Monday, August 3. 2009
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If what you are reporting is accurate, the procedure for nominating a new bishop for the Diocese of New York is a substantial retrogression from the recent conciliar model employed by the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania and I thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Perhaps the four men (chancellor, deans) in a room were attempting to simplify and expedite a nominating decision in order to meet an artificial deadline, but unfortunately, in these times, at the great and unsustainable expense of credibility among the faithful where credibility is now in short supply.
It is not too late even now for the four men in a room to forethink the process and institute one that will earn the respect and obedience of everyone, without which trust cannot be regained. The diocese of New York is dying, literally, and this cannot be halted until a new bishop, fully qualified as a pastoral candidate, is nominated and elected in a fully conciliar and transparent process. The process of nominating a new bishop must inherently include a free and open discussion about our problems and the type of bishop we need to help solve those problems.
#1 In Nubibus on 2009-08-03 13:36
Shame is the right word Mark. Shame on them. The old dogs need to retire their old tricks. Take um to the vet, put um down! Shame! The abusers and liars live!
#2 no name on 2009-08-03 13:37
Unfortunately, Mark, little has changed in the OCA. The same people who got us into this mess or looked the other way while the Church was robbed & then tried to stonewall for years are still in power. Why do we have a committee of clergy advised by a single lawyer investigating the St Tikhon fiasco? We should have a committee of lawyers and accountants doing the forensic work advised by a single hierarch. We're too top heavy with guys dressed in black.
Jonah speaks well, but he also likes to hear himself talk. He should try listening a bit. It's also too bad he's so young, he wasn't around to learn that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
#3 David Wargo on 2009-08-03 13:52
Agreed Mark, this is beyond disappointing. Transparency clearly has yet to penetrate our Church. Anaxios to Met. Jonah, and to our deans!
Where is the "good order" everyone spoke of during the suppression of the financial scandal? Why the need for secrecy? Why the need for a shotgun wedding? This 2-month timetable is the fastest anything has ever been done in the history of the OCA, and while expediency itself is refreshing, I suspect it is going to backfire here.
The greatest irony of your article is the fee each parish must pay to attend the meeting. Perhaps if the diocesan chancellor hadn't shelled out several thousand dollars for some lavish panagia, the parishes wouldn't have to shell out upwards of $100 just to elect their own bishop. It's absurd.
Our diocese is screwed up. Hopefully, the person we end up with on August 31, however dubiously he was elected (I don't think we can realistically hope to postpone the election) will have the moral clarity to lead us in cleaning it up. Some new deans would be a start.
#4 Rdr. Nilus on 2009-08-03 14:21
Who are these candidates? What's the problem with submitting names? Are these even real people? Oh yeah, I forgot myself for a moment, I'm in Alaska and I shouldn't concern myself with things that aren't any of my business!
I bring up these questions because of the pain and destruction that has been inflicted upon Alaska because this process that is being described sounds like what occurred in Alaska. And this screw-up happened twice!
Also remember when Bishop Innocent was being consecrated, a man called out, "An-axios" and what happened? Did the service stop? No! The man who yelled out, "An-axios" was escorted out of the church!
Let's not forget Bishop Nikolai's consecration - it was held in Juneau. They could've held it in Disneyland - the cost of flying there would have been more affordable. Also don't forget how Bishop Nikolai always had his entourage in tow.
Now the Synod has names but they won't say who they are? What's the problem? Sounds like secrecy to me!
I guess that I'd better just shut up and start preparing for the Grand Banquet. Where can I get my ticket?
#5 Tatiana Berestoff on 2009-08-03 15:13
I am in the NY/NJ diocese and have been under all its hierarchs. That being said, I don't have a dog in the race regarding how a bishop is selected.
I'm Anglo-Saxon enough to want the rules to either be followed or changed to reflect actual practice, but I don't really care which. I think most people do in fact want more real 'democracy' in the process than the canons allow for (and I think practices and canons that haven't been used anywhere in the Orthodox world for centuries are obsolete and beside the point, except for academics). I also think the old saying about what opinions are like (a colloquial term for the anus) and about how we all have them and they all stink is fitting.
There is also really no common understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology within the OCA given different experiences, traditions and ideologies (both innovationist, resuscitationist, traditionalist, practicalist and more) at loggerheads.
I think the people should have a say in nominating, I think they should have a say in recommending and approving, and the candidates should be well acquainted enough with the diocese that they are already known by the clergy and people - if they aren't, they really shouldn't be nominated and put forward. That being said, the process WPA went through seemed rather excessive.
Perhaps what is missing in the process is:
- broader and perhaps less connected and entrenched (tainted?) representation on the approval/vetting committee,
- the ability to reconsider previously nominated but not 'approved' or 'suggested' candidates on the floor should they meet the canonical requirements for consecration as bishop,
- a veto, no confidence or not approved power for the assembly should the 2 suggested candidates not be acceptable. (As is, it is possible, given the process, for a small clique of established priests/bishops to purposefully choose 2 candidates wholly unacceptable to the requisite percentage of the assembly so that the Synod can then step in and simply choose however they like).
Personally, I think all the dioceses are too large. Dioceses should be the size of a few parishes to bishops are less despots and more pastors, by necessity. Compensation and other perks would quickly fall in line with the diminished 'necessity' and scope of their roles. As chief pastor of a small grouping of local or regional churches (e.g., New York City and Long Island; Westchester County and surrounds; northern Jersey, southern Jersey and Philadelphia; Upstate New York; DC Metro could all have their own bishops), there would be many more potential candidates since we don't have to search for super-candidates that 'have it all' spiritually, administratively, managerially, are strong communicators, politically savvy, beautiful liturgists, etc. This would also minimize the impact of a bad bishop or two as they wouldn't be a large percentage vote of a small Synod. It would also increase the likelihood that a local monastic, a celibate or widowed clergyman would be known and put forward as an episcopal candidate as their 'chief pastor', locally.
I agree that the process for the election of the new bishop of NY-NJ is flawed and criticism seems to be justified. That said your editorial struck a rather unfortunate tone. It is highly judgmental of motives and employs language that is intemperate to say the least.
In the end I think the same points could have been made more effectively sans the rather incendiary language.
Under the mercy,
Bishop NILOLAI was installed in Sitka. I was there.
#8 Anonymous on 2009-08-03 18:01
Glory to IC XC!
Dear Rdr. Nilus,
You wrote, "I don't think we can realistically hope to postpone the election."
Why not? Have the churches paid the $100 poll tax (pardon the terminology)? Surely the arrangements can be altered. If they can be made quickly, they can be changed quickly. You wouldn't be asking for a violation of canonical order or Statute or any such thing, quite the contrary.
Dozens of parish councils together with their priests calling for a restart to the process... There's some real potential here, but is there enough real desire?
"I don't care who does the electing just so long as I do the nominating."
--Sen. William Marcy "Boss" Tweed (also, of New York)
#9 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2009-08-03 19:01
I guess I am one of the individuals who will "shame" myself by voting at our Diocesan Assembly. I've grown up in NY/NJ - I don't ever remember having ANY choice or voice in choosing a Diocesan bishop (for that matter, it was usually chosen for us by the entire Metropolia/OCA - the Metropolitan). So, as "shameful" as this may be, its actually a step in the right direction.
We have serious problems in our Diocese and our National Church. My opinion: the Search Committee went into this search with a prime candidate already picked out. One individual's name has been bandied about since the announcement - I feel that individual is an excellent choice and, (though I admit ignorance towards other possible candidates), my personal choice. If that particular individual is one of the two nominated, I'll vote or him (and I think we'd all be totally shocked if he's not one!).
Is the process flawed? Absolutely! On the other hand, we've advanced from one individual often making Diocese-changing decisions to four, so that's progress!
You are right; the process is flawed. But, it is a step in the right direction. And while my vote might "shame" me, I don't think this particular "shameful action" would cause me to lose any sleep at night. Mark, please keep doing what you're doing, even though I do somewhat disagree with you on this one.
#10 Fr. Stephen Mack on 2009-08-04 04:22
I agree with the first six comments on this thread and salute Mark for his hard hitting editorial. But I am not surprised by this development, just further saddened and disillusioned, if indeed that is possible. This is just the frosting on a cake of clerical arrogance and usurpation that has been baking for many years, while all of us (collectively speaking) have been content to sit back and ignore the dire consequences of our passivity.
Just as I, and many others, rejected Metropolitan Herman's definition and practice of a false ecclesiology, so now do I reject Metropolitan Jonah's regurgitation and reiteration of the same. It really is offensive for his Beatitude to continue to prattle on about conciliarity when his real mission seems to be to bury it. But why are we surprised? Is it not consistent with his background, training and sponsorship by the most reactionary elements in the OCA?
So as others have said, nothing truly important has really changed. We just have a kinder and gentler version of the previous travesty sans corruption (so far). For those who continue to disdain conciliarity by labeling it "democracy" or even worse, "Protestant," I can only say that the fruits of hierarchical autocracy are too bitter for me.
Will we ever learn?
#11 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-08-04 06:22
Shame on you, Mark Stokoe, for not "speaking the truth in love."
(Editor's note: On the contrary, Deacon, I did speak the truth, and I did do it in love. If I didn't love those involved, and this church, I would just sit back and watch it degenerate. Indifference is the opposite of love, not expressing opposition. And my opposition to the current course of action is programmatic: I don't care who they nominated, it would be wrong because the process does not live up to the ideals which they themselves profess - that is, conciliarity. I think a later poster sums it up best: what difference would it have made if they hadn't called this process conciliar? The sad answer: None. Shame on them.)
#12 Dn. Nicholas Jannakos on 2009-08-04 08:06
Much of what Mr. Orr proposes makes a lot of sense. He has in the past as well.
Our shepherds want us to listen to them. Would it be too much to suggest they spend some time listening to their rational sheep?
#13 Mickey Hodges on 2009-08-04 08:10
There's no reason why anyone should care in particular about my opinion, but I agree totally with this. How can one bishop cover the million square miles of the Diocese of the West AND the Diocese of Alaska, as +Benjamin currently does? Or the 3 million square miles of the Diocese of Canada? Outside the Northeast, all our dioceses are mind-boggling in their size. No wonder bishops so often look tired.
More bishops would mean decentralized power; less likelihood of the formation of the crippling power blocs we've seen in the past; and above all, more direct access to bishops by the faithful. It seems to me everyone benefits.
#14 Morton on 2009-08-04 08:56
Or we could just elect bishops by lot...the only other way that we have recorded in Scripture!
St Matthias was not one of the original Apostles but was chosen by the other Apostles and Peter when Judas left their rank. According to Act 1:15-26, during the days after the Ascension, Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (about 120 of Jesus' followers). Now that Judas had betrayed his ministry, it was necessary, Peter said, to fulfill the scriptural recommendation: "May another take his office." "Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to His resurrection" Act 1:21-22.
They nominated two men: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. They prayed and drew lots. The choice fell upon Matthias, who was added to the Eleven.
In His great mercy,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#15 Fr Pius on 2009-08-04 09:41
Right on, Fr. Stephen!
Might I also note that, by including the local Deans -along with the Diocesan Chancellor - in the search process, we have made a significant step towards including the parish priests and parishes as well. In my experience, they have been quite open to listening to our concerns.
Fr. Herman Schick
#16 Fr. Herman Schick on 2009-08-04 10:10
Bishop Nikolai was consecrated at St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas, TX. Should we check the rest of your facts too? And what business is it of anyone who the bishop elected in NY/NJ is EXCEPT for the people in that diocese? When does a candidate have to be vetted "at-large" by those who are not of his possible flock. This is a diocesan matter and ultimately the decision of the Holy Synod. It is not a popularity contest nor a "dog and pony show" for candidates to perform ala "American Idol" for the judges - something the candidates in WPA felt like and more than one was disgusted with.
#17 Anonymous on 2009-08-04 10:25
I've been following church (Metropolia/OCA) politics for many year and I am convinced that if we add up all the ...."steps in the right direction" that the church has taken in the last 50 years, we could have walked to the moon and back.
#18 nicholas skovran on 2009-08-04 10:33
I wonder how the process would have differed if there was not an effort to be concilliar.
#19 Fr Andrew R Moulton on 2009-08-04 11:05
Can anyone take seriously Jonah's OCA, we went from the criminal to the ridiculous! Enough time has passed since the 11 day wonder was 'sworn in' by now, I would have expected to see signs of openness and responsible leadership. All we have gotten for all our trouble and patience is just another XXX-XXXX.
Is this really how the next 3 decades looks? ...
#20 no name on 2009-08-04 15:21
Dear no name,
Would you please stop with the ridiculously negative and frankly stupid comments. Here's an example from English 101 of how to write an intelligent comment:
I do not agree with the election process because ...
I do not feel that Fr. Lickwar or Fr. Karlgut are holding a fair election because ...
I believe the process is unfair because ...
Frankly, it's pathetic to read comments on this web page that show such a lack of intelligence and reason. It's not a secret who works in Syosset. If you have a criticism of someone, spell it out. In case you missed it, Syosset consists of Metropolitan Jonah, Primate, Fr. Eric Tosi, Secretary, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, Chancellor, Fr. Andrew Jarmus, Director of Communications and Ministries, and Fr. Michael Tassos, Acting Treasurer. There are also a few other administrative staff. So please stop using ridiculous rhetoric like "Syosset," "them," or the especially poignant "old dogs."
#21 Anon on 2009-08-04 17:08
Bishop NIKOLAI was consecrated in Dallas. I was there. His Grace was installed as the ruling bishop of Alaska in Sitka. I was there. These facts are straight. Do you want the dates?
#22 Anonymous on 2009-08-04 18:15
Mark, I don't see the problem with how the bishop for NY/NJ is being selected. There is a written procedure in place. The nominating committee is following the procedure. The electors have, it seems, two options: elect one of the nominees or reject them both. It should be remembered that St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was nominated, elected, consecrated and enthroned by just two bishops who had no input at all from anyone else. We need to have faith.
(Editor's note: If such is your wish, fine: but don't call it "conciliar" then. Because it is not. St. Tikhon's vision was of a united, conciliar, diverse Church in America. I prefer his vision to yours. Feel free to disagree.)
Mr Orr wrote: "I'm Anglo-Saxon enough to want the rules to either be followed or changed to reflect actual practice, but I don't really care which."
What a novel concept. Is it possible that "making it up as you go along" is a significant contributor to the continuing dysfunction in the OCA?
#24 Overseas Observer on 2009-08-04 23:10
It's possible because our bishops oversee fewer SOULS than many Roman Catholic or Greek parishes. More bishops = more overhead. In this digital age, a bishop can communicate very effectively over the territories that currently make up the OCA.
#25 Anonymous on 2009-08-05 05:56
The "digital age?" It's always fun when the digital revolution is used as justification for maintaining the status quo.
First, it was the suggestion at this year's SVS Institute that now, because of the internet, there was no need for the AOCA or GOA to break from foreign patriarchates. The speaker contended that they were no longer separated by thousands of miles, but rather a single click.
Now, in the same vein, comes the suggestion that smaller dioceses are unnecessary because a bishop can minister to his flock virtually.
I find this faith in virtualization heterodox. Why not cut the bishops down to 3? Or have a single National Bishop minister to his flock virtually? (For significantly decreased overhead, why not try a Global Bishop?)
Orthodox ecclesiology is heavily tied to 'place.' And the concept of 'place' has not yet been obliterated in the Digital Era. You can't Skype a bishop into the liturgy. Skype can't erase the cultural differences between a foreign Patriarch and his American flock. Finally, for all the talk of the benefits of the Digital Era, few bishops have actually adopted its tools.
More bishops with smaller dioceses will only strengthen our church. It's simply wrong for a parish to go years between visits from its bishop. When he finally arrives, parishioners are intimidated by the regalia, seeing him more as an emperor than a pastor. Frequent visits, and involvement in the parish's life, would break down the imperial image many have of the episcopacy. Increased overhead would be offset by growth.
So, splitting Washington and NY&NJ is the right move. However, the process of electing the bishop seems to be firmly "the old way of doing things" - secret backroom stuff opposite to what Met. Jonah says in the newspapers. (The Chicago Tribune article cites him as saying the Church must find a "New healthy way of being so that the old ways found corrupt with passions of the flesh are cast off.")
Secret proceedings, secret candidates (until mid-August, what's the point of that?) and limited choices for the voters once they arrive at the assembly. No public discussion period. No conciliar deliberations. Not nearly as open and transparent as WPA's process, which WPA won only after public outcry and turmoil. I don't want to believe that Met. Jonah is just 'more of the same,' but it is increasingly hard to think otherwise.
#26 Rdr. Nilus on 2009-08-05 08:28
My point is that the assume overhead of a bishop is due to his being responsible for large territories and large numbers of souls. The dioceses I am envisioning make of their bishop essentially the senior pastor of a handful of parishes, not the executive of a large religious corporation spanning sometimes thousands of miles and very different communities. In fact, the bishop can be the bishop of one of those parishes - no added salary required.
A shared services model between the dioceses and the central church, or between dioceses would decrease overhead and duplication of effort. In fact, this would allow each bishop and diocese to focus on its core task rather than being constantly sidestepped by having to deal with the day to day management of a religious corporation and its office - these functions can be outsourced to a shared resource and overseen.
A joyous feast to everyone! I hope we can all lay aside all our "earthly cares" even for just one day to focus on the wonderful feast that is upon us.
#28 Anonymous on 2009-08-05 09:58
No, I will not stop. They lie, they abuse, they rob and they can't find their backside with a base fiddle. They have no idea where to take the Church or how to get it there. YEARS later, years-after all this started, the little boys network and playroom at Syosset is still engaged in the same tired strategies and the same old bla bla bla.
We need a lay chancellor (like some RC dioceses have) and we need non Orthodox Lawyers and accountants watching over this administrative hell, and nest of sin.
The time has come to either revive the patient, or let it slip away into oblivion.
They have lost the Church, and don't know where to look to find it.
While they pack and unpack byzantine robes, Metropolitan Nero plays an old and tired song.
Have a nice day, dear Anon, have a nice day.
#29 no name on 2009-08-05 10:44
con⋅cil⋅i⋅ar, defined as an adjective meaning "of, pertaining to, or issued by a council." Interesting how we're throwing this particular word around. This is not about conciliarity, or transparency, or who is nominated at this point. This is taking shots at those given authority. Nothing more than a question of who is in control. Embarrass the candidates by proclaiming shame on them and chip away at their authority and respect before they are even consecrated. I stopped watching network and cable news for precisely this reason. Trash the candidate, discredit the process, undermine the authority of those in power. And this helps the church? And you do this with "love?" No, you're just beating down good people.
(Editor's note: I have been asked to make clear that the Author's name refers to the dictionary, not to any person.)
#30 Webster on 2009-08-05 11:51
Mark, I agree with you on much. I really don't understand what you are worried about in this nomination and election process. It seems to me that the rules are being followed and everything happening is above board. I'm in favor of constant vigilance, but vigilance is not raising false alarms.
But maybe I didn't understand what I read. Maybe the rules aren't being followed. If that is the case then keep charging ahead. If you can show me that the rules are being subverted or ignored I'll charge with you. Are you sure the issue for you is only that the process is indirectly democratic rather than some kind of one man one vote in an open meeting with lots of discussion? I'm not opposed to that and I think it might be a good idea but it isn't the rule in NY/NJ at the moment.
(Editor's note: This isn't a question of following rules: it is about fake conciliarity. Conciliarity is about the entire Church - Bishops, clergy, deacons, laity, working together in an open, honest, transparent process to find the best person to lead them. trusting in the Spirit to guide them as a body. Conciliarity is not four clergymen choosing a candidate in private - a candidate they won't even name - because somebody said they could. That may indeed be what the "rules" allow - but have the decency to call that for what it is. But it is not conciliarity.)
"This is not about conciliarity, transparency," etc. Oh really?! Then let's stop giving lip service to something that is purely a theoretical construct and has no basis in reality. Or we can attempt to narrow the application of conciliarity to apply only to bishops, which is, of course, the popular fall back position for those enamored of autocracy and the untrammeled authority of hierarchs.
If you truly want authority to be respected then its basis must be legitimate. Not necessarily by a democratic simple majority of everyone voting, but by a process that involves the entire spectrum of the Church. That process can evolve and change over time, but by its very nature it must be inclusive and representative of all the Faithful. Otherwise you get what you deserve--contempt and disobedience.
#32 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-08-06 05:33
Webster's Dictionary would fail to convey the essence of "conciliarity" that we are invoking. If you want to critique its usage here, try gaining understanding from a more Orthodox source, such as Schmemann's "Church World Mission."
This website, and its supporters, aren't trying to gratuitously chip away at authority and respect. Speaking for myself, I want to respect our leaders, but it needs to be a mutual respect. That mutual respect cannot exist when our leaders disregard conciliarity, meet in closed-door sessions, and limit the process to two secret candidates.
This is what I don't understand about your perspective: Leaders (our locum tenens, chancellor, and deans) are free to do as they wish, without regard for the turmoil their unilateral actions will cause. If anyone questions their actions, then you, "Webster," consider them out of line. Isn't that a double standard?
There would be no need for this website if our leaders would just step up to the plate and act in an open, transparent, accountable, and loving manner. This is not about personal vendettas. This is about the integral ecclesiology of our Church functioning correctly. (Which is not happening right now.)
#33 Rdr. Nilus on 2009-08-06 08:11
There is no substitute for seeing and hearing one's pastor. You could make the same "digital" argument about parish priests. With Web casting, various texting tools. e-mail, etc., one priest could easily handle a couple or three parishes at least, and in multiple regions. No need for your priest to actually live in your town. You could order the consecrated elements online ("please place your orders at least three days in advance"), pay postage and handling (and your pledge) with PayPal, confess via IM or Web cam...
Wouldn't all that be a cost savings!
What's next, virtual clergy?
#34 Morton on 2009-08-06 08:39
Amen, amen. I can't think of anyone who will dedicate themselves more completely to the office of the episcopacy than the man named as the leading candidate.
#35 Alexis on 2009-08-06 11:46
An Orthodox source:
A homily from the Prolog of Ohrid by St Nikolaj Velimirovic
ďLikewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one anotherĒ (1 Peter 5:5).
Here is the principle of the true Orthodox conciliarity [sabornost]! It is based on the unconditional obedience of the younger toward the elders and on reciprocal obedience of equals among themselves, and on the humility of both the elders and the younger. Humility [poniznost] is a good word but better still is the word humbleness [smernost] and the best word is humble-mindedness [smirenomudrije]: in essence, humble-mindedness corresponds exactly to the Greek word which the apostle used in his epistle [i.e., tapeinophrosynē], and it signifies lowly thoughts about oneself and higher thoughts about God and constant admission of oneís helplessness, oneís ignorance, oneís viciousness, oneís unworthiness and constant recognition of Godís power, Godís wisdom, Godís mercy and Godís dignity.
God is the only King of mankind. That is why God opposed the wishes of the Israelites that a king be appointed for them from among the people. God rules and men serve God. Those who rule and those who submit are equally the servants of God. When it is known and recognized that God is King and that all men are servants of God then, by this, the foundation of conciliarity [sabornost] is established, the foundation of the angelic society. Upon this foundation then is built the House of God, the angelic society, with the help of the obedience of the younger toward the elders and on reciprocal obedience of peers among themselves and upon the humble-mindness of all. In this manner, two terrible evils are avoided in the world: tyranny, i.e., one ruling over many by force, and anarchy, i.e., mob rule, thereby avoiding mono-tyranny or poly-tyranny.
The principle of conciliarity [sabornost] is an organic principle, i.e., the principle of life. This is the principle of mutual service, mutual help and mutual love. Brethren, may God endow us with wisdom to have recourse toward this saving principle in our lives.
Lord Jesus, obedient and humble Lover of Mankind, implant and confirm in us obedience to Thy law and mutual obedience out of love and humble-mindedness toward Thy unutterable power and wisdom. To Thee be glory and thanks forever. Amen.
#36 Anonymous on 2009-08-08 06:26
First and foremost, I ask that you resign immediately from the Metropolitan Council. You do not belong on the council and you are not worthy of that position. Obviously your life is to live a some kind of soap opera religion. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? If there is anything I can do to get you off the Metropolian Council, I certainly will look into it.
I know that you will not put this on your site, but you must be aware that there are people that are extremely concerned about your mental state. What exactly are you trying to accomplish here? Destroy Orthodoxy in America?
I know you supply a live dialoge about concerns in the Orthodox Church, but since you are in a previleged position, you have a responsibility to the Metropolitan Committee that you are supposed to be representing. If Metropolitan Jonah is reading your site, is he pleased with it??????
Comments on your site refer to the committee in charge of electing the next bishop for New York and New Jersey as "old dogs" and they should be put down". Are you for real. What kind of dialogue is this. Are you trying to imitate Judge Judy?
I would encourage everyone I know not to read anything you have on your blog. It offer no positive growth and spiritual reward. If that is your goal, then you've reached it.
I am a member of Sts Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Jersey City, NJ, and yes Fr. Joseph Lickwar is my parish priest.
Mark Strokoe, if you are happy with what you are doing, you better think twice because you do not deserve to be on the Metropolitan Council and you are not representing Orthodoxy in this diocese.
Susan J. Savastinuk
(Editor's note: I am glad everyone is having so much fun with my name: Stookie, Stukey, Strokoe. As my neice says, " Whatever...."
I agree I am unworthy to be on the Council I am an unworthy Orthodox Christian. That being said, I do not represent Orthodoxy, or your diocese, on the Metropolitan Council. I represent the Diocese of the Midwest. The easiest way to get me off the Metropoltian Council is to suggest to the delegates of the 2010 Midwest Diocesan Assembly not to vote for me again. I welcome and encourage competition, so best of luck.
I do not wish to live a soap opera religion; nor have I done anything to make the OCA a soap opera, although I grant you the last three years seem pretty operatic, if not clean. I did not misdirect $5 million; I did not seek to cover it up; I did not divert monies from widows and orphans; I did not undertake secret mortgages; I did not launch investigations, delay the investigation, fire the investigators, restart the investigation, etc.; I did not fire, suspend, defrock or retire priests and bishops; none of this is in my power. It would seem to me your anger and problems are with our bishops and priests who have done such - not the layman who simply reports it. Of course, you may think that ignorance is bliss - but then would be folly to be wise. And Jesus himself tells us to be as "wise as serpents...". I suggest you take it up with Him.
I assume Metropolitan Jonah reads my site, because he ocassionally refers to it; whether all things on it please him is for him to say - I would not put words in his mouth. Sadly, if telling the truth is "destroying Orthodoxy in America" - that is a pretty serious indictment of Orthodoxy in America, and not one I would make. But you are entitled to your opinion.
As for not reading this blog, feel free to stop. Everyone chooses to come here - I have no power to make anyone read, nor contribute, nor comment, nor well, anything. I do not even post an RSS feed to let people know when I have posted something new. People choose to come here - and so ask yourself, then, why that is so? Is it because they care about their Church and want to make it better, and want to know what is really happening, so they can? If that is the case, more OCANEWS.org, not less, is the way to go. But feel free to disagree.)
#37 Susan J. Savastinuk on 2009-08-09 16:17
I would like to rebut your thoughtless comments by saying that I think you do not represent the best interests of our diocese, nor of Orthodoxy in America.
Mark already laid out an eloquent case for why you are wrong, but I would like to just add one point: had it not been for Mark, and this website, then the OCA would look very different today: Herman, Kondratick, and their cadre of crooks and cronies would still be running the Church, beyond reproach. If Mark has set out to destroy American Orthodoxy, I think he has failed. Removing Herman, et al., has only served to purify our Church. But the process is not complete: there is still a lot of darkness and deception that needs to be cast out.
I am a lowly college student, and don't have enough influence to make such pompous statements as your vow to remove Mark from the MC. Another writer here suggested that, to find out what conciliarity really means, I submit myself in humility to my elders. But with elders like you, Herman, or even our Episcopal Search Committee, I could interpret my first lesson to be: cast off humility, in favor of self-impunity. College may have tried my faith, but not anywhere near as much as reading comments from you and yours. Where is the common sense and sensibility? Where is the thoughtfulness and wisdom that comes with being an elder? Because from my perspective, all I see is hypocrisy, hysteria, insanity, and spiritual death.
#38 Rdr. Nilus on 2009-08-10 16:52
I think we and the bishops are missing the point. The point, IMHO is that we don't need a bishop for NJ/NY. Nor do we need 12-13 bishops in the OCA. As someone pointed out, there are GOA parishes with larger congregations. I'm talking about the 30,000 or so parishioners in the OCA, not the 100,000 that Jonah recently stated in his interview with the Russian Church.
In 37 years in the priesthood I never was contacted by any bishop - except my neighborhood Mormon bishop in SLC.
We are part of the problem in talking about this as it is real.
#39 hal dudash on 2009-08-14 08:16
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