Wednesday, September 20. 2006
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So far, to my knowledge, not one element of Deacon Wheeler's information has proven untrue or inaccurate (would the Editor please confirm this or correct me). If that is the case, then, yet again, we find our appointed leaders being disingenous. It is time to change those appointments. Stalling, delaying, obfuscating, lying, misdirecting, silencing, cajoling, intimidating, threatening, sloughing off, deflecting, and obscuring the truth simply cause the truth to shout more loudly. Give it up guys, the jig is up.
#1 Name withheld on 2006-09-20 16:48
With regard to the Metropolitan's call to "speak personally to someone first." This is of course, a Christian notion if the act and the exhortation are in good faith. However, in these circumstances it is an outrageous exhortation. As one who has and did at a time when this conspiracy was in its infancy, I can tell you that the only result of this pietistic exhortation is to further fuel the hidden agendas. I was silently skewered by the current officials for my actions, like Dcn. Wheeler was subsequently. I can only encourage those who are speaking out now to keep going and to not be fooled by this *false piety*. These admonitions only serve the perpetrators' desire to benefit from and hide their sins.
#2 Anonymous on 2006-09-20 19:50
Thank you for your perserverance.
I was praying today with this song.
It seems to have matched up with your part one
"When Egypt was in Israel land:
Let My people Go.
Oppressed so hard they could not stand.
Let My people go!!!
Way down in Egypt land.
Tell old Pharaoh,
"to let My people go!."
#3 Matushka Carol on 2006-09-20 22:53
Mark, I've noticed that many of the documents you post are trascriptions. Could you scan and post PDFs of the originals? This is important because somepeople have claimed that you are making up some of this stuff. Thanks.
#4 Matt Karnes of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco on 2006-09-21 00:55
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?” (I Cor 6:12)
The scandal which held sway for so long in the administration of the OCA has to date culminated in the year long revelation of the scandalous. It has certainly revealed the serious problems and weaknesses of a hierarchically dominated institution when the men at the top engage in wrong doing, cover up, stonewalling - and all of this occurring within the One True Church. When we read the letters of St. Paul, we realize that scandal has plagued Christianity from its earliest days, and the Christians of each generation had to deal with scandal. We are in such a time in the OCA and it is our turn to deal with our scandal. Some are hoping that the secular authorities will intervene and bring an end to our current agony. Even if such authorities do intervene it doesn’t relieve us of our duties and competencies to administer the Church. In First Corinthians Paul tells the Christians “Handle the scandal yourself. You are competent to do so. If you aren’t competent then you may as well suffer being efrauded rather than to turn to the civil authorities since you are defrauding each other anyway.” This is an ecclesial truth for us Orthodox. Either we are going to deal with the scandal in a Christian manner but also to restore order and holiness
to the Church or we should not complain and just accept being defrauded. The choice is ours. And we are competent to deal with it, even if we are loathsome to do so. Our unwillingness to forthrightly deal with the scandal will not excuse us on the Judgement Day no matter how long
we manage to avoid our crisis now. Dealing with the scandal means we speak the truth in love, but we speak it. It means that after those involved in the scandal or who benefitted from the scandalous behavior or who engaged in the coverup of wrongdoings have all repented or left the Church, that those of us left must strive for reconciliation with one another. These are not easy tasks - to speak the truth in love, but to do the truth, to work for the holiness of the Body of Christ, to bring about repentance (including our own), and then to bring about reconciliation because we have argued perhaps vehemently with one another over the truth. We as the people of God need to speak boldly to our leadership and to each other - acting in and expecting mutual
accountability and love. Holding one another to the exacting standards of Jesus Christ our Lord. We Orthodox pride ourselves on saying “we don’t compromise when it comes to truth.” The scandal we face is about truth. We cannot compromise on this issue, for the integrity of the Church and the truthfulness of our witness to the world is what this scandal is about. And this scandal is about leadership and what constitutes true Christian leadership. What we have
witnessed at the top is truly embarrassing. It is up to us to speak boldly about what is true, what is right, what is beautiful, what is good. None of these words can be used to describe what we currently have. So we have to struggle against what is wrong in order to bring about what is
right for the Church. We all share in this leadership - the priesthood of all believers.
#5 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2006-09-21 04:29
For the record, every document with my name attached to it that Mark has posted on ocanews.org is an exact copy of what I originally created.
#6 Eric A Wheeler on 2006-09-21 05:20
This is a PATHETIC interview!....
I was especially taken back, on question #12 of the interview, and he said there were times when he raised questions and that all was OK.
He also said that there was another wrong doing by the former Primate but it was never brought up. This seems like a little +Tihkonism, lets divert attention from ME.
He also picked up on the "cliche" he is not going to resign for the GOOD OF THE CHURCH. Many have "ASKED HIM TO RESIGN FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH". He has been a BISHOP for thirty years and the Metropolitan for three years, and he did not see wrong doing in the church. HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE THAT STATEMENT?
This reminds me of a
statement that President Clinton made, IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT IS "IS".
FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH THE METROPOLITAN SHOULD RESIGN!
It is simply a question of time, which I do not have. Secondly, the documents, especially letters, often contain references or discussions of personal matters not relevant to the scandal, which I summarize or edit out as needs be. I always indicate where I have done such.
While some may grouse in private about the authenticity of the documents I present, no one who has first hand knowledge of them has done so in public. Not Syosset, not Bishop Tikhon, not Bishop Nikolai, no one. Many have disagreed with my interpretation of the texts - but no one has offered any evidence that I have interpolated or altered the texts in any way (other than the edits I indicate) If I had you know they would be all over me in a minute.
With all best wishes,
#8 Editor on 2006-09-21 06:21
If Mark is distorting documents in any way, all the administration in Syossett has to do is to release PDFs of the original documents itself and prove what a lot of malicious nonsense this all is. They haven't done so, so I think we can assume that the texts we're reading are accurate.
#9 Anonymous on 2006-09-21 06:47
Where does SCOBA fit in this? Isn't there a big SCOBA gathering in two weeks in Chicago? Are they going to discuss the OCA situation at all? Don't all Orthodox Christians and especially all Orthodox bishops have a stake in the outcome of this?
#10 Symeon Jekel on 2006-09-21 07:09
Anonymity serves no one. Come forward with your claims for all to hear.
#11 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-09-21 08:21
I disagree. There are multiple reasons why people may wish to remain anonymous, some good some less so. In the case of OCANews, some are priests who fear repercussions from their Bishops who express opposing positions; some are lay people who fear opposing their priests for similar reasons. Some wish to remain anonymous because they wish what they say to be heard; rather than the focus become who said it. Others are just shy; and some want to just cause trouble. The latter I do not post.
Bishop Tikhon frequently - and yes, he is back on the internet - rails against anonymous posters. But anyone who has been savaged in one of his rants or by his constant ad hominen attacks understands why those with less thick skins may hesitate to reveal their names.
I continue to encourage everyone who can to sign their real names.
But I will continue to withold names upon request. What people say is more important that who says it.
With all best wishes,
#12 Editor on 2006-09-21 09:08
I'm spiritually exhausted from this scandal. I'm tired of talking about it with my fellow Orthodox Christians and then not petitioning my parish to take a stand. I'm tired of feeling reticent to point anyone in the direction of the Orthodox Church as the One True Church (at this time) for fear that they will be turned off by this situation. Many of us are thinking with one heart and one mind. We love our Orthodox faith, our Orthodox Church in America and our own parishes, but feel terrible about these events. We all have a vested interest in getting this matter resolved quickly and appropriately. We want to get on the path of healing and forgiveness and I'm sure that there are few - if any - who are seeking anything vengeful from trying to conclude this matter. I suggest that we need a few brave souls to push the envelope. I believe that we all have "standing" in a legal sense and if pursuing this from a civil perspective is the key to disclosure, then perhaps we need to do that. To be clear, this is not my preferred method. In an ideal situation, we would be able to handle this internally, but that isn't happening. I think the analogy is like taking off a very stubborn Band-Aid. It hurts when you pull if off quickly (forcing it's removal), but it's much worse if you try to pry it off very slowly. The result of the disclosure could be the foundation upon which we build better stewardship of our Church and its resources in the future.
#13 Jill P. on 2006-09-21 10:45
I JUST CAN'T IMAGINE THAT IN THIS DAY AND AGE WE ARE HEARING ABOUT A DEACON AND FATHER NAMED AS TREASURER OF THE OCA. WHY? IF THE OCA BUDGET RUNS IN THE MILLIONS, WHY IS THERE NOT SOMEONE WITH AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE HANDLING THE FINANCES? DEAR FATHERS YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS ARE JUST NOT CUTTING IT. WOULD YOU GO TO A TEACHER TO EXTRACT YOUR TOOTH? A TEACHER HAS TAKEN ANATOMY CLASSES, BUT WOULD YOU REALLY WANT SOMEONE OTHER THAN A DENTIST TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOUTH?
MOVE ON! LET'S PROFESSIONALIZE ON ALL LEVELS!
#14 Anonymous on 2006-09-21 11:45
The proportion of people, whether clergy or laity, who feel compelled to remain anonymous is, perhaps, a good measure of the confidence that people have that real change will happen or that the current administration is really committed to change things moving forward -- it's an inverse relationship: more anonymity indicates less confidence.
By that indication, confidence is running middling at best.
#15 Rebecca Matovic on 2006-09-21 14:27
Dear Deacon Eric,
Where did the ADM monies go? Who spent it? On what did they spend it? With that much "extra" money floating around, surely its use was plain to see. Can you shed any light here, or are you waiting to see what the PR audit reveals? However, it does not appear that the PR audit will be reaching back far enough to answer these questions. What is your perspective on the PR audit?
Finally, with all that ADM money floating around, why was there also the need to tap all those designated accounts? Were the spenders just living high?
#16 Anonymous on 2006-09-21 16:41
Well said Mark. Put me down as one of those who want to be judged by his words not his name. That is why I use a nom de plume.
#17 Sergei on 2006-09-21 22:04
Heretofore, I have carefully refrained from calling for the Metropolitan's resignation. Sadly, and perhaps inevitably, that time is past. Both his interview and Deacon Eric Wheeler's memo make clear that the Metropolitan is inextricably part of the problem. He deserved every chance to resolve the crisis, or at least get the ball meaningfully rolling.
For one, brief shining moment, it appeared that he might really want to do "the right thing." Unfortunately, scapegoating, be it Fr. Kondradick or the "former Primate," does not cut the mustard. Actions speak louder than words--even "pious words." The time has come for Metropolitan Herman to "take it like a man" and resign--for the good of the Church and his soul!
#18 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-09-22 05:21
If I knew where all the ADM money went, the OCA would probably not be spending six figures on an investigation. Because banks generally do not maintain records beyond 7 years, Proskauer Rose has not been able to locate the so-called discretionary accounts. Father Kondratick would most likely be able to explain where the money was spent, but I understand that he walked out of an interview with PR, with his lawyer, before it could begin. The invasion of the designated funds, through the petty cash distribution system, slowed down to a great extent during the Andreas Grant years, but seemed to have escalated once the grant dried up. It is my understanding that the audit of the designated funds from 2001-2005 could not be completed because of the lack of records for some $700,000 - $900,000 distributed in cash from these funds -- this amount includes over $100,000 from the 9/11 fund.
#19 Anonymous on 2006-09-22 07:08
Thank you Deacon Eric.
Following up... We don't have a big Church. We don't have that many staff and officers. Our activities are not that expansive. There are few secrets. How is it possible then for such large sums of monies to have been spent by the perpetrators without people noticing? This is baffling, unless the monies were spent on secret lives and/or secret projects? Given ADM's understandable business interests in Russia (and not the OCA as such), could these monies could have been being funneled to Russia? If so, why would ADM have bothered with the OCA and not just sent the monies directly without the OCA as a middle man?
Also, relative to Russia, could the aborted business to sell Russian crafts to Las Vegas casinos have been part of this use of the funds?
Finally, this alleged letter from Mr. Andreas authorizing a personal and private use of these ADM funds by the Metropolitan and Fr. Bob; is it legitimate? Did ADM intend to override the original specification (see scan of first page in this site's documents) for the use of funds? If so, what did you believe the implications of this shift in authorization were to the OCA's financial accountability? Were the Metropolitan and Fr. Bob informed of the tax implications to them personally if/when this letter appeared? How is it possible that Fr. Bob and the Metropolitan would ever accept such a directive outside their perview as officers of the Church?
#20 Anonymous on 2006-09-22 18:12
Dear Friends --
Protodeacon Eric Wheeler was misinformed about the dynamics of Fr Robert Kondratick's two meetings with Sarah Gold, a Proskauer attorney.
First, SG insisted that FrRK meet with Proskauer's people alone. I suggested to him that, since Met. Herman was represented by attorneys, so should he be -- lawyers being how they are. I also suggested that FrRK insist that a transcript or other recording of the meeting be made so as to make it verifiable afterwards. SG reluctantly agreed to these conditions.
FrRK and his attorney met with SG and her associate in the presence of a court stenographer, who asked if FrRK should be sworn in. SG said not to bother, since this wasn't a very important meeting. SG then lied about this to MH and to the Met. Council in her report, saying that FrRK refused to be sworn in.
And it was SG WHO WALKED OUT of that meeting and a second one, not FrRK and his attorney, who asked merely that SG provide the parameters of discussion so as to be better prepared for the meetings. SG has a short fuse and a bad temper, and lies to make herself look good.
Altogether, it's clear that the Proskauer firm, which specializes in **crimininal** defense, were employed by MH to protect HIM, not the OCA, and to do whatever it takes to make it appear that FrRK is responsible for everything -- whatever that is -- and also make it appear that MH is innocent of everything -- whatever
It's also painfully obvious that the Proskauer 'investigation' will accomplish nothing for the OCA, and be well over $100k richer in spite of it, billable hours at $695 each being what they are.
Nothing short of MH's leaving office, taking Fr Paul Kucynda with him, will be of help to the OCA now.
Peace and blessings to all.
#21 Monk James on 2006-09-23 06:07
The tragedy of our Church and this scandal is that it only manifests a greater illness, a cancer, in the depths of our community. People talk about their "Love" of the Church. May I suggest that we love one another as God loves us. If we do, then this tragedy would not exist. In today’s Gospel our Lord quotes the proverb, "Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country." Jesus exposes their unbelief. He warns them that their heritage alone will not save them.
Is not this our situation? Have we taken care of things in "our country?" Love is personal and it can not be institutional. Here is a situation that shows the depth of this cancer. In Johnstown, PA sits (literally, and that's on his good days) an OCA priest with MS. Every day he looses more and more control of bodily functions that most of us take for granted. His poor family is on the edge of total despair. Because of the expense of his disease they are so deep in debt that dear Matushka has to decide whether to buy food or pay the electric and soon there may not be enough for either because of the cost of medicine. How could we as a Church have abandoned one (and his family) that gave his life to its service. I have heard many say that "they" should have done this or that but may I suggest that at this point there would have been no preparation for this kind of situation. We each could be in their place tomorrow!
This is an instance of the kind of leadership I would have hoped for out of our church administration. In the initial stages of Fr. Michael Mihalick's illness there was assistance from Syosset. But this assistance became less and less as Father's involvement in his Church responsibilities diminished. I was told "we voted him his pension! What more can we do?" We are them! We are the Church! The local Church came to the rescue initially with additional assistance. But help and more importantly Love is not a one time deal. If we love as our Lord loves, than we should be willing to die on a cross for the beloved.
I don't suggest that for one minute we ignore the problems in Syosset but by allowing the civil authorities to take care of the "problem" is only a band aid on our cancer. As we progress through this mess please reflect on how and why we as Church are in this state. We will all stand together at the dread judgment and not be judged on what others did, not on what the authorities did, not on what the "National Church" did, but be judged on what we did or didn't do "for the least of His." The cross is the only surgery that will take care of this cancer. Are we really prepared for what it will take? The Lord is at your doorstep now!
Your brother in Christ, Gregory Uhrin
#22 Gregory Uhrin on 2006-09-23 08:30
Please let us know how we can help Fr. Michael Mihalick.
Please write at firstname.lastname@example.org
#23 Anastasia on 2006-09-24 21:55
Money can be sent directly to:
Fr. Michael Mihalick
323 Nees Avenue
Johnstown, PA 15904
or it can be routed through and made out to:
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
99 Sullivan Street
Claremont, NH 03743
In the Memo Line write: Mihalick Support
We can send you a receipt for tax purposes.
Also they have some very specific needs like a wheelchair van if a church or group would like to take up the effort.
Thank you and in His service,
#24 Anonymous on 2006-09-25 09:29
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