Monday, May 7. 2007
Your comments on any of the above topics from today's editorial, or other points of dicussion are welcome.
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It has become all too clear that MH has no intention of ever being "transparent". He does not see himself as accountable to anyone, especially the lowly clergy and laity of the OCA. Nor does he give a flip about the spiritual death he is causing in the flock he is supposed to be a shepherd of. With a shepherd like this, who needs wolves?
#1 Name withheld on 2007-05-07 18:32
Thanks Mark for your (great!) editorial. I thought the same kinds of things when I read the OCA press. Software is good but it will not save us! Where is the accountability? Where is the confession? Where is the admission of guilt? Where is the Christianity among the forms of "Orthodoxy"?
Metropolitan Herman will never be trusted by me or I think by the priest of my pairsh (Midwest by the way) or by most if not all of my parish. I know our bishops are mostly men who like to play dress-up but don't know what humility is.
Why aren't there any Christian leaders in the Orthodox Church who know how to stand up for what is right? Or stand down for what is right? Is that so hard these days?
#2 Eddie Kayeti on 2007-05-07 19:05
I couldn't have said it better myself. If the people in Syosset really think we are going to accept that a new software package is going to rectify everything, they must be living on Pluto; you know, the "former" planet.
I wish it were a laughing matter. Can you imagine any serious priest or bishop letting such a comment go in confession? No priest I've been to for confession would have bought such a thing. I'd have heard instantly, "It's good that you're getting the tools to do the job, but YOU have to do the job!" The software can only work with the data that it receives. It is not accountable, people are. It will not stand before the Dread Judgement Seat of Christ - people will.
Mark Stokoe is right, this is no ascent from the dark abyss; if anything it suggests a plunge even deeper into the depths. It suggests that at least some people are willing to not only abdicate their own responsibility, but to pass it off onto a machine. As Artie Johnson used to say on "Laugh In," "Very intereshting, but shtupid." Sorry, Syosset, I just don't buy it, and I am glad, for the sake of my soul, that none of you is my father-confessor.
#3 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-07 19:25
we would appreciate any and all reactions to our new computerized marionette system.......this system can be manipulated totally without the use of strings.........we are considering naming it the puppet-puter, in order to highlight its enhanced ability to instantly reprogram any data to user's satisfaction
#4 Metropolitan Novelties Co., Inc. on 2007-05-07 22:43
Mark's editorial is yet another depressing reminder that MOVEON.OCA is in full swing. Nothing important has changed in Syosset and every effort is being made to thwart any real attempt to get to the "bottom of things."
If only Fr. Kondratick would cooperate with his "show trial," accept collective responsibility and a corresponding "slap on the wrist," then at some future date he could be "forgiven" and rehabilitated. Maybe even returned to sunny Florida? Then all would be right with the Metropolitan's world.
Then there is the matter of Mr. Nescott. Will his firing from the Commisssion and the MC stand? Or will those two bodies find the strength and will to reject the Metropolitan's self-interested intervention and termination? If not, then they have emasculated themselves and become the "poodles" of the heirarchy that the MC was for so many years. If I were a member of either body (ha! ha!), I would resign if Mr. Nescott was not reinstated.
In the final analysis, it is up to the laity to decide if they will permit the OCA to inexorably slide into permanent decline and inevitable extinction. As we well know, despite some courageous exceptions, the clergy are generally under the total control of the heirarchy and impotent in effecting real change. But we, my friends, control the mother's milk of this world--MONEY! If we continue to enable the destoyers of our Church we have no one to blame but ourselves!
#5 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-08 06:45
Now it is all so clear: had Judas only possessed this software, he would never have pilfered the Apostolic purse; and indeed, had Adam and Eve lived in a perfect environment, one created pristine, directly by God, they would never have fallen. Maybe they, too, only lacked this software; or maybe it was God who lacked it. What would Syosset have us think?
#6 Cyril Jenkins on 2007-05-08 06:53
Speaking as a systems engineer, I would like to say that computers, networks, database, software etc. are neutral tools. As with everything, it all depends on the how one exercises his or her God-given free will in the use of them. Any "system" can be used for evil or good purposes.
Therefore, I believe we must continue to pray for the salvation and integrity of our hierarchs and all clergy, all those working at the OCA Central Administration, and of course for ourselves as well.
I dare suggest that one not be too pessimistic. This is another chance, by God's grace, for the OCA Central Administration to start doing the right thing. God gives us umpteen chances to repent. How about the rest of us give the well-meaning at Syosset a chance to repent and do a better job as well? If anything, used properly and with the right intentions "as unto the Lord", this new software can aid in the endeavor of better financial accountability and stewardship.
#7 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-05-08 06:53
We are supposed to be witnesses to Christ and to His power and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our communities. Complete honesty and openness in the Church is a theological imperative for us. Any effort on the part of the Church to hide behind lawyers or to have to hide behind legal rationale already calls into question the integrity, reliability and trustworthiness of the Church's witness to Jesus Christ as Lord. "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth..." (1 John 1:5-6). Who will ever believe our witness that Jesus Christ is Lord if we (the Church) have to turn to and be guided by a legal firm who's stated goal is to protect the Church and its leadership from investigation and prosecution? If we have so much to hide, we are hardly going to be reliable witnesses. Who will believe the witness of a Church whose leaders have so much to hide? If our current members must be prevented from knowing what our leadership has been doing, why would any new people join such a Church? Are we inviting people to walk in the darkness? Rather we are to proclaim and reveal the Light in order to overcome the darkness. "And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God" (John 3:19-21).
#8 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2007-05-08 06:58
Sorry, that "you" in the last sentence was supposed to refer to the people at Syosset. I wrote the post late last night. My apologies to anyone who read this and was taken aback.
#9 Mark Harrison on 2007-05-08 07:51
Mark - There is an old computer term called GIGO. It means "garbage in, garbage out." What this means is that the information that comes out is only as good as the information going in.
From the OCA website on 9/25/06, in answer to a question: "However, since November 27, 2005, various new procedures to improve internal control have been put into place. These were published on the OCA website in the report of the Acting Treasurer to the June 2006 Metropolitan Council meeting." That would be good news, if only it were true.
To date, Best Practices has not been adopted by the Metropolitan Council, which includes adopting proper internal accounting controls. Moreover, the Lambrides accounting firm, in a letter to the Audit Committee dated 9/27/06 lists numerous control deficiencies, but makes no mention of the OCA's adoption of "newer procedures", supposedly as of 11/27/05.
Nor, to my knowledge, has anybody in the Chancery office signed the proposed Ethics Policy or the proposed Conflict of Interest Policy.
In short, the proof will be in the pudding, when the outside auditors issue a clean opinion on the internal controls and the financial statements of the OCA, and not until then.
#10 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-05-08 09:32
Eddie & all,
I personally know two wonderful bishops, men of integrity, humility, and courage. And still their hands (and tongues) are often bound by "church discipline". I am putting this in quotation marks because the concept is beginning to lose its meaning for me. Where does this tangled web come from? I used to wish that someone of high standing and integrity stepped out into the middle of the floor, like the saints of the old days, and delivered a scathing oration that would shake the complacent, shame the guilty, and encourage the timid. OK, so Archbishop Job has done that, and it has had consequences - for a day! A single day! And right away everything fell back into the old rut, including the repressions. Please, somebody, WHY was Gregg Nescott REALLY dismissed? The "breach of confidentiality" explanation does not hold water even for the casual observer as there was nothing in his posting that had not already been public knowledge... Etc., etc. - Mark, thank you for keeping track of all the information promised and then withheld...
I was talking to a very ouspoken priest friend last Sunday and he said to me that in his opinion one of the most outrageous things in the development of the scandal had occurred relatively early - the famous "letter of the seventy" and how it has been completely ignored. It seems to me that many of us have not stopped to ponder the true significance of this fact. What kind of a Church do we have if the Synod of bishops feels justified in ignoring the appeal of its most senior, respected, revered clergy? Apparently a lot of clergy feel that it is up to the laity to be active & loud since we are not as bound but that same "church discipline" as they are, but what significance does our clamoring have if the bishops do not feel an obligation to show elementary respect to 70 archpriests and protopresbyters?!
Well, it looks like everything will be just dandy from now on. All it takes our shepherds to set things straight is to purchase a miraculous software package that will become a pillar of integrity, honesty, accountability, transparency - all those things that the poor humans just cannot manage to exercise. Maybe it is also programmed to go to confession in case there is a power outage that causes data loss or numerical errors?
What a joke.
#11 Inga Leonova on 2007-05-08 10:06
I cannot comprehend your misguided and inaccurate venom expressed on this page. I am compelled to set the record straight because the inaccuracies set forth are a blight on the Church. As treasurer of the Diocese of Washington and New York I can say, without reservation, that our books and records are completely transparent. A summarry of every dime spent is forwarded on a monthly basis to each parish clergy for scrutiny by all. We have had an audit conducted by an outside accounting group without any ties to the church for 2006. Our internal procedures are strict. Every expense must be pre-approved by me, and if it is not a routine budgetted expense, then the council approves it. Thereafter, no monies are issued without receipts and a certification of the user that the expenses were accurate and used for the stated purpose.
As to the Metopolitan being an autocrat, he does not involve himself with the monthly expense. His guidance is used when we meet with the council, but not once has he ordered an expenditure.
I challenge anyone to review the records. I am sure you will see how misguided and inaccurate are the comment found on this web site.
In furtherance of this thought, I invite you to turn from your destructive and hurtful gossip. I encourage you to do more for the whole church by channeling your energy into positive actions for the glory of God.
(Dear Mr. Tosi:
Thank you for your clarification concerning the finances of the Diocese. Since all the books are open and transparent, could you please answer Fr. Plekon's question that the Metropolitan refused to? In his recent reflection Fr. Michael wrote:
"In resolving the financial and pastoral problems of that former diocese, the Primate, Metropolitan Herman, reiterated this ecclesiology by rejecting audits, questions and informing the assembly that they would never learn where missing funds went and that they needed to get back to their tasks “for the good of the church.” "
Perhaps if such reasonable questions could be simply, honestly and openly answered, there would be less "gossip" as you characterized it.)
#12 Lawrence G. Tosi, esq. on 2007-05-08 10:22
Its disappointing the OCA lost the new candidate for Treasurer. Curious if it was a personality issue. We can only assume if we aren't told through disclosure, fo gigure (mispelled intentionally).
On the other hand, some accounting systems are far more difficult to abuse than others. A prime example is Quickbooks. If you wanted to mess with a set of books, Quickbooks would make it very easy. Other softwares are more difficult. While systems won't make the hierarchy recognize sharing information is to their benefit, systems can help reduce irregularities and eliminate the benefits of shredding. Let's give the new software a bit of a break lest we all sound foolish.
The greater concern isn't comparing new software and attitudes, but for me, why the Treasurer bailed.
#13 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-05-08 10:51
Nice job with the very relevant quote from T.S. Eliot! Keep up your good work.
#14 Leaella Shirley on 2007-05-08 12:21
The problem with claiming that a new software package will bring about a renaissance in the OCA, as eloquently stated by Mark and others, is that it completely ignores the root of the spiritual and sacramental cancer that is the actual cause of the worsening and deepening crisis. Building a beautiful, expensive, and spacious mansion on a foundation of sand does nothing to insure the long-term survivability and longevity of such an establishment.
I am so sad to see that, yet again, the OCA leadership is choosing to place yet another band-aid on a patient that needs a heart transplant. Granted, it seems like this is indeed a fantastic band-aid, with great functionality, expandability and reliability, but it's still only a band-aid. The dying patient is getting worse and worse and only a heart transplant can help save his life. Meanwhile the doctors entrusted with his care continue to issue press releases about the latest band-aids they bought to "help" him. If this wasn't so tragic and the consequences so devastating, this scenario would be worthy of the best satirical and comedic productions out there. Sadly, we're seeing how the antithesis of servant leadership continues to be practiced and tolerated in the OCA. Our hierarchs keep changing band-aids while the patient degenerates into cardiac failure and is close to death.
I wonder if our "shepherds" are bothered at all by this stern warning from Christ: "And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:47-48) Would anyone entrusted with so much sacramental and spiritual responsibility, with an ounce of integrity and discernment, on reading just these two sentences (let alone that whole passage from Luke) not fall on their knees, repent, ask for forgiveness, and make everything possible to correct their mistakes and right the wrongs they caused or permitted to exist and persist?
How come so many of our hierarchs and priests can tolerate and ignore so many of the issues and abuses we've seen and heard about and are not even bothered by the mountain of evidence pointing to the problems existing for years on end? If they do not act out of LOVE for God and fellow Christians, don't they at least have some FEAR of God motivating them to do the right thing? What has happened to the souls and reasoning of these men that not even the FEAR of God can scare them into action? What does it say about the qualifications, abilities and sanity of Orthodox hierarchs and priests who upon reading Luke 12, voluntarily chose darkness, condemnation and punishment rather than truth, repentance, forgiveness, and the narrow path?
You surfs and peasants can complain all you want. Don't you understand that an ordained potentate is of a higher order? He is aloof. He is above you. He is better than you. He doesn't have to listen to your complaints if he chooses not to. If you only had eyes to see and ears to hear you could save yourselves all this heartache. When are you people going to finally get it? Go back to your caves where you lived in ignorance. Get back in your places you pesky riff raff. Give us that good old time [Dark Ages] religion. It was good enough for your grandfathers. What is wrong with you?
Sorry, one must laugh, otherwise, we can only weep...
#16 Anon. on 2007-05-08 16:03
As an engineer I depend on the computer and different programs needed for our business. If something tragic happens and a building falls due to an error in a program, the man responsible goes to jail.
Today, I put the blame on the Bishops and Priests. All of you are carrying a four hundred pound BOULDER on your back, and yet you are afraid to tell the (metropolitan) that you are tired of putting up with this nonsense. If all of you would sign a petition for his removal vountarily or by court order he would see he is not worthy to be our leader. This man is truly dismanteling this beautifuf CHURCH.
Remember all of us are in the United States of America. The law of our COUNTRY prevails.
We don't need to fear any man, as the lord said follow me only.
I believe Mark said the MC meets early June. I hope and pray that they continue to try to change the tide of fortune for the OCA. I hope they can challenge the release of Greg Nescott, too. They will be needing to challenge a lot of actions, and non-actions, of the OCA administration.
#18 Patty Schellbach on 2007-05-08 18:15
The parishes of the former diocese of New York and New Jersey were compelled to fund a diocesan residence in Bronxville. Now that that residence is surplus to requirements, will the proceeds from the sale of the residence be allocated to the parishes that contributed to it --- or will those proceeds be simply lumped into the general fund of the now merged diocese?
#19 Edmund Unneland on 2007-05-08 21:05
Dear Mr. Tosi:
I don't think that what Fr. Pleskon wrote has anything to do with you being the treasurer. For the last couple of years, you've been a real good treasurer for the Diocese of WA/NY.
But there was a real money problem before you got there. Thousands of dollars disappeared in just a few years. No one really knows what happened.
I think Fr. Pleskon was talking about this. There was a diocesan clergy meeting after the bishop's departure. My priest told me that Met. Herman said that nothing more would be said about those big losses because "there are no records," and "it's time to move on for the good of the Church." After several years of a financial mess, the case was just closed like that and the clergy didn't have much to say. You are a very good treasurer, so don't you think that Met. Herman or sometone should have asked for an explanation? What would the people who run your company do?
Maybe Fr. Pleskon brought this up because happens a lot. If no one asks for personal accounting when lots of money disappears, folks can get the idea that it's OK for that to happen.
Now a days, lots of people are talking about withholding assessments. Some people say that's a bad thing to do, but I heard that back then the diocesan parishes were directed to withhold their money so there would be an excuse to remove the bishop. Why was it OK then but not OK now?
Thanks for your good work, Mr. Tosi. I know that the people in your diocese appreciate you. And Mark, your web cite is great. I'm old and a long time in the church. It's sad what's happening. I hope you clean it up so I can die in peace.
#20 Anon on 2007-05-08 21:31
The idea is that we are rather stupid. Mark might be 'smart' because he 'created a website' but most of us Orthodox are just old world 'babushkas' (regardless of our age, gender or even if we are from the old world). When we hear words like "new software" we are supposed to be confused and assume that means a GoodThing(tm) and it will somehow make everything "better". After all, computers are smart, everyone knows that, right? Couple them with lots of new, expensive software and you don't have to worry about a thing.
Sorry Syosset, you have to come up with a better diversion than that.
#21 Alex K. on 2007-05-09 03:34
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE OCA
So, you say new software will fix the ills of the OCA?
What are you guys smoking for breakfast?
Archbishop JOB is excluded from the question, of course.
#22 Wayne Matthew Syvinski on 2007-05-09 04:46
The answer to the pointed questions you so appropriately pose is simple and disheatening. They have been seduced by the logic of Satan into believing that the preservation of their "authority" takes precedence over everything else.
#23 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-05-09 05:20
There is an Orthodox young man---intelligent, educated, genuinely devout, self-giving, and with a proven record of service to God and to the Church---who for some years has felt the call of God to ordained ministry as a priest or deacon. He was seriously considering applying to one of our seminaries when the current mess exploded. Now he is at best reluctant even to think about making himself and his entire life vulnerable to hierarchical whims and moods, to a culture of conflict, and to continual crises of conscience. (I told you he is intelligent!)
And yes, this probable or at least potential loss of another labourer in the Lord's vineyard is directly traceable to the kind of leadership given to us by the Metropolitan, the Holy Synod, and the Metropolitan Council. But the fault is not theirs alone. We, the other clergy AND the laity, have not exactly been repentant over our embracing the North American heresy that "bigger is better." Instead, we WANTED to see our tiny little OCA go toe-to-toe with the Greeks and Antiochians; we valued exterior show more than interior holiness, numbers and budgets more than sanctity. If, as another post suggested, the Central Church Administration lived "a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget," it is because to a great degree those were OUR expectations. We felt a thrill of pride at seeing pictures of the Metropolitan of the day hobnobbing with patriarchs and presidents; why? Why did we want p.r. instead of prayer? Why did we take pride in our leaders appearing to be worldly movers and shakers rather than genuinely holy men who shone with the light of the risen Christ?
You ask why hierarchs and priests can tolerate or ignore what's been going on. But why did you? And as for parish priests and deacons, let me be blunt: some of us are perilously close to giving up on anything and anybody beyond our parish borders, because we know that only a major shaking directly from the hand of God will effect the repentance and real core change the entire Church needs. So, recognising that "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (Jas.1:20) AND that "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Gal.6:7), we do our best to prepare our people for the "smutnoje vremja" that's well on its way and pray for the grace to persevere and remain faithful. We concentrate our efforts on being light and salt where we are; pray that St. Seraphim of Sarov was right in saying "Save your own soul, and thousands around you will be saved;" and we pray that in wrath God will remember mercy (Hab.3:2).
#24 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-09 06:19
Alright, so you've had the books audited for 2006. What about for 2005? And 2004? I know that the Diocese of NY and Washington is new, but are ALL of the books' audits available?
In any case, the books in question are those of the OCA, not the Archdiocese of New York and Washington.
The venom here, sir, is because as has been pointed-out in a very careful analysis by one Mr. Wayne Tatusko, among others, some $2 million in monies contributed to the OCA is "missing," and no one responsible for safeguarding these funds will point out where they've gone -- and frankly, no one has really admitted that they are gone, when pursuant to Mr. Tatusko, et al, it so obviously is missing. The "Special Commission" report let to the sacking of the OCA Chancellor and many other actions and/or partial actions -- and yet, the report has not been released. Why was the Chancellor sacked if there were not some significant improprieties in that report? Was it due to gossip? I think not.
This entire debacle is worthy of the Watergate cover-up! It's easy to defuse a gossip-driven scandal: (a) confess, (b) repent, (c) ask for forgiveness, (d) release all of the documents.
The Metropolitan came to a parish in the Diocese of NY and Washington, and when asked, "What is the truth about all of this?" he said, "I can't tell you because the lawyers won't let me talk." Wrong answer! Lawyers are hired by a client; they work for the client; the client is the boss. If you're not guilty, you can say anything! It's like the guy trying to sue a doctor because he was told, 'You have cancer." and then -- he didn't. The judge threw out the case, saying, "There cannot be 'wrongful-life' there can only be 'wrongful-death.'"
The venom comes from frustration -- the modern laity don't like to be lied to. And it is so abundantly clear that we are being lied to by the leadership of the OCA. Have been lied to and continue to be lied to.
And in case any of the hierarchy cares, it is destroying the OCA. It has been said, "For the good of the Church." This Church is spiritually dead, effectively. I for one, won't take any further Communion under the leadership of this Metropolitan, because there is no spirit there. I may continue to financially support my local parish, which may or may not continue to pay its "fair share" to Syosset. But even in that, I will be making no further contributions to OCA Seminaries, etc, under this leadership.
I frankly don't see, sir, how you as an attorney, can continue to serve this leadership at either the OCA or Diocese level, when it is so clear even to the casual observer, that the men you serve are taking the OCA down a ruinous path. By continuing to serve them, you have become an enabler. I would urge you to reconsider your position.
#25 Committed Convert on 2007-05-09 11:01
Please! Please! Please!
Help Save The OCA!!!
If it isn’t too late already.
Stop All donations to the OCA. I have.
Tell your friends and relatives. I have.
Your donations of life support are just prolonging the inevitable.
If your local priest is not being truthful, by denying that the problem exists, stop donations to him also!
If the local priest doesn’t help, it will take much longer to fix, and it will be too late to save The OCA.
If I receive bad service at a restaurant, I quit tipping the “EMPLOYEES”.
Until WE and those receiving their livelihood in the OCA realize who the “EMPLOYEES” are, this catastrophe will never be fixed.
Statutes (Ha!) Who do you think created the statutes? Do you think that the peasants created them to protect the clergy???
They have abused the system so now they have forfeited their authority.
REINSTATE GREG NESCOTT!!!
#26 Ande on 2007-05-09 12:12
Yes, the whole diocese funded upkeep etc.
But as is well known, the money to buy the house was channeled from a bequest originally left to the Cathedral on 2nd Street specifically to be used to acquire a rectory.
The disposition of various bequests at both the national and diocesan level has barely been touched upon in reckonning the monies that have disappeared without a trace.
#27 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-05-09 17:28
Yes; a petition should be put round; a vote of no confidence should take place. But in light of this; what is happening with "savetheoca.org"? It seems to be dead in the water; with only 58 pledges, and no new ones over the past several weeks. Or is that particular forum seen as not viable in terms of doing what needs to be done?
#28 anon/priest on 2007-05-09 21:02
AMEN! I find myself in the same boat as your friend. I have comment which is NOT directed in any way shape or form at the writer of the above post, but rather at what I think is another symptom of the problems we have, and to all of us in general. Forgive me if I vent:
"smutnoje vremja"???? I have no idea what this means. Can someone please translate ? Why did a very important point have to be made in a forign language? I am American and I am sick and tired of being made to feel like a 2nd class citizen because Russia holds no more meaning for me than any other Orthodox country. I neither speak, think, nor pray in Slavonic which to me is just gibberish, OK, beautiful sounding gibberish, but gibberish none the less. Why should I have to adopt a another language to worship God in America? I have no need to feel special because I can say the secret words in the holy language. I am not now nor ever will be ashamed of being American and of speaking English. Perhaps if the OCA felt the same way we wouldn't be in as big of a mess as we are.
#29 Anonymous and Disillusioned on 2007-05-10 06:17
Dear A and D,
The reference is to an extremely chaotic period in Russian history when there were rival contenders for the throne and the Poles were kicking the stuffing out of Rus'. Quite frankly, I'm so delighted that after almost 40 years I still remember what I learned in undergrad Russian History 101 (but don't ask me what I had for breakfast this morning, OK?), that I couldn't resist using it. Sorry. Extra prostrations after Kneeling Vespers Ok by you?
#30 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-10 14:56
As often happens elsewhere, St Seraphim is being misquoted here; his actual words would be far more helpful in our current crisis:
'Acquire the spirit of peace, and a thousand souls around you will be saved.'
This holy admonition is often inscribed on a scroll held by St Seraphim in his ikons.
#31 Monk James on 2007-05-10 15:30
Thanks for the correction! I must confess that in the midst of this mess I'm having more than a little difficulty acquiring the spirit of peace. Impatience and failure to give meticulous examination to fact rather than assumption...not only ignoring and overturning but also attacking the proper canonical order of the Church...turning on each other and gnawing at our own vitals...not particularly conducive to inner peace. Yes, I realise that the underlying problem is exercising fear instead of faith. All I can say is that whatever treasure I have is contained in a very fragile earthen vessel.
#32 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-05-11 05:03
I'm having many of the same struggles.
But, let's just be blunt. We are dealing with a cancer that has grown for years. Healing will not come until it is removed. Some of the manifestations of it are:
1. Approximately $8 million has been stolen and misappropriated, for many years, and NO ONE has confessed and taken responsibility.
2. Much of the missing money is alleged to have been spent on blackmail money to coverup the active homosexual escapades of the former Metropolitan. His lifestyle is well known among many clergy, at least in the Northeast.
3. The present Metropolitan is trying everything in his power to hide these things, to lie about them, to control everyone, to pin as much as possible on only one man, and say absolutly nothing to anyone to bring about any sort of healing, so that all else can remain in place, especially himself.
So, where do you think the cancer is? Yes, it is affecting everyone, the whole OCA, right down to the catechumens. Healing cannot occur until the cancer is removed.
#33 Name withheld on 2007-05-11 17:04
Christ is risen! We say so often! what does it mean to all of us Orthodox Christians?
It seems that it is now "business as usual" ... in Syossett.
The Saints point us Christians to acquire "Peace" "the Mind of Christ" "the Holy Spirit" What does it all mean for me/you today? Are we being made into modern-day mindless ROBOTS, indstead of being directed truly, interiorly by the TRUE and REAL HOLY SPIRIT in prayer and discernment .
So, if Christians are called to follow Christ, ... which Christ is it? Have we yet begun to discover who Christ is for us in the fullness of Truth? Pretense leads nowhere except concflict, chaos, confusion, controversy, .............
Let's individually and as parishes start living the Gospel without compromise as ground level, in the Spirit of the Living Christ, found in the Word of God, in the Scriptures.
Wordly Empires come and go! The Church of Christ endures foreve through thick and thin as was promissed "the forces of hell will not prevail against it! And, by the Church I don't mean Syossett or Moscow Patriarchate, or any other institution! The CHURCH is more than all that! Isn't it?
Indeed Christ is Risen!
#34 Anonymous on 2007-05-12 05:31
Although this is a very grave outline of how the OCA got into this current mess, it certainly gives a very plausible explanation for the behavior of the key players. If it is true, it certainly needs to be completely exposed and dealt with in a comprehensive manner. The OCA cannot survive unless there is a complete cleansing of its episcopal leadership. Those bishops who are guilty of immoral and criminal acts, and those bishops who have enabled them, must all be deposed for the "good of the Church," and for the salvation of their immortal souls. If the clergy and laity of the OCA fail in this task, then they will share in this shame and guilt and place their own immortal souls in peril.
#35 Marc Trolinger on 2007-05-12 15:58
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