Saturday, July 9. 2011
By popular demand. So, Alaskans, and friends from the lower 48, here is a chance to speak out on developments; or rather, lack of same.
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Mark: Please clarify the last two sentences of your Alaska report.
"......the current idea is to have an Administrator appointed, which would allow various new potential episcopal candidates to spend time in the Diocese this coming year. No names were offered as to who might be included as possible administrators."
Does this mean that the potential episcopal candidates would be the "administrators"? If so, how many of them would there be? For how long would each be in AK? Would the administrators be given specific obligations to fulfill (as Fr. Garklavs did in another situation)? Would +Benjamin remain as the Locum Tenens? And Fr. Oleksa as Chancellor? In other words, to whom would the administrator report?
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#1 Nina Dimas on 2011-07-10 14:19
Would really ask Fr Michael Oleksa to step down as the Chancellor. The reason for the delay on the Candidate was that He wants to be the Chancellor of this Diocese. Sorry, but ask him to step down, with respect!
By the way, I am sure the next Bishop would also be booted out if he is not liked. As usual!
#1.1 Anonymous on 2011-07-13 00:47
I'm afraid it may be true: Fr. Oleksa, once a hero, has lived long enough to become the villain. I'm sure his arguments for a married episcopacy have nothing to do with it. If 5 out of 7 deaneries have chosen Fr. Juvenaly, that should send a powerful statement to the synod and Fr. Oleksa, that they want Fr. Juvenaly.
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-07-15 21:54
Those are good questions. I am surprised Mark has not made an effort to reply, or at least to indicate that he is unable to reply. Probably, the people of Alaska are asking similar questions.
I think these questions go hand in hand with the question I had when I saw the report that the Synod had pre-empted the episcopal search process in Alaska by arbitrarily removing Archimandrite Juvenaly from consideration. That qestion was answered with a sort of 'non-reply' here, and absolutely no response on the Forum.
(Editor's note: I have not replied because there is little to say. Our system allows the bishops to act unilaterally in this instance. They did so.
It seems strange however, that a man nominated for the see of WPA by the Metropolitan, and voted in that election , is then sent to Alaska to teach so the locals can get to know him, and then, when 5 of the 7 Deaneries endorse his candidacy there, he is declared "ineligible".
Was it prudent? I don't know. Was it wise? Well, it never seems wise to me to piss off 5 of 7 deaneries without explanation. Perhaps the Bishop will offer one at the Assembly. Oh, that's right, it has been indefinitely postponed. There's always the AAC, which was to have so many Alaskans present, which was the reason for it being in Seattle. Now we will have angry Alaskans? Or fewer Alaskans? Hmm.)
#1.2 cate on 2011-07-18 09:35
Interesting.....hadn’t heard about the idea of an ‘administrator’.......but glad Fr. Gerasim has been pushed to the bottom of the list...wonder why +Benjamin doesn’t want Fr. Juvenaly?
It’s not what he wants, but what would be good for the Diocese of AK....but of course..................
#2 Rah Yah on 2011-07-10 14:46
Dear Friends --
Clearly, the OCA as a whole hasn't always acted in the best interest of the Orthodox in Alaska, and it doesn't seem as though anything good is likely to happen for them now as long as Alaska is an OCA province.
Perhaps the time has come for the OCA to relinquish its stewardship of 'The Russian Orthodox Archdiocese of Alaska', and ask the Church of Russia to take it in.
The russian church's long experience in Siberia and Alaska -- not to mention the fact that OCA Alaska is all on the julian calendar -- seems to make for a better match of pastoral needs and hierarchal talents and churchly resources than can be made between Alaska and the lower 48. Or Canada, for that matter.
Holy Father Herman, intercede with God for us!
Peace and blessings to all.
(Editor's note: LOL! You are the master at taking a swipe without the blow even being seen! If your analysis were correct, how do you explain that after 150 years the OCA just gave back all the church lands to the people of the diocese that the Russian Church never did? Hmmmm. I have another idea: how about you join the Russian Church? Oh, I guess that wouldn't work, for most Churches other than the OCA don't allow urban monks, or multiple calendars, or discussions, or differences of opinions, or all the other things that make life in the OCA so often muddled... and vibrant. Peace and blessings!)
#2.1 Monk james on 2011-07-12 08:16
As Alice said it, "this is getting curiouser and curiouser".
What is it with the Synod and certain bishops? Alaska hasn't even been allowed an episcopal search committee. Why? They must think Alaska Orthodox are incompetent..but witness 'their' last choice of bishop for Alaska. Could we do any worse?
Now. G. Eliel might be a very nice person..I only came in contact with him once, but with his credentials, I don't see any episcopal possiblities there, yet. Perhaps down the road after some years of maturating. He has no experience with the outside world, has he baptized or buried anyone? What is his 'practical' experience in the priestly domain? None that I know of. I'm afraid if they push Fr. Eliel, Orhtodoxy will diminish in Alaska more so, and just because those few with power want to exercise it to the fullest. (Pseudo)power certainly does corrupt.
The Great White Orthodox Fathers of the OCA feel we are racially/culturally incompetent...
#3.1 Moses on 2011-07-12 09:56
Are there a goodly number of Native Alaskan monastics, celibate or widowered clergy that the Synod and a Diocesan Assembly could choose candidates from? I'm thinking this would actually be highly preferable, and good PR. My understanding is that this is not the case, however.
It should also be remembered that a diocesan bishop is both the leader of his diocese (with all that entails and requires), as well as a member of the ruling Synod of the OCA. With the Synod taking on more conciliar responsibility for the management of the OCA (rather than delegating that responsibility to Syosset), any diocesan bishop of any diocese must have the skills to also be successful in that context, too. As we have seen with clergy, recently, being a very good pastor does not necessarily mean he will be a good 'executive' or influence beyond the level of a parish, monastery, seminary or diocese.
#3.1.1 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-07-15 13:17
There may not be any unmarried or widowed clerics or monastics in AK... but I know of no requirement that a potential episcopal candidate be resident in a diocese searching for a bishop. In fact, 2 of the last 3 bishops came from other US jurisdictions and one was recruited from outside the US.
As I wrote elsewhere on this thread, methinks that Fr. Gerasim (Gordon Eliel) is still the chief candidate of the Synod &/or Bishops Benjamin and Jonah in that he will graduate from St. Vladimir's in about a year -- and the whole election process in AK will take about a year.
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#126.96.36.199 Nina Dimas on 2011-07-20 11:50
Rayaha wrote " Alaska hasn't been allowed an episcopal search committee..."
I find I must correct this statement, we were allowed episcopal search committee back in November 2010 at our Diocesan Assembly they were chosen to accept the name or names of " our nomination for Diocesan Bishop" and we were made to understand that we should send these name/s prayerfully snd seriously. But as you can see "ALAS!!!" it was a psuedo committe.( Ooops! see me use some big words again- as some referes to me as " easily confused").
And yes we must be incompetent- gosh!!! we try to choose one who is going to 1. Love us 2. Serve us and if necessary 3. give his life to the Church and our Diocese. Five (5) out of seven (7) deaneries saw in this man (Fr.Juvenaly) exactly what we were told all along, look for one who will do the above... all we ask is that we be allowed to make our own mistakes and learn from them, after all if we are closer to being competent then allow us.
If I have offended any of you my brothers and sisters I ask that you forgive me a sinner.
This is my penny's worth.
ALL SAINTS OF NORTH AMERICA PRAY UNTO GOD FOR US!
#3.2 Archpriest Peter Askoar on 2011-07-12 14:20
I must correct myself " It was not "psuedo" committee rather I think it truly as stated somewhere in this site IF WE SUBMIT A NAME OTHER THAN FR GERASIM it will be considered then rejected in someway, hense it must be forced down our throats. So we chose 5 deaneries out of 7 another name and it was considered and rejected. Me thinks its a show....
Forgive me an "unscholarly, easily confused" servant of God,
Fr. Peter Askoar
#3.3 Archpriest Peter Askoar on 2011-07-12 15:16
Apparently the AK diocesan assembly will be voting for an episcopal nominee in about a year. Coincidentally ;-), Fr. Gerasim (Gordon Eliel) graduates from St. Vladimir's Seminary in about a year.
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#3.3.1 Nina Tkachuk Dimas on 2011-07-15 17:57
What is the practical experience of Fr Golitzen? Not much either, a few short runs at a mission here and there. The bottom of the barrel is really being reached in the OCA...... What a joke.
(Editor's note: Fr. Golitzin's pastoral experience includes three decades of work in missions, parishes, academia, monasteries as well as service in both Greek and OCA parishes. He is aware of both his skills and his shortcomings. I am not sure what more you can expect in any episcopal candidate. Historically, miracles usually come after death - not before consecration, friend.)
#4 Anonymous on 2011-07-11 08:32
Sounds like another Jonah with less monastic experience and more academia experience. Here we go again!
(Editor's note: I suggest you read his books or attend one of his lectures before making such facile judgements.)
#4.1 Anonymous on 2011-07-11 10:17
You speak as if I have not? You assume I don't know him. Rather presumptuous on your part, wouldn't you say? Besides he has been on the Synod "do not fly list" for at least 10 years. Check it out, if you think otherwise. Like I said, what a joke.
(Editor's note: This was the Synod of such luminaries as +Tikhon, +Nikolai, +Innocent,
+Theodosius, led by RSK and his minions? Right.)
#4.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-07-11 14:54
Not true! When Fr. Golitzin took his tenured teaching position at Marquette, he was committed for the long term. He has now completed his teaching term and the episcopate is a good & logical decision. I'm quite sure + Tikhon (retired) may object to him since the retired bishop did him seriously wrong, but Fr. Golitzin isn't a vengeful man.
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2011-07-13 06:45
"Sounds like another Jonah with less monastic experience and more academia experience. Here we go again!"
Certainly not another + Jonah. You like to make trouble, don't you? Fr. Golitzin is excellent, just excellent!
#4.1.2 Anonymous on 2011-07-11 16:55
We should be so blessed to have another Jonah.
#4.1.3 Cordelia on 2011-07-12 16:15
Mark, with some reservations, I have to agree with Anonymous on this one. There is no doubt Fr. Golitzin has a great deal of learning and head knowledge, but all too often priests who have a great deal of book-learning fail miserably on the level of pastoral care. I've only had occasion to interact with Fr. Golitzin a couple times, and they were in the rather distant past, but if his attitudes today are the same as what they were then, then Anonymous is correct, "what a joke".
#4.1.4 Sean O'Clare on 2011-07-14 07:53
Hello, Can anybody translate this website for me? Is it russian?
PS. Sorry if I am a little off topic...
#5 Gotomiree on 2011-07-11 15:34
OH boy... here we go again...
am I the only one who believes that this so called synod of ours needs to be able to get their mess in order before decreeing anything to anyone else... There is NO KINGDOM here in the US...
In less than one decade these few men have degraded the church’s' role in humanity to nothing more than liars, thieves and vagrants. Look at our Saints, some of whom were bishops; can anyone tell me what if anything some of them have in common, if anything? That, being the case, why then should I respect someone who carries his personal sin into the public domain, yet acts like a king making a decree with nothing but an Omophor for credibility, Deeds, Good Works, Helping or working for a living…. Only questions… no credibility or repute worthy of respect… demanded not earned.
All of my life I have watched outsiders come and tell us how to live... how wrong we are, how backwards and inept. One by one they fade into time their words only humor in them memories of a few... Who carried the Light of St Herman and his works from the 18th century to modern days? Who even knew of him, much less cared? Some illiterate natives living on some god forsaken island in the North Pacific…. Who are today judged as unworthy by one or two men who nothing of Alaska or her people… just because some man lived in Anchorage for a few years and ate well in many restaurants does not an Alaskan make…
I would think that the entire church in the US ought to be wary of anything done by these men at any time for every reason... I respect the their office... but I can’t stomach some of whom the office was bestowed...
I feel bad for even sinning publicly to make this statement…
#6 Ted Panamarioff on 2011-07-11 18:28
The OCA Statute balances the canonical rights and prerogatives of the Synod with the practical and pastoral initiative of the laity and lower clergy stating:
"The election of the diocesan bishop shall proceed as follows:
1. The Diocesan Assembly shall nominate a candidate and submit his name to the Holy Synod;
2. If the Assembly falls to nominate a candidate acceptable to the Holy Synod, the Synod shall elect the bishop of the diocese..."(Section 10, http://fwd4.me/06Qg)
While the Statute gives the Diocesan Assembly the initiative in an episcopal search process, it's in the Assembly's best interest to only consider candidates "acceptable to the Holy Synod" otherwise the Statute allows the Synod to nominate whomever it wishes; at the same time, it's in the Holy Synod's best interest not to alienate donors, volunteers and clergy by simply dismissing the Assembly's initiative, perspective and a nominee selected after what could have been a long process without input from the Synod.
It seems all involved - the Synod and the lower clergy and laity in the Dioceses - have begun doing more of the preparatory work necessary for a successful, 'bilateral' outcome prior to the creation of public search committees and the scheduling of Assemblies. This allows a range of candidates to be considered for nomination, all of whom are acceptable to all involved.
#7 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-07-12 11:32
I am mystified by the amount of time that has gone by without a Bishop in Alaska. Yes, yes, I know we have a locum tenens in Bishop Benjamin, but his territory spreads from Denver to Hawaii, and he clearly does not have the time to spend with us orphans in Alaska. We desperately need a Bishop to spend time within all of our churches...a lot of Orthodox Christians stopped attending church during the tenure of our previous Bishop and we need someone to lead our priests in gathering our people together again. Someone who can take the time to listen to the problems we are experiencing and to offer solutions in a - what do you call it? - a conciliatory fashion. A Bishop who can love our cultural diversity, our 200 years + of tradition, our devotion to the church, and our propensity for hanging onto our indigenous languages. So where is this list of eligible clergy and their biographies and qualifications? Perhaps if we even knew who and what was available, we'd be able to pull together from the thousands of miles that separate us in Alaska, and help by making an informed recommendation of our wants and needs to the Synod.
#8 Tugidam on 2011-07-15 00:10
I liked the reasonable nature of your post. There are those who will disagree perhaps, but I am relieved that the Holy Synod is taking its time and trying to be careful about who fills the episcopal throne in Anchorage. The Church in Alaska is unique and requires a unique hierarch. Do not feel abandoned or orphaned. Those of us here in the lower 48 who love our brothers and sisters of the Great Land, are praying for a shepherd that will indeed be the grace-filled vehicle of healing and health for you.
#8.1 VRev Michael Spainhoward on 2011-07-19 10:24
The last three bishops of Alaska have been disasters. Why rush to have another mishap? Administrators are good until the right person surfaces to lead the Alaskan faithful. More bad bishops equal more lost Alaskan souls!
#9 Anonymous on 2011-07-17 17:46
#10 Moses on 2011-07-22 11:17
Bp Nikolai is not suspended or defrocked, is he? Both he, Bp Maxim and Fr. Gerasim have strong ties to the Serbian Church and the OCA. Is Bp Nikolai never to serve, never to be present at a Divine Service not officiated by himself? Are we practicing shunning in the Orthodox Church? Is guilt by association how we follow the commandment against bearing false witness?
It seems to me that an example of Serbian, OCA and GOA clergy serving together is a good thing, generally, whatever other questions there may be about certain clergy.
(Editor's note: I think questions were raised by some for two reasons. First, while not defrocked or suspended, +Nikolai is not allowed to serve in the OCA's Diocese of the West , one assumes for his actions in Alaska, and subsequent actions, including a lawsuit against the OCA at one time. He has been released to the Serbian Church, which he has petititoned to join, but they have not accepted him - yet. A recent meeting of the Serbian bishops in America that discussed the issue tabled it. I am not sure that is "shunning", but it does lead one to suggest there is evidence that "limbo" does indeed exist. The questions arising from the photo, however, do not concern his status, but the wisdom of a man who has been, and may yet again, be a candidate for the See of Alaska, serving with a notorious ( in many eyes) former occupant of that See. Not a photo opp designed to win friends and influence people, at least not in native Alaska. Secondly, he did so with in the presence of a Deacon who, when last heard from, was suspended by the OCA. I am now informed the Deacon's suspension was lifted some time ago, and he is now technically a member of the Serbian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, although living in the USA. It is difficult to know who is suspended, and who is not, these days. People just disappear from websites you know.... and jurisdiction hopping seems to be the order of the day. Plus ca change....)
#11 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-07-28 08:26
Ps-Iosifson wrote: "Bp Nikolai is not suspended or defrocked, is he? Both he, Bp Maxim and Fr. Gerasim have strong ties to the Serbian Church and the OCA. "
Please explain what strong ties Bp Maxim has to the OCA?
I know that Fr. Gerasim Eliel is championed by both Bp Benjamin and Metropolitan Jonah -- are those his "strong ties" to which you refer?
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#11.1 Nina Dimas on 2011-07-28 12:01
Bp Maxim was published in the St Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly [51 (2007), 395-422] and I've heard he's friendly with Crestwood and the DOW, but it was more the overlapping relationships I had in mind. All three are or were members of the Serbian Church, and Bp Nikolai and Fr. Gerasim are now in the OCA, so there is an overlap of affinities that would make their worshiping together understandable.
#11.1.1 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-07-28 13:52
Ps-Iosifson wrote that "Bp Nikolai and Fr. Gerasim are now in the OCA"
Curiously, Fr. Gerasim Eliel's name does not appear in the list of clergy of the OCA -- although I know he's enrolled at St. Vladimir's.
BTW-During a pilgrimage to Spruce Island, +Benjamin mentioned that +Maxim and he and maybe bishops of other jurisdictions regularly get together for dinner.
Can you tell me about your name? Does Ps stand for Psalti in Greek or Psalomshchik in Russian?
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#12 Nina Dimas on 2011-07-28 16:55
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