Friday, March 30. 2007
Well, at least everybody is talking openly to everyone else, even if they don't agree. That is good. Your comments welcome as well.
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Big Joe's party is cancelled? Wow! Finally...in all the wrong, one right move was made! Even a broken clock is right twice a day I suppose!
Eventually the truth will come out.
#1 K.K. on 2007-03-30 18:17
The latest developments are ominous. Especially disappointing is Archbishop Job's letter to his diocese for the following reasons:
1. His failure to strongly support Gregg Nescott and oppose his removal from both the Commission and the MC. I do not understand how his "irritation" at the publication of Gregg Nescott's remarks is in accord with his usual support for openess and truth. The remarks were completely consistent with Gregg's previous positions and made before an official body of the OCA whose business should be a matter of public record except in extraordinary circumstances.
2. His apparent belief, that MH, in conjunction with a diocesean bishop, can remove/suspend an elected member of the MC unilaterally.
3. Perhaps most concerning, his statement that, "I stand with the other Heirarchs of the Holy Synod in support of the efforts of His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman." What does this mean?! A pass for MH on any responsiblity for this scandal and its aftermath? Are we really just going to hold Fr. Kondratick responsible and "move on?" If so, count me out! Perhaps His Eminence should read and ponder Wayne Tatusko's reflection.
Archbishop Job remains our best hope for heirarchical leadership willing to address the OCA's many problems. But today he stumbled and ruined my Holy Week preparations in the process.
#2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-03-30 20:02
Kenneth Tobin refers to Mr. Tatusko's Reflection, published today on this site. It is very reminiscent of a message from Peter Zwick some time ago, in which Mr. Zwick discussed the financial developments under each successive Treasurer of the OCA. Peter Zwick, if I remember correctly, speculated that the OCA might have been missing up to $10 million.
In Mr. Tatusko's message, he specifically refers to checks written to cash totalling over a million dollars, from 2001 through 2005. During that time period, Fr. Dimitri Oselinsky was acting Treasurer from some time in 2001 until he was elected Treasurer officially at the AAC in 2002. Fr. Dimitri remained in office until the end of June, 2005. Therefore, he was treasurer during the majority of the time to which Mr. Tatusko alludes.
I am wondering whether anybody has talked to Fr. Dimitri, and simply asked him about those checks, instead of leaving it open to speculation and question. Surely he would be happy to answer any questions to the best of his ability.
What we have been doing is sort of like the story about the man who looked for his lost keys under the street light, instead of where he dropped them, because the light was better there. All this talk about +Herman and Fr. Kucynda may simply be looking in the wrong place, so to speak. Neither of them can answer the questions, most likely. Why not seek the answers in the more logical place? Cate
#3 Cate on 2007-03-30 21:02
I frankly don't understand why people like Abp. Job and Fr. Ted Bobosh don't walk into the NY State AGs office and file a formal complaint.
Further, Mark, I don't understand why you wouldn't post my controversial comments regarding this type of inaction. Fr. Ted is quoted by the good Bishop himself. It seems odd to me that all this time would be spent floating about the pages of the Gospel instead of a walk into a State Office Building.
Why do we care what Bishop reigns over Fr. K?
It is your site, so I guess you get to call the shots kinda like Metropolitan Herman calls the shots in the OCA, huh?
Posting really tuff notes I can understand might be too much sometimes, but why hasn't the NY AG been moved to action by the Bishop of the Midwest, my bishop?
Editor's note: There is a difference between "Tuff" and inappropriate. I do publish tuff notes, as anybody can read. I do not publish those, or sections of those I consider inappropriate for any number of reasons. I explained those reasons to you privately. As for the NY AG, several people have approached them. As this is under federal investigation, as we have pointed out on several ocassions, one would imagine they are hesitant to intervene at this point. Ask them.
But the truth is the secular authorities cannot save us. They never could. We must use the salvation God has already given us to find the strength and courage to "save ourselves" in this instance. It makes no difference what 12 strangers say, if we do not listen to the 6 members of our own Special Commission, the 20+ members of the Metropolitan Council, and all but one member of the Holy Synod. Conviction of Fr. Kondratick for civil crimes, should he ever face trial, is meaningless if the Church cannot even admit to itself what was done, or why.
#4 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-03-30 21:27
This has been heart-wrenching. I have wished that Metropolitan Herman would resign. However, calling him "Big Joe" and posting sarcasm does not contribute to what this web site is trying to accomplish. It diminishes all of us. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Truth in love, my brother.
Protodeacon Brad Matthews
St Peter Serbian Orthodox Church
#5 Protodeacon Brad Matthews on 2007-03-31 07:24
Thanks for the enlightenment. Frankly, I didn't know the NY AGs office had been contacted by anyone.
I truly like Fr. Ted Bobosh, in fact I have a place in my heart for the man that has grown through this issue, but I have grown weary of the churches inability to act and our Bishops and priest's overuse of the Bible related to civil crime. I'm quite sure the Bible is very simple in its approach. Unless I'm mistaken, the Bible says let the authorities handle it, and in as few words, my priest said this should be the approach.
Yes, I said it. Overquoting the Gospels needs to stop. Not because I say so, but because the overuse of Gospels without action is truly weakening their meaning.
The Gospels have begun to disappoint me, and this is a serious charge that I hope our hiearchs hear.
Here are some reasons. Abp. Nikolai fell back on the canons, not the Scriptures in an excuse for his absence, but one would assume the canons are based on Scripture, so according to him, he followed the Scriptures. +Herman has not commented publicly, but as the leader of the church, we deserve to hear how this is or isn't the Gospel.
Abp. Job, on the other hand attended the meeting. Did he get a copy of the 2005/2006 financial report first? He could have quite easily placed a secular demand that he would only attend if financial statements were handed to him, but the Gospels don't require it, so I doubt he did. We need our Bishops to realize the Gospel doesn't refer to getting financial reports.
+Herman booted Nescott for publishing something here. Did the Scriptures tell him this was right? One would assume so, but its not a Scripture I've ever known. As KRT points out, what action does Abp. Job take in this event, which I don't see as sanctioned by the Gospel? He supports it through inaction.
The good priest Fr. Ted has quoted Scripture repeatedly here, but what action has he taken? Perhaps there are some things I don't know about, but I'd rather here about actions people take than Scriptures at this juncture.
How can one simple man like me who struggles to go to Communion a couple times a year be so disappointed in 3 bishops of the church and a priest and the Scriptures in one day?
I asked myself if I was alone in this and I'm not. KRT actually is also disappointed in the least likely of the three in his posting here.
In your response to me, you tell me to ask the NY AGs office. Why would that responsibility fall to me and not one of the 4 clergy members I listed above? If they have done it, why wouldn't they say so? Is that such a big deal?
My best action is to provide advice.
I would like to advise Abp. Job to convene meetings with his clergy members before he makes statements and decisions and before he attends meetings of the Synod. Blaming Greg Nescott for being too open and truthful, well, that just takes the cake. Mr. Nescott should have been given a warning. I found his post here to be inappropriate as well. Why? He did provide information and misused the work compilation audit, which is not a word accountants use, and in fact would offend most accountants intelligence. If you google "compilation audit", you'll see that my reference to it is among Googles top listings. Why? Because it is inappropriate and I said it here. But to remove him is downright nuts.
On a brighter note, one group of clergy finally did something right. The ill-placed and untimely extravagant party for Metropolitan Herman was cancelled, and those clergymembers and Bishops that played a role in that decision get high praises from me. Not sure where the Gospels stand there.
Forgive my disillusionment in the Gospel and its messengers.
#6 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-03-31 08:20
THANKS TO MR.STOKOE AND ALL THOOSE CONCERNED ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS WHO ARE KEEPING THE VIGIL.
I HAVE KEPT TABS ON THIS SITE FOR MONTHS. A FEW SNIDE OR SARCASTIC COMMENTS ONLY ECHO THE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS MANY OF US FEEL AT CERTAIN TIMES. WHY, BECAUSE WE LOVE THE OCA AND WANT THINGS UPRIGHT, CORRECT. FURTHERMORE, THE HEIRARCHY HAS HAD YEARS TO DEAL WITH THIS SCANDAL WHICH OVER TIME HAS TURNED INTO A REAL CRISIS. THIS CRISIS, YES IT IS, HAS RAISED NUMEROUS QUESTIONS, AT LEAST FOR ME. THERE ARE QUESTIONS OF LEADERSHIP, JUDGMENT, ETC. AS WELL AS COMMON SENSE THAT MANY HAVE WRITTEN OF. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, THERE IS A MORAL BREAKDOWN IN THE CHURCH AND ATTEMPTS TO HID IT ARE EXACERBATING THINGS.
I HAVE READ THE RECENT LETTERS ABOUT FATHER ROBERT KONDRATICK. FURTHERMORE, WHILE LOOKING UP DATA ON THE RUSSIAN DIOCESE OF ALASKA, I NOTICED THAT FR. BOB IS ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF ST. HERMAN SEMINARY. WILL THE BISHOP OF ALASKA SUSPEND HIM FROM HIS DUTIES AS TRUSTEE OR DOES THIS FALL UNDER METROPOLITAN'S DOMAIN. I CAN 'T HELP BEING SOMEWHAT SARCASTIC HERE BUT HOW CAN THE SEMINARY AT THIS TIME TEACH MORALS, ETHICS WITH FR. BOB AS TRUSTEE.
THE HOLY SYNOD APPEARS TO HAVE NEGLECTED THIS ISSUE, FR. BOB'S TRUSTEE DUTIES, AMONG OTHERS. FURTHERMORE, BISHOP NIKOLAI'S NO SHOW AT THE SYNOD, WHICH WAS UNSUCCESSFULLY EXPLAINED BY HIS ASSISTANT IN THE BLACK SUNDAY SECTION, RAISES ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS OF JUDGMENT AND PROPPRIETY.
A SIDE BAR. I COULDN'T RESIST LOOKING UP MORE INFORMANTION ON FR. AGAPIUS HONCHARENKO. HE DIED IN HAYWARD, CALIFORNIA IN 1916 NOT 1906 AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED. HOWEVER, HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO ALASKANS , FELLOW UKRAINIANS, AND HUMANITY AS A WHOLE REMAINS.
GOD BLESS ALL WITH SINCERE CONCERNS AND PRAYERS FOR OUR CHURCH. MAY THIS LENTEN AND EASTER BE EVER SO POIGNAT.
#7 a concerned orthodox christian on 2007-03-31 09:52
The bottom line at this point is that it's going to be a long slog to get things put right in the OCA, and we're going to have to take it one step at a time. We're also going to have to work hard to bring people along and develop the sustained will necessary to effect long-term change.
The synod is split, although having appeared united at the end of their last meeting. The good news in this is that the majority understand that really, really bad things went on, that the accusations are true, and that action must be taken. The bad news is that the internal politics of the synod are making it a prolonged process to get the next steps (suspension and trial of RSK and release of the report) accomplished.
Greg Nescott did act against the consensus of the investigative commission in releasing his remarks. In so doing, he gave an excuse to those who want this to end with the disciplining of RSK to get him removed, and that's a pity. After RSK is finally removed, there will be enormous pressure to leave everything at that and move on. Those who want to continue the investigation and extend it to the others in ostensible positions of power in the relevant time period will be portrayed (again) as enemies of the church.
But things have to go beyond the removal of RSK -- at the VERY LEAST those who were around him and ostensibly in authority over him need to offer a fuller and more compelling and far more honest explanation of what went on that "gosh, I didn't know."
But one step at a time -- now is the time for MH to force the Synod's resolution to be fulfilled. Later come more questions and more hard steps on the path to reform.
My best case scenario? The investigation continues and looks at the full picture. MH announces that he will retire effective the 08 AAC and makes the mission of the next 15 - 18 months the complete cleaning up of the mess. The synod steps up to the task of identifying strong, honest, faithful and competent episcopal candidates throughout the church (instead of relying on the current system of local promotion of personal favorites). Fr. Brum NEVER becomes a bishop. Those who were involved either by action or inaction in this horror step forward and at least to the synod and fellow clergy admit their mistakes (and it may take some serious personal reflection for them to realize their mistakes). By 08 a few (maybe several) bishops retire and are replaced by the means spelled out in the statutes. In 08 we hold a positive and future-looking AAC and elect a new Metropolitan.
To bring about this future will involve immense effort, not only on the part of those in the "loyal opposition" but perhaps even more so by those currently in positions of power who feel that they somehow have been right in all this -- they need to stop and think carefully about the past and their actions/inactions. Nothing can induce the change we need without the engagement of their own consciences.
Some of this is the battle for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Today, ironically, MH needs our conditional support in bringing order in the wake of the last Synod meeting. I read Bp. Job's letter as a recognition of this immediate need.
For myself, I'm going to try to exercise the self-discipline not to think about all this for the next week.
May we all have a prayerful Holy Week and joyous Pascha. There is hope.
#8 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-03-31 10:29
“We will not send any more money to the OCA until the situation is corrected, and righteous order is restored to the Church. … We are withholding payment only on the portion which the Diocese forwards to the OCA” A section of the parish council, St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church, Dayton letter to its diocese.
I commend each person who signed the letter. It was a difficult, yet needed action.
We (the faithful) expect the OCA at all levels to be good stewards of God’s gifts. At each level (archdiocese, diocese, deanery and parish), there are responsible individuals who must take financial stewardship seriously. OCA by-laws and good stewardship practices as well as government laws need to be adhered to for the good of the OCA and faithfulness to the Gospel.
I hope all OCA parishes follow the lead of this council lead quickly. I hope all OCA dioceses follow the lead of this council quickly and act similarly. I hope they do not put the money they keep back into escrow. I hope they spend the money wisely at the local level to further the spread of the Gospel.
It is possible for the OCA, at all levels, to regain (or increase) the trust of the faithful. However, recent actions (i.e. Black Friday) prevent the trust-building period from starting. Each delay may be a final blow.
#9 Samuel Osman on 2007-03-31 10:50
Not one more dime. Zero. No more time, talent or treasure until Metropolitian HERMAN resigns...until their is a full and honest accounting of what happened that is released in its complete form...until our Archpastors decide to put the word "Holy" back into the Synod of Bishops...until conciliarity is restored. Until that happens, we might as well take the "Orthodox" out of Orthodox Church in America because there is nothing orthodox going on right now.
#10 William Nowling - Holy Transfiguration, Livonia, MI on 2007-03-31 11:15
It appears that none of the hierarchs, including Abp. Job, have actually studied the Statute of the OCA. They are all so used to just operating the way they have always operated, that they probably don't even take the time to read or study them.
Perhaps a good project would be for one of our attorney members to actually do a study and write-up on the way the OCA is supposed to operate under the Statute, and then make it available to all, especially the hierarchs.
I suspect there would be some very surprised hierarchs.
#11 Name withheld on 2007-03-31 13:32
Mark is there any truth to the rumor that Fr. John Reeves has resigned from the investigative committee? If he has, why? If not, good. If this is true then Nescott's departure and Job being replaced as Chair and now Reeves this is no longer an invesigation that means anything.
Editor's Note: Fr. Reeves has confirmed to OCANews.org that he has not resigned.
#12 Anonymous on 2007-03-31 13:39
Has this scandal toughed you personally? It has me, and a host of others. I apologize for you taking my comments as sarcastic, but I cannot change how I feel.
I have spoken to these men on several occasions, they handle themselves like thugs. They threaten and intimidate. They are bullies who think they are above the law.
I have love for being Orthodox, I have love of this country...and most certainly I have love of our judicial system that will eventually dole out a just and right punishment for all involved. When you make a mistake, you be a man and admit it, show remorse, don;t hide your mistakes...then correct them. For that...you can earn my respect. But to continuing to evade the truth being delivered to the masses. They are nothing but the simple thugs in my eyes.
I pray that eventually, this will be sorted out, however they are not looking to end the strife. The actions of the men, or lack of action tells the story.
Am I mad, YES. Will it help...I hope so.
#13 K.K. on 2007-03-31 16:45
THE POSTINGS CRITICIZING GREG NESCOTT ARE THE MOST RIDICULOUS COMMENTS THAT I HAVE EVER HEARD! He is one of the last few people left wanting things fixed and is doing something about it. Don’t anyone try to tell me that this will hurt the investigation, I have heard this kind of baloney many times before.
Those criticizing, what do you propose? Wait another year or two for more stonewalling and then what?
#14 Ande on 2007-03-31 17:49
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