Wednesday, March 24. 2010
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What exactly is the relationship between Met. Herman and Martin Paluch? Why would an arrangement by made whereby both of them would have lifetime use of the Jacewicz House (Monastery property)? Are they related?
(Editor's note: No. )
If the Synod wants to do anything at all, find a way to give the governing bodies of the church, including the MC a way to stop a headstrong Metropolitan from acting unilaterally, or just pretend it was just a bad apple this one time.
Metropolitan Jonah acted unilaterally already and noone squaked to much because it was something most folks agreed with... How handy..
...and so the story goes...
Let Herman stay there.
He acquired the property. The conditions set forth will die with him and the other fellow. Who cares? So he mismanaged, so he overspent. Was it for malcontent or hatred of the church? I doubt it.
Just take actions that stop totalinarianism from happening in the future by allowing the governing bodies of the church enough power to stop these types of things..
Focusing on the future is the real test for the Synod. I am glad they went into a committee because I'm hopeful they only focus on the future.
I have no great place in my heart or love for Metropolitan Herman either. I'd just like to see a way to keep the future brighter by the things we today deem dark.
#2 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-03-24 10:33
So who is Martin Paluch and why does he live with Metropolitan Herman? It doesn't sound good, particularly in the context of moral insinuations made just prior to the Metropolitan's retirement.
#3 Anonymous on 2010-03-24 10:47
It could have been worse, I suppose. At least there appear to be no late night bacchanals, with call girls (or boys) imported for the festivities and financed with funds diverted from St. Tikhon's. Trips to Vegas rate a poor second.
But the fact remains that there was gross financial mismanagement, according to the executive summary, which clearly is the fruit of unfettered clericalism--personified by +Herman. Autocratic and unaccountable control, augmented with minions of dubious moral character, is just the recipe for scandal and disaster. Will the OCA, and Orthodoxy in general, ever learn? Probably not, as long as a failed and erroneous ecclesiology holds sway in Orthodox theological circles.
As an aside, I had the occasion, probably some 10 years ago, to make an overnight stop at St. Tikhon's, which I had not previously visited. I made the necessary arrangements thinking, naively, that I would at least be greeted and given a modest guest room somewhere in the facility. Needless to say, I was not greeted or made welcome in any way, but rather glared at throughout Vespers (which I attended) by some portly bearded cleric. Hardly anyone else was in attendance. I fled the grim and gloomy experience as soon as the service was over.
The atmosphere, physically and spiritually, was oppressive in the extreme. I now understand why.
#4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-03-24 11:17
#5 Anonymous on 2010-03-24 11:39
Nice report! Everything we already knew. What's surprising is the ending comment - + Herman & Martin refuse to move out of the house they "stole" from the elderly sisters. I think they both should get nicer accommodations. The prison in Utica, NY comes to mind or the PA. State Pen!!!
#6 Anonymous on 2010-03-24 11:42
The retired Metropolitan Herman invites comparison with Saruman perfectly. Like the deposed wizard, they both once commanded complete obedience and imperial authority. And like Saruman, +Herman prefers to remain in his tower "gnawing the ends of his plots." We even have Martin Paluch in a perfect mirror of Wormtongue. God willing the comparisons end there.
#7 Reader Nicholas Bailey on 2010-03-24 12:37
Kudos to the entire investigative team. It sounds like they did an excellent job considering the fact that they probably didn't have a lot to work with.
And Kudos to you, Mark, for not backing down and reporting the story.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Metropolitan Herman decides to vacate his current residence. It will also be interesting to see what legal maneuvers follow all of this. I wouldn't be surprised to learn if Metropolitan Herman files a lawsuit of his own. The report certainly doesn't pull any punches.
#8 Anon. on 2010-03-24 16:04
As the poet Menander once put it, "Any man who can blush has some honesty in him." The former OCA primate's response to this report-- and to the Synod's invitation that he attend their meetings-- confirms his longstanding inability to blush when even a child would know it was right to do so. On the other hand, he has no problem with whistling. Whistling has long been a symbol for someone who has not a care in the world. Here, the metropolitan treats us to a familiar tune whose notes I imagine very few on ocanews.org pine for: "the matter is closed." His merry perseverance in playing that refrain suggests he is not spiritually profiting from the penances heretofore assigned him by the Synod of Bishops. His consistent mastery of this melody is matched only by his unswerving attention to the letter of the law (even as the report shows while he customarily ignores its spirit). With a tone that echoes the defiance of his former episcopal colleague in Alaska, the retired primate reminds his successors that the Statute provides precise procedures for bringing a bishop to trial for canonical violations. Met. Herman's resume here, at least, is quite substantive. Since deposition from the episcopal or priestly ranks is ultimately a spiritual aid for a soul struggling to confront the need for repentance, Met. Herman has managed to point his fellow bishops in the right direction for once. That he himself should be the one to suggest his own canonical trial is no small feat for someone who has so long struggled to see the forest for the trees.
#9 Anonymous on 2010-03-24 16:41
KRT put it very well: "Autocratic and unaccountable control, augmented with minions of dubious moral character, is just the recipe for scandal and disaster."
And now, a reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul, to Timothy:
(1 Timothy 3:1-7) This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.”
The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife [Well, not anymore],
temperate, self-controlled, respectable [hmmm....], hospitable, an able teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. [OOPS!]
He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. [If Archdeacon Klimitchev was his spiritual child, he really seems to have fallen short there.]
But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? [Excellent question, Holy Apostle Paul!]
He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact.
And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap. [What he did and allowed is rather disgraceful.]
[---end of scripture excerpt---]
Wouldn't it be better to defrock him and put him in a monastery to allow him a "good repentance" before he dies?
Why does this man get to remain a bishop?
I think it's scary when you get a duo like +Herman and AD Klimitchev. Very scary.
Thank you Mark. Keep up the good work.
#10 I don't get it. on 2010-03-24 17:25
No surprises here, just more revelation of the corruption some of us have suspected for decades. (You shall know them by their fruits. Matt. 7:16) St. Tikhon's always felt like a dark place to me on every visit I made to that place. Now I know why I felt that way. Shame on Herman. His defiance is just more proof of his profligate guilt. The Kondratick illegal approval of his total control of the property shows their utter corruption. That is called fraud folks.
No one should fear these threats of lawsuits. That's what bad guys do. They find unscrupulous attorneys who will file suits so that they can engage in "motion practice." Motion practice is what attorneys do when their clients are guilty. They try and throw so many logs under the bus that they may be successful in running it off the road, or successful in creating litigation fatigue among the good guys. We have to face the fact that we must outlast these unscrupulous attorneys and their equally unscrupulous clients with our own attorneys who know this game and are smarter about defeating this gaming of the legal system. It is not right, but this is the way it is currently. The system lets these unscrupulous attorneys live, largely without discipline, unfortunately.
Keep up the good fight all.
#11 Anon. on 2010-03-24 20:16
The March 25th murder of Sister Michelle Lewis in South Miami needs to be remembered and repented of in the denial of sexual abuse and the hiding out of Met Herman with those who engaged in criminal activity who then Met Herman (Joesph Swaiko) and Archbishop Dmitri (Robert Royster) embraced and welcomed as monks, money,
etc., All this while the so called monks of Holy Cross School waited out a murder trial of the 18 year novice they supported Mykhaylo Kofel.
Yes, there are many more things worse than Las Vegas
money laundering and limos and sexual encounters in New York City. These things blend together though to support the life style of monk/master network of Clergy Sexual Abuse of
seminarians, and other targets of their abuse of power.
The monk priest Gregory Wendt as Father "Francis" Wendt had years to become Orthodox with the OCA from the 1970's and his encounters with the local Orthodox Church in Miami.
Met Herman's acceptance of this group in S. Miami has
significance to the traps laid at St. Tikhon's Monastery, andthe cylce of abuse of power.
Sorry guys, it seems after Archbishop Job's death you left this stone in place. Archbishop JOB told me in February of 2009 I would be contacted By Met Jonah and the investigating committee.
NOPE! Don't let any of these women have a voice...
Matushka Ellen Gvodsev and I and our efforts to make
accountability for Clergy Sexual Abuse were continually sidelined. No letters, no calls, except two, one from the Chancellor, "please don't write any more letters...
#12 Matushka Carol on 2010-03-24 21:39
Nun Stabbed 92 Times, Autopsy Report Shows
BY JOSE DANTE PARRA HERRERA Miami Bureau | May 2, 2001
March 25 is a day to remember the murder of Sister Micelle Lewis, a bookkeeper for Holy Cross School.
Since Sister Michelle tried to be accountable for all things. In the book Murder at Holy Cross by Peter Davidson one can see how Sister Michelle re a foul of the monks....when she tried to collect receipts from hotel stays with boys etc.
It is not the "one man only" story as Bishop Mark and Bishop Nathaniel of the OCA and ROEA would like to have the story recounted. The cover up continued of why Met Herman from New York and Pennsylvania should bring so called rogue monks into the OCA while one of their members was on trial, M. Kofel, the boy novice they bought in the Ukraine and brought to America with 2 other under age young men, for their stated "novice training purposes".
While Orthodox Met Herman as their superior and one who brought them into the OC,A along with Robert Kondratick, then chancellor who stated, he "saw NOTHING WRONG of why they should not be Orthodox."
Both Kondratick and (Met) Herman (Joe Swaiko) and Archbishop Dmitri (Robert Royster) stood by the monks when they were asked to answer to civil authorities in regards to sexually abusing the teenager - who then would be plied with alcohol and kill Sister Michelle, stabbing her almost 100 times. Met Herman, Kondratick, Royster, all allowed the monks to refuse cooperation with civil authorities. Monks took First Amendment rights and refused to answer.
Yet, day after day they took the money and talents of Sister Michelle Lewis who they left as unimportant and no regard, "we see nothing wrong" is a traveisty then NOW and to ALL WHO ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE ...
"Sister Michelle Lewis had no chance of surviving an onslaught with a steak knife and a fire poker. Even though the 5-foot-5 nun desperately tried to parry the attack with her hands, her killer pierced her lungs, her liver, her heart and even caused her brain to hemorrhage. Mykhaylo Kofel, a monastic trainee, has confessed to police he killed Lewis. Her March 25 murder shocked parents and students at Holy Cross Academy in southwest Miami-Dade County, where she worked as a teacher and bookkeeper."
#13 Matushka Carol on 2010-03-24 22:36
Met Herman as Saruman -- hmm, Saruman had a much longer and more stately beard -- that's fanning the flames of some.
And your comparison of Martin Paluch with Wormtongue --- wow thank you for that mental image.
#14 Anonymous on 2010-03-25 01:59
You sure don't get at least one element in this! "Better to defrock him and put him in a monastery"??? What ever in the world makes you think that monastics want their monastery to be turned into a prison for clerical (or lay) felons and/or their own efforts at on-going repentance sabotaged by the stubbornly unrepentant who doesn't want to be there in the first place? You obviously have no idea just how destructive an unwilling resident can be to the community's entire life! You want to defrock him and put him somewhere? How about your house? A monastery is not supposed to be a place into which one is forced by men. A monastery is, or at least is supposed to be, a place and a vocation to which one is called by God and which one joyfully enters for one's salvation.
#15 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2010-03-25 05:42
Herman has with great perseverance exercised his freewill over and against the Church and Christ. He has with darwinian survivalist vigor, persisted in his self love.
The Holy Church has been patient with his healing, The Holy Church has helped in his salvation by casting light in very dark places. The Holy Church has taken away its co-dependent assistance of his unGodly choices. The Holy Church has gently removed him from his lofty place. The Holy Church has not removed from him the Holy mysteries and even the administration of them!! The Holy Church has lovingly been the Holy Church to the former Metropolitan. All of this was to serve the purpose of Herman's repentance.
Now the Holy Church should Let him live in HIS stolen house, with the companion of HIS choice, secure in HIS healthy bank account. Additionally, the Holy Church should finally take away the white hat, stop calling him Metropolitan, do not allow him the honor of serving the Holy Liturgy for the rest of his life!
Serving the Liturgy is for those who are struggling in their sin to be like Christ. It is not for those who have grown comfortable in not being like Christ.
Since Herman's sin was manifest before the whole Church so also his repentance. This sadly has not happened. Do not trouble me with the tripe that we do not know what he has privately repented of. Do not say that we are not privy to his private conversations with spiritual Fathers or the tears of personal prayer. If any of these were privately beneficial and led to his brokenness then for the sake of all who have been touched by this evil, repentance would be to the many who were devestated by this recless disregarded for Holiness. The sins were done to the Church , are known by all, and therefore of necessity the admonition to publicly confess.
As a pastor of the Church I plead with you Joe please confess something. Confess that you were incompetent in management or incapable of overcoming a particular thorn in the flesh, or that things got out of hand or that you could not stand up to Bob!! These are only speculative suggestions. Only you can know what you should repent of. Anything along those lines would help you and the Holy Church. I suspect we will hear nothing. The lawyers have said you should be quiet. I tell you that you should NOT!!
Joe a lawyer will not help you. Neither house, companion, money or hat will aid you now. Only public repentance, humility, gentleness, and love can give to you the fullness of Christ.
When Joe and friend are soon dead the house will again be restored to the Church, Joe will have himself to love as now, and God alone will judge as to wether Joe has treasure enough stored up in heaven. Just like all of us.
Let us be rid of this man and his sad public witness of the Gospel. His legacy is to have ruled over a Church that shrunk and atrophied while He took care of Himself. Let the focus on him stop. He looks just as does the political and economic landscape before us, bleak, without hope, and full of self love. I suggest we care little for the house and that we move on and focus on Christ and His house. Let us leave this pitiful man Joe to work out Joe's salvation.
Only I ask the Holy Church to not call him Metropolitan that is a title of Christ and in Joe's public actions we do not see the LORD! Joe deserves the dignity afforded to all people but not the hat and all that hat entails. That hat is confusing to this simple man and priest. I see the white hat and say "there is Christ, there is Christ" only to find that there are many in my parish, family, diocese, and in the world around me that represent that hat with far more reception of God's grace than Joe!! That is not judgement just discernment.
#16 Fr Andrew on 2010-03-25 08:19
Regarding the upcoming eviction of Met. Herman from his residence.
We feel it only fitting to welcome him with open arms to the Diocese of the South. ...
#17 Anony on 2010-03-25 09:58
My prayer is that former +Metropolitan Herman will use the opportunity of bearing this cross of embarrassment, shame, and investigation to turn to our Lord in repentance, acknowledgement, accountability, and reparation!!
#18 David Barrett on 2010-03-25 11:59
Well said! Excellent analogies!
This is the fruit of the failure of the OCA Synod to sanction and hold Met. Herman accountable for his sacramental violations and massive ethical violations of his duties. Instead just retired him with a letter of thanks for "his years of service" no less. He obviously remains unrepentant and refuses to accept responsibility for anything that he did. He's not interested to practice what he preached or act in a Christian manner. He remains a hypocrite through and through, not worthy of his title, pension, and benefits. A wolf among sheep until the end. Shameful!
Who is paying the utilities on this "Orphanage property" house? Is it the For-Met? If not, a simple way of ushering him out the door might be to have the electricity and water cut off. Declare it must be "Fumigated" (And it does!), so occupants must leave at once for, oh, two weeks. And change the locks. Lots of solutions out there. Think like people with an MDiv.
#20 ba'ab on 2010-03-25 13:30
I have never taken a position for or against you or this particular matter ma'am. I only have an objective viewpoint to offer.
There is something missing from the story. Motive.
Most murders have a clear motive.
I don't understand the motivation the murderer would have had that was the responsibility of others.
Suppose one of the monks said something bad about the victim, for an example. Well, rather than ending up tried for a bogus conspiracy charge, pleading the fifth would be a lot smarter. How many times have people said, 'I'd like to kill someone' when they are only just angry with them?
There are just some problems with assuming that pleading the fifth means they did something horrific and your story leaves that part out.
Now, on your side of the issue, for a man of the cloth to 'plead the fifth' certainly raises some questions about their role in motivating the murderer, but even to count that as valid means things are missing.
Following the advice of counsel in a secular world, eager to convict everyone, is not something I would condemn someone for... And, if there was something there worth penning, why didn't the prosecutor do it? Pleading the fifth doesn't proclude investigation.
(Editor's note: All your questions are dealt with in the book " Murder at Holy Cross" by Peter Davidson, including what the prosecutor believes...)
#21 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-03-25 17:18
We must not support sexual predators. Let this investigation begin.
Memory Eternal, Matushka Ellen Gvosdev.
#22 Elizabeth on 2010-03-26 02:22
People like Herman and Kondratick are the same people that relish having their hand and rings kissed at liturgy... by the very parishioners whom they are defrauding. Must be quite a kinky little power trip.
I know all the explanations that you are honoring the position, not the man. HOWEVER, I have contended for a long time that this sophistry and these vestiges of Byzantine regalia just feed these reprobate egos unnecessarily.
#23 Anon. on 2010-03-26 07:52
Dear Mr. Fall,
I am certainly not asking for you to take "a position for or against me". I am not running for any office as a candidate.
I am stating a factor. A woman, aspiring in the monastic order is taken advantage of and murdered. Fact.
I am very close t6o this situation becasue in the 1970's my Father George Gladky encouraged me to turn to the Miami area from an established monastery where I was living to
be part o fthe new missionary monastery movement that was developing with Francis Wenst now called Archmandrite Gregory.
The OCA wrote a report in which then then chancellor Robert Kondratick wrote, he was "NO WRONG", and accepted
this group called Holy Cross into the OCA while the groups was under investigation for Clergy Sexual Assault of the young man who turned his anger against the victim Sister Michelle Lewis.
These are fact.
You need not take any position in regards to me, You can do as the editor states and read the Book "Murder at Holy Cross".
#24 Matushka Carol on 2010-03-26 11:09
Yes, and the Metropolitan Council and OCA Bishops seem to like it that way. They want to appear, not to know'. This way "we don't know anything". They like that saying. None of the parties want to take responsibility for the lives they have damaged. Figures on a paper are only a partial trail to real trials which have been on going.
Over and over the bishops and administration will give support to people who commited crimes and felonies and have even had convictions in the civil court and all under the guise of some "monastic this or that" . But to victims of these abuses, "We don't know, or We don't know you or some such, aloof treatment.
It is sad, because the root and heart of the church will wither and die with this attitude. In heaven God will call those who were persecuted.
if they didn't get it right before, they all still have a chance. There is only life time, and the clock as Father Vasile Susan would say, is 11:55pm.
#25 Matushka Carol on 2010-03-26 16:37
Joyfully enter one's salvation? I know of martyrs that joyfully entered their salvation at the moment of their violent deaths.
Were +Herman to come to my house, I'd have some honest work for him to do, which would include babysitting my children and ton of laundry. After a few days, he'd be running to the nearest monastery, I assure you!
A bishop is supposed to be a monk, and should want, upon retirement, to be in a place of prayer and repentance. +Herman, instead, wants to continue living a fantasy. He would be lucky if he were put into a monastery for his own sake, because he won't put himself in one, as much as he should very much want to be among brother monks seeking salvation. That's the point.
He loves the world. Woe unto him!
#26 I don't get it. on 2010-03-26 21:20
IN THE EYES OF GOD! ALL THESE REPORTS HAVE NO VALUE !(SIC & SICT) ! NONE! AND IF YOU THINK THEY DO! YOUR HART IS IN MONEY AND POWER! GO AHEAD SPREAD MORE GOSSIP DURING LENT! ARE YOU PEOPLE CHRISTIAN? PLEASE DONT SAY YOUR ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS! HAVE A NICE EASTER!
#27 Anonymous on 2010-03-27 02:46
I have read the book, found it compelling and convincing, and called on the Synod (along with many others) to act on it accordingly. Result--silence and inaction! Disgraceful, indeed an immoral response if the facts are right as stated in the book. The role of Kondratick, +Herman and +Tikhon just adds a further unsavory dimension to this sexual abuse and murder scandal. Maybe Hollywood should make a film?
#28 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-03-27 07:27
Correction +Dimitri, NOT +Tikhon!
#29 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-03-27 07:30
You still don't get it. Firstly, I wrote: "...joyfully enters FOR one's salvation..," i.e., because that is the context in which one is called to work out one's salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Kindly do not ascribe to me things that I did not write and/or opinions I do not hold.
Secondly, the ideal of Bishops being taking from the ranks of monastics is, alas, more theoretical than actual; and it's long past time we (by which I mean not just the OCA but Orthodoxy worldwide) got honest about it. Tonsuring someone as a rasophore, without the usual monastic formation of a three-year novitiate, ordinarily does not produce much a monk; it produces somebody wearing a funny hat.
Now, I have no personal knowledge of Met. Herman's monastic formation; nor have I a clear enough insight into his soul to say definitively that he loves the world. (Haven't been paying much attention to the Prayer of St. Ephraim???) But in general it's safe to say that only those called by God to monastic life will want to actually want to live monastic life. And again, someone compelled, ordered or otherwise dragged unwillingly into a monastery, even "for their own sake," will be a completely disruptive and destructive force who can and will trash the life of the entire community. Such persons are not to be ensconced in monasteries; they are to be expelled from them.
Thirdly, you say that "after a few days" of "babysitting [your] children and a ton of laundry" Met. Herman would welcome being shipped to a monastery. Why? Because you think monastics don't have to worry about "real work." Well, who do you think does the dusting, vacuuming, floor washing, bathroom cleaning, cooking, baking, dish-washing, tailoring, laundry, ironing, sacristy work, and all the rest of the house-keeping, PLUS whatever work the monastery does to produce food and/or cash income (like, incense-making, candle-making, icon-writing, fish-farming, gardening, raising grain and/or oil seeds, raising chickens so as to sell eggs, diary farming, etc.)? What: do you think monastics just float ethereally from service to service, without ever getting their hands dirty? Wrong! And just FYI, in his monastic Rule St. Benedict says that it's only when monastics work with their hands (i.e., are self-supporting) that they're true monks.
So please! Stop talking about a life with which you have no real acquaintance, and stop making destructive suggestions for the disposal of superannuated Primates.
#30 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2010-03-28 03:49
I offer a cogent and decent and kind and compassionate response to gross mismanagement and abuse of episcopal power and you tell me to behave better during Lent?
Are you sure you intended to respond to my post?
#31 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-03-31 06:40
All of these criminals need to be prosecuted and sent to jail!
SHAME on the Holy Synod and the Met for just letting this
sit, instead of acting swiftly and surely. Their inaction signals
assent, not just complacency. We need somebody with the
fire of an Old Testament prophet to call them out on their
refusal to bring criminals to trial. God's time is fine, but
we need to see them punished in "our time".
#32 Pauline Costianes on 2010-04-09 09:08
Inaction by the Holy Synod makes one wonder why there is no movement in dealing with the criminals who's actions have undermined the OCA. Are they also guilty of having sticky fingers? If the OCA is to flourish again, trust must be restored today. Currently, panic prevails in individual parishes whenever there is any semblance of a questionable practice by clergy. The people simply do not trust those they should be looking up to.
#33 Anon on 2010-04-19 19:29
Get a life! most of the comments on this evil website dont even add up! its gossip! ask your self this question? how many new people has stokoes website brought into the church? the answer! NONE! how may people have left the church because of lies from this website! plenty! all the people that respond to this website including priest, how many new people did they bring into the orthodox church? the answer NONE! people make a choice! LOVE AND FORGIVNESS!
#34 Anonymous on 2010-04-26 05:29
WHen I was at St. T's back in the mid 90s, I had the same mental image of Saruman and Wormtongue. I thought I was the only one...
#35 Anonymous on 2010-10-02 15:18
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