Monday, February 26. 2007
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Perhaps someone could state how a thorough investigation by the church, including findings by the church's law firm, PR, and the release of a report addressing the fundamental issues of this case would "compromise the FBI investigation?" By this time it can hardly be a secret that there is an investigation, and that certain well-known problems are being looked into. Anyone who is a potential target of that investigation knows who they are. Anyone who was inclined to destroy evidence has had ample opportunity to do so. Any targets who wish to attempt to collude have likewise had the opportunity. These are the kinds of concerns that come to mind when someone talks about an investigation being "compromised." Is there something I'm missing here?
"Compromise a federal investigation" sounds like a phrase invented by a lawyer to cow peasants into silence.
But the investigation and the report are not the issues. The issue is restoring trust. If the investigation had turned up evidence that really did put all the blame on one person and let everyone else off the hook, then restoring trust would be the simplest thing in the world: release the report, deal with the guilty party, apologize for being "too trusting" or whatever and get on with it. Since we are not seeing anything like this, one must conclude that it is not that simple.
"Not that simple" means that this is really bad. Unpleasant facts. Not only crimes but criminal conspiracies growing in dark places like mildew. Before you say "Well, you don't KNOW that," let me answer you're right, I don't know it as a fact. But if everything we have seen up to this point has a better, more logical explanation, then, as always, I am willing to hear it.
We need a date certain for the report from the Commission to be be released. I know in legal matters, sometimes neither party is anxious to bring a case to a resolution quickly, and that's why the court will set dates and deadlines. If no one is willing to take the laity seriously enough to provide us with the hope of a date certain for significant movement in this case, then the laity should propose a date by which their reasonable expectations shall be met.
The worst thing that could happen now would be if the Commission even appears to be compromised. The Commission's investigation and work is the only investigation I'm worried about being "compromised." Fortunately, there is every reason to believe this will not happen. But a date certain would not only settle everyone down in the interim, but it would give everyone a sense that there will finally be a resolution.
#1 Tim Capps on 2007-02-26 08:38
It is time for H to resign and now before Great Lent is over.
His Lenten Message is one he should read and follow. If he did the oca would be getting on with the real purpose of the church and not wasting time in getting to the truth.
I just cant believe he can stand at the altar for services knowing the stonewalling that is taking place under his leadership.
Yes we should put aside all earthly cares until this matter is fully resolved. And earthly cares means forgetting about giving any donations to the church. If everyone just stopped giving any donations to their appeals you will soon see how things can be resolved. Without the money they will have to realize the people are no longer stupid and cant be fooled.
It is so sad that during this Lenten period the truth can not be told. When will they start practicing what they preach and what is told to us in the Holy Gospel????
I say just tell the truth and take your punishment like a true monk would. Then the church can start healing and get down to the work it is supposed to be doing.
TWO SUGGESTIONS BY OTHERS FOR SETTING A DATE:
“If there is resistence to setting a date, I propose that people get behind a reasonable date or their own choosing and see what happens.” by J.D.
“The commission set a goal of this spring. I have personally decided to wait until then (which I guess technically means June 21). Then I will do what I can do.”
by Michael Strelka
Both seem fair and reasonable. If we don’t see sincere progress by June 21, then I suggest that we “TAKE NO _ !!!”
A few are making comments claiming we are accusing the wrong people. Then please tell us who the guilty parties are, so we can apologize to the innocent. Lets all work together to get the truth by June 21st, and stop their stalling.
#3 Ande on 2007-02-26 14:54
"Putting away earthly cares" could mean not bending to the winds of compromise that are so much a part of legal wrangling, and instead standing firm that the TRUTH shall win out. I thank God that the age of insincereity masquerading as pious talk within the OCA may finally be coming to an end. If there is a trait of this country that is truly American and worthy of emulation as Christians, it is the trait of straight talk.
#4 Name withheld on 2007-02-26 18:14
June 21st would seem more than reasonable. That's half a year from the foundation of the Commission, and long after the investigation by PR has surely come to a substantial conclusion. But it would be better for the date to be set by the Metropolitan Council in consultation with the Commission and the Metropolitan, wouldn't it? I see it is as win-win. It is a good reason to provide for people to settle down and wait patiently a little longer, while still recognizing this has to come to some sort of resolution sooner rather than later, or not at all.
Perhaps someone has the right connections to respectfully inquire if consideration would be given to promising a date certain for disclosure of findings.
#5 Tim Capps on 2007-02-26 18:55
How sad, truly sad, that Archbishop JOB uses what he calls the “current scandal” as the springboard for his 2007 Lenten message. Is he so obsessed with this issue that it now defines even his approach to Great Lent? As his own diocese declines in membership and his own shortcomings as a diocesan bishop are again overlooked by his clergy, he quotes Fr. Robert Arida, his former priest in New England – who, how strange, is also rumored to have applied for the OCA chancellor position. How sad that whatever unity there is in the Midwest diocese, is now based on, as a cleric of his own diocese and an oft quoted contributor to this website stated to his brother clergy, “for once he has taken a stand on something.”
One might take the time to read the Lenten letters of other bishops of the OCA and other Orthodox Churches to see how out of step Archbishop JOB really is. Metropolitan HERMAN should resign but it also might be best for Archbishop JOB to follow him in rapid succession.
#6 Anonymous on 2007-02-26 20:20
Thank you Archbishop JOB!
I trust you completely and will continue to pray for you and for those working with you to bring an end to this mess and to restore trust, peace and love in the OCA!!
Humbly Yours in Christ,
(Holy Resurrection Church - Palatine, IL)
#7 Helen O'Sullivan on 2007-02-26 23:18
I have not posted here for sometime but clearly sometimes Anonymous means clueless. Again there are some who want to attack those who are willing to do something about this evil that has beentroubleing the OCA. The midwest Diocese may well be out of step with the rest of the Bishops of the OCA. THANK GOD! As a diocese we continue to grow. As a general rule older parishes struggle to maintain membership and new parishes are experiencing steady growth. There are of course exceptions on both sides. Overall the Diocese is doing quite well.
As a heirarch Job still does not command, order, and micro manage. He leads by example and is patient in trying to build concenses with the whole of the Diocese. That must be very scary to anonymous. How sad! If you want to see dying dioceses there are far better examples than the Midwest.
Finally, your definition of ignoring sin as the basis for a really good lenten message is sick and dysfunctional. Are you worried that Bishop Job might really have enough moral integrity to do a real investigation and report?
The Fathers of the church teach that our healing begins with the knowing of ourselves. If the OCA is to survive it will be only in self knowledge that leads to true repentance. We the OCA are sick and Bishop Job during this Lenten season continued faithfully in our healing using both oil and wine but not passing by as if we were not sick. Anonymous praised those who pass by on-the other side of the one who has been beaten and left for dead. We have opportunity in DMW for growth in both our personal and corporate repentance, self sacrifice, prayer and love of neighbor. Anonymous praises those who give no recognition that the OCA is even in need at all. Anonymous has stated that only Bishop Job has identified our current situation, addressed it, and attempted to lead His flock through it. I hope that that is not true but am thankful that Job at least is being attentive to His charge.
How glad and happy is the Midwest having such a pastor. How sad for the OCA that there is such a shortage of heirarchs that will speak to the sheep of God flock gently and kindly about the things that concern them with their Church. Bishop Job has not threatened, coerced, or frightened his people or priests. That seems to bother you. Neither has he told them lies such as "there is no scandal", "everything has been thrououly investigated", or other such nonsense. That seems to have escaped you. If that sort of thing is leadership for anonymous I can say that in the Midwest we want none of it!
Thank you not signing your post it would have truly been embarrassing for you and those who know you!
#8 Priest Andrew on 2007-02-27 08:19
The true test of a hierarch is not how well he composes a Lenten letter, but the relationship he has with his flock.
#9 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-02-27 08:34
Well "thank you" for another mud slinging anonymous post. It takes real "courage" to anonymously attack someone known for his tolerance of dissent and criticism (ask Mr. Fall). Perhaps you are just another embittered cleric or a self-interested Syosset gnome?
For the record, I do not know and have never met Archbishop Job. It is only through this website that I have become aquainted with him and his style of leadership. No doubt he has his faults, some of which he has even publicly confessed--how refreshing!
As for holding up the tired and hypocritical Lenten messages of so much of the Orthodox heirarchy as a model for Archbishop Job to follow, please allow me a moment of derisive laughter. The autocrat you seek is not a disciple of our Lord!
#10 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-27 08:50
Dear Mr/Ms/Rev Anonymous: I have perused the web sites of the Dioceses of Alaska, West, South, New England, and Western PA; only the Diocese of the South had the Lenten message of their bishop. So for the sake of argument, let us assume that all the messages were all similar to +Dmitri's.
You will remember, of course, Sir/Madam/Reverend, that one short year ago, the Holy Synod were fighting tooth and nail to have this whole issue swept conveniently under the rug, "for the good of the Church." You will remember that all discussion of the matter was, and still is, being repressed by all but a few bishops. "Let's forgive and forget, for the good of the Church."
To his credit, +Job was, and is, not one of them. Late to the game he might have been (and weren't most all of us?), at least now he IS taking a stand. He has stood for the truth, "for the good of the Church."
Finally, Mr/Ms/Rev Anonymous, +Dmitri's message was largely about forgiveness. Pointing out +Job's shortcomings might be easy; but as difficult as you, and we, might find it, perhaps we should take +Dmitri's words to heart, and forgive +Job, "for the good of the Church" and our souls.
Have a blessed journey to Pascha,
#11 Michael Strelka on 2007-02-27 09:30
My money says that they will never agree to a date and if they do, they will never keep their word. They would make great used car salesmen.
"WE have to grab the "BULL" by the horns if we want to save the OCA.
#12 Ande on 2007-02-27 09:47
I was happy to see Bishop Job at his Cathedral this past Sunday. We owe him many thanks for the hard work he has done this past year, as well as for his speaking out. As for Father Robert Arida, my parish priest, I thought his sermon, which Bishop Job included in his Lenten letter, was truthful and powerful and certainly it is Lenten. Father Robert Arida has not sought the office of Chancellor of the OCA or any other office, so we can assume that anything reported by anonomous, including his opinion of Bishop Job, is as misinformed as his rumor. Alice Carter, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, Boston
#13 Alice Carter on 2007-02-27 09:57
You know I wasn't going to post in this thread for a change of pace, but how dare anyone attack Job's lenten letter. Bishop Job and Metropolitan Herman are the only members of the Synod to take any responsibility for the churches financial collapse and misuse of funds unless I missed something along the way. That would suggest to me, they and only they are worthy of any speech on the matter of the OCAs financial collapse and misuse of funds. Strange that no other Bishop speaks of the matter in their Lenten letter......??
The two letters shouldn't be the same. The beauty of God's creation and what I've been taught in the church I believe is that we have free will. (and not just the men in the Midwest!) In general, I would hope that a local Bishop's letter would be nearer and dearer to the hearts of his people and a Metropolitan's letter be more hopeful and positive. In the secular world, the governor declares a state of emergency and the president brings a message of hope and rescue. Both letters are good messages in this context, Biblical or not.
I will render an opinion on letters in general, though, although probably not one MC member will read my opinion, because some of them don't even read anything posted here, just like they don't read financial statements, or auditor's letters, etc. [that's an intended run on]
The OCA must restore trust through actions that speak louder than words and letters; actions like fulfilling contributions of misused funds and sharing the details of such with all of us, actions like entrenched power leaving when their elected terms end, [this is our duty], actions like changing comptrollers, removing vendors, changing chancellors, implementing financial controls, opening budgets and financial reports to the public, etc. Anon, you call for MH to resign, but he has moved slowly towards these changes against a flood of criticism from inside and outside the ranks of power of the little 3.5M a year thing called the OCA.
I think that was a compliment you gave me KRT, so I'll take it as one.
As to the ranks of power mentioned above:
Anyone reading this post that attends the AAC in 2008 as a voter, please do not reelect any standing member of the Metropolitan Council elected prior to the last AAC in July of 2005. They didn't do their job.
As for those elected in July of 2005, only reelect them if they have shown great leadership during this time, especially fiduciary leadership.
#14 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-02-27 14:31
Why is it that when someone supports the prevailing wind on this website and does not sign their name, it is not questioned, but alas when someone finds fault with the prevailing wind and does not sign their name they are flogged?
Trying to stay downwind of all the blows here
#15 Anonymous on 2007-02-27 15:11
The reason, anonymous, is simple. In this case, rumor, misinformation and the ad hominem attack unfortunately blocked whatever positive contribution the post intended. If the post had simply stated disagreement with Bp Job's Lenten letter, instead of attacking Bp. Job, the reaction might well have been less.I do not agree with anonymous ad hominem attacks on anyone, for the record. Alice Carter
#16 Alice Carter on 2007-02-27 18:26
That is your opinion and your assumption, which is no better than anyone else's here. I love how things are labeled "misinformation." Says who? Another poster? You? And what attack on Archbishop JOB? A cleric in his own diocese made the comment on him. Not me. I think obsessed is an accurate portrayal. OK, how about consumed, preoccupied. Do those work for you? Prove me wrong that his diocese continues to lose membership. Ask for the numbers they don't lie. It is a fact and therefore how can a fact be an attack on Archbishop Job?
Not so simple Ms Carter. And please respect my right NOT to sign my name. Signing your name does not make your opinions any more valid.
#17 Anonymous on 2007-02-27 20:15
enough is enough
where does the lie end?
Mark’s web site did not harm the OCA
revealing the truth and investigation results “now” will not harm the OCA
the OCA was being destroyed years before ocanews.org was started
ocanews.org may now be the only means of salvaging what is left of the OCA
many fine articles have been written with little result
some writers may have a conflict of interest or other agenda (paycheck or pension)
parish priests must tell their parishioners what is going on (the truth!)
the action must start from the bottom and go up
parishioners should stop donations to churches where the priest does not do what he was ordained to do (tell the truth), even if the priest thinks it is in the best interest of the Church
not making donations or paying assessments prevent voting or attending meetings, but
does that “really” matter if the organization is being destroyed
your attending the next AAC will not save the OCA, withholding money may save it
parishioners are suppose to follow by-laws, statutes, canon law, etc, but what about our leaders?
some societies jail criminals, all we want is resignations and the truth
how many parish priests do you think want “the” dirty laundry revealed?
where does the lie end?
enough is enough
we need a firm date for “full disclosure”!!!
no more excuses and stonewalling
#18 Ande on 2007-02-27 21:38
Why does this attack on Vladyka JOB sound so much like something that either the retired bishop of the West or the bishop of Alaska might say? Was it not they who tried to have Abp forced to resign or be deposed a year ago?
I agree with Alice Carter that the problem is not disagreeing with the prevailing opinion here: it is the ad hominem attacks. There is also the point that sme people just seem to be taking an attitude that will enable the dishonesty that has reigned for so long, behind the cloaking admonishments to pious silence. Often silence is what is needed. Certainly forgiveness is ALWAYS needed. This does not mean that we should sit back and enable sin to continue. That itself is a sin. That silence is neither silence nor godly. That is not an act of forgiveness, but of tacit consent.
I have only met Vladyka JOB on a few occasions, over a decade ago. If he remembered me I'd be stunned. I have never met Fr Robert Arida, but I have known some of his past parishioners who have moved on to new things, not moved away from him. On the contrary, they miss him. He has clearly had a powerful and positive impact on those people's lives.
From my very limited personal contact, from my reading over the last year, and from reputation among clergy whom I know and hold in high esteem, I can only expect that Vladyka JOB has struggled hard everyday in the past year plus to find a balanced perspective on this whole mess. Has he become obsessed with the problem at hand? No! He is being realistic about the fact that it is part of our reality again this Lent. Has it defined his approach to Lent? Not hardly! It is Syosset that has allowed itself, and the OCA to be defined by this mess. Vladyka JOB, being a decent human being who is trying to be realistic, has no choice but to traverse the sea of the Fast in the context of the matters at hand. To ignore the matter for 40 days because it is Lent would be irresponsible and evidence of a reality disorder.
I can't claim to know Vladyka JOB, nor am I even in his diocese. I have met other saintly bishops, however, one of whom tonsured me a reader. In that bishop I saw 'an image of humility and a teacher of abstince' by poverty achieved riches and by lowliness the heights of heaven. Vladyka JOB may or may not be reaching such sanctity, he is certainly not perfect (nor are any of the greatest saints), but he is doing one thing right: he's being realistic. For that reason he has not only every ounce of confidence (in the OCA) I have left, but my heartfelt, 'eis polla eti despota!'
#19 Losing Confidence on 2007-02-28 00:12
Anonymous /#7.1.1. says....."Signing your name does not make your opinions any more valid".
Well, maybe to you it doesn't but it does to me. Any fruitcake can write an anyonymous letter and say what comes to his/her mind knowing full well that he/she cannot be held responsible for what he/she says and doesn't have to defend what he/she says. By signing your name you tell the world that this is what I, JOHN DOE, believe and I have no qualms about letting the world know that I believe what I write. And I know that down the line, someone may pick up what I said and use it against me. If you don't have the guts to take on that responsibility, then sign your names "anonymous".
PS For the record. I know there are cases where an anonymous signature is called for because of the specific circumstances . I think we can discern most of these from the contents of the posts BUT I don't think most of the anonymous postings fit this category. Most of the postings are from people afraid or unwilling to stand up for what they believe.
#20 nicholas skovran on 2007-02-28 11:40
When will people understand? The majority of parish priest know nothing more than anyone else. Do you think
Syosset sends letters informing the priest of what is going on? They are not lying to the parishioners. It is stated money should be withheld from the parishes until the priest tells the truth. He has nothing to tell, as he hasn't been told anything...
#21 clergy wife on 2007-02-28 11:42
The criticism of Archbishop JOB has what to do with the mess we're in? Talk about irrelevant sniping (not to mention inaccurate). Losing membership? Assuming you have accurate OCA membership figures (shakes Magic 8-Ball) and we are losing people in the midwest, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Maybe there are a lot of old people who have passed away. Maybe people have become disaffected by a scandal you may have heard about and left. I dunno. To the extent metrics matter, my parish is somewhat improved from last year.
I've only ever met the man once, and it is hardly my place to approve or disapprove. I will say that when he visited my parish I was impressed with someone who treated my two boys (who served) with respect, was accessible and frank without being familiar, and who didn't seem to need an entourage or other ego props to function.
As for not publically ignoring the problems we're talking about here, three cheers for Archbishop JOB. Accepting the shovel to try to dig the OCA out of took more guts than I would have, Anonymous.
Now I regret rising to the bait, because this isn't about personalities, and this isn't advancing the discussion, but so be it.
It was a standard tactic of the former administration to reduce everything to personalities. They deflected every criticism, avoided any questions, and rejected inspection by dismissing all attempts to do so as the wicked goal of some "individual". After reducing everything to individuals, they would then overtly, or more often obliquely, remind everyone of that individuals' personal failings so as to diminish their critique. And it almost always works, since we are all sinners of one sort or another, and all have personal failings. It was the old Soviet technique - throw enough mud against the wall and some is bound to stick.
And if that didn't work well enough, they would then restate the argument in terms of "this one versus that one", so as to keep every one divided and pitted against each other; and thus deflect from the original question. One sees a perfect example of their techniques in this recent exchange, which began with a question about the scandal and ended up with everyone discussing Archbishop Job's failings!
If anyone anyone ever called them on their tricks, they would engage in a further reduction that placed the origin of all questioning in only the basest of motives: revenge, anger, disaffection, etc. One has only to re-read Fr. Kondratick's lawyer's letter to see this technique at its fullest....
Their rhetoric is all based on fear, and its ethos is manipulation. Do not feel badly at having risen to the bait- that is what it was placed there for.
Rather, you are to be commended in spitting it out, which is what it deserves.
#22 Tim Capps on 2007-02-28 12:33
Sorry to have annoyed anonymous. Certainly my opinions are just that, however, the fact is that Father Robert Arida has not sought any office in the OCA. That is not a matter of opinion, but of fact, since I have checked that rumor out. It is that kind of cavalier attitude towards truth, the willilngness to entertain rumors, to quote derogatory anonymous "sources" as indicative of the character of Bishop Job which leads me to believe that anonymous has no interest in truth, in Lent (cave his pious remonstrances about Lenten letters) or in the resolution of the OCA crisis. Alice Carter
#23 Alice Carter on 2007-02-28 13:05
Mark is 100% correct. These are EXACTLY the types of tactics employed by Syosset and also the OCA administration in the Diocese of the West. I experienced this first hand starting in 2000 and was the target when I dared question the unethical conduct, outright lies, and sacramental deriliction of duties I witnessed and complained about.
Bishop Tikhon and his administrators did nothing (and have still not done anything) for 7+ years while the flock suffered, cried, and asked for help. Tikhon and company attacked and insulted anyone and everyone who dared to speak up and ask for truth and action. This is NOT how the Holy Orthodox Church is supposed to operate and conduct business. This is how the Mafia or gangs of thugs operate.
The best writing teacher I had (long, long ago) always edited out and roundly condemned phrases like "in my opinion" when they'd creep into our essays. By definition, if I'm writing it or saying it, it's my opinion. What else would it be?
Last time I checked we were still allowed to have opinions, to share them, and to debate them. Anonymous seems unduly discomforted by that reality.
[only regretting that the report that Fr. Robert had applied for chancellor was unfounded -- he's exactly the kind of priest of integrity that we need.]
#25 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-02-28 14:28
I have always had a problem with the omission of "in my opinion" when someone is giving me their opinion, especially when they are trying to convince me that their opinion is more factual than mine may be. I have to say that many of the "opinions" that are stated here (and in most other forums such as this) can be construed to be factual by those who are less knowlegeable on the topic being discussed. To me, that is dangerous in that false and damaging conclusions can be easily drawn in such cases.
Oh. By the way, I also think Father Robert would make a fine chancellor!
#26 Father Gary J. Breton on 2007-02-28 16:03
Dear Matushka (clergy wife)
Since you read my comment and were able to reply, you must have access to a computer. Your husband (far more educated than I) must also be very familiar with the ocanews.org site. If I were a priest, I would certainly follow this site closely.
I have a few friends who are priests, but your husband must have many more priest friends from the seminary, etc. I can’t believe that they wouldn’t discuss it.
With many Orthodox clergy and Orthodox lawyers speaking out against Syosset, this has to be a clue that something is wrong.
Maybe a priest shouldn’t bring up the subject with parishioners, but if asked point blank about it, he shouldn’t reply that nothing is wrong (it’s just two former disgruntled seminarians causing trouble). He could say that there is an investigation going on and we don’t have the results yet.
Syosset may or may not send out letters informing the priest of what is going on, but I hear that they do send out gag orders. This should also be a clue.
If pressure isn’t put on Syosset soon to disclose the truth, there won’t be any money left for pensions etc, due to legal fees, less donations, and parishioners leaving.
Thank you, Ande
#27 Ande on 2007-02-28 16:04
Kudos to Mark's editorial comment regarding anonymous.
Reducing 10 years of gross financial mismanagement and misconduct ranging from terminating whistleblowers to firing auditors, to blowing audits, to gross overpspending, to God only knows what else to Abp. Job's [obsessed] personality to correct that issue is spot on to what they have said here.
It can't be the Beslan children or any of the 50 other issues the OCA has messed up on, that'd just be too complicated.
I'm not fully convinced I haven't come down on many anon posters calling for resignations, etc. That concept is one imagined by anon because the concept of the website is accountability and its visitors are usually concerned over the issue. (how odd)
As for the dwindling membership in the Midwest, be very careful Anon that you aren't referring to the entire church. The demographics can't be pretty anywhere. The OCA only has about 27,000 members, which is smaller than the membership of pheasants forever which boasts membership of 100,000+.
#28 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-02-28 16:23
I like your suggestion of "who and who should not" be reelected to the MC. I will be there as a delegate, so I am trying to collect all the good ideas I can get.
I hope more good suggestions keep coming.
#29 Anonymous on 2007-02-28 16:24
I concur. Thank you Mark for exposing the "tactics of marginalization" that have so dictated behavior at Syosset and the Synod for several decades. It is shameful. I have been the recipient of this demeaning and demoralizing behavior. I hope people can understand that I do not wish to be re-exposed to this tactic since so many of the people that participated in these tactics are still in power. When they are gone and I have some confidence that sincere, trustworthy individuals are now leading, I will likely reemerge. Until then, I heartily cheer and pray for the efforts of OCA reformers, named and unnamed! God bless you all.
#30 Name withheld on 2007-02-28 18:58
Rule by "divine right" has been atempted many times on earth.......all have failed........what works in heaven often cannot be adjusted to mere earthly standards, such as honesty and accountability, forthrightness and integrity.......the Almighty must be observing the 'administrative' activities of Syosset with alarm
#31 luke on 2007-02-28 23:08
Methinks Anonymous sounds a lot like "Love, +BT"
#32 Name withheld on 2007-03-01 10:37
It's doubtful that there is anyone out there who knows nothing of what is going on in OCA. We all have bits and pieces that have come down to us through personal experience, discussion with others, OCAnews, the media, OCA, etc. Many sources have given us enough information to raise questions and doubts. Some information is probably accurate and some questionable. This is why it is of utmost importance to have MH come forward and honestly and openly present the facts. We sincerely wish to move forward but in light of what we know, or don't know, must tred cautiously.
#33 ANON on 2007-03-01 10:42
I think that the anxiety of the participants on this site is growing, as indicated by the adversarial tone of many of the posts. As I had said earlier, I have bailed out on the OCA almost a year ago when our priest was so vehement about only using one site, the OCA's official site, for information, etc.etc. One 'Google' of OCA Financial was all it took for me to turn away from official cover-up;
If advice against knowledge (.. and Truth?) comes from a priest it's official enough for me.
No one ever encapsuleted the Bethesda meeting, I was there and sent Mark a very brief note about roughly twelve topics/ questions.
I can't find my notes but there were financial questions, of course. Most very well phrased and with strong commannd of the amounts in question. MH's answers were in the range of 'yes there were always audits... I was the Treasuer in name only, repeated twice for emphasis '...in name only'. Yes the money for Russia was taken out as cash because that was the way to do it. "We" know who took it to Russia.
Questions about FBI investigations... MH denied any knowledge of any FBI investigation. Blackmail, sexual issues"Yes I have heard those rumors too", have asked and found no evidence of victims, checks, cash payments -- my paraphrase.
Appeals for allowing the investigation(s) to take their course; the more questions and searching the deeper/ longer it will take -- again paraphrase.
ADM money? It was M Theodosious' to use at his discretion; and that is the only answer MT always and has ever given to anyone.
On and on with no real answers, and I think MH was out of touch or not attuned to the assembly's stunned silence as the non-answers and obfuscation came from his side of the table.
As a final indication that MH reads this site -- upon leaving the table he stopped after a few steps, suddenly turned to speak; I was hoping for some last word of, what, consolation? Leadership?
No. His dignified exit was marred by telling us that neither he nor his assistant was getting money for this vist; that his assistant was a nice young man 'who needs help with his mortgage' or some such ... nonsense.
#34 J. Murray on 2007-03-01 10:43
For some reason I have not seen my earlier comments on this message so I will try again.
Metropolitan HERMAN's Lenten message was inspiring and true to the Gospel. There is a reason why we pray at Liturgy to put aside earthly cares--these are not just words. It calls us, as Christ did, not to be concerned with temporal things, but to make our priorities eternal life, salvation and our relationship with God. That is what life is about. We struggle with these, but we must seek to do our best. Our Lord spoke of the birds and the lillies and the care and beauty of them without their concerns for those things that we often become preoccupied with. We would do well to heed these words. And once again I would ask is it necessary for some to deride others, to be sarcastic, to attack, to seek some sort of revenge for whatever they might have experienced in the past or what they might observe, to generalize, etc. None of us are perfect. None of us has all the answers. Problems can be corrected a positive approach to do what is best and right.
#35 Archpriest William DuBovik on 2007-03-01 15:02
This has been going on way too long. One seriously starts to wonder if our own hierarchs even believe in God. How can one believe that there is a God watching and lie? I hope I am wrong, but I don't have a doubt that at least our beloved spiritual fathers lied to us. Now, let's assume that they did lie, even so, the correct thing to do is to come clean, then we can start forgiving each other and move on. At least if I had lied to my own congregation, or was even somehow involved in misappropriation of funds, I would resign.
I just simply don't understand. Had we been in the Soviet Union, I could at least imagine that the government forced priests to cooperate, but what "forced" our hierarchs to steal and lie?
I wonder if there is any way that +Herman can be forced to resign. He might be a good priest, but I don't think he has our confidence anymore as a metropolitan. John Macenka and I are probably not the only ones who feel this way... or are we?
#36 Constantin Ditloff on 2007-03-01 15:34
I would like to request that you be so kind as to keep up the pressure on the OCA's responsibility to fill its outstanding positions.
There are quite a number of recent posts and it seems like this very important issue has been lost in the shuffle. As Mr. Fall pointed above, the issues facing the OCA are not just the call for the resignation of MH but an almost entire house cleaning.
I am really very interested in finding out what candidates are out there that can sit around month after month after month waiting to see if they get picked for these positions. It seems that you have a far better chance of making it on the next American Idol than for the OCA administration to make a decision. Are they really so incompetent to think that any reasonably qualified individual can sit around for months waiting for the "opportunity" to walk into this mess? I know several people that have expressed interest in one position or another but all of them have backed away at this point because the process has taken so long. It seems that the Holy Synod has so many more pressing issues to concern itself with that it can't be bothered with such trivial matters as hiring a Chancellor, a CFO, and a Comptroller. What on earth do they have to do that could possibly be more important that filling these positions and attempting to restore some level of trust? For the life of me I really can't imagine anything. It's like watching people rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic.
Lord, help us!
#37 Priest Michael on 2007-03-01 16:02
To clarify one thing, the pension can never be touched by the national church for bills. It is government regulated.
#38 clergy wife on 2007-03-01 18:31
Interesting that my analysis of why some priests are reluctant to openly discuss the scandal with their parishioners “seems” to be correct. “SECURITY” And I can’t really blame them for that.
After a friendly exchange of posts with Matushka (clergy wife), her main concern “seems” to be the pension. “the pension can never be touched by the national church for bills. It is government regulated.”
She is probably correct, and I totally agree that priests should receive pensions. However, I have seen attempts, in different industries, to have pensions cut back.
I still feel that it is a gray area when a priest decides what should be discussed with parishioners. I don’t know what I would do, but I hope I would do the right thing.
Not discussing it now may result in greater damage in the long run.
Thank you, Ande
#39 Ande on 2007-03-01 21:31
My wife and I have a policy with our children: They have our complete trust unless they do something to diminish that trust; at that point they will lose their privileges and must work to restore them and our trust. When our Metropolitan and hierarchs were elevated to their positions we exclaimed "Axios!" and, in so doing, we expressed our trust in them as our high-priests, teachers and shepherds.
At present that trust has not been only diminished but seriously broken. The financial scandal that has occupied us these last two years has now hemorraged to the point of breaking out into rumors and revelations of serious moral failings at the highest levels. The response of our Metropolitan and past and present leadership to all these things has thus far been puctuated by expressions of anger, denial, character assasination, reprisals, sanctions, blame, secrecy and utter silence. Now, as one trouble calls another on, the need to restore trust among us may have reached the point of no return. Surely repentance and forgiveness is possible and desirable among us, but the restoration of trust may never come as long as the present leadership cynically assumes that they can maintain their positions and move the church forward.
The simple truth that the Metropolitan and Holy Synod must face is that we simply don't trust you anymore. The Metropolitan Council and other leaders need to understand that, despite your best efforts to steer the church into calmer seas, we simply don't trust you anymore. One only has to look at the "unreported" results of the recent church-wide appeals to face that fact!
We are neither willing or able to move beyond this crisis and "put it behind us." Many of us fervently believe in the mission of the Orthodox Church in America, and the potential that God has put before us, too much to leave it a shambles for the sake of certain persons keeping power and preserving the illusion of a "200,000 member" autocephalous player in world Orthodoxy. It's time for truth, it's time for prayer and fasting, it's time for change.
As we continue our journey through Great Lent, let us all fear God: "Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known" (Luke 12:2). Let us deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Christ: putting the good of the Church above personal ambition; servanthood above power, rank and position; humility and gentleness above despotic authoritarianism. Let us restore trust, once and for all, in the Orthodox Church in America.
Forgive me, my brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I have written before, Bishop Job, does not have clean hands either. He has been a Bishop for twenty three years, and only in the last two years, he has spoken out about the current situation.
All of the Heirarchy, with more than six years as bishops, have tainted hands. Lets not pat any Bishop on the back yet!
It would be most honorable for Metropolitan Herman, to step down as Primate of the OCA, so that the healing process, can take place. This would be the best thing that can happen, to preserve the OCA.
St. James---Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
WHAT IS TRUTH? A mini-reflection
Pilate's famous question continues to reverberate throughout the OCA as we progress through the Lenten season. It may well be asked, in some quarters, in the same cynical fashion in which it was orginally posed. Certainly for the attorneys so ferverishly working to protect their "clients," Truth is a two edged sword. For the innocent a refuge--for the guilty an obstacle to overcome.
For much of the leadership of the OCA, Truth is a very inconvenient fact that will not go away and interferes with business as usual. If only it could be banished with chants and incantations designed to abort its conception even as it continues to show signs of life! But, of course, Truth is the very word of God and can not be silenced indefinitely.
Throughout the ages, Truth has forever been on the scaffold. Most tragically, and unforgivably, have been the instances when it has been placed there by so-called Christians. Employing falsehoods to instill religious piety has been one of its worst manifestations. Denying it, and punishing its messengers, is a cherished practice of those seeking to maintain and expand their personal empires of authority and control.
But Truth always triumphs in the end--though it may be a long time coming, indeed interminably long, for those hoping for justice and true reconciliation.
KRT a.k.a. "Poster Boy"
#42 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-03-02 07:42
"Problems can be corrected a positive approach to do what is best and right."
Protodeacon Wheeler took a positive approach; he was fired. John Kozey took a positive approach; he was fired. Protodeacon Danilchick took a positive approach; his Best Practices have been shelved.
Rev. Fr., how long are we to wait for corrective action to actually be taken?
#43 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-03-02 09:10
While it is true that Abp. Job does not have totally "clean hands", as you say, I have to step up and point out one thing. When Abp. Job first went to each of the Deaneries of the Diocese of the Midwest and openly talked about Protodeacon Eric's letter and his letter, the very first thing he talked about was his own failures in the past and he asked forgiveness for those failures. That forgiveness was freely and wholeheartedly given by all.
This is in marked contrast to the course followed by the other bishops of the OCA, especially the bishop of the West and Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman.
Archbishop Job, with his failures and struggles, is a real man of God, in my opinion, and I am proud that he is my bishop.
As to why some of us clergy refrain from using our names when posting, many of us have experienced the reprisals that resulted when speaking out in the past, and as has been pointed out, we still have good reason to not trust Syosset.
#44 Name withheld on 2007-03-02 10:54
Wouldn't it be nice to know what exactly the current financial status of the OCA is, (aside from the loan), SINCE THE DISMISSAL of the former Chancellor? Is the Church currently solvent or insolvent?
I find it rather amusing that no one has bothered to ask this question.
Isn't anyone aside from myself interested in learning the answer to this question?
Here are a few more questions to ponder.
Have ANY cash disbursements in $9,500 increments of Church monies been made since the former Chancellor's dismissal?
Have ANY monies been moved from one church account to another to pay bills or used as "gifts" since the former Chancellor's dismissal?
Have ANY Church monies been deemed "unaccountable" since the former Chancellor's dismissal?
Have there been any priviledged groups of people traveling as part of an official OCA delegation to any of the ancient Orthodox Patriarchates since the former Chancellor's dismissal?
Have there been any lavish, over-the-top Church related meetings, banquets or celebrations since the former Chancellor's dismissal?
Would Mark or someone else care to comment at all on these questions??
Oh, and by the way, if fiscal responsibility has become evident since the former Chancellor's dismissal, then perhaps some credit should be given to whomever is responsible for NOT frivilously squandering the Church's money any longer.
#45 Michael Geeza on 2007-03-02 14:37
Amen. Amen. Amen.
#46 Sine Nomine on 2007-03-02 23:01
No one in the Synod, on the Metropolitan Council, at the All-American Council, or associated with the Church has clean hands. Each parish had representation at the All-American councils, including the ones where the need for an annual audit was dispensed with.
There is a key difference with Vladika JOB. His Eminence realized his failures and shortcomings, and set about to make whatever change was in his power. Please take the time to read his letter at the end of 2005. He has acknowledged his shortcomings, repented (rather publically I may add) and has asked forgiveness, which had the other hierarchs followed his example, we wouldn't have this fiasco.
He has been supported by his brother bishop, His Grace NIKON, but by no other bishops (at least not publically).
While no one has lived and not sinned, Abp. JOB has not only called for repentance, he has modeled it for us.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#47 Marty Watt on 2007-03-03 08:24
This is “One of the best” comments that I have read to date.
#48 Ande on 2007-03-03 09:06
Ask Fr. Paul your priest or MH , their in charge of all the money. That's funny there hasn't been a report in 18 months.
#49 Jon S. on 2007-03-03 14:35
Father DuBovik, I think you may have missed my reply to your post on 2/23 so I've copied it here for you, should you scroll this way again. Those folks on this website who have been paying attention to their relationship with God have been struggling in Lent and out of Lent to heal His wounded Church. And like St John Chrysostom many of them use sarcasm and irony in the attempt to arouse the flower smellers, who, like Ferdinanad the Bull, would like to stay out of the arena forever.
Dear Father Dubovik, your posts seem to indicate that you are surprised, or offended by the thoughts shared on this web site. It might help you to understand that many Orthodox are deeply wounded by this scandal. This is why there are so many painfilled comments. (Sarcasm is a way of dealing with pain, by the way) You need not assume that those who post here have not forgiven, have not seen this crisis with hearts of charity, especially please do not assume that many tears have not been shed. This is the most sorrowful time in our OCA history. What do you counsel a man or woman who tells you that they are being abused in their marriage? Physically abused? I am deeply offended by your posts. Alice Carter
#50 Alice Carter on 2007-03-03 17:21
Respectfully, when you use my name to make an argument make it a wise argument.
In this case, a hasty decision for these positions would be foolish. Thank God for the leadership's patience. I've seen accountants hired in searches that took 6 months and they weren't the best pick by a longshot. Pray to God that the leadership choose well.
In this case, employees will be more difficult to find since the OCA has tightened its pursestrings. Pray to God that the compensations will be sufficient to get qualified applicants.
In this case, an educated, upstanding person with courage and the desire to follow non-profit GAAP, etc. would enjoy taking a church with significant internal control problems and reversing that trend. Pray to God for their competance.
Only a weak hearted, weak minded accountant wouldn't want such an opportunity.
So, although you used my name, you don't have my agreement.
Continue to thank God for the changes the OCA has embarked upon and continue to pray for good applicants.
#51 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-03-03 20:53
Michael Geeza asks:
Have there been any lavish, over-the-top Church related meetings, banquets or celebrations since the former Chancellor's dismissal?
I'm not sure if it meet your definition of lavish and over the top, but apparently announcements have been sent out concerning a $100/plate banquet and the New York Athletic Club to comemorate Metr. Herman's 75th birthday.
Business as usual, no?
#52 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-03-04 15:25
I love the who remaining anonymous arguements that go on here. This is, and has long been a vindictive, deviceive leadership team. If you broke from lock step with the guard, you were banished. Don't you think this is happening to parishoners in the parishes too. When there rectors see they post on this site, and then give them hell for it. I am here to tell you, it is in fact happening and will continue to happen until such time as Herman is removed, defrocked and prosecuted, along with any co-conspirators in this scheme to defraud the members of the OCA of monies contributed to it.
My family and myself were singled out by a priest as "troublemakers", and were making statements against the church. When in fact the statements are not against the church, they are for it's healing.
Herman and his boys can end this tonight, by confessing to everything, resigning and asking for forgiveness...and mercy. Until such time as that happens, the honest people will continue to ask Who, Where, What and Why. If Herman takes the bull by the horns and falls on his sword, this whole sordid thing becomes history overnight, and a new page is turned.
Herman...do the right thing. If not for you, for the people who love the OCA and all it stands for. Your dragging Orthodoxy through the mud, and there will be no winners when the law steps in to sort it out.
As to the priests and others who point out those of us who have taken a stand against the problem....my advice to you.... start becoming part of the solution, not continuing to be part of the cancer that infects the very fabric of the OCA.
Clergy...by uniting for the people (the true church, as without the flocks, there is no church) and speaking out, you can force Syosett into providing answers. If they lose their people...what is left for them but to walk away and allow the healing to begin.
#53 K. K. on 2007-03-04 17:14
What do you mean by, "modeled it for us"
I only see talking the talk, not walking the talk!
St. James---Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Dear Mr. Fall,
I understood your earlier point to be that the OCA's problems were not the result of one person. I believe that this is true. If this was not your point, I offer my apologies.
And so that I am clear on my points, I agree that these positions should not be filled hastily. They are critical to the success of the OCA and no one should take them lightly. What I find disturbing is that this process doesn't seem to be moving -- which again was my reason for asking Mark to keep this issue at the forefront. It has been my experience that organizations sometimes make matters worse by procrastinating with big decisions such as these and then taking the next available body just to be done with the issue.
#55 Priest Michael on 2007-03-05 10:04
Just to confirm what you have said, a couple of parishoners at our church were out of town and called ahead to ask for the local priest's blessing to partake in communion. The priest called our priest, to ask if they were "troublemakers." Sigh.
#56 Michael Strelka on 2007-03-06 11:04
If you only see talk from Abp. JOB then you simply aren't watching.
Prior to this scandal being made public, in a letter to the delegates to the 14th AAC (duplicated on this website) His Eminence expressed his strong objection to the failure of Syosset to answer simple questions at the AAC. He hinted at that time that as the largest provider of funding for Syosset under the Fair Share program he, with his diocesean representatives, needed an accounting of funds.
In November of 2005, he expressed his concerns to Met. HERMAN, and issued his "mea culpa" for his actions/inactions.
In November of 2005 he set about questioning the authority in Syosset, at the Synod level, concerning the finances. When the remainder of the synod desired to close the issue, he forced it to remain open. As his letter to MH stated:
"Although it has been stated that the members of the Holy Synod consider this matter to be closed, I once again take exception: this [“this” - italicized] member of the Holy Synod accepts no such closure at this time. It is my pastoral duty to lead the faithful flock entrusted to my spiritual care and, when necessary, to protect it. I can do neither adequately unless this crisis is resolved and answers are provided. I realize that my reticence to accept the “status-quo” puts me in an extremely vulnerable position, but I cannot violate my conscience or my responsibility."
After the lesser synod determined no action was required in January 06, His Eminence continued to press for answers. He was threatened with being deposed, but maintained his pastoral principal. He has not given up, but continued to press for answers and disclosure. Now, as the chair of the special commission, that work continues, with the assistance of able attorneys and like-minded heirarchs serving on the same commission.
He has, with the support of his diocesean assembly, directed to begin withholding funds unless changes are made.
We must remember -- no member of the Holy Synod, save Metropolitan HERMAN, can cause change in Syosset. Syosset does not report to the Synod. The former Chancellor, in July of 2005, made that abundantly clear. Syosset reports to no one (save MH).
In my mind, Abp. JOB has recognized his failings, and set about to do everything within his power to rectify those past failures. Such is the model of repentance he offers us.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#57 Marty Watt on 2007-03-06 11:55
No, Actually Michael, the comment was made directly to a family member by the Priest of a parish. Apparently if your not on board with the cover-up, your against the church in the clergies eyes.
Wrong yes, is it happening...absolutely.
#58 K.K. on 2007-03-07 07:35
Although much more up-to-date information will be on the site as of today (March 13th) I have found my Bethesda notes and for an attempt at completeness here they are;
Q- Sudden deficit of +$2 million
A- "treasurer in name only... in name only"
Q - $1.+ million cash outlay,checks to cash?
(sudden intake of breath by MH ... but no real answer)
Q- Efforts to recover money?
A - No.
Q-Why was the mismanagement not noticed and unaddressed for so long?
A- .. the documents show different.
Q- Why was the national level so long without an audit?
A - Always audits but not certified, & the Metropolitan Council had no questions.
Q - Who was responsible?
Q- Will Herman step down 'to heal" OCA?
A- The question is out of order; no reason to consider stepping down, why?
Q- There seems to be a general consensus on $2.5 million shortfall; With so many checks made out to cash would that not be a red flag?
A- That was the way to send money to Russia; "we" have records
on who received the $ and brought it to Russia.
addenda to answer " ... the inquest is far from over..."
Q - FBI & IRS?
A - Not known, unconfirmed
Q- St. Vatherines in Moscow? ADM records indicate +$4million to Theodosius
A- "His discretion - always the same and only answer..."
Q- Sexual blackmail?
A- Has heard the same rumors, looked for names, checks, cash = no answers
Q - Does MH see any conflict of interest? Should there be a separation of him from the investigation
A- He (I) am apart from the investigation
Q- Any plan to restore trust?
A - ....... .......
As I had written earlier the stunned silence of the group was lost on him; and the dignified exit was marred by a gratuitious comment about not getting any money for the visit and assistant needs help with is mortgage ...
#59 j.Murray on 2007-03-13 09:47
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