Friday, May 30. 2008
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No question, Fr. Bob Kondratick was a charming individual. However, the leadership skills he learned seemed to have been learned from old world bishops more interested in preserving privilege and status than being servants of Christ. The next step in this preservation is to commission pious-sounding words that support this agenda. This then cajoles weak theologians to use their intellectual to legitimize with sophistry the positions you believe will best support your power agendas. Beyond that, one must eliminate, marginalize or abuse thinking persons in your midst who question or have a problem with this justifiying "theology". In other words, at first blush the words might sound good, but upon further reflection, are fundamentally flawed. Once the justification has been established, then the objective is to surround himself with "yes" men and women willing to turn off their minds and follow orders.
Such fantasy constructs will eventually collapse, as we are seeing. Let us let these ashes smolder and let us move on and build a proper building built on a solid spiritual foundation. What we have had now has been little more than a facade. God help us.
#1 Anon. on 2008-05-30 19:46
Kondratick was nothing more than a thief and + Theodosius was his accomplice. + Herman knew all about their activities, possibly even profited from them, and did nothing. What more has to be said? All of this doesn't belong in the church, but in the courts. So why is + Herman STILL the Metropolitan of the OCA? Where is the real repentance and healing?
#1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 18:48
Archbishiop Lazar. I can only say to your reflection. AMEN!!!
We must honor and respect and be obedient to the hierarchs as they must to honor and love the laity whom Christ has placed in their care.
The Byzantine polity and its calcified authoritarianism must pass away.
God grant you many years and may He bless and strengthen all of of our bishops to lead us and rightly divide the word of truth.
#2 Michael Bauman on 2008-05-30 20:18
I think it is past the time when Wayne's questions will get answered, which makes his questions somewhat rhetorical.
I think Wayne's emphasis on one leader misses the greater picture of an organization completely out of touch and apparently completely untouchable.
Resolutions and actions are needed. Those resolutions really need to make conditions for a successful AAC. A successful AAC will include a full reporting well in advance.
If the fruit borne by the current administration for the 2008 AAC is a comprehensive reporting on the gross financial mismanagement of the last 16 years, won't that be something?
If we don't know until the AAC, remove all of them.
#3 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-05-30 21:02
You should very well know the answer - the burden of proof belongs to the accuser.
If all of the actions never give the accused the opportunity to respond - where is the justice?
The answer is very simple - Herman has control to all outcomes - he does what he needs to do to get through the moment. The entire world knows that if the report implicated that one person controlled everything - it would have been published months ago. Still RSK has not had a forum to present his information. What do you think will happen next?
#4 MP on 2008-05-31 04:04
You delusional person!
He HAS his forum, its right here. Mark will grant him all the time and space he needs to lay out everything. If Wheeler could spell out all the ills in a letter to the bishops, RSK can use a highly trafficked site like this with highly hospitable hosts to give us his side to the extent that he needs to. He gave put up exhibits, pictures, diagrams, etc. NOTHING is preventing him other than his own FEAR...
He doesn't even have the integrity and guts to refuse such an offer in his own name. ...
#4.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 15:25
That I'm afraid would be futile. You see people can say all that they want to say, and never show any proof - like Herman.
He makes many statements, but does he back them up? NO!
That' s why he will never let go - he still controls the outcome.
Who would believe anything at this point? Substantiating of facts has been long over due. Just think about this, Herman orchestrated everything and continues to do so. Talk about control!
And I repeat, if the PR report only implicated one person, it would have been published months ago. The SIC, they too have NOT interviewed RSK. To me it's all very telling.
#4.1.1 MP on 2008-06-01 01:55
Are you blind or just dumb? We have the summary report which said that Kondratick stole over a million and ADMITTED to $137,000 on some vanity items as tanning salons and wine for the family dinner. We have the affidavits from the suit that he initiated against the Church he loved so much. The latter of which are sworn statements which add a lot of weight to what they say. You tend to believe that over shills and a man who's tongue has suddenly gone silent for over 2 years. You will say, though, that its not his suit, that its his wife’s suit to get back her inheritance, to which we say, has he gotten so low in his character that he now hides behind a skirt to get back at his former employer, who even the Synod of which says he STOLE from the Church. Has he not heard in the marriage service that the two become one? I know, what does that mean to him! He may think he can hide behind the skirt, but we know he’s the instigator! Hiding behind a skirt, how laughable!
Listen, you can try to spin this til nothing but your head is above ground. The facts all point to Kondratick being nothing more than a common thief. And he, through you, claims that someone else is the REAL perp but can't put down anything in writing… at least Herman has written down allegations, people have sworn to their truth, and even your man admitted to STEALING $137,000. To normal people that really makes your man as guilty as sin and hence the question of why this guy hasn't done the perp walk in cuffs.
Until your guy starts producing more than hot air and delusional statements about the guilt of Herman, we got to weigh our judgements on what has been shown to us and that is that your guy is a lying, cheating, stealing, widow robbing, ecclesiastical thug!
You can't even give quantitative denials of the allegations that are contained in attachments everywhere. Just more and more of the same old statement that Herman is the thug. After being defrocked, and with just a whimper of a fight, you've got nothing to say. That silence of defense, that silence from a man who was never at a loss for words, does more to emphasize his guilt than any feeble attempts to rehabilitate the unrehabilitatable without offering up anything more significant than "herman is a dictator".
Its terribly boring, my friend, but we like it cause it just brings back all that anger at Kondratick and makes us ever firmer in our desire, and followed up by the MC, to counter sue. If that's the only forum your guy thinks he can give his side, then so be it. But we know that the desire to air his side in a court of law is nothing but more wind hoping it doesn't get to that. Just a hope that at some point the Church will blink and this will all go away and you’ll be restored. We were told he'd bring in the Patriarchs of the world to save his priestly skin, and it was bunk. We were told that he'd blow the lid on everything if he was defrocked, more broken wind. More and more bluffs that are called and shown to be as hollow as the man they are coming from.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-06-01 09:34
Yo, man ... don't be hatin'. Be nice! Whaddup, yo?
#18.104.22.168.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-02 20:21
This is not hate at anyone, this is disgust, this is anger!
You hear NOTHING from the Kondratick faction but a lot of broken wind pointing fingers, ignoring and not disputing facts, and arguing their case against deposition, not because the facts are wrong, but based on the fine print of the process – a defense of last resort.
I'm just sick and tired, sick and tired, sick and tired of them stirring up the pot and ignoring the facts that their guy is a lying, conniving, cheating, stealing con man!
Get off of it already. If you got the goods on Herman, spill it. But no, its that "he doesn't have a forum" garbage, or "it will all come out in court" garbage or that "herman is a dictator" garbage. Enough is enough. Put up or shut up. If you don’t want to do constructive actions in this mess, GO AWAY!
I'm sick and tired that you got Kondratick, who has been deposed Thank God, and Kucynda and Oselinsky and Herman who intimately know what was going on and they're allowed to hide in the woodwork and continue their charades as priests, hiding, cowering, and refusing to do what they HAVE to KNOW is the right thing - hell they ARE alledgedly priests afterall - doing nothing. Kucynda was even the chief coverup man and he doesn't have the heart, the soul, or the guts to come out and tell the truth, yet he stands in front of his parish and holds the body of Christ is in his hands while carefully guarding the crimes of his ilk in his mind and lying to the state about census figures. He may not have done any of the dastardly deeds himself, but he KNOWS what was going on and he doesn’t have it in his soul to make it all right. He’d rather see the Church fall to the forces of darkness rather live his conviction and do what’s right. What good is exclaiming Christ is Risen if you follow a path of darkness!? And then he preaches to his parish how they should act in the face of sin and adversity. How can he tell us if HE has NO idea on how one is to act?! He's trying to have it both ways! Remember that a man cannot serve two masters as he will either hate the first and love the second or hate the second and love the first. Its God or darkness, not both. Kucynda and Oselinsky cannot hold the body of Christ in their hands and keep this tucked away in their conscience and be true to themselves or, more importantly, true to God. I cringe when I hear people here say that Kucynda is a good man and not involved, just cringe like hearing nails across a blackboard. He’s a good person even though he sees what this scandal has done to the Church, people leaving in droves, debt piling up that will take a decade, if at all, to work down, animosities formed that have a half life of a generation or more. He along with Oselinsky, Herman, and Kondratick, the Eastern PA quad, are ALL bad men because they try to make like all is well, nothing is wrong, and keep up the clerical facades while they see the Church imploding before them. There are no redeeming qualities that can make up for their destruction of this Church. Disgusting!
In ALL SERIOUSNESS, seeing this, do you parents want to say, “There, son, is a man you should have as a role model. A man who hides bad, doesn’t live up to his convictions, doesn’t live as an example of what he preaches. Yes, son, that is the kind of man you should strive to be”. Have to laugh at that one! Seriously, think about that. Would you want these men to be role models for your kids? Look, there are people that act in just the same ways that these people do, but they don’t wear cassocks. They are seedy looking and if you see them approaching you you go to the other side of the street. The only reason we don’t do that here is because the cassock makes the man. Is it no surprise that our youth look to sports figures as role models? Is it any surprise? Of course not, some of the reason is because the one professional which should be the living example of what’s good and right is populated by men at the top that hide behind lawyers to shield them from their actions! You can learn more from Tim Duncan than you will EVER learn from Kondratick, Kucynda, Oselinsky, and Herman combined. Firefighters run into burning buildings to save their fellow man, our priests run to the safety of high priced lawyers to keep their behinds out of jail. No one is going to look up to these men and its understandable. And they’re a blight on the entire priesthood because these men were/are at the top. This is what we are saying are our BEST. Yes, our BEST! Unbelievable!
I’m just sick and tired of these mice, not men, hiding and allowing this garbage to go on and on and on and then Kondratick wants us to feel his pain. What a crock! His pain isn’t cause of us, it’s a pain of the darkness. This is no Church, this is a joke by men who dress up in ornate vestments and think that that is all they need in order to be good and holy men! Men with less substance than a Hollywood façade! BS!
No, its not hate, my friend, its anger. Every time someone brings up Kondratick or Kucynda my blood boils. You are damn right if you think I'm mad, damn right.
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 09:15
Two thoughts on RSK.
Firstly he has been to Confession and secondly he has done a superb job with the renewal of Holy Spirit Church in Venice,Fl. Holy Spirt in Venice was down to 12 people and ready to close its doors. Since RSK took over its membership has increased enormously and the average Sunday Liturgy has 80+ people. They are now looking to enlarge their church so they can accomodate more members. RSK was re-hired by the parish as 'administrator' because he had done such a grand job and they did not want to loose him. As he cannot celebrate; three retired Priests look after the Spiritual Life of the growing parish.
Archpriest retired in Florida.
#4.1.2 Archpriest retired in Florida on 2008-06-03 18:49
Ok, he's such a resource down there, but that STILL doesn't answer the question. Where's the money? What was it used for? When is he going to pay the $137,000 back? What happened to the rest?
Of course he's going to be a nice guy, he wants you to FORGET everything else. Look at him NOW, not what he has done!
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 13:55
To find the money - ask Met. Theodosios or Met. Herman they are the only ones who can(and should)say what happened to it!
They are the ones who asked for the 'special accounts' to be set up and for the deposits to be made into them! Let them come before the State authorities and the IRS and explain what happened to the monies! Their answers should be enligtening!!
It is just possible that the 'small fry' Kucynda,RSK,Oselinsky,et al may know something but it is the 'white hats' who are the main players and they are the boys with the goods!
#188.8.131.52.1 Archpriest retired in Florida on 2008-06-05 11:17
We're talking the $137,000 that RSK admitted to in the summary report and there's $1,000,000 that is still in question. We're not talking the ADM money.
And if this is TRULY the case then why can't RSK come out here and tell us himself. Until he does that all you say is just blowing smoke, and well, breaking wind...
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 06:42
What is the real point?
All of this is futile. Herman controls all outcomes. Stop the pain and stop the blame. If people think that there has only been one signature on a check, the SIC is not going to state what Herman wants them to AND that Herman and Kucynda are not going to go scott free - they are all dilusional.
It's over - Herman is in place until he dies. It is what it is - so stop and live in your own truth. Kucynda and Herman have had time and time again to produce evidence - they have made statements - but where are the hard copies.
Herman has been spending the OCA money to cover himself for years. I'm certain that the Honesdale Bank owns more than the large sum the OCA borrowed - I'm sure if one would look into the books at St. Tikhon's the Honesdale Bank would come up over and over. But he lives in HIS world spending the money of the church - it is what it is!
(Editor's note: the writer's cri-de-couer overlooks the point that the truth, while personal, is not individual. The truth will out, for the Metropolitan does not control all outcomes. God does. )
#220.127.116.11.1.1.1 MP on 2008-06-07 03:19
I'm sorry to say, Mr Tatusko, but I think you did get your answer: "You asked why I don't ask Bob Kondratick to answer. Your instincts are correct, we should confront our friends directly. In fact, when the scandal was breaking, I wrote personally to then-Father Bob and asked him to break his silence and tell the whole story. I received no response."
In one simple act, Mr Kondratick told you what your friendship meant to him as well as that he apparently had knowledge he was not willing to share. I do believe people are correct in expecting answers from him too. I don't think you can excuse his behavior because someone else, like Herman, "allowed" it. The man was himself a priest with moral and legal obligations to the people of the OCA. That he did not deliver is his fault alone.
Herman and company have their own sins against the people of the OCA for which they have to atone.
#5 your answer on 2008-05-31 04:30
That was quite insightful.
Yes, like any good con man, and Kondratick was nothing more than a good con man, he made people think he was their friend in order to keep his game going and benefit from their goodwill. Its only the charmers that are able to so easily swindle little old ladies out of their life savings and Kondratick was one a charmer extraordinaire. A hand on the back or a look of being pleasantly surprised to see you at some social gathering, he knew how to work a crowd and play individuals to his benefit. Wayne, you have to face it. You, like many others, were had by a con man dressed like a priest who justified his actions stating they were divined by the Holy Spirit. Not only a devious con man, but a sacrilegious one at that! We know that the Holy Spirit line was just a gimmick to gain legitimacy for his actions, because the Holy Spirit has to be knocking on his conscience to tell the truth, but that's not going to be acknowledged and acted upon by him. We can only hope he repented of his use of the name of the Holy Spirit to justify and legitimize acts against the Church. If not then what he has to fear from the authorities pales in comparison to what fear he should be having by his scandalous use of the Holy Spirit. For a man who believes in God its no joking matter. We can only speculate on what he thinks about it.
What he has done to the Church is only exceeded by the amount of personal pain he has caused by revealing that a lot of people that believed he was their friend were nothing but pawns in his game. People who will always think twice now when a member of the clergy tries to befriend them and foster their good will. And the duplicity is just continuing with the bunch still in and the Kondratick enablers who feel their have faded back into the woodwork, but we know who you are and where you are and we have NOT forgotten. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. A friend like you describe would have answered you even to the point of saying he couldn't respond. A friend doesn't just ignore those whom he said were good friends. After all this he has the gall to say that he's been framed by other people. We’re all disappointed in finally seeing through him, but as a result not surprised to see his lack of integrity to own up to what he did and a lack of care to try to help the Church rid itself of these problems, problems he knows intimately, a Church he didn’t care about more than what it could materially do for him.
Good riddance, Kondratick, good riddance!
#5.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 15:50
You appear to be such a kind Christian, did you ever think of the pain RSK has had to endure? Put yourself in his place. All of the people that he encouraged, supported and helped have let him down. Put him in the ground and keep shoveling. It's real easy to make accusations when the person is not there to respond. Keep up your charitable endeavors!
#5.1.1 MP on 2008-06-01 15:30
Nice try, but no cigar!
No one did anything to make him STEAL the money. He brought it all upon himself. No one, even Herman, was there with a gun to his head making him get that tanned hide. I doubt Herman suggested he take the money for the wine for the family dinner. And why would SUCH a man of God, with integrity oozing from his pores allow the theft he accuses Herman of. He either was a willing participant or completely oblivious to his responsibilities in his role - in other words completley incompetent. Hearing what people say of him, we all bet its the former. The pain on his side is self inflicted, and while truly a tragedy, doesn't get any sympathy from me nor the vast majority of the people who were swindled by the guy. We, do however, have a an interest in his rehabilitation which starts with the truth and his coming clean. Til then don't try to whitewash what he has done with accusing others of unChristian behavior, we're not the ones who, in his version of CHARITY, stole from widows and orphans. And you consider US uncharitable! Another laugher!
To equate his self inflicted pain with the feelings after being conned and swindled by him is highly disengenuous and shows there is, yet, no remorse on his side. Just trying to con us more into thinking he could never had done or did it under orders. Only a person who is highly confident of Herman's remaining in office and never allowing evidence to see the light of day would try to spin like his shills have spun us. Herman and Kondratick, two peas in a pod, one playing the good cop, one the bad.
The bottom line, again, to your comments is: Bunk, bunk, and more bunk!
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-06-01 19:43
So where is the proof? I guess you didn't relize that the burden of proof belongs to the prosecution. Herman, Kucynda and company have made many statements, so why have they NOT produced anything in black and white.
They have lied and lied and lied. I am like Thomas, I need to see the proof.
You see Herman does not care about the people. I Ipetition has proved that. He thinks that he can go on and everyone will just forget. If you think that Herman and Kucynda do not control this SIC you are very niave. They will control all outcomes.
It is really pointless to go on. This is a good place to vent and express your point of view, but really, what good will it really do? Will it save a soul? I really don't think so. And if you think that any of the other Synod members are any better, think again. They have closed, opened, closed and opened the ADM issue.
Paul Meyendorff needs to write his resolution. They all need to resign and be reappointed. It's time to do another demographic study anyway. With the Romanians leaving, less bishops will be needed.
#22.214.171.124.1 MP on 2008-06-02 15:32
Oh, for heaven's sake. Feel sorry for Kondratick because his friends, having no desire to be associated with an unrepentant and brazen known thief, have, wisely, distanced themselves? Now, if you had suggested feeling sorry for the man because he must face the fearful judgment of God, and has, thus far, continued unrepentant, you might have some takers. As it is, you are simply embarrassing yourself. Please stop. Reading your posts in this matter provokes the same discomfort felt by anybody watching an ungifted child stumble through "Chopsticks" in his first piano recital.
#126.96.36.199 Scott Walker on 2008-06-01 20:07
"Nevertheless, without the careful concern of the bishops about what is being taught in the parishes and how the Divine Services are being fulfilled, without the teaching role of the hierarchy and the spiritual leadership that we are supposed to be giving (even those of us who are retired), we do not have the fulness of Orthodox Church life."
I thank you for your letter. It is the first effort I've seen of a spiritual leader attempt to address the problems and situations in the OCA head on and demonstrate real leadership to the people.
I think your above statement as well as the previous statement about attacking the ordained bishops goes right to the heart of the problem. What do you suggest the people of Orthodoxy do when you do have ordained bishops like Herman and Nikolai? The only reason some changes are occuring is because the people refused to stand silent and be treated so poorly. Sometimes those ordained men leave the people no other course of action. I m very proud of the men and women who put themselves out there and on the line to bring about change against such "ordained" tyranny. I doubt the people of the early Christian community would have done anything different. I'm sure they too would not have accepted such ungodly behavior from their "ordained" leaders. I think those men were far more aware of their dependence on the community than the bishops of today. I think they are going to find, especially in a free world, that the people of the community of today are going to again become move vocal about their expectations from their leaders. Even an ordained bishop needs some sense of accountability.
#6 anon on 2008-05-31 04:45
So, you’re “very proud of the men and women who put themselves out there and on the line…” Really? But not proud enough to put your name to the post.
“Even an ordained bishop needs some sense of accountability. And you don’t! Accountability begins with signing your name to a post -- not just you, but everyone else.
#6.1 Terry C. Peet on 2008-05-31 20:19
I've always considered the Venerable Archbishop a nut, 'cept for his writings on Toll Houses.
I have to say that I find this to be the work well reasoned and probably the best thing to come out from a bishop. Sure is better than anything from Snow White and his 12 Dwarfs.
Bravo Archbishop! Sorry I judged you, keep that pen going.
#7 none on 2008-05-31 06:19
I never claimed not to be a "nut." I do claim to do my best with whatever love, faith and common sense senility has left to me. All of us have a few loose screws rattelling around in our heads. If I am ever lecturing or teaching in your area, drop in and chat with me. I might not be quite as loony as you suspect.
In Christ, Vladiko Lazar.
Before "fading," I want to applaud Archbishop Lazar's excellent reflection, with which I fully concur with one caveat--namely, criticizing the hierarchy is not the same thing as "attacking" it. I fully endorse his belief that many contemporary issues and challenges to Christian witness are not being addressed, and can not credibly be addressed, while we are trying to get our own house in order.
Every time one is tempted to give way to pessimism and despair, it seems a ray of light is given to encourage us to soldier on. If only this bishop wasn't retired! (I say this having no familiarity with his past service.)
#8 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-05-31 06:25
The "caveat" is understandable. There is a time and place for criticism. Some of what I am seeing from "anonymous" is just attacking, not well thought out or sincere criticism. My godfather once wanted to criticise a hierarch, but he would not call a hierarch a "liar," because he respected the office. In the end, he accused the hierarch of "economising on the truth." He also signed his name. I have not liked some of the attacks on Metropolitan Herman, especially when they come from "anonymous." Accusations from unknown sources or people should never, ever be taken as fact. Lets see "any mouse" signing real names and it might be taken as honest criticism rather than blind attacks. The fact is, people DO have a right to know to whom and for what the money went.
People can debate one side or another of this issue but the fact remains HERMAN MUST GO and if he does not retire before the AAC, the Council itself will be a blood-bath calling for his resignation.
And what do they think people are going to say at these "Town Hall Meetings?" How are they going to sanitize the calls for Herman's resignation?
I plan on being at the one in my diocese and would hope that others will answer the two questions they are asking -
What would success at the All-American Council and in the Church in general look like to you ?
THE RESIGNATION OF HERMAN AND THE ELECTION OF A NEW METROPOLITAN
What would you want to see the OCA do in the next decade?
BE IN THE POST HERMAN SCANDAL YEARS AND GETTING BACK TO OUR ORIGINAL PURPOSE AND VISION AS THE OCA
#9 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 07:49
I have one question, if the "secret"account was entitled the Metropolitan's Discretionary Account, why was he not held accountable? Surely he was a signator.
#10 MP on 2008-05-31 09:06
I appreciate your response and the time you've devoted to this issue.
Although I agree that the Metropolitan should be more forthcoming with answers to your many questions, (as they truly are legitimate questions), the problem remains that the former chancellor is the one person who knows what happened to the missing millions of dollars the ADM Foundation graciously donated to the Church.
That is where the root of the problem lies burried. The fact remains that the Church would not be in this financial prediciment if this weren't true.
I am in no way defending the Metropolitan's actions or inactions, as I believe he needs to be more forthcoming with information and not a passive leader.
What disturbs me Wayne is that everyone seems to blame him for this mess and looks to him for all the answers.
I'll repeat, he definitely needs to be more forthcoming and lead us through this mess as Metropolitan.
However, what I ask not only of you, but of each and everyone of us, where is this same passion in demanding answers to our questions and the truth we yearn for from the former chancellor?
Why hasn't anyone sent a letter to him asking and demanding a response to a list of questions?
We've all been crying for truth and transparency for years now. Let's hope the forthcoming report from the Special Investigative Committee will accomplish that.
Thank you for your courteous response.
#11 Michael Geeza on 2008-05-31 09:16
Sorry Michael. Fat chance, not when Bishop Benjamin was telling everyone in Syosset at the last Synod meeting that Herman had nothing to do with this scandal.
The new SIC is as impotent as the old SIC.
Herman must go and everyone who propped he must be confronted in their sin against the Church - including your Kucynda.
#11.1 Anonymous on 2008-05-31 17:59
Is this true? Is there someone willing to sign their name who can confirm this? Mark? Anyone?
#11.1.1 josephine on 2008-05-31 21:14
At this point, this SIC is LIGHT YEARS AHEAD of anything the original group would have accomplished, and they're not even finished yet.
On another note, please provide one bit of fact concerning the "sin" you say "my friend Kucynda" committed against the Church. I'd really like to know what you base such an idiotic statement on.
If it wasn't for his efforts, this Church would have been down the toilet financially.
People like you will bitch and moan about everything under the sun. You offer NO Solutions to existing problems, but rather do nothing but criticize whatever attempts are or were made at correcting the horrible deeds of others.
In case you hadn't heard, THERE WAS NO MONEY left to pay simple bills when the former chancellor was dismissed.
Where was money going to come from if someone didn't step to the plate and come up with some type of solution?
Where were you and your cronnies when the Church was at Her darkest hour finanically? Did you offer any help?
Did you offer any words of encouragement?
No. All you did and continue to do is complain and gripe about everything.
The current SIC has made tremendous progress in their work. Can't any of you cut them some slack already and let them finish their work without a snied remark or some form of criticism?
Please think about this.
Perhaps Divine Providence is doing it's work and when the time is right, we will be enlightened. However, the way in which some of us think, we probably aren't worthy of being enlightened.
(Editor's note: Michael must be priveleged to have received information the rest of us have not from the committee, otherwise he could not know that they were "LIGHT YEARS" ahead of the original Special Commission. More significantly, the comparison between the Special Commission and the SIC is bogus. To argue the SIC is further along is to overlook the fundamental problem encountered by the Special Commission - that the Metropolitan hindered their work from the very beginning, and at every stage, until the majority of members resigned in protest after the Metropolitan had placed the work of the Commission on hold for almost six moths. Has the SIC been able to overcome such problems? One hopes so, but that in turn raises the question: how? and why? In the end, we shall not knowa ny of the answers until the full report is made available to the Church, which will come only late this summer, if at all. Until then, it is pure speculation, for there are no published facts, or public statements, indentified sources, or even a track record of information supplied by anonymous sources, etc., on which to predicate one's assertions. )
#11.1.2 Michael Geeza on 2008-06-01 12:19
Your beloved Kucynda's "Firewall" statement to the late Fr Vansuch and Fr Dresko. It was Kucynda's intention and the first Special Commission' work bears this out as they simple took the firewall work of PR to protect Herman. That cost the church not only $500,000 but precious time and credibility lost. Kucynda is OLD SCHOOL like KONDRATICK and HERMAN and THEODOSIUS.
Some of us have moved on from this, but you insist on trying to rehabilitate a man who simply never got it. BTW seen a post from a previous thread on how much money Kucynda has cost the OCA.
Give it up Mike. You are backing a dead horse who has nothing more to say to us.
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2008-06-01 20:27
I have received no such information. My comment was made solely on the makeup of the present commission.
Why not provide your readers with the professional backgrounds of it's current members? I'm sure your readers will agree, it is quite impressive and perhaps even more conducive to a truly thourough and unbiased investigation.
While you're at it, why not also inquire as to whether or not anyone is refusing to be interviewed and to cooperate with them??? That would be very interesting to know and could shed some major light on this whole thing.
(Editor's note: You have speculated poorly then. The SIC is operating in a atmosphere of secrecy vis-a-vis everyone but those whom in interviews and those to whom it has offered a brief report - the MC and Synod. They too, in turn, have both chosen not to share publicly what, if anything, the SIC has reported.
The OCA has a Communications Director and Office that costs more than $100,000 a year. I would suggest if you want information about the SIC, its member's credentials, or its activities, who is being interviewed and who has refused, beyond the bare fact they are meeting, you ask them. Otherwise, if the OCA website can't speak openly about important Church matters, but is reduced to being a bulletin board of church events, why even have a Communications office, right? I mean, for the all trumpeted changes, things have changed, right? In the old days no news was shared about important discussions, and today, well, things are so much different, aren't they?
#184.108.40.206 Michael Geeza on 2008-06-02 12:32
Your comments in response to Mike Geeza's post are interesting. We have been told at Three Saints in Ansonia that the current SIC has much greater latitude and freedom to explore every aspect of the scandal. However, based upon the manner in which the Special Commission was arbitrarily disbanded by Met Herman would lead most reasoning people to believe that some deep dark secrets were in danger of being exposed. This charade has gone on long enough. How can anyone claim the grace of the Holy Spirit is functioning within the OCA hierarchy. Spiritually, we are on life support - one must wonder how much longer before the end comes.
#220.127.116.11 Rich on 2008-06-02 14:47
Where has Archbishop Job been? We do not hear from him any more. Perhaps he would shed some light in this darkness.
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-06-02 18:41
Whoa! 'light years ahead' ????
To suggest a federal prosecutor is incompetant suggests he is politically incompetant.
The Metropolitan's politics are part of the trash and need to be taken out not on Sunday in church, but on Monday by the local carrier.
The fact that he was not able to hold the first, and polically superior SIC together, or in fact tore it down says it all.
He behaves as a spoiled child.
A little criticism from a few of his clan might go a long way. I have done my darndest to be objective, but the facts are the facts and the Metropolitan ain't doing great.
There is almost no possible way the report of the 2nd SIC will be fair. The biases are inherent in the nature of a newly appointed group.
If the Metropolitan himself were so innocent and foolish to allow 7 years of gross financial mismanagement and now proven graft of 'over a million' dollars, he would still show the courage, and honor, and respect for the people to demand the resignations of those members of the Metropolitan Council seated before the July 2005 AAC and then he himself would resign as well.
The facts without any investigation are blatantly clear. This is an administration wishing to be blameless ones, when in fact, all of them, from the administration leaders to the MC to the Synod itself are not worthy of respect or honor.
They have not been forthcoming about what was known to them for going on 3 years. The best glimpse of details we got were from the nut Tikhon of the West who cited a 2002 compilation report that clearly stated the misuse of funds at that time.
Incompetance and corruption are great bedfellows. When hundreds of thousands are spend on weeding out the corruption, the time is due for the incompetant to leave.
Wayne and Cathy's polarizing resignation petition missed the rest of them.
You continually suggest the Metropolitan was hornswoggled by RSK. According to the citation from Tikhon of the West, noone was hornswoggled. They were either complicit or completely stupid.
Which is it?
The question isn't "Are the allegations true or false?"
The question is "When will the idiots leave?"
To begin to earn my respect, resignations are needed.
#22.214.171.124 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-06-09 07:42
As long as one reads stories like this,. there is hope, thank God.
From the "OrthodoxyToday.org." Originally published in "Orthodoxy and the World," © Copyright 2007 by pravmir.com
The Incredible Story of an Orthodox Missionary
Maximus Regis Urbanowicz - The Incredible Story of a renowned Orthodox missionary.
Baptized Roman Catholic, later becoming an Episcopal priest and missionary, and three years ago having been received with his family into the Holy Orthodox Church, he is a zealous Orthodox missionary and evangelist currently preparing for ordination to priesthood at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, Pennsylvania.
Maximus has been involved in various church ministries including Foundation Park —a ministry for the poor, Strike force —strength ministry for teens, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes . He served three years as head counselor at Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge , a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for teenagers. In addition, as part of his Masters degree at Regent University, he spent three dynamic summers ministering in Germany, the United Kingdom and Africa in connection with the evangelistic ministry of Christ for all Nations.
After graduation in 1990, Maximus was invited to join the ministry of “Christ for all Nations,” (CfaN) as an associate evangelist. He moved to Kenya, East Africa, and eventually lived, traveled and ministered in nineteen African nations and eventually led evangelization efforts in various parts of the world including India, Philippines, Russia, and Madagascar.
In 1997, Maximus became part of the “Minus to Plus” evangelistic project in North America — a ministry of CfaN dedicated to placing an evangelistic booklet about the cross of Christ into every home in North America. He became Executive Director of the multi—million dollar project as well as Executive Director of the U.S. branch of the Christ for all Nations ministry, placing 10 million booklets into homes across North America, meeting and working with the top evangelical church leaders across North America.
After working with thousands of churches from various denominational backgrounds in the international evangelistic campaigns, Maximus eventually grew in his convictions about sacramental and liturgical traditions as he studied church history. The most helpful materials were the teachings and traditions of the Orthodox Church.
As a first step, Maximus took sacred vows as a deacon and later a priest in the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. Over time, as a result of his extensive ministry in Eastern Europe , it became increasingly clear that God was calling him and his family to become members of the Orthodox Church. Since then, Maximus, his wife Susanne, and four children have been received into the Orthodox Church in America and are active members of Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Washington D.C.
Today, Maximus is the president and founder of the evangelistic mission “Gospel to all Nations” (GTAN) — an evangelistic ministry in the process of fully coming under the auspices of the Orthodox Church. GTAN is grounded in the historic faith and church of the past, but striving into the future to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It fosters unity and cooperation between various church denominations while witnessing the richness and fullness of the apostolic faith of the Fathers, and is an equipping force for the saints in regards to evangelism and missions. Lastly, it hosts Gospel campaigns to non—Christians: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and general un—evangelized people and has a particular interest in reaching the least evangelized nations of the world.
Maximus has preached Gospel campaigns in 39 nations, face to face with millions of people. Meetings have ranged from five people, to five hundred thousand people in a single service, as in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Noteworthy, is the fact that multitudes of people from the Muslim faith have converted to Christianity in both North Africa and Central Asia as a result of these numerous campaigns, held from Mali to Kyrgyzstan.
Over the past few years, the ministry has hosted campaigns and conferences in various cities in Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Armenia, Pakistan and Cuba. One unique outreach was in historic Armenia, in the city of Sevan , where from a population of approximately 10,000 people, up to 7,000 people attended the largest service. In the evenings, multitudes of people, including all the local prostitutes , responded to Maximus' words for repentance and church attendance, while during the day, a conference was hosted with up to six hundred people from local churches - attending daily teaching and discipleship.
In September 2006, Maximus completed an extremely fruitful mission trip to Sakhalin Island, preaching in churches, public meetings, orphanages, monasteries, by radio, TV, and newspaper interviews, working together with Bishop Danyyl of Sakhalin and also Archbishop Mark in the city of Khabarovsk, mainland Russia. Between the 24th of September and 2nd of October he did evangelistic work with Archbishop John, the bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in charge of missions and evangelism, and is teaching in their seminary and preaching in the city of Belgorod, Russia.
Maximus successfully completed five mission trips this summer. He is now enrolled at St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, PA, to which he commutes. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. He wife, Susanne, delivered their fourth child in October.
#12 Carl on 2008-05-31 11:57
Fr. Maximus finished his studies and has been ordained as a priest in the OCA.
#12.1 Updat on 2008-05-31 15:34
Why can't we get answers to such perfectly fair and pertinent questions when we ask?
The data in this study is disturbing and itself needs to be discussed:
On page 7 you will find responses from Orthodox priests to the question "What topics need to be openly discussed?" In almost all cases, the percentage of OCA priests responding positively to the idea of open discussion of particular topics is well below that of GOA priests.
Empirical data, if from only one study, confirming the accusation that we in the OCA have a 'culture of denial and secrecy'.
Getting to the bottom of the current scandal will only be the beginning of undoing the dreadful bonds of this sick culture. REAL commitment to openness must happen at the AAC and before.
#13 Valentine on 2008-05-31 13:32
Although Archbishop Lazar has taken some controversial positions on eschatological theology, and I know from first hand experience his intolerance to differing view, his reflections on the crisis in the Church ring very true. I believe his considerable grasp of history, along with his experience as a husband and father give weight to his point of view. We would be well served in today's world to return to the more familial Church polity of the early Church, and reject the overly pretentious and formal Church/State baggage from the more recent past.
#14 Marc Trolinger on 2008-05-31 14:36
One think about parenthood that should ring true for spiritual parenthood as well: we are all aware of situations in which "spiritual fathers" and "Elders" are more inclined to cripple their spiritual children and make them as totally dependent on them as possible. This is behaviour more in keeping with a neurotic mother than with a father. Spiritual fathers, as with all proper parents, should be preparing their children to become successful individuals, able to carry on and, hopefully, to do better than we did. This applies to the hierarch/laity relationship in a certain way also. We should be spending enough time and energy in the teaching and leading of our flocks that they are knowledgeable enough about the faith to defend it themselves. Autocracy is no substitute for proper parenting, spiritual or otherwise. Laity does not mean "ignorant," it is a short form of "The People of God." As Prophet Hosea says, "My people are perishing from lack of knowledge." What he says about the priests who are responsible for that should be rather frightening to everyone who is ordained. Also, I want to add that there is no reason why Church administrations should not be accountable for what they do with the people's money.
Thank you Vladiko Lazar for sharing your very important observations concerning the differences between healthy and dysfunctional family relationships. We must all strive to build healthy personal and parish families. When dysfunction does occur, there needs to be some means of intervention and correction both at home and in Church. This is where a framework of accountability is so very important.
Just as it is difficult for a priest to evaluate the spiritual health of his parishioners if they are not active in the sacramental life of the parish, it is difficult for a bishop to evaluate the spiritual health of a priest, or a synod to evaluate the spiritual health of a brother bishop because of the infrequency of time spent together. This is where a periodic standardized written evaluation could be very helpful. If the members of a parish filled out this well designed form annually and a compilation of the results were made available to the priest and his bishop, accountability could be enhanced. If all the priests in a diocese evaluated their bishop in the same fashion, with the results shared with his brother bishops on the synod, the same enhanced accountability could be realized.
Outraged remonstrance gives me indigestion Vladiko, just some more thoughts for contemplation and discussion. Thanks again for your reflections.
Your brother in Christ,
#14.1.1 Marc Trolinger on 2008-06-01 11:46
I am not sure about the evaluations, but one thing is clear to me: many or even most clergy are not adequately trained for hearing confessions before they are sent to parishes. They often must "feel their way" into it. Confession is part of the healing process. It must be remembered that "passion" means "suffering" not "sin." It is a kind of inner suffering that leads people to fall, sometimes from pure bitterness. One could say much about this subject, and I intend to in my youtube broadcasts, but I do wonder how often some of our hierarchs and priest have confession themselves. I do recall an situation a few years ago, in which a priest remarked that he could not feel safe going to an honest confession. He related some incidents in which, when the political winds shifted in his jurisdiction, one chancellor had used the confessions of priests who were "not on his side" against them, in order to undermine their position. Such matters need to be dealt with in a clear, unequivocal manner. But I will be producing a series of 5 videos on youtube about Confession and these matters. It really should be that bishops are cognizant of how parish life is conducted within their dioceses.
In Christ, Vladiko Lazar.
Your recent work on the harmful effects of Augustinian theology on the Orthodox Christian Church is a must read for those who want to understand the source of so many of the problems we face in the Church today. As one of our more effective contemporary Orthodox Christian educators, I believe your efforts to improve the praxis of the important Mystery of Penance will be well received. Many years Vladiko.
#126.96.36.199.1 Marc Trolinger on 2008-06-03 15:02
it is rewarding to remember that there was an OCA before the advent of Andreas' money........ the replacement of that money with an ill-considered multi-million dollar bank loan will be no solution, as stopgaps generally prove to be more stumbling block than highway.....encumbering the new version of the OCA with a backlog of moribund debt cannot brighten the future of the younger members whose doleful task will be to try to make the church a meaningful place of worship
#14.2 Guileless on 2008-05-31 23:53
At this point, the entire mess comes down to ousting + Herman. He's the obstacle for the OCA to move forward. At the last AAC, + Seraphim won the popular vote and + Herman "pushed" himself in. It's time to do right by the people of the OCA. + Herman needs to resign and + Seraphim step up. Next, addressing the future leadership. Married bishops need to be reinstated and SERIOUS indepth background checks and psych. evaluations of all episcopal candidates.
The MC MUST provide serious checks and balances with all aspects of the central church.
#15 Anonymous on 2008-06-01 08:22
Get the notion of married bishops out of your head. The only way this could possibly happen is with an Orthodox Ecumenical Council. Were the OCA to institute married bishops, then we really would be on the outside of the Orthodox world looking in.
#15.1 Michael Strelka on 2008-06-02 06:52
Get the notion out of your head that there will ever be any more ecumenical councils. Ecumenical Councils were first of all called by the Emperor to address SERIOUS theological issues - there is no emperor and this is not a serious theological problem. The EP will never agree to a full council of all the Orthodox Churches because his authority would be seriously questioned. Married bishops are part of our Orthodox tradition and celibates (monastics) were chosen for expediency - nothing more. Returning to married bishops doesn't require any council; there is nothing theologically wrong with married bishops. It has become "expedient" for Orthodox Churches in North America to return to this option.
#15.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 07:56
Dear Mr/Ms/Fr Anonymous: Please point out to me where the word "theological" appeared in my comment. Nor did I say that there would be an ecumenical council; IMO there would have to be, or we would be stepping way out of the mainstream of Orthodoxy in the world. Face it; there are no married bishops in the Orthodox Church.
Btw, it was also expedient for one man to die for the people. That didn't make it right then either.
#188.8.131.52 Michael Strelka on 2008-06-05 06:15
Whether or not we can or should look at reinstating married bishops will make no difference in itself. I actually think that now, in the middle of this crisis, is a very bad time to even try to discuss that issue seriously.
What we need to be more concerned about as we approach this AAC is the WAY bishops lead the flock, as discussed in this article (in the OCA house organ, surprisingly enough!) which talks about bishops as 'co-presbyters':
#15.2 another member regretfully anonymous for now on 2008-06-02 12:14
I agree Anonymous,
Whether single or married, there should be indepth background checks as well as pyshc evals. We have seen poor leadership from both the celibates and the marrieds. However, I advocate for trying to include married clergy to widen the pool of canidates for the episcopacy. But how do we get this to happen?
#15.3 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-02 15:04
I would have no objection to married hierarchs, but ultimately it might not solve much. After all, the real culprit in the affair at hand was a married priest, who might easily have become a bishop if the episcopacy was opened to married priests. One thing that really does need to be remembered is that clergy, whether priests or hierarchs, do not have professional training in finance, accounting, tax laws and all the intricities of managment. Yet, the administrative burdens placed upon them, and the ultimate responsibility that resolves on them, is very, very heavy. It really is time to stop attacking Metropolitan Herman. I am not sure that anyone else could have done more. There is a whole commission working on the problems, and the professionals in these fields are really the only ones who can fully cope with the situation. We need to have patience to see how it works matters out. I have made it clear that i applaud the interest in these matters shown by the laity. No doubt this has helped press the matters onward toward a conclusion. There is really no point in the disrespect and offensive statements about His Beatitude. No problem will ever be solved with pejorative. The fact is, he IS the Metropolitan right up until the moment he retires or reposes. That should be respected, in my view.
God preserve the laity who are genuinely concerned with the health of the Church. I would never, ever discourage any of you from expressing your concerns and seeing a clear understanding of what has occurred and what is taking place. Indeed, if we ever do have Orthodox unity in North America, it will arise from the laity.
In Christ, Vladiko Lazar.
(editor's note: Your Eminence both desires his cake and would eat it too.
The fact that clergy do not have training in adminsitration, and then claim that absolves them from the mistakes they makes, overlooks the fact they should have that training if they are going to administer something. That they choose not to become competant in the areas they are responsble for does not lessen their culpability, it only increases it. If the Metropolitan has acted dishonorably ( say, in acquiesing in firing a whistleblower, taking over his job, then assisting in the cover up of the misdeeds, say, diverting funds, ignoring criminal activities even when given the physical evidence, etc.) should one then not point that out lest one be accused of lacking respect for the office? Who does not respect the office more - the honest critic, or the one debasing the office by their actions? You speak a great deal of laity being active and knowing their station. You speak a great deal of Bishops and their perogratives. What is missing, I fear, is how to deal with Bishops who have misused their office, or fail in it.
Finally, you assert that the laity will bring administrative unity. Actually, it is the Bishops who will - no one else can. We could all stand on hands, walking over the waters, as light from heaven shone down on us, guiding our way. But unless 95 men in big hats and black robes make the phone calls needed to make unity happen, it never will. I applaud every one trying to make unity happen in America, but I am not so foolish as not to know how it must happen beyond my desires and dreams. )
Your eminence, I do not have professional training in finance, accounting, or tax laws. I do not have professional training in employment law. I do not have professional training in pharmacology, psychology, occupational therapy, or dog training.
My lack of professional training does not in any way absolve me from my responsibilities in those areas.
If my lack of training means that I am not competent to figure out my taxes, I am still required to file a complete and accurate tax return. If I have to hire professional help to do the job, that's what I have to do.
If my lack of training means that, when I hire a nanny for my youngest son, I'm likely to inadvertently break employment laws, fail to pay required taxes or fees, or fail in my responsibilities in other ways, that lack of training does not absolve me from any of those requirements. I simply have to hire someone with the appropriate knowledge and skills to make sure I get it right.
When my children have to take prescription medication, my lack of training in pharmacology doesn't absolve me of the responsibility for administering the medication correctly, for being aware of and alert to side effects, and for ensuring that there are no adverse interactions. That's why I talk to their physicians and the pharmacist -- I know what I lack. I know to get expert advice so that I can fulfill my responsibilities appropriately.
If our clergy do not know how to fulfill many of their responsibilities (as is manifestly true), to say that they were not trained in these responsibilities in seminary does not mitigate their failure.
And, if you'll forgive me for saying so, your eminence, for a bishop to offer it as a mitigating circumstance seems to me entirely wrong. Are the bishops not responsible for ensuring that the priests are able to fulfill their responsibilities? If that is the case, then if the bishops are aware that the priests lack the necessary training (or that they lack it themselves), then it seems to me that the bishops are responsible for ensuring that the priests either get the necesary training, or provide the priest with some other way of accessing the necessary expertise. If the priest fails due to lack of training, then the bishop who knows the training was lacking has also failed.
Hoping that there is a CPA or an attorney on the parish council of every parish hardly seems a responsible way to fulfill that responsibility.
#184.108.40.206 josephine on 2008-06-04 13:57
Archbishop Lazar has shown his hand clearly now with the phrase "the real culprit". As if the foot dragging and stonewalling and the Nikolai affair and everything else we have continued to suffer in the OCA since the deposition of RSK were of no consequence.
On the contrary-- it is these entrenched attitudes that were the source of the problem, and RSK's wrongdoing merely the fruit of those attitudes. RSK has been called to account, but the source of the problem has not been fully dealt with yet.
Met. Herman has never answered the objection that he himself was Treasurer in the years in question, and thus responsible for the stewardship of the money given by the faithful for good works. He had no right to accept the position 'in name only', so that is no excuse for his failure to right things. This alone is enough to expect the resignation of a man who would wish to act with integrity.
Is this 'attacking' either the position of Metropolitan or the man who currently wears the title? On the contrary, it is simply maintaining the insistence that we need to move forward, and faithfully reporting the truth-- that the Metropolitan needs to be in the forefront of that movement. Sadly, so far, he has refused every opportunity to put himself in that place of Godly leadership. So, as Bob Dylan said-- if you can't lend a hand, please get out of the way.
#220.127.116.11 Valentine on 2008-06-04 17:28
If i have shown my "true hand," thank God I managed to do so. But don't be so hasty to think that you know what it is. I honestly do not believe that we had any candidates for Metropolitan who would have handled matters better than Metropolitan Herman has. I also do not know that anyone other than RK has been convicted of anything yet. At the beginning of all this, I might have suggested just calling in the IRS and asking them to investigate. We might have got a free audit out of it. Also, I am prepared to see the outcome of the current investigations before thinking one way or the other about the intricities of all this. What does occur to me is that the OCA has lost credibility on more than one front. When the Patriarch of Moscow invites the Greek Archbishop of America (with no OCA hierarchs participating) to discuss matters of the Church in America (the re-entry of the Russian Church into SCOBA, etc), the Antiochians assign a bishop to a newly created named diocese that overlaps an established one of our own and the Romanians discuss withdrawing from the relationship with the OCA, and we don't see any sort of actions to remedy this loss of status, what comes to mind most readily is Chekov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD. "Surly they could have waited until we were gone before they began to chop down the orchard....." We may no longer be whistling past the graveyard; the graveyard may be whistling past us.
We really do need a group of caring and deeply committed lay people to become active in re-building the concept of the OCA as the Local Church in North America. The laity have a role and a place, and can do much in such a role. It is not going to work, however, so long as it just "the American Church" or the "All American Assembly." If people want Canada and Mexico to remain involved, it is going to have to become the "All North American Assembly," and the "Orthodox Church in North America." Continuing to exclude Canada by making references only to America can only have a long term alienating effect that needs to be remedied now. Perhaps we should stop tearing the Church apart now and begin to see the laity (or at least a committed group of them) focussed on bringing the OCA out of its general malaise.
In Christ, Vladiko Lazar.
Yeah, and if the Byzantine Empire was "Christian" then I am a 6'4" 260 pound Field Mouse! Read "the Secret History" by Procopius to get a good sense of the nature of Byzantine Mafia.
#16 Moses on 2008-06-02 10:33
There is no reason to believe what Procopius wrote over the testimony of the Church. No one here would convict any of the players in the present mess on such a basis. Why should we treat the dead with less regard? Just sonsider Procopius' hateful tone and the extraordinary and sensational nature of his allegations — with respect to which we are supposed to take him at his word. If I submitted such material on this website, Mark would never post it.
Don't get me wrong. Byzantium was poisoned with sin and passions. So's my heart. We should bear in mind that the saints — ancient and modern, unsophisticated and highly educated alike — never repudiated it. It would be odd if we did not consider this before bringing down the gavel.
#16.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-06-04 10:34
That's funny; many of those in "The Church" also wrote in hateful tones and came up with some pretty sensational, and very deadly accusations against "heretics" (just ask the Coptics and other Syriac Christians whose ancestors were killed for heresy by Byzantine lynch mobs). Your argument doesn't hold up and is subjective. As an Alaska Native, I very rarely believe protestations of "Christian Innocence", we know what ethnic cleansing in the name of "Christianity" looks and feels like. I am sure Procopius had an agenda, but so did those in "The Church", I think there is plenty of truth in his wiritng, though, absolute power corrupts then and now...
Moses the Tlingit
#16.1.1 Moses on 2008-06-05 09:01
I don't see how the fact that some members of the Church have libeled people serves as evidence that the writings of Procopius are not libelous.
Moreover, we can't like the principle of conciliarity when it supports our own ideas, and dismiss it when it doesn't. Procopius' work attacks two people who, in the conciliar judgement of the Church, are saints. I mean, it's not that he just criticizes them. He says says that they were bloodthirsty perverts. At one point, he suggests that St. Justinian was actually a demon.
If the experience of the Alaskan natives has caused you to assume that, whenever a powerful Christian is accused of heinous crimes and obscenities, he's probably guilty — what is anyone supposed to say to that? I didn't insist that anyone accept the judgements of the saints and fathers about Justinian and Theodora. All I was proposing is that the accused should receive at least the same benefit of the doubt that any other human being would in this forum. I think that's hardly too much to ask.
#18.104.22.168 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-06-07 13:00
I have great respect for the Archbishop and his vision of the OCA. However, I agree wholeheartedly with those comments above.
Acts of criminality are NOT acts of "church politics". Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman wasted millions of dollars under their leadership. If they were Wall Street CEO's, not only would they have been fired, but they would be under government investigation. To make it worse, MT refuses to talk, regardless of his unfortunate medical condition and MH can barely stand the entire liturgy. Both men have "squandered" the talents given to them. And, the psyche of the OCA is extremely damaged.
EVERY church is a non-profit business! Shame on our seminaries (under the director of our Metropolitans) for not MANDATING business classes. How many of this year's graduating classes can pass a basic accounting test? I blame our church leaders for that AND the current administration - FR G included! Shame on you for allowing the problems of the central administration to propagate!
Such a shame it is that I am in the middle of a move now. I am examining OCA churches in my new area. Can you believe that some do not even have websites? I'm not sure if I could ever attend a church without a website and basic information on the pastor, its council and parishioners and activities. Again, I blame MH.
It's all so sad. And, no end in site!
#17 Anonymous on 2008-06-02 13:46
I must agree also with some of the criticisms of the views I expressed. I certainly do not agree with all of them, but I am glad that people cared enough about the Church and the jurisdiction to respond. Only one observation I would like to make: I would not expect the laity to create administrative unity. I do call upon the laity to work toward spiritual unity in the Church on this continent. I do not agree that we need vengeance, revenge or any former or present clergy being, as we say in our Constitutional Monarchy "being housed and clothed at the expense of Her Majesty, the Queen," or in American terms, "wearing orange jump suits at the expense of the State." I seems to me not altogether consistent for followers of Christ to want revenge. I do wonder where the IRS has been in all this, however.
By the way Mark, if I could find some way to have the cake and eat it too likely I would go for that. What i am getting at by talking about the lack of training in various tasks is that there must be people in the administration who are trained for those things, and the clergy of all ranks should respect the expertise of these professionals and not try to "get around them" or operate without their guidance. This pertains not only to finance, etc., but also in confession. Clergy of all ranks should acknowledge the limits of their abilities and knowledge, and freely turn to other professionals both in financial and spiritual matters. We should not be afraid of professional accountants or of psychiatrist. Rather, we should seek guidance from them when we have reached the boundaries of our own skills and capabilities. All clergy should also have their ears and hearts open to the concerns of the People of God ---- the laity.
i would be naive in the extreme if i thought that we could bring all this into effect, but it would certainly be my goal and "my hand" to cite one of my critics (i do not use "critic" in the pejorative, but with appreciation)
In Christ, Vladiko Lazar.
It occurs to me that my posting on Father Maximus (entry 12 above) may be misconstrued. I did not mean to elevate him above many others who are equally inspiring. There are so many outstanding leaders in our Church, such as Father Thaddeus Wojcik, Father Andrew Harrison, almost the whole lot of the former Evangelical Orthodox Church leaders, Bishop Basil, Father Michael Keiser, Father Aris Metrakos, Metropolitan Phillip, just to list a few with whom I am familiar.
#18 Carl on 2008-06-02 15:30
And so it begins...This is how ocanews starts its oh so subtle agitprop on behalf of its choice for a lay Chancellor of the OCA before the AAC.
(Editor's note: I haven't heard the word Agitprop for decades. Wow. While literate, you are incorrect. Simply put, OCANEWS.org has no problems with a cleric as Chancellor of the OCA. The present one seems to have enough of his own. Try again.)
#19 Anonymous on 2008-06-02 16:02
I respectfully disagree with your posting. The "entire mess comes down to ousting" the entire Synod. Each and every hierarch has shown himself utterly unworthy of his episcopal calling.
While I do agree with you that Metropolitan Herman needs to resign, I heartily disagree with your contention that Archbishop Seraphim should replace Herman as Metropolitan. This position is a disappointment for me, not the least because I considered Seraphim the best candidate for Metropolitan at the 13th All-American Council. (I was an observer, not a lay delegate, at that AAC.)
The call for a married episcopate is a red herring. Look at the horrendous mess that is the Anglican Communion, especially the Episcopal Church here in the USA, to see what a married hierarchy may bring. It seems to me that a significant part of the problem for the OCA involves the formation of its hierarchs: how many were truly monks for an extended period rather than celibate priests before their elevation to the hierarchy?
#20 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-06-03 03:59
I believe that our OCA needs to continually get sound financial principles and business practices established and well confirmed as standard operating procedure (SOP as the military calls it).
I totally agree with one of the responses above that acknowledged that all churches are non-profit businesses (Having been at SVS for over 6 years, the non-profit tax status of a church was not emphasized and I don't recall its use! I remember being educated by our parishoner in Salt Lake City who talked about our non-profit status constantly. I asked myself, why didn't we learn that at Seminary?).
There should be on-going education for all seminarians and clergy priests, as well as hierarchy to this reality.
On-going education is mandated by many public schools for its employees; many professionals, even doctors, must continually be educated in their field. This should be no different for the profession of priests.
If there are not the established financial principles and practices there for the OCA to be governed by it does not matter if your next bishop is celibate or married. The lack of knowledge, the lack of established principles and practices may goof him all up as it apparently has seemed to have goofed up several past hierarchy.
Sound financial, as well as spiritual, checks and balances must be well established and in place.
It does seem we are moving forward on getting sound principles in place. I don't doubt this. We seem to, however, still have a trust issue with our leading hierarch. That appears to be much harder to solve.I believe, as others have said, in the corporate world, such a leader would have been long gone. We have the SIC investigation still out. I don't think this story is over.
#21 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-03 10:32
The trust issue is each and every one of our hierarchs, not just the Primate. Each and every one has shown himself utterly unworthy of his episcopal calling. Those who were celibate priests, not monastics, before elevation to the hierarchy should be deposed; those who were truly monastics beforehand, should return sent to their monastery under strict discipline.
#21.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 19:33
For some reason unknown to the author, most likely "operator error", the post above (no. 21.1) was unintentionally made anonymously. I publicly acknowledge that I am the author.
#21.1.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-06-09 02:55
Training of priest can only go so far. If a priest's undergraduate degree is in finance, he will know finance; if he were educated in history, he'll know history; etc. A priest going out to a parish will be educated in the areas a priest should be REGARDING THE CHURCH. In a parish, hopefully the priest can work with his church board who will have the accounting & finance expertise to run the parish. The priest should oversee this area, but there is no reason for him to be a CPA. In the same respect, if the priest is going to build a new church, he would have a contractor help, but he doesn't need to be an architect.
#21.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 10:28
I believe that continuing education for most professions happens on a regular basis. This should be no different than for the priesthood. Archbishop Lazor's YouTube trainings on confession should be a good tool. Continual workshops can be formed and developed so that we have a more educated and cohesive professional clergy. I had no clue what a 501c (3) was until our small mission in Salt Lake City (just south of that in West Jordan). I had no clue that priests may sign blank checks and then spend them for something else. I had no clue that yearly financial audits should be carried out for the good order of the church. Why do we have to learn such things on a reactive basis?
We can form those workshops on a proactive basis so that we indeed do not become ensared in the whiles of the evil one.
For instance, in the OCA, in some churches some priests are allowed to be a signer on checks. In other churches in the OCA they are not. We are not coming to agreement on simple financial practices from church to church.
I like the practice of clergy not being a signer to checks but this is not put in force. In the military, it is put in force: no chaplains can sign checks or collect the money or sign off on the collection of the money. It is a WISE check and balance. Perhaps even forged by sorrowful experience if done otherwise.
But you don't hear the teaching of cohesive financial principles to priests across our land in the OCA. There is much to get in order and diocesan assemblies as well as our AACs can have financial educational workshops, and other educational workshops, so that we become a more cohesive group.
It seems to me that our huge financial scandal has shown in the very least how we could have a better cohesiveness of financial policies across the land.
Yes, you are right. We don't need to be proactive. The clergy can wait to be taught. This is what just happened in our OCA financial scandal. But we can be proactive, and educate our clergy on becoming better with sermons, with confession, with pastoral counseling, with youth groups, with finances, and so on. Our department of education in the OCA must be deep reaching and reach out by sending educated clergy out to teach other clergy and to then teach others.
#22 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-04 17:48
Part of the problem is with the initial training, let alone the absence of periodic workshops. All of our Seminaries have adopted the Roman Catholic practice of compartmentalising theology. We have "pastoral theology," "Liturgical theology," "moral theology," etc., as if there was more than one "theology" in the Church. Far too often, this compartmentalisation remains in the minds of priests. Since the life in Christ is "life as liturgy," and the moral and pastoral concerns of the Church are part of the life in Christ, it is important from the beginning to view all aspects of this life in unity. The compartmentalisation can have the effect of distorting the actual meaning of sin, repentance and worship. We see this comparmentalisation in, for example Sectarian "Bible Study," forms which I have seen adopted by parishes in the Orthodox Church. Very often, a group of people sit around and take a single verse from the Scripture, and then go around the group asking "what do you think that verse means," or "what does this verse mean to you?" Of course, a single verse from Scripture means absolutely nothing. It is the story that is being told that has meaning. A verse ripped out of the context of the story that is being told is meaningless. But this kind of compartmentalisation does invade the Orthodox Church. We could become involved in discussing all this, but it is not what OCANews is about. I just wanted to reflect briefly on the problem of training clergy, and the continual refresher retreats that should be carried out.
in Christ, Archbishop Lazar.
I agree 200%! One of the problems in 'theological education' might be the supposed need for accreditation by outside authorities, which mandates a curriculum that mandates secular 'graduate school' muster. it would be interesting to see a curriculum and continuing education courses based on an Orthodox phronema. I have met a number of clergy who could benefit greatly from mandatory continuing education. But you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, as the saying goes.
#22.1.1 James Morgan on 2008-06-07 12:53
You keep forgetting to put the name "Kondratick" in there too. He knows all the facts, but he doesn't want to present the truth, so its one deceiver placing blame on the other. Or, as someone said, its the good cop / bad copy scenario.
Listen, if you wanted truth in the name of God and cared about the truth, you would tell us what would be found in those books, but you're nothing but representative of the problem.
We know that Herman is in it up to his eyeballs, but its far worse for someone such as Kondratick who knows all this and keeps his silence while the Church he alledgedly loved goes down the tubes.
If its all Herman, then why did Kondratick state to Wheeler once that if this got out he (RSK) would go to jail? Sounds like he is admitting something that is independent of Herman. If its all Herman why didn't Kondratick come out and blow the whistle and put his faith in the Holy Spirit before it got to where it did. Did Herman make Kondratick trump up a questionable promissiory note? You have stated it has also been the two metropolitans, but what was the ONE constant between two those metropolitans? Did Herman make Kondratick make use of Rock to trump up fictitious financial statements to cover their tracks? Herman is a weasel and a bad guy, but we have the feeling he learned from the master himself, Kondratick.
Kondratick is hiding behind a skirt to sue the OCA, is he also hiding behind MP to make such feeble attempts to turn the rage to Herman?
It figures that Kondratick will keep quiet to the day he dies. Again, two peas in a pod, one no better than the other.
#23 Anonymous on 2008-06-07 09:20
Thanks for this support, Your Grace.
I think much is possible in terms of ongoing education for clergy and faithful alike in the the OCA. We need those caring individuals who will follow through on such plans.
#24 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-07 10:19
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