their hierarch in or out. If out, then new candidates be submitted for a vote at the AAC or after. Same for the Metropolitan. Well, how about this same action be a MANDATORY act every 4 years at every AAC? Then, like a bad President, he's only in for 4 years. Those released can either serve a parish, go to a monastery or retire (with limited benefits).
#6.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-28 11:29
It's time for a parish to sponsor Paul's resolution.
We need to restore order - a new beginning - the players cannot simply change chairs as has happened in the past.
We all know that if the half million dollar PR report implicated only one person, it would have been released months ago and life would have moved on. That's not going to happen. Like it or not, there was never just one signature on a check. All officers, including the Primate have fiduciary responsibilities and were and are responsible for what happens. If Herman and Kucynda chose to put the blame on one person, that tactic worked - for a while. Our good people are educated and know better. It's time for a new beginning!
#6.1.1 MP on 2008-05-29 02:45
That doesn't work cause NO ONE thinks THEIR bishop is a problem, its all the other bishops that are a problem. Let's change the proposal to have OTHER dioceses vote on the bishops returning, not his own diocese. THEN we'd get some change.
The bishops aren't going to resign. That's a pipe dream. The bishops are going to act if they are held accountable and liable to lose their office based upon the decisions of OTHERS based on their performance. Make their positions renewable every four years by a vote of the entire AAC, not dependent upon a resignation. It's pure fantasy to think they're goign to resign, pure fantasy.
#6.1.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 11:35
re: "the OCAs reported membership declined by 13%."
Who do we hold to account for these numbers? This is the real tragedy of the OCA: Parents who can't even pass on the Faith to their children and grandchildren.
#6.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-28 15:39
In 1991 all the children and families left Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco. This was following the discovery that several pre-school aged children had been molested in the Cathedral. The response to this tragedy by the diocesan clergy, Bishop Tikhon and Syossett was pathetic.
Five years later, Bishop Tikhon boasted on the Indiana Orthodox List that the Cathedral was full of shiny new children! In with the new out with the old! I have observed in the DOW that people are consumable. There are always brand new converts to come in....but the Church isn't growing!
I know someone who visits Holy Trinity and reported that once again there are no children there.
Something is very wrong.
We live in a free society and these things will happen in a free society. I'm sorry it struck so close to you.
What is the point you are trying to make? If it is that 'people are consumable', I'd have to throw a contraposition at you.
Church communities are consumable..
No Bishop can make families that have endured abuse or others that have been close to the abuse come back to church. The Bishop and clergy have a responsibility to not let a child molester destroy an entire church community, though. If Bishop Tikhon had closed the church and sold the structure to the highest bidder, who would have gained? The molester would have had more victims Cappy.
As I have stated before, each of our church communities is precious.
I am sorry to make a counterpoint to your argument, but I find the argument that 'people are consumable' truthful, but missing the bigger picture that we can't let a child molester take down an entire church community.
Again, my apologies, but my family traveled 50+ miles each way to get to an Orthodox church, so I have my own biases.
Perhaps you can explain the alternatives to hoping that a church struck by this kind of tragedy can be vibrant again.
#18.104.22.168 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-05-30 07:38
You have assumed that the HTC families wanted to leave. This is an erroneous assumption. The question is not what Bishop Tikhon could have done to prevent people from departing, but what he could have done to insure that people who wanted to stay weren't driven away.
There are indeed techniques for healing parishes divided by sexual misconduct. So far, the Orthodox have shown no interest in utilizing these methods. Instead, the normal pattern is that victims, and often their family and friends, are forced to leave because the Church refuses to face and to deal with the problem.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
You mean we've lost 260,000 people? Oh my God!
#6.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 15:21
Excellent job Wayne!!!
JOE IS NOT THE PROBLEM
The people are the problem
As I have previously posted a few times:
We are making a simple job too complicated. We are pursuing the wrong questions. Wasting time, chasing our tails.
We (the employers) should be demanding (not asking) to see the reports that we paid for!!! The job is completed, the answers are there, but we dont realize it; we keep going off on different tangents.
Until we realize who the employers are, and who the employees are (those receiving a salary); this disaster will never end!!! The employees are experts at changing the topics, and hiding behind bylaws that THEY created for THEIR benefit. These bylaws have very little to do with Christianity.
STOP THE MONEY !!!
HIERARCHAL of course we are having problems!!!!!
Take no prisoners. This has gone on long enough.
#7 Ande on 2008-05-28 10:38
While I generally agree with you that it is time for our hierarchs to take responsibility for their failures (specifically Metropolitan Herman) I have to disagree with your comments specifically.
Mainly, we are not the Holy Synod's employers . This is a heterodox perspective drawn from the corporate marketplace. I can see where you can draw this conclusion: the laity provides the money, the bishops provide a 'service.' But this is not the essence of the relationship between a bishop and his flock. Continuing to insist that we are the bishops' employers and can fire them is misguided, smacks of congregationalism, and discredits us.
Also, as much as I think the Statute of the OCA (what you're calling "the by-laws") is broken and needs repair, there is nothing I see as glaringly un-Christian about it. What specifically are you referring to?
If seems that you believe that the body of the Church can rise up, and through the grace of the Holy Spirit, purify itself. That's good. But you are not helping that cause by bringing discredit through false arguments, and distraction through anger.
#7.1 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-05-28 13:56
We may not be their employers, but we do pay their salary and their perks and even though we have no real authority over their employment, we can turn off the spigot of money and let them figure out for themselves how they are going to support themselves.
Bottom line is that its money we gave for the use of the Church and we will be lax in our stewardship of that money if we pay people who claim the Holy Spirit guides and then use that money to do everything in their power to deny their love of God.
We can argue the semantics of what it means to be an employee and how we don't employ the bishops, but in the end, we pay them to do a job for the Church of God. If they don't want to be accountable, we stop the money. If you don't do a good job you're employer ain't goign to pay you to continue doing a bad job. In that way, we act like their employers...
One thing we CAN do and we MUST do is play the rightful role we have in selecting the bishops. Everyone should be very mindful of yet another attempt of an elderly bishop to put in place his successor. We are going with this auxillary bishop garbage again in the south - a process which has left us with the riff raff we have in the Synod now. Nikolai was, yes, an auxillary. Nikon was, yes, an auxillary. Benjamin was yes, an auxillary. Tikhon (PA) was yes, an auxillary. How many times are we going to have to see that because these guys select their successors and new members of the club that we are never going to get change. The lowest common denominator of qualifications will continue to get in as long as they will be team members to keep a deceitful, unGodly Synod to continue in that manner.
People should stand up and a diocesan assembly should be held and any auxillary voted upon and names placed in nomination. NO more of this garbage of a bishop asking for an auxillary, training him up, and then when the original bishop is gone, the Synod foists the auxillary as the ruling bishop. They may deny it, but this is nothing less than chosing their successors which is prohibited by the canons and to keep the gig going. THIS we CAN, and have a RIGHT to, play an active part in. We may not be able to fire a bad bishop, but we can play a crucial role in hiring them!
If you are not going to play the part you have in selecting a bishop, dont come back years from now and complain that they should all resign. You didnt care when they were selected, dont complain about them now. We just went through a very painful process to get rid of one former auxillary from Alaska and we know that he wanted to make his houseboy, Isadore, a bishop too. The auxillary bishop mode of operation is the equivalent of the Trojan Horse of ecclesiastical warfare. Bring in an auxillary, get the people used to him, then only nominate him at a diocesan council to ascend to the ruling bishop position thereby circumventing the role of the laity of choosing their bishop. Its worked too many times, its gone on too long, it must be stopped starting with the one in the south. Nip the problem in the bud, people, nip it in the bud!
#7.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-30 11:22
The elderly and revered hierarch in question, relinquished his leadership, perhaps unwittingly, of the diocese to his chancery staff, long ago, in my opinion. The diocese seems to function on gossip and according to personal agendas of the chancery staff in Dallas.
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 14:51
"South" Syosset perhaps?
#126.96.36.199.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-11 09:03
I have another question.
Do you know that there are about three dozen "Orthodox Churches" in North America, according to the following figures from the Association of Religion Data Archives? In mind mind, the fact that there are so many canonical and self-styled Orthodox Churches is a sign of all kinds of problems in world Orthodoxy, a wrong kind of fruit for the purported Body of Christ.
"Data were taken from the National Council of Churches' Historic Archive CD and recent editions of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Denomination descriptions provided by Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Director, Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR).
The denominations featured in American Denominations represent only those that reported data to the National Council of Churches Yearbook between 1925 and 2005. Though this includes over 400 denominations, there are many American denominations that are not represented.
Membership figures are "inclusive." According to the Yearbook, this includes "those who are full communicant or confirmed members plus other members baptized, non-confirmed or non-communicant." Each denomination has its own criteria for membership.
Eastern Liturgical Family (Orthodox):
African Orthodox Church
Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church
American Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Eastern Church
American Patriarchal Orthodox Church
Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Toledo, and Dependencies in North America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, North American Diocese
Apostolic Orthodox Catholic Church of North America
Armenian Apostolic Church of America
Armenian Apostolic Church, Diocese of America
Christ Catholic Exarchate of Americas and Eastern Hemisphere
Church of the East and of the Assyrians
Coptic Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in America
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East (Assyrian)
Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America
Holy Orthodox Church in America (Eastern Catholic and Apostolic)
Holy Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church in Exile
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Diocese of America
Old Catholic Archdiocese for the Americas and Europe
Orthodox Church in America, The
Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the U.S.A.
Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, The
Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America
Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church for the U.S.A. and Canada
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
Syro-Russian Orthodox Catholic Church
True Orthodox Church of Greece (Synod of Metropolitan Cyprian), American Exarchate
Turkish Orthodox Church in America
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Western Orthodox Church in America"
#8 Carl on 2008-05-28 10:40
Christ is Risen (but not the OCA)! That is the unmistakable and continuing saga of this season's Paschal tide. Yes, Nikolai is gone from Alaska, but not deposed, and the Romanians seem to be headed into yet another ethnic enclave. Lord have mercy! Fundamental questions remain unanswered and our so-called leadership continues to preach solidarity ( in what is the question?!) forever.
Really, enough is enough. Such abject failure raises even more important questions of faith and witness. Can we even say with a straight face that we are faithful followers of Christ (collectively) when form is exalted over substance? Is that not the definition of Pharisaic?
To make matters worse, it is not just the OCA that is in crisis, but most of the Orthodox world as well. After some 1700 years of woefully accepting Satan's offer, which our Lord rejected in the desert, the alliance of Church and State is back in vogue in Russia and elsewhere. As much as I admire Mark Harrison, I reject his notion that Russia, or the Old World, have much to offer as an example to North America at this time and at this place in history. At least we practice what should be the cardinal Christian virtues of religious freedom and respect for its corollary--Free Will. And however imperfectly, we place a high value on Truth and ascertaining the truth above all else. Sadly, the Church frequently hasn't, albeit in the name of some greater good (how pathetic).
I have ranted and raved for just about two years on this site, but the time has now come for me to just "fade away." There is no acceptable alternative to Orthodoxy for me, but I find I also can not continue to participate in a pious fraud where clericalism and hierarchical arrogance are the norm rather than the exception. It is worth noting that a similar disgust with the institutional Church gave impetus to the beginnings of monasticism also, not coincidentally, some 1700 years ago.
I salute the many courageous and eloquent contributors, lay and clerical, to this site who have kept my spirits high and inspired me by their example. But for now, as I have said, enough is enough. Too much anonymity, duplicity, lying and self-serving disregard for the welfare of the Church and the needs of the Faithful.
May God have mercy on us all.
#9 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-05-28 12:30
You are so right about the Orthodox Church in Russia. I have a Serbian friend/doctor who has spoken of how often the Patriarch meets w/Putin. I also like to read some of the Russian Orthodox web sites and they are always having articles/pictures of the Patriarch with Putin - and a lot of times hosted at the Patriarch's residence. I'm sure the Patriarch is walking a fine line trying to restore Orthodoxy to its former glory in Russia but I just hope he isn't sacrificing integrity w/Putin.
#9.1 good questions on 2008-05-28 13:50
Well spoken, thank you. Still no accountability. Not a hint. Are hierarchical deception and dishonesty inherently part of the Orthodox Tradition? I must have been absent the night this was covered in catechism.
#9.2 John M. Mize on 2008-05-29 03:42
Excellent letter!!! Perhaps this letter should be duplicated and then signed by all AAC delegates.
(editor's note: Or at least asked of the Metropolitan by all MC members at their next meeting this summer, before they vote again on their "tabled" motion asking for his resignation!)
#10 cshinn on 2008-05-28 13:47
'The devil is in the details,' as the often quoted cliche which is so applicable to our situation clearly points out. Thank God for the likes of Mr Tatusko who obviously has the expertise, mindset and energy necessary to unravel the gordion knot which the malefactors continually try to increase in complexity in hopes of exhausting and numbing those of us who realize that something is seriously wrong within the OCA and its 'leadership' and pray that something can be done about it before it is too late. We all owe Mr T a profound debt of gratitude for all that he is doing for all of the rest of us.
That being said, I wonder if the act of addressing the 16 very pertinent questions to the new OCA Director of Communications is more of a device to bring the real issues to the surface and attempt to cut through the obfuscation, rather than the expectation that the questioner has any real prospect of obtaining any kind of meaningful answers to those same questions from the present Director? After all, Fr Jarmus has only been a member of the OCA for a couple of years, one of which he spent as a parish priest in Canada, far from the centre of OCA operations in Syosset. From whom is he expected to get 'answers' except from the very guilty parties themselves and their syncophantic bureaucrats. He should have the honesty and humility to admit as much and stop playing Charlie McCarthy to the OCA's Edgar Burgen. PR specialists are unpalatable enough in industry and the White House--absolutely noxious in the Church.
This, of course, raises the very question of why this cleric was parachuted into the OCA and into the US in the first place as some kind of 'deus ex machina.' Rumour has it that it was at the suggestion of none other than Fr Kucynda, one of the main malefactors at the center of the whole unpalatable mess. What better tactic than to have someone who was well known for his PR expertise in his former jurisdiction and who had absolutely no knowledge or connection with the OCA and its woes all through the period in question. How could he possibly embarrass any of the protagonists? He only knows what they tell him. And his job, after all, is only to set the 'spin' on it.
Interesting, too, is the role of the Bishop who obviously had to give his approbation to the transfer of the new OCA cleric to the US--Bp Seraphim. His very role as a sitting member of the Synod throughout the duration of this whole tragi-comedy which has been so little noted or commented upon and his issuance of only one pastoral letter to his faithful in Canada concerning the whole crisis which simply glossed over the whole affair and enjoined everyone to just pray and have faith, all require delving into. And to think that some even see him as the logical successor to Herman once the latter is dislodged absolutely boggles the mind.
Clearly, far too many of us in the OCA rank and file are just sitting back and 'praying and having faith,' hoping someone else 'will do it,' rather than expending our God-given intelligence and energy as Mr T to fulfill our common Christian stewardship. Please support Mr T and his fellow householders of the Faith with your prayers.
#11 Sartor Resartus on 2008-05-28 17:42
A few questions need to be added - how about funds and audits for st. tikhon's seminary, bookstore, personal accounts of staff of mh?
#12 anonymous on 2008-05-29 14:29
Go ahead, just try and get REAL financial information about St. Tikhon's, the bookstore, + Herman and his secret accounts, etc. Good luck! And then he pretends to be above it all and helping to solve the OCA's problems. The longer + Herman stays in, the harder and longer it will be to repair the damage within the OCA. Waiting until Nov. is just plain stupid!
#12.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 17:53
Will anyone, with the courage of Wheeler and Stokoe and Sidebottom PLEASE come forward and uncover the total corruption of St Tikhon Seminary and Monastery?
The co-mingling of funds....
The counting of money each Memorial Day on the dinner table of Herman. And the skimming off the top which routinely took place.
The inside dealing of Herman, Klimechev and Paluch in stealing the estate of the Jacuwizch sisters.
The bait and switch in stealing funds from one account to service the debt to build the so-called Met. Theodosius Museum which we all know was a cover to build a bookstore for Herman's favorite boy, Klimechev.
And what about the immigration status of Kimechev's parents, who worked for years here in the USA as illegal immigrants, getting paid through a slush fund controlled by the two-headed dragon of Herman and his favorite boy.
The stench from the not so holy Poconos is being realized by the pathetic attendance at this year's Memorial Day Potemkin Village.
138 people ay the not-so-grand banquet Memorial Day weekend.
No throngs to venerate the Kursk Icon.
If our bishops don't turn Herman out the people will at the All American Council.
WE WILL NOT LET THE OCA DIE BECAUSE HERMAN AND HIS MINIONS WOULD RATHER SEE THE DREAM DIE THEN GIVE UP THEIR POSITION.
#12.2 Anonymous on 2008-05-29 21:14
So the Kursk gimmick didn't work to make the pilgrimage look good, eh?
#12.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 09:39
"Will anyone, with the courage of Wheeler and Stokoe and Sidebottom PLEASE come forward and uncover the total corruption of St Tikhon Seminary and Monastery?"
But then you sign your name "Anonymous?
Where is your courage? You can't even ask a question without signing your own name and yet you want someone to come forward and uncover corruption at St. Tikhon's?
Why hasn't the Metropolitan Council initiated its OWN audit of St. Tikhon's, the Bookstore and Met. Herman? It has the authority to do this. If they refuse or hide information, I suggest video taping their live responses and let everyone see how they blocked due process. Really, enough is enough!
#12.3 Anonymous on 2008-05-30 16:48
Have you noticed this correlation?
The perpetrators of this scandal have been the very same proponents of the sophistry of ethno-sensitivity? MH included. They have expounded all sorts of pietistic explanation for why incarnation of the American culture must be balanced by a sensitivity to the immigrant, the recently arrived, the Eastern Orthodox heritage, the this, the that, etc., etc., etc. ad naseum. Whatever flies.
All these so-called reasons for not fulfilling our Christian calling were, in fact, nothing but smoke-screens for crimes and illicit behaviors. This should be a lesson to us. If it sounds too sophisticated, it probably is a smoke screen for something evil.
The Gospel says, let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything less is not Orthodox folks. All this maybe this and maybe that has been the devil in sheep's clothing.
#13 Anon. on 2008-05-29 16:54
I agree these questions need answering. But the time for questions is getting old and the likelihood of answers diminishes daily.
I disagree with question five's premise. Metropolitan Herman would have had no support from anyone on the Admin Committee in hiring Proskauer, in terminating RSK, etc.
The need for unilateral decisions is many tiered. None of the MC members seated before July, 2005 deserve retaining their seats and they owe us a resignation.
Wayne and Cathy's Herman resign petition missed key enablers to RSKs administration. Those enablers are still in place today. Herman is just one.
The laity need to be able to recall those people and we MUST not reelect anyone to the MC that was seated before the July, 2005 AAC, which is not a question, but a request for action.
This website is a little bit like CNN. It is going for the story and it needs to be designed more towards the strategy for change.
That would include resolutions.
A first resolution would be to remove anyone from the MC elected and seated before the July 2005 AAC for failing or breach of fiduciary duty.
In fact, not one OCA church should be providing assessments until this happens. Gross financial mismanagement requires change and we need change at a minimum in the places we have full control.
If we don't have full control over the MC, that'd be another resolution.
If the full report is not released 2 months prior to the AAC, a full withholding of assessments until resignations of those MC members and Metropolitan Herman should be the standard.
There are the answers to questions unlikely to be answered.
#14 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-05-30 07:52
Why would anyone want to be part of a Church that cuts their losses (especially when those losses happen to be innocent little kids) and just keep the Church going no matter what?
Don't you understand that when even one member of the body is hurt, it affects the whole body? The Church is the Body of Christ...the PEOPLE. If the OCA continues to treat people as disposable, the OCA will not grow and bear fruit.
Maybe we should think less about fixing the OCA and concentrate more on following the Gospel and ministering to people.
Is there a way to make a motion at the AAC to go into the Antiochian Archdiocese (or take your pick from the dyptichs)?
How would this work?
#16 Patty Schellbach on 2008-05-31 12:02
So, instead of being subjected to the British tyranny the founding fathers should have voted to go under French or Spanish tyranny and under the power of a distant governance? If you think that moving under someone else's governance is the answer, you're defeated.
No, this has to be independent and has to be American. After we get this garbage removed from the Church and learn our lesson of what being disinterested members can reap, we can get back to our vision with an increased vigor and sense of mission. There's enough good and wise people here to lead and lead in a manner that makes sense for the land we are in. We just have to get rid of the theives, liars, and other God hating miscreants who now permeate this Church at its top. When you have an infestation of roaches you don't tear down the house, you exterminate the roaches.
#16.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 15:15
Cappy makes a great point. What is with this Anonymous postings constantly? Some of these unidentified contributors make some excellent points, but their overall effect is minimalized by their lack of courage to sign their names. I have to say, I take more seriously a post that is signed, even if I dont agree with the comments.
#16.1.1 Rich Kendall on 2008-06-02 08:36
We've been through this many times about the Anonymity and there's no need to go through it again. Its in the group with the likes of the calendar or toll houses.
If an argument can't make it on its own merit putting a name to it isn't going to make it substantively better. Would the same words be given the same consideration if said by Fr. Hopko or a backbencher somewhere in the bowels of Western Pennsylvania putting his two bucks in the collection basket and his two cents here?
Ideas, Rich, ideas rule the day. I am sure that one day when the last reaches of the tentacles of this cancer are extracted from deep within the church many people will come forward bearing their identity. That should be incentive enough to take action to remove rather than request that certain people resign! The rest will be content to see this over and done with and back to their normal lives no worse for the wear. There have been millions of soldiers, you don't know their names, who have given their lives fighting for causes that made your life better. We didn't know their names, but appreciated their fight and are better off because of their selfless and faceless sacrifice, the same should be, in like but lesser manner, felt of those that lend their thoughts and support here...
#17 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 11:01
Equating yourself to soldiers who put their lives on the line is a disgrace to everyone who has given their life in service to their country.
So when things start to change and it's safe, you will identify yourself? Just like a real soldier?
Give me a break!
You didn't get the point. The point being that one does not need to have a face known to everyone to be helpful and of service in a cause. I was not likening myself nor anyone here to our courageous serviceman, merely making the point of anonymity to who they help doesn't matter in the support they do.
I was careful, in saying that the efforts of those who anonymously post here, while they should be appreciated by those who want to solve these problems, should be appreciated in much less a manner than they appreciate the soldiers on our battlefields.
I think you were too quick to jump on an argument you didn't want to accept.
What does it add to an argument, an argument of ideas, of knowing the face behind it? In all likelihood there would be much less volume of discourse should this not have been an available option. If we want to lower the volume and with it the ideas and thoughts, so be it. I don't need waste my time here any more.
#18.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 12:29
Sharing ideas is one thing. Destroying the climate of fear that prevades the OCA is quite another. As long as people are still too scared to sign their name to a post, what progress has actually been made?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
The bottom line is this. Until people are willing to speak out openly and are prepared to take the heat, nothing will really change.
I don't believe we need more of your brillant thoughts and ideas, Anonymous. What is needed is strong and courageous people who are willing to stand up for what is right, take action and do it with courage and conviction.
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