Monday, October 19. 2009
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Initial reports are at face value hopeful. Of course the devil is always in the details. Or explaining what is actually is.
I am waiting to see if Englewood understands an internal audit means Bp. Antoun will take some afternoon off to give the books a good look, or it actually means a reputable CPA Firm with no ties to our Archdiocese does a true audit?
Our skepticism about what is said verses what is actually done has some pretty solid ground to stand on.
#1 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-19 12:44
An internal audit. That's helpful. Perhaps the results will be certified by a certain deceased treasurer...
#2 Kinahura on 2009-10-19 14:17
What a joke!! The "Board of Trustees" of the Antiochian archdiocese has once again shown itself to be a "Board of Pansies" - and delusional as well. Shame on you people!!
Do they really think that an internal audit of the Archdiocese will accomplish anything, or genuinely address any of the myriad of serious financial issues that have been raised, especially since the so-called "auditors" are bound to be perceived as flunkies of the Metropolitan who would never disclose anything that might be embarrassing to the Metropolitan?
If the members of the Order of Saint Ignatius don't stop contributing to the Order, then they, too, are complicit in this blatant disregard of concern for the people of the Archdiocese, who deserve to know what is going on financially in the Archdiocese. Without this type of financial pressure, nothing will change.
#3 Disgusted Life-long Antiochian Orthodox Christian on 2009-10-19 14:55
Re the consecration date for Bishop-elect Michael, there was concerned expressed about inclement weather if the consecration and enthronement were scheduled for the winter months not only for incoming hierarchs, but faithful driving from upstate NY parishes. My own parish is planning a bus to the event if it is held in NJ (a 3 hr. drive).
#4 Terry C. Peet on 2009-10-19 16:34
Met. Jonah's actually stated that "Anglican" and "Orthodox" are simply labels ? Next we'll hear that we are all "branches" of the one church of Christ. Having lived as a R.C. nun educated by the Jesuits, I can testify that the western church teachings are "soul-destroying" (Augustinian) and that Orthodoxy is Life-Giving from the Apostles. There is no escaping the Truth that the Divine Uncreated Energies which transform us are only present within the Holy Orthodox Church. Unless we tell them "the truth in love", how can these Anglicans and R.Catholics be spared from self-destruction - from the despair of a life lived without knowing the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ? Financial scandals are nothing when compared with the destroyed lives resulting from false prayer (i.e. "rosary"), from the idea that clergy are the only way to God, from the denigration of marriage and women, and from a shallow moralism of "do's and don'ts" . These teachings have driven their congregations away into despair.
As one who has lived under the oppressive R.C. clergy/pope, I must warn Orthodox believers that a mighty chasm exists between East and West, as St. Gregory Palamas clearly and rightly describes. God help us teach and live as our fathers and mothers of the Faith have taught us - and so be illumined and transformed by His Resurrection. God keep His Church safe from those who would betray His Gospel!
An internal audit is not sufficient. The expertise of an outside auditor is required because they know what standards apply, how to conduct audits, and --most important-- they are independent.
#6 MichaelPatrick on 2009-10-19 20:52
Dear Board of Trustees:
An "internal" Audit will NOT do! You might as well have decided not to do an audit at all. If you think this will satisfy anyone you are dead wrong and if you think we are that stupid you are even more wrong.
What a waste of money to fly to Texas. You have given the Metropolitan exactly what he wanted and it could have been decided in this fashion without you. What a sham! A false council. A "robber council." You have robbed us of any way of trusting the results of this audit. Such an audit will mean NOTHING and no one will trust its results.
The Metropolitan's "discretionary" account will not be touched by such an audit. Board of Trustees my foot. There is no "trust" in Trustees...just ease.
Thanks for nothing! Call in the IRS!!
#7 Antiochian Priest on 2009-10-19 23:04
Here is what Wikpedia has to say about Internal and External Audits.
"(1) the internal auditor's primary responsibility is appraising an entity's risk management strategy and practices, management (including IT) control frameworks and governance processes, and (2) they do not express an opinion on the entity's financial statements. Beside providing audit services, external auditors also provide different other kind of services. Most common of them are reviews of financial statements and compilation. In review auditors are generally required to tick and tie numbers to general ledger and make inquiries of management. In compilation auditors are required to take a look at financial statement to make sure they are free of obvious misstatements and errors.
The primary role of external auditors is to express an opinion on whether an entity's financial statements are free of material misstatements. Some people confuse auditors with people who detect fraud but auditors have nothing to do with fraud detection exclusively. Auditors just want to make sure that company's financial statements are true and fair representation of its actual position. If they come across any fraud related information, it is their responsibility to bring it to the management's attention and consider withdrawing from the engagement if management does not take appropriate actions."
A previous post I submitted failed to distinguish these crucial differences. It now seems that the "Internal Audit" agreed to by the AOC Board of Trustee's may in fact employ Bp. Antoun to take an afternoon off to peruse the the books and then give us all the thumbs up. Well that might be a bit hyperbolic but it does have it's merit.
We must not settle for the obvious whitewash an internal audit will afford Englewood.
Unless we have a true External Audit we merely allow the ever increasingly suspect powers the ongoing ability to manipulate this Archdiocese for their own purposes rather than being the good stewards they are supposed to be in behalf of Christ and his Church.
#8 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-20 06:22
Unfortunately, their idea of an audit will be for someone's cousin with an accounting degree to look at sanitized reports and say, "OK." It's the same as the police dept. investigating itself. There is reality and then there is reality!
#9 Anonymous on 2009-10-20 07:19
An internal audit is as trustworthy as letting Pee Wee Herman take your kids to the movies.
#10 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-10-20 07:47
I believe that bringing in a CPA Firm constitutes an OUTSIDE audit. An INSIDE audit is done by members of the organization. Whether it is a good audit or not depends on who is chosen and what latitude the auditors are given to investigate.
#11 Brad Miter on 2009-10-20 08:08
Your comment is a fiar point. 7 Auditor's were appitned to review the records, are were Trustees from different part of the countrty. I think we all need to wait and see their recommendation.
#12 Anonymous on 2009-10-20 08:22
The family of the treasurer has respectfully asked that we not keep bringing up their mother. It is too painful for them. I'm not quite sure how to make reference to that situation in an appropriate manner, but let us be sensitive to their wishes.
#13 Brian Van Sickle on 2009-10-20 08:37
Does anyone have any new info on where St Tikhon's is with the investigation? Wasn't a report supposed to be out by now?
(Editor's note: The STIC is still investigating. No timetable for a report has ever been issued. Given the depth of the investigation, it would unlikely for anything to appear before next month at the earliest. )
#14 Anonymous on 2009-10-20 09:09
An "internal audit" is unacceptable, a bad joke.
#15 Douglas Dalrymple on 2009-10-20 09:11
Don't worry....enough of us are stopping the flow of money, that it WILL be noticed.....
#16 Antionymous on 2009-10-20 09:16
As a formerly practicing CPA (now retired), I can tell you that the term, "Internal Audit", is a "term of art", designating an examination performed by people associated with (often, administratively involved in) the "Auditee" organization. The term indicating an audit by a (non-associated) CPA firm is "Independent Audit".
#17 Tod Mixson on 2009-10-20 11:09
An internal audit is a waste of time if elements of doubt are present and the revenue side may be impacted by that doubt.
Internal auditing is most successful when desired by management for specifics like an audit of insurance coverage, etc.
Metropolitan Philip's reluctant to audit is not an environment for a successful internal audit of the petty cash account, let alone the entire assets of the organization. I have no beef with the guy, just calling it like I see it.
Its actually quite humorous to think your Board of Trustees are going along with it. Sorry, but its laughable, comedic stuff.
Third party audits are not cheap and in fairness to the Metropolitan et al, it does use resources, but when revenues are impacted through less giving, resources are hampered as well.
In the situation where the contribution expectation goes from 8% to 10%, that is a significant financial change on the revenue side, and a third party audit is really a reasonable expectation from the donors; the internal audit decision does not a 2% increase merit (imo).
If a churches budget is 150k, and you used to give 8% to the Diocese, you were giving 12k, and under the 10% plan would give 15k. You could get the givings back to the static, unchanging, unwavering, call it despotic-just for fun 12k by reducing your churches budget by 30k, or a reduction in givings of 20% per contributor.
I am not making the recommendation, I just like running the numbers. In the OCA, nothing happened until cash flows were threatened. It doesn't take too many people to stop funding to be impactful. I'm sure someone will think I'm inciting the AOCA to financial ruin with my comments, but I'm not the one making the accounting comedy. The combined Orthodox churches in America have done enough of that already. Is that unity?
#18 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-10-20 11:18
An "internal" audit? Tens of millions of dollars and no audits for year on end and this is the best they can come up with? Clearly they must all think that we are all stupid, ignorant, or worse... The rational sheep must stand their ground and not fall for such pathetic attempts to fool us, avoid transparency and accountability, and hide the truth. Only an objective and through INDEPENDENT AUDIT of the central administration is acceptable.
It is too late to fall for this diversionary and clearly insufficient "internal" audit farce of a "solution." Enough is enough! Make them follow the law or step aside. If the weak and incompetent are unable to act ethically and speak truthfully, then the mature in Christ (the true vine keepers) need to step forth and take back God's treasure (the vineyards). There are enough warnings signs we've seen that should alert the faithful that something's definitely not right. "Why is Met. Phillip so afraid of the truth? Why is he fighting so hard to avoid an Independent Audit?"
An Internal Audit is sort of like having the character played by Claude Raines in Casa Blanca investigate corruption in the Police Department he headed.
There now needs to be some sort of grass roots coordinated effort to keep as much of our hard earned money out of the hands of these unfaithful servants until the stonewalling ceases.
I hate to put my own struggling parish in any more difficulty but we are all joined in this for good or ill and maybe it will take this action from the bottom up to truly accomplish what should be a simple and reasonable demonstration of stewardship by our heirarcy.
#20 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-20 12:35
Here are some questions that need to be answered in order for an audit to even be believable:
1. A list of charitable contributions by the Archdiocese to any charities not part of the Archdiocese.
2. A list of charitable contributions to the Archdiocese in excess of $10,000 and their designations.
3. An inventory of all financial holdings, including the "$15-$20 million in bonds" Met. Philip mentioned to his clergy in Palm Desert.
4. A list of all charities incorporated in connection to the Archdiocese and their financials.
5. A list of all designated check signers.
6. Payments for services rendered to the Archdiocese in excess of $2,000.
These are the sticky questions that will actually reveal what has been going on.
#21 anonymous on 2009-10-20 13:01
Anonymust -- why is it always the ex-Catholics who display the most rabid purblind bigotry toward Catholics and Catholicism? I-yi-yi. Thankfully, I think few of your co-religionists would go as far as you do in denying that non-Orthodox have any knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is simply off the chart.
#22 anonymustn't on 2009-10-20 14:02
For the record! I was in attendance at the meeting (as a non Board member), and on the matter of an Audit a vbote was taken for either an Internal and External Audit? The majority voted for an internal Audit.
What ever the outcome is we all should respect the otucome and see what the Internal audit comes back with, who knows they may recommend an extenal audit afeter all. this is a first step, let see wha there findings are.
#23 Anonymous on 2009-10-20 14:03
In response to "Anonymust" on the Divine Energies:
"There is no escaping the Truth that the Divine Uncreated Energies which transform us are only present within the Holy Orthodox Church."
I hope that I am only stating the obvious in reference to the above quote, but it must be stated. While it is accurate to say that the "teaching" regarding the divine, uncreated energies is unique to the Holy Orthodox Church, the REALITY of that teaching impinges on all of humanity--whether or not members of the Orthodox church. God is limited by NO ONE and NOTHING--not the Catholic Church, not the Pope, not Protestant false teaching--NOTHING. ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ. I am quite confident that He is able to transform lives even within the imperfect (more and less than full) Christian traditions of Catholicism and Protestantism. I've seen it happen with my own eyes. We ought to be very careful of our willingness to consign non-Orthodox Christians to hell, when their excuses for not becoming all that they are called to be in Christ will be better than ours who have had access to the true and full faith. Caution.
#24 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2009-10-20 14:07
It is actually too bad because the repercussion of not being financially transparent will harm the Archdiocese much more than the cost of an external audit - in truth it is really shortsightedness blinded by stubborn pride as was evidenced at the meetings; that the Archdiocese will not be dictated by the internet.
#25 Delegate #1 on 2009-10-20 14:29
I’m Orthodox and I find your rant deeply offensive. To suggest that the Spirit of God moves only in the Orthodox Church is unorthodox. And the devil does invade all our churches including the Orthodox Church as we have seen all too often. We have too many failures of our own to be casting stones at anyone else. We need to avoid triumphalism and particularly the temptation to describe as generality what was specifically experienced. There is no contradiction in being convinced humbly that our faith is correct and undefiled without bashing others.
You sound bitter and if that it is so, may God give you grace to forgive and embrace all Christ-loving peoples as your brothers and sisters in Christ.
#26 Terry C. Peet on 2009-10-20 15:31
Dear Antiochian Priest,
If you are going to critcize the entire Archdiocese Board of Trustees, .....and sign your real name!
#27 Michael Srour on 2009-10-20 15:43
Both internal and external audits have their place within an organization. Internal audits are more than audits done by insiders from within. Rather, they focus on the controls in place to ensure the financial information produced is accurate, timely and useful. An external (or independent) audit is performed by a third party, in most states a CPA licensed to practice in that state and subject to the ethics laws of that state. Their job is to render an opinion on the financial statements - primarily that the financial statements "present fairly" the financial position and results of operations for the period under review.
Internal audits make external audits easier. There are fewer surprises. Both are important. However the external audit is the only one that can provide the users of the information the assurance they are looking for. Internal auditors can never provide that assurance - although they can provide a lot of excellent advice, counsel and direction.
In Christ who saves,
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#28 Dn. Marty Watt on 2009-10-20 16:57
Please someone tell me how on God's Green Earth that the OCA news has news about the Antiochian board meeting in Houston before the Antiochians know, and how do we know it's official?
David Elias, Virginia
(Editor's note: The Archdiocese knows, it just has published anything yet. Feel free to wait for official confirmation.)
#29 David Elias on 2009-10-20 17:34
"The Synod agreed that Bishop Demetri (Khoury) has been officially “re-retired”, and will reside in Miami."
I thought it was the Patriarch who had reinstated Bishop Demetri Khoury?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
An "internal audit" is always the choice of wrongdoers. Wasn't this also the choice of OCA Attorney Jonathan Russin before the OCA scandal fully broke in their attempt to control the "audit" of the so-called "discretionary accounts?" Press on folks.
#31 Anon. on 2009-10-20 20:09
The BOTs is making a huge mistake, because if the IRS does an audit and starts asking questions about why we routinely give hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to delegates to disperse to groups like the Islamic Rawda School for the Sons of the Martyrs and the Ramallah Islamic Club in the Middle East to avoid the "red tape," they're going to have to explain it. - We've gone on record asking for an external audit. If they were smart they would do it and claim ignorance.
#32 Gail Sheppard on 2009-10-21 01:15
With $25 million in investments and $45 million in real estate (according to Metropolitan Philip's public estimates), it may take awhile to get the leadership's attention. And if they actually own the real estate on which each of the 350 parishes sit, they may have some additional leverage they haven't yet brought to bear.
The devil can only laugh to see Christians fighting over money. No matter who wins, both sides do his work, simply by paying more attention to the corruptible than to the incorruptible.
I heard a very interesting proposal recently anent church finances. For parishes or religious organizations with any assets beyond their immediate needs, begin by making a notional pledge of 100% of assets. Then, list current needs--needs, not wants. Include a reserve equal to, at most, one quarter to one-half year's operating expenses. Subtract current expenses and this small prudent reserve from the total assets. Give all the rest away.
As long as we put our trust in the things of this world our trust in God is merely theoretical.
#33 Morton on 2009-10-21 05:32
I agree with Mike....sign your name else you are not worthy of really defending Christ as you see it. We should not deny Christ, so if you feel you are defending the church for Christ then stand up and make yourself known. Else please be quiet because it is an embarrassment.
Also, an internal audit is suffice because we have many many many great successful CPA's in our Archdiocese and to say that they are in cahoots or not as good as a top 4 firm is offensive at best. It's called donating your services to the church! Understand?
(Editor's note: Ah, William, it would only be right for you to put your money where you mouth is. If you demand others identify themselves - you might start by stating your own last name . Or not, as you wish.)
#34 William on 2009-10-21 06:46
The question still is unanswered. How does OCA News get information not yet publically released? Do you guys have a member of your jurisdiction who serves as a member of the board? Do we do that? Have an exchange of trustees?
I am not sure how things work at the top but I wish there were a source of information that could clear up soooo much of the confusion I have about all the stuff I read and hear.
I probably wouldn't know where or with whom to begin.
David Elias, Virginia
(Editor's note: OCANews.org, like all news organizations, does not discuss its sources.)
#35 David Elias on 2009-10-21 07:01
...by which you mean, of course, that it "...just HASN'T published..."?
#36 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-10-21 07:14
Dear audit experts,
Are there not some pre-cursors that need to be place prior to embarking on an "internal audit". Some questions come to mind with regard to what's being audited, the procedures, and some benchmark against which to measure not only asset account balances, but also how those are managed?
An internal audit without benchmarks and standards seems to like playing tennis with a net nor lines. Keeping "score" would be arbitrary and would it not open up the internal auditors to righteous criticism and other more serious exposures?
#37 MWP on 2009-10-21 07:23
One can hope that the internal audit is intended to make sure that the books are in order to begin with. Having never been audited by an independent party, it is likely the internal books are a mess according to GAAP. An internal audit may then minimize the cost of bringing in a third party charging by the hour, a move that will (surely) be required once even a single person on the audit team (seven 'auditors' as well as Trustees from various parts of the country, i.e., not just the East) realizes that they, personally, would be held criminally liable for any irregularities that are found or should have been found.
Pot calling the kettle black. What's your last name "William"? BTW how would you like to own a bridge in Brooklyn?
#39 Kevin Klein on 2009-10-21 07:52
Also, isn't it also possible to do a 'spot check' audit of a random sampling of the books to determine the reliability of the data? I believe this was the initial step the OCA took. It is a cost-conscious choice, of course, and an organization of the AOANA's size and scope should an external audit just to establish reliability going forward (for management as well as for fundraising's sake), but an initial step may not be a bad interim choice to make. In the OCA's case, the independent auditor's 'spot check' proved the need for a full audit. Having never been audited before, it is likely this will be obvious both to the internal and external audit teams regardless of whether a full or partial sample is audited, initially.
It should also be remembered that the holdings of the AOANA are not in fact reliably known, yet. It is quite possible that the investment and real estate holdings and revenue numbers are not accurate and the AOANA cannot afford the kind of audit required to remedy its books - without filing for bankruptcy protection (an interesting set of canonical and legal questions arise then; who 'owns' the Archdiocese, then, the parishes; what of 'self-rule'?).
Fighting for honesty by calling for an audit when more money is requested is far from something I'd think the devil would be glad about.
2 Corinthians 8:21
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.
#41 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-10-21 07:56
If you consider the log track record of Mark's news, you'll see that he pretty much nails the facts, so there isn't much to be confused about. You can always disagree with his commentaries (both in and out of stories he publishes) but he seems to be darn good at fact checking because few of his facts are ever proved false. Plus the fact that Antiochians came to Mark and asked for his help including some heavy-hitters which is why he gets his news before we small fries do. Metro Philip said he does not understand the internet and so Archdiocese communication is slow. He won't let Mark Cramer do all that he could do because it would require quick responses that a man Philip's age can't manage. By the way, "OCA News" is not part of the OCA, just like any company that uses "US" in its name is not always part of the government. So, no exchange of trustees is necessary, but a nice thought.
#42 anonymous on 2009-10-21 08:03
Besides the fact that OCA news is not a jurisdiction.
#43 Antionymous on 2009-10-21 09:23
Re post #2 and the incessant (and understandable) request that the decesase mother's name not be brought up: This is not possible as the malfeasant use of her name is a matter of historical record. Perhaps they could go to the malefactors and tort-feasors in question and ask them to come clean so that this woman's name can be cleared?
#44 George Michalopulos on 2009-10-21 09:24
"The Synod agreed that Bishop Demetri (Khoury) has been officially “re-retired”, and will reside in Miami."
I thought it was the Patriarch who had reinstated Bishop Demetri Khoury?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Are you implying that our venerable Metropolitan may have in some small way..uh..misspoke ..er... misled....misdirected..oh heck just say it, lied about this?
His Beatitude and The Holy Synod are useful scapegoats for his Eminence Metropolitan Phlip when and if they can somehow be used to substantiate any course of action he desires. Of course it is not a neccessity for Damascus to actually endorse or support his actions or for that matter even to be aware of what it is they supposedly mandate.
I imagine his fellow heirarchs in the old country are growing increasingly weary of this often used tactic. Perhaps if we are fortunate enough they are preparing a nice austere little retirement cell for him at one of their monasteries? Wouldn't it be ironic that someone so opposed to the establishment of male monasteries in this country would live out his days among those he has for years discounted and avoided?
#45 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-21 09:27
I wonder if the "re-retirement" of Bishop Demetri was done because of fear of lawsuits and potential liability, or because it was the ethical, just, and Christian thing to do.
(editor's note: Let us assume the best.)
Antiochian.org just posted the composition of the Internal Audit Committee. They are:
His Grace, Bishop Antoun, Hierarchical Overseer
Mr. Salim Abboud, Chairman, Diocese of NY & Washington D.C.
Mr. Peter Dacales, Assistant Comptroller
Mr. Dan Braun, Diocese of Los Angeles
Mr. Kory Warr, Diocese of Wichita
Mr. Douglas Skaff, Diocese of Charleston/Oakland
Mr. George Darany, Diocese of Toledo
Mr. Tony Khoury, Diocese of Miami
Mr. Gregory Laham, Diocese of Worcester
Unless I am mistaken, none of them is an accountant, although Mr. Abboud is a banker and many others are businessmen. I am also perplexed at +Antoun being designated as the Hierarchical Overseer. If y'all remember, Bishop A. was one of the most vocal opponents of an external audit and is Metropolitan Philip's alter ego and hatchet man. In any case, I do wish the Committee the best but I will not hold my breath in anticipation of productive work.
#47 Carl on 2009-10-21 11:52
This question has occurred to me as well. On the face of it, this reported action certainly seems to undermine the explanation given by His Eminence regarding how His Grace Bishop Demetri came to be reinstated in his ministry. Perhaps it's simply a matter of ceasing to fund his ministry (?) I'll await more details, but, sadly, it is becoming very difficult to continue to give the benefit of the doubt to certain explanations, while maintaining a semblance of linear thought.
#48 Brian Jackson on 2009-10-21 12:13
Amen! "O Heavenly King...Who art everywhere present and fillest all things..."
Except for here...and here...and there...and there....
It's ALL grace! And EVERY culture and group is being prepared to receive the Truth to the extent that any of us can bear it.
#49 Rdr. John on 2009-10-21 12:38
Why? So the private investigators can ruin the priest's life.
Get real. I saw how you bullied delegates at the convention Michael...
Our numbers are growing rapidly, my friend. The days of corruption and bullying are coming to a close so get used to it.
The money is already beginning to stop flowing.
#50 delegate #3 on 2009-10-21 14:49
What does "re-retirement" mean? Can he go back to being a bishop somewhere else?
#51 Gail Sheppard on 2009-10-21 14:57
What are the QUALIFICATIONS OF THE AUDITORS?
Other questions abound regarding an internal audit:
1. Who was chosen to conduct the audit?
2. What are their qualifications?
3. Were their other, more competent candidates available? if so, why were they not chosen?
4. Which brings up the question, "Who chose the auditors?
5. Pehaps, it is time to stop playing games. Non_profits have very specific laws to follow. Does the current chancellor have any experience with Non-Profit Organizations and the increased FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY for the DONATION OF THOSE WHO GIVE.
6. If the Board of Trustees allowed appointment of a committe that lacks the professional competence to fulfill their role, then the Board of Trustees is still LIABLE, not only JOINTLY and PERSONALLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE.
#52 anonymous on 2009-10-21 15:41
An internal audit is a good first step. The books should be brought into some order. I hope that if gross irregularities are found that would lead to an external audit by a CPA.
Re: Demetri Khouri, I suggest he stay retired this time. I suspect that he will. I don't think this is a fight Metropolitan Philip will want to fight again.
Finally the Manual: Does anyone know who else is on this review committee with Bishop Joseph?
I am hoping that this is the first steps towards moving this crisis off the fire and towards a resolution. My hope may be in vain, but I am hoping.
I have just had the opportunity to see the "Summary of Decisions Taken by the Archdiocesan Synod and Board of Trustee's" I have to admit I am somewhat shocked that my previous tongue in cheek posts about Bishop Antoun taking some afternoon off to conduct the internal Audit was more prophetic than I dared imagine.
Lo and behold none other than His Eminence's #1 Assistant is the Heirarchial Overseer of this Audit to Nowhere. I'm quite sure this Committe's report could have been posted simutaneously with the announcement of it's formation.
Talk about a rigged jury. Of course for the sake of the naieve' they will pass some papers back and forth hurumph a few times and then give us the blessed news that all is well. They will then agree to some time frame that will give the appearence that work was actually done. This should take up the bulk of their first couple meetings.
Also no news on the supposed re-retirement of Bishop Demetri?
#54 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-21 16:57
Re:" I've seen it happen with my own eyes."
WHAT have you seen with your own eyes, the Uncreated Light (in Orthodox "teaching" the Energies of God) in Roman Catholics and Protestants?
Only the most holy have been blessed to have a vision of the Uncreated Light and you have seen it in the heterodox?
Wishful thinking does not make it so.
Yes, God can save whomever He wishes to save, but the judgement belongs to Him alone , not in the present but the future:
Romans 2:16 - "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
So please get off of the judgement seat. Anonymust just stated the facts of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
Closeted OCA protestants should get with the Orthodox Christian program and trust in the FUTURE and fair judgement of the Lord Jesus Christ and dispense with protestant-style political correctness.
#55 Anonymous on 2009-10-21 17:18
Audit = Salvation?
The AOCA has existed for generations with a mission to preach the Gospel of Christ and to spread the faith of the Orthodox Christian faith. It has done just fine and will continue to build churches and missions and educate the faithful.
Why this obsession with audits or a new term "external "audits? The AOCA is coming into th 20th century and doing an "intrnal" audit...oops not good enough for the zealots on this page. Are we trying to find a "smoking gun" and play "gotcha" politics? In this post OCA/Stokoe scandal environment everybody is guilty until proven innocent. The AOCA cannot be held hostage and be blackmailed by the "midwest mafia" bloggers. This is intimidation pure and simple. Their "slash and burn" mentality was great for the Protestant reformation but not for "the one holy catholic and apostolic church."
Jesus mentions nothing about audits in the Gospels (I am the way, the truth and the audit??) but he does talk about building up the body of Christ, the Church.
Take up a new theme midwest bloggers
maybe mission, evangelism, the english liturgy. Build up the church instead of tearing it down. Your talk of audits, litigation and anti clericalism is making me ill.
#56 anon on 2009-10-21 17:58
Are you kidding? That's like saying wait until the watchman has inspected his own warehouse. You clearly don't understand the principle here, nor the possible consequence of continued diversions. Ethical people don't hesitate to invite inspection by others. Suspicious people shun inspection. This, after all, is a standard procedure. Sure it may be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing, but so are some medical procedures. What's more, doesn't the law of our incorporation require periodic INDEPENDENT audits? If so, we are violating the law. An audit can demonstrate to everyone the quality of fiscal stewardship. What is there to hide? Trust is fading and the gospel is at stake. NO! The time for games has passed.
#57 MichaelPatrick on 2009-10-21 18:27
The "auditors" mentioned on Antiochian.org designated to implement the internal audit of the Archdiocese are ALL, without exception, "yes man." All have shown complete loyalty to +Philip in the face of signficant evidence to the contrary. They were CHOSEN for this very reason. My understanding is that the vote was 14 for internal audit and 10 for external. I doubt seriously whether anyone who voted for the external audit is on the audit committee. Perhaps, Mark, you could verify?
THIS "AUDIT" IS BOGUS FROM THE GET-GO. The Shepherd continues to pull the wool over our eyes. If anyone believes this will reveal anything remotely close to the truth of the matter they are seriously delusional.
Sorry, this "dog" ain't gonna roll over and play dead. And you should either.
#58 A Dog Priest on 2009-10-21 20:02
1) Please consider giving the Auditing Committee some time and space to work before condemning them. They are smart business people who have the best interests of the Church (and that includes the Archdiocese!) at heart. They must know what is on the line.
2) That said, maybe we shouldn't hold our breath that everything we may each want to know about where money is being spent will be divulged, because that is not what an internal audit is about. But it is an important first step. The question then becomes: is it enough to convince the faithful to keep the money flowing until the day of an external audit?
#59 Another anon on 2009-10-21 20:04
An Internal audit! HAH!
What do they think, that this is a game?
Every parish should start sending them monopoly money to count! LOL!
Then when the IRS comes calling, game is over!
No "get out of jail free" cards for anyone!
Mujnoons and juhushes, every last one of them!
#60 delegate #3 on 2009-10-21 23:06
Oh yah...Bishop Antoun is going to be fair and honest. I completely trust him! Does anyone know where i should put the deed to this wonderful bridge I just bought in NYC?
Met.Phillip needs to retire!
#61 stephen montgomery on 2009-10-22 02:20
NOTE: I AM A MEMBER OF THE OCA, NOT A MEMBER OF THE ANTIOCHIAN ARCHDIOCESE.
Dan Dacales has apparently been the Assistant Comptroller of the Archdiocese for at least the past 4 years. Mr. Dacales is named under Section 8 on page 15 of
As the comptroller, he should be able to explain how the Archdiocese (a) is supposed to handle the receipt and disbursement of its funds, and (b) how the Archdiocese actually handles its funds. (I for one hope that there are no significant differences between the two.)
#62 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-10-22 04:09
Mark, once again, thanks for getting the facts out there, and providing a place where open discussion can happen on the issues. Shine the light, that shall never be overtaken by night!
#63 Antionymous on 2009-10-22 06:31
Dear Michael Srour,
Is this the best response you have to all this mess? Who cares who is writing what? Are you reading any of this and realizing that the pain MP inflicted on us months ago is only growing worse, and this whole mess is steamrolling into a major confrontation. Pay attention to what people are saying.... We want to hear what people have to say, but it is their choice to sign or not. Let's not confuse the issue.
This was an ignorant post. I hope you realize that Taybeh is the last ALL Christian village in Palestine. Also, these priests that visited were Palestinian decent. This doesn't do anything but good because There are Christian Palestinians going to schools over there that have the poorest education, their best schools would be the worst here in America. Don't try to make something out of nothing please.
P.S. Please sit down.
#65 William on 2009-10-22 07:29
AUDIT TO NOWHERE is exactly what it will be! Anyone going to see WHERE the funds for the Swimming Pool Met. P. ordered? Any many other NEEDED items for a "rolex" lifestyle? (Why I would'nt have any other time piece, he stated to the seminarians working at his home!) I was there and while "conservative" with others knowing "how to live right" for all else. His mode of living provides amusement to many of the Holy Synod. Do not look to a real audit as the "committee" spread all over will be "provided" with proper "breakdowns" for their "examination". What a laugh?!
#66 Anonymous(Can Am DIOCESE!) on 2009-10-22 08:10
As the Board of Trustees knew it was GOOD (Prudent) Business PRACTICE TO HAVE AN EXTERNAL AUDIT and they decided otherwise, the Archdiocesan INSURANCE WILL NOT COVER THEM as they knew what to do and INTENTIONALLY CHOSE NOT TO DO SO!
Perhaps it is truly time to turn the whole matter over to the IRS, as we are not functioning in compliance with the LAW.
#67 anonymouse on 2009-10-22 08:56
Assuming that we are talking about a "Peter S. Dacales," I found one reference to his professional status as a Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor/place of work=Antiochian Archdiocese/ Englewood.
My point is that not one of these committee members appears to be a Certified Public Accountant. I would think, to echo your sentiments, that anybody with a modicum of intelligence should be able to figure out the elementary need for proper accounting and finance practices, to include the necessity of implementing a third party or external audit regime. To do otherwise is indeed a dereliction of duty, or at best, the height of stupidity. Regards, Carl
#68 Carl on 2009-10-22 12:30
I’ve often marveled at the insistence of anonymous posters to declare such a such heterodox as if they were not quite sure of the truth of their post.
Cathy Tatusko is correct. She is not sitting in judgment, but rather responding to someone who appeared to be. The Church is fundamentally a divine-human mystery, a Spirit-inspired sacrament (to use the Latin term) and as such, she will always transcend her visible manifestations. Nevertheless, one can never be certain where the Church is not. As Holy Father Augustine explained: “many who appear to be outside are within” while “many who seem to be within are outside.” (PL 43, 195-196)
And that, my dear Anonymous, is the Orthodox Christian program!
#69 Terry C. Peet on 2009-10-22 12:48
So you can find a way to bully him? What does his name matter, his words like his are resounding throughout American Orthodoxy and the result will be a victorious Church unified under Christ, of that I am sure. Thanks to people like this priest who are anonymous, and people like Mark Stokoe who are not anonymous, a much do reckoning is coming for the leadership of American Orthodoxy. Whether it's in public or in private, we will all be counted for where we stand.
Well said, Cathryn,
I agree with how you said that.
#71 Patty Schellbach on 2009-10-22 14:36
You came down rather hard on Gail Sheppard and even insulted her by telling her to sit down (hard not to notice such sexist behavior) because she cautioned us that American citizens giving cash directly to "Islamic Rawda School for the Sons of the Martyrs and the Ramallah Islamic Club" may not be a good idea.
Give me a break! Your attitude reminds of an article by Dr. Nijab Saliba in The Word magazine where he said that (I am trying to recall from memory here) in the Balkans, the Ottoman practice of devshirme consisted of Christian lads of either going into great careers or joining the Janisarries! In reality, these lads were young Christian boys who were forcibly taken from their families and made into Muslim slaves and best soldiers of the Sultan.
#72 Carl on 2009-10-22 15:02
"If you see your neighbor sinning, take care not to dwell exclusively on his faults. Try to think of the many good things he has done and continues to do. Many times when we do this, we come to the conclusion that our neighbor is a far better person than we are." -- St. Basil the Great
#73 Anonymous on 2009-10-22 15:10
No, an internal audit is not enough to keep the money flowing.
My money and all of my extended family's money will be going
only to reputable charities that have regular audits. We are all life-long members of this archdiocese so I know for a fact that we are not the only ones who no longer trust that our money is going to where it needs to go.
Folks, give directly to OCF, IOCC, OCMC and Project Mexico. St. Ignatius members can continue to support their favorite charities
by giving DIRECTLY to them. Avoid giving through the archdiocese at all costs. And say "no" to Food for the Hungry. That charity is a money pit. Only God knows where that money has gone. You will notice that Food for the Hungry has been giving top page billing on Antiochian.org so they must already be feeling the crunch. Well, it is only going to get worse, Sayidna, because we aren't fools.
#74 delegate #3 on 2009-10-22 16:22
Perhaps I'm just not well informed. These organizations, however, are not familiar to me. Nor did I know that the archdiocese supports them. Where did you get this info? There certainly would seem to be problems that might need explaining, as you suggest. More importantly, however, if this is true, the archdiocese needs to give an account to its membership. Why are funds being given to these organizations, if indeed they are?
#75 michael craig rhodes on 2009-10-22 18:39
Your report of our chief hierarch's fondness for the Archdiocese's Rolex watch suggests that auditors are not chiefly what Met. +Philip needs: it seems he needs a Fool-for-Christ to exorcise his demons after the manner of the good service provided by fictional Father Anatoly for his abbot in the movie Ostrov .
#76 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-10-22 19:15
Can't argue with you, George. On a certain level, I don't think the family would argue either. I don't know them, but they have made their disgust over the forgery quite clear. Nor do I have the answer, but I do think we should try to be sensitive to their request. We often complain about the media's insensitivity toward grieving families. Let us at least make an effort not to do the same.
#77 Brian Van Sickle on 2009-10-22 19:18
Do remember, though that the Food for Hungry People appeal has two parts: the appeal during the Nativity Fast for canned and other non-perishable food items to be given to a local feeding charity, and the money appeal distributed by the Archdiocese to we know not whom. Give generously, sacrificially, to the appeal for actual food that you know (at least up to the honesty of those running the local soup-kitchen, shelter, or charity-pantry--get your parish council to pick one that submits to external audits) will actually feed the poor. The message may well be sharper if the canned food appeal hit record highs this year, while the money appeal hit a low for the past decade.
#78 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-10-22 19:24
While Chris' questions are pertinent, I nonetheless agree with Mark on this point.
There are, of course, many possible explanations for the "re-retirement" of +DEMETRI; some of these possibilities reflect well upon the Holy Synod, while others reflect poorly. At this time we -- or at least I -- do not know the reason for this decision.
Despite some ambiguity regarding the circumstances of the decision, I nonetheless commend the Archdiocesan Synod for this action. I publicly criticized the situation involving His Grace; I now wish to publicly state my appreciation to the Synod for finally addressing this problem.
This does not mean we are "out of the woods:" a plethora of problems remain, and we will undoubtedly spend a great deal of time struggling with both these and the mindset that allows and fosters them. Even with these continuing problems, however, I am truly thankful that at least one problem has been addressed at this time.
#79 Jason Barker on 2009-10-22 20:04
Some of you are reading your own concepts into the Anonymust post. It is a very good post and points out problems with the current rush towards ecumenism. Those who have been in the dangerous and soul-destroying waters of Roman Catholicism are much more able to speak to the heresies in that system than well-meaning and deceived Orthodox believers. Anonymust condemns the system, not the individuals caught in it who may very well be god-fearing/loving and far closer to Him than any of us; that is up to God, He is the ultimate judge.
#80 Yanni on 2009-10-22 21:31
I wasn't being sexist. I'm not that kind of person, especially when I was going for Sarah Palin in the last election. I said what i said because Christian students and Muslim students sometimes go to the same schools over there. It was for a good cause. Why should we give money to any charity then because i'm sure there is a muslim there? It's about the children's education. Even arabs go to school with jews over there, so should we not give to those schools either if need be? Those children, regardless of religion, need a good education and I am thankful our Archdiocese gave to all of them. The names of the schools might cause worry, but it's who attends the school that means something.
#81 William on 2009-10-23 06:34
Bp. Mark sent out the following:
“By the grace of God we had a productive Synod Meeting. As already announced at the Board of Trustees Meeting, Saturday, His Eminence appointed Bishop Joseph to chair a committee, along with Bishop Thomas, Dan Abraham and Deacon Emile Sayeg to work on reconciling the Pittsburgh Constitution with the Damascus Constitution, as was voted upon in Palm Desert, CA. In addition Bp Joseph was appointed by Metropolitan Philip to chair a committee to revise the Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities over the next year. Other members of the committee include His Grace Bp Basil, His Grace Bishop Thomas, Dan Abraham and Deacon Emile Sayeg. Finally, at the Board of Trustees Meeting a decision was made to conduct an internal audit of the Archdiocesan books. Eight members from the Board of Trustees were chosen by His Eminence to work on this over the next year.”
Appointing a deacon who is a litigation attorney with limited theological education when there are many more qualified clergy is another example of Metropolitan Philip’s wish to dilute the truth.
Dan Abraham on the committee to revise the Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities is outrageous. Not only does he not have any theological education, his wife has been one of Bp. Demetri’s closest supporters and advocates for many years. She has gone around telling people that Bp. Mark was separating the Midwest diocese from the archdiocese. Why, because +Mark wanted to function as a ruling diocesan bishop and his name isn’t Demetri. Hence, what can one expect of her husband, Dan? Will he be objective when it comes to supporting a diocesan bishop’s canonical rights? What makes him qualified by the Metropolitan is that he is a millionaire and blindly loyal to +Philip. Surely these are the two most important attributes to MP, since money gives him power and loyalty is above ecclesiology and truth.
#82 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-10-23 06:36
I can't believe I'm commenting on this, but the rosary is not real prayer? Try telling that to your Western rite brethren, who whether you like it or not, are just as "Orthodox" as you are.
#83 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-10-23 07:55
Well said indeed Cathryn, thank you for saying it so charitably and with clarity! Jesus is Lord of the world, heaven and earth, and the entire cosmos; well said indeed.
#84 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-10-23 07:58
------Anonymust condemns the system, not the individuals caught in it who may very well be god-fearing/loving and far closer to Him than any of us; that is up to God, He is the ultimate judge.------
***Of all people in the world who should NOT be condemning other "systems" of Christianity, I'd say us 21st century Orthodox are one's who should be heeding the words of Christ the most about removing specks from our brother's eye, while ignoring the plank in our own eye. Right now Orthodoxy has a not just a plank, but a whole sawmill full of wood in our eye. It's interesting how a discussion about OUR problems gets turned into the problems of "all THOSE people" so quickly....
#85 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-10-23 08:02
Another Anonymous poster wrote:
-----Closeted OCA protestants should get with the Orthodox Christian program and trust in the FUTURE and fair judgement of the Lord Jesus Christ and dispense with protestant-style political correctness.------
***It's always ironic that those Orthodox who are most "outspoken" against Protestantism are in fact using Protestant reasoning to draw their conclusions. (we're in, everyone else is out) Sorry it doesn't get anymore American Protestant/Evangelical than that. The same thing with the anti-Roman Catholic spiel. These positions don't hold much water considering the fact many rabidly anti-Catholic Orthodox get their polemics from the same books that anti-Catholic Evangelicals get their polemics.
This whole "anti-Protestant" mindset that is getting stirred up within Orthodoxy in America over the past few years is disturbing and so completely unhistorical . . . . after all who was it that insisted on all the so called "Ecumenical innovations" within Orthodoxy? Uhh..that would be cradle Orthodox coming from the "Old Countries"...like pews, organs, American style music in Church, limiting Icons, using western art, suspending of fasting, dressing like Catholic priests, cutting the Liturgy, changing calendars and all the other traditions,and that is what they, are man made traditions. Made by holy men yes. But no matter how GOOD these things are and how beneficial they can be, in the end they never were seen as constant unchangeable laws from heaven, yet these things that that the Orthodox "purists" rail against all came not from Protestant converts, but from people who's families have been Orthodox for centuries upon centuries. There again we have the concept of not seeing your brother's problems clearly because we have planks of wood in our own eyes.
I know human nature is essentially clanish, and people just like to feel they are part of a special select group that no one else is a part of, (which is why we have break away Orthodox groups who claim they alone are the "true" Church...it's human nature to think my group, my ethnicity, my culture, my race, my family etc is the only select group in the universe, but we should be beyond that by now. After 2000 years of Christ's teachings it appears we've learned very little. That doesn't mean I think we should be in communion with every one else, or that we should do crazy things like have rock and roll Liturgies, or not be convicted in what we believe, because we should. But as I said, the fact that this thread so quickly became diverted from OUR problems in OUR CHURCH, to the problems in everyone elses Churches, says something....that we Orthodox (and humans in general) are afraid to look inward and reflect upon our own problems. Maybe the entire Church needs to go to confession and look inwardly, rather than pointing fingers and saying how wrong everyone else is....it's as if we're worried about how our neighbors need to sweep out their chimney before burning their fireplace, while our entire house is engulfed in flames.
This is ultimately about more than other Churches and their problems, it's about our Church, THE Church and it's problems.
#86 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-10-23 08:25
An organization with (reported above) in excess of $60 million in assets surely can afford a relatively small fee for an external audit by the competent people of a reputable CPA firm. That is, unless you have something to hide that will not bear the light of investigation. Money is one of the roots of all evil and in the case of the Antiochian Archdiocese, which should have a flawless record totally unafraid of external investigation, of no consequence. But, the facts seem to speak differently.
To bad Diogenes isn't a member of the inner circle around +MP, as a cynic he was very able of pointing out that the emperor had no clothes.
#87 Yanni on 2009-10-23 11:27
Fox News? Palin? Is this what "American" Orthodoxy is? I want no part of it...you can keep your Hee-Haw version of Orthodoxy.
Moses the Tlingit
(Editor's note: It was an analogy. Not a helpful one, I agree, but just an analogy. Let's not descend to a discussion of politics here please. There are other, more appropriate places to do so. )
#88 Moses on 2009-10-23 15:06
Re: "Nevertheless, one can never be certain where the Church is not. As Holy Father Augustine explained: 'many who appear to be outside are within' while 'many who seem to be within are outside.”
Are you, like St. Augustine in the passage that you quoted, appealing to divine predestination? The Orthodox Church tradition has NEVER adopted the Augustinian view of predestination.
God has foreknowledge, yes, but man has free will.
Terry Peet, you are sadly mistaken if you believe that Augustinian predestination is part of the Orthodox program.
God will judge in the end, and yes there will be surprises (cf. Matthew 7), but it would be a grave and sadly oft-repeated mistake by the unconverted within the Orthodox Church to judge in the place of Christ and ahead of time of judgement set by God, to "move the goal posts" out of a false sense of humility and desire for solidarity with Protestants and Roman Catholics.
The visible Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. From the beginning and throughout her history, the Church has had those who left.
1 John 2:19 - "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
The Orthodox Church teaches that the Roman Catholics split from her 1000 years ago. This same Roman Catholic Church experienced schisms from itself during the Reformation in the form of the various Protestant confessions and these Protestant confessions continue to split and split and split to this day because by definition, "protestant" means that doctrinal differences are for them the engine that drives institutional maintenance.
Surely, the words of St. John in his Epistle speak to the present state of the Protestants and Catholics in relation to the Orthodox Church.
It's time for the un-converts and the heterodox sympathizers within the OCA to get with the program.
#89 Anonymous on 2009-10-23 15:41
Oh, you mean we're not supoosed to objectify him by referring to him by his sin?
#90 Anonymous on 2009-10-24 00:08
Michael, you have worked yourself into the inner circle. Only God knows why you would want to be there, since it is not a place of honor ... Since you are in the inner circle, you are protected from bad things happening to you, but at a price. The price is unquestioned loyalty and obediance to our "CHIEF SHEPHERD", who will support you 100% as long as you do the same. I promise you, Michael, if you ever wake up, act smarter and decide to say even one thing against him, he'll be after you very fast. ...
That's why people continue to post anonymously...this is the sad truth of all of this, and we have to live in the present truth, no matter how painful it is for all of us. No one else is protecting us - our Bishops didn't seem to object to the appointments of people made on the committees in Houston at the meetings. ...
Let's not forget what MP did to his former chancellors, Robert Koory and Charles Ajalat, who stood by him and supported him for over 20 years. As soon as they did the right thing, as ethical lawyers, as responsible chancellors and as good Orthodox men, he tore them to pieces in front of everyone. He should be ashamed for treating them that way, and no one stood up to defend them. Because of that, the Archdiocese lost 2 good men.... At least you wouldn't still see the pain and anguish on their faces to know how badly they were hurt, something that should not have happened. He treated them like DOGS, just like he treats his seminarians - past, present and future.
Where do we go from here? Any ideas?
And other times, we conclude that none of that matters, because — as Met. Georges reminds us — there are certain standards for bishops.
More St. Basil, also from Met. Georges' article:
“Saint Basil the Great once defrocked a priest because he committed adultery. After many years, this priest was at a funeral. He approached the casket and touched the dead man and the dead man rose. He went to Basil and said to him, ’Do you need a greater sign than this of the holiness that I have acquired in order to send me back to my flock?’ Basil replied, ’Your holiness is between you and God, but I cannot return you to your flock because you scandalized them. It is not right for you to go to them again.’”
#92 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-10-24 09:10
The cost of the audit is not reflected wisely against net assets as an audit is an ongoing thing. It is always considered part of an operating budget. However, if 30 million in assets are income earning at a rate of 5% return on assets, the earnings from those assets is certainly enough to cover an audit expense annually and then some.
In fact, the annual cost of an audit relative to income earnings alone is negligible and an internal audit decision suggests a third party audit wouldn't get an unqualified opinion.
The decision itself suggests a likely problem.
#93 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-10-24 12:37
Anonymous said: “Are you, like St. Augustine in the passage that you quoted, appealing to divine predestination? “
My answer is NO!! How you managed to connect my quote of St. Augustine with an appeal to divine predestination is beyond me. Please re-read your post and see if you can detect where you jumped to your conclusion.
Anonymous said: “The Orthodox Church teaches that the Roman Catholics split from her 1000 years ago.”
That statement or at least its characterization is flat out false. The two churches grew apart; Orthodox historians acknowledge that there was no one instance (split) in which the schism took effect; it rather evolved the situation being far more complex than your simplistic statement allows. Likewise, the healing of the schism ( I prefer “estrangement” or “alienation”) with the Roman Church will probably come slowly and gradually over centuries; that healing process has already begun thanks to the Spirit of the Lord that has moved the hearts and minds of many of our Orthodox leaders.
Our Lord in the Gospel of John prays “so that all may be one”. This is not an option, but a mandate. This mandate is being fulfilled through bilateral dialogues worldwide where all sides explore and discuss our differences; to be sure many differences will not be bridged and no one should expect or tolerate “compromises”, but through dialogue we often discover we have more in common that we formerly believed. Furthermore, our dialogues provide opportunities for other Christ-loving peoples to understand the correctness of the Orthodox Way which is best communicated in humble and patient explanation and witness.
Working for Christian unity is, in fact, a duty born of our fidelity to Christ, the Shepherd of the Church, who gave his life "to gather into one the dispersed children of God" (Jn 11:51-52). However long and laborious the path towards unity may seem, we are asked by the Lord to join our hands and hearts, so that together we can bear clearer witness to Him and better serve our brothers and sisters.
#94 Terry C. Peet on 2009-10-24 21:20
Whoa - hold on a minute. Don't insult the pansies. They are beautiful flowers, and I don't think our BOT qualify. Those people are more like a bunch of wild weeds that are squeezing the good ones out, and chasing away good volunteers in the process. People are getting mighty tired of working for the churches, and then all this fighting goes on and others don't appreciate what they have done. I figured it out on the way home from Palm Desert - why is it that in many parishes 20% of the people do 80% if the work? There is so much work to be done, and so much hidden, untapped talent in our parishes, and people don't get involved. It's because they don't want to be ABUSED and stepped on for their efforts. They don't want to be hurt any more by those who think they do a better job and are superior to them. Do you blame them for saying "NO", and do you blame the current decrease in past busy workers? Look around - I bet you see people who worked hard now saying - I'm not doing this any more. It hurts too much. Do we keep going until this great tragedy that is out of control chases everyone away? There won't be anyone left to do the work at our churches, and we need many hands on board.
Especially when it appears that some of these organizations are Muslim. I am sure that the Muslim organizations are needy and deserving of support, but I am sure that there are plenty of rich Arabs who should be helping them...
There are plenty of worthy 'ORTHODOX' charities and organizations to support. We need to help our own first.
(Editor's note: That is not what the Gospel teaches, however. I suggest you re-read the parable of the Good Samaritan.)
#96 Glad to not be Antiochian on 2009-10-25 18:56
And don't you ever forget it - our Western Rite Orthodox Faithful are much more faithful than any of the Eastern Rite folks ever will be. They are more devoted, they work together, and they truly love and worship GOD. Their obedience and allegiance is to GOD, and no one else. The live their lives and their faith very simply and very spiritually, without the other garbage that gets in the way. They are wonderful people, and if you don't believe it, visit one of their parishes near you some time. You won't be sorry, and you'll make some of your closest and dearest friends there.
Re: How you managed to connect my quote of St. Augustine with an appeal to divine predestination is beyond me. Please re-read your post and see if you can detect where you jumped to your conclusion."
Okay, I re-read my post.
Here you go:
"Appealing to divine predestination, Augustine accordingly holds that 'many who seem to be outside are within [and] many who seem to be within are outside."
- Harry Bettenson, 'The Later Church Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of St. Cyril of Jerusalem to St. Leo the Great', p. 239
Please don't quote Augustine out of context to support your so-called "Orthodox program."
Not only are the meaning of Augustine's words, by your own admission, "beyond me" [yourself], but you are taking the meaning of Augustine's words beyond the understanding of your readers and that is, willful or not, deception.
#98 Anonymous on 2009-10-26 21:36
It won’t do. I am not, willfully or ignorantly, practicing any form of deception. I never spoke on the matter of predestination. I was addressing only the fact that the Spirit of God moves among the heterodox. It is you who is trying to hijack the discussion to put words or meaning regarding predestination into my posts – words and meanings to which I do not adhere. Whether I quoted Augustine out of context or not does not obviate the fact that his overall writing supports the concept that God’s grace is bestowed on others outside of the visible Orthodox Catholic Church of the East.
The tone of your posts on this particular thread is self-serving to the detriment of charity towards others outside of the Orthodox Church by using such words as “closeted OCA protestants”, “un-converts” and “heterodox sympathizers”. There are ways of disagreeing without being disagreeable. But then you’re avoiding any responsibility for your posts by signing them anonymously.
You can have the last word. I won’t continue this.
#99 Terry C. Peet on 2009-10-27 08:38
This is actually a reply to Mark's comment.
While I am sympathetic with the biblical notion of loving our neighbors, as the parable of the Good Samaritan vividly teaches, I don't think it is prudent to conceive of these organizations as analogous to 'a certain man' who 'went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead' (Lk 10.30).
(Editor's note: OK, but personally I cannot think of quicker, more accurate, way to describe what happened to the OCA these past two decades: "it fell among thieves", "who stripped it" of its possesssions, "wounding" it through betrayal, departing and leaving it half dead." Feel free to disagree with the imagery - but the facts speak for themselves.)
#100 Anonymous on 2009-10-27 21:06
Re: "Whether I quoted Augustine out of context or not does not obviate the fact that his overall writing supports the concept that God’s grace is bestowed on others outside of the visible Orthodox Catholic Church of the East."
Let's let St. Augustine have the last word:
"No man can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honour, one can have the sacraments, one can sing alleluia, one can answer amen, one can have faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church."
#101 Anonymous on 2009-10-28 06:25
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