Tuesday, June 3. 2008
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Well I guess this means the joke is on us! All this time we thought the Met Council would meet to address current problems and issues and instead it has been made a useless, meaningless assembly. Why spend the time, money and effort to travel to Pittsburgh for nothing? The OCA is simply never going to heal. It seems the "leaders" would rather see it destroyed.
#1 joke on us on 2008-06-03 14:01
Nothing is really going to change in the OCA.
Kucynda and Herman are in control.
Garklavs is a long time confessor of Kucynda and Tosi the new Secretary is a son of the Wayne, NJ parish. Remember his father Larry stated that the people could not take the truth?
It would be nice - however, I don't think we can believe anything coming from Herman or his trio since they have already told so many untruths who would have any confidence in what they say?
Time to move on - like Hillary Clinton!
#1.1 MP on 2008-06-07 13:11
They have now done to these scheduled meetings what they have done to the OCA. The bishops have reduced them to a limp, quivering mass, unable to stand, sit, move or die. Like the OCA, it just is, and every day, fewer and fewer people care.
You've done it again boys! Congrats!
#2 no name on 2008-06-03 14:17
I applaud the timely, reasoned, and constructive letter by Larry Smith regarding Metropolitan Herman and his legacy and I second the sentiments expressed by Smith. My prayer is that +Herman will see Smith’s plea and take it to heart.
The oxcart metaphor, however, is, I believe, appropriate for the status quo ante, but not for our current situation. The metaphor of the oxcart careening down the hill nearly at tipping point would be accurate if applied to the period of 1990-2005, when the mistaken practices of which we are now aware, were in full throttle. The oxcart reached the bottom of the hill and is now mired in mud and the oxen pulling that cart are largely a new team, to wit: a reinvigorated metropolitan council, the most critical administrative positions in the central administration filled with new people dedicated to righting the OCA, the departure of two ruling bishops (Tikhon and Nikolai) who were millstones around the neck of the Holy Synod, an AAC advanced a year earlier, and the great continental conversation in the church on how to fix the wrongs of the past and to avoid them in the future. We’ve just been through a tsunami and it will take several years to complete a total clean-up. The problem with us Americans, Orthodox or not, is that we want instant gratification. Problems this deep and this long in the making don’t disappear overnight.
#3 Terry C. Peet on 2008-06-03 14:38
My dear, I feel that the tsunami is just about to hit.
If some body does not do something about a new leader, I believe there will be a real storm as we move closer to Pittsburgh.
#3.1 MP on 2008-06-15 17:36
As a faithful member of the church, I ask, "How can the NY Metropolitan Area be excluded from a "town hall meeting?" Clearly, this is another charade by Metropolitan Herman and the Synod who would rather propagate and advocate controversy, then go to those who accuse them, like St. Paul and the Saints of Old, and speak with them.
An innocent man has nothing to run from; nothing to hide. My father taught me that at a very young age.
The entire administration - Treasurer, Chancellor and also Metropolitan Council - accuse themselves along with the Synod with this action.
If the bishops truly read this blog, I ask, "How do you live with yourselves? How do you celebrate the Eucharist and live with these lies?"
No wonder Dante put bishops in hell's lowest inferno!
You should all be ashamed! A meeting is absolutely necessary in New York! Schedule it and face your accusers! If you are truly innocent and "of Christ", you have nothing to worry or fear. If you are not, God forgive you and help you! You deserve what is coming!
#4 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 15:07
The idea of having "Town Meetings" is just plain stupid. These were instituted as a pressure relief valve, but in reality, they are useless and unnecessary. Everyone knows + Herman is the current problem and we need his resignation - NOW. Also, to keep all power and authority in the SOB is just ridiculous after all this. The MC MUST be given some REAL authority. Decisions can no longer just be made by the Metropolitan or SOB alone. The OCA is in this mess DIRECTLY because the bishops have done as they wanted and NO ONE checked them!
(editor's note: I must disagree with your opening statement. It would be my hope that those attending would make your second point clearly - given his actions in the scandals, Metropolitan must resign if we are to move forward. Thirdly, the MC does have all the power it needs. We just need to elect people willing to use it - and refuse to allow MC members to be annoited or appointed by the hierarchs. As for the Bishop's powers, their leading role in the life of the Church are spelled out in the canons and Statutes. At the same time the role of the clergy and laity are spelled out in the Statute as well. One of these is the power of the purse. If you are not happy with the Metropolitan I suggest you contact your priest and lay delegate to the AAC and have them vote against any proposed budget unless the Metropolitan resigns; and let the Bishops know you and your parish will not support any budget, even if passed, until he does. The prospect of poverty wonderfully concentrates the mind, to paraphrase Dr. Johnson. So, stop complaining. Do it. )
#4.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 07:53
You concluded: "The OCA is in this mess DIRECTLY because the bishops have done as they wanted and NO ONE checked them!"
I believe that is only partially true. In my twenty years in Orthodoxy, I have heard way too many lay and clergy excuses for inaction with a sweeping, generalized complaint about "the bishops". I read this as symptomatic of a dysfunctional relationship. It was complained that we are ineffective because our bishops are ineffective. Could it not also be equally said that our bishops are ineffective because we laity and clergy are ineffective? There are a lot more lay and clergy than bishops. The numbers are in our favor, so lets get off our duffs, roll up our sleeves and start the work anew. God is with us.
#4.1.1 Anon. on 2008-06-06 19:21
I stumbled upon a document by Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, posted on the oca website this weekend, listed under "What's New" but not listed in the web's headlines. It is titled, "Anticipation: An All American Council of repentance, healing, renewed life and invigorated mission." After describing the conciliar and synergistic approach of St. Tikhon in the US and Russia, Fr. Leonid says, "For some twenty years, the inheritance we received from Saint Tikhon was eroded and diminished in the Orthodox Church in America. There was a view that the model of Church governance in which all matters are decided by the Holy Synod of Bishop is authentically Orthodox, while the model of collaboration and conciliarity is in some way deficient and not authentically Orthodox. As we move towards the 15th All-American Council, it is surely necessary to learn again the wisdom of Saint Tikhon. Only in this way can the council to be convened in Pittsburgh be a council of repentance, a council of healing, a council of renewed life and reinvigorated mission for the Orthodox Church in America." I was feeling slightly encouraged about the upcoming AAC.
Then discouragement set in again when I saw the "town hall" meeting in Dallas scheduled for the middle of the day rather than the in the evening, making it difficult for the parishioners of the Cathedral and surrounding parishes to attend. I called the office and was told that Fr. Garklavs would be at the Assembly and so delegates and other attendees at least would be able to talk to him individually during that time. I only hope that delegates to the DOS assembly will be encouraged to talk to him. For myself, I decided to take off work to go to the "townhall" meeting to give my opinion and ask my questions. I pray it is not a waste of annual leave! Lord, have mercy.
(editor's note: While I applaud Fr. Leonid's words, it is not Fr. Garklavs who needs to hear the cries of the wounded faithful. He hears them everyday. It is the Bishops who need to hear them beyond the confines of clergy meetings and their own cathedra. Alas, it does not seem that is going to be the case.)
#5 Dianne on 2008-06-03 19:16
The placement of the Town Hall meeting was an addition to the DOS Assembly after the schedule had been made, speakers engaged, topics decided and decisions finalized. This was the only time it could be fit in.
One could argue this point, but in the final analysis, the work of the diocese comes before the work of preparing for an AAC. The growth and vitality of the parish and the diocese are the future of the OCA, not Town Hall meetings which I suspect will repeat again and again what we already know, Herman must go! But, I am sure that Fr Garklavs will get an earful during the week of the Assembly outside the Town Hall meeting.
I applaud the effort of those on the PCC to want to hear the voice of the people and clergy. I just hope that when they hear that Herman must go or that the work of Syosset does not really make that much difference to the faithful and clergy in the parish or diocese, they will realize that the role of a strong central church administration is no longer necessary and that a strong Syosset never could nor will it ever make up for a weak parish or diocese.
Like "Tip" O'Neil once said, "All politics are local" so too with the ministration of the Gospel and the growth of the Church. It can never be done at the AAC, or Syosset macro level.
Let Syosset do the duties outlined in the Statute. No more and no less. If that can be accomplished we can say like Tevia said about the Czar...."God bless Syosset and keep it far, far away!
#5.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 15:49
There's no reason the Town Hall for the DOS could not have been scheduled apart from the assembly. Or, at least make it fill the afternoon (1-3:30pm is still open). As it is, the Town Hall has been scheduled at a time that nearly no one other than assembly delegates could or would attend. Who, apart from laity in the Dallas area, would make the several hour drive, with the current cost of fuel, or flight in order to attend a 90 minute meeting in the middle of the day, in the middle of a work week?
And, looking at the diocesan assembly schedule, it's just so much fluff. Nothing but foreordained decisions will be reached at the plenary sessions, since any real discussion is, according to DOS custom, a complete novelty. Why not make some room in the evening for something that really DOES matter to people?
#5.1.1 John on 2008-06-05 18:45
Its scheduled how it is because they want to say they did it but don't want to really do it. So, you get the least amount of people, and people of the assembly are good, because they are a known quantity, and you make it a time and place when its hard for working people to attend.
In the end, nothing gets done, it was done disengenuously, but you get to say you did it.
Again, its the image that matters, substance doesn't even play into the picture.
Remember, also, these are the people pushing through a hand picked successor for the elderly bishop. Don't want to make it easy for people that think that stinks to have a forum...
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 06:47
All true enough. As one of the faithful of the DOS, I am completely saddened by the takeover of this diocese by chancery functionaries.
#188.8.131.52.1 John on 2008-06-06 18:05
When did this takeover occur?
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-07 09:27
It has been a gradual process, but accelerating since summer/fall 2005. It is clear that Vladika is not himself saying/doing everything done under his authority. His Eminence appears completely out of the loop with regard to finances. And it is very odd, to say the least, that two well-placed members of the Syosset administration had soft landings in the DOS when news of the scandal broke, considering the low regard Vladika has long had for the OCA central church administration.
It's a case where so many see it, but no one says anything out of love and deference to their beloved bishop.
#220.127.116.11.1.1.1 John on 2008-06-09 20:19
The timing does make on curious, don't it?
The financial secrecy does sound familiar too.. and what is the common denominator, as you say? Or rather, two common denominators?
One does not show their love and deference to their beloved bishop by standing by and allowing questionable activities to be done in his name. In the end, its his reputation that gets besmirched by the shenanigans... Like making him look like a fool when he rescinded his word after flying back to Dallas after his agreements at Syosset at the Spring meeting of the Synod last year. Surely no one who loves their bishop is joyed at seeing how he's being played...
#18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-06-11 10:44
The real question is how to expose the shenanigans? The whole thing in the DOS is rigged.
How's that, you say? Just take a look at the 2008 Diocesan Assembly schedule, helpfully posted at http://dosoca.org/files/08%20Assembly/Assembly08Schedule1.pdf .
1. Note how, at the bottom of page 2, only the lay diocesan and metropolitan council representatives are elected by the diocesan assembly. This stands in direct opposition to the Statute of the OCA, which, with regard to the Metropolitan Council, calls for "one priest and one layman to be elected by the Diocesan Assemblies" (V.1; see http://www.oca.org/DOCstatute.asp?SID=12&ID=5 ) and, with regard to the Diocesan Council, calls for the diocesan assembly to elect "the members of the Diocesan Council" (with no distinction between clergy and lay; VIII.3.a; see http://www.oca.org/DOCstatute.asp?SID=12&ID=7 ). In short, the statute calls for both lay and clergy council members to be elected by the assembly, although the DOS will have nothing but hierarchically-appointed clergy with elected lay members.
2. The OCA Statute (VII.8) says "The agenda for the Diocesan Assembly shall be fixed in advance by the Diocesan Council with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, and shall be sent to all delegates at least three weeks prior to the date of the Assembly."
The diocesan council meeting that will finalize anything they do in fact finalize (i.e., anything the chancery will let them decide) will not happen until Wednesday afternoon, the day before the plenary sessions at the DOS assembly. (Last year, the council couldn't agree on a proposed budget and only did so, under some amount of pressure, at the last minute, huddled around the head table at the very beginning of the first plenary session.) Thus, there will be neither a real budget proposal nor any proposed resolutions available to to the parishes prior to the assembly. This happens even though the Statute says they're supposed to be available three weeks ahead of time.
3. The OCA Statute also indicates that the Diocesan Assembly agenda can be changed by the assembly itself (VII.8 again). In truth, this agenda is fixed and held in secret until the assembly itself. There will be no discussion of the proposed budget and resolutions in the parishes. There will be no chance for any new resolutions to be submitted to the assembly for consideration for discussion. The plenary sessions are, in reality, "Rubber Stamp Sessions." Mr. Konjevich, our diocesan treasurer, can praise "openness" elsewhere on the page, but the procedures in the DOS betray him.
The faithful can talk about all of this, but who actually holds the authority necessary to fix the above? How is it possible that, for years and years now, at least one diocesan assembly can run in such blatant opposition to the Statute? I'm sure other dioceses have assemblies that are just as bad as ours. Most of the people who care about such things in the DOS have given up. The Statute has no force here.
#126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 John on 2008-06-13 20:44
In all fairness to Mr. Konjevich, there is a tentative budget proposal on the last two pages of his thirteen-page financial report, at http://dosoca.org/files/08%20Assembly/08DOSFINANCIALREPORTS.pdf . However, it still hasn't been approved by the diocesan council, and is pretty spartan overall.
#184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.1 John on 2008-06-14 11:11
You must talk with your wallets, plain and simple. Even in Alaska, under the control of a complete tyrant, his actions eventually caused him to implode and be removed. The same can be in the South. The selection of that auxiliary bishop must be a turning point in the direction of the diocese down there. If procedures are not followed, then word must be presented at the MC meetings, if not by the rigged members from the south, then from fellow members who know what is going on.
After getting rid of RSK and Nikolai, there is optimism that where other problem people exist, they can be handled as well. Keep things posted here, people watch, people read, people act.
#18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-14 16:51
If you would like to speak directly to a Chancery functionary, email me at email@example.com
#126.96.36.199.1.2 Archpriest Joseph Fester on 2008-06-07 11:32
What if they held an AAC and nobody came?
#6 Anonymous on 2008-06-03 21:11
AAC's are not healthy for children and other living things.......
#6.1 no name on 2008-06-04 14:02
How many All-American Councils have you attended to support such a claim? I attended the the 12th AAC in Pittsburgh in 1999 and the 13th AAC in Orlando. I was allowed to serve as an altar server and subdeacon at the hierarchical divine liturgies and the daily offices Matins and Vespers. What wonderful, moving times of worship, being part of the wider Church assembled for worship, education, and administering the work of the Church. What a blessing to meet Native Alaskan and Mexican clergy and to have fellowship with them. (How often would I get such an opportunity in my parish in suburban Maryland or elsewhere in the National Capital Area?)
Just as there is more to a diocesan assembly than the reading and approval of the various reports and the application of parliamentary procedure, so there is more -- much more -- to an All-American Council than reports and other business matters. While I do not have high hopes for the coming AAC as the immediate vehicle for the restoration of the OCA, I do think that it provides a number of important opportunities to move forward on the road toward, as Fr. Kishkovsky has written, "repentance, healing, renewed life, and reinvigorated mission".
#6.1.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-06-06 03:02
I respectfully disagree with part of your conclusions regarding the town hall meetings for the next All American Council. The reason for cutting back on the number of meetings had to do solely with money. I was at the meetings when the subject of town hall meetings was discussed and I specifically raised the issue of "who exactly is going to pay for these meetings?" We have a budget of $50,000 for the planning of the All American Council. So far we have spent approximately $15,000 related mostly to travel to Syosset for meetings. The last two All American Councils were grossly over budget and I am personally trying to make sure that this doesn't happen again. It costs several thousand dollars these days to fly even a couple of people, put them up in a hotel and feed them. We have much to accomplish but we have a very small budget. This is the sole reason why the number of sites was reduced.
The next point I would like to make is that to my knowledge there is nothing that is off base or out of line to be discussed at these town hall meetings. There was but one bishop, His Grace Bishop NIKON, who was at the preconciliar meetings and he never directed that we forget the past or that it not be discussed. Perhaps the press release about this didn't make it clear but I can assure you that there was never any discussion about limiting topics or steering them into a particular direction.
If you or anyone else would like to sponsor an additional town hall meeting I will be delighted to ask for another preconciliar meeting to see if we can pull it off.
Thanks again for everything.
In the Risen Christ,
Priest Michael Tassos
(Editor's note: It all sounds so reasonable, when you write it, Father. But it remains an excuse nonetheless. The MC could budget an additional $100,000 for legal expenses in a blink; the Bishop's could all get their back stipends paid in a blink; should I go on? If there was a real will to make more happen, they would have. There is not, it seems, and they will not. And we have yet another good excuse for our failure, to put along all the others we have been collecting for the past 20 years.
Likewise, no one was suggesting the Town Halls were restricting anybody's right to speak. This is still America. What was being pointed out is that these endeavors were supposedly being made to encourage people to speak out. That has not happened, as the press releases make clear; nor is it likely to happen now.
I fear the whole history of the OCA is reflected in this endeavor: great idea, token committment, worse execution, great disappointment. Repeat cycle with fewer people every time....
Once again we settle for less and less, and call it each settlement progress.
#7 Fr. Michael Tassos on 2008-06-04 07:16
If it's a matter of money for flights, why don't the bishops put their money where their mouth is and prove to the people their willingness to listen by going at their own expense? The willingness to do so would in itself speak volumes.
#7.1 Valentine on 2008-06-04 12:46
How many Bishops are in the NY area and can just drive? Flights aren't the issue. Think about it.
Anonymous for now
#7.1.1 anonymous on 2008-06-04 13:59
How much must we spend for ZERO results. If you had ny concrete evidence on anyone , the real authorities would be involved. Please move forward and quit playing games !!!!!!!!!!!
(Editor's note: The "real" authorities are involved. Their timetable is not ours. As to playing games, which, might I ask are these? Auditing the books? Obeying the Statute? Demanding accountability for our contributions? Asking that the administration be transparent? Which games? As for moving forward - how do you know it is forward you are moving, if you will not even admit the past, let alone look behind you...?)
#7.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-05 03:05
I admit the past you thrive on lies by the oca.
1500 signatures for MH's resignation: nothing done
Audits done many times with no results:nothing done
Wheeler fired:nothing done
RSK fired:nothing done
Bodnar $60,000 paid for less than one year of work: nothing done
Millions spent on lawyers , 3 years of NOTHING DONE !!!
We all can go on and on for hours of all the false promises and reports .
The oca is way to far ahead of you and all of us with their lies !!
When I say nothing done : If these moves were never done , the oca would have been in no worse shape.
Believe what you want , that's what I think.
I think you are crazy for believing the authorities are actually working on anything with the oca.
Get a good night sleep and move on to something you can control.
(Editor's note: This is not about control, power, or money. It is about the truth, honesty, integrity, openess, accountability and transparency. Until the latter is achieved, there will be no money, no power, and ever less to control.)
#7.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 02:39
I think Fr. Michael is trying to be forthwright in his evaluation of the challenges here. I sense that our intrepid editor may be over reacting.
I don't pretend to have any idea about the dynamics in play under the corrupt leadership of Metropolitan Herman, but I truly believe that Fr. Michael and Fr. Alexander are doing all that they can to move the OCA forward out of the current crisis.
#7.3 Marc Trolinger on 2008-06-05 15:24
Actually, please go on. You said that the Metropolitan Council could budget $100,000; however, in all honesty I don't know where it would come from. Since my association with the OCA many people have rightly criticized much of what is wrong but thoughtful and realistic suggestions towards improving the situation have been rather marginal. Leaving aside the issues and opinions regarding His Beatitude, there is still the necessity of properly administering a national church. I know that my colleagues in New York are trying to do the best that they can to make sure that communications are put out timely and accurately, they are working to make sure that the church's ministries continue to function despite very reduced budgets, they are trying to ensure that the next All-American council allows for a much greater freedom of expression, and I hope and pray that I am at least contributing something to making sure that all of these things are done in a fiscally responsible manner.
Someone recently stated something in a post about the bishops making a contribution. It should be noted that every bishop has been hit in the pocketbook in 2008. With only two exceptions, and those exceptions are based on financial hardship, all of the bishops, archbishops and the metropolitan himself, have not received stipends in 2008.
It may appear to some that the chancery is still some lavish place but I can assure you that it is about as bare bones as you can get. There are no lavish parties (there aren't even any credit cards), each person pays for their own lunch, there are no all expense paid trips to Russia nor are their lavish dinners for visiting dignitaries.
Yes, even with the new team mistakes have been made and will most likely continue to be made. We are all human beings and those working in Syosset currently are under a tremendous amount of daily pressure not to mess up. Again, I respectfully disagree with your take on the discussion points for the town hall meetings. There was never any discussion about what could or should be discussed at the town hall meetings and I am sorry that the press release did not make this any clearer. I assure you that there is not a day that goes by in the life of the chancery where the ideas of transparency and accountability are not considered. It may not be visible to the outside world but the world inside Syosset has changed considerably. Incidentally, the outside auditing firm of Weiser, LLP will be beginning their testing in another week.
(Editor's note: First, my sincere respect and thanks to Fr. Michael for being open and responding and engaging in such a discussion. What a breathe of fresh air in a musty, musty room.
That being said, my point, Father, was not about money as much as it was about lack of will. Where there is a will, there is a way. For example, in response to your last comment, and that of Peter Bouteneff, I suggested a Town Hall for New York be held at SVS this summer or early Fall. I hope SVS runs with the idea. It would only cost the PCC gas and tolls, since I can think of at least three Bishops who could drive there ...
Secondly, my point about the questions suggested was not so much that questions would be prohibited - no one ever said that - but that only a few topics would be encouraged. In the end I think, like you, people will speak out, regardless of what the PCC press releases may or may not say. It is a shame that yet another easy opportunity to promote transparency and accountability, openess and participation was lost.
Thanks, as well, for clarifying the stipend issue. So some have been restored, some not, for 2008. Were the remainder of the withheld stipends in 2007 paid as well?
Finally, there is no doubt that much has changed in Syosset. We all welcome that. But that is not the issue. Fr. Bobosh has said it best, perhaps, in his blog last night, which I quote:
"Why does the OCA struggle to move beyond the corruption scandal which so devastated it? The answer is trust. While most of the central
church has attempted to rebuild trust by embracing transparency - hiring new personnel and by adopting best practices and other policy reforms (which have indeed corrected most of the problems which enabled the scandal in the first place), Metropolitan Herman himself has not been transparent. He has accepted change all around him, but he himself has not embraced transparency and so continues to be the dark hole at the center of the OCA. OCAnews.org and the Orthodox Forum have opened doors and blinds into the OCA just like Scoble and Israel (in NAKED CONVERSATIONS) say blogging will. And the Metropolitan Council awakened by the light streaming in(which was spotlighting its own sleepiness) responded by becoming more
transparent and demanding more transparency. This resulted in the transformation of the personnel and policies of the central church as
individuals involved in administration accepted and pushed for this change. Even the Synod of Bishops has shown glimmers of seeing the
change and its import on the daily life of the OCA (though they also have at times demanded that the shades be lowered again, especially when the light reveals their own inactivity).
But Metropolitan Herman himself has not personally embraced the notion of transparency – he has not been in the vanguard offering a full explanation of what happened or is happening in the central church but rather has personally
said and done things which have inhibited transparency and thus have prevented trust from becoming the OCA membership's attitude toward the central church. That remains the gangrenous core of why the scandal does not simply go away. What is needed is not simply
transparency exposing his role in the church.
When complete transparency shines forth from the office of the metropolitan then the
membership of the OCA will trust the central church administration and the metropolitan to rightly define/divide the word of truth."
You are laboring, Father, like Sisyphus, pushing the rock of trust up hill, only to see it roll down because of the Metropolitan's actions - and inactions. No one doubts your efforts - only their meaning. They do not address the problem, for no amount of auditors working or not working, your work or that of Fr. Garklavs, can close the black hole at the center. No amount of trust we could place in you, or Fr. Garklavs, or even the Synod, resolves that hole....)
#7.4 Fr. Michael Tassos on 2008-06-05 21:33
From my standpoint way outside the "Beltway" of this entire nexus of controversies it seems to me that Fr. Alexander Garclavs and Fr. Michael Tassos deserve a lot of gratitude, respect, support and prayer for stepping up and doing extremely difficult jobs under extremely difficult conditions.
#7.4.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-06-06 08:19
I really think that since many spoke by signing the ipetition and no one listened it is just another ploy. Herman wants people to believe that he cares. He does not! If he did, he would have done many things differently. At many junctures he had the possibility of taking the "high road", instead he continues to live in his own world and remain in control of all outcomes.
#7.5 MP on 2008-06-14 13:17
Well, your man RSK can tell us what he knows about Herman and we can start the dismantling of his world and restore the Church. Uo to this point, it appears as if RSK condones what Herman is doing cause while his shills say all these bad things about Herman, he doesn't care to do anything about it. But then again, they are two peas in a pod. Good cop, bad cop.
#7.5.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-14 19:41
The reduction of town-hall meetings is regrettable, as is their absence in certain key locations, such as New York. But the idea of holding them at all is not insignificant and needs to be recognized -- and utilized. Even if their focus questions are not explicitly geared towards the past, there is nothing that prevents people from addressing the AAC, and the future of the OCA, in a way that is fully informed by the recent and distant past. Specifically, people's suggesetions for the AAC can include (and have included) specific recommendations for acts of contrition, disclosure of information, even the resignation of the Holy Synod, whatever people feel needs to be done. Generally the preparation for this council has shown a lot of creative and risk-taking thought, and has brought together a lot of voices.
(Editor's note: What Professor Bouteneff is saying, is there is nothing stopping anyone from going to the meetings that are going to be held and speaking out. One hopes the faculty of SVS, who spoke out so eloquently in the Alaskan crisis, would use this opportunity to show the leadership we do desperately need. Perhaps, Professor, SVS would be willing to host a Town Hall for the NY region at SVS in August or September? It would be a wonderful contribution to the disenfranchised - and not cost the OCA , pace Fr. Tasso's earlier comment on this thread, very much at all. It's an idea.)
#8 Peter Bouteneff on 2008-06-04 08:01
unfortunately, -money- for travel and inconvenient scheduling may prevent some people from going and speaking out. The nearest meeting to me, for example, is a 12 hour drive.
I repeat-- why don't the bishops show good faith by bringing these meetings to the people at their own expense?
yes, I am glad there are meetings, and I hope those who do go will speak up loud and clear. But once again, our hierarchs have missed an opportunity to do better.
#8.1 Valentine on 2008-06-04 12:54
Of course Tikhon of PA might not attend because he's busy at work fine tuning that ecclesiology of the internet we've all be waiting for on the edge of our seats. This promises to be a work of monumental impact given that its been, what, a year since we've been promised it? The first time a bishop will have authored a work that deals with the internet and Church life.
Does anyone know how that is going? When it is to be expected? Any advance word on the penalties that it will recommend for those that discuss the moral failings of our bishops? Or the insistence upon their accountability? Any idea if it will say that the internet is only to be used to glorify the bishops in pictures and never to be used to question their judgments? Will it recommend that laity discussion is never to be done online, while at the same time being a tremendous tool for the raising of funds for, well, you don’t need to know WHAT.
Maybe the good bishop can give us a sneak peak here?
It might be that he might not make it to Bethlehem because the meeting might break down into a discussion of their parish priest and why after he basically excommunicated someone, that Tikhon gladly gave the sacrament to the same person all the while the parish priest never admonished for his behavior.
Bottom line is there is nothing more important for him to do with that time. Even to just suggest that he could not make it is beyond comprehension and a sign of insincerity and weakness and well, just not giving a damn! What IS he THINKING? But really, the bishops know what’s going to happen at the AAC – they’re writing the script. This dog and pony show, is, well, just that and they’re probably just not up to spending time and lowering themselves to be with the laity. Maybe they don’t see it worth their time since a stipend is probably not involved. Any doubt that if we included a stipend they would appear? Any doubt that if a stipend was included they would schedule it at a time when the most vocal of people, those that hold down real day jobs, would be able to appear?
But back to Tikhon. Posterboy of one bishop choosing his successor and using him as a puppet thereafter. I will not refute that he might be the nicest bishop to walk the planet, but as far as his responsibilities as a bishop, there is a lot to be desired and the signs are not good. Remember, this is the guy, who with the strength and backbone of a jelly fish worked out a "solution" to when Nikolai wanted to bring JOB up on trumped up charges on acts that were later shown to be initiated by the very Nikolai himself, that resulted in JOB having to humble himself in ways none of us could bring us ourselves to, apologizing and prostrating before the FORMER bishop of Anchorage and all Alaska, when he KNEW he had done nothing wrong Remember, yes, that was the result of Tikhon – just incredible. Wonder what Tikhon thinks about his stellar conflict resolution skills NOW. My question: if the people of Eastern PA had the ability to choose their own bishop after Herman, in theory, moved out to Syosset, would Tikhon have been chosen?
#9 Anonymous on 2008-06-04 11:03
I am so glad you reminded us of the Tikhon - Job - Nikolai thing. I think we all need to never forget the character of Job through that whole mess. What an awesome example he set for the faithful by that one act of humility!
#9.1 anon on 2008-06-05 05:07
Tikhon should be alert to people remembering his participation being the puppet of Herman in this scandal and his less than honorable acts. There will be a time when Herman won't be around nor any of the others which he is so diligently toeing the line for. At that time people are still going to remember incidents like that of his causing JOB to bow down at the feet of a bishop who was himself driven out of town in a most dishonorable of discharges...
People may forgive, but they will not forget and will be suspicious of him and others in the same boat. Is Herman really worth clouding and making ineffective the remaining years of service of a young bishop?
#9.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-05 19:55
Why do we keep trying to fix this mess???
It's unfixable!!! It's been going on for at least 18 years.
Since those paying the salaries are allowing it to continue,
allowing those receiving salaries to run ramped,
we must not care.
Stop writing and Stop the money
Many of my friends and relatives have stopped donations
A waste of time
#10 Ande on 2008-06-04 17:41
I echo the words of one of the bloggers above: How can NYC / the NYC Tri-State region be excluded from a town meeting?
In essence, the Metropolitan is saying, "OK - let's do the meetings just NOT IN MY BACKYARD (NIMBY)" (i.e. not in my diocese).
Of course, if he did do a town hall meeting in his diocese, he'd face diocesan questions too. Like - Why is a non-Orthodox Christian living rent free in the late +Peter residence? Why has the property not been sold or vacated? It's a crime. ....
The Metropolitan has not only ruined the church as a whole, but even in part in his whole diocese! Hey, at least he is consistent!
Mark - Any comment? Is there any way to investigate what is happening with the NY / NJ Diocesan center and its possible fraud connections? Why is this person still there? Why has the property not been sold?
Also, I see there is no comments from Bishop Job or others this year, as there was last at the time of Pascha.
All of the Bishops are to blame! Not just +MH. +MH is voted by the Bishops, and he can easily be replaced and relegated to the Diocese of NY / NJ. However, all the Bishops are guilty by not having this vote, and I wholeheartedly agree that they all must resign (and stop confessing to one another).
I appreciate your response Mark.
(Editor's note: I suggest those in the Diocese who think their Diocesan Center may be being misused contact the Diocesan Chancellor, Fr. Lickwar, and express their concern about it has been used, or rather not used for the Church, for the past years. Given that the diocese has not publicly spoken about that asset in years, it is no wonder there are many rumours - some true, some less so - about the residence, Archbishop Peter's former nurse, her family, and their presence in the facility, rather than the Diocesan Bishop. If everything is above board, as we expect it to be, why the silence?)
#11 Anonymous on 2008-06-05 11:06
Just a correction, #11 Anonymous. You are right, there SHOULD be a meeting in the NY area but dont forget we are the Diocese of Washington and New York. New York/New Jersey and Washington are no longer two seperate dioceses as Im sure you are aware. Im sure those of you in NY/NJ now understand the frustation of us who are in the "Washington Deanery" who cant attend choir conferences and the like held in NY at least 6+ hours away...
#11.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 06:41
I agree. No offense to anyone living outside of a major city, but my point is that the discussions should start there / be included there. You can't alienate - NY, Washington, etc. just because they firmly disagree with you. Not when you are the Metropolitan.
We sang the Pascha Stichera each of the last few weeks - "in the Resurrection let us forgive all things.." but how can we forgive our leaders when our leaders won't meet us to discuss our differences? The Acts of the Apostles, which we continue to read, is filled with examples of the courageous saints of old who did just that. Even to the point of arguing with their own brethren.
I am more convinced than ever that our entire Synod is guilty of fraud. It's time to take off the ancient Byzantine vestments and reform not only themselves, but the entire church as a whole.
#11.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 11:39
Mark - Sorry for the tangent here - but what could be said? +Peter instead of helping the OCA - in his old age and frailness - spent his dying years in the Caribbean where his former nurse - who still lives in the Diocesan Center - spent his money. +Peter built a villa! You should see the pictures if you haven't! It easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars! So, while his church was in debt and continues to struggle psychologically, +Peter compounded the damage - not even thinking to donate the money, and just retire to a monastery! What a shame! To me, this represents the essence of every hierarch we have: "It's all about 'me'!" And, then, at Great Lent, you hear how we need to forgive and forget!
Fr. Lickwar is just as guilty, as are all the priests in the diocese who would rather be silent than say what true - why? Because 'they are scared that they will lose their positions' according to one priest. Emails are not returned Mark. And, there is only one brief diocese meeting a year, at which none of this is addressed! Shame on +MH.
Where is Fr. G in all of this? How can one chancellor possibly correct it all? Especially while reporting to the current synod?
Sadly, these men see their fellow bishops passing before them, but there is little reform. They should be commenting here!
Hold online town meetings! Save the money! Allow anyone with the internet to tune in - ask questions through a webcam - get the maximum participation!
We celebrate the Feast of Ascension yet I feel my heart descends as I continue to read and hear more and more - not because these problems are so tough to overcome, but rather because these problems are problems that are growing.... I ask myself - does this void their celebrations of the eucharist? If +MH knows the truth and continues to not tell it, how can the liturgy be valid? Too deep or too real. I'm not sure.
Thank you for listening. It's all so sad. And, while I do pray for them, part of me, the bad part, hopes that they all get what they deserve. God will show justice. I hope its soon.
#11.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 06:56
And THAT is why they are not holding a town hall in the NY area. The townhalls were a good concept if they could limit the discussion, but in every area they would have a townhall, there will be discussions of local issues.
We have so much that is wrong, both diocesan and nationally. Fixing the diocesan will provide a foundation to correct the national, but allowing the national to go to the landfill with Herman at the top will discourage people to do what needs to be done at the diocesan. People are not going to give at the diocesan level cause of fear that it will end up lining the pockets of the national Church, i.e. Herman. One Man created the Church, and sadly, one man will take it down.
There is no doubt, Peter was a disgrace. ...It wasn't even hidden, everyone KNEW he was a disgrace. Whenever a treasurer didn't want to go along with what they were doing, he was fired. His nurse/housekeeper/ ruled the chancery and they still do.
There was talk last year of doing something about the squatters, but Lickwar hasn't shown any action done. A few priests went to actually look at the house and word has it that she threatened to call the cops on them for trespassing, but again, nothing is done.
Remember Peter’s secretary? This guy was defacto running the diocese and he wasn’t even Orthodox, let alone a member of the Church. But no one said anything because Peter would get back at them cause he just wanted to have what he wanted no matter how incongruous this was with the Church!
Where is Larry Tosi? Is Tosi's ONLY function to stonewall getting knowledge out rather than doing what needs to be done? Any one ever look at the treasurers report in the NY/NJ diocese’s magazine? THERE ARE NO NUMBERS. I’m dead serious. There are no numbers! A treasurers report with NO NUMBERS. What's being hidden there?!
He not only feels we cannot handle the truth with what’s going on in this scandal, but he doesn’t think his own diocese can handle the truth of the numbers in the diocese either. And this guy is doing a job for the good of the diocese?
Remember where he comes from too, Kucynda’s parish. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, eh? He’s another example of the systemic problem. There was no way to correct the institutional problems in that diocese and Peter's attitude was that he was to be given anything he wanted and as along as he got it, the spiritual life of the diocese could go to hell for all he cared. I'm sure that if you went through the books, you'd see that we own the majority of that villa.
What's even more of a disgrace is that he spent Christmases down in the islands with his nurse rather than with his flock in NY/NJ. This is the same man, it has been said, who had the church pay for a trip back to France on the Concorde.
And this is a man that was brought over from France to teach at our seminary? Is THIS what we want to teach to our seminarians? The only thing he should have been used for is what NOT to do.
However, Peter was very representative of the systemic problems that are at the core in the entire Church. And again, what is the problem here? A BISHOP! What allowed this mess to go on and on in NY/NJ? The Synod! The Synod didn’t want to do anything cause they had a guy in their corner that they not only could count on to allow the gig to go on, but most of them looked up to him for all that he was able to openly plunder from the diocese. I’m sure Herman still looks at Peter with admiration of how he built that house on the island and got to take vacations there abdicating his responsibilities to his diocese and before God.
Again, at the root of all evils that befall the moral state of this Church, you find our bishops and their aggregation in the Synod. At the bottom of this, and it can never be stated enough, are the corrupt bishops we have. Until there is a complete flushing out of them, we're just wasting time and money on townhalls, because they will not do what is needed because they rule by fear and reward those that put their principles to the side and ignore the abuses of the bishops. Even when its so blatant as was, and still IS, in NY/NJ.
#11.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 10:17
Wow, what venom! Listening to you one would think what you say is actually true, however, it is very twisted. As + Peter became ill, he did have a nurse from the islands. His diabetes and other issues made this necessary. When + Peter died, the nurse was allowed to stay at the residence until decisions were made regarding the house. The house has been vacant for some time now and decisions are being made as to rent or sell it. Where is all the intrigue?
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 12:57
Word has it that there might have actually been some legal ramifications removing her... It wasn't necessarily that she was allowed to stay, it was that she herself was ill and that the image of the Church tossing out a sick old lady wasn't what we wanted. Nevermind...all the other bad images we have.
#184.108.40.206.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-06 14:57
So are you saying that he (+Peter) did not spend Christmas at the islands with his housekeeper instead of his flock? Tell me honestly as if God was watching (as He is) that this is not a true statement! So you are saying that certain priests never went to the house and were threatened by whomever was still living there long after +Peter died? Remember, we will all be called upon to tell the truth either here where it is easier to repent or later when the fires of hell will scorch our tongues.
#220.127.116.11.2 Curious on 2008-06-07 08:52
Well Curious, I guess you like to listen to exaggerations and those who wish to twist things.
+ Peter was ill. He found relief from his ills in warmer climate as do many older people. Why do you think Met. Philip of the Antiochians is in Ft. Lauderdale from Nov-April? Many people with arthritis and other ills go South for the Winter - I wish I could. So where's the intrigue?
(editor's note: What exaggerations? Correct me if I am in error, but the writer stated the late Archbishop spent many months of his last years in the Caribbean, where he built a villa, while his official duties went undone; and while the family of his nurse lived in the diocesan residence rent and expense free, during his retirement; as did she, following his death. None of this was disclosed to the diocese, or discussed, which raises, I think, in the writer's mind as well as others, questions of accountability, stewardship and transparency. Then of course there is the missing money, six figures worth, which the Metropolitan required be repaid to Syosset, which the parishes had already paid to the Diocese but never got forwarded to Syosset. No explanation was given for that as well - and indeed, as has been stated on this site before - the Metropolitan forbade any discussion of at the Diocesan Assembly. These are the "intrigues" the writer speaks of. As the Treasurer from the Diocese of the South, Milos K., posted earlier today, it is the reticence of the diocesan administration to disclose the truth that gives rise to this sort of thing, and requires it to be discussed here, rather than openly, in a conciliar setting. Just tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Is that so hard to do? )
#18.104.22.168.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-07 18:16
Curious - +Peter was building a "villa" in the islands. He hadn't spent Christmas, Pascha or any holiday at his diocese in years, nonetheless serve the service. The man literally could not walk, yet somehow he had no problem living in a tropical climate practically by himself.
The "legal ramifications" are that she "knows too much". +Peter is rumored to have told her everything, and she has copies of emails and everything. She was the one checking his email, and doing his work for him in the later days of his life.
This is another example of +Herman not doing anything to shake the tree while he is alive. The poor man. Not only will he see God face-to-face at his death and be held accountable, but his reputation will be destroyed when we do learn the truth. Who will protect it then?
The Diocese of NY/NJ / Wash, St. Tikhon's and Syosset are ALL connected. None of the books balance back, and the moneys were (and in some cases - like for that of "walking around money") are still interchangeable.
My theory - if we look deeper into the dioceses, just like that of Alaska, we'll see more deeply into what the central administration has been / is doing. They can't hold it all together.
#22.214.171.124.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-09 04:07
There may be no intrigue at all but the total lack of financial information, as described by the raging Anonymous, opens the door to all sorts of conjecture. Financial disclosure may not answer everyones questions (a fool has more questions than the wisest man can answer) but it is the essential first step.
#126.96.36.199.3 Milos Konjevich on 2008-06-07 09:49
Posting aninymously is a fine method to hide your ingnorance. Perhaps you just wish to remain anonomous because you don't want to be exposed as a person who knowingly publishes falsehoods.
I challenge you to expose yourself to the truth. There is no hiding of the diocese treasurer reports. Every quarter, a copy is sent to each parish. Obviously, your parish life must be weak because you do not have a relationship with your parish priest to ask him for a copy. Nor have you ever contacted me to request information. My e-mail and mailing address is posted on the OCA and diocese web sites. Also, every year under my tenure has been reviewed by an independant CPA firm. I wiill gladly e mail anyone the spread sheets of every dime spent. Further no monies get paid without receipts and certification that the monies were spent. That occurs only after pre approval before moniues get spent. By the way, we are in solid financial shape, but could do more if malcontents like you would stop putting forth falsehoods and misinformation. You should also know that we are in the process of going online with our records. It is our hope that all council members will be able to access for reading purposes all of our transactions in the near future and that the web site carry our reports.,(yes with numbers)
Interestingly enough, you could not get basic facts straight. You should know, we are not the Diocese of NY/NJ but the Diocese of Wash/NY. Also, you spoke of David, Arch Bishop Peter's secretary. I know his twin sons were baptized in the Orthodox Church and he had become Orthodox long before leaving the employ of the diocese. Surely, you should have known these small trivial facts before you published.
The only fact you got right was that I am a member of V. Rev. Paul Kucynda's parish. You also forgot to mention that I was the treasurer in 1999 and resigned when Arch Bishop Peter was using diocese monies for personal expenses. I would not allow it and it was done without my signature. Further, I led the walk out in Clifton at the diocese assembly and was the one who challenged Bob Kondratik with the misappropriation of monies by Arch Bishop Peter. That led to a period when the diocese went into great debt and blew threw a series of treasurers. It wasn't until Father Igor and the Metropolitan came in did those problems get rectified. How soon you forget when it conflicts with your agenda. The only regret I have from that time was leaving poor Father Jerry Sudick alone to deal with the mess and a sick bishop.
Lastly, concerning the residence. The last several years of Arch Bishop Peter still haunt us. We acted in a perfectly christian manner in dealing with the retired bishop. We could have kicked him out into the cold, but felt it was not appropriate. As a result, we are currently stuck with his caretaker. She has refused to remove herself from the residence. We are in the process of legally removing her, but have hit a snag because NY law requires certain paperwork. We have been unable to serve her because she has absented herself to Trinidad. We cannot just waltz in to the property and remove her things. We are moving forward with a NY attorney. As to rent free, the council elected to have him pay all expenses associated witht he residence. That was done in a sporadic manner and we still have a claim against his estate, such as it is. The problem is that those in the diocese who were there to help Arch Bishop Peter were shut out by him and his nurse. All of his monies were disappaited. All that remains is his pension monies which the diocese is the beneficiary and we receive those on a monthly basis.
I again am glad to show our transparancy to any active member of the diocese. I will not hide behind anonomous comments. By the way, I receive no compensation for this position. In fact it ends up costing me personal monies for such items a s service of process on the caretaker. attendance at meetings and travel. How many of you "anonomous" would give their time and subject themselves to abuse from those who are down right mean spirited?
#188.8.131.52 Lawrence G. Tosi on 2008-06-11 10:00
You really laid it on the line. Nice going. I'm glad to hear you're going on-line with the financials. Seeing what the other dioceses are doing helps me do a better job for mine.
#184.108.40.206.1 Milos Konjevich on 2008-06-11 18:39
Do not get all worked up with the pronouncement of Mr. Tosi about putting reports on line "with numbers". Its not rocket science. Grandmothers with no computer training maintain wonderful web sites. Kids not yet in high school maintain web sites. People with no computer training maintain web sites. Putting the numbers online, like the report of May 21st, that went out to the parishes could be put online TODAY if so desired. The key word here being “desired”. We would see that the sound financial footing of the diocese involves a shortfall of about $13,000 and a shortfall of central church assessments of about $62,000 (meaning its not coming in to go out to Syosset) and no balance sheet to know where they are taking the money from to cover the shortfalls. It doesn't take a large effort, it doesn't take any money, it takes the desire and them wanting the information out there that is the hurdle, which is probably what you are facing as well.
I challenge Mr. Tosi to put the May 21st report on the diocesan immediately! Doing this would be a step to restore confidence and be more than merely a promise to do something in the near future when, maybe, the numbers look better.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-14 12:30
Has anyone noticed on the DC/NY website that the priest who is a consultant to the OCA for evangelization is non other than Fr. Ray Velencia? Good to see we have our best front forward in evangelizing the faith!
Actually, its a very good choice, because he will share with non Orthodox the trials that many Orthodox experience personally in their faith.
The more you look around the more you come to the conclusion that the administrative side of this Church is no better than a slapstick comedy.
#18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-14 20:13
Thanks for the reply. I try to avoid getting worked up about anything, usually without success. You've seen the numbers, and seem to know what to look for. Obviously, an income statement alone does not constitute complete financial disclosure. A balance sheet is essential and a cash flow statement is most useful in certain circumstances.
#22.214.171.124.1.1.2 Milos Konjevich on 2008-06-15 14:21
We are interested in just what problems the Metropolitan fixed when he came in and how he fixed it. It would be tremendously beneficial information on the part of the Metropolitan because so far, in the Syosset mess, he's been totally inept and has just caused problems to go from bad to worse to unbelievable causing questioning of his very faith. Surely, considering the problems left him in the diocese, which you say involved the personal use of church funds (which is a reason that Kondratick was defrocked - we sense a double standard here) by the former ruling bishop, sharing what he fixed and how he fixed it would give us all a lot more confidence in his ability to come through with fixing the problems on the large scale in Syosset.
#126.96.36.199.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-14 19:57
You missed this in your news article, although it was not well publicized:
In a nutshell, the priest who has been accused of breaching the secrecy of the confessional, Fr. Raymond Velencia, received a clergy award on May 10, 2008, when Met. Herman Swaiko was on hand to consecrate St. Matthew Church in Columbia, Maryland.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
#12 Melanie Jula Sakoda on 2008-06-07 12:58
I noticed on POKROV that the specific award received by Fr. Raymond was not known. Fr. Raymond was awarded the dignity of wearing the "palitza".
#12.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-10 07:18
He should have been given the dignity of a suspension and the wearing of hand cuffs!
Only Herman can award people who break the most sacred of trusts, bring down the reputation of the Church and cause it to be dragged through courts. You see, the only way you would be shunned from an award is if you committed acts which were worse than Herman, in which case he would then probably award you because he holds you in esteem to take it above his own level! What Fr. Ray has done, not only in his acts against people who are very obviously against them (please note sarcasm) justified in Herman’s eyes, but Fr. Ray also thumbed his nose at the COURTS having to be dragged in physically to answer to a judge. In the eyes of Herman, Fr. Ray should have probably received a gramota for each act and mitre to show that this man’s disregard for his priestly responsibilities, contempt for the Church, and his contempt for the courts is held in high esteem by this noble Church.
Remember, these are not allegations only against Fr. Ray. Father Ray has been found in the wrong by federal agencies already. He’s been the subject of court orders. This is truly a bad man, but Herman, loving every minute of it, gives this man an award. Maybe it was just that mechanical kind of award that Herman feels he needs to give to someone at a parish he visits cause it looks good on the photographs. And, really, how dare he even think of chastising a priest who’s going to give Herman a platform in which he can look like a good bishop presiding over such a grand event. An act to the very last drop on the part of Herman and one of his well esteemed priests, Fr. Ray.
For the laity it means NOTHING in substance and in fact just cheapens the awards when its given to a priest for whom it is truly and award and an honor. No one knows what this award is for, but it sounds good on the newsletters and all. He might as well have given the mitre to Fr. Ray because that award already lost all significance when Nikolai gave it to his house boy after, what, 2 years of the priesthood? It cheapens the awards because its not given on merit, its given as gifts and thank yous and whatever else is needed to be conveyed now that they are under more scrutiny and the giving of substantial gifts would probably be hard to conceal now.
Herman, can you get any more shallow or insignificant?
#12.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-11 10:38
Thank you for the update.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
You said: He found relief from his ills in warmer climate as do many older people. Why do you think Met. Philip of the Antiochians is in Ft. Lauderdale from Nov-April? Many people with arthritis and other ills go South for the Winter -
Yes many people with arthritis and other ills DO go south for the winter but they don't have jobs up north when they go for extended periods. Those that I know that went south for their health were all RETIRED! If +Peter couldn't do his job, he should have retired. Everyone else does in all fields. However, God retires us all when He knows is best. Obviously He can't trust us to do the right thing on our own. Anyhow, may God have mercy on him and on us all and especially on those who (and also on those who stick up for them wrongly) would take advantage of true believers.
#13 Was Curious is now angry on 2008-06-09 11:26
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