Friday, January 4. 2008
Hope you all had wonderful holidays. Your comments are welcome.
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Who ever is in charge should tell Bette, "OK, we agree to your terms under one condition; we want to know exactly where all the money went that your husband and + Theodosius diverted. Once you supply us with that information, we'll give you the money for your note."
#1 Anono-mouse on 2008-01-04 10:24
Happy New Year! What do we get in the new year? The same old stinkin’ garbage! Actually this looked to come in around Christmas so we can say that the good, God loving Kondraticks had nothing better to do as they approached the Nativity than to file suit against the Church. Bake some bread or bake some cookies and wrap gifts, have some eggnog and relax by the beach, the suit can wait til the end of the Holidays… or maybe it can’t when its an act of desperation. And he wanted to be reinstated as CLERGY? Who needs Hollywood writers when you have the Kondraticks around?
What does St. Mark’s in Bethesda, who have really been at the forefront lately of the fight against Syosset, think of their priest, Gregory Safchuk, seeing that he was one of the loyalists who lent his John Hancock to the promissory note? It’s been most interesting to watch the faithful of Bethesda while knowing that their priest has been one of the loyalists for many years. Isn’t he one of the MC members chosen at the AAC, er, by the administration and then rubber stamped at the AAC?
If I wasn’t so afraid Kondratick would rob me blind, I’d have him manage my retirement savings. 9% guaranteed annual return! Try to get that these days, or, as Mark noted, in those days. You can try to rob the Church for interest, but the audacity to use that rate of interest! Big ones, there, big ones!
Also, back in late October after the sham Synod meeting, a person who signed as “G.H.” said he was going to give this 3 months and then file suit. It’s three months in a couple of weeks. Is “G.H.” out there?
Last, since we were on the topic of Canons and the canonist extraordinaire Nikolai was at it again using them for his own good and the destruction of others, what would he say about canon 17 of the council of Nicaea. When Kondratick filed his suit in 2006 wasn’t the fact that he was demanding interest and then SUED to get it, grounds enough for his deposing? When the promissory was SIGNED where were the canonists to raise a flag that when it was signed he was in grave danger having committed a deposable offense? Have the clergy who signed as authorizers now also subject to this deposable offense? These are serious canonical issues we have at hand here! But we all know that the canons are only used for good order to pounce upon the faithful and God loving and disregarded when they can be wisely applied to preserve the integrity of the Church against deeply ingrained Godless elements which are out to destroy it Surely anyone who raises the canonical implications of Herman not living in his diocese would also see the seriousness in violating canon 17! Surely anyone one who raises the canonical implications of a person in a diocese seeking help with his own rogue bishop going to another bishop see the serious of the violation of canon 17! Where is the Benjamin NOW to play middleman in this violation of the canons? Does he even know what canon 17 is? Let’s see where the canonists are when there is a real serious breach of the canons – don’t hold your breathe hoping anyone to see the light on this one.
#2 Anonymous on 2008-01-04 11:09
Now on a level playing field , the state could decide what is right or wrong. With MH calling and changing the shots RSK had no chance. Things will get very interesting in the next two months. The battle has just begun and we'll see how legit the oca's facts are in court.
#3 Anonymous on 2008-01-04 11:24
While most of this essay hews closely to the facts, it goes awry in several places, the most significant of which concerns Mark Stokoe's observations about the 9% annual compounded interest rate which may be assigned to Mtka Elizabeth Kondratick's original loan to Central.
Mr Stokoe phrases his remarks as if it that rate of interest had been applied from the beginning, but this is not the case.
MtkaEK expected merely to be reimbursed for the money she spent on the Chancellor's residence, dollar for dollar. It was the Metropolitan Council's Administrative Committee along with Fr Paul Kucynda and Met. Theodosius who decided in April 2002, eleven years after the loan was made but during which time no repayment was made, to compensate MtkaEK for keeping her money all that time. They capped the repayment at $250K, and agreed to pay her in three clearly stated structured installments.
I don't know how that figure was calculated, but letters, estimates, receipts and all sorts of other documentation were provided at the time. What did Central DO with all that paper, which they appear to have 'lost' along with their copy of the promissory note itself, the original of which, of course, remains in MtkaEK's possession.
In any event, no payment was made from then until now, six years after the agreement and seventeen years after the loan was first made. So now, because the OCA failed to make any of these payments, if the court is sympathetic to MtkaEK as it is strongly suggested they will be (Proskauer Rose's opinion in this matter is worthless), NY State law allows the imposition of that 9% compound rate from date of initiation simply because of Syosset's breach of promise.
This is all after the fact, and only because -- as usual -- Central didn't do the right thing, and so have made this legal and ethical obligation four times as expensive for us than it needed to be.
But what's another few hundred thousand? The OCA is flush, right? Met.H gets to spend (without authorization of any kind) half a million dollars of church money at a time, wasting it on lawyers useless to the OCA but who are supposed to build a 'firewall around the metropolitan' -- not that the firewall's going to hold much longer -- and now has the cheek to get the MetCouncil to start paying even more lawyers to avoid repaying what we rightfully owe MtkaEK?
I don't think we can afford to keep Met. Herman in the lifestyle to which he's become accustomed (it's not just money), and shame on us and on the bishops for allowing this shameful behavior to go so long unchallenged and unchecked.
In this present essay, Mr Stokoe helpfully provides a link to a scan of a copy of the promissory note -- hence a few OCR errors. Reading from that scan, we can see that Fr Paul Kucynda signed it twice: once with the rest of the AC and Met.T, and once again -- with the day's date -- in the presence of a notary in Wayne NJ, where he stopped on the way home that day for just that purpose.
And he says he can't remember the note. That there are no copies of it at the Chancery. Well, there are copies there and elsewhere, it just takes the will to produce them. Why, there might even be some copies in the trunk of FrPK's car, where his paranoia recommends he keep church files safe!
Now, that notarization attests two things: a) FrPK's statement that the contents of the promissory note are true and accurate, and b) that the notary is certain that it is FrPK himself who is making the statement she is witnessing. This is importantly significant for MtkaEK's attempt to seek relief from the Court, since the OCA wants to, well, stiff her on the loan.
BTW: It should also be known that OCA Central's books carried MtkaEK's loan as a separately identified obligation until just shortly before Met. Herman unjustly dismissed Fr Robert Kondratick from his responsibilities as Chancellor. That entry is mysteriously missing from the books since then, yet not a word's been said about that in all this number shuffling.
'The truth will out!' (intransitive and modernly transitive senses of 'out' both fully in play here)
#4 Monk James on 2008-01-04 11:36
"The note was later notarized by Ms. Anna Luckman in New Jersey."
A person whose signature is being notarized must appear before the notary. If not, the notary is signing a false statement.
#5 K. Carlsen on 2008-01-04 13:31
No, I believe that the court date is set for January 30, 2008. It appears that some response will be required unless the church wants to default. This is very sad, more money spent because of more lies. When will it end? If Herman and Kucynda did not spend all of that money to create a report to cover themselves, perhaps by now, some truth would have been known. Imagine, they lied about the number of people in the church to get the loan, they lied about Bodnar, and I believe they are once again lying - but now, it's a level playing field. Herman cannot rig the judge and jury!
#6 Margo on 2008-01-04 14:10
Remarkable how they can't come up with receipts for anything else, but this, no problem finding it.
#7 Anonymous on 2008-01-04 15:25
I believe you are correct - and maybe some of the lawyers out there can verify. We have a notary in our office, and an worker once requested the notary to notarize a signature already made. The notary absolutely refused because the notary's license would have be removed, and the notary would be subject to fines. The notary said that in all cases, the notary must verify the identity of the signer and must observe the signature being made in the notary's presence. So how is it possible that all these signatures were LATER notarized? I didn't think that was possible, and therefore, are all the signtures invalidated?
#8 A sad state of affairs on 2008-01-04 16:12
Canons?? What are those? Do you mean the same Church rules that include provisions to prevent bishops from tonsuring convicted criminals into the clergy under consequence of deposition? When has the OCA Synod ever honestly used those Canons???
If issues of kiddie porn and the like are of no concern to them, how much do you think they care about a loan among friends?
#9 Anonymous on 2008-01-04 17:07
When Fr. Kondratick and Met. Theo started spending our money on attorneys and writing resolutions thwarting audits of discretionary spending in 1998, Fr. K must have realized it would be important to get that note written, huh? The pattern emerges very clearly when you think it through this way.
Just what did Fr. K do with the million the church says he took good Monk? What about the millions they didn't mention? Bad day on Wall Street? We all know this was a part of it, and we are all waiting to hear the report of the second and politically inferior SIC.
Hopefully, this WILL bring things out into the open and if that means Metropolitans's [sic] sexual preferences, who gives a rats hiney? He's been holding that over them way too long.
I'd love to be wrong.
#10 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-04 17:34
Several people have previously called upon you before to basically "put up or shut up" and yet you STILL write is caged terms about a certain hierachs sexual orientation and actions.
If you or the former priest Robert Kondratick have EVIDENCE that Met Herman or any other bishop for that matter have violated their monastic vows, then notify the proper ecclesiastical authorities. Otherwise, your not so veiled homosexual references only make you look more and more like a mud slinger.
#11 Guy & Christine Kogut on 2008-01-04 17:57
You ask, "what did they do with all those receipts"? Did RSK tell you to ask that Monk James?
The fact is, there were and are NO receipts anywhere to be found in Syosset.
Perhaps those were accidently shredded during that one infamous summer. I recall reading in a prior post Mr. Paul Hunchak stating that he observed then-Father Bob shredding numerous documents on an ongoing basis.
Oh by the way, perhaps you can enlighten us as to why that "special file cabinet" was locked and located within the confines of a restroom either in or near the former chancellor's office at the Chancery?
Why oh why did the Kondratick's wait all those years to bring up the notion that the Church owed them some money? That in and of itself is extremely strange. Would you personally wait 10 years to lay claim to $250,000. I surely wouldn't.
You see monk James, They (the Kondratick's) were NOT instructed or authorized by the MC to make any such improvements to the home.
And why did Metropolitan Theodosius and Robert Kondratick attempt to get Deacon Eric Wheeler to clandestinely sign a document as an officer of the Church to quietly transfer over ownership of the Martin Drive home from the Church to the Kondratick's. Obviously Deacon Eric refused. How about that one monk James? How come you don't address that fact?
Since you are such a stickler for proper order, it is IRRELEVANT that anyone within the confines of an Administrative Committee signed anything, as that in and of itself is meaningless within the statutes of the OCA.
The Administratice Committee nor any officer had NO legal right to bring indebtedness to the Church. Only the MC has such authority. Case closed.
Goodness, when will you end it already with all of this trivial nonsense. Talk about sore losers.
One final thought. Why don't you tell us why Robert Kondratick so quickly withdrew his lawsuit of late 2006?
Could it be that it was against the Canons for a priest to bring suit against the Church? Another Case Closed.
I always considered you a very intelligent and likeable fellow.
But your fiercely defensive protection of the Kondratick's has become quite comical, yet sad.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall if or when this circus ever comes to a court room. I'd love to hear some of the explanations the Kondratick's will give for the questions the Church will be asking through their legal team.
Happy New Year.
#12 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-04 19:40
How disgusting all this is becoming! The fact that large amounts of charitable funds have been stolen and the TRUTH concerning WHO, WHAT, WHEN and HOW is still being hidden distresses me no end. Is the OCA a religious organization based upon the teachings of Christ: to avoid sin, confess sin, repent and then progress to near perfection if possible? Or has the OCA administration put money above all else, including the fear of Christ? What has happened to SHAME, DISGRACE and DISHONOR? Is Mrs. Kondratick proud of her husband and of herself? Suing the OCA is the sign of a very sick person whose shoes I am glad I do not occupy. G.Curtis
#13 G.Curtis on 2008-01-04 20:37
It is absolutely remarkable how you come up with such detail when supporting your boy, but run like the wind when asked to reveal details of what happened to the ADM funds; funds totally in your boy's hands.
Do you not realize that your lies are transparent to all but, it seems, you? Save your comments about me writing anonymously. I simply do not wish to become the target of your disgusting spew. Me thinks the young virgin doth protest too much.
#14 Anon. on 2008-01-04 21:36
Military chaplains receive housing allowances that can be spent as rent "in town". If we opt to live in base housing, we forfeit that allowance.
It is my understanding (please correct me if I am in error) that the Kondraticks lived in that house (owned by the OCA) rent free, and received a housing allowance at the same time. What on earth was the housing allowance for? Did it amount to $250,00 or a major part of it?
What a legacy we are leaving for our children.....
#15 wendy C. on 2008-01-05 00:30
Now really, how who do you notify in this case?
It appears that they are all of the same club.
#16 Anonymous on 2008-01-05 04:15
A small point that needs to be corrected in this "editorial". I have friends that belong to Holy Spirit Church in Florida, RSK NEVER has had signing authority on the church accounts.
#17 P.Pappas on 2008-01-05 05:56
Alot of haters on this site , let's see what the court has to say. What if it shows that MH was lying the whole time ? Maybe it won't. All we are seeing is the same hearsay , let's see if the oca can back it up in a real court.
The Kondratick's must be confident of their case. Mark you've been waiting for the other side to speak and looks like you'll get it.
#18 Anonymous on 2008-01-05 06:32
I am a convert of only a few years standing. I am not a priest, a deacon, a reader or even a sub reader. I don't sing in a choir or sit on a parish council. I did not marry an Orthodox lady. I am a sinner who by God's grace and careful study has come to love the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ. I am not requesting that anyone move to any other jurisdiction although I have spent a lot of time studying the problem of "jurisdictionalism" in the Untied Kingdom, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, and now in Africa. I think every Christian must ask themselves from time to time, "Is the church I am attending the Church of Christ?" Is it the Bride of Christ? Is my church faithful to her Lord? The Church is comprised of fallen, fallible human beings, but is the organization with which I am associated recognizable as a branch of the True Vine? Would I want my son to become a priest in the OCA at this time? If my neighbor came to me and wanted to learn about Orthodoxy, would I encourage him/her or discourage him/her "at this time"? If this is not the right time to join the OCA, what should be done? What gives me cause to think that 2008 or 2009 will be different than the last ten years for the OCA? The Jews of the Old Testament were God's chosen people, but from time to time, the whole became so driven by sin that God would call for righteous people to separate themselves from untoward generations. I am not asking any one to do anything except to ask themselves these questions. If you want to stay and work for the purification of what by any fair reading of this and other materials is a mess, then well and good. May God bless you and give you success. However, if you chose to leave and go to another canonical jurisdiction, perhaps you save not only yourself and your family, but perhaps you are saving Orthodoxy in America from the sin of jurisdictionalism.
#19 Max Higgs on 2008-01-05 06:32
Mike ask Kucynda why he signed twice if the paper is bogus and the church didn't really owe the money ? Please answer that without spewing the same old propaganda.
#20 Anonymous on 2008-01-05 06:34
Once again, from "Monk James." Who also continues to use the ecclessial titles for the Kondraticks - who, though a Monk (apparently) seems bound and determined to flout the decision of a duly-constituted Synod of Bishops, who are in any case superior to the former priest who's been deposed, yet still ranks a title to this Monk. Not very obedient, I'd say.
And so full of vim and vigor for the Kondraticks! When the facts are that they lived in the house AND drew a housing allowance. They are not owed one cent, and I hope they do get this case into court; indeed, the Church should counter-sue for any number of damages, and information as to where the stolen monies are - except that +H is probably sitting on a lot of it, and so he doesn't want the Judge to look into this too deeply.
As for the previous question someone wrote in concerning Fr. Gregory Safchuk and this note - despite being at the center of the Hotbed of the Revolution at St Mark in Bethesda; well, with all due respect, I think that the dam is about to burst there as well. Great Parish, but there are simply too, too many questions which have been ignored to allow Fr. Gregory to continue. I expect that 2008 will not be a very "happy" new year at St. Mark! Candles in clear votives are burning! And, it's such a shame. But, the perpetrators within the OCA are many, most still in office, yet the faithful are starting to see the rot, and it's no wonder that criminal elements such as +Nikolai continue to operate with no repercussion; the others are too busy trying to keep their own crimes covered-up, who's got time to bother with him? The OCA has dug its grave, and the faithful are starting to wake-up to the fact that our Synod and many senior priests in this organization are corrupt. How sad for us to find this out. Sad, but necessary!
#21 C.C. on 2008-01-05 08:04
I think one of the questions that is of prime importance internally to the OCA that has to be answered is how was this whole promissory not sold to the parties involved and who did the selling. First, someone convinced Bette Kondratick to use her personal money for this (why would she do this?) repair project. Someone thought it a good idea, and one that did not carry much risk to her (knowing the publicly claimed poverty of the OCA in those days, why did they assume the OCA could repay this debt?). Of course there is the possibility that the promissory note as such was only conceived later after original plans fell through (that the OCA would simply give the property to the Kondraticks). But then someone convinced Bette to seek the promissory idea long after the money had been spent, so how did they convince her to invest the money to begin with?
But someone also had to have convinced those who signed the promissory note as officers of the OCA that this was a good idea for the OCA whether the idea was conceived early or late in the process. So who did that? We need to hear from those who signed the promissory note - why did they believe this was in the interest of the OCA to encumber the OCA in this way with this debt? Since Fr. Kucynda and Metrpolitan Herman's fingerprints are on the document, one has to wonder about Monk James making them out to be enemies of Kondratick and the whole OCA. These men who Monk James so despises are the very ones who were playing along with what was unfolding. So who was the person who sold this idea to both Bette and the Metropolitan?
That is probably the person who is at the heart of the problem.
#22 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2008-01-05 08:14
Don’t expect Silver to divulge any information because the moment he does, it loses its power. Don’t expect Silver to stop insinuating and tell people what he allegedly knows because then he loses his power and influence amongst us. Don’t expect him to be any different than those that he defends because he’s one of the peas in the pod. So much like them that in a moral line up you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. What you say about thinking of him as an “intelligent and likeable” fellow is just why he’s being used as the conduit. Because its, to quote someone, a “slam dunk” that people will believe what he’s saying just on the surface. He doesn’t need to produce any facts because people have this impression. The Kondratick faction really knows how to pick people that will do his side maximum good. He’s enjoying the game, he’s enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, he enjoys being the conduit, the person in the know, the person who guides the discussion in this scandal. He’s having the time of his life! He’s somebody .
A monk, let alone a good monk, would do what’s right or shut up. This monk is neither. He wants to insinuate moral crimes but doesn’t have the care for the Church, in its pain, to bring it to light. That makes him just as low as the other principles in this. Period. Either he doesn’t have the goods, which I believe more and more, or he wants to try to extract something from Herman and that faction by threatening til the cows come home until they get what they want. Is it a secret payment? Is reinstatement? Why does Silver have such animosity and hatred towards those that he should have unquestioning obedience? Why, for all these years did he not come out with the insinuations he says are so bad and the bishops so bad for? Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark with this.
The “good” monk has been quick to stain those that are against the Kondratick faction, but when he says he has damning information against people who his vitriol is beyond anything expected a monk, he just clams up and say time will tell. Time is requesting now.
#23 J.E.B. on 2008-01-05 09:10
Don't confuse the OCA with the Central Administration. The CA is not the OCA. MH is not the OCA, although it is clear that he thinks of himself in those terms.
It has become abundantly clear in the last couple of years that MH is all about power, control and glorious appearances, and MT, before him, was mostly about glorious appearances, leaving the power and control to RSK, which is what got us into this whole mess.
Anyone who is looking to the CA for any spiritual leadership, any loving pastoral guidance, etc., is definitely looking in the wrong place.
The lawsuit, obviously, is only about money and greed, which is just more of the same that has reigned for decades.
#24 A priest of the Midwest on 2008-01-05 09:11
Wendy - It is time to put to rest the misguided notion that a priest should not get a housing allowance while living in a rectory rent free. If a priest lives in the rectory for many years, then retires, he has no equity built up to live elsewhere. I don't know about other dioceses, but this payment arrangement is contained in the clergy compensation guidelines of the Diocese of the Midwest.
#25 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2008-01-05 09:36
Yet more Beefaroni from Monk James, or, alternatively, Hi-yo Silver! Something, monk, for you and your pal, the disgraced ex-priest to ponder. It comes from the New Testament, a collection of documents you may have heard of, once upon a time. (I know, Holy Scripture and canons are only for the rubes, but humor me.) "To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." St Paul, 1st Corinthians 6:7-10. I suppose, monk, if you and your pal actually believed any of this, you might tremble in your boots, but you don't, evidently, believe so you don't, obviously, tremble. May the God whose Word you despise have mercy on your souls.
#26 Scott Walker on 2008-01-05 10:51
Fr. Gregory, as you are no doubt reading this posting, I want you to know that I am as of now putting you on my list of prayers for the living at our divine services at St. Catherine's, as well as in a predominant place in my own prayers, such as they may be. God keep you safe and healthy this year so you may continue your good work at St. Mark's.
Had no idea it was coming to this down there. Sheesh!
#27 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-01-05 11:17
How ironic that we now think of moving to a "jurisdiction" that answers to a synod overseas as a means of saving ourselves here from jurisdictionalism; also how the one canonical body in NA that does not answer to such a Synod is now seen as detrimental to such efforts.
How sad that maybe it's true.
The questions that arise in my own mind stem from Our Lord's words: "By their fruits you will know them."
#28 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-01-05 11:27
What is feared? PERSONAL fines and jail time for lying under oath or for exposure of tax shenanigans if this case proceeds to depositions and trial.
All it takes to avoid telling the truth in public is giving $250K, plus fees and costs, from parishioner donations 'To God' instead to Team RSK.
Look for a quick settlement and a promise to make many payments over a long time at double market interest.
This whole show is all long pre-scripted among these unproductive grifters; paying of 'a lawsuit' is the excuse those who remain in so-called 'leadership' can point at to avoid explaining all this is nothing more than a pension plan for a man who took one for the team, without creating a precident of having to pay off all defrocked priests.
#29 Diogenes Kutuzov on 2008-01-05 12:47
The glaring defect in the matter of this promissory note seems to be that, even if all of Elizabeth Kondratick's claims are upheld (i.e., the note and signatures are all legitimate, and money was really used for the purposes described), it was outside the competence of the signatories to obligate the entire Orthodox Church in America.
The editorial refers to New York state law, but there is also the matter of the OCA Statute, particularly Article V.4, which appears to vest final financial authority, particularly that of debt, in the Metropolitan Council.
Surely Robert and Elizabeth Kondratick would have known this, and the likely problem that would arise?
#30 Fr Basil Biberdorf on 2008-01-05 13:13
Fr Basil: True to an extent, but if the MC allowed these central authorities to act on their behalf for so many years, and even in this matter knew about the arrangement and allowed it to go on for so long without saying/doing anything to the contrary, then it implies the consent of the MC. Basically, if the MC did nothing to stop it, then they gave their approval.
(Editor's Note: As a former MC member during some of the years in question, I must disagree with your last line. We could not give our approval if we were never asked; most of us never even knew what the AC even did. And when we asked we were sidetracked, ignored, or lied to. So, to blame the entire MC in this case is typical of those who were responsible: they keep shifting and expanding the blame from where it squarely belongs.)
#31 Anonymous on 2008-01-05 14:15
I have often enjoyed your posts and found them quite insightful, but I must disagree with your assessment of the situation at St. Mark in Bethesda. I am guessing you are a fellow parishioner there, so we must allow eachother different "takes" on our local parish. I personally hold out great hope for a very good year at St. Mark parish, by the grace of God and by the long-suffering service of our priest, Fr. Gregory Safchuk.
For all the differences of opinions we may have with Fr. Gregory on how best to deal with the OCA's current crisis, my husband and I recognize in him a very exceptional parish priest--one who is able to bring us nearer to God.
Epiphany is upon us, and we at St. Mark will revel in the truth it brings to us at the beginning of the secular year. As we have done for years, we will celebrate it with our God-given priest, Fr. Gregory. For that, we give great thanks.
(Editor's Note: As does this editor.Fr. Gregory's example in this past year, allowing and promoting open and honest dialogue throughout his parish, is a model and example of pastoral leadership in difficult circumstances. Like everyone, myself included, his actions - or inactions - on the Metropolitan Council during the Potemkin years can be discussed and questioned - but there is no question that he has boldly chosen to deal with the problems, rather than hide, repress, challenge, or deny them - or abuse those who would raise questions. )
#32 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2008-01-05 14:43
Mark: You're right that MC members can't challenge what they don't know. But now, knowing the facts, where are the former and current MC members filing charges of fraud with the appropriate authorities?
As the "board of executives", MC members were victims of fraud by their governing officers (Metropolitans, chancellor, treasurers, etc). There are legal avenues there...why does nobody take them? If the MC was completely in the dark about it, maybe a former MC member needs to file a suit against Herman & Co. Wouldn't that be the ethical thing to do?
The monster in Syosset will not change until people stand up to it and hold it accountable for its actions.
#33 Anonymous on 2008-01-05 17:09
Does the Antiochian Archdiocese still answer to those overseas? Since there is no American patriarch don't we all answer to those overseas. Even though the United States is on a separate continent with over 300 million people, the American Orthodox churches are just colonies. It may take a tea party to secure Orthodox unity in America.
#34 Anonymous on 2008-01-05 17:40
Because anonymous, the MC at that point in time hardly ever met, yet alone made decisions. The topic was cleverly touched upon by Robert Kondratick and Met. Theodosius and presented in a way that proper measures were already taken within the church protocol to even consider such a topic.
Wouldn't you think that within the confines of a Church, there was trust and at that point in time, absolutely NO reason whatsoever, to believe that somene was trying to pull the wool over your eyes by misleading you.
The fact that Fr. Kucynda and the other members of the Administrative Committee signed such a document truly is meaningless, as they were not authorized or allowed to make such a decision without the consent and approval of the MC.
One last tidbit, monk James claims that there are receipts and estimates from the work which was done on the Martin Drive home and that surely, those documents exist within the walls of the Chancery.
Well, I've heard that no such documents have ever been seen by anyone nor are they anywhere to be found in the Chancery building.
Now, if it is true that such copies of estimates, work orders, receipts for such work, etc., do exist, then why don't the Kondratick's provide such documents? Surely, they would have been wise and prudent enough to keep such records and copies, especially when the work being done was completed within the confines of their personal living space.
You see, this is why it is so darn hard for the rest of us to believe any of this. It's hilarious to hear that these copies and documents exist and are located and accessible within the confines of the chancery building.
Well, if the church itself did not approve and provide the proper and legal authorization to go ahead with such plans through the MC, then why oh why, would the church have any of these pieces of paper. It just doesn't make any sense.
Lastly, why did it take them so many years to come forth with the desire to have some type of documentation regarding a promissory note?
Wouldn't a wise and prudent person make sure such a document was in your possession BEFORE going ahead with any such construction work?
#35 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-05 18:51
NO WAY this will ever see the inside of a court room.
I am not a lawyer, but both sides have too much to lose if the whole truth were to be made known, which would certainly happen in court. Mr & Mrs RSK are bluffing.
By the way, does anyone know just WHO the canonical superior of MONK JAMES is?
#36 Guy & Christine Kogut on 2008-01-05 19:28
As my former father-confessor, I am convinced that Father Gregory Safchuk truly loves and cares about souls.
When he signed that note, he must have done it in good faith and trust, and believed it was the right thing to do. He can only decide based on what he knows.
I believe Father Gregory is an exceptional priest, and his wife an exceptional matushka.
We are praying for them. It isn't the first time they've been in a crucible. And it seems that even when they are getting pelted with flack, they don't hesitate to encourage others in the faith. It always amazed me.
#37 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2008-01-05 19:36
If the Metropolitan signed the document, I'd say the Ks have a pretty good case. At least if I'm the judge and not reading historical comparisons. PR is just rendering a more educated opinion. Usually, the courts have given the hierarchy great power if I recall some of the prior legal discussion here correctly.
It would be a great legal precedent if the Metropolitan of the OCA was actually proven to have no power to make this document binding with his JH.
What a welcome and needed cultural shift it'd be for us.
Hard to believe this MC and Synod would fight it and not just write the check given what it implies.
Maybe the signers owe the church the 250k for not following the rules and taking an action away from the full council.
A lot of conjecture on my part, it'll be interesting to see what happens. It'll be sad if it costs us more than about 50 grand, though to fight.
Just my two cents worth...
#38 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-05 22:15
They have already filed , there's no bluff. That note it looks more legit everyday. By law most signed documents are held accountable for.
#39 Anonymous on 2008-01-06 06:12
Goodness, what cynicism. Following this train wreck for a couple of years has taken me to a place, though, where it's impossible to be too cynical about the Gang That Couldn't Talk Straight. Maybe you nailed it, Diogenes.
#40 Scott Walker on 2008-01-06 08:29
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
Dear Hierarchs and Clergy,
You have been working diligently for approximately 30 years, to gain total control and total power.
Guess what, it looks like you may be succeeding? Or are you?
Will there be anything left for you to control when this is all over?
You may not have realized how good you had it.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
#41 Ande on 2008-01-06 12:39
The autocephaly of a local Orthodox Church is not dependent on the title of its primate. To whom does the OCA answer overseas (OK, I know some of you are going to say that when Moscow has a cold the OCA sneezes, but, hey, we stayed out of Estonia...)? Ultimately, I think even now, the Antiochian Archdiocese is ultimately responsible to Antioch--their bishops and especially their primate still have to be approved, don't they (I stand to be corrected); and do they bless their own chrism?
Seems to me that the title of "Patriarch" has been reserved (whether by design or not) for the First Five (now four) and places where the Orthodox are a clear majority, where the prevailing cultural whatever is determined largely be the presence of a predominately Orthodox religious ethos.
But other autocephalous churches (electing own bishops, blessing own chrism, not under the aegis of another autocephaly) are headed by metropolitans and archbishops.
#42 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-01-06 14:37
It's great that the Diocese of the Midwest has made such accomodations. One would hope that the clergy who receive this allowance would invest it appropriately.
Companies that provide housing most often do not provide a housing allowance in addition. There have been many years where we have had to rent on the economy - going over and above our housing allowance, without being extravagant. Most times assignments are not long enough to make buying and selling a home economically feasible. We realize that any housing that we have in retirement will be solely OUR responsibility and are planning for that eventuality. It is up to us to be the wisest stewards we can an be with the resources that are given to us - and not to squander them or to expect more as a sense of entitlement. It's the sense of entitlement that continually seems to get clergy in trouble.....
#43 Wendy C. on 2008-01-06 15:22
Perhaps there is a silver lining in these continuing dark and troubling clouds of scandal. Given that the OCA, ROCOR, and the Antiochian Archdiocese share a common heritage here in North America, and the Antiochian Archdiocese and ROCOR are already Autonomous jurisdiction, the Holy Spirit may move the Patriarchs of Moscow and Antioch to work together to help us to build a stronger united Church here. If they do, then perhaps the Ecumenical Patriarch and other Church leaders would be moved to assist. An expanded and united Autonomous Church in North America whose First Hierarch had to be approved by a joint or Ecumenical Synod, would be a far more effective witness for the Faith than what we currently have.
#44 Marc Trolinger on 2008-01-06 16:12
Here's another $.02 worth from someone who has litigated issues of religious corporate authority on various occasions under CA law.
It is MOST unlikely at this early stage that any experienced and disinterested member of the NY bar whose opinion is worth quoting, to say nothing of relying on, is in a position to make a prediction of a "slam dunk" win for the Ks. Please note the qualifying terms "experienced" and "disinterested." If the three supposed barristers even exist, we should learn how long they have been in practice and what their specialties are before we give ANY credence to what they supposedly say. If the 3 exist and said something that resembles what has been reported, I would also want to know who they were talking to, what their motives were for speaking, and how much they had had to drink recently (vis-a-vis their normal intake) before treating this basketball allusion as anything more than sudsy macho-talk.
Before a good lawyer can make a strong and favorable prediction on a case he needs to know that there is clear law and that sum of the evidence will be strongly in his side's favor.
I have never litigated anything under NY law, but I would be quite surprised if it has provisions which dictate a result for the Ks with such force as to justify the terms "layup" or "chip shot" or "gimme," let alone slam dunk. It is clear that there were many (polite term here) "anomalies" in the way the office was run on K's watch. There are very clear laws on how things are supposed to run in a corporate environment and how the corporations own internal rules are supposed to interact with state statutes. When there have been "deviations" from both state law and internal corporate standards and the claimant's husband is the one who was running the corporation at the time, I predict it will be far from a simple matter to sort out just how the laws should apply.
And how about the state of the evidence the three have or have not seen? At best it involves what the Ks have bee able to come up with so far, and nothing from the OCA side. If documentary underpinnings are largely missing, a great deal of oral testimony will be taken about whether or not they existed and on whose watch the documents a) were or were not assembled, and b) were or were not lost or destroyed. Since the alleged "loan" was made and documents generated and/or lost on K's watch, I tend to think it will be a far from easy body of evidence to evaluate until and unless many depositions have been taken and carefully analyzed.
It is worth noting that only MRS K has refiled. Possible reasons:
1. a sharp lawyer has told her the case will look and smell better if the guy responsible for a) the seeming failure to follow the law and corporate procedure in documenting the alleged debt and b) the seeming failure to keep adequate records thereof is not her co-plaintiff,
2. it looks less like an attempt to retaliate for his loss of clerical office or to threaten the OCA if he is not on the papers.
And meanwhile, C.C. and any others, let's cut out the aspersions being cast on Fr. Gregory Safchuk for having his signature on the note. Unless I very much miss my guess, he was NOT a part of the original alleged arrangements with the Ks so many years ago when the supposed agreement was reached. My assumption is that he was appointed to the AC far later, and thus had no personal, direct knowledge of what the original deal was.
And if he wasn't there and did not have direct knowledge, then he and the others who signed were no doubt dependent on written or oral indications that the claim was valid. Since we know of no writings that pre-date the note, I think we have to assume there were none and the justifications advanced to get people to sign the note were oral.
In the administrative atmosphere that people say existed at the time, it is entirely believable that a powerful and respected leader like Mr. K would be able to cobble together a justification for signing the note that would overcome hesitation over the lack of written backup. Sure with 20/20 hindsight he and scores of other people in relatively high OCA places could have been more tough and watchful over a period of many years. A very hard thing for an individual to step up and initiate when dealing with a well-entrenched master wielder of administrative power like Mr. K.
But suspicions voiced and aspersions cast about his current parish priesthood on such a totally flimsy basis?!?! Please! C.C. and anyone else who voices such stuff anonymously here or elsewhere shows (in addition to cowardice, in my opinion) just how quickly an atmosphere of suspicion, anger and gossip metastasizes to lead well-intentioned people (like C.C. I hope) to spout off unwarranted, extreme stuff, and demonstrate the validity of the scripture that says "with his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor."
#45 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-01-07 01:41
Odd, I didn't know I was working for that. I'm wondering what it is I'm supposed to have "total control and total power" over. If this is true, man, I sure have mucked that up over the past 25 years, then! I'm guessing a lot of my brother clergy are asking themselves this too, as they read your posting; kind of like the way we were all wondering about that posting not too long ago where the guy told us what an easy job we had.
#46 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-01-07 07:59
With respect to Fr. Gregory, I certainly hope that you are correct. Frankly, he is in a difficult position, being an MC member and having +H over him as the Diocesean Bishop as well. While having to manage the disquiet of a very disturbed parish known far and wide as a center of dissent with respect to The Scandal. A very difficult situation for him. As for Fr. George's comments (comment 14 below), your points are well taken, Father. But I would say that my little post is hardly "extreme" compared to the statements for example of Larry Tosi - a diocesean treasurer - who says if we only knew what he knows it would "destroy the church." I am merely a bystander, watching my church slowly implode, and wondering how this can happen with so many seemingly "good people" standing-by and watching it happen. Yet, no one in authority seems to want to prevent it. And as time goes on, more and more names of "good people" seem to pop up on various documents from years gone by. I do not know what it means, or if it "means" anything. But, Fr. Gregory's signature appears to be on the Note in question, and that's not gossip. I did not bring it up, the Note showed-up and there it is, and his is not the only name on the Note, either. It is not people like me who are "destroying the church" or our neighbors. We have simply been standing around waiting for Church Leadership to address The Scandal and reveal all of the many years of hidden papers, clandestine deals, multiple bank accounts and slush funds, and on and on. That is what is threatening the church. The only thing holding the church together is that people like me, and like Cathryn Tatusko, continue to attend Divine Liturgy, and put our money into the parish plate every Sunday, despite our serious misgivings about our leadership at various levels! I cannot speak for anyone else, but for myself, it is getting more and more difficult to write that check every week. Since no one seems to be willing to step forward and tell all that they know, that is why I am actually hoping to see the case get into a court of law, where a judge will force the issue, and insist that people testify under oath, produce papers, or testify as to why no papers are available (were they shredded?) Or will the leadership of the OCA find that too distasteful, and settle out of court with the Kondraticks, giving them even more church money - in addition to what was stolen - so that the various documents and testimony can continue to remain hidden. I don't know what will happen. So, is it my "fault" that I have many questions which may seem to be "unwarranted?" In this matter, is any honest question truly "unwarranted?" Am I a "coward?" Maybe. I don't know if I am a coward or not, but am I afraid? Yes, I am afraid. Because the people involved in this affair have tried to trample over many good people, including someone with a stature like +Job, for example, and what they might do to a nobody like me, well it is frightening! As a convert, I would like to say that, I would like to get The Creed fully memorized at least before I am excommunicated by +Herman for asking an "unwarranted" question! After all, Father George, you've already labeled me "the godless man," so what's next?
#47 C.C. on 2008-01-07 08:36
Autocephaly is not dependant upon having a patriarch nor a "ruling" archbishop. The Church of Greece is ruled by a Holy Synod, composed of metropolitans, with the Archbishop of Athens as primate.
#48 Anon. on 2008-01-07 11:04
Well, Anonymous, if you had had the guts to sign your name I would address you personally as you seem to have no problem using other's names.
First, at the time Fr. Safchuk signed that note he had no idea that what was going on. BTW, this is not news. I have known he signed the note for a couple of years. Think about it, if people you trusted, said, "you know, Fr. Bob's wife used her own money to fix up the house and I would like to make certain they aren't stiffed, after I leave (This would be Met. Theodosious) and everyone else said, "yeah, that wouldn't be right!. You would have probably signed the note too.
As for being a loyalist. Yeah, he was a loyalist until he figured out to whom he was being loyal. He has never stiffled the people at St. Mark and has been ready to talk to anyone about it personally.
I was at the recent meeting of the diocese of DC/NY and he voted to override the chair who had called out of order any discussion of the "crises". And stood to speak in support of transparancy.
If you are Orthodox, you know he could have stopped the petition, he could have forbidden us to talk about the scandal as some of his brother priests told him to do.
If he is guilty of anything, in my opinion, it is being too trusting, even niave (sp). (I have told him this to his face.)
Linda Elizabeth Weir
#49 Linda Weir on 2008-01-07 13:07
Excellent post J.E.B.
#50 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-07 13:58
The terms of the North American Antiochian Archdiocese's autonomy are specified on their web site. Their internal governance is autonomous, but they do ultimately answer to Antioch. They receive their Holy Chrism from Antioch and Antioch is involved in their hierarchical elections. They're autonomous; not autocephalous.
To my knowledge, he has NONE, Guy.
After a private meeting with the Metropolitan, Metropolitan Herman released him from his omophorian about a year or so ago, encouraging him "to find himself a canonical Orthodox monastery" of which he could become a member of a brotherhood.
Due to the good monk's internet activity, I think it's safe to assume he is not a current member of any monastery.
Therefore, I think it is a safe assumption that he has NO canonical "superior", but rather a father confessor.
From what I know, the monk is a parishoner of Christ The Savior Orthodox Christian Church in Paramus, NJ.
If that indeed is the case, then one could assume his father confessor to be either the fine pastor, V. Rev. David Vernak or the pastor emeritus, V. Rev. John Nehrebecki.
I hope this shed's some light on a confusing topic.
#52 Michael Geeza on 2008-01-07 15:26
The fact that Fr. Gregory Safchuk’s signature is on the promissory note is not gossip. Fr. Ted Bobosh stated somewhere above that “We need to hear from those who signed the promissory note - why did they believe this was in the interest of the OCA to encumber the OCA in this way with this debt?” We are calling on those like Fr. Safchuk whose reputation is unquestioned, whose integrity is unchallenged, whose word will be heard, to come forth and answer the questions that those of us are struggling with. It is men like this who will finally lift the veil of dismay over the OCA and bring it to light again. “He who speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. (Prov 12:17) We are all crying out in the wilderness, please Lord give us the man who will speak the truth and give honest evidence.
#53 Anon on 2008-01-07 15:39
Someone, perhaps an attorney, may wish to investigate a legal precedent of the Administrative Council's authority. It was in a court system in New York, but I do not recall the specific court. Soon after the forced resignation of Archbishop Spyridon, either in late 1999 or early 2000, members of the "Executive Committee" of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council, sued in an effort to secure a pension for Archbishop Spyridon, a matter which was being deliberated by the Exec. Committee, which was then chaired by the newly enthroned Archbishop Demetrios. The Exec. Committee was not inclined to grant the "pension." They sued as individuals and were supporters of the former archbishop. The matter of the pension had been orally agreed to by the Patriarchate, somewhat of a condition of the resignation, when it was extracted in July,1999. In June,'99, the "Executive Committee" of the Archdiocesan Council had formally adopted a pension arrangement for the archbishop, who was not enrolled in the clergy pension program, attempting to use its interim authority to legislate between meetings of the Bi-Annual Clergy Laity Congress. However, the "Executive Committee," although exercising authority for many years, was not a duly empowered entity, per the Uniform Parish Regulations. The Archdiocesan Council was granted interim legislative authority between Congresses; not the "Executive Committee." The plaintiff's claim for the pension was denied by the court.
I agree, let those whose integrity and reputation are unquestioned be silent no longer. There are many who are ethical and righteous in their personal conduct and within their own parishes, but silent and somewhat cowardly with regards to former parishes, faithful and friends, other priests, hierarchs, and the OCA as a whole. I had hoped this devastating spiritual crisis, the derilict, delusional, and unethical conduct of several hierarchs, the vast financial misconduct, and the suffering and cries of so many sheep would move the publicly silent ones to speak and to action. It seems it must still get a whole lot worse before the "fence sitters" take action,
Yes, there is danger in taking a stand, speaking the truth, and challenging the darkness, but that's why the priesthood is supposed to be a sacramental calling that carries great blessings and responsibilities. Avoidance of the cross, a cushy position, and staying silent in the face of evil are not part and parcel of the sacramental calling and duties of Christian shepherds (and laymen). "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26)
#56 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-07 20:11
I am not an ESQ, but I flat out disagree any of the signers should say a word unless its required by the courts.
We all get it. The Kondraticks did the pay now and ask for forgiveness later plan and the Admin Committee signed off on it through persuasion and a feeling of what is right.
If it were not for RSKs quite clear graft, we wouldn't be giving this a second thought and would want to pay them.
After all, how much did the church really have into Martin Drive in the first place?
I'm guessing the church had a cap gain or close Didn't it sell for a near half million against a guessed purchase price of 250K?
Frankly, I'm not sure it is worth paying attorneys another 50 grand unless it opens the door for further litigation [from] the Kondraticks, or unless a suit was considered by the Kondraticks for the 137 grand from the OCA, in which case, that now becomes a countersuit against the claim of 250k and the church might not be dumb to avoid the ESQs of the world and write them a check for 100 grand.
Whats another 5%?
Not a legal opinion, but I'm not sure it is worth fighting for.
Don't we have better things to fight for like OCA missions?
#57 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-07 20:22
Didn't mean to offend, just think the OCA spent enough on legal fees. The 200 grand to PR could have been seed money for a couple of new church buildings.
#58 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-01-07 20:29
Amen! What should be obvious form even the most causal understanding of Christian witness is "complicated" in the OCA.
#59 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-01-08 06:15
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