Saturday, October 6. 2007
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Between his compensation as "First Hierarch" of the OCA and from the Diocese of NY & DC, MH is receiving a bit over $150K a YEAR.
That alone should tell you something is terribly wrong. How many priests have to work a secular job to support their families because their parishes cannot pay them a full-time salary? How many retired priests and matushki are in dire straits?
At the celebration of the 40th anniversary of his episcopate, Met. PHILIP donated the $250K he received as a gift to the Antiochian Archdiocese clergy retirement fund.
He said, "This gift, a check in the amount of $250,000 from all of your generous donations, was too much for any one man. Therefore, I felt compelled to do as I did on my 25th anniversary in 1991 when I established the endowment for the Antiochian Village with my monetary gift on that occasion. This endowment has grown to over one million dollars and is currently being used to fund various projects for the Antiochian Village.
"This time, I am donating the $250,000 I received into a fund I have started that will become part of the Clergy Retirement Fund of the Archdiocese in the future. This fund, which I also hope will grow to one million dollars, is made up of the many gifts and honoraria I have received over the years from the generous people of this Archdiocese. It is my fervent prayer that our clergy who serve this archdiocese faithfully all of their priestly lives will be able to retire with dignity and I hope to do everything I can to make this a reality."
I don't think we will ever catch MH making such a gesture. You would have to pry his fist open by force, while holding him down, to get the cash away from him.
What a sad saga.
#1 Michele Hagerman on 2007-10-06 20:00
Mark, help me connect the dots......
The Diocese of the West blames the Diocese of the Midwest for stalling the Special Investigation because the Midwest is withholding their assessments to Syosset.
Now, suddenly, Bishop Benjamin, the bishop of the Diocese of the West is being assigned the task of leading the “new and improved” Special Investigation Committee. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Metropolitan Herman just install Bishop Benjamin as the new Bishop of the Diocese of the West?
Mark, does Herman really think that Bishop Benjamin will actually investigate the man who just installed him as bishop in San Francisco and will suddenly be impartial so as to investigate him? Does anyone, and I mean ANYONE really think that we are going to buy this totally lame attempt to con us?
Let’s all do ourselves a favor (and for the sake of our faithful) and return to the canonical and correct practice of only having our respective bishops pray for Herman and we, diocesan clergy, only pray for our own bishop.
#2 A Priest of the Orthodox Church in America on 2007-10-06 22:30
What a joke!
I cant believe the gall of these fraudulent evil people; that they could even dream of cutting the pitiful stipend of our retired Bishops is deplorable...
Of course that action pales when compared to leaving the little person in the soiled white hat untouched...
I see that the so called Investigative cronies group is now being touted as a valid institution... could this be that it is now stocked with yes men and + kissers?
I am deeply gratified to see that the financial impact of the withholding is having the effect that it is... hopefully more people will wake up and follow suit.
These fallen humans need not be supported in any way manner or form - to do so is assist Satan and his minions!
I say Bravo again to the Diocese of the West... keep the faith!
I assume my Alaskan home diocese is still keeping all the monies it gets here... God and a couple others only know how much and for what.... at least its not going to little fallen herman and his evil archangels.
#3 Ted Panamarioff on 2007-10-07 00:43
Is this any surprise? Is taking it out on others anything new for the OCA leadership?
More than 20 years ago, I learned that the so called leadership of the OCA tended to find fear and intimidation to be the road to follow. Once I spoke out, politely and honestly, about something that was wrong. Our parish priest was punished by the diocesan bishop, even though the parish priest and I had never discussed my speaking out. I later heard from others that they kept their mouths shut only to protect the clergy.
Of course the hierarchs have little ability to arbitrarily "punish" lay people. But the clergy have been regularly and routinely helpless against cruel and un-Christian treatment by their bishops. One soon learns that "one wrong move", and an innocent priest will bear the burden of that move.
One would think that the laity would tire of the abuses and neglect of the Church by the so called leadership. But, it seems that the laity simply shrink away from confrontation. We keep being told from the pulpit that are are called upon to confront sin, yet when sin stands up in the operation of the Church, who has the courage to confront it? Instead, we have bishops, no less, that encourage making an accord with sin.
How sad. How sad.
#4 Forced to be Anonymous on 2007-10-07 02:19
Who is running that circus in Syosset ? Kucynda and his ideas are killing the church. When MH fired RSK , did he realize that over half of the donations came from RSK's friends. Business's can't survive without money.
Kucynda when people don't like or trust a company , they won't give a dollar. The midwest is brilliant , don't back down to that power hungary tyrant HERMAN !!!
#5 Anonymous on 2007-10-07 02:51
Wait a minute..So, the loan was taken out but still not dispersed to the various funds and appeals? I thought the purpose of the loan was to correct these "shortages"? So, now we have those accounts to re-fund PLUS the loan to pay back? Do people realize this?
I think most people would have believed that these monies were at least reimbursed--(way before any witholding began, so they can hardly blame +JOB for the loan also being squandered or misused--again.)
#6 Ann on 2007-10-07 04:07
That monk (Metr.) HERMAN makes more money than I do. And I support 3 members in my family (wife and two children).
Maybe I should have been an OCA monk.
Rdr. Alexander Langley
#7 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-07 04:42
It's a,mazing, the transparency was supposed to begin with "Best Practices". The OCA has never published the salary information, although Kucynda promised to make all budgetary information public. It only leads us to one conclusion, "Best Practices" are just a good idea, let's say we do it, but really why bother? The coverup continues, and it will as long as the puppeteer is in place, the puppets may change, but the puppeteer is the same for the past twenty years. I believe more axes will swing, just to protect their incomes. And don't forget Herman lives in the home of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. The OCA reimburses them for his living expenses. Isn't that cozy!
#8 Suzanne Wilson on 2007-10-07 06:12
Diocese of the West?
#9 Anonymous on 2007-10-07 06:19
Only one of our bishops was an actual monk before being elevated to bishop - Tikhon of Eastern Pa. MH is a monk in name only.
#10 Name withheld on 2007-10-07 10:30
Please, please, please forgive me...
Under no circumstances did I mean Diocese of the West...
I meant to write Diocese of the Mid West - the flock guided by ABp +JOB
#11 Ted Panamarioff on 2007-10-07 13:05
This is an instance where numbers speak for themselves. Every new address or appeal from the Metropolitan is met with growing sarcasm and cynicism, no matter how virtuous or honorable it sounds. When a leader’s words and deeds part so sharply it is often dangerous to follow him: “to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey”. It appears that those who enter +Herman’s circle quickly adopt his modus operandi; those who do not, last for only a short time either getting used and disposed of, or quitting in desperation. This is not just a money issue, this is a fundamental morality issue for both sides in this conflict.
#12 Karina Ross on 2007-10-07 13:36
"It's with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I have been dishonest, and you have the right to be angry with me. I have let (my family) down. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down. I recognize that by saying I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and hurt that I've caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."
Marion Jones, US Olympic star, who retired after pleading guilty and apologizing
Let's see: "It's with a great amount of shame that we, the primate and all but one of the SOB of the OCA stand before you and tell you that we have betrayed your trust. We have been dishonest, and you have the right to be angry with us. We have let our Lord down. We have let our Church down. We have let all of you, the faithful fo the OCA, down. We recognize that by saying we're deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and hurt we've caused you. Therefore, we want to ask for your forgiveness for our actions (and inaction), and we hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive us. We pledge to you that we will now do everything in our power to right the horrible wrongs that have been done, we will investigate everything openly and in good faith, and report to you honestly everything that we find..."
That would be a good start.
#13 Ann Animus on 2007-10-07 16:05
This is all so scandalous to me as a convert!
I am of Polish/Ukrainian heritage, and thought the OCA was the best avenue to pursue Orthodoxy-- now I am wondering if this is so.
A monk once told me of one of his good friends (now an OCA priest) was brought into the chancery prior to ordination and read the riot act, claiming he was asked in a sinister way "How will you support your family if we don't ordain you and give you a parish?"
At the time I thought he was exagerating. Now, I believe him.
May God enlighten these men, and bring them to awareness in time enough for them to repent and make satisfaction for their wrongful deeds.
--an worthy and confused catechumen.
#14 A Catechumen on 2007-10-07 16:14
Dear Forced to be Anonymous,
I really hear and feel your pain. It is sad, very sad, indeed, that anyone should feel any type of punishment or intimidation when trying to just communicate to anyone of church authority!
I, too, have spoken out some years ago, in what I still believe was a very constructive letter to the then, Metropolitan Council, to try to brainstorm various ways in which to help struggling OCA parishes, as we had been placed in one! "Struggling" was an understatement!
Little did I know at this time that the OCA was itself struggling. I find it very interesting, to this day, how two administators of the DOW, could intimidate my husband, an OCA priest, for his wife wanting to try to help the church by pointing out some obvious problems and weaknesses, but also brainstorming for better solutions. To this day, the two administrators who had talked to my priest husband at the AAC in Toronto, that how dare his wife write and point out problems to the MC, have not bothered to talk to me.
They still can. I will still tell them the facts of what we went through. And I will still tell them possilbe remedies.
Such tactics, that you went through 20 years ago, or what I went through a few years ago, do not prove a wise, kind, open, spiritual, mature, or professional OCA administration (The two administrators who talked to my husband are now helping the OCA administration with their current financial problems; funny how that works...Could these be "yes" men?) With the help of brave souls such as Mark Stokoe, the OCA's lack of administrative maturity has just been exposed more and more and more.
The recent rallying attempts of the MC to try to carry on a Special Investigation continues to show how many growing pains the OCA is going through. However, its recent "collapse" with the help of an uncooperative metropolitan and acting treasurer, show how these growing pains are absolutely COLLOSAL.
I truly feel that Mark Stokoe, as well as others, such as our recently posted petition, are greatly assisting the OCA through these major growing pains by just being an open conduit of communication and as they continually try to hold the OCA administration to accountability.
Hang in there, Mark and others! Your work is greatly invaluable in prodding the OCA administration into doing the responsible things it is supposed to be doing. The recent petition, as well as the recent votes of the DOM are tremendous breaths of fresh air to try to get the OCA administration onto the right track. As another person commented, the DOM used much restraint in its resolutions that were voted on with majority votes.
The collective efforts of the laity, and now a bishop, in trying to "right" this ship cannot be seen in light of reckless or careless rebellion, although, the OCA administration seems to want to portray it that way.
What about all these unpaid bills that are mounting, such as the interest on the loan and the payments to Proskauer-Rose. What a tremendous gesture of +Phillip to give so much to the retirement account. One wonders what +Herman could have done, or still do, with his salaries in this recent debacle of financial scandal.
To date, that +Job supported the no-confidence and resignation of +Herman, and the DOM's assemblies support of these resolutions, with a majority vote to these effects indicates that Syosset has much work ahead of them to prove to the faithful, as well as to NY state law, the IRS, to professional CPA as well as attornies at law, that they are sincere in cleaning up the mess.
Syosset is being held to great accountability. This story will not end soon, for the truth, in love, has yet to be known. That chance is still being given Syosset. The finances are only getting worse. +Job had also said that he did not want to see +Herman resign, but +Herman is not giving us great confidence in continuing in this present state of affairs. The DOM has given us cause for hope. They want a normalized financial situation for the OCA. This is very difficult to do so with Syosset's current administration in place.
#15 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-07 18:27
I would also prefer not to have Herman included in our parish prayers. I hadn't realized that was the more appropirate canonical practice.
Regarding the "special committee" , the membership except for Bp. Benjamin, are all the members from the Metropolitan's own diocese or connected with Stavropegial institutions (St Vladimir's & St Tikhon's )- hardly an impartially constituted committee. The other interesting criterion appears to be their participation in the trial of the former Chancellor:
"Since all of the above were directly involved in the Diocesan Trial of the former chancellor, they are the only ones to have heard all of the evidence presented and are certainly in the best position to address the issues impartially and quickly."
The implication being that whatever evidence was presented and conclusions reached in that very flawed trial and investigation would be the basis for concluding the work of the special commission. Of course, the Metropolitan makes statements that "No witnesses are off limits, including myself, and I would expect that you and the Committee would follow the evidence wherever it leads you."- the very things he would not allow for the previously constituted committee.
Words are cheap but deeds speak volumes. I have long since stopped believing in this man's honesty and sense of duty to the Church. "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."
Song of Solomon 2:15
#16 david paynter on 2007-10-07 19:47
Now I've heard everything! The people of Syosset - that is, MH and his cronies, apparently including Bishop Benjamin of the West - think that we all fell off the turnip truck yesterday. The Midwest, harming the work of the special commission? You mean, the special commission that doesn't exist anymore? That special commission? Don't be fooled, anyone of the Midwest or elsewhere in the OCA. The lack of donations and income are having an effect, and the squirming in Syosset has started, and has now broken into the open - otherwise they wouldn't be talking about, because they don't want to talk about anything! It must really be dire. We must persist in our resistance, and as Syosset finally falls apart, we the faithful will be there, willing and able to pick-up the pieces WITHOUT the liars and thieves in residence at OBC, otherwise known as the Land of Oz!
Yes, it is a shame to have to be anonymous, but having served undercover for this Nation, it is a fact that sometimes, it's the only way to avoid capture, punishment, and persecution by the enemy, esp. when the enemy is from within, and still has authority. Frankly, I have no right to issue a call, but the next obvious step is to begin to refuse to be obedient to orders issued by MT and the Central Church Administration, esp. with respect to the transfers of priests and so forth. MH and company have clearly become a rogue regime in residence. It's time for "no confidence" to become "no dice" when it comes to orders from MH aimed clearly at revenge. I know, it's not "orthodox." But as someone once told me, "You know, the Constitution of the United States is not worth the paper it's written on, unless we all continue to agree to obey its precepts." Since the Statute of the OCA seems to have been written-off and violated time and time again, I think that any serving salaried priest could make a good case in court that a transfer made under the current circumstances could be seen as an "improper dismissal," and have it voided. What is Syosset going to do about it - call in the authorities?! I think not; not with their track record to have to explain to a hard-nosed judge.
It's time to take back the Church - maybe it's time for someone to write a nice letter to SCOBA to tell them that we the faithful have no confidence in the supposed reps there from the OCA, namely MH and Fr. Paul Kucynda - as if they don't know, but it's still polite to make formal notification.
#17 C.C. on 2007-10-07 21:20
I am glad Metropolitan Herman decided to fight the criticism. I was appalled to learn what Archbishop Job and his diocese had done and denounced it. Now reading this article and seeing the ramifications of His Eminence's decision I am even more convinced he is wrong. He seems to be hurting the church not helping her. I hope Metropolitan Herman is able to overcome this adversity and lead us out of this mess. I think he still has fight left in him before he is done. I have a new confidence in Metropolitan Herman. I am on his side and cheering for him.
#18 Olympiada on 2007-10-07 22:16
Dear Ann: The statement is misleading. Somewhere on the OCA web site you may be able to find a listing of those appeals that were in fact disbursed, using the proceeds of the Honesdale loan. There are some appeals, however, that, according to a statement put out by Fr. Kucynda some time ago, have not been disbursed, either because of lack of funds, or due to the lack of documents showing exactly how much was collected from appeals.
(Editor's Note: These would include the $67,000 owed for the Bibles for Russia appeal, raised by the military chaplains; and more than $175,000 still missing from the 9/11 Funds.)
#19 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2007-10-08 05:22
while i've tried to keep up with the major statements by
central figures in the scandal, i may have missed something -
pardon me if i'm wrong but, you infer that Ab job has already
apologized for many years of inactivity ?
i may have missed his apology.
or worse yet, that because he is finally speaking out, he
has nothing for which to apologize ?
not trying to be snarky [ what a word! ] but,
seems to me all of the Synod should be included.
speaking for myself - see 'shame ......' #22
michael j molenaur
parishioner, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church
(editor's note: The Archbishop has apologized publicly for his failings in this regard at the past two Diocesan Assemblies. Texts of each may be found on the Diocesan website.)
#20 mjmolenaur on 2007-10-08 07:07
How can there be a lack of funds for dispersing when that was the purpose of the Honesdale loan? There can be no lack unless, yet, again Joe Swaiko, Paul Kucynda, and their merry band of disreputes, are using the money for purposes that have not been authorized. Maybe expenses on, say, a lawyer bill?
If they can't tell what should go where, they can easily ask the donators as they will have a receipt. It's bogus anyway that they don't know how much was raised. I guess lying has become the norm now with the clergy in Syosset.
#21 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 07:17
You hit the nail on the head. The money is just one of the outward signs by which a complete disintegration of morality in our top leaders, meaning Herman and the Synod and their aides, like Kucynda, have manifested themselves.
Set aside a lack of confidence in these people, we completely reject their morality! They are just not fit to lead any group who's basis is morality! But the more they lack it the more they are going to try to keep ahold on it as they don't recognize it. The pathology makes them beleive what they are doing is right, it's a sickness!
#22 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 07:22
MH and MT need to begin making reparations on the $5.7 million. A fairly conservative non-taxable investment return of 10% would be yielding $570,000 a year; a number greater than the Diocese of the Midwest Assesment.
Just imagine if the $5.7 million had been under the discretion of Met. Philip as noted above. Held as an endowment, the money would have quadrupled to >$20 million today. Or with sound investing, OUR OCA could have used a couple hundred thousand bucks a year to fund CHARITES, MISSIONS, EVANGELISM, etc. and still allowed an endowment to grow to >$10 million today. That's what Christian Vision and Leadership are about; not blowing it on Cognac.
I can't see how Monks could unload $5.7 million so quickly. The money is hidden somewhere, time to get it back to OUR OCA.
#23 Ken Kozak on 2007-10-08 07:34
"[+Job] seems to be hurting the church not helping her."
I have to admit I really can't believe anyone who is not personally involved in the crimes could believe any such thing at this point. But, you do; and not doubt there are some others. Waddaya gonna do?
For those who are so intently focused on the immediate pain to the "OCA" (not to be confused with "the Church"), remember that just like doing a geometry problem, and just like being lost in the mountains, when you've gone wrong, when you've off on the wrong and ultimately fatal path, the only way to get right again is to go back; and in geometry, as in climbing mountains, going back can "seem" both painful and fatal --- until, that is, you've reached the point where you can put right your mistake and this time hit the mark. We have other and greater evidence also that this is often the rule of the universe in which we live: the treatment of injury or illness; the death of a seed before it becomes a full grown plant; and, as the greatest example of this ironic rule, remember the Incarnation and Crucifixion both preceded the Resurrection and the Ascension.
Yes, it may pain the OCA (again, not to be confused with "the Church") for a large diocese to withhold its funds; but don't be confused by this seeming hurt --- its only pain, which, like medical treatment, often hurts us worse initially than the injury or illness ever did; but it is the only thing that will make us whole again.
Note also, perhaps, your most fundamental flaw: the Midwest has declared that it will see to it that funds are distributed to those to whom have need --- these monies are NOT the property of Syossett. Rather, in an exercise of rather gross inefficieny (not unlike our American income tax system), monies which go to Syosett are (in theory) sent there to be conglomerated at a central administration and from there allocated out to worthy causes benefitting all the dioceses, all the parishes, and the OCA's American mission. The argument would be that this ultimately leads to the broadest, most golobal fairness, efficiency and effectiveness ... but we have seen that it does not.
This money is the Lord's, and its proper use is in the most faithful stewardship of it as measured by a standard that looks at whom is it helping. And, as we can see from the gross misuse, as well as the theft, of funds, monies going to Syosett are not helping worthy causes. (Also: given Herman's lawyer-like salary and CEO-like perqusistes, he is not exactly one of the needy.) You may say that the worthy missions and programs the OCA supports are now needy due to the Midwet's witholding, that they are not getting the support they need to continue. Well, they weren't before, either! Moreover, they were often merely the cover story, the facade, for the graft that the cassocked crooks were perpetrating. Each diocese can better care for its own, than the OCA can for those in all the dioceses ... keeping it closer to home makes as much sense with regard to efficiency as it does with with regard to community and the pastoral nature of the Church (not to be confused with the OCA).
Remember the omophorion is supposed to represent the needy sheep being carried caringly by its shepherd; but here the omphoroin as worn by Herman seems to represent nothing more that wounded or dead sheep that have suffered at the hands of the shepherd, being carried merely to get them out of the way so he doesnt trip over them as he plods forward, or perhaps to hand them over to his cook (one of those CEO perqs???) to prepare his next meal of minced lamb stew.
So, yes, it may seem to some who look only at the immediate effect of witholding that the mountainous route back is too painful; but step back and view it from the perspective of the mountain itself (better, from the perspective of the cartographer). Doing so will result in the unavoidable conclusion that sending money to the OCA's central administration furthers what amounts to no less than organized crime (and/or its cover up) being masterminded at OCA headquarters. [O]rganized [C]rime in [A]merica --- it is into this that wolves in sheeps clothing (remember the omophorion) have turned the Orthodox Church in America, and since money is the blood of any criminal enterprise, it must be withheld.
It is only this that will make us whole again, and it is only from the vantage point of having been made whole that the pain of the remedy can be comprehensible.
#24 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 08:00
What planet have you been on for the last several years? The intransigence of Herman is the central problem. Yes, he still has "fight" in him - that is his only tactic - no repentance, no love, no confession, no leadership - just lies, manipulations, and "fight".
#25 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 08:16
After implying that the criticism of Metropolitan Herman is invalid, you said that you hoped the Metropolitan would "overcome this adversity and lead us out of this mess."
What I cannot understand is why you said that. Would you please elaborate and tell us why you believe:
A. The criticism of the Metropolitan is invalid?
B. Metropolitan Herman is not in any way responsible for the financial irregularities that he has admitted occurred while he was in charge?
C. If Metropolitan Herman could not lead us well enough so that the irregularities did not happen then, that he is now able to lead us out of the mess?
#26 Carl on 2007-10-08 08:17
I agree. In my experience as an attorney and a retired naval officer (having risen from the lowest of stations), I have nothing but optimism for the Metropolitan's future. In spite of all temptations, he remains the very model of a modern Orthodox hierarch.
(Editor's note: A dash of levity is welcome in tense times. Gilbert and Sullivan are welcome at all times....)
#27 Joseph Porter, K.C.B. on 2007-10-08 08:35
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;.......I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is; and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth......"
#28 Luke on 2007-10-08 08:47
Thia post from Olympiada should be covered with the blanket of charity. God bless her. Alice
#29 Alice Carter on 2007-10-08 09:30
It's refreshing to finally hear someone say something nice.
I find it amazing that some on this site are now finding fault with Bishop Benjamin for simply being appointed as the Chairman of the restructured Special Commission.
I thought an AAC decides on assessments and mandates that they are forwarded to the Central Church Administration?
If that is indeed correct, then how is it possible for a Diocese and it's ruling Bishop to take actions into their own hands?
Isn't this in direct defiance of mandates impossed by previous AAC's?
Are these actions really soving the problem?
What this shows me is a Diocese that is not being led by it's ruling Bishop, but rather, one that is totally out of control.
#30 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-08 10:37
What would register on your radar as behavior that would warrant the withholding of monies to the central Church? What would Herman and Benjamin have to do that would drive you to say they get no money until what they have done is rectified?
#31 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 11:32
The only way that SCOBA is going to be attentive is the same way that Herman's attention is grabbed. You play the money card. Nothing brings a point across like the old greenback. Not God, not the Orthodox faith, not the cries of the faithful of the OCA. It's Benjamin Franklin and the rest of the distinguished group that grace the US currency.
While the OCMC is a very worthwhile and Orthodox institution, and other SCOBA organizations as well, lowering your level of donation would send a message that maybe the bishops in our sister jurisdictions need to know that Herman's damage is not limited to the OCA. The stench doth spread. We don't have to actively promote a lessesning of funds to SCOBA related organizations, it has to be apparent that those who are not sending money to the OCA are also holding back a little to SCOBA as a cry for help, not as a punishment. Kind of like "does anyone out there hear us, see our pain, care to help?"
It does SCOBA no good to have in its ranks a person, in Herman, who has absolutely NO moral leadership amongst his own jurisdiction, and that after a while the disenchantment is going to start spreading to where he is associated to the point where anything where his name is mentioned as being a part of that that is going to suffer financially. The effectiveness and leadership of SCOBA is nothing but diminished by the presence of Herman because it waters down whatever the other bishops are able to accomplish and stand for. Are the other bishops as hollow as this man who signs on to their documents? As much as we can't stand his behavior, his brother bishops in other jurisdictions, have to be holding their nose when he appears as he tarnishes bishops throughout America. Other than our own bishops who there is not much to speak of anyway.
The next time SCOBA takes one of those group pictures, do they want to be pictured next to a person, who by all his actions, is the symbol of corruption and anti-Orthodox behavior at the highest levels in America. Don't be suprised if the next picture they, do indeed, all hold their noses.
#32 Stonewall on 2007-10-08 11:48
So, you are appalled and denounce what Archbishop Job and his diocese’s has done, however you do not seem to have a problem with what +MH has done. Archbishop Job has repeatedly asked that the truth be told and the reports from the commission and from Proskauer-Rose be released. He is using one of the few means at his disposal, and you have a problem with this. Millions of dollars are missing no accountability and a continued effort on the part of +MH and company to do everything in their power to keep the facts from the people and you do not have a problem with this. As +MH personal cheerleader you should contact him and encourage him to tell the truth and release the requested information. Given your convoluted sense of ethics if you are an example of the mentality that +MH surrounds himself with then there is little wonder as to why the OCA is in its current situation.
#33 Peter on 2007-10-08 13:05
His Grace Bishop BENJAMIN was enthroned by Metropolitan HERMAN in San Francisco on October 2, 2007.
#34 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-08 14:15
What about Arcbp. Lazar, (retired-OCA), British Columbia, Canada... Any $ going to him? Salary? Stipend? He's not on your list.
MH...$150k+/ Yr, and additional expenses paid.........Monastic Vow of...POVERTY???What's that?
#35 Stefan Gozdzialski on 2007-10-08 14:48
If you are saying what I think you are saying, I refer you to G.K.Chesterton when he says, "There are some desires that are not desirable." All sides in this spiritual drama need to beware lest they forget the purpose of our exisitence. Only by prayer and fasting can we come to a clear picture of this struggle and drive out the powers of darkness. Make no mistake, this is a spiritual battle where only the indifferent refuse to take sides.
When I say, "take sides" I do not mean make noise. Surely, every man and woman has in their heart and mind a place where they harbor a conclusion of right and wrong. For most that conclusion remains locked in silence (as it should), but some of us like Archbihop JOB are called to speak, not to shout, and declare the rightness or the falseness of life's major issues. The good bishop has been careful, and not made an idol out of his thoughts. He speaks with fear and trembling. Once again in the words of G.K. Chesterton, "idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice." In the words of T.P. Wojcik, "it is best to choose one's battles with prayerful discernment and then enter into the fray with the angels on your side."
#36 Fr Thaddeus Wojcik on 2007-10-08 15:03
Monasticism the backbone of Orthodoxy is dead in the OCA, perhaps I should say true Monasticism. The falure of Monks, Heiromonks and Bishops to lead exemplary monastic lives has brought this apostacy on the OCA ; although endemic in the OCA for quite awhile it is not it's exclusive domain but infects all of Othodoxy. The OCA is just a very predictable child of our time and it is a tragedy.
The married clergy have fared much better in my opinion and have often showed a leadership totally lacking in the white clergy, yet they are usually shafted by the church, many having to work extra jobs while trying to shepard a flock are often left to fend for themselves. These issues and others like them must be adressed - this is what this scandal is all about.
#37 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 15:22
I repeat my point. Archbishop Job and the Diocese of the Midwest are making a great mistake, both to withhold money from the OCA and to publicly denounce Metropolitan Herman. I am going to try to keep it simple. I don't personally know Archbishop Job although I have briefly corresponded with his deacon, I don't know Metropolitan Herman although I briefly corresponded with and met his assistant at Bishop Benjamin's enthronement.
I am talking about principles, not personalities. I disagree with the current principles of Archbishop Job and the Diocese of the Midwest. It is not our job to worry about where the money goes, just like it is not our job to worry about how much the next person contributes. That is the job of the treasurer of the church, from parish level, to jurisdictional level. This money management plan of Archbishop Job's and his diocese is all wrong.
I joined a hierarchal church and not a congregational church and I want to keep it that way. I don't want to belong to a congregational Orthodox church.
#38 Olympiada on 2007-10-08 18:25
And just what, in your mind, are the principles that JOB and the Midwest are so wrong on? Accountability? Truth? Knowing if the allegations are true or false?
Who was the assistant you met and talked with?
A hierarchical church doesn't mean that there is no accountability of resources. If there is no accountability then the laity have the right to withhold resources, they are not committed to fund an enterprise that can't tell them even how much money was received for appeals. We have to at least know that and how it's used for us to have a conscience to give our hard earned money under their care!
#39 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 20:00
I think if you were at our recently concluded Diocesan Assembly, you would have seen in action a diocese that is very orderly and hardly out of control. The Assembly was one of the best in terms of organization and order. You weren't there, so we'll forgive you for not knowing what you are taking about. If you are concerned about out of control why not speak to your priest who acting as OCA treasurer under court oath swore that the OCA has 2 million members. There is an action that was totally out of control. Why don't you deal with that? It certainly would be a help to the OCA to get rid of people who make misleading statements under oath.
#40 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2007-10-08 20:18
sorry. should have been aware of an apology within my own
diocese. i was looking for something on the OCA level.
thanks for the clarification.
michael j molenaur
parishioner, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church
#41 mjmolenaur on 2007-10-08 21:12
"It is not our job to worry about where the money goes."
I can't imagine saying something too much more wrong than that. Its plain horse hockey. We simply may not delegate our duty to act in wisdom to anyone else --- even a hierarch. Thats NOT what being an Orthodox hierarch is about.
Even if we all accepted your pass-the-buck understanding of a hierarchical church, we'd have to recall that +Job is a hierarch! What? Does Herman "outrank" him or something? Non habemus papam!
#42 Anonymous on 2007-10-08 21:18
This scandal is all about right, wrong, and the ability to tell the difference between the two and acting accordingly. Plain and simple.
This scandal is about preaching the Gospel and not living it. This scandal is about what happens in the church edifice stays in the church edifice. This scandal is about character in that what happens in the plain sight of people is not the same as what happens behinds closed doors. True monasticism doesn't enter the picture yet.
The problem is not that the bishops are not living exemplary lives, its that they are not living basic Godly lives. Period. Monastics need a foundation to build upon. If there is no basic foundation monasticism is a futile exercise. There in lies the problem for our bishops. You cannot expect to build a skyscraper on a foundation of sand.
The basic problem we have currently is a person, Herman, who has shown tremendous determination and backbone to do whatever he can as long as it's not the right and Godly thing to do. It's about the lack of character and integrity. His problem isn't the result of any systematic failure in Orthodox procedures or institutions. His problem is the result of a lack of faith and idolatry to worldly possessions. Nothing can be changed in any of our procedures or institutions that will effect change in a person's heart. What he is suffering from is something that is basic to us all, not just monastics.
There have been a few attempts to give academic and otherwise esoteric reasons for the scandal, but deep down, at it's root are people doing things that are completely opposite to what they preach and what the Church preaches. Violation of first principles.
In the end, it's about people knowing what's right, what's wrong, what the commandments are, and submitting themselves to the commandments and to God. If we do not have people in our leadership that can fulfill those requirements we're going to find ourselves in this mess down the line as well. If we don't have leaders that can follow the basic commandments, everything else is moot.
#43 Stonewall on 2007-10-08 22:14
Are you confusing "hierarchical" with "papal"? Every bishop is a part of the church, not outside or above it. Every baptized and chrismated person participates in the church's ministry. All, bishops and metropolitans included, are accountable to Christ's Church.
It would be most irresponsible to act like nothing has happened. Archbishop JOB is doing his job by doing whatever needs to be done to uncover the truth.
We may disagree on the application of ecclesiological principles, but let us now make the office of the Metropolitan a curia and grant the Metropolitan himself infallibility. This approach is NOT Orthodox. Neither is the exclusion of everyone but bishops from participation in ministry.
#44 Dn. Nicholas Denysenko on 2007-10-09 06:10
"Misleading statements under oath" has another name, Father. Its called perjury; in the Church we call it lying. When its done to induce another to take some action to that person's detriment (esp re the giving of money) and knowing that such person has reason to rely on the statement (or ommission), its called fraud; in the Church we call it theft. When the fraud and perjury are done knowing that the money received from the third person will not be used for the organization to whom it is given, but for the personal benefit of individuals, its call accomplice liability to embezzlement; in the Churhc we call it deceit. When the phone lines or Internet are used in the process, its call the Federal Wire Fraud Statute; when the US mails are used, its called the Federal Mail Fraud Statute. When there's an agreement between or among two or more people to do any of these, its called conspiracy.
When there's a pattern (2 related acts committed within 10 years on one another) of racketeering activity (e.g., wire fraud, mail fraud, obstruction of State or local law enforcement, retaliating against a witness or victim or informant), its called a R.I.C.O violation.
When the underlying crimes for a RICO violation are present, the government need not prove the defendant agreed with every other conspirator, knew all the other conspirators or had full knowledge of all details of the conspiracy. Delano, 825 F. Supp. at 542. All that must be shown is: (1) the defendant agreed to commit the substantive racketeering offense through agreeing to participate in two racketeering acts; (2) he knew the general status of the conspiracy; and (3) he knew the conspiracy extended beyond his individual role. United States v. Rastelli, 870 F. 2d 822, 828 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 982, 110 S. Ct. 515, 107 L. Ed. 2d 516 (1989).
In the Church we call it a whole heap o' trouble.
#45 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 06:17
P.S. Conciliarity does NOT = congregationalism.
#46 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 06:19
Its about "synergy," the bishops and the clergy and the people, TOGETHER living in the Kingdom of God. It's not about the people delegating their responsibility away to the "proffesionals."
#47 fdr on 2007-10-09 09:03
No one is being critical of Bishop Benjamin "simply" for being appointed as chairman of a supposedly-restructured special commission.
What is being criticized is his assertion that, "The work of the (new) special commission is being hampered by a lack of funding," implying - by any standard of the Queen's English - that if only money were flowing, this "problem" could and would be solved.
This statement is false and not only misleading, but deliberately misleading! How much money would it cost to scan, pdf, and post the Proskauer Rose, LLP, report on the OCA Website? How much money would it cost for some hierarch or another (perhaps Bishop Benjamin himself) to photocopy the entire file of this sorry episode, and mail it to Mark Stokoe, who no doubt would scan it, and post it all on this Website. Then we could see who's misleading the faithful. If it's just a matter of the postage, reply to me here, and I'll forward a money-order to Syosset to cover the cost! Or, send the docs to Mark postage-due, and I'll reimburse him for it!
I used to wonder how, after hundreds if not thousands, of years the Church was split in-two with the Great Schism, when it was clear that the ecumenical council system worked (okay, somewhat like a sausage factory), but then, no, a single bishop decided he was above all of that, and by right - "in charge." Today, he is referred to as "The Pope." Well, in postings such as from the individual identified as 'Olympiada' I can see how this happened. People are (perhaps naturally, perhaps by training) very reluctant to criticize their appionted (much less annointed) leaders.
Scripture teaches that the Lord accredits all positions of power, but it does not teach that such power is always right. Being made in the "image and likeness," He endows each of us and all of us with a sense of right-and-wrong, as well as with a sense of duty, discernment as well as loyalty, and sends the Holy Spirit to help all of us determine right from wrong, and to act accordingly in love.
Our current dilema is not a simple matter of opinion: Should the Metropolitan's hat be white or bright red? Should we cross ourselves from right to left, or left to right? It's about theft; someone (possibly at the highest levels of the OCA administration) has taken from $2M to $6M from the treasurery, that is, stolen it. Investigations have been made; reports written. So far, only one man has been held to account. All we the faithful are asking is that the results of these investigations be released, and the whereabouts of these funds be accounted for. And these requests have been made through all of the proper, due, and respectful channels. In keeping with the rules and regulations imposed upon not-for-profit organizations by our government, and by "generally accepted accounting principals," all backed by the Government of the USA, our country. Even non-Orthodox are supporting the OCA in this, inasmuch as the organization doesn't pay taxes, so long as it agrees to follow these rules. As "the Government," the statutes of the State of New York and the USA constitute "authority" and "power," presumably empowered by the Lord, as Scripture teaches.
God granted us his "image and likeness" in order to work our way through to the truth, in light of the Truth, and to adjudicate the outcome in love and compassion.
In order to merely "follow the leader" off of a cliff, God created the clan of the Lemming.
Let's live-up to our God-given responsibilities, even if our leaders aren't up to the task.
#48 C.C. on 2007-10-09 09:09
And MH lives in the house that is for the bishop of Eastern Pennsylvania while Tikhon lives in monastery accommodations. Is Herman that vain? Does anything exist in Herman's universe other than Herman?
How can one man completely hijack an entire Church and all of the safeguards fail so completely? The more this goes on the more astonishing what is happening. And the more astonishing that no one can do a damn thing about it! Or that no one can muster the courage to try to do something about it. Nescott did and Herman went and intimidated his way to get him removed from the commission and the MC. When called on it, he blames it on a bishop on his death bed!
One person has completely hijacked the church and through his canonical powers has intimidated everyone into submission except those in the Midwest and a few brave parishes elsewhere that are withholding. And those that are under him that withhold are intimidated, again, with his canonical powers. Priests who do his bidding use the sacraments in a way to intimidate again. Never, in our lifetimes, has the Church been so abused as we are seeing now and hopefully never again in our lifetimes.
If a President of the United States abused his power to such a degree impeachment and removal from office would be accomplished with a speed not normally seen from government. Here we act like we're powerless. Here we are intimidated with the sacraments, gifts of the Grace of God, because we have a conscience over what is going on. And he does all this while invoking the name of God and saying it’s for the good of the Church. I shudder when I think of that! All this and we call him “the most blessed”.
A crying shame.
#49 Stonewall on 2007-10-09 09:44
It is MY job to know where MY money goes when I donate it to an organization. I will not donate when the organization is mishandling or stealing donated funds. I'm willing to guess many others feel as I do. So you may donate all you want without caring if the money is stolen or misappropriated, but I will not, and others will not, and much of the donated funds may diminish significantly. Then what?
#50 sad state on 2007-10-09 10:29
I’ll try to keep it simple too. I doubt many on this website corresponded with either hierarch’s staff even briefly, and have any personal grudge against His Beatitude. So it is indeed about principles, not personalities.
Of course everyone is free to chose their side, but I hope it is at least done after a careful consideration of facts and not for the sake of being original.
#51 Karina Ross on 2007-10-09 11:10
"...let us now make the office of the Metropolitan a curia..." My bad! Major typo in my post - I meant to say, "let us not make the office..."
The pitfalls of instantaneous publishing in the age of technology...
#52 Dn. Nicholas Denysenko on 2007-10-09 13:10
Along with signing the petition calling for the resignation of Metropolitan Herman yesterday, I truly wanted to add parenthesis after my name. They would have said (reluctantly, against all desire, with great pain, etc.)
It was a painful moment and I believe Abp. Job felt the same way.
I would recant it in a minute if Bishop Herman, the Metropolitan, just gave us some reporting.
#53 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-09 20:06
Repeating your point doesnt make it any more reason-based. It simply further entrenches you in willful blindness.
#54 Anonymous on 2007-10-09 20:34
For those of you who do not know (or pretend to be ignorant of the fact) there is only 1 bishop who took a vow of monastics and that is Bishop Tikhon.
Again, who here has the right to determine how much a person should give in church, or to the poor? Sitting here and say "MH should be giving his money to the poor" is not any of your concern. Do you give half of your belongings to the poor? How much time do you spend in homeless shelters and on mission work?
Regardless of the fact, I agree what has happened is very saddening. However, when the truth comes out no matter the outcome, there is still one thing that is certain. I have a lot of respect for our deacons, priests, bishops, and met. Growing up in a family with 20 deacons, and priests, no one (but men of God themselves) can even imagine what they have to deal with. What I have gone through as a daughter of a priest is hard; however, I would never give it up for anything in the world.
If for some reason, the people who I hold dear to my heart such as respectable priests, and bishops did play a huge role in this, I am prepared for it. Even though I may lose some respect for them as a person, I WILL NOT lose any respect for them as Men of God. Regardless of what happens behind closed doors, the simple matter is they preach the Word of God, and God's truth, no matter who's lips they come out of, when they are in Church.
In the end, God will always have his Word. No matter who's lips they come out of, it his His and only His.
#55 Katherine on 2007-10-10 03:52
The Church is not a Republic (nation ruled by law). They laity cannot impeach a bishop.
What are we to do other than what we have been doing? We are appealing to our respective bishops to do something that they CAN do: discipline a brother bishop.
Here we act like we're powerless. Here we are intimidated with the sacraments, gifts of the Grace of God, because we have a conscience over what is going on. And he does all this while invoking the name of God and saying it’s for the good of the Church. I shudder when I think of that! All this and we call him “the most blessed”.
If Metropolitan HERMAN is as wicked as he is alleged to be, is he not condemned, though we call him "the most blessed"?
If he is blessed, that blessing comes from God, and we know God rains on both the righteous and the wicked, whether we like it to be that way or not.
So what if we are powerless? In our weakness God is strong. Do you think God will fail to do the right thing when it comes to judging HERMAN or anyone one else?
I hope we are not putting our trust in "princes, in sons of men", in whom their is no salvation.
Only God can fix the ultimate source of this mess: hearts of men with evil motives.
That's why we have to pray above all else.
#56 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-10-10 07:49
Bishop Tikhon is the only one who was a monk before he was ordained. All of the other bishops took monastic vows immediately before their consecrations. That is why they are now monks, and why they should have no worldly possessions. I am all for providing for them all their needs, necessary transportation costs, et cetera. But why should a bishop ride in a Cadillac? Our Lord rode on a donkey, and he had nowhere to lay his head. St. Paul took secular work so that he would not be a burden to the Corinthians. The idea that we need to pay our bishops good salaries so we can attract the best men strikes me as a bitter and unevangelical irony.
#57 Cyril on 2007-10-10 13:40
You joined a church which is neither hierarchical nor congregational. The Orthodox Church is conciliar.
The basic unit of church government is the council. When it functions properly, hierarchs, clergy and laity all have a role to play in governing the church. These councils have generated a large body of canon law over the centuries.
There have been various attempts to subvert the conciliar traditions of our church and make it hierarchical over the centuries. One such attempt resulted in the schism of 1054 and the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church. Some of us think that another attempt to subvert the church is happening right now.
If the system works the way it is supposed to, those responsible for the theft of $5.7 million will be deposed and punished at the AAC in Pittsburgh next year.
#58 Anonymous on 2007-10-12 12:54
The level of compensation accorded to Met. HERMAN without any recall or even a second look exactly recapitulates the farcical ineptitude and duplicity with which the OCA's finances have been managed and publicly discussed. Worse than that, however, is the moral and spiritual drift it signals when one who has taken monastic vows receives pay equivalent to a middle-level corporate executive while, as others have mentioned, there are parishioners and "lowly" priests struggling on behalf of their families to make ends meet. If that dark irony, compounded with everything else, isn't cause for alarm and indignation, I don't know what is.
#59 Andrew Kassen on 2007-10-14 10:41
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