Friday, July 25. 2008
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Once again we hear the same requests for openness, for His Beatitiude's resignation. There is much more than a simple groundswell of anger that must be dealt with before Pittsburgh.
One comment I found especially interesting was the idea of a moratorium on new bishops. While I don't totally endorse the idea, it perhaps emphasizes a point I made on our church website (stnicholasauburn.com) regarding the possible need for getting more of our clergy involved as administrators rather than simply filling vacant sees with more unqualified candidates.
I just wanted to ask a question in regards to a conversation from the last (spammed-and-locked) thread. Mr. Stokoe was answering questions about the logistics of resolutions.
Specifically speaking about a resolution 1) 'forcing' or 2) 'calling on' Metropolitan Herman to resign, is there a chance such a resolution could even make it to the floor, given the following requirement stipulated on the AAC blog?
If, in the estimation of the [Pre Counciliar] Committee, a proposed resolution clearly lies outside the competence of the All-American Council, whether on canonical grounds or OCA Statute grounds, the Committee will inform the submitting body of this. In case of doubt, a proposed resolution will be submitted to the Holy Synod to determine whether it can be brought before the All American Council.
Since a binding resolution forcing the Metropolitan to step down would raise canonical questions, and a non-binding resolution of "no confidence" is within the gray-area of the Statutes, either resolution would get sent to the Holy Synod, no? And isn't there a 100% chance that they would block any such resolution from even being voted on?
Also, does anyone know of any plans for demonstrations against the Metropolitan/Holy Synod at the AAC? I can think of a few people who (since we can't be observers) would be more than willing to drive down to Pittsburgh to assist a picket line.
It's time to further drive this crisis into the eyes of the media. It's the only way things improved in Alaska. Only in the media will this scandal receive attention by saner, more reasonable minds... or at least, saner than the anonymous lurkers on these boards, who think our 'call for accountability' is satanic inspiration. The media actually takes allegations of fraud and embezzlement seriously, and will hopefully shame the OCA into doing so as well. (It's a sad day when the media has a stronger moral compass than the Church leaders.) As for the naysaying lurkers? We must "spit them out."
AAC15 is going to have to be painful. Things are only going to get worse before they get better.
St. Andrew's Church, Dix Hills NY
Student at Syracuse University
#2 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-07-25 12:17
Your questions are good and this is why I wanted to ask some parameters, too, about resolutions, from the last thread.
I suspect that the SIC report will be some type of new catalyst to get our OCA house in order.
Will this report, however, be enough to mobilize the Holy Synod into assisting +Herman into retirement?
Will the report be enough to mobilize perhaps others into retirement... we have not yet read the report.... and now deadlines are looming. Mark said, however, that resolutions can be brought from the floor...
To me, however, this internal review system, the SIC, may be biased from the get go. How can you do an internal audit withought an external audit when so much money was at stake and most of the responsibility is coming from insiders? I know it was expensive, but we never got to read the results from Proskauer Rose.
As others have suggested, maybe the media has to be brought in.
I truly don't know how all this will play out at what surely will be an historic AAC.
Basically this process has been very frustrating and not seeing previous reports and a resignation of the first SIC did not help that sense of frustration.
#2.1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-25 13:40
IF YOU AND OTHERS DONT LIKE THE CHURCH AND ITS BISHOPS! START YOUR OWN "GOSSIP CHURCH" ! I CAN SEE IT NOW "STOKOE" CHURCH AND COMPANY! I SAY GO FOR IT STOKOE! I WILL DONATE TO THE CAUSE, AND PLEASE TAKE YOUR WEBSITE WITH YOU!
( Editor's note: Not 30 minutes and you are back screaming. The desperation I just mentioned, is so clear, and so heartening, for all who seek the truth. Fortunately, I have no need my own personal Church, nor do I think of the Church in those terms: but but it is revealing that you do. It explains much of how we came to be where we are. )
#2.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-25 14:00
I'm going to be blunt with you, All Caps Anonymous Guy. This time I'm not playing around or assisting you as you once again make yourself the butt of your own long-running joke. It's time you heard some truth. You're an idol worshipper. The idol you worship is something that you call the Church, but, in truth, this Church of yours is a phantom of your own mind, and shares nothing more than a name with the true Church, the Body of Christ. As evidenced by your long string of ignorant, angry and worthless posts, this Church of yours teaches nothing about love, nor grace, nor mercy, nor humility, nor repentance. This Church of yours never mentions Christ, but fawns over the Metropolitan. This Church of yours is obsessed with power, and cannot tolerate opposing viewpoints. This Church of yours betrays Christ and scorns His people. This Church of yours is a sick and evil facade, rotten at the heart and soon to whither under the fierce judgement of God. I know it's a waste of time to attempt to reason with you, but for the love of God, think about walking away from your sorry idol. An idol cannot save you, but it can deceive you into thinking that the anger of man can work the righteousness of God. An idol cannot save you, but it can deceive you into thinking that a road winding into Hades can bring you to Paradise.
#2.2.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-25 17:03
MR CAPS THINKS YOUR OUT OF CONTROL! I THINK YOU NEED TO GET SOME MEDICATION FOR YOUR ANGER! BY THE WAY YOU CANT CONTROL ME! MAYBE STOKOE CONTROLS YOU AND OTHERS! BUT SORRY NOT ME! LETS TALK ABOUT THE "MIRACLE" IN DETROIT MICH. OH! I FORGOT THATS NOT IMPORTANT! YOUR STILL STUCK ON THE MONEY ISSUE! THATS SAD!
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-07-27 16:29
Like I said, it's a waste of time to attempt to reason with you. Thank you for proving my point.
#126.96.36.199.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-27 19:04
Mr. ALL Caps...I agree with you! If anyone is idol it is Scott and Patty for their ignorance for asking the high ranking offical of our OCA to retire! I hope they go to confession? SHAME ON THEM, BUT GOD WILL JUDGE THEM NOT ME! We as lay people really do not have the power or authority to do so. We all have right to our own opinion and some of us do, but some of this talk is nonsense and I for one really think that we who post here are really adding more problems to this tragic problem then we are doing any good. This is like reading the Star or the Enquire. What good is this website doing besides spreading gossip and speculations? The report will be out soon enough and we will see what it says, and that is what we need to go by. Enough is enough people stop the speculations and focus on the word of GOD. There are enough problems in this world and we do not need people of the same faith questioning it or demorlizing anyone in it. If you can handle to heat get out of the kitchen!
#188.8.131.52.1.1 action jackson on 2008-07-28 06:25
I can't speak for Patty, Action, as I don't know her, but I do go to confession, frequently. And among the many and grievous sins I have to confess, it has never occurred to me that "...asking the high ranking official (sic) of our OCA to retire..." is one of them. And nice demonstration of the Orthodox Two Step, BTW: first we call "Shame, shame" and then we piously say we're not judging. Good thing, too. Having observed your ability to gulp down the camel (theft, lies and cover-up, aided and abetted by "the high ranking official of our OCA") while straining at the gnat, (those who call for honesty and repentance) I would not trust you, Action, to judge a jar of dill pickles at the county fair.
#184.108.40.206.1.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-28 13:16
My original point is that a lay person of the church we do not have the authority to call for resignation in the church as you and so many have. This is not a demogracy, it is a church build on hieracrhy long before we were even thought of.
You said to me in your response that "Having observed your ability to gulp down the camel (theft, lies and cover-up, aided and abetted by "the high ranking official of our OCA"). What do you mean by this? Do you know that our current "high ranking official had anything to do with theft, lies and cover-ups? Have you seen the SCI report? Do you have an inside track? What about the whoel synod and the MC, what was their knowledge? Did lie? Did they cover-up? Well I don't know the answer to that so I will not speculate anything, but I am sure you and others will and have. That will be on your conscience not mine. Until all the facts are made public we should not speculate anything at this point. I forgive you for your ignorance and your misrepresentation of facts. Thank you.
(Editor's note: I suggest you re-read Fr. Tasso's comment from the other day, regarding embezzlement. Given that, the repeated attempts of the Metropolitan and the former administration to deny any problems existed, i indicates a cover-up did indeed exist. While I agree the SIC report will reveal more, and in more detail, it is absurd to deny what we already have evidence of.)
#220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Action jackson on 2008-07-29 05:40
You know Mark, Thank you for pointing that out, I will re-read. Why did you edit my response to Mr. Walker? This is not first time you have done this with me and others. I do not think it is truely following my right as the "right to free speach". Come on now PAL!
(Editor's note: The beginning of your response was edited because it was just plain rude. Free speech is not a right, but a privelege on this website, of which a minimum ( a very low minimum at times....) requirement is common courtesy. Feel free to start your own website if you disagree.
In addition, your performance was not equal to the standards you yourself were setting forth. You were committing the same error you accused Mr. Walker of committing - which made your comment absurd.
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Action jackson on 2008-07-29 06:54
editor: i disagree with fr tasso: i think the question should be asked what would Christ do? the answer is simple "have compassion"! "you who are without sin cast the first stone" Jesus said "I am the way" sorry your money that you worry about is moot! putting the blame on the bishops is moot! bottom line get over it!
(Editor's note: Nice try with no caps, All Caps Guy.)
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-30 07:22
Dear ALL CAPS ANONYMOUS,
I am not sure where your anger is coming from. I want the truth, seek the truth, and desire the truth.
And you seek anger?
But I think the truth is better.
PS: I meant to direct my previous comments to Nilus, not Andrew (St. Andrew's); some days are too long.
#2.2.2 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-25 17:49
why do you keep beating a dead horse! everything on this website is always negative! met herman must go thats all i hear! the facts are he has a 99% endorsement from his fellow bishops! i bet when you hear that it burns you up inside! looking who attends these town hall meeting, so few people! dont you get it! PEOPLE DONT CARE ABOUT MONEY! AS CHRIST STATED "WHOSE PICTURE IS ON THE COIN" WELL GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT IS CAESAR"! WHAT DONT YOU LIKE ABOUT THE MET? HIS HONESTY! WHY DONT YOU TALK ABOUT A 'MIRACLE" THAT TOOK PLACE THIS MONTH IN DETROIT! OH! I'M SORRY I FORGOT THIS IS A GOSSIP WEBSITE! WE DONT BRING UP subjects like this! ONLY HATEFUL subjects! OH GEE! WE FIRST MUST WORRY ABOUT THE HOTEL IN NOV! or about what nescott thinks! AND OTHERS WHO MAKE NEGATIVE COMMENTS! and WE MUST TRASH THE OCA! AM I CORRECT STOKOE! DID BISHOP JOB MENTION TO YOU ABOUT THIS MIRACLE? LET ME GUESS ITS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH! HAVE A HATEFULL DAY! AND DO WORRY YOURSELF TO DEATH ON WHO TOOK THE MONEY! AND THE MET MUST GO!
#2.2.3 Anonymous on 2008-07-26 07:06
Dear Mr. All Caps Guy,
Please enlighten me about the "miracle in Detroit". I live in Detroit and we could use a few ! I cetainly don't want to miss one if it occurred.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-07-27 14:31
ITS NOT IMPORTANT! I'M SORRY I MENTIONED IT! I REGRET POSTING IT ON THIS EVIL AND GOSSIP WEBSITE! BUT I WILL SAY ONE THING SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND! HAVE A BLESSED DAY!
#18.104.22.168.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-28 07:05
There is no miracle in Detroit. I Googled "Miracle in Detroit" and scrolled down past the first fifty entries. Two of them referred to a Catholic miracle-worker whom is being proposed for canonization, one referred to Catholic Eucharistic miracles and that's it, as far as miracles go. There is nothing about a "Miracle in Detroit" on OCA.org. All Caps Anonymous Guy pulled the "Miracle in Detroit" from the same location that supplies his other alleged facts and statistics. That's why he won't link to it. Go ahead, All Caps Anonymous Guy. Prove me wrong. Provide links or some other way to read for ourselves about this miracle, and I shall apologize handsomely for doubting you in this matter. Put up or (dare we hope for this?) shut up.
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-28 08:39
SCOTT I HAVE MY FACTS! WHEN YOU CALLED THE CHURCH! THAT CHRIST ESTABLISHED HERE ON EARTH AN "IDOL" IT SHOWS HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THE CHURCH! WHEN YOU STATED YOU WENT TO THE WEBSITE TO FIND THE ANSWER TO THE MIRACLE THAT TOOK PLACE IN DETROIT! SHOWS ME YOUR CHURCH IS THE "WEBSITE"! YOU FOOL! YOU WONT FIND THE ANSWER ON THE WEBSITE! OH YOU OF LITTLE FAITH!
#126.96.36.199.1.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-28 18:22
Nice attempt at a deflection, but I note you have no answer, only more bluster and rage and insults. Kind of what I expected. Okay. So, once again, what miraculous thing happened? Where, when and to whom? Quit blowing smoke and be a man for once and back up what you say. But you won't. You will bluster and rage, but you won't answer my challenge because you're only a sad and sorry man hiding behind anonymity. Pretty easy to yell insults at people when you can run and hide, isn't it, big guy?
And you can't understand simple English. I specifically said that your sick idea of the Church is not, repeat, not, repeat, not the spotless bride of Christ, but merely a phantom of your own deluded mind. I stand by that.
But enough of this. The offer stands. Credibly back up what you say, and I will apologize publicly, right here on this evil website, for doubting you in this matter.
I will not, however, be holding my breath expecting honesty and honor and courage from you. That would be a bigger miracle than anything that ever happened in Detroit.
The Metropolitan's defenders reflect badly upon him.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Scott Walker on 2008-07-28 21:47
The Biggest Miracle that has been shown to me and others is this WEBSITE!!!
... Hey don't they have more work for you to do at St Tikon's? Your family surely misses you there. Say hello to all of them from us measley no-faith people.
#220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-07-29 11:54
YOU JUST PROVED MY POINT! "STOKOE'S WEBSITE IS YOUR CHURCH" WELL GOD BLESS YOU ! IHOPE YOU BECOME SAVED THROUGH HIS WEBSITE! AGAIN YOUR A FOOL! I DONT THINK GOD WANTS YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE MIRACLE! AND I CAN SEE WHY!
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-30 07:38
Sigh. Case closed.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-30 14:58
Its not the money, its the exposure to people like you who are still stuck in the illness that got the OCA into this mess in the first place. Gee, don't they have picnics or clean up days at your church in Akron? You really have too much time on your hands. Oh I guess it is the money for some people, like yourself and the french benefits that your people are receiving. Gee, get a life already!
Oh, bishop Job will pray for you as you stand beside him during liturgys when he comes to visit. After all he has before, and I'm sure in his morals he will continue to do so.
Mark please feel free to give the IRS and the FBI My computer name for I would like to speak with them. Have a nice day.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-07-29 12:02
WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I WANT TO STAND NEXT TO BISHOP JOB? SORRY! YOU CAN TAKE MY SPOT A STAND NEXT TO HIM! THANKS FOR THE OFFER! BUT NO THANKS!
#18.104.22.168.1 Anonymous on 2008-08-04 14:24
I'm sorry, why is the presupposition that those of us making the reasonable request for accountability should go off and form our own church? This is Christ's Holy Church, and so corporate responsibility, accountability, and repentance should be the norm - not the exception. Anyone who disagrees should be expelled from amongst our midst - even if they wear a kamilavka.
If you and others prefer the way some of our bishops are (1) artificially preserving an old-world Imperial Episcopate, (2) are committing fiduciary crimes, and (3) are covering it up in Christ's name, then go off and start your own church! I can see it now: "Swaiko's Chuch and Associates." I say go for it, anonymous. I won't donate to the cause, because they've already had their shot at misusing good people's money. No more!
Perhaps you might meditate on these words from Mark 11:15-18?
And they came to Jerusalem, and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out they that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of they that sold doves;
And would not suffer that any man should carry [any] vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them: "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but you have made it a den of thieves!"
And the scribes and chief priests heard of this, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people were astonished at his doctrine.
#2.2.4 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-07-26 14:30
DONT YOU GET TIRED OF ASKING THE SAME QUESTION? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY? GET OVER IT SOMEONE SPENT IT! AND GOD KNOWS WHO TOOK IT! PLEASE LET GOD DEAL WITH IT! GET OVER IT! IF YOU CANT PLEASE SEE DR. PHIL. THANK YOU HAVE A GOOD DAY!
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-08-06 15:47
Excellent ideas! Attending a demonstration, or whatever, would be far cheaper and more productive than wasting $250 to watch and do nothing. Maybe the counter-event would even attract more attendance than the circus next door and would certainly get media attention. This requires some serious planning.
#2.3 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-25 14:43
With the constant circling of the wagons of the Bishops and patting Herman on the back and saying what a great job he's doing during a time when membership and money is dwindling at a startling rate under his leadership (by name only) while questions of his morality and spirituality are under serious question in light of a scandal that is not just about money, but of the moral nature of the men who were chosen to lead, who seem to care more to cover up damage done directly to the Church in the name of the Holy Spirit, maybe a demonstration is the only way for something positive to come out of Pittsburgh for bad press is the only thing that really makes them act. They give a vote of confidence to a man who can stand in front of a group of people and with a complete straight face, and he likely believed it totally, spewed that he was confident of the judgment he would receive by God. Where is the OUTRAGE at that? And this isnít the first time heís laid out whoppers. Remember the Righteous Suffering? As in the case of Fr. Valencia whoís infractions have the capability to take out this Church for good, for Hermanís destruction of the Church heís patted on the back and told heís doing a great job by no less than the guys chosen to, and taken vows to, protect the Church against forces to destroy it. How do the bishops reconcile preaching to us about morality when their chairman has basically committed an act of blasphemy? Does ANY priest here, and I DARE, I CHALLENGE, any priest to, defend what the Metropolitan said?! And we expect something good to come of the AAC? We expect something good to come of an AAC when our Metropolitan is clearly invigorated by his knowing that when heís judged heís going to be given a summary judgment of passing into the Kingdom of God.
If anyone considers this harsh I challenge you to state one proactive action on the part of the Synod in the entire scandal, most notably lately, that has been done to face this problem as Nikon so states. He should have been CHALLENGED on WHAT are they doing to face these problems? This comes days after he says that they don't know what to do? What's the story, Nikon? He's so unable to deal with the reality and the demand of the people and unable to keep his stories straight that in a period of days he totally contradicts himself. One problem with not telling the truth, and being older, is that you never are sure of the lie you told previously that you have to keep saying in order to TRY to make them believable to all you tell it to! But, we want to know, and we know that these bishops read here, or that they have people who read here, we want to know, what proactivity has taken place on their end to face this and do something about it? So far there is NOTHING that we can point to, outside of Job, that gives us any glimmer of hope that these guys have any real intention of getting to the bottom of this. NOTHING! Every act has been done after the magnitude of the voice of the people in disgust has gotten to the point where they must act, not because they want to, but to shut the people up til the next revelation causes them to get into an uproar again. Letís be perfectly clear about this, if they wanted to get to the bottom of this, it could be done in a day. We know the basics of what we on, we know the people who have stonewalled and failed to come forth, we can assume a lot about Kucynda and Herman running to PR. We know the truth is stunningly shocking and disgusting. Why, none other than Larry Tosi, inferred as much to us stating it would cause the end of the Church! We can handle the truth, we canít handle people who do all they can to obstruct the truth and allow this nightmare to continue. If the bishops were serious, if the bishops were holy men, if the bishops took their vows to GOD SERIOUSLY, this would be revealed in a day and resolved quickly thereafter. But we know the character and integrity of these guys and its not of a level that kids should be in anyway using as a model for their own lives.
Is ANYONE sick and tired of these bishops saying that things are being done and that they were lied to and deceived and all that and then when asked specifics they clam up like the kid whoís next to a broken window with a ball on the ground and heís go no idea how it got broken? Was FACING this allowing the first SIC to be disbanded cause it was getting somewhere? Not a wimper out of any of them except for Job. Yeah, they are facing the problems here. BALONEY! When are these guys going to realize that the Church is NOT about long beards, talking in many tongues, wearing robes that are as opulent as they can make them, and making irrelevant proclamations at their meetings while ignoring the real problems? When are they going to realize that the Gospel isnít a book they just take from the Deacon and put on the Altar, but rather a prescription for a way of life? What gets me the most is how they can, in any sincerity, vest up, act out a liturgy and then cover up, clam up, and put up with the actions of men whose actions are in a complete contradiction to what they took their vows for? Unless, of course, they are one of those men! Makes us wonder what they are all hiding, no? Next time you have one in your presence, take a long look at him and think about what heís doing there and what heís doing concerning this scandal. The disconnect cannot but hit you like a brick wall.
People, the bottom line is that this scandal is going on and on because the bishops canít do the right thing, period. The ONE obstacle to rectifying the problems and moving ahead and healing are, yes, the Bishops. They are the root, they are the core of what is preventing this to be resolved. Donít believe any of this stuff theyíre hoping you believe that they are doing all in their power to do something to bring this to closure. Its bunk and they know it! The timeframe to do something that would have us have any faith in their abilities and competencies is way past. There can be no good from any of them at this point. What is undetermined is whether this inability to do the right thing is a pathological problem or because theyíre intimidated by a little guy wearing a white hat to reveal their own indiscretions. No, they should not resign and then be put up for re-election, they should resign or be retired and shown the door and men who view this entire Church SERIOUSLY and take their responsibilities SERIOUSLY and who put the Gospel FIRST and SERIOUSLY should be brought in to lead this Church. There is NO way, and its about time we face the fact, that ANYTHING will change or improve in this Church unless the entire lot of these Godless Bishops are put out of any roles in which they can do any more damage than they have and continue to do. If you look at the rate of growth of this Church before the scandal that these guys gave us, its going to take us at least two generations to recover just the people we have lost due to this scandal during a period in America when people are so desparate to believe in something. Letís not talk about growth for thatís what you do when you have a firm foundation from which to grow, letís talk about stopping the hemorrhaging and the only way to talk about that is to realize what we are really dealing with with these bishops! Its time to call a spade a spade with these guys, and YET there are people who bow down to these men. Incredible.
#2.3.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-26 17:19
Having participated in my fair share of protests, I would encourage someone (if you're sincere about doing this) to take charge and look into municipal permits, press releases, community police cooperation, and what the guidelines would be for "aliens" (i.e. non-U.S. citizens) who wish to participate.
Time is on our side to make this event coherent, peaceful, and powerful. Whether or not it will be needed by then depends so much on the SIC report, and if Metropolitan Herman is still primate at the time of the AAC.
On a totally different matter, is there official transparency/accountability/economy policies already in place for the AAC in terms of travel, hotel accomodations and incidentals (i.e. room service; # of subdeacons/servants in attendance) for our hierarchs? Some have (repeatedly) publicly demonstrated a fondness for "the finer things of life"...
While I'm not suggesting that they pitch tents in a nearby park, I am suggesting that their receipts be made a matter of public record (so many of our politicians have been caught out with exhorbitant expenses for publicly-funded trips). If they have nothing to hide, they won't resent this suggestion, but welcome it as a demonstration of their accountabilty and responsible spending.
With just three-and-a-bit months left to go before the AAC, I'm feeling more and more helpless in the face of the 'hierarchical denial syndrome' ("we saw nothing, we heard nothing, we know nothing") which is paralyzing.
However, it really doesn't matter anymore if they truly DIDN'T see, hear, or know nothing. The Town Hall meetings and this forum have clearly demonstrated that we DO see, HAVE heard, and KNOW. God grant that from this time forward that they will accept the truth of the matter and not continue to hide behind the "but we didn't know" refrain. You didn't know, but now you do. It's time to act on that knowledge, Your Graces!
God grant that the AAC and these few months left will be a time of repentance, healing, vision and, most of all, prayer!
(Editor's note: According to sources in Pittsburgh "If we remain orderly and do not block the sidewalk off or stand in the street, no permit is needed to protest in Pittsburgh." )
#2.3.2 Presbytera Laurie Rodger on 2008-07-28 13:18
I would like to respond to the third report which characterized the meeting as a "mutual admiration society," and said that Fr. Tossi spoke too much.
There is a profound difference between speaking directly with charity, and a "mutual admiration society." I did not go to the meeting to pat people on the back, even though I did physically greet some of the people at the meeting. Nor did I go to the meeting to admire anyone. I attended the Town Hall Meeting in Hartford to voice some very strong opinions that I have, and I tried to articulate them as unequivocally as possible.
Fr. Tossi spoke only as a facilitator, and he only asked questions in order to clarify the points being made by the speakers, as he took notes on a large flip chart. His most frequent comment actually, was to ask if anyone else would like to speak.
I am sorry that the reporter who is not a member of the Diocese of New England felt badly about the meeting, and I'm sorry that nobody approached her. Diocesan meetings of this sort are not the best occasions for making new acquaintances, but we can always be more hospitable. If she reads this, please forgive me.
I think that for what it was, the Hartford meeting was good. Unlike other church meetings I have attended which have been filled with rancor, anger and accusation, the Town Hall Meeting in Hartford was conducted with openness and mutual respect. It is encouraging to be with one's brothers and sisters and to be able to express ones self without feeling as though you are about to be attacked. But the true test will be to see if, and how, the comments and ideas from the faithful are acted upon.
I hope and pray that these meetings ultimately bear fruit in the OCA.
Rev. J. Sergius Halvorsen
#3 Rev. J. Sergius Halvorsen on 2008-07-25 12:37
Laity and clergy gathered at All Saints Church in Hartford, to offer suggestions and views related to the problems that have faced our Orthodox Church in America. The views and ideas presented were done in sincere and respectful ways, and many commented afterward on how positive the meeting had been.
Commentary was diversified and included calls for new leadership, effective leadership, revised Statute, independent audits, define roles for those in the central administration, forgiveness and love, putting problems behind us, unity among all Orthodox jurisdictions in this country, invigorated mission, bolder vision, continued and diversified dialogue and increased prayer.
The importance of dialogue in the Church was evidenced as speakers even while disagreeing listened to each other and gave a positive tone to the meeting. Fr. Eric Tosi, secretary of the OCA, was facilitator did an excellent job in his role, and gave persons ample time to speak. Fr. Andrew Jarmus, director of ministries and communications for the OCA, took notes.
His Grace Bishop NIKON closed the meeting with some inspiring comments about the future of the Church while acknowledging the problems we had faced and noted that changes have taken place in the administration.
(While I did not focus on my own comments in the above, I would like to clarify what I did say since I have been quoted in one of the reports. A comment at the start of the meeting was made that we should define the problem we were about to discuss. I rose and stated that initially there had been charges that money that was intended for one area apparently went to other areas. I added that with discussions on the internet charges had snowballed since Deacon Ericís original letter and used some hyperbole as examples. I then said it is difficult to look to specifics for their are bigger issues: We needed to be humble enough to admit that we all sinned and made mistakes and that we needed to be loving enough to forgive those sins and mistakes in others. I added a few other words of the need to be Christian in our approach.)
#4 Very Rev. William DuBovik on 2008-07-25 13:33
"I added a few other words of the need to be Christian in our approach."
A Christian approach would be, in my view, to help those who are erring to confess, repent, make restitution and urge them to view their transgressions as did Mary of Egypt. The church finds in her an image of true repentance and a source of encouragement. Our commemoration of her is not without purpose. Father, it would be Christian in your approach to help those who need the example of Godís ineffable mercy to Mary to understand how that can apply to them. Encourage them to speak the truth, return all that can be returned and throw themselves at the mercy of God. How can you, in Christian love, allow anyone to sin against our beleaguered church?
In Acts 20:28, we read: ďTake heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which He obtained with the blood of His own Son.Ē You are an overseer!
Sin destroys. The sins that cloud our church are not only financial but moral as well. Father before this sadness and despair goes further to a place none of us desire for anyone involved in this sordid affair or for our church, pray but also do something. God is watching us all. What will you answer Him when He asks if you kept souls on the right path or if you watched them throw their souls away? Were you a blessed overseer of the church ďwhich God obtained with the blood of His own SonĒ or did you disregard the sacredness of the church by ignoring sins committed against it?
#4.1 A sinner on 2008-07-25 17:30
Let's not canonize anyone just yet.
The plain fact is nothing has changed. Talking is fine, want to meet in T Hall's, sure, why not, but what real change has come so far?
A strategy has to be laid before the AAC, otherwise the laity will fold like a cheap suit, and the SOB'S know it. In fact they are counting on it.
Lets get real, the only way these guys are planning on leaving is feet first.
It is time to take back the Church.
T H E B I S H O P S F E E L B E T R A Y E D, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Too bad.Hartord is just the latest offering from the bad boys club.
#5 no name on 2008-07-25 20:23
Father, if I ever rob a bank, I'm going to call you to be a witness...
Please, the only mistakes that these people admit to is that it got out into the public.
#6 Anonymous on 2008-07-26 17:21
Having read the accounts of the Hartford Town Hall, one can only marvel at how closely they parallel the comments at all the other meetings. I think it is safe to say that when one adds together the petition signatures, the comments on this website and now the town hall meetings, at least 2000 members of the OCA have expressed displeasure with our leadership and direction. That represents about 10% of its total membership--a truly impressive vote of no confidence when one considers that many members are infirm or have no access to the internet or the ability to travel to meeting sites.
I might add that those 2000 probably represent the most active and informed members of the OCA--"the creme de la creme" of its membership! The bishops should take no comfort in the fact that the silent majority is silent. It always is. If it could be polled, I have no doubt it would be overwhelming in favor of truth, justice and reform.
I want to echo the positive comments concerning Father John Hopko. No surprise that a member of such a distinguished family in the OCA continues to speak out, but the breath and directness, not to mention the accuracy, of his remarks is truly eye popping and hopefully eye opening to those still deluding themselves about the true state of the OCA.
#7 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-27 09:14
Dear "Creme de la creme" of the OCA,
A friendly reminder from St. John Climacus:
"The flatterer is a servant of devils, a guide to pride, a destroyer of contrition, a ruiner of virtues, a misleader. Those who pronounce you blessed, lead you astray, says the prophet. (Isaiah 3:12)."
Brought to you from the Other 90%.
#7.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-27 17:06
Wow, Anonymous, I hope that All Caps Anonymous Guy reads your post. You made your point, you didn't yell at anybody and you used a bit of humor. Would that we could have more of that cordial disagreement around here.
#7.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-27 18:57
I guess we should throw out the Beatitudes?!
#7.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-28 05:56
No we shouldn't throw out all of the Beatitudes, maybe just the one: "Blessed are the creme de la creme..."
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2008-07-28 15:32
That one is more commonly know as: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."
What we should throw out is false humility and piety masquerading as righteousness!
#188.8.131.52.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-29 05:29
"There are many people in the world who are poor in spirit, but not in the way that they should be; there are many that mourn, but for some financial loss or the death of their children; many are gentle, but towards unclean passions; many hunger and thirst, but only to seize what does not belong to them and to profit from injustice; many are merciful, but towards their bodies and the things that serve the body; many are pure in heart, but for the sake of self-esteem; many are peacemakers, but by making the soul submit to the flesh; many are persecuted, but as wrongdoers; many are reviled, but for shameful sins. Only those are blessed who do or suffer these things for the sake of Christ and after His example."
- St. Maximos the Confessor
#184.108.40.206.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-29 18:49
Dear Anonymous at Posting #7.1,
I would think that the citation from St. John Climacus is referring to those folks, including some overseers, who keep on flattering +Herman and each other.
The 10% who have been asking questions and criticizing the failed leadership are emphatically not flatterers.
The real question is why the purported 90% (who I don't believe for a minute are of such a big percentage) are angry at the 10%.
#7.1.3 Carl on 2008-07-28 10:55
Carl you asked "The real question is why the purported 90% (who I don't believe for a minute are of such a big percentage) are angry at the 10%?" The answer is simple...the 10% are trouble makers.
#220.127.116.11 Action Jackson on 2008-07-28 13:24
Yes indeed, the 10% are the trouble makers: the salt of the earth, who have always been persecuted for being different. For example:
How about Jesus and His Apostles who were such trouble makers that they were punished severely by the majority?
How about the thousands of martyrs across the centuries who were also punished for being trouble makers?
How about the Orthodox minority trouble makers who stood up to Arianism (4th Century) and the iconoclasts (8th and 9th Centuries)?
How about the minority American Revolutionaries who were declared traitors to the Crown (a capital offense punishable by drawing and quartering) for their trouble making?
How about the millions of trouble makers that the Communists killed off in the 20th Century (In this instance the evil doers were in the minority and this by design)?
History is full of such examples. Trouble makers have always been in the minority and they have always been persons who made an impact, for good or evil. I would think AJ that you would rather be in that minority, following the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church and thus "making trouble," than being part of the majority.
#18.104.22.168.1 Carl on 2008-07-28 17:31
Our country was founded on just such ďtrouble-makers.Ē They wanted truth, honesty, and freedom and fought for it. I thank God that I was fortunate enough to be born and live here because of the wonderful country they formed. This same vigor is demonstrated by those on this website and others at the town hall meetings who also desire to come to the truth and honesty so we can bring our church back from the abyss of sin. Oh, by the way, have you heard any of the dialogue that comes from Action Jacksonís mouth? It took me less than a minute to size you up! Great choice for your hero worship.
#22.214.171.124.2 Anony on 2008-07-28 17:32
You made this comment"Great choice for your hero worship"? What is meant by that? My choice for hero of worship is Christ and his Holy church! You may have a different one, but this is mine and am sticking to it. You have a nice day Anony, may Chirst bless you and your troubled mind.
#126.96.36.199.2.1 Action jackson on 2008-07-29 05:56
Anony means, I'm guessing, that "Action Jackson" was the foul-mouthed hero of a low budget action flick, and an odd choice for the nom de plume of a Pious And Anonymous Internet Defender Of True Orthodoxy. Pretty cool how you can get from that to accusing Anony of having a troubled mind. All in day's work, eh?
#188.8.131.52.2.1.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-29 09:27
Thank you Scott for your post. That is exactly what I meant. God bless you.
#184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Anony on 2008-07-30 08:27
Keep guessing my brother in Christ! Assuming things will only get you in trouble. This is a nickname that was given to my from my collge football coach. I love how people take a context of something and turn it upside down. Perception is really everything. I know with my position I have learned you can not please everyone. Mr. Walker you really make me laugh (even though it is way off base...) thank you!
#18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Action Jackson on 2008-07-31 11:01
Happy to oblige, Action. I love football. Where did you play and when? We're hoping that a miracle happens and the Beavers end up at the top of the Pac 10. Not likely, but hope springs eternal.
#126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Scott Walker on 2008-07-31 14:02
Neglect, haste, indifference, or just disgusted?
This past week, the Diocese of Washington/NY received a letter from its Chancellor, Fr. Joseph Lickwar that was interesting in its sloppiness. The letter was to announce the diocesan assembly. Obviously Fr. Joseph had used the letter, verbatim, from last year and merely changed the day of the event, but neglected, in three places to change the year. So, the letter was dated July 20, 2007 and the assembly is to occur on Sept 15, 2007. Further, all past assessments must be paid up by Jan 1, 2008.
We expect more of the Chancellor, but see that this is part of a rash of embarrassing incidents of sloppiness. Our new prayer book spells immortal as immoral, our press person in Syosset canít spell to save his life, and now we are told of a diocesan assembly to occur in the past. We wonder, however, in this case is this just a sign of indifference or disgust? In addition to this, we hear of Fr. Garretson in South River, NJ holding sessions in his church on Tuesdays to discuss the gory details of the scandal (why not on here we wonder). We hear of a sermon that lays it out concerning the behavior of the bishops. And these are just reported through the grapevine this afternoon after liturgy.
By the way, if the names seem familiar, they served on the Kondratick juryÖ For those who donít know, too, Fr. Eric Tosiís father in law is Fr. Lickwar.
Has the clergy given up? Has the clergy lost hope? Is the clergy so demoralized by the state of this church that they are doing the minimum necessary, do they care any more? Surely we would understand why they would feel this way. I was once told about the church administration, many years ago, that the fish stinks from the head down. Are the clergy now being tainted with the stench from the Metropolitan and the Synod? Are the clergy disgusted, that after many years of hard work and sacrifice that they are being tossed into the same pit as the Metropolitan and the Synod? After all theyíve been through, many of good works for 30, 40 years, they are reduced to being seen at the same level of the filth as emanating from our Metropolitan and the Synod.
We are surprised at the mistakes, we expect better, but is this just a sign that maybe the clergy has given up hope? Surely we hope not, but the signs are not positive. The writing is on the proverbial wall.
#8 Anonymous on 2008-07-27 13:01
Crap! You mean I missed it!??
Maybe Fr. Joseph should sent out next years letter now, and a week later the one for the following year. For all the old calendarists add 14 days, have a drink and pray for forgiveness then subtract 1.
This is just getting fun!
Wellkome two tee nu OCA!
#8.1 no name on 2008-07-27 20:01
making fun of the Old Calendarists (such as the Moscow Patriarchate, the Serbian Patriarchate, the Jerusalem Patriarchate and Mount Athos) is rather like trying to sell vacuum cleaners to the neighbours whilst our own carpets and filthy.
well................. Your Eminence, The great churches you mention will probably survive very well despite and remarks I made, and they are big enough to take care of themselves. They need neither my approval, nor your defense.
The comments were not focused on any national Church, rather on the vapid and comical mindset that you find among mostly convert zealots infesting our parishes, spreading their poisonous doctrines and their staged piety. As for the Athonites, they best keep to their moldy cloisters, and stay out of global Church life. They are responsible for more doctrinal confusion, more odd and multiple baptismal practices and twisted convert minds than perhaps any other entity in the Orthodox world. Let the monks pray! Let them be shut up 'till the day of doom!
It is past time that the Church rid herself of the overbearing influence of these "meddlesome priests" The Church in the world needs to be governed by the living, the residential, the sexually continent. Others, need not apply.
We applaud the monastic contribution and role of old, but this is a new place and a new time. Pray, the day comes when the monastics once again are welcome as the source of strength they once were. Pray the day comes when we are all sisters and brothers truly dwelling in unity and love instead of people speaking those worn out sickening words.
As for the old calendar that weezy device is just another wedge issue used to poor advantage by the piously challenged.
Here in the West, Christmas falls on the 25th of the 12th month. Anything else is just so much clap trap. The more we run from the time an place God has placed us in the less likely we are to carry out his will.
For those with a mindset opposite mine I suggest they wrap that pearl of great price (the Orthodox faith) in 40 layers of brocade, and shove it under a rock, there to abide the day of doom. WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT! WELL DONE!
As ever, Your Eminence, you comments are welcome and of some benefit.
#184.108.40.206 no name on 2008-07-31 19:21
I fear that I must make a very negative comment on the idea of restricting the number of observers at the Pittsburg sobor. This is an exceedingly destructive idea. We are trying to restore confidence in the OCA and its administration, and here the planners want to take a step that will render that more difficult in the extreme. Limiting the number of observers can only rouse new suspicions and new accusations. Indeed, I myself must penetratingly question the motives for such a move. If there is nothing to hide, then why are we to hide this "nothing?" And from whom is this "nothing" to be hidden? But if nothing is being hidden and there is no subtrefuge, then why be afraid that too many observers will be present and might perceive the real essence of the "nothing" that is "not being hidden?"
Please forgive me, everyone, but I strongly feel that a serious and destructive error is about to take place, and I beseech all those who are planning it to back off, open the doors and let the light shine in as well as letting the observers come in and see either the darkness or the light that is there to be seen. We do not live in a society where people can so easily be manipulated and told "just forget it." We do not need any Nixons at the Watergate, and it would be terribly sad to hear people refer to the forthcoming Council meeting as "Pittsburg-gate." We have enough such "gates" to deal with already. It is time to open the books, the records, open up the facts and clear the consciences. If it is not done, then the prediction may be fulfilled, which Father Andre Kuriaev of the Moscow Patriarchate, made last week on a Patriarchal radio broadcast from Moscow, "I do not expect the OCA to exist after this autumn......". Our people are mostly honest, believing Christian folk. It is better to trust them with the clear truth, however painful, than to try to deceive them. It is better to ask them for forgiveness (which, as Christians, they are capable of), than to ask them shut up and pay no attention.
With grief and sorrow, and asking the forgiveness of all,
your brother in Christ, Archbishop Lazar.
Well, it's obvious that Father Andre Kuriaev of the Moscow Patriarchate, knows of the secret talks between the OCA and the Antiochians. Yes, after this year maybe the OCA won't exist as it has, but will be an OCA which merges with the Antiochians. The idea of an indigenous, autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America is not going to go away nor be destroyed by a simple financial scandal. After all, the Greeks and churches of the MP and ROCOR have had a myriad of more severe financial and sexual scandals. Wishful thinking on the part of some, but the report of the demise of the OCA AIN'T HAPPEN'IN!
#9.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-30 11:27
I also do not agree that the OCA is going to vanish. There is too much of a ministry for it in both America and Canada. I certainly stand by the concept and ministry of our Church. And yes, there have been just as great, even worse scandals in Greece in the State Church and so many huge problems in the Church in Russia, and all have survived, because the Church is not simply the hierarchy but all the faithful together, and the saints and the Holy Spirit. I have no official voice in the Church because I am retired, and even still recovering from my accident and the results of the severe skull fractures, after all these years. But I do love the Church in North America and the ministry it has been given. I have perhaps three things that I would, from the depth of my heart appeal about: First and foremost is a complete and open revelation about the money and an explanation of the new accountability and transparency policies and how they work (simple enough explanations for ordinary people who are not lawyers or financiers to understand). Second, to the critics, particularly the "anonymous" and bold uppercase ones, please do not exacerbate the confusion and pain by bringing other issues into the matter, and with personality attacks. Other issues can be dealt with in other ways. There are always slanders, accusations and personality attacks circulating in the Church. They circulate when there are theological debates, and the ones without any theological grounds use them to try to undermine the credibility of their opponents. The same attacks are used no matter what the debates is, but almost always by the ones who have the least ground to stand on. So prolific are such slanderous attacks and so often do they turn out to be false that it is difficult to take any of them seriously any longer. Third, I ask those who are the most concerned from a spiritual point of view to set and keep a period of fasting and prayer for the recovery and safety of our Church. This is the true way to prepare for Pittsburg. There are other considerable issues that need to be addressed that are not being mentioned. Foremost among them is the rampant Renovationism and "Episcopalianisation" in the Church in North America. The profound need to return ourselves to Traditional Orthodox Christian practices in both worship and teaching outweighs many of the questions that are being raised today. There is no process of "impeachment by the vox populi" in the Orthodox Church. There will never be elected to office any perfect human being, any "angel in the flesh." Responsibility for the good estate of the commonwealth that is the Church does depend on the "royal priesthood" as well as on the hierarchs and priests, but the good estate of the Church is about many things that are not being mentioned in all this that it being said, much of which is hubris. Morality is important, of course, and must be nurtured, but there is also the problem that moral outrage is usually a form of confession because we hate most in others what we fear most in ourselves. I ask that, from the hierarch's side, the financial "books" be opened wide so that the full extent of the damage can and may be seen so that we know what must be done to repair it. From the side of the delegates to Pittsburg, and the observers, that the focus be on this huge problem and not on personality attacks, vindictiveness and other issues, which must be dealt with in entirely different manners. Please, no Joe McArthy which hunts. We all remember what he was caught doing and how his chosen chief prosecutor ended his life.
Fasting and prayer will accomplish more than all the expressions of outrage that are so current. God will not leave us without a solution. The grace of the Holy Spirit is not going to go away. Christ is with us and will be.
Your brother in Christ (and a far from perfect brother at that), Vladiko Lazar.
Thank you for being a bishop.
#220.127.116.11 Scott Walker on 2008-07-31 07:31
Thank God for you, Mark! Without you we would all be in the dark. T hey could do whatever they pleased and we would never know. Thank God for the internet. We can all now talk to each other and tell and read the truth. I'm sorry I could not go to the Hartford Town Hall.
#10 anonymous on 2008-08-05 19:50
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