Monday, January 23. 2006
Feel free to comment on the Archbishop's latest letter. We would especially ask clergy for their comments, since many throughout the OCA have kept silent, in deference to the Archbishop's request in late December to do so until the Lesser Synod met.
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Amazing! Archbishop Job gives permission through his priests to, once again, speak out "in a spirit of Christian love and for the edification of Christ's Holy Church".
Using the Metropolitan's own words -- "..every Orthodox Christian, having received the Holy Spirit, may properly express concern for the Church.... " -- the Archbishops says that noone should feel constrained.
Of course, the archbishop's question remains unanswered. "Are any of the allegations true, or are they false?"
#1 Nina Tkachuk Dimas on 2006-01-23 19:00
Nina is correct. The bottom line is, "Are these allegations true or not"? The longer this goes on, the guiltier the involved parties look. God knows what the truth is. For the salvation of their souls, I hope that any wrongdoers--if there are any--will admit their errors, stop trying to protect themselves and each other, and seek forgiveness and repentance.
#1.1 MatushkaPearl Homiak on 2006-02-13 22:45
Allegations of financial impropriety are really all that there are at this time. The question is whether these allegations rise to the level that would require a full-scale audit and Commission, or whether an investigation to verify any of the accusations should be made as a start, or whether they could be considered baseless. IF the allegations can be verified by a spot check of financial records, then further action could be considered.
It is worth mentioning that sloppy bookkeeping and accounting standards & practices does not necessarily mean that wrong was done; it simply leaves open the potentiality of impropriety since the actors had means. It is quite possible that monies coming in were ethically distributed or reassigned as needed and called for within the life of the Church, but without the most stringent of accounting procedures being followed. This is often the case when a small, horizontal, less-than-rich corporation becomes larger. Organizations, even more so a tradition-bound organization such as the Orthodox Church, have a difficult time in adjusting to the new scale of their financial, legal, and reporting requirements. The difficulties seen in family businesses that grow beyond Mom & Pop can be seen in the family of the Church as it has grown here in the US.
Let's not jump to conclusions that the Chancery is guilty based simply on accusations. If a modest inquest begins to verify these allegations then further action can be taken- if and when that is called for, God forbid. Otherwise, the Metropolitan's actions to guarantee that a similar financial controversy does not take place again are the wisest course of action. Agitating and gossiping without hard proof is quite simply "bearing false witness against our neighbor". It would do well for us to remember that Jesus never condemned Judas for his mishandling of the purse; in fact, he never condemned Judas at all- Judas condemned himself. That being said, I agree with Archbishop Job in supporting a modest inquest to determine whether these improper actions took place. If so, administrative and staff changes should be made to ensure the trust of the laity and clergy, and the appropriate authorities (local, state, federal, or synodal) should be informed.
#2 Christopher Orr on 2006-01-24 13:53
Thank you for a very well thought out response. I fully agree with your conclusion - that an inquiry needs to be held, that staff changes may need to be made to restore trust if wrongdoing alledged becomes wrongdoing confirmed.
I am not sure a modest inquiry would suffice -the wrongdoing alleged is hardly modest. Moreover, the allegations are not without substance. It is not a case of they say - we say. Publically available documents posted by ADM show $4 million went into the OCA between 1993-1999. At least $2 million never shows up on any OCA financial records of that time; those records too were made public at all AAC's in this period. So where did it go, and how was it used? We can't really know until certain "discretionary accounts" are allowed to be examined. (And we know such accounts exist, because Metropolitan Theodosius was forced to confirm their existence.) So there is much more than allegations here, and sloppy bookeeping. A Commission is the best way to uncover it.
Thanks again for having the courage to openly share your opinion.
#2.1 Editor on 2006-01-24 15:32
The fact that 2MM was put into a discretionary account is not proof that anything improper was done with it. A lack of financial transparency allows the one with discretion the opportunity to do improper things and it allows those on the outside the opportunity to assume that improper things are being done. We should remember that it is equally plausible that these discretionary funds were used for legal, ethical, and appropriate needs as they arose, according to the discretion of the Metropolitan.
A random spot-check of these discretionary monies- as is common in white collar crime cases and as a control in normal accounting procedures- would show whether they were used in ways consistent with what they were earmarked for, or purported to have been used for. This will confirm the reliability of Protodeacon Wheeler's accusations, and determine whether a commission investigation into unethical and/or illegal activity is warranted. The police don't arrest you because someone made an accusation that could be true; they arrest you if the preponderance of the evidence points towards your having committed the crime.
An initial investigation into the charge should be undertaken to determine whether a full accounting is called for, and steps should be taken to ensure full financial transparency and accountability going forward. However, let's not put the cart before the horse: currently, there is only an accusation, which may or may not be true. Only if an initial investigation confirms these allegations should further steps be taken. These further steps could include a full and independent audit of all accounts and year in question, or the handing over of documents to the IRS and local law enforcement. At the same time, further steps could simply mean lifting the curtain and introducing more transparent financial controls, which is what the Lesser Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan have done.
Without proof concerning illegal or unethical activities, it is nothing but sinful gossip to repeat accusations that tar the reputations of others. It should be noted that this is different than a dispassionate call for proper financial accounting and an inquest into whether an accusation holds water, which is no more than the good stewarship of the things of God. Let us keep our heads in this matter and not condemn others too swiftly, or ahead of the facts.
#2.1.1 Christopher Orr on 2006-01-24 17:01
Once again, Chris, you hit the nail on the head in recognizing the need to balance the demands of good stewardship with the need for prudence. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to do what you recommend. In 1999 the Holy Synod simultaneously allowed - ex post facto - secret discretionary accounts, and prohibited anyone from every auditing them. That decision was reaffirmed, apparently, last Friday, despite the clear documentary evidence that at least $1.75 million was put into one - possibly others as well - and the testimony of two witnesses that these funds were not used for responsible purposes.
More transparent financial controls will not help when there are accounts kept off the books. This is at the root of the problem, a practice which BEST PRACTICES does not allow - not to the tune of more than 50% of the stated income of the organization! (See, for example, the amount from ADM that went into these accounts in 1996).
Syosset has finally admitted errors, lack of judgement, mistakes -without any specificity. What is needed is an investigative commission to examine all the accounts and allegations, audit where needed, and report back to the Church. This is the only way these questions, allegations, etc. can be put to rest. This is the only way trust can be restored. Why is that such a difficult request?
Thanks for the dialogue.
#22.214.171.124 Editor on 2006-01-24 19:44
I, too, appreciate the dialogue and the opportunity to express a slightly different point of view on this issue. Where we part ways is in what these "secret discretionary accounts" signify. If the Synod of Bishops allowed them to be- for whatever reason- then they are allowed in the OCA. The fact that they have not been audited does not mean that anything was done improperly. We are not in the middle of a financial crisis, there is a potential crisis pending, if the allegations are true. However, all we have at the moment are two individual's allegations of impropriety, with no verifiable proof to date. A full independent, audit of the 1990s books is not called for at this point because the allegations have not been verified in any way. However, an initial spot-check of those books reconciling the earmarked funds going into the discretionary accounts with actual receipts and proof of monies being used as reported is an appropriate first step.
By way of analogy, when fears were raised over contamination of the land around a US nuclear site a random series of samples were taken of the sites feared contaminated. When those samples turned up higher than acceptable level of toxic material then a full scale clean-up was ordered. You wouldn't jump to digging up all the land surrounding the site to clean it up until you had an initial verification of the feared contamination.
Likewise, we don't jump to “Financial Crisis”, “Commission Investigation”, and the independent audit of the books over a period spanning a decade on the basis of, as yet, unverified and unproven (perhaps un-proveable) allegations.
Notice that in Archbishop Job's public statements, he simply asks whether the allegations are true, and no more. First steps should be taken in substantiating the two accusers claims, or in clearing those implicated by the accusers. The Metropolitan and the Lesser Synod of Bishops have taken the proper parallel course of action and begun to reform the financial controls and organization of the Chancery bringing them in line with modern, accepted, best practices in accounting. We cannot, ex post facto, hold the 1990s Chancery to standards only instituted this month- though they must be held to the then existing standards required of them by law, both canonical and secular.
#126.96.36.199.1 Christpher Orr on 2006-01-25 07:38
Sadly, we can't even get a "spot check". As Rebecca points out in the her post, that's the problem. Even these simple steps are being denied, the issue stonewalled year after year, the problems unresolved, the questions deflected, raising ever more concern in more and more people that something is terribly wrong. In a post-Enron, post-Worldcom environment, the actions of Syosset do not pass the "smell test". In other words, it would be easy to make this all go away. By failing to take those simple steps, the whole thing smells fishy. That smell, together with two witnesses, the mounting documentation, should make any prudent person want to investigate. In 1999 they dismissed all these concerns. In 2005 they now admit that there were errors, mistakes and lack of good judgement - but will still not address the issues or actions that led us into, in their word, "sin". The procedures that led into sin are still in place. Why? Shouldn't they be changed, not to mention the people who committed these decade long errors? As members of One Body, as stewards, we deserve a better, more complete answer than the one provided. That's what a Commission offers us; the ability to uncover the truth and clear those whose names should be cleared, and deal appropriately with those who have abused our trust.
#188.8.131.52.1.1 Editor on 2006-01-25 09:06
Indeed, if there were a selective review of the accounts in question for the relevant time periods conducted by an independent source and set up in such a way as to preserve confidentiality, then I think everyone would be satisfied.
It's a documented fact that just such a review was discussed and agreed to on July 8, 1999 [see chronology and document 3.5]. What troubles many is that over the next several months a great deal of energy and effort seems to have been expended avoiding the agreed upon review [see further entries in the chronology along with supporting documentation]. This makes it hard for some of us to believe that there is merely carelessness and sloppy accounting involved, much as we might like to do so for our own peace of mind.
If the Metropolitan and the chancery are now ready to proceed as was agreed to in July of 1999, I think we'd all send up a collective cheer, breathe a sigh of relief, and sit patiently by waiting for an appropriately handled reporting of the results (appropirate in this case meaning done in such a manner as to preserve confidentiality).
To my knowledge, no one has agreed to such a process.
It is very, very easy to make this issue go away. If the only things going on with these accounts involved carelessness, sloppy accounting, and an effort to circumvent paper work in the service of doing good -- well, there are things that need to be corrected, but no one at this point is going to be casting stones based on such a finding. It might be a bit awkward and embarrassing for those involved, but no more than that.
But it appears to many of us that the administration remains extremely hesitant to do what is needed to make the issue go away -- and fairly or unfairly we are left wondering if the reason is that such an investigation would in fact make the issue go away.
Again, if there's nothing wrong, it's very easy to take care of -- so at this point, with the degree of devisiveness and breach of trust that is being fostered by the status quo, why on earth not take the steps necessary to make the issue go away?
#184.108.40.206 Rebecca Matovic on 2006-01-25 07:58
Thanks for the thoughtful response, and a little more background. Organizational "group-think" can be hard to break, so it is understandable that the 1999 agreement might have been allowed to whither on the vine- how many New Year's resolutions have we all broken, personally, not to mention married couples' agreements following a fight come back around again? The pressure that Archbishop Job has allowed to continue seems to me to be appropriate in scope: are the allegations true or false? I am wary from reading many of the responses on this website and via other forums that this dispassionate, measured focus is lacking as a crisis mentality takes hold. Following Vladyka, an initial inquest should be made by a disinterested third party to see if the allegations can be substantiated at all. However, much of the conversation jumps to the worst case scenario.
I was advised early on in my journey to Orthodoxy not to judge my non-Orthodox, nominally Catholic wife for not being Orthodox. My judgement itself would condemn her, and there are many examples of such stories in the Fathers. Likewise, I have been told a story concerning an elderly, poor priest in the US, on seeing a man steal from the donation plate, who hurried to give the man everything in the plate. "If I give it to you then it is not stealing, and you will not be guilty of sin". The man is now a pious, devout Orthodox Christian.
We must be good stewards of the things of the Church, and follow all pertinent secular laws, but let us ourselves seek vengeance on (alleged) sinners, especially if we lack either proof or mercy. Step by step let us safeguard the gifts given the Church for Her work and call to account those who may have acted improperly or illegally, but not before there is proof- and not with sinful passion. If God were just in the way we seek after justice, we would all be damned; His justice is most fully seen in Christ's innocent death on the Cross.
#220.127.116.11.1 Christopher Orr on 2006-01-25 09:36
Great discussion! Who do you see as a disinterested third party that could investigate all this to answer the Archbishop's question: Are the allegations true?
Clearly it cannot be any of those who have, by the admission of the Lesser Synod committed mistakes, errors and sin; nor, if "herd mentality" is to be an excuse for inaction over 7 years, any of those who belong to the "herd"; so I am curious who you think it should be?
No one I know wants vengence here. Vengence is the Lord's. What all of us want are the errors, mistakes and sin to stop, which is best done by removing those who are found guilty from their offices; and reconfirming those who are not. But without an investigation, everyone in Syosset is tainted by the errors of the unnamed few. The crisis is measured not only in intensity - which is growing as allegations grow, but in duration as well. We are now in the 13th year since many of these problems were first raised - and still no meaninfgful action has been taken. Why should obvious problems take so long to resolve?
#18.104.22.168.1.1 Editor on 2006-01-25 13:46
There are varying levels of services provided by accounting firms below a full-scale audit. The independent auditor handling the audit of the past three years could do a spot-check of the previous years. We could also look to firms used by other Orthodox jurisdictions in the US, or by other Church bodies that have run into accounting problems due to the more stringent accounting standards expected since the demise of Enron, Global Crossing, etc. and the confusion over earmarked 9/11 donations at the American Red Cross. The auditors of the Diocese of the Midwest- or perhaps those of a less ‘involved’ diocese within the OCA- could also handle the work.
But again, this is would be an initial investigation to confirm or disconfirm the accusations that have been made. As yet unsubstantiated allegations cannot be the basis for a full-scale house cleaning and audit. Everyone in Syosset should not be tainted at all with anything, because as of yet there is no proof that any mistakes have been made- there are only allegations. People, through the insinuation of the enemy of both mankind and the Church, have gotten ahead of the facts. The facts simply call for what Vladyka Job has asked: "are the allegations true, or are they false?” If someone tells me it’s raining outside, I look out the window to confirm it; I don't put on waders and evacuate the town in preparation for a flood.
You ask, "Why should obvious problems take so long to resolve?” The fact is, there are not obvious problems, there are allegations of problems. If they were obvious, Deacon Wheeler would have provided proof that the funds were misappropriated- and this is not to say that he is wrong, but there is no proof. As the Treasurer, he would have been able to compile evidence of these illegal or unethical breaches, but he did not. His case is that he was unable to determine what really went on, financially, and therefore could not sign off on the books. The fact that the Holy Synod of Bishops allowed large, unaudited, discretionary accounts where monies could have been misspent is not proof that any funds in fact were mispent- they are simply testimony to a lack of financial transparency, which is being changed.
#22.214.171.124.1.1.1 Christopher Orr on 2006-01-25 15:24
After reading Mr. Orr's comments, it seems that either he or I am not reading the same documents. When a Treasurer (Protodeacon Eric Wheeler) states that he refused to sign off on certain expenditures which he did not feel were substantiated, this is proof. It is evidence. The quality of the evidence will be determined by the trier of facts---either a judge or a jury. But to say continuously that there is no proof is just not so. You can bet that if this dispute goes to trial that the testimony of the Protodeadon and Mr. Hunchak will be taken and considered by the judge or jury. Mr. Orr insist that you must have absolute proof of wrong doing before an investigation is justified. If absolute proof is present, why do you need an investigation?
On the matter of "spot checks", just what does he mean by that? Are you going to audit the first Tuesday of every month or every second Thursday in the odd number months? Is this a religious principle that he is trying to uphold in calling for a spot check than a reasonable full audit?
If Mr. Orr really denies that there is a problem---only an allegation of a problem, then I suggest that Mr. Orr better come down to earth. There is a problem. A big problem. And the longer this stonewalling goes on, the problem will get bigger.
#126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Niicholas Skovran on 2006-01-26 09:25
Christ be between us!
A clerical position (e.g. parish rector, diocesan bishop, Metropolitan of the OCA, or chancellor) is fundamentally a position of responsibility, i.e. the person placed in a position is responsible for carrying out the particular duties which are devolved to that office by the Church. Authority is then given to that person *as needed to carry out those responsibilities*, and only for that purpose. Any other use of authority by a person in a clerical position is abuse and sin. This is clearly the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ both word and example, as well as that of the Holy Fathers of the Church.
Unfortunately, this is often not fully understood by our clergy. As a result, one sees – all too often – examples of authority being used (1) for purposes not related to the responsibilities of office or (2) to stifle dissent or silence critics. This occurs at every level of the Church’s life, and it is very sad, because it is clearly perceived by others, driving away both existing members and potential converts, and harming the faith and quenching the spirit and enthusiasm of our best and most supportive members. It cannot be allowed to occur here.
The situation with which we are now faced is that there is substantial credible evidence of wholesale abuse of authority (of both types noted above) by individuals in positions of responsibility in the central administration, over a long period of time and involving large sums of money. The sources of this evidence are independent individuals who were in a position to know what they are talking about, who attempted for years to deal with these problems without “going public”, who do not have anything to gain (indeed, much to lose) from their statements, and who (apart from attacks obviously motivated by these statements) are considered to be persons of integrity.
These are credible and significant charges and they must be dealt with in a credible and significant way. There must be a full investigation, taking the action needed to correct the problems and insure that they do not occur again.
I implore Vladika Herman and the members of the Holy Synod: Please do not think that this problem can be given a minimalist response and then expected to go away. Please do not use the authority of your office to stifle criticism, rebuking those who call for accountability, while ignoring those who may be found responsible – even if the latter are personal friends or those of rank in the Church. If you do, your action will gravely wound the body of the OCA, damaging the faith and vitality of its members, impoverishing its mission and ministry for decades to come.
with love in Christ,
the sinful priest
#3 Fr Andrew on 2006-01-26 11:59
These comments are intended to be general, and not as a response to any of the particular posts above.
Sadly, on this site, but especially elsewhere, we have witnessed the propogation of a stance under the guise of "ecclesiology" which actually espouses "hierarchology." Obviously, there are some clergy who believe that this issue needs to disappear as we need to be "obedient" to the Metropolitan and our respective diocesan bishops.
Yes, the traditional orderly structure of our Church calls for obedience to our bishop. But first and foremost, as a result of our baptism, we are called to be obedient to Christ. At baptism, we (and/or our sponsors) are asked: "do you unite yourself to Christ? Have you united yourself to Christ?" This underscores Christ as the head of the Church, if we prefer to apply the Church as body metaphor from the Pauline letters. Furthermore, perhaps the foremost Orthodox theologian of our epoch, Bishop Kallistos Ware, in a series of articles published in Irenikon, identifies Christ and the Gospel as the ultimate authority in the Church to whom all are bound. Let us not remove God and Christ from this extremely grave and serious situation! In Orthodoxy, each person is, as it were, ordained at baptism by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the particular gift required for the peaceful resolution of this current crisis is discernment.
The bishop's primary responsibility is to guard and shepherd the flock, and protect it from divisions, as eloquently reflected in Archbishop JOB's letters. This authentic stewardship, however, cannot occur if authority is falsely invoked to eschew a crisis that continues to persist in the Church. It's not as if strangers were pressing the issue - those desiring to properly resolve this issue are friends, sons, and daughters of God, and they seek to restore peace and tranquility to God's Church in conversation with the bishops, who truthfully are entrusted with this stewardship.
As far as I know, an honest investigation of mismanagement is sought, not the imediate removal of accused perpetrators. What evil can possibly come from probing and unveiling the truth? If the charges are unsubstantiated, the investigation will bear that out, and peace will return.
Perhaps it would behoove all of us, including those adhering to a much more narrow and selective view of hierarchology under the guise of ecclesiology, to be united in praying and fasting in repentance for this to be resolved. After all, our church is not a mafia, nor are its bishops KGB agents - Archbishop JOB has blessed continued conversation on this issue, and that should occur until it is clear that peace has truly been restored, and the threat of a schism caused by mistrust and deep division removed. He should be lauded for his bold stewardship of this boat during a rocky storm. And hopefully, we will follow his lead by pressing forward until the rest of the authorities are forced through the power of discernment to restore peace by revealing the truth lurking behind the secrets that continue to be curiously guarded.
May Christ empower us to fuilfill God's will through the power of the Holy Spirit, for His good work to abound among us all.
#4 Anonymous on 2006-01-26 15:13
Dear Fellow Brothers in Christ,
It is with great pain that I continue to read the back an forth accusations and deflective arguments and statements by the Hierarchy. We are counselled to have faith and pray and accept a very superficial "apology". Maybe one should be reminded of what the Orthodox believers of years ago did to their 'leaders' who betrayed the faith and the stewardship entrusted to them. Read the account of what became of the bishops and clergy returning back to Greece from the False Council of Florence. St. Mark of Ephesus recounts that the betrayal of the people was met with less than open arms.
I'm not advocating the extreme measures performed then, but to continue as if nothing has occured demonstrates submissiveness and passive acceptance to corruption. We should expect more of our ecclesiastic leaders than we do of our corrupt politicians. We are legally bound to pay taxes to support the government, even when we don't agree with all of it's poliices, but it's a hard sell to encourage donations when we come to learn of misuse of these monies by these stewards of the Church.
Yes we will continue to pray for the Church and the Clergy, for all the needs of the Church and we will expect that the responsible individuals will come clean on these matters. If the Peace of Christ can't reign in His Church, then where?
I encourage you to continue to inform your readers of what is happening, provided you can provide balanced reporting.
Sincerely, Corrado Altomare MD
#5 Corrado Altomare MD on 2006-01-27 15:10
As a relatively recent convert to the Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church I have witnessed what can happen when a church is confronted by scandal. Drawing upon that experience, I hope the following observations may be useful.
As the OCA moves deeper into the exposure of financial scandal two things seem probable:
1. For some clergy and laity reaction to the news that there is a scandal will be to deny its existence.
2. For those who deny the existence of the scandal, evidence of it will be greeted by a vicious attack on those who present that evidence.
1. Denial in psychological terms is a mental defense mechanism employed by the unconscious mind to defend the conscious mind from facts that would, if accepted, unleash overwhelming anxiety. The prime characteristic of denial is the tenacity with which it is maintained in the face of incontrovertible reality. The intensity of the refusal to accept reality is proportionate to the degree of threat it presents to the individual's need to preserve what it contradicts. The need to preserve a fallacy is a reflection of what good or benefit the fallacy represents and what anxiety would attend its loss. Denial as described here is a reaction which becomes a mindset supported by the development of perceptual distortion that supports its maintenance. The implication of this understanding of denial is that it is of little use to attempt to challenge it with facts.
2. Those who present factual, reality-based evidence contrary to the mindset of one who is in denial will arouse a defensive reaction proportionate to the perceived threat. The person in denial's mobilized anger in the face of that threat can result in a viciousness whose degree of malice can be as distressing as it is disconcerting. Understanding the unconscious primitive fear that the unconsciously employed mechanism of denial keeps at bay provides a context for understanding the intensity of the angry reaction.
Before dismissing the above as "psychobabble," it would be worthwhile to ask how it could apply to attacks upon people uncovering this scandal. Their efforts to provide information has clarified for all members of the OCA a situation of stunningly corrupt practices by some in whom we have all place trust. Some members of the OCA have responded to this with vituperation of a degree that can only be understood in the preceding psychological terms. Perhaps the best response to their viciousness is to "leave them to heaven" and to the slow erosion of their denial by the progressive uncovering of truth.
This is my first "letter to the editor." Any editor. But this time I am not going to stand by and watch from the sideline's safety. I am writing this because I believe that all of us who are not in denial must step up and express our appreciation for the editor's efforts, among others, on our behalf. And by publicly expressing our support encourage them to press on with their good work.
Jean Langley Sullivan
RN,MS,MA., Professor Emeritus, Wright State University
#6 Jean Sullivan on 2006-01-28 10:31
The Gospel reading for today is Luke 16:10-15 and the verses are:
"He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them,'You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men ia an abmonination in the sight of God.'"
These verses also apply to the currrent financial scandal within the OCA. The documents presented on this website cast great doubt on the faithfulness and financial trust in the hiearchy of the OCA. Can we trust the hiearchy of the OCA?
An independent audit could help restore that trust.
Michael D. Polovino
#7 Michael D. Polovino on 2006-01-28 15:49
Regarding the latest article on the 9/11 funds. With each passing day, I discover more and more proof of just how serious and dangerous the spiritual crisis at the heart of the OCA administration really is. I experienced glimpses of this personally in trying to seek help, assistance, and corrective action for St. Innocent's Orthodox Church (OCA, Tarzana, CA)and community. It seems what I saw, heard, and endured was mere child's play compared with how others who dare ask for truth, honesty, and accountability have been and continue to be treated.
Those of us still living in reality and able to understand the implications of what has happened and continues to happen in the OCA leadership and administration, have a duty before God, our families and friends, and our Holy Orthodox Faith to stand up and speak the truth. We must support those who have the courage to ask the tough questions, demand accountability, and continued to press for integrity, openness, truth, and ethical conduct at all levels of the OCA. Anything less makes us complicit in these events and makes us in turn accountable for having stood silently by and done nothing as this spiritual and financial crisis unfolded. Silence is not an option anymore.
Do you think we can add "pray" to that "what you can do" list of things that can be done?
#9 moumou on 2006-02-15 01:48
Bishop Job, the Clergy with him and laity in support of them are right on the mark is seeking accountability from those higher up in the Hierarchy. The Church is hierarchical and no one disputes that. But before the top of the Hierarchy says it is not anyone else's business, sometimes those at the top need to be riminded: "Whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant". (Matt. 20:26-27).
#10 Nick Katich on 2006-02-15 14:26
Bishop Job's letter is overly kind to church administration. Most administrators would be fired immediately for failing to meet audit obligations and full disclosure. The seriousness of firing a whistleblower in a position of trust takes this even further. Let's not forget who the top administrator is...
The stakeholders of the church are the people and we should be calling for the resignation of His Beatitude for failing to meet full disclosure years ago. The responsibility lies with him. Of all the ridiculous things that could happen, a group of charitable, forgiving, and loving people; to withhold information is simply comical.
In fact, in the possibility of criminal culpability, the stakeholders of the church and Job should be contacting the FBIs white collar crime division, rather than pleading with someone who has failed to meet this objective test.
Bishop Job has been overly kind with his humble request. His Beatitude should use Job's letter as an opportunity and be grateful for such a soft hearted approach.
Comments or attacks on Job are plain silly and they must stop immediately.
I'd very much like to be corrected, but the facts shown on this site simply don't support correcting me.
People in financial roles that hold the pursestrings of their organization must be held responsible. It isn't about revenge, it isn't about false accusations, it isn't touchy feely business, or shoddy accounting. It is simply about doing what is right in this society. I'm sure many of you will frown on my somewhat secular attitude, but this isn't a time for forgiveness, nor a time for compassion. It is a time for situational understanding. I will go one step further and give His Beatitude understanding to meet the disclosure requirements requested by any auditor, but beyond that my expectation is leadership that appreciates and understands this basic tenet of society.
If our church doctrines attempt to allow or promote this behavior, we should be calling for a change to the doctrine as it doesn't meet societal standards.
I long for the day that this website can be dismantled, or changed to something better than this conversation. The conversation started with the termination of Wheeler, and it must end.
Daniel E. Fall, Financial Analyst
#11 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-02-16 09:17
I did mention before and I repeat, this is the tip of the iceberg or a snowball which just start rolling. It supposed to roll long time ago.
You'll be surprised to see how many bishops have the same problem in their dioceses.
I am glad that this over due problem was addressed and all the others must passed through the same.
#12 Rev. Fr. Remus Bleahu on 2006-03-21 06:13
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