Tuesday, April 4. 2006
Your comments to Bishop Tikhon's letter are welcome. Please sign your posts.
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Bishop Tikhon's latest rant is simply incredible! If ever I had any reservations about the severity of my recent post, this last blast from the West has obviated it.
The "good" bishop has become a weapon of mass distruction within the Church at a time when it is struggling to come to grips with its worst crisis since becoming independent of Moscow. It is now imperative that all members of Bishop Tikhon's diocese take the necessary measures to shut down this circus and end the tirades. A first step might be to hoist Bishop Tikhon on his on petard and shut off his financial support. But in the final analysis, only deposition, resignation or retirement will suffice.
As is the case with his chief mentor, Bishop Tikhon is skilled at mixing truth with lies. The Metropolitan would be well advised to move his residence!
Kenneth R. Tobin
Rehoboth Beach, DE
PS: This website is to be commended for withholding details on sexual allegations.
#1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-04-04 05:38
It appears that +Tikhon, is truly ill. Let us all pray for him.
I'm confused what Archbishop Job allegedly did to Bishop Alejo and why he was allegedly opposed to Bishop Alejo. Mr. Stokoe, could you please elaborate on your commentary?
This soap opera has to stop. Bashing, gossiping, judging, condemning all these things are blemishing a church structure whose goal is always to be pure. How much negative energy is being wasted here? Like a cancer that has not been diagnosed, we cannot go on to fix this problem without first correctly identifying the problem. Sure, we could depose Metropolitan Herman and go back to our OCA lives as usual, but the fact is that salvation has not been reached. Our main goal as a church is to foster each other's personal route to salvation. It's pretty obvious something is wrong here and it is pretty obvious that there are sins to be pardoned. But as Orthodox faithful, we pardon sins. We find peace through repentance. We love, forgive, and help each other no matter how much we have fallen. God forgives all things and if we cannot learn how to forgive those who have trespassed against the Church, how is God going to forgive our own stains? Perhaps we could go the way of +Bishop T, cover things up and pretend like there is nothing to hide. Or we could not sway left or right, do things the correct way, even if that means making our church look “bad”. It will only look bad to the people of this world- those whose aim is above the earthly temptations of life will find respect and inspiration for doing the right thing. We can define our own salvation through this test; this is not just about the Synod’s salvation. We as members of the church could judge and point fingers, too. But that isn’t love. We as a church need to have a mission statement for this test, something like: Let us love one another so that in one accord we can confess. There are differences in human beings, but a synod of hierarchs pointing fingers, accusing, judging and making the issue a personal matter is of this world. It is our job to rise above this world and our own intentions and focus on the will of God. Answer me this: If Jesus was here and looked upon these allegations, what would he want? The answer should lead to the appropriate protocol.
Let Christ's Love and Forgiveness Surround Us!
#4 Anonymous on 2006-04-04 08:36
It is unrealistic to seek to blame individuals for a culture that is rooted in pride and sin.
There is no better time than Great Lent to focus one's life on the pursuit of repentence.
The OCA's problems are indeed serious, but they are not hopeless. I can say this because I have seen God's Grace manifested among the rank and file Faithful in all walks of their spiritual journey.
To be a Conciliar Church requires a vision and a conviction that is grounded in humility and repentance that makes it possible to pursue reconcilliation and unity.
The Church is profoundly more than a diversity of personalities that abide within it. It is a means of Grace for its members and for all of mankind.
The Holy Synod, the Metroplitan Council, and the OCA Administration together with the prayers and moral support of the Faithful from all of the parishes, deaneries, and dioceses will seek healing and wholeness to become the truly Conciliar Church it was called and destined to be.
In Christ the Victor!
#5 A unworthy churchman from the OCA on 2006-04-04 08:46
May God have mercy on us.
I will admit to not being a canonical expert. However if the excerpts of the correspondence printed here over time are accurate (and I believe them to be), and a fair characterization of His Grace's comments (and I believe them to be), then I can only conclude as an uninformed layperson that His Grace may need his own psychological evaluation.
Truthfully, His Eminence Archbishop JOB asked a simple question: "Are the allegations true or false?"
We need to return to that question. Would His Grace Bishop TIKHON like to answer that question? Perhaps he knows and can give an account before God and before the New York State Prosecutors Office, and we can answer this question and move forward.
Rather than answer the original question, His Grace Bishop TIKHON chooses to make additional allegations, delving further into intrigue and mystery. It is, apparently, "his way or the highway" without any of the love indicative of the Holy Spirit.
May God have mercy on us all. The Holy Synod is apparently disfunctional. This may not be a surprise to some, but it certainly is to me. I am deeply ashamed to be a Christian with Bishop TIKHON's political intrigue representing Christ.
I'm truly, truly saddened. It is difficult to watch the meltdown of a human being and have no ability to help. It seems to me that His Grace, Bishop TIKHON, is in the midst of a paranoid schitzophrenic crisis.
I hope the approching Pascha of our Lord will bring healing to His Grace, His Eminence, and His Beatitude, and to the Orthodox Church in America.
#6 Marty Watt on 2006-04-04 09:03
While this is a beautifully written and inspiring letter, ***what the h... is it doing on the internet?*** This is totally inappropriate and uncalled for.
I am a young woman in His Grace's Diocese and I am mortally offended and wounded by seeing his letter hanging out in public cyberspace. How awful. This is not at all Christian. Why are you exposing the Church's nakedness like this? I am ashamed as a woman in the Church. This is indecent. This letter was not meant for public consumption! I request you remove it from this website immediately. What good will come for the public to read a letter from a bishop to the Holy Synod of Bishops, His Diocesan Councils and the Seminary Deans?! Anybody can read this letter. Atheists can read this letter. Satanists can read this letter. What good will that do?
It says let me not reveal Thy Mysteries to Thy Enemies in the Prayers before Communion. I think posting His Grace's letter to the public is most definitely revealing Christ's Mysteries to His Enemies.
Why are you doing this?
#7 Olympiada Kane on 2006-04-04 09:23
We're over the rainbow, in never-never land ... solving the problems now is the problem, order matters more than integrity.
May God grant Metr. Herman and the Holy Synod the wisdom and perserverance to choose the right path.
#8 Rebecca Matovic on 2006-04-04 09:27
The chickens have come home to roost. So many years of ignoring +Tikhon's evil conduct, delusion and viciousness, so many years of allowing him to destroy parishes and insult people at will, and so many years giving him free hand to rule without accountability have wrought this...
It's sad to see how so many men in authority, who knew better and saw the disaster unfold, stood silently by for so long and allowed this to happen. +BT is lashing out, insulting, and attacking even the Metropolitan now.
Lord Have Mercy!
Others have been deposed for less and i do not see why this is allowed to continue - i say an-axios, an-axios, an-axios- we know that the diocese of the west has been a widowed diocese for years -- bob schuler's crystal cathedral sits more than the diocese of the west claims as members---the rantings in the west are an embarrassment and an anathema and i wonder why they are tolerated -- is there some hidden information which creates a protective shield -- only one can wonder.
#10 rjklancko on 2006-04-04 11:11
Like I said, "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
He disgraces all clergy. Perhaps if he is reminded that he is first and foremost an individual before God and not some exalted grand master, he might find a bit of humility (I know, hope springs eternal).
You of all people laud the Holy Russian Orthodox Church (I think this is rather evident in your insistence on using Church Slavonic (which you pronounce with an abominable accent I might add) and your insistence that your own "cathedral" (Let's get real -- it's a tiny little church in the heart of Silverlake. And how many people come to Vespers? Oh, five or six) While you are pining away about the glorious days of Holy Russia, perhaps you hadn't noticed but the language in your own neighborhood is Spanish; you know, the language spoken by the people that rent out your school because you don't have any other way of paying the bills.
In all of my years, I have never read such a disgraceful, mean-spirited, and vengeful letter. And to all people, your own Metropolitan. Is this not the same Metropolitan that you commemorate on the paten at EVERY Divine Liturgy? Is this not the same Metropolitan that you, yourself, have prayed with? Is this not the same Metropolitan that you have called brother in Christ for many years?
If you feel so much hatred towards the current church administration then why do you insist on staying here?
I must say, that it is rather ironic that you support an individual named Fr. Bob, whose priestly name alone and lack of facial hair would would seem to have precluded him from ever serving in the Diocese of the West.
It is also amusing to read about how you object to the Metropolitan's choice of residences yet you, yourself live in Southern Ca. San Francisco is in the north.
I weep for the incredible damage your are trying to inflict on the Orthodox Church.
"Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!"
#11 An Orthodox Christian in the West on 2006-04-04 11:12
Dear Ms. Kane,
I beg to differ. How is this different from the people on the streets of Constantinople gossiping about the various parties one belonged to (homoousian, homooiousian, homooian, and so on...)? Part of the problem is that too much has been kept secret for the last several years. The business of the church is the business of everyone in the Church - bishops, clergy, monks, and baptized people. We need to get over the heretical mindset that the Church resides in the bishops only. This is insulting to the Gospel, the ONLY book that lays on our altar table (not the Typikon, not the Rudder).
But the worst part of this is accusing the people who run this web site -who do occasionally sensationalize - of airing private business in public, when Bishop TIKHON himself posts on public forums like no one I have ever seen before. Please! The man is notoriously for incendiary remarks, unsubstantiated claims, and vicvious attacks which amount to ecclesiastical abuse. It's your prerogative to agree with and support your diocesan bishop, but since we are all intimately tied to the body of Christ - and since there is only one Lord, there is only one Church - I think we should know what is going on.
This is serious business - let it be done in the open, so that the truth can come out once and for all, for the sake of everyone's salvation.
May God forgive us for our ongoing idolatry.
#12 Name withheld on 2006-04-04 11:14
Forgive me, dear Olympiada, for interjecting here.
Each Bishop and member of the Synod is selected only with the Axios! of the people. The men who comprise our episcopacy are still men. Some have been sainted, some deposed over the years.
It is only the will and courage of the laity manifesting the protection of God that have prevented serious error to enter the Church. In our faith, it all eminates from the people, collectively. Ultimately, we are the guardians of the faith.
Most Christians are willing, even anxious, to forgive the failings of our clergy and episcopacy. However there comes a time when it is paramount that, for the good of the Church and the salvation of the individual concerned, they should be removed from authority. His Grace, Bishop TIKHON, has made that suggestion of two members of the Holy Synod -- Archbishop JOB, who is every bit as kind and loving and loved by his flock as is Bishop TIKHON by you, and Metropolitan HERMAN himself. Yet he maintains that other heirarchs must not interfere in matters that do not concern their dioceses? Other heirarchs must remain silent and obedient, while he is free to loudly chastize and call for the deposition of the Metropolitan? The obedience he desires to see in others, he is unwilling to accept for himself.
Since Bishop TIKHON is concerning himself with the affairs of other dioceses, unfortunately, his comments must not remain private. Frankly, he has not revealed anything new in the most current correspondence, except perhaps his own paranoia. His views and reputation have been well known for some time.
Ultimately, it is the people of God who have to determine who they will follow. We are the ones who offer "Axios!" or "Anaxios!" to the elevation of a Bishop.
Please keep me in your prayers as we struggle through this terrible, terrible time.
#13 Marty Watt on 2006-04-04 12:09
Folks, let's step back and what do we see?
We see ordinary people dressed in religious clothing, acting as ordinary people. Perhaps you would or should expect to see a higher order of conduct, but remember, these are ordinary people.
Mouthing religious sayings or making religious statements does not make anyone a pious person because no one knows the inner mind or thoughts of these people.
Michael C Herrick
Well said. The silence from bishops, priests, seminary leaders and laity over the years, with some exceptions, has been as deafening as Bishop Tikhon's behavior.
The way is so clouded at the moment. We must call upon God's Holy Spirit to guide us; the OCA infrastructure is lost. At best Met. Herman's intervention can only be temporary. We must now rethink the incomplete structure that was handed us at autocephaly.
#15 Name Withheld by Request on 2006-04-04 12:29
Please allow me to make three observations.
I was saddened that the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the West chose to link its objections to Metropolitan Herman's actions with the witholding of its diocesan assessment. Whatever merit those objections may have had was lessened by the linkage of those objections with money.
Further, at times like these, it is all too easy to cross the line from dissent to mutiny. I would respectfully ask that we see that line ahead in the distance, pray to Our Lord for His mercy, and stop in our tracks.
Finally, let us fear our words. Communications are far too fast today, and it is far too easy to put forward the last argument, the last thought, the last word, and open wounds that will not heal. Realizing that these are hard days, filled with difficult issues, let us all, at every level, examine each and every word we write asking, "Am I building up, or am I tearing down?"
#16 Mark Warns, Poulsbo, WA on 2006-04-04 12:34
Does this kind of posting really hurt the Church? I don't think it does. What hurts the Church is when people do wrong and cover it up. My friends in the Catholic Church can attest to that. "I will not speak of Your Mysteries to Your enemies" refers to the Eucharist not to wrongdoing in the Church.
#17 Alice Carter on 2006-04-04 12:41
My Dear Brothers in Christ;
I agree with the comentary that this is a cancer in the life of the Church. And if this is not diagnosed it is a big problem for the Church. That happen with the Church in Russia before the Communists took over and this happen here now.
If the illness is is not removed the "person" dies. This exacly what is happening in OCA.
Second. I am in favour of forgiveness and now it is the time to do it, In the Orthodox Church forgiveness is AFTER CONFESSION.
Thirdly, the sins of the people on top of the pyramid create the entire problem.
My father , a peasant from the old country, said to us:" Stupidity has a high price. If the president of a country is stupid the whole country and everyone suffers" .
Same thing is happening now in OCA.
Sin, administration, forgiveness, salvation etc. are separate issues. if we don't know how to separate them WE PAY FOR THAT.
I am afraid that we are doing just that and this is just the begining.
May God forgive us and have mercy on us !!
#18 Rev. Fr. Remus Bleahu on 2006-04-04 12:41
With all respect, +Bishop Tikhon's words are certainly not one of Thy Mysteries, and I pray that I am not one of Thy enemies. I would have no knowledge of his visciousness if it were not printed here.
My parish priest once told me in a sermon, when you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. If this is who the Bishop is, then this is who he is ...
I pray for him, and all those entrusted to his care.
#19 Name withheld by request on 2006-04-04 13:16
Thank you for posting on this website the contemptible, appalling and insulting letter to Metropolitan Herman from the Bishop of San Francisco for it reveals his character and hoists him up on his own petard. The bishop not only dismisses the theological education of others (i.e. Fr. Thomas Hopko), but is in contempt of it. And why not? The bishop spent all of a few weeks at St. Vladimir's and is himself uninstructed....
He is in league with the bishop of Alaska who in recent letters to Metropolitan Herman has been disparaging and even threatened a church court in order to depose the primate. Both bishops came to their episcopacy through the intercessions of Fr. Kondratick....
Is there a reason why these bishops fear transparency and accountability?
May God grant Metropolitan Herman the strength to persevere in the course he has charted to address the scandal!
From a churchman of the vast "educationally challenged" hoi polloi
#20 Terry C. Peet on 2006-04-04 13:19
I am also a woman, and I prefer to be informed, regardless of the content. As we have all seen, the devil thrives on secrecy. It is very difficult to forgive a sin that we are unware of, therefore it is only as these deep dark secrets come to light will the church be able to forgive and move forward...And forgiveness is the one thing the Prince of this World most despises.
And one more thing, I wouldn't consider +T letter "Christ's Mysteries", just his perspective of the situation.
#21 Anonymous on 2006-04-04 13:42
As a computer professional I have noted Bishop Tikhon's thoughts and rants on the Internet for some time. He seems to be the most computer literate bishop, although his worries on “hacking” are a bit sophomoric. I have always thought him to be a bit of a “blowhard” to put it charitably. The position he is now taking, along with his earlier letter to this web site reveals him not fit to be a bishop in my opinion. I have a question to those more familiar with the OCA as constituted and cannons of the Orthodox Church. What mechanism, if any, do we as laity have to request/demand his removal as a hierarch of Christ’s Church? If such a process exists, is/would there be any real support for such an action in the OCA? Having never been to an All American Council myself I am wondering out loud if the will exists for real hard work of removing Bishop Tikhon to take place.
#22 Christopher Encapera (OCA-North Carolina) on 2006-04-04 14:35
I am not certain his Grace has the votes in the Holy Synod to convoke a meeting (needs three diocesan bishops), much less to effect the deposition of the Metropolitan. Perhaps Vladyka Tikhon (West) counts votes better than I do, but I just don't see it.
#23 Ed Unneland on 2006-04-04 15:31
I have recently moved to the west coast from New York, and am absolutely stunned by the content of +Tikhon’s letter. Putting aside the absurd ultimatums and, oftentimes, incomprehensible accusations leveled against Metropolitan Herman and +Job, the personal attack on Fr. Thomas Hopko is particularly shameful and offensive. These are not the words of a true bishop, nor is this reflective of the Orthodox Church that I know and love – financial scandal or not. Indeed, one can only conclude that +Tikhon is truly ill and, sadly, that the ultimatums of resignation, retirement or deposition are much more applicable to himself rather than Metropolitan Herman.
#24 name withheld on 2006-04-04 16:34
His Grace, Bishop TIKHON, of the WEST is in the midst of a very serious crisis. Yes this is a very valid statement and assessment of him. ...
He is an embarrassment to the OCA and he should retire, resign or be deposed. He needs to be removed from the ranks ASAP!
#25 please do not use on 2006-04-04 18:15
To Marty Watt and Chris Banescu, et. al. who are embarrassed by Bishop Tikhon:
I applaud your honesty and integrity in terms of Bishop Tikhon.
Our tremendous first hand suffering that we have endured out here in the Diocese of the West has been validated.
I can't tell you each how much what you just said is exactly how some parishes have suffered horribly under his omophorion out here in the West, as we have suffered first hand in one of those parishes as a former priest and his wife.
How could Bishop Tikhon, after about 95% of his parishoners voted him out as their Bishop, (because they did not care for his non-action type of leadership) not come to physically visit this parish and try to pastorally console, if not discuss, the best course of action? He stayed away and did very little to solve the problems of this parish or console at all.
I wrote to the Metropolitan Council a few years back about creating a Crisis Intervention Team for troubled churches (as the Bishop did not seem to figure it out himself). I think now this website has been a wonderful Crisis Intervention Team for the entire OCA!
#26 Name withheld by request on 2006-04-04 18:42
Olympiada, you and I share Bishop +T. You believe his post to our Metropolitan is a "beautifully written and inspiring letter." I find it an embarrassing rant of a Bishop who has postponed retirement far too long. His sharp words, in other places, have stung you and me and many others. So why, no, HOW do you continue to defend this man? Where is his Christian charity? His respect for the hierarchy of the church? If he is a model of a loving Christian, an imitator of Christ, then I got mixed up somewhere on my way home from Liturgy... I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.
And if this is a beautiful and inspiring letter, what is the rationale for NOT posting it on the net? How can a beautiful and inspiring letter aid the satanists, the atheists? Are you sure you read the correct letter? It's the one where he insults the Metropolitan for being a former army clerk.
By the way, I don't think that the 'mysteries' of our faith we promise not to reveal every Sunday before communion include insulting threats sent by one Bishop to another. Somehow, I think we're talking about more beautiful aspects of our shared faith in the risen Christ.
Let's understand this: our Bishop is a) withholding money due the national church, and b) threatening the Metropolitan with a coup. And you want the editors of this site to go away, to not publish these threats to our church?
#27 Marty Brown on 2006-04-04 19:10
Having suffered the passion for us, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!
#28 Anonymous on 2006-04-04 19:40
Someone above said the word pride. Tikhon's pride seems to be maxed out in this letter.
Thanks for publishing portions of this letter. It appears that most of Tikhon's anger revolves around the dismissal. This very fact should show all of us how entrenched Fr. Kondratick was in this problem, and the severe dysfunction of the Holy Synod. He would have never been fired by the Holy Synod for evading audit questions, or for any questionable act. This letter is actually very clarifying for me.
What will be more interesting is how the Holy Synod reacts further. We've seen one reaction. And it is reaction. Proactive people would look at this and find solutions. A solution might be, for example, that any administrator that fails to meet audit obligations is terminated, without any vote by any body...rules that the administration would be required to liveby, rather than simple politics. Clearly Tikhon expects politics to the end he is now politic-ing for Herman's retirement. The church has not functioned well this way to the end she has politic-ed discretionary spending and non-discretionary spending it seems.
Please pray for the well being of all these people this Lent.
This issue has boiled over into the well being of other members of the Orthodox faithful who are less equipped to handle mental and emotional stress, pray for them as well.
A prayer doesn't always mean things stay the same, and it might mean a gag order for one person. I'm praying that the Holy Synod realize the serious governance problems and put checks and balances in place that minimize politic-ing, increase transparency, and lead to a smoother functioning national church, as well as resolve any bugs under the rug.
Daniel E. Fall, accountant
#29 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-04-04 20:08
Bishop T's rants and FUD are truly astounding!! Is that what Orthodox Christian episcopal leadership is all about? Such activity by laity would demand a contrite confession and request for God's forgiveness.
Yet Bishop T's actions seem to be much as a fish that finds itself hooked and thus fights like mad to free itself!! Are Bishop T's actions perhaps like he's been 'hooked' and feels now that he must fight for his 'life'?
Is there more behind his actions than has yet met our eyes?
#30 William Kosar on 2006-04-05 06:14
I have to admit that reading the excerpts from Bp. TIKHON's letter disturbed me, especially those comments directed toward Fr. Thomas Hopko and Protodeacon Peter Danilchik.
I am a member of St. Gregory the Theologian parish in Wappingers Falls NY. Fr. Tom served as our pastor for a number of years early on, long before my family became involved in this parish...in fact, while I was still not yet even adolescent. I have not heard a single unkind story regarding Fr. Tom in the seven or eight years I have been receiving the Sacraments at St. Gregory's. We celebrated our parish's 40th anniversary in 2004, so there was a whole year of celebrations and ample time to recollect and share the good, the bad and the ugly.
Dcn. Peter is the son-in-law of one of the founding families of our parish. In fact, at one parish picnic, he absolutely refused allowing me to ensconce with a huge and messy trash bag to a somewhat distant receptacle because as a servant, it was his duty, which he was happy to attend to. I fail to see how his apparently privileged professional employment (in the past) has any bearing on the matters concerning us now. For one who had a key to the executive washroom, he was certainly just as happy to take out the trash at a modest parish picnic. If I ever were to serve in the Diaconate, Dcn. Peter would have to be my role model...a real example of humility, kindness and love.
When we, even a Bishop, looks in a glass mirror, the best any of us can see is half of the person. The other half remains hidden. But in this existence, we need others to be the mirror that reveals the other half, so we can see our own transgressions. Part of St. Ephraim's prayer seems to be answered by our very being together in truth and in love. In truth because we testify to what we see (for our brothers and sisters), thereby helping them to see their transgressions. In love, because we must do it without judgment; the difficult part. And the spirit of humility granted to us will allow us to see these things and take steps to correct them.
We must strive to defeat the passion that is raised by harsh and hurtful words, to keep our peace so we don't fall into judgment...so we don't respond in kind.
Forgive me my brothers and sisters. May God forgive us all.
#31 John Czukkermann on 2006-04-05 06:26
There are a number of issues that do not seem clear to me. Many on this site have called the OCA a conciliary church, and then vent frustration at the action of the West's Diocesan Council.
No one has bothered to comment upon or investigate the cannonical issues raised by Vladyka Tikhon. This is passing strange considering OCANEWS.org is a website dedicated to accountability and the truth. Perhaps an investigation of this sort requires a bit more time and effort than mere e-shrieks and e-head wagging. Indeed, it seems that all the comments are restricted to the manner in which a letter, not meant for them, is phrased.
It has been claimed that Church business is everyone's business. Yes, it is, but only with in the guidelines of Holy Tradition and the OCA Statute. We, as faithful of OCA, are not called to mediate the disagreements between hierarchs. Nor are we called to read or post letters that are NOT MEANT FOR US. History, literature, and a quick perusal of the comments on this page show the vitriol and anger such actions result in. What profit, what gain for at best semi-informed opinions?
This site began with a goal: "To inform members of the OCA of the origins, nature and scope of allegations concerning financial mismanagement" at Syosset and to enable OCA members "to share information and thoughts on these allegations" and to encourage OCA members to "take action to resolve this crisis." In the service of which of these is the publication of Vladyka's letter, a letter NOT FOR THE PUBLIC?
It is most unfortunate that the this scandal has descended to the level of personalities. Rather than facilitate this downward spiral, each one us should look to his own actions, and especially to his own tongue and speech, and ask himself whether he is acting correctly, helpfully, and with Christian charity. This is the prerequisite for healing our divided church. A good place to start would be for those responsible for this website to think seriously about the material they post. AND, IF the decision is made to post certain materia,l to make sure that proper analysis is given to the issues raised. One cannot help but note that material is presented to elicit a certain response.
We come full circle: no invesitgation into the cannonical issues raised by Vladyka has been made. No effort has been made to fully articulate the other side(s) in this kerfuffle.
J. de Silentio
#32 Johanus de Silentio on 2006-04-05 06:31
I'd like to ask only two questions that are troubling me.
How did +Tikhon of the West ever become a candidate for the episcopacy without ever having graduated from an Orthodox Theological Seminary?
Who was responsible for even considering him in the first place as a serious candidate?
Would somebody please try to answer my questions.
#33 Michael Geeza on 2006-04-05 07:47
The Statutes of the OCA can be found on the OCA web site. As a practical matter, as a member of another diocese your options are limited, if not non-existent. That does not preclude you from praying, of course, as we all would be advised to do.
BTW, perhaps the Bishop of the West is angling to become Metropolitan himself? Now there is a scary thought!
#34 Michael Strelka on 2006-04-05 09:02
Is our choice to self-destruct by giving the feds reason to act or self-destruction by schism? Hardly a choice, is it? Yet, that, it seems to me, is exactly the choice that Bishop TIKHON is trying to force upon us. Even if he is not trying to do so, it seems very likely that this will be the consequence of his actions that any reasonable and prudent person would foresee should he find support within the Holy Synod.
#35 Anonymous on 2006-04-05 10:42
These thoughts about the exclamation "Axios!" ("Worthy!) are often repeated, but incorrect, if one reads the liturgy of the Church as it is, rather than how one might imagine it to be.
Exclaiming "Axios!" ("Worthy!") during the ordination of a deacon, presbyter or bishop is not some sort of "seal of approval" or "vote of confidence" that is a prerequisite for the ordination to proceed. If it were meant to serve this purpose, it is illogically misplaced in the order of the service -- for it takes place after the bishop has laid his hands on the ordinand, prayed over him and passed the grace of the Holy Spirit onto him, while the newly ordained deacon, presbyter or bishop is being dressed in the vestments proper to his new ministry! If someone exclaimed "Anaxios!" ("Unworthy!") during the service, what would be left for the ordainer to do -- "unordain" the ordinand?
No, exclaiming "Axios!" ("Worthy!") during the ordination of a
deacon, presbyter or bishop is really an acknowledgment that the grace of the Holy Spirit, passed on through the laying-on of hands and prayer during the ordination service, has made the ordinand worthy of performing the holy ministry entrusted to him. No man is "worthy" by nature, in and of himself or by dint of public approval, to serve as a deacon, presbyter or bishop, for "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Only the Holy Spirit makes a man worthy for such sacred service. So exclaiming "Anaxios!" ("Unworthy!") at this point of the service would really be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the one sin that will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31), for it would suggest the Holy Spirit was incapable of making the ordinand worthy of the ministry entrusted to him!
Furthermore, "the laity," in particular and on its own, does not
exclaim "Axios!" during the ordination of a deacon, presbyter or bishop. The service books tell us who, and in what order, makes this exclamation at the proper point in the service: first the bishop, then "those inside the sanctuary," and then "those outside the sanctuary." While laypeople in the nave make this exclamation in their turn, they do so along with whatever bishops, presbyters, deacons, subdeacons, readers, monks or nuns happen to be standing in the nave as well. "Axios!" is an exclamation of the whole Church, not any one part of her, and it is an acknowledgment of
the Holy Spirit making the ordinand worthy for his ministry, not an expression of human endorsement approving the ordinand himself.
The only place one could possibly read "lay endorsement" into the ordination service is in the deacon's threefold exclamation of "Command!" -- addressed first to the congregation, then to the clergy, and finally to the bishop -- before he leads the ordinand to the altar for the laying-on of hands and prayer. But there is no response to this exclamation. In the earliest days of the Church, this part of the service was an opportunity for the clergy and the laity to voice their opinion of the bishop's choice of ordinand, on the basis of the chosen man's fitness. But let us also remember that the laypeople of ancient times were more likely to be more "in tune" with God's Spirit and more bent on doing His
will because they lived in a religious framework of prayer,
fasting, almsgiving, church attendance, moral discipline and
submission to church authority that was much more intense,
demanding and all-embracing than is usually the case today.
No matter what the controversy at hand is, let us at least understand the Orthodox Christian belief and worship of the Church aright, rather than try to twist it into "proving" [sic] that the Church derives her authority and competency from "the sovereignty of the people" like a secular democratic republic. The Church derives her authority, competency, integrity and very life from none other than Christ and Christ alone, through submission to HIM.
#36 Gregory Orloff on 2006-04-05 12:02
It seems to me that folks are confusing issues. Bishop Tikhon despite his vitriolic style on this matter is essentially concerned about the primate's accountability to the Holy Synod. This is a legitimate concern for a bishop. The fact that is private letter was made public does not alter the fact he had every right to communicate his concerns to his primate.
#37 Name withheld on 2006-04-05 13:52
Thoughts of a few good men, repeated here by a lowly servant. May we all remember that though we are in the world, we are not of this world!
"Money! Money! Power! Honor! These are the temptations which, unfortunately, many people are unable to resist. This is the source of all the disputes, disagreements and divisions among Christians. This is the root of people's forgetting the "one thing needed" which is proposed to us by the true Christian faith and which consists of prayer, acts of repentance, and sincere, unhypocritical charity to our neighbors. The Holy Church always calls us to this, but especially now, during the Great Lent! What is required of us Christians is not some kind of "exalted politics," not lofty phrases and hazy philosophy, but the most humble prayer of the Publican: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!", acts of repentance, and doing good to our neighbors, which proceeds from a pure heart." - Archbishop Averky
"Whatever we hope to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence." -Samuel Johnson
"Our object in life should not be so much to get through a great deal of work, as to give perfect satisfaction to Him for whom we are doing the work." - Aitken
#38 A lowly servant on 2006-04-05 19:11
With all due respect to you, last time I checked Los Angeles was located in the West. Also, last time I checked, Los Angeles is a part of the Diocese of the West. And finally, last time I checked, +Bishop Tikhon's title is "Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles and the West." He resides in his Diocese. +Metroplitan Herman doesn't.
#39 Michael Livosky on 2006-04-05 20:19
Good questions, and good suggestions. The solutions seem obvious, don't they?
However, for those of us who have attempted to help in the past, it seems we all eventually discover the same thing: the way forward is a minefield of duplicity. Give such an environment thirty-six years (since Autocephaly) to entrench itself and one begins to conclude that a "let's tweek it here and adjust it there" approach is probably futile.
Study the Statute and try to find references to mutual accountability. Where are the checks and balances necessary for the healthy functioning of any body made of of human beings; a body that is paradoxically able to rise to great virtue and great vice? No, the Statute is a rigidly hierachical "power" document. Where are the equally important conciliar checks and balances, founded in love and mutual respect for the image of God in every person, Orthodox or not? The sad fact is that the governance balance needed to solve this crisis has never been there.
The whole world is now reading Bishop Tikhon's shameful words, which in my mind are some of the fruits of this shortcoming. Our broken system allows such people to rise to undeserved rank and then run roughshod over people's lives.
In a way, the Statute itself created the "culture of concealment." After all, if you are a "hierarch" in this authority-obsessed environment, why should you listen to the little people? After all, there is nothing in the Statute that says you have to.
Re-writing the Statute will take a brave, conciliar effort. Let's get on with it. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit can get along. With Their help, so can we, if we will but try and remain steadfast.
#40 Name Withheld by Request on 2006-04-05 20:21
Bishop Tikhon wasn't complaining about Metropolitan Herman living in a city other than New York or Washington. If Bishop Tikhon lives in southern California, it is still within the boundaries of his diocese. Metroplitan Herman liven nowhere within the states of New York or New Jersey, or the diocesan area around Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Herman lives in the diocesan residence of the Diocese of Philadelphia, next to St. Tikhon's Seminary, in South Canaan, PA, outside of his current diocese, but where he has lived since he was installed as bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania decades ago.
Even after his elevation to Metropolitan, as locum tenens he was still living there canonically (probably; it could be questioned). It is only since Bishop Tikhon's installation to the see of Philadelphia this past fall (or the assumption by HERMAN of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey last summer), that the canonicity of his living there is certainly lacking. But don't think that that is the only uncanonical arrangement in American Orthodoxy today....
#41 John on 2006-04-05 21:30
Withholding funds solves nothing. It is all of our funds that are needed to continue the quest for the truth, not an opinion. What he needed to do was to support Bishop Job's righteous and calm question, "Are the allegations true or false?"
#42 Patty Schellbach on 2006-04-05 22:13
Chris I have to agree. I've been reading the good bishops’ internet posts for some time and have come to the conclusion that his mitre is way too tight . His letters and internet postings are nothing more than self-aggrandizing, incoherent tirades.
It’s clear from his latest offering that he has had a complete meltdown.
#43 Scott M on 2006-04-05 23:50
+BT has compared his military service to that of Met Herman in an puerile attempt to claim some sort of superiority. What +BT craftily leaves out is that when it was his time to be considered for promotion from Captain to Major, he failed to be selected. On other web sites, he casually blames this on his lack of pilot wings, but the truth is, 78% of his contemporaries without wings were indeed selected for promotion. Performance ratings and assignments held determine promotion in the Air Force, and one can only conclude that +BT was in the bottom 22% of his contemporaries in this regard. Perhaps his behavior today reveals much about his failure to achieve promotion in the military.
Met Herman may indeed have been a clerk in the Army, but without clerks, the Army would grind to a halt. I know, as I had many honest, hard working, wonderful and competent clerks serve with me. How dare this FAILED officer demean one of the troops!
What a tragedy the OCA has allowed to continue on the West coast. At present, the only error I can see on the part of Met Herman has been to tolerate the rantings over the years.
#44 Please withhold my name on 2006-04-06 03:10
As an outsider who belongs to the Ukrainian Diocese (under 60 parishes in the US); I completely understand what the OCA is going through.
The Ukrainian Archdiocese based in NJ was taken over by a over-zelous Archbishop such as +BT. It has become so bad that the this Archbishop has made the Metropolitan of the Archdiocese just a figure-head. Many accusations have been made, not only personal, but financial as well as several lawsuits have been filed.
In short, almost half of the Ukrainian parishes are not paying their assesments to the Archdiocese. The churces are empty. A NYC cathedral of one of the bishop's openly tell the bishop they don't want him to come visit. I would be surprised if the diocese had more than a total of 5000 members. (25,000+ back in the 1980's).
There is a group such as ocanews which was formed in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, however, it was not supported because they too were less than "up front" with their postings.
Where is one to turn to find purity in the Orthodox Church? Yes, I agree with some of the above postings that bishops and clergy ae human. BUT, they are held accountable by Holy Tradition and the Sacred Canons of the church.
If +Job asks a simple question - "are the allegations true"? Why not answer the question, deal with the situation and continue work in the Vineyard of our Lord? Instead stones are thrown, names are called and "half-truths" are blurted amongst the Blood which Christ shed for us sinners.
I'm a total unworthy person in life. I remember trying to educate myself of the Orthodox Faith when the internet was in the making. I was totally pulled away from Orthodoxy as a college student when +BT was posting his 'thoughts' on Prodigy when it wasn't even known as the internet. Since then, and even more-so now, I have lost much respect for +BT as a person. I pray that he discontinues such loud postings on various blogs, rather becomes a stronger shepherd of his flock.
As for allegations regarding Met. Herman. Let the investigators advise the church of their finidings (if any) and take it from there. Don't hang someone before anything is found.
And if anything is found in this on-going investigation. Remember to first think, pray and forgive before taking any action.
My prayers are with the faithful of the OCA during this most difficult time.
#45 Greg Velychko on 2006-04-06 13:40
What about canon law which forbids more than one bishop per city?
Talk about straining a gnat while swallowing the camel. Whatever happened to doing what's right?
Hey folks, the canons were created for men, not the other way around. They're not intended to be a hindrance to protecting the laity from further abuse and removing corruption from the Church. Rather than using canon law as a shield for corruption, it'd be a greater service to the Church if +TIKHON would offer constructive dialogue on fixing the problems at hand.
Where's the pastoral care? Instead, lay persons, clergy, and fellow hierarchs are subjected to verbal abuse, public letters filled with sexual innuendos and scatological language, and spurious rumors across the internet for years on end.
Do the other bishops on the Synod have any clue what's been happening all this time?
Brothers and sisters, forgive me for all offense caused by my unworthy words.
#46 Richard on 2006-04-06 13:52
Mr. Orloff's comments concerning "axios!" and "anaxios!" are generally true from the perspective of attempting to interpret a lay liturgical "sealing" of the liturgical office of ordination. The sacramental event of ordination presupposes the approval of the ministerial candidate, as the pertinent texts in St. Paul's epistles to Timothy and Titus make perfectly clear.
However, it should be noted that ordinations as recorded by early Church orders (such as the Apostolic Tradition attributed to Hippolytus, or Apostolic Constitutions) indicate the acceptability and consent of all the people, not only bishops, or bishops and presbyters. In addition to this, the divine grace formula is more of an announcement of the election results than a prayer - the bidding to pray for the candidate at the end of the formula shows that the prayer followed this announcement of the election results, as the candidate was considered to be elected by God. An 11th century liturgical euchologion from Hagia Sophia Constantinople called Paris Coislin 213 states that bishops are elected according to the "approbation of bishops, presbyetrs, and deacons," which broadens the representation of the people involved in the process. All of this indicates that the election and approval of bishops really extended to the whole Church in "earlier times."
None of these "early" liturgies included a diaconal "command." The Troparia now sung for the candidate and the diaconal command first appear around the fourteenth century (in manuscript Saba 362 and the testimony of Symeon of Thessalonika), and the original "command" was directed to the ordaining archbishop. This is hardly "early" or "ancient," and we certainly cannot impose a later allegorical interpretation upon the liturgical practice of the Church from an earlier epoch.
The Church's agreement with all prayers is the response of "Amen," and remains so in the liturgy of ordination.
If one thing is clear, it is that the entire Church should be participating actively, and not passively, in all of the Church's work, especially her primary work of the liturgy, from which all work emerges. This means that the laity - from which all bishops, priests, and deacons are called, and ordained to local churches - have a theologically critical component in each step of the process. Notions of episcopal "monarchical rule" are scripturally untenable (unless one is a fundamentalist): the liturgy can never be used to argue otherwise, and hopefully this technical message will demonstrate that we need to be careful in assuming that liturgical-theological development has been linear since Pentecost. If anything, Tradition may teach us that our current notions have been corrupted by fidelity to false idolatry in idealizing epochs that were never as golden as we would like to imagine. This should certainly mitigate Mr. Orloff's remark that laypeople of ancient times lived in a more religious framework than today's laity. Hogwash! Why does St. John Chrysostom castigate his people relentlessly for moral laxity, for attending the Hippodrome events more than Church? If this is true, why was an order of penitents even necessary? Why did the fathers begin to create canons to restore order in the Church as early as the second century? Because, as a good professor once said (and hopefully still states, paraphrasing Scripture): "nothing ever changes under the sun!"
The laity are, indeed, ordained by God with the full gift of the Holy Spirit, as piriests, prophets, and kings. Any diminishment of the use of this gift within the Church, for God's glory, is a tragedy, and an error that must be corrected. For those who are honestly responding to a very basic problem in our Church - and let's not be misled into thinking that such problems don't afflict every Church - I see them as exercising this gift in good conscience. As long as this work is done in the open, for God's glory, and for the truth to come out, and the restoration of integrity, let the laity indeed continue their good work. The laity have been silenced in tradition for heterodox reasons for too long, and misquoting and misinterpreting the fathers and the liturgy of the Church must not be used to silence them any longer.
#47 M. Denysenko on 2006-04-07 13:38
+Tikhon's actions seem to be motivated primarily by a desire to protect Fr Kondratick and perhaps his own part in this scandal. It won't work. It can't work.
#48 Mark Pearson on 2006-04-07 19:13
The rant by +Tikhon to use the OCA insurance to dispose of His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman is very revealing. My own OCA insurance woes and near death experience began with a similar misuse as alluded to in the behaviors of His Beatitude. For me this first incident of insurance misuse happened at a change of power time in church administration. It was at the death of former Metropolitan Council member and former Chancellor of the Diocese of the South and my missionary sponsor Archpriest George A. Gladky of Miami for whom I was obedient to during my years to work in the Diocesan Chancery and its building up.
With the suggested misuse of OCA insurance funds as a tool to snare the clergy and their families, and with no concern how this money and trust for real medical needs is spent, +Tikhon’s statement should be followed with investigation of the insurance plan. It is no wonder, all the subsequent non-workings of this policy, its changes and collapse in time of need happened to me and changed my life entirely It makes me question how many others have had similar defamation of character so power politics instead of Gospel love was the motivation of church administration. A renewal of the OCA or any subsequent structures of American Orthodoxy must include affordable and realistic plans to care for clergy families and church workers with a health and insurance plan not susceptible to power politics and defamation of character.
The extinction of health care benefits for those who speak out against injustice becomes much more in the light when we hear these ravings and rantings from this Hierarch in the West to encourage the OCA insurance “full use and beyond” for physical and mental evaluation of the Metropolitan coming to terms with what he feels he needs to do to make amends for financial misconduct during his tenure. God have mercy on these hierarchs that have not given one penny to help my family and me when this misuse of the OCA health insurance plan that led first to their attempt to have me locked up for life for a mental health issue I did not have, and then to withhold medicine and care to bring me very, very close to a near death experience.
#49 Matushka Carol on 2006-04-08 06:54
Kenneth, I totally agree with your assessment about Bishop TIKHON. He was one of my main reasons for leaving the OCA. From my point of view, he needs to resign and retire to Mt. Athos, that is, if the monks would take him in.
#50 Anonymous on 2006-04-08 16:19
I am still outraged by the comments Bishop Tikhon made regarding Fr. Thomas Hopko...
The writings of Bishop Tikhon which he freely shares on the internet are full of sarcasm, hateful and disturbing comments. Compare that with the writings of Fr. Hopko, which have served the Orthodox Church for decades by enlightening, educating and edifying both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, many of whom have been brought into the Church through them.
In the OCA of the Theodosius/Kondratick Administration, the culture of silence kept clergy from speaking out in defense of a brother priest who was mistreated, abused, or fired without cause. I would hope that Fr. Tom's Brothers in Christ would offer him support both privately and by openly asking for an apology from Bishop Tikhon. I hope they are offering support to Deacon Eric Wheeler who carries a great burden for us.
It was a great day when I read the letter signed by seventy senior priests who had the courage, moral fiber and faith to speak out for what is right and begin to break the "culture of silence". I hope these priest will continue to talk, to offer each other support and courage to demand that the leaders of the Church act in accordance with the laws of our society and first and foremost, the laws of our Lord.
I commend Metropolitan Herman for the steps he has taken. If he allowed himself to get caught up in the misdeeds of the previous administration I can forgive him for he has shown his desire to turn things around and begin to put the Church back on track. I can't ask for anything more at this point from our Metropolitan (expect perhaps to stop the rantings of Bishop Tikhon). If his words to us are trustworthy then I will follow his lead with great respect.
#51 Ellen on 2006-04-08 18:47
Johanus, with all respect, I have little concern (but do have some concern) over the Metropolitan's choice of residence as compared to the current issues.
I don't know if I agree that the letter was not meant for public review. From what I've read, Bishop Tikhon has a habit of spouting off, and sending a "private letter" is a convenient way to claim that one did not "publicly" demean or embarass their brothers. If I had to bet my paycheck, publication of this letter is exactly wha the Bisop wanted. How else can you explain his ranting about so many others who essentially had nothing do do with the matter being discussed ?
My limited experience is that when we uncover private letters from great leaders (theological or other) after their passing, it offers us deeper insight into their greatness. Fast-forward 50 years to when this issue is looked on historically. How would this letter be viewed then ? I would guess even more harshly than it is right now.
I see nothing of any value in the letter, other than posturing and threats.
Finally, my read (only one read) on the Metropolitan's letter is the fact he is taking FULL responsibility for his failings and actions. Leaders Lead ! If it is true that he intends to get to the bottom of the issues and clean house appropriately, I will have the greatest respect for him. We will have to wait and see.
I just do not feel the release of a letter accepting responsibility carries the same weight if it is vetted by my brothers.
#52 Name withheld by request on 2006-04-09 03:31
My sisters & brothers in Christ:
To be frank, I'm horrified and appalled! I'm not even sure how or where to begin.
But, let me start with what I've read about the initial accusations of Deacon Wheeler. In my opinion, as unpleasant and ugly as they are, Archbishop Job is right, we need to discover if they are true or false. And, yes, I believe that that information alone, will cause much pain and suffering for all of us.
That being said, my horror only intensified when I read the excerpts of Bishop Tikhon's letter to Metropolitan Herman. Please understand that I do my best to steer clear of politics, especially Church politics so reading letters from members of the Holy Synod that are about as evil and un-Christian as I have ever seen or heard was an extraodinarily unpleasant experience.
Tikhon's letter, even abbreviated, was the most self-aggrandizing, scurrilous and mean-sprited, delusional, defamatory piece of prose that I have ever had the misfortune to read. It has become abundantly clear, after reading and even re-reading the excerpts posted here (I re-read it just to make sure that I wasn't having some kind of reality break, but, lo and behold it remained the same) that like several other people have pointed out, Tikhon is ill.
And, yes, Ms. Kane, I agree with you-I too would be appalled to find my Bishop's rantings exposed to public view were that the case. Because now, anyone can discover that elevating this man to the dignity of the episcopate was a serious, perhaps fatal, error in judgement.
If, as has been posted several times, this is Tikhon's normal operating procedure, then, the faithful of the Diocese of the West, have my utter and complete sympathy.
I pray that the auditors, and whatever other professionals are needed, do their job carefully and accurately so that the financial mismanagement, if it occured, can be exposed AND DEALT WITH. Then, as a Church, we really need to examine those we have set in authority over us and decide how to cope and deal.
Will any of this be easy? No. Will any of this be pleasant? Not on your life. Is it necessary?
It is VITAL.
God help us!
Most Holy Theotokos, save us!
#53 Alexander Ivsky, Washington, DC on 2006-04-10 06:06
As I remember, St. Tikhon's was listed as a stavropeghial institution, meaning that technically it belongs under the administration of the hierarch of the Church. In fact, in year's past some argued that it was problematic for a bishop whose cathedral was either Philadelphia (for the whole diocese) or Wilkes-Barre (Herman, when he was auxiliary to Kyprian) to be living at a stavropeghial institution. Yes, I know the house is separate from the monastery and seminary, although it may be that the land is considered one parcel. Also, Herman used to be listed as the abbot of the monastery, and if he is still so listed how would it be uncanonical for him to live there? Did not many Russian hierarchs live in or adjacent to monasteries while holding episcopal office?
The defining of diocesan boundaries has always been a bit odd. Let's be candid. Theodosius was bishop the diocese of Washington, but lived in Syosset. This was justified because Syosset was considered a stavropeghial institution. So to attack Herman on the grounds of his "non-residence' seem to me to be specious coming from anyone who did not object during the period of the primacy of Theodosius....
I served as the alternate member of the audit committee from 1980 to 1986. The kind of examination ordered by Herman is long overdue. The administrative processes of the church, especially with regard to the handling of money, have been "irregular" for quite some time. Regardless of the criticism by Tikhon of the Statute, that is the governing document of the church under the law. And that statute requires QUARTERLY audits not just of the central church administration, but also all institution that are part of the central church. Regardless of bookkeeping problems and/or mismnagement or misappropriation of funds, this part of the statute either needs to be amended or else abided by (I left the OCA in 1991, but as far as I know that part of the statute still exists on paper). It represents a possible legal liability for the church for failure to conduct such audits, if in fact the language of the statute is still in effect.
#54 Kenneth Bernstein on 2006-04-10 20:05
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Baptism,
As an OCA Diocese of the West member who is under +Tikhon's leadership, I must say that we must all step back from these rants on this site. Although it is extremely tempting for us to accuse +Tikhon of being mean, egotistical, self-aggrandizing (to name a few), what is TRULY the matter at hand? +Tikhon's dip into dementia has been acknowledged by most parishioners in most DOW parishes that I know of, and while I cringe constantly at his words and his actions, I firmly believe that we all walk a razor-thin line in this matter. I beg everyone to please examine your conscience before just spewing onto this site whatever comes into your mind.
It is not up to us to depose our Bishop, just as it was not St. Seraphim of Sarov's "right" to depose the crazy Bishop who caused him such hardship and pain. If you haven't already heard, crazy Bishops and clery abound in Orthodox history, folks! Of course, that does not mean that we are called to sit around and tweedle our thumbs as havoc is wraught in our parishes.
Each of us is called to action against injustice in some manner befitting him or her. For some, the calling is to attend DOW meetings. For some, the calling is to expose the facts (such as those who chronicled the financial scandal on this website). For some, the calling is to write a letter to the Metropolitan. But for most of us, the calling is to pray, pray, and pray without ceasing! Certainly, we are not called to use hateful language against +Tikhon (written on this board or said out loud to fellow parishioners), no matter how tempting it may be, especially for those of us who have experienced the results of his questionable decisions.
This fine line we walk separates the temptation to sin (by reacting to +Tikhon's letter by becoming angry and spiteful and engaging in the same behavior that he himself is exhibiting, i.e. posting harsh attacks online) and the true compassion we must all be armored with when dealing with +Tikhon.
I am not, by any means, saying we should lay down and take what comes our way. On the contrary, I am saying that we need to seriously examine WHY +Tikhon has been allowed to be a shepherd of the flock when he is so apparently sick. This is NOT +Tikhon's fault because as we all know, he suffers from a mental illness. He is responsible for his words and actions to all of us and to our Lord, but justice will be His, not ours.
The problem is with the leadership of the OCA and their lack of compassion for +Tikhon. If they truly cared about the well-being of +Tikhon, they would assist him to receive the care that he needs.
Many of us have parents or friends with Alzheimer's, mental illness, severe depression, dementia, etc., and we know how hard it is to be with a Child of God who is undergoing such a struggle. The leadership of the OCA has not displayed compassion for +Tikhon, who is one such Child of God, and they have left him to dangle out in the wind, exposed to ridicule and to the mean words of people like yourselves who perhaps do not know that he has been demented and depressed. We all can see his nakedness, and yes, we do run to clothe him--not out of embarrassment but with a feeling of frustration towards the OCA leadership for allowing this to have continued for so long.
I beg of you all to cease your nasty comments about our Bishop. You may think your thoughts to be true; however, you are not doing a single thing by writing them or thinking them. Instead, I ask for you to pray for the DOW and for +Tikhon. I beg you to pray that the leadership of the OCA will FINALLY begin to care for him in a manner that shows they are truly compassionate.
Remember what we are talking about here--the scandal involving the OCA leadership and its financial mismanagement. I think we can add to that scandal this fact: that the OCA leadership has not cared for +Tikhon in a compassionate manner.
#55 Christine Hall on 2006-04-18 16:39
We have been quietly tolerating Bishop Tikhon long enough. Unfortunately he has been a loose cannon for quite a while. His performance as bishop has been lacking and his behavour has been erratic. I figured something was wrong when he bopped our deacon on the head with the Gospel book about 10 years ago during a Heirarchical Divine Liturgy. His comments concerning the Metropolitan are completly off the wall and suggest a man who suffers from a kind of paronoia. We need to pray for him because I fear he suffers from mental problems.
#56 John Cox on 2006-04-19 18:21
Yes< Ken, you are right about Bishop Tikhon. After all, let's remember that in addition to these statements, it was he who after consectration refused to leave his Los Angeles Cathedral for so many years that the Holy Synod finally named him Bishop Of San Francisco, Los Angeles and the West.
This aside, I have sometimes wondered if it is correct for His Beatitude Herman to maintain his residence outside of his own diocese.
However, I can see some logic to it, if only that when he goes to South Canaan, it is like a vacation from the rigors of His primacy. In the end, this issue is unrelated to the financial scandal, and should be handled only after the Financial Crisis is concluded.
Although I'm uncertain of his reasons, It seems that His Grace bishop Tikhon and His Grace Bishop Nikolai are both on the edge of insubordination regarding their statements that His Beatitude should either retire, resign, or be deposed.
This seems to be in complete opposition to the canon that directs all Bishops in a province to be obedient to Him who is above them, and that he should be equally obedient to them.
Only if most Members of the Holy Synod agreed with this opinion should it have been aired.
I personally believe that both His Beatitude Herman, and the Holy Synod have attempted to begin the needed investigation, (which is necessary), and to see that such a scandal never happens again.
One Final Note. Where do their Graces expect to find 12 Bishops to convene a Church Court to depose His Beatitude, provided it is necessary, which I don't believe it is. I believe that the canons state that retired bishops, of which we prresently have 6 are restricted from voting in such a meeting.
I believe the other Hierarchs of our sister jurisdictions are excluded from acting in such a meeting, since they are not part of the OCA. And this would leave a Council of the Patriarchs and Primates. Which is unlikely, since the OCA falls beyond their jurisdiction.
In short, Deposition is unlikely.
It is obviously a blessing in disguise that His Grace has now decared his retirement date, perhaps the Holy Synod should quicken it, to say august 31 of this year, in order to clense itself of a disobedient brother bishop.
Now, on a brighter closing note, once Bihop Tikhon has retired, it seems that the time has come to divide the Dicoese of the West in two. The First would be a Diocese of San Francisco and California, and the second would be a Diocese of Seattle and the West. This would reduce the travel time for each bishop, and allow him to better serve the needs of his diocese.
I suspect that many may not fully agree with these opinions, but this is the beauty of being a citizen of this country. I am welcome to be totally right and toally wrong in my beliefs at the same time, according to eveyone else's opinion.
Mark N. Sudia
#57 Mark N. Sudia on 2006-05-03 09:16
I think Bishop Tikhon is pretty cool. He's really witty, also.
#58 James Ashley on 2006-07-18 11:25
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