Wednesday, June 18. 2008
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Yes it is very difficult to forgive. Many have been injured by this tragedy. The OCA has no one to lead them - everyone says the synod is corrupt, the MC does not have the expertise, the people in the pews are crying "I won't give".
Without communication, truth and integrity, this fiasco will land in court - we all know that. In the end, strangers will be determining the fate of the faith because our leader refused to talk together with those involved. Herman said "everything has to be handled by the lawyers" and he and he alone is controlling the outcomes. It's too bad that like good christians the bishops did not come together and make an attempt to be basic christians. Instead they followed their leader and will put this in the hands of lawyers. What a shame! As time goes on, more and more young people will become disalusioned. The charismatic churches are bursting at the seams - ours will be empty.
The bottom line - no one cares enough to do anything like try to bring all parties together - instead "the lawyers will be handling everything" at whose expense?
#1 MP on 2008-06-19 11:37
Well, don't get too pessimistic. The reality is that more converts are coming to the OCA than ever before. St. Vladimir's Seminary is bursting at the seams with people coming to be priests, choir directors, educators, etc. Alaska is recovering and new bishop candidates have been identified. Things within the OCA are looking pretty good. Rumor has it, + Herman will be gone soon and + Seraphim will step in. The Antiochians and the OCA are getting very serious in their talks to unite.
"Be of good cheer for I (Christ) have overcome the world."
#1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-19 17:51
And exactly who is picking these new bishop candidates?
I gots the feeling that we're just in for another round of less than mediocre picks. In fact, considering this bunch, I'd give a lot just for a mediocre bishop!
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-20 06:11
Verily, what have you been smoking?
+Herman gone +Seraphim in? A basket of episcopal candidates? Converts galore?
The only qualified candidates are known priests that were blacklisted by Syosset long ago. Any new candidates are just so much cotton candy from Herman and co.
#1.1.2 no name on 2008-06-20 08:06
These blood sucking lawyer's are funny , we pay and nothing gets done. Millions and millions are wasted it's time to stop the lawyer's and CAN HERMAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The church was fine for all the years ti'll Herman came , now it's 7 years bad luck.
#1.2 Anonymous on 2008-06-20 03:20
You are in a dream world, Anonymous, if you think that the OCA was just fine until Met. Herman came on he scene.
You think that Met. Theodosious did such a great job?
The OCA problems go back much further than Herman.
This is not to say Herman is not a problem..he clearly is. But he is only a part of a very deep problem.
cappy look at the oca in the past 3 years , terrible !!! Sometimes I wish rsk was back.
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-06-23 10:44
I have come to the conclusion that part of what is going on is a test of sorts to see if we in the United States are really serious about our faith. Do we want to grow up? Do we want to remain children? Do we just want to chuck it all and become secular, Prostestant or RC?
The OCA is the most obvious battle ground right now, but the battle itself is trans-jurisdictional and quite personal effecting each and every one of us who is Orthodox.
#2 Michael Bauman on 2008-06-20 09:28
If you have been watching CNN, CBS,ABC networks TV news/internet news, you probably know of the floods in the midwest.
Many came to help with the sandbagging efforts and with supply of food for the volunteers to nourish their bodies.
Personally I witnessed busloads of Mormons (200 hundred, plus a supply truck) all wearing identifying badges to help with the sandbagging efforts. It made an impression on some people. Their leader said it was their way to "pay back the people of Quincy way back in the mid 1800's". Actually Quincians help get the Mormons out of Quincy and supply them with food, etc.
All of Quincy was grateful that so many came to help with the sandbaging efforts.
It just brought to mind, that we Orthodox Christians in the US regardless of jurisdiction is self-centered. Individuals contribute their efforts, money, and talents to community charities, but we as Orthodox don't unite --as to be identifiable as a Church group wearing badges, shirts, etc. with the exception of the IOCC, and that is recent in our history.
Our central church administration was correct in raising funds for 9/11 etc. The gross failure was the theft of the money and no accountability. This has to be corrected. And the ones personally to blame should not be in power nor authority. I personally do not have faith in the central administration on being able to distribute funds collected for appeals. This month is Seminary month and our tiny mission is going to send monies directly to the institution.
#3 cbshinn on 2008-06-20 11:27
"Individuals contribute their efforts, money, and talents to community charities, but we as Orthodox don't unite --as to be identifiable as a Church group wearing badges, shirts, etc. with the exception of the IOCC, and that is recent in our history."
Just wanted to point out - the IOCC operates with and under an organization called Church World Service (CWS) (http://www.churchworldservice.org/) which is a "cooperative humanitarian ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations, providing sustainable self-help and development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance in some 80 countries. Church World Service is part of the ecumenical family of the National Council of Churches USA." The IOCC does not have the resources to do many things, so they do things with CWS. Same with many of the charitable monies Syosset collects, they sent the 9/11 money to a similar ecumenical relief organization. I'm a bit torn about this situation. Simple charity is good, and by pooling resources with others we can get more done. However, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable being pooled with some of the others in the CWS. Moreover, by being a part of this, we become pretty invisible. When our monies finally reach those on the ground it isn't "the Orthodox Church wants to help you" it's "Churches want to help you" - if the Episcopalian or whoever who is there is willing to even say that much. That makes me very uncomfortable. I'm not saying every act of charity needs to be self-promotion, but if we do charity we should make sure we are at least be visible. How else will we be able to introduce ourselves to Americans and integrate into their lives?
I don't mean to disparge the IOCC. But since they are, in fact, the charity organization of the entire SCOBA, I wish they were able to operate independently, and be able to be more visible.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-21 05:45
It would seem to me that the bottom line is that people who need help are getting it. The label attached to that help is inconsequential. As to how we "...introduce ourselves to Americans and integrate into their lives", I don't know about you, Anonymous, but I am an American. I do American things, like going to baseball games and cooking in the yard. I talk with my neighbors and friends. I invite people to church. The only effective way for Orthodox to integrate into American lives is to live an American life as an Orthodox Christian. We don't need institutions for that. Frankly, institutions usually get in the way.
#3.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-06-21 10:44
Uhh, yeah...that too. What I meant by "integrate" was to make ourselves immediately recognizable to Americans. I still, years after I converted to Orthodoxy, still have family members ask, "now what religion are you again, Greek?" All I'm saying is that if, by our relief efforts and charity, we were able to say "the Orthodox church here in America wants to help you" then the next time that person hears the words "Orthodox church" they'll be able to think "oh yeah, those are the people that helped me" instead of the usual "huh? Who's that? Jews? or Greeks?" Since the IOCC is the charity organization of all of SCOBA, I think it is a shame that they're not able to operate more independently and visibly. The fact that they can't tells me that we are not actually all that charitable.
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 06:14
Glory to IC XC!
Dear Anonymous 3.1,
I think that I understand your ambivalent sentiment, and can even sympathize. However, if poor and suffering people are being helped, that is a good thing which ought to encourage us. If they don't know who's helping them, that's okay too, because they are still being helped. No, they may not be introduced to Orthodoxy through our charity if we are anonymous, but, let us not forget that it is the good Lord in heaven whom we serve and He sees and He personally receives our help:
"Amen, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" -- Mat. 25:40.
Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik
St. Nicholas Orthodox Mission Church
#3.1.2 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2008-06-21 13:26
The sooner the OCA gets out of the Appeal business the quicker we can put aside any question of how they distribute said funds. Such a stewardship can only be restored in the future, if ever. As for now, OCA, get out of the money collecting business.
#4 Anonymous on 2008-06-20 21:36
Have your parish submit a resolution to the AAC to do just such a thing.
#4.1 Michael Strelka on 2008-06-21 13:25
Reflecting on Holy Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, I had a very troubling thought concerning some leaders in the Church.
Because the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of Truth," don't those that continually and intentionally thwart the truth blaspheme the Holy Spirit?
Ignorance, obstinance, and even arrogance are correctable and forgivable, but to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is clearly not (Mark 3:28-29).
#5 Marc Trolinger on 2008-06-21 07:47
Mat. Donna wrote: "Please let us not try to leapfrog over the repentance and reparation as quickly as possible in our desire to have peace, peace, when there is no peace. Metropolitan Herman must resign, and our Holy Synod must begin anew to rebuild trust. There must be a real public and formal apology and reparation made to Eric Wheeler and any others who have been 'exiled' because of their salty words."
Thank you, Matushka, for your heart-felt reflection. It is full of the kind of gentleness and forgiveness, yet stands firm on what must be answered and what must be done, including the retirement of His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN.
Your words are well said, and absolutely true. For trust to be restored, we must not listen to declarations of "peace, peace" --in other words, "the crisis is over"-- when the ADM monies are still unaccounted for, accusations of blackmail and immorality go unresponded to, charities plundered remain without full reimbursement, and endowments remain unreported.
We must not listen to declarations of "peace, peace" --in other words, "misdeeds were centered on one individual"-- while financial officers and other leaders at Syosset who knew of misdeeds go without scrutiny (leading dioceses and becoming episcopal candidates!), secret gifts to relatives and friends of Syosset go unadmitted, and plans for gross deception (such as to misrepresent the offices of the law firm renting property within St. Catherine’s complex as the Andreas Conference Center) remain unrepented for.
We must not listen to declarations of "peace, peace" --in other words, "positive steps have made the past unrepeatable"-- while Protodeacon Eric remains unexonerated, the investigation into serious accusations against Bishop NIKOLAI is simply "dropped" (and he can potentially come "out" of retirement), and an embezzler and thief of orphans who not only continues to justify and defend his theft but who refuses to come clean and tell what he knows to the Church and who is actively SUING Christ's Body in direct violations of our canons and holy Scripture, is presented and defended as the Venice parish's leader, stays behind the iconostas throughout the liturgy, is generously paid a full time salary as "Parish Administrator," is allowed to pastor the flock he lied to, stole from, and is suing in visitations, announcements, meetings, etc., and is publicly listed on official church signs as "FR. ROBERT KONDRATICK," though supposedly he was deposed long ago.
We must not listen to declarations of "peace, peace" --in other words, "things are getting better"-- while Metropolitan HERMAN, who thwarted investigation, silenced priests and in papal fashion became an obstacle to transparency and the resolution of this crisis, remains Metropolitan.
FULL and COMPLETE disclosure, and nothing less, will begin to restore trust. The faithful can and will forgive, but admission of wrongs is essential.
Father Mark Hodges
St Stephen the First Martyr Orthodox Mission
Fr. Mark, since you have all of this evidence, why not share it? To many people have made statements, it's time to see the proof. Until then, you should mind your flock!
#7 MP on 2008-06-23 10:54
It is evidently clear, as it was foretold by the Orthodox fathers that the Orthodox (true) church would become beset by the Satan and his representatives and ahve advised: "Beware of the wolves in sheep's clothing"! The process that is evidently developing here is that the dark forces are using the classic military conquering tactics by process of infiltration, subversion and subordination!. "Fear not little flock", for the Lord is with thee if you keep his true Testament! For, one man with the truth shall overcome many legions of evil! We pray to the Lord for the removal of the evil ones amongst us!
#8 Srbo Kosovcic on 2008-06-23 19:06
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