Monday, March 2. 2009
+Jonah, a recap of the past three years, and that pesky "Fr. Bob" business .....
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Oh that darn Sarasota newspaper, gets it wrong again by calling Kondratick (Fr) Kondratick, just like Terry Mattingly got it wrong calling Fr John Reeves, Philip Reeves. I wish those news rooms would pay more attention to detail so we Orthodox don't waste our time trying to make a point that does not exist.
Nice try Mark, but I am not biting. You keep spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of dwindling assessment dollars on lawyers, and the fiscal police will be after you and the other members of the MC before too long.
(Editor's note: The issue is not what you bite, but what you expect us all to keep swallowing. )
#1 Anonymous on 2009-03-02 11:47
The articles regarding the history of the OCA, the recent scandal, and the election of +Metropolitan Jonah were interesting reads, although with minor errors (it was Gregory Nescott, not Lewis, who was on the Metropolitan Council; and Nikolai wasn't deposed [he should have been], but retired last year). But the saddest news item of all was, as Mark referred to it, "that pesky 'Father Bob' business." How can this guy (after all he's done, I cannot bring myself to call him a man!), after being deposed, still go around with the title of "Father?" It is an affront and a personal insult to all those good priests who still do bear the title of "priest" and "Father!" It seems that lies build upon more lies, and evil builds itself upon more evil!
To return to a positive note, I'm glad that the various news articles accurately portrayed our new Metropolitan as a man who takes seriously the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as being a man who is savvy enough to realize that the old ways of the "good ol' boys" network don't work! Hopefully and prayerfully, we have entered upon a new time, one where the Gospel of our Lord is in the forefront! This, and this alone, will determine the success of our missionary work in the world!
#2 David Barrett on 2009-03-02 12:37
I call him Father Bob because he's done alot more good than an B.S. synod report states !!!!
#3 Anonymous on 2009-03-02 13:34
In the movie 'The Passion of the Christ', there is a scene that depicts a soldier beating Our Lord to a bloody pulp because of what the Scribes and Pharisees perceived to be "the truth".
Mark, you are that soldier who bruises and beats Fr. Bob based on the accusations of others. The soldier used a whip. You use a website. Is this how you would treat Christ? We are ALL depicted in the image and likeness of Christ. Learn and practice forgiveness!
Shame on you to do this during the first week of Great Lent.
#4 Daniel on 2009-03-02 14:24
While you may find a similarity between Mark Stokoe's behavior through his efforts with OCANews.org to mirror that of the Roman soldier beating Christ, consider the similarity between Bob Kondratick's behavior as Chancellor and that of the Apostle Judas. Did they not both steal from the common purse to fulfill their own desires? At least Judas repented of his sins; has Bob Kondratick repented of his? Judas' repentance was at least public enough that other followers of Christ knew of it and recorded it; what of Bob Kondratick's repentance? It seems nonexistant. As such, I don't want him as a visible representative of Orthodox Christianity: the stench of hypocrisy is too great.
Metropolitan Jonah and the Synod have called on all in the OCA to forgive. I forgive Bob Kondratick of his theft and deceit. I pray for his repentance.
#5 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-03-02 19:07
I don't agree with post #3, nor post #2.1, nor post #1.
Bob Kondratick doesn't belong in service to the OCA in any capacity.
The statement isn't mean or vindictive.
#6 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-03-02 20:00
Thanks. Well balanced articles, in the whole scheme of things, despite the minor errors.
So, ummmm, what's up with the "Father" Bob Fan Club? I certainly don't wish the man ill, but he was deposed for a reason. Actually, a couple of million reasons.
I see the "Fr. Bobsters" appear fairly often on here, and I think "Mark you're an ass" has run its course as a defense for 'Father" Bob.
As an examining Professor once asked me after a rather detailed explanation of my thesis: "Can you be more specific?".
#7 Christopher on 2009-03-02 20:13
Interesting .. and moreso the news (see ANTIOCHIAN.org) of the decision from Damascus that all Antiochian Bishops (6) are ONLY auxilliaries. Cannot found new parishes, ordain, etc. without approval of Met. Phlip. Just ceremonial. Is THIS what the many who wanted unity with the Antiochians in the midst of our calamity? God bless our Autocephaly!
#8 nonymous on 2009-03-02 21:53
Of course, we don't know what people call you because you hide behind the cowardly title of "Anonymous." That being said, the so-called "b.s. report" was not a Synod report, but a Special Investigative Committee (SIC) report, overseen by only one bishop (+Benjamin). The rest of the folks were not bishops. In fact, the report even rebuked some of the bishops who did not act in a prompt, timely matter regarding this crisis.
No matter what the result of the report, this guy Kondratick is not a priest any longer! The investigations and subsequent revelations at his spiritual trial led the members of the Synod to depose him from the priesthood! Agree, disagree, or whatever, but the guy is no longer a priest! To do so is to factiously break with the rest of the Church! If he's so innocent, why did he have Fr Paul Kucynda cart box after box of financial records out of the Chancery as he fled? If he did nothing wrong, why hide anything? It seems there are many who still travel that dysfunctional river in Egypt, denial!
#9 David Barrett on 2009-03-02 23:01
Hopefully, people are not focusing singularly on the fact that the paper referred to him as father. The real focus should be on the wonderful work RSK and the group down there seem to be doing with children and the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church community.
(editor's note: No, you are wrong. That is the issue. He is a defrocked priest, and should not be portraying himself as one, with the collusion of Archbishop Dmitri, who is responsible for this. No one every questioned RSK's talents, dark as they are. The fact is that he put them to misuse for the OCA, and no amount of photo ops, at which he excelled, can change those facts. Just look back at the wonderful photo ops of all the "good work" he was doing in DC after 9/11 - while diverting all the money. Give me a break.)
#10 P.Pappas on 2009-03-03 06:25
Just because a local newspaper gets it wrong does not mean that he calls himself Fr Bob. These newspapers are about as bright as a dim light bulb when it comes to reporting anything religious. You know this to be true. How many times have you read articles about the Church only to cringe when they get titles wrong, basic church structure observations wrong, and generally are just sloppy.
You know that Kondratick is not a priest. I know that he is not a priest. The people in Venice are reminded of that fact every time he does not stand in front of the altar and serve the Liturgy.
Thus, the question becomes, why does it bother you so much? At what point does this question about (Fr) Bob become not concern but obsession? You might do well to listen carefully to the retreat presentation of His Beatitude to the Metropolitan Council and take it to heart.
As a priest, I am not insulted by the fact that people in Venice and around the world still treat Mr Kondratick with respect. That is their right. What is not my right is to judge them for doing it to the point where I become obsessed with judgment and lose any sense of mercy.
(Fr) Bob will stand before his Judge as will you and I. He will answer for his sins, like you and I will. Can we leave it at that? Are we capable of leaving at that?
(Editor Note: Since you identified yourself as a priest, anonymous, and are from Dallas, let me point out that like Fr. Bob's secretary of years, you seem to have seen nothing, remember nothing, and now would like us all to follow you into noetic oblivion. You can cloak your words in "mercy" all you want - but I suspect it is simply self-dealing, as with so many of those who received Bob's largesse, at the cost of the widows and orphans the rest of us gave money to support.
From now on, Father, if you are going to continue to self-deal in these matters, have the courage and decency to sign your name openly - or I will do it for you.)
#11 Anonymous on 2009-03-03 06:59
The photo caption read Fr. Bob. Newspapers make mistakes, however, if parishioners are calling Mr. K. Fr. Bob in public then the newspaper is reporting accurately. If a parishioner wishes to address him as Fr. Bob in private -- in their home-- that is understandable. It is not good for their parish, their public image to call a defrocked priest Father. Where is the diocesan bishop in this?
#12 anonymous on 2009-03-03 08:12
From editor's note:
so many of those [priests] who received largesse...
Once a priest said to me there probably was not a priest who did not receive largesse from RSK.
Who are these priests? Until they fess up, they may think they are non-complicit and that it will all be swept under the rug, but God knows and even deep in their hearts, they know they were and are complicit in robbing the Church of its good works....
(Editor's note: You are incorrect. Most priests did not participate in RSK's misdeeds, nor receive any largesse from him. It is only those who did who attempt to paint the many, thereby hoping to mitigate their failure not only to protect their flocks, but guilt in cavorting with the wolves....)
#13 Ever and anon. on 2009-03-03 09:36
I believe that your judgment of me and your bitterness speaks exactly to my point of obsession. The words of His Beatitude speak clearly and to the point of our spiritual recovery as persons and as Church - but only if we are capable of forgiving. I forgive you, Mark, for your outburst toward me. I will not let it come between us.
(editor's note: Sometimes just repeating the facts is judgement enough for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. And as you know, I am not bitter, nor have you power to make me so. There is nothing bad between us; for I would have only the truth between us. In truth, I have forgiven all those involved in the Time of Troubles, and that years ago. But forgiveness is not forgetfullness. I can forgive the wolves for attacking the flock - but I will never forget that they are what they have always been - wolves. And I will not cease pointing out that fact. )
#14 Anonymous on 2009-03-03 10:10
I was always taught/led to believe that repentance is best practiced in private. I was also taught that doing good deeds is best practiced in private. Why does the former Chancellor insist on remaining in the public eye? His continuing to seek the public is somehow inconsistent with the ethos of a repentant sinner, which all of us are.
Say what you will - the former Chancellor doesn't seem to be shying away from the spotlight.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#15 Dn. Marty Watt on 2009-03-03 11:26
"From now on, Father, if you are going to continue to self-deal in these matters, have the courage and decency to sign your name openly - or I will do it for you."
Mark, you continually show what a true coward you really are. There are many more people on this website who "self-deal" (you included) and they don't get threatened. But, wait, this priest is from the south, must be from the Fr Bob regime...so let's continue to put the screws to them.
(Editor's note: I use my name openly, hence the charge of cowardice in this regard is mistaken. I am certainly a sinner, but cowardice is not one of my sins. As for the writer, he tired to cover the fact up one was directly involved in the events - which he was - by using anonymity to avoid that revelation. He has been called on it - and let us hope it will not happen again.)
#16 Michael Livosky on 2009-03-03 11:36
Some of you are saying the newspaper made a mistake, but how do you know it was a mistake? How would a bunch of Jews and Unitarians come to refer to Mr. K as "Fr. Bob"? Is it because that is how people referred to him in their presence? Or what he calls himself? Even Catholic priests these days have sometimes taken to calling themselves "Pastor", so I do not expect non-Orthodox (much less Jews or Unitarians) to make the jump from "leader of a church" to "his title is Father." It is also interesting that he is referred to as "Father Bob" and not his legal name, which is what I would expect if they were simply going off of old information.
Also, let's not be ignorant of basic journalistic practice here. Even the smallest of small town reporter knows enough to go up to any person they are putting in print, get their consent to put them in print, and then, this is very important, - they write down exactly how to spell their name and how they want their name to appear. Misspelling or misidentifying someone is very embarrassing to a newspaper (especially in a picture!!!), which is why the reporter is always very careful about these things. So let's not be silly, "Fr Bob" is not just a mistake. He is identified that way because that is how he identified himself to the reporter. It really is that simple.
I find it interesting that whenever "Mr. K" is mentioned that all kinds of people come bleeding out of the woodwork to defend him. Put simply, he was deposed by a Synod of bishops, which means he is canonically deposed. You may think this is unjust, after all, all kinds of good people (even saints!) have been deposed unjustly throughout church history. You may think it is all just tragic, but this is the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. If "Mr. K" was unjustly deposed he could go to Syosset and appeal his case to the bishops (this would require him actually going there, yes). Maybe the new faces on the Synod would be willing to listen to him. But given his bad behavior over the past few years (suing the OCA, for example) I doubt this would turn out favorably. Until, however, his priesthood is reinstated by the bishops, calling him "Father" isn't a matter of being nice or grateful, it's a matter of running the risk of making yourself a parasynagogue (i.e. a parallel church) and severing communion with your bishops. If "Mr K" himself is the one referring to himself as "Fr Bob" then he is being grossly disobedient to our bishops, the canons, and the whole Church. If "Mr K" wants to help out the church in Venice, then godspeed, but he should be doing so as an absolute layman, and that should be recognized (and enforced) by everyone.
#17 Anonymous on 2009-03-03 12:12
Before Jesus began his ministry, he went into the desert to fast and pray for 40 days and 40 nights. Most likely previously Fr. Jonah, now Metropolitan Jonah will use this period of Great Lent to Fast and pray before the Lord God before he starts to make any decisions. As Orthodox Christians we must all pray for our leaders that God will give them Wisdom to make decisions to benefit the Body of Christ as a whole. As Metropolitan Jonah said, "we must love our neighbor, it's as simple as that." The time will come and God knows who does not belong in positions of Authority in the Church.
May God Grant Metropolitan Jonah Many years.
#18 John on 2009-03-03 22:38
Very completely, informatively, intelligently, and well stated!!
#19 David Barrett on 2009-03-04 05:34
Why is it that all the responses are about RSK , what an obsession for a man who has not spoken in 4 years. Mark , this man can't be shaken by you or the reports you publish , maybe it's time to put up the white flag.
(Editor's Note: I could care less about RSK or whether he is shaken, stirred, or served cold. My concern is that people are continuing to be misled by him in the Venice area, that church discipline is being flaunted, etc.... We, meaning the OCA, had been led to believe that he had removed from all leadership functions following his deposition, only to find that he is still employed, and running ( de facto) the parish he was serving before, and still being called and styling himself Fr. Bob, both in the parish and to the public (as evidenced by now multiple articles and photos in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune). One has to ask, where is the Archbishop in all this? He is either allowing this to go on, thus making a mockery of the Synod's decisions; or he is powerless in his own diocese. Either way, its a bad deal for the OCA....)
#20 Anonymous on 2009-03-04 06:12
Thanks for the clarification of misinformation I received, and especially for illuminating the strategy behind the circulation os such misinformation by those complicit in the scandal and who wish their complicity swept under the rug.
#21 Ever and anon. on 2009-03-04 07:19
Is our biggest "OCA in the news" story, and I use the term story as loosely as possible, whether or not RSK is being called Father or he is calling himself Father or whatever? Tell us about the St. Tikhon's report! Please clarify whether it's been turned over to the PA DA or not!
(Editor's note: It is " an" OCA news story; I never said it was the biggest. As for the St. Tikhon's report we are all awaiting word of what Bishop Tikhon has decided to do - or not to do. )
#22 P.Pappas on 2009-03-04 08:40
Mark is correct. RSK has no authority to represent the church in any capacity. Allowing him to speak in church (as photographed) is a mockery. Maybe some of the people of this parish want him, but when a cleric is defrocked, they are returned to the laity. The presiding bishop should assess the situation and decide if repentance is necessary and what is best for the entire church. Allowing RSK to continue as if nothing happened does not help the Church!
#23 Anonymous on 2009-03-04 10:21
With the concerns people have about the RSK matter, how does this square with the vision of +Jonah of the Synod being the decision makers? Where is the Synod in all this? Have they spoken as one voice since his defrocking and what RSK is now doing in Venice, FL? Or is it all just up to +Dmitri? What does this say about +Jonah's comments about the Synod acting in unison?
#24 Patty Schellbach on 2009-03-04 11:16
The church is NOT the bishop nor the metropolitan nor the Patriarch nor the priest nor the monastic nor the people; it is the spotless body of Christ! These days we have fallen so low that we allow the church to be almost a personal toy of some clerics. This is largely the faut of the people who have not stood up and demanded better for the ecclesia. They are mostly content to be dictated to by the clerics. Even sadder is the case of the many, many faithful who put their faith in some misfits whom we have allowed into the clergy. It is a dark time indeed when a man like Mark who has the courage to speak the truth boldly is castigated by other less self effacing individuals. It takes a mountain of faith and determination to shine a light in the dark places of the church; just ask the women at Pokrov. Bravo Mark! Do not listen to the goblins who whisper criticism nor to the shrill cries of the one eyed critics! May God bless you and your work and the work of all whose thankless task it is to sweep the church.........
(Editor's note: Thank you. One- eyed critics and Goblins? You should be writing for me!)
#25 James on 2009-03-04 13:25
maybe like those that defend rsk, we need an army of mark supporters. good comment james! when will there be an end to this. having identified the issues and prpblems the sob's seem incapable to getting us beyond the crisis. i guess truth does not champion in the end?
#26 Anonymous on 2009-03-04 14:51
Many of us already know that the matter has been handed over to the PA DA. You heard the report by Bishop Tikhon at the MC meeting. What are you waiting for? You don't hesitate to post other material in a speedy fashion... why such a delay with this story?
Editor's note: See the announcement published this afternoon. As for my reportage, the report, such as it was, of Bishop Tikhon, was presented in Executive Session and it would be an ethical breach for me to report on what I heard there beyond what I have. Since we heard the report before the Bishops, it only seems reasonable they have a chance to hear the same and ask questions, even as we did, before an announcement was made concerning it. It is my hope this is the first word on the topic; not the last.)
#27 Anonymous on 2009-03-04 21:03
Mark, I hope we will continue to hear from your site on the current state of the $41m lawsuit issued by Bishop Nikolai. Where is OCA at with that at the moment? Will the Holy Synod soon stop him in his tracks? Seems to me and many others that he should have been deposed last year.
(editor's note: As information becomes public, I will report it. )
#28 James on 2009-03-05 01:21
Truth does triumph, it is already in triumph within the hearts of all who are giving themselves to Him first. This is not pious puff but it is a LIVING reality for those who look to the One God for their redemption. It is the wise psalmist who wrote "put not your trust in princes nor in the sons of men....." Mark's work is a triumph in and of itself for it dares to shine a Light in the darkness. As the Gospel of St John says in the good old King James version "and the light shined in the darkness and the darkness COMPREHENDED it not"........Dare I say that many of the crooks in the church have NO COMPREHENSION of how utterly dark their doings are...and to add to that we are ALL only dimly aware of the dark deeds we do and the true effect these have....expecting people who are not in submission to the LORD to behave in the Way of Jesus is too much and thats why we are in trouble....too much hand kissing axiosing and many yearsing and not enough Kyrie Eleison! It is a hard task to shine the Light in the dark places because in the process that Light illumines EVERYONE of us and shows up our faults too...but it MUST be done....remember the Prophet Moses saying to the LORD "don't send me I can't speak properly....." But he had to go and say those hard words "let My people go"......I take immense comfort in the blessed words of Jesus "in the world you will have tribulation, but fear not little flock I have overcome the world" .....and the world is in the church; it's just a crying shame that the church refuses to practice fundamental moral accountability as many secular organisations do...
#29 James on 2009-03-05 13:37
Word around the Serbian "water cooler" is that Bp Nikolai is waiting for a transfer into the Serbian patriarchate but it can only happen with the direct action of the patriarch who is currently incapacitated. Until there is a working patriarch, he's just waiting. Not sure if this is 100% true, but this reason is one floating around out there. Maybe someone else could confirm/correct.
#30 Anonymous on 2009-03-09 09:29
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