Thursday, August 7. 2008
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I continue to see greatness in Fr. Reeve's effort to shed light on the scandal and to seek change on the illumination of it.
When you look at the Statute of the OCA, you find a dictatorial government, ruled mainly by the Metropolitan, then by a collective Synod that really isn't always going to agree. A Metropolitan could be a huge jerk, but rule the church for 20 years and as long as he didn't do anything criminal, he would never be deposed. In fact, a Metropolitan in the future could hire a new Chancellor and that Chancellor could be his point man for any deed or misdeed he chose. The Synod would do nothing, the Council would do nothing for years and years (wow, imagine that!).
The Metropolitan Council, by definition in the Statute, is really a window dressing and nothing more. The Statute sort of infers the council holds the purse strings, but it never does in fact. The Metropolitan could easily call a vote to not fund the CCA out of order.
The Metropolitan Council needs competance, needs some real power, and the Statute needs changing to reflect that. The real power could be financial. It could be authority over a Treasurer, it could be done many ways. Facts are facts and the centralized power structure of the OCA failed and will fail again in the future. There is no doubt it will fail again in its current form.
Making the OCA succeed requires eliminating personalities from the formula.
While I don't agree with Fr. Reeve's notion that Fair Share must be reduced because of the Honesdale facts, I would be a proponent of changing from Fair Share to tithing. Tithing would force accountability at the parish level. The priests would no longer be able to use the assessments as their gauge for performance. Folks, face the music here, especially clergymen. Our priests performance is gauged a bit on the dollar and that ain't right. Tithing wouldn't be an instantaneous change, but phased in. Each parish could do a three year revenue estimate to gauge the impacts and the Bishop could define their percentages for the first three years to keep a good balance. For a parish that collects 100 grand in contributions, 10k goes to the Diocese and administration. Overtime, the Bishops could request to each church to move up or down a point or two on wherewithall. Then the priests would gauge their performance on the number of Confessions heard, Baptisms given, marriages, etc. (or something like that unrelated to cash flows) For parishes in Alaska that have very low revenues, they could stop lying about their headcounts as well. Another cut the crap deal there. It is time was stopped the lies people. Time we stopped mandating lies due to poverty. Its as shameful as abortion. Making people like cuz they can't afford it.
I would certainly support a resolution that allowed only a maximum of 50% of Diocesan support to go to the cca.
For those that don't like the governance changing approach, consider this simple fact. No small parish would have endured 10+ years of abuse by its priest. No parish Treasurer would have been complicit for years. No small parish, no large parish would have ever had the scandal to this extent. The governance in a small church is different. Roles change, people change.
When Metropolitan Herman prophesized years ago at seminary about becoming Metropolitan, wouldn't it have been great if his ambition were to become a Bishop instead?
An OCA that looks and functions like the OCA today even without Metropolitan Herman at the help would be no improvement over the Kondratick affair. Another strong personality will rise up to the occassion and run the ship however he chooses.
Wouldn't it be a great check and balance if the Metropolitan Council said, "We can't allow that", once or twice. Wouldn't it have been great if the MC in 1998 had told the Synod we can't allow unauditable discretionary accounts that allow Chancellors to steal?
#1 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-08-07 22:59
What makes "50% of the diocesan" amount the correct amount to send to Syosset? I have recently heard that there is a proposal to cut the assessment to $50 per head. What makes that the correct number?
The OCA has had financial problems for well over the past 20 years. If you want to talk about sin, how about the sin of the thousands of hypocrites in the OCA that talk a good game but give nothing to the OCA. The assessment is around $100 per person. That's $10 per month to support a national church. I know people that spend more than that at Starbucks daily. I know people that spend more than that every time they fill up their gas tanks. Is two tankfuls of gas too much to ask to support a national church? And let's not even get started on the subject of tithing and offering up the first fruits of our labors.
If you want to talk about truth let's talk about the truth! But you can't handle the truth! Sure the metropolitan should resign. Sure we should go after the crooks. Sure we should repent. But let's not forget the sin of every person that voted in the past 20 years to support the national church with the equivalent of a kindergartner's lunch money.
And if this lunacy isn't enough, we now have financial pundits who espouse cutting the money to Syosset in half. If I'm unhappy with what my husband goes out and buys on the weekend I don't just jump up and cut off half my income into the family budget. I don't know about you but in my house we have a mortgage, a car payment and household expenses. I would inflict considerably more damage on my family by cutting my income than if I sat down and made my husband take the stuff back to the store.
What is happening now is exactly the same. It's the "I'm gonna get you" approach -- and for all of the cheapos in the OCA it has the added benefit that they can now .... GIVE EVEN LESS MONEY TO THEIR CHURCH. Wow a double benefit!
Some friends of mine have introduced me to a term I had never heard before, "diocesan sovereignty." Basically it is the heretical idea that each diocese is separate from the rest of the national church. Oh, is the term "heretical" too strong? If it is then please explain how the idea of separate churches is any different than the countless thousands of protestant holy roller churches across the US? Call me silly but is it too much to expect that the Orthodox Church in America act like a national church? How about praying from the same prayer books from sea to shining sea? How about the same youth programs from Canada to Mexico? Is this the OCA or the loosely organized affilitation of people who call themselves orthodox christians but really couldn't care less about anyone and their own local church?
I personally believe in the autocephaly of the OCA. I believe in the importance of a church with a national presence. I believe that we should pay off the Honesdale bank (which, I might add was taken out to take care of the financial sins of the past). I believe that we should support our holy Church by tithing. I believe it is biblical to tithe and anything less than this is blasphemy.
Look, financial pundits out there, wake up! You are driving in the wrong direction. The OCA is wasting thousands of dollars a year right now because it is paying interest on a loan that could and should be paid off as quickly as possible not drawn out for the next 30 years.
#2 Alla on 2008-08-08 07:58
I would be the first to agree that a hundred bucks is relatively inexpensive, but it is important to keep things in all contexts.
For example, if RSK stole over a million dollars since 2001, then that would imply the central administration doesn't need that million over six years in its annual budget.
Given the non-need of the million over the past six years, it would seem either the next six years excess capital from fair share ought to be used against Honesdale.
However, the true story is that tithing is what should be happening from the church on up. I concur fully while at the same time, I honestly do not personally tithe and fall well short of those amounts.
In general Alla, I agree that the hundred bucks must remain where it is...but I would also contend the OCA needs a vision, a strategic plan and it needs to measure its performance on priests and churches and people, not dinners and luncheons, marches, gifts, pomp and circumstance.
Reducing the funding of the central church administration and the diocesan bishops would be a total knee jerk reaction that I would never, ever support.
You will notice a recent OCA central administration budget had 500 grand in bequests in it used for balancing against expenses. The OCA recognized that only promised amounts can be budgeted according to np gaap. While this may not be significant, it is important to recognize, the church must first live within its means and budget soundly before many folks will support any change in contributions.
It is equally important to recognize any change means no change up or down.
As to the Honesdale amounts, it is about 67 bucks per 27k members if my math is close. Less than a good dinner out, but more than a coverup deserves.
#2.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-08-08 20:47
I agree and disagree with you.
I agree that the OCA is full of "cheapo's" as you called them. The Midwest recently tried to set clergy salary guidelines by adopting the base salary plus promotions system used to pay public school teachers. Eventually it was decided that such a model would cause "undue hardship" upon the parishes. Excuse me? Paying a priest the same amount as some of the most chronically underpaid public servants in America would cause "undue hardship"??? Somehow people still honestly think that its okay to pay a full-time priest little more than peanuts. Hint- if your priest has his kids on Medicaid, you're paying him too little (that's not a hypothetical example, unfortunately). All of you who are wondering why your priest is becoming rather lackluster, you might consider whether or not he is being paid well enough, and whether he has enough vacation time. Seriously. Being overworked, underpaid, and constantly worrying about bills and the fact that you still haven't been able to save anything for your teenagers college education is a good way to induce a complete burnout.
I do think, however, that more money should stay in the Dioceses. Not to make them more independent from each other, but so that they can self fund projects which take place in their own Diocese. Mission grants, for example, can be done of the Diocese level, each Diocese has a better idea of where money is needed the most, and each Diocese can take "ownership" of helping "their" mission thrive. The Central Administration can provide oversight, but they don't need oodles of staff to "run" things.
#2.2 Anonymous on 2008-08-09 13:05
TELL THE TRUTH--ALL THE TIME
These words should be inscribed over the headquarter buildings of all the world's religions. But we will settle for Syosset.
This imperative to tell the truth should be self-evident, but unfortunately it is more often given lip service by religious institutions who are usually quite prepared to lie to further some greater agenda. It has always been so in the past and it continues to be so today.
The difference today, in the 21st Century, is that lies are far more likely to be exposed and illuminated--with devastating consequences. Lying undermines faith. Too many lies destroy it. And that is as it should be, because in the final analysis there can be no compromise with the truth.
Much of our popular culture, and academic as well, ridicules the supposed lies that religious institutions have used for centuries to instill a false piety in the name of promoting religious faith. In reality these lies are used as a manipulative tool to control others, and serve the agendas of those seeking to dominate and manage others. In the end, they undermine the very Faith, they are supposedly serving.
Our Faith is grounded on the twin miracles of Incarnation and Resurrection. We can ill afford any lies that undermine these basic articles of Faith.
#3 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-08-08 08:26
Can you please ask Fr. Berzonsky to clarify the meaning of his reflection? I read it with great interest and agreement until I reached these few sentences toward the end, which seemed to contradict everything else he had said (and which left me totally confused):
“Or the greatest of all, not short of a miracle, the hierarchy of our church may collectively and individually do something truly Christian: repent, confess their lies, deceptions and all the rest, ask for God’s and the Church’s forgiveness, and lead us in a glorious celebration of restored unity through a service of mutual forgiveness.”
Is Fr. Berzonsky suggesting that all it would take for the OCA to move forward would be an open confession by the hierarchs and a forgiveness service? Would that signify repentance? If a thief steals millions of dollars, what does “repentance” entail? Does he merely say he is sorry he stole the money, but he's going to keep it? Would you or any other serious Christian treat that as true repentance? If a man kills another man, does he simply say he’s sorry, but he’s not interested in paying the penalty of imprisonment? If a person is caught in adultery, says he or she is sorry, but remains in the adulterous relationship, does that constitute repentance?
We have the IRS and the FBI investigating our church. “Sorry” is not going to cut it with them, and it isn’t going to cut it with most of the OCA--nor should it.
Please, Mark, ask Fr. Berzonsky to explain what he thinks repentance would look like coming from our hierarchy—particularly in the case of +Herman. To me, it would look a lot like a willingness to step down as Metropolitan and to face the music with the civil authorities. In my view, anything less than that would simply be more games—and I think we’ve all had enough of the games. We don’t need a dog and pony show at the AAC—we need a resignation (perhaps several), and a chance to begin again.
#4 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2008-08-08 11:17
I second Cathy's confusion regarding the "repentance" approach presented. She's correct in pointing out the just and proper manner for truly repentant individuals to show that they understand the seriousness of their offenses, are truly sorry for the massive theft and fraud perpetrated on our Church, are willing to reveal the truth (all of it!), ask for forgivness of the whole Church, and are willing and ready to suffer the consequences of their conduct and failures. Antyhing else is a sham and an insult to all of us!
Maybe +Herman should heed his own advice that he so generously and unjustly gave to others (who really did not deserve it) over the years: "Take it like a man!"
GET OVER IT! THE MET IS NOT GOING TO RETIRE! HE HAS A 99% ENDORSEMENT AMONG BISHOPS! YOU PEOPLE THAT DONT LIKE HIM GET OVER IT!....STOKOE WHY IS IT YOU ALWAYS SAY GOOD THINGS ABOUT BISHOP JOB? BUT NOT ABOUT THE MET? HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW BISHOP JOB? DID YOU GO TO SEMINARY WITH HIM? I GUESS NOT. ....PEOPLE KNOW YOUR AGENDA! AND YOUR EVIL WEBSITE! YOUR NOT OUT FOR THE TRUTH! YOUR GOAL IS TO START A REVOLUTION IN THE CHURCH! ITS SAD THAT BISHOP JOB DOES'NT HAVE THE BACKBONE TO SHUT THIS EVIL WEBSITE DOWN! HE'S STILL A " PRANKSTER" LIKE HE WAS IN HIS EARLY DAYS" NO CHANGE!...
#4.2 Anonymous on 2008-08-11 06:12
YOU KNOW CAPS GUY, YOU A DARN FOOL. YOU DONT HAVE THE GUTS TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF. ANYONE THAT MOUTHS OFF THE WAY YOU DO AND CANT IDENTIFY HIMSELF IS A REAL COWARD.
#4.2.1 Rich Kendall on 2008-08-11 19:32
Many People agree with you that these people are cowards, but take a deeper look at them. I mean All Caps and Company.
They are scared cowards who have revealed the real sickness and illness that lingers inside the OCA.
If (their) secrets are exposed than they can't hide behind the sheeps clothing and pretend to be what they are not, that is true Orthodox Christians and true human beings with agendas that are simple.
In fact they are revealing to me and to many others a part of the puzzle of the many hidden agendas and meaning of mixed up and construded (sic) thoughts of Christ's teachings, ect. These are people who have changed into many costumes, people who have claimed to be friends of Bishop Jobs, Mr. Nescotts, Fr. Berzonsky's and the West's these are people who are so intertwined with what they can get and how to get it that they are truely ones who are lost in their faith, filling in the holes of themselves, pointing, screaming and carrying on lies about those who have brought the light of this scandal to the surface, this only scares them more and they just don't know how to handle it emotionally.
Its in fact a very sad reality for us, but a key factor for those healthy Orthodox Christians to see and hear. Mr. All Caps and Company, I would advise you to go to your friends ...and relate to them that they are becoming smaller and smaller in the world of Orthodoxy and not too much longer from now your party of fun and games will be over. You have revealed yourselves to being what you really are....
Go climb a mountain and spend some of your days there and ask God for his forgiveness and pray that God forgives you for what you have done to others. Remember you have no guarantee's that tomorrow will be there for you....
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2008-08-12 13:33
DO ANY OF YOU GO TO CHURCH? WHAT DO YOU DO IN CHURCH? WHAT DOES FR BERZONSKY DO IN CHURCH? WHAT DOES NESCOTT DO IN CHURCH? WHAT IS CHURCH ANYMORE? A "MASON" GATHERING? PLEASE ANSWER ME THIS ONE QUESTION "EVERY SUNDAY IN CHURCH DOES THE PRIEST OR BISHOP TURN TO THE PEOPLE AND SAY "PLEASE FORGIVE ME A SINNER" WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN? DID'NT CHRIST SAY IF YOU DONT "FORGIVE EACH OTHER" YOUR SINS WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN! I AGREE WITH THE 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO SAY "GET OVER THIS MESS" MOVE ON!
#4.3 Anonymous on 2008-08-12 04:37
Dear Mr. All Caps Guy --
You asked this:
"DO ANY OF YOU GO TO CHURCH? WHAT DO YOU DO IN CHURCH? WHAT DOES FR BERZONSKY DO IN CHURCH? WHAT DOES NESCOTT DO IN CHURCH? WHAT IS CHURCH ANYMORE? A "MASON" GATHERING?"
You consistently throw straw men into these discussions, Mr. Caps, like 'do any of you go to church', or 'what is church, a mason gathering,' and then suggestively link names to your rants. It reminds me of the late, unlamented Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his Communist witch hunts of the days of my infancy. (And no, Senator All Caps Guy, I have not ever been a member of the Communist Party, a Mason, or even a member of the NY Yankee fan club.)
I'm sure it should be obvious, even to you, what Fr. Vladimir "does" in church.
Speaking for myself, I sing in the choir, pray, read the epistle, receive communion, and generally try to participate fully in the life of the parish, as well as the diocese and national church.
And what do you do in church, Mr. Caps?
Your idea of a fair discussion is to shroud yourself in anonymity and ask questions in the vein of the timeworn, "When did you stop beating your wife?"
I understand your pain. It must be difficult to realize that your chosen life as a sycophant, following a disgraced leader, is at an end.
Fortunately, we can all still choose to follow Christ, and not men.
#4.3.1 gregg nescott on 2008-08-14 07:02
When you read the reflections here, the comments, and words from elsewhere of the truly concerned and enlightened people of the OCA you feel a lot better in the wake of seeing what has become of the top clergy leadership of this Church. If we had men of the quality of Gregg Nescott, Fr. Reeves, and others in positions of high leadership, this Church would be a beacon of Christian living for all the nation to see. Unfortuantely, these people’s talents are best being used now to cleanse us of the leadership that we DO have.
I have to reiterate, though, that while I greatly respect Mr. Nescott, he’s wrong in asking that the Metropolitan resign. There will not be any resignations. Setting aside that a resignation requires a humbling of one’s self which requires integrity and character which are sorely lacking from those at the center of this scandal, resignations mean loss of control of the situation. Herman may be many things, all of them less than desirable. He doesn’t care for the state of the Church, his spiritual state is likely in tatters if existent at all, and he’s no person with any shred of integrity, but he’s a person in control of his destiny while he’s wearing, for all intents and purposes purely acting purposes, that white hat. Herman is not going to resign because then his hand is no longer on the drawer that contains evidence damning to his involvement in this. Herman will not resign because while he’s in that office, he can control what gets out and can orchestrate the ever more ineffective damage control that is he is currently doing.
Herman and his boy wonder Kucynda did not run to Proskauer Rose leaving behind a vapor trail because of what Kondratick did. Any criminalities committed by Kondratick have no impact on Herman and his boy wonder unless they were materially involved in those criminalities. A person with nothing to hide does not spend nearly half a million dollars trying to build a “firewall” around himself. And Kondratick isn’t going to come forward either to help save the Church of which he was the face, the Church he said needed more to do more, the Church he loved while it was his own personal piggy bank. No, he’s in the same boat as Herman. They have more reason to cooperate than they do to bicker and any bickering is merely a performance of a drama for the faithful to consume.
Herman doesn’t care what happens to the Church, he doesn’t care what happens to the spiritual lives of the thousands which he by name only leads. What drives Herman has been reduced to the basest of human instincts now. He doesn’t want to go to jail. He doesn’t want all he has taken away from him. Just imagine yourself in his shoes with all that has been said, with all the embarrassments, all the vitriol aimed at you. Its been a tsunami of attacks upon every facet of his being. His belief in God is questioned – imagine THAT! His concern for the faithful is questioned – imagine THAT! Even the most corrupt of politicians knows when his time has come. The calls for resignation, the bad press, the mounting distancing of people from them, etc. Even the most corrupt of politicians eventually do what the Metropolitan of our Church cannot do – they take the consequences of their actions “like a man”, to quote a phrase. What does that tell you of Herman? A normal person, a person who has no consequences other than his own incompetence would have left two years ago. A normal person cannot take this much and maintain a sane mental state if it was merely their own incompetence that caused these problems. Herman did try to make us believe that with the “innocence and neglect”. He’s tried to make us believe that he’s not guilty of anything and his actions are righteous by telling us he’s confident of his judgment before the Throne of the Almighty. He’s done a lot, a lot that doesn’t have a lot of consequences if the faithful don’t believe it and we don’t.
The only thing that Herman cares about is jail and we say that based on the running to Proskauer Rose immediately upon firing Kondratick. Why? Because he feared Kondratick would sing and would implicate him and he needed a defense against that. What documents are hidden away in PR’s files with client attorney privilege? Of course, if you believe that PR was hired with the OCA as a client we can get to those files, but Herman’s not stupid when it comes to his freedom. Herman’s silence coupled with Kondratick’s are megaphones to the world that there is criminal guilt and that silence is protection against self incrimination, because even if they don’t believe in the Ten Commandments, they will cling to the Bill of Rights. People, we have to realize, however hard it is for us to believe, that the person we call Metropolitan Herman is a bad man, a very bad man and we come to that conclusion not by fantasies we have based on our despising him because he can’t do what’s right. No, his own actions condemn him to be labeled as simply, but as powerfully, a bad man.
A bad man, who’s future may include the prison ministry, will do what he needs to prevent that from happening. In this case we’re looking at signs of intimidation as Gregg mentioned with threatening emails, intimidation of the clergy not to speak out against the crimes against the Church, intimidation to send money, not because they can use the money for anything, but because money is a vote of confidence. When a bank is failing do people put more money in it? No, there’s a run on the bank and it fails because there are no new deposits. Deposits are a sign of health. Based on the actions of the Synod we gather more complicity either in the acts themselves or intimidation upon weak members of the Synod who may be blackmailed into having the deepest darkest secrets they have reveaked unless they go along and make things look good for Herman. They too, are driven by their basest instincts, fear of embarrassment, fear of being known not for the flowing robes that adorn them but for acts that will cause them to be forever marked as sinful. These bishops, like Herman himself, couldn’t care less about anything other than their own preservation. Selfishness which they damn in their sermons, but live by in their normal activities.
No, people, do not expect resignations. Do not put your hope in resignations. You can ask, and they will be ignored. The only way we are going to rid ourselves of these bad people are by proactive actions of turning them over to the civil authorities, help from our sister jurisdictions to depose them, cutting of money to choke them, or waiting out as long as it takes so that the Good Lord takes them by the hand and brings them into his judgment. The sooner we realize this and act accordingly, the sooner we are going to get resolution on this. Don’t think its going to be as easy as requesting and getting a resignation. If Kondratick wasn’t thrown under the bus, he wouldn’t have resigned yet either. We just got lucky there, don’t’ expect the same miracle twice. Unless we are going to act, they are going to maintain their siege mentality and remain firmly entrenched in their offices until the Church dwindles down to the last few people. It’s a war of attrition they think they can win.
#5 Stonewall on 2008-08-08 13:33
Get out the poster board, markers and paint. PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST!!!
News and Events
Hilton Pittsburgh issues statement to OCA regarding hotel renovations ....
#6 no name on 2008-08-08 14:11
I could not help but read Fr. B's impression that the scandal was first hatched around 1999. Some of us knew and saw it much earlier, during its infancy... and spoke up. We spoke the Truth. But back then, all of you who have finally seen the light were still sleeping. You looked at us with blank, bewildered looks. Many of you have grand titles, wear nice garb, and have many abbreviations after your names... yet you slept. You let us get crushed and said nothing. No one came to our defense. No one called. No one even checked in now and again, Dcn. Eric among them, sad to say. There are many spiritual martyrs in this scandal who have become the floor on which you walk... thankfully we did not do this in vain... back then we only hoped that the lethargy would lift someday. I attribute this website with helping facilitate that awakening. Keep going, don't look back, but don't pat yourselves on the backs, that is the beginning of a new sort of pride. Be done with it folks. Live courageously and humbly. Put away the sin that caused all this hubris and elitism. If you cannot live what you preach, then stop preaching it, you only embarrass yourself and obscure our Lord's message.
#7 Anon. on 2008-08-08 20:15
Dear Fr. Vladimir,
I appreciated your reflection very much and thought it was excellent. Thank you! And thank you for remembering Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Copied below is the ling to a wonderful short pictorial and musical montage of him that all should find moving:
I really really really hope that there are no delays to the SIC report that we are all awaiting in September.
I have written before that I believe it will be this report that really acts as a catalyst to the stronger new direction that the OCA needs to take.
But I am also heartened by all the reflections and postings that urge the OCA to reach for that higher integrity that Mark Stokoe and several others have continually and insistently called upon. It is everyone's desire and persistence for integrity that should help greatly establish its rightful and lasting place within the workings of our church.
#8 Patty Schellbach on 2008-08-09 09:25
Fr. Berzonsky wrote with his usual elegance and with power. I thought is apropos to quote Solzhenitsyn himself as we look at the current crisis to which Metropolitan Herman has led us. His words are prophetic indeed:
Western society has given itself the organization best suited to its purposes, based, I would say, on the letter of the law. The limits of human rights and righteousness are determined by a system of laws; such limits are very broad. People in the West have acquired considerable skill in using, interpreting and manipulating law, even though laws tend to be too complicated for an average person to understand without the help of an expert. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required, nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice and selfless risk: it would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. ... I have spent all my life under a communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses. And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure.
#9 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2008-08-09 14:39
When the OCA is no longer being run by lawyers will be the day we have regained our vision.
The OCA assessment should be cut to $50. At that price the lawyers will head for the exists knowing that can't fleece us any longer. When Syosset proves it can handle money is the day we will entrust them with more. In the meantime, keep the money in the parish and diocese and not New York.
#10 Anonymous on 2008-08-09 21:20
This is a bit off topic, but does anyone know what the status of the Sidebottom complaint is?
Also, next week there is another court appearance for the Kondratick suit. Anyone think that anything might happen before that time? Did the bishops discuss this on their conference call? Or did they just call to congratulate each other on the one year anniversary of the defrockment of Mr. Robert Kondratick?
Also, what's happening with the Velencia suit? Does anyone know where it was filed so we can keep an eye on the court documents? It's amazing how much this has gone off the radar considering its, well, a $6,000,000 suit against the Church and its leadership. Has Fr. Ray received another award in the meantime? We can't expect to hear much of it from the MC, because, afterall, they didn't make a sound in the six months from when Fr. Ray sent that incriminating email to everyone to the time the suit was filed. Is the MC even aware there was a suit?
Lastly, who holds the deeds to the St. Tikhon's properties? Who or what name is it in? Enquiring minds want to know.
#11 Anonymous on 2008-08-10 13:12
The Velencia lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Howard County, Maryland. There is a copy of the complaint at this link:
Melanie Jula Sakoda
People, keep an eye on it. If I was on the jury, she'd get a lot more than $6,000,000.00. What is going to have to be liquidated to pay for the priestly ministry of Ray Velencia?
#11.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-08-12 11:05
Jesus called Satan the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31) St. John explained that “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (I John 5:19). The devil is a liar. The name devil means “deceiver.” Jesus referred to Satan as the father of lies (John 8:44). Not only does the devil lie, he’s clever at it! He disguises himself as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14). He has a bag of tricks he’ll use to fool even the wisest and most mature of Christians in order to catch them off guard and persuade them to sin. He has access to people. It was Satan who deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden. It was the devil who entered into Judas, causing him to betray our Lord Jesus Christ. The devil does not work alone. He has hosts of demon-beings who do his bidding. It is the devil at work in us when we lie, steal and commit moral sin.
Father Hopko says in his book about “Doctrine” “....it must be clearly noted that the devil is not a “red-suited gentlemen [with horns]” nor any other type of grossly-physical tempter. He is a subtle, intelligent spirit who acts mostly by deceit and hidden actions, having as his greatest victory man’s disbelief in his existence and power.” He also says “...there is no middle road between God and Satan. Ultimately, and at any given moment, man is either with God or the devil, serving one or the other.”
It is time for our Holy Synod to make their free-will choice: you are either with God or the devil! You are either for truth or with the “father of lies.” There is no middle ground. The choice is yours and is dreadfully important because your souls and those you shepherd are in the balance and you will be judged by your decision. Are you all as confident as +Herman that the final judgment is nothing to fear? How can he presuppose that? Isn’t that a sin in itself?
There is an old legend where God said to one of His angels: “Go down to earth and bring back the most precious thing in the world.” The angel caught and brought a small vial containing the tear of a sinner who had repented and returned to God. God beamed upon the angel as He said, “Indeed, O Angel, you have brought me the most precious thing in the world - the tear of repentance which opens the gates of heaven.”
#12 Waiting for the right decision on 2008-08-10 15:07
God , I really hope the Kondratick's get every dime that's owed to them. I hope they sue the church for the slander and false garbage the oca has made up.
#12.1 Anonymous on 2008-08-11 05:05
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