Saturday, June 17. 2006
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The most telling sentence of the ocanews posting today states that the Metropolitan did not participate in the small group sessions discussing on how the church would be moving forward. Does he intend on being a part of the solution or only the problem ? Perhaps, he won't be involved at all?
If,in fact, Syosset has been ravaged by "theives and spies", had locks picked and safes robbed, I would like to see copies of the police reports that were filed in Syosset, NY. Perhaps Fr. Kucynda kept copies of those reports either in his car or church office. Certainly, they are on file at the police station.
For those $9,500 checks that were written, when were they written, cashed? Many more questions have to be asked of the receipients.
I have to digest the latest posting and figure out why the Metropolitan Council did not pursue issues that they directed toward the Administration. Is an independent investigation lurking in the background and the foundation being laid ?
I have been waiting for someone to address the ADM monies and hope this too will now be reviewed.
In my wildest imagination, I can not understand why so much money was needed for so many "unknown" expenses. What kinds of expenses? Surely, we are not naive enough to think these were "operating expenses." Working for a very large corporation as I do....I know that my superiors would certainly question $47,000 + of "miscellaneous expenses".
Please forgive my jumping around on issues but this situation gets more mind boggling every day. Now we have others receiving $9,500 checks without explanation. Did any of the receipients come forward at the onset of the investigation or did they wait for them to be discovered?
As for Fr. Kucynda not having his papers and reports readily available since he KNEW this meeting was to take place, is revealing in itself. Perhaps he needs a file clerk.
This would be a good time to also reveal the salaries of ALL employees in Syosset. A good place to start would be with the former Chancellor's salary. If we know President Bush's salary, I don't see why we don't have an accounting of those who work in the Administration of the Church. A budget line item would certainly include salaries, would it not ?
Trying to cover all the deceptions of the past with a $14,300 loan payment for the next several years will not encourage ANYONE to donate or support activities that have been suspect at best. How does the Church expect to repay this loan? If we are already operating in the red and for several years, how do they think this will be possible?
These meetings that have taken place have raised many questions.....yes officials are to be commended for asking the tough questions but answers have not been forthcoming from Syosset. More questions have been asked than answered.
Now we await remarks from +Tikhon.......I'm sure they are already written in anticipation of this latest posting from the ocanews.
#1 Name withheld by request on 2006-06-17 11:40
Does anyone really know what is going on? Who is in charge Met. Herman? I doubt it.
Three audits , no one found guilty.
Let me guess. Wheeler and Mark . Please let's pray and stop pointing fingers. Where do these stories come from? GOODNIGHT !!!
#1.1 fr.buck on 2006-06-29 19:28
How will the loan money to the borrowed earmarked funds be distributed?
I see categories of funds but how is this money accessed? In December of 2001 I wrote the Synod of Bishop for help. "Your Beatitude, and members of the Holy Synod, I still suffer for the time period when my husband was a priest of the OCA and ...I tell them my financial struggles are compounded because my part time work with a school for children with special needs will not be able to fund my music program due to shortages created by 9/11. Father Kondratick writes a letter to me stating no funds are available because the OCA has had to contribute to 9/11 needs.
I write the Synod of Bishops again in the time of the Florida hurricanes in 2004, ...'My financial troubles are in crisis mode because the students I teach music in a juvenile wilderness rehabilitation center have their facilities under water and are not in session, please help'. Again I get a letter from Father Kondratick, 'we have no money because we have helped with the Florida Hurricanes'.
I spoke with a Romanian man whose priest father was shown on the OCA website as needing help from the Florida hurricanes. He tells me he sent a letter to Syosset as per Bishop Irineau, but no funds were received. Will he get help for the money he needed to borrow when this loan money goes into the designated funds?
On January 20th of 2006 I wrote again to the Metropolitan to please address the troubles I have incurred and I list them. I was answered by Father Kondratick, ... "no money."
Yes, this was always the answer, there was 'no money' through the church OCA administration whenever I asked.
I ask again, who is it that benefits from these funds?
I commend Faith Skordinski of the Metropolitan Council as trying to hear the report from the auditors being paid big bucks. It is quite sorrowful she was turned down. It seems an audit is only in place to secure the Million dollar plus loan.
Sooooooo sad because repentance does not come. Wrong doing is sidestepped, and
aaaaaaaaall…….. the sweetness possible through making a change of life has not happened.
Who will benefit from the money that is to be made available to these accounts through the loan? Will they read back letters like mine?
#2 Matushka Carol on 2006-06-17 13:09
How can a non-profit organization, especially an Orthodox Church organization issue checks to "CASH"?
Where did the CASH go Fr. Rodion?
What was going on?
Why did you shred so many documents?
Met. Herman. what do you know?
Why are all the following: Mat. Bette Kondratick, Fr. Steven Strikis and Mrs. Arlene Kallaur, still on the OCA payroll? What is still going on? ....“spies” crawling around Syosset??
Is this how an Orthodox Christian Church conducts financial business...Outstanding All-American Council Expenses — $140,000!! What shameful sin, to take and receive services and refuse to pay for them.
In addition....documents were asked for and Fr. Kucynda said that he did not know where they were. Some documents were in his house, some were in his church office, some were in his car, and some may be in Syosset. He stated he has no central place to keep his files; no one office out of which to work. (Yes this sounds like "Best Practices'!)
The Last and Fearful Judgment Day awaits all.
LORD have mercy! Confess and repent now!
An ashamed and disgraced Orthodox Christian...
#3 A sinner's name withheld on 6-17-2006 on 2006-06-17 14:53
(Editor: The Bishop's comments have been edited for brevity.)
Someone has asked, and I really haven't the time to scroll through all the comments columns, why we have not heard from "the culprit", i.e., Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick himself. I have two comments:
One, it is not a Christian virtue, not a Bible virtue, not an Orthodox virtue, to defend oneself against blame, justified blame or not. It would be quite unlike that Protopresbyter to stoop to such unscriptural behavior on his own behalf. His pious, exemplary wife, Elizabeth is likewise reluctant to do something so unbecoming a Christian as to defend herself, ESPECIALLY when the accusations are false. Saint Peter even says that if you have the courage to be still when you are accused RIGHTFULLY, that's not much at all. But, he says, if you keep your mouth shut when you are FALSELY accused, this glorifies God....
It is the accusations against others that require our open testimony and active defense.
TWO. Father Bob wanted to appear before the Holy Synod and answer any questions, but His Beatitude forbade it.
On Wednesday evening, May 24th, 2006, the Secretary of the Holy Synod, Bishop Seraphim, telephoned Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick at home and informed him this. Some Bishops (NOT I and not Bishop Nikolai) had asked if he could not be asked to appear before the Holy Synod at a session the next day, Thursday, May 25th, and answer questions with no conditions. When Protopresbyter Rodion asked if the Metropolitan had blessed this, Bishop Seraphim answered “yes.” (Before calling Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, the Secretary of the Holy Synod, Bishop Seraphim, had called His Beatitude and informed him that he was calling because some Bishops wanted Father Bob to appear the next day to answer any questions. His Beatitude clearly answered that he had no objections whatsoever.) However, later the same evening, the Secretary of the Holy Synod had to call Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick a second time to tell him that His Beatitude had changed his mind, because “some bishops” did NOT want him to appear, therefore, he was NOT to appear at the Syosset Chancery the next day.
Well, the next day, Thursday, both Bishop Nicholai and I asked to have Protopresbyter called to answer questions. Immediately Archbishop Nathaniel very forcefully objected, saying it would be a useless exercise because “He won’t tell us anything because his lawyer won’t allow him to answer anything.” The rest of the room remained supine. When I asked the Secretary of the Holy Synod if Father Bob had been willing to appear, he answered yes. Bishop Nikolai (or I, I forget) said that he would not even have his lawyer with him and that if he would appear and refuse to answer questions from US, that would, FINALLY, a wrongful act, subject to canonical sanction. His Beatitude interrupted to let us know that Father Bob “will NOT appear. I decided.”
I ask that whoever made the insinuations that the failure to hear from Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick could not be attributed to the will of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick at all.
Further with reference to the ...expostulations of seven lawyers and many others, from the beginning,... relative to the twin bogey-men of FBI and IRS. It is Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick ... who has said, “IRS? Where are they? Bring them on!” Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick most emphatically has repeated that he fears nothing from the IRS or FBI.
I leave it to others at another time to figure out who it is that might fear the FBI, or the State Department.
Finally, Judge Kalina, like Alice Woog a long-time and faithful member of the Metropolitan Council through several administrations, stated categorically to the Metropolitan Council that The Orthodox Church in America is registered as a “Not-for-profit ASSOCIATION.” Someone has already pointed out that Sarbanes et al applies to those in the business of investments. We need someone to ****clearly****, and not a la Wheeler or, e.g., Banescu... define what the various parameters and implications relative to legal business practices are, for: non-profit religious associations, non-profit associations, non-profit religious corporations, and non-profit corporations, especially relative to taxes and related reporting and accounting.
Commending all to the love of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West. The Orthodox Church in America.
"Marching to a different kettle of fish."
#3.1 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-06-20 20:08
(The Bishops remarks have been edited.)
I must make a correction to a previous message, and I'm not sure whether it was on this topic or another one. Anyhow, I referred to Archpriest Paul Kucynda's time-shares, and I alluded to there being one in the Bahamas.
Actually, I believe that that time-share is on CAYMAN.
I deeply object to non-Christian lawyers being invited to investigate a Christian Church: its clergy and Faithful, I deeply object. Non-Christians are outside the Orthodox Church, much more so than are people affected by Christ's Gospel in some way or other, such as Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, Episcopalians and Christian Scientists. As such the very first concern for any one who considers himself or herself entitled to the name "Christian" is his or her neighbor and his or her neighbor's salvation. While the Canon against going to a Jewish doctor is well known, the impropriety of going to Jewish or any other non-Christian lawyer, especially in adversarial investigations of Christians should be obvious. How many Orthodox Priests have told us that we have a responsibility to WITNESS? Even the sign of the cross before a restaurant or other public meal, can be that witness, as likewise clearly identifiable Orthodox clergy street clothes. In my opinion, the only reason to invite Jewish or any other non-Christian lawyers to a meeting with leaders of our Church is to introduce them to the Gospel. It's a great opportunity, and it has not only been wasted (except for Father Bob, who suggested that his meeting with Sara Gold acting for His Beatitude begin with a prayer), it is as if someone had taken it upon himself to do the OPPOSITE of the Great Commission, the absolute opposite.
Commending all to Christ's love,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West. The Orthodox Church in America.
"Honk if you like obscene gestures."
#3.1.1 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-06-21 12:41
Wow. Perhaps for the first time in twenty years I find myself agreeing with something Bishop Tikhon has said! I find his sarcasm distasteful and his cynicism unpalatable. I also find his cover-up of the Holy Trinity child molestations scandalous. That said, I agree with his comments about using non-Christian attorneys. This is just plain stupid, especially for a CHURCH investigation. Why has not someone else raised this issue? I do not believe one is being narrow-minded or intolerant in limiting juridical involvement to Christian attorneys. Christian attorneys, presumably, will not be predjudiced or biased in the basic tenets of the Faith (or presumably have to be educated in them). By contrast, one has a much greater (and more expensive) hill to climb in educating a Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist attorney (if they are even at all sympathetic), much less a Protestant Christian attorney on these issues of Orthodox Christian polity.
Did anyone interview these attorneys relative to their potentially undermining biases with regard to Orthodox Christianity? If these attorneys stick to the facts, then perhaps an objective conclusion can result. But one wonders... they are human beings also. Anyone involved with Washington DC politics knows that these religious biases skew "objective" investigations every day.
Name withheld (a Protestant convert to Orthodoxy)
#22.214.171.124 Name withheld on 2006-06-22 19:40
What a shameful mess this all is for the OCA to endure.
The OCA administration's undoing is in their own actions of taking out a $1.7 million loan. I don't see how in the world the OCA faithful can maintain a current budget AND pay back a loan at the same time.
How could anyone from the MC tolerate that Fr. Paul Kucynda said that the OCA's financial documents were all over the place, car, home, office....? Rather than a new safe, I would have suggested a new treasurer!
Proskauer Rose is bound to finish this investigation at some point in time. They will also want to get paid their investigators' fees! Does Proskauer Rose have any ability or authority to report Syosset to the state DA, IRS, or Feds?
#4 Patty Schellbach on 2006-06-17 19:51
If you visit Proskauer Rose's website you will be able to read for yourself that one purpose of their investigative team is help clients avoid federal investigation.
#4.1 Editor on 2006-06-18 14:33
Patty Schellback said:
"Proskauer Rose ... will also want to get paid their investigators' fees!"
I hope Proskauer Rose had the sense to demand payment IN ADVANCE
#4.2 Wayne Matthew Syvinski on 2006-06-18 23:06
Dear Patty: As I have said before in this forum, paying back the loan will cost us, the faithful, about $60 apiece. Our current assessment is about $125 apiece. $185 a year is a paltry sum compared what evangelicals, and even some other Orthodox, give.
#4.3 Michael Strelka on 2006-06-19 04:48
Michael, our dues in KC are $185.00 at the present time. Lets not let Syosset know our thinking!
Is the $60.00 for just one year?
Does this amount include the interest that will be accrued over the length of time it will take to repay the loan?
Does it also include what it will cost for the audit being done?
I belong to a very small parish that has been struggling financially for years. We have worked very hard to work with the capital that is/was available to us so we could continue to survive as a parish. We even managed with some difficulty to pay the $400.00 required from our parish for the last All American Council, although lodging, etc. were too expensive for us to send any representatives.
At least half of our parish is over retirement age.
It is very difficult for them to be able to budget the present assessments required.
Are we supposed to remove them from our membership list because our parish cannot afford to carry them?
How are we supposed to tell elderly people that have been Orthodox and members of this Church all their lives that we can no longer afford to consider them part of THEIR parish
because the national Church has mismanaged It's financial responsibilities and TAKEN MONEY DONATED FOR CHILDREN, WIDOWS and VICTIMS OF DISASTER?
#4.3.2 Rose on 2006-06-20 05:02
Yeah, Rose, you have hit upon an issue that I've long since believed was also part of the problem: we don't have a free church. Bp. Henry Codman Potter, an Episcopalian, had to address this in the late 19th c. We Orthodox have yet to address it. Want to be a voting member? Pay your dues! Seek ye first the Kingdom of God with an open pocket book seems to be our approach. The OCA has made a distinction between "parishioner" and "voting member," but setting a membership fee on the voting member is not a good way to go. Granted, the dues are low enough that I'm sure something like 90% of Orthodox can pay them. What of the others, though? That is a good question. On the one hand, our ideal is the widow giving her last two coins. On the other hand, we have no express command from our Lord that places a minimum entry fee on joining the Church. A model that served a virtuous purpose of erecting parishes circa 1900-1920 is no longer appropriate. We should have a free Church. Whenever I've been involved in situations based on free will giving, I've seen giving that was more impressive than a minimum fee would have garnered. Perhaps we need to trust the Spirit more than we do.
#126.96.36.199 Fr. Oliver Herbel on 2006-06-21 06:34
1.7 million diivided by 27,000 members = $62.96 apiece. One time payment, the loan goes away. Some can pay more, some can pay less. I have already stated that I am wiling to pay far more than my share, if I can see some tangible improvements our of NY. So far I can't.
#188.8.131.52 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2006-06-21 08:37
Michael, the mindset of It's-Only-A-Few-Dollars-No-One-Will-Notice has contributed in bringing us to this crisis today. Perhaps it appears to be chump change, but it's money that should be going towards meeting the needs of a parish, a mission, our clergy, or the needy in the local community. Shall we calculate how many hot dinners $60 would provide a desperate family in Russia? In other words, money is being diverted from those who need it most... again. Instead, lay members will be forced to "repay" misappropriated donations in which the parties involved probably knew ahead of time they were going to dip into it for purposes not advertised. And we have no guarantee or oversight at this point in time to be certain that funds from the new loan will be allocated any more responsibly than the missing donations.
#184.108.40.206.1 Richard Mason on 2006-06-23 09:35
Richard- What you seem to be sayiing is let the OCA default on its debts and go bankrupt. Is this what we really want?
It would be nice if the misdirected money could be recovered. But the chances are it can't. So what are the alternatives? I have already said in this forum that the OCA should sell all its properties and move to a lower cost area near D.C. That will pay off some of the debt.
But unfortunate as it might be, the fact is we the faithful will have to shoulder the rest. Again, though, read carefully what I said. I said I'm willing to pay far more than my share "if I see some tangible changes in NY." As you can see, so far there has been little cause for hope.
If you have some other suggestions for alternative courses of action, please share them with us.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2006-06-24 05:59
For bad guys, there is great benefit in confusion and no interest in clarity. Let us recognize that this obfuscation is a conscious strategy. Each and every revelation will take work. Stay the course my friends. Wade through the confusion and silence. Break it down. Sort it out. This effort is worth it. Years ago I discovered an employee's misplaced notes to an accomplice. This person was stealing from the company. In the letter he discussed his obfuscation strategy: "I will throw up so much crap that it will take them forever to sort out what is true and what is not." Thank God for this website.
Fr. Kucynda's apparent obstruction is appalling in its boldness. Where is he receiving his authority to act so decisively? This is not like him. Who is he committed to protect? Why is the Metropolitan invoking the hierarchical principal so arrogantly? Something is very wrong. To take these arrogant actions in the face of this crisis of trust is outrageous and unpastoral.
#5 Name withheld on 2006-06-17 20:07
Why can't many of you understand that the investigation is still on-going and that all of the facts can not be divulged prior to it's completion?
Here is an interesting question I haven't heard anyone ask yet.
Why hasn't the ex-Chancellor made any attempt whatsoever to publicly defend himself to clear his name of any wrongdoing??
#5.1 Anonymous on 2006-06-18 17:46
I have to voice here my extreme uneasiness with the report of the Metropolitan Council Meeting as told by Mark Stokoe. My uneasiness lies primarily with how, from whom, and with what bias the accounts of the meeting were acquired. Secondarily, my uneasiness lies with my gut feeling that things said and done at this meeting have been filtered, massaged, taken out of context, sensationalized, editorialized, and ascribed motives that are more the opinion of the author than the actual thing. I am concerned that those mentioned in this "report" are being painted in unfair light, as being uncaring or unconcerned by the situation the Church finds itself in. I am worried that this type of rushed reporting will short-circuit the somewhat more deliberate process that is needed to heal the wounds that our OCA has suffered in recent times. I fear that this type of reporting will promote an environment of division, depression, fear, and despondency instead of unity, hope, courage, and the will to set things right.
In my opinion, we as a church have hit bottom. We have seen that the way we have operated in the past is no longer an acceptable modus operandi. We now have to figure out how we have to change our entrenched ways in order to do what we have to do to survive and go forward as Christ's Church. We have to do so with the concurrent spectre that past wrongdoings may result in serious consequences to the wrongdoers, people who we love as brothers and/or sisters in Christ. But we need to let the process happen. We need to cut some slack to those who are trying to figure this all out, even if it means that those same people may have to step down to let this happen.
Let's be patient. Let's not be so quick to jump on a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or even a whole report as if it were the last thing that would ever be said on a subject. Let us not see an isolated inaction as a permanent inaction, a misspoken word or sentence as a damning position taken by the speaker.
This is a very complicated situation. Let us not make it more complicated by adding our own “spin”, our own speculative “take” on what people are saying or doing. The fact is that it is only speculation when people accuse others of stonewalling, protecting people, lying, hiding, etc. If we have to speculate, let us try to speculate positively. Let us speculate that things are being said or not said, done or not done, because that is the prudent course of action for the time being. Perhaps we can also speculate that those who are doing or saying things with which we don’t agree may even have the same desire as we do to see the Church set right and going forward in a healthy manner.
Let us be responsible with our opinions, with our “reporting”, and with the conclusions we draw. Let us trust that there are those in leadership positions in our OCA who desperately wish to set right the wrongs of the past. Let us believe that the way out of this is not as straight or wide a path as many would believe, but that the correct and difficult path will be taken and our prayers and support will be needed along the OCA’s entire journey back to health and wellness and fullness as the Body of Christ. Let us be vocal in our positive support for reform, not in our negative criticism borne from incomplete or incorrect information.
God be with us!
#6 Fr. Gary J. Breton on 2006-06-17 21:15
Why did your matushka donate $50,000 to the OCA anonymously? If she believes in supporting the administration of the OCA, which is an embarrassment to all Orthodox christians, why not go public? Her actions are just adding to these questionable actions in the name of the one true religion.
#6.1 Unknown on 2006-06-18 15:11
If this were an isolated circumstance with no prior history, I might be persuaded by your arguments. However, it seems to me that Mark does not have to filter anything. That would take too much work. The information flying out of Syosset is damning enough without filtering! If you have followed the sequence of events, whenever someone discovered an error in Mark's reporting he has been quick to acknowledge that error and print a correction. That is good jounalism.
For years, if not decades, this bad behavior has been allowed to persist because unsuspecting clergy and laity like you and me have given the perpetrators the benefit of the doubt. In fact, these people counted on this reaction as their cloak. I find it curious how many times this site and Mark have been vilified for pulling off the cloak and revealing the skin and bones. That cloak of secrecy must be removed to reveal whatever is there. Only then can we fix it. Shame on these people who have taken advantage of people's natural tendency to give the benefit of the doubt over and over again.
#6.2 Name withheld on 2006-06-19 02:32
I agree with you, speculate positively. I would speculate that I am POSITIVE that the entire administration should be dismissed as being part of the scanday and cover up that is hoodwinking the fine laymen in the parishes!
If anyone took a dime of kids or charitable money and misused it, they should burn in hell....Bishops, Chancellors, Priests and Laity and Current and Former Metropolitans too!!!
How is that for positive. If they didn't misuse the money why didn't they just prove it and put this to bed?
Can't afford to make payroll and they go on the arm for a 1.7MM dollar loan...they'll be selling liturgical items on E-Bay to raise money to pay the damn loan.
Tell me what they are doing to be responsible about this??? Taking 50K loans from laity???
I think its time for the personal assets of the entire metropolitan council and leadership to be frozen until such time this could be sorted out.
#6.3 Bob H. on 2006-06-19 07:11
Bob..... Bob..... calm down my friend. You're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You don't really want to seize the personal assets of the members of the MC, do you? ....
#6.3.1 Marty Brown on 2006-06-19 21:48
FR. Breton, have you ever heard a truthful LIE? Neither have I heard a truthful LIE!!
How can we think positive, when a LIE a LIE. We are not making up these stories. We have no need to make up these stories.
All we are asking for is the TRUTH! If Syossett would tell the truth today, we would save thousands upon thousands of dollars, in attorney fees. We will have beat this CANCER that is killing this CHURCH.
This procrastination is KILLING our church!
Fr. Gary, you want us to "cut some slack!" But that’s all we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. The Church is choking on a big slack-ball stuck in its throat.
I'm sorry that you are experiencing some "uneasiness.” In your misery, could you consider for a moment the 9/11 orphans and Beslan's grieving parents, and some Russian kids waiting for Christmas stockings or Bibles that never arrive? This might help you put your "uneasiness" in perspective.
"Complicated situation?" Sneaky, crafty, yes. But not complicated. Appoint some needy and easily manipulated leaders; dole out some gifts and favors to anyone willing to be a shill; create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and you will have an unlimited pass to get away with anything -- at least for a while. There's nothing complicated about it.
That something was very wrong was well known for a long time -- only the depth and breadth of the corruption is a surprise. It was a huge problem that could have been handled in a godly way years ago. But that didn't fit the agenda of the "all form and no substance" brain-trust that we followed.
Through the years, there was always someone saying what you are saying, Father Gary. Anyone who expressed their worst fears became an instant enemy, guilty of filtering, massaging, speaking out of context, sensationalizing, spinning, editorializing, blah, blah, blah. These are the very charges that provided cover for the perpetrators. Even when "slack" was given, nothing got better, nothing got fixed, nothing was done except some convenient shredding.
OCANews did not invent division, depression, fear or despondency in our Church. Neither was this the fault of anyone who has expressed concern or outrage over the current state of affairs. These plagues were in place long before Mark Stokoe ever wrote a word, fostered by the very ones who you now believe deserve "slack." Please realize that even with all the slack in the world, it is not in the personal best interest of our current leadership to shed any light on the real causes and facts of this situation.
Our leaders now promise that they will tap some deep wells of cash to keep things going. Many of those wells were dug and maintained by the systematic undermining of dedicated clergymen who by fostering Orthodoxy became threats to the free flow of cash. There's blood money in those wells, Father Gary, and nothing good will come from them.
In the wake of the last Metropolitan Council sleep-over, we see that uncomplicated thinking might be evolving into simply brilliant plotting. Consider this possible scenario. One is the perpetrator, or the perpetrator-watcher, or the perpetrator aider-and-abettor. When things get sticky and one might be in big trouble, one arranges for the Church to pay for one’s defense. One begins a a $100,000+ defense investigation to dig up facts that one already knows. Instead of protecting the sheep, one builds defenses against them. One's words are no longer shaped by the Gospel, but scoured by defense attorneys. Astoundingly, unlike any other place on our planet, the possible defendant is allowed to control the investigation and the evidence. Of course one’s defense attorneys won’t issue reports to anyone. Of course one's underlings will sow confusion. Of course, those who've played along over the years and benefited for doing so will enthusiastically support one’s savior complex. One will say that it's all for the good of the Church, but it will really be only to save one's own hide. Could such a scenario possibly be true?
Worse yet, in order to replace what one has allowed to disappear, one arranges for the Church to take a loan that will cripple Her for decades to come. The flock pays twice and one skates away. Priceless!
Again, it is not in the personal best interest of our current leadership to shed any light on the real causes and facts of this situation. So instead of giving more slack, the Church needs to tighten the leash. Instead of blaming the Church’s problems on those who express outrage, one needs to encourage the perpetrators to reap what they have sown.
(please withhold my name)
#6.5 Baba Lou on 2006-06-19 11:09
Does the Metropolitan Council have the power to "Overrule the Chair" as is available by majority vote in other groups?
If they do, the question is why they did not use that Parliamentary procedure, expecially with respect to the unanimous motion to hold All American Councils every three years as mandated by Statute. The fact that the vote was unanimous meant that they would have prevailed in a motion to Overrule the Chair.
#7 Subdeacon Robert Aaron on 2006-06-18 05:32
I too would like someone "in the know" to speak to this. I have the sneaking suspicion that standard parliamentary procedures are here simply to lend an air of credibility to what is in fact a dictatorship. Apparently, the Metropolitan is invoking his "ecclesiastical" authority at every turn.
If the statues are not being followed - trumped by a bishops decision - what is the point of having them? Because they are somehow related to the need to be a "non-profit" entity in the eyes of IRS? To pacify the laity in believing they have some influence?
Also, is there an organized movement to remove certain bishops? What according to cannon law is the procedure for this? Is it only other Bishops that can remove bishops?
#7.1 Christopher Encapera (OCA-North Carolina) on 2006-06-20 08:34
One word - CRIMINAL.
What is being done by the managment team within the OCA is CRIMINAL. Letting the bleeding continue...is CRIMINAL. It is going to cost membership and respect.
What is not being done by the clergy who are in the know on what happened is CRIMINAL, and if the authorities get involved and find there was criminal activity, they were aiding and abetting....
I think it is high time to give the entire crew a date 8/31, 1/1/07....if the answers are not on the table, the laymen are going to take legal action to have them removed.
If your part of a crime, you cannot be part of solving it, unless you have turned state's witness. Have any of the managment team including the Metroplitan and his henchmen on white horses, worked out a deal to come clean and survive the prosecution??
This is laughable! ...
There are HONEST priests and heiarchs out there...just not too many leading the OCA today.
Instead of Father or Master Bless....it needs to be Father/Master CONFESS!!!!!!!
#8 Bob H. on 2006-06-18 10:14
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but, I'm speculating that certain bits of information can not be divulged yet because the legal investigaion is not yet complete.
Let me ask a hypothetical question.
If the Church had some very damaging information against a certain individual who was totally guilty of all the alleged acqusations, but divulging this information too soon and prior to the completion of the investigation would tip the Church's hand to the other side, wouldn't you want the Church to wait until the most appropriate time for the evidence to become public, so that that individual is found to be unequivocably guilty and therefore has no defense?
I'm not an attorney, but this situation is extremely complicated Bob, and timing is everything.
I think you need to read into why the Church is waiting to show their hand a bit longer.
It's obvious to me that their attorneys are utiliizing a certain strategy here.
Patience, my friend, patience.
#8.1 Michael Geeza on 2006-06-20 06:43
Who was the Treasurer who issued $9,500 checks payable to CASH, without explanation to all those individuals? Why was this done? Where was the money going? Who collected the "CASH" after they all went to the bank?
This is not: filtered, massaged, taken out of context, sensationalized, editorialized!
This is the TRUTH and we deserve answers as to where the faithful's donations went.
Amen…reveal the salaries of ALL employees in Syosset, in all dioceses and in all parishes of the OCA.
Amen…a good place to start would be with the former Chancellor's salary, Fr. Rodion and all. The list should reveal the past 15 years for everyone.
The TRUTH is never unkind, it will open your eyes and set you free! ...
#9 A sinner's name withheld on 6-18-2006 on 2006-06-18 15:29
MARK, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF THIS INFORMATION, OTHERWISE WE WOULD ALL BE IN THE DARK. WHO ARE YOU? HOW WE WILL GET OUT OF THIS MESS IS BEYOND ME. NAME WITHHELD
Mark, I must say I'm disappointed with the overeditorialization [sic] with clear bias in the recent posts. The situation is bad enough and more objective reporting would help us all make our own determinations about these matters.
It is clear that you do not like the way the OCA governs itself. I would be the first to agree with you that there are governance failures, but it isn't necessarily the hierarchy versus a board. If the MC is completely uneffective as you opine, why don't they all resign?
Given the fact the OCA hasn't paid the 2005 AAC bill, it doesn't leave much wonder as to why the 2008 AAC is unnerving for the Synod. Perhaps, the AAC participants need to pay their own way and pay for the hosting. The problem with the churches governance is that the Synod should have amended the statute instead of giving you the option to blame Met. Herman for waffling. It is true the AAC is probably needed sooner rather than later, but I'm quite certain the MC has two issues of concern. First, the AACs are expensive, very expensive, and if my math is right, they cost a pretty big chunk of the budget. Second, in 2008, there will probably still be unanswered financial questions, probably in 2020 as well, but in 2008, the AAC might not accomplish much. Bottom line, meet the statute or change it, can this be done by the Synod? governance...means rules
The auditor said it the most clear, the church hasn't made enough money for its expenses.
You were pretty kind to the MC, why didn't they tell us how they didn't know the 9/11 monies weren't dispersed? I'm betting the compilation notes disclosure either didn't say it, or it wasn't ready by anyone. Why wouldn't this have been shouted from a mountaintop? I still don't get it. I'd like for just one person to tell me how this was overlooked and not discussed in July, 2005. It is mind boggling to me.
I guess one final note. I'm very glad to see that the MC is concerned about meeting the 2006 budget. This is a very healthy step in the management of the church finances.
#11 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-06-18 23:05
To answer the final questions:
No, the Church is not subject to Sarbanes-Oxley. Sarbanes-Oxley is designed for investments, not contributions.
Contributions cease to belong to me when I give them. No one is required to be accountable. If my beneficiaries fail to use the money in the way I deem appropriate, my only recourse is to quit giving them more.
To answer one of Daniel's issues:
My understanding is AAC delegates' costs are not covered by Syosset, but by the parish/diocese that sends them. Only Syosset staff, perhaps the Met. Council, and "invited guests" have their expenses covered by the central church.
If the heirarchy will not listen to our voices, nearly unanimous in calling for change in Syosset, then we have no other option but to give our alms locally and avoid the central church in meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters both here and around the world.
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#11.1 Marty Watt on 2006-06-19 20:41
I don't mean to tangle with a CPA, even an inactive one, but I think your observation that -
"Contributions cease to belong to me when I give them. No one is required to be accountable. If my beneficiaries fail to use the money in the way I deem appropriate, my only recourse is to quit giving them more."
- needs a little clarification.
"Contributions cease to belong to me when I give them" (TO WHOM ?)
If I give contributions DIRECTLY to a beneficiary and they fail to use the money in the way I deem appropriate then I agree with the recourse you suggest. But if the children of Beslan, for example, are my intended beneficiaries, then they can buy ice cream, cookies, etc to their hearts delight. What they do with the contribution is their decision. They are my intended beneficiaries.
If, on the other hand, the contribution is passed thru an intermediary who is to forward the contribution to the donor's intended beneficiary, then I would expect, no, DEMAND full accountability from those whom I entrusted to act on my behalf.
I believe we can agree that full accountability should be requisite of those responsible, to assure they properly execute their fiduciary responsibility in seeing that contributions are properly channeled to the intended beneficiaries.
#11.1.1 Andrew Wakuluk on 2006-06-20 17:17
Mr. Wakuluk, your point is well taken. I should distinguish between designated and non-designated gifts. The giving of an undesignated gift does not provide for the right to an accounting of the use of the gift. However you are correct, when a gift is given for a purpose (i.e., in response to a specific appeal), an accounting is in order.
Soliciting a gift for a purpose and using it for a different purpose would, I suspect, be a fraudulent activity and subject the purpetrator of such solicitation to possible criminal allegations.
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#18.104.22.168 Marty Watt on 2006-06-21 14:27
I am amazed that the AAC is not paid for. I hate looking back to my protestant days and seeing that they ran things better than the OCA, but man, my old denomination never had a general convention that didn't pay its bills. Here is how they did it:
1. A budget was determined months before the meeting was scheduled.
2. Every voting participant paid a registration fee. The fee was set so that if every ordained minister attended and if every church sent a delegate the budget would be met. (Poor pastors and small churches were often sponsored by other churches.)
3. If those fees did not cover the budget (You can never know exactly how many people are going to show up) then the treasurer took the floor at the earliest opportunity (usually the morning of the second day) and announed how much money was needed to cover the budget. Then buckets were passed. This would happen two or three times during the day and evening. Everyone threw in some money. These conventions were 4 days long. The budget was always met by the end of day two and the money collected when buckets were passed on days three or four went to missionaries.
What is so hard about that? Why doesn't the OCA do something similar?
#11.2 Matt Karnes on 2006-06-20 00:48
I believe that each parish pays a registration fee to attend the AAC.
#11.2.1 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2006-06-21 08:28
A quick question (I'm a programming, not an accountant)...
Is OCA subject to Sarbanes-Oxley?
Thanks in advance...
#12 Wayne Matthew Syvinski on 2006-06-18 23:09
Marty Watt, our CPA in residence here can probably offer a more precise answer, but I don't see how a non-profit can be subject to Sarbox. The intent of the legislation is to protect investors.
Certainly, in the Sarbox era, accounting firms are more stringent in their audits, and this may have an impact on how even non-profits have their books checked. But I don't see Sarbox directly impacting non-profit charitable organizations.
#12.1 Anonymous on 2006-06-20 12:50
The OCA is not subject to Sarbox. It applies to corporations whose stock is publicly traded. However, some states are beginning to apply Sarbox to non-public companies, and some large public charities such a Red Cross are applying some aspects of Sarbox as good business practices.
#12.2 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2006-06-21 08:43
I wondered the same thing.
#13 Matt Karnes on 2006-06-19 00:09
I enjoyed, perversely, reading Mark Stokoe's latest essay, sensing that a light was being turned on at last. I couldn't help noting some rather comic things that he reported about the Metropolitan Council meeting goings-on. I think that message should be saved for all those who treat the OCA Statute as a kind of sacred cow, especially relative to that old leftover of Saint Tikhon's Diocesan Council that changed its name to Metropolitan's Council when Metropolitan Platon took over again in the 20s. See for yourself how workable that Statute is.
I wonder if anyone notes any improvements in anything at Syosset? It looks to me, and Mark's essay certainly seems to bear this out, that it's really disorganized and confused. Too bad that after one "mistake", a letter from Mr. Kuchner, the Chancellor's lawyer, and, just in the nick of time (the eve of the meeting of the Administrative Committee), the Chancelloir was fired. None of these awful shenanigans, these convenient losses of documents. would have existed.
I thought the part about the Chancellor/Treasurer/Secretary not having an office was priceless. It's almost like a good British comedy. He seems to have all the documents of little interest at hand, but he hasn't been able to secure anything important because of...well, let's be frank, what he spoke of was well known in my time....GREMLINS at Syosset!
I'm surprised that, while listing several possible locations of the contract engaging Proskauer and Rose, which would reveal the date, etc., that they were hired (I think they're probably in the same place that the pages from Bishop Seraphim's Holy Synod handwritten minutes disappeared to), and other matters that would appear to benefit him by their absence, thus answering the question, "cui bono", in this case, Father Kucynda only listed his car (which one?), his Syosset office, his home office, and his parish office!
I think he forgot about those two or three Time Shares he owns after his long experience in Syosset. Maybe the documents in question: retainer/contracts, promissory notes, Holy Synod minutes are in one of his TimeShares? Too bad that foolish Protopresbyter and his wife hadn't thought of a Bermuda Time Share instead of putting their inherited money into improvement of OCA's property. It seems to me, though, that "the OCA" is reaping further benefits from those repairs, which allowed the Pennsylvnia bank to see a chance for profits when these loans come due and can't be paid off.
I rule out absolutely that the Pennsylvania bank, unlike the NY banks, knew that he had "a live one"on the hook, as some have so nastily and with total meretriciousness opined!
I heard from someone else at that meeting that when it was asked why the General Counsel of The OCA was not consulted (as the Holy Synod's consensus in the Lost-Forever minutes would reflect) prior to consulting with an outside-the-Church law firm, not only was the document with the date of that engagement found to have possibly been taken by Gremlins, but it was answered that the General Counsel of the OCA was not consulted because he is known to be "hostile to Father Zacchaeus." What was that about, I wonder? Anyone?
I'd ask elsewhere, but my letters are almost never answered. For a very brief time, I took the absence of answers to questions in my letters or even a ("received") reply to them as some kind of personal slight; however, probably everyone is in the same boat as I and there's nothing personal about it at all. It's just that since the Chancellor was let go, nobody knows who does what.
There is no "Unity of Authority", there is no observance of proper "Span of Control," and so on. Mention a staff study and you'll probably get a blank stare. When Father Kucynda is caring for his parishioners in his famously-burgeoning Wayne, New Jersey, parish and the Metropolitan is also occupied, who is in charge there? Father Strikis? Is there an organizational chart? Did no one at all ask who has been appointed to fill the Statute function of Chancellor, or when?
Is it possible that someone doesn't want the OCA to have a Chancellor at all? Is it easier to run TWO dioceses at some remove from the Oyster Bay Cove property that Mrs. Griswold so charitably left to the Church? It seems that only one or two people had the gumption to ask a question: the others were and remain completely at sea about everything!
I wonder if any one of the elected delegates who have some experience being on the Metropolitan Council have made a comparison with the Council "then" and the Council now? I seem to remember complaints that "formerly" everyone was kept in the dark and that the MC just rubber-stamped the decisions of the Administrative Committee, who just rubber-stamped the decisions of the Chancellor, who kept the Metropolitan ignorant of everything substantial. How did the most recent meeting measure up?
How did Father Kondratick's MC meetings compare to those of, say, Father Hubiak, or Father Pishtey?
Somehow we in the Holy Synod who ask questions get the feeling that we've been allowed to know that "these questions are for considertion on the agenda of the Metropolitan Council" (which is the Board of Trustees of the New York Non-Profit ASSOCIATION (not Corporation), otherwise known as the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America).
Now, it seems, some of those same questions at a Metropolitan Council meeting have resulted in the MC members learning that "these questions" are for consideration on the agenda of the Holy Synod.
Some days are just too short!
Didn't anybody ask about the letter of Mister Andreas? Didn't anyone ask about the Promissory Note? Didn't anyone ask about the Saint Sergius Chapel account (I know that the Lesser Synod was already answered by His Beatitude; but that's no reason that the Metropolitan Council, TOO, couldn't be told (maybe by Father Kucynda Himself, rather than by His Beatitude) the same thing: "It is understood now, that funds were not apparently passed through the St. Sergius Chapel account, as had been alleged.
Now that is one of Protodeacon Eric Wheeler's allegations. You'd think that, after hiring downtown lawyers and outside auditors and mortgaging properties not wanted, one would want to show that the investigations had shown at least ONE of the allegations to be true or false, no?
There's no need for people to suspect that everybody in the Kondratick-less Chancery is helplessly stalling, when the revelation, or rather, the repetition of the above finding of "false" relative to one of those allegations would show "a dollar well spent!"
Another part of Mark's priceless recounting of the goings-on was when the very verse from Scriptures which would make an outside audit seem to be an act of unremitting evil was recited in order for keeping a good deed secret. Christ said that the left hand should NOT investigate the right hand. But he was speaking of charitable donations, no? How is it that the Church became the RIGHT HAND in this one case?
I also think that the use of that verse to apply to the revelation of Matushka's good deeds to the world is so irrelevant to those words of our Savior as to tempt one to question the qualifications for teaching Scripture of anyone trying to apply it that way.
Oh, that reminds me. I understand that when the Protopresbyer and his counsel, Mr. Kuchner, sat down with Sara Rose, Father Bob suggested that they start with a Prayer. The suggestion was not.......understood, so all praying was personal...and Ms Rose only could bear to stay long enough after that to ask when and where and how the CULPRIT had first met Mister Andreas (which I consider to be, as I'm sure Father Bob and Mister Kuchner did, a totally inappropriate and personal question having nothing whatsoever to do with the financial operations of the OCA), and Father Bob or his lawyer objected to the question, Ms Rose hurried from the room.
Has anyone ever seen the text of the notorious, egregious, and threatening letter of Mister Kuchner which ALONE has been given as the reason for terminating the Protopresbyter's service, thus leaving the Chancery in a complete mess without a proper period, say the customary two weeks, in which an ORDERLY, rather than arbitrary and hasty transition could have been made? What was it in that letter that was so evil that it outweighed a lifetime of service to the Church?
What happened, I wonder, to 70 times 7? Is lese majeste a more deadly crime than one against the Ten Commandments or the Beatitude Commandments? Is the proper administration of a Local Church so insignificant that one person could tell himself "it's nothing, I can do it myself?"
Here we are in the middle of June. Aren't any of these hman beings concerned that someone has not had a salary for months and can't get a release to work elsewhere?
How is it that Mark Stokoe can allow filth to be cast in the direction of Arlene Kallaur, Elizabeth Kondratick, and Father Strikis, ANONYMOUS filth, and pretend that his "ocanews.org" is on the side of anything resembling moral accountability?
Yes, I spoke with Father R.S. Kondratick. He had been invited by the Secretary of the Holy Synod, late on Wednesday evening, to attend the Holy Synod meeting on Thursday morning so that any Hierarch who had a question could ask the question. Father Bob agreed with ALACRITY. Now, I was informed that this was to take place. Bishop Seraphim had said that "some of the Bishops" had asked to be able to question Father Bob. He called the Metropolitan and told him that some of the Bishops would like to have Father Bob appear. The Metropolitan said he had no problem. However, during the time when Bishop Seraphim was actually inviting Father Bob on behalf of the Metropolitan and Synod, it seems that some thing occurred, perhaps a thought only, that caused the Metropolitan to call Bishop Seraphim and say he'd changed his mind after talking with some of the Bishops!
No one ever asked me and no one ever asked Bishop Nikolai.
The next day, we learned that Father Bob would NOT be appearing, although he wanted to. I still can only guess why not, although Archbishop Nathaniel said that there was no point to it "since his lawyer won't let him answer anything." Even though it was pointed out that Father Bob had no intention of bringing his lawyer and that he himself was eager to answer question, especially on matters to which, it SEEEMED, no one else had the answers. We had to leave without the benefit of hearing from him. It was the same thing previously at the Administrative Committee meeting with the lawyers from which he found himself suddenly barred!
What is amazing and a wonderful example of Christian behaviour is that in spite of his desire to face questioners, BISHOPS, and answer their questions, a majority of Bishops in the Synod did NOT want to hear from him; nevertheless, he has not dropped letters (with or without His Beatitude's blessing) in anyone's motel room mailbox, started up his own web site, wrote to a Bishop emails characterizing him as a fool and a liar (with CC to His Beatitude), or any of the other apparently blessed procedures open to him.
I was very disappointed. I wanted to hear from Father Bob himself, in front of others, the other Bishops, how he would explain the past and answer questions. No, it seems he may only be so questioned by non-Church lawyers and auditors. God forbid that two Bishops would oppose the majority on such a question!
Commending all to Christ's love (since love is still totally lacking in me who am full of sins), and asking for the Holy Prayers of all, even our lawyers and scribes, I remain,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West; The Orthodox Church in America.
PS I want to remember for the concluding parts of my memoirs (which I mentioned at the last Holy Synod meeting), that not only am I the only Orthodox Bishop living today who was actually elected in a real election with at least one other VIABLE (even more viable!) candidate, by both my Diocesan Assembly and by and the Holy Synod, but that I am probably (I'll have to look into this and I ask for input) the only Hierarch in History to be mentioned by the First Hierarch of his Synod by name and in a totally accusatory way before the world in an official public address, published for the eons and all posterity on the WWW!!
(It could be noted that a good portion of our Bishops were simply implanted in a diocese without a vote of the Faithful or an Assembly). Whatever my faults and sins (and I am the absolute expert on their high number), I was elected and I've stayed put. I'm still in the Church I was received in, back in 1960, at the Lackland AFB Chapel. I admit that I have had to "swallow" many egregious "goings-on" over these years, but I've never left over those goings-on. The only reason to leave one's Bishop or one's Synod is heresy, and determinations of heresy are not made carelessly, indecently, or in a disorderly way, as so many other determinations, rather, judgements, are.
I'll sign this again, just in case it might be missed and result in the loss of my replies to charges of anti-semitism et al.
#14 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-06-19 15:26
Why can't you just come out and say that you and Bishop Nikolai were the ONLY two bishops who wanted Fr. Kondratick to appear at the Synod meeting because the two of you wanted to "defend" him, ask a question and give him an opportunity to speak.
You have a wonderful habit of twisting the facts and putting your own personal spin on everything.
On another note, you are correct. Fr. Kucynda does indeed own a time share. . . .AND, it was purchased with HIS OWN MONEY!
Isn't that refreshing to hear?
#14.1 Michael Geeza on 2006-06-24 07:56
Monsieur M. Geeza skipped a few things in his reading, obviously.
First, neither I nor Bishop Nikolai initiated any request for Father Bob to come to the Holy Synod meeting until he had been asked BY Bishop Seraphim, with the blessing of Metropolitan Herman, based on the request of "some of the Bishops." None of those Bishops, Monsieur Geeza was Bishop Nikolai nor yours truly. I would never have considered it, being positive that Metropolitan Herman would never allow it and that none of the other Bishops would want to ask for it. I was very pleased when I learned that others had asked and that His Beatitude had agreed and that Father Bob had agreed. It was only the next morning that I learned and Bishop Nikolai learned that "the plan had changed," namely, that His Beatitude had made Bishop Seraphim call Father Bob BACK and tell him not to come, giving the same reason, "Some Bishops" didn't want it. Michael Geeza, did you contact: Bishop Alejo, Bishop Benjamin, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia, Bishop Nikon and ask them if they had, perhaps requested, initially, the appearance of Father Bob? If not, your assumption, your hypothesis was based on not just ignorance, but wilfull ignorance.
Yes, at the meeting, then, following all that display of confusion, we did, both of us, ask that Father Bob be invited to appear. Then, Monsieur Geeza, is when Archbishop Nathaniel forcefully intervened to keep it from happening. You, Monsieur Geeza, have you not asked why we have not heard from Father Bob? By the way, some of the Bishops would never ask anything or reveal that they had an opinion, all for different, but understandable, reason. So, Monsieur Geeza, the ***reason ****** I don't admit your peculiar hypothesis is because that hypothesis is not true. Why not check with, say, Bishop Seraphim, if the idea that I might be right and you mistaken causes you to go to pieces!
As for Scott Walker, I am in almost daily contact by email with Father Matthew. I'm sure that if he had something to discuss with me on the order of what you decided to post to the world here, he would have done so. You characterized me as "implying" something. You are free to INFER what you will from the message of, say, Monsieur Stokoe, et al, relative to the "Report" or "Press Release." What I see is that there is no guile in Father Matthew at all; at worst, a couple scoundrels felt they had found a live one and acted accordingly.
I'd appreciate it if you'd check with your Priest before acting as his defender or advocate unbeknownst to him. Some well-wishers are not necessarily helpful when they act unilaterally.
Commending all to Christ's love,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West; The Orthodox Church in America.
PS I feel that my answers to the oft-asked question, are the allegations (the allegations of Protodeacon Eros Wheeler in his letter of October, 2005), true or false, are unchanged and that nothing has appeared anywhere to change an answer; the only thing is that one answer of "FALSE" has been proved to be correct relative to ONE allegation: the one about funds passing through the Saint Sergius Chapel account.
As for any finding relative to any other allegations, all of them criminal, I feel that that nice man Mr. Stephen, L., who reported to us from the auditing firm... in answering "yes" to my specific question, twice, namely, the question, "Would it be fair to say that your audit report will show no evidence of criminal wrong-doing," did not leave much room for sensible disagreement with the core of what I've been posting at all.
Now, if you or anyone else are going to state that the Protodeacon Eros Wheeler had knowledge and proof of the commission of blackmailing of anyone, e.g., Metropolitan Theodosius and has concealed it until October 2005, then I believe other questions relative to His conduct and that of subsequent TREASURERS might very well have a foundation in fact; but he didn't question his own conduct, or that of his successors as Treasurer at all, in the apparent belief that all of them were ciphers, hypnotized by that veritible Mesmer of a Chancellor, and that the spell he had cast over them was only broken by the good,white magic of Archbishop Job.
Commending all to Christ's love,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West; The Orthodox Church in America
#14.1.1 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-06-26 20:30
Step #1. Get organized.
#2. Organize your parish, your deanery, your diocese and on the national level.
#3. Set up escrow accounts for all contributions to pay your priest and your bishop out of them.
#4. Call a general strike for all payments to the national church. Pay no attention to threatened or actual excommunications.
#5. Force everyone from the metropolitan on down on the national level to resign.
#6. Call a workable council of laity, clergy and bishops to sort things out ... Elect a locum tenens - a presiding bishop in charge for a specified term - who will report to the council.
My advice: Draft a new and more workable consitution.
Whatever you do, get a new metropolitan and a new national administration. Kiss a lot of property like Syosset good bye and pay off that Honesdale loan pronto.
It's America, folks. The future is in your hands.
#15 Robert Zacher on 2006-06-19 20:00
It would be wonderful to have the next AAC at a college which would provide housing for far less that the big hotels used (and not paid for) in the past. One year the entire Pacific Yearly Meeting for Friends (Quakers) was held at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA. We could have diocesan assemblies include brown bag lunches rather than hotel dinners. We could begin to identify with the mission of Orthodoxy in America instead of showing how middle class we can be. As far as the hierarchy in Syosset goes, it may not be possible to cut budgets or salaries until we have a new Metropolitan who can communicate the mission of the Church, and keep us small and humble in our spending by example and exhortation. When I became Orthodox I asked Bishop Job if it wasn't a problem that we had so little money. He said having more would be the problem. How right he was....
#16 Alice Carter on 2006-06-20 07:31
I wouldn't assume that the Metropolitan Council "statement" came from the Metropolitan Council or even that they approved it.
The central Church administration has shown that they pretty much want "yes men and women" to rubberstamp decisions they make and/or the spin they want to put on things.
I ask the question outright: "Did the Metropolitan Council write or approve the statement posted on the OCA website as coming from them?"
#17 withhold name on 2006-06-20 09:33
In general, the Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002 identified what auditors could and could not do, and how they were to remain independent and it clarified the rules surrounding public companies selling stock in the open market. Sarbanes-Oxley actually went into much more specific details, but this is a good generalization in my opinion.
I am not an expert in S-O, but I do not believe the act was intended for non-profits.
The S-O requirement really doesn't touch on what is needed by the OCA. The needs of the OCA are much, much simpler than S-O.
First, the OCA needs to created an effective governance. Meetings of the MC, where the Metropolitan responds to inquiries and reasonable requests by saying he'll check with the Synod in 4 months are not effective governance. The governance is too slow. It has nothing to do with who makes the decisions, but how they are made, and why the Statute doesn't govern decisions.
Second, the OCA needs to manage to budget. This is a simple accounting concept. Budgets are difficult to manage if the chief steward(s) doesn't care about them. That is, if Kondratick didn't care, budgets were impossible because someone would have classified a telephone bill as insurance.
Managing to budget isn't just administration, it may also mean membership paying more, which on the outset appears to be a problem in our church. If there was graft, or severe misappropriation, that may be different.
#18 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-06-20 11:15
A priest once related to me some sort of difficulty directed
toward himself by a bishop and asked, "Tell me, in your
experience, how long would this be tolerated in a
corporation or in the military?" I thought about it and replied, "About five minutes."
His Beatitude may not realize it, but I believe the reaction
has by and large been exemplary in its restraint. The
primary effect of the Internet is to shorten the reaction time
of the faithful. In the old days, this information would have
oozed its way out eventually, perhaps dampening the growth
of giving or capping it at a certain level. No reason would
have been given, but the reaction would have taken place
The "by the people for the people" comment is best
described as a straw man developed to push the buttons of
the waverers. In the end, there will need to be practical
means of addressing the need of people to know that the
OCA is not a racketeering enterprise. Just as burgesses and
knights were convened in the 13th Century to make the
taxpayers more comfortable with the idea of funding
Westminster, the OCA is going to need to develop means to
Postponing the All-American Council would seem to be a
retrogression. If expenses are a difficulty, perhaps convene
representatives from the deaneries at St. Tikhon's --- each dean and a starosta from the deanery elected by and from
their number --- and call it a pastoral conference for the
purpose of obtaining advice on a broader basis than the
Metropolitan Council, but without the expenses of the AAC.
#19 Edmund Unneland on 2006-06-20 16:13
I wrote the following on Yahoo around Noon on the 17th. It seems to have anticipated Mark's more extended treatment of the matter ...
It is sad when one has to read between the lines, but I find
the following interesting:
Statement is issued by "members of the Metropolitan
Council." It does not indicate which members, whether a
majority of the council, or whether the text of the statement
was agreed on a motion to issue one.
Given that it was a statement by un-named and un-
numbered members, can this truly be considered a part of
the council's acta or is it simply a statement of opinion by
Perhaps I am seeing an ambiguity where none actually
exists, but the wording struck me as being odd.
#20 Edmund Unneland on 2006-06-20 16:33
Since there is much comment around the issue of governance:
First, a disclaimer that I am not an attorney, but a CPA, and an inactive one at that (meaning, I am not currently licensed and may not provide attest services to the public). I had an active license until 6/1/06, when I decided I would not practice publically and retain my private consultant status.
I cannot address the difference between Association and Corporation. Those words have specific meanings under New York law that would require definition by a New York statute, with due consideration to New York and applicable federal common law.
What I can say is the expectation is the documents of governance (in our case, the Statutes) will be followed. If those statutes are not well crafted, they should be modified, or even completely re-written. Just like the financial reporting, the statutes are not for "show" but to substantively describe our common expectation of how we will govern ourselves. If we have a Syond that elects a First Heirarch that rules with absolute authority, then so be it: the statutes should reflect such.
My uneducated (lay) reading of the statutes places ultimate governance authority on the All-American Council, with authority derived from that Council given to the Metropolitan Council, and further delegation to the Administrative Committee of the Metropolitan Council. The delegative functions may be changed by the delegator at any time.
If the Synod is to be the ultimate governance authority, the statute should reflect that fact. If they hold absolute authority in some areas, but not others, the statute should reflect that fact.
While I have a preference and opinion about how things should operate, I have no vested interest in anything other than truth. My challenge is to the Synod: develop a new statute, consistent with Orthodox Theology and Ecclesiology, and submit it to the next All-American council for approval, utilizing the current amendment process. Unless such is done, the initial draft should be prepared by the Metropolitan Council and submitted to the AAC. Even the participants on this site, or any other group, should develop a draft and submit it.
The next AAC should primarily focus on governance. Give two years to develop drafts and hold the council in 2008. We need a dialogue and forum free of fear and intimidation, where the voices of everyone can be heard and the Holy Spirit, who is given abundantly to all the faithful, can be heard. The Synod must be given their due to protect us from heresy. The faithful must be given their due to provide credibility. If all are given their due, we can hope to return to unity and to our personal and corporate salvation.
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#21 Marty Watt on 2006-06-21 11:10
Marty: If you are uneducated blame it on something other than the fact that you are a layman. I have found nothing in my long life to suggest that there is any relationship between the two. A layman can read---and understand---the statutes and canons---as well as--or better than---- any clergyman or hierarch.
#21.1 nicholas skovran on 2006-06-28 13:28
I was quite saddened as I read the Metropolitan's and Treasurer's Reports to the Metropolitan Council. (2 Chronicles 18, v. 16) And he said, "I saw all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd.” We are scattered. We ask for bread and are given stones. Where is truth? Where is repentance? Where is love? Our gifts offered were taken and misused.
I wonder if the entire Metropolitan Council should resign en masse in protest as they seem thwarted at every step, while being told they are ultimately accountable for all things. They propose action and are met with denials and delay. There are good people on the MC, but what can they do in this climate?
There is indeed a deep, underlying spiritual crisis in the OCA. I am not the first to say this.
I received some solace when I read Fr. John Reeves’ Reflection “Seeking the Truth in Love.” I affirm his words: “Indeed, it is now high time to cast off the works of darkness and to speak the truth in love to another. Let our perfect love for one another cast out our fear.”
On the topic of spin and recovery, etc. It's now CLEAR () from the official Minutes, that what was published as a statement of the members of the MC was not such. The new minutes show that during the meeting Father Matthew Tate was appointed to write the official "PRESS RELEASE." Who wouldda thought it? Now, as we know, Press Releases may contain all kinds of errors and you, therefore, can say anything you please in them. Remember the "press release" of Archpriest Kucynda who quoted the Metropolitan as saying he had to do something because people were saying he was incompetent?
So, too, any complaints about the inaccuracy of what was originally bruited as a Report From the members of the Council has now been mooted by the revelation that it was just a press release. I'm sure that makes Monsieur Mark (sorry Marty) and Father Gary feel quite relieved. (Am I imagining things or was that press release item underlined in the minutes? I'm sure Talleyrand or Cardinal Richelieu are turning green with envy at the level of sophisticated tactics of the current denizens of the encumbered Syosset property.)
Commending all to Christ's love,
"Vuja De": The feeling that you've never been here.
#23 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-06-22 08:11
Master, bless! Your Grace, I have disagreed with much of what you have had to say on this site, but I have, by and large, filed my disagreements under the "difference of opinion makes a horse race" tab. Now, however, I find that I'm distressed. It seems (and please enlighten me if I'm missing something) that you're implying that Father Matthew is involved in "spin and recovery" by writing a press release wherein one can say "anything you please in them." Your Grace, Father Matthew is my parish priest. I have complete trust in his integrity. He is the farthest possible thing from a spinmeister. His commitment is to Christ and His Church, and not to whatever he pleases. I love the man, and so do all of us at Annunciation. It seems odd that you, as his bishop, would post something on this forum would could be so easily misconstrued.
Asking your holy prayers,
#23.1 Scott Walker on 2006-06-24 07:04
The replies to some comments are posted here almost immediately; others may have to wait.
That is one obvious means of spin that is almost impossible on the many Orthodox "lists." I posted a reply to Scott Walker before, for example, the message of Subdeacon Basil Sullivan was written.
What I'll have to do is copy Scott's message and reply to it on a list with a copy to Father Matthew.
Scott asked me to enlighten him if he were missing something. He was missing something and I explained it; however, it seems that Fate has determined that he not be enlightened too soon.
I apologize, this must be what Marty calls a diatribe? If not, I hope he can point me at a message posted here that fits the definition of "diatribe" or the other pejorative categories into which he placed my comments, without, apparently being able to reply to anything of substance.
Commending all to Christ's love,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West; The Orthdodox Church in America.
"The only qualities for real success in journalism are ratlike cunning, a plausible manner, and a little literary ability." (Nicholas Tomalin)
#23.1.1 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-06-28 17:59
After being away from this great web site because of a very serious illness, I was saddened to find the after all of the meetings of the synod and metropolitan council, the one's in charge are still holding onto the "status quo"! It is time to move forward and bring our Holy Church to what it was intended to be. We must again power the "Light of Christ" in this nation of securalist and that can only be done in prayer, forgiveness and love of one another. May God continue to bless this HOly Church with his love and kindness and may he touch the hearts of those in charge so they, in his mercy, may recognize their errors and and ask for forgiveness. Then, and only then, will Holy Spirit engulf this Holy Church with His undying love. Christ is with us and will always be. It is time we get right with Christ.
Subdeacon Basil Sullivan
#24 William Sullivan on 2006-06-28 09:33
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