Friday, October 17. 2008
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I found this today, which I thought others might find as interesting. It is taken from Fr. Bobosh's blog at http://frted.wordpress.com
"I have a few comments to offer to portions of the Holy Synod / Metropolitan Council Joint Session Minutes Wednesday, September 3, Friday, September 5, 2008 which I offer below.
The SIC report noted that 3 bishops did nothing when they were informed of the malfeasance going on in the OCA by Archimandrite Zacchaeus. Bishop Nikon took exception to this claim feeling unfairly singled out by the SIC.
“The report says that the hierarchs did nothing in response; however, Bishop Nikon stated action was taken by informing the Metropolitan who was Fr. Zacchaeus’ immediate superior. … In response to a question regarding whether or not any other action was taken, Archbishop Seraphim replied that it is standard to allow time for further developments before taking other action.”
It is interesting that the bishops took exception to a claim that they had done nothing, but when nothing happened as a result of what they claimed to have done, well, they did nothing again. And then throughout the years when Archbishop Job asked publicly about the truth of the allegations, not one of the other bishops was willing to stand by Archbishop Job or to support him in the synod meetings. Their actions speak quite loudly that they did nothing and then actively supported nothing being done.
The bishops themselves as the scandal first went publicly in fact said they had thoroughly investigated the matter and found nothing to the allegations. They actively participated in preventing the truth from being told. They all should have been publicly reprimanded for that.
“In reference to the report’s conclusion that Metropolitan Herman and Frs. Kucynda, Oselinsky, were treasurers “in name only,” it was reported that Metropolitan Herman did not receive a salary for his work as treasurer. He also did not sign any checks. Frs. Kucynda and Oselinsky both did receive compensation for their work.”
Interesting that when they were actually serving as Treasurers none of them ever denied being Treasurer, nor did they ever offer a disclaimer that they were Treasurers “in name only.” At the Metropolitan Council and All American Council meetings they stood as Treasurer making full claim that they knew what they were talking about. They carried themselves as if they were officers of the church. And if they now claim to be treasurers in name only, I think it is fair for the OCA to ask them to return to the OCA all of the salaries they received for they obviously should not have been paid for a job they weren’t really doing.
“Bishop Benjamin … noted that the mismanagement at the OCA Chancery had two different kinds of perpetrators: those who misused money, and those who knew about the misuse and did nothing about it-in particular those in positions of oversight.”
But those who knew about the misuse of money and did nothing about it, if they accepted pay for their positions of oversight is it not fair to ask them now to return the monies which they took form the OCA for a job that they didn’t do? By claiming they were treasurers in name only they are in fact admitting to accepting pay without having done any work. Integrity would say they should return all of their salaries back to the OCA.
“SIC members noted that in response to the question of why Metropolitan Herman kept the former Chancellor on for so long, His Beatitude said that he felt that Kondratick was a very gifted man and that under His Beatitude’s direction his talents could be focused and kept in check. It was also noted that Metropolitan Herman said that Robert S. Kondratick had such a complete control of the office that removing him would have broken down the entire operation.”
Met. Herman therefore accepts responsibility for letting Kondratick run amuck. He thought he could control him, but then admits only Kondratick knew what was going on. The incompetence of the Metropolitan is glaring and appalling. The metropolitan continued to blame Kondratick for all the problems, but part of the problem was that the Met. Herman thought he could contain Kondratick. Met. Herman should be held accountable for this most egregious error in judgment. It was the metropolitan’s failure that allowed Kondratick to keep control over everything. And even though Met. Herman knew the nature of the scandal he kept Kondratick in place so that the entire operation would not break down - in other words the metropolitan kept Kondratick in place so the scandal could continue.
“Bishop Nikon asked Mr. Wojcik if he had seen the Proskauer Rose documentation that is kept at the Chancery. He said that the Chancery administration had made it available to him.”
It seems to me that there was a denial by Met. Herman that any such documentation exists. There have been many requests from various faithful to have the PR reports released since they belong to the OCA not to the metropolitan. Release of those reports now that they are acknowledged to exist should be sought. The report indicated that it is known that there are other PR reports which were kept away from the OCA by order of the former metropolitan. These reports too should be retrieved and then as soon as is possible released to the entire OCA which paid for them.
#1 Anonymous on 2008-10-17 11:05
Bravo and thank you, Fr. Webster. I have been waiting for someone to expose the rank hypocrisy of the bishops' appeal for "mutual forgiveness" when there are malefactors and victims aplenty in this, but who has played which role is not ambiguous at all. Hiding behind, "All have fallen short of the glory of God" is simply dishonest.
A future of integrity for the OCA, or what is left of it, is completely impossible without an honest assessment of the current situation. What has Fr. Webster done that he needs to repent of?
#2 Robert Allen on 2008-10-17 13:16
Russia needs great Bishops far more than do we. On the direction of Fr. Hopko, I reviewed Hilarion's website and read a 2005 article that suggests just how fragile Orthodoxy is in Russia. It is like a new egg in an incubator. One startling statistic is that 70% of Russians proclaim to be Orthodox, but only 60% believe in God if I read it right.
I think a scholarly man such as Bishop Hilarion might be a good person to bring to the US to consult with the OCA in developing a strategic plan for the central administration, though.
How would the Russians view Hilarion in the future if he had served here? Would it reduce his chance of becoming the Patriarch of Russia, for example?
It is important that we be selfless and recognize all the implications of such a plan.
I'm not sure I fully understand clerics well enough to know how the Russians would accept him after the fact.
I'm also not sure whether his vision would eliminate our autocephaly.
Ask me, what we need is someone who has been a strong visionary, someone who understands the importance of setting goals and living up to them, someone who is candid to the point of being annoying. I also believe our next Metropolitan should be on a 3 year plan maximum.
I am not an expert on the human resources available, but I can think of two men that closely meet some of my hopes, certainly not all, though. I believe that both Abp Job and Bishop Benjamin have portrayed good leadership. Bishop Benjamin proved he can be independent, at least appearances are such, and I expected much less than what he did deliver, although what he did deliver was aided by the resignation of the first SIC, which was also a courageous and needed action that Abp Job was involved in.
As for the strategic planning for the OCA, I would like to see the OCA go outside its doors for some help.
#3 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-10-17 13:49
Re your final question: "What has Fr. Webster done that he needs to repent of?" My own answer is, of course, plenty--but not the scandals plaguing the OCA's highest echelons. Thanks, however, for your kind words.
#4 Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster on 2008-10-17 14:10
To be a candidate for Patriarch of Moscow one has to be a Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church (see http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?mid=165 clause 17 (a)).
#5 Archimandrite Kyril Jenner on 2008-10-17 15:02
If we have to look outside the OCA for a bishop to be metropolitan, as Fr Hopko suggests, it says two things to me. 1. The members of the OCA Holy Synod are not up to the job of being Metropolitan, and 2. If that is the case then we should NOT have an election for a Metropolitan at this time.
It is clear that Fr Hopko also does not endorse the movement to crown Archbishop Job as our next Metropolitan. Why else would he want to look outside the OCA. I would be very interested in knowing why he thinks that way.
Finally, why is it so essential to elect a new Metropolitan now? This OCA scandal will continue to unwind for a few more years. Would it not be best to let it unwind under the leadership of a locum tenens, which could be a rotating role among the members of the Holy Synod instead of it being the on-going burden for the next Metropolitan?
(Editor's note: Clever idea, but it guarantees nothing will be accomplished in the next three years. And that is not acceptable, for much has to be done if we are to come out of these woods. No one wants to "crown' +Job, but there is a realization among many, myself included, that he is clearly the best choice in a weak field. The good news is that we will have 4-5 more candidates to choose from in 3-6 years, which is when +Job wants to retire anyway. Given that our other choices are among those who admit to doing nothing, or are so young we would be choosing a Metropolitan for the next 25 years
(not prejudging them at all, but locking into such a long tenure for an unknown seems a bit unwise at this point) +Job comes out as the best possible option, no matter how you slice this cake. I think he will take a Hippocratic perspective on the OCA in the coming triennium: First, do no harm. That works for me big time.)
#6 Anonymous on 2008-10-17 15:10
I, also, wish to thank Fr Webster for his fine analysis of the Synod's letter of so-called "apology". Again, as has been said many times on this website, the tactic of deflection is getting really old and worn-out! Fr Alexander's examination of that deflection on the part of the bishops is most enlightening.
Furthermore, I also wish to give a rousing shout of support and agreement with Fr Ted Bobosh's comments, as shown on his website and posted here by Anonymous. As Fr Ted said, sure, the three bishops who spoke with Archimandrite Zacchaeus said they reported the discussion to +Herman. But, and, it is a big "but", when nothing was done, did they pursue the matter? Did they back up +Archbishop Job? Did they really make a full investigation at the time, as they claim they did? Of course, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding "NO!" Maybe they were functional bishops in name only. Maybe they were Herman's stooges! (Hmmm! They are three of them...)
Concerning +Bishop Hilarion as a candidate for Metropolitan: do you mean to tell me we have *no*one in the OCA who is a viable candidate? Are we so spiritually bankrupt that we have to contemplate the list of bishops from other countries? How can someone who doesn't live in America, hasn't lived in America, and has no concept of the perspective of people who live in America, adequately and functionally lead the Church in America? No disrespect intended towards +Bishop Hilarion, but our Church is just beginning, now, to shake off the old-guard mentality of the ethnic churchs in the old countries! We DON'T need to return there!! Let's stop being lazy and (as Rebecca Matovic warned) willing to settle for anything just to quickly close the lid on this Pandora's box, and make the effort to find someone, here in our OCA, to be Metropolitan, who understands the secular, post-Christian culture we live in, along with (as Fr John Meyendorff used to call it) our heretical situation of multijurisdictionalism, and lead us forward as what we are, the Orthodox Church in America!!!
#7 David Barrett on 2008-10-17 15:20
The issue with Bp. Benjamin in my mind isn't any fault in him personally, it's just that he's relatively young. I don't feel we're in a spot to commit to someone who would be Metropolitan for decades.
Caretaker somehow has a slightly negative connotation, but I think a caretaker is exactly what we need -- someone who will oversee a process of self-examination and reorganization, and then step aside.
One of the less discussed issues is how the former administration groomed candidates for the episcopacy that had enough flaws to be controlled --it's not an accident that the current Holy Synod is problematic. Over the next three years we will have the opportunity to select new bishops in several sees in an open manner.
In 3 - 6 years, we will be able to select a long-term Metropolitan from a broader group of candidates, and we'll have a clear idea of where we are going and what we need.
#8 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-10-17 16:30
Quite a sweeping statement "guarantees nothing will be accomplished in the next three years." I believe the only thing that needs to be done in the next three years is the complete rewrite of the OCA Statute, which can be done under the leadership of a locum tenens much better so that the next Metropolitan can truly have a fresh beginning and so too the OCA.
And lest we forget, the reduced funding for the OCA in the next three years would be less of a shock to the Church if done under a locum tenens then done under even a lame duck metropolitan.
Let the new bishops elected in the next three years be elected as the OCA transitions from "Phase I" of her history to "Phase ii"
No, I see little compelling reason to elect a new metropolitan now, which in fact would be the better guarantee of the "do no harm" argument.
(Editor's note: Blaming the Statute and demanding it be rewritten was always a hallmark of the Kondratick regime and its adherants like Bishops Tikhon and Nikolai. Unfortunately for you, a new Metropolitan is going to be elected, and it may happen the Statute will be rewritten - but if so, it will be done openly, transparently and honestly. )
#9 Anonymous on 2008-10-17 20:12
I had not wanted to confuse things by suggesting other names, but Fr. McMeekin emboldened me. I think Bishop Seraphim (Sigrist) is truly worthy to be considered for Metropolitan. I also note that the vituperative response by someone close to a perpetrator/enabler in the scandals made me think that someone "doth protest too much."
#10 Edmund Unneland on 2008-10-17 20:15
Please retain anonymity. I am convert led to believe in the sacredness of tradition and the absolute dedication and respect of the church hierarchy for their responsibilities. Unfortunately, I believed my instructors. I find to the contrary, that many of these holy men have apparently abandoned their vows and beliefs. I am left heartbroken and stripped of my certainty about everything Orthodox.
My local priest is a fine man but very reluctant to discuss any of these matters. Have you any consolation or advice?
(Editor's note: Start by sharing your concerns, such as above, and ask him why he is so reluctant to discuss these terrible events and actions with you, since they have clearly distressed you, and indeed, anyone who has been paying attention. If he does not take your concerns seriously, I'd suggest trying to find a priest who would be willing to deal with you where you in all of this. And if he is not willing, you must either choose to work through this alone, or find another priest who will help you. )
#11 Alice Price on 2008-10-17 20:24
I don't understand the point in doing any kind of investigation into the possibility of the "canonization" of Met. Leonty. The glorification process in the Orthodox Church always begins with a local veneration of the person, and there in none to speak of in the case of Met. Leonty. Sure, many believe he was a holy man, but I have never even seen one person visit his grave. Once a year the leaves and weeds are cleared away to make a grand spectacle on Memorial day. Thats it. What is the point?
(editor's note: that really says more about us, than Met. Leonty's sanctity doesn't it? I have heard stories as well about his sanctity - and even miracles - and I know many who do ask for his intercessions - which is the most important form of glorification I can imagine. This movement is not new, although perhaps has been given an urgency in the minds of some given our recent troubles. I say let the commission do its work and make their case. If the Bishops decide the case is made in a couple of years when the commission reports, they can glorify him officially, or they can choose to wait, or they can drop it. If they choose the former, and if the people don't respond, well, then worst that will happen is that his memory will quickly join the ranks of thousands of saints in the Church's calendar who are all but forgotten when the generation that knew of him fully passes. But if his glorification succeeds, and people respond, and his intercession is powerful, then all we can do is thank God for his mercies and wonders.)
#12 Anon. Seminarian on 2008-10-17 20:25
It's not unprecedented to transfer bishops from the Patriarchate to the OCA. E.g. Bishop Peter (L'Huillier).
Bishop Hillarion being the most liberal bishop in the Patriarchate, many Russians would probably be happy to see him "go". At the same time, he has done a great job standing up to Zizioulas.
#13 Anonymous in Russia on 2008-10-18 01:18
Bishop Hilarion is also very young--at 42, he is 13 years younger than Bishop Benjamin. He could well be metropolitan for 30 years or more. If we have any doubt at all about the direction in which this obviously gifted bishop would take us, it seems to me we ought to know much more about him than we do. And I believe we ought to think much longer than we have time for at present about electing a bishop not only from outside the OCA, but from outside our culture.
One of the things I believe contributed to the scandals of recent years was the collision of traditional concepts of episcopal authority and American culture. As a people, we are skeptical and mistrustful of authority and hesitant to bind ourselves to it without checks and balances. Just the traditional language--"ruling hierarch"--is problematic. If that hierarch really expects to "rule," as opposed to governing, which implies the consent of the governed, we can expect nothing but grief. We have plenty of recent experience to confirm this.
Bishop Hilarion is an awesomely talented and brilliant man. He may indeed be someone we would want to lead us in the future. I can't help feeling that a large part of his attractiveness for us now is that is is not a member of our Holy Synod. Should we ever choose him, let it be for what he is, rather than for what he is not.
Perhaps Bishop Hilarion could be invited instead to fill one of the currently vacant sees?
(editor's note: It is the tradition, if not always the practice of late, for the diocese to elect its own Bishop. If a diocese wants to elect him, great: but the Bishops to "invite" him, would be wrong on many, many levels, no matter his qualifications. If all the clergy and faithful of a diocese are to do is to say yes to the Synod's choices, what is the difference between a parish and an ATM? )
#14 Morton on 2008-10-18 06:38
Since the list of possible candidates is weak and +Job wants to retire within three years I feel we need to look outside the OCA for a fresh start. I disagree with Fr. Hopko on considering + Hilarion. While I admire and respect +Hilarion, the last thing we need is a foreign born Metropolitan who has very little experience as a parish priest. The candidate for Metropolitan has to be someone who is aware of the evils of our culture in America and is not afraid to speak out publicly on issues like abortion, homosexuality,and all other social ills . The next Metropolitan has to understand the importance of reviving churches in the rust belt areas as well as the establishment of missions in areas where no Orthodox churches exist. The next Metropolitan has to look at and consider Orthodox jurisdictional unity in America. We are at a historic crossroad in our OCA, and we as Americans are experiencing some of the darkest days this nation has seen in quite some time. After over two hundred years of Orthodoxy in America we are still unknown to the public at large! We are viewed as some exotic foreign religion. Its time we as Christ's Holy Church make our witness known in America. This can be done by setting aside foolish ethnic and personnel pride and opening serious discussion with the other jurisdictions. We need to fix our problems in the OCA and consider the big picture of Orthodoxy in America. More importantly, we need a Metropolitan and ALL Orthodox Bishops to start ministering in earnest to the Orthodox faithful as well as uniting our witness in this land. I advocate at this time we prayerfully consider laying aside our pride and let the Holy Spirit guide our SOBOR in Pittsburgh. I feel Bishop Basil(Essey) should be given strong consideration as our next Metropolitan.
#15 David Rudovsky on 2008-10-18 07:07
Asking those in the know about + Hilarion, it is obvious he is well-educated and this is a very good thing. However, he is also very much in favor of the current Russian idea of re-uniting all former Russian entities around the world under Moscow. The OCA is no longer a "Russian diocese" and never will be. An outsider with this mentality would destroy the OCA. In regard to candidates within the OCA for Met., + Seraphim not + Job is the best candidate. Although Mark doesn't think so stating that + Seraphim did "too little" once informed of the financial scandal, if you ask + Seraphim directly, I think you'll find out that the entire SOB were perplexed on how to proceed with the information. Slowly, more information became public and things ultimately changed.
What people should ask is, "Why didn't the SOB prepare successors?" The answer is three-fold:
1) the SOB left finding successors up to RSK
2) the US doesn't have a plethora of monasteries to chose celibates from (many monastics were orphans)
3) widowed priests were thought as a good future source
Well, monastics will still be hard to come by. It is time to go back to married bishops or having senior archpriests running dioceses. (Mitred Archpriests were in effect married bishops)
(Editor's note: Monastics are hard to come by, but WPA came up with one good monastic candidate.... I am sure if we started actually looking, others would appear. One just appeared in the South as well. I can think of two more, and I bet you can as well if you put your mind to it.
When you are told by witness that a crime is being committed, and then again by another, you don't wait - you report it to the authorities. Oh, that's right, what are you going to do when you are the authority? Nothing, I guess.
The Bishops are very quick to assert their authority, but oh so reticient to accept responsibility. Well, one implies the other. So, as the one who had more than a little to do with making this all " more public", I have to say your excuse for Achbishop Seraphim is the lamest thing I have heard in months. "Slowly, more information became public and things ultimately changed." You seem to be suggesting that it was making thing "public" that caused them to finally to make changes! Ouch! Try again, because that excuse does more damage than repair to their reputations.
#16 Anonymous on 2008-10-18 07:33
It seems to me that the OCA has created its own mess and must live with the shame. Those in the SIC report have not admitted their guilt - anywhere. Have they ? Not one person has returned a dollar -- have they ?
For YEARS the elite clergy have micromanaged the Holy Spirit, picking and grooming their own candidates for bishop and metropolitan. Father Schmemman and many others were heavily involved in all matters pertaining to the "management" of the OCA, directing every nuance. No room was left for the Holy Spirit.
The tree has rotted from the inside out. The branches and leaves lived for many years without revealing the terrible disease. Now the breath of God has swept it away, broken it down to the roots, and that's all that remains.
For all the years of posturing, preening, and screaming with pride "We ARE the Church in America" --- that same pride has brought everything crashing to earth.
Years ago bishops like Peter of New York and Basil of Washington were imported, but not at this juncture. Now, the OCA is the butt of jokes world-wide. If the Church of Russia even glances toward the OCA right now it won't be in order to rescue it.
(Editor's note: Thanks for that hate-gram to the OCA. Actually you are wrong on multiple points. First the OCA is not the butt of jokes world-wide. I have emails from clergy and laity in almost every corner of the globe asking how we did it - for as one writer from abroad put it - "The SIC's operation is, to my knowledge, one of the first "self-criticisms" ever within Orthodox Churches worldwide." Kudos to us for having the courage, strength and faith to engage in a public demonstration of all three rather than hiding our woes in terror that people might learn the truth. Unlike some, we can have the great unwashed look behind the curtain, because there they will find only Christ - not a government, church bureaucracy competing for power and money, or worse.
And if you think Peter and Basil were assets, I suggest you talk to someone who was in their dioceses during their reigns. Having been Bishop Basil's Admin Assistant for his first year in office, I sincerely respected Bishop Basil as a person, a confessor, and as a speaker - but he was terrible as a ruling Bishop. He was removed by the Synod after what, just 2 years? Not because he did horrible things, but horrible things happened because he just didn't get Americans or the American Church. I suggest you talk to those in the former Diocese of NY-NJ about Archbishop Peter's reign: he too, was a fine academician, ranconteur, etc. but AWOL in terms of money and presence. Looking to Europe has not been a great success for the OCA in the last twenty years. It is a lesson that we should not forget.
#17 disgusted with it all on 2008-10-18 09:12
An "egregious error in judgment" that Met. Hetman thought he could control and contain Fr. Kondratick. Was it not also an egregious error in judgment that Fr. Schmemann thought he could control Met. Theodosius???
(Editor's note: Perhaps. But the fact is that Metropolitan Theodosius did not engage in his egregious financial misdirections, until after Fr. Alexander's death. Whether good or bad, I will not judge: but the fact is, Fr. Alexander did control Met. Theodosius rather successfully, it appears. )
#18 Anon. on 2008-10-18 09:48
Absolutiely agree that Bp. Hilarion would only continue the old-guard mentality: that is the American old-guard idea that academic credentials trump spirituality. Has the academic community in the OCA not looked down on our bishops for all these years as being
uneducated and incapable of exalting the academic aspirations of SVS and the other seminaries?
Yes, Hilarion would certainly be a boon for the business of academia in recruiting and preparing priests, but who knows at what cost???? The Russian hierarchy needs to deal with its own areas of secrecy and corruption and stay out of the vision of the OCA.
Jesus chose uneducated men and taught them to rely on the Holy Spirit and His words, and with this as a guiding principle then be more than able to lead with wisdom the fledgling Church.
We don't need flashy academic degrees, and political strategists, we need a man of integrity, a true servant.
#19 Anon. on 2008-10-18 10:10
It is so exasperating to read comments arguing that this financial/ethical scandal is proof of the "failure of the OCA" as a concept. (Rebecca Matovic's reflection is an example.)
What a load. The financial improprieties of 5-6 men do not constitute a failure of the fundamental concept of autocephaly for the American Orthodox. If anything, this day of disaster has proven that the OCA is more resilient, robust, and necessary than even Schmemann might have thought. Financial scandals of greater magnitude have rocked ancient patriarchates; was their legitimacy revoked? No. Crusty and intellectually retrograde bishops likely occupy the preponderance of episcopal sees in the world. Do those infected churches become irrelevant? No.
Let's stop this self-defeating lament, running back to the "Mother Church" with our tails between our legs, as if children embarrassed after a failed runaway attempt. This attitude is retrograde... useless. Let's rally, finish cleaning house, raise up a leader from within our midst (not the bishop of Russian Western Europe) and come out of this storm a better, stronger, and more relevant autocephalous Church.
St. Andrew's Church, Dix Hills, NY
Student at Syracuse University
#20 Reader Nilus Klingel on 2008-10-18 10:15
Fr. Hopko is a very nice man, but he is actually a very poor judge of character. No offense to him, but I always take what he says about people, or people he chooses for positions, with a massive grain of salt. He doesn't mean anything harmful, far from it, he simply thinks that he can nurture people into doing a good job in a position which they are neither qualified for or are actually any good at. He's not the first person in the OCA to have this trait (quite a few bishops, and retired Metropolitan, have this same trait) and so I don't really blame him personally. We all know that Bp. Hilarion is an intelligent person who writes good books and can speak English pretty fluently, but does that make him a good Metropolitan? Does that make him a good Metropolitan in the OCA? (The two questions actually beg very different answers). To the first question, I would say yes - he could be a great Metropolitan. But to the second question, I would give an emphatic no - his track record in Europe being the bishop of an ethnically diverse diocese indicates to me that he would be a very poor Metropolitan in the OCA. Fr. Hopko, I believe, seems to think that Bp. Hilarion's mere intelligence is enough to "nurture" him into being capable to pastor people from many different backgrounds. But I believe that Bp. Hilarion is "naturally" a Slavo-phile and no amount of pan-ethnic "nurture" will change how he is naturally.
That being said, there are American monks living in monasteries around the world. If we really want an outsider, we can propose to elect one of them. Looking outside the OCA doesn't necessarily mean that we need to look at Russian bishops.
#21 Anonymous on 2008-10-18 11:09
I agree that we need to elect an 'interim' metropolitan, so to speak. We need to elect a godly, humble man who will lead us in the next few years. We need someone who will lead us all in continued healing and repentance. After that, we need to spend time figuring out where we want to go as a church, and who to elect as the next metropolitan. Generally speaking, I am not opposed to electing a non-OCA bishop as metropolitan, but for this coming election, 1) we aren't finished grieving and don't yet have a coherent vision for the future, and 2) we don't have time to properly search out and vet potential candidates. And I don't think that we should elect someone who hasn't been vetted by the entire church, and who hasn't been prayerfully considered by the entire church. So with Bishop Hilarion, maybe in three years we will decide that it is right to elect him, but now isn't the time.
So for now I say that we go with the best choice that we are currently familiar with, and that that person lead us until our church is ready to move past this scandal.
#22 Stephen Ullstrom on 2008-10-18 12:12
I know bishop benjamin well. He is not a bad man. In fact, I'd say he is a good man. But he only issued the SIC report because it was a job he was given. He had no desire to do this report and would have been willing for the whole scandle to have remained hidden. But notice, even though his preference was to ignore the problem, he still did his job and issued the report.
Having known him for years (and he is currently my bishop) I think there are a cople of things everyone in the OCA ought to know about him before writing his name on that ballot:
- His understanding of conciliarity is that the bishops are conciliar, everyone else obeys.
- He might disagree with the management decisions of a bishop or metropolitan, (such as hiring PR, mortgaging St. Tikhon's) but he believes the bishop has the right to be a bad manager. Only heresy/apostasy is a reason for getting rid of a bishop. In short, the church belongs to the bishops.
If all or even most of the bishops are good men there is no problem with bishops running things. But It seems to me that most of the bishops are not good men. I don't mean that they are poor managers. I mean they are bad men....
But I don't think the passions of democracy are a good thing either. We saw a spirit of party and faction arise very quickly in this scandal. I'm for Herman. I'm for Job. I am of Paul. I am of Apollos. Everyday we prayed for the "unity of the faith" but acted like warring camps.
More than anything, we (I) need revival. That is what I pray for.
#23 Anonymous on 2008-10-18 12:19
If we are to be truly an American church and independent, we must govern ourselves.
Are we so timid that we must look outside our church--even outside our shores--in the hope of a "miraculous cure" for our administrative frailties?
If that is true, the OCA already ceases to exist.
Why not just have our various parishes jurisdiction shop? There's certainly many to choose from.
#24 Paul Dean on 2008-10-18 17:38
Hmmm ... I believe my point was somewhat to the contrary of the one you took from my reflection.
Maybe I wan't clear -- I don't think we have seen the failure of the OCA as a concept and do not want to embrace any new direction in haste that while breaking from the past implies such a complete failure.
I think we can fix things, I think there is much that is right in the OCA, and I want us to take the time to put the organizational aspects right ourselves and not turn to an outsider at this time.
#25 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-10-19 11:56
You apparently have no idea of what you are talking about. First of all, the statutes of the OCA stipulate that ALL candidates chosen for the episcopate, MUST have a graduate degree from an accredited Orthodox seminary. For too many years the SOB's have ignored this and chose some who were sub-standard, poorly educated celibates. The result is obvious. Why go on with more points.
#26 Anonymous on 2008-10-19 12:55
You have this wrong. Fr. Schmemann never had aspirations of controlling + Theodosius. + Theodosius was the "best" candidate for Met. in 1970 and reflected all the things that the first Met. of the OCA should have. Fr. Schmemann was a theological consultant to the SOB's and attended all their meetings. When + Dimitri and several others forced Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff out of the SOB meetings, the problems which we now know, resulted.
#27 Anonymous on 2008-10-19 13:04
It took time for all the information to come out, be verified and made public. You have certainly been instrumental in helping to "clean house." However, inside the SOB's, a very close-knit group, it precisely took outside pressure for serious, almost unbelievable accusations to be brought to light. All the more reason the MC MUST assert it's authority to oversee the activities of church operation.
(Editor's Note: The MC must assert its authority over those responsibilities designated to it by Statute. No more, no less. )
#28 Anonymous on 2008-10-19 13:21
fine, then remain what you are(meaning the oca) nothing and nobody in the orthodox world. DON'T forget that FR.ALEXANDER SCHMEMAN, a russian aristocrat from europe,was the main author of the oca, the RUSSIAN CHURCH gave the autocephaly in the first place,mainly in order to missionize americans. while Fr. Alexander was a life the oca did enjoy more prestige amongst other churches. AND YES, SVS still is one of the best orthodox schools in the world and highly respected in WORLD ORTHODOXY because of it's emphasis on innovative,yet traditional orthodox studies,for example the use of modern biblical scolarship in scriptural studies. MOST GREAT FATHERS OF THE CHURCH, STS. BASIL THE GREAT, GREGORY THE THEOLGIAN ETC.... very also highly educated and brilliant scolars. it would be wonderful if the russian church gave us VLADYKA ILARION ALFEEV, he would be able to lift the OCA up again, as FR.SCHMEMAN did. i think that is why FR.THOMAS HOPKO proposes his candidacy. Fr. Thomas is one of last remaining true elders of the oca, we should listen to him.
#29 Anonymous on 2008-10-19 13:24
I should have said "perhaps one of the dioceses in need of a bishop could invite him..." Although it is the Holy Synod, as the last instance, that actually elects the bishop of each diocese, is it not? In any event, thanks for the clarification.
(Editor's note: In the last instance, yes. Thank you for your clarification as well.)
#30 Morton on 2008-10-19 13:59
Goodness, more sweeping statements assuming too much. And how would the rewrite of the Statute not be done in the light? And why the need to raise the ghost of Kondratick again? Sounds like the McCain campaign.
And quite frankly, your reply gives me even more pause that the only reason to elect Job, because that is who you think will be and should be elected, is the answer for the OCA in the short-term. I am not so convinced, especially as we grow closer to the AAC with more and more questions coming my way from clergy and laity asking if Job really has the makeup to be metropolitan, even a lame duck one for three years.
I respectfully disagree with your conclusions and think that prudence is more important then electing someone who is the lesser of evils. Not really a glowing recommendation. To stay the course under a locum tenens as we still process, unwind and look forward to the future would be best accomplished by not electing a new metropolitan.
(editor's note: Sometimes the choice is only between the lesser of two evils. I suggest Job because I have seen him transform himself in these past three years, and believe he can, with the Grace of God, continue to do so in the next 3-6 years. That is our goal as Orthodox Christians, no? Transformation? Well, as I have said privately to many the story of the last three years is not the story of Kondratick, or +Theodosius, still less of +Herman. It is the story of +Job, and how the man Kondratick & Co. put in the Midwest (because they counted on him not causing any trouble in the largest diocese of the OCA), woke up and said: "We can do better. We have to." I know he did, because I was one of the many screaming at him to wake up for all those years.
And you know what? He did wake up, and he has been faithful, honest, open, painfully so, in trying to the utmost in his capacities to make the OCA do better. And we are doing better than three years ago.
Is he talented like +Hilarion? No. Is he an academic, a born speaker, a natural administrator? Heck, no. But he is aware of his weaknesses, and not above asking for help. Fr. Schememann was once asked in class about +Leonty's style of leadership, and he said, given the times, +Leonty was not a disciplinarian like some, but was content to "let a thousand flowers bloom, in order that as many could, would." So, too, Archbishop Job. The OCA does not need a disciplinarian, nor someone like a "locum tenens" just to mark time. It needs someone who will encourage initiatives on all fronts, so that some might succeed. So that we might begin to as well... )
#31 Anonymous on 2008-10-19 16:18
I'm sorry, that was my imprecision. I meant to refer not to your whole reflection, but some of the comments you were considering, as you were aggregating many far-flung and disparate points of view.
It is time for the "OCA has failed" sentiment to die out, due to its invalidity. The first step down this path is for people to stop recognizing it as a legitimate opinion to have, at all.
Anyway, sorry for the confusion.
#32 Reader Nilus Klingel on 2008-10-19 17:15
Hardly a time for the Bishop of the corrupt OCA to start talking about other evils unrelated to the OCA Honesdale obligation if you ask me.
This would never be accepted David. It would be like highlighting the rest of the world so our own sins wouldn't show and that is certainly nothing I've understood to be true about our faith. In fact, Metropolitan Herman called some of us the devil for shining a light on our own sins and the sins of those close to us in the OCA and he got a deserved result.
Metropolitan Herman forgot one thing about what we've all been taught. I hope you remember.
If we got a Bishop that started preaching about the evils of the world before the OCAs house is in order, our population would surely decline.
#33 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-10-19 18:11
I don't know good Reader.
If the Metropolitans of the OCA are supposed to be the highest image and spiritual leaders of the church, I don't know that its unfair to suggest Orthodoxy under the auspices of the OCA has failed in its current form at this time.
We have a Synod who is actually willing to hear an appeal from someone that failed to participate in an internal investigation. Absurd, don't you think? There was one person against the removal in the joint session and quite a few for.
Accepting that appeal deserves further thought.
We have a Synod full of men that are complacent. The Statutes lend themselves to complacency. Lest one Bishop tread on another Bishop's wrongs, he be removed. The best among them, rather than making a reasonable demand for audits was forced to ask a question instead. This itself is a testimony, not to the character of the Metropolitan, but the set of rules. I can back it up, read further.
I'm not convinced the structures that supported the financial errors have been changed enough to make a difference either. The reinstatement of Fr. Searfoorce never happened. In fact, the Synod has never even addressed it, probably for the same reasons. Nobody wants to stick their finger in Nikon's proverbial pie. No money in it to coin a phrase.
The Metropolitan Council itself has not complained about the Searfoorce removal, but it is a thorn in the OCA until it is remedied or understood fully and I can be that elephant because I reject the removal as a third party observer. If he has already been replaced, then shame on all who voted or took part.
It seems like anytime anyone talks a tad tough to their superiors, they get canned in the OCA, or in the case of Kozey, refused the Sacrements. Even when its completely reasonable..
This is our greatest challenge as church. To [get the Bishops] to accept the tough language from people and either accept it, reject it, and move forward, rather than just plowing them down like a snowpile in the road everytime they speak for violating some newly created rule of conduct.
Dr. Woog didn't speak and that seems to get rewarded in the OCA. She'd get rewarded with a hearing from the Synod for her silence, but Fr. Searfoorce doesn't want to cross his Bishop further, so he goes away. Think about that a minute.
This is a terrible governance system. Simply junk. And you know what folks. Its all now post Herman stuff. The removal of Searfoorce could have been reversed the day Herman was resigned [sic]. Hearing the appeal of Dr. Woog is also post Herman.
So, Herman was the problem?
No way. We can't seem to govern ourselves, and the rules the Synod abides by aren't rules at all. The only success of the church was the removal of Bishop Nikolai, but look at what it took!
It took the threat of another Bishop's removal!!! This is a serious flaw. Remember I said I'd back up Job's weakness in the question, "Are the allegations true or false?" Job prostrating himself before Nikolai was evidence of our governance problems. The question was no different! It isn't evidence of Job's weakness, its evidence of a failed governance method!!!
When the Bishops of the church write a pastoral letter and suggest they are incapable of governing the church within its current set of rules, we will have begun the needed transition. I don't know that the Kondratick gang had the right change in rules planned, but I doubt it.
When you continually fix a wheel with broken spokes, you don't just keep replacing the spokes with new ones, you get a new wheel that doesn't fail so easily.
From my perspective, using the Searfoorce removal by Nikon, the Woog appeal accepted by the Synod, the means to the Nikolai removal with another Bishop threatened with removal, and the means Job was required to follow visavie questioning finances as support to my perspective, our church simply cannot govern itself within its current framework of rules.
Some might disagree that hearing an appeal is the opposite, but it isn't. The entire Synod should have acted against the removal of Searfoorce and they already acted on the Woog matter. In fact, I don't understand how Dr. Woog even gets to address the Synod.
#34 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-10-19 19:28
Importing bishops? People here must remember that we have imported bishops and candidates previously and please examine their records. + Gula for Alaska from the Carpatho-Russians; + Nicolai from the Carpatho-Russians and Serbs; + Peter from France; etc. Were these good choices? Not really. So what's the answer? We need to have bishops who are tried and proven by their ministry. If good candidates aren't readily recognized for the episcopate, then let the senior archpriests administer.
#35 Anonymous on 2008-10-20 05:35
In looking ouside the OCA, should we not seriously consider and scrutinize. for "where there's smoke, there's fire"; and we don't want to end up "out of the frying pan and into the fire"
#36 Anon. on 2008-10-20 05:45
One thing I forgot to mention in Bishop Hilarion's favor is that Vienna is at least as multi-cultural a city as Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York. (Multi-cultural, as opposed to merely multi-ethnic.) Having lived half of my adult life in Vienna and the other half in New York (and being from LA originally) I can attest to this.
#37 Morton on 2008-10-20 07:53
The enemy of one's enemy may be a friend, but that doesn't necessarily make them a very good friend. People who dislike the "perps" and have congenially talked with Sigrist (of whom I am one) don't want him to be Metropolitan any more than the "perps". My reasons why I would not want him to be Metropolitan likely differs from the reasons the "perps" have, but that doesn't change the fact that many people who know him agree that he would make a poor Metropolitan.
On the other hand, if we are looking for a roaming bishop to crown, Lazar Puhalo is a good one in my opinion. His canonical background might make him a bit of a gamble (i.e. others may try to make a case questioning the authenticity of his orders) and not everyone agrees with his stances on issues. But hey, at least he has stances and is willing to think them through and put them out there, and then accept the criticism. I don't see any member of the the current HSOB doing any of those things except simply jumping to stances and then equivocating on them until we are all hopelessly confused. Lazar is a gentle man with an insightful character, we could be better off by having him around the administration, "CCA", more often.
#38 Anonymous on 2008-10-20 08:32
Nicely said Stephen! My one comment would be: We need to ask: Where does THE LORD want us to go in the next few years! It may sound like a subtle distinction, but I believe it is an important one. We need to ask: What does the LORD want of us?! A man who is suitable to be metropolitan will be THE one who can give an adequate answer to these questions. I would hope that whoever we chose is first of all A MAN OF PRAYER...and secondly, I hope he is a humble man. If he has those qualities, I will trust his leadership much more. Without these, he will be merely a 'poor imitation' and a 'fill-in' until a later date. Let us hope and pray that we will do what the LORD wants and that He will work through us!
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#39 Fr. Pius on 2008-10-20 09:03
Dear Mr Anonymous: you said: "the statutes of the OCA stipulate that ALL candidates chosen for the episcopate, MUST have a graduate degree from an accredited Orthodox seminary."
The Statute (Article 6 Sec 9) actually says:
"...it is preferable that he have completed a course of study in a Graduate School of Orthodox Theology..."
#40 Michael Strelka on 2008-10-20 09:09
Bishop Seraphim (Sigrist) is truly a Godly man. I had some solid dealings with him in 2003 or 04 and it became immediately obvious that this man is not your 'run-of-the-mill' bishop. He is incredibly brilliant...but even more than that, he is a HUMBLE and gracious priest and one who loves people. I believe he is a real AUTHENTIC man of prayer...but a REAL man of prayer. (Meaning: he works at prayer...it is a discipline for him...rather than a 'lost in the clouds' type of 'artificial dream world' kind of experience, i.e. deception) He is NOT clerical in the narrow sense...in the least, and I dare say many "important members" of the 'old boys club' would be challenged, to say the least by his possible leadership---but, I dare to say that God would LOVE it! He is definitely not "one of the boys"---and as such, he could (and would, I believe) make a historic and incredible shepherd for the Church. Sadly, (sigh!) I doubt that we have enough faith to choose someone like him! I hope I'm completely wrong!!!
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#41 Fr. Pius on 2008-10-20 09:26
What makes some of you sure that Job will retire in 3-4 years. He is not the old and may decide once elected Metropolitan to stay on until he physically unable or passes on to the next life.
(editor's note: we can only take the man at his word. There are no guarantees.)
#42 anon on 2008-10-20 09:53
I doubt he's broadly known enough to be elected now ... but one issue is the vacancies in various dioceses, including NY/NJ should that be reinstated as separate from DC.
Bishop Seraphim strikes me as far too intelligent, talented, prayerful, genuinely dedicated to working out his life in Christ to continue forever in ecclesiastical limbo.
#43 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-10-20 11:58
It seems like for every proposed candidate for Metropolitan, there is someone who 'knows' them and has something to say against them. I don't know anything about the suitability or otherwise of Bishop Seraphim, who gets thumbs down from the previous poster. But I do feel duty bound to say that the poster's characterization of Lazar Puhalo as 'gentle' and 'insightful' is far, far off the mark. ....
By all means, trace Lazar's chequered history. ....
Of course, like the previous poster, I remain anonymous. Unfortunate, but there is still need for it in the current climate.
Perhaps we should stop, just stop; and stop casting about madly for new candidates. I don't know about Archbishop Job's suitability either, but I have found the arguments in his favor compelling-- chiefly that he a) is the only member of the Holy Synod to make an unequivocal apology and try to turn around and b.) wishes to retire within three years.
Leadership in repentance is what we need (we certainly won't have that from a vagante who makes no apologies for a lifetime spent seeking higher and higher titles); and we have been so burned, we don't need to be placed under someone from outside like Bishop Hilarion who could be with us for a very, very long time. With Archbishop Job serving a short term, if he's the mistake some people think, then it will be over soon, and we will have a chance to fnd another candidate then.
#44 yet another anonymous OCAer on 2008-10-20 13:01
Well Michael, when you go to see your doctor for an operation, would it be ONLY preferable that he or she have an actual degree as a doctor? They may have a real good bed-side manner and have read many books, but do you want this non-degreed person operating on your heart or brain? We really don't need anymore sub-standard, uneducated bishops. The OCA is still trying to repair the damage committed by these types and will be for years!
#45 Anonymous on 2008-10-20 14:12
Please Edmund , read the SIC(I,m SICK in my heart!) report and ALL the comments on this blog ,Abh Seraphim is part and parcel of this mess!
Abh Job is probably the best of the worst to act as interim Met.
James-worst of sinners
#46 CANADA JAMES on 2008-10-20 15:00
Perhaps, we should give +Benjamin a chance. He was a faithful archdeacon under +Tikhon, who many consider to be quite strict and stern. Yet, +Benjamin remained obedient and never complained. He raised his two orphan newphews on what is a meager salary by any measure, yet he never came hat in hand to the parish or diocese for a raise. He is quite open about his personal failures; instead of hiding them, he exposes them and publicly exorcises the demons. This is why his leadership of the SIC was essential- it cast all the sins into the sunlight for us to see. +Benjamin may be young in years, but he is mature in wisdom and spirit.
#47 justin on 2008-10-20 15:46
I wholeheartedly agree with you David!
anonymous from South Canaan
#48 anonymous on 2008-10-20 15:47
This problem points to a deficiency in understanding of governance by Frs. Schmemann and Meyendorf, not ill-motive, I believe. Theirs was an aristocratic model, ill-suited to America. They believed what they advocated, it just was not sufficient. I believe it emerged because they had not fully comprehended how Orthodoxy can and should address a pluralistic society. Their model came from societies with rigid hierarchical notions of relationship; not in models addressing inclusiveness and merit. Such notions are fresh winds of the Spirit, however, they are feared by autocrats who only know directives, power and rule. Further, theirs was a liturgical vision that had not found full form in daily life before the rudder had rotted. Some of us were advocating that these issues be addressed. However, by then the post-Schmemann forces of greed and arrogance were well ensconced; deftly silencing all voices of true theology and praxis. Let us get about finishing this task now, the boat has not yet arrived for Orthodoxy in America. Will it sink in mid-Atlantic? Time will tell.
#49 Name withheld on 2008-10-20 18:39
Preferable is not = to MUST
#50 Anonymous on 2008-10-20 20:33
Bravo, will said.
#51 Anon. on 2008-10-21 06:01
The reality seems to be that in the Church we seldom if ever get both a holy man and a good administrator. St. John Maximovitch of Shanghi & San Francisco was an incredibly holy man and a God-bearing Father with almost all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but not a very good diocesan administrator. There are thousands of such examples in the history of the Church of Christ. If I have a choice, I'll take the "holy man" part and then hope the bishop/metropolitan has the gift of choosing good married priests and deacons to run the day to day affairs of the diocese.
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#52 Fr. Pius on 2008-10-21 07:00
Yes, a holy man who can admit he needs the help of a deacon and/or others to administrate is also a HUMBLE man. This sounds to me to be very much of the Holy Spirit, unlike choosing someone who has multiple academic degrees to show-off and/or great administrative skills. Teamwork is the best antidote to autocracy when holiness is first served. Holiness will preclude corruption, and humility will preclude incompetence.
(Editor's note: There is nothing wrong with an education or having adminsitrative skill; the Holy Spirit has a long history of working through both. Moreover, if you feel holiness precludes corruption, you need to read the Fathers a bit closer, so study the icons of the last judgement a bit more in detail. It is the "holy" monk on the top of the ladder in the latter that is falling off.... Nothing that exists is precluded from corruption, for all that exists will end. Likewise humility is no guarantee against incompetance. I personally know several people who are both. )
#53 Anon. on 2008-10-21 07:45
Out of curiosity, the other day I looked at the OCA clergy listings to see how many unmarried priests we actually have. By the time I got to the end of the Ds, I was at more than 40, 10 of whom are monastics. I realize some of these are retired, some may have failed to list their spouses, and many may be unsuitable for (or unwilling to receive) episcopal election. The point is, we have plenty of people who are eligible without going outside. Again, I make no claim for the desirability of electing anyone in particular; I'm just pointing out that we have a lot of possibilities.
#54 Morton on 2008-10-21 07:54
Your analogy is faulty. The last I heard, all 50 states REQUIRE a license to practice medicine; it's not optional. And the last two guys who operated on me were both Fellows in the American College of Surgeons. You quoted the Statute as REQUIRING a bishop to have a graduate degree from a seminary; I merely pointed out that there is no such requirement in the Statute. Moreover, nowhere did I disagree that it WOULD be preferable for a bishop to have graduated from the seminary. So cool your jets, dude.
#55 Michael Strelka on 2008-10-21 08:50
I believe we must stop thinking they we have to choose between the two choices as if one is an option. Our administrative deficiencies have been our undoing. Both foci must equally venerable attributes of our life in Christ if we are ever to see a healthy Church life.
#56 Name withheld on 2008-10-21 16:52
And thats the reason why I think we need to look outside the OCA for a Metropolitan! Get this mess behind us so that we can glorify God and do the work that needs to be done in his vineyard. This OCA mess has consumed us for far to long and has distracted us from our witness of God and the Holy Orthodox faith.
#57 David Rudovsky on 2008-10-22 06:46
You said, "+ Gula for Alaska from the Carpatho-Russians; + Nicolai from the Carpatho-Russians and Serbs; + Peter from France; etc. Were these good choices? Not really."
Let's concentrate on one name... Bishop Innocent whom you call "+Gula". Can you be more specific on why you believe that he was a bad choice for bishop?
In your reply, I ask you in charity to remember that he like Archbishop Peter whom you named cannot not defend themselves because they are now deceased.
(Editor's note: Then let us stay only within the bounds of published fact. I can start with three reasons: he left the Carpatho Russian Diocese under a cloud, which was never investigated by the OCA; he was tonsured as a Bishop after only 3 years in the OCA, having been elected by no-one; and admitted his own participation in moving money from Alaska to Syosset. This does not of course, preclude his obvious change of heart by contacting the FBI, or suing the Synod shortly before his death. But however he ended, it does not change the fact that had the OCA been operating openly, transparently, acountably, and with conciliarity, he would never have been there in the first place.)
#58 Pennsylvania Coalcracker on 2008-10-22 09:00
If we want to import a Metropolitan, let's think outside the box to a really distinguished, patristic candidate:
Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpatkos.
A true theologian, in praxis and in print, and a fine hands-on bishop. And yes, he understands a lot more English than he humbly lets on.
#59 anonymous Alaskan on 2008-10-22 19:40
"Humility will preclude incompetence."
This sounds good, but cannot be true. Humility may enable someone to learn and be teachable, but if that person has not learned the skill, then he or she will be incompetent by definition. Humility is not a substitute for skill and experience. We are talking apples and oranges here. Humility is not a magic elixir that anoints the unskilled with a skilled. Skill comes with dedication, hard work, education, perseverance, courage... and yes, humility too. We in Orthodoxy suffer greatly from a false view of what it means to be qualified to lead.
#60 Name withheld on 2008-10-22 20:09
Touche, you are correct. Nothing is set in stone where man is concerned. However, I think you would agree that academic credentials should not be the only or the first consideration in view of our present moral sickness.
#61 Anon. on 2008-10-23 06:00
I would only like to point out that neither Saint Innocent nor Saint Herman and the recently deceased Bishop Gregory were from Alaska. Neither were they American; however, Metropolitan Theodosius, Metropolitan Herman and Bishop Nikolai were all born in America.
(editor's note: And you point is? Ivan the Terrible, Lenin and Brezhnev were all Russians: Washington, Lincoln and Martin Luther King were all Americans. So what? There are good and bad individuals in every society; and no society has a monopoly, or even a franchise on sanctity or evil-doing. The Orthodox Church has too long been held captive by the delusion that such was the case. History teaches otherwise, and it is a lesson we should learn. )
#62 Tatiana on 2008-10-23 18:52
Just to put things in perspective, I don't think it's right to pit education and piety as opposites. One doesn't preclude the other, and being "too intelligent" should never be ground to simply castigate someone.
People can say that education "doesn't mean anything" and, in general, perhaps education in and of itself doesn't mean anything. Does being able to count out pi to it's 100th decimal help you help others? Maybe not. But, there is one thing that graduate education is supposed to help develop, and a PhD student is required to have, and that's critical thinking skills. The ability to think through arguments and rhetoric and determine their quality of truth. This is absolutely essential for our bishops to have, yet so many of them not only seem to lack it, they are rather afraid of it. Honestly, I believe that if more of our bishops had been trained in critical thinking, they would have been able to keep this whole scandal from happening. But they didn't have the this skill, so they were open to being hoodwinked and deceived, and then drug into the whole web themselves. Sadly, even our theological seminaries seem to be afraid of critical thinking themselves, which makes me worry about the future of the OCA.
Now, of course one doesn't need to be a PhD student to have critical thinking skills, that is simply where it is most often cultivated. Some undergraduate institutions are also trying to cultivate this skill in their students, though on a more basic level. Some people just manage to cultivate this skill by themselves. My point is this: I can better trust a candidate with a background in higher education to possess the critical thinking skills that will keep him from being deceived by his advisers into allowing something scandalous to happen. Therefore, I will take a highly educated candidate who shows the requisite piety any day.
#63 Anonymous on 2008-10-24 06:12
Concerning +Bishop Hilarion as a candidate for Metropolitan to lead the Church in America, no disrespect intended towards the+Bishop, but the OCA "is just beginning to shake off the old-guard mentality of the ethnic churchs in the old countries", writes one of your readers! It is one big brother ethnic mentality in particular that the OCA should guard against! It has always been present and has suppressed the true ethnic composition of the in the OCA. Do not discard the lessons of history! The ROC has always been tightly interwoven with the autocratic Russian nation, even when religion was banned in the USSR. The time has now come to pay the piper, but God willing the OCA faithful will see the light. The truth will set her free!
Please beware that Moscow is just beginning to position itself to gain full control of the OCA.The OCA desires to retain its Autocephaly as an American Church, but why should she expect to remain Autocephelous for long, if Moscow continues not to recognize Autocephaly to the Orthodox churches in Belarus and Ukraine? By denying these churches Autocepaly, Moscow cleverly manages to maintain the last vestiges of its empire in these sovereign nations.
#64 Anonymous on 2008-10-24 09:27
This problem was created by many more than "5 or 6 men". The enablers of this situation are too many to count. The problems highlighted by this scandal are deep and have touched us all. I can think of dozens who were directly involved with these "5 or 6 men" as you say. They are still laying low to see if the light shines on them, I believe. They need to repent or be exposed.
#65 Anon. on 2008-10-24 16:29
The singlemost important reason to elevate Job to the Metropolitanate would be that he is willing to listen to good advice, followed by his intention to retire in a few years. There are two major things already laid out for the new Metropolitan. That is a close review and modification of the Statutes and a strategic plan for the OCA. That doesn't require any vision, it only requires an action plan. There are enough people that trust Job to be willing to work with and for him to make those things happen.
It would be good for Job to reiterate his retirement intentions within any context for those doubters out there, but I believe Job would do what is best for the OCA and not just what he thinks is best to and including his own retirement.
A hope would be that the new strategic plan sets to eliminate Honesdale quickly. I'd be willing to throw a few bucks toward it if it were done churchwide. Nobody was glad Ford pardoned Nixon, but I believe he did the right thing even though what Nixon did was wrong and I'm a liberal. Paying off Honesdale isn't a pardon, its moving forward by getting rid of the burdens of the past.
By the way, that can't be done on the 50 bucks proposed by DoM and WPA. For shame...I'll reiterate, the Synod has no business allowing those proposals to reach the floor. Along with Fr. Bob's mistakes, the church lost a bunch of money in the markets and that wasn't even reported by the SIC that I recall.
#66 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-10-26 18:12
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