Friday, July 14. 2006
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TRUE OR FALSE ?????
From: Treasurers report 6-14-06
7. The loan shall be secured with first mortgages on the two properties owned free and clear by The Orthodox Church in America, namely the chancery building and property and the home owned by the Church, both of which are in Syosset.
from: comments on 6-10-06 The Griswold Estate
According to the OCA website, the current headquarters fo the OCA in Syosset was formerly known as the Griswold estate. The OCA states:
"On December 31, 1957, the Church purchased part of the former Griswold estate for the nominal amount of $1.00. Mrs Ruth Griswold, a widow who could no longer maintain her large home and property, was seeking to consign the estate located in the Long Island Gold Coast community of Oyster Bay Cove to a charitable organization which would put it to good use. The Church was able to acquire the mansion and the surrounding 15 landscaped acres of what was a much larger property."
The property is currently worth millions. Thus, it was no surprise that when questioned as to what was being used as collateral to secure the $1.7 million loan, Metropolitan Herman has stated on several ocassions, that the Syosset property, as well as the Church-owned home at 216 Martin Drive in Syosset, were being used.
To some with long memories, such use could be problematic. According to several persons active in the Church in the late '50's, the Griswold estate came with a stipulation, common in donations of large properties to charitable organizations, that if the property could not be used by the Church, it would revert to the estate. In short, the property cannot be used as collateral; to do so would be deceptive and invite potential litigation should the church ever default.
This question was raised at both the Synod and the Council; and in both cases the restriction was acknowledged. Its importance, however, was dismissed. A quick search of the most recent land title, in which Metropolitan Theodosius as 'President' of Holy Virgin ProCathedral in New York City transferred the property from himself to himself as 'Primate' of the OCA, reveals no such restriction. But this is not conclusive. Only the 1957 title and deed could lay this question to rest, and at the time of publication, that title search has not been completed.
#1 Anonymous on 2006-07-14 09:17
The answer to your question is: we don't fully know yet.
It is true that the 1984 deed contains no restriction.
However, what is needed is a 60 year title search on the property, which is not standard and rather expensive. These things are not on-line in Nassau County, and involve a hand search through court records.
We would also need a check of the civil docket and the probate court to see what the Griswold Estate said about conveying this property to us in 1957. The restriction may be in the will and not the deed.
As soon as OCAnews learns the full details, we will share them with you.
#2 Editor on 2006-07-14 10:14
How will "replenished" funds be used?
While reading Mark Warns' perceptive "Penetrating the Syosset Fog" reflection, I became aware of a big red flag raised within me regarding the whole idea of taking out a $1.7M loan in order to "replenish" earmarked funds from which alleged "borrowing" had occurred. Mark Warns made some powerful and fairly unanswerable points regarding how "borrowing" is only a possible excuse for stealing when the funds are returned within a reasonable time and before they are needed, not long after the party is over by means of a loan at the victims' expense.
But I'd like to focus on a separate question: What does "replenishing" mean? Does it mean that $522,300 will be put back into these funds - and just sit there - indefinitely?!? Or does it mean that these funds will be USED as soon as possible for something resembling the ostensive emergency purposes for which these funds were originally collected - after which the empty fund accounts will be retired?
Frankly, given that the funds were originally stolen under false pretenses, never used for the purposes announced, and earmarked for needs that have since changed - I'm not sure it makes much moral sense to replace them with additional borrowed funds even if they were to be immediately put to some good use related to the original beneficiaries ("the missions, the seminaries, the needy, or the widows and orphans of the terrorized"). That's "robbing Peter twice to pay Paul once" - but at least somebody would be getting paid.
But wouldn't the following alternative scenario be even worse? What if the $522,300 would NOT be spent for audited good purposes, but would instead just sit there indefinitely as unused "earmarked funds", not helping their alleged beneficiaries and costing the OCA 8% interest each year? In such a circumstance, these funds would serve only two purposes: (1) their "replenished" status would provide some legal cover for the "borrowers" should they ever be prosecuted; and (2) these nest eggs would constitute tempting targets for future "borrowing" by the original "borrowers" (those still in power) if an outraged OCA membership chokes off funding, or worse, if money was wanted for legal defense or other personal purposes. In such a case, the correct analogy is "robbing Peter, and THEN robbing Paul".
When news of the loan first leaked, I was heartened by our Metropolitan's letter two months ago expressing some measure of personal repentance, and I felt inclined to cheer on his "take charge" actions which seemed to hold some potential for breaking the logjam. In that context, I hopefully perceived the $1.7M loan as a responsible emergency action to stabilize a floundering ship, allowing some time and flexibility to make necessary changes and get the financial houseboat in order.
But since then, I've seen precious little progress beyond reported attempts to muzzle the Metropolitan Council, suppress the Proskauer Rose report, cancel the next All-American Congress, and scapegoat the OCA governing statutes. As a temporizing "first step", the $1.7M loan seemed defensible to me. But as an apparent "last step", I am very concerned that the loan may prove to be nothing more than legal cover, prolonging the foggy conflict of interest and mismanagement of the past. I pray this will not be the case.
- Stephen Schumacher, Port Townsend, Washington
#3 Stephen Schumacher on 2006-07-14 10:27
Oh man, what a mess. This is bad, real bad. This is corruption like I have never seen it before.
Two points I would like to address from the article:
"Father Gregory Safchuk pointed out that there is no penalty for pre-payment, thus some assets could be sold and the loan could be retired sooner. "
Some assets could be sold. Exactly what I tried to say last time. Was that comment published? Sell the properties in Syosset, pay off the loan and move the OCA headquarters to Alaska or Nevada. Simple.
" Father Tate re-emphasized that it is imperative to pay back the outstanding loans. "
Right. I totally agree.
I was shocked to learn that the Church was in debt $600,000 prior to this problem. Do all Churches have these kind of problems?
#4 Olympiada on 2006-07-14 10:28
Over the past few months there have been numerous excellent reflections and comments posted regarding the tragic turn of events in the OCA. However in all of this one basic question has not been asked and I truly believe that this question is at the crux of the whole matter. This question is acutally comprised of a series of inquiries that need need to be answered:
" Why did this financial mismanagement happen?, or Was there one event or a series of events that required these funds to be spent? and finally Who was the person who created the need for or was the perpertrator of these needs?"
We have been focusing on the fact that money is missing but not on the why, how, and who. It is perhaps that the actual events leading to the need to missuse this money can be even more embarassing and if so this is another tragedy. For example the term blackmail was used more than once, why would blackmail be paid, to whom and what for? The unfortunate situation is that this all will need to be resolved if there is to be true healing and renewed trust.
#5 Robert Klancko on 2006-07-14 10:31
I will be hard pressed to find peace in this whole current situation of the OCA until we have an All American Council. It can be timed for next summer to give all interested persons the timing and planning to get there. It will also give time to form an intelligent agenda. Even if this loan is finally approved and there is some type of plan put out to the OCA faithful into how to pay it back, there are too many problems that the OCA has faced, and is facing, for me to feel we are out of the woods any time soon. Particularly with the problem of trust.
There have been many, many, excellent ideas that have been shared on this web site to help shape the financial and spiritual well being and future of our church. I don't see how I could be content to see the OCA "fumble along" without these several voices having their due say at an official All American Council.
I am beyond "are the allegations true or false." I feel our OCA adminstrative situation must be fully aired, in public, not out of a desire for negativity, but to get it right for the sake of Christ's Church and His Gospel. At this point, I don't care who stays, retires, or resigns. I feel that the OCA needs to have an AAC so we can "move forward" in the best way, with everyone's input, as an entity, that involves both laity and clergy.
I want a stable, professional, honest, and integral church who knows what to do with the next $100.00 donation that comes in for the next crisis appeal in the OCA.
How can we call an AAC for next summer? Who will be the brave souls?
#6 Patty Schellbach on 2006-07-14 10:46
Why don't they just sell the Martin Drive property, AND CANCEL THE LOAN??? To pay off some of the money owed.
#7 Anonymous on 2006-07-14 11:18
All of this is a technicality. The church needs to pay its debts. It needs to pay the charitable causes. I doesn't matter at this point what the cost or how it is to be paid back. It is unusual that any member of the MC would vote NO in this crisis.
The NO voters should speak on this forum about how charitable causes and debts would be paid immediately.
I find NO votes to be unconsciounable.
Can anyone explain to me the alternative?
#8 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-07-14 16:41
Time to read the handwriting on the wall. What are you all waiting for? Withdraw from OCA. It's obvious they are not working in the interest of the parishes, but for themselves. Establish independent churches. Decide yourselves what to do with your funds! God helps those who help themselves.
Linda de Jesus
#9 Linda de Jesus on 2006-07-14 17:05
Here is one reason why MC members could vote NO on the $1.7 M loan.
The loan does not just cover the contributions diverted from the contributors' intended sources -- it includes an extra half million for unspecified purposes. Why would anyone that has fiduciary responsibilty vote for a loan that has a significant portion with no defined purpose?
If I were a member of the MC, I would consult an attorney and take out an insurance policy to protect my assets in the very likely event that irate OCA members sue me for violating my fiduciary responsibilty by approving the $1.7 M loan.
MC members, ask yourselves, "Why do the adminstrators want to borrow a half million more than they can justify in debts?"
If the purpose of the loan is to make up for embezzlement and put the OCA on the path to solvency, why is a half million dollar cushion necessary?
One possible answer is that +MH needs the $$$ to keep the OCA running while he stonewalls the laity.
I beg the MC, don't let that happen. Approve a loan of only enough $$$ to keep the OCA, not its administration, afloat.
#10 Sergei on 2006-07-14 19:24
"God helps those who help themselves" is a quote by Benjamin Franklin, a deist.
It is the devil who calls for division and schism.
As for "our funds" there is no such thing. All money is God's money, as all is God's creation. It all belongs to Him and should be used in a way to glorify him at all times. What indeed prevents His Beatitude from selling his home?
To Olympiada: yes, of course, other churches and congregations have debts. It's the American way.
So, has anyone asked His Beatitude Metropolitan HERMAN to sell his home?
#11 Please withold my name. on 2006-07-14 19:41
Linda - while I understand your sentiment, is this really the right path now?
Are we going to cut and run and watch what is considered the original Orthodox church in America flounder and fall into some nihlistic realm? If we do, what will happen to the good people in this struggle? Fr. Thomas Hopko? Bishop Job? Your local priest, who's health and retirement benefits depend on this church surviving and thriving? The staff in, yes, Syosset, who have spurned other careers to serve this church?
Where are we to go? To Antioch? To the Greeks? Really good people, but I prefer vodka to ouzo, four part harmony to byzantine droning. Independent churches sound quaint, but will they survive? Where will growth come from, the music, the resources that, today, come from a central church?
Linda, before we throw in the towel, let's do all we can to throw out the rascals that created this mess, implement controls that will stop chancellors from charging up a storm on their Amex cards, cut the holiday tours of the rich and famous and actually spend the money that we poor stupid parishioners donate to specific charities.
I'm not giving up. Not yet. THIS CHURCH IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR.
#12 Marty Brown on 2006-07-14 21:08
"God helps those who help themselves"--Benjamin Franklin (though later picked up by the gospel of wealth movement and used extensively by Russell Conwell--see "Acres of Diamonds"). That said, it's too early to see where the OCA is headed, I think, though it is a mess. Oh, and Olympiada: no, not all other Christian groups have such problems. All have problems, to be sure, and all have had individuals who mismanage(d) money were/are power hungary, etc. However, there are Protestant denominations that don't run their finances this way and treat their larger constinuency in this manner. Times are tough for the OCA right now, though I for one have not lost hope in Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy in North America has been a mess since at least the late nineteenth century yet She continues to bring the presence of Christ to this continent. She will so continue, however much some of us may fall short of good Christian behavior. In 1927, when struggling jurisdictional problems and supporting then Archbishop Aftimios' effort to form one American Orthodox Church, Fr. Boris Burden grounded himself in the "spirit of Orthodoxy." Perhaps that is the direction we need to go--to realize the Church as an Eschatological presence that cannot be equated with any group within the visible Orthodox Church.
#13 Fr. Oliver Herbel on 2006-07-14 21:11
Monsiuer Stokoe included his latest Fox News type report with the comment that Alice Woog hadn't answered Father Kucynda's question.
I'm sure that Alice finds that question improper; however, perhaps she's just waiting until Father Paul answers HER question, which was first. Good luck. You'll no more find him answering that question than you will find out the date that His Beatitude retained Proskauer & Rose.
As for the scurrilous insinuation Father Kucynda made at the Metropolitan Council meeting, recorded in its minutes, and re-posted (not with some relish) by Monsieur Stokoe.
Alice, by revealing WHERE THE MONEY CAME FROM (I think that is a praiseworthy thing to do in general, no?) prevented some slimey, unethical, low-life criminal from opining that the money was put on Father Paul's Credit Card in an account in an "off-shore" bank. I don't know why he isn't grateful (give thanks always for everything) rather than so relentlessly accusatory. (Anyone?)
Some think that the NY Times and the rest of the American free press acted like utter wusses while the administration abolished the Common Law, declared war, and treated Congress as Stalin used to treat the Supreme Soviet. (I wouldn't DREAM of characterizing the present Chancellor-less administration with any such obviously totalitarian system. What an idea!)
Same thing with that initial retainder of Proskauer & Rose. No doubt one of those two incorrigible crooks, Arlene Kallaur or Bette Kondratick (or even worse, some of the UNSEEN enemies operating with impunity at Syosset, hiding things and turning over wastebaskets and making knocking noises in empty rooms) STOLE the paper which Father Paul MEANT to bring to the MC meeting!
How can FAther Paul manage his THREE time shares, be a pastor to his Flock, act as Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer and Chief Bottle Washer and Document Loser and still find time for his wife (given the purposes of Orthodox marriage)?
Often those "one dollar" gifts to a non-profit have the stipulation that if the gift is no longer used according to the intent of the gift, for non-profit purposes, then it must be sold to another non-profit for a dollar.
One shouldn't pay off debts by more borrowing. That is SO elementary.
I came into the Metropolia at age 28 (1960) , a newly commisioned 2nd lieutenant. I was ordained a Deacon at age 39 (1971), a Priest at age 46 (1978), and a Bishop at age 55. It's now 2006. I have a full and satisfying resume/curriculum vitae. I have never in all my life observed outside the movies the degree of obfuscation, shilly-shalling, covering up, lack of accountability and lack of transparency and outright AMATEURISH Recklessness that I've observed in our OCA. The ugly and petty, vengeful dismissal of the Chancellor is not the cause of it all, but it would never have reached this level of lawlessness and disorder if he were still the Chancellor, and that "bum's rush" that that Protopresbyter was the typical "burn the bridges behind us" tactic of absolutely helpless, panicked people, and it was like that moment on a Roller Coaster when you go over the top of the first hill. It's nothing but screams and nausea from then on!
Here, by the way, is the exact text of the Promissory Note which the present Administration has cunningly managed to squirrel away from public site. It also includes the date. Too bad that those gremlins, obviously, or Arlene and Bette, have hidden that document, as they must have done to the document engaging Prokauer & Rose. I know, this is all old stuff. We've had to get some of the encomia for Mark out of the way, the encomia he so immediatgely, but somehow modestly devoted a whole section to. By the way OCL, that institution of Holy Orthodos Tradition of rule by elected soviets (council/conciliarity, etc., you all know how it goes), has given a most glowing, ringing, endorsement of the exemplary actions of His Beatitude and the Secretary/Acting Chancellor/Acting Treasurer and aspiring Spinmeister in hanging out the wash, pointing out how dirty the underwear was, but not noticing that the underwear was the wrong size to fit the alleged culprit(s).
This is to confirm the agreement between the Orthodox Church in America and V. Rev. Robert S. Kondratick and Elizabeth Kondratick concerning reimbursement by the Orthodox Church in America for improvements they have made on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America to the church-owned property located at 216 Martin Drive, Syosset, New York from the time of its purchase until the present. All bills and contracts for these improvements are on file in the Treasurer's Office located at the Chancery Office.
Per this agreement, the Orthodox Church in America will. reimburse V. Rev. Robert S. Kondratick and Elizabeth Kondratick the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00) in full settlement of all costs for the improvements they were directed to make on this property and which were paid for from their personal funds. This reimbursement will be made in the form of payments to be made in three annual equal installments, the first week of September 2002, 2003, and 2004. Further, per the agreement, no interest is to be paid on this amount.
Archbishop of Washington . Metropolitan of All America and Canada Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
Signed and delivered in the presence of. the Church Administrative Committee:
V. Rev. Dimitri Oselinsky, Treasurer
(V. Rev. Paul. Kucynda, Secretary
V. Rev. Eugene Vansuch
V. Rev. Gregory Safchuk
V. Rev, Robert S. Kondratick
I affirm that the above was executed before me on the 19TH day of April 2002:
V. Rev. Paul Kucynda, Secretary Orthodox Church in America
COUNTY OF PASSAIC
My Commission Expires on May 26, 2004
No need to thank me, and no need for apologizing for trying to attribute something suspicious to my failure to produce the date of that document.
However, I hope that Orthodox Christians for Accountability and Anonymity realize that the day will come (I announced my Intent to retire, remember?) when I will no longer be providing FREE all the documentation that the Chancellor-less administration is unable to produce...the only REAL and relevant documents so far produced. (How about an American Express statement to prove or disprove all the slime alleged relevant to it that is thrown at the former Chancellor?)
I get nothing out of this, by the way. I'm just concerned that there be SOME basis out there to prevent people from later saying, "Oh, I didn't know THAT!".
By the way, I think the real estate bubble may have burst. It's probably no longer feasible to just sell the Martin Drive Property outright and forget about further interest accruing and church-destroying debt.
Perhaps the bank wants to wait until August not only to make sure the OCA MAY use the Syosset Residence as security for a big loan, but also to see if perhaps they can say that the real-estate market is so bad that they don't want to be "land poor" and have a bunch of property that no longer is worth much, as happened to banks in 1929/30.
I think it would be unconscionable to claim that the Metropolitan Council is going to go the same way as the Chancellor. I mean, they've shown that one need fear nothing from them. Father Safchuk and others are always ready to provide "a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ" for ANYONE, penitent or not.
Look how quickly he produced chapter and verse for the problematic perversion of "pastoral (!) intervention of the Statute and that whole LAITY-LESS gathering to "enhance the role of the Metropolitan!"
Enhance the role of the Metropolitan! Even the SVS establishment was behind that one! The idea that all Hierarchs were the ******absolute****** equals of a First Hierarch PICKED by them used to be something which the Orthodox found to be most felicitous, something that seemed good to the Holy Spirit! It was always given as one of the main differences between papacy and Orthodoxy. Nowadays, though, 'papacy" is a pejorative having little to do with that sort of thing. "Papacy" now means any Traditional functioning of any Bishop relative to the proletariate of the Church, who are all Royal Clergy.
The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West; The Orthodox Church in America.
I bet the members of the Sanhedrin, languishing in the flames, are just gnashing their teeth over not having demanded more accountability and transparency. People like that awful Nicodemus and Joseph, etc., would have been cleaned out a long time ago. If only they'd had a couple Protodeacons, like the ones gracing our OCA so noticeably!
Judas probably agrees wryly: "I tried for that accountability and transparency and I was treated SO condescendingly!"
#14 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-07-14 21:19
While it's certainly important to understand all the ins and outs of this loan, how it is secured, and how it has been debated, none of this changes my basic belief that the loan, in and of itself, is a good idea.
It's a good idea because the people for whom these various monies were collected should be paid the money. It's a good idea because within the context of the overall budget of the OCA it's a reasonable debt burden. It's a good idea because it could be a symptom of the OCA taking responsibility for past actions.
How it ultimately turns out, however, really depends on how the administration views and treats the loan.
If it's treated as a way to get things back on track, and radically
different ways of doing things are instituted, then it will prove to have been a necessary and appropriate first step to healing. I think in that case we'll
see people step up to contribute to retiring the debt early. I made
one "good faith" donation to Syosset recently to express general
support for the investigation and audits, and I'd probably be willing
to make a donation of 5x that amount towards retiring the debt ...
PROVIDING the way of doing business visibly and substantively
But if it's just treated like a "get out of jail free" card and the
administration breathes a collective sigh of relief, and then sits
on their hands for a couple of years waiting for the fallout to blow
over ... well, that's a totally different story. Then things will
be really ugly. If there's anyone who believes that this stuff will
just "blow over" if real and manifest change doesn't happen, they
are really and truly deluded.
We may have our suspicions about which way this will go. I truly
hope it goes in the direction of real change, and I'm
committed to providing support and positive reinforcement for
anything that indicates that's the way it is going.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from expressing their opinions and fears that it's
going to go the other way, but I would urge us all for the time being to maintain a
somewhat open mind, or it could contribute to a "damned if we do;
damned if we don't" mentality among our leaders.
Much as it should be up to leaders to lead in restoring trust, in
this case we all have to do our part -- that doesn't mean giving
blind trust to the leadership, but it does mean being open to the
possibility that trust can be built again.
#15 Rebecca Matovic on 2006-07-15 02:21
GOD DOES NOT SAY---GOD HELPS THOSE THAT HELP THEMSELVES. THAT SAYING WAS BY BEN FRANKLIN IN POOR RICHARDS ALMANAC!
GOD SAY'S TO HELP OTHERS!
MY SAYING IS, HELP OTHERS, BUT DON'T GET SLAPPED AROUND BY THE "HIERARCHY"
When a family is in crisis, you don't abandon your family. The OCA IS our church family and most importantly, the head of this family is Jesus Christ. To consider leaving the OCA to begin our own churchs (which goes against the cannons) is to consider leaving Christ which means becoming a heretic. No Thanks. Like many other Orthodox Christians in America, I am here for the long haul. -Juliana
#17 Anonymous on 2006-07-15 08:56
The loan issue appears over and over again to me as a red herring. The missing members from the Metropolitan Council and in particular no representatives from the Romanian and Bulgarian Diocesees make the lack of having the proper quorum to make a vote make the loan transaction invalid.
I believe it is time and past time for people to send letters making copies and ask, "Where did the money go?"
#18 Matushka Carol on 2006-07-15 09:23
Met Herman and his associates have missed their calling. Politics would provide a better arena for their actions. Politicians are expected to scheme, evade, cheat and doublespeak. Clergy should teach and lead the flock in godly ways, but when there is no trust or respect, the flock looks to greener pastures.
#19 Drowning in the OCA Mess on 2006-07-15 11:14
Do you know the status of the Martin Drive property?
Is it vacant?
What is it’s market value?
Do they have “plans” for it? (if it is or is not used as collateral)
Can it be sold if is used as collateral?
Has anyone questioned the options?
Etc etc etc
#20 Anonymous on 2006-07-16 06:47
Church and Debt go together in my mind like oil and water. I do not get it at all. I did not grow up in the Church. This debt is a huge stumbling block for me. Perhaps you can break it down for those outside the Church trying to get in? Scriptures? Hagiography? Theology? Patristics? I am going to do my research too.
#21 Olympiada on 2006-07-17 10:34
Dear Patty: from the OCA Statute: "The All-American Council shall be convened periodically at intervals of three years. Each All-American Council shall decide the time and place of the next regular or extraordinary session. The time and place of the meeting may, for urgent reasons, be changed by action of the Metropolitan Council with the approval of the Holy Synod."
A strict reading of the Statute means that the Holy Synod cannot unilaterally change the date of the AAC. Unfortunately, they have already reiterated once, if not twice, that the next AAC will be in 2010. We can complain all we want, but that's the situation as it exists. However, if you would like to start a petition drive, I would happily be the first to sign it.
Good luck getting any parish in the East, South, West or Alaska to allow you to circulate that petition.
#22 Michael Strelka on 2006-07-17 13:43
The Martin Drive property is not vacant. In March Fr. Kondratick was given to 1 June to vacate the property. This has now been extended until August 31st.
Without a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) by a local Realtor
(Zillow.com is notoriously inaccurate, often being 1-2 years behind in values) it is difficult to say given today's market. The most commonly bantered figure is $600,000, give or take.
The Metropolitan has stated that it is being used a collateral for the $1.7 million loan.
It can be sold with the bank's permission.
I am not sure to what options you refer.
#23 Editor on 2006-07-17 18:47
I once observed you celebrating the Divine
liturgy 17 years ago. You chastised the entire congregation because so few came. The poor priest was sick from anxiety before you came. I never understood why so few were there. 17 years later, here you are claiming your brillance as a Bishop with your full and satisfying resume/vitae. I guess time has not changed you much, a pity.
The questions still stand no matter how you try to deflect the issues. Allegations... true or false?
#24 Fr. Michael on 2006-07-17 18:49
Thank you Michael,
For the support of calling a special AAC before 2010 through a petition of the faithful (if I understood you correctly).
However, if someone started a petition of the faithful calling for a special AAC before this date, could this not be ignored if the MC must ask the Holy Synod for final approval? Could not a whole bunch of signatures just be ignored by the Holy Synod has final approval?
Instead of asking for so much energy from the faithful to sign a petition, could not those 8 Orthodox lawyers ask the MC and Holy Synod for a special AAC? Perhaps the 70 senior clergy who wrote before could also ask for a special AAC. Could we ask them first, before spending so much energy in asking for a request that may go unheeded?
#25 Patty Schellbach on 2006-07-17 20:32
Has anyone confirmed that Fr. Kondratic received 2400.00 per month housing allowance while occupying the Martin drive property? If this is true, should this money be repaid with interest at the very least, and is there a fraudulent crime in accepting a housing allowance under these circumstances?
#26 Anonymous on 2006-07-17 20:36
I am sorry to say, that based on the progress we have made in the last 6 months, this mess will "NEVER" be resolved unless there is a MAJOR REVOLUTION!
One problem is that too many local parish priests are hiding the seriousness of the scandal from their parishioners. They will not talk about it and actually deny that there is a problem.
Hit them where it hurts. In the pocket book. CUT BACK contributions to your "local parish" for a short time, and see how "quickly" this will change.
It will hurt for a short time, but in the long run I feel it is the best and only way.
#27 Anonymous on 2006-07-17 21:25
I would never DREAM of calling Father Michael a liar. If he is writing of me when he claims that I have EVER in any place or at any time, chastized any PARISH in Church for poor attendance, I say this: I have never ever done that: in fact, I am in the habit of chastizing or mocking those clergy who are so stupid and lame-brained as to chastize people WHO ARE IN CHURCH for not coming to Church, or, worse, and more moronic, chastizing THOSE IN CHURCH for the sinful choices of those who might be absent. I will be so self-indulgent and corny as to say, "PUH-LEASE! Give me a break. I may be slime but I'm not STUPID slime!"
Since this Father Michael would NEVER harbor any animosity towards me, I am sure that although he stated a filthy falsehood, he obviously did not intend to deceive ME, so it's just a falsehood, not a dirty, unconscionable, creepy LIE. A LIE is a falsehood told with intent to deceive.
I am one of those AWFUL people with the dread RUSSIAN-style piety, who says awful things such as, the Church is ALWAYS full, it's just the cynics and the Gus-Gloom Pessimist Clergy who get all bent out of shape when not enough people show up when the Bishop's there! I remember a Metropolia Priest telling me with utter indignation that Bishop Tikhon (of ROCOR) used to say (during the time of the temporary agreement and he might be in Metropolitan Theodosius's Cathedral as his vicar) that he didn't care if there were few or almost no parishioners at the Vigil: he would pray in their stead, as their substitutes, and anyhow, the Saints were all there and one should not divide the Church into Visible and Invisible like the sectarians do. Yes that Priest was indignant. I however agreed once again with another Hierarch sharing the name "Tikhon."
I will say this, though, I have often wanted (and I may even remember this) chastizing a PRIEST (maybe one named Michael, but not this one, of course) for the poor showing at Liturgy. I said, "If this is how many come when the Bishop visits, how many come on an ordinary Sunday! Are your sermons, quoting the Cappadocians and showing an SVS education in spades, so confoundedly dry and uninspiring as to require real Holy Stamina to get people to come to Church until the Sermon is overd?
I wonder what it was that caused this Father Michael to reflect on a made=up failing of mine, (or, if it had not been made up, to reflect on ANY failing of mine) here, in this particular topic on Monsieur Stokoe's site, rather than to comment on something I had written here. Is that opportunism of some kind. "Let me take a shot now, when he's still around. Who knows when I'll get chance to do it before a large audience, one so much huger than my own parish."
Finally, Father Michael repeats that canard that the question "still stands," "true or false."
No, Father Michael the questions raised in Protodeacon Eros Wheeler's scurrilous "personal and confidential" libellous letter sent to each Bishop, or, rather not sent, but secreted in the mail that awaited each Bishop as he checked into the motel near the meeting of the Holy Synod, all of them, do not stand. The questioner had no standing to ask them, and the allegations, which were NOT framed as questions, are, as I've said over and over, FALSE.
One of those allegations related to thousands of dollars passing through "the Saint Sergius Chapel Account." After the first report of the outside auditors, it was announce first at the Lesser Synod meeting and next at the Metropolitan Council meeting that no such amounts of money passed through the Saint Sergius Chapel Account. This was confirmed by the Comptroller of the Church as well as the auditors.
Please, remember that one, Father Michael. It's just the first crack in an already problematic dike.
I have an idea that you've never even read Protodeacon Eros' letter, although a bowdlerized abbreviation was published here, one that under the guise of courtesy and High Ethics, deleted the more scurrilous and unconscionable and filthy allegations. Perhaps I'll scan that letter and post it as well. Now I have to track down that scanned Promissory Note, since , in the new Paper Port 12, which I just got, it's possible that when it was scanned for OCR and MS Word, some of the lines' margins were extended off the page (it happens in all the scanning/ocr programs sometimes). Usually I am able to catch that. Well, if it turns out that Judge Kalinas's name was not on the note (did I say it was on the note or did I say it was in another document, a minute, perhaps, which referred to or authorized the note, I wonder). Anyhow, as Monsieur fairly and correctly hinted, the point is the note, and the only signature I feel remarkable, and it appears TWICE is the signature of Archpriest Paul Kucynda, the one who, along with Metropolitan Herman, liked to say, "Well, what note? I've HEARD of it, but I've never SEEN it." That's what I meant when I referred to what I'd never seen in my life amongst the non-Orthodox and among the Orthodox up until the current Chancellor-less administration of the OCA. I think the notary's affidavit is worth noting, as well.
When the members of the Administrative Committee asked when they were polled by telephone if the amount of the Promissory Note was included in the debts to be covered by the loan, they got one of the most amazing answers under the new transparent and accountable best procedures instituted by Father Paul Kucynda and Metropolitan Herman a truly lame runaround. Forget any Scriptural advice about yea and nay:
Here is Metropolitan Council Council member Alice Woog's question to the acting Treasurer, Archpriest Paul Kucynda:
"Does the Outstanding Invoice amount of $287,000 include the $250,000 Notarized Promissory Note that was signed on April 19, 2002 by the members of the Administrative Committee and Metropolitan Theodosius for repayment to the current occupants of the 216 Martin Drive residenc for improvements and maintenance that they had done to our property?"
Here's the so accountable and transparent answer of Father Kucynda, of the Chancellor-less admnistration using wonderful ethical new procedures instituted by him and the Metropolitan. (This is the entire answer) "NO. It has not been dertermined that any money is pursuant to this note." There are fourteen words between the quotation marks, I have omitted nothing.
At this point, I'd like to express my appreciation of Alice Woog. She is a good example of stewardship, no, a model of stewardship for any man or woman who belongs to our Church. Anyone who was present at the last AAC and who is enthusiastic about AACs in general, will know how much she has given herself to the Councils and how much of their "success" is directly traceable to her part in the whole process. God bless that woman. I also, though I'm a little ashemed that no one else in these benighted times as seen fit to do so, wish to express my thanks to Alice Woog for saving Father Paul Kucynda's bacon by revealing the source of the funds which hired those lawyers out of the blue, making it possible for the Metropolitan to have a free hand and operate entirely arbitrarily without reference to any other power or authority in the Church save himself, no Metropolitan Council, no All-American Council, no Holy Synod. No sir! By revealing that a Priest'w wife had (it certainly cannot harm anybody's career, no?) enable His Beatitude to do it through this personal act of Charity and expediency and opportunity, If Alice had not made it possible to recognize this good deed of someone far too modest to mention it herself, then vicious, unkind, insinuating, people, not unlike a Protodeacon or some other unusual instances, might very well have demanded that any allegation that money was impropertly diverted from a restricted, especially benevolent of charitable fund, in order to pay lawyers specializing in criminal defense and doing it in SECRET is now open and must be investigated, causing this or that Hierarch do take another circuit of all his parishes demanding that the matter is NOT closed. Yes, Alice has forestalled all that unjust treatment and all that mud-slinging by showing that the lawyers were NOT paid for from Church Funds, but through a personal check from a Priest's wife given to the Metropolitan himself.
I'm sure, since the "Best Accounting Principles" as formulated by some Protodeacon/Accountant were adopted so ostentatiously and enthusiastically and righteously, that there will be No Problem At All in seeing the document that PROVES that it was she who made the retaining of Proskauer and Rose feasible, and that this date and the corresponding document, Under The Best Accounting Principles and Procedures" or whatever is available, along with proof of the exact date (no half-hearted procedures for us, nossir) that those lawyers were engaged/retained, no?
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West. The Orthodox Church in America.
#28 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-07-17 23:54
SoOmetimes distance gives you a slightly clearer perspective. As a former member of the OCA with many friends of integrity and piety still there, and as someone who has followed OCANews with fair regularity, I am forced to ask the OCA community a simple question: Is Bishop Tikhon crazy (in the clinical sense)? It is not possible, from the postings on this forum, to determine the veracity of his comments, but it is incontestable that competent leaders simply do not rant and rave the way he does. His sarcasm and his poor writing ("squirrel[ed] away from public site") seriously undermine the validity of the points he wants to make, if, in fact, his points are valid. This question is not mud-slinging. Read the threads--some are cogent and sensible....... and then there are the postings of Bp. Tikhon. I would doubt that any of the deferential members of the OCA would ask publicly if a sitting bishop is crazy, but....... is he?
#29 Robert Allen on 2006-07-18 06:33
I understand your questions on the many aspects of the loan. But for God's sake, why do you have to bring in the personal life of such people as Matushka Barbara Kucynda? You speak on something you have absolutely now idea about. You have no idea how their marriage is, how the parish is run and certainly no idea about their personal financial situation. (BTW time shares do not require management, they are simply available for the owner for one week a year). Disagree with Fr. Paul Kucynda all that Your Grace desires....but leave their personal life out of it. Clergy lives are already a fishbowl, which add such pressure to their marriages and family life. The parish in Wayne loves the Kucynda family and has always supported them through their trials for the simple sake that they have always served and loved the community. And the parish has provided for them in a way which should be standard for all of our dedicated clergy. And please leave Matushka Barbara Kucynda out of this.
A Faithful Parish Member from Wayne, NJ
#30 anonymous on 2006-07-18 09:02
Wasn't it previously mentioned that the $500,000 was for an already existing loan which is coming due? If that is the case, then all of the debt would be accounted for and paid back.
Why do you find it necessary to accuse the Metropolitan of needing to put away some funds for a rainy day.
#31 Michael Geeza on 2006-07-18 12:23
To the good bishop:
You had better be nice to Fr. Shafchuk, since he is "always willing" to give ANYONE a good defense at the dread judgement seat of Christ. Because you are going to need one.
Aren't things embarrassing enough for the OCA without a bishop publicly attacking people on this most public of places?
Linda Elizabeth Weir
#32 Linda Elizabeth Weir on 2006-07-18 12:39
I think that anyone who tries to follow Bishop Tikhon's threads on the various lists very quickly recognizes that he is a taw short of a full set of marbles.
#33 Deacon Eric Wheeler on 2006-07-18 12:52
I'm confused (normal for me). Where do we look for governance? If I interpret your words correctly, the Holy Synod is ineffective, the Metropolitan Council is unconscionable (and just plain wrong).
Am I to infer that you believe the OCA should operate as a "confederacy" of dioceses rather than a "federalist" with a strong central core? I don't disagree; in fact, I think I offered similar thoughts very early in this process on this site.
I guess I'd urge your Grace to quit defending, quit criticizing, and begin to lead us from this mess. We have a governing document that outlines how changes can be made. Please issue your thoughts on the governance structure.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church where each and every congregation was autonomous. Obviously that does not fit with the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church. I'm afraid I don't understand the ecclesiology of the metroplitan archbishop and patriarch.
What I believe is that we could create a central church that is accountable to the dioceses. Cooperate where beneficial, but allow the dioceses to operate independently.
Where must we cooperate? Education (both of laity, children and potential clergy) makes sense; liturgics and translations certainly makes sense. Our mission effort makes sense but OCMC should be our vehicle of choice, as IOCC should be our vehicle for international charitable efforts.
I guess my question, your Grace, is what should we do? It's easy for me to sit and armchair quarterback (or perhaps post-war general is the more appropriate phrase?), but I'd prefer to channel my effort in a productive fashion. Where do we go? What do we need to know, about the operation of the church, or about the past, or the future? How do we need to change?
The only thing unacceptable is the status quo, in my view.
Subdeacon John Martin
(Martin D. Watt, CPA, Inactive)
#34 Marty Watt on 2006-07-18 15:25
Because basically, the "Martin Drive" property has been established as the home of the Chancellor. I would hope that eventually there will be another one, although I fail to see why the former one was dismissed. When the property was purchased it was for that reason alone, not as a house only to the Kondraticks but to serve the future Chancellors of the OCA.
The repairs on the property were necessary at the beginning (remember that this property was bought in excess of a dozen years ago and needed many repairs just to bring it up to curent codes; i.e., electrical, plumbing, various structural repairs in addition to updating fixtures etc., that had not been updated since the house was built)
If we are to get through this episode in the life of our Church, we need to have a home where a "Chancellor" can be housed. Selling this property would serve no good, since trying to replace it in Nassau County would be absolutely cost prohibative
#35 Tina Rhodes on 2006-07-18 19:55
L.E.W.... the really great thing about long winded and mildly coherent rants from a bishop is that it keeps the rest of us very much aware that we are ALL imperfect, we are ALL in need of divine mercy. Casting the best of aspersions, perhaps this was his intent.
Commending all to spell check before posting,
#36 Marty Brown on 2006-07-18 20:51
Borrowing from Peter to Pay Peter?
I find myself increasingly perplexed about the ramifications of the much discussed proposed OCA bank loan. I am repeatedly left wondering if any of us can truly conceptualize the extent of the self-indebtedness we are about to undertake. Regrettably, I am left questioning why any of us thinks we need to refill these particular coffers when the magnitude of the repaying schedule will leave little if any possibility of funding new, worthwhile endeavors.
Now is not the time to discuss, argue or pontificate on “how” we got into this mess. However, now is the time to accept some degree of financial and fiduciary responsibility and to put our house in order.
When a person faces bankruptcy, sound advice is to sell what is not essential, pay of the outstanding debt wherever possible, tighten the belt and start anew. If one has jewelry, gold and silver, it is sold and the monies applied to urgent items. Life is not easy but, if we have been foolish enough to live beyond our means, the lesson must be learned.
Applying this logic to the current financial crisis is relatively easy as we owe ourselves a goodly portion of the money. Why would anyone take out a loan to pay himself back? Yes, it hurts that monies collected for human relief and education were misused; yes, I personally pray daily that the people responsible for the rape of the OCA treasury might be judged in this world too! However, it is time to get over it, accept the losses and move forward.
Solutions to the outstanding amounts due to “others” as listed on the itemized document (May 20, 2006 OCA assumes 1.7 million debt…) are more challenging. $287,800 to vendors and $500,000 from an abused credit line are real numbers! Whether the amount ‘owed’ to former Chancellor Kondratick is $250,000 or $111,500 or nothing is an internally debatable item that should be left out of the current equation. $787,800 must be paid immediately for the OCA to begin the process of self-healing.
It is mu understanding that the Martin Drive property will be utilized to secure the loan. I therefore make a relatively safe assumption that the property is free of debt. Friends who live in the area advise me that upgraded properties in Syosset ($250,000 or even $111,500 pays for a lot of fluff) conservatively sell for $700,000, perhaps more. Let’s stay with the conservative figure…if we paid off the bona fide vendor claims, we could reduce the outstanding amount on the abused line of credit to $87,000.
Now, the tricky part as “personal” plays a role. We must all be very clear in the knowledge that all the money and property under discussion has been donated by the laity of the OCA. Our leaders and former leaders must assume their portion of responsibility. And, as in a personal bankruptcy, it is so simple…sell the silver, the gold, the jewels. Make an effort to lead us out from this horrendous quagmire by instituting a true austerity program. Without the burden of a $1.7 million loan plus its interest, we could then all go forward with the surety that we have all made an effort to assume responsibility for all that has been done in our names. If the sale or auction of these items does not reach the required $87,800, I am sure that none of us would refuse to accept the burden of a differential loan to close the chapter.
Only two things are certain: we’ll never proceed until this chapter is closed and we certainly need to elect people to the Metropolitan Council who will insure this never happens again.
- Anita Clark Marshall
#38 Anita Clark Marshall on 2006-07-19 07:34
#39 Anonymous on 2006-07-19 09:14
I feel so sorry that Bishop Tikhon is so condescending and sarcastic towards you and the plight of the OCA in which you were just a messenger of the "ills" of the OCA. I feel he is so embarrassing to us all (who are) really discussing and supporting constructive solutions to all the problems the OCA is having and is currently going through. I cringe when Bishop Tikhon makes so much fun of all the cancer that has been properly exposed within the OCA.
May the Lord protect you and help you continue your endurance and strength, such as our martyrs found, to put up with a bishop's tragic tirades.
#40 Pattty Schellbach on 2006-07-19 09:38
Anita asks: "Why would anyone take out a loan to pay himself back?"
Administrative Committee minutes of March 16 answer: "Sarah Gold explained the reasons Proskauer Rose has been engaged and the importance of the engagement. Ms Gold explained that the investigation was being conducted to prepare for anticipated possible regulatory investigations or litigations arising out of the allegations. Since the Church is a not-for-profit legal organization with a 501 C3 tax exempt status, the Church must act responsibly within the United States of America and conform to the required legal expectations that come with this status."
In other words, funds were collected for tax-exempt purposes before being "allegedly" diverted to non-exempt purposes.
Translation: The loan is being taken to legally cover our butts!
#41 Anonymous on 2006-07-19 10:42
Thank you Tina for your insightful and totally correct answer to the question of selling the Martin Drive property.
#42 Fr. Vasily Gilbert on 2006-07-19 12:37
There are quite a few posts here questioning Bishop Tikhon's sanity, his competence and his character.
What I don't quite understand is this repeated claim that he is somehow a bad writer. He is a wonderful writer, and I truly believe that the people claiming that he is long "winded and mildly coherent" are either insincere or not very literate. Bishop Tikhon is both witty and clever, and clearly sharp as a razor.
The main concern seems to stem from the fact that he is willing to speak honestly about these issues, and this makes many people uncomfortable -- which it no doubt should. And so some rather bold people take it upon themselves to chastise a bishop for not circling the wagons and keeping a lid on things. That is certainly one view of what Orthodox praxis should be.
What seems rather unfortunate are those who aren't even bold enough to critisize a bishop for what they perceive to be true faults, but instead insist on making personal and insincere aspersions against the quality of his writing.
Bishop Tikhon is a wonderful writer. He's also manage to forge a third path that wrankles both the so-called reformers of this list as well as the protectors of the status quo in Syosset, which personally, I think probably indicates that he is onto something.
I've enjoyed reading his posts on the internet for about seven years, now. He has mocked my priest, whom I love dearly, he has critisized my jurisdiction, he has pointed out my errors, and through it all I have never doubted his goodness of character, and I have never stopped admiring his sharp wit.
And I would never be so bold as to cast aspersions upon his erudition. PUH-LEASE! Give me a break.
#43 James Ashley on 2006-07-19 14:05
I would like to go on record as stating that I am NOT the Fr. Michael that wrote the post to which you are responding to.
While I have not agreed with everything that you have posted in the past, the post from this "Fr. Michael" was extremely insulting. If I have a disagreement with you I will be upfront that it is me and not hide behind a rather common name.
Fr. Michael Tassos
#44 Fr. Michael Tassos on 2006-07-19 17:57
"This reimbursement will be made in the form of payments to be made in three annual equal installments, the first week of September 2002, 2003, and 2004. Further, per the agreement, no interest is to be paid on this amount."
Where is there any indication that these payments were not made in accordance with the terms of the note? The fact that there is a note is meaningless if there are incomplete records for the period of time when the note was to have been repaid. We can argue about the morality the note being granted a manner which defies the OCA Statutes, but why would anybody assume the note was not repaid precisely in accordance with its terms. Did the audit firm find some convincing data indicating the note remained unpaid? Was there an extension given in some verifiable form that still exists in the records? If so, where is that document? It's the one that counts.
During a period for which substantial documentation is missing it should be assumed the note was paid as agreed until some concrete evidence showing it wasn’t turns up.
#45 Jay Holman on 2006-07-19 21:09
James, I'm pleased that you enjoy reading BT's prose. As the old saying goes, one man's junk is another man's treasure. I won't recite all the reasons why I find his writing style often impenetrable, pedantic and insulting. You and I would never agree. (BTW, I find Schmemann inpenetrable too.)
We clearly both have the right to judge for ourselves and comment here, to the extent Mark adds our posts. But I don't judge you as insincere or illiterate because you see things differently.
#46 Marty Brown on 2006-07-20 08:57
It's up to the note holder to prove that no payment was made? Try telling that to your mortgage holder, if you have one. I'm sorry, put it is always the obligation of the debtor to prove that payment has been made. If he cannot, then he still owes payment.
Don't get me wrong. I am not justifying or legitimizing the note. However, as long as the OCA cannot show that payment was made, it is still an outstanding debt.
#47 Thomas G. Hamrick on 2006-07-20 09:02
Bishop Tikhon is not an excellent writer. An excellent writer delivers a/their message clearly and concisely, with a minimum of words.
The Bishop tends to write with hyperbole, sarcasm, rant, and rote, for a start. And as an example of how the Bishop might write, free Scrabble words included at no charge.
His postings and comments are not always well thought out as he proved reversing his position recently regarding an independent commission. He has responded in a knee jerk fashion to many things, and has failed to take one ounce of personal responsibility (as all but Metropolitan Herman have) for the OCA mess. A critical point; he alluded to the notes comments in the 2002 compilation reports, which clearly state temporarily restricted funds had been misappropriated. From Bishop Job, all we got was a question, "Are the allegations true or false?". We know the answer to this question is actually "None of us know how to read a financial statement."
or "When is the next Andreas bailout coming", or none of us received a financial statement, or some combination thereof.
In the Bishop's partial defense, it is quite great that he is willing to engage the concerned, which no others have done, and for that, once I get past hyperbole and sarcasm and callousness towards individual responsibility including withholding fair share (temporarily), I thank him for engaging the group, nothing more.
#48 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-07-20 11:26
Just one correction to Anita Clark Marshall's comment, which is not that bad in general:
"We must all be very clear in the knowledge that all the money and property under discussion has been donated by the laity of the OCA."
No, that is NOT clear; in fact, it's not true.
The largest piece of property under discussion, the Oyster Bay Cove estate was donated by Mrs. Griswold. If she was a member of the OCA, it's the first I've heard of it.
The largest lump of money under discussion was given by Dwayne Andreas and instances under his control. He is not a member of the OCA.
The rest, it's true, are the nickels and dimes that rich Americans "can afford" (what a laugh), sometimes once a year: twice or three times if there's a calamity. We in the OCA always donate money that we figure we can afford to dispense and that WE WON"T REALLY MISS. I don't recall meeting any sacrificial givers in ages. They were almost always of the older generation, especially older Russian females who were willing to even share their social security or welfare funds, if they had them. Nowadays, it's just we prosperous ones, who give what we won't miss and don't miss AT ALL. I say "won't miss, but, obviously, if it turns out that our nickels and dimes ARE missing, this gives us a chance to act like heroes of charity whose VAST donations, which would have made SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE have been mislaid diverted or the papework showing their dispersal to charitable causes can't be produced. That means that when someone from New York states thanks for the wonderful Americans who have donated to help, we can't pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves, "It's wonderful. God is Love. And I gave all that I could AFFORD!" Now, how awful, we won't get that credit! We won't be able to pat ourselves on the back for our "widow's mite."
There is a HUGE PROBLEM and no one at all seems to be clear on it.
Members of the OCA (like members of almost every other Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc., IMPORTANT AMERICAN FAITH COMMMUNITY give so little of their goods, money, time, and talents for their fellow man that we bring shame on the Church.
Is there any Christian perspective or world-view LEFT? Looking at the life of a large group of OCA Orthodox Christians for the past several months, we might see only a group of people concerned with holding OTHERS accountable and punishing wrong-doers and insuring tight controls over that shameful pittance that we call our donations. Even those nickels and dimes belong to the Lord, as well as the car payments and the gasoline payments and the vacation expenses ("Good heavens! They may be starving and dying of thirst in the Sudan and Ethiopia, but that doesn't mean we can't have our vacation. The Lord understands this, why can't you?")
It seems to me that the various funds and the amounts in them are a reproach, and if we had intelligence along with our pride, we'd want them kept secret. This is the crime that has been revealed. It's true. Why spend one penny on something like an All American Council which is just a self-congratulatory convention and SURROGATE religious activity? So Saint Tikhon's Monastery had to pay the hotel bill owing. Why? Didn't the delgates WHO HAVE TO HAVE THEIR COUNCIL AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD, ETC., pay a bigger registration fee? (Oh, that's right, the PARISH pays for that from the donations of the laity). No, we make noises about how crucial we consider a convention every year to be, but please, don't expect the delegates to PAY for it! We need the money for travel, side trips, sight-seeing and so on.
Of course, if you find that you can AFFORD to give over a thousand dollars, you'd not find it out of place to have your picture taken, either, right? Now see, that's transparent and accountable and VAIN.
A final correction is that it is not only "the laity" who donate money to their parish, their diocese, charities, special drives, etc. That is a really low anti-clergy statement.
Commending all to Christ's love,
+Tikhon. The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West. The Orthodox Church in America
"It is all vanity and striving after the wind."
#49 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-07-21 13:18
I apologize to readers because what I write here has caused some to go to pieces, it seems, and they are unable to fix on anything in response save the way I write.
One man actually stated that I wrote with "rote."!!!
While I own up to a failure to be concise, I'm also a little startled to be charged with hyperbole (at least that is a sane charge)!
Be that as it may, I wish to confess to a big mistake in at ;east one of my messages on this site.
Judge Kalinas's signature and Alice Woog's signature ARE on the promissory note. As I subsequently opined, it was a problem caused by OCRing the note. If anyone feels that he has to stick his finger on the actual note, I can make a photocopy and email it to anyone who will risk letting an Orthodox Bishop see his Holy Email Address and/or Sacred Name.
Again, thanks to Daniel Fall for a great addition to my collection of humorous outbursts. To be accused of writing "with rote"!! Oh. Oh. As Calvin liked to say, "Some days are just too short"!!!
And, Daniel, if you are thinking of becoming a critic of writing in English, I suggest you don't give up your day job, to use one of today's popular bits of sarcasm. I admit to loving sarcasm and satire. My favorite Gospel, along that line, is the one on the man born blind. The withering sarcasm of his 'Oh, Right. You guys wnat to be His disciples now, too?" (B.T.'s colloquical re-write)
Then there is our Lord's wonderful "Thou hast said," which we often hear today: "You're the one who said that: I sure didn't!"
Another one :"You sure are right there about your husband!"
There I go again. Oh well, i can't even GUESS what Daniel meant to convey by writing "with rote."
Oh, and whoever opined that I had changed my mind or done a 180 degree turn or whatever on an investigatory commisssion. That's not true at all. Now that, instead of an investigatory commission, a kind of arbitrary and ad hoc bunch of outside lawyers and accountants have been hired by one person only, the Metropolitan, who did not thereby cave in on refusing to appoint an investigatory commission of the genre that was advocated by that Archbishop Job et al, and now that these outsiders about whose souls we are not concerned because this is the world of Caesar, not Christ, and this is business and accountability and so forth, making sure our money is changed by the right people according to the best procedures, have punched in, and now that two of the former Treasurers, Metropolitan Herman and Father Paul Kucynda have seen to it that they are the only ones to have control over the files of the OCA which files contain, presumably, information pertinent to financial management during the periods when Metropolitan Herman and Father Paul Kucynda were Treasurer, have changed the locks (even to the bathrooms) all over the Metropolitans's residence and so forth, it seems to me that all that money spent on paying these outsiders is just a waste. What a big red herring it was, firing Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick! But that red herring began to stink, really STINK, almost the very next day, when two Treasurers during those periods of financial shenanigans are free to arrange (or GET RID OF) any evidence they please. Therefore, I suggested that they recuse themselves (evcn though it's far too late) as they should have done IMMEDIATELY upon hiring their private dicks/lawyers/accountants, and that Action be taken to restore ORDER.
That is not, Messrs Stokoe and Fall, any kind of call for an "independent commission to investigate these allegations."
Commending all to Christ's love,
+Tikhon, The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West. The Orthodox Church in America.
"It's hard not to write satire." (Juvenal)
#50 Bishop Tikhon on 2006-07-21 14:18
Dear James: Can you even imagine any of the apostles speaking like this Bishop? He may be witty and sharp, but he's mean, gossipy and unloving.
#51 Jane Cap on 2006-07-21 15:08
His Grace sarcastically scribbled: "Good heavens! They may be starving and dying of thirst in the Sudan and Ethiopia, but that doesn't mean we can't have our vacation. The Lord understands this, why can't you?"
Setting aside the haughty and blanket aspersions cast upon giving laity, the remarks above should be directed towards Syosset. Were the junket trips abroad, hush payments, cash disbursements to the Chancellor's son, expensive steak dinners, buying and renovating Long Island property and so on really that necessary such that it required raiding the Lord's money intended to feed, clothe, and shelter the needy? This demonstrates the blatant hypocrisy, arrogance and snootiness from the OCA leadership and some of our bishops.
Thanks to God we still have a good shepherd in Archbishop Job.
#52 Yet Another Saddened Lay Person on 2006-07-22 12:43
You know I'm really tired of everyone saying Bishop Job is such a good shepherd.
Based on statements made by another bishop, the 2002 compilation reports clearly stated that temporarily restricted funds were misused in 2001 and 2002 (and now we know 2003, 2004, 2005 as well). If one Bishop reported this information, how does Bishop Job skate away without responsibility?
Frankly, I'm confused by Bishop Job even asking the question "Are the allegations true or false?" He either didn't know how to read a financial statement, or he expected an Andreas bailout. I'd like to think he didn't know to read or didn't understand, or never got a financial statement. If he didn't, he wouldn't be responsible for any budget issues, unless he was supposed to get a financial statement.
In any case, unless I just don't get it, Bishop Job does not get a free pass, and in my candid opinion is just as responsible as everyone else.
I respect his lifestyle of poverty, I respect him approaching this issue with the Metropolitan in a fashion, but frankly something doesn't jive. He should have known about the crisis since 2001 as should all of them, Metropolitan Herman, the balance of the Synod, and the MC. I know the AAC did not know about the problems in July of 2005 based on statements made by an attendee, so they are the only ones with a pass in my opinion, and even they bear some burden.
To date noone challenges my assertions of who is responsible.
Responsibility taken by the Metropolitan seems appropriately shared by all. Unless someone explains my assertion away, please stop giving anyone a free pass.
#53 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-07-25 06:57
What responsibility has the Metropolitan taken other than a general claim of same, which is fundementally meaningless, especially in light of his subsequent actions, and inadequate?
#54 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-07-26 10:50
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