Tuesday, January 27. 2009
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RSK is wearing a cassock... not a riassa. Children, young adults, and seniors in my parish wear cassocks. If he wore a riassa and pectoral cross, then that is a different story. What are you trying to prove here Mark?
(Editor's note: I think three questions to be asked. One: do you think it appropriate for a deposed priest, accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of church funds for his own, and his family, purposes, and who is currently suing the OCA for millions, to continue to be employed by an OCA parish? Secondly, is it really appropriate for him to continue to be lead and teach in that parish, while wearing a cassock, even as his ruling hierarch continues to deny he knows anything about it? (In this sense, it is perhaps best to consider the picture his fellow parishoners first took, and posted, not me, as helping the Archbishop achieve a clearer understanding of what is going on in Venice.) Finally, might not such continuing employment and costume be sending a mixed message regarding how seriously, or not seriously, the OCA takes his actions from 1989 to the present?)
#1 Anonymous on 2009-01-27 13:46
A picture says a thousand words. There was no controlling him in NY so there is for sure no controlling him in Venice, Fl. The Bishop makes a weak attempt at controlling him according to the statements he's made and nothing is accomplished. He wears a cassock and is addressed as "Fr. Bob" as has been reported. Who is the priest that services Venice, Fl? Perhaps he should be facing a suspension as well as the Bishop?
My guess is the Holy Synod is letting this play out until the law suits are resolved.
As for Nickolai, the Holy Synod had their chance while he was in the USA. Now what? Extradition? How sad that a bishop would do this. Can he not be deposed based on suing the church? Reading the news in Australia regarding their antics is astounding. If what's reported is true, it is a sad state of affiars.
More time.....more money....more lawyers.....more shenanigans......the tunnel is getting longer again.
#2 Anonymous on 2009-01-27 14:39
Fr. Bob keep preaching the word and remember the oca can't take away 43 years of knowledge and belief. Call the cops for a man in a robe going over the weekly news. A classic Stokoe !!!
#3 Anonymous on 2009-01-27 14:47
I am glad to see Bob looking so good and a standing room only crowd in Venice too! I hear they are going to have a big expansion program to increase the size of the Church. More good news.
The picture shows a man, in a cassock speaking. In the Russian/OCA tradition, he is not wearing a pectoral cross, nor a riasa either, which is an outer cassock reserved for an ordained person (deacon or priest). Thus, it is obvious he is not a priest.
Have any of us been to an Orthodox church and seen altar boys wearing cassocks? I have. Would it help us to think of Bob as a grown up altar boy?
The last time I checked, Bob was paid by the parish in Venice. Does that make him an employee of the OCA? Depends, I guess if you want to mislead people. He is paid by Holy Spirit Church in Venice. He is not paid by the Diocese of the South. He is not paid by Syosset...the OCA!!!!!. He is a fulltime employee of a parish that is part of the South which is part of the OCA.
As far as his employment in Venice, the only connectioin this layperson has to the OCA is that his employment makes him eligible to be in the OCA Pension Plan.
But the pension plan is not run by the Holy Synod or the Metropolitan Council (i.e. the Central Church Administration...the OCA). It is run by the Pension Board which, if you like, runs alongside the OCA administrative structure and interfaces with the OCA (at AAC's) to protect the welfare of the Plan participants and thus also distance itself from the OCA to also protect the Plan participants. But the Pension Plan is independent in its rules and operations once said rules are accepted by the Church meeting in Council at an AAC. The Holy Synod nor Metropolitan has any unilateral rule over the Pension Plan. It serves the Plan participants, whether they be Orthodox or not. In communion with the Church, or not. Whether we like them or not. Whether one thinks, as Metropolitan Jonah said that person "raped the Church" or not.
So is Bob Kondratick an "employee of the OCA?" If a Plan participant fulfills the requirements set forth by the Plan to be in the Plan, that is not the same as that person being paid by the OCA, or as you have said "an employee of the OCA." Thus to say that Bob is an employee of the OCA is misleading. He is not. He is an employee of Holy Spirit Church. Those who work for Syosset (OCA) are employees of the "OCA" in the way you present but not Bob Kondratick.
(Editor's note: Listening to you try to make your case that even while he is paid by and OCA parish and participates in the OCA pension plan he is not a "employee" of the OCA reminds me of my aunt's favorit saying: " Well, you may be right, but I would hate to have to live on the difference". I think the jury, literally, is still out on the question of whether one can be employed by an OCA parish as a full time church worker and not be an employee of the OCA in some sense, even if one's paycheck does not come from Syosset. But this lawyer's quibble is not the real issue.
The real point you make, at great length, is that this whole situation in Venice is simply a pretext for Kondratick's continued participation in the OCA pension plan, so that, when he retires in two years or so, he will receive his full pension
(being what, 2/3 of his highest salary? Say $100,000 a year ?) because he will have continued to participate in it despite being terminated, convicted in church court of misusing church funds, and deposed.
How ironic. Those, like Eric Wheeler, who revealed the fraud, or all those priests Kondratick helped depose over the years who raised questions, will get squat, or next to nothing. Kondratick, (not to mention +Theo, and +Herman and +Nikolai) do/will all get full retirement benefits, continuing to be paid by the very parishes, dioceses and clergy they betrayed and abused. Christ said turn the other cheek - did he say hand the man the bat to beat you with as well?
Kondratick scammed the system while in power; and Syosset, the Diocese of the South and Venice parish continue to allow him to do the same even now. Sweet. Thanks for making that clear to us all. )
#4 Anonymous on 2009-01-27 15:12
I, for one, was stunned by the photo of Kondratick. The man was deposed from the priesthood after a spiritual court found him guilty of violating church canons. What in God's name is he doing up there? He portrays a position of authority, whether its real or not. The OCA, by allowing this to continue, condones this message. Are the people running the OCA insane? The answer is very sadly obvious.
#5 anonymous on 2009-01-27 15:54
Keep preaching the word? What the OCA should have done is call the cops on him for his embezzlement of millions of dollars, money that was supposed to go to charity. Why they didn't, why they continue to let him play priest is one disgusting story I'm sure. Come on, people. Oh yeah, I want that guy preaching at my church. Please pray for me, because yes, I am angry.
#6 anonymous on 2009-01-27 16:14
Re: credo.ru's muckraking of the Moscow Patriarchate
Good thing we American Orthodox (OCA brand) are not as full of muck as those nasty, sinful Russian Orthodox! Look what those sinners have been up to while we have been busy doing American Orthodox stuff:
Moscow, January 27, Interfax: The number of the Moscow Patriarchate monasteries has increased thirty-six fold and a half - from 22 to 804.
Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill has cited this data in his report at the Local Council in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Tuesday.
Russia has opened 234 monasteries and 244 nunneries, the CIS-countries and Baltic States; 142 monasteries and 153 nunneries, other foreign countries; three monasteries and three nunneries. Besides, the Russian Church Outside of Russia supervises over 16 monasteries and nine nunneries. There are 203 monastery representations and 65 hermitages.
The number of parishes increased fourfold for 20 years (from 6 893 to 29 263 parishes), the number of dioceses - twofold (from 76 to 157), clergy - more than fourfold (from 7 397 to 30 670) and the number of bishops increased almost thrice (from 74 to 203).
The number of acting churches in Moscow has increased twenty-two fold - from 40 to 872. The city had only one monastery acting before 1990, now there eight monasteries, 16 monastery representations, three seminaries, two Orthodox higher education establishments.
#7 Anonymous on 2009-01-27 17:20
Worse still, this former deposed priest is completely UNREPENTANT regarding his personal malfeasance, abuses, and squandering of the Church's talents that he was found responsible for by the thorough OCA investigation. Shame on the parish and priest in Venice to allow such a man to have any position of authority and influence in the church, and shame on Archbishop Dmitri for allowing such a charade and travesty to continue. Of course the current lawsuit filed by RSK against the OCA and his failure to fully account for the millions squandered under his direction and watch does not seem to bother anyone in Venice or the leadership of the Diocese of the South.
Ethics Policy, what ethics policy! This is the new "ethos", new accountability, new vision, new leadership, etc. we were promised? Lord Have Mercy!
Why does Met. Jonah remain silent regarding this giant pink elephant trouncing all over the OCA and making a mockery out of the entire Church? Enough already!
I'm with you on this one,Mark,though I've not always shared your point of view.After 31 years of priesthood,I serve in a SCOBA parish for the princely sum of $300.00 a month.I also work a secular job which does provide Health Insurance,etc,but if I were to get fired from this job,I couldn't count on a pension.Let Kondratick get a secular job like me;he should be glad not to be in jail!So long as he serves the OCA in ANY capacity besides that of layman WITHOUT the right to wear a cassock or collects ANY type of salary,there is not a remote chance that I would ever return to the OCA!
#9 Anonymous on 2009-01-27 18:21
First of all in response to the above statements regarding cassocks. Cassocks are worn by male seminarians, not female seminarians. Male seminarians are preparing for the priesthood, female seminarians are preparing for lay work in the church--church school coordinators, choir directors, and many women receive the Master of Divinity degrees. Thus, theologians. I am NOT defending Robert K. Altar boys or anyone else assisting in the Divine Services should not be wearing a cassock. Liturgical robes should be worn. The liturgical robes do not have to be made out of the most expensive material. However, they should not be wearing the color black as in a cassock.
I have never met Robert K. I do not know him nor his family. However, for over thirty years the Synod of Bishops have allowed all of this to occur.
#10 cshinn on 2009-01-28 07:30
The person directly responsible for RSK continuing in any manner to direct the spiritual activities of this OCA parish is the Diocese Bishop. + Dimitri is directly responsible. Everyone should note that all other questionable characters who were in Syosset, ran to + Dimitri and currently serve under him. Ask yourself, "WHY?"
The OCA is too lenient on RSK, + Theodosius, + Herman & + Nicolai. Being nice and showing compassion is coming back to bite the OCA in the petutti.
#11 Anonymous on 2009-01-28 08:00
The general public of the OCA do not realize that there are some in the OCA who want to see the OCA fall apart. Why? So that the remnant will join with ROCOR under Moscow and ROCOR bishops will rule. Well, this won't happen. The law suits by + Nicolai and RSK will be defeated. The ONLY autocephalous Orthodox church in North America isn't going anywhere. The Orthodox churches under foreign bishops will continue to push their foreign agendas and Americans under them will have to shut up and pay up. The OCA has had it's house-cleaning; where's the house-cleaning in the other churches? None needed? i don't think so.
#12 Anonymous on 2009-01-28 08:13
Here we go again. Anything to bring Fr Bob into the conversation.
In reference to #1, the key word Mr Stokoe uses is "accused." He was "accused" of many things. And only found to be at fault by a SOBs that had every intention to make him the scapegoat of this whole ordeal. Everyone up there who reaped the benefits of him being the Chancellor, whether right or wrong, bailed on him in the end. Why do you think the OCA continues to allow him to be an "employee of the OCA?" (per Mr Stokoe). He's an employee of the church, just like the church that has a janitor or choir director that gets paid.
#2, so what, he wears a cassock and is called "Fr Bob." To those of us who love him, he'll always be Fr Bob. Big deal! As another commenter stated, people wear cassocks in my church back home. These folks are neither altar boys, readers, or sub-deacons.
#4, I would agree with the opening. If that church is growing, and it is, then let it be. Apparently the largest majority of folks down there have no issue with what he is doing. If they did, he would have been fired from there too.
Leave the man alone, he took the entire ordeal on his shoulders and laid it to rest. If the SOB was worth a hoot, they would have ensured that he would never be a part of an OCA parish again. They chose not to, don't blame it on him. BLAME IT ON YOUR BISHOP!!! He allowed it to happen.
#13 Michael Livosky on 2009-01-28 09:15
What next? I cant believe there are people who support the likes of RK? Here is a man who bilked the Church of millions,is still getting more and has the nerve to sue the Church???? The parish should be taken to task,The Pastor there is totally ineffective as a pastor for allowing this. The cassock is an ecclesiastical garment worn by those in good standing in the Church with the "blessing" of the Diocesan Bishop and/or Pastor. RK is no longer in that category. Yes there are acolytes who wear the cassock ONLY with the blessing of the Pastor to wear it "only" during Liturgy.RK does not have the right,nor the honor,not the privelege of wearing it at all. Who are these people in Venice? If this is what they want,then let them organize an independent parish with RK as their defrocked priest under no Bishop.A perfect combo like bacon and eggs. The OCA is still a mess and the HS Synod powerless and ineffective.
#14 Anon on 2009-01-28 12:08
Not just anyone can wear a cassock. You either "earn" the right to wear it by being tonsured (i.e. Readers, monks, etc.), or you are blessed to wear it at certain times for certain functions (i.e. some altar servers, and some seminarians). Since he is a layman, he would need to have a blessing to wear a cassock. So who gave him this blessing? And why would they bless him to wear a cassock just to give a talk?
#15 Anonymous on 2009-01-28 12:47
What a wonderful photo of RSK and attendance at a feast day service. Isn't it something that our little church has standing room only when we don't even have a priest! Why not post the other photos showing that we have not only every seat filled, but standing room only. The Holy Spirit is not only the name of our church, but lives in the hearts of each and every one of our parishioners. When you come to visit (or spy) we treat you with respect, love, and hospitality. We welcome everyone to come and visit us first-hand before you defile a healthy and expanding parish. Come on down, the weather's fine!
#16 HSOC PARISHIONER on 2009-01-28 13:11
My dear learned friend,
You are assuming facts nowhere in this or any other known galaxy entered into evidence. "...this former deposed priest is completely UNREPENTANT regarding his personal malfeasance...etc." What window do you have into this man's mind and heart and soul, to be able to judge his repentance or lack of it so absolutely? More fundamentally, who set you over him as the judge of his conscience and his soul? Certainly not the Lord Jesus Christ, if John 7:24 and Matthew 7:1ff. Bubba, you're so far ultra vires, you're in the next county.
(editor's note: On the contrary, Fr. Phillip, I think filing a multi-million lawsuit against the OCA for defamation, etc., is pretty concrete and strong evidence about what RSK thinks about whole situation. Repentant people do not sue their victims, at least not in the county I live in.)
#17 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-01-29 05:39
If these men are all guilty why would they be suing the oca ?
(Editor's note: Take your pick.
c) A Sense of Entitlement
e) The Best Defense is a Good Offense
f) None of the above
g) All of the above
#18 Anonymous on 2009-01-29 07:06
"Who is the priest that services Venice, Fl?"
Dear Sir/Madam: I find it odd that you can find your way here (and spend the time writing your comments) but not the oca web site, which has four fewer letters.
#19 Michael Strelka on 2009-01-29 08:23
Good thing I left the OCA, I thank God and still feel that I want to congratulate myself for the smart decision that I made to join the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.I have no regrets for leaving the OCA,more than that since I got transfered to the Greek Archdiocese,I feel like I was "born again"!
I have a couple of remarks.It seems to me that all those who wrote here against RSK wearing a cassock, are confused and don't know anything about the rules,regulations and the canons of the Orthodox Church in general,not to mention anything about the Holy Synod of the Bishops of the OCA and their soviet stalin kangoroo spiritual court who made the recomandation to depose RSK in the fiirst place!
I mentioned then, I'll reaffirm it now, it is illegitimate, uncannonical and illegal according to the teachings of the Orthodox Church to do,what they've done!
I don't defend RSK, but that's what it is!
I also don't want to enter in big arguments with anyone about the fact that if RSK is guilty of diverting funds,where are the others,or what happened to the others, who are as guilty as him?,former Mets. Herman and Theodosius,former acting treasures priest Paul Kucynda, and all those who worked in that administration,by deposing one man, whom you think that should be the scapegoat,you didn't solve the problem!
The money didn't come back and the all praised "transparency" with the new administration of the OCA is far away from being effective!
Bishop Nikolai(one of the most capable bishops from the OCA synod) was forced to retire without an income and you want me to continue with all the "goofy stuff" that is still going on in the OCA and it will probably never stop,until the day when they will realize that their system simply doesn't work?
I was in Venice, serving at the altar with another priest on the above mentioned Sunday. I didn't find anything wrong,that RSK wore a cassock, he is not a layman,defrockment means that you are still a priest but are stopped from performing any of the Divine Services and Holy Sacraments, acoording to The Orthodox Christian Theology, that is what deposition from the priesthood means. I don't know where did you people get the information to make all the above mentioned remarcks, certainly not from The Theology and Practice of The Orthodox Church, no wonder why, since most of you come from different defective backgrounds and think after you join The Holy Orthodoxy, that you can bring all your heresies and schismatic elements into Our Church, thinking that we "welcome them!"Please know once forever,that No, you are not welcome to bring them with you, leave them at the front door of our Church and as you exit from the Service, take them and dump them in the garbage can and never think about them again! Our Church is not subject to change or twist around anything,we are the True Faith and will remain that way until the Second Coming of Christ!
In Christ Father Catalin.
#20 Father Catalin Mot (Former pastor of The HSOC)between 1996-2002 on 2009-01-29 09:54
There's more that I will add to what I said in my first comment.
With all the respect tat I have for Archbishop Dmitri, as being my former diocesan bishop,I learned from one of my former parishioners from HSOC,that she called the Archbishop,last year in the fall, asking him when is he going to be able to come and visit their community? the answer was that he is to busy and can't go all over the place.
So let's face it, here is a community that has a uncannonically deposed priest, who helped them in their struggles to survive,because the hierarchy after deposing him, never cared to send or assign another priest,here is the community who was looking from some guidance from former Met. Herman and local bishop Archbishop Dmitri, guidance that they never received and ironically now, they extend an invitation to their diocesan bishop to come and at least talk to them and he refuses,because he is too busy and can't go all over the place! Do all these things sound norm,al to you,is this the way how it suppose to be? Probably from the OCA standpoint (where everything goes backwards) is the normal way,but for a normal mind, it just doesn't make sense!
And more than that, I think Met. Jonah with his Synod of Bishops should at least review RSK case and give him at least a fair trial in the Spiritual Court appointing in court people who know how to run a Spiritual Court(even if they have to invite or appoint priests from different Orthodox Jurisdictions), who know the Canon Law and the most elementary teachings of The Orthodox Church!
And if that Court (The Real One), will come up with the same findings as the first one, then it is appropriate the tell RSK, look, from this moment you can't even wear a cassock because we don't want you to do that!
This is my humble opinion!
Yours in Christ, Father Catalin
#21 Father Catalin Mot (Former pastor of The HSOC) between 1996-2002 on 2009-01-29 10:31
It's quite simple: RSK stole millions of dollars belonging to the OCA. Most of this money went to his relatives. These are objective facts. RSK needs to be defrocked; never allowed to be in ANY position of authority or guidance in ANY Orthodox church; be under penance not to receive any sacraments for a period of years; etc. THIS GUY IS A BLACK MARK ON THE OCA AND CLERGY! To allow him to serve as he is doing is a mockery of the Church and the Bishops!
#22 Anonymous on 2009-01-29 11:13
I know some deposed clerics, and none of them wear cassocks, and they never will wear a cassock again, and they know this. I'm pretty sure they've given all their cassocks away to people who need them. RSK may still be "ontologically" a priest until the cows come home, but that doesn't mean he has the right to wear a cassock, far from it. His "function" is as a layman, he is supposed to dress, receive communion, and be buried as a layman. This is Orthodox Teaching and Tradition.
#23 Anonymous on 2009-01-29 11:26
-NIKOLAI thinks he deserves a lifetime salary? What for? Since when is a monk entitled to a salary? Where is his spiritual father? Does he plan to get $41 million, then sell all his possessions and give it to the poor? I suspect not.
Some ascetic podvig he's got going on there down under.
The devil sure has turned up the heat!
#24 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2009-01-29 11:43
In regards to those who have written about cassoscks,theology,canons,etc. I suggest they go back to the books and re-learn as to why Rk and NOT "Fr" RK can wear an ecclesiastical garment. True,he is still a priest,but one who has disgraced the Holy Priesthood by his actions resulting in being defrocked and no longer worthy to stand in front of the Holy Throne and offer the Holy Gifts which are pure and undefiled. There have been,and still are,priests and Ministers in other denominations who have stolen,embezelled monies from their congregations and churches,who have mis-used funds for their own benefit and are now in jail for their crimes.Where is RK? Prancing around in a cassock like an innocent lamb. And the priest who left the OCA for the Greek Archdiocese. The Greeks have no problems? ....There are still many,many people in the OCA waiting for all this to be resolved totally.The tapestry is still unraveling..........
#25 Anon on 2009-01-29 12:27
Sorry, Father, but anybody who can claim the wicked Nikolai as one of the "most capable bishops" automatically gets all credibility points deducted. The dumping on converts toward the end of your screed only makes it better. I'm glad you're happy where you are. Please stay there.
#26 Scott Walker on 2009-01-29 12:57
Mr. Anonymus, or Father Anonymus,
Wrong again, you're off again, a deposed priest can wear a cassock, cannot wear vestments,receives Communion as a layman,can be bury in cassock,but not in vestments and the funeral service is performed as any funeral service for lay people!
Now, this is Orthodox, I recommend that you study the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church in both matters about the deposition and suspension of priests and what does a priest to be guilty of in order to be suspended or deposed from The Holy Priesthood!
In Christ, His unworthy servant, The unworthy priest Catalin.
#27 Father Catalin Mot former pastor of HSOC between 1996-2002 on 2009-01-29 12:59
There is no priest assigned as pastor of the the church in Venice. They have substitute priests who serve.
#28 Member of the DOS on 2009-01-29 14:51
What happened to the V. Rev. Stephen Plumlee, the priest listed as being attached to Holy Spirit Orthodox Church of Venice, FL?
Who is the priest in photos of your celebration of Holy Theophany 2009?
#29 Pobrecita on 2009-01-29 14:52
Father Catalin, defrocking removes holy orders from the person and such a person is no longer a priest unless he is reinstated. I am not saying that you necessarily have to agree with the defrocking of Robert Kondratick. But the Orthodox Church does not hold to any idea of an "indelible" mark made by holy orders; this is a notion of the Roman Catholic church. Anyone who has been canonically defrocked is a layman.
#30 Pobrecita on 2009-01-29 15:02
Wasn't + Nikolai a licensed social worker prior to being consecrated a bishop?
If that's the case, why can't he simply go back to that line of work?
Does the Church owe him a living?
It seems to me that that line of work would be much more fulfilling rather than doing nothing but causing so much havoc in Australia.
I just don't get it. Whatever happened to creating a positive out of a negative situation?
#31 Michael Geeza on 2009-01-29 16:48
Let me get this straight. The OCA is getting sued for 41 million + and your all upset about a cassock?
Bravo! That is the kind of thinking that makes me proud of the O, CA!
Lets keep our eye on the ball, huh?
#32 no name on 2009-01-29 17:13
He's just the tip of the iceberg that's why he can still wear a cassock and get away with it.
#33 anon on 2009-01-29 19:34
I am frustrated so much focus has been due to the photo of RSK. Could that be because the writers are unaware of specific actions by Bishop Nikolai that very little is discussed about Bishop Nikolai's $41 million suit against OCA?
I find it spiteful that Bishop Nikolai has sued claiming he is entitled to receive a "lifetime salary" from the Diocese of Alaska. This from a Bishop who decided a couple years ago to terminate the small pension paid to retired Alaskan Archbishop Gregory. This pension was voted on years ago by the Alaskan Diocesan Assembly in gratitude for 22 years of service to Alaska by their beloved Hierach. Where was Bishop Nikolai's compassion then?
Bishop Nikolai violated Church Canons a number of times. The Holy Synod chose to retire Bishop Nikolai rather than go through the divisive process needed to defrock him.
He left the Diocese with over $ 900,000 in loans which did not exist before he came as Bishop. About half are against our Cathedral, which can ill afford them. His actions also led to many people no longer attending church, and feeling lost- no longer feeling part of their church and the church of their ancestors. And, now he wants to be paid for his services- services that could bankrupt us!
I doubt if many people saw RSK as spiteful or disliked him before rumors of financal issues began and allegations about them came to light. Many of us felt respect and liked Bishop Nikolai during his early months and first year as Bishop, but well before his departure not many respected him any more. None of us are perfect, and all of us sinners have good in us. This is also true of Bishop Nikolai, and I pray daily for him and his salvation. This lawsuit will be a distraction to that, and will not help in healing our our Diocese.
O. - a loyal Alaskan OCA parishoner
#34 Nicki J. Nielsen on 2009-01-29 23:59
Well here I go again, replying to Mr. Banescu, Esq. Sorry!
I focus SOLELY on the concluding paragraph of his message which inquires. perhaps rhetorically, perhaps not, "Why does Met. Jonah remain silent regarding this giant pink elephant trouncing all over the OCA and making a mockery out of the entire Church. Enough already!" Quite.
Mr. Banescu Esq.'s question is seemingly pregnant with, or at least based upon, many unspoken, esquirely assumptions. Let me raise them in the form of questions:
1. does he think that effective leadership must be exercised noisily, or publicly enough for young lawyers to see?
2. does he assume public silence is approval?
3. is he confusing the job of a metropolitan - the leadership and ruling of a Church - with that of a mahout, who is a professional prodder of pachyderms?
4. does he think that whatever RSK is doing in Venice is or should be near the top of the Metropolitan's priorities, or is he, in his excitement at having a straw man to pummel, just looking (and writing) askance at someone who seems to have a larger view of his office and calling?
5. has he traded in traditional Orthodox values (like silence) for the modern, media-age American view that a leader must keep control of the dialogue by continually running his mouth like a cross between a play by play man and a color commentator?
Having personally heard Met. Jonah teach on silence and seen him practice it once or twice to good effect in the face of serious provocation, I am willing to bet that any intentional silence on his part toward or about Mr. Kondratick is founded on wisdom and the desire to make his words count for greatest good of the Church when/if it is time for him to speak words audible to the likes of Mr. Banescu and me.
Beasts of various species and colors have been trouncing and doing other bad things to the Church for 20 centuries or so now ("The kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent men take it by force." or "Don't rush into the field to yank out the tares lest you damage the wheat too.") and for a lesser time, albeit most energetically, to the OCA.
Church history, a topic that was seemingly not emphasized at Mr. Banescu's law school or university, contains sad, voluminous testimony on the trouncers and trouncings of the past.
Let's not yell "Enough already!" just because His Eminence's values, priorities and methods do not approximate closely enough those of the world ... or the younger end of the bar association.
#35 Fr George Washburn on 2009-01-30 01:41
I'd really like to know why Kondratick, Herman & Theodosius aren't in jail? All three have stolen large sums of money from the OCA. Why aren't they in jail? Why haven't charges been presented? Nicolai could probably be included in this.
Forgive and forget? Love your neighbor? While these guys take out law suits against the OCA? Who is making these bad decisions regarding prosecution in the OCA?
(Editor's note: In answer to your questions the OCA can "prosecute" no one. Only the civil authorities may. They have chosen not to do so, for many reasons, among them a lack of evidence, since so much was destroyed or is missing. As Paul Hunchak reported, Kondratick destroyed many papers; and as the SIC reported Fr. Kucynda let Kondratick leave with many boxes more when he was terminated. In addition, as the SIC reported Fr. Strikis was not capable or required to keep accurate records or orderly files, Fr. Oselinsky was just obeying orders, etc., etc. But be at peace, all of the above received letters of reprimand from the current Chancellor to be placed in their files for these actions. Kondratick was deposed, and Metropolitan Herman allowed to retire, with thanks for his service. As Bishop Benjamin stated at the recent AAC, this was sufficient punishment for all involved, according to the Synod.
Finally, the OCA has chosen to respond to their lawsuits: it has initiated none. )
#36 Anonymous on 2009-01-30 06:33
Perhaps when we witness and experience SILENCE being used for good, for the good of Christ's church (not Syosset), we will be able to have our trust in the men who are charged with leading the Church restored.
#37 anonymous on 2009-01-30 08:11
I don't know whether Metropolitan Jonah's visit with Rodin Kondratick was a good or bad decision (though I'm inclined to give Metropolitan Jonah the benefit of the doubt), but I do know that the hysterical clerical cries on this thread for lay silence and acquiescence are misplaced (at best). Silence, as we have repeatedly seen, is not always, or even usually, a virtue. And if there is any hypocrisy in play, it is on the part of those who nosily demand silence. Of course, silence on the part of the laity, so that our morally superior clergy, who are the handmaids of our incorruptible bishops, can continue to run the Church unfettered by lay concerns or complaints.
Dream on! Those days are dead and buried and will never be resurrected. Clerical usurpation, lying, denial, and enabling of wrongdoing and evil will be exposed to one and all. It goes without saying that I'm not talking about all, or even most, of the clergy, and the laity certainly have their share of the wicked or incurably ignorant. But the Church is composed of all members of the body of Christ, not just some of self-important appendages.
#38 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-01-30 09:13
RSK's lawsuit against the OCA---ironically, exactly the course of action urged by certain writers on this site against RSK---is wrong on Scriptural grounds (inter alia, 1 Cor. 6:1ff and Matthew 5:38-42). But if we were to leave off dehumanizing and demonizing him for a minute, perhaps his action becomes more comprehensible. How, after all, would you feel if, after some 40 years of service, every positive contribution you had ever made were discounted or denied or just ignored, and your entire record and identity were reduced (quite publicly) only to your wrongs, errors, and mistakes? Would you feel hurt and angry...perhaps hurt enough and angry enough to lash out? Again, this does not justify the lawsuit; but perhaps it does a little something to understand at least part of what I suspect (but, admittedly, do not know) to be the reason for it.
And if you cannot grasp that making absolute and definitive judgments about the state of another's soul (as Chris's comment did) is impossible for any human, and runs flatly contrary to both Scripture (again, John 7:24, "Judge not according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment," etc.) and the entire Orthodox patristic tradition (cf. The Desert Fathers, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, The Philokalia, etc)...well...give it a few more years and some hard-hitting introspection as you realize the intensely personal implications of Hebrews 9:27 ("It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment") and Matthew 7:2 ("For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged"); and perhaps you will think differently.
(editor's note: I have never demonized anyone - reread my articles, nor dehumanized anyone. I have simply reported their actions. And while your may ascribe RSK's actions to anger, I see no reason why my list ( pride, arrogance, refusal to appercieve, etc.) is any less possible. Moreover, if you knew me you would know that in good apophatic tradition I ascribe absoluteness and definativeness to no created thing, least of all opinions. )
#39 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-01-30 09:36
And your point? That the ROC, the government favored Faith in Russia is taking advantage of that most-favored status? Is that suppose to impress anyone? What does that have to do with Orthodoxy here in the USA?
If you are making the point that the ROC is superior to the OCA, you may wish to compare apples to apples. In Russia, Orthodoxy is given government approval over other "relligions." In the USA our constitution forbids this.
But if you would like to make a fair comparison between the ROC and the OCA in the USA, compare the MP parishes in the USA vs the OCA parishes here. I think when you do so you will see that when the MP/ROC in the USA does not government favoritism, the MP/ROC in the USA is a small insignificant Orthodox witness.
#40 Anonymous on 2009-01-30 09:52
In the above your response to the message I think you just defined what you and this web site is all about!!!
c) A Sense of Entitlement
e) The Best Defense is a Good Offense
f) None of the above
g) All of the above
Thank You Kindly!
(editor's note: You are correct - I do think we are entitled in the Church of God to truth, accountability and transparency, since that is what the Church preachs us to practice: the truth, being accountable to God and each other, and to being transparent in our actions, such that our yes is yes, and our no, no. As for pride, arrogance, delusion, there are always enough of these in each of us to make the accusation stick.
But I was not speaking in generalities, I was speaking about a specific action. Feel free to disagree.)
#41 Sling on 2009-01-30 11:15
Amen Father!!!! Leave your outside non-orthodox traditions at the front door of the church and no make sure you pick them up on your way out I have no problem with converts, but when they try and change things that are in the canons of the church then they need to go back to where they came from!!!!
Amen! Amen! Amen!
#42 sling on 2009-01-30 11:47
I'm with you Father! I served a SCOBA parish for 16 1/2 years for the 'princely' sum of $100 a week (and most of those years, it was $50 a week!) with no benefits or housing. I too work at secular employment and presently have TWO secular jobs and at 62 years of age I'm working from 8 AM - 12 Midnight. Let 'Father Bob' get out and see what the REAL world is like and work for a living! Besides, he shouldn't have any money problems...after all the $$$ he robbed from the Church. I've got NO sympathy here either! Final question: How much faith can someone like this actually have??? I would fear God's wrath if I were in his shoes!
Kissing your holy right hand.
In His Holy Name,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#43 Fr. Pius on 2009-01-30 14:51
"Only the civil authorities may. They have chosen not to do so, for many reasons..."
Mark, are you saying that the FBI investigation has been closed? Is that official?
(editor's note: The investigations are still on-going. I should have said " as of yet, for many reasons". Thanks for allowing me to clarify.)
#44 Rachel Andreyev on 2009-01-30 16:11
Straw man alert! Kindly offer one example of what you mean when you cite converts trying to change things that are in the canons of the church. Since you're referring to the canons, I expect a specific citation of which canon, and who is trying to change it. Along with that, please prove that whoever is allegedly calling for change is a convert, and not a cradle. As far as your not having problems with converts, how generous of you.
#45 Scott Walker on 2009-01-31 10:28
Father Catalin Mot :
You said: "Bishop Nikolai(one of the most capable bishops from the OCA synod) was forced to retire without an income..."
I have followed OCAnews for several years now, applauding the efforts to get at the truth. I know I need to be knowledgeable about the happenings in the OCA, and not just rely on our remoteness to keep us safe from whatever might be happening to the OCA. I have been tempted to post replies to comments over the years, but have always decided against it. Your one comment about Nikolai has taken me over the edge.
You may have him. And keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed.
As a member of a parish in Alaska, I observed, first hand, Bishop Nikolai's disrespect for native cultures, his disrespect for elders in our communities, his disrespect for priests, readers, deacons, choir leaders, choirs, matushkas, church councils, and alter servers. I observed his disrespect for our languages and traditions and customs. I observed his arrogance and his pursuit of money. He removed things from our Cathedral, without notifying us, and then placed them in his "Museum" in Anchorage. We hope to get them returned, as they have resided in our Cathedral since the times when Saints walked our land. And I observed a mean spirit. At no point did I observe a bishop who loved his flock. And we tried to have an open mind.
All over Alaska, it is the same as in our parish. We have very few members who still attend church. I would say that our attendance has been cut by two thirds. Perhaps when enough time has passed for people to forget, our members will come back to the church. Unfortunately, we suffered for 7 years, and we have long memories.
This is the first time since our first priest was assigned here in 1824 that our church has been in danger of becoming nothing but a museum. Our faith has bound us together for 2 centuries and has saved us as a community from very devastating circumstances, including the forced evacuation of the Aleutians by the United States government. I have faith that we will persevere and come through these troubling times. Why? I guess it is because I know the spirit of the indigenous population and their particular devotion to the orthodox faith, and their love of God.
Yes, you can have him and all the baggage that he will bring with him.
I will go to confession for my feelings of disrespect toward a fellow human being.
Holding onto hope in Alaska,
#46 Quumhlaakdax^ on 2009-01-31 11:56
I always thought that priestmonks were at monasteries and they only filled in on parishes if really needed. The monks I have senn at St. Tikon's live there and do not have secular jobs. They have given up material things and live in a community with their brother monks.
#47 Anon on 2009-01-31 13:10
Fr. Plumlee is attached to Venice but he does not serve there all the time. A priest must be attached somewhere but that doesn't mean he has to be there all the time.
#48 Anon on 2009-01-31 13:20
If you really want to know if someone is holy, accuse him of all sorts of things (embezzling, mismanagement, abuse, etc.) and see how he reacts. If he humbles himself regardless of the accusations (and even defending oneself, one may show true humility), he may indeed be holy, humble and even innocent. But if he strikes back (verbal attacks, law suits, disobedience), then you are certainly and without a doubt dealing with someone who is in the hands of the devil.
#49 Reader James Bozeman on 2009-02-01 14:44
SORRY MARK! IN THE PAST YOU CLAIM THAT BEFORE A COMMENT IS POSTED ON YOUR GOSSIP WEBSITE YOU DO RESEARCH TO MAKE SURE OF THE PERSONS FACTS! BEFORE IT IS POSTED! OR ARE YOU SAYING KNOW THATS NOT THE CASE?
(editor's note: No, you are wrong. I have never said I did research to make sure of anybody's facts. These are the poster's opinions, not mine, and I have have always posted a disclaimer to that efffect. That being said, I did say, and repeat, that I will not post any comments I know from personal experience to be untrue. By defination, you have never read any of those comments. )
#50 Anonymous on 2009-02-03 08:47
I feel like I owe you an apology in the first place, if my remarks in regards of converts offended you,please know that it wasn't my intention to hurt any feelings.
Please know want thing, I love converts, I have many of them in my Church as well as many catechumens now, I don't even want to call any of these people "converts", because by heart we are all converts,more than that I call them people who embraced pur faith later in their life,it depends when each individual discovered it!
Secondly, I know personally,Bishop Nicolai and I don't know how did you come to the conclusion that he is weak? if that's you opinion, I respect it, but I totally and respectfully disagree!
Thirdly, please know that I served in the OCA for 71/2 years and I know what's going on, they get rid of everybody who is speaking out against their wrongdoings, instead of trying to correct their problems.
Just out of curiosity, if you call Bishop Nicolai a weak bishop, then who's a strong Bishop in your opinion, Former Mets Theododius and Herman, Archbp. Nathaniel, Bp. Tikhon or Benjamin?
Sorry for the "mean words", but I think that many of the people who write here "judging different people, priests and bishops", have no idea of what are the Church teachings in different subjects that are debated here!
Forgive me again dear brother, if I ever offend you!
In Christ, His unworthy servant, the unworthy priest,Catalin!
#51 Father Catalin Mot (Former pastor of The HSOC) between 1996-2002 on 2009-02-03 09:15
Technically speaking, you are correct...but theologically and ontologically speaking this is NOT the case. If a priest is removed from Holy Orders for some good reason and no longer serves...and that situation somehow changes (perhaps a marriage situation for example) and if he petitions to be allowed to serve again and his petition is accepted, he is NOT ever re-ordained, but receives the blessing of his metropolitan/archbishop/synod to be "re-instated"!...which proves that practically speaking the Holy Orthodox Church's teaching is much like that of the Latin Church. After all...how can any man stand "in the person of Christ" at the Holy Altar for years and not be changed spiritually withIN his very soul!?!
That being said, I think that when a man IS removed from priestly orders and returned to the state of a layman...this decree carries with it the stipulation that he is also NOT EVER to be dressed as a priest in church or in public...the one exception may be, that he is allowed to be buried in a cassock IF he requests it and his bishop gives blessing for this. A priest who is defrocked is not allowed EVER to "present himself as a priest in public" PERIOD.
In His Holy Name,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
Editor's note: Except, of course, it seems, in the Diocese of the South of the OCA where in Holy Spirit parish, Robert Kondratick is still addressed as "Fr. Bob", and referred to as such on their public website
This appears to be no less true in the surrounding community. See for example, this quote from the Venice Interfaith Community Association website, listing among its current leadership (February 2009):
" Current Leadership:
Don Hughes, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice; Sara McCorkle, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice; Doug Roach, Epiphany Cathedral (Treasurer); Don Fialka; Janet Onnie, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice (President); Ed Martin, Sarasota Friends Meeting; Rev. Keran Olm-Stoelting, Venice United Church of Christ (Secretary); Judith Zangwill, Jewish Center of Venice
Not pictured: Shirley Bascom, Baha'i; Keith Backhaus, St. Mark's Episcopal; Rev. Sarah Brown, Our Savior Lutheran; Fr. Bob Kondratick, Holy Spirit Orthodox Church."
I guess Mr. Kondratick forgot to tell them about his deposition 18 months ago?)
#52 Fr. Pius on 2009-02-03 13:38
Thank you, Father, for the kind words. I did not refer to His lamentable Grace, Nikolai as "weak". I referred to him as "wicked". A disgraced bishop who launches a lawsuit against Christ's Church, completely contrary to the command of St. Paul, certainly qualifies for the epithet. He would do well to retire to a monastery and end his days there in quietness and repentance. While he's at it, he could seek forgiveness from those whose faith he helped shipwreck.
Since you ask, I have nothing but the greatest respect for Bp. Benjamin, along with Abp. Job, and am delighted that His Beatitude Jonah is our new Metropolitan.
#53 Scott Walker on 2009-02-03 20:38
It is my opion to take the fifth on this one as I have already stated my opion on this matter. Sorry my answer does not meet up to Scott's needs or wants.
Jesus loves us all no matter what we have done in our earthly life. In fact he knows what we will be doing tomorrow.
Have a great day!
A huge sinner not afraid to admit it!!!
#54 sling on 2009-02-04 07:42
In some eparchies the parish compensation is small (emigre eparchies, like ours for example)...and therefore some monastics live in small groups of two or three and have to be very much self-supporting. I have lived in large and small monastic communities...and personally find the smaller ones more genuine and even more prayerful. In Orthodoxy there are many different monastic forms and all are considered quite equal and authentic.
In Him Who calls us,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#55 Fr. Pius on 2009-02-04 07:45
Sorry, but your A doesn't equal B. It's been said a good offense is a good defense. If we are after the Truth, then all must be exposed for history to decide. The evidence against RSK has already shown him to be guilty. His suit is frivolous. Nicolai will be deposed and his suit will also fall apart. Herman should also be deposed for his financial finagling at STOTS and Theodosius started all of this.
#56 Anonymous on 2009-02-04 08:34
Besides teaching at the Venice OCA church, there is this website where RSK is representing the Church as Fr. Bob at this gathering "http://www.veniceinterfaith.org/". It doesn't seem he should represent the Church by being Fr. Bob. He can do it privately as Bob, as any of us can join whatever we'd like as private individuals , but when he uses the title Fr.; that seems to imply to the world that we sanction whatever he does there and it is in the name of the Church itself.
#57 Peter and Helen Evans on 2009-02-04 09:20
In other words, you don't know what you're talking about, and cannot back up what you say. Thanks for making that clear.
#58 Scott Walker on 2009-02-04 17:15
My impression is that monastics take a vow of "Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience," -- using a familiar Western shorthand. For a hieromonk or priestmonk, fulfilling that vow of obedience may entail serving in a parish if the bishop has requested that a monk fill the position and the monk's spiritual father gives his blessing.
Fr. Pius is correct in alluding to the various forms of communal organization covered by Orthodox monasticism: hermits; monastics organized in very small communities or loose affiliations (aka sketes); and larger communities. Orthodox monasticism also embraces a wide range of structure to the monastic life: in some communities the structure of a monastic's life is let wholly to the monastic, in others the monastic life is highly structured.
#59 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-02-05 04:21
You have the aphorism backward: "a good offense is a good defense" is more often rendered as "the best defense is a good offense". Bishop Nikolai's use of a civil lawsuit as the means of retribution for his forced retirement seems to be a recent example of the trait ascribed to the Serbians known as "inat", recently the subject of discussion on the Yahoo! Group "Orthodox Forum"
Only time will show whether or not the Court considers R. Kondratick's lawsuit frivolous or not. I for one would not bet against him; the apparent track record of the U.S. Courts in not dismissing what many outside the legal community see as obviously frivolous law suits should lead all in the OCA to regard R. Kondratick's law suit as a very serious matter.
Similarly, because the Synod did not depose Bishop Nikolai for his actions in Alaska, but forced him into retirement -- a form of discipline that may be considered uncanonical -- he may have stronger case against the OCA
As for the deposition of Metropolitan Herman or Metropolitan Theodosius, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, made it very clear at the 15th All-American Council that the Synod had taken all of the necessary disciplinary actions required to restore and maintain proper Church order. To paraphrase His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius and Metropolitan Herman have suffered enough, nothing more is required, necessary, or advisable. Given the very low standard of conduct the Synod has set, what makes you think that the Synod will take any action against His Grace Nikolai?
#60 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-02-07 05:42
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