Wednesday, July 30. 2008
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Dear Fr. Deacon Anthony,
I enjoyed your reflection but I think you may be too premature in trying to end this current "war." I think we in the OCA are all suffering from the current ravages of this "war," one way or another.
However, I believe it will be the results of this current SIC investigation and what actions will be taken after its release, that will help really end this war. We faithful want facts and the report should be a good step in us knowing more what happened.
I do hope the AAC will become a symbol of healing; however, we need to see the SIC report first. I am sure it is bound to be a historic report, one way or another and help us on our way to what to do next.
#1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-30 16:39
Protodeacon Anthony mentions in detail the "cold-shoulder" response of the bishop and some (not all) other clergy in the area to him and Fr Michael Roshak (the pastor of Three Saints Church, who, even though the powers-that-be have been told the contrary ad nauseum, is being blamed for "inciting" the parishioners of his parish to vote to withhold assessments). The parish council and the faithful have also suffered in the wake of this decision. Specifically, there are three of us who, since January, have requested to transfer from Christ the Savior parish in Southbury to Three Saints in Ansonia. We have been advised that our transfers are "frozen" until the assessment situation is resolved. The dean even went so far (at the June parish council meeting in Ansonia) to refer to the three of us as "visitors". What is still so sad and childish is that the three of us are being restricted from joining a parish for something that happened there before we even thought of going there! If that doesn't smack of Soviet-type "logic", I don't know what does!!
#2 David Barrett on 2008-07-30 17:50
My Dear Protodeacon,
You are so far out in left field that if we wanted to play baseball in Shea Stadium you would not even be in Citi Field which is being built outside the left field wall!
I have hear this statement, “your brother clergy do not want to serve with you” coming from you all in Ansonia. I ask, who has said this? I was at the CT Deanery / FORCC Unction service and I know of only two ‘brothers’ who would ‘normally’ be in attendance and were not there. They do not owe any one an explanation for their absence, but I do know why one wasn’t there and it has nothing to do with the above mis-statement. To my knowledge no one has made a statement like this. Also, many of us stayed for the Lenten meal, as is the custom at Lenten Sunday Vesper services, yet our usual place was not prepared as we were accustomed to see. Maybe an oversight or not, or just something new.
Three Saints Church was the host parish for the Unction Service, a joint CT Deanery (OCA) and FORCC (Fellowship of Orthodox Churches in Connecticut) gathering. This was a mixed gathering, OCA & non-OCA clergy and faithful, and it would not be appropriate for our bishop to ‘speak a word’ on any subject other than one about the service we were about to participate in.
Now I was one who was at the bottom of my class at seminary so I leave the high theology to those classmates with more prestigious credentials, but I did go to scripture class and thanks to Prof. Kesich and Fr. Tarazi I do remember a little something the Apostle Paul wrote. He said that things should be done ‘decently and in order.’
This IS what it’s all about. We have an order within the Diocese of New England. We have in place and have had in place proper procedures for dealing with inaction by those at Syosset. These were decided and voted on at Diocesan Assemblies and Diocesan Council meetings. Every parish within the Diocese of New England had the ability to voice their opinion at the time these votes were taken. But, when a vote does not go the way a priest and his delegate think it should go they do not have the right to do the opposite.
Protodeacon, you can not stand on the outside and shout to those on the inside and complain that you are being treated unfairly by those on the inside. Or ask why your council has not been approved while others have received a blessing from OUR bishop.
I have known your pastor for more years than I can count, but I can not support his stand or that of your parish on this issue. I also do not support the actions of His Beatitude and have voiced my opinion by putting my name to the first resolution at the last Diocesan Assembly asking for him to retire. When it was not allowed I did not go outside the proper procedures of the Diocese of New England or the OCA or the Holy Orthodox Church.
Every Liturgy, Protodeacon, you chant the petition “For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.” If you all are on the outside [ie. Not united with the rest of the Diocese], how can you chant this?
If you are on the outside, how can you chant, “For His Beatitude, our Metropolitan HERMAN, for His Grace our Bishop NIKON, ….. let us pray to the Lord.”
The only way that anything is going to change, that we are to head in the correct direction is if we are on the inside, united. All things must be done ‘decently and in order’.
#3 V. Rev. David Koles on 2008-07-30 17:53
You ask, in response to Pdn. Anthony's claim of brother clergy not wanting to serve with him, "Who has said this?" Well, for one, the BISHOP himself said this to Fr Michael Roshak at the Unction Service in Ansonia on the 5th Sunday of Lent: that many clergy were absent because they didn't want to be there, and that "even those present don't want to serve with you"!!! Also, a Connecticut deanery priest who was standing next to me in the choir loft said the same thing, spouting off about Fr Michael (as though he were the source of the withholding assessments vote) and the parish!!
The other thing in your post that I have to take to task is your constant reference to people in Ansonia being on the outside and others (yourself, I would assume from your post) being on the inside! The question is: the "outside" and "inside" of what? If you mean the Church, you are in error: the Liturgy, with the bishop's antimension*, is still celebrated with the Eucharist (Holy Communion) each Sunday and feastday! What you really mean, it seems to me, is that Ansonia is "outside" the so-called decision at the last Diocesan Assembly, where the stacked-deck vote defeated the withholding of national assessments! I say "stacked-deck" because, before the vote was taken, the bishop was asked if he would support a vote of the withholding of national monies, and he said "No!" Therefore, knowing the bishop would overturn any such vote, the assembly "voted" down the withholding! It's funny that the diocesan-wide withholding of monies in the Midwest was overturned with*OUT +Bishop Job coming down on individual parishes that DID withhold their monies! Again, if people put as much effort into getting these bishops to act like men and clean house instead of coming down on parishes that withheld their monies as a response to the faux pas of the hierarchs, maybe we'd get somewhere!!
#3.1 David Barrett on 2008-07-31 11:39
It really is sickening to hear of what your brother clergy (priests and bishops) are making you suffer. It is very disillusioning for me, a 20 year old considering my future in the Church. (As is this whole scandal.)
My only word of hope is... hold in there for just a little bit longer. As you know, many faithful are holding their breath (however hopelessly) for the AAC to fix all of our problems.
Once November comes and goes (and nothing meaningful is achieved, Metropolitan Herman hasn't resigned, and no SIC report-related spiritual courts have been convened) then I think you will see a new wave of withholding begin.
St. Andrew's Church, Dix Hills, NY
Student at Syracuse University
PS: As an aside, it is shocking to see Archpriest David Koles' cold, loveless words. All his condemnations about your parish being "inside" or "outside" of Christ's Holy Church are retrograde; his fourth paragraph is just comically absurd.
Doing things "decently and in order ... is what it's all about"?! Decency and order were cited by the High Priests when they executed first the prophets, and then Christ. This belief is completely contrary to the whole spirit (if not the letter) of the New Testament!
You quote "decency and order" from 1 Cor. 14:40, where St. Paul is admonishing the Corinthians for the disorder of their liturgy. He fears that the chaos of many people speaking in tongues will impede the faithful from effectively receiving Grace. But here, is it not Met. Herman himself who impedes Grace, and is it not the parish of Ansonia that is courageous enough to challenge him?
Of course, you could say you are merely keeping to the letter of St. Paul's teaching. If so, let me ask: do you command, as St. Paul does six verses earlier, that women are to "Keep silent in the churches ... for it is shameful for a woman to speak in church?" (1 Cor. 14:34-35)
Fr. Koles, do you believe that complacency with Met. Herman's [mis]handling of this scandal is in line with St. Paul's vision for the Church? Is it even "decent and in order?" There are countless soundbites from St. Paul or Christ Himself that I should cite in rebuttal, but instead of adopting your tactic of clinging to a single, out-of-context verse, I will instead mourn that your shallow, thoughtless invocation of St. Paul's teaching is, at best, reckless.
Absolutely shocking, sorrowful stuff... especially coming from a priest with a Facebook account (which was, for a moment, refreshing). I'm sorry to you, Fr. Kruge, that this is the kind of thing you and your parish have to endure over in Ansonia.
#3.2 Reader Nilus Klingel on 2008-07-31 19:55
re: things not being done decently and in order--
I am sure this is just what the establishment was complaining about when Jesus upturned the tables of the moneychangers.
Does anyone have any numbers on how many parishes are withholding and what the amount is? If we look at the numbers from the Diocese of Washington/NY you see that there is a significant difference between what's coming in and what's going out in assessments to Syosset. Somewhere the diocese is taking a lot of money out of assets to pay off the Syosset cabal. That's why not balance sheet is ever given, just cashflow. If they gave the balance sheet it would probably show consistently decreasing assets. What are those assets they are taking from?
What also about the Midwest? There was so much on that front last year and this year its silent. Did they finally capitulate? What about other dioceses? We know about the celebrated Ansonia, who for all intents and purposes has vanished from the New England map because Nikon puts money before souls and money a prerequisite for his caring about any souls there.
Are parishes going to be seated at the AAC even though they haven't paid up just so that it doesn't look empty?
We really need to know what the compilation of parishes that aren't paying and how much they are withholding.
Whatever the number is, its apparent that its not enough because they are still in there with the lights on.
#3.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-08-01 10:36
The REASON we have collateral damage is because of the bishops. It is their fault. I am collateral damage, at the hands of a priest in the OCA and, now, with the aid of a lawyer I plan to get even...
The bishops ALLOW damage, they give their blessing to it. They never clean up a mess, like the mad hatter they simply move on. Patch it and keep going. They never deal with the cause of a problem, they never remove or defrock the abuser, why? ....
So, is it any surprise that they allowed the abuse in the OCA to continue for years? Fraud is their shield, lies their armour! ... We need all new bishops, Lord may it be soon, do not let us wait too long, for they afflict themselves upon us, deliver thy servants and your Church speedily, Lord hear our prayer.
#4 no name on 2008-07-30 19:22
As I glance over the comments once again on the last several topics, I have to wonder.
Would there be any Saints or Holy Martyrs in the Church had everyone decided to worry about themselves and hide behind the name "Anono"?
We don't even have to worry about our lives here, yet so many people are too afraid to stand up to this evil and say what they think and sign their names.
The OCA doesn't have much hope if so many just continue to let a handful of signers take all the heat
It's sad that people who supposedly have found the "One True Faith" are so unwilling to make any kind of sacrifice to keep it. Sad.
Again and again, if there was no anonymity we wouldn't have talked about the topics we have. In every organization there is protection of identity for those for whom feel endangered, the IRS offers it for whistleblowers. You have pointed out how bad these people are, we hear stories of retribution, but you insist that people put themselves into that position just to speak their minds. We don't all have your selfless need to stick ourselves out there to be pelted just for having our say. These are bad people and will go to no end to stomp out those that speak out. Why its your very own organization which keeps telling us how bad some of them are and keeps a suspicious eye on them.
Its a high minded slight to those people who wish to keep their identity secret that they are not working for or care for the Church. You have no idea of what's in the hearts of others and as a result should not venture out to speak of that which you do not know. You don't need to be known or pictures plastered everywhere and everybody talking about you to try and do what's right and your statement is a slap in the face to all those that wish to keep their privacy, but are as concerned, if not more, than you – we’re in the OCA and it affects us directly. Its an arrogant and disrepectful statement made of no knowledge that you made. We don't all need to seek the recognition nor want the attention, we want to speak our minds and share what pains us. When it comes to doing something, most of us that are anonymous are also holding back on all monies to the organization, but that's not enough in the eyes of some. We need to stick it to those people who are not attention seekers. Is it too much to ask that we are allowed to keep our privacy? We know who you are, but would you allow yourself to be physically martyred (to the point of death) in the name of the Church or do you have a limit to just how much you'll let yourself out on the limb for the Church? In any event, thanks, your comments speak volumes.
#5.1 ANONYMOUS on 2008-07-31 15:51
Dear ANONYMOUS: Please take a step back here. We recognize that there can be a legitimate reason from someone to remain anonymous, like the fear of loss of one's livelihood. However, when someone uses this site as a means to anonymously spew forth malicious gossip and character assassination (and believe me there has been plenty in these pages), then I think that person can rightly be criticized for hidely behind his anonomity.
#5.1.1 Michael Strelka on 2008-08-01 07:21
"These are bad people and will go to no end to stomp out those who speak out." One question and two observations follow.
Question: Assuming that this is true, and the leadership in the OCA functions more like the Mafia or the Politburo than the Church of Christ, what exactly is the point of remaining in such a corrupt organization?
Observations: (1) As long as somebody can make you afraid, he's inside your head and controlling you, whether you know it or not; (2) Our brother in Christ, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who knows a thing or two about coping with real, honest-to-God, murdering tyrants, not just pathetic old men in brocade, offers the following advice: "Do not believe them, do not fear them and do not ask anything from them."
These bad people have no power over you as long as you refuse to allow them to have power over you. It's really up to you. Until it gets to the point where a Metropolitan's goons can kick in your door and haul you off to the GULAG, there is truly nothing to fear from these bad people. There are, after all, Orthodox Churches besides the OCA.
#5.1.2 Scott Walker on 2008-08-01 16:22
"These are bad people and will go to no end to stomp out those who speak out." Question: Assuming that this is true, and the leadership in the OCA functions more like the Mafia or the Politburo than the Church of Christ, what exactly is the point of remaining in such a corrupt organization?"
This is a good question because it addresses a core issue in a real situation. It is a critical question that every single member of the OCA should ask themselves.
The leadership of the OCA did go to extreme length to stamp out those who speak out. There were and continue to be serious results for many who have spoken out. Others fear, rightfully, what might yet befall them. +Herman was heard to say: "It takes me the price of a postage stamp to remove a priest." You can read actual ongoing accounts of excommunications, random refusals of the Cup at Liturgy, fear by elderly parishioners that their parish priest will refuse to bury them, transfers of Priests, unjust defrocking, blackmail and overt threats of many sorts.
An OCA member must ask: "what exactly is the point of remaining in such a corrupt organization?" and find an answer worthy of the sacrifice or leave.
If you are an outsider the question need not concern you then a casual musing. Curiosity or prurient interest become the motivators. Like Cappy you can stand outside the fray, criticise and comment like this battle was a spectator sport; you can be a critic who criticizes the coach for not putting in the other quarterback while viewing the game on a TV set.
If you are a member of the OCA there is an entirely different dynamic. The paradigm isn't even close. If you, Scott, are a member, what is your answer to the question you have posed? What is it that makes the OCA worth the struggle?
A large number of people over the last two decades have come to the question you pose and answered from their hearts that there is no point in remaining in such an organization. Many have already voted with their feet. They do as you suggest and simply go elsewhere.
Tens of thousands of youth who grew up in the OCA have left the church entirely. Thousands who would have joined us have been repulsed. Who knows the numbers of potential converts to the faith who reject Orthodoxy altogether because of our decades old situation. Our membership shrinks at an alarming rate and you have identified the reason.
I discovered the answer to this question years ago when the public battle began and have written about it, but mine is certainly not the only answer. I hope and pray you find what I found. I hope and pray every Orthodox Christian in America is granted the glimpse of a vision that makes this battle worthy.
It's not the OCA, it's the parish. I have found a home in a wonderful parish with honest and Godly priests (yes, plural...kind of an unusual parish) and a delightfully eccentric congregation. I have found my people. But...I'm really torn about remaining in the OCA, even at a distance. I'll be watching the AAC closely, and if the caca continues, I may have to flee to the Antiochian parish in town. At some point continuing as a member equals acquiescence in the evil, and once I get to that point, my conscience will compel me to leave. I hate being in that position, and I have to struggle, hard, to not hate and despise the false shepherds who have placed me in that position. Short answer, Jay, to your good question, is that I still have hope. Once I decide that hope=folly, I'm gone.
#188.8.131.52.1 Scott Walker on 2008-08-04 21:51
Jay wrote, "If you are an outsider the question need not concern you then a casual musing. Curiosity or prurient interest become the motivators. Like Cappy you can stand outside the fray, criticise and comment like this battle was a spectator sport; you can be a critic who criticizes the coach for not putting in the other quarterback while viewing the game on a TV set."
With all due respect, Jay, Cappy and I were in the thick of the OCA fray while you were still defending Met. Pangratios Vrionis. In fact, if it wasn't for Cappy and her tenacious phone calls to Pennsylvania in 1999, which ultimately uncovered the criminal conviction of your former bishop, would you even be in the Church today?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Get off your high horse would you? There was a time when some of us Anon.'s came to your defense unflinchingly. There is more than one way to skin a cat, especially when one is addressing endemic duplicity. Down tiger. We're getting there.
Us Anon.s will identify ourselves when we are good and ready. With all due respect (and you and Melanie are due a lot!), stop judging others. Stay focused on the enemy. Your view of activism is different than other's. There is more than your way.
#5.2 Anon. on 2008-08-04 16:23
My only concern, which I believe Cappy shares, is that as long as people are still reluctant to sign their name to an opinion, the culture of fear remains intact. Sobornost is impossible under those conditions.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Melanie, I agree with you. But there are more reasons for anonymity than fear. Let's stay on topic and stop criticizing the messengers. I do agree though that if one chooses to remain anonymous, one has an ethic of integrity to sustain about what one says and does. Take document #0 for example, the 1993 audit committee report. Does it really matter whose name is cut out? No. The content, who received it, and what they did not do about it is the point.
#184.108.40.206 Anon. on 2008-08-05 21:23
A careful reading of the Chicago Town Hall comments reveals the same thread of commentary as found in the other meetings, albeit with a lesser degree of passion reportedly. I find it unfortunate that our clerical leadership continues to try and spin all this as a positive step forward for the OCA. Baloney!
While it is well and good that the laity and parochial clergy continue to find their respective voices, the attitude of Syosset is that this is no dialogue, but rather an opportunity for them (Syosset) to listen--rather like an audience for the hoi poloi. I see no genuine attempt to respond to the articulated concerns, but rather an attempt to cynically manage and manipulate them. But the proof of all this will be in the pudding, i.e. the end results. I am not optimistic.
The only true dialogue is taking place on this website--however imperfect and heated at times. The Town Meetings, while useful for exposing the extent of discontent, are primarily a tool by the Syosset leadership, and the Synod, to vent as much opposition in advance as possible and thereby minimize any explosion at the AAC this November.
I really hope no one is duped into complacency and a false sense of progress by Syosset's cheerleading.
#6 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-31 08:59
Dear Protodeacon Anthony,
Wow! Sadly your article hit so close to home for me. All of what you wrote shows the deeply embedded culture of our OCA. You stated, “Clearly, it is the fear of retribution”. Here are 3 of my personal examples of OCA fear and collateral damage.
1 – Let’s start with excommunication! I know very well an OCA parish priest (a friend of M. Herman), who has excommunicated on whim when someone has spoken out or asked for the truth – even when the parish council disagreed with the priest and stated, “this is all wrong”. He and Herman had the last word on this poor soul – excommunication, POOF, gone, problem solved! He was collateral damage and then the people around him became stunned and extremely fearful.
2 – In another OCA church, an elderly member wanted to sign the (Herman resign) petition. She eventually chose not to. After almost 90 years as an Orthodox Christian in good standing, she fears her parish priest will deny her the Sacraments and her burial rights one day if she speaks out. Her parish priest denies Communion on the spot, again on a whim, even though the person has met all the requirements. He doesn’t like when one of the faithful asks questions, or disagrees or wants accountability – so he passes judgment on them during Communion in front of all. After 100 years, both of these churches are emptying faster than you can imagine. Tons of collateral damage here.
3 – How about the Mission priest? I know a priest who is ‘young’ to Orthodoxy. He is trying to build a wonderful Mission community and bring Orthodox growth to part of this nation where Orthodoxy is scarce. But, he knows the “pecking order”, these bishops and right reverends and very right reverends (etc) are fierce and scary when you’ve just given up everything for Orthodoxy and you love it so much and the people you serve. In a Mission, you can be very isolated. You don’t know who you can trust, who’s telling the truth, what’s really going on. You have fear, misinformation, lies, and silence. Here’s some more collateral damage.
Shamefully, our OCA “house” needs a big dumpster to remove all the garbage. The silence from our clergy is very loud. Our “leaders” have us right where they want us, fearful and silent – they’re all pushing us aside like children. They don’t take any of this seriously, after all, who’s going to stop them, hmm??
#7 Anne Marie on 2008-07-31 09:27
Re: "excommunication on a whim" and denying "Communion on the spot, again on a whim, even though the person has met all the requirements."
When you are referring to "all the requirements," do you mean all that is required in your parish or in the OCA in general?
By excommunication, do you mean that these people are kicked out of the church or are they just denied communion? Does the OCA call what other Orthodox call "epitemia" (epitimia"or penance is to be understood as an interdiction which, according to Church canons, the priest as a spiritual physician may apply in certain cases in order to treat the moral diseases of his spiritual children) "excommunication"?
#7.1 Anonymous on 2008-08-03 16:36
Response to Anonymous,
Excommunication is excommunication. This person was denied all the Sacraments and thrown out of the Church (entire OCA) and his name permanently removed and he was told to leave. After careful review of all the facts, he was accepted into another branch of Orthodoxy. They could find no reason for the excommunication. This person had spoken out and had become a “problem” for the parish priest.
“All the requirements” for the Orthodox Christian: Prayer and Confession, Fasting and Forgiveness and all the preparedness that one needs to do before partaking of Holy Communion (plus member in good standing). This particular person was also outspoken towards their priest and some of his decisions. However, they had both “buried the hatchet” and everything was smoothed over, or so he thought – until he was denied Communion. There are other instances where this has happened with this same priest.
Incredulous as it may sound, these things ARE happening. These are just 2 parishes and 2 priests.
#7.1.1 Anne Marie on 2008-08-05 09:27
There is little to say about Fr. Kruge's reflection except bravo, he has spoken the truth and identified the problem with perfect accuracy. From the start we in the OCA have suffered from the unwillingness to engage. At this point it is clear that decades-long unwillingness to suffer for Christ is the real scandal in the church. From the times of the Roman Empire the church has thrived in adversity and languished in comfort. We are too comfortable.
In the OCA the culture nurtured in the Petri dish supplied by our leaders is Satan’s calculated and successful result. Unwillingness to stand for the truth regardless of consequences is the problem. The more we look elsewhere the longer we languish. Embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, blackmail and sexual immorality are simply symptoms.
The OCA scandal began decades ago and continues unchecked because those who know something is wrong don’t exhort their brothers and sisters to Godliness. Fr. Kruge’s loving exhortation provides an example for all.
It appears there isn’t enough love for Christ or love for each other in the OCA for us to act in the required unselfish and decisive manner needed. Ansonia’s situation testifies to the fact that little has changed over the past three years or even over the past 2-1/2 decades. We are not embracing the truth and we are not free.
Most members of our OCA jurisdiction admire bravery from a comfortable distance. How can we live with ourselves? Intellectually understanding Christianity does not make one a Christian. Christianity must be actively lived. By the same token we are no closer to healing our OCA problems if we see the symptoms but refuse decisive action. Real knowledge of the truth requires the commitment to become martyrs if necessary. Faith without works is dead and seeing without acting is deadly. We are committing suicide by refusing to consume the nourishment God supplies.
Doesn't everyone here see what has happened? All of these posting, all of this complaining, all of this turmoil because WHY?
All because + Herman hid the initial report on the scandal and refuses to step down! RSK is gone; + Theodosius is gone and this last &^#$@ refuses to step down....
There's no reason for these posts. There's no reason for this web site. All of this and all the turmoil has been caused by 3 people. Two are gone and one holds on for dear life. It's time to end this. All three need to be called up on civil charges of theft, fraud and whatever else.
Why are we waiting until November? Let's end this!
#9 Anonymous on 2008-07-31 11:52
I think you are pretty close to the truth (sans I would imagine a few other players, such as Fr. PK, etc.)
Unfortunately, I don't think the faithful will have the bomb shell it needs until the SIC report is out. If it is full of lies or exaggerations I hope the good treasurer will help us out there. He, among any one, should be able to have connected the dots and has been able to use the word "perpetrators" and "embezzlement."
#9.1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-31 14:09
You are wrong, as are the others who think like you. This website, or something like it, will be around for a long, long time. This is NOT just about Metropolitan Herman, though I agree he should step down. This is about a failed vision of what the Church should be, and the control this perverted vision's many acolytes still exert over the life the Church. It makes elements of the Da Vinci Code look like fact, rather than fiction.
#9.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-31 15:17
If it is true that all of the members of the synod of bishops of the OCA except Archbishop Job gave a vote of confidence to Metropolitan Herman, the problem is far more complex and troubling than you understand. Without a purge of the episcopal leadership of the OCA, nothing good will happen.
This website has done more to seek out the truth about this terrible scandal than anything else. Mark has done a truly good work by striving to get at the truth concerning all the failures of Christian stewardship and accountability by the current and past Metropolitan, their chosen chancellor, and most of the members of the synod of bishops of the OCA.
The tragedy of this whole sordid situation is reflected in the continued self deception of most of the members of the synod of bishops of the OCA, and so many members of the laity who either remain oblivious, or just don't care. I hope and pray that those concerned and God fearing members of the clergy and laity who have expressed their concerns on this website and at the other various forums provided, will prevail in their efforts to bring accoutability and renewal to the leadership of the OCA.
If the OCA can clean up it's own house and regain credibility, it can still be a true force here in North America to bring the truth of the ancient Christian Faith to so many Christians who are seeking it. A joint effort by a renewed OCA and the Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America could bring great joy to many of these seekers of truth.
#9.3 Marc Trolinger on 2008-07-31 15:37
If you believe that this scandal was all cause by three people, then I have some beautiful swamp land to sell you in Florida for your retirement home. There is no way $5+ million of donations were stolen and only three people knew. Just the opposite, the silence and lack of repentance among the entire synod and syosset and sympathizers is deafening. Obfuscation does not work anymore. We see through your sad confidence games now.
#9.4 Anon. on 2008-07-31 18:02
You're damn right! While three people may have been the core and the ones who profitted the most, the enablers and support structure could reach a 100 people. You have Kondratick, Herman, Theodosius. You have the support at Syosset, people like Strikis who definitely knew what was going on. You had the secretaries, like Brum, you had the other support staff like the FOS director, etc., who if they had any brains, if they didn't know what was going on, would see that something was amiss. You had the treasurers, Kucynda, Oselinsky, two of the Pennsylvania cabal. Wheeler was there and said something. You had the auditors who'd rather revel in being in the "in" crowd rather than speak what the numbers were telling them. You had the administrative committee. You had the entire MC. You had people rewarded with trips to Russia, Finland, Alaska, what have you. 20-25 people on trip to Russia via Finland doesn't raise eyebrows? And how many times a year? Of course it does, but people were enjoying themselves. Lastly you had the bishops who enjoyed the ride because the miscreants, for their support, made these guys feel like they were important, when they were nothing but a bunch of guys being taken for a ride because they were known to be of weak faith.
There are a core of, maybe, 10 people who if they spoke NOW could bring the whole house of cards down. That's seven beyond the thieving three at the core.
Removing Herman is not the last of the miscreants to go, he's the linchpin, he's the guy who if he goes all of them go. That's why there's a lot of people keeping him going, like Kucynda, who realize that keeping Herman in there is the most important thing. When all is said and done the big three will be all be implicated, but keep your eyes on Kucynda and Oselinsky, if they were to escape any of the blame and punishment, it would be as much a travesty of justice as if one of hte big three missed out as well. Fortunately some of us are not going to forget their names while the big three get their due. We'll be waiting for your turn after theirs.
#9.4.1 Anonymous on 2008-08-01 10:50
I have remained silent for a number of weeks, hoping all this would be resolved to the glory of God and His Holy Orthodox Church.
However, a wide denominational awareness beyond Orthodoxy now compels me to comment, and draw the following (un-nerving) parallel between:
(1) the OCA, and (2) the Episcopal Church of America (once the ECUSA)
While the overt issues are vastly different, the process is almost identical and outcome appears to be eerily similar.
# The main Issue:
With the OCA, it is Episcopal Intransigence in the face of evidence of fiduciary dereliction of duty.
With the "ECUSA" it was sexual deviancy at the very top.
# The process:
Identical for both
- clinging to a Constantinian (and hence unchallengeable) version of power at the expense of the spiritual welfare of the parishioners. And using the Law - both Canon Law and the Law of the Land to retain control of all property vested in trust to the central hierarchy by the local parishes.
- abusing the "orthodox faithful" for their fidelity to Conservative Tradition. Together with intimidation and often threats of excommunication of same.
# The outcome:
Probably identical for both:
With "orthodox" Anglicans in ECUSA having to abandon parish property that their ancestors built and furnished, along with abandoning the ECUSA jurisdiction in order to maintain even a shred of Biblical faith.
If "Syosset" continues to bluff and bluster, and remain immovably obdurate, "faithful and loyal" Orthodox OCA members may just have to draw a line under their past, and follow the example of their "orthodox" ECUSA counterparts, and jump-ship to save their souls.
I am already detecting a psychology of "to-hell-with-it-let's-move-on".
Perhaps both OCA and ECUSA may well be left with the following legacy:
1 - a very low clergy-laity ratio, whilst
2 - remaining asset-rich, with
3 - those assets hardly used for the purposes for which they were originally constructed, and
4 - having a vast debt-overhang.
5 - their higher clergy strutting and preening on the Church stage, whilst having little in the way of numbers to support them.
ECUSA may well be able to survive with an irreducible minimum of parishes, due to their Manhattan and Wall-Street investments dating from pre-revolutionary Royal grants. As well as the wealth of their more liberal parishioners in well-to-do areas.
I somehow suspect that the OCA is nowhere as well endowed, and may well go under.
I sincerely hope and pray that the OCA does not come to this pretty-pass, but I fear that, by some arcane process of Darwinian evolution, stupidity may prevail and this unfortunate end may well come to pass.
In the oft-repeated words of our Liturgy: "Gospodi Pomilui!"
#10 John Battye on 2008-07-31 15:41
Not in reply to the latest topic, but simply because this is the most current comment thread...
An interesting development-- 6 of the last 7 signatures on the online petition of non-confidence in Met. Herman are from clergy, 5 priests and one deacon. I do not know if it has any particular significance, and I do not know if there are any connections amongst the clergy from various locations.
How many signed-up priests would it take to give some weight to a motion at the AAC to ask the HS to ask Met. Herman to retire?
Given how Met. Herman rebuffed the Letter From 70 Senior Priests of the OCA, I don't think any number of priests could really persuade him.
A church-wide "vote of no-confidence" at the AAC could be most efficacious, as it could possibly result in pressure on Met. Herman from Moscow, Istanbul, Jerusalem, etc., to resign.
My main frustration is that Met. Herman hasn't simply been deposed from the episcopacy yet. (Not that I am impatient, rather I think its clear from the trials we've endured as a Church over the past 3-5 years that he, as well as Met. Theodosius, is a candidate for deposition.)
But despite being frustrated, at least I finally know why no charges have been brought. From Article 11, Section 7 of the Statute:
The Holy Synod and the Judgment of Bishops
a. Accusations against bishops are referred directly to the Holy Synod, which is the court of first instance empowered to pass judgment in such cases.
b. If the accusations are considered to have substance either by the Metropolitan or by at least three members of the Holy Synod, and after the accuser's good character, irreproachable standing in the Church, and motivation have been established, the accused shall be summoned and judged by the Holy Synod in closed session. In cases of grave accusations involving the possibility of canonical deposition, the accused shall be called through a formal summons presented to him in person by three bishops.
c. If the accused refuses to appear after receiving three summonses, the Holy Synod shall suspend him from his duties and judge him in absentia.
d. Penalties against bishops judged guilty after trial, as well as against false accusers, are prescribed by the canons of the ecumenical and local councils and the holy fathers.
e. A judgment of deposition or defrocking of a bishop has final validity only when signed by at least 12 bishops. (If such need arises, bishops may be invited from neighboring ecclesiastical provinces to complete the quorum.)
f. The judgments of the Holy Synod are final, except for those instances which the canons reserve to the judgment of the universal Church
The main obstacle, I see now, is that we can't get 3 bishops to support an accusation. I mean, after that Holy Synod vote of confidence in Met. Herman, can we even get 2?
#11.1 Reader Nilus Klingel on 2008-08-01 07:32
I agree no number of priests will persuade the Metropolitan; that is why I referred to asking the Holy Synod to persuade him. Many have observed that it is not only the Metropolitan, but the Holy Synod as a whole, who must change their actions and attitudes if we are to make any progress.
Looking at recent past actions by the Synod of Bishops, they waited until Bishop Job left and voted "confidence in Bishop Herman. The clergy are fearful of losing their priesthood and the faithful in the parishes are fearful of losing their parishes, priests, etc. The episcopal church bishops aren't lying about their sexual orientation. However, one wonders if part of the scandal problem is the covering up of sexual orientation and their behavior resulting from this. The OCA central administration culture was inherited from the metropolia many years prior. Personally, I don't want to be under a Mother Church in a foreign country. I don't want to financially support a foreign episcopacy.
#12 anoymous on 2008-08-04 10:01
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