Monday, August 31. 2009
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Well, congratulations to Mark Stokoe and cronies of the OCA. You've accomplished another historic decision for the OCA. You and your couple hundred cronies coerced another group into mass confusion.
To: Fr Brum...I'm glad you walked away. A very good idea!!!! Your a far better man and don't deserve the treatment that you've gotten. Kinda funny though, how Mark always talks about the stiff arming regime of Fr Bob, huh??? While he's been stiff arming the OCA for years now and causing such a ruckous that people actually believe his crap. Fr David, I'll pray that you're able to stay a parish priest and a very, very good and loving one from what I'm told. May god be with you.
Mark...I know, I know "Michael, I only pass on the truth!!"
B.S....your ripping this church apart at the seams Mark. The day is coming that those, other than your couple hundred, are all just going to walk away. And it will be because of you.
To: Frs Dahulich and Mahaffey, you may want to rethink what you're getting yourselves into. Mark Stokoe and cronies will dip into everything you do, then put it on the internet, spin it to their liking and turn the world against you. Are you sure you want GOOD, ABIDING Christians telling you how to do your job?? lol
What a sham(e)!!
#1 Michael Livosky on 2009-08-31 13:11
It is good that the diocese of NY/NJ did not buckle under the manufactured pressure of a few to stop the Assembly or postpone the vote for the nomination of their next bishop. Kudos to all of you who stood fast against the the hysteria whipped up around the Fr David Brum.
However, it is sad commentary on our church life that Fr Brum withdrew his name at the 11th hour because of the attacks being made by a deacon who is more guilty for his actual self-admitted misdeeds than Fr David ever was in fact or by innuendo and a SICK committee that no longer exists but has to gall to redefine and embellish its conclusions whenever it sees fit.
May the Most Holy Spirit lead our bishops to right discern God's will for the God-protected diocese of New York and New Jersey.
(Editor's note: It is incorrect to say that 40% of the delegates to the Assembly who voted for the postonement were "few". It is correct, however, to say the turmoil was manufactured by the Selection Committee. Their constant updates, changes and campaigning, etc., did lead many to question the process. As for Fr. Brum, the choice to put his name in nomination was his; as was the choice to remove it. Attacking Deacon Eric for revealing the truth about his Brum's service in Syosset in '98-2000 accomplishes nothing but bring discredit to your comments.)
#2 Anonymous on 2009-08-31 14:24
One clarification -- It was the Selection Committee's decision to withdraw Fr. David Brum's name from nomination. Their stated reason was that the dissatisfaction with the process stemmed from the inclusion of his name among the nominees.
In fact, it was apparent that there were broader questions and concerns about the process.
It should also be noted that once the motion to postpone was defeated, although garnering significant vote, the vote proceeded on the nominees with almost everyone participating and casting valid ballots.
The words spoken at the Assembly in support of and against the motion to postpone were far more constructive, loving and respectful than the way either position is being portrayed in the discussion here and elsewhere online.
Some of us felt that the unity and recovery of the diocese could best be served by a more inclusive process. Others felt that the same ends could best be served by electing a bishop now. In the end, we are all united in our concern that the diocese come together in love and mutual understanding. That should be the focus moving forward rather than Monday morning quarterbacking of something that was never a game to begin with.
#3 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-08-31 15:36
It should be noted, as announced during the Assembly, that Fr David Mahaffey sent a note to the Nominating Committee last evening stating that should a motion to delay the election be successful, he asked that his name be removed from consideration. I supported the effort to delay precisely to allow more time for Frs. Mahaffey and Dahulich to speak with us themselves about how they would imagine their vocations as hierarchs within our Diocese - to get to know them better and hear their hopes and plans for our Diocese. It is unclear if his letter had any effect on the effort to delay the vote, but it might have since everyone knew that if he backed out there would only be one candidate. So, why delay and worry about interviewing only one person?
I am sorry that Fr. Mahaffey decided to respond in such a way, but it made my decision much easier.
#4 Fr John Shimchick on 2009-08-31 18:03
After following ocanews.org for a number of months now, I have come to the firm conclusion that it should limit itself solely to news reporting, all the while recognizing the human impossibility of reporting news accurately, fully, and unbiased. I also believe that all subsequent editorializing and remarking, and comments (even as I am now doing), should be eliminated for they are nothing more than dubious personal opinion/argument, and create nothing but more and more confusion and uncertainty for those interested, involved, responsible for problem solving, and our Laity in general. I also firmly believe that we all should pay much more attention to our Metropolitan's counseling on "spiritual maturity" which seems to me to be "going in one ear and out the other" as evidenced by the past editorializing, remarking, and comments.
(Editor's note: And, by abandoning this forum, how should we share such ideas as yours in the future? Or, in the future, are we all to remain silent about everything? Is that spiritual maturity? Sorry, Deacon, your actions betray your words, and you avail yourself of options you would deny others. As long as free speech remains a cultural value in this society it is something the Church must adapt itself to, just as it adapted itself to monarchy, to Greek categories of philosophizing, to totalitarianism, etc. I agree I would prefer the comments be more spiritual mature; but then I wish people would not steal, lie, cheat, abuse and oppress others as well. One can always hope for imrovement.)
#5 Dn. Nicholas Jannakos on 2009-08-31 20:28
I've commented before so why not on the results?
From my vacuous perspective, I'd say things went well, but business remains unfinished.
Is it right and proper that Fr. Brum be forever haunted by his decision to assist/advise RSK terminate Wheeler?
Will he take personal responsibility, revisit the 'doctrine' and will that effort remedy the situation?
Can the Dn. Wheelers and Fr. Brums of the world ever be considered for promotions in the OCA?
What is the current status of former Fr. Kondratick. Is he still working at a parish in Venice?
I think some of this stuff requires some real good pastoral care and guidance.
And Michael, really now, the only sham(e) is the six hundred dollar sock bill and the theft of hundreds of thousands more for undisclosed and unintended uses. People like you that still purport to uphold lies and blame Stokoe only remind us of the truth. Why don't you let the SIC report stand on its merits and move on so the rest of us can try to as well.
(Editor's note: Kondratick remains employed by the Venice parish, with the blessing of the Chancellor and Locum Tenens of the Diocese.)
#6 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-08-31 22:24
A World and an OCA Without OCANews.org
Let's imagine what the OCA would be like if www.ocanews.org did not exist and Mark Stokoe had not done anything to help, shall we:
1. +Herman would still be Metropolitan. No audit of the OCA finances and accounts would exist and none of the financial and ethical abuses committed would have been brought to light.
2. Robert Kondratick would still be OCA Chancellor and continue to manipulate millions of dollars of the OCA's budget with little accountability and oversight. His outrageous spending sprees (22 credit cards and hundreds of thousands of dollars) would continue to squander the Church's money on himself and his cronies (see note 11 below).
3. Kondtratick's entourage and friends (Fr. Fester, etc.) would still be complicit in his self-dealing, supportive of his unethical management, and fully benefiting from his generosity (most likely financed via Kondratick's diversion of OCA funds intended for other purposes).
4. Hundreds of thousands of dollars from specific charities (9/11, Beslan, etc.) would still not be distributed to their intended beneficiaries, orphans, widows, the sick, and injured, etc...
5. +Nikolai would still be bishop of Alaska firing, abusing, and attacking anyone, including priests, deacons, teachers, seminarians, and elders who dared speak the truth, ask questions, and look for righteousness and accountability.
6. Convicted statutory rapist, Terenty Dushkin would still be a tonsured reader in Alaska.
7. +Tikhon (of the West, now retired) would not have been exposed to the whole Church as the vindictive and divorved from reality hierarch he really was; a fact known mostly by those who had the unfortunate "blessing" of daring to question him on anything in the past. Now the whole world understands the darkness and dysfunction that we suffered under.
8. No audits of St. Tikhon's Monastery would have been initiated.
9. +Jonah would not be the new OCA Metropolitan.
10. Fr. Brum would most likely now be Bishop Brum.
11. The following key information from the Summary Report of the Preliminary Report of the Special Investigative Committee would not have been discovered and brought to light: http://www.ocanews.org/news/SummaryofSpecialReport10.16.07.html
• Between 2001 through 2005, over $1,000,000.00 was withdrawn in cash from the operating checking account of the OCA and given directly to Robert Kondratick. The OCA records lack any supporting documentation to indicate how the cash was spent and for what purposes.
• $575,300 of the approximately one million dollars withdrawn in cash was taken from the special appeals funds and given to Robert Kondratick, who has been unable to provide the name of one person or parish who received any of this cash.
• Despite meeting face-to-face five or six times with the accountants from Lambrides, Robert Kondratick could not provide them with the name of one 9/11 victim or parish who received any of the $176,500 allegedly distributed.
• An audit of the check and wire disbursement from the special appeals funds, from 2001 through 2005, shows American Express charges of some $5,600.00 for a member of the Kondratick family, designated by Robert Kondratick as a charitable distribution.
• In December 2004, Robert Kondratick used for travel expenses in Russia $12,000 that was raised and intended for the Christmas Stocking Project.
• From 1999 through 2005, the OCA paid not less than $1.2 million in Kondratick family members' credit card charges, which covered no less than 22 credit cards. The majority of the credit card charges lack any documentation or original receipts to support the purchases by the OCA. To date, Robert Kondratick has failed to provide the OCA with receipts of any kind to support the expenditures of more than $1,100,000. 
• Credit card charges for which the OCA paid Robert Kondratick include personal travel to and lodging expenses for places including Aruba and Las Vegas, tanning and hair salon charges, jewelry store purchases, and his family members' ordinary monthly living expenses such as groceries, wine, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, cable bills, clothes, and shoes.
• Robert Kondratick still owes the OCA at least $137,000 in acknowledged personal credit card charges.
• From at least February 1996 through August 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius and Robert Kondratick controlled three discretionary accounts under the name of the OCA, into which at least $1,077,000 was deposited; the Metropolitan's account, a joint account whose signatories were Robert Kondratick and Metropolitan Theodosius, and an account for which Robert Kondratick was the signatory. Other than the Metropolitan's account, the very existence of the discretionary accounts was undisclosed to internal and external auditors.
• $227,943 was deposited into Robert Kondratick's discretionary account from the operating account of the OCA and was spent almost entirely between February 1996 and February 1997.
• No less than $850,000 was deposited into the two other discretionary accounts and spent on such things as Metropolitan Theodosius' and Robert Kondratick's personal lawyers, accountants, and other consultants relating to their opposition of auditing the discretionary funds in 1999 ($125,000), Robert Kondratick's personal credit cards ($50,000), and withdrawals in cash ($195,000).
We owe all of this to the relentless and tireless efforts of Mark Stokoe and many other courageous and ethical priests, deacons, and lay men and women who have contributed to bringing the light of truth and ethics to a corrupt, abusive, and dysfunctional institution that had lost its way and protected and rewarded too many individuals who had betrayed their fiduciary and sacramental duties and had squandered God's gifts and the Church's money. OCAnews.org helped all of us see that there were many impostors and abusers whose greed and love of self and power worked to destroy what others had worked so hard to build up.
All the men and women who spoke out on OCAnews are by no means perfect, but they had the guts, integrity, and ethical backbone to dare call a spade a spade and challenge evil and corruption head on. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose. That's how they showed their love for the Church, for Christ, and for the truth! And for that they should be commended not criticized. How anyone can look at all these priests, deacons, men, and women, and say that what they accomplished is blameworthy and dangerous is beyond me.
Rebecca is correct: The Selection Committee withdrew Brum's name, not the candidate himself. I was sorry to see that happen on two counts. First, I believed the SC did an honorable job in winnowing candidates, even though I was at first alarmed at the inclusion of Brum's name. Second, I wanted the delegates (49 clergy, 49 lay) to have the opportunity to discern for themselves and to send a resounding message by the lack of votes for Brum. I had no doubt Brum's chances were between zip and nada. Unfortunately, the SC and Metropolitan Jonah. to be sure pressured by outside forces, felt the assembled delegates could not be trusted to make any such discernment.
#8 Terry C. Peet on 2009-09-01 05:02
"After I'm done talking, we'll all be quiet. That way, I'll have the last word."
#9 Rdr. Tracey on 2009-09-01 10:43
nice post Chris..Sometimes the truth as well as the reality of all these things that have transpired are hard for people like Mr. Livosky to grasp let alone accept as guilty as charged...Unfortunately the guilty ones get off scott free at the expense of the laity..
#10 anonymous on 2009-09-01 14:05
Deacon Jannakos may wish to continue to live in an OCA Potemkin Village.... but the thinking portion of the OCA does not. It is tired of the lies and deceptions, the manipulation and false piety, and most of all the appeals to a frequently degenerate and corrupt authority that is rightly being challenged and called to account before God and the entire Church militant.
Shut up and move on! Don't question authority! Don't expect real conciliarity, which is nothing more than an attempt to subvert the true order of the Church! Don't think for yourself, read anything not approved and vetted from on high, and above all renounce the devil's tool--the internet!
Well my friends that "aint" going to happen. Nor of course should it, since we are living in the 21st Century no matter how much that may pain some of us. The troglodytes that wish to take us back to some kind of 19th Century Russian, or whatever, piety and church governance are pathetically irrelevant to the needs of the Church in the here and now. Their only contribution will be to drive yet more people from the Church in their mania for some kind of purified, i.e. Pharisaic, and rarefied, i.e. idolatrous, atmosphere of "holiness" that apes some past ideal that in reality never really existed. As others have so eloquently described, the Church will have all the appearances of a cult accessible only to the elect. How Protestant--how appropriate in a twisted sense!
Mr. Banescu in his comprehensive analysis has beautifully laid out a bill of indictment for those challenging the efficacy and appropriateness of the reform effort these past several years. Yet many still say that it is "hurting the Church" and should stop. Yes, it is hurting those who seek to cling to the "old OCA," arrogant, unaccountable and unchristian. And this old OCA must die so that a new OCA can live and bear true, not false, witness to the Lord.
So your Graces, Excellencies, Beatitudes and other assorted Lords and Ladies--get with the program and stop standing in the way of a spirit of renewal and change that can only be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Then we can truly, and not arrogantly, say that our Church is "God blessed."
#11 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-09-01 14:57
Right on, you have hit the nail right on the head. This site and those who have questioned the evils instigated and perpetuated by the previous regime has created a whole new environment in the OCA. Thank God, for this blessing.
Now if only someone such as yourself would post such a clear statement of the facts for our brothers and sisters in the Antiochian archdiocese, then perhaps that mess could be cleared up.
Lord, have mercy.
#12 Yanni on 2009-09-01 15:36
Please add.The Antiochian Church would be worse if Mark did not help us!
#13 Anonymous on 2009-09-01 17:56
“causing such a ruckous that people actually believe his crap”
Yes, like the SIC in their report and Met. Jonah in his AAC speech. Mark’s powers of hypnosis are terrible indeed! Will he stop at nothing???
#14 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-01 18:43
Thank you Chris for the summary. So terribly sad and depressing, quite frankly.
When will we learn that checks and balances are a beneficial, indeed a necessary requirement for any organization? Is this not even more so necessary in the Church as we are called to set an example and to lead in integrity? Why do we tempt our hierarchs so?
#15 Robert Fortuin on 2009-09-01 20:25
Bravo, Chris, for an excellent "SITREP" (or "situation report," as we say in the military) of the on-going battle for truth, justice, and the Orthodox way in the OCA! And kudos to Mark Stokoe for his tireless and invaluable efforts to provide the faithful with timely reports, independent commentary, and an open forum!
#16 Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster on 2009-09-01 20:26
Yes, free speech is a right in America. But our rights do have limits. May I suggest that if you now feel your site (and of course those who post here on a regular basis) is a vital and indispensable part of the American religious scene, that you make it a subscription only service for those who wish to participate in your debate topics. That way those who value this sort of platform can avail themselves of it.
Yes, people can choose not to venture into your site, but many "adult" sites have membership gates to protect the young and impressionable.
Keep posting, but provide it for those who find this site important. Who knows maybe even the level of discourse can become more spiritual if people have to join your club to play on your turf. It might even cause people to not just blurt out something in a moment of passion knowing that they might have their passions exposed to the world.
Responsible journalism on the internet is also a growing and maturing venue. If the NY Times and most newspapers will eventually be subscription sites on the Internet, why not this bastion of journalism?
(editor's note: No one has to read OCANEWS.org. Everyone who does chooses to. I purposefully do not put an RSS feed on this site to inform people when new stories go up, for just that reason. People have to be looking. God offered us the truth for free; I intend to keep offering my site for free as well. If you find it offensive, stop reading. If you find the stories disturbing talk to your bishop about creating the situations that end up as stories. I have never made a secret of how to make OCANEWS.org go away forever: become transparent, open, accountable. End of website because there would be nothing to print. )
#17 Anonymous on 2009-09-02 05:48
You are absolutely correct! Without ocanews.org, most everyone would never know. Let's not forget the true revelations of what the AOCA has been doing - exceptional work.
This forum has done quite a bit also to uncover all the problems at St. Tikhon's and Met. Herman. I'm sure more will be posted here on this, but for many years + Herman was mortgaging properties he had no right to using money that wasn't his. All the poor people who gave to St. Tikhon's only to find they were giving to + Herman's private piggy bank.
#18 Anonymous on 2009-09-02 08:17
I haven't agreed with everything on this site (for example, I didn't agree with the withholding of financial support, in principle--although I think now I would), and have stated so at times. But I, like most, agree with the ultimate aim of this web site, and would certainly agree that the things listed above would not have been accomplished without it, and Mark Stokoe's hard work. He, being much more intelligent than I am (I was a bit in awe of his brilliance in seminary, and still am), has seen nuances of statements and actions that I would never have realized. And I would likely have crumbled under a lot of the withering criticism. I have noticed that Mark, unlike most of his critics on this web site, has never resorted to name calling or the like. He sharply criticizes actions, actions which should be criticized, but does not resort to personal attacks.
Certailnly I would be tempted to fight "fire with fire", were those attacks directed towards me. Frankly, I find the comments such as the first two in this section highly offensive. This seems to be the same as those who have been screaming "Nazism" at the meetings about health care reform. There is no constructive criticism, no alternative plan given, just the appearance of someone out of control of his or her emotions, resorting to immature name-calling (and I realize that using "immature" may put me into the same category).
As for those who would say that what goes on in the election of bishops in these dioceses is none of Mark's business, I would strongly disagree. We are not protestants, we are all of one church. The decisions of the Holy Synod affect all of us, and so the makeup of that body affects all. And those of us in the Midwest will be facing the selection of a new bishop in the next couple of years--we are certainly keeping an eye on what is being done elsewhere.
So keep up the good work, Mark!
(Editor's note: Blush, but if truth be told there were many more fellow students in my class, and even more ahead and behind me, who were much more brilliant. Just ask any of my former professors, sigh.)
#19 another Mark on 2009-09-02 14:33
"Well, congratulations to Mark Stokoe and cronies of the OCA"
#20 Crony of the OCA on 2009-09-02 15:17
I am sorry to disappoint you, but Fr. Brum did not walk away. He was escorted off stage by the nominating committee.
(Editor's note: Not true. He withdrew. Then they withdrew him. The OCA story refuses to cite precedence, saying only " By joint decisions (sic)...) But do not fret. Five will get you ten he will be back in nomination either for the episcopacy or another office in Syosset in the near future.)
#21 Hal Pukita on 2009-09-02 16:16
If the NY Times and most newspapers will eventually be subscription sites on the Internet, why not this bastion of journalism?
Because OCA News is not a for-profit venture. I fail to see the intrinsic connection between mature journalism and difficult-to-access journalism.
OCA News covers events worthy of a nationwide audience. It is naive to think that “the young and impressionable” are in special danger of encountering such matters here, when it is just as easy to access Orthodox discussion groups treating the same topics — and presenting information far less reliable than what Mark provides.
#22 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-03 05:05
Interesting, your reasoning for not including a front-page RSS feed. You ought to describe this and other policies (double-sourcing, etc), along with explanations for them, into a single document and link it from the front page.
It seems to me that new visitors often have no idea that you take any particular care for accurate or responsible reportage, or for the spiritual impact of the site as a whole.
In any event, I would say that your right-hand column is pretty out-of-date. It isn’t really surprising that someone reading that would be confused as to why you are (for example) reporting on the events in Troy.
(editor's note: Good idea, when I get the time. Thanks. And yes, I know the right hand column is out of date. See previous sentence. But of course, it is one Church, isn't it? At least, that is what we insist on telling people. So why is it such a stretch for so many that the news of my brother is something that should be covered? That being said, I would gladly not do it, given the amount of work I have in the OCA, if someone else would. As yet, I see no volunteers, only need. So one continues....)
#23 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-03 05:16
Fr. Mahaffey's bio noted he will be starting as Acting Rector of St. Nicholas in Bethlehem, PA on September 30, 2009. It may simply have been a desire on his part to start the next part of his career - whether in parish life or the episcopacy - without having to take either himself, a parish or his children through the quick changes.
Why has no one discussed the canons regarding bishops having children? Why has no one discussed what it would mean, should we decide to set those canons aside, to have a diocesan bishop with a number of children?
(Editor's note: Since the primates of the Finnish Church, the Czech Church, for example, all have children, as well as one of most illustrious OCA Archbishops of recent memory, whose grandson is now the OCA Chancellor, I think one can say those canons are mainly considered historical relics of previous eras, along with those that forbid men from wearing pants, women from wearing skirts, and priests from frequenting theaters. Times change, as do the relevance of canons.)
Mark: It’s not a stretch in itself, but your mission statement and other framing is highly specific to a particular period in the life of the OCA.
Further, this point — about the implications of belonging to one Church — is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be explained. When I see objections to your Antiochian coverage from clergy or other people (presumably) educated in theology, I share your exasperation. But when these objections come from the laity, aren’t they only to be expected? The people as a whole have been inculcated with provincialism for decades, not only ideologically but also practically.
When parishes operate for decades without the intervention of any outsider, including the bishop — which also means that, everything each community has, it has managed alone — how can you expect from their members a sense of catholicity at any level?
Finally, does moderation take up a significant amount of your time? Because there would be less work for you if you would update your commenting system. Disqus seems promising in this respect (and far superior for readers). If you put out a call for assistance in moving to a combination of, for example, that and Wordpress, I expect you’d find volunteers.
(Editor's note: Well said, well argued and unfortunately most of it is very true. I will seriously consider your recommendations in the final paragraph, and appreciate the offer. Clearly OCANEW.org must expand and change to meet growing needs. To wit, the problems are not being addressed while a growing consciousness of catholicity is - as evidenced by this site and others. Is it the internet that will build Orthodox unity in America, rather than - or even in spite of - our Bishops? As the recent Chambesy documents indicate they are stuck in 19th century notions that ape the solutions of sovereign nation states, while the world they would convert moves into the globalized 21st. One wonders if the most important lesson of the 1917 Russian Council was the one unspoken at the recent SVS conference: while noble, the Church's efforts to reform in the face of changed conditions was just all too little, too late?
#25 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-04 03:20
Mark: For the ossified among us, it may indeed be too late: A controversial article at AOI some time ago spoke of internal projections showing an irreversible decline among immigrant-descended Orthodox. Being descended from Orthodox immigrants myself, I find such a possibility particularly painful; but it would be a mistake to conclude from present troubles that all is lost.
In Russia, God’s judgement fell hard on a Church with so much theology at its fingertips, so long a time to correct itself, and so much neglected holiness in its midst. In our case faithful cradle and convert both have long been kept from the full theology and praxis that is our spiritual birthright. What we suffer from is not sclerosis, but stunted growth.
So it goes with overseas helicopter parents like ours. And the past decades have found the more active of us rebelling against this in adolescent fashion — loudly, proudly, and lacking all perspective, especially of the self-critical variety. Better this than total stagnation, to be sure, but better than both is adulthood.
I see signs of it. Artificial histories are giving way to mature, nuanced analysis. We have begun to take an honest look at our empty evangelical boasts. No longer does immigrant striving prevent us from dragging grave faults into the light. And our approach to Orthodox praxis is governed less and less by immigrant or convert inferiority complexes.
(Consider: There are now Antiochians both demanding true self-governance and seeking closer spiritual ties to mature voices in the Old Country. This new phenomenon is a quintessential sign of adulthood: to be confident enough in one’s rightful independence to value the wisdom of one’s elders.)
Who is this “we” and “us”? The active people of God — who, in another sign of growth, are stepping out of their jurisdictional cliques and speaking with one another, as at OCA News. The internet doesn’t drive this maturation — that is up to “the Holy Spirit and to us" — but it is a growth medium for it. To make communication within and across websites easier and to enable it to be more fruitful is to make this medium richer.
That, I think, is the best reason of all to improve the forum here: to help make the internet a greater force-multiplier in our corporate struggles. Ease of communication is not the only benefit to be tapped in this regard. For example, ratings point to — and encourage — quality comments. Registration (including Facebook and OpenID integration) leads to more accountability without preventing anonymity.
I do think that it will be our ground-level communications, more and more of which are online, that will build unity in America. And I think that this on-the-ground unity will sweep away significant psychological obstacles to administrative unity. Future American-born bishops will have been formed in the ecclesiastical culture we contribute to each day. Might not there be future bishops posting here, forming their understandings in part through these discussions — and seeing, as no reader here can fail to, how much we all really do have in common?
#26 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-06 21:59
His children are all grown up and have their own lives. Whats the big deal? His story would be no different than that of St. Innocent and many other widowed hierarchs who had children.
#27 Anonymous on 2009-09-10 02:12
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