Monday, July 30. 2007
Your thoughts on the forthcoming Synod of Bishops meeting, events throughout the OCA, and Fr. Rauno's comments are welcome
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The oca's first move should get rid of MH and Kucynda. If we want a new start , let's clear house. The Kondratick issue is decided , Herman took care of that. Let's move forward , RSK will be removed and the old oca crew should follow. At 75 years old Stalin must go.
#1 Anonymous on 2007-07-30 06:54
Though I am in the OCA, I wonder how others in Orthodox Christian jurisdictions such as the Greeks (under Constantinople) or Antiochians (autonomous), not to mention the worthy others, actually feel about their importance to the whole Orthodox Church. They have certainly contributed a great deal in North and South America, and I don't think that's to be overlooked.
So, is it truly the case that without the OCA as a particular jurisdiction "Orthodoxy would go 100 years back in time."?? Reading the original Finnish "Ilman Amerikan kirkkoa ortodoksinen maailma palaisi ajassa 100 vuotta taaksepäin", it is not clear to me that Fr. Rauno means specifically the OCA which he refers to as "OCA" at several other points in the original article.
Perhaps Fr. Rauno would be willing to explain himself here.
On the other hand, perhaps going back 100 years and giving it another try wouldn't be such a bad idea. Were not our beloved "American Saints" doing their innumerable good works in the flesh about 100 years ago?
Such high expectations on such a young jurisdiction! What will our bishops do this week under that sort of pressure?
Let's be praying!
(Editor's surprised reply: Puhuttako Suomi? Hyva On! That being said, it is the custom in Finland to refer to the OCA as the "Amerikan Kirkko", the American Church, while the other jurisdictions in America are referred to by more ethnic or regional designations - the greek church, the antiochians, etc..)
#2 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-07-30 07:22
Many thanks to Fr. Rauno for highlighting the importance of the witness of the OCA. May God truly guide our bishops as they meet. And may we all be a witness to the vibrancy and relevancy of Orthodoxy in the modern world.
Thank you, Father Rauno, for succinctly, poignantly and heartfeltly reminding us why the Orthodox Church in America was and is important. May the Lord God remember your priesthood in His heavenly kingdom.
Honestly, there is no local Church on earth that hasn't been rocked by scandal or plagued by bad bishops, clergy and laity at some time in its history. May God grant ours the grace to get over these current troubles and live up to its mission, of which Father Rauno has so gently reminded us.
#4 Gregory Orloff on 2007-07-30 08:32
Here is an interesting article to consider regarding the current situation which many on this post might find interesting.
THE GATHERING OF THE SCATTERED:
THE FUTURE OF THE ORTHODOX DIASPORA
#5 Gene Bohensky on 2007-07-30 08:49
Yes, this is a pivotal week. This week will determine at least for myself and my family whether to continue in the OCA church or not.
The various comments and references to previous orthodox fathers and scholars mean nothing to me at this time. There is something fundamentally wrong, STEALING. The leadership and others have been spinning away from this to no end.Let us get back to basics, the Ten Commandments, What would Jesus say and do. What does the OCA and our leadership stand for by word and example.
My hopes and prayers: Full Disclosure, Repetantce, and Forgiveness. Then other issues such as nepotism in church assignments, in having family members on the OCA payroll must be addressed. Yes, this too is stealing getting something for nothing.
I am looking forward to the Synodal meeting and FINALLY resolving this matter.To leave or not to leave. And yes, the OCA leadership, I include our seminary leaders as well, had their chances and choices.
Forgive me a sinner.
#6 a concerned orthodox christian on 2007-07-30 10:06
Thanks for Fr. Rauno's reflection. It reminded me of why all of this is so very sad, because we once were a "... little Church that was trying to be like a real Church; not a museum, ethnic club or an extension of a governmental agency." It is so difficult to give up that dream.
Fr Joseph Woodill
#7 Fr Joseph Woodill on 2007-07-30 11:18
The vision of a united Orthodox Christian witness in North America shared by so many of the faithful in the OCA is in great jeopardy because of a lack of humility on the part of some. We all need to reflect upon why we have been called into God’s Church at this time.
The Church has often been likened to a hospital in which we sinners can be treated to help us replace our vices with virtues through the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. It is important for all of us sinners in the Church to realize that God has probably called us at this time because we are in the greatest need of treatment for our spiritual healing and renewal. Given that probability, we should all strive to be humble. Arrogant or presumptuous behavior towards others should not exist among any of us in the Church.
Unfortunately this behavior does still exist among us and at times can affect even the clergy of the Church, who are still patients themselves even though they have been called to be the Physician’s assistants. Tragically, this can also severely damage the other patient’s confidence in the Physician and His treatment plan prepared specifically for each of them. Bishops, priest, or deacons who behave in this manner, and do not repent of it, place themselves in very serious spiritual danger because the Physician has given them a very special trust.
If the Holy Synod can take corrective action to ensure that all those who remain among them will sincerely strive to become the humble and competent Physician’s assistants our Lord desires, there may be hope for the OCA. If they fail, our great Physician Jesus Christ may decide to shut the OCA hospital down to spare the faithful from any more malpractice.
#8 Marc Trolinger on 2007-07-30 14:51
This line about going back 100 years is somewhat lame. If it is a direct parallel, than it is not such a bad thing to go back in time, since one hundred years ago the Orhodox Church in North America was united - what seems to be the ultimate goald of the OCA as an administrative entity. The author's argument (if he really intended to say somethig constructive) should have been that without the OCA we would go 37 years back, thus dramatically demaging the unification process. Which is dubious.
#9 J. Lentesco on 2007-07-30 15:22
Encouragement from Albert Einstein:
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
I hope and pray that the entired Holy Synod has been listening to us faithful and seriously considering our concerns for the truth and a new start for its administration that would be most desirable for our recovery.
#10 Patty Schellbach on 2007-07-30 15:29
The first thing we should get rid of is you and your gossip mouth which has no power! and fruthermore I realy dont care what you think! are you related to Wheeler! who took years and years to open his mouth! and he becomes your hero! he is as much to blame as the person who stole the money!!! far as I'm concern he took part in the crime! and most people will agree with me! so dont put the blame on the met! I spoke with Gossip Man this mourning and he said Fr Kondratic mother pass away today! and for all of us to remember both of them in our prayers !
(Editor's Note: Fr. Kondratick's mother did indeed pass away,yesterday, at age 92, in a nursing home in Pennsylvania. Our condolences are extended to the entire Kondratick family. May her memory be eternal!)
#11 Anonymous on 2007-07-30 15:59
> Not only in our Finnish Church, but in many other Churches as well, the young OCA
> appeared to function the way they felt the Body of Christ is supposed to function.
"Appeared" is the key word. The Finnish Church may have been sorrowing over the state of the OCA for "the past two years," but the OCA's problems far predate that. And I don't refer to the earliest financial improprieties discussed on this site. For one thing, does anyone imagine they were the first?
For another, there are more prosaic things to note. For example, the throne of the Metropolitan is said to be in Washington, DC, as is appropriate for an American Church. But that was a fiction long before the present Metropolitan decided he preferred life in Pennsylvania. The Church had already been run from Syosset for decades, and not even by the Metropolitan, but his chancellor. (If this seems a minor issue, recall that the OCA was supposed to be a Church in which ecclesiastical forms corresponded to reality, particularly in jurisdictional and organizational matters.)
More problematically, the vast power of the central administration, no matter from where or by whom it was exercised, was already contrary to the conciliar principle by which Orthodox synods are supposed to operate. On the other hand, the bishops apparently lacked the time to read the governing statute of their own Church—unless there was a need to bypass it—so when were they going to attend to such theoretical matters as that?
Finally, speaking of governance and conciliarity: consider the selection of the the OCA's Metropolitans. The last time the first choice of the AAC for Metropolitan was actually enthroned was 1950! Is all this "the structure that really belongs to a local Church"?
Radical soul-searching is in order, and I hope the old OCA triumphalism will be left behind and its associated pieties subjected to reevaluation. For example, consider: maybe receiving the grant of autocephaly, however matters ought to be handled now, wasn't the right move at the time. The fact that virtually every local Church in the world refuses to recognize the OCA's claim to jurisdiction in America -- after all the "external affairs" money -- has to raise this question at least at a practical, pastoral level. (And, in the end, what other level is there?) Even Moscow flouts the tomos, maintaining thirty Churches in America under its own jurisdiction!
Of just how much worth is an autocephaly that no one respects? Please don't misunderstand my attitude: the grant of autocephaly isn't going anywhere, nor need it! God allowed it. Surely, in time, it can serve the glory of His Church and the salvation of our fellow Americans if it is lived out, *and lived into*, in humility.
But this is not going to happen by picturing the adulation of Orthodox across the world for the wonder of the OCA, or trying to return to a golden age that never existed outside of inspiring visions, dreams for the future, and -- whether intended or not -- illusion.
#12 a fellow Orthodox on 2007-07-30 16:19
Dear Rdr. Alexander,
I am a member of an Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in CA and while I can't speak for all Orthodox Christians in the Antiochian Archdiocese I would like to say that it is a nice place to be. I don't believe the Antiochians ever had as part of their vision to be the super structure/leader of the pack of Orthodox Christianity in America. It just seems to be happening naturally. Most of the clergy in CA, for example, have almost no blood lines that tie them to the middle east. In fact, with the exception of the bishop and a few priests, the CA churches are made up of homegrown Orthodox Christians. As such I think most people would be extremely hard pressed to see much of a difference between most OCA churches and Antiochian parishes.
I am not a particular fan of pews, bad byzantine chant, or ethnocentrism, and yes it does exist in the Antiochian Archdiocese. However, I am also not a fan of doing vigil services with three people in the church, bad russian chant, or ethnocentrism.
What surprises me most is the unwillingness of so many in both jurisdictions to talk about uniting. Many in the OCA really do see themselves (there is one current metropolitan that stands out in particular) as the only true Orthodox Church in America and every other jurisdiction is somehow second rate. And to be fair, there are many in the Antiochian Archdiocese that see the church as existing only for their ethnic social club (hafli anyone?).
How wonderful it would be if both jurisdictions would put aside their pride and join together.
St. Raphael of Brooklyn and St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre, intercede with Christ to save our souls.
#13 A content Antiochian Orthodox Christian on 2007-07-30 16:55
Mark: Wee bit. Thanks for the explanation.
#14 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-07-30 18:57
"...a meeting which should produce not only the release of the Special Report ..."
"...it is obvious that this will be a defining moment in the history of the OCA,..."
The operative word here is "should." To be perfectly honest, I don't believe for one second that anything of any significance is going to happen tomorrow.
There has been very little, if anything, done to date. Does anyone really think something of import will occur tomorrow? And if so, please share whatever it is your eating 'cause I want some.
The defining moment will be to continue in standard operating procedure, which means 'nothing.'
Sad as it is to say...
(Editor's note: Love, as the Apostle, says, hopes all things. Let us give them that; and if they do indeed fail as you fear, then let us go forward knowing they are not part of the solution.)
#15 Athanasia on 2007-07-30 19:00
Thank you very much for your sentiments and your prayers.
I sincerely hope that we of the OCA can ultimately live up to your expectations! With God's help, we can - and we will!
#16 C.C. on 2007-07-30 19:15
Just a quick note: I'm not employed by the OCA or on its payroll in any way. But, I think that the charge here of "nepotism" needs to be taken under advisement. Many a son, or a priest's wife, are perfectly capable individuals, and could be putting-in an "honest day's work for a day's pay," so to speak. Let's not be so quick to over-gernalize. In my secular employment, my brother works for me. I was reluctant to hire him, but frankly, he the best, hardest working employee I've got! "Judge not ... lest ye lose-out on some needed talent!"
#17 C.C. on 2007-07-30 19:20
Several years ago I was siting in the kitchen of an Italian Orthodox priest in Modena, Italy under the omaphor of the Russian bishop in Vienna. He was speaking to two Albanian illegal immigrants who were looking for work. We were all drinking wine mixed with mineral water and the night wore on. In the process the Italian priest assured the Albanians that he would find them jobs so they could have a decent life in Italy. When the Albanians departed after midnight we began to discuss the OCA and how the indigenous Italian Orthodox saw the OCA.
The Italian Orthodox priest saw us as the hope for them because we are/were a Church that is free from the turmoils of the "old boys" club of European Orthodox Churches. He saw us as a Church that was/is a Church that showed the serious converts around the world that one did not have to be Russian or Greek to be Orthodox. He saw the OCA as champions for the Faith. They read our publications and our newspaper and we gave them hope. A few years have passed since that night, but I believe we still have the potential to be all that we, the OCA, can be and others are watching to see what we do.
BTW, to paraphrase Fr Schmemann, wine does improve the flavor of mineral water, but mineral water does little to improve the flavor of wine.
Fr Thaddeus Wojcik
#18 Anonymous on 2007-07-30 19:28
This may not be the right place to put this comment, so feel free to move it.
Sorry for the delay, I was enjoying vacation, but I would like to respond back to this previous comment.
GOSSIP! GOSSIP! GOSSIP! SORRY TO INFORM YOU THAT ONE CHURCH DID PAY ITS O.C.A. DUES! AND SO DID ST. ELIAS.SORRY KEN, YOU DONT SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH! NOR DOES THIS GOSSIP WEBSITE SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH! THIS WEBSITE HAS NO SALVATION EITHER! THINK! COULD IT BE THE DEVILS WORK????????????
Dear Gossip Columnist,
Thank you for your RINGING comments. You may not believe me, but I truly appreciate your insight, for you continue to reveal that which must be revealed. I never knew that a simple asking for the truth would create so much controversy. Is it really that difficult? What is there to hide in this million member OCA?
First, I must correct you as I certainly do not profess to be speaking for the entire parish of St. Elia on the issue of the Diocesan withholding, nor would I ever wish to pursue such a dictatorial role. I have merely expressed my moral dilemma as Treasurer. How can I sign a check to fund (directly or indirectly) an organization that uses the Word of our Lord to solicit funds, and yet has knowingly misused those funds for other purposes? It really is a simple question.
The issue of withholding was presented at a parish council meeting, discussed and a vote was taken to withhold the percentage of the Bulgarian Diocese Assessment that would have been (indirectly) sent to the OCA Chancery. I did not “organize” the council meeting, nor did I call council members to discuss how to vote. Now, from what I understand from your posting, and minutes of the meeting, the Parish Council met again and rescinded the withholding. For this latest meeting, several members knew that I would be on vacation; our co-Treasurer was also unable to attend the meeting. From the minutes, I don’t know the actual discussion, but I am greatly saddened that the discussion took place without allowing me or the co-Treasurer to participate. Good leadership would have tabled the discussion that involved a person’s heart. Was it underhanded or cunning? I prefer to look away, albeit deeply wounded.
I both gasp and chuckle as I now read that our $375 withholding was in violation of Article 11, Section 3, Paragraph 7, Item 2a . . . “Thou shall not withhold funds” (I’m paraphrasing of course). How ridiculous, we are following the Pharisees. We are washing and painting our faces to look good and follow the letter of the law, but we ignore the heart and our Lord’s call of Matthew 25. We now provide tacit support to those who withheld from orphans and widows. If the latest council vote reflects the will of the parish, Woe to us!
I also understand that the Bulgarian Diocese will go against the stance that Archbishop Kyrill took in withholding funds to the OCA. Now, the Diocese will render unto Caesar. Yes, I know the response, “the decision to withhold is not up to the parish, but it is up to the Diocese”. Our Archbishop had reason to withhold the funds, what has changed? Could it be a phone call from the “locum tennes” leader? Do you know what the Archbishop would have done with such a phone call? Click! …As a church, we have been lead astray by wolves, who now appear in sheep’s clothing. Why is our Diocese afraid to demand the truth?
Regarding your comments concerning the existence of this website, I’m not sure what gospel you are reading, but in the one that I read, it is Christ who calls for the Truth. The person(s) who hides information, makes false statements, clamors to halt discussion, side steps audits, remains evasive, . . . no, my friend, in my gospel, and the gospel of my forefathers, that person has a name that directly opposes Christ.
Now, the reason I have to thank you is that you have shown me a serious misconception that I held. It really parallels my thoughts on Mark’s work with this website. As I’ve stated previously, when this scandal became public on the web in 2006, the travel, meetings and “entertainment” expense of the OCA were somehow miraculously slashed to save $1,000,000 in 2006. It looks like another million will be saved in 2007. The work of the Devil? I think not! Plus now, many people, including myself are sending their money directly to worthy organizations; we can’t tolerate the risk of a middleman. It is just so sad and hurtful that the middleman happened to be my church! Speak out with the results of a full investigation and I will be glad to reconsider.
As you indicate that you are a member of my parish, and must be either a council member or very close to a council member to be able to make your statement, I can now relate to what has happened to our own parish. Aside from our tithing, approximately 4 years ago my wife and I decided to set aside a significant amount of funding to allow for re-construction and expansion of the church building. These funds were in somewhat speculative investments, but have done very well. I must now thank you as you have provided the insight to use a portion of these funds to re-roof a dormitory at a facility for unfortunate folks in need. If you had not continued with your LOUD statements, I think I would still just be going along with the game. It has become quite clear to my wife and I that the unfortunates are where our help is most needed. Building the church edifice is nothing, without first attending to and building the church body.
Praying for an outpouring of Wisdom dwelling within our Bishops,
#19 Ken Kozak on 2007-07-30 19:53
Folks, let us realize that Met. Herman is not going anywhere.
It would be a move of shocking proportions for the bishops to change leadership, and I don't think it will happen at a 2 day meeting.
So this brings us to the real question. What do we do?
Please think on this: What we should do is pray, ask God what He wants us to do, and do it.
Each one must do this for themselves, nobody can tell anyone else what to do. If you have a spiritual father, ask his advice, and then do it.
I know my spiritual father tells me that I should go to church for the Liturgy. Not the politics, not the gossip, but for the Liturgy. To the Word and prayer! Let us not become "protestant Orthodox" who look on the temporal above the spiritual! Every Sunday, we can partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus. The OCA priest can do this, thank God. Take advantage, and do not lose your soul over someone else's sin. What did Jesus say, "what is that to you, you follow me". There will ALWAYS be sin in the hierarchy. There will ALWAYS be crooks anywhere there is power, no matter how slight. Such is life. Forget it and move on. Do what God told you to do and be happy. This is the Way of the Lord and it is what we all signed on for when we became Orthodox.
Or am I in the wrong room?
#20 George Kruse on 2007-07-31 04:18
God Bless the truth and this horrible website. At this point RSK doesn't care what Herman does or what the church has done to him. He will move on knowing that 44 years he spent serving the Lord and church. This site to the few that write , is a joke. Now post that Stokoe.
By the way she was 93 , it just shows how accurate this site is. Get a real job !!!!!!
#22 Anonymous on 2007-07-31 05:30
You must give credit where credit is due! At +Job's direction, a special meeting of the Holy Synod is called to discuss the "state of the church" , i.e. what's been going on under Herman's reign. Herman, ever the master manipulator, not only extends the meeting an extra day to discuss topics other than him, but sets the agenda! We must hold the entire Synod responsible, even though they may or may not have had direct envolvement in the scandal, they are all complicit by not doing a blessed thing!
#23 Peter Pappas on 2007-07-31 06:18
I would not brag about your gift giving since it appears to have many strings attached, and thus given not for pure reasons, but for reasons you think best.
As for Christ and the Truth, remember Truth is in a Person and that Person is Jesus Christ. As long as you have such a bitter heart, your gifts will stick before God.
Lose your anger and gain your soul.
#24 Anonymous on 2007-07-31 11:41
Mark, you really have to stop making up these lame posts to discredit your detractors. They're just a little bit over the top to be believed.
(Editor's Note: LOL! I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! The bad stuff is really beyond my being bad; and the good stuff is often really good. I only wish I could write like some of our posters...)
#25 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2007-07-31 13:15
ON THE MEASURE OF THE MAN
Not that any of us should be surprised, but it was made official this afternoon, that Herman is forbidding Fr Kondratick from serving at his mother's funeral. THAT is the measure of this very small man who calls himself a Metropolitan.
God help us and and protect us from such little people.
#26 Anonymous on 2007-07-31 13:18
Do you really think any of us enjoy this scandal? That we attend Liturgy for the gossip? Please! What makes me so angry is that this is killing our church. When a priest tells you to ignore theft/covering for theft/punishing those who search for the truth, he has ceased to preach the Gospel. He is teaching his flock to accomodate evil. How can the church survive, let alone grow, with such rationalization?
Would you just "move on" if your home was burglarized and not report it? If your child was assaulted? At what point do you advocate that one ignores wrongdoing? Only when it's done by chuchmen?
#27 K. Carlsen on 2007-07-31 13:56
It's the OCA webmaster that needs to correct the statement, not the editor of this website. The OCA "official" site says Ms. Kondractick was 92.
Sdn. John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#28 Marty Watt on 2007-07-31 14:13
Thank you for your comment and forgive me if I appear to be bragging or crying about sour grapes. I assure you that is not the case. I am not mentioning dollar amounts. The gifts that we have given have "NEVER" had any strings attached. That not only includes the OCA, but gifts to mission parishes, IOCC, OCMC, Monastaries, Orthodox Prison Ministires, or the likes of the Boy Scouts, Cancer Society or anyone else! A gift with strings attached is not a gift of trust or faith. I only use the word significant as the donations were significant to me and my wife. Certainly, these gifts would be insignificant to others, such as Mr. Andreas.
Sorry if I appear angry, I'd classify myself as distraught and dismayed. If I were truly angry, I think I would be pursuing legal action against those who participated in the bait and switch, under the guise of Truth. I do agree with you in that Christ is the Truth, but please don't confuse capital "T" Truth with the activities and conversation that you and I can conduct using small "t" truth. Our actions and words may be truthful or they may be distortions. The truth that I am asking for in this scandal is that same small "t" truth. It is not complicated, just tell me what has occurred.
I spoke with a dear Orthodox priest today, who was shocked that any donations could be used for purposes other than what people gave them for (yes, money collected for Beslan children should help them, not provide travel and cognac for others). The church? How could that be, he asked astounded? What about audits, he asked? They fired the auditors who quesitoned suspect activites, and then installed new auditors who didn't actually conduct audits, I told him. I actually cried when we discussed him how much my wife and I had been taken to the cleaners for, knowing how much that money could have helped him and his mission.
Regarding my soul, truly, I need all the prayer available if my soul is to be saved, and thus, I ask your forgiveness. Fortunately, it is not I who can save my soul, for I have truly sinned beyond number, but it is my Lord who can forgive and save, and that is why there is hope for those in need, like me.
PS. It is nice to see the many new names, thoughts and ideas that are sprouting on this site. It is encouaging, even if nothing else happens, it is good to know that there are so people who care about the church and have a vision for a brighter future.
#29 Ken Kozak on 2007-07-31 15:36
Thank you, Peter. You took the words right out of my mouth.
I will be very surprised, indeed, if the Holy Synod announces anything at all, tomorrow, other than the Fr. RSK issue. They have been silent for so long, how can we expect anything else?
#30 Name withheld on 2007-07-31 20:01
While we usually think of him mainly when we observe our Lord's Passion, Joseph of Arimathea is remembered by our Holy Church on July 31st.
During the time of Christ he was a prominent member of the supreme religious court for the Jews of that time. Yet he is much more than this: The Noble Joseph was a secret follower of Christ who was searching for the kingdom of God. His reputation at this time of Christ enabled him to boldly approach Pilate and ask for the Body of Christ, so that our Savior could be given a proper burial.
The Risen Lord appeared to Joseph so that he would have first hand knowledge of the Resurrection. Joseph is thought to have been responsible for spreading the Good news about Christ to the people of England winning many converts.
The Noble Joseph is considered to be a Saint to not only Our Orthodox Faith but to the Roman Catholic Faith as well. Joseph dedicated his whole life to teaching and preaching the truth of the Gospel.
May we each follow the Nobel Joseph's example, especially during this week and the following days.
Mark I Thank You from my Heart for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ Our Savior and to so Many countless others who are putting up a good fight for Christ. May God Continue to Bless and Guide you all with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
May God Forgive Me A Sinner. With Love In Christ Irene
#31 The Noble Joseph on 2007-07-31 21:16
I'm sorry for what must seem like a naive question, but why do we have a chancellor in the Metropolitan's headquarters? It seems to me that all of his work is stuff that other people should be doing. Especially, the spiritual work. That work is for the bishops, they are the pastors of the priests, aren't they?
#32 Matt Karnes of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco on 2007-07-31 22:10
Why is the OCA important to me? It's important to me because it shows that God indeed answers prayer. OCAers have prayed for decades for a truly American Expression(tm) of Orthodoxy and now we've really got one!
#33 joe on 2007-08-01 05:47
One of the issues which our Synod of Bishops faces is understanding their role and importance in a hierarchical church. One might think their role is obvious, but the reality is that through the long and ever changing history of the Church, the changing ebb and flow of society has caused bishops to have different roles at different times. One only need think about the role of bishop during the heyday of Byzantium versus the role of bishop during Turkocratia as one example. In times of persecution bishops have one martyrdom (witness) to perform, whereas in times of social prosperity they must call the flock to self denial and love for others.
Bishops might not like having to deal with problems and might prefer being able to offer pious explanations about Feast Day customs or being challenged with parishioners who eat meat on fast days, but hierarchs are not always able to choose the challenges they must address. One thing the bishops must always be prepared to deal with is evil. And how they deal with this evil is shaped to some extent by the culture they are operating in. Our OCA Synod of Bishops have before them the events of a financial scandal and a failure in leadership which they must rise to the occasion and deal with even though they may prefer to talk about tithing and fasting. Recent events in Alaska have posed another set of challenges which they might just like to avoid. But the calling of bishops is to face evil even if it comes from church members or from the bishops themselves.
And they have to deal with these issues publicly in our society. Efforts to deal with problems and evil secretly or by sweeping things under the Eagle Rug, may have been the way bishops dealt with problems and failures in the church in other societies or times past. But in the information age, in a free press society, bishops need to meet the challenges of this culture and to deal with the evils and church failures in a public way. American society (both religious and secular) is particularly sensitive to spiritual hypocrisy and religions attempting to cover up their own sinful failures (take note of the Catholic Church whose handing of the sexual abuse scandal is costing the RC Church nationwide over a billion dollars). Let us hope that our bishops will not attempt to follow their Roman counterparts and to hide and deny problems. Rather let us pray that our bishops will courageously deal with all aspects of sinful failure in the church in a way that is transparent, that exposes evil to be evil in a manner which keeps the integrity of the Church through transparency, and which places the holiness of the Church in opposition to wrong and sinful behavior. Yes, this means our bishops in America may have to learn some new ways of dealing with challenges, but that was also true of what bishops had to learn when events changed and Constantine stopped the persecution of the church and made Christianity the state religion and when Islam conquered Byzantium and the bishops had to learn a new role in a new society.
Our bishops will show us now whether they are ready to be the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America by how they deal with the current crisis - whether they rise to the occasion or whether they simply try to do what bishops in other times and places did. May the Holy Spirit minister together with them all the days of their lives.
#34 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2007-08-01 06:36
If this is true, then I, as a severe critic of Fr. Kondratick heretofore, protest and condemn this uncharitable and vindictive decision.
#35 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-08-01 07:20
Its obvious Father Bob is not in good standing in the OCA church. He should not be allowed to serve in any official OCA institution or property, church, mission, cemetery. If he wants to attend his mother's funeral at one of the before mentioned places that's fine. If he wants to officiate at his mother's funeral let it be held somewhere else, funeral home, cemetery, another orthodox jurisdiction (but will they allow him), or DOS.
In following this website over the months. The writers still have shown great compassion and concern towards Father Bob for his recent loss. Yes this is true christian spirit.
#36 a concerned christian on 2007-08-01 07:39
I have ZERO confidence that the Holy Synod will take any significant action (besides dealing with Fr. Kondratick's malfeasance and abuses) to deal with the roots of the current OCA crisis. Given what we've witnessed from the Synod in the last 2 years when it comes to doing the right thing and being lions for Christ, these men are acting more like mice. I hope and pray I am wrong, but my understanding of the issues and the bishops' previous track record in dealing with such serious matters (only do anything at the 11th hour and only after the faithful rise up and demand truth and integrity, and even then do the bare minimum) and their lack of courageous leadership seem to indicate that little will be done to substantively deal with the current spiritual and sacramental crisis. And so, the OCA continues to spin towards more chaos and further away from Christ, truth, integrity, and the narrow path.
Were the jobs in which the nepotism alleged ever posted to the general Church population to see if there were any qualified people who might be interested? Were jobs also created in order to provide for nepotism.
#38 Wistful on 2007-08-01 12:37
GET RID OF YOUR FEAR AND YOUR SOUL WILL APPEAR IN YOUR POSTING ON THIS SITE.
YOU HAVE FEAR IN YOU OR YOU WOULD SIGN YOUR NAME.
KEN KOZAK HAS NO FEAR, HE IS VERY OPEN AND SPEAKS FROM HIS HEART!
St. James--Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
I am sure many join with me in praying that those affected by the bridge collapse in Minneapolis will have a speedy recovery. Those who have died, Memory Eternal.
I don't know if any Orthodox had been immediately affected by the disasterous collapse.
It probably is a wake up call, as the news said, to fix other aging infrastructures.
#40 Patty Schellbach on 2007-08-02 10:56
"what the church has done to him"??
You can't be serious Tom.
I was sorry to hear his mother reposed, but let's not for one second blame the church for what has transpired.
It's called consequences for one's actions.
#41 Michael Geeza on 2007-08-02 13:42
I have come to the conclusion, that the Synod does not have anyone capable of making good common sense decisions. It is taking them better than three days to come up with a story, that they hope we will accept. In our business, we okay expenditures to fifty million dollars, and a recap is in our email the next day.
I am at the point where I have empathy for these OLD men but I have no sympathy for them. However it is a shame we call them our leaders. Again, it is our Fault for letting this happen.
Also, what has Bishop Job done since he asked to be excused from being the accuser?
It would be a true crime to see a BEAUTIFUL CHURCH go down the tubes.
St. James--Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
Thank you for your concern, Patty, and anyone else who has shown concern. One person associated with St. Mary's Greek Church in Minneapolis has been reported missing since the catastrophe, and word is that she was about to travel that stretch of 35W on her way to that very parish. Lord, have mercy!
There is a good point you bring up Patty about aging structures. I was taught once by a good Coptic priest "Alex, all things made by man are bound to fail." Recently a good OCA priest reminded me of the same.
I hope the Minnesota engineers inspect the bridges and overpasses honestly and are bold enough to repair/replace them as needed. The bridge that collapsed got a 50% grade as recently as 2005 and was considered "structurally deficient."
What grade would the Lord give to the jurisdiction that is the OCA? Is it "structurally deficient"? Are our bishops inspecting and bold enough to repair (or dare I say "replace") it? Will it collapse?
I don't believe that this calamity that occured yesterday in Minneapolis should be narrowly interpreted as a warning to the OCA. Like any calamity it should remind us all how precarious our lives are, and how much we rely on God for EVERYTHING!
Rdr. Alexander Langley, Minneapolis, MN
#43 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-08-02 19:45
A quick note about bridge inspections and "structurally deficient". I've been dealing with this since a) I live in a city on the Mississippi River with bridges and b) I'm a reporter.
The term "structurally deficient" means if the bridge were to be built to today's standards with today's traffic loads - it would be built differently. It means that more frequent inspections are needed and the bridge will at least need some serious repair and maintenance work--perhaps even replacement. It does not mean that those bridges are a disaster waiting to happen.
To continue Rdr. Alexander's analogy--we are all at 50% or less. We are all "structurally deficient". Fortunately we have the Great Engineer Himself to undertake repair work (with our willing assent), and the tools of His Shop, the Church.
May God strengthen and guide us all through all the catastrophes of life, helping us to keep our eyes on Him and our hearts with Him.
Rdr. Nikolai Payne
St. Raphael of Brooklyn Mission
#44 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-08-03 10:19
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