Tuesday, February 5. 2008
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Have at it, Nikolai, the wolves are almost at your door!
Rex regnant sed non gubernat
#1 Felix Culpa on 2008-02-05 18:17
Reader Terenty's suspension is a sad but appropriate close to the latest sideshow in the carnival of arrogance known as the OCA. He should have never been put in the position where his personal humiliation was inevitable. The silver lining for the OCA, however, is that it was one of the best illustrations of how detached from holiness, prudence and reality OCA decision-making has become.
The announcement, you will notice, however, is terse to the point of misleading, and, of course, fails to acknowledge any error of judgment; still less does it offer an apology.
It is unraveling for them. I can only hope and imagine that some of the smarter people in the church are beginning to make the inevitable plans to convince the Metropolitan the situation is not going to become more manageable, but less, and that an AAC with him still in charge is simply not an option. The longer he waits, the more difficult -- for him -- it will be. He can even still be a healer, after a fashion, leave a legacy, but only if he starts now.
And in the middle of this +Nikolai presses charges against +Job. Madness. Instead of offering healing, our bishops blindly pursue their petty personal agendas and feuds while the OCA crumbles around their ears.
The time has come to stop merely documenting abuse, stop begging for change, stop complaining. It is time to begin working directly to bring about a complete change in leadership in an orthodox jurisdiction. Whatever forms have been followed, its every action cries that it lacks legitimacy.
Mark, keep up the pressure. The momentum has shifted. Can you feel it?
#2 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2008-02-05 19:17
Dear Bishop Job:
The bad buy Nicholai is trying to intimidate you with the threat of lawsuit. He wants to get you on the defensive having to respond to his bad-guy spew. This is an age old tactic to keep one's enemies busy. I have suggested that a group of lay and clergy meet with the U.S. Attorney in New York and get on with filing the Qui Tam lawsuit against those who stole OCA funds. This suit can be founded on tax evasion, among the possible complaints. Please do not delay. This suit has been delayed long enough. The discovery process on this suit will reveal much that is hidden by the wrongdoers. Their stories and obfuscations will eventually start falling apart.
#3 Anon. on 2008-02-05 20:34
Another round of "Nik hates Job". It's like a very bad situation comedy.
I guess the part in Holy Scripture where people are told to "turn the other cheek" doesn't apply to Bishop Nikolai.
I never would have thought that I would say such a thing to a bishop, but...Repent and prostrate yourself before your people, begging their forgiveness for your intractibilty, anger, apparent lack of humility and failure of love, before everyone recognizes that you, like the fabled emperor, have no clothes.
A successor to St. Herman you're not, though I suspect you could be, if you tried.
#4 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2008-02-05 22:22
Bp. Nikolai should recall before pointing the finger at Abp. Job that Paul Sidebottom was a resident of Kansas, in the OCA Diocese of the Midwest, and as such Abp. Job was entirely appropriate to investigate the situation involving a person from his diocese.
Yes, I realize that Mr. Sidebottom was from the Antiochian jurisdiction, however it is still in the Diocese of the Midwest. Abp. Job was certainly more appropriate to investigate the case than Bp. Basil would, given that the events involved the OCA seminary.
Abp. Job did the correct thing in my view - the only responsible thing for him to do.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
(editor's note: It is important to note that Paul Sidebottom was never under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Job; nor did +Job ever investigate St. Herman's. He received a report; he did not initiate it. )
#5 Marty Watt on 2008-02-05 22:28
So the Reader was suspended "in concurrence with the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Alaska"?? Someone correct me, but is this statement from the OCA saying that Herman suspended him? How is this possible if Herman is not his diocesan bishop? Something stinks here.
It appears to a somewhat trained eye that perhaps political and potential legal backlash prompted Herman to want a suspension, but Nikolai was unwilling to do so, so Herman did it himself probably telling Nikolai something like "let me suspend him and the Synod will not take action against you". (These are how things work on this Synod, let's not kid ourselves.) Yes, suspending him is appropriate, but Nikolai must be dealt with for his action of tonsuring him in the first place, and then defending it, and then in the end not being the one himself to correct the problem. I sure hope they don't think that everyone will now just act like the tonsuring never happened.
And why did take so long for a resolution to this explosive topic to reach the public? If he was suspended on January 17, why was it only made public on February 5 (almost 3 weeks later)? Again, something stinks of OCA here.
#6 Anonymous on 2008-02-05 23:52
Mark, I believe you are reading too much into the announcement on oca.org when you say that Bishop Nikolai suspended the reader. It's more natural to read-between-the-lines that the Metropolitan as Metropolitan, with the backing of the Synod, suspended the reader. In this context, "concurrence" is a face-saving measure for the bishop of Alaska.
(editor's note: My job is to report accurately, even if what is announced may not be. However, I think anyone with experience with the OCA Synod can read between the lines, as you have. Personally, I would not disagree with your assessment of the situation.)
#7 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 05:40
If there is any silver lining in the report that Bishop Nikolai had decided to proceed with charges against Archibishop Job, it is this: Finally the bishops on the Holy Synod will be forced to take a stand on a position that matters -- and the whole Church will know the outcome. If the Holy Synod deposes Archbishop Job, this should be the catalyst that finally mobilizes the laity. The people will have no excuse -- or inhibition -- to remain silent any longer, she next AAC will surely be a raucous affair in the true Orthodox tradition.
#8 Robert Wachter on 2008-02-06 06:36
Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we, the Faithful, belong to the "diocese" of the OCA, as a whole? If the office of the Metropolitan is the 'umbrella' overreaching all of us, then we are all part of the greater whole...
If this is so, then what I propose below couldn't be construed as "interference in another diocese":
I would be honoured to be part of a peaceful, 'political' action at Syosset on your behalf in May. The insanity within the OCA has to end, and if peaceful picketing for the TRUTH has to be the next step in helping Bishop Nicholai (and other episcopal ostriches) to understand this, then so be it.
#9 Larissa on 2008-02-06 07:14
At the May meeting of the SOB's, + Nicolai should be deposed. There are enough serious canon law infractions against him for this - not a suspension, but deposed. As for his action against + Job, this is laughable at best!
#10 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 07:20
Is there a regular reader of OCANews who works in journalism? Given that our heirarchs tend to respond to publicity, I was wondering what the effect might be if someone began regularly sending out news releases related to events in the OCA.
I know that there's an official person to send out official releases from the Church headquarters. But what about news releases from Orthodox Christians for Accountability? Perhaps sunshine brought in by the media would have a salutary effect.
#11 josephine on 2008-02-06 07:56
Does "two co-sponsors" refer to two episcopal co-sponsors? IMO, finding two other bishops to jump onto this would tell us quite a bit about the makeup of the Synod.
(Editor's note: Yes. It takes three bishops to begin the action.)
#12 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-02-06 08:10
So, the evil serpent, that wallows in the spiritual darkness, thrashes about again in Anchorage against Job. The only reason its done is vengeance because of Job's action to clean up that cesspool in Alaska which tore down the facade of Nikolai and revealed him for the spiritually bankrupt and evil man he is. To that, we thank Job and should support him completely. The ambitious Nikolai can never be Metropolitan even with his best laid plans, so those that led to his downfall have to pay a price. Prostrating and begging forgiveness at the feet of that monster was not enough for Nikolai. Now the anger is so burning within him that only the total destruction of Job will do. It so consumes Nikolai that he can no longer think of anything but destruction of those that are in his way. Of those that shine the light on his darkness! Is there any doubt that Job has been right all along? Nikolai would do well to retreat to a monastery and check his anger and his ill will and his hate – this is no way for a man who plays the part of a bishop to act. There are not many times in our lives we will see a man so consumed by anger and hateful passions to destroy other people, let alone from one that has been consecrated as a bishop. But, he never really believed anyway, it was all a way to satisfy his power hungry nature.
While serious, the price that Nikolai seeks to extract from Job pales in comparison to the harm that Nikolai could do if left unchecked. Vladyka Job, stand up and be confident that what you did was good and for the good of the Church. Any action taken against Job will be the act that tears apart this organization once and for all. All the bishops should tread lightly and seriously considers the ramifications before bowing down to the altar of Nikolai. He's a bully, he's Godless, HE’S the problem! The sooner that bishops recognize that the sooner we can move to remove Nikolai, not Job! Bishops that co sponsor this act of hate will be seen in the same light. It is unimaginable that any bishop would want to be a party to an act so against all the Church is. It is important that good stand up in the face of blatant evil and shine the light on the darkness which cannot bear to see it! When that light is shone, the serpent thrashes about as we see now.
#13 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 08:39
A convicted sex offender is suspended from “any and all ministerial duties in any parish of the OCA” in “accordance with the canons”. This decision is right and may God have mercy on us all. According to the canons it should never have happened to begin with because such a tonsuring is otherwise a conscious acceptance of immorality, disdain of truth and minimalization of faith. Thank God the laity spoke their protest. Thank God this time Bishop Nikolai found humility to uphold the moral principles of the New Testament concerning this matter.
Bishop Nikolai's actions against Archbishop Job are damaging to the OCA at large. If these two men as bishops are "Friends of the Lord" then let them build their resolve in the Lord who is One and not in one tearing the other down. A house divided against itself will surely fall.
What is the protocol for one bishop expressing concern for another's handling of diocesan affairs? Don't tell me you just keep quiet because that's not true!
#14 anonymous on 2008-02-06 10:28
I have observed the dealings of +Nikolai and I believe with all my heart that he believes he is working his way towards the white klobuk. Never has there been another who possesses more arrogance and lust for power. The marrow has nearly been sucked from the Diocese he now controls, so he has his eyes fixed firmly on the east, where there are people and money to draw from for glorious deeds and lavish livestyle changes. It may be that he worked a deal with +Herman over Terenty and will now have the current Metropolitan's support in destroying +Job who he sees as his strongest competition for the position. when +Herman is retired by the AAC events, +Nikolai will be available for ascention to the throne (humbly presenting himself for service for the good of the church). Imagine that if you can. And will his housemate travel east as well and assume the chancelor's job? Awards, vestment embelishments (trinkets) as well as suspentions and other novelties will be handed out like candy and beads from a Marti Gras float.
#15 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 11:35
I can't believe what I am seeing! Is the OCA trying to be more transparent or is it the usual letting us know only what they want us to. Stay tuned!
#16 MP on 2008-02-06 11:39
The article about +Nikoli pressing charges against +Job. Another example of the unity with the SOB. +Job's public apology was not good enough for him? Personally, it should be +Job pressing charges against him. His track record of the past several months does not bode well. And when you tie that into all the priests in that diocese who fear to speak up because they know the wrath of this egoist, enough said.
Let us see if +Nikon will jump as quickly to +Job's defense as he did to the parish in Ansonia. The people were not out of the assembly hall when he challenged them. Good people of Ansonia, stick to your decision. If this is the only way to get the attention of the hierarchs then maybe this is the way it has to be.
#17 Hal Pukita on 2008-02-06 13:07
During a time when there is such a lack of unity in the Synod, I would hope that Metropolitan Herman and the other Bishops stop any proceedings related to any claims brought by Bishop Nicolai against Bishop Job.
It would be more fruitful if our Diocese's helped each other.
Setting a standard to not interfere in the business of another Diocese suggests no parish in one Diocese could ever help a parish of another, or they wouldn't on the basis it may be interference.
Would this be God's will?
Or would it be better for Nicolai to ask Bishop Job to make amends for taking the calls by extending an olive branch like sister parishes for some of the weaker parishes in Alaska?
The more I learn about the OCA, the less I like its innerworkings.
If Bishop Job is tried in a Spiritual Court over these matters, the OCA could collapse. I know I will be even more lost than ever.
#18 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-02-06 14:05
If Bp. Nikolai actually gets two other bishops to sponsor his actions against Archbishop Job, I really don't know what I will do. Leave the OCA? Finally drop my "anon" status and scream my protests to my own bishop?
If such action is allowed to proceed, a massive protest must indeed take place.
What a thing to happen to the OCA during the Paschal season !
#19 AnonPriest (ArchD.ofC. on 2008-02-06 14:52
To evil good is evil. Christ is the devil's be-deviler. Which one, the bishop of Alaska or the Bishop of the midwest has manifested the things of Christ these last two years?
The Serbians put him out and we made him a bishop? Shame on us. We have been fooled once. Now this man who dresses as a bishop but neither acts as one or thinks as one, wants to depose the only man on the Synod that has asked for the truth. While the rest of the synod committed themselves to silence, Job dared to ask if the allegations were true or false. Twice he has been threatened with being deposed because of this and now we learn that Nick will take another run at Archbishop Job in May. This psudo-bishop of Alaska is counting on the continued silence of the synod that he enjoyed at the last quiet gathering of the bishops. Nick is a bully and the other guys just sit there and hope that it is not their turn to be in the crosshairs of Nick's upside down worldview.
What Nick hopes we will do is get fooled again by his misdirection. Maybe he by just stirring this non issue with Job he can divert our attention from the real scandals.
Will we and the Synod of Bishops be fooled a second time? There is no real threat of disposition of Bishop Job despite Benjamin's lack of sound judgement on this matter (as witnessed in the recent synod meeting in his siding with insanity). Where does Nick imagine that he will find the twelve Bishops necessary to carry through. Actual disposition may not be the game Nick is playing. Maybe he can divert some of us up and through the ACC. Maybe he hopes that he can neutralize the diocese of the Midwest by saying "disposition and Job" in the same sentence often enough to make some wonder if there is anything to the nonexistent charges. There is only a treat that some of us might be distracted from the real issues, of real evil, really being dealt with. Maybe Nick hopes that we will forget the charges of beating Stan up. Of stealing property that was not his. Of deposing clergy for righteousness. Of tonsuring those convicted for gross and immoral behavior. Of protecting a chancellor who propositioned other clergy for homosexual activity. Of instilling fear throughout a diocese and then imagining that the people there really love and care for him.
I guess I wouldn't want anyone looking to closely at me either if this were my life. I hope we will not be fooled a second time by this wolf in sheeps clothing. Nick is not sounding like Christ, He is not acting like Christ, He is not dealing with real sin like Christ. Nick fails the duck test and it is he that should be deposed. God grant discernment to the other Bishops and a firm resolve to call evil-EVIL. The people of Alaska deserve better. May God protect the righteous heirarchs from the lawless be-deviler of Alaska. Maybe the next time another jurisdiction has a cast off we will not be so quick to take it.
#20 Fr. Andrew on 2008-02-06 15:45
If there are two bishops in the synod of the OCA that would support Bishop Nikolai in his vengful and evil attempt to depose Archbishop Job, then the devil's work is very much alive within the synod. That Metropolitan Herman has repudiated the decision of Bishop Nikolai to tonsure an inappropriate individual as a reader, is a clear reflection upon Bishop Nikolai's poor judgement, and fitness for episcopal office. If anyone should be called to a spiritual court with the possiblity of deposition, it is Bishop Nikolai.
#21 Marc Trolinger on 2008-02-06 16:21
Qui Tam can' t be used for tax fraud.
#22 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2008-02-06 16:55
Every Straw, Every Last Ditch Effort to Remain In the Positition that there in~ It just makes me Sick! People have been Asking, for over Two Years Now! Let Me Rephrase that~ Begging for two years now for Answers~Where did the Money Go~ Its very simple to me now~The Money is still being Laundered to Keep the Cover ups!.... in place.
Sadly, Bishop Job remains a True Threat to the Point that He has to Now be Drawn into This? For What! A Simple Question or List of Questions? Are the Allegations True or False?
Out of Loving Oneanother and Trying to get the main players to Admit their sins and faults, Our loving Bishop has to now be placed on the block.
My Question now Is~ Who or Whom Will Stand for The Truth and Follow Jobs Lead? Are the Others Going to Past this Test in Gods eyes? Are the Faithful Priests, layman Woman and Children Going to Stand up Straight and Support our Only Leader that has Spoken the Words of the Gospel, or Will We All Watch as they prepare for him to be Crucified?
I For One Will Stand With You Bishop Job! Because I Believe In My Whole Heart Mind and Soul That God Is With You....
#23 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 17:07
I think this is a good idea. Mark is obviously a journalist, but whether he has plans to take his act on the road or not he hasn't said
We should have a media outreach in connection with reform, certainly for the run-up to the AAC at the very latest. I think there will come a time when it is going to be important to speak to the public at large with one clear voice on matters of importance to the Orthodox church. I have posted before how a letterhead, a media contact list and some warm bodies are effective in getting the news media to treat your issues ilke you want them to be treated.
The OCA understands this, of course, and I believe the suspension of Reader Terenty is about Syosset's best shot at spin control -- lame. Not to worry, there will be other outrages
The news media doesn't care about internal squabbles in a minor ethnic church, though. There are things that get their attention, however.
#24 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2008-02-06 17:12
There is simply no way at this point that +Nikolai is going to become the next Metropolitan. While that was very possibly the position for which he was being groomed before light was cast on this present darkness, even Nikolai can't be so obtuse as to not realize that his days are numbered. And any Bishop who sides with him in his petty battle with +Job will lose all respect within the OCA. Give it up, +Nikolai.
And to Reader Terenty: Please forgive the unkindness shown to you in some of the postings on this and other sites. Nonetheless, you must accept that yours is a situation that will require you to spend the rest of your life in repentance. This doesn't mean that you can't joy in Christ and in proving yourself before your fellow man--but it does mean that you can't be ordained. Accept that--and the fact that some will no doubt always question your position in the Church--but go on to grow in holiness and love for Christ. This pearl of great price is given to you freely if you choose to take it--only do so with all the integrity and sincerity you can muster. God will help you in your struggle. Cliché as it may sound, we are all sinners--and the truth is, we all need to spend our lives in repentance. The gift you have is that you know it. Don't waste this gift.
#25 Cathryn Tatusko on 2008-02-06 17:42
Action could also be begun by the Metropolitan alone (Statute of the OCA, Article XI, Section 7b, but note also the rest of this clause concerning the accuser).
Perhaps more important is that a deposition needs the agreement of TWELVE diocesan bishops, so if this came to trial the OCA would need to involve some bishops from other jurisdictions (Statute of the OCA, Article XI, Section 7e).
(Editor's note: More than likely retired bishops would be called back to serve....)
#26 Archimandrite Kyril Jenner on 2008-02-06 18:33
Any faithful Orthodox Christian, with knowledge of proceedings such as will exist before the Holy Synod, when Nikolai makes his presentation, must fully brief His Eminence Archbishop Job, as to how to handle himself. Nikolai will be allowed to make a presentation, but it should be summarily dismissed for having failed to present any fact in support of the canons alleged to have been violated. His Eminence needs such a briefing, as demonstrated by his apology for performing his own Godly duties, when presented with corroborable allegations of abuse in the Diocese of Alaska. The briefing should be complete with role playing, including someone playing the role of the arrogant and obstinate Nikolai. Nikolai's allegations are wholly unfounded; they should not be seconded; nor should Archbishop Job respond to Nikolai, in any way, because the allegations are without any merit, and , in themselves, should trigger the topic of investigation of the allegations made to Archbishop Job; an investigation that was never formally presented, consistent with customary due process and the "Best Practices..." the Holy Synod claims to have adopted.
If the Holy Synod is to claim any credibility, it must prohibit granting any merit to Nikolai's obfuscation. The Synod should move to the next agenda topic after Nikolai makes is allowed to state his allegations.
When agonizing over an individual and their evil ways, we must never forget their past as a lesson for the future. Nikolai is a "cradle Orthodox" but he did not "originate" in the OCA. Why did the Serbs not want him...? Why did the Carpatho diocese not want him....? Finally, he ended up in the OCA where a morally corrupt chancery and synod took him and quickly advanced him to the hierarchy. He acts as though nobody knows his past, but as the song goes "it's a small, small world".
#28 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 19:40
Josephine, I am a broadcast journalist, albeit only in radio and not TV.
But who is going to listen to a small-market reporter from the hinterlands of Illinois? Besides, I have a certain bias in the story.
Our small mission has enough to overcome without adding all the...ummm...."stuff" that has been occurring a thousand miles to the east (and however many miles to the northwest).
#29 Kevin Nikolai Payne on 2008-02-06 19:42
Poor Metropolitan Herman, to have such a flock...
An Excerpt from Wounded By Love: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios
We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. We need to do the same.
We should never think about someone that God will send him some evil or that God will punish him for his sin. This thought brings about very great evil, without our being aware of it. We often feel indignation and say to someone: ‘Have you no fear of God’s justice, are you not afraid of God’s punishment?’ Or else we say, ‘God will punish you for what you’ve done,’ or, ‘O God, do not bring evil on that person for what he did to me,’ or, ‘May that person not suffer the same thing.’
In all these cases, we have a deep desire within us for the other person to be punished. Instead of confessing our anger over his error, we present our indignation in a different way, and we allegedly pray to God for him. In reality, however, in this way we are cursing our brother.
And if, instead of praying, we say, ‘May God repay you for the evil you have done to me,’ then once again we are wishing for God to punish him. Even when we say, ‘All very well, God is witness,’ the disposition of our soul works in a mysterious way and influences the soul of our fellow man so that he suffers evil.
When we speak evil about someone, an evil power proceeds from within us and is transmitted to the other person, just as the voice is transmitted on sound waves, and in point of fact the other person suffers evil. It is something like the bewitchment of the evil eye, when someone has evil thoughts about others. This occurs through our own indignation. We transmit our evil in a mystical way. It is not God who provokes evil, but rather people’s wickedness. God does not punish, but our own evil disposition is transmitted to the soul of the other in a mysterious way and does evil. Christ never wishes evil. On the contrary, He commands, Bless those who curse you...
‘The noise of murmurings shall not be hidden’
Within us there is a part of the soul called the ‘moralist’. This ‘moralist’, when it sees someone going astray, is roused to indignation, even though very often the person who judges has strayed in the same way. He does not, however, take this as an occasion to condemn himself, but the other person. This is not what God wants. Christ says in the Gospel: You, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? It may be that we do not steal, but we commit murder; we reproach the other person and not ourselves. We say, for example: ‘You should have done that and you didn’t do it. So see now what’s happened to you!’ When we think of evil, then it can actually happen. In a mysterious and hidden manner we diminish the power of the other person to move towards what is good, and we do him harm. We can become the occasion for him to fall ill, to lose his job or his property. In this way we do harm, not only to our neighbour, but also to ourselves, because we distance ourselves from the grace of God. And then we pray and our prayers are not heard. We ‘ask and do not receive’. Why? Have we ever thought of this? ‘Because we ask wrongly.’ We need to find a way to heal the tendency within us to feel and think evil about others.
It’s possible for someone to say, ‘The way that person is behaving, he will be punished by God,’ and to believe that he is saying this without evil intent. It is a simple matter, however, to discern whether he has or does not have evil intent. It does not appear clearly. What is hidden in our soul and how that can exercise influence on people and things is a very secret matter.
The same is not true if we say with a sense of awe that another person is not living well and that we should pray for God to help him and grant him repentance; that is, neither do we say, nor deep down do we desire that God will punish him for what he does. In this case not only do we not do harm to our neighbour, but we do him good. When someone prays for his neighbour, a good force proceeds from him and heals, strengthens and revives him. It is a mystery how this force leaves us. But, in truth, the person who has good within him radiates this good power to others, mystically and gently. He sends light to his neighbour and this creates a shield around him and protects him from evil. When we possess a good disposition towards others and pray, then we heal our fellows and we help them progress towards God.
There is an invisible life, the life of the soul. This is very powerful and can have effect on the other, even if we are miles apart. This also happens with the curse, which is a power that works evil. But if, conversely, we pray with love for someone, whatever the distance that separates us, the good is transmitted. So distances do not affect the power of good and evil. We can transmit these across boundless distances. Solomon the Wise says this very thing: ‘The noise of murmurings shall not be hidden.’ The noise of our soul is transmitted mysteriously and affects the other, even if we don’t say a word. Even without speaking we can transmit good or evil, irrespective of the distance which separates us from our neighbour. What is not expressed generally has greater power than words.
#30 Anonymous on 2008-02-06 20:37
The OCA is an autocephalous church consisting of a number of territorial and non-territorial dioceses (or eparchies). One of the main questions facing the OCA is how much staff the primate needs as opposed to the dioceses.
I've started a thread on Orthodox Forum (perhaps I'll repost here) on the dioceses of the OCA, but that seems to have gotten onto the tangent of whether Astoria had a chorepiscopos at one point.
#31 Edmund Unneland on 2008-02-06 21:31
I first read OCA news what is now a long time ago. Straight from church, still in my overcoat, jacket and tie -- there must be some verboten website. Got to find it! The priest was furious that there was only one website we should use!! As Pravda was to the Soviets so is OCA.org to it's 2 million members. --- anyway, found Mark's site via Google of 'OCA financial trouble' and Bingo! (as they say in Catholic Parish basements)
I have appreciated the information, updates, and well reasoned insights from the contributors over the last few years. From 'our' contributing CPA's and attorney's, corporate types, and concerned women and men of the OCA Faithful.
Some of the men who have spoken up are also priests, not too common in the history of this scandal surrounding their church. All along the way month after month we would wonder with humor or alarm"can this get any worse?!"It did, and it will. But I won't follow this any more.
Whatever optimism I may have retained that this would be resolved has finally and slowly melted away. Like a cross of ice at the blessing of the waters. Millions melting into someone's off-shore bank? Cover-ups, hidden agendas, gay subculture, impotent investigations, kangaroo court for the sole perpetrator..Monk James' posts ..and forget the Bishops! Who's going to pick up the pieces of this mess? I simply don't know. I must now cease to care.
Was it far off Alaska's problems that tipped me into shutting down? Was my interest ground down when I counted nine months to the AAC -- only to be subject to more smoke and mirrors by the powers-that-be. Any OCA leadership has no more credibility left. That $lyosset cabal will never "come to Jesus" and do the right thing. With rare exception you clergymen remain silent. You should stand up boldly first as men, than as sheepish clergy. What kind of Christian leadership is in you?
But the money is gone, lot's of money that could have done a lot of good for OCA's 2 million members. That bold faced number alone shows the conniving types who run the OCA. Their cover-up is expert and multilayered, and I just won't follow the OCA scandal any more. Nothing positive. Nothing but more negative issues, with no resolution will ever come from the OCA in any restructure, transparency, or conference nine months away. They got away with it. Complain, petition, withhold, turn blue in the face. I drove down to Bethesda, excellent hard questions to Herman -- but I knew driving home a year ago that the fix was in and the fix was deep.
More assuredly with each passing day/ week/ month/year after year they pulled it off. It's over.
To those of you who have shared your experience, strength and hope on this site I offer my thanks. To those clergy who follow this site but keep your parishoners silenced and in the dark -- you should be ashamed.
#32 Jim Murray on 2008-02-06 23:27
Dear Anonymous et al.,
Canon 12 of the Council of Carthage requires that a Bishop be tried by no less than twelve (12) other Bishops plus his own Metropolitan. So unless the Holy Synod invites the requisite number of Bishops from other jurisdictions to sit on a spiritual court, neither Bishop Nikolai nor Archbishop Job can be canonically tried, much less deposed.
And whether anyone---including each and all of the Bishops---likes it or not, by Article I of its Statute, the OCA is required to obey the Sacred Canons. Further, according to a previous article on this site by Robert Wachter, U.S. legal precedent requires even hierarchical religious groups to conform to their governing documents. Failure to do so is, by these same precedents, actionable.
Bottom line: +Nikolai and +Job are stuck with each other till one or the other of them resigns, retires, or dies....which means the rest of us are stuck with a Synod paralyzed into inaction by internecine warfare.
There is a folk-belief (or maybe just wishful thinking) in Russia that if one serves a Panikhida seven days in a row for someone still living, on the seventh day they'll die. Hmmmm.
#33 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-02-07 05:28
I never thought I would agree with you When protestant ministers are guilty of abusing their power, the church quickly acts and resolves the issue. One minister received a years salary and had to leave the state. We have tried for two years to resolve our issues with the OCA. The Metropolitan has closed his ears to his people. He is determined to continue to enjoy the perks of his office. He puts his desires before the good of the church. The final question is would JESUS CHRIST accept what kind of stewart MH has been.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever
#34 Lillian Blome on 2008-02-07 06:50
Could anybody please explain why +Nikolai switched jurisdictions and how he ended up in the OCA?
#35 Karina Ross on 2008-02-07 08:05
#36 cshinn on 2008-02-07 08:36
Bshp. Nicolai only proves why the OCA statutes need to be amended. Everyone agrees he should be removed, but how? Did the Metropolitan Council have authority at one time to intercede in these issues? If not, why not? Apparently the SOB's can't do much over their own so who will step in? Do the Orthodox Christians of Alaska have to take issues in their own hands? Didn't RSK go to Alaska and have + Gula thrown out legally? ....
#37 Anonymouse on 2008-02-07 09:33
Can any of you finally see and understand what I've been saying for so long, "look at what Metropolitan Herman's had to put up with within the Synod of Bishops during his primatal leadership."
Is there any wonder why he's chosen to remain quiet on many issues? Perhaps his passive managerial style is what's really been needed afterall?? Just wondering folks.
His own Synod is devisive and sadly dysfuctional.
How can anyone expect him to lead when dealing with such behavior? One bully retired. He's still "dealing" with another one.
People continue to ask Metropolitan Herman to step down and resign.
In light of what's going on within the Synod of Bishops, Perhaps some of you need to really think about what you wish for.
#38 Michael Geeza on 2008-02-07 09:34
Kevin, there's news and "earned media." When the OCA comes to Pittsburg, someone is going to get a boring assignment to cover it -- or should. They will be happy to learn that there is a lot more to this story than a bunch of boring meetings. Other local media can be reached as appropriate.
I think if Syosset believes they are going to get a free pass on media relations they have much less incentive to do anything.
#39 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2008-02-07 10:14
Without getting into details, let's just say that aside from whatever Nikolai will say about it, the real issue behind it was that the other jurisdictions had the moral fibre enough to not want want a clergyman with a certain "immoral" reputation going back to his youth. This is why the events surrounding Isidore come as absolutely no surprise.
I am sure Monk James has details that he presents however and wherever he does (he may seem a little far-fetched at times, but to those who know some things about these bishops he does know what he's talking about). But, I don't believe any further graphic details would be appropriate in this website.
#40 Anonymous on 2008-02-07 10:55
Actually, this Canon only applies if the Synod of the Church cannot convene. Canon 4 of Antioch refers to bishops being deposed by a Synod. The OCA has a functioning Holy Synod which is quite capable of judging Bishop Nick.
#41 Cappy on 2008-02-07 11:00
Further to Cathryn's point, there are ways to serve that do not involve chirotesia or chirotonia (to use the Greek technical terms) that are nonetheless immensely powerful. The quiet witness of the yiayiades in the west of the church (grandmothers, or widows) is a great example.
#42 Edmund Unneland on 2008-02-07 11:18
You’re very right. In fact, he was with the GOA, as far as I can remember as well. A misfit bouncing around until he could find a jurisdiction where his temperament, ideology, and morals suited him. In other words, he came to wallow in the OCA’s filth and has made this his home for 20 years now. He’s really taken to our environment!
But, let’s talk about the canons and how that message that the OCA sent out is such a fraud. Remember, first and foremost, Nikolai is a canonical expert. This has been attested to by none other than the other great canonist, the former bishop of the west, Tikhon, himself. In the first case, Nikolai, in his authoritarian voice and air of superiority over all the other bishops, refused to attend a meeting of the Synod stating the canons prescribed that he stay home and serve a required Lenten service. Tikhon backed him up on this completely. They argued the timing of the Synod meetings was canonically wrong during the Lenten period and Nikolai was justified in his absence by those canons because he had to be at his home Cathedral to perform one of the canons one night during the Synod meetings. This was a big deal and a lot was said, but Nikolai stood firm, because, after all, this is what the canons required and he wasn’t going to do anything if it caused him to go against the canons. Who could really argue with that, right? Second, just recently, and its reared its ugly head again, Nikolai is going to press canonical charges against Job because he allegedly interfered in the workings of a diocese that was not his. Nikolai considers this so severe an allegation that he’s bringing charges (as bogus as those charges are) against the person who committed the said infraction. This is a man of strength! A man who lives by the canons… well, we’ll see how he does in that department.
Let us remember that Nikolai interfered in EVERYONE’s diocese when he sent out that fund raising letter last year which could be more properly characterized as a campaign flyer for when Herman had to step down. Did he seek permission from each bishop to send the faithful in other dioceses the campaign material? I didn’t think so. It’s quite funny now because we know he’s never going to get there – we know all about this guy now. I believe somewhere there’s a canon about clergy imbibing on alcohol, do we bring Nikolai up on charges for indulging in that pleasure? Of course not, because common sense is used! We wouldn’t have a bishop Benjamin if we kept to the canons faithfully! But common sense isn’t so common when an enemy of his needs to be destroyed and so the canons need to be used to defend the indefensible and destroy the God loving. After all, that’s what Christ commanded us to do, no? Christ did not command us to turn the other cheek, to love one another, and all that flowery stuff which has no relevance in our world. Hell no! Christ commanded us to destroy those that shine the light on evil, destroy those that try to keep the good order of the Church in a common sense and practical way. Christ taught us not love, but to destroy of those that do not agree with us. Christ told us to embrace evil! To join it! To become best friends forever with it! Come on, get real!
What did Christ really say? Christ told Peter that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church (Matt 16:18). I don’t get the idea he was saying this tongue in cheek or just in passing. Like everything else He said, He meant it. Vladyka Job, if you have any thoughts of bowing down again to Nikolai and being apologetic or to back away from this fight against the evil forces, remember what Christ said. Remember it. Take it to heart. Live it. A church that bows down to evil is not a church. A true Church is a Church that prevents the victory of evil against it! A true Church takes a stand against it and is not an apologist for evil! A true Church does not contort the canons in order for evil to prevail against it! Think about it. Of course, also, that Church has to be able to recognize it.
We must remember, also, that when it comes to lawsuits because of acts in one diocese, like any suits alleging sexual misdeeds, it’s the Church as a whole that’s on the hook for damages, not just the diocese. Before people go out condemning Job for these actions, remember that. Allegations of this nature are all of our business – unfortunately only Job recognized that fact. Tikhon, Nikon, Dmitri, Nathaniel, Benjamin, do you want your people to pay dearly for the shenanigans done in Alaska? Seriously? Any bishop who co sponsors these charges, are you happy and willing to pay the price when something bad happens? Are you ready to go before the press and explain why you sponsor getting rid of the whistleblower ? Are you ready to live on no money? Shenanigans which are in no way gray. Are we going to let Job take the fall because he was looking out for the entire Church? Let’s use some common sense here. Why do you think that Herman sent out that message saying the new Alaskan Reader is prohibited from serving in any OCA Church (and there is word that Mr. Dushkin served two days after the effective day of this suspension). Because Nikolai put a sexual offender within feet of children. And did so knowingly. A person who worked in an office of law enforcement would know this is wrong, no? Not because Herman is a guardian of the canons, but because if Mr. Dushkin does something bad, everyone pays the price. If Mr. Dushkin so looked at a child, people in New England could be paying a hefty price! THAT is the danger that Job tried to prevent. And for THAT he deserves to be cast out? Puh-leeze! People of right minds should be making sure their bishop plays no part in this immoral lynching.
We, the whole OCA, are liable for anything this guy does. And that is the reason why we must view what Job, who will be accused of going against the Church and its canons, in the most arrogant, condescending, and vicious ways, did as a good thing and support him. Remember that when he’s tossed to the lions. Remember this when he has to run the gauntlet of bishops who rather see him seared and tossed on the curb than go to face what Nikolai has and is doing. Remember that when he’s made to bow down and kiss the feet of Nikolai in the most humiliating of ways. He had better check his hair for spit when he’s done. Think of yourselves having to bow down to a person you know is bad and has done the wrong things. Put yourself into Job’s shoes. Would you be able to face the world with them knowing you bowed down and apologized to NIKOLAI!? It’s humiliating, its condescending, its un Christian. We bow down to no one, no one, but God. Why? Because no one is perfect except God. Especially not Nikolai…
So, Nikolai knows his canons, inside and out, forward and backwards and whatever other cliché we can think of. So, tell me, how on earth did this great expert in canon law even tonsure a reader when the canons said otherwise? This is no small matter. This cuts to the core of the duplicity of Nikolai and makes the entire thing a joke. Tikhon, in his defense of Nikolai’s canon defense for not making a Synod meeting, claimed that the canons are there for the good order of the Church. So, wouldn’t such a serious matter that involved a person convicted of a sexual offense warrant even the slightest lookup of the canons before the tonsuring? Did not men of 20 years of age have their way with minors back when the canons were written? Hell, wouldn’t Nikolai know it ALREADY without having to even research it considering he knows the most arcane of these canons like he knows the back of his hand? Where was Tikhon to tell his friend and proclaim to us that this was not canonical? Let’s face it, this was a flagrant disregard of the canons because the tonsuring of this guy yielded Nikolai favor, good will, and who knows what else in his dealings with influential Alaskans, the canons be damned! And now Herman is coming to Nikolai’s defense saying that it was now a breach, but of course, no body knew about it to begin with! So much for bishops who are there to defend the faith ,eh? But don’t forget about their suites at the next AAC, then you’re really doing something bad yourselves!
People, Nikolai and his ilk don’t believe in the canons and the good order of the Church unless its to defend a position that they have taken and then turn the canons on their head to defend actions which are in contradiction with the spirit in which they were written, mangling the original intent into a form unrecognizable. In fact, actions which are in contradiction to the commandments given to us from God Himself – the ten commandments prohibit more than is being done than the canons. Remember this when Nikolai tries to be all high and mighty and brings the barrage of canonical charges against Job.
Any bishop thinking of cosponsoring this vindictive and evil act against Job need remember that in the end, they’re not answering to Nikolai, and Nikolai isn’t going to be there at their judgment when they’re asked why they didn’t stand up against evil in His Church but rather played along with it; befriended it. They need to remember the verse above. It’s a mighty heavy burden to put on your shoulders. Mighty heavy. Not only that, its mighty telling of your own beliefs. How many of the canons have you broken that you can accuse Job of being wrong in looking out for the good of the entire Church? If one bishop can’t do what’s good when so blatant for the entire Church, people like Nikolai can never be kept in check and brought to justice.
That is exactly what he’s trying to do. That’s what this exercise is all about. The bishops, if they co sponsor this, will be digging their own grave in setting the precedent that no bishop can ever be held to account of his actions. EVER! We know why the best practices can’t be inacted. Because if they were, Job would be safe. Who’s the one behind preventing the best practices from coming into effect? Coincidence? We think not. If this goes ahead, Herman’s spigot of money will be turned off completely and permanently. Period. Herman and Nikolai, let those that have not broken a canon cast the first canonical stone at Job.
#43 Stonewall on 2008-02-07 12:38
To the faithful supporters of Archbishop Job, among whom I usually number myself:
The forces of Evil have unfortunately been given an opening by the Archbishop himself. His inappropriate "apology" and subsequent explanation are self-inflicted wounds for which he is now paying the price. Unlike most of you, I was horrified by his"apology" and capitulation over a month ago when all this was first reported and said so in a post that Mark and I jointly decided not to post. But the chickens are now coming home to roost and it will be difficult to retract what never should have been conceded or said, no matter how humble and well intentioned.
Just another example of misplaced so-called Orthodox piety. Needless to say, I condemn any attempt to prosecute, or more accurately, persecute, Archbishop Job by the Bishop of Alaska and his henchmen, who are a vile blight upon the OCA and the scourge of the faithful in Alaska.
#44 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-02-07 12:57
You sound strikely similar to Moses - who me Lord? Who am I out here on the back of the Midian desert?
#45 Rich on 2008-02-07 13:17
Yes, remember a fish stinks from the head down.
This is the problem in the OCA. The head needs to be removed before the body is totally incapable of functioning.
#46 MP on 2008-02-07 13:29
I am really saddened by your post. Everything you say is true and heart felt. However, my experience has always been that it is always too soon to quit. One never knows how close we are to a miracle from the Lord, if we will remain steadfast. There are thousands of sincere and honest lay believers, priests and yes,even bishops in the OCA. We have to think of the bigger picture. It isn’t about us - it’s about the Holy Orthodox Church. How about all those whose great men and women who gave their lives to advance the Kingdom on American soil? For their memory and "for the good of the Church", we should not throw in the towel. There is too much at stake. The OCA was birthed in a vision - an American Orthodox Church - with open to doors to all of God’s children who are searching for authentic and historic Christianity. Has the vision died? I don’t think so. Why don’t you stick around for awhile and keep praying and speaking out. We need good people like you to stay in the arena.
#47 Rich on 2008-02-07 13:37
This is the best news in the ocanews.org the last six months. Prayerfully, we may get rid of the sickness in the OCA.
Next, we get rid of Herman!!
Thank you Paul Sidebottom.
St. James - Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, MO
c - 816-853-8685
e - firstname.lastname@example.org
And was that Reader Terenty in the picture on the Alaskan diocese's website, serving at Theophany on January 19?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Not according to the US Attorneys with whom I have consulted. Talk to them.
#51 Anon. on 2008-02-07 18:40
I have read through several of the above comments and appreciate many of them on this recent devolopment about +Nikolai wanting to take +Job to task for "interference" in his diocese. These are actions, it seems to me, of someone just plain hostile and angry. This will only serve to divide our small OCA even more. This hostility and anger just shows me that the guy has something to hide, like some of the above posts have alluded to...
Any persecution of +Job will only make it easier for the OCA to actually split in two. Thank you +Nikolai. Is this what you want to accomplish? However, your evil actions may actually aid and abet in finally deposing you and +Herman. Us faithful can only stomach so much evil coming from our hierachs these days. The AAC will be the faithfuls' chance to more fully correct the abuses.
#52 Patty Schellbach on 2008-02-07 19:17
Sorry, but in a time of much smaller dioceses, the Canon assumes that a Province's Synod has more than twelve ruling Bishops; note that the Canon itself says "if any Bishop fall liable to any charges, which is to be deprecated, andan emergency arises due to the fact that NOT MANY can convene, lest he be left exposed to such charges, these may be heard by twelve Bishops..." The twelve remain the minimum number to try a Bishop, to be resorted to only when the full Synod (obviously, of more than twelve) cannot convene.
So I hope that neither our Bishops nor our clergy and faithful will continue to try to play fast and loose with the Sacred Canons. We keep doing so: we keep trying to take shortcuts to true justice; we keep denying the nature of the Sacred Canons as concrete expressions of the Faith once for all delivered to the saints; and we keep trying to be wiser than the Church over the past couple of millenia. And as Dr. Phil likes to ask, "How's that workin' out for ya?"
#53 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-02-08 04:23
ROTFL. Thanks! After all of this never ending scandal, I really needed a good laugh!
#54 Sophia Weisheit on 2008-02-08 06:20
The False Claims Act specifically exempts tax evasion. I have seen Qui Tam used for its intended purpose when doctors, for example, bad medicaid billing. U.S. Attorneys are perfectly capable of handling tax evasion as it should be handled -- a crimiinal matter.
Go ahead and give it a shot. You make might a lot of money if you're right.
#55 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2008-02-08 06:43
When you start talking about the evil eye, and the mysterious power of cursing somebody, you lose me. This is magic, not Christian faith. Are there any other pagan superstitions we should embrace?
#56 Scott Walker on 2008-02-08 09:09
First Draft of Response to Latest Bad Press -- Just Clean it up a bit toward the end please -- M.H.
The Orthodox Church of America, though his Beatitude Metropolitan Herman, wishes to address news reports concerning legal disagreements between church members in the Dicocese of Alaska. Two recent events there have invited the prompt intervention of the Metropolitan.
One was the appointment of a lay reader in a manner which may not have been in strict compliance with holy Canons. In order to remove any lingering doubt about the appropriateness of the appointment, the reader was simply suspended from ministerial duties effective January 17, 2008.
The other concerns certain allegations made against one church employee by another who had, unfortunately, been laid off. The laid-off employee’s allegation was nonetheless treated seriously, and the OCA immediately began its standard internal investigation, the results of which are still pending. Unfortunately, instead of waiting for the results of his church’s investigation, the former employee took the matter up with the civil courts.
Both matters were dealt with swiftly, fairly and in accordance with the best practices of the Orthodox Church in America.
The fact of the matter is, though, I am surrounded by disloyal and -- in fact -- diabolical people. THIS IS A PROVEN FACT!!! You think its easy running a 10-million member church while my bishops fight like chihuahuas in a meth trailer and get more press than Britney Spears? Ah, but I had you all at the strawberries. I proved with GEOMETRIC LOGIC that STOKOE had the key to the pantry. Withholding MY strawberries! We’ll see you at the next AAC. We’ll see how you deal with MY CLONE ARMY. Where did you THINK all that money went?
#57 Timothy Capps, Esq. on 2008-02-08 10:08
Religious leaders who apply religious rules very strictly upon their followers and to others, yet consider the same rules to apply to themselves only loosely, have a name in religious studies: cult leaders.
#58 Anonymous on 2008-02-08 10:21
Are you saying, in essence, "better the devil you know?"
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#59 Marty Watt on 2008-02-08 13:33
No, sorry, you're wrong. The Rudder is full of contradictions, but one doesn't necessarily trump another. The canon I mentioned states the Synod - doesn't matter the number of hierarchs, just the Synod. The OCA claims to be an autocephalous church with a ruling Synod, it doesn't matter the size of that body.
The Canons also say that a clergyman who refuses to break the fast shall be deposed. Since you're a monastic, I would assume you don't eat meat, ever, so therefore, by following one canon, you would be deposed.
Face it, the fate of Bishop Nick of the North hangs in the hands of the OCA's synod. No interference from ROCA, GOAA or the Church of Philip required.
#60 Cappy on 2008-02-08 13:54
If you find faulty my interpretation of the Canons (blatantly cribbed from that of St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth, as contained in the 1955 edition of The Rudder), please demonstrate from other generally-accepted canonical authorities my error; and I will confess it gladly.
If you find my repeated insistence on the importance of careful adherence to the Canons offensive, please understand my fear: that by "doing our own thing" in contravention of the Canons, we would be effectively separating ourselves from the rest of the Church.
If because I disagree with you, you accuse me of somehow trying or wanting to be want my own church (what you call "the Church if Philip"), you are being an emotional and spiritual abuser and bully. And as a survivor of long-term abuse, I tell you plainly: I do not fear you and I will not bend to your will: not now, not ever. Never again, kiddo.
And as for The Rudder being "full of contradictions," name six.
#61 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-02-08 15:53
Doesn't appear to be many Kool-Aid drinkers in the crowd. And that can be nothing but encouraging. Stay faithful, stay steadfast, and STAY AWAY FROM THE FAN! It's close to happening.
#62 Anonymous on 2008-02-08 17:51
Do you know who just you are talking about? Elder Porphyrios is venerated throughout Greece, including by many who were healed from illness or returned to the Church by his prayers and ministry. (As it happens, I know one such person; but in any event there are too many to count.) God made him His instrument in a special way, so -- although no one is infallible -- what he says should not be lightly dismissed as you have done.
With regard to his teaching on curses, it is clear from the passage he does not mean some magic spell, but a negative word or wish (cf. James 3:10; and don't forget Christ's having "cursed" the fig tree, at Mark 11:21). The Jewish people knew that such things were serious matters.
With respect to the "evil eye," I think you may have in mind superstitions such as the wearing of ostensibly protective charms in the shape of an eye, but such things are not what the elder means (as his audience would have understood). It describes a particular kind of demonic oppression that some call down on their neighbors. The devil is happy to oblige such requests, whether or not people know that they involve him -- as missionaries who have had to deal with the practice of witchcraft can attest. (Some good examples of this in modern times appear in the book Apostle to Zaire .)
We all (myself included!) have a lot to learn about spiritual life -- but this is why God sends us teachers such as Fr Porphyrios (and Fr Paisios the Athonite, who, incidentally, presents similar teachings about the above); whose spiritual authority He attests to by miracles and the profoundly Christian character of their lives. Let's not, at least, be quick to write them or their words off.
#63 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-02-09 02:01
I promised to repost something from Orthodox Forum. Here is the gist of it:
I seem to remember there was an effort not too long ago to look at the boundaries of the OCA's eparchies. I think this is somehow bound up with the question of the structure of the OCA as a whole.
One could have many dioceses, with a bishop in a large church functioning as both as a parish rector with a full-time salary from the cathedral (and with a supply or second priest to help with the parish when the bishop is away), and as archpastor to the other parishes in the immediate area (for which the bishop would receive a part-time salary from the diocese). The result of this is that you would need a strong staff in the office of the Primate due to the necessarily lean diocesan staffs.
One could have few dioceses, in which case they would be able to amortize a larger staff over more parishes. I think this would mean a smaller office of the Primate.
I guess it is possible to combine these approaches. You could have a Canadian exarchate, with vicar bishops being in effect parish priests with additional pastoral responsibilities.
Another issue is whether the Primate's diocese should be a
substantial one (with many parishes) or an almost honorary one (with few parishes). One drawback of the large primatial diocese is that alone among the dioceses, Washington and New York do not have the ability to convene and forward names to the Holy Synod. Instead, the entire All-American Council has that responsibility. One might say this is a diminution of the rights of the parishes in the primatial diocese to have at least a consultative voice in the choice of their hierarch, as their votes are diluted by the presence of all the other parish representatives.
This does not even begin to address the non-territorial eparchies and whether there is a time certain when they should begin the process of integrating into the geographically-defined dioceses of the OCA. The obvious difficulty is that many parishes, perhaps especially the Romanians, would then choose to join the eparchies set up in North America by the European patriarchates.
#64 Edmund Unneland on 2008-02-09 09:00
Christ could efficaciously curse the fig tree because He's God. He made the fig tree. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. God orders all things. Point taken about the Elder, but something is not necessarily true just because an elder says it. If I, God forbid, should curse my neighbor, say, in traffic, for instance, are you asserting that some demon is going to hop to it and carry out that curse? Sorry. Can't go there. If I, God forbid, curse my neighbor, that is an indication of sin in my heart, and I need to repent, but my neighbor need not tremble in fear of a demon because of my wicked heart. Any trembling should be on my part, for presuming to take the place of God. Of course our sins affect the whole world, and it that's all you're trying to say, we have no argument.
#65 Scott Walker on 2008-02-09 12:10
A few quick comments about Metropolitan Theodosius's health. His Beatitude indeed is getting medical attention but it is unknown what his status is. To diagnose his Beatitude's condition by restoring to rumor and innuendo is irresponsible journalism. Verify your facts before posting them online.
Also, it is reprehensible how little respect your Web site shows for our hierarchs. You should be asking readers to pray for the health of Metropolitan Theodosius. Instead, you use your post as an opportunity to further kick a man who is already down. Shame on you! Mark Stoke and his coherts have done as much to rip apart the church as early heretics of the church--Arius and Origen.
(editor's note: What was reported was what several witnesses present quoted the Metropolitan himself as stating last week. That is hardly innuendo, nor rumour. If the Metropolitan wished to deny those reports, or felt he was misquoted or misheard, he has had every opportunity to do so. He has not done so.
Secondly, you have no knowledge whether "people" are, or are not, praying for the Metropolitan. To assume the latter is to assume ill will where none is evidenced. As for "respect for the hierarchs", that too is a subjective judgement. Many who comment on this site would argue, not doubt, that it is more respectful to tell the truth to power, than to fawn over it.
As for the comparison with Arius and Origen; well, get a grip. While I would describe the comparison, like many comments on this site, as overwrought, you are correct in one thing. As with Arius and Origen, it is the lack of truth that is tearing the Church apart. If the Metropolitan(s), Bishops, Priests and Lay people involved would all just tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we would all be better off, no matter how embarassing or expensive the truth would be. For as the Lord Himself said: what gain is the world, if you lose your soul? And that is the real danger confronting us - not lack of respect, but becoming so comfortable with untruth we lose the ability to recognize, live, witness and do the truth.)
#66 Defender of the Faith on 2008-02-09 12:10
Your as much a "Defender of the Faith" as Henry VIII, who actually was awarded the title by the Pope--so much for infallibility!
I am praying that God will bring about the removal of most of the bishops from the Synod, if such be His will, and for their forgiveness and eventual salvation. But to accuse this website and its supporters/contributors as heretics and whatnot is not only foolish, but demonstrably wrong. You may even find, in the fullness of time, that it comes close to being a sin against the workings of the Holy Spirit.
#67 Anonymous on 2008-02-09 15:28
Since you are quoting from the Bible, here is something for you to keep in mind:
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye."
This Web site has become a forum for slinging mud and embarrassing the Church in front of the whole world. Yes, I'm expecting the usual rebuttal: "We have to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth." However, there is a proper way to deal with problems in the Church and Orthodox Christians for Accountability is not it. Stoke's scorched earth approach to "outing" clergy and hierarchs he disapproves of is causing disunity in the Church. Each week, it seems as if he takes delight in adding another person to his "gotcha!" list--and taking pleasure in seeing bishop feuding with bishop. Big Brother looks for dirt wherever he can find it. This Web site is more like a sleazy tabloid rather than a positive means of building up the Orthodox Church.
Again, there may be misconduct occurring at certain times, and corrective action does need to be taken, but it serves no purpose to air the Orthodox Church's "dirty laundry" for the entire world to see. Each of us has to be very careful of judging others as the above-mentioned scripture from the Gospel of St. Matthew warns. And each of us is guilty of that shortcoming from time to time. But it's one thing to do that privately and another thing to do that in view of the entire world.
This might be a good time for Mark Stoke to reflect on this sobering fact: we better be careful about wagging our finger at the other person; God is going to hold us just as accountable for our own actions. And those of us who put our energies into tearing apart the Church, rather than building it up will have a stern price to pay. Beware.
Put your energies into something more positive. Talk about the good things the Church is doing to help the suffering peoples of the world--and to save souls.
(Editor's note: Thanks for the warning and the threat. Perhaps it would be easier to "do something more positive" if there weren't people like yourself who still say "there may be misconduct" rather than admit there was. That your own position is untenable is betrayed by your own words. If "misconduct" did not occur, why "does corrective action need to be taken"?
This site judges no one; it reports their actions. Moreover, it is not "Stokoe's site", however much you would like this to be one person crusade, or impugn my motives or actions. Hundreds of people have written to this site; scores have contributed reflections, including some of the most well known clerics, lay men and women in the OCA. They are creating and sustaining the light that is shining in the darkness - not some guy in Dayton OH. And darkness, no matter how great, and vast, and dark, cannot extinguish the light. That is a fact.
And as Bulgakov wrote: " Facts are the most stubborn things in the universe." You would do well to stop fighting the facts, encourage those you know to admit them publicly, and then join with a waiting Church to rebuild on the firm foundation of truth - not lies, hidden or ignored. )
#68 Defender on 2008-02-09 16:13
Thanks for your reply.
are you asserting that some demon is going to hop to it and carry out that curse?
No -- and neither is that what the elder is saying about negative thoughts. You accept that each sin negatively effects all humanity. Why should it be difficult to accept that the sin of (willfully) having an evil thought about someone might negatively effect that person? For example, in St. Silouan the Athonite we read that the confessor must be careful not to judge the penitent before him even in his heart, because a spiritually sensitive man will feel it. And aren't there times when we do not need audiovisual cues to realize that we are in an atmosphere of hostility (or, contrariwise, of peace or joy)?
These are not merely psychological matters: they touch on the spiritual realm and the deepest mysteries of our nature. The spirit is a subtle thing, and we can affect each other in subtle ways: the point the elder is making is that our loving and unloving thoughts about each other have an impact in each other's lives. By just what mechanism of action? Just what sort of impact? We cannot answer these questions in this case -- but, of course, neither can we answer them regarding the effect each sin has on the whole world.
Note that negative thoughts (along with such related sins as cursing a tailgater) are in the elder's explanation merely analogous to the matter of what is called the "evil eye" (in Greek, "vaskania"), which is something much rarer and more serious. It was with reference to this that I spoke of demonic intervention. This is a spiritual phenomenon you might wish to study in more detail before dismissing, considering that there is an ecclesiastically sanctioned prayer of exorcism dealing with it, and considering the number of serious pastors -- including pastors, like the elder, of considerable spiritual attainment -- who attest to it.
#69 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-02-09 20:39
"Defender", A question for you - what is the Church doing to alleviate suffering and proclaim Christ in the world?
We gave money to victims of Beslan?
We gave money to victims of 9/11?
We exhibited humility and kindness to everyone we encountered?
We repented of our sins, like St. Paul?
We provided for our clergy and their families in need?
We supported seminarians in their quest to know God and share his Truth in Love with us?
We claim to have done these things, yet our claims (collectively, as a Church) are lies.
I would love nothing more than to say my Church did the right thing. Thus far, the right thing has not been done.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#70 Marty Watt on 2008-02-10 11:46
Thank you for your courteous reply. You have provided food for thought. May God have mercy on us all.
#71 Scott Walker on 2008-02-10 14:28
Defender, you sound exactly like any number of Roman Catholic defenders who waxed most eloquent about how their Church was being destroyed by those who had the curious notion that hierarchs, too, are expected to live as Christians. One more Scriptural citation: "God is not mocked." The evil that has festered in the OCA is going to be dealt with. Since those in authority within the OCA have elected not to deal with it, (always excepting the heroic Abp. Job) Caesar is about to take on the job. It's too bad that it has had to work out that way. It all could have been avoided a couple of years ago, through the simple and Biblical expedient of confession and repentance. Do you not understand that a wicked bishop or two tears at the Church far more than a few laymen with computers? Do you not know that every twisted thing done by Nikolai, Herman, Isidore, ex-Father Bob, et al is going to be shouted from the housetops, and that Christ Himself warned us about the impossibility of concealing sin? Be grateful that our little Church is not going to be chastened as was the Church in Russia in 1917, and devote your energy to prayer that God's will be done instead of slinging mud at those who are tired of thefts, lies and abuse from those we should be able to trust. "Talk about the good things the Church is doing to help the suffering peoples of the world." Who are you trying to kid? This all started because faithful Christians gave money to the Church, to help the suffering people of the world, and those in power stole it! Now, instead of doing good in the world, the OCA borrows money to pay off lawyers. Herman and his cohorts are, at this point, obviously far more involved in CYA than in doing good in the world, and prior to this, were far more involved in living la dolce vita than in doing good in the world. Do not pee on my head and tell me it's raining.
#72 Scott Walker on 2008-02-10 14:58
"Defender of the Faith"???? Wow...now we've got someone on here who's really off his meds.
IF you read carefully and can comprehend what is going on here, you'll see that Mark is not the one "outing" anybody. In fact, I know for a fact he takes out information from posts that could be seen as over-the-top (I know because I have included very blunt descriptions of these bishops and their "lifestyles" which I know about, and Mark has seen fit not to post those words and I respect his judgment).
Our OCA problem is one of closed-door policy. Some of these bishops are not the men they would have us to believe they are. And it is shameful.
You want to talk about putting our "energies into something more positive"? Then let's do that!
- Let's stop the thousand-dollar dinners for the bishops in fancy New York restaurants and feed the homeless.
- Let's stop the luxury suites and first-class travel for Herman and help a homeless shelter put roofs over peoples' heads.
- Let's stop paying out "hush money" to victims of clerical and hierarchical impropriety and offer assistance programs to help people...and let's not cover-up the actions of the perverts anymore!
THIS IS THE CHUCH! If you simply want to play church and feel like all is happy-go-lucky, then do so in your own home (or you could join one of those cult monasteries where the monks have all been convicted of sexual abuse, but they still talk about how God loves them for who they are, blah, blah, blah). But in the Church, there is no room for those who simply wish to cover-up such blatant disregard for even the most basic Christian beliefs.
#73 Anonymous on 2008-02-10 15:44
Will Met Herman tell Bp. Nicolai the same thing that his Paschal letter of three years ago said:
"Yes, there's problems, but it's Lent, so shut up, forgive, and forget about it"
...I wonder how Nicolai would feel if those words were directed at him.
#74 Anonymous on 2008-02-10 18:29
This is in the wrong place! It should be downthread replying to "Defender of the Faith". Please, "Fellow Orthodox Christian" this is not intended to be part of our dialogue. My bad.
#75 Scott Walker on 2008-02-10 19:32
Lighten up, the Church of Philip refers to the Antiochians. You see, taken in the context of ROCOR and GOAA, most don't think I'm talking about that noted "canonical scholar," the hieromonk Philip. I am sorry you are so sensitive and afraid of bullying, obviously the monastic life is best for you...it would be nearly impossibel to be a parish priest and act like you do.
Now, to enlighten such a "scholar" as you:
There is no canonical requirement that a Synod of a province compose 12 or more hierarchs. Quit saying that there is, for you are spreading falsehoods.
There is indeed canonical reference to bishops being deposed by a Synod. (Antioch IV). Again, no mention of that mystical number of 12!
This demand of yours for 12 jurors is part and parcel fo the revisionists' agenda. Rather than allowing the autocephalous OCA to handle her own problems, you want outsiders to come in to save Bishop Nick of Alaska. You should be ashamed.
#76 Cappy on 2008-02-11 14:21
Ah, typical abuser behaviour:
b. making false accusations, such as putting unuttered words in the victim's mouth (since I have never have claimed and never will claim to be a canonical scholar; I can just read and write and do a bit of cipherin');
c. when control seems to be slipping, ratchet up the preferred form of violence, in this case verbal and emotional. I lived with this long enough to know it for what it is. Pathetic.
Apparently you missed the direct citation of Canon 12 of the
Council of Carthage in a previous post. So let me cite the Canon in full: "If any Bishop fall liable to any charges, which is to be deprecated, and an emergency arises due to the fact that not many can convene, lest he be left exposed to such charges, these may be heard by TWELVE BISHOPS; or in the case of a Presbyter, by six Bishops besides his own; or in the case of a Deacon, by three." Attempting to play one Canon off against another and creating an utterly false dichotomy is invalid.
As for your suggestion that I am somehow trying to protect one Bishop or another,
a. that is not even close to what I said in my original post;
b. you have no way of knowing with any certainty whatsoever that I am trying to protect anything other than the integrity of the proper canonical order;
c. if I were trying to shield a Bishop against trial, how do you know that it would not be Archbishop Job (even if he is a Southsider)?
As for monastic life being appropriate for me, thank you. But the inference that somehow life within monastery walls is all gentleness and peace fails miserably to factor in the reality that monks entering the monastery taken their fallen selves in as well. And FYI, my current obedience is in fact to serve as a parish priest. On occasion disagreements arise, sometimes vigorous disagreements. But thus far anyway, we handle them without abusing one another.
#77 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-02-11 15:56
There is an obvious way for +Job to deal with the charges against him by +Nikolai: try them.
Say for example that +Job could waive the "three bishops" rule. It's little more than an indictment. Or better yet he could get a couple of "friendly" bishops (+Nikon?, +Seraphim?) to go ahead and co-sponsor +Nikolai's allegations.
Now we go to the Spiritual Court. What better way to discard these lies? What better way to show the inanity of this ongoing and farcical soap opera? If there is allegation, let the Plaintiff prove his case. Simple. Don't allow the innuendo to continue because the grand jury refused to indict! Call his bluff, Your Eminence! Make sure you are tried on these charges. Let no stone be unturned.
The worst case scenario is simply this: you would be deposed. We all know you wish to retire, and deposition would leave you free to "lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you…” (I Thess. 4:11) And from there the Body will do what is necessary.
Call his bluff!!!!
#78 AnonyCat on 2008-02-11 16:48
I never knew that Abp. Job was a Southsider. Now that I know, I figure he can handle his business with a Black Hat like Nikolai. The South Side of Chicago, after all, is the baddest part of town. Better stop now, as I feel a song parody coming on.
#79 Scott Walker on 2008-02-12 11:28
Fr. Dennis, I agree. The names of 2 bishops who brought the charges again +Job would be telling indeed. I am becoming apathetic about the whole thing but this deed might wake me up again.
I already have no respect for the Synod, excepting +Jop. Is there such a thing as less than zero respect? I guess disgust would be the emotion.
I came of age in the 60s. There was a saying then, "what if they gave a war and nobody came?" I wonder what would happen if when a bishop visited a diocese no one came? Repeatedly.
"If you love Me you will keep my commandments." "You can tell a tree by its fruit....does a good tree bring forth bad fruit?." (loosely quoted).
I am tired of some saying, "Thank God we am not like that sinner over there. At least we don't ordain homosexual bishops. (what?). At least our doctrine is pure."
Our bishops need to worry about obeying Christ in deed as well as word and about the stinking fruit around their tree. (Admittedly, as do we all as we begin Great Lent.)
#80 Linda Weir on 2008-02-13 12:55
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