Did you receive any official permission from Archbishop Job to inaugurate this website or to quote him in your articles? Did the Chancelor of our Diocese, Archpriest John Zdinak, have any for knowledge of this? How about your own priest, Fr. Ted Bobosh?
Thank you for your questions, Fr. John. I did ask, and received permission from the Archbishop to quote him, where he is quoted, in my articles.
I did not receive "official permission" to inaugerate this website from him, nor did I ask for such "permission". As the disclaimer at the bottom of each page clearly states, this website is not affiliated with the OCA. To have asked "permission" from one of its senior hierarchs, would have clearly voided that disclaimer.
As for Fr. Zdinak and Fr. Bobosh, as far as I know, they were both informed of the website at the same time you were. What they knew before that (since this website is not my own "personal" endeavor, but the labor of many) you will have to ask them.
Finally, Fr. John, let me ask you a question (to quote Archbishop Job): "What continues to perplex me is that the simple and most appropriate question was not asked... Are any of the allegations true, or are they false?"
1. What was Metropolitan Herman's accounting/financial credentials before assuming the position as Treasurer?
2. Who will be present at the meeting in mid January?
3. Who are the present members of the Metropolitan Council and how are they selected?
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman was born Joseph Swaiko in Briarford, PA on February 1, 1932. After completing his elementary and secondary education in the West Deer Township PA schools, he enrolled in Robert Morris College, Pittsburgh, where he received a degree in business administration and secretarial science with honors.
In addition to his service to the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Archbishop Herman has served the Orthodox Church in America in a wide variety of capacities. He has served as chairman of the OCA Department of Finance, vice-chairman of the Department of Missions; member of the Board of Theological Education; vice-chairman of the Preconciliar Commission; episcopal moderator for the Department of Stewardship; chairman of the Pension Board; vice-chairman of the Office of Inter-Church Relations and Ecumenical Witness; and member of the Lesser Synod of Bishops.
On September 29, 1999, he was named acting treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, while he served as temporary administrator of the Orthodox Church in America from May until September 2001, during Metropolitan Theodosius' medical leave of absence.
Metropolitan Herman has received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin and an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from his alma mater, Robert Morris College.
#2. The Lesser Synod is scheduled to meet on Friday, January 20th. Its members are: Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Kyrill, Archbishop Job and Bishop Tikhon (Mollard). Bishop Seraphim often attends as Secretary of the Holy Synod, but he is to be in Western Canada.
#3. The Metropolitan Council is the permanent executive body of the Church Administration Which exists for the purpose of implementing the decisions of the All-American Council and continuing its work between sessions. It shall consist of the Metropolitan as Chairman, the Chancellor, the Secretary, the Treasurer, two representatives from each diocese, one priest and one layman to be elected by the Diocesan Assemblies, three priests and three laymen elected by the All-American Council. Vacancies occurring among diocesan representatives are filled by the respective dioceses. Two alternates are to be elected by the All-American Council, one priest and one layman, to fill vacancies occurring among members elected by the All-American Council. All elected members, whether representing the several dioceses or those elected by the All-American Council, may succeed themselves in office for one term only. The Metropolitan Council may, between meetings, delegate a committee consisting of the Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer, and two other members to meet in conjunction with the Lesser Synod of Bishops upon their invitation, to discuss normal church administrative procedures. This committee shall report back to the Metropolitan Council concerning all actions and decisions. You can find a current list of members on the OCA's website.
This is a sad thing, but it is a necessary thing. I commend you for your efforts, which may certainly land you in the "line of fire".
Question 1 "When did it all begin?"
I would describe the financial reports given to delegates at the 9th AAC in St. Louis in 1989 as unforthcoming. Those were the first I had seen; there has never been any improvement.
It is my experience that this type of financial report is most commonly hiding something, and at the very least creates an environment in which it becomes tempting to hide things. I am not confident that problems did not exist significantly earlier than those which are being described here.
Question 2 "What exactly are we talking here?"
From my reading it appears that:
(A) Large sums donated to the OCA were placed into accounts under the control of Metropolitan Theodosius and subsequently spent in some way of which we have no record.
(B) Substantial credit card bills generated by Metropolitan Theodosius for which there was no (or inadequate) documentation were paid by the OCA.
These are simply two flavors of the same issue -- Metropolitan Theodosius was spending very large sums in some manner which the central church administration either does not know or does want to divulge. So...
Question 3 "What was the money being spent on?"
It is not reasonable to suppose that the money was being spent on charitable, mission, and other legitimate church purposes which needed to be anonymous, as was described. For one, apparently most of the money used was clearly not donated in this manner. Also, it would be simple to provide documentation on the spending of the money while still protecting the anonymity of donors and recipients... and it would clearly be in the best interests of the central church to do so at this time, in fact, long ago.
Nor is it reasonable to presume that Metropolitan Theodosius was simply a lavish spender. Had this been the case, some action would almost certainly been taken in the late 90's, as the situation got out of hand. Even if it has not, such a situation would not have required a "discretionary account" which was off the books. The implication here is that both the amount being spent and the manner in which it was being spent were inappropriate.
I am afraid that when the answer to this question is known, we are going to have a very, very serious problem on our hands.
Question 4 "Does anyone think this has not already affected the Church?"
As mentioned above, I have never found the financial reports of the OCA central church to be forthcoming. Moreover, while there are certainly many good people who have worked and are working with the central church, I have not trusted it to properly administer the resources entrusted to its care. As a result:
(A) I have never participated in the OCA health or retirement plans. The health plan has had scandals in the past, and the retirement plan is worded in such a way as to make it simple for preferential or prejudicial motives to enter into its administration.
(B) I have generally ignored OCA central church appeals, giving them only token support, making my personal donations directly to the seminaries, monasteries, IOCC, ICMC, and so on, rather than via the central church. I have also encourage my parish and parishioners to do the same thing. These revelations will only serve to reinforce these practices.
(C) I have worked with my parish council to establish a clear fund accounting system so that every gift is accounted for an it can be demonstrated that monies received are spent for the purpose which the donor intended.
I have always prayed for our church and its leaders and I continue to do so. Money can always be fixed. The real concern is the spiritual health of those involved, and those whose faith may be harmed by scandal. However -- it is imperative that all those involved understand that a cover-up is absolutely the wrong thing to do. We need to acknowledge what is wrong, put in place programs to remedy the problem and insure that similar events do not happen in the future. And we need to pray.
with love in Christ,
Fr Andrew (Last name witheld by request)
Mark: A comment about your reply to N. Skovran’s question (#3):
Document #5 indicates that the Holy Synod met during the All-American Council on July 26, 1999, but Bishop Seraphim, as secretary, “executed the resolution in behalf of all” on July 30th. Since there has been no disclaimer, one rightly assume that the hierarchs you listed voted for the resolution.
But, did the hierarchs know what they were voting for? In his November 28, 2005 letter (Document #41), Archbishop Job wrote:”…Your Beatitude, the only matter brought to the attention of the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council was the Metropolitan’s ‘discretionary account.’ No details were provided as to the amount of the money contained in the account. As a hierarch of the Holy Synod, I dealt only with maintaining a principle regarding the nature of a discretionary account.”
I understand what Nina said but these are all intelligent men addressing a very serious problem I have no intention of "trying" anyone on the Internet but do you agree that it's reasonable to think that someone should have asked more questions especially since the information re the discrepancies was out long before 1999. Wouln't it have been reasonable to bring Dn. Eric in and ask him what he knew about the problem?