Monday, August 27. 2007
Your comments on our current situation, or the way forward, are welcome.
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Mind boggling. How can this be continuing? How are we supposed to trust those in charge? I say if a treasurer cannot answer a simple question such as the amount being witheld, an amount already published somewhere else, then he is either playing games or he is inept if he was unable to locate the exact dollar amount. Why does he assume he has the power to not give financial information to those who are entitile to that information? Maybe this is unfair, but it appears he thinks he can decide if the information will be given or not. This is not good. Are we going backwards?
#1 A sad state of affairs on 2007-08-27 14:45
thank you for an excellent posting
#2 Luke on 2007-08-27 16:38
WOW! That Kucynda is a manipulative son of a gun! Does it really matter what this report said anyway, it was put together by the roosters currently operating the hen house! Herman and Kucynda are 2 HUGE players in what when on in the OCA during the time in question. The only way to find out what really happend is a FORENSIC AUDIT BY AN OUTSIDE ACCOUNTING FIRM. Kucynda and Herman are too cozy with Lambrides, the Metropolitan Council should grab the bull by the horns and get THEIR own attorney and accounting firm.
Herman, without the approval of the Holy Synod and/or Met. Council, is meeting yet another law firm tomorrow (8/28) to "represent the OCA" I mean Herman....whatever, give me a break! These two have blood all over their hands and no one is man/woman enough to call them out on it!
#3 Lester Sokolov on 2007-08-27 17:05
How could anyone read Fr. Paul's letter without simply thinking, "cut the crap". The flowery, sermonizing, and insulting way he speaks to Faith is not the way to progress. What will it take for these people to start acting like professionals in professional roles, with responsibilities to the donors who support them and their church? (I say their church because this is an organization that I don't feel like I want to be a part of anymore.) The more I read, the more I think that Fr. Bob is just the scapegoat and that the webs that have been woven here are so complex it will take years for us to discover the depth of the lies and deceit of our spiritual leaders.
Scold me if you will with your comments that follow, but all of this - it is truly how I feel. And unless someone is prepared to lead us with Truth, I'm done with this Church, and its underhanded, sneaky, yet holier-than-thou dealings with Her people.
#4 Anonymous on 2007-08-27 17:40
Hopefully those withholding will not have thier decisions made for them as this stalemate unfolds.
Maybe Syosset is starting to hear the soft chant, RESIGN, RESIGN, RESIGN!
Its time for Met. Herman and the crew to take the early retirement package and step aside for the OCA to once again regain any respectability amongst its equals.
Met. Hermans legacy will be "we almost lost the church over him"
#5 Robert Holowach on 2007-08-27 19:07
Dear "sad state"
Let us remember that the two gentlemen to which you refer were BOTH OCA Treasurers (not acting treasurers) during the years in which million were being channeled "off the books" into special "discretionary accounts." No one is fooled here... they are working mightily to prevent the light of accountability from being shone on their culpability. Any explanation other than maliciousness is useful to their defense (i.e., ignorance, stupidity, naivety, incompetence, etc.). At this stage let us stop giving them the benefit of the doubt. Enough already. Fr. Kucynda has been at Syosset since before the first ADM check arrived, as has been discussed on this website. Met. Herman has been on the "Holy" Synod all along. It is impossible to believe that million were spent by Kondratick without them noticing.
#6 Anon. on 2007-08-27 19:18
You are not alone in your revulsion at the juvenile games being played in the name of "church". God help the OCA survive this shadow puppet play. It is embarrassing. What a bunch of rank amateurs. Where is Christ in their pompous, hollow words? (Probably waiting for us outside the exits, it would seem.)
#7 Fellow Disgusted Anon. on 2007-08-27 19:24
I like to give Fr. Paul a lot of rope here, hopefully he isn't intent on hanging himself.
First of all, I believe that Fr. Paul is hopeful that the Diocese of the Midwest will reverse its position on the release of a report, so I found his response, while a tad irresponsible, still a favorable response.
What was irresponsible was his failure to answer the questions posed by Faith, but I've said many times, the Metropolitan Council is powerless in the OCA. All of this falls on the Synod and noone else. It is interesting that anyone wants to serve on the MC. I, for one, believe the MC should have some power over a position in the church.
What Metropolitan Herman really needs to start to grasp is that the people are utterly confused. We don't have enough information on the deposition of one priest to comprehend all the missing money. Was it mere financial mismanagement? Was it the super glossy color publications of The Orthodox Church I got sent to me for free? Was it a combination of petty, loose reimbursements and gross financial mismanaement or was is gross theft and minor mismanagement or gross theft and major mismanagement?
What is right is the withholding in the absence of this understanding by clergy and laity. The Synod has a major debt, especially to clergy, to get quarterly reporting done (this is absent I believe), and the get the questions about the ADM monies and the other millions answered.
If it was all twinkletoes payoffs, we deserve to know.
It is really sad, even unfair, that we must grasp at answers.
The compromise is the truth. Abp. Job sees this.
#8 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-08-27 19:42
Cut the c**p is right! So saccharine, and yet so arrogant; what a wretched recipe commingling those characteristics makes.
This is going to sound "mean" to some, but it isn't, nor is it meant to be. It's just so: I've never had reason, nor heard of anyone else having reason, to conclude that the Little Man Under The Big White Hat is of the highest voltage; but after having read that supercilious nonsense Kucynda wrote, how can one conclude anything other than (a) that he is either also stupefyingly obtuse, or else (b) that while not so, he is instead so arrogant that he thinks everyone else is so obtuse as to be willing to accept that garbage, or (c) that he just plain doesnt give a rodent's dupa what anyone thinks of him.
Fr. K, in the immortal words of General Anthony McAuliffe: "Nuts!"
#9 Anonymous on 2007-08-27 20:32
Cut Off The Blood Supply To The Cancer! Cut Off The Money!! Another Accounting Firm? Its Done in Christ's Eyes His Eyes are Swelling and Tears are Falling From Heaven..... Christ Won't Touch this If Its Not Holy....
Silence is Golden for the Rest of the Synod and Our Clergy.... I Certainly would be Fearful of God if I were associated with this Madness Click of People For The Wounds Are Festering Deeper In Your Faithful People and She The Church Won't Stand For It... If You Continue to Be Ignorant We Will Be Just Like The Roman Catholic Church.... Or Worse Off, Oh Dear God Have Mercy on Us!
Remember Billions Of Pay Outs This Year for Their Sins of Denial. This is Worst Than Sad and Darkness..
This is A Touch of Hell on Earth For your Faithful Children.... We Are Suffering... And just think, its So Simple, Clean House! We Don't Need to Be Stuck in This Hell....
We are Suffering Because Nobody Has The Dignity To Stand For Thousands of Us and Say Enough!!!! We Are Above Politics!! We Are Christians! We Are Christs People! We Are Christs Chosen Ones! We Are Orthodox Christians! Where is Our Unity? We Are Christians Who Stand for The Truth! Thank You Bishop Job from the very Depth of My Soul... But Who Will Now Take Up Their Cross and Follow You? That's my New Question? Who Will Christ Send To Stand By You? In Christ's name I Pray for You All Before its Too Late.... Add My Tears With the Tears From Heaven.... Irene
#10 Anonymous on 2007-08-27 20:36
I find myself wondering what it would take (other than the blessing of MH) for the special commission to resume operation.
Could they just start meeting and drawing up a plan of action and then executing those portions that are possible without active cooperation from MH and Fr. PK? How much money would they really need to start holding regular conference calls? They could at least draw up a list of questions that need to be addressed and begin outlining the steps needed to address those issues -- along the lines of the list of necessary witnesses found at the end of the private report on the Alaska mess.
They might be able to begin doing some interviews.
It would certainly help if they reconstituted themselves with Greg Nescott as a member.
MH could make noise, but what if they simply ignored him as he has ignored the decisions and recommendations of the MC and the Holy Synod?
I realize these actions would be construed as open rebellion and disobedience, but what if everyone just decided not to act on any of MH's attempts at retribution? What could he really do? He could order the excommunication of the commission members, but what if their parish priests just quietly continued communing them? He could call Job on the carpet, but without backing from the Synod, he couldn't actually impose penalties.
Mark, you say there are people in Syosset who want to get on with getting this behind us in the right way and to work to confront and deal with the issues -- what if they just started cooperating with the commission and ignored MH? It's not like he's even there to know what they're doing. And Kucynda drives in from Jersey and isn't there all the time either.
What if someone just released the preliminary report? (there must be 30 or so people at this point who have seen it) And when MH starts throwing lightening bolts, everyone simply ignored it and refused to impose whatever penalties he called for.
Of course, in some ways it's a horrible precedent -- but rather than consider it a precendent, I think we'd need to consider it an extraordinary and exceptional response to an unprecedented situation.
I'm sure it's grossly unrealistic in 10,000 ways, but I can dream, right?
#11 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-08-27 21:25
The exchange between Kucynda and Faith exposes in stark reality how totally out of touch Kucynda is in dealing with the affairs of the OCA. It reveals a desperate need to be respected and I dare say loved by others, something it would appear he has never had in his own life. The pathology is clear and frightening.
Kucynda got to the proximity of power by playing Judas. He turned on Kondratick so that he could show us how important he is and how under appreciate his wisdom was all those years he lived in Kondratick’s shadow. Now he is showing us how the OCA should be organized and run. But, what is this new abortion of a structure we call the new Syosset?
We have a chancellor who has no authority and Syosset employees comment that he has nothing to do. We have a secretary who has more day-to-day responsibility than the chancellor. We have a communication director who has little to communicate. We can’t find a treasurer and in the meantime an acting treasurer who is running everything. Kondratick, the evil genius who micromanaged everything has been resurrected in Kucynda, except for two major differences, Kucynda has neither the experience nor the charisma to do the job. He isn’t fooling anyone as the once insider now tries to recast himself as the ultimate outsider who has but only one goal, to bring “victory” to us. All we have to do is trust him and Herman. Is anyone buying this condescending bull?
In this new OCA, we have the same old Metropolitan Council. Consulted and brought together to provide cover for Syosset. Sure, a few more important sounding committees, Ethics, Finance, and Special Commission but where was the Metropolitan Council when Herman and Kucynda hired the Proskure Rose and THEN got the approval of the Metropolitan Council. Where was the Metropolitan Council when Kucynda came up with the “brilliant” idea of going out and borrowing commercial money to pay back the internal misdirected funds so that we could restore fiscal integrity? How can going into more debt restore fiscal integrity? Now we have a big loan payment every month and with just one diocese holding back their head tax, the OCA is on a fiscal tightrope.
And, where is the Metropolitan Council right now as Kucynda decides who the next legal consul will be for the Church? Isn’t that the job of the Metropolitan Council? It will be when the Metropolitan Council is gathered to gives its approval to what has been decided.
So we don’t have enough money. Get ready folks for the next All American Council, it coming soon and the “we need more money” drum will soon be beaten forcing us to do the right thing and increase in the assessment to offset the dropping census numbers.
Every day we have to suffer under this caricature of leadership is another day that takes us further away from what the OCA should be. What truly saddens me is that I am beginning to forget what that should be? What is it going to take to finally rid us of these leaders who know nothing about how the Church should be reaching out to North America? Who in their right mind can honestly say that Herman and Kucynda are the best we can do.
I don’t favor the Midwest withholding their assessment to Syosset. I think Job is in direct defiance of his oath as a bishop. Yet, if Job or the Midwest would pass another "Resolution" demanding the resignation of Herman and Kucynda until their money flows again, I would consider that to be the lesser of two evils.
Faith, you carried the water for Kucynda and Herman in getting rid of Kondratick. What do you want in return, respect, a decent answer to your questions, being treated like an adult, a fellow Christian? Nope, nothing. Now go away and stop asking questions. Be a good woman and know your place.
Please, someone wake me up and tell me this is all a bad dream.
#12 Someone Please Pinch Me on 2007-08-27 21:31
[cont'd -- sorry about that]
Or even without the commission as such taking specific action, we could make a general call here and now for anyone who is aware of activities that possibly should be looked into -- write a letter addressed to the special commission with as much detail as possible and send it to Abp. Job. He doesn't have to do anything but collect them.
Examples of the kind of thing -- I've heard a couple of times from a friend who lives somewhere else the story of a friend of his who went on one of those FOS pilgrimages in Russia and how completely shocked she was about a big ticket party that was held. Anyone who went on one of those tours and saw this kind of thing should write a careful description.
Or I've heard a priest mumbling about how at the beginning of this whole thing he sent a note to someone about a significant bequest that he was aware of and that never appeared on the OCA books as far as he could tell. Priests or others who have personal knowledge through family or whatever of bequests from 1995 - 2005 should document what they know in a letter and send it in.
There may be no immediate actions on these matters, but it's all raw material for future examination. But it would be good if everyone who sent something received an acknowledgment.
#13 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-08-27 21:35
I agree. The letter sounded more like "Now be a good little girl, go home, and don't forget to say your prayers. We'll handle this". I don't know him, so perhaps he did not mean it like it sounded. But the most discouraging part of this is that as the treasurer, he is not forth-coming with information on finances. How are any of us supposed to feel comfortable when someone like Dr. Skordinski is not given the infomation as requested. This has the appearance of playing some kind of game where they are not giving out financial information once again. How can the treasurer wield this kind of power over everyone? I am so discouraged. I am so glad we have this web site so that we can all see what is happening. How can I trust that they will use the funding that they get appropriately? Yikes!
#14 A sad state of affairs on 2007-08-27 22:24
I have a feeling they should be lawyering up.
RSK will have to come forward and HERMAN should be prepared for that and Kucynda MUST know that he is NO angel.
Then again, they have gotten away with so much, they probably believe their own imaginations.
#15 Margo P on 2007-08-28 04:12
I am grieved that we cannot get straight answers from out treasurer. I am grieved that we lay people seem to be seen as poor ignorant peasants. I am grieved that the only obvious large money supply left might be the clergy pension fund.
I pray for our church daily. I pray for our clergy and bishops. I pray for the faithful clergy. May God have mercy on us all.
I've been asking myself the same questions, Rebecca. Why doesn't the Special Commission just reconvene as the Special Commission to the Metropolitan Council?
Sometime ago there were different ideas posted about the withheld assessments going into escrow and someone said that the money should simply be used for the good of the church. In my dreams the Midwest's August assesments are used to fund the Special Commission, as well as to pay legal fees for Paul Sidebottom, and whatever else needs to be funded for us to clean-up this mess...
#17 Rachel Andreyev on 2007-08-28 05:25
No, Rebecca, you’re not dreaming, you are right on! These are indeed extraordinary times, which require extraordinary action. I'm on the same page and I see rays of hope shinning again:
1) Dr. Skordinski and the MC are setting deadlines for the Treasurer! Yes, that probably should have happened a year ago, but onward. I'd just suggest setting an actual date and actions, just like the Midwest. Please answer the questions by August 28th, after which xxx (ex. the Special Commission resumes the investigation).
2) Senior Priest indicating that Fr. Hopko was sending a personal letter asking for our two Treasurers to resign. A glorious Alleluia! If they can't understand Fr. Hopko's wisdom, let them reap what they have sown.
3) Fr. Sherman’s New England Diocesean report summary:
"The MC has the responsibility for oversight and investigation of financial matters of the OCA (A fiduciary responsibility). It has directed the Special Investigative Committee to resume its work. It is unclear why the Special Investigative Committee has not followed this direction and resumed its work.
Is this true? Metropolitan Council, what are you waiting for? The church is not MH, nor is it just the Synod. The church is all of us! Set the Special Commission in motion and cleanup the moral scandal that exists. The financial problems will not get any better until the moral decay is cleared. Root canals can be painful, but they can preserve the tooth.
I also liked Fr. Sherman’s line, (which may be from the MC)“. . . All parties having relevant information, including any legal counsel representing the Church, are authorized and directed to cooperate fully with the Special Commission in such investigation.” Fine, but as any business person would say - set a deadline and have a consequence! Come forward with the information by September x and the MC will take that into consideration (I’m not talking amnesty, just some type of consideration).
We are nearly at the start of the Church New Year! How fitting, the Beheading of John the Baptist clouded with the immorality of Herod, followed by the fresh start of the New Year. May it be so for all of us.
#18 Ken Kozak on 2007-08-28 05:53
Why whould the midwest reverse thier position on the report issue?
No report, no cash.
#19 Robert Holowach on 2007-08-28 06:27
Both Fr. Sherman and writers above have simplified the Midwest withholding to the release of the preliminary report. While this is one condition, is is neither the only condition, nor the more important condition.
The other and more important condition is that the Investigation Commission continue its work in an unhindered manner. This is the part that is most important, and the part that is most frightful to the current and former treasurers in Syosset.
The report, while useful to the church, is predictable -- Robert Kondratick did bad things. OK, but what about everyone else? That is why the Midwest will withhold until the Commission continues its investigation unhindered .
#20 Priest Christopher Wojcik on 2007-08-28 07:26
I,too,was appalled and not amused at the reply written by the treasurer.
My concern is for those who are "done with this church." As far as my parish and my family is concerned, the central governing body is NOT our church. I belong to a loving, supportive church family who would never dream of treating each other this way. We have, however, had it with those in authority who are not interested in being held accountable for their actions, and support Bishop JOB in withholding our money from the central administration. Now is time for them to start acting like the rest of us exist and that they are accountable to us and to God.
Dianne Combs, NOT anonymous
St. Stephen the First Martyr OCA
#21 Dianne Combs on 2007-08-28 07:45
We cannot begin to heal until these people who are in denial are no longer in control. They control EVERYTHING!
If we were to take a new approach, we would take a new leader. There is NO confidence in the one we currently have.
Take the example of the Attorney General - when you can no longer enjoy the confidence of the people, it's time for a change. If Syosset was truly serious about transperancy, since they publicly stated the salary of Gerri Glagolev, how about everyone else? How much do we pay to maintain two offices of the Metropolitan? How much does the NEW chancellor and other officers make along with the cost of their benefits? How much do we pay the support staff in Pennsylvania as well as New York? How much did the "investigation" cost? There is still no commitment to the future until someone leads the way. No one trusts the leaders of yesterday so the people continue to allow this because they are not communicating to their Diocesan Hierarch. There is NO ORDER in Syosset. Forget about the past, too much time as been spend on pointing the finger at one person. Who will lead us to tomorrow? Certainly NOT those who failed us so badly in the past.
#22 Margo P. on 2007-08-28 07:51
What is amazing is that EVERYONE in the OCA lets this continue. In companies where this happens, there is a complete house cleaning. Why are + Herman and Fr. Kucynda still in place? It's obvious they are stone-walling everything. They should be required to resign immediately, put a respected Metropolitan in place and a GOOD Treasurer with strong financial skills. Syosset has become a joke. No credibility and an appearance of hidding important information. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Throw these people out. There can be no real reform while the fox's are still in the hen house.
#23 Anonymous on 2007-08-28 08:23
If You Continue to Be Ignorant We Will Be Just Like The Roman Catholic Church.
Hello! With all due respect, we Catholics are solving our problems. It was very painful, and it took a long time and a lot of lawsuits, but we have largely put the Scandal behind us. And most of our dioceses have transparency out the wazoo.
We did it. You folks can, too.
#24 Anonymous on 2007-08-28 08:39
Perhaps the Diocese of the Midwest would even be able to fund them from their escrow account, since they are doing the actual work of elected lay leaders of the OCA.
#25 Christine on 2007-08-28 09:02
Well as the person who wrote the "done with the church", I belong to the Diocease of Eastern PA. So you can imagine the environment I grew up in, close to MH, attending summer camp at St. Tikhon's, and being a little girl, who was taught her proper place.
I know how he operates, I know how he controls his minions, and I know that this will be a long road...and quite frankly, I don't hold out much hope for anyone standing up and doing the honorable thing.
Very Anonymous - Diocease of Eastern PA
#26 Anonymous on 2007-08-28 09:11
There will be no unhindered investigation as long as Herman and Kucynda are in charge. The longer this goes on the more damage will be done to the Church. It's a Mexican Standoff. The only question is who will blink first?
If only one more diocese would withhold, that would tip the balance and force Herman to give in. No, if Herman allows a unhindered investigation it will also have to include Herman going on a LOA and Kucynda being locked out of Syosset and barred from any contact with current staff. The two of them need to be isolated.
But a strange ally in this may be the upcoming appeal of Kondratick's case. If it shows that Herman and Kucynda were directly involved in things they say they were not, I think even our do nothing Holy Synod will be forced to recognize that enough is enough.
But, I would not hold my breath.
#27 Anonymous on 2007-08-28 09:22
"hopeful that the Diocese of the Midwest will reverse its position on the release of a report"
Nope, we won't.
#28 Michael Strelka on 2007-08-28 09:23
To clarify, that would happen upon release of a report..
#29 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-08-28 11:06
Are we talking about the Holy Church of Christ or the Democrat Party? Dear God, you people have no concept of what it means to be part of a heirarchical Church do you?
You don't like the administration (such a bureaucratic word!) of Herman, then leave and join an Orthodox jurisdiction that may have more accountability. Don't count on it though, the OCA allows the laity the most influence and look where the OCA has ended up.
But hey, at least your jurisdiction is autocephalous right?!?! Recognized by all the commie stooges in mother Russia and Georgia the anti-Paschal ones in Finland.
#30 A Junior Deacon on 2007-08-28 13:24
The difficulty is that the Orthodox Church in America turned into the Omerta Church in America.
It is sad that I have experienced a greater level of morality on Wall Street (I've worked securities operations and sales since 1986) than in the OCA.
These are harsh words, yes. But I say them openly. People, your concerns are well-stated, but by being anonymous it can be said that we are all just one or two sock puppets. There are too many of us to excommunicate; we simply have to make all of our names known and the rotten parts of the structure will collapse.
The reason for the collapse is that nothing ridiculous survives forever. It may take some time, years even, but collapse it will.
#31 Edmund Unneland on 2007-08-28 14:23
Lester said it in a post above..."The only way to find out what really happend is a FORENSIC AUDIT BY AN OUTSIDE ACCOUNTING FIRM."
I agree, this is the only way to truly find out what happened. We have not been handed the truth because the truth would make us reel. I, for one, am ready for the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Until then, it appears to be "business as usual" in $yo$$et. I am convinced this is not about the money! It is a shame that some of our spiritual leaders cannot discern right from wrong. So sad...
#32 Carpathia on 2007-08-28 15:46
Now where was Herman the Treasurer, Herman the Archbishop and Heman the Metropolitan? I guess in South Canaan!
This is a person with real committment and dedication.
Where was Kucynda? I guess in New Jersey. Why are you so surprised? They have been getting away wtih there irresponsibility for years. Why should things change now?
Where are all of those wonderful words of taking full responsibility? I guess back in their villages!
#33 Margie from Wilkes Barre on 2007-08-28 15:47
Dear Anonymous, With my comment about The Roman Catholic Church please understand that I meant this statement about the fiancial problems with sexual harrassment lawsuits ect, and the most recent pay outs from the Roman Catholic Diocease in Billions of payments to victims and families.
Yes they did hide and scapegoat and hinder investigations for many many years in the Catholic Church I have family who belongs to several different parishes and they have been faithful for many years. I certainly didn't mean this towards your faith so please except my apoligies. In fact the Church that my parents belonged to for many years when I was a child at 10 had the priest going to my parents beach cottage and had an affair with a nun.
That Crushed my parents and my Mom swore that she simply could not understand how he could take communion each Sunday and betray his vows to God. Shattering my mom but she recovered.
The one that my sister belongs to my god son was an alter boy and the priest had sexual encounters with several boys and he had taken a leave of absence he is now retired and comfortable after 10 years of many accusations until it was finally proven to be a guilty verdict. And lastly my Mother died and the Roman Catholic priest that buried my Mom was having an affair with another man bought him an SUV worth 30.000 embezzled a large amount of money actually reported in at over 90.000 in one year and was sent off to a foreign country to repent for 3 months and was reinstated. He just recently retired after 15 years more of service. So You see my family has seen it all! Don't tempt me to tell you more Catholic Secrets.... Actually these are in the archieves so its all public information. But above all... You See Anonoymous I Found the Orthodox Faith through my prayer life and behind a closed curtain at a convent I asked a nun one day while in my early 20's to tell me more about the Church the True Church You See because I knew there was more for me to learn more to believe to know about the Calender Days the Saints that are Commerated and I knew that I needed more to strengthen my Faith in God not Man.....
This is About Man... This Scandal is About the Fallen Man and His Sins that are hidden behind the outward face... This Is a Useing of God Which is The Greatest Sin Of All! Its not about Money and Who's Church is more or better than the others it not about your Heritage or where you attend Church.. its about Mans Corruption that has to be Brought to Light Shown for What it Is... The Disquise of the Devil Using the Orthodox and The Roman Catholic Church For Its Own Identity.... This is the Greatest Sin Of All.....
I ask you for forgiveness if I offended you, I ask for forgiveness if I offend anyone who reads my story but I must tell you Faith is not Shaken in this Scandal in Fact, it is Stronger and Wiser and I will be Forever Grateful, I am Forever in Gratitude for Archbishop Job, Mark Stokoe Eric Wheeler and Greg Nescott and the many men and women who take the time out of their daily lives to shed some light and knowledge into the world of Orthodoxy who have shown to me to be true heroes in their faith...... I am forever Blessed and Thankful......
#34 Anonymous on 2007-08-28 15:50
Father Paul's comments in their best light reflect a leadership out of touch with its constituents; in its worst light reflects its contempt for any meaningful oversight.
Such messages confirm the absolute necessity of continuing the special investigation "without any hindrance or limit". The longer we wait, the less credibility the Church will have.
#35 David Paynter on 2007-08-28 15:51
Dear Anonymous Roman Catholic,
With all due respect to you as well, I cannot agree with your assertion that "we (Catholics) are solving our problems (and) have largely put the Scandal behind us".
You, as a Church, have not yet addressed in any meaningful or adequate manner the complicity of some of your Bishops in the "Scandal" to which you refer. And yet their role in your scandal is at least as "large" in its moral, and possibly criminal, significance as any other aspect of your scandal which you have addressed.
Although I think we OCA members can certainly learn from your attempt to call call to account the evildoers in your midst, until you deal openly and publically with some of your Bishop's facillitative complicity in their wrongdoing your comment "We did it. You folks can too" is prematurely self-congratulatory. What you have "put behind you" is unfinished work.
I am personally greatly encouraged by the determination of some of the OCA membership, and some of its leaders, to discover and follow the truth about the wrongdoing in our midtst to whomever it leads. And to make that truth about wrongdoing public in order to bring about the correction and cleansing it requires. Our struggle will also be a long one, but, with God's help, we will not leave it unfinished.
I hope you will continue to read and contribute to the OCAnews website. Who knows, perhaps you may learn something valuable from observing how we deal with scandal.
#36 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-08-28 17:00
Yes, but in companies the top of the hierarchy is ultimately the shareholders, who can eject management. We don't have that analogue here in our hierarchical church.
On the other hand, we do have the civil law to which we are subject, having elected to form a corporate entity (the OCA is a corporate entity under NY law). The Met is acting as though he has powers not given to him under the governing documents of the OCA. Somehow, the State of NY, in the person (I assume) of the Attorney General or perhaps in the person of a sitting judge in a suit, needs to step in.
Among other things, the "contract" between the OCA and Proskauer needs to be reviewed. There's no way Herman had or has the authority to hire PR, and there totally no way PR didn't know this. PR has taken advantage of Herman's hijacking of the MC's lawful authority over financial matters and is surely complicit. Oh, would that the MC would retain counsel to sue PR for a return of the funds it improperly has accepted in the facade of its representation.
#37 Anonymous on 2007-08-28 17:47
Dear Father Deacon Theodore,
I have been a Republican for some time and before that a member of the Conservative Party of New York State --- the haven for people who think New York Republicans lack the courage of their convictions.
I have also met Democrats who have the courage and knowledge of their convictions, and also make much better Orthodox Christians than I will ever be. (OK, I'm not thrilled by any organization founded by Jefferson and Burr, who made life difficult for my homie Hamilton, but God did not give us a handbook for understanding the temporary difficulties that U. S. political enthusiasts have with each other.)
What does all this mean? Faithfulness as an Orthodox Christian is not a function of one's temporal political leanings. (In fact, one of the reasons I lean to the right is that, in the American context, it is much more aware of human fallibility. Per Russell Kirk, of blessed memory, it is actually the absence of ideology.) But please, dear father deacon, don't consider this a 2 x 4 --- I had exactly the same prelest not too many years ago, so it's from the perspective of one who's wandered in that particular wood and was able to come out of it that I say these things.
Just some guy originally from Brooklyn,
#38 Edmund Unneland on 2007-08-28 18:05
"...the OCA allows the laity the most influence and look where the OCA has ended up."
Yes, look where it has ended up: Given the dismal failure of the priesthood in the Church, the faithful are taking their baptismal vocation seriously as the priesthood of the Church! How fearful it must be for you, deacon, to see the laity taking Christ and His Gospel seriously and finally demanding that the leadership of the Church do so as well.
FYI--I don't know about your jurisdiction, but in this hierarchical Church, the Chief Hierarch is Christ, not Metropolitan Herman, and it is Christ's awesome judgment we fear, not Herman's!
The man is a fraud. He lied about having 2,000,000 church members on a sworn affadavit. How can anyone believe a word this man says?
He has tried to build this firewall and almost succeeded, however, I think some sparks have been lit.
There is no room in the church for phonies.
He should just retire!
#40 Suzanne Wilson on 2007-08-28 18:43
Absolutely. A report and the return of the committee would be the least I'd accept. I never meant to say that a report would be the end.
Further and to everyone, I'm not sure why this investigation would only go back to 1998. The church deserves answers on the Andreas monies. Absent those answers, the Synod owes us change.
#41 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-08-28 18:57
I would just like to point out that on May 25th of this year the first quarter accounting results, actual vs. budget, were placed on the OCA website. As I recall there may have been some understandable delay due to the recent conversion to the new accounting system.
Well, it is now August 28th and it appears that the second quarter results are still to be published. What has happened to the new accounting system? Any system worth its salt can produce a quarter ending report withing a couple of days of the end of the period. Every bank in the country is capable of putting out a full month-end report on the first day of the next month. Why can't the OCA new system not do it in less than two months!!
#42 Brad Miter on 2007-08-28 19:55
Today I had an epiphany. I heard a wise family therapist speaking about family dysfunction and sadly broken children. Most of the problem, he said, rested with parents who thought they were being strict by spewing verbal thunder and threats, but who neglected to take any concrete action that would change the thinking of their misbehaving off-spring.
"When Tommy did that, what did you do?" the therapist would ask the frustrated parents.
"Why, I really gave it to him, I really put him in his place..." the parents would answer, proud of their strictness.
"But what did you DO?" the therapist asked again.
"I really told him off, stopped him in his tracks, he really knows not to do that again..." the clueless parents would answer.
"That's what you said. But what did you DO?" the therapist asked again.
Finally, after a bit more of this back-and-forth, the parents would realize that bluster and threats--even heartfelt pleading--without ACTION, provided no motivation for change. If the child had nothing to lose, nothing would change. The parents would realize that the bluster would eventually lose to the I-Pod and become meaningless and ignorable background.
What does this have to do with the OCA? As happens in all families, roles are eventually reversed; the children must lead their increasingly childish parents by taking protective actions for their good.
This reversal has taken place in the OCA. Those who used to lead us can no longer take care of themselves, much less the Church. Admit it or not, they now rely on us, their children, to mature and to do what is best for them; not through bluster and threats (and certainly not through frail platitudes), but through definite, transforming ACTION.
After a time of increasingly forceful rhetoric, the bishop, clergy and faithful of the Midwest have taken definitive ACTION. They have respectfully, firmly stepped forward in love to save the family; to serve as nurturers and protectors of those who have lost their ability to nurture, protect or even think clearly; to prevent them from hurting themselves any further. They have done the equivalent of hiding the car keys, installing safety bars in the bathroom; and by withholding funds, they have locked up the matches that could reignite the fire that keeps smoldering in the basement.
But the “parents” of the Midwest need help. They need more of the Church’s children to become adults and parents to those who have become dangerous to themselves and to many around them. They need the clergy and faithful of the OCA to join them in withholding the fuel from this fire—the 10’s of thousands of dollars that even now are not accounted for, even by answering the simplest and most appropriate inquiries.
So the therapist looks at us and asks:
“When your leaders continually lied to you, patronized you, sneered at you, slapped you around and ignored you, what did you do?”
“Oh, we showed them! We directed words at them by which we stopped them in their tracks, put them in their places and made sure they knew we were mad as hell and weren’t going to stand for it any more!!!”
“But what did you DO?”
(Respectfully, we all need to do what the Midwest has done.)
#43 BLM on 2007-08-28 20:06
What a repugnant thing for you to say, especially as a member of the clergy. Nothing positive could come from it.
You are lucky that there we suffer from an uncanonical multiplicity of ethnic jurisdictions, in that it enables you to go jurisdiction shopping. However, unlike the Antiochian Archdiocese, the OCA has a unique mission to develop a uniquely American instance of Orthodoxy. This is why it is critical that the OCA not fail, and that it is not swallowed up by other, mainly ethnic jurisdictions.
As far as the recognition of our autocephaly, we are not the only mess in America. The Antiocheans skirt the issue by calling themselves "autonomous" enabling dictatorial rule under Metropolitan Philip. You won't find any more accountability from him. Our church should quickly clean house, so it can move on to grapple with issues of our autocephaly, such as having our autocephaly recognized universally. The Patriarch of Constantinople has ignored us for his economic gain for long enough!
Anyone who leaves the OCA may think they are just turning their back on Syosset (an understandable sentiment). But also, they are turning their back on the ideal of an American Orthodox Church, the new era espoused by fathers such as Schmemann. What a pity it would be to turn your back on something so wonderful because of such a relatively small (albeit hideous) blight. The Orthodox Church in America is not intrinsically broken. Just Herman and Kucyinda are.
#44 Rdr. Nilus on 2007-08-28 22:36
What it means to be a part of a hierarchical church is one of the questions many people have been asking. If you have any insights, please share them. Do you think it means something other than "pay, pray and obey"? Do you equate a hierarchical church with authoritarianism? Where do love, integrity, trust and truth fit into your understanding of a hierarchical church?
To jump ship and go somewhere else strikes me as being more of a Protestant mentality. The Orthodox way is to stay and fight for what is right -- as difficult and as heart-wrenching as that may be, and no matter how long it takes. The mentality of "Just leave and go somewhere else where you will be happier" is not Orthodox at all.
Contrary to your suggestion, I don't think the issue is about laity input vs. hierarchical control. The vast majority of could care less whether the impetus for change comes from the laity or the hierarchy. People are not fighting to democratize the church -- not in the least. On the contrary, they just want integity, honesty, and competence. Almost everyone is hoping, praying, pleading and practically BEGGING the hierarchy to assert its authority for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the truth. People do not want to wrestle control away from the hierarchy -- they want the hierarchy to stand up and lead. Why are those cries falling on deaf ears?
#45 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-08-28 22:53
You are absolutely right.
Why is Kucynda still in office?
He has absolutely NO business or accounting education.
But then again, look at the others in the finance department.
It appears to me that Herman surrounds himself with people who will click their heels when he walks into the room.
His management style is definately Stalinistic.
#46 Anonymous on 2007-08-29 02:31
Dear Daniel: Since the Holy Synod repudiated the 1999 decision to not allow audits of discetionary funds, it appears that the special committee could certainly decide to do so.
#47 Micahel Strelka on 2007-08-29 08:43
So ... a passing ship comes upon a lone castaway on a remote dsert island. The person is rescued but before departing he takes the crew on a tour.
At one end of the island they find a beautiful church in the Russian Orthodox style ... perfect detail of dome, iconography, faint aroma of insense in the air.
At the opposite end of the island --another church!
They ask "Why two churches?"
'Oh, that's the one I don't go to...'
#48 -- R. Crusoe --- nom de plume on 2007-08-29 08:44
Jean Langley Sullivan: With all due respect, I do not know what you are talking about. We have been dealing with these things "openly" for a while now. How could we not, seeing as we are the target of humongous lawsuits? That kind of forces a cewrtain "openness," wouldn't you say?
I am not defending what some of our bishops did in the past. Far, far fom it. But we really are taking proactive steps now to resolve the crisis. Recent news reports confirm this: Allegations of abuse have dropped sharply, and most involve older cases (where the offenders are long since either retired or dead).
Re transparency: It was the Catholic Church that commissioned the famous John Jay Study, which was carried out entirely independently. Give us a break here. We're trying. We've learned (painfully) from the past, and we're making a huge church-wide effort to avoid repeating this problem in the future.
In my diocese, all church workers (religious-ed teachers, lay readers, ushers, etc.) are required to take "Protecting God's Children" training. We have a zero-tolerance policy, and believe me, it is zealously enforced, almost to a fault.
Instead of perpetuating unfair stereotypes about us, I would respectfully ask you to consider learning from our example. We did a lot of things wrong in the past. We're doing a lot of things right now. And yes, we are making progress in the transparency department.
That's all I'm going to say on the subject. This is y'all's thread; I don't want to be a papist buttinski. I would only ask that you consider learning from our example--our positive example, not just our negative example. We have been known to do a few things right, you know!
#49 Anonymous on 2007-08-29 09:37
No, what is your jurisdiction, young Reader? Amazing that you have such little grasp of obedience even though you supposedly have been set aside to the priesthood: with your hatred of Met. Herman and the hierarchy of the non-autocephalous OCA. All I read on here is hatred for the bishops and an attempt to overthrow the Christ-given order of the Orthodox Church by allowing the laity (or clergy for that matter) to dictate to a Holy Synod (who descend, even in the OCA and the Antiochians, from the Apostles themselves).
Please, I beg all you recent converts and those Americanized Slavs and Antiochians, with the baggage that comes from your shortfalls of Orthopraxy, obey your elders, read the Fathers, make pilgrimages to Holy Monasteries, tithe, fast, pray, be humble, trust in the Lord and the Panagia, and all will come out right. Cast aside the false pride you have in your supposedly "autocephalous" and/or "self-ruled" churches and liturgize in the Local Church.
#50 Dcn. Theodore on 2007-08-29 13:12
Dear Anonymous Roman Catholic,
Of course you "have been known to do a few things right!" I don't have a "Smiley Face" like the one you included or I would put it here. Maybe this will do instead.
You missed my point which is that we can most certainly learn from each other. One of the pitiable things about the scandals in both of our Churches is that the opportunity learn from each other's positive and negative examples may be missed.
I hope you will allow me to differ with your well expressed comments on this specific point: it is still my opinion that your Church has not yet adequately confronted the Bishops decisions and choices of action in cases where specific priests were known to have acted wrongly. In some cases what the Bishops did and didn't do was made public. But what other consequences did they suffer?
My concern is not to criticize the efforts of some of the members of your Church's often heroic efforts to get to the bottom of and clean up your mess. My concern is that the members of the OCA do not conclude our own efforts to do the same in a premature fashion.
I hope you will reconsider your "That's all I'm going to say on the subject". I enjoyed our exchange and welcome your participation in the OCAnews website comments.
#51 Jean Langley Sullivan on 2007-08-29 13:24
In other words, "Pay, pray, and obey". Thank you for your concern, but we have been sorely betrayed by those who expound such drivel.
#52 Name withheld on 2007-08-30 06:04
Hi, Jean Langley Sullivan: LOL, thanks for the invite back. I agree with much of what you say...I do not think everything has been dealt with (Cdl. Mahony has got to go, IMHO, among other things). I just get a little prickly because we get so much grief, and we really are trying very hard.
I am hesitant to continue the dialogue, though, because I don't want to be a papist buttinski. I think it would be entirely reasonable for people here to say, "Butt out, anonymous Catholic; this is our family affair; it's none of your business." I would see the justice of that. So, I don't want to overstay my welcome!
Let's pray for each other's hierarchies! We all need healing. Sometimes I wonder whether the turmoil our churches are going through is a sign of the end-times. Satan would like nothing better than to destroy God's people from within.
#53 Anonymous on 2007-08-30 11:31
OK, multiple choice question here:
A "you're no better than we are" tit-for-tat slap fest b/t what you or I think about another church's problems and what some individual thinks of our problems is
(c) off point
(d) slightly less than fully mature
(e) all of the above
Seems like that person's point, whatever it made you feel momentarily, was offered up in good faith. Its enough.
And now, back to the log in our own eye ....
#54 Anonymous on 2007-08-31 05:12
I said that I was going to abandon this site, but I can't help but make a few more comments:
(1) The letter from the "Acting" OCA Treasurer to Dr. Skordinski was frankly, shocking! I've never met Fr. Paul K., but that letter is a prime example of why a priest - or any clergy member - should NEVER be the OCA's treasurer! Aside from the fact that the letter was full of arrogance and condescension -- or, if I'm being really, really kind, it was a priestly letter of instruction -- the treasurer of an organization isn't intended to be the Lecturer-in-Chief on Morality to an organizational board. The treasurer is supposed to count the beans and report the bean-count to the organization and its members and leadership, and to plan in black-and-white how to deal with issues like (a) too much money, and (b) too little money. That's why CPAs have this reputation for having no sense of humor and no "personality;" they're supposed to count the beans and put it all down in black-and-white. To me, this is somewhat in conflict with what I understand to be priestly responsibilities. I would say this if Fr. Paul K. were an innocent new-comer to the role, that he doesn't understand the responsibilities of the role he's "acting" in. However, he's been involved in or directly adjacent to this entire affair for many years, and he's essentially acting as the Metropolitan's wallpaper technician in this matter (that is, "cover it up.") So, it's a completely unacceptable response. Can you imagine him sending a letter like this in response to an audit notice from the IRS?
(2) I'm also amused at continuing calls from some to the effect, "You just don't understand what it means to be in a hierarchical Church!" "Your autocephaly is bogus!" "We should not have accepted autocephaly, and if we only had a patriarch he could straighten it all out!" The OCA as a body and we as members don't need to question our very existence!! The problem is, a handful of lying, thieving liars and thieves managed to get themselves inserted into positions of authority in our organization, and using the hierarchical structure, they looted the treasury and then shredded the books! That doesn't mean the role of the OCA in the world-at-large should be questioned! It means, "Can't we get rid of the liars and thieves?" And furthermore, it's not unacceptable to try to do this. Yes, the Canons are there, but throughout history, there has been economia in their application. Yes, obeying your bishop is the canonical norm - but if he turns-out to be a murderer, you turn him over to the authorities. In this case, certain people in hierarchical positions / clergy positions abused those positions to loot the Church - and that's not Canonical, either! So, we "the cloud of witnesses," owe it to the Fathers and indeed to Christ to work together to set things aright by ejecting evil in our midst - even if the "midst" is at the top!! And yes, we're Americanized, and so is the rest of America. If Orthodoxy is ever to make headway against the tide of evil and indifference in this country to win others to Christ, we must reflect the best elements of our country, so that we might effectively battle the worst elements in our society. And I submit, having thieving liars in our Hierarchy ain't gonna be well received!
(3) It's not the fault of anyone alive today that there are multiple jurisdictions of Orthodoxy in this country! This is a situation which has developed over many, many years and is a function of the historical development of an immigrant country, coupled with the traditional (little "t") language and ethnic character of Orthodox churches for the past one-thousand years. I'm in the OCA myself because, when I reached out to a Greek church when I became a convert, the person I spoke to on their "outreach" committee quit returning my phone calls after I told them I was not of Greek heritage. Frankly, at the time, I didn't know the GOARCH from the OCA from the IHOP!!! If the laity is engaged in "jurisdiction shopping," well - it's our blessed hierarchs who've made this possible.
(4) I was recently at a function hosted by the Antiochian archdiocese. Many were there from that jurisdiction, but others as well. Yes, it had a bit of a Middle-Eastern-ethnic flare to it, but you might be interested to know that many times, clergy and laity alike quoted from and mentioned the names of Fr. A. Schmemman, Fr. T. Hopko, and others - as paragons of Orthodox unity in America, and while there may be problems in that jurisdiction of which I'm not aware, the interest in American Orthodox unity was palpable, and I had the distinct feeling that they - as an archdiocese - were and are doing what "should" be being done by the OCA, if only our leaders were interested in building-up the Church in this country, and not in lining their own pockets by looting the OCA treasury. I have to admit, I experienced a bit of "Metropolitan-envy" during the event. Instead of criticizing people for jurisdiction shopping, one might rather congratulate the laity and the priesthood for understanding the scripture, "By their fruits shall you know them," in searching for the True Church, and for a local church/parish as well. Like I said, we didn't set this mess up - we just pray here! Praying is one thing, and the ethnic connections are another. But, when it comes to making meaningful contributions of time and money to the Church, I for one can't continue to support the OCA with folks like +MH and Fr. Paul K. still at the helm, or "acting" in any capacity. I don't question the Holy Synod's canonical right to decide if either of them (and others in the hierarchy/clergy) should stay or go. But neither should they or anyone else question my God-given right as an American to donate my money to whomever I chose - or NOT. As I've said here before, there are plenty of good, solid Orthodox causes and organizations (IOCC, OCMC, etc) to tithe with, than to "have to" give my money to the OCA in order to support Christ's True Church. Letters like the one written by Fr. Paul K. to Faith Skordinski in answer to her questions don't exactly cause me to want to dash-off a check to Syosset, and it's my God-given right as an American Citizen to make sure that he knows it, anonymously or otherwise!
#55 Still Tuned-In in Spite of It All on 2007-09-01 06:21
I'd like to see the DOW have the guts to escrow its fair share to Syosset too, but that probably won't happen. Are any parishes in the West withholding? I haven't heard anything
#56 Anon in the West on 2007-09-07 14:10
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