Monday, December 1. 2008
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Perhaps "Mortgages Newly Revealed" would be a better headline. The mortgages may or may not be old. It is our knowledge of them that is new.
(editor's note: Good point. Thanks. I will remember that in the future.)
#1 Christopher Eager on 2008-12-01 15:28
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I am almost 100% certain the uncertainty in the titles to the properties was brought up from the floor at the All-American Council, perhaps even by Bishop Tikhon himself from the podium. As I recall, there are some portions of the property whose legal owners are still Metropolitans Platon, Leonty, and Ireney...
Long story short, to say "none of this was brought up" is not true.
(Editor's note: You are wrong. I did not write "none of this was brought up" at the AAC as you infer. I wrote: "None of this, however, was reported to the Metropolitan Council during its recent meetings at the All-American Council...", and the reference was clearly to the $1.25 million mortgage, not the earlier mortgage reported by this site.
The earlier $152,000 mortgage was indeed mentioned by Fr. Sudick from the floor during the Third Plenary, not by Bishop Tikhon, and he (Sudick) claimed, without offering any evidence, that the $152,000 was a consolidation loan for earlier, smaller mortgages taken out for repairs. I do not dispute Fr. Sudick claims - but at the same time much has been claimed in the last twenty years regarding the finances of the Church, without evidence, and so, it is always best, when making such claims that no one else seems to have knowledge of, to at least suggest where concrete evidence may be found. I sincerely hope he is assisting the lawyers seeking to unravel this mess. The purpose of the loans is only one question, however. The real question is who owns the property, and thus, who had authority to take out such mortgages, no matter how worthy the intentions. If, "as you recall", the names on the deeds are indeed, former Metropolitans, it would suggest the property is owned by the OCA, and thus, according to Statute, it was the sole authority of the Metropolitan Council to encumber the property - not anyone person. )
#2 Anonymous on 2008-12-01 16:02
Herman! You've done it again.
What a legacy you leave behind. You've rooked us, not blessed us. I'm sorry for you - truly.
#3 no name on 2008-12-01 17:24
This is easy in my world.
Who signed the mortgage?
Encumber that person with it.
Belongs to a judge.
#4 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-12-01 17:38
Why was this not revealed by Bishop Tikhon to the Metropolitan Council at the AAC??? It should have been! Shame on Vladyka for not saying anything. He is, often, silent when he ought not be.
As for Met. Herman...why does he get a house to live in on Monastery property? Is the Monastery itself, with his own cell like the rest of the monks there not good enough? I have a problem with this too.
Lord have mercy! May God guide Met. Jonah as he begins to unravel this one. I hope and pray he has a serious sit-down with Bishop Tikhon.
#5 Philippa Alan on 2008-12-01 18:11
My memory may be wrong and I'm sure others will correct -- I thought the sequence went something like: someone asking a question about the St. Tikhon's finances, then whoever was speaking at that point [Bp. Benjamin?] flailing a bit in answer, then Fr. Sudick standing to answer the question from the floor.
Not particularly important, except that the original question from the floor was, iirc, more general than the $152k mortgage. If diocesan authorities had already had a report on this newly revealed mess, one would have hoped that there would have been some hint of the issue either maybe at the AAC or certainly at the following meeting of the MC.
Strangely, the mortgage itself doesn't seem surprising [loss of ability to be shocked?] -- everyone has always known there must be more stuff to come out, especially in South Canaan, but the lack of frankness to the AAC or the MC is very disappointing.
#6 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-12-01 18:39
If anyone needs further proof that both our vigilance and this website should continue, you've just gotten it in this news report!!!
#7 David Barrett on 2008-12-01 19:34
From what has been said, it would seem Herman, Klimichev, Donlick, and Kowalcyzk would have all the answers. These are the men that controlled the "finances" at St. Tikhon's for many years.
#8 Peter Pappas on 2008-12-01 19:41
Is this another of the expensive lessons to be learned? One question asked during the AAC, was that of a priest who wanted to know if he were to steal $30,000.00, (I may be wrong about the amount he said) from his parish, whether or not, his punishment would be mandatory retirement? I believe this was the priest who was told to sit down.
Hopefully, the Synod, the Metropolitan Council and Metropolitan Jonah will be able to come up with a solution that we can all live with. How many times are we going to be told to "move on" and "get over it" before something of consequence occurs? Or is this going to be another case of, "we will never know the full extent" of more thievery?
We were told that the Synod had concern for the souls of Metropolitan Herman and Metropolitan Theodosius to consider. What about the souls of us lesser individuals who are being tormented with disturbing information? Information that gives us reason to ask, "why am I even wasting my time with coming to church?"
#9 Tatiana Berestoff on 2008-12-01 20:46
This is very sad indeed. Could this be our trial? We should never question whether we should go to church or not. Gladly go. Especially here in Ak, BN isn't in here anymore. Our souls are worth more than the mortgages, and all earthly things. I understand, it's hard but, our souls are worth more than that. As a friend that recently passed on, Memory Eternal Mary! "bills come in a cycle but, LIFE itself comes once and forever". As in saying we're paving our own path. Make a difference! Go to church. Pray for us all!
#10 Anna on 2008-12-01 23:46
Our Triune God saw fit to grant the OCA with a new Metropolitain. We give thanks to Thee for thy Great mercies in giving the OCA a gracious man such as Met. Jonah to guide us. The ink used for the signature of Met. Jonah has not yet dried and now come new revelations about an ongoing scandal at St. Tikhon's.
Let us pray that what has now been revealed will not become a case of *Pay No Attention to The Man Behind The Curtain*. Full disclosure must be made of the ongoing travesty - Full transparency must be maintained.
As we laypeople are exhorted to live in the Light, so must the leadership of the Church live in the Light and let all documents pertaining to the scandal be in the Light.
#11 Vladimir Bogolyubov on 2008-12-02 00:43
Excellent points Tatiana! What that brave priest asked at the AAC is a key and critical question that MUST be repeated again and again: "If a priest in the OCA was to steal and/or embezzle $30,000 of the parish funds, would he also be retired with a full pension and benefits without any accountability and punishment?"
I would also add, let's assume that priest never repented and never admitted to embezzling the funds would his bishop or the Synod also tell us to unconditionally forgive and move on?
And if anyone needs further proof that the "stavropeghial" status for monasteries needs to be abolished, that the "right" of the Ruling Hierarch to appoint the abbot needs to be abolished, and that governance---including the election of the abbot---needs to be returned to the brethren of the monastery, this is it.
#13 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-12-02 04:58
Who said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."? Folks, we are all being made out to be fools for bowing down to our leaders and trusting them. Going forward from this moment, my "religion" is very simple. I will follow the commandments and let my conscience guide me.
#14 ANON on 2008-12-02 06:13
The problem is that, we, the laos have allowed the hierarchs of the church to do as they wished. The Metropolitan Council was not on top of their game. Those at St. Tikhon's knew what was going on. Martin Poluck had no clue? Kowalczk had no clue? Others? Herman is a thief like RSK and Theodosius and if you won't accept that, then you must accept gross mismanagement and fraud. Now, Herman is moving into a house he stole from two elderly sisters? Come on. Where are the law suits? Where are the hand cuffs? Where are the criminal accusations?
..... This is not the way to train or teach anyone for the priesthood.
#15 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 06:56
Did the SIC say that the former chancellor embezzled a specific amount of money? I believe it stated that there are funds that are not accounted for. I believe that the accountants said that they can not "account" for certain funds because they (the accountants) lack documentation to back up the use of those funds. I believe the accountants went so far as to say an accounting of those funds, such as for "charity", "Russia", "medical expenses" was made by the former chancellor but there was no other documentation and therefore they could not certify the audit of those accounts. That is a far cry from embezzling.
However, from that the PR lawyers built their case against the former chancellor, which then morphed into the church court which then morphed into SIC I and then SIC, II, the sequel.
That is not to say that everything was on the up and up, done right, and therefore all is well. I believe that there is approximately $137,000 in disputed funds that the Church says the former chancellor owes to the Church. The former chancellor is saying he is owned $125,000 for repairs to the rectory plus interest. Sounds pretty close to a wash and the makings of an out of court settlement and the savings to the Church of a good sum of money.
But, please note that no civil or criminal charges have been filed against the former chancellor. Therefore there is no provision what-so-ever to "punish" the former chancellor by attaching his pension, which, if done would open the OCA to another major lawsuit, which they would lose because then the OCA would have to prove that the former chancellor embezzled Church funds- something they have not yet to this point specifically stated.
I know it is difficult for you as a lawyer to see that not everything needs to be litigated and that in the end it would hurt the Church more to keep suing then to stop.
If, however the long-awaited FBI case or the Nassau County DA's office files charges against the former chancellor, and he is then convicted of those crimes, a consideration to the independent OCA Pension plan to review its own rules in such cases would be understandable. But, until then, give it a rest.
(Editor's note: If there is no "embezzlement", Sir, where are the millions the ADM foundations donated to the OCA for St. Catherines in Moscow, not to Metropolitan Theodosius or Kondratick personally? Where is that money, Sir, and why was it put in secret accounts hidden from the Church, accessed only by those two? You hide behind words and legalisms, while ignoring what can only be called theft in plain English. Sorry, Anonymous Sir, we can all read, even between the lines, not to mention IP addresses, but your continuing attempts to justify, minimize, protect and defend your cronies is unworthy .)
#16 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 08:25
I suspect that +Metropolitan Jonah would agree with you.
#17 Yanni on 2008-12-02 12:09
Chris says....."let's assume that the priest never repented and admitted to ever embezzling the funds, would his bishop or the Synod also tell us to unconditionally forgive and move on?"
It is my understanding that this is exactly what then Metropolitan Herman told the members of the Diocese of New York to do in the case of the late Bishop Peter.
#18 nicholas skovran on 2008-12-02 13:48
Re: the call for the Stavropegial monastery-system to be abolished.
[ Kenneth Tobin in another thread was right in a sense – a certain type of monastery and monastic from the time of the Nile valley in the 4th C. to the mid 1960’s HAS seen its day – and its time IS over. ]
+Jonah will have his time cut out avoiding falling into precisely the same the mess that +Herman has left. Why? Because the structure and system that directly led to it is still in place. One step in that direction will be to recognise some merit in this call:
This call is half right: Yes – abolish the right of any bishop or above to tonsure or appoint any monastic to any position – including the creation or sanction or “blessing” of any monastery.
This call is half wrong: No – transfer the right of tonsure and appointment to these stavropegial positions to an exclusively LAY constituted Synod – utterly independent of any Bishop or Monastic. [And where necessary in a minority of occasions – in open and brazen defiance of any Bishop or above!]
And redefine a "stavropegial" monastery and monastic as being one existing independent of any Bishop (or above) and under the control of a Lay-led non-monastic Synod.
This will eliminate one type of monastic damage to the Church.
#19 John Battye on 2008-12-02 14:15
All comments made in refeerence to MH and Klimashev are right on the mark.Why is MH still living at the Monastery.? Why is he still being allowed to serve at the Altar? Has anyone read Julia's will? Why is M.Pauluch living there? Is he a monk? What? Why has'nt MH and Klimashev been suspended until all is investigated and they are found innocent or guilty. Policemen,Firemen,teachers,Nurses,etc. found suspicious of any wrongdoing are suspended without pay until all is cleared. Why is Kondratick still involved in a parish,wearing a cassock and receiveing a salary from his X-parish? Has he repented? Has he fulfilled a penance? Why is the Synod and the MC afraid to act? Not enough has been done. A lot has yet to be uncovered.Restitution to be made and monies to be repayed....
#20 Anon on 2008-12-02 14:20
Who authorized this mortgage of St. Tikhon’s Monastery lands, when, and for what purpose, was not disclosed. According to the OCA Statute, it is the Metropolitan Council alone that "decides on the purchase, sale, or mortgaging of property of the Church." (Article V, Sec. 4j.)
Given the recent history of malfeasance and ofuscation it would be prudent to look very closely at the finances around all the institutions in South Canaan and anything else that may potentially have been misused under cloak of stavropegial status or the Metropolitan's discretion.
It looks as if this careful analysis is being undertaken.
That being said, the lede in this article does not necessarily mean that any malfeasance has been undertaken. The fact that the finances of the South Canaan institutions is a mess is as easily explained by incompetence as by illegality - the fact that loans and properties are still held in the name of deceased hierarchs would point in this direction. With loans and titles hearkening back to the tenure of long deceased Metropolitans it is also not unlikely that the Metropolitan Council of those days - or its legal precursor under the terms of the Statute or its precursor - was advised and signed off on the "purchase, sale, or mortgaging of property of the Church".
Let's take baby steps and not get ahead of ourselves in assuming the worst. Doing so is a great temptation; doing so with only suspicions - even well grounded ones that call for investigation- and no actual proof is to 'bear false witness against our neighbor'.
I am very glad that Bishop Tikhon is undertaking this audit of these institutions. This is the 'verification' people have been rightly demanding; let us not forget also to 'trust' while we wait for answers that must be forthcoming and complete, in a timely manner. Let us not jump the gun seeing sin everywhere - especially in others - before such actions can be shown to have taken place. Let's not forget to be innocent as doves while we make sure to be wise and shrewd as serpents (Matthew 10:16).
(editor's note: Well, discovering there are even mortgages taken out is step one in this process, no? And if it was not disclosed, one does not have to be a serpent to question "why not?"; but you have to be about as wise as a dove to assume thirty years of non-disclosure by a graduate with an associate's degree in accounting was an "oversight". People should get the benefit of the doubt - but really, common sense should not be given short shrift, or the only thing that will remain short are donations, I fear....)
Met. Herman has never lived at the monastery nor has he ever been a true monk. His tonsure is a technicality and he was abbot there only in title. I can honestly say that none of the monks there ever had a clue as to what he and this cronies were up to. Some of them are among the most dedicated monastics I have ever met.
#22 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 17:25
What do you mean "monastic damage"? Since when has monasticism ever damaged the Church? The lack of, maybe.
#23 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 17:29
Well put. I am there every day and can't seem to get answers to or make sense out of some of the same questions. Herman is back in action as far as serving goes and its safe to say that he will more than likely be serving every week now. At least Dn. Alexei hasn't been seen in Church since Herman retired. ....The old Met. seems to have made sure that his people were taken care of before he retired.
#24 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 17:43
4 years later , if it's missing blame Kondratick !!! Please , all of you must understand the oca and RSK have moved on. Stokoe he might have lost his priesthood but not all of his friends. It must hurt Stokoe that you really lost !
Give it a rest and crawl back in your hole.
(editor's note: One question, before I crawl away. If RSK has moved on, why is he suing the OCA? )
#25 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 18:35
To restore confidence to the members of the OCA, things need thorough investigation. It is not simply about poor managment. I don't think people who live outside Eastern PA realize what has gone on in South Canaan. The structures built, the vehicles purchased, the vacations taken, the lavish life styles lived by a few people. When elderly women press money into the hand of an archdeacon, visiting with the Metropolitan on any given Sunday, she is not thinking, that money will pay for a boat on the lake, a country club membership, or 1st class trips to California to golf. Yet still there are morgages taken out and millions missing? This is America. We want to know who did what, and hold them accountable. This isn't revenge, its justice. As uncomfortable as that may be, for Bishop Tikhon. The OCA needs to show its members that their money is safe. Especially those who give, that have very little to give. This reminds me alot of the Jimmy Baker scandal of the 80's. It's sad to say, but much has happened, that people only know bits and pieces about. I'm sure students and residence of St. Tikhons have seen alot of the "goings ons", as they all struggled (some on food stamps) to make it through school. The OCA has a responsibility to those who give, and have given for years, that their money will be, in some part recovered. And not used for comfortable retirments, or funding a new career.
#26 observer on 2008-12-02 19:09
AGAIN STOKOE AND CO SPREADING MORE GOSSIP! DOESN'T KNOW THE FACTS! MAKE UP MORE LIES! WHEN WILL IT STOP? YOUR WEBSITE AS I RECALL! TOLD PEOPLE NOT TO GIVE! REMEMBER? NOW THAT THE CHURCH IS SUFFERING, AND PEOPLE STOP GIVING MONEY BECAUSE OF YOUR EVIL WEBSITE,AND THE LIES THAT HAVE BEEN SPREAD! LET ME ASK YOU ONE QUESTION STOKOE! HOW MUCH MONEY HAVE YOU CONTRIBUTED IN THE LAST 6MONTHS TO ST. TIKHONS? ZERO! YOUR JUST WHAT I CALL WHITE TRASH!
#27 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 19:17
Our blessed Lord said, “ Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3).
Let us give thanks to God that the hidden things are now being revealed and will be “proclaimed upon the housetops” until He has moved each of the players of this scandal and the members of the Church into a place of personal accountability, humility, sorrow and repentance which leads to spiritual freedom.
God is so patient with us and could very easily destroy us in our sins. Let us embrace this God-given opportunity to correct these things now, while he gives us breathe, so that we will not suffer eternal separation from our Father in the world to come.
Glory to You Who shows us the Light!
Re: Monastic Damage . . . (and your appalled surprise that this could ever be the case).
I thought that this one was really a no-brainer. Especially for anyone with any sense of Church History.
How can it be? If I may quote Sherlock Holmes: “Elementary, my dear Watson” . . .
In two easy steps:
Step 1: Create an Episcopally-controlled stavropegial system without checks and balances (as exists in almost every case in every Orthodox jurisdiction).
Step 2: Create an Erastian system of Episcopal appointment – where the Emperor had the right to appoint any bishop he saw fit (and often did so – see the Sylvester appointment to Rome).
All stavropegial monasteries in this Erastian environment became a menace to the church. Especially when the monks thus installed did the bidding of the Emperor – as directed to by their state-appointed bishop.
Classic Example relevant to the OCA tradition: How many stavropegial monastics in Russia during the Synod Period became pliable Okhrana operatives?! Especially if they were hieromonks? If your answer cannot be zero, QED.
This could be replicated many times elsewhere, but time (and web-space) constrains.
#29 John Battye on 2008-12-02 19:39
Apparently you've moved? Please post the address of your new hole so this year's Christmas cards get to your new address.
Hitting send, before I crawl back into my same old hole....
#30 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 20:58
Well since +Herman is still listed on the St. Tikhon's Seminary website as "Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Theology" I suppose that's your answer.
#31 Anonymous on 2008-12-02 21:05
I would like to know what Orthodox precedent, what authority beyond himself, Mr. Battye can cite for the proposal that control of stavropegial monastic houses, including all decisions on tonsure, ought to be delivered over to lay synods. So far as we can tell from his post, it is his own idea and his alone.
I do not have a problem with the proposition that stavropegial control, at least as actually practiced by those who recently wielded it in the OCA, could do with some substantial changes.
But these proposals of Mr. Battye's strike me as so completely inimical to the spirit of monastic community and so completely unworkable (for starters just what kind of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers ought to control monastic life?) that I have difficulty believing that a real person is seriously suggesting them here, especially at a time when a true monastic who has demonstrated for years he can oversee such an institution with integrity, has just been given the reins.
If I am missing something here, folks, please, please enlighten me.
#32 Fr. George Washburn on 2008-12-02 23:37
Oy Vey! What a mess! Seems to me, after reading this website for so long, that RSK was picked as the "fall guy." If you ask me, there are an awful lot of rats in the pack who chose one individual to take the blame. Unfortunately, it seems RSK drew the short straw!
St. Tikhon's has housed too many self-righteous, self-centered, self-indulged individuals for too long! .... If you weren't in the "clique", you certainly were made to feel it! Herman and others acted like they owned St. Tikhon's and the parishes of NEPA. Is that why our parish by-laws were changed 25+ years ago to read that the property belongs to the Orthodox Church in America? Can the Metropolitan come in and take out mortgages on all of our individual churches? The people pay for the expenses in their parishes -- not the OCA! Where are we going? We need a clean sweep. I pray Metropolitan Jonah can straighten out this mess! What a job he has ahead of him....thank you Herman & Company. You took something good and practically destroyed it! And you pass judgement on others?!?
(Editor's note: I will not argue that RSK has been made the "fall guy" for many misdeeds that others, as yet unidentified, like him participated in and like him, may have profited from. That being said, a "fall guy" is not innocent, and I shed no tears that his misdeeds have been exposed and stopped.)
#33 Disgusted NEPA Orthodox on 2008-12-03 03:11
Your proposal goes against all proper monastic tradition and use; it calls for the infantilization of monastics; and is equivalent to a family being told neighbours down the street will now be in charge of theior family life. Moreoever, you don not know (apparently) what the word "tonsure" means. Giving non-monastics---who have neither lived monastic life nor lived in community with the postulant---the authority to decided whether or not a given candidate may be admitted to the community is just nuts, akin to empowering Jack Layton (a Canadian socialist politician) to decide who may or may not become an American citizen and resident of Texas. Kindly give your head a shake and understand that the point of my first post is an insistence that monastics are grown-ups who can and should prayerfully govern their own community life.
#34 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-12-03 04:42
"According to the OCA Statute, it is the Metropolitan Council alone that 'decides on the purchase, sale, or mortgaging of property of the Church.' (Article V, Sec. 4j.)"
If I'm not mistaken, this would refer ONLY to properties actually owned by the Orthodox Church in America itself (e.g., the Chancery building and land). The purchase, sale, and mortgage of properties owned by OCA parishes, monasteries, and other legal entities - even stavropegial institutions (e.g., the buildings and land of St Vladimir's Seminary) - are not subject to the Metropolitan Council's review and approval.
So, a question: how much (if any) of the property of St Tikhon's Monastery and Seminary is owned by the Orthodox Church in America as a legal entity? If any of it is, then yes, this is within the MC's purview; if none, then this article and section of the Statute are irrelevant.
(Editor's note: That is indeed the question and the point. The Seminary is a separate entity existing totally on monastery lands. The sad fact is that after 105 years of existence, no one seems to be able to say definately who owns, or who is responsible, for the monastery lands. )
#35 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 05:47
Everyone says that things have "changed" now. There are tight restrictions on the finances of the central church and all dioceses. I suggest monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual financial statements be required for every diocese and the central church. At the end of each year, a fully consolidated, disclosed annual report. This is no different than what is required by any public corporation. The OCA is a non-profit, public corporation. The SOB are the Corporate Board and we are the stockholders. I also suggest an annual meeting in January or February for all who wish to attend to review the finances and operations of the OCA. Why wouldn't the hierarchs welcome this after all that has happened?
#36 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 06:30
I don't really think that you need to be rude to me in your reply, which was addressed to Mr. Banescu. "SIR", "cronies" you "know" who I am by your deducing my IP addresess. You are above that type of impatience and I will assume that it was written late at night after a long day!
(editor's note: As for letting me off the hook - don't bother. It was late, it was a long day, and I was impatient with what I read. More importantly, I was genuinely angered by your posting. That being said, I was, am, and hope I will always have the courage and energy to remain genuinely angry at those who attempt to weasel out of their responsibilities - or deny any responsiblity at all - thereby leaving the rest of us to hold the bag. In this case, an empty one. Not shame on me, shame on you. To assert this scandal is about "missing" money ( as if someone accidently misplaced it) is as absurd as claiming it is all about "poor record-keeping". Fie! Don't insult our intelligence and continue to prey on our good will and Christian kindness to mask, sheild and cover-up the misdeeds done. Shame on you. Stop it.)
#37 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 07:27
I'm sorry, this makes no sense at all. Have laypeople decide on who can be tonsured? In a sense, this is what we have already when bishops who are only nominally monastics supervise the monasteries and sign off on all their decisions. Monks are professionals; they spend years training and refining their understanding of the monastic life. To have anyone meddle in that who doesn't have very substantial direct, first-hand experience is to invite chaos. There are already plenty of laws limiting what they can and can't do from a legal perspective as not-for-profits.
Many have written to the effect that a healthy Orthodoxy rests on healthy monasteries. I don't know if that's true or not,but I can't see how turning the monasteries over to lay supervision will turn out more or better monks. I suspect the opposite would be the case--true monks would most likely go elsewhere.
#38 Morton on 2008-12-03 08:00
Canon XLI - "We ordain that the bishop have authority over the goods of the Church: for if he is to be entrusted with the precious souls of men, much more are temporal possessions to be entrusted to him. ... He may also, if need be, take what is required for his own necessary wants, and for the brethren to whom he has to show hospitality, so that he may not be in any want."
"Let us therefore be careful not to resist the bishop, that by our submission we may give ourselves to God" (Letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians 5).
How will each of you who are fighting the bishops of the church explain to God at the last judgement your sinful actions?
(Editor's note: No one is fighting Bishops here - we are unmasking the wanton, unethical, perhaps criminal, misdeeds of individuals who committed misdeeds against the Church. Some of them happen to have been Bishops. In the Orthodox Church we do not believe in the infallibility of Bishops in theological matters, let alone financial ones, or even in personal judgements. As with so many others of late you seem to have confused the monarchial episcopacy with the fuehrer-prinzip. Absolute obedience to absolute power that is absolutely corrupt is not a Christian concept - as so many Christian marytrs, Orthodox and otherwise, witnessed in the terrible 1930's and 1940's. You seem to have missed that part in your education, friend. It is a dangerous omission that if left unchecked, will inevitably lead to our ruin, as it has ruined so many. )
#39 Educated Orthodox Christian on 2008-12-03 08:04
Call in Proskaur & Rose and the SIC Commission!
#40 MP on 2008-12-03 11:13
When I die I will have 2 questions: (1) why do mosquito bites have to itch? (2) who is all caps guy? Will you please spare me the wait and tell us? I'm anon, so I understand ... but yours are such colorful and entertaining posts that I just gotta know! Pleeeeeeezzz???
#41 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 11:47
Some clarification is in order here. Basically, the only difference between an ordinary diocesan monastery (or any other institution such as a seminary or charitable foundation) and a stavropegial monastery (or any other institution…) is that the former commemorates the local diocesan bishop at the appropriate points during Divine Services, while the latter commemorates the primate, and the former answers, in matters of Church discipline, to the local diocesan Bishop, while the latter answers to the primate. Given the hierarchal nature of the Church, this simply falls within the context of good church order. That is all. (As an aside, there once was a stavropegial parish in California which answered to the Primate of its jurisdiction rather than to the local bishop – but such things are, as they should be, exceedingly rare) Anything and everything else, including the degree to which the Bishop is invited to participate in the internal governance of a monastery, is a function of the Charter and the Regulations which specify the internal governance of the monastery (Bylaws). There are monasteries where the abbot or abbess is chosen and/or appointed by its bishop (either diocesan or primate) and others where the abbot or abbess is chosen from within the community and simply enthroned by its bishop. The Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Essex, England, is a stavropegion whose Abbot is chosen in the local community and confirmed by the Patriarch of Constantinople. St. Tikhon’s Monastery is a Stavropegion whose Abbot is its Bishop. Both situations are possible. The difference is in their Charters and By Laws. The only question in the current situation instance is what the monastery By-laws actually say under given circumstances, and whether or not they are actually being followed. Without having read the Charter or By Laws, it is a little premature to declare what, if anything at all, should be changed. Finally it is worth noting that the Statute of the OCA (Article VI Sec. 4m) specifies that the Bishop of a diocese: “Shall exercise the right of supervision over the monastic communities in his diocese and appoint their superiors”. Depending on how you read it, this could allow a rather wide range of interpretation... or not. Perhaps this is one thing which needs future clarification to avoid unnecessary crises in the regulation of the monasteries in the OCA.
#42 Archimandrite Melchisedek on 2008-12-03 12:20
Hope Bishop Tikhon is able to find and document monies that were sent to St. Tikhon's by person(s) now deceased given as charity to St. Tikhon's Monastery and Seminary in the form of stock transfer, etc. Met. Herman personally telephoned the donor and promised the money would be used for the married seminarians. It is appalling to find out that married seminarians do not have enough to live on while at school.
#43 anoymous on 2008-12-03 12:33
Ok, so no Stavropegial institutions. What you said has nothing to do with monasticism.
#44 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 13:11
He doesn't teach. You don't even see him except in Church.
#45 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 13:16
Publishing the results of a title search is hardly spreading gossip or making things up, All Caps Anonymous Guy, although in your reality-challenged world I suppose the line between delusion and reality might be pretty blurry.
Telling the truth can never hurt the Church, not really. Christ IS the truth.
Why are you always so angry when somebody does tell the truth?
I'm betting it is because you are afraid. All of the shrieking comes from fear. I think that you have such a large emotional investment in your idolatrous vision of the Church that anything that undermines that idol is perceived as a personal threat, and consequently warrants furious counterattack.
This is so very far from the peace of Christ, but I note that, as is always the case with your posts, you never mention Him.
I confess that I have taken pleasure in jerking your chain in the past. I'm sorry to have done that. It doesn't take a great marksman to shoot fish in a barrel.
Get some help.
#46 Scott Walker on 2008-12-03 13:39
Thank you Mark. These people have lived between the lines long enough. They vacillate from pandering to egos and platitudes (when that works) to vicious attacks (when they wish to intimidate the unsuspecting)... and back again. Back and forth. Back and forth. Consummate "spin artists." I do recall the term "spin" used a lot among Syosset a decade ago. That was the extent of their aspiration to a vision of the Church. Make it sound good and make it look good... they practiced a form of righteousness while lacking the power thereof. Now they don't like being outed. Too bad buckwheats. You're outed. Repent, confess, and ask forgiveness... or go away.
#47 Anonymous on 2008-12-03 20:25
Dear Anonymous 7.1.1:
You are misinformed. Failure to maintain proper records is in fact embezzlement - embezzlement is properly terms a "defalcation" or failure to maintain transaction documentation.
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets, usually financial in nature, by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted. For instance, a clerk or cashier handling large sums of money can embezzle cash from his or her employer, a lawyer can embezzle funds from clients' trust accounts, a financial advisor can embezzle funds from investors, or a spouse can embezzle funds from his or her partner. Embezzlement may range from the very minor in nature, involving only small amounts, to the immense, involving large sums and sophisticated schemes. More often than not, embezzlement is performed in a manner that is premeditated, systematic and/or methodical, with the explicit intent to conceal the activities from other individuals, usually because it is being done without their knowledge or consent. Often it involves the trusted person embezzling only a small proportion or fraction of the funds received, in an attempt to minimize the risk of detection. If successful, embezzlements can continue for years (or even decades) without detection. It is often only when the funds are needed, or called upon for use, that the victims realize the funds or savings are missing and that they have been duped by the embezzler.
Embezzlement sometimes involves falsification of records in order to conceal the activity. Embezzlers commonly secrete relatively small amounts repeatedly, in a systematic and/or methodical manner, over a long period of time, although some embezzlers commonly secrete one large sum at once. Some very successful embezzlement schemes have continued for many years before being detected due to the skill of the embezzler in concealing the nature of the transactions.
One of the most common methods of embezzlement is to under-report income, and pocket the difference. For example, in 2005, several managers of the service provider Aramark were found to be under-reporting profits from a string of vending machine locations in the eastern United States. While the amount stolen from each machine was relatively small, the total amount taken from many machines over a length of time was very large. A smart technique employed by many small time embezzlers can be covered by falsifying the records. (Example, by removing a small amount of money and falsifying the record the register would be technically correct, while the manager would remove the profit and leave the float in, this method would effectively make the register short for the next user and throw the blame onto them)
Another method is to create a false vendor account, and to supply false bills to the company being embezzled so that the checks that are cut appear completely legitimate. Yet another method is to create phantom employees, who are then paid with payroll checks.
The latter two methods should be uncovered by routine audits, but often aren't if the audit is not sufficiently in-depth, because the paperwork appears to be in order. The first method is easier to detect if all transactions are by cheque or other instrument, but if many transactions are in cash, it is much more difficult to identify. Employers have developed a number of strategies to deal with this problem. In fact, cash registers were invented just for this reason.
Proceeds of embezzlement must be included in gross income unless the embezzler repays the money in the same taxable year. Congress has ruled that lawful as well as unlawful gains are includable in gross income and that it is inconsequential that an embezzler may lack title to the sums he appropriates.” When the embezzler returns the victim’s funds either directly or indirectly (i.e. restitution) then the embezzler may have a reduction in taxable income.
However, if a corporate embezzler can show four things, then they need not include the embezzled funds in income:
“Where a taxpayer withdraws funds from a corporation 1) which he fully intends to repay 2) which he expects with reasonable certainty he will be able to repay 3) where he believes that his withdrawals will be approved by the corporation 4) where he makes a prompt assignment of assets sufficient to secure the amount owed, he does not realize income on the withdrawals under the James test.”
I would point out that internal controls were in place, but were not functional because of the hierarchal nature of the administration. Because underlings were in a position to be intimidated into cooperation, the internal control was ineffective. For a system of internal control to be effective, it must involve the relative parity of all participants in the system.
I'm an accountant, not an attorney, but as one qualified as an expert on these issues, I felt it necessary to clear any remaining misconceptions. We don't know who is guilty of embezzlement, but the fact that there was embezzlement is beyond question, in my professional opinion.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#48 Dn. Marty Watt on 2008-12-03 20:44
Observer, I do not feel that you are being fair to Bishop Tikhon by making it sound as if he knew all along about what was happening at St. Tikhon's. You must understand, as a life long resident of NEPA I, as well as thousands of others, have watched the "taking over of St. Tikhon's" by retired +Herman and his followers. They really didn't fool anyone...we were just "obedient" Orthodox who did nothing!!! Now, look what has happened. Bishop Tikhon was ordained to the Episcopacy, when? Five years ago, tops? He has been under Herman's thumb ever since. I feel relief for Bishop Tikhon...it must have been extremely difficult having to live directly under Herman and his spies!! Bishop Tikhon is a good, pious, spiritual man who can restore unity to our Diocese if left alone by Herman and his spies. Vladyka, watch your back! Some of these clergy still surround you. We know who the clergy are in our Diocese who reported on a daily basis to the then Metropolitan...watching, listening and telling all that happened in Herman's former Diocese. Ah, for the good old days under Archbishop Kiprian of blessed memory!!! Even he knew what awaited the OCA -- on many occasions he expressed his disdain as to what was occuring in the Church. Many writers refer to the "Tradition" of our church....what tradition? We are casting aside our identity. Are we Orthodox, Protestant, Reformed Orthodox....what? I go to church and hardly recognize the services I was "brought up in." No confessions, evening liturgy on New Years Eve (so people can go party), abreviated services....all this for what? I know everything was done to bring people into the Orthodox Faith, but where are they? We hear constantly about "rebuilding" our parishes ...seeking out new blood. Why haven't these changes enticed people to join? Maybe people are looking for a Faith that is stable....unchanging...something different...not what they're used to? We've become the "ever changing Orthodox Faith." Whatever needs to be done "to bring in the flock." Has it worked? It doesn't appear so! It all sounds so reminiscent of the Roman Church....Saturday evening masses in lieu of Sunday mornings, no fasting, no proper dress, etc. etc etc. Where did it get them? Total lack of respect and credibility. Are we heading down the same path? We have lost several generations from the "traditional church." I have heard many younger people (I'm in my late forties) say, "we don't need to go to confession," "the shorter the service the better," "why fast?" If this is the case in the National Church, we are in big trouble. I know it's the case in NEPA's churches. Metropolitan Jonah, please help restore my dedication and faith in the OCA. I'm praying for you and the entire Synod of Bishops.
#49 Observer in the Wilkes-Barre Diocese of NEPA on 2008-12-04 03:47
Sorry about this, but I feel I need to suggest it for the good of all, inc. myself.
Correct me if I'm wrong (please!) but I do recall you saying/writing that you do not publish everything you get--that some things are too outre to be put out on this site. That said, I do not see how continuing to run All Caps Guy's posting are doing any good anymore. In the light of what happened at the Council, they are only sad, and I don't think it is to anyone's spiritual benefit--and quite possibly to our detriment--to be either angered or amused or entertained by his (I assume "his" rather than "her") rantings.
I could go on, but 'nuff said for now. I hope you'll consider this suggestion, and if you disagree, I promise I will not turn into ALL NEW ALL CAPS GUY.
(Editor's note: Although he does not intend it as such, it is run purely for comic relief. Notice he only posts when the issue is +Herman. As
+Herman fades, so too will he.)
#50 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-12-04 08:30
NEPA Wilkes-Barre Diocesan Observer: Bravo! I agree wholeheartedly! I am a life long resident of Olyphant, PA -- Wilkes-Barre Deanery. I, too, have witnessed the many changes in the Orthodox Church in our area. These changes are not good and they all took place during Herman's reign as Diocesan Bishop and then Metropolitan. What was wrong with the Church the way it was 30 years ago? We were flourishing parishes with recognition given to us by our friends and neighbors of other Faiths. Everyone knew about "Russian Christmas" and our customs and practices. Now we're just part of the "melting pot". Our parishioners are no longer happy with what the Orthodox Church offers and we hear more and more people discussing the Evangelical and Protestants Sects that are opening up churches all over the "Valley." All of the concessions and changes we made to entice non-Orthodox to our Faith have done nothing to enhance parishioner growth. Now this embarrasing situation with former hierarchs and clergy cloud the Church even more. We need spiritual help and prayers! God be merciful to us.
#51 Anonymous on 2008-12-04 09:14
The problem is: "TRANSPARENCY!"
If + Herman did nothing wrong in his dealings with St. Tikhon's property, why was everything held in secret? Why wasn't the MC informed? Why weren't the fake Board of Trustees of St. Tikhon's informed? Why were phony LLC's created?
So WHY, is + Herman permitted to live in (that) house and continue to interact at STOTS? He belongs in a cell ....
#52 Anonymous on 2008-12-04 09:49
Please forgive me, but your post on stavropeghial monasteries is incomplete. In Russian usage, which we in the OCA seem to follow, it is the Primate who is (on paper, anyway) the abbot of a stavropeghial monastery; the person who is (again, on paper) supposed to be the functioning abbot is the namjestnik or "Deputy Abbot." Whether or not that Deputy Abbot actually fulfills the day-to-day responsibilities of an abbot is another matter; so do, while others do not. No one is suggesting (I hope!) that anyone cease commemorating the Primate and/or the Diocesan Bishop. What I would like to see, however, is precisely the situation you describe in Essex, whether the brethren elect their own abbot and bear both responsibility and authority for their own finances.
#53 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-12-04 15:44
Your citation of Apostolic Canon 41 is interesting, particularly in view of your not citing Apostolic Canon 38 as well, which, after making the Bishop responsible for all the diocesan assets, adds: "Let him not be allowed to appropriate anything therefrom or to give God's things to his relatives" (and, we might add, buddies).
Nor do you cite Apostolic Canon 40, which directs: "Let the Bishop's own property (if, indeed, he has any) be publicly known, and let the Lord's be publicly known..."
Nor do you cite Canon 26 of the 4th Ecumenical Council, which demands that every diocesan Bishop appoint "a steward" to manage the assets and financial affairs of the diocese, "...so as to provide against the administration of the church being unwitnessed [alt. trans: 'unaudited'], so as to prevent the property of the same church from being wasted as a result of such stewardless administration and to prevent any obloquy from attaching itself to holy orders."
Try again, OK?
#54 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-12-04 16:04
I understand that he has been comic relief. In a way that's my point. I think that has served its purpose at the expense of another soul, however comically absurd he's been. Like I said above, he--along with others who are perhaps a tad more clever and subtle than he--at this point strike me as just sad.
Scott Walker mentions "shooting fish in a barrel." My point is that it has degenerated into that, and to wield the piscatory shotgun is not a spiritually helpful exercise.
Just some thoughts--thanks for considering them.
(Editor's note: It's a slippery slope - do I have the right/obligation to prevent someone from making a fool of themselves if they continue to do so - or is free speech in and of itself a greater good? I confess I do edit ACG - I mean many times do you all want to read that I am "white trash"? But while I am comfortable at being an editor, I am less so being a full-time censor. Good question.)
#55 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2008-12-04 19:36
No apology necessary. However, the Russian system, as it has been described to me by own monastic brethren from Russia, is that the bishop of the monastery -- be he the local diocesan or the primate (in the case of the of a stavropegion) -- is always the Abbot in name with another person (either an archimandrite or, in some cases, a bishop) in residence named as the deputy who administers the day to day operations. My point was and is that this episcopal relationship -- be it local or primatial -- is defined by the monastic charter and by-laws and does not follow by definition from either its stavropegial or diocesan status. That is to say the monasteries in (in this case) Russia are governed the way they are because that is the way they are chartered and how their governance is defined by their by-laws (which charter and by-laws are no doubt required and blessed by the bishop), not from any 'definitional' imperative which issues from the fact that they are stavropegia or not. The subject of the relationship between a bishop (either local or primatial) and the monasteries under his omophorion is a large one with many possible variations and gradations which I cannot possibly cover in a venue such as this. However, in the spirit of placing first things first, I suggest that we keep in mind basic definitions and what they do and do not imply so as not to confuse the basic issues. Thus, in the case under discussion, how do the By-Laws read and whether they are, in fact, followed.
#56 Archimandrite Melchisedek on 2008-12-05 05:25
Did you ever think that you just might not know the entire story? Or, maybe you were not intended to know? I can understand your position, and feel your contempt due to the lack of the foreclosure of the situation. But, did you EVER think that the Metropolitan was not a CHRISTIAN who was doing his best to save the souls of those around him? Please tell me the wordly rewards this man has received! Is he living a lavish life? Is he not living a Christian life? I with you have felt the PAIN which has inflicted us. But, as a Orthodox Christian point of non-judgment, I feel we Must step back and not judge those things which we may not understand.
Leave it in God's hands!
And to be honest, WHY IS THIS WEBSITE STILL OPEN???
Let us heal, and move on!!!!!!!!!!
Come on Mark....Your Ugly face is showing your true light!
#57 Another Educated Orthodox Christian on 2008-12-05 22:56
Its all plain and simple. MH has to go away from the Monastery and Seminary.His presence has already created frustration and hypocrisy. Have the Monastery been surveyed recently? When was the last time/ Just how many acres belong to the Monastery. Is J. Palauch's house on Monastery property? And what about the old Clergy Farm about 3 miles further north. That was sold in a secret manner. Beautiful house,lake and pond. All now owned by someone from NYC. Who sold that? Who got the money? Everything at St.Tikhon's must be investigated....
#58 Anon on 2008-12-06 16:11
So, on the one hand we have the "Orthodox Christian point of non-judgment" (whatever in the world that is) and on the other we have, "Come on Mark...Your ugly face is showing your true light!" Self-contradiction alert. Perhaps the education you cite in your screen name was not in logic. But at least you do know how not to use the caps lock key. And to answer your question about the ex-Metropolitan, I would say, "Yes, frequently." Somebody once said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Using that standard, there's room to wonder about what, exactly His lamentable ex-Beatitude was really up to. Not that I ever spent too much time wondering about it, as I have quite a few sins of my own to think about. I simply didn't listen to anything the man had to say, as paying any mind to a known liar and bully is a waste of time.
#59 Scott Walker on 2008-12-06 16:32
Where have you been these last three years AEOC? You need to reassess your myopic views. Speaking of Christian virtues like not judging and saving souls is part of a much fuller context of Christian life that also includes caring for the widows and orphans and living in integrity. The later virtues are equally venerable with not judging and caring for the lost. Without all of them, together, we will simply dwell in darkness. I have not once seen Mark ever attack someone personally like you just have, referring to "Your Ugly face..." So much for Christian love AEOC. Your words are hypocritical. Out of one side or your mouth you speak of Christian virtues, and out of the other you abuse.
#60 Anonymous on 2008-12-06 19:25
If there are "things we do not understand" then it seems to me those who do understand could clear things up in ten minutes, simply by explaining them to us.
How hard would that be? Wouldn't that be the Christian thing to do?
You are not the first to utter this sort of nonsensical smoke screen. It does not improve with age. Cate
#61 cate on 2008-12-07 09:12
Just an interested non-OCA observer here. Wouldn't it be possible to go to the records room of the County Clerk's office in Honesdale (county seat of Wayne Couty PA) where deeds and mortgages are recorded, and find some answers to questions such as those raised here? It would be to the advantage of a lending institution to register such instruments, and register them as soon as possible, to protect their own interests in case of default, multiple mortgages, priority questions, etc. We do not have to hope someone will find a folder with important papers in a drawer somewhere, or fear everything has been shredded, since the official records should have copies of all such real estate-related documents. (This may have been answered, but if so I missed it.)
(Editor's note: You are absolutely correct. As Wayne County is not on-line, it would require a lengthy hand search. Any volunteers in the snowy Poconos?)
#62 observer on 2008-12-07 19:12
All thats being said about St.Tikhons Monastery/Seminary complex is being said by people who are truly concerned about the Church and her Institutions,especially the "Center of Orthodoxy" in America. I wonder why no one has mentioned the necessity of the so-called MT museum? Was this building necesary? It's never open except by appointment. Visitors come and go and never see the inside. Or the new Bookstore? Was it really necessary to build a new one? What percentage of the profits did Klimashev and MH get? Who paid for all the trips to Russia by Klimashev? The monies used to construct that building could have been used to build a new,larger church at the monastery.
Its a shame and embarassing that the Liturgy on Memorila Day is held in a barn-like pavilion,insted of at the Monastery Bell-tower which is were traditionally the Liturgy was always served.The older people who go the monastery on Memorial Day dont attend the Liturgy because its too far to be walking all the way from the Monastery center,so they stay put at the center. This was MH's desire to re-move the Liturgy from the center of the Monastery.Its time to put it back where it belongs.Yes,there are many things to be dealt with.Hope and pray BT is up to it...
#63 Anon on 2008-12-08 12:21
I recieve the Norteast Business Journal published by theTimes Shamrock Communications in Scranton, Pa. In the December 2008 issue, under FOR THE RECORD MORTGAGES; Wayne County. Alexi D. Klimitchev. Property location. South Canaan. Lender HONESDALE NATIONAL BANK, Amount $375,000. What a shock? Where is this land? .... St.Tikhon's Monastery? this is not hearsay it is published in a monthly newpaper.
#64 annonymous on 2008-12-09 20:11
Klimachevs house is built on land formerly owned by MH who then sold it (supposedly) to AK for $1 who then proceede to build the house for $375,000,....Pretty good for such a young person who came to this country with nothing. Where did all the money come from...or from whom? What was his salary as Protodeacn,Bookstore manager and Bursar of the seminary??? Where did the money come from to open a jewelry business in the Bookstore,(a religious institution),Philadelphia,and now in Honesdale in a building that he,as has been said,bought on the Main St. with apartments above the store. His store includes diamonds,and even ads on TV...which is not cheap. WHERE oh WHERE is the money coming from???
Something is wrong with this picture. These,and many other wuestions are being asked by many of the faithful in the Lackawanna valley and Deanery.....There is so much to be uncovered....
#65 Anon on 2008-12-10 11:52
I feel that this is probably money that came from the Olyphant All Saints refurbishing project. Kowalczyk put Klimitchev in charge of the icon restoration project. Bottom line is that the project has not yet been completed, all of the insurance money has been dispersed, the iconagraphers have not been paid and the parish is unhappy that they fronted the money to Klimitchev and now they have no recourse. This is just another investigation that has gone unattended to.
(Editor's note: Would someone from Olyphant parish care to comment on these allegations?)
#66 MP on 2008-12-11 11:52
In reply to the jewelry store. Is it in the Name of Lia Enterprises, LLC.? Because listed in the Business Journal 12-08 is LIA ENTERPRISES LLC, Property Location , Honesdale, Lender, HONESDALE NATIONAL BANK,, amount, $375,000.....This is listed just above the AK listing and sometimes if it is a corp. and an individual they may either take out two loans, under the business and under a property. ?????
#67 ANNONYMOU on 2008-12-11 17:40
Lia Enterprises?? LLC??? Is that the listing of the mortgage by MH and AK for the loan of $152,000? Why did Olyphant have to go thru the Bookstore for an ikonographer? How much did the MH and AK get out of that if the ikonographer was not paid? Indeed,where is the money? Why didnt All Saints pursue the matter legally? There are many independent ikonographers in this country. Go thru the Bookstore? Whose idea was that? How long is it going to take for BT to place everything in its proper order? To really take over? A leader cant always be a "nice guy",
but must do all things properly and in order.
Also,I'm tired of hearing others say we must forget and move on. However,this can be done only when those who are responsible for all the wrongdoings to the Church and its faithful truly confess and admit to what they have done,apologize and face the consequences of their actions,then and only then,can we forgive and forget....and move on.
#68 anon on 2008-12-12 11:03
I have said this from the start - enough of this "moving on" stuff. That's just a way of never dealing with the criminal activity pulled by Theodosius and Herman and Kondratick and that ...Soriach from Alaska. They all belong in cells, all right - JAIL cells! Herman should not be allowed to live on the Monastery property at all. No pensions, no "retiring" without ever admitting fault. They need to be turned over to the civil authorities and tried for their larceny and fraud.
#69 Pauline Costianes on 2008-12-17 15:50
After reading through the article and the comments it is quite clear there are some big fiscal messes that His Beatitude together with other trustworthy clergy and laity will have to find a way to resolve. May the Lord strengthen and guide them.
With regard to former Metropolitan Herman, I for one do not object to his living in a house on the monastery grounds. This strikes me as a wise and merciful course of action.
So long as the former Metropolitan conducts himself with restraint and humility in a place where he can be 'monitered' then that I think affords the best chance for healing all the way around.
In some respects recent events mark a 'watergate' type of scandal for us of the OCA. To further shame or prosecute the former heiracch at this juncture risks staining the office that he held. So just as President Ford pardoned former President Nixon, though he had many good reasons not to, he chose to defend the honor of the office over comeupance. Metropolitan Jonah and the Holy Synod seem to be taking a similar approach. It also reminds me how King David restricted certain once noteworthy rebels to a certain condition of restricted residence and forbade them to stray from it on pain of death.
At St. Tikhon's former Metropolitan Herman may work out his repentance in private in what years he may have left to him. If the intrigues stop, if he lives there in modesty and propriety from here on out, then that is sufficient. To exact vengence or further retribution even if legally justified would not strike me as heeding our better angels. The mercy shown the former metropolitan is appropriate and it speaks very well of our new Metropolitan. And if he indeed "stole" or obtained in any way his new residence through any sort of malfeasence, then so much the better, for then that shall all work as an added coal to warm the brow of his repentance. He shall dwell the rest of his life sheltered by the handiwork of his own sin healed and transformed by grace. And if there was no wrongdoing in this particular, then even so, it is still mercy. We cannot forget having done poorly or done well to my knowledge the former Metropolitan has never really known much of any sort of life outside the Church. To take away his home and only source of living would be too cruel.
All that he has now, he has by virtue of mercy, and it seems the godly thing to this sinner, to be satiesfied with letting mercy have a chance to do its work. It is enough God has given us new and better leadership, enough that the laity has been moved to help keep their heirarchs accountable. Give them time and room to do what must be done to diagnose and fix the current problems, and trust their judgment with regard to those who are most culpable for those prolems.
God answered our prayers, and having received grace let us not be stingy with it, even with Metropolitan Herman.
#70 Seraphim on 2008-12-22 10:13
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