Thursday, February 2. 2006
Signed comments are welcome. Anonymous comments will not be posted. Brief comments are best. Thank you all for your courage in speaking out.
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As a cleric of the OCA, I am asking you to withhold my name and personal information.
You ask how the culture of fear and intimidation can be ended and overcome. I will offer an observation that I cannot substantiate, but that I believe to be true.
In Orthodox theology and praxis, there has always been development, evolution, and local variants. The Church of Finland serves as one example, celebrating Pascha according to the Western computation for the sake of conveying Christ in His fullness for the understanding of the people in their culture.
If we were to read the comments of Frs. Schmemann and Meyendorff in the 1970's and early 80's, we would be reminded of the tremendous gift the OCA was afforded in receiving autocephaly. In essence, the gift from the Holy Spirit of bringing Christ to the people of this land in a manner with which they can best comprehend and receive him. In other words, without bearing the attachments of the old world that spoke to the old world culture.
Unfortunately - and I say this as a son of immigrants from eastern Europe - this gift has been, and continues to be, buried under the ground. The ecclesiological model presented to us by our Church authorities has effectively placed some bishops outside of the Church, and has revived concepts of power and authority foreign to Orthodoxy, and belonging to cultures that passed away in peace long ago.
Who is the sinless one? The Council of Chalcedon, whcih we affirm, teaches us that Christ is like us in every way - except for sin. The rest of us are prone to sin. And in this case, even if the charges were not substantiated, an episcopal ministry interpreted through the lenses of love and truth, as opposed to a desire to exercise temporal power and authority, would see to it that the truth be borne out.
But for some reason, and I think it concerns legitimizing the OCA's status before the rest of world Orthodoxy, an ecclesiological variant that emphasizes episcopal power and authority - not love, or ministry, which the episcopacy presumably exists for - has been promoted at the expense of real ecclesiology, and Christ, along with his Gospel, which is the final criterion and authority in any ecclesiology - has been effectively removed from the picture.
Under this guise, a mafia-like mentality has emerged within the OCA, all too well-known by its clergy. I have heard the most offensive and vile stories of clergy, many of whom have family considerations, being unjustifiably and belligerently berated and threatened for daring to take a stance when discussing potential parish assignments. This is a ministry of love? No, this is mafia, NKVD-KGB (you name it) styled authoritarian power. And it has to end, because it is destroying not only the Church, but also the lives of many who continue to adhere to it.
Am I calling for the eradication of the episcopate? Certainly not! What we have before us is a special situation, in which only a handful of bishops are stepping up to the plate and seeking answers to very basic questions, such as, "what happened?" How is this bad? If the unity and integrity of the Church is to be maintained and restored, the truth must come out, whatever the truth of this matter is.
But to a perhaps more significant and frightening question: how to obliterate the fear? As of now, I can think of only two ways, one rather straightforward, and the other more complex.
The first, simple way, is financially. There are no medieval princes present and able to fund the administration's needs. Once they are unable to pay their bills and their staff, then their tone will become more irenic.
The second way is more complicated, and this concerns a return to real ecclesiology, in which no one in the Church is marginalized, if we truly take Galatiansd 3:27 to heart. Again, this does not mean an eradication of the episcopate, but it means understanding that gifts of the Holy Spirit are received by human beings living in a world of temptation, and that authority is not magic - someone endowed with the gift of authortity can easily abuse it through sin, and tolerating this is equivalent to apostasy. We must find new ways for clergy and laity to understand and respect one another's ministries without resorting to authoritarian models that are not ideal, and emerged in very specific cultural settings. This means putting a stop to both extreme variants of clericalsim and anti-clericalism. This task will be extremely difficult in a culture which despises authority and takes pride in villifying it. Authority is necessary, but is impotent when it is not carried out in a spirit of love, and when this occurs, those who regularly abuse it must be called to task.
Let us continue to pray for an authentic resolution to this evil crisis, for the salvation of all of our souls.
#1 Name Withheld By Request on 2006-02-03 06:57
Shame on you for requesting your name be withheld. You make such vile comments and point your finger with comments like "NKVD-KGB" and "maffia-like" under the cover of a "cleric of the OCA." Be a real human being and show yourself. You, like those who started this mess, have taken the easy way out. What none of you understand is, this "crisis" is going to be far bigger than any of you ever expected.
#1.1 Michael Livosky on 2006-02-27 14:32
Thank you Mark for taking the time to methodically expose the latest obfuscations.
One fact is clear: the Synod and Syosset administration have successfully avoided a proper (and customary) audit of OCA donations for more than a decade. Let us call a spade a spade, these latest attempts to customize the audit rules for special circumstances are either wholly incompetent or, at this stage, likely worse. In either case, this circumstance alone (a decade+ delay) should dictate the replacement of the leadership responsible for this negligence and those who supported them.
The lack of fiscal accountability is a gross breach of trust. Hiding behind paternalistic definitions of hierarchy may have worked in days gone by, but no more. If the Synod lacks the courage to act, or worse, is itself compromised in whole or in part, then what are the alternatives? I would value hearing from the theological, legal and accounting experts on possible courses of action open to the membership of a Church that faces incompetence, gross negligence and possible malfeasance. It would be helpful to have supporting citations. Thank you.
#2 Name Witheld by Request on 2006-02-03 20:14
I suggest that Metropolitan Herman conduct at least one (if not more) Lenten Retreat(s) of 2006 for its Synod of Bishops and/or Metropolitan Council. This Lenten Retreat would not be conducted to gossip or justify current (poor financial) decisions.
This Serious Lenten Retreat would be to pray, listen, reflect, pray again, and listen again, all together, in one sitting, to a series of talks from at least two sources (if not more):
One souce of a talk would be from a wise, spirit filled, and pastoral Orthodox Retreat Master, (not necesarily from the OCA) who can lead and guide the Synod and MC into holy wisdom to seriously reflect upon rectifying the financial damage it has done and apparently continues to do.
The second source of talks would be to hear from at least one (if not more) experienced and wise financial accountants on the holy wisdom of sound, prudent, Best Practices for finances.
In the spirit of Great Lent, the Metropolitan can make this Lenten Retreat happen and to be a great source of holy empowerment and encouragement of doing the best and right things for the OCA finances and its people.
The Lenten Retreat would not be called to do damage control, rumor control, to justify themselves, or to further cover up a growing scandal.
The Lenten Retreat would be called for the noble purposes of praying, discoursing, and reflecting upon what is right and feeling more empowered to do what is right through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Of couse, if there was a miracle, and the Holy Synod saw the error in its ways so early on right at the Retreat, this could be a saving grace so that by the Spring Session, the OCA would experience a joyous Pascha on many levels.
A continual silencing of people and what seems to be a continual down spiraling of the OCA into a financial hole (a 2 million dollar loan sounds like a very unwise financial occurance) does not seem to be where we should want to be at all.
This Lenten Retreat would set the stage for a stonger, more holier and enlightened Holy Synod Session that starts after Pascha, May 23rd, 2006.
In the spirit of the Gospel, this Lenten Retreat and its participants CAN change the course of a continuing dark chapter for its future. For Jesus said, "With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible." (Matt. 19:26)
#3 Patty Schellbach on 2006-02-03 23:39
I am speechless... Now mind you, I was speechless the first time I
read the documents on www.ocanews.org and thought that was bad
With the mountain of accumulating documents, testimony, and
information coming in over the last 3 weeks to support the serious
allegations and "mistakes" by Syosset, I am simply more and more horrified, stunned, and dissapointed. Something must be done to bring back ethics, honesty, and accountability in the OCA.
The Gospel of St. Matthew offers us some important lessons and warnings to keep in mind:
Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. (Matthew 21:32)
Matthew 23 (Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees):
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2
saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3
Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do,
but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's
shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their
fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make
their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the
synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by
men, `Rabbi, Rabbi.' 8 But you, do not be called `Rabbi'; for One is
your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call
anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in
heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher,
the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your
servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who
humbles himself will be exalted.
13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut
up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in
yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe
to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows'
houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will
receive greater condemnation.
15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel
land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him
twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `Whoever swears by the
temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple,
he is obliged to perform it.' 17 Fools and blind! For which is
greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18
And, `Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears
by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.' 19 Fools
and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that
sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears
by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple,
swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by
heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe
of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier
matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to
have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who
strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse
the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of
extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse
the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like
whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but
inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so
you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full
of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build
the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 and say, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would
not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.'
31 "Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons
of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of
your fathers' guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you
escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you
prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and
crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and
persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the
righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel
to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered
between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all
these things will come upon this generation.
I really find it sad that we have a church leadership that seems to have a greater love for money than a love for Christ. I find it sadder that this leadership is more intent on stonewalling, disseminating FUD, and using unchristian strong arming instead of addressing the issues rationally and above board.
I also remember not too many years ago an instance of another senior hierarch who displayed a greater love for money than his Lord. After stonewalling and assertions of authority, his fellow hierarchs, Patriarchs, found that they needed to resort to our ancient tradition of convening a meeting and in council investigating the issues after which they found it necessary to depose the Patriarch of Jerusalem so that a new leadership could be elected.
Our American situation seems so similar, and I wonder if many of these same fellow hierarchs may find it necessary to, in council, investigate the present situation. I would hope not, as it may not be only a leadership change that could be the solution, but also possibly a finding that the leadership potential within the American church is too immature to support autocephaly.
The path that the our Synod of Bishops seems to be following may be laid with serious consequences.
#5 William Kosar on 2006-02-04 07:36
So, let me get this straight. Only the Metropolitan Council can incur indebtedness. So when did the Metropolitan Council authorize the $500,000 loan from a bank? When did the Metropolitan Council authorize the personal loan(s) from Fr Kondratick, much for a house already owned by the OCA? When did these loans originate? How long has this indebtedness been incurred? Is there no paper on this? Is this the same Metropolitan Council which will be authorizing a new loan by a conference call? Sweet!
#6 Jack Miller on 2006-02-04 08:41
Please withhold my information, as my husband is a seminarian - I have absolutely no doubt that the consequences for him would be severe if I were known to be the author of these comments.
There are many in the seminary who are demoralized by these events. This is not speculation on my part, as I have heard for myself the sadness, anger and the feelings of helplessness of people here with whom I and my husband have held private conversations. Not public, mind you - that would be impossible for anyone here who awaits ordination.
I am reminded, often, of stories I have heard about communist countries, where you live in fear of someone informing on you. How is it possible that here, where we dreamt that we would experience a kind of Orthodox utopia, we instead come up against situations where you cannot speak out for fear that someone will report you?
I look around at church and have to hold back tears some days. Every single man, woman and child here has made sacrifices to attend seminary. Most of us are on welfare of some sort. Many of us are living on less than $1000 a month, even those families with multiple children. I have spoken to more mothers that I can remember and been told that she could not pay a utility bill because she had to buy groceries or gas so that her husband could go to class. To then be told that monies intended for the seminary are going into the pockets of men who by their actions have shown that they care nothing for the welfare of the Church is so upsetting that I can barely keep my anger and tears at bay when I hear about it. As it is, my husband and I (and others to whom we have spoken with) have seriously considered leaving the OCA altogether.
Please pray for me and all the men and women attending our seminaries, that we see through our anger and sorrow enough to pray for those who are hurting our Church.
#7 Name withheld by request on 2006-02-04 15:39
Dear seminarian wife, do not let gossips, misrepresentations and personal agendas destroy your commitment to serve God's Holy Church. I went to the seminary, studied full time for 7 years, had five children and worked to support my family. No one helped me, not one dollar and that was at the golden years of Frs. Schmemman, Meyendorf, Hopko, Profs. Verhovskoy etc. They all had a very clear image of what the Church is and what it should not be allowed to become.
The Church is the assembly of believers in Christ, which He Himself calls
every one to join. In her 'all things heavenly and earthly' should be united in
Christ, for He is the Head of 'the Church, which is His Body, the fullness
of Him that filleth all in all' (Eph. 1:22-23). In the Church the creation is
deified and God's original design for the world and man is fulfilled by the
power of the Holy Spirit.
The Church is a result of both the redemptive feat performed by the Son Who
was sent by the Father and the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit Who
descended on the great day of Pentecost. According to St. Irenaeus of Lyons,
Christ put Himself at the head of humanity, becoming the Head of renewed humanity
as His body in which access is found to the source of the Holy Spirit. The
Church is the unity of 'the new humanity in Christ', 'the unity of God's grace
dwelling in the multitude of rational creatures who submit to grace' (A.S.
Khomyakov). 'Men, women, children, deeply divided as to race, nation,
language, way of life, work, education, status, wealth: - all are restored by the
Church in the Spirit: All receive from her one nature which is beyond corruption
- the nature that is not affected by the numerous and profound differences
by which people differ from one another: In her, no one is at all separated
from the common, as everyone is as if dissolved in one another by the simple
and indivisible power of faith' (St. Maxim the Confessor).
As secularism developed, the lofty principles of inalienable human rights
turned into a notion of the rights of the individual outside his relations with
God. In this process, the freedom of the personality transformed into the
protection of self-will (as long as it is not detrimental to individuals) and
into the demand that the state should guarantee a certain material living
standard for the individual and family. In the contemporary systematic
understanding of civil human rights, man is treated not as the image of God, but as a
self-sufficient and self-sufficing subject. Outside God, however, there is
only the fallen man, who is rather far from being the ideal of perfection
aspired to by Christians and revealed in Christ ('Ecce homo!'). For the Christian
sense of justice, the idea of human freedom and rights is bound up with the
idea of service. The Christian needs rights so that in exercising them he may
first of all fulfill in the best possible way his lofty calling to be 'the
likeness of God', as well as his duty before God and the Church.
Out of secularism developed the other model of the church for which we hear
calls today from secularized orthodox Christians. It is based on a ‘democratic
’ notion of the church. The word ‘democracy’ is derived from two Greek
words. Greek word “demos”, meaning “people” and the word “kratos”, meaning “
power”. The Church established and operated and existing of, by, and for the ‘
people power’. Totally Anthroposophic and Demoncratic, filled with
individual, personal rights, equality of all; good, better, Best Practices of corporate
accounting, transparency, accountability, etc., where one hears from every ‘
member in good standing’ continual statements directed at Hierarchy of the
Church (Christ, Apostles, Bishops, Priests): ”I disagree with your decision; I’
m right and you are wrong. I bind my own will in heaven as on earth. Jesus
has promised me personally that whatever is decided by me, along with a couple
of like-minded friends, will be backed by God. Who elected you? This is a
democracy! I decide I’m right and you are wrong. God will support me and you
are now judged and found wanting. Because this is democratic, modern, relevant,
open, and politically correct – it is American!
To this I compare the true and patristic understanding of the Church:
“It is on this condition that we are made to exist: that we pay the debt of
service justly owed to the God who makes us to exist, and that we recognize
and follow only Him. We are fastened and bound to God by this bond of piety …
The world was made for this reason, that we might be born. We, in turn, are
born, that we might know God, the maker of the world and us. We know, in
turn, that we may worship. And again, we worship so that we may receive
immortality as the reward of our labors – for the worship of God entails great labors
indeed. And, in turn, we are recompensed with the reward of immortality, so
that, having been made like angels, we may serve the most high Father and Lord
forever, and may be in an everlasting kingdom of God. This is the secret of
God; this, the mystery of the world.” (Lactantius, ‘On the Divine
Institutions’ A.D. 304)
The above have no place for personal agendas - We do not save the Church,
the Church saves us. Each should make a choice, which church one wants to be the
humble, obedient, and grateful servant and the son of.
Please do not take my comments as offense, just a reflection.
#7.1 Fr. Alexey Karlgut on 2006-02-05 22:55
I say leave the OCA and go to a real Orthodox Church seminary! My family left the OCA last year due to the disgraceful behavior of our parish priest combined with our growing displeasure with the OCA. This isn't about money - it's about the abuse of power and position, it is about self indulgence and it's about the belief on the part of the church officials that they are above the rules. This is a disgrace for the entire Orthodox church and the entire Christian community.
#7.2 Desiree Melnychenko on 2006-02-28 20:03
I have said that there has got to be some way for us out of this "deep muddy" that is thoroughly Orthodox and respects the hierarchical nature of the Church. I have some sympathy for the suggestion that U.S.-style rights talk is in some way incompatible with the Church, arising as it does from the secular, rationalist Enlightenment of western Europe. (This difficulty, the question of "rights" in the ecclesial context, has been something I've been struggling with.)
Could the reason that it is proper for people in the Church to make known their concerns be the nature of speech itself? I would suggest that the gift of speech comes from the One who is Truth in order to express truth. I think what follows is that the expression of truth cannot be legitimately punished (except for such reasons as revealing matters arising in the context of confession) simply due to its content.
There are probably a number of good arguments against this; but with enough imagination, it is possible that good counter-arguments can then be made.
#8 Ed Unneland on 2006-02-05 20:36
Having read The Culture of Fear by Mark Stokoe, I want to offer few ‘
reflections’ of my own.
Fear or Phobia is an intense, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specified
thing, in our case, of the Governing bodies (or Authority) of the Orthodox
Church in America, namely: Primate, Holy Synod, Administrative Committee,
Metropolitan Council, Central church administration, chancellor, treasurer, and
anyone perceived to be in a position of authority, or on the payroll of the OCA,
above the parochial level. All of whom somehow are involved in lies,
deception, thievery, destruction of trust and love, and in instilling fear,
intimidation, falsehoods, and are spiritually dead.
I want to share an important article by one of the women who belongs to the
OCA. It might be a bit long, but please read it!
Obedi-phobia: Obedience, and other forbidden words.
By Jennifer Roback Morse
Feb 6, 2006
Talk radio keeps my brain engaged while I’m doing the all-important Mom work
of driving kids around. So, while driving between a child’s therapist
appointment, dropping him off at school, and then taking the mini-van in for
repairs, I caught Dennis Prager’s radio program on wisdom. He observed that wisdom
isn’t valued much in today’s world. If offered a choice between being famous
and being wise, most college kids would look at you like you’d lost your
mind. No contest. Fame trumps wisdom, every time.
I submit there is a reason we lack wisdom. We are afraid of legitimate
authority. In fact, many in our culture question whether any authority really is
legitimate. Therefore, we have no concept that obedience can be a virtue. As a
matter of fact, obeying your parents can be the simplest and most
straightforward way of gaining wisdom.
Yes, you heard it here, on a conservative, semi-libertarian website:
obedience can be a virtue. Obedi-phobia is a cultural and personal disaster. Don’t
bother looking it up: I just invented it. Obedi-phobia means a pathological
fear of obedience to legitimate authority.
What is legitimate authority? Everyone who knows more than I can be a
legitimate authority on that subject. Parents are legitimate authority figures over
their children. The Law, in our Anglo-American tradition, exercises
authority over us all, because the law is made through the participation of large
numbers of people, in a reasonably transparent process. Americans obey the law,
not because some Dear Leader says so, but because the Law says so. In the
Judeo-Christian tradition, people obey God, not because God is a cosmic bully
who will punish us if we don’t. We obey God because we believe He loves us and
has our interests in mind.
Here is how obedi-phobia hampers our quest for wisdom.
The ancient Greeks called prudence “practical wisdom.” Prudence did not
mean, doing whatever you can get away with, as it now means in political
parlance. The Greeks considered prudence the virtue of doing the right thing at the
right time in the right amount, even when this can’t be deduced from general
principles. Prudence shows us the difference between courage, a good thing,
and rashness, a foolish thing. Seen in this light, the Greeks regarded
prudence as the queen of the virtues, that held all the others together.
Prudence requires experience with actual people in actual situations.
Experience shows us how to recognize the difference between a sincere
complement and groveling flattery. Experience teaches us how to distinguish between
joyful spontaneity and idiotic self-indulgence.
But children have no experience. By definition, at the beginning of life, it
is impossible to have accumulated the store of experiences that would allow
a person to be genuinely prudent.
So, how can the young acquire prudence or practical wisdom? As Dennis put it
on his show, the relatively pain-free method is to listen to what other
people have to say, or to observe other people’s mistakes. The painful method is
to jump off the cliff to see for yourself whether gravity really works for
you, or whether gravity is just a cynical plot by old people to suppress the
exuberance of youth. In the first two cases, the young person acquires wisdom
by learning from the experience of other people.
There is an even simpler alternative: The child could obey his parents.
Many parents are afraid to insist on obedience from their children. We have
the bizarre situation in which children learn to negotiate with their parents
without ever learning to obey them. I’ve seen families in which the three-
year-old essentially runs the household, and I’ll bet you have too. The child
decides what’s for dinner, when’s bedtime, and where she has to sleep. There
is something slightly pathetic about two grown adults negotiating with a
small child over the merits of chocolate pudding as a main course for dinner.
Many adults have come to believe that good parenting requires empowering
children at all times. But it is not in a preschooler’s interest to give her
responsibility for decisions she cannot handle.
Besides, she has more urgent developmental tasks. Potty training. Holding a
crayon. Dressing herself. Learning to share toys. And, incidently, learning
that she is not really the center of the universe. Learning to peddle a
tricycle is a lot easier and safer for a child who will accept mom’s limitations on
where to ride, rather than endlessly arguing with mom. Trust mom. She’s
really not trying to hurt you when she limits your freedom by insisting that you
stay on the sidewalk.
Trust really is the heart of the issue. Life completely devoid of trust is
truly grim, whether viewed personally or politically. I wrote about this in my
first book, Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn’t Work
A child who truly doesn’t trust anyone can’t learn very much. If you try to
play catch with him, he thinks you’re trying to hit him with the ball. Forget
about washing his hair: he is certain you’re going to drown him. When we ask
a child to obey, we are asking him to trust us. Trust that we have your
interests at heart, and that we know what we are talking about.
Lack of trust is at the heart of our cultural obedi-phobia. Our scary images
of goose-stepping Nazis, blindly following orders, actually shows the
connection between obedience and trust. We distrust people in power, as well we
might after living through the twentieth century drenched in blood by people who
abused their power over others. But it doesn’t follow that every request for
obedience is suspect, and that every act of defiance is noble. It takes
prudence, practical wisdom, to discern the difference between legitimate
authority and usurpation of power.
We need to wise up, and trust.
Let’s reflect on this vis-à-vis current gossips, half truths, and
intimidation that is directed at our church via all-powerful internet. I, for one, will
trust in God, His Church and its governance, rather then websites, forums,
chat rooms, at all. Church will heal itself and if need be, cleanse itself,
from inside by God and Holy Spirit, not by 'people power' (democracy) or
internet. You want to help do it from within, because anything from without is an
Attack, not an assistance!
Love to all,
#8.1 Fr. Alexey Karlgut on 2006-02-07 00:25
I heard Mr. Prager several years ago (2001) lament that actions used to speak louder than words. In today's age, he said, it is more important to espouse the correct belief than to do the right thing.
It is time, frankly, for us to re-evaluate the central administrative aspect of the OCA. Why is Syosset necessary? Is not the Metropolitan simply the first among equals of the Holy Synod? The OCA has fully functional dioceses. What is to be gained by a central administration other than the Synod itself?
National organizations can be maintained, seminaries funded, relief appeals made, etc. without the central administration of the OCA. It can be done at the diocesean level. In my mind, that is the appropriate level anyway. What can a Metropolitan do that a Bishop cannot? Have we established a papacy in Syosset without realizing it?
The fundamental unit of the Church is the Bishop, not the Metropolitan. The Holy Synod exists to ensure the conciliarity of the faith of each Bishop, not to administer the decisions of the Metropolitan. The primate's position is in honor, not in authority.
#8.1.1 Martin D. Watt on 2006-02-09 16:17
Are the allegations true or are they false?
#8.1.2 Jack Miller on 2006-02-10 10:50
No matter which particular issues are exposed and explained in this sorry scandal, the ENTIRE Orthodox church is shamed in the public forum, not only the OCA. Look at what the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church has dredged up to be thrown in the faces of all Roman Catholics! Now, the Orthodox must bear the humiliation of financial misconduct. It doesn't matter to the general public that the OCA is being investigated. Orthodox is all that they hear and all that they scorn. Lo, how the mighty have fallen.
#8.1.3 Joyce Visnick on 2006-02-26 22:28
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