Friday, March 26. 2010
I encourage everyone to get a copy of the full report from the OCA at Report@OCA.org. For those content with a news summary, your comments are welcome.
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Metropolitan Herman had a very short tenure compared to Metropolitan Philip's UNCHECKED ESCAPADES.
What will the AOCANA find when ENGLEWOOD'S SKELETONS are laid bare for the world to see?
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
#1 anonymous on 2010-03-26 08:34
So as to not add any extra speculation, I believe the house that Met. Herman and Martin Paluch reside in was built as a duplex.
#2 Anonymous on 2010-03-26 11:12
The title says it all, "Episcopal Rule Run Amok." The actions of + Herman are that of an "Autocratic Bishop." And, solidified with the backing of the former Chancellor of the OCA, RSK. Didn't anyone remember that RSK was + Herman's hand-picked, fair-haired boy to be Chancellor? Is it any surprise that both of these individuals "misused" church funds and property as their own? Let the Church be aware! "Absolute power corrupts absolutely!" All the more reason when the laity hears, "Well, we are a hierarchical church." BE AWARE! Nothing should be done by any bishop or priest in secret or without proper authority. The laity MUST be involved with all operations of the Church and act in accordance with all the episcopacy and vice-versa. ATTENTION: Greeks; Antiochians; Serbs and all others!!!
#3 Anonymous on 2010-03-26 11:18
Lest it get lost among the details, let us contemplate this for a moment:
Metropolitan Herman left the monastery with over $1.5 million in debt, with monastery property mortgaged with an $13,000 per month payment, and a $1.1 million balloon payment due in 2014. This is a crushing financial burden for the monastics, interfering with the spiritual life and work of the monastery.
$13,000 per month? A balloon payment due in 4 years of $1.1 million?
Whether or not the goings on at St. Tikhon's can be deemed "criminal" in the legal sense of the word (a point that the report says can not be determined based on the investigation they were able to undertake), such gross mismanagement certainly can be deemed criminal in the looser, idiomatic sense in which the word is sometimes used.
This report (patiently, detail by detail, without embellishment or interpretation) paints a vivid and devastating portrait of the latter years of Met. Herman's tenure. But the seeds of the mess lie earlier, when he was actively, and apparently effectively, managing matters -- because even though things were in a sense working, the total control he had (without accountability, oversight, external advice or counsel) created the conditions for the utter failure of the later years.
The picture this report paints is very, very sad.
One lesson to take away is that when people and institutions acquiesce in leaders taking total, unaccountable, non-transparent control of finances and management decisions, the leaders exercising that control (which they themselves crave) put themselves in grave spiritual danger.
[on a more positive note -- the members of this committee should be commended on the care and thoroughness of their work. That it was undertaken, that it was executed well, that it was presented clearly, and that the report has been released publicly, all speak well of our prospects for a different and brighter future.]
Wishing all a profitable Holy Week and joyous Pascha,
#4 Rebecca Matovic on 2010-03-26 11:35
Bravo to the Investigative Committee. The real estate transactions alone are pretty mind boggling. For a monk with a white hat, metropolitan Joe "Herman" Swaiko sure got around to learning about all sorts of things: real estate, wine, jewelry, loans, etc. I know that he taught some classes at the seminary. I can only imagine what his seminary class roster would have looked like if he had told the truth:
Real Estate 101 - How to swindle old ladies out of their real estate holdings
Arts and Crafts 120 - How to make your own gold crosses for fun and profit
Finance 200 - Advanced loan manipulation
Payroll 220 - How to disguise payments to family members and friends as legitimate payroll expenses
Pastoral Theology 300 - How to run your own mafia-like empire under the guise that it's an Orthodox Christian monastery.
I guess we can at least say, that the books are now open and it appears that all things are being revealed.
Glory to Jesus Christ!
#5 Anon. on 2010-03-26 14:06
Yet another OCA SIC Report describing nefarious activity every bit as heinous as Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker. If we are supposed to have our theological act together, then how could such things have been allowed to happen for so long? It's back to the drawing board. We've got work to do. This is embarrassing and shameful. And to think I kissed these guy's rings and hands in liturgy many times. Disgusting.
#6 Anon. on 2010-03-26 14:12
Kudos to the OCA for making the report available to everyone upon request. I received a copy the next morning after I had e-mailed requesting it.
Who is Martin Paluch? Is it standard for a Metropolitan to have, as is written, a "long-time secretary, photographer and driver, with whom, as the Report will later discuss, the Metropolitan has long shared a house."
Why would the Metropolitan need a photographer? A driver? Why can't the Metropolitan drive?
It just sounds bizarre. Is Mr. Paluch employed by the OCA?
San Antonio, Texas
#7 Gregg on 2010-03-26 16:12
It is common, though not universal, for a bishop to have a driver. There are practical and canonical reasons for this.
Practically speaking, bishops tend to be older men who's vision and/or reflexes might not be up to the task; the good ones work very hard and when they are visiting their parishes often rest little and are likely to be too tired to drive safely; in America many bishops have vast territories to cover. Having a driver allows them to put those long car rides to good use, making phone calls, responding to correspondence, etc..
The 66th Apostolic canon states that if a clergy person kills someone by striking them a blow he must be deposed. St. Basil's 8th canon says that even unintentional killing is murder. Therefore the synthesis of the two canons, per the Rudder, is that if a bishop kills someone, even accidentally, he must be removed from office. Thus a bishop often provides himself, or is provided a driver by his diocese in order to avoid the tragic situation of vehicular manslaughter/homicide which would typically result in the deposition/retirement of said cleric and deprive the diocese of their chief shepherd.
I am afraid I can shed no light on the question of a photographer. It seems that the canons do not take such a personage into account. However, we do know that many bishops have had their portraits drawn. If therefore for reasons inscrutable to us it is in fact necessary for +Herman to have in his retinue a person responsible for capturing his visage, I propose two possible ways of rectifying the problem of the uncanonical photographer. 1. Mr Paluch be required, on penalty of excommunication, to immediately cease photo-taking and take up portrait painting. 2. If Mr. Paluch is, for lack of skill or obstinacy, unwilling to learn the God-pleasing art of portrait painting he must be replaced, at the expense of the OCA and/or Diocese of East PA, with a canonical portrait painter who will perdure in all faithfulness to represent the likeness of the retired Metropolitan.
I hope this helps,
#8 Deacon John Cox on 2010-03-26 19:02
Had Vladyka Job not reposed in December, I think this would have given him a heart attack.
I am physically sick after reading this.
How was this all done in secret, and nobody knew all this time what was going on in South Canaan??
I need to trust my instincts more. I was at a friend's ordination done by Swaiko+Klimitchev a few years ago, and their presence made me sick. Very bad vibe. No wonder. They did great evil over a long period of time and now exposed, they lie.
God help them!
Alex (not the Alex paid for the house)
#9 Alex on 2010-03-26 20:57
What part of these words don't you understand?
“A major area of concern at the outset was the suggestion of criminal activity. Our review did not find direct evidence of criminal activity. We were hindered by a system of shoddy record keeping that we identify within the report. The primary individuals involved, Metropolitan Herman and Archdeacon Klimitchev, offered plausibly sounding explanations for questionable or suspicious activities. In some instances, these explanations could neither be verified nor disproved. Therefore, we cannot make a conclusion regarding criminal activity. “
Do you and your commentators not realize that the rest of the STIC report is just an opinion? If you want to go further and be fair why not demand the name of the accuser and what each said? By the way who chose these witnesses? Where they asked questions that might have been asked of a potential jurior? Was it a kangaroo court? Oh and by the way, why did the several of the STIC committee members lie to one of the witnesses about the Attorney Generals Office (and that is on tape)? Surely you know. This all seems to me like a good case for a pro bono attorney. Thanks to MC and Stokoe and Co. for a massive lawsuit against the OCA, and I can't blame the defendants one bit!
( For further information see the 9th Commandment)
#10 Anonymous on 2010-03-27 03:14
Its Holy Week, I really didn't want to get into this, but two comments:
1). Thank you to Mark for staying on top of this story as always, and also thank you to Syosset staff (probably Greg Sulich, a St. Tik's alum) for responding so quickly to e-mail requests.
2). To me, one of the saddest aspects of this case is the many good and innocent individuals at St. Tikhon's who were duped by Met. Herman. Thank God Fr. Dahulich comes out looking like a defender or Truth. I truly feel for the many who have given so much of their lives to St. Tikhon's, only to see their talents and efforts abused by people they trusted.
#11 Fr. Stephen Mack on 2010-03-27 04:28
So, when will Metropolitan Herman and Archdeacon Klimitchev go before a spiritual court? Certainly "citing" them and kicking MH out of that house will not be the extent of the action taken.
And what about Archpriests Velencia and Karlgut in the Koumentakos matter? When will they face a spiritual court? Certainly the "apology" published by the OCA will not be the extent of the action taken.
When will the defrocked Kondratick cease being employed in an OCA parish?
Enough already. Enough talk. Time for meaningful action that communicates to all that the OCA will not condone this type of abuse of pastoral position and power. Deal with these rogue clergy members. It is disgusting and embarrassing.
#12 Anonymous on 2010-03-27 04:52
The report of the St. Tikhon Investigative Committee does not adequately address the harms done to monastics, seminarians, their families and children, professors and their families, local and elder abuse and all the wounds left unattended by the wolves who caught the innocents in their snares.
There is no note to follow up these gapping holes of human sufferings.
To sever ones consciousness and hold money above harm,
continues the tyranny of this frightful history.
The report should only be considered one step in a process of restoration.
#13 Matushka Carol on 2010-03-27 08:12
What was it that Christ said regarding impostors like these?
“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:12)
“Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:32)
A big thanks goes out to the Investigative Committee for doing such a thorough job of finding out what happened.
Truth is a powerful disinfectant!
The OCA must hold them ACCOUNTABLE for their actions. This was the Church's money and treasure they misappropriated and abused. Never again should we allow wolves like that to squander GOD's Talents and scatter HIS sheep.
I am in awe of the research and writing of the tregedy at St. Tikhon's. I pray that OCMC and the Antiochian Archdioces receive equally thorough research and revelation. Light needs to be shone in all the dark places.
#15 Anonymous on 2010-03-27 16:58
The oca doesn't pay rsk , get your facts straight !!
(Editor's note: He is employed by an OCA parish, and is qualified to participate in the OCA clergy pension plan. As my aunt says: "I'd hate to have live on the difference.")
#16 Anonymous on 2010-03-27 17:56
Dear Alex and everyone else posing the question: "How was this all done in secret, and nobody knew all this time what was going on in South Canaan??"
The fact is that pretty much EVERYONE with any affiliation to St T's knew very well what was going on in South Canaan -- but NO ONE was in a position to do anything about it.
Still, STIC report notwithstanding, what'll actually be done by those who're NOW in a position to do something? (I'm not holding my breath!)
In the spirit of Holy Week... "Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight... and unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless!"
#17 one among many on 2010-03-27 19:50
In reply to #1 - well stated. Only the Lord knows how much Met. Philip has distributed as he wishes. He is a grand charmer, all aree. His Order (of St Ignatius) has has 25% not keep up with annual dues. Economy situation! More like lack of a true external audit. Meeting in L.A. the "Order" Board did'nt have a quorum. Met Jonah has met 3 times with Met P. and we pray doesn't absorb, ever, his manipulative dealings like unto Met Herman. Sad state for the Church in N. America.
#18 Anonymous on 2010-03-27 20:27
If no action is taken against Herman and Klimatchev after such a thorough investigation,then all is wasted. There must be action taken in some way,shape or form. What was done was criminal and immoral. And of course,sinful. The faithful are waiting and waiting for SOMETHING TO BE DONE to Kondratick,Herman and Klimatchev. SOMETHING!!!
#19 anon on 2010-03-28 13:02
(1 Peter 4:12-19)
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
"If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
"Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
"AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? [emphasis in original]
"Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right."
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are being tested daily.
When laity or clergy lose their grip and fall off the ladder of divine ascent, continue to be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves, lest the distraction of them cause you to lose your own grip.
I'm not saying Mark should stop or we should ignore, just that we remember that all of us have gone astray, and what these guys have done should scare us back to repentance and the fear of God.
#20 Anonymous on 2010-03-28 18:34
I understand the need for a driver. What I don't understand is written undertakings providing for this person's housing, apparently for life. Ditto the archdeacon. Why do these people all get houses? Isn't a $300K house in rural PA a pretty nice house? Aren't at least a couple of these guys monks? Nobody's saying they should be made to live in a slum, but this is pretty lavish for people who have vowed to follow Christ's example of poverty.
#21 Morton on 2010-03-29 13:26
Why is this corruption different than any other Othodox Archdiocese? At least St. T.'s corruption is now exposed. The Antiochians have successfully been able to stop information from getting out to the people.
(Editor's note: Clever. First night of Passover. I get it. )
#22 weary on 2010-03-30 05:24
Let's forget criminality and suppose for a short minute that Metropolitan Herman and then Father Kondratick really thought the OCA was underfunded with the head tax.
The simplest solution would be for them to go out and borrow money. If that borrowing bordered on illegal because they weren't supposed to be the borrowers, that is a simple white collar type of crime. From the likely perspective of Metropolitan Herman, he was doing the right thing or had been convinced so.
I say the timing of the report release during Lent should give all of us the likely solution to the problem.
But I ask for only one thing more from the Synod.
The solution will be to forgive then Metropolitan Herman for his actions and it will be tough.
The request I have for them is to put something in place to protect the clergy and laity from this type of abuse in the future. That is when Bishops and high priests behave on the fringes of their power, make it possible to stop it.
The Metropolitan not as a lifelong appointment would be a solution. I'm not advocating for it, but it is a solution of many to stop this type of sheer madness.
Otherwise, you can all just sit back and blame evil Joe. Not me.
#23 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-03-31 06:55
Weary, writes that St. T's corruption has been exposed while the Antiochians continue to stonewall and conceal their misdeeds.
Need we be reminded that Bishop Antoun # 1 Assistant to Met. Philip is even now continuing to look into and uncovering and then disseminating to the faitful his findings on.....some stuff?
No stone will be left unturned in his relentless and dogged pursuit of truth, justice and complete moral and financial accountability.
We must realize that these sorts of things to be done properly take patience and time...and time...and some more time.
While none of us may be around to read the final report or findings chances are, our grandchildren's children will be fully informed.
#24 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-04-01 08:47
I didn't think I could be more sickened by the lying and stealing going on in the OCA. But after reading this I am.
WHY AREN'T THEODOSIUS, HERMAN, KONDRATICK AND NOW
KLIMATCHEV BEING TAKEN TO COURT?? Why are they being
allowed to go on and live their lives as free men. That's the part that makes me sickest of all!!!
They are swindlers, thieves and larcenists. Where is Met Jonah in all this? Great speech on his election, but no follow-up!!!
These guys need to be prosecuted for their crimes and do
some serious jail time.
#25 Pauline Costianes on 2010-04-09 09:01
Somewhere in the back of my mind is the possible truth that the former Met. Herman has a business management degree of some sort and that he ran his own company before becoming a monk.. If in fact I remember this as truth, can anyone verify this? The larger question is: "If this is true, then what former Met. Herman did at St. Tikhon's he did with full awareness and knowledge." Changes the slant of discovery from "oooops" to "gotcha!", IMHO
#26 Cynthia Bodnar on 2010-04-09 10:55
Sadly more skeletons than we even know about now will be found. MP continues to divide and destroy the Archdiocese, and each time he does, we receive clarity - that he cares nothing for any of us. We must rise up and take back what God intended for all of us to protect and defend. I think the OCA is thoroughly digging into all aspects of their own tragedy, and that is the only way to get to all of the truth and all of the lies so that order can be fully restored. God bless and protect the OCA.
You are so right. The Inner Circle is keeping everything hush hush, and probably they are being paid to do so. How is it that a Hierarch expects and insists that people do his dirty work in the church? As we have seen, no one should have that absolute power, control, authority and access to the funds. It's too much temptation for any of them, and once they start, it's an addiction that they can't seem to overcome. Time to start posting folks. Lent is over, Pascha has come to us, and we can no longer be silent. Spread the word about any little detail you know about anyone. The more skeletons we can reveal, maybe progress will begin.
Could the reason nothing has happened is because there are so many compromised clergy and laity on the edges of these scandals who have been secretly threatened with exposure if they support prosecution?
Perhaps the OCA should bring Qui Tam actions against these individuals. If not the Trustees of the OCA as a 501(c)(3) entity, then a class action suit among members. The laity are not without options. There is certainly enough public evidence to warrant the claims.
#29 Anon. on 2010-04-18 09:21
Look you dummies! All that is stated on this website is gossip! No facts! All of these reports are a joke! Do you think god needs a report? What a waste of time! Lets see what happens at the end of this month. When rsk trial begins! I'm sure stokoe and company will bring up lies and gosip! But remember in a courtroom b.s doesn't count! all these reports wont amount to a hill of beans! Sorry mark! This case will not be dismissed! ....
#30 Anonymous on 2010-04-20 13:18
"Do you think god needs a report?" This is a laughable assertion. RSK was the master of sidelining all issues in committees and studies and reports. This is the pot calling the kettle black. Fellow anon., your trust in lack of "courtroom b.s" is equally laughable; our courts are overrun with masters of b.s., they're called unscrupulous attorneys who clog our judicial system with wasteful "motion practice" meant only to tire the resolve of the opponent and lay in wait like vultures for a procedural slip up. We can only pray that truth will find a way and that our attorneys will persevere and sweat the details in pursuit of justice. RSK stole from widows and orphans in the name of Christ. We must stand for the rights of the disenfranchised and against abuse of power and responsibility.
#31 Anon. on 2010-04-20 20:34
I agree a class action suit should take place. This would help to rally all those who have been hurt and suffered losses of one kind or another family, health, livelihood, salaries, sexual abuse, which those mentioned in the financial wrongdoings devised some route of direct harm to indiviuals too preconditioned to accept some form of martyrdom than to speak up. The class action suit would be the priming of the pump and the waterfall could follow for additional cases.
#32 Anonymous on 2010-04-20 22:18
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