Thursday, September 10. 2009
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Your selective recall of the events in NY/NJ is stunning. The "rancor" you point to was only enhanced by you and the"gang of four" who injected themselves in a most inappropriate way into the NY/NJ process.
Have you no shame now to come back and lecture the Holy Synod on the process for the selection of a new bishop. If you would like to have your next bishop selection akin to that in WPA, fine. Get your diocesan council to proceed in that fashion.
If you are now looking to "crown" the WPA process as the best practice for the entire Church, NO THANKS. Each diocese is different and has the freedom to chose what will work best for them within the parameters of the Statute as it is presently written and the realities of that diocese.
The Synod should and is concerned that all potential episcopal candidates are vetted properly. How each diocese goes about its internal business in that selection process is up to each diocese.
As a member of the Metropolitan Council, it might be best for you to know your role and do your job. What is your job and what you will be held accountable for is answering the question why our church is almost bankrupt because we are spending money we don't have on defending lawsuits that should be settled out of court. You might pay more attention to your fiduciary work as a MC member and less time on trying to be some sort of policy wonk for the Holy Synod.
With all due respect, Dr Solodow, mind your own business. You have overstepped your role before. Don't do it again.
(Editor's note: In short, Dmitiri you are to pay
(your fiduciary work), obey, but not express your opinions. Hmm, where have we heard those sentiments before?)
#1 Fed Up with Self-Important People on 2009-09-10 12:41
In this case, most assuredly keep your vain prattle to yourself. As for obeying, no chance of that!
#2 Anonymous on 2009-09-10 19:50
Yes, we have heard those sentiments for years, and will continue to hear them as long as certain people are in power, and i mean power, as in corruption, and worship me. We are tired of pay, obey and shut up. We need more than that in our Holy Orthodox Church if we are to survive and find true spiritual meaning in our lives.
What does "vetted" mean? I've asked several people, and they don't know. Someone please respond.
Dear Fed up,
I for one wholeheartedly DISAGREE with settling out of court with our current lawsuit.
I would rather we go bankrupt.
A stand needs to be taken. There are consequences for one's actions in life. Although it would probably cost us less in the long run to settle, what kind of message are we sending should we decide to do so?
That it's okay to steal, use and spend money which doesn't belong to you as you see fit, and it will be okay because we'll sue once they complain and make an issue of it and then they will simply settle with us just so "it" goes away?
NO THANK YOU. This greedy "American way" should not be tollerated within any organization, let alone a church.
This haughty attitiude, unrepentant and dispicable behavior needs to stop.
Doesn't a church organization have the moral and fiduciary responsibility to see to it that bad behavior will not be tolerated OR financially rewarded???
When does the greed end? When will we stand our ground and say NO MORE.
I hope our MC and members of the Holy Synod will head my words.
#4 Michael Geeza on 2009-09-11 08:53
I am also "fed-up with self important people"--like yourself. Dr. Solodow, at least, uses his real name and speaks from a position of elected authority within the OCA. Not that you aren't entitled to your opinion, and to express it, but don't throw stones when you live in a a very glass house.
As for your substantive points, the notion that the OCA should be run by autocratic bishops, accountable to only themselves in this world, is a clear rejection of conciliarity and a recipe for more scandals. Having just finished reading "Murder at Holy Cross (which I wholeheartedly recommend for all Orthodox Christians who want to see the world as it is, with their eyes open and their minds flushed of pious double talk)," I am struck by the numerous parallels between unaccountable clerics, at the then Holy Cross Academy under Roman Catholic jurisdiction, sort of, and the OCA, AOCA, GOCA, etc. Very disturbing and compelling information made more so by the eventual reception of the monastics in question into the OCA (DOS surprise, surprise!).
I also completely reject your, and others, silly stricture about commenting on events and actions in other dioceses. It hardly need be said that we are one body in Christ and what affects one portion of that body will affect us all.
While applauding and endorsing Dr. Solodow's vision of church governance with respect to the selection of bishops, I remain very skeptical that the powers that be will ever embrace such a conciliar model. They have far too much to personally lose--excepting their souls of course.
#5 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-09-11 10:24
The monastery in question, was NEVER part of the Diocese of the South. Please get your facts straight before you jump to conclusions. So you less than veiled swipe at the DOS is totally wrong and you should apologize.
#6 Anonymous on 2009-09-11 12:00
You think that members of the OCA that live in other dioceses have no stake in the selection of each and every hierarch. Do you not recognize that many of the hierarchs of the OCA, both past and present served in more than one diocese? Think of the recent hierarchs overseeing the territory of New York and New Jersy that not elected candidates to the hierarchy by the Dicoesan Council nor consecrated within the diocese: Archbishop Peter; Metropolitan Herman; and Metropolitan Jonah.
Recall the recent hierarchical histories of the Dioceses of New England, the Midwest, and Alaska:
a. New England and the Midwest: Archbisop Job was moved from Boston to Chicago to fill the long open vacancy created when Bishop Boris retired. Did the Diocesan Assembly meet and formally request the transfer of Archbishop Job to Chicago?
b. Alaska: if I remember correctly, Bishop Nikolai was the Bishop of Baltimore before the Synod moved him to Alaska. I don't remember reading of the Diocesan Assembly in Alaska requesting the move of Bishop Nikolai to Anchorage.
The point is that every member of the OCA, clergy and laity, has a stake in whoever is considered to fill a hierarchical vacancy because the future is unknown. I for one have objected and continut to object to the consideration of Fr. David Brum for any hierarchical vacancy, no matter the diocese, because there is a chance he may become my hierarch someday. (If he isn't good enough to be my hierarch, why would I allow him to be someone else's hierarch?) Who thought when Metropolitan Jonah was originally considered as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of the South that he would ever be chosen primate?
Also consider this point: why was there such an urgency to selecting a new hierarch for the Diocese of New York and New Jersey when the Diocese of the Midwest had no reigning hierarch for nearly a decade and the Diocese of New England had no reigning hierarch for 2-3 years? The diocese which had survived the pastoral neglect of Archbishop Peter and Metropolitan Herman could not afford to spend another 3-4 months meeting and vetting the candidates for its next reigning hierarch? If so, that speaks badly of the Chancellor of the Diocese, and the Diocesan Council, as well as Metropolitan Jonah and the Synod. And you would have the Search Committee limited solely to the Chancellor and the Deans? That does not make sense to me, rational sheep (or goat) that I am.
#7 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-09-12 07:31
Kenneth R. Tobin wrote, "Very disturbing and compelling information made more so by the eventual reception of the monastics in question into the OCA (DOS surprise, surprise!)."
While Holy Protection Monastery in Weaverville, North Carolina(formerly Holy Cross in Miami Florida) is within the territory of the DOS, this formerly Byzantine Catholic monastery is "Under the Metropolitan's Omophorion." I'm not sure exactly what the difference is between "Under the Metropolitan's Omophorion," and "Stavropegial Communities," but they are separate listing on the OCA's website.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Michael Geeza wrote, "I for one wholeheartedly DISAGREE with settling out of court with our current lawsuit."
The OCA is involved in more than one lawsuit, so you really should be more specific if you want to be clear. I would agree that the Kondratick and the Nikolai suits should not be settled under any circumstances. However, the OCA should definitely settle the Koumentakos matter, and then apologize to the plaintiffs for the actions of Fr. Raymond Velencia, as well as the way that the matter was mishandled by the Church.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Vetting is a process of examination and evaluation, generally referring to performing a background check on someone before offering him or her employment. In addition, in intelligence gathering, assets are vetted to determine their usefulness. To vet has begun to be used as a synonym for evaluate, especially in the context of searching for flaws.
#10 Yanni on 2009-09-12 17:58
Oops. You are right Melanie.
I was solely referring to the Kondratick suit(s).
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
#11 Michael Geeza on 2009-09-14 05:17
Thank you for your clarification, but there will be no apology as requested by "1.3.1. The fact remains that the new (renamed) monastery and its inhabitants are physically in the DOS, even if they are under the Metropolitan's authority, which only makes the matter worse. Considering the background of this sordid affair, how in Heaven's name can the leader of the OCA be sheltering some of the people involved in the Florida debacle?! And why did the former Archbishop of the DOS sit by passively and allow this to happen in his diocese, when he has been so quick to assert in his authority in other instances. Is this yet another wink and a nod to Kondratick or Brum?
No, I don't apologize--I demand a further explanation from all concerned. Turn over the rocks and come clean!
#12 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-09-14 06:20
Maybe Mr Phinney it is because a diocese should not be without a bishop for 10 years.
Maybe, Mr. Phinney because at that time there might have been no suitable candidate for the vacant see of Chicago or Hartford.
Maybe, Mr Phinney, His Beatitude does not want a diocese to be without a bishop for an extended period of time.
You see, Mr. Phinney, it is people like you who know just enough history of the Church to think that they know enough history to be an expert commentator.
Whether one likes it or not, the Holy Synod can elect a man to be the bishop of a diocese for the good of the diocese and the Church. In the case of Alaska, there was a diocesan assembly to nominate Nikolai. In the case of Chicago, Job was moved from Hartford to Chicago for reasons best for New England and a vacant see in Chicago.
As to Ms Sakoda's continued assumptions, there is no Nikolai suit against the OCA. And please, what is to be gained by continuing to bring up the name of a man who has been discredited and is also dying of cancer. Have you no shame Ms Sakoda? Apparently not.
Oh, and by the way, Mr Phinney, you forgot about the Albanian Archdiocese which was without a bishop from the departure of Mark until Nikon and now New England shares its bishop with the Albanian diocese and visa versa? Why? Maybe the general lack of qualified candidates?
As for Fr Brum, you won't have to worry about him. He is tired of the character assassination by folks like you who take the commentaries of Mr Stokoe on his website and then add their own twists of the knife until enough is enough.
And we wonder why we have such a dearth of candidates for the office of bishop, unless, of course, they win the good housekeeping seal of approval from Mr Stokoe.
In the end, any man will do as a bishop if he can be manipulated into the type of bishop that will do the bidding of the people with only regard for what they want, and not what they need.
(editor's note: Bishop Nikolai has informed his friends that he does indeed have prostrate cancer, and was well enough to have spent the last month in Herzegovina after completing treatment here in the States. While not diminishing the seriousness of his illness, it is perhaps an overstatement to claim he is now "dying of cancer". Secondly, Mark Stokoe does not make the rules about who becomes a bishop in the OCA; I, like many others, simply believe it is better to know more, rather than less, about the candidates. Feel free to disagree.)
#13 Still Fed Up on 2009-09-14 06:59
The average person will most often hear the term vet in relation to the selection of nominees for high positions in government. That is, the President's staff will vet candidates for Vice President, Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, etc.
Below are two definitions from dictionary.com. It should be noted that the primary definitions refer to veterinarians and the practice of veterinarian medicine. Anyone that has been through a vetting process will attest to leaving the process feeling a little less than human - it's tough to go that in depth and ask/answer those sorts of probing questions.
noun, verb, vet⋅ted, vet⋅ting. Informal.
3. to appraise, verify, or check for accuracy, authenticity, validity, etc.: "An expert vetted the manuscript before publication."
2. To subject to thorough examination or evaluation: "vet a manuscript."
I would rather we go bankrupt.
That's a good point to raise. Why doesn't the OCA, as a corporation, simply declare bankruptcy? Same with St. Tikhon's Monastery, as a corporation, do the same? If every good faith attempt to pay off incurred debts is tried, the bankruptcy laws are there for exactly this purpose.
I would assume this would also clear the decks regarding any outstanding civil suits against these corporations. Would that be correct?
Would there be a canonical price to pay? That is, Moscow made it clear that if the entire OCA Synod resigned en masse, then the Tomos of Autocephaly would be rescinded as this local Church, sans bishops, would cease to be a local Church. Would there be a similar sort of response to the religious corporation of the OCA declaring bankruptcy? Would there be a difference between filing Chapters 7, 11 or 13 (or whichever would be applicable)? Reorganization of a continuing to exist entity is different than dissolving the corporation, after all. I think there is precedent for Roman Catholic dioceses declaring bankruptcy to limit damages and to preserve itself as much as possible for its continuation and service.
"Still Fed Up" writes, "As to Ms Sakoda's continued assumptions, there is no Nikolai suit against the OCA."
A lawsuit was reported as having been filed by Bishop Nikolai against the OCA.
I don't remember reading that it was settled or withdrawn, or that the report was in error, but if I've missed something perhaps "Still Fed Up" can direct me to where I can find the more recent information?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
(Editor's note: The report was not in error - nor has the suit been settled, nor withdrawn. The commentator was in error.)
If you would stop and listen, you might learn something. The retired Archbishop of the DOS did not want to have anything to do with the monastics you now protest so strongly about. That is why they were not accepted into the DOS.
As for there location in the geography of the DOS, I am not sure what you would expect him to do. He protested there move to NC to Metropolitan Herman. He could do nothing that they were in FL. when they were given canonical protection by Met. Herman. Maybe we should call up the state militia of NC and take the monastery by storm and throw them out. How about you taken them in your neighborhood. Then you can keep a close eye on them. You seem to know every detail about them since you read a book on them.
You need to apologize because you wrote something that was at best misleading, and at worse, wrong. Your pride in not recognizing your error does not make your case any stronger.
Have you ever visited the monastery in question? Have you ever asked your questions directly to the monks in question? Or do you just like to write here?
(Editor's note: A visit does not seem necessary. Since the monks in question would not cooperate with the prosecutor nor police in Florida, answering their questions, I think we can reasonable infer they would not answer Mr. Tobin's. And Mr. Tobin, like you, are both welcome to express your opinions here.)
#17 Anonymous on 2009-09-15 11:24
Michael, you are so right. I was within 20 feet of Met. Jonah at
Dormition Monastery, and the only thing that kept me from approaching him was that I would have walked right up to him and ask "when are Theodosius, Herman and Kondratick going to be prosecuted for larceny and fraud? Why are you content to just let them "retire" when they need to spend the rest of their sorry lives in jail?"
However, if I were to meet with him by himself not on a big ol'
feast day, I'd sure let it rip!!!
#18 Pauline Costianes on 2009-09-15 19:17
Your pathetic attempt to shield Archbishop Dimitri from any responsibility for the reception of the so-called Holy Cross monks into the OCA is beyond ridiculous. Where is there any evidence that he objected to their reception? Why didn't he raise unholy hell in the Synod about the risks of receiving accused sexual predators who themselves had admitted to importing adolescent Ukrainian boys to their so-called monastery and school in Miami after giving financial inducements to their parents to let them come? Had he objected without success, he should have immediately gone public and resigned in protest.
I suppose you could try a plea of senility and/or ignorance, though it's hard to see with all the publicity this matter created that the Archbishop could be so far out of the loop. As to why then Metropolitan Herman went along with this immoral travesty, at the apparent behest of Kondratick and Brum, is another question that needs to be answered--but it doesn't absolve Archbishop Dimitri from his passive acquiescence...
Again I recommend that all members of the OCA read Murder at Holy Cross and decide for themselves if we have become a mirror image of our Roman Catholic brethren with respect to sexual abuse and cover-up by those in authority. I understand the book is being made available to the OCA leadership, which should find it hard to bury their heads in the sand this time.
#19 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-09-18 06:31
Ah, Kenneth, it saddens me to have to disagree with you, but you write:
>>Again I recommend that all members of the OCA read Murder at Holy Cross and decide for themselves if we have become a mirror image of our Roman Catholic brethren with respect to sexual abuse and cover-up by those in authority.
#20 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-09-19 10:09
oops -- had a little over-reactive 'send' button action going on there ...
What I meant to add after the quote was that, as much as it pains me to disagree with KRT, we should note that the RC, in fact, had enough sense to start disciplinary action against this bunch, while we had little enough sense to provide them a self haven. So we're not a mirror image -- they did better!
#21 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-09-21 07:31
I stand corrected, at least with regard to the specific circumstances you referenced. I also feel better too with your further elaboration!
#22 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-09-22 06:14
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