The Lesser Synod needed a statement that could be done unanimously. They made a distinction between the Church and people who work inside it (which is absolutely proper).
Where the problem lies is in the non-identification of the acts which proceeded from the Church's "human aspect." They've acknowledged that "mistakes have been made in the past." Without an exact statement of the mistakes, without some personal acceptance of responsibility by some person or persons (even if the person(s) keep their jobs), the controversy lingers (even if it is simply in the subconscious of the entire laos).
The fundamental question remains: are the Wheeler/Hunchak concerns true, are they mistaken as to fact, or are they lies? The question still has not been answered. Until the question has been answered, this website will have to continue asking it as incessantly as Cato's "Cartago delenda est." (I have to have something that sends people to the dictionary or Wikipedia .)
I find it disconcerting that our clergy freely admonish the laity that "where ever two or three are gathered, there's the Church". Now it is convenient to make a significant distinction between the two. What is really impressive is the these gathered bishops were able to collectively move such a large broom for their sweeping action. Wonder who held up the edge of the carpet? There's one thing for certain, no matter how far under the carpet you percieve you have pushed the garbage, the smell lingers on.
Along the same line, a good housekeeper knows that the cobwebs can be wiped away but until the spider is removed the cobwebs will keep appearing. Who is going to be brave enough to remove the spider? It seems like Arachnophobia is prevalent in the OCA.
Should we be hopeful or despondent? I choose hopeful, but sometimes I am not sure why. It appears that too great a percentage of our priests and bishops fear a dynamic, Spirit-filled laity. In practice, clericalism has all but extinguished lay participation. Perhaps only three candles still burn: the Axios, the Epiclesis Amens, and the clink of Alms. Beyond these, it seems that too many of our clergy prefer lay subservience and the darkness of their own thoughts. Is this the symphony of bishop-priest-laity gathered around the Eucharist in love that we are taught in catechism? Why do we settle for cheap imitations? Courageous laity, priests and bishops will just have to hold high the three candles that still burn and curse the darkness. We can only hope that the others are not already too compromised to turn around and follow the light. Godspeed Mark et al.
I found the editorial remarks by Mark pertaining to the latest statement of the Lesser Synod of Bishops very well done.If mistakes and sins were committed I did not find in the statement of the Lesser Synod anything stating what they were and by whom they were committed ---nor was there any apology or request for forgiveness nor any remedial actions being taken.
Thanks for the kind words, Peter, but I cannot take credit for the work of many. One person alone did not get us in this mess, and one person alone will not get us out of it. Only by working together can we hope to make progress towards accountability. Thank you for making your views public, and I hope you will do so in your parish, deanery and diocese as well.
It strikes the right balance, acknowledging the importance of the admission that mistakes have been made (something very new) and at the same time making it very clear that much more needs to be done if trust is to be restored.
Cathargo delenda est -- one of my favorites from HS Latin (and one of the few things that has stuck in my head after all these years) -- certainly apt, but it also raises a question. Destroying Carthage was a very specific agenda, but what is the specific agenda of those of us calling for accountability and transparency in the OCA? Can we agree on when enough will be enough?
My personal enought (but I'm open to being convinced by others that it needs adjusting) is a commission examining the finances going back ten years, a public acknowledgement based on the work of that commission of the outlines of the financial issues around the discretionary funds, and the removal of Fr. Bob as chancellor. In particular, this last point is the one thing that would convince me that change is actually happening, and as long as he stays there I will never be convinced that change has happened.
Obviously, a matter of this magnitutde will need to be taken up by the full Synod in May. If the charges are false, may our Archpastors say so. If they are true, may they take appropriate actions to keep the Bride of Christ spotless. The canons offer many guidelines as to what sort of actions should follow.
Perhaps this is the OCA's opportunity to truly take a lenten journey of repentance and renewal. Let us pray for that.
My fellow Orthodox Christians:
It is so sad that the news of this dispicable and most unfortunate "situation" has infiltrated The Orthodox Church in America, which I'm sure we love with all our hearts.
First and foremost, let this be an example to all that the evil one certainly DOES exist in this world, and that he takes great pride in disturbing and disrupting our spirituality.
I've been earnestly praying for our heirarchy, the staff of our chancery, the monastics, clergy and laity so that the Holy Spirit will heal this rift which is tearing us apart as a spiritual body and that He will guide our leaders to reach a sound, informed and educated decision as to where we go from here.
I urge each of us to lay aside all earthly cares and let the Holy Spirit do It's work. The Holy Spirit surely is the guiding force behind the Orthodox Church!
Let us never lose sight of the fact that the Orthodox Church hasn't survived for over 2,000 years because of us, but rather, in spite of Us!!
It's true, none of us is thrilled with the statement of the Lesser Synod.
However, I believe that time will allow for the facts to come forth from the planned audits and then, and only then, will the truth be told. If this takes some time, be patient!
If the results are not what we want to hear, then let us reserve judgement for God and God alone.
I urge each of us to intensify our prayers for The Church, our Metropolitan and the members of the Holy Synod.
Let's not allow the devil to tear us apart!
This is simple corruption. If the Synod is not prepared to identify and remove those responsible, they must be removed as well. Until someone repents and takes responsibility, and we know exactly what happened, all members of the lesser synod and the Metropolitan himself, and Metropolitan Theodosius, are under suspicion. I won't be able to trust any of them until this happens.
The genie is out of the bottle. The only way to resolve this is a financial audit that will reveal information that responds to the accusations that have been made.
To think that anyone, even a bishop, has the power to command someone to stop speaking in our democracy is ridiculous. In so many ways, our Church still has a Middle Ages mentality. That needs to stop.
Like most laypeople in the OCA, I work very hard for my money, and I have a right to know what has been done with my past donations. It angers me to think that there might be individuals who have lived the high life on money that was meant to help flood victims or the families of those killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
And if its not true? Great, prove it, and then we can move on to something more constructive.
What I find disconcerting is the following -- when it comes to matters governed by civil law - bishops, clergy and laity need all to be held to the same standard -- and it appears from what I have read that possibly some federal or state law may have been violated -- if so, it is necessary to apply standards even handedly -- which in my mind means that the Synod is reponsible to the laity in these matters and needs to respond with out the perception of retrobution to those who are questioning what has transpired. Based on what I have read, it appears to me that there is a culpable party and culpable actions which need to be addressed. it appears that Archbishop Job is trying to stay above the fray incase something serious occurrs. Is this situation why Met. Theodosius retired? He does not appear ill.
The second concern is this paranoia about I cannot let my name be know lest my priest or bishop get offended and punish me-- or in the case of Archbishop Kyrill where the parish council was advised by the priest that a letter of disapproval would not be inorder. My brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in America - we are given the right of free speach here. If the king is not wearing any clothes as the fairy tales says, then it must be recognized. The situation does not go away if nothing is said, and the priest and bishop need to recognize that 1) as they criticize the faithful, the faithful have the right to do so also, 2) if it were not for the faithful there is no church or financial support - and I say to that church in PA., elect the correct person - who is a fearless leader to lead your church - to be outspoken takes more courage than not to, write that letter to Archbishop Kyrill and withhold your monies if he gets mad at you. If you do not, you will allow continued despotism to prevail. If we cannot tell our priests and bisops what we dislike and concerns us, is this truly the church stucture that should be supported? Do as I command, and do not say a word does not work with a mature society of concerned participants, this is old country nonsense. It does not nurture respect and trust, especially in the youth.
All of us are bound by the word of God, not by the word of man. Christ turned over the money changers tables in the temple -- we can do no less. We say we possess the true faith, yet we are bring molded in subserviant people who are threatened if we speak the truth and stand up for the truth. This is what drives our modern day well educated, self motivated youth and leaders away from us, leaving the church to subsist in a mediocre life.
All of these actions make me wonder that has something so bad happened that the wagons are being circled to keep someone from jail time?
I admire Deacon eric and the others who have stepped up to the table, there have been rumors of all sorts for the past 15 years -- and they continue -- the Synod, I fear has not taken the correct posture to remedy these fears but their actions appear to have put more gasoline on the fire. This is tragic,
and I fear that inevitably all finances and I mean all will need to be audited and disclosed from 1990 to date, and the tragedy is that with that disclosure - some heads may roll also.
Let us pray that this situation is clered up as soon as possible and that gaging of those concerned leaders occurrs no more -- Amen.
I agree that "heads should roll" over this blatant, illegal transfer of money by Syoset. Being an old country boy from Missouri I have always understood that a fish dies from the head down. The Holy Church in America will also die from the head down if this problem is not handled openly, concisely and completely with no holds barred. I applaud His Eninence Job for his stand and all of the clergy who signed the letter. I have disdain for the Bishop Tikhon because the first thing he remembered is politics, the last thing he remember was "LOVE" which is not present in his letter to +Job or +Herman.
I will always be Orthodox until the day I die. I am just not sure it will be in the O.C.A. because unless this is handled promptly and fairly we will not be here.