Monday, June 23. 2008
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Sounds like that lawyer really trusts Herman.Does anyone respect or believe Herman? Very funny but sad letter , herman please step down so the church can get back some respect.
#1 Anonymous on 2008-06-23 17:52
The tenor of your letter appears to be very revealing as to the corruption that has settled for some years into Syosset. Good people are trying to now make a difference, but the old people (at least one person) still need to leave.
What you have written just seems to be the icing on the cake as to point out how ridiculous this whole administrative mess for the OCA has been.
As legal counsel to Fr. Zacchaeus and as son of Fr. Berzonsky, there is some type of true "ring" to your referring to +Herman, +Theodosius, and RSK as "Joey, Franky, and Bobby" of the Carpathian mountains. They all seemed to have a heavy hand in this mess and yet, with each new revelation, the truth continues to also be coming out, along with any further deceptions.
I think they just all got sucked into a 'mafia church world' that we really still know little of. It calls to mind Larry Tosi's words that if we knew the truth it would "kill" the OCA. That I truly and really highly doubt. If we knew the truth we would know how not to repeat it.
Thank you for sharing such emails with OCANEWS.org. Mark Stokoe is truly doing an amazing job helping us to get to the r-e-a-l truth.
#2 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-23 17:56
More entertainment from the people that brought us +Herman Swaiko.
Keep it coming Mark, I may give up my season tickets to the Mets!
#3 no name on 2008-06-23 18:27
This time, I think that I will take time out and go somewhere and weep. Perhaps prayer and tears are all that a retired hierarch can offer anyway, but all this is such a heavy cloud that can only be dispelled by the light of honesty and openness, no matter who is burned by the light. If those who maintain the darkness have love of Christ and the people, even a little, it is time to surrender the passion of self-preservation and let the light shine where it must, even if it means a sacrifice for the sake of the whole flock.
Mr. Berezansky is not the first to question the role of the Metropolitan and the actions (and very existance) of the SIC. He has managed to do it here rather more forcefully, and without a lot of the polite palaver that has afflicted us. We have to keep in mind that his email was probably not written with the expectation that it would be published on the internet, so we ought to compliment him for not having used worse language. Interesting read, just when things were getting a bit boring.
I wonder, though, is it necessary to make a big thing out of his assertion that Bp. Job gave his blessing for the Moscow videotape to be made? One assumes that Fr. Zacchaeus is in touch with his home diocese on a regular basis, and would naturally discuss his plans and actions with the bishop of that diocese. Cate
#5 Cate on 2008-06-23 19:10
1300.00 to get Zach back? Come-on folks! Just put the money in a censer and put a match to it.
More superior stewardship of money from Syosset. Thanks boys!
#6 no name on 2008-06-23 19:14
What a beautiful, well constructed, and truthful commentary. If only we could all focus our thoughts in such a direct and honest way. It is only thinking and acting consistently in this vein that will draw out the truth and force them out of Syosset.
--Sadly still anonymous, but gaining courage
#7 Anonymous on 2008-06-23 20:33
Geez folks, wake up and smell the coffee here. Job gives Zacchaeus a blessing to tape Kondratick, then Job pops up as the head of the first SIC, not to mention the one who was the first accuser of Kondratick. Why was Zacchaeus so worried that he tapes Kondratick (and others)? There is lots more to this story of which the son of Berzonsky (wasn't he too on the first SIC?) has tipped his hand.
#8 Anonymous on 2008-06-24 05:01
I must say that as much as I am against all these guys, and want them all out, I do want holy justice, and I want them all doing what is right within their limitations as men.
If Fr. Z is under obedience to +MH, why then was he in touch with +Job(presumably behind +H back) to get a 'blessing'? to run a clandestine video tape? Sounds like Fr. Z has been haning around the wrong types in Holy Rus?
I'll tell ya, no matter which way you slice this stuff, the loaf is rotton rotton rotton. SOB's RESIGN NOW!
#9 no ame on 2008-06-24 05:29
"...In case His Beatitude does not understand the significance of this latest achievement, I could explain to him how this implies an at least de facto rejection of the OCA’s Tomos of Autocephaly. There’s more to come, no doubt."
Vladimir has some revealing comments, but surely doesn't understand many things. His above comment regarding MP churches & ROCOR being included in SCOBA has NOTHING to do with autocephaly nor a de facto rejection. The OCA "IS" the only autocephalous church in North America and that cannot be rejected, dissolved, disputed, ignored, ratified or anything else - PERIOD. Trying to re-write history after the fact seems to be a Russian trait. It is very good SCOBA is being inclusive of all the Orthodox Churches in North America, but this loose working relationship of hierarchs has NOTHING to do with autocephaly. Once + Herman is removed, the OCA can recover and those still wishing to attach themselves to foreign bishops, so be it. Such an attachment only sets Orthodoxy backward in North America 50-100 years.
#10 Anonymous on 2008-06-24 05:31
I cannot help but wonder what does Mr. Berezonsky has to gain from this? Perhaps this is clouded by my aquaintance with him, and knowing that he is not without his own ...credibility issues. Syosset needs to come clean, but with him as a mediator?????
#11 Credibility? on 2008-06-24 08:16
I think we need to step back a minute.
I have not been kind to the 2nd SIC, and have always referred to them as the 2nd and politically inferior SIC. Allowing the first SIC to resign is absurd and Metropolitan Herman deserves the shame associated.
The 2nd SIC is probably trying to be thorough, but in this instance, it is certainly walking over a well beaten path in this man's opinion. Or is it?
I don't know the Metropolitan or his 'ways' of dealing with people. I have the benefit of not seeing any of the nuances of his past behavior, at the same time, I don't have an expectation for his inherent methods, if you will.
I found the attorney's letter to be worded strongly enough to convince the SIC they don't need to fly Woods back here.
I did end up with more questions, though. First off, the letter suggests Abp. Job was involved in the request for the tape being made well back into 2004. Am I misreading?
Second, if it is true that Abp. Job ordered the tape to be made, then he must have had some knowledge of what was happening some time ago. If that is the case, why would he ask the question, "Are the allegations true or false years later?". Did he truly know the answer to the question when he asked it?
Third, when did Woods come forward with issues? Were there issues prior to him coming forward first?
Sadly, the focus for me shifts to Abp. Job as much or more than Metropolitan Herman. This is pointed out in the letter well.
But we must think beyond the simplicity of an interview. Are we that wound up in political correctness that Abp. Job, full well knowing RSK had done dastardly deeds, felt it would have been too strong for him to demand he be tried before a Spiritual Court? Am I just missing the Metropolitan Herman cover up factor?
If Abp. Job is such an honest man, why doesn't he come forward now and explain how he got the tape and why he would have asked his questions in late 2005 full well knowing the damning evidence in early 2005. Is my timeline wrong?
Is this what Job means when he says he was 'weak'?
Further, if Woods and Job expected RSK to demand monies returned, what was the context of that expectation? Was it the simple fact RSK was returning to collect some cash, or was it RSKs continued pattern from prior events?
Further still, if Woods taped RSK demanding money, how many people weren't taped? Has the 2nd and politically inferior SIC called on those recipients?
No matter how you slice it, the OCA continues to appear corrupt, embedded in political correctness and hierarchical order, rather than truth and good works.
It kind of reminds me of the pharse of a part of the book of Genesis, where the author says that Eden is the headwater of 4 great rivers. We all know from the study of physical science that no source of water is so great to supply 4 great rivers. The text is simply wrong. Where it went wrong is the subject of greater debate, although those purists will argue the text is correct and should never be questioned. We've got more than a share of purists in our church. Metropolitan Herman and Archbishop Job have finally agreed there is a problem with the OCAs finances, but so far where things went wrong is still being debated under the guise of an investigation. Like Genesis, was it lost in translation, or was it lost in generations of storytelling? Fortunately, this story of the OCA will be far easier to tell.
You can't change history. The history of the OCA is that since the early 1990s at least, there has been corrupt financial practices and only a handful of those people responsible have moved on.
If Metropolitan Herman has been overtrusting and shielding RSK and Met. Theodosius and that is part of the problem, will the 2nd committee reveal that as an underlying issue? Why ask if when we know the truth?
It is time for Metropolitan Herman to...
"Take it like a man"
Take it away.
#12 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-06-24 09:04
Out of curiosity, IF Russia were to say one day "we made a mistake, we realize now we were wrong to think we could grant the OCA autocephaly, therefore we don't recognize it anymore", what would/can the OCA do then? Who do they appeal to? Will they just have to accept it, or can they appeal to someone else who will recognize them? And what would be the basis (documented precedents or Church laws) for such a stance?
Could they exist as an autocephalous Church even of not one other Church in the world, including the one who had granted autocephally in the first place, would recognize them as such?
(editor's note: Unlikely as that scenario would be (for once one starts de-recognizing autocephaly, where does one stop? As the Church of Finland pointed out twenty years ago, Constantinople no longer fulfills its own requirements for autocephaly...), it would leave the OCA unrecognized, but not out of communion with anybody....)
#13 Anonymous on 2008-06-24 10:17
An important and overlooked fact: what other jurisdiction has martyrs who died on our American soil (i.e. St. Peter the Aleut, St. Jacob) for the Faith of Christ? Who else has holy bishops like our St. Innokenty, St. Tikhon, and monastics like our St. Herman? Have the Antiochians been blessed with the Lord's martyrs from their ranks? Have the Greeks added to Orthodoxy in a missionary endeavor to save the souls of Americans? Negative on both counts.
In a word: everything that is seen in present tempest and troubles is simply the Hand of the Lord Jesus Christ winnowing His Beloved so that those who are not "Of Him" will be gone from His Body. Money is the currency of this world, and those concerns are not for the true lover of Christ; souls who are purified with the presence of His Holy Spirit and His Gifts for one another within His Ark will flourish as we set our hearts on Him. We pray for Good Undershepherds, and for repentance as a gift -"Blessed are they that mourn" - for each Bishop in question. And we the laity, must take heart and not go after Mammon in the form of mega-jurisdictions, or for which group has the "most money", "most influence" among the jurisdictions. The Lord had 12 Apostles to minister to the entire known world. We do not need numbers or money, but greater Faith, a purified Hope in only Christ, and above all His Love - great love and zeal for God in Christ, and one another - in this time of Winnowing. Let's begin to ask for these things and leave the others behind us.
#14 Voice of the Martyrs on 2008-06-24 10:20
My gosh. It just keeps getting better and better. Mark, I can't just understand why they didn't take that tape and just handle this all privately - removing Fr. K. and then Archbishop Herman from being Treasurer. What a mess! And, the real tragedy is that the regular work of the church suffers - its mission, its quest for unity, etc.
Metropolitan Herman and all of his bishops are failures. They look and sound scared. They should be. The judgement of God is coming. Gosh, they must be scared.
Metropolitan Herman is guilty and a coward. Why else would he not have a town hall meeting in his own cathedral in NYC and Washington and face his diocese?
An innocent man has nothing to hide - first thing that I learned from my father.
(Editor's note: the Metropolitan is holding a town meeting in Washington DC.)
#15 Anonymous on 2008-06-24 10:52
Well, so much for my vow of silence. This website has a narcotic effect that should be patented as the new truth serum or, at the very least, an irresistible inducement to post on the internet.
It was good to hear from my former choir directer after all these years, even under these sad circumstances, who with his characteristic bluntness has hit the proverbial nail on the head with his damning indictment of the Syosset mafia. And be assured with his background and connections he knows whereof he speaks.
The betrayal of the OCA legacy left by the distinguished emigrees Vlad references, remains an appalling crime that stinketh to the very gates of Heaven. It is also a fraud perpetrated on all of us who came to Orthodoxy based on the vision contained in that legacy. It will not be restored by further ethnic fractures that perpetuate the heresy of multiple jurisdictions giving lie to the biblical injunction that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek.
The continued anonymity on this site born of fear and worldliness only underscores the false vision that the OCA has now become. While it may still be "Orthodox" in some degenerate sense, it can hardly be called Christian when its precepts are those of the Evil One. It will waste away, as it should, unless it embraces confession, repentance and reformation.
#16 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-06-24 11:32
Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.
#17 Michael Strelka on 2008-06-24 11:43
The collapse of the OCA's autocephaly is becoming an increasing reality, but not overtly - not yet anyway. The evidence is in the small, quiet events which are orchestrated to begin to send the message that the OCA is no longer in a favored status with Moscow and the autocephaly's status. Moscow was the only major Church who was supporting the autocephaly (all the other Churches who recognized did it at Moscow's cue.) The acceptance of ROCOR by the MP, the refusal to allow any OCA bishops to serve at +Lavr's funeral, the inviting of +Demetrios (of the GOA!) to Moscow, and the subsequent acceptance of the MP into SCOBA (as well as many other events) all add up to the inevitable. Autocephaly is not an absolute - history is filled with examples of autocephalies being accepted, then not accepted, and then possibly accepted again - or not. While the repeated trips to Moscow by RSK (et al) may not have been popular, one can easily see the result of the OCA's isolation and subsequent bumbling moves. It is no secret that the current events of the last two years (and especially the out of control way in which they have been handled) have made the OCA the laughing stock of the Orthodox world. No amount of posturing on a website can or will change that.
#18 Anonymous on 2008-06-24 12:07
Obviously as Legal Counsel to Zaccheus, Vlad is saying in fact I live in Geneva and I am not a part of the OCA - I recommend that my client not talk to the SIC - the dog ate the tape and this is not the church of my father. In other words - I'm out of here. He is leaving Zaccheus to be counseled by his other attorney Makowsky who also represents Faith Skordinski - isn't this a BIG WEB.
I am certain that as time passes, they will all reveal more than they originally anticipated, and of course, Herrman is given a pass!
#19 MP on 2008-06-24 12:32
The lawyer's letter has truly left me with mixed feelings. He has raised some very fine issues. On the other hand, one can sense his anger which does cast a certain pall of suspicion. Is he just pointing fingers as well? It is hard to say. It is hard to distinguish fact from fiction in his letter. I really want to believe him, especially in light of so much else that has gone on in the OCA. However I would have found it easier had he taken a more factual, professional approach as an educated attorney rather than as an angry son of a priest.
#20 mixed feelings on 2008-06-24 12:34
My initial reaction to the letter was that Archimandrite Zachaeus ought to get a new lawyer; twenty-four hours afterward and some cogitation, my reaction is the same. That letter was unprofessional; while it may have shed some light on inner workings of the OCA hierarchy, I wouldn’t want anyone with loose lips representing me.
#21 Terry C. Peet on 2008-06-24 12:50
we definitely need an accurate reflection of how this all went down and when and why it was done in the fashion chosen
#22 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-06-24 12:55
But, "Credibility," people who post anonymously don't have credibility issues? I'm sorry, but I don't buy the many, many arguments that have been put forward in favor of anonymous postings to this site. At some point, we are all going to have to find the requisite courage to stand up and be counted--to let our "yes" be "yes" and our "no" be "no." As the scriptures teach us, anything else comes from sin. Might there be a cost to signing your name? Of course! There IS a cost to discipleship--and our Lord taught us to count it. In my view, these anonymous postings are just not Christian behavior--particularly when they are aimed at embarrassing another.
#23 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2008-06-24 13:47
the patterns of behavior exhibited by all parties named above, all of them (these patterns) can be traced back to the 1980's in one case, the early 90's in another and the 1960's in the third.
no one is looking.
#24 no name on 2008-06-24 15:21
As one who has long known the players and issues involved. I suggest everyone stop worrying about form and start focusing on substance. This concern about protocol and form and looking good and image, and, and, and is all just one big waste of our most valuable God-given resource: our time.
What we are now seeing, painfully, is what happens to a body that is so full of itself that it values form over substance. Sooner or later the sand shifts and the just house slides into the raging waters.
Lets try focusing on being salt and light and see what happens. I suspect the trivial, irrelevant and false-constructs will wither for lack of empowerment. We only empower them when we keep giving them all this attention hoping and praying that they will change. They won't, so dump them and lets get on with our calling to be salt and light in a needy world.
#25 Anon. on 2008-06-24 15:48
Regradless of autocephaly, ROCOR is certainly not standing still. From orthodoxwiki.org Russian_Orthodox_Church_Outside_Russia
Bishop Daniel (Alexandrow) of Erie, Vicar of the President of the Synod of Bishops for the service of Old Believers
Bishop Agapit (Gorachek) of Stuttgart, Vicar of the German Diocese
Bishop Peter (Loukianoff) of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America
Bishop John (B?rzi?š) of Caracas, Administrator of the Diocese of South America
Bishop-Elect Theodosius (Ivashchenko). Candidate for Bishop of Seattle, Vicar of the Diocese of Western America.
Bishop-Elect George (Schaeffer). Candidate for Bishop of Mayfield, Vicar of the Diocese of Eastern America.
Bishop-Elect John Shaw. Candidate for Bishop of Manhattan, Vicar of the Diocese of Eastern America.
A vicar bishop with his see in Mayfield, where +H had his first success mandating the new calendar - right in +H backyard.
And new diocese!!!
#26 William Kosar on 2008-06-24 17:21
I must say, you tell a fabulous made up story. I'll bet you even believe what you've posted. If you or anyone thinks that the OCA is dead or it's autocephaly, you should check what you've been drinking. ROCOR is dead! Who really wants to put themselves under foreign bishops?
#27 Anonymous on 2008-06-24 18:49
"All this is such a heavy cloud that can only be dispelled by the light of honesty and openness, no matter who is burned by the light. If those who maintain the darkness have love of Christ and the people, even a little, it is time to surrender the passion of self-preservation and let the light shine where it must, even if it means a sacrifice for the sake of the whole flock."
Words worth repeating, and truth worth heeding. Complete disclosure is the only way to restore trust and bring healing.
Fr Mark Hodges
St Stephen the First Martyr
If your father was so correct in saying that an innocent man has nothing to hide, then why are you hiding your name?
#29 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-06-24 21:49
In retrospect, I should have signed my name. It does not change my stance here - I know Mr. "Berezonsky" has shown himself in the past to be less than an honorable person. While I know people can change, I still cannot help but wonder what's in it for him to be involved in this mess, especially since he is an expatriate. I simply cannot see his involvement here as a positive, as many do.
#30 Wendy C. on 2008-06-25 00:08
After so much time, money and pain Herman refuses to do the right thing. He be known for his Hitler like reign - this is his legacy created by HIM.
With the AAC right down the road, where does this lead the people? Certainly the last two years has not done anything but destroy. Destroy the confidence, the unity and the stewardship of the good people. Much has been said and much has been written, but who can now believe anything that is coming from the central admininistration of the OCA.
If you want peace, prayer and leadership - go elsewhere and find it, for you know it is not fortcoming from the synod of bishops or the central administration of the OCA. The past two years has produced the evidence that as soon as a statement is made, it is proven inaccurate within a very short period of time. There is no confidence and trust.
Good people, move on for under the leadership of Herman more will continue. He will not admit the truth because if it was within his competence, it would have been stated by now.
The SIC will just confirm Herman's actions. They gave him a pass. Perhaps the only thing that may have an impact is when they receive the accurate contributing membership list - that should speak volumes!
#31 MP on 2008-06-25 04:26
Please point out what was made up and I'll be happy to correct it.
#32 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 07:17
You still haven't given your full name--I guess your stuck in Never, Never Land!
"Less than honorable person" covers a lot of ground and is really something of a smear without any substantiation or elaboration. Better to put up or shut up.
#33 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-06-25 07:36
Yes Anon, the first order of business is to identify yourself so your comments have "substance".
#34 Rich Kendall on 2008-06-25 07:45
An autocephalous church is an autocephalous church is an autocephalous church. That is, it is a fully, independent, governing church in a territory where it grew. The OCA is the continuation of the original Russian mission to Alaska and North America. There is no mistake!
What is this obsession people have with wanting to place themselves under the thumbs of foreign bishops? WHY?
#35 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 08:19
Frankly, I think we need to be willing to apply those words to the OCA. Anything less is just more of the same.
#36 A Priest in the Midwest on 2008-06-25 08:35
It seems to me that the horrible lack of financial accountability has led us to the present demise within the OCA. Financial accountability is really a very new concept for our tiny OCA as clearly our past and present (recovering)situation indicates.
We only recently have a CPA who is our treasurer.
The OCA carries a long, hard burden of having messed up books for decades. I have seen the damage this can cause when this happens just at the parish level let alone the central administrative level.
Because +Herman was such a part of that past lack of accountability, many have called for him to step down. I believe this would only help our recovery and regain our sense of trust.
#37 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-25 08:54
Thanks Mark. I think that many people get so defensive over the issue that they fail to think of that scenario. As you pointed out, nothing would really change.
We would be much better off if people wouldn't worry about "defending" the autocephaly in and of itself, and would simply focus on being an autocephalous Church. Then we would be recognized by our actions.
(Editor's note: On this we totally agree!)
#38 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 09:14
Autocephaly means nothing if no one acknowledges or respects it. Moscow (and its ROCOR), and Constantinople (and its GOA), are trouncing all over our rightful place as the Church in America.
The Romanians' departure, and SCOBA's admission of Moscow's American bishop are yet two more attacks on our Church's sovereignty and mission. They are further sidelining and marginalizing the OCA until it is marginalized into nothingness.
Metropolitan Herman has done nothing! He hasn't gone to bat for the OCA or for its autocephaly... perhaps because he is distracted by the financial scandal (bad!) or because he couldn't care less about an 'American Orthodox Church' (worse!)
Even Metropolitan Theodosius would have stood up to this ridiculous behavior and said "Enough is enough. Moscow: you granted us autocephaly. Now stop establishing new parishes, dioceses, and bishops parallel to the OCA - all of which violate that autocephaly you granted. We have enough jurisdictions we need to work through - we don't need any more."
Maybe he would've told SCOBA "Enough is enough. Moscow stepped off of SCOBA back in the 70's out of respect for our autocephaly. They have no place requesting that seat back."
Maybe he would've told the ROEA and ROAA "Enough is enough. Consolidating yourselves into a more powerful ethnic lobby doesn't serve the purpose of Orthodoxy in America. Rather it serves to strengthen Romania's treasury, and influence here in America."
I'm not trying to style Metropolitan Theodosius as some long-lost hero. But Metropolitan Herman should've said these things. But he didn't. I think that this will be remembered in history as the death knell of the OCA; the financial scandal will be remembered as a relatively innocuous 'problem.'
I admire Mr. Berezansky's letter for its eloquence and focus. Sure, he was a little sarcastic, but that was obviously not merely a "professional communication." He is filled with righteous anger at watching 'Carpathian Mountain' hicks dismantle the only hope we had for an American Orthodox Church.
Finally, ROCOR is not dead. In fact, I hear of some parishes that are dynamic, thriving communities filled with converts. In my own microcosm, I know a befuddling parish in Syracuse that is under the Patriarch of Bulgaria, but is more fully an 'American church' than some OCA parishes I've been to! How much longer before the OCA Bulgarian Diocese seeks transfer to the Patriarch of Bulgaria?
This isn't merely a frivolous political or economic complaint. The real reason for alarm here is a malfunctioning ecclesiology (actually, more accurately a heresy: philetism) which, in the long run, will only serve to damage the Life of the Church, and hamper our efforts to bring the Word to America. If you think this is just about "my team vs. your team" then you've completely missed the point.
The only way we can work on these problems (and see the OCA survive) is if we have a leader who actually cares about working on them. Everything so far indicates Metropolitan Herman is not that person.
(from St. Andrew's Church, Dix Hills, NY)
#39 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-06-25 09:36
Get off of it already. As the letter said, its "Frankie, Joey, and Bobby". If Bobby or Frankie had any integrity or loved God they'd come forth and show us the failings of Joey. All three of them are in this to their eyeballs and each one protecting the other and the enables protecting them as well. You can name maybe 10 people, any one of which, could start to make this right.
You have defended Bobby and have written once that he hasn't descended into the gutter with this. Well, let Bobby come forth and tell what he knows about Joey. Until he does what you say is about as meaningful as a particular piece of female anatomy on a bull!
#40 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 09:54
With all due respect, Vladyka, what you can do is to implore your brother bishops who are not retired to do something about this cancer we call our Metropolitan. Implore them not to cover up for him, implore them to try to make things right, implore them to live up to their episcopal responsibilties. Implore the priests who know about this, who with opening their mouths can start us on the path to resolving this. There's been too much weeping over too many ineffective people who all have something to hide. In any normal organization Joey would be fired, Bobby and Frankie would be in the pen. Not only in any normal organization, but in other Churches, whom we so often proclaim fall short of the fullness of faith and truth that we Orthodox proudly and arrogantly say is ours alone. We cannot set ourselves as the True faith, the True Church, and merely weep at this garbage. What does that arrogance get us? It gets symbolism without substance, for when we come face to face with the level of immorality we have we try to cover it up and pull the wool over the face of all those that truly find it abhorent. We fight tooth and nail over such IRRELEVANT issues as the calendar and whatever else and we look the other way when darkness is in our very church. It’s the darkness we are in this to combat against and to turn to lightness. We beg of the Metropolitan to retire. That’s like begging the dark forces to go away and leave us alone. That dog don’t hunt. We need to face this and we need real action at any level we can get it. For if we shirk before this everything else in our symbolism is meaningless. Meaningless.
No, weeping, Vladyka, take it to your brother bishops. We weep when we accept we’ve been defeated by dark and evil forces. We are obliged, by our faith to God, to keep that fight going til the day we are taken off this planet. We do not accept defeat, for if we did, our faith is in vain because we KNOW we’re going to come up against situations such as we have, so why even fool ourselves into thinking we’re going to have faith if we merely weep about what’s going on. The only weeping we should be having is not for the situation, but for our own weakness in faith to prevail over what’s going on.
#41 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 10:05
I would not be exxagerating in the least if I said that I wake up every morning with the hope that this will be the day I will see Joey and Bobby doing the perp walk, handcuffed, with a paper in front of their faces to cower from sight or be indicted. There is no reason, absolutely no reason, why at least Kondratick is not waiting to do 10-15 in a state pen after his 20 years for structuring (money laundering), illegal international movement of funds, and tax evasion. When he is firmly in the hands of law enforcement it will be a good day in the world.
Is there a statute of limitations on tax evasion? Remember, that's how they put Capone in the clink.
#42 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 10:38
Given a pass? Attending liturgy while in the altar, a cushy job as a parish coordinator, whatever THAT is, freedom (i.e. not being in the clink for a multitude of crimes) I would say that Kondratick's gotten a pretty nice pass too - gold plated, or maybe tanned like his hide. Oselinsky, Kucynda, all the rest, given a pass too. It's par for the course. If Kondratick finally gets his just rewards, you'll have a better argument against Joey!
#43 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 10:43
But why Los Angeles? He is to get a dressing down from Tikhon before he meets with the SIC?
(Editor's note: Several of the SIC members are from the West Coast; there is not always the need to come East.)
#44 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 10:45
Because of all of the Godly retribution that would be exacted by our ordained men of God!
#45 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 10:52
So in the spirit of light and openness, Fr Hodges, why did you sneak into the DOS without a blessing from the local bishop and then commune without the knowledge of that bishop? What was the purpose of you going to a parish in the DOS? Might be best for you to ...stop sticking you nose into matters that are none of your business.
#46 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 11:17
What anonymous has said may be very accurate.
The fall out from corruption can have its lasting side effects.
The resignation of a metropolitan may be the least of the OCA's worries. However, in the greater perspective of things. a worry, such as losing autocephaly, may become a blessing.
#47 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-25 12:01
Thank you for your response. Anonymity is of the essence of free speech and democracy. Battles are fought on two fronts - in the battlefield and behind-the-scenes. My thoughts and prayers are with change, as I myself work to advocate it. Please respect this, as I do your forthright commentary.
In many respects, I believe that by destroying much of the morale of the OCA, Metropolitan Herman is uniting the church in North America. Perhaps, by the Romanians and Russians working together with their respective Patriarchs, the Patriarchs in future generations if not sooner, will see the need for one here in the United States, if for nothing else, monetary and political unity.
I have great hope for our church, just not for our leaders. God will be the true judge.
As for me, be assured of my prayers.
#48 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 14:30
While I do not know anything at all about the character of Mr. B, the expatriate attorney, much about this document and the info it contains does raise questions.
I do not believe Mr. B wrote this letter expecting it to be published, but on the other hand, why would he be so candid and 'informal' with +Herman's administrative assistant?
One wonders how come +Herman is summoning anyone at all to the SIC session? As pointed out by Mr. B, +Herman was explicitly to be excluded from any 'interference' with the proceedings of the SIC2. That would mean totally "hands-off" in my interpretation. What we do not know is whether +Herman has also had involvement in summoning other witnesses to be interviewed. As Mark asks, if +Herman is going to summon Fr. Zacchaeus, in violation of his own rules, then why the heck has he not also summoned John Mindala and the former chancellor, RSK?
Of course, we wonder about the whole issue of having Fr. Z fly to LA (18 or 20 hours in the air, and more than $1300.00 for the ticket), when a teleconference ought to be able to achieve the same purpose, IF the purpose is in fact to have Fr. Z give testimony to the SIC. Perhaps that is just cover for some other meeting to be held less openly involving Fr. Z? After all, for less than the price of a plane ticket, a teleconference could include Fr. Z, his attorney, the entire SIC, Abp. Job, and even throw in a few Moscow cabbies and a diplomat or two.
Which leads me to the final question that popped unbidden into my mind when I read this intriguing document, this letter from Mr. B to +Herman's assistant, in behalf of his client: Why does Fr. Z need a lawyer to talk to an internal church committee? Has everyone interviewed by SIC2 had an attorney involved?
I would like to know the answers to these few questions. Cate
#49 Cate on 2008-06-25 15:10
IT APPEARS BISHOP JOB. THE BROTHER OF STOKOE AND COMPANY IS IN DEEP DOO DOO! THE WORD OUT ON THE STREET IS THAT BISHOP JOB SET UP MR KONDRATIC? WHEN DID JOB GET THESE TAPS? (2004)? WHEN WAS MET HERMAN GIVEN THESE TAPES? WHO HAS THESE TAPS NOW? WHY WOULD MET HERMAN GO SEE SOME DING BAT LAWYER FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY? IT APPEARS JOB KNOWS ALL THE ANSWERS? IS THIS ANOTHE PRANK BY JOB ? AND YOU WANT JOB FOR A LEADER? STOKOE! THIS WEBSITE IS A JOKE! AND SO IS JOB! THIS ATTORNEY CAN NOT PRACTICE IN THE U.S! ANOTHER jOKE! TELL THIS DING BAT ATTORNEY TO FILE HIS COMPLAINT IN COURT! HE WILL BECOME ANOTHER JOKE!
(Editor's note: The Archbishop did not "set up" Kondratick: he did that himself it seems. The Archbishop has already stated he gave the tapes to the Metropolitan in the Spring of 2005, at the first Synod meeting after he received it. The real question is why did the Metropolitan ignore this evidence for two full years? The FBI has the tape now according to several witnesses. Mr. Berezansky is not a "ding bat lawyer", rather, a well-known and published legal affairs expert on Russian banking. As a former lawyer in the DC area, I imagine he is still a member of the bar there, and is able to practice law in this country. And be careful what you wish for concerning his ability to file something in this country. Lawyers have a nasty habit of doing just that...)
#50 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 15:49
And so we have soemthing to talk about at the coffee hour on Sunday when someone's been slimed by the miscreants at Slyosset.... that's what we need more of!
#51 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 17:22
Sorry, Mr. Tobin. That's as far as I go. You can judge all you like.
Mr. Berezonsky's credentials are also questionable.....quite possibly the reason he is an "expatriate lawyer". Is he truly a member of the bar in any US state?
I want this mess cleared up as much as everyone else. But involving even more shady characters in an already discombobulated situation can only serve to make matters worse.
#52 Wendy C. on 2008-06-25 18:01
I agree with you completely concerning the Church of Russia's recent disregard for the autocephaly it granted almost 40 years ago. They need to explain themsleves. The OCA deserves an answer for these actions.
But as for the ROEA situation, you mentioned that Roumania wants to build up their treasury and power. In the proposal for unity that's posted online, it is clear that not only would the new metropolitanate be completely free in their administration, but it also places very strict limits on exchange of money. We cannot expect the absolute worst from the Roumanian Church based on fear and speculation. They are a fellow Orthodox Church and we should show mutual respect and love for one another.
Also, I think it isn't fair to "blame" Metropolitan Herman for this proposed unity. The official dialogue between the two Roumanian archdioceses has been going on for over 15 years. I think we need to be open to the idea that the Holy Spirit is at work within the Church. Maybe we don't understand or like particular things that happen between Orthodox jurisdictions or even within our local parishes (of course, I'm talking about spiritual and administrative issues, not criminal activity), but I'm sure God is ultimately in control.
#53 Anonymous on 2008-06-25 18:21
I think we now have an appropriate nom de plume ( pen or fake name for the literacy challenged) for Mr. ALL CAPS--the Archie Bunker of the OCA! Since he seems "married" to Metropolitan Herman, I guess this makes his Beatitude the real "Ding Bat."
#54 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-06-26 05:28
More wit and wisdom from the laugh-a-minute All Caps Anonymous Guy. This latest screed makes me think about the little All Caps Anonymous Guy, back in his school days. He was the one who was always asking if the teacher would be taking off points for bad spelling, bad punctuation or sloppy thinking. "The word on the street is that Bishop Job set up Mr Kondratic (sic)." What street? The Boulevard of Broken Dreams? Or maybe it was just the voices in your head. You rant a lot about jokes, All Caps Anonymous Guy, but the longest running joke on this site is your incoherent raging tirades. I used to laugh at Archie Bunker, too, but Archie was capable of kindness and occasional nobility. Every now and then he would even cut the Meathead a bit of slack. He was clearly devoted to Edith. It made him more human. Not a bad role model, really, All Caps Anonymous Guy. I hope that you are, in your private life, as fundamentally decent as Archie.
#55 Scott Walker on 2008-06-26 09:19
You are so transparent you do not sign your name.
At least I use my initials. Anyone can say anything and not own it. It is real easy to put someone down and step all over them anonmyously. You are not better than Herman or Kucynda making all kinds of accusations but not being forthcoming with proof. How would you know how someone feels in their heart - it is obvious you do not have one!
#56 MP on 2008-06-26 11:06
"My father’s church was brought to the United States by the flower of the Russian émigré intelligentsia. And my father’s church was recently taken out and shot by the Metropolitan and his buddies – for purposes of simplicity, let’s call them Joey, Franky and Bobby. Joey, Franky, and Bobby hail from the Carpathian Hills of eastern Pennsylvania. Joey, Franky and Bobby don’t go in for books like ‘For the Life of the World.’ Boring reading. Foreign words and expressions. Too many footnotes."
So his father's church was started in 1951 with the arrival of Fr. Schmemann from Saint-Serge? Or maybe a bit earlier with the arrival of Fr. Florovsky? Most proper White Russian émigrés didn’t hang with the Metropolia crowd—there were just too many of those working-class folks in the “Carpathian Hills” who didn’t know the refinement of real Russian culture. Those Metropolia Carpathos (a.k.a. the folks who increased the size of the Russian Church in America from a couple handfuls of parishes to hundreds practically overnight) often had an inferiority complex and tried mighty hard to prove that they were real Russians. Face it: Russian culture is well defined and more glamorous. As hard as they tried, though, these people usually just wound up with cheap caricatures of Russian culture and ecclesiastical life. It was in that Russophile milieu, not a straight-up Carpatho-Rusyn milieu, that the three individuals mentioned above were reared.
And while “Joey” and “Bobby” may have been more provincial in their experience and education, “Franky” left his little hometown on the western slopes of those “Carpathian Hills” and went off to the Big Apple to be a student of the "émigré intelligentsia" whom Mr. Berezansky holds in high esteem. I bet “Franky” even read "For the Life of the World" at some point in his career. He was definitely a proponent of Fr. Schmemann’s Liturgical Theology and was fond of the St. Vladimir's School of Liturgics; audible prayers, everyone saying AMEN! to the Epiclesis, and common recitation of the Pre-Communion Prayer were de rigueur at his liturgies. For a time, many viewed “Franky” as a progressive bishop who was at the forefront of implementing liturgical and Eucharistic renewal—or, at the very least, a useful poster-hierarch who would allow such things.
#57 Dumb Carpatho on 2008-06-26 11:19
In referring to Father Hodges' travel to the DOS, you must have been thinking about the rule or canon that regulates out-of-diocese travel. I can understand why the rule was established in the days of old as communications and travel were very difficult and thus were undertaken for the most serious reasons.
In these days, clergy do not need to travel to "stick (their) nose into matters that are not of (their) business." They can do that via letters, telephone, email, blogs and AV conferencing--all without the authorities intercepting their conversations.
In these days, people from Ohio do go to other states (believe it or not, we have the right to do so), including states that are not in the Diocese of the Midwest for many reasons that are not official, such as vacations, conferences and visits to family and friends. I have no idea what the protocol is when a priest travels outside his diocesan boundaries for unofficial reasons. If the protocol is 100% formal notification, regardless of the reason, then I would say that the protocol is ridiculously petty and should be discarded.
Regarding the good Father's participation in the services, it does not appear from your remarks that he acted in the capacity of the parish priest. Are you implying that he should not have participated in the Liturgy? Such as scandal!
#58 Carl on 2008-06-26 18:03
I know Wendy C., and someone needs to look into her questionable ethics!
(Actually, I have no idea who Wendy C. is. But see how easy that was?)
If you head to the website of the DC Bar, you will see that Mr. Berzonsky (he is listed under this spelling) has been suspended — for non-payment of dues. The site explains that members suspended for this reason will be reinstated upon the payment of a $50 fine (and attendance at a 12-hour course on practicing in DC if they've been suspended more than five years). His name (both spellings) comes up clean in their disciplinary database.
Not too scandalous.
I have nothing for or against the man. Maybe he's done some awful stuff in the past, and maybe you're smearing him without cause — but, with cause or without, it's a smear unless you substantiate it.
You — and others who make unsubstantiated claims here — are mucking up a useful resource and wasting readers' time. It is not appreciated.
This, vague allusions to gems, gay bars, priestly malfeasance, and whatever else — all worse than useless. News to reveal? Then provide your information to the editor, if you do not want your name known to everyone, who we expect will post it if it is verifiable by him and newsworthy. If he doesn't, you can come here, tell us this, and give your evidence. Or you can do so elsewhere — it's a big internet.
From now on, I'm ignoring postings like this. Maybe we all should.
#59 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-06-27 08:43
Its time to stop pitting Carpatho-Rus against the "Great Russian." Its shameful what the Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Herman, Metropolitan Theodosius, and the former chancellor Kondradick and the staff of Syosset has done. The Church of Christ is for all, convert, American(you fill in the ethnic group) infant baptised Orthodox. The demons are having a ball watching all of this. Its time to stop throwing the blame and have the truth be told and have the scandal cleared up, consequences taken. Those who were involved in the scandal should be removed from authority regardless of the level of authority given; parish to diocese to central administration.
It appears that what was occuring after the installation of Communism in Europe has re-emerged into national Orthodox groups wanting to belong to their roots. The Patrichiates want the American dollars for their central administration and do not want an American Patrichate. The Antiochians are still under the thumbs of their Patriarch. The laity have to lead the way to a real unified Orthodox Church in the United States regardless of its title. Because the clergy and bishops are not about to do it.
#60 firstname.lastname@example.org on 2008-06-27 10:03
You are right - the OCA has not had a leader for years. Theodosius suffered from polysubstance abuse and Herman is addicted to power. It's time to reorganize!
#61 MP on 2008-06-27 16:33
I agree. And, most regrettably, there is only one way to do it--end all financial and other support to those clerics and organizations standing in the way of unity and an independent North American Orthodox Church. Those members of the laity, and there are thousands, who continue to throw good money after bad, are enablers of evil doers and selfish prelates, and will be held accountable at the Last Judgment. Rather than seeing their financial contributions and other support as a "get out of Hell free" bribe or as dues to their favorite ethnic club, they should be treating said contributions as a scared trust and obligation that entails exercising probity and common sense. Wasting the Lord's resources, of which we are but stewards, is not good stewardship or a positive way to advance the real mission of the Church.
#62 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-06-27 18:02
Indeed. Let's not forget to have it shine on the history and track record of retired hierarchs as well.
#63 Anonymous on 2008-06-28 18:48
I agree and went to seminary with Met. T (not just Franky) who was a sincere and respected student. Yes, he espoused Liturgical renewal by mouth and deed even as a student. Well, we had him for many years and little negativity. God forgive us all.
#64 anonymouws on 2008-06-29 18:10
Perhaps someone could clarify a point for me. I understand that the Metropolitan was not supposed to participate in the investigation. Why is it wrong for the Metropolitan to instruct one of his priests (Fr. Zacchaeus) to come to the U. S. to speak to the SIC? To my mind, the analogy is that of the executive branch enforcing a subpoena --- having the marshals pick up a person who was ordered to testify does not constitute executive interference in the judiciary.
#65 Ed Unneland on 2008-06-30 14:55
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