Sunday, October 14. 2007
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Well, at least +MH was right about one thing: If he was in the room at the time, then indeed the devil was at work in the diocese!
A true show of integrity and courage in that vote!
#1 C.C. on 2007-10-14 07:18
The reign of Metropolitan Herman increasingly resembles the last days of Nicolae Ceaucescu and his cronies. All it takes, as the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania has demonstrated so inspiringly, is to just say "NO!"
#2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-10-14 08:36
At the St. Vladimir's chapel +Seraphim gave a very interesting homily today. He began by pulling on the Epistle and Gospel reading, calling people to come to love and forgiveness among eachother, spouses, family members, parish members, etc. He then made the point that when one does something wrong it is best to say that one is sorry very quickly, and not let the wrong continue and fester, which only drives wedges of hurt between those who should love eachother. By this time it was clear to everyone that +Seraphim was speaking of a much broader context than family and parish members. I think he realized that we were on to him too, but he went on. Using carefully chosen words he warned of the destruction the devil causes, especially when we let the devil cause us to do evil, either by failing to ask for forgiveness or not giving forgiveness. This is due to two kinds of people, people who are mean-spirited, and people who are self-righteous and arrogant. He summed it all up by saying that, in his opinion, the OCA has been in a bad state for the past seventy years and that we should, in not so many words, finally get our act together.
I'm not sure if +Seraphim was at WPA meeting, but reading what happened there it seems +Seraphim was at least aware. The point of his homily, at least as far as I got out of it, was that +MH should have asked for forgiveness a long time ago, his failure to do so has caused a big mess. Even so, it is not right to repay this evil with more evil. Basically, that though we are incredibly hurt we are still called to love and forgive +MH, not necessarily in his position of authority, but as a person and a fellow member of our Church (which +Seraphim defined as being all the people of God, not the hierarchy).
+Seraphim seems much more drawn and despondant this weekend, not his usual jovial self. Like he has already entered into the grieving period, both for what has been done and what inevitably will be done.
It is, I believe, now inevitable that things will change drastically. St. Vladimir's had a long-standing faculty member retire over the summer who had much the same attitude as +MH: Have a problem? don't talk about it. See something illegal being done? It's lent soon, stop complaining and forget all about it. Be subordinate. If you are unsubordinate you'll be asked to leave. It took the Board of Trustee's to finally get this person to retire, though not without some kicking and screaming and threats that if he did not retire gracefully they would make it ungraceful. It will take, I am afraid, the same actions to get +MH to retire, though he may have already passed over the line into ungracefulness. But here at St. Vladimir's many already see how much more constructive things can be without such an authoritarian and fear-inducing figure around, and some professors (who shall remain nameless) are becoming very vocal about how it is long past time for +MH to retire. They are even throwing around names for a replacement, someone (anyone) very different from the Carpatho-Rusyn stock that +MH, +MT, and the previous faculty member came from.
Yes, things are changing in the OCA, it is inevitable. But such is not a time for joyous triumphalism. Rather, as +Seraphim shows and teaches, it is a time of grief, sadness over how evil has so infiltrated us and our Church. We should love and forgive, even if we are never asked for that forgiveness. I say, let +MH step down with grace and dignity, and let him live (likely at St. Tikhon's) with respect. This will not absolve him of any legal or monetary repercussions for what has gone on, though such must be done with all care and grace, keeping far away the sins of revenge, anger, and retribution. Then perhaps we can emerge not just a better Church but better Christians as well.
#3 Anonymous on 2007-10-14 10:02
Come, now. We have been willing to "let him step down" for some time already--he refuses to do so! It is Metropolitan HERMAN's own intransigence and hubris that has gotten him where he is today.
I think we all recognize the Christian imperative to forgive him, but please don't make it sound for a moment as though we are the ones to blame for the mess he has made of the OCA. I for one reject outright the notion that there is some moral equivalence between his behavior and that of the members of the clergy and laity who now seek his removal.
Without a doubt this is a heartbreaking time for our church--and we will need to pray for +HERMAN'S salvation just as we pray for our own, for the rest of our lives. But his destructive presence in our midst must come to an end, and, for the good of the OCA, we must not lose the resolve to make that happen.
#4 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2007-10-14 11:23
As I read the article about the Assembly of the Diocese of W. PA, I was simply amazed and awed by their stand. I can only imagine how difficult that was to actually pass those resolutions in the very face of the defiance and un-Christian behavior of MH.
In comparison, the Assembly of the Diocese of the MW was a piece of cake, since our Bishop took the lead and we gave him a standing ovation and our full support. Our discussion really only came down to questions of how to best word our resolutions.
All of us should express our profound gratitude for the Diocese of Western PA! And we should all pray for the Holy Synod meeting this week, that they will be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, rather than the spirit of lies, hatred and fear that is incarnate in MH.
#5 Name withheld on 2007-10-14 12:09
The comments of Archbishop Dmitri regarding the OCA crisis are a direct statement against Herman and Kucynda.
The Archbishop has maintained for 30 years that a growing central church administration have been a stumbling block to the overall work of the dioceses of the OCA. His belief is now being borne true.
His reference to those who view their postiion as a "right" and not a sacred privilege, is a direct reference to Herman and Kucynda who have manipulated their relative positions for their personal advantage in a desperate attempt to hold on your their station in the Church and deflect attention away from their role in the history of the OCA.
The Archbishop is tired of the sowing of the seeds of division by Herman who has pitted one bishop against another since he became the Metropolitan. The time for episcopal division will come to an end when Herman either retires or is removed.
The hard choices must be made by the Holy Synod and the first hard decision is to close the door on the failed leadership of Herman and Kucynda who have bankrupted our Church both financially and morally.
We will pray for you dear Vladyko on Tuesday and we will fast. We will pray and fast for all those gathered in New York.
The DOS will not stand by and do nothing if Herman continues in office.
#6 A Priest of the DOS on 2007-10-14 14:32
And now we hold our breath to see where we end up at the end of this week ... but for WPa of all dioceses to stand up to +MH and to even do it face to face -- well that's pretty amazing!
Anonymous # 3 above writes:
>Yes, things are changing in the OCA, it is inevitable. But such is >not a time for joyous triumphalism. Rather, as +Seraphim >shows and teaches, it is a time of grief, sadness over how evil >has so infiltrated us and our Church. We should love and forgive, >even if we are never asked for that forgiveness. I say, let +MH >step down with grace and dignity, and let him live (likely at St. >Tikhon's) with respect.
If we do find ourselves some time in the future, even maybe the near future, at the end of the long, dark tunnel we've been in for the past two years (well, really the past 20 years -- just because we weren't fully aware of the darkness doesn't mean it wasn't distorting our church life all that time), then we will need to take a step back and give up on our anger and desire for revenge. This will be hard, but it will be the real test of whether those of us who have been labeled trouble-makers are working for the good. With much prayer, self-examination, caution and humility we need to be sure we do not fail the test.
There can be no joy in any of this -- only in the acceptance of the hard, long task of building things back on a firm foundation.
On a separate matter, anonymous #3 (presumably affiliated with SVS) also said this about names being bandied about:
>very different from the Carpatho-Rusyn stock that +MH, +MT, >and the previous faculty member came from.
This kind of thinking is not helpful. Allowing this kind of thinking through one's self-monitoring function out into print is downright destructive. The social milieu of Pennslavania, where the church was a way up and out of the depressed industrial and mining towns, may have been an important ingredient in the formation of +MH and +MT, but not everyone from that milieu or background who followed that path ended up compromised and corrupted. +Job is from the same background. Whatever his faults, your retired faculty member is hardly the same sort of self-agrandizing, self-indulgent hypocrite as the others you mention. The WPa diocese is the very heart of the Hunkie Heartland [no disrespect intended] and they're the ones who have stood up face-to-face and rebuked the Metropolitan. Without that Carpatho-Rusyn stock, there is no OCA. Please, if we're not better than such cheap shots, we deserve the leaders we've had.
#7 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-14 14:59
As C.C. said, the Diocese of Western PA showed great integrity and courage yesterday at its yearly assembly. They showed great courage and integrity while +Herman was among them! This must resonate very clearly for the entire OCA.
The focus is not so much on +Herman as it is in moving forward in the right way, in such a way that will restore trust and confidence in our leadership. Having +Herman step down will go a long way in accomplishing these goals.
I agree with what Anonymous said at the end of his statement: "I say, let +MH step down with grace and dignity, and let him live (likely at St. Tikhon's) with respect. This will not absolve him of any legal or monetary repercussions for what has gone on, though such must be done with all care and grace, keeping far away the sins of revenge, anger, and retribution. Then perhaps we can emerge not just a better Church but better Christians as well."
It is a historic time for the OCA and +Dimitri's call to pray and fast is most spiritually sound. But so are the motions of the Diocese of Western PA. It is with great thankfulness that I join them in their struggle, courage, and wisdom, to move the OCA foward in a most sound way. Allow +Herman to step down. And as Anonymous said, I think the OCA will be gracious in that meaninful gesture of humility in doing what is best for the survival, stability, and growth for the OCA.
#8 Patty Schellbach on 2007-10-14 15:00
"They are even throwing around names for a replacement, someone (anyone) very different from the Carpatho-Rusyn stock that +MH, +MT, and the previous faculty member came from."
Excuse me, but why bring their Rusyn ethnic background into this? Especially when there are just as many strong voices opposing the +MH, +MT, Kucynda, Kondratick regimes who are likewise of Carpatho-Rusyn background.
That Carpatho-Rusyns have been part and parcel of the Metropolia/OCA is no secret. That many Americans of Rusyn background are still to be found throughout the OCA in positions of authority and influence is certainly no surprise. The only thing we might infer from their ethnic background is that they are likely lifelong members (and for several generations preceding) of the OCA and probably have far different experiences and upbringing in the Church than those who are not, for better or worse in equal amounts.
#9 Rusyn observer on 2007-10-14 16:23
Herman reinstated the Special Commission, that part I understand. What I don't
is IF the "Investigation" is not complete, how was RSK tried and convicted?
Further, the rumor
mill has it that Herman and Kucynda are planning for Herman to release a Special
Commission "report" on Tuesday morning....how can this be without the COMPLETION
investigation? Herman and Kucynda are so desperate that they're not thinking
They're leaving themselves and the entire church open for ridicule and I'm sure
some type of
litigation. Why won't they just pack up their offices and call it a day?
#10 Peter Pappas on 2007-10-14 16:57
It all must come to the Light. All of it. Whatever illegalities or wrongs the leadership of OCA has done, whether at Syosset or by the Bishops elsewhere, must be exposed, confessed, repented of and dealt with. The sooner the better.
May the meetings this week result on the necessary actions.
#11 christophoros on 2007-10-14 18:03
"The devil is attacking this ministry" or "The devil is working in you people" is a timeworn tactic used by scandal-caught TV (and other) evangelists when they are trying to deflect attention away from their sins. I would hope that OCA's leaders would have the integrity to own up to their own human sins and would not try to use the devil as a scapegoat. It fools no one, and in actuality it can bring the devil into the mess.
#12 joe manco on 2007-10-14 18:33
Though I am not part of the Diocese of the South, humbly I will join the fasting and praying effort sought by +DIMITRI.
Anyone else willing to join me?
#13 Athanasia on 2007-10-14 19:46
I'm confused. When I said Carpatho-Rusyn stock I didn't mean all Carpatho-Rusyns, just the one's like +MT, +MH, and the former faculty member. Their style of leadership is so similar it must have a common source. My guess is 50's era Carpatho-Rusyn former Uniate churches. Not only does it seem to have a common source, but it is also remarkably inbred. They are either all related or are trying to be related. Word on the streets has it that all three of these people were very humble and had great and lovely personalities, but when they gained power they let the pride go to their head. So simply put, we don't trust people like them. No point in continuously making monsters.
I, for one, am ready for a breath of fresh air from a place far far away from the anti-intellectualism of St. Tikhon's and the strap-hangers lurking around Syosset. Someone completely unconnected (and unrelated) to those involved in the current crises (on both sides) and who has a head on his shoulders. A hieromonk with two PhD's who is currently setting up a mission parish on Mars would be outstanding, but I'll take what I can get.
#14 #3 on 2007-10-14 20:01
Each day that Metropolitan Herman is in office brings the OCA closer to its end. But, (and correct me if I'm wrong) if Metropolitan Herman resigns, Archbishop Dmitri, as the next-senior hierarch of the OCA, will take over as locum tenens of the OCA (until the AAC).
Since Abp. Dmitri sympathizes with Mr. Kondratick, and since Fr. Brum is his new right-hand man, wouldn't the resignation of Met. Herman take the national church back one step? Met. Herman is a great evil in office, but wouldn't we face a similar evil at the hands of Abp. Dmitri...?
(Editor's Note: Nothing is foreordained, but custom would dictate the senior prelate becomes locum tenens should the Metropolitan step down.
Fr. Brum is not in the Diocese of the South, he is serving in the Diocese of the West. )
#15 Concerned New Englander on 2007-10-14 20:11
Priest of the DOS:
Let me first say I hope that at least some of what you say is true. That said, I have my doubts. Why the effort to protect the now defrocked Mr. Kondratick? Why the letter I while back holding that all this was "gossip", and paradoxically, we should forgive those involved? What has taken him this long to react? Have the clergy and laity finally found the simple courage to stand up to him and ask him to do the right thing? Perhaps you can expand on all this instead of being cagey.
I think it is time for Bishop Dimitri, and for that matter most of these bishops to retire. Let's be honest, these men have not shown much moral leadership, Bishop Job excepted. They don't seem to meet the minimum requirements for a Bishop...
#16 Christopher on 2007-10-14 20:18
Boccaccio's embellished title of Alighieri's 100-canto poem about a journey through the afterlife........brings the reader to a circle named "Malbolge", in which are located the fraudulent---those guilty of deliberate, knowing evil, such as outright lying and falsification................can we hope that such a fate can be avoided by the expression of truth?
#17 Divina Commedia of Dante on 2007-10-14 20:23
I'm grateful for the sentiments expressed by the WPA, but I don't quite understand the $50 per capita bit. Isn't the rate currently about $100 per capita? Our church pays it, so I've lost step a bit on the amounts. It seems quite ludicrous to me if one is expected to be taken seriously that one would not pass a resolution cutting a current rate of support by half. Corrections welcome. A hundred bucks is really not a lot of money for a church to operate. If this whole entire effort is only to shrink the government of the OCA, count me out. Bridges falling down I will not be a party to...
It will be high time the Holy Synod get it together on the 18th. It isn't too late. Metropolitan Herman needs to reappoint the prior commission and have them report to the Synod and Council.... Metropolitan Herman, or chums, the very best thing you could do is empower someone else to finish this thing. That doesn't mean you need to resign, just resign from this portion of the deal. Then we can all feel like cads for asking for you to resign.
When we see genuine Christian humility and honesty, let's all practice genuince Christian love and forgiveness.
No investigation will be complete without the Andreas Foundation monies fully reported. The Synod owns this responsibility and I don't care if the years are outside of scope.
#18 Daniel E. Fall on 2007-10-14 20:31
It seems to me that many of the delegates in Western Pennsylvania would have been Rusyns.
#19 Edmund Unneland on 2007-10-14 21:54
It was a great internal relief to see some of the protectionism be peeled back by the "NO" majority vote in the WPA for Joesph Swaiko.
Every Bishop abusing and/or in support of abuse should have some form of "NO" to remove them from the power they are using to continue the cycle of abuse.
Doctors or professionals bearing licenses where money is missing in these amounts and knowledge of sex exploits is known would be suspended from any practice so no further harm is down. The next step would be the hearings.
It is for too long of time the power to manipulate the investigation has gone without a stronger "NO".
Ranting about devils is a classic defense in abusive persons to deflect the harm they caused to the innocent.
Forgiveness is a process. It is not needed to be instant like coffee you add to hot water.
If a man is a thief and an inveterate liar, give him due consequences, and a chance to repent and receive forgiveness, but don't leave him a place on the Holy Synod. The rest of us need to be inspired, not fired.
#21 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 00:31
1. The "Special Commission" has NOT been re-instated. Herman has created a new committee of hand-picked members and given them only the task of bringing to a close all investigation.
2. The "preliminary report" that was produced was not the result of a true investigation. It was only a synopsis of the material that was fed to the SC by PR, at Herman's guidance.
The resolution of WPa to ask the MC to appoint a completely independent Commission to actually investigate is exactly what is needed. Anything that may be presented as a "report" before that happens will simply be more of the same from Herman.
#22 Name withheld on 2007-10-15 03:09
Brother, I pray you are right that (finally) "The DOS will not stand by and do nothing if Herman continues in office." Thus far, the DOS has done nothing BUT that. As a diocese, we have sent our assessments (except for one parish) and said very little publicly about this spiritual disaster.
I have communicated my own concerns directly to Vladika Dmitri at least five times, three of them in writing. There's never a reply, nor any clear words spoken in public about a matter that is undermining the mission work in what is still a very missionary diocese.
I hope you are right that this letter means things are finally turning--that Vladika is ready to act boldly for the sake of the good and not in covering up evil, with the hope of burying it so we can move forward "in repentance and forgiveness."
I, too, will fast and pray tomorrow for a holy end and full disclosure of this sordid, embarrassing affair.
#23 Another Priest of the DOS on 2007-10-15 05:04
St. Tikons is blessed ground. Let them relocate him to another location as they did with Met. Theodosius. He retired due to illness, but is not even mentioned at the St. Tikons Pilgrimages??
Sweep the floor and clean the house!
Herman MUST return to secular life. Anything short of that will be a let down.
#24 Robert Holowach on 2007-10-15 05:15
Regarding the assessmnet change to $50, is it not high time to do away with the assessment "head tax" altogether and move towards a tithe based giving? We have been doing this in the south for years which has set a good example for stewardship in the local parish. The only problem at this time is in a small mission , we are currently tithing to the diocese as well as sending an assessment in which is very difficult financially. It seems to me instead of passing resolutions for withholding, let's change the whole system. Just a thought.
#25 a priest in the DOS on 2007-10-15 06:01
Perhaps you're confusing Fr David Brum (who is in Arizona, in the Diocese of the West) with Fr Joseph Fester (former secretary to the OCA chancellor and now at the Diocese of the South's chancery in Dallas)?
#26 Another Priest of the DOS on 2007-10-15 06:11
Prof. Verhovskoy in his ethics classes at SVS taught, "Even if there is a perception of wrong doing or activity which would question the image of Christ in a cleric or bishop, they should step down for the good of the Church." Well, this entire episode with + Herman and Kucynda shows that the "shoe fits."
Regarding your comments about the retiring faculty member at SVS, this is not correct. Either you are being fed misinformation or fabricating it. The Board of Trustees did not require this individual to retire nor were there issues with their performance, but it was time for them to retire as they announced 2 years prior. You may not have liked their mode of operating at SVS, but this is hardly the forum to grind axes.
#27 Anonymous3 on 2007-10-15 06:11
I wonder if it would be better to just retract your statement about the "Carpatho-Rusyn stock" rather than trying to explain it and digging yourself deeper into a ditch. It might also be a good idea to retract your comment about the "anti-intellectualism of St. Tikhon's". Notice I did not say "anti-intellectualism" but rather this type of mindset as if it is indicative of St. Tikhon's. These types of comments are not informed nor helpful but only confuse the issue by showing personal bias. Not to mention that some people might be inclined to disregard anything good you may have said because of these irrational generalizations. Are these the types of comments which can help us get back on track?
#28 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 06:18
I don't see where you can draw any conclusion from Archbishop Dmitri's letter by reading into it that it is about Kondratick. It is not. Yes, Dmitri has an opinion about Kondratick, but his letter was directed at Herman. Your polemics about Kondratick are missplaced. Kondratick's fate is in the hands of the Holy Synod not Dmitri.
#29 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 06:19
The attempt to reduce the assessment from the current $105 to $50 appears to be intended to "starve the beast".
As was clear when the attempt to foist "Fair Share" on the faithful back in 2002, Syosset has long wanted to simply name its need (aka "want") and have the people cough up the cash. Remember that the original plan included Syosset coming up with a budget then sending it to the dioceses to pay in proportion to their membership. Sounds like Congress, except politicians can be elected or not.
The current assessment system is just plain broken. $105 per "adult baptized member" is a dues system, and it leads to playing the numbers game. It's a tax levied regardless of whether income is there to support it (such as the college students, who are adults, who should reasonably count in my parish's total, but who contribute nothing). Plus, what to do with the "marginal" members -- those for whom my parish is the only thing close to a church home they have, but whom I see perhaps three times a year.
Time for everyone to take the DOS lead on this one and move Syosset to a tithing system. People tithe to their parishes, the parish tithes (10%) of its giving(*) to the diocese, and the diocese tithes (10% of 10% = 1% overall) to Syosset. (*)Giving should exclude building program monies, as parishes already "give" of that money, in that local properties are held in trust for the diocese in a hierarchical church. The diocese already "owns" it all.
In the tithing system, Syosset gets to live with the same budget concerns as the rest of the world, and parishes aren't forced to give money they don't have.
#30 Another Priest of the DOS on 2007-10-15 06:22
Yes, I will be joining in the Fast - and gladly! And praying for our leaders to do the right thing, and for God to pour-out wisdom upon them so that they all may know what "the right thing" is. And I will be also praying that the Holy Spirit will illumine and strengthen the Holy Synod to recognize that this is indeed a momentous time in the history of the OCA.
I've spoken to a lot of people (mostly in my own parish) about this "scandal," and frankly, I've never heard anyone on the "right" side of it call for vengence in any way, shape, or form. Merely an honest accounting and moves to enable the OCA to go forward in a productive and effective way.
Having recently watched the Ken Burns treatment, "The War," I feel like this is akin to D-Day; but likewise I am reminded that D-Day didn't go all that well, and that the road to victory following D-Day was long and trying. My sense is that we have such a road ahead of us, but somehow, I feel like a corner has been turned, owing largely to the fact that this no longer looks like a +MH vs. +Job test-of-wills. Even +MH must now see that the writing is on the wall for him and his ilk!
There is no joy in the downfall of +MH; but I think that when it is all over and done with, there will be understandable joy that the OCA has been freed to move ahead. Let us also hope that "A Few Good Men" can be found to further stengthen our leadership (that is, replacements for our depleted episcopate). During this episode, I think that it's already been shown that in the OCA, there are more than a few "Good Women" in this organization ... and our thanks should go to them for their diligence. And finally, let's be mindful at this point that - if the past track record is any indication - maybe a lot of nothing will happen at this meeting of the Holy Synod; yet, we must not give up. Resistance is NOT futile!
#31 C.C. on 2007-10-15 06:52
Folks. One disturbing comment that keeps popping up among some posters concerns the "give us a [new] Moses" plea. For anyone who is tempted to think that, please rethink your attitude. Instead, why don't you stop looking for a white knight and take responsibility for your own actions. If we all did that, we'd be a lot healthier, happier and more productive. This give-us-a-Moses attitude is ultimately what got us into this mess. Waiting for saviors, as it were, is a feudal concept. We already have a Savior, and he has given us His Holy Spirit. Take responsibility. Be accountable. The Spirit will give you strength and will guide you.
#32 Name withheld on 2007-10-15 06:53
I respect the thoughts presented on this forum. I have found the discussion enlightening and informative. However, this thread has reared an ugly head that does not belong in this forum, much less the church. A basic study would indicate the the eastern and western church (as well as some protestant churches) share the same basic beliefs (as professed in the Nicene Creed or statement of faith). To make comments that imply someone is not worthy or of lesser value based on belief or ethnic origin is immoral, unethical and unchristian. Whatever your feelings about the current situation or the players, we should always show grace, humility, love and compassion for our fellow Christians (no matter where they worship).
#33 A Lutheran Brother on 2007-10-15 07:55
I'm sorry I missed this homily. This Bishop once said to me when I asked if he was exhausted from all his travels: *I do what I'm told to do*. I thought this rather odd at the time (this was several years ago), but didn't pursue it. Now I wonder about it greatly. What constrains these bishops to blind obedience, and to whom? And do they forgive the one who orders them around, or do they merely forbear? And if so, for what possible reason? We are called to forgive, but like obedience, it should not be blind. God forgave us all, but He knew in deatil the full truth about us all. May the OCA be preserved by both mercy and truth!
#34 Karen Jermyn on 2007-10-15 08:05
A molieben for the salvation of our church is still available for download from midwestdiocese.org
#35 Michael Strelka on 2007-10-15 08:23
As efforts to put this scandal behind continue we need to realize several things. If and when the current Syosset leadership steps down the OCA will merely take step one. It may be a decade or more before we operate from a sound financial base. New leadership will need to build its own track record of integrity. Just answering the questions the OCA faithful have been asking the current leadership will be difficult. Vital records no longer exist. Those stepping down are not likely to be cooperative. And even if they are; details they once knew become fuzzy over time. (It is still possible the federal government will step in and make it harder to move on.) We the OCA faithful need to pray for patience and strength every day. If you want to see a brighter day for the OCA we must persevere.
#36 Sam osman on 2007-10-15 08:41
I think it's time for #12 to stop with the rediculous comments on Carpatho-Rusyns, they're insulting. We are not inbred nor are we anti-intellectual. Let's put the 1950's into perpective: for those of us of Eastern European descent the McCarthy Era was a difficult, unpleasant time, the Church truely was our only refuge. What is now the OCA was built and and maintained, in large part, by Rusyns. We held the Truth in trust so that it could be shared with all.
I don't know #12's ethnic background, if I did I could make an equally rediculous generalization that they must all be cowards since he lacks the courage to sign his name to his posts.
#37 David Wargo on 2007-10-15 09:08
To say that Archbishop Kyrill would have been shocked by the reaction to Met. Herman by the WPA assembly is the height of presumption by Herman.
I know for a fact that one of the last letters our late beloved Archpastor wrote was to Herman telling him that he had made a complete mess of the spiritual court against Kondratick.
I am not a Kondratick fan, but if Herman was truthful (what a novel idea) he would also have stated to the assembled that Kyrill had no confidence in Herman either.
Herman again reveals his only leadership skill - pit one brother against another. SHAMEFUL AND IT MUST END NOW.
#38 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 09:20
For whatever it may be worth, St. Tikhon's is not anti-intellectualist. Certainly, there are some elements there which could be characterized in such a fashion, but the student body in general and the majority of the faculty carry on quite a vigorous intellectual life.
St. T's may have been that way in the past, but it's emerged from it. The forces that wish to keep it that way are, quite frankly, losing in the face of an encroaching generation of smart, older, and more determined seminarians, led by some seriously qualified faculty.
#39 A former St. Tikhon's seminarian on 2007-10-15 09:30
Amen, amen, amen, Rebecca!
"For in Christ there is no Anglo-Saxon nor Celt, no Great Russian nor Karpatsky, no White Collar nor Blue..."
My Archbishop also claims Rusyn heritage, as did countless immigrant families who left the Unia and sacrificed to build up an Orthodox witness in North America. The behavior of a few from this background is a betrayal of the vast majority who find their antics apalling, or worse.
Fast & Pray!
#40 Sdn Henry Shirley-St herman of Alaska Chapel, West Bend, WI on 2007-10-15 09:46
Interesting though, Fr. Brum can be seen in photos at functions in the Diocese of the South which might mislead anyone into thinking where he is attached, hum...
#41 anonymous on 2007-10-15 09:54
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness. -- Isaiah 5:20
I am undoubtedly not the only person disturbed by fact that the primate of the Church has referred to the Midwest Diocesan Assembly as "the devil at work." Yes, it is offensive, but not surprising: I and many others have grown numb to his ways. But it is deeply distrubing, and ought to be. How gracelessly he fullfils the prophecy of Isaiah.
That +MH is running on fear is obvious to all but the most intentionally blind. He is documented by outside firms as having authorized, even ordered, the transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars out of charitable funds. He has a record of intimidation. He has become quite accustomed to a lavish lifestyle that would make any real monk weep, with housekeepers who make more in three months than his priests do in a whole year.
The only way to hide his tracks is to remain in power and thus control any investigation. He has been forced to choose between the life of the Church and covering his sin, and he has chosen sin. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other." In choosing sin, he has exposed his hatred for us, the Church.
See the hatred: to Herman, the Midwest has been joined to Western Pennsylvania by Satan himself. Well, Herman's devil is my Lord. Clearly it was the Savior Jesus Christ who brought the Midwest and Western Pennsylvania together to say "no more." No more intimidation. No more hiding. You have betrayed us and abused us one too many times. You have abandoned those most in need. You have turned your back on victim after victim. No more. No more of your hatred. No more of you. Your devil is my Lord, and thus we are at an impasse that is irreconcilable.
Who will save us from this hell?
Priest Christopher Wojcik
#42 Priest Christopher Wojcik on 2007-10-15 10:37
Frodo failed. Metropolitan Herman has the Ring!
(Editor's note: Cute. But not true. I got that information from Gandalf himself....)
#43 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 10:58
As a senior member of the clergy of the Altoona-Johnstown Deanery allow me to explain our proposal of $50 per member.
The fifty dollar amount proposed by our deanery simply says that we have lived too long "pretending and spending" as a wealthy church. The central administration spent and spent way beyond our means. Much of the spending was spent in inappropriate areas. People are willing to give to appeals and stewardship as the $1.7 million in giving shows and the central administration can spend as the $1.7 million loan shows.
The $50 per member will limit the amount Central Administration can spend. Unlike "fare share" which simply raises the "head tax" to the amount of spending desired. We are saying let us live within our means and allow each diocese to provide and fund many of the programs on the local level.
It is not our intent to slow the growth of the OCA or prevent worthwhile programs. We want to prevent duplicity and waste. Thank you for the question.
#44 V. Rev. Andrew Matychak, Altoona Johnstown Deanery on 2007-10-15 12:00
Which photos? Where?
#45 Another Priest of the DOS on 2007-10-15 12:04
I would suggest that you wait for the minutes of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania to be posted before accepting the sotry as told by Nescott and Reeves. Also, after Metropolitan Herman spoke those beautiful inspiring words, at least one priest recanted his testimony and begged forgiveness from Metropolitan Herman. It was very clear that Nescott and Reeves had planned intrigue and pitfalls for Metropolitan Herman along with the Holy Synod to fall into but as Psalm 140 plainly states about those who plan these intrigues and pitfalls, "let them be cast into the fire, into deep pits, that they rise no up again." I know...I was there...
#46 An Observer on 2007-10-15 12:45
As always with your posts Father, to the point and spot on!
I would only add that while Metropolitan Herman's departure to his just reward is a precondition to restoring spiritual health to the OCA, it by no means will instantly solve all our problems. The mindset and modus operandi he epitomizes must be expunged from the OCA. This will take time and effort, but is essential if the OCA is to become what it was intended to be--a beacon of modern Orthodox witness in North America--not a relic of the failed ecclesiology of different times and cultures. Then, and only then, can we hold hands with our Orthodox brethren in other jurisdictions and forge a united Church in this hemisphere.
#47 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-10-15 12:56
LOL... I sure Gollum is lurking around halls of Syosset as well.
#48 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 13:06
I admire your faith, and I don't doubt Vladyka Dmitri's sincerity. As for me, I have seen A LOT of false piety and humility spoken in the last couple of years, so count me out. A Big Mac sounds really good right now...
#49 Greg Denysenko on 2007-10-15 13:34
No, the earlier letter to which I referred (I think fall 2006 if memory refers) was not about Kondratick directly, rather it was bishop Dimitri's effort to sweep all this under the rug - as bishop Herman would like to do. This new letter is simply too ambiguous to make too much of I think, but something has changed as he is now at least acknowledging that we have a problem (gosh, what insight - sarcasm rightly detected). In other words, Bishop Dimtri has been part of the problem, not part of the solution. Seems that a second priest of DOS would agree...
#50 Christopher on 2007-10-15 14:13
In the worst case scenario,the Metropolitan would be stripped of his episcopate and revert to the title of "Monk Herman".I'm no fan of what the Metropolitan has done or seems to have done,but in theory,at least, he remains a monk.When I was a young priest in another jurisdiction,I snickered when the then-Bishop Herman had so much grief from those parishes which fled to ROCOR.I now realise my attitude was unchristian and wrong.Whatever happens now,I'm sorry for those souls who have been hurt and ravaged by the evils going on.If His Beatitude is truly guilty,I pray that God will give him the spirit to repent.
#51 Old Priest on 2007-10-15 14:28
RE: Local parish facilities held in trust for the diocese.
At least in the midwest, this is not always the case. Our parish bylaws state the disposal of property is up to the local parish, but the antimens and liturgical holy things are returned to the Bishop.
My understanding is this structure was put into practice in order to prevent "other claimants" from placing claims on being the "proper" bishop and taking property.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#52 Marty Watt on 2007-10-15 15:09
"After Metropolitan Herman spoke those beautiful inspiring words, at least one priest recanted his testimony and begged forgiveness from Metropolitan Herman..."
Indication that the culture of fear and retribution is not dead--yet.
#53 Sdn Henry Shirley-St Herman of Alaska Chapel-West Bend, WI on 2007-10-15 15:23
I certainly agree with everything you say. But, when I have brought it up in the Midwest, I have been told that many parishes would be giving less than the current assessment, so the suggestion goes nowhere. The bottom line is that neither the Diocese nor the Central Church like the idea of having to live within a budget based upon the tithes of the parishes. Both want more.
#54 A priest of the Midwest on 2007-10-15 15:25
No, not Gollum.
Much more likely that we see another slimy type in the halls of Syosset: one known as Wormtongue.
#55 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-10-15 15:37
When it comes to cleaning house, why just stop at Metropolitan Herman? After getting rid of the Metropolitan, we can take out some of the Bishops in the Holy Synod, and then proceed to through the ranks of the clergy...and why stop there? Let's make sure that the Christ that is in our midst is not obscured by all of the sinners (like the Herman sympathizers) in our parish. All we need to do is have each parish set up an OCANEWS site of its own (for example "StMarkOCANews.org"). From these sites we can broadcast all of the sins of the evildoers in our midst and/or petition for them to leave! Think of the possibilities! An OCA clean from top to bottom!
#56 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 15:58
Be accountable, be responsible and you don't even sign your names. What a wonderful example of accountability!
#57 Sue on 2007-10-15 16:44
You should be ashamed of yourself insinuating such a horrible thing. Your comment was tastless and sinful.
Have some guts and sign your name. It's easy to hide behind your initials.
You are nothing but a coward with a big mouth who is afraid of being exposed for what you really are.
#58 Michael Geeza on 2007-10-15 17:02
I hope this is indeed the case and the DOS finally finds its voice.
BTW, I noticed that a large number of individuals from Abp Dmitri's Cathedral, St Seraphim, have signed the petition requesting the Metropolitan's resignation. Perhaps that in itself reflects a change of attitude. Hopefully, others from the DOS will feel encouraged to sign.
#59 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 17:45
Point taken. At this point, it would be silly for NEW buildings to be constructed as anything other than "in trust" for the diocese. Supposedly, this an autocephalous church (even though we don't act like it), so I'm unsure what other "claimants" could exist.
#60 Another Priest of the DOS on 2007-10-15 18:41
It is Archbishop Dmitri and his comments then were then, his comments now are now.
#61 Anonymous on 2007-10-15 18:46
In response to the “observer’s” comments, as the Press Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Pittsbugh and Western Pennsylvania, a member of the Archdiocesan Council, and as a priest who attended the assembly, I wish to make clear the following. The observer’s statements are false and are an insult to the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and to the God-fearing clergy and faithful who attended the Archdiocesan Assembly in Mingo Junction, OH.
#62 Igumen Patrick (Carpenter) on 2007-10-15 20:16
In what way has Vladyko Dimitri been apart of the problem. I assume you are belong to a different diocese and thus not had personal contact with vladyko. On the some occassion I have met him, or actually has been at our parish, he has expressed his concern and dismay with syossett. On one occassion I overheard him say he had even suggested to MH himself to resign and as the priest above has mentioned, that syosset is too powerful. While Vladyko has not gained that Rock Star persona other opponents of MH have gained, I think he has been in quiet opposition, prayerful opposition. He has not resorted to charicaturing MH or publically humiliating him. His silenence has been a carefully measured step, as been his now vocal opposition. I genuinely believe he has tried to avoid the all out civil war that now looms over us, through quiet diplomacy. Now, however, that quiet diplomacy has not been enough, and he has realized that. You may question vladyko's judgement on that, he his after all, human. But, I find it disengenuous for some to condemn his intentions, outright.
Again, I ask Mr. Christopher to spell out clearly in what way Vladyko has been part of the problem.
#63 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-16 06:16
Prob she or he meant to be responsible and accountable to God ... sometimes that's enough.
#64 Anonymous on 2007-10-16 06:23
Your point, which is reasonable, still fails because...well...you have not posted your complete name.
But you also have to understand that not everyone is blessed to live, as I do, in a diocese and a parish where they are safe from retaliation by those with the semblance of power. They have to make a tough choice--risk possible repercussions to self or family, or not.
I am not generally in favor of "anonymous" letters, posts, phone calls, etc. But in many cases these people are unfortunately caught up in the atmosphere of fear which permeates more than a few dioceses and parishes in the OCA--or at least believe it to be so. Thus I don't think it is an issue of "accountability".
I wish everyone felt free of fear to the point that they could post boldly and sign their name. But I understand why they may not be able to do so.
Christian compassion dictates that I not condemn them for desiring to speak about the issues, but remain with a veiled face.
Kevin Nikolai Payne
St. Raphael of Brooklyn Mission
#65 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2007-10-16 08:45
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you don't know that what you are saying is a gross distortion of the intent and motivation of the people who have been vocal for reform on this site and elsewhere.
Here's the difference --
No one is proposing that the church as a human institution is anything other than a group of sinners trying their best, fully knowing that their best will never be good enough and that we can only be saved by the Grace of God. And that's on our best days -- many days, most of us, myself first of all, can bearly even muster the energy to try. On our worst days, we fall into actively rejecting the Grace so richly poured out on us.
No effort to "cleanse" the church can succeed -- such an effort can only be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Church is.
But what we do need are leaders who are at least trying and who are honest when the fail. Mortal, fallible, repentant -- people who can show us how to repent of our manifold iniquities not by their holiness, but by their example of effort and humility.
And trying to cover your own errors doesn't count as trying.
#66 Rebecca Matovic on 2007-10-16 10:13
A locum tenens for the Metropolitan is elected by the Holy Synod; usually is, but need not be, the senior bishop.
Perhaps another possibility is the election of an Administrator of the OCA, much as Archbishop Sylvester administered the OCA on behalf of Metropolitan Iriney. That way, the All-American Council would not be required to convene as quickly as it would have to be in event the Metropolitan was actually removed. (Just an idea that came to mind, don't know if it's a good one.)
#67 Edmund Unneland on 2007-10-16 14:39
While I have not had personal contact with Bishop Dimitri, I was up until recently a member of the DOS. On the one hand, I hope you are right about everything you say. That said, I don’t think it took a lot of “judgment” to see early on where this is going. The institutional rot within the OCA was apparent from the almost the very beginning, and to think “quite diplomacy” was ever going to have an impact on this is very questionable in my mind. Still, you can’t deny his denial of the problem last summer, and his paradoxical asking of “forgiveness” (despite the denial of anything that needed to be forgiven). Good intentions? What’s the old saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. To be a good bishop, “intentions” is not enough, one has to have certain “proven” qualifications (see Titus and/or Timothy and/or the cannons). I have it from my formal priest that as of last summer, Bishop Dimitri was at best in denial over the whole thing, and was requesting his priests not discuss this issue in parishes. THAT is a sign of deeper problems, an authoritative style that is part of the problem. That does not sound at all like the man you describe.
Still, let’s keep him in the best light. I say he has been too slow, and only when circumstances have pressed has he seem to have reacted. Again, “another priest of Dos” who has posted below seems to agree with my reading…
Let’s be honest, only one of the bishops has reacted with anything clearly recognizable as a “Christian” or “Orthodox” response. THAT is a problem…
#68 Christopher on 2007-10-17 14:07
Re: " ... if the OCA is to become what it was intended to be--a beacon of modern Orthodox witness in North America."
What's with the "if?" The OCA IS a beacon of modern witness in North America!
The OCA is a beacon, a signal against danger, like the saint (minus the humility-part) who saw himself as one who had sunken in the mire of his sins up to his neck and could only warn others on how to avoid the same fate.
Exhibit B: The OCA IN ITS PRESENT STATE is a witness still, to the truth of the Orthodox Faith!
Witness how in her present state, the OCA illustrates the timeless truth presented by the Desert Father, Abba Paphnutius:
"One day, some of the ascetics in the vicinity, came
accusing a brother of theirs of a sin which he emphatically
denied. Hearing them arguing vehemently with one another,
Abba Paphnutius spoke, saying: 'A man was once walking on
the bank of a river, and his leg got stuck in the mire. Some
men saw him and came to help, with the purpose of pulling
him out, but instead, they pushed him in deeper'. The
accusers realised that this short simile was meant for them
and that their argument would only lead them and their
brother to graver errors."
Okay, so the modern Orthodox witness in North America is nothing to admire nor imitate but is something to be avoided. If others can learn from the OCA's mistakes, there is hope that the OCA can learn too.
Let's have this hope and try to rebuild the OCA in humility with none of the delusions (vainglory, prelest, plani) that the OCA was or is destined to be a lead the Orthodox Church when she is clearly in need of following. God will provide the leaders, it's time for the OCA to follow or at least get out of the way.
#69 Anonymous on 2007-10-17 21:16
The question is not whether or not Vladyko saw anything wrong. He did and was vocal about it, not over the cyberspace, but in personal conversations with parishoners. The question was how to go about creating real change. Part of the problem we're in is, i think, partly due to too much haste. The spiritual court that condemned RSK (i'm not a sympathizer) seemed to play into MH hands. Everybody wanted to see justice a soon as possible. Vladyko stated on occassions his suspisions about how that whole thing was carried out, and that no way was there only one person involved. The problem was much bigger than just RSK, according to his reckoning.
The facts are out there, and each person will interpret them according to their point of view. You view Vladyko's actions negatively because you have determined that there was only one way, +Job's way of handling the situation. Fine. But, cannot an individual disagree, and still be "Christian" and "Orthodox"? Most of us in the south interpret the facts differently. Vladyko did not want to rush into anything, or create an atmosphere of antagonism. Maybe he was using his long time friendship with MH to try to convince him to peacefully resign and thus avoid the very ugly mess we're in and thus allow the church to move forward. That kind of diplomacy takes time. And like all diplomacy there is always the reality that it might not work, but its worth a try.
You disagree with him. That's OK. He, and I dare say many in the south, disagrees with you. That's OK, too. There is more than one way to skin a cat. The important thing is that we are trying to skin the cat.
You make reference to another DOS priest who agrees with you. What of the rest of them? Are they all scared sheapherds afraid of mean old Vladiko Dimitri? I doubt it. I don't know how many of them frequent this sight, but if their activity is any indication of the general feeling in the South, I rather think they are taking Vladyko's lead and forging ahead with their missionary endeavors, planting and expanding missions, preaching the gospel, developing rich liturgical, philanthropic churches. That kind of activity is just as vital to the restoration and health of the OCA, as removing the tares. It is , for lack of a better term, a bottom-up approach. When we enrich parish life, we are contributing to the health and integrity of the OCA, cultivating the ground for future lay leaders, monastics, priests, deacons, and even bishops. What does it matter if the bad fruit is removed, when the tree is diseased?
I think many have had such an attitude about this whole mess. If we want lasting change, if we want the OCA to take a radically different path from the one it is currently on, we need to start at home, in our own parishes.
So, we disagree and the way forward. It does not mean we must condemn each other as being "unChristian" or "unOrthodox". Such language plays into the hands of those who want to see division and rivalries.
As for me and my house, I say: God bless +Job and +Dimitri. They may differ on their approach, but they are both contributing to the health and restoration of the OCA, but in different ways, though on many points, I believe,their paths cross.
#70 Bautista Cabrera on 2007-10-18 08:43
Well stated, I understand your position better. Just to note, I was trying to point out that IMO only one Bishop has had "a Christian response" - a behavior or praxis that I recognize has having something to do with the Gospel.
Still I disagree with this "diplomatic" response of Bishop Dimitri (in fact, I could not in good conscious remain in the DOS while this introverted approach with it's attendant authoritarianism is coming from Dimitri). Today we learn that he thinks it was all done "without malice", if "neglectful. I will say more on this on the comments associated with this new posting...
#71 Anonymous on 2007-10-23 10:28
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