Thursday, February 24. 2011
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FIRE HOSNI JONAH
The last adult in Syosset must be saved!
#1 the whale on 2011-02-24 14:18
The ability and willingness of an officer of the church to offer honest criticism of the Metropolitan in an appropriate, confidential venue is proof of true loyalty, not disloyalty.
I'm not going to engage in quips and jibes at the expense of the Metropolitan. What we need is a functioning church administration in which the officers, the Metropolitan Council, the Holy Synod, and the Metropolitan balance and check one another -- bringing different skills and perspectives to the table, and keeping each other honest. Sometimes that means criticism. Always that means that one part of the whole can't simply have its way without cooperation and discussion.
Such balancing (even to the point of conflict) is a symptom of moving in the direction of good health.
We've seen what happens when everyone just agrees and looks the other way if there's the potential for conflict, and it's both ugly and dangerous.
Just as I have repeatedly argued that the failure of certain members of the earlier administration to confront or complain speaks to their unfitness for further service in the administration (if they knew, they were either complicity or inappropriately silent; if they didn't know, they're unobservant and incompetent), so Fr. Alexander's willingness to confront and criticize speaks positively to his fitness for service as Chancellor.
(anyone got a spare copy of King Lear to share with some of our hierarchy for some thought-provoking Lenten reading?)
(Editor's note: The report was neither engendered nor written by Fr. Garklavs, but by the entire committee. So to suggest Fr. A was confrontive or criticized is not fully accurate. He was simply fufilling his responsibility as a member of an Advisory Panel. The report was also signed by Fr. Tosi, the Secretary of the OCA, who is also a member of the Panel.)
#2 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-02-24 15:03
As someone who worked very closely with Fr. Alexander Garklavs for two years, I have to say that his integrity and loyalty to the OCA are unquestionable. We did not agree on a number of issues but it was always a healthy disagreement. I for one would much rather work next to someone with integrity than almost anything else.
I read an interesting article recently where the author equated employees of an organization to either dogs or cats. The author said that dogs are loyal to their masters, but cats are loyal to their homes. In this case, it is better to be loyal to the house (the OCA) than to the master, the metropolitan.
I hope and pray that His Beatitude will see the constructive criticism comments from Fr. Garklavs and others as positive and not throw the baby out with the bathwater simply because he doesn't like the message.
(Editor's note: The author is the former Treasurer of the OCA.)
#3 Fr. Michael Tassos on 2011-02-24 15:55
Re: editor's note ... in that case, all the more reason that he shouldn't be pressured or pushed out. We need a lot more people "simply fulfilling their responsibility", and a lot less treating everything as a personal or a question of personal loyalty.
#4 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-02-24 17:11
Another faux pas by + Jonah! Jonah, Jonah, Jonah; when will it end? Fr. Garclavs is just EXCELLENT! He's not going anywhere. However, again and again you have pulled stuff that no one in the OCA wants. Please, just resign and make things easy for everyone!
#5 Anonymous on 2011-02-24 18:11
Regarding the ROC: when will people learn that the ROC has become nothing more than a "political arm" of the corrupt Putin govt. Why is that so hard for people to see? Why would the OCA really want to get closer to more corruption on a larger scale?
#6 Anonymous on 2011-02-24 18:16
This from BT:
Metropolitan Jonah, First Hierarch of the OCA has been given the "Bishop
Nikolai' treatment------mandatory leave of absence. Archbishop Nathaniel Popp
has been named to temporarily filll the spot of First Hierarch. Bishop
Melchizedek has been named as Chancellor, replacing the Archpriest, Alexander
#7 Anonymous on 2011-02-24 20:32
There were a couple of things in the Russian news bit I thought were really funny:
"The group has appealed to the local branch of the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use, but was told that "no forest had ever grown on the location," Shevchenko said."
The Kremlin's Khrekov said an environmental inspector checks the site every month to "count all the pines, firs and cedars."
I guess the old Soviet sillyness dies hard. LOL
#8 Dan on 2011-02-24 20:35
Mubarak and Qaddafi remind me a lot of Metropolitans Philip and Herman -- and increasingly, so does Metropolitan Jonah.
#9 Nilus on 2011-02-24 20:45
A certain retired OCA bishop has posted online that +Jonah has been placed on mandatory leave of absence and +Nathaniel is temporarily filling in, with +Melchizadek replacing Fr. Garclavs. I presume that the Synod will be addressing this in their press release.
Any thoughts on the OCA being administered by a bishop who seems to be negotiating his own diocese out of the OCA?
Subdeacon Steven Owens
#10 Subdeacon Steven Owens on 2011-02-24 21:46
More to the point - just why did +Jonah think he had the prerogative to fire Fr Garklavs? Has the Metropolitan not read/understtod the statutes/bylaws, or not understand the 'separation of powers' that they enshrine pro bono ecclesiae?
#11 Anthony on 2011-02-25 06:04
I got all the King Lear you need, Rebecca!
Here's a dumbed-down version for the terminally lazy: http://nfs.sparknotes.com/lear
#12 Cordelia on 2011-02-25 08:36
Fiduciaries bear two main responsibilities or duties: the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. These duties are incumbent upon the entire "governance body" of the OCA, which includes the Holy Synod, the Officers of the OCA, and the Metropolitan Council, by law.
In an attempt to ensure that all members of the governance body understand and will conform to their fiduciary responsibilities, an annual re-affirmation of our Best Practices is required in writing of each member. This includes not only promising to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards--exceeding those imposed by law--but also guaranteeing that there is to be NO RETALIATION--including attempts to dismiss-- against any member for reporting a violation of the same.
As "governance body" the fiduciary duty of the Holy Synod, the Officers of the OCA, and the Metropolitan Council, is one of loyalty to the body corporate, not to one individual over another at the expense of doing its legal and moral duty.
Please see Best Practices at the OCA website, especially Section F: Whistleblower Policy, Paragraphs 1,2,3.
There is no mention of "disloyalty" to the Metropolitan as an actionable offence. However, there is reference (F:3) to the penalties possible in case there is an attempt to retaliate against any one whose personal integrity means that he has taken seriously what he has signed annually.
Fr John Reeves
#13 Fr John Reeves on 2011-02-25 08:46
Fr. Garklavs should be commended for doing his job ethically and responsibly. God bless him for standing firm and speaking the truth. I cannot believe that after all that has happened in the OCA in the last few years, we still have individuals in positions of authority who still don't get it.
I found that rather surprising as well given his openness to submitting to Bucharest and his past comments about submitting to Constantinople. We shouldn't be close to Moscow, but Constantinople's okay? Lord have mercy...
#15 Anonymous on 2011-02-25 12:33
(these opinions are my own, and not those of the Audit Committee of the OCA which I chair)
Father, bless. Your comments are right on target. The fiduciary responsibility is to the whole, not the leadership.
I would say, however, that using the term "Best Practices" can be misleading. The way the term is currently used in the business world is one in which the organization benchmarks its processes against the processes of other, similarly situated, organizations.
I rather believe our current statement to be one of "minimum requirements" or "minimum ethics". If we truly desire "Best Practices", then we need to conform to a modified version of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability statement. I would recommend the website: http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Standards for further elaboration.
Again, Father John, right on target.
I hope and pray that the OCA can identify someone with a record of humility, service, and pastoral care, who will not be caught up in the political and financial cares of Church Administration, to be (or become) Metropolitan. Someone who shares the character and integrity of Fr. Alexander Garklavs.
Dn. Marty Watt
#16 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-02-25 12:46
I've got an idea, why don't you elect Bishop Tikhon metropolitan, since apparently he already takes it upon himself to issue Syosset's press releases for them? That way the whole "TOCA" will still be united, united in one handbasket.
Instead of dividing Metropolitan Jonah's vestments among you and casting lots for his klobuk, you honorable men should consider a really wacky idea during the Met.'s retreat: praying for him!
Metropolitan Jonah may not be the best administrator in the world, but he's still our metropolitan. Pray that he finds his conscience and comes back a better leader. Just saying his name when it's called for during services doesn't count.
#17 Cordelia on 2011-02-25 15:31
Quite right - but at least we're moving toward being able to use the singular rather than the plural for those that do not get it!
#18 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-02-25 17:21
I use the term Best Practices because that is the nomenclature we have given them. And that is how they are to be found on the OCA website, under Best Practices Policy.
I do hope all readers of this site will take the time to view this document and reflect on how each member of the Synod, every officer and each Metropolitan Council member has vowed annually to abide by the same. Then, let a God-informed conscience be one's guide.
Of course, there can always be better practices. And indeed, Evangelical Christians do seem to aspire to higher ones than have we. That is sad.
#19 Fr John Reevs on 2011-02-25 18:47
O Lord save your people from our leadership.
#20 MWP on 2011-02-26 09:22
What a disappointment to hear of the dismissal of Chancellor Fr. Alexander Garklavs, which we will hear more about when I suspect the Metropolitan Council will launch an inquiry into the circumstances of his departure.
I met Fr. Alexander when, as a nearby parish priest, he agreed to confess me in the middle of the financial scandal, as I wasnít too popular among the clergy in my then-home of St. Sergius Chapel at the Syosset Chancery. No doubt confessing me was a risk to him in a secure parish that could pay for and house a full-time priest and his family.
Fr. Alex and the other officers of the church have struggled for feedback from our current Metropolitan. Iíve seen it first-hand since early in + Jonahís tenure. At a Metropolitan Council meeting Iíd asked +Jonah to consider communicating with his Chancery staff for more than an hour a week for the essential functioning and benefit of the church. He rejected it and a couple of fellow bishops supported him - then. Essentially cutting your staff loose to fend for themselves hurts us all and undermines the obligations of leadership.
Along with former Treasurer Fr. Michael Tasos, Iíve disagreed with Fr. Garklavs on some issues, but NO ONE would ever doubt his loyalty to putting what he believed to be the best interests of the OCA first. Nor would I imagine that he would promote his own career to follow the whims of any superior.
As it stands now the new Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer are going to try to function with acting administrator Archbishop Nathaniel who I donít recall even seeing at the last All American Council - another story there indeed. We pray that heíll be more of an active participant.
In the meantime, pray that the OCA will find a worthy next role for Fr. Alexander - one with good support from his next boss.
(Editor's note: Mr. Kozey was the first whistleblower in the OCA - and was removed from his positions for so doing in the 1990's. He recently concluded a term on the Metropolitan Council from the Diocese of New York. )
#21 John Kozey on 2011-02-26 21:34
#22 Dn. Marty Watt on 2011-03-01 10:38
If Metropolitan Jonah hasn't been doing anything, what's he retreating from?
#23 Cordelia on 2011-03-01 17:38
It is hard to believe we are repeating the same mistakes. How did we get to this dark place? Our faith is being assaulted by the evil one. Before he just had his foot in the door, now he sits in the pew smiling. He has the world in his hands and now it is his wish to make us part of his world.
Asking an Abbot to leave his community to become a bishop was an obedience he did not chose, Bestowing on Vladyka the mantle of Metropolitan was an act of those voting at thehe All American Council. Was the bishop given a list of do and don'ts as head of our church?
Living in a monastery, in a secluded atmosphere, he knew little of the way of this world and the challenges of being an Orthodox Christian. Those who judge him will be judged themselves one day. How can we ever bring the Orthodox faith to those outside the church, when we set an example of dis unity.? It is easy to join the detractors and jump to conclusions. It is more difficult to form your own opinion ,based on facts you know to be true.
May your Lenten journey be fruitful and bring you closer to the Living God . Forgive me if I have offended you.
Lillian Melicharek Blome RN
St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian Cathedral
(Editor's note: Thank you for your words and concerns. I would only clear up one misstatement of fact. If you think monastics, or abbots, live in isolation from the world in the USA, you are misinformed. They all travel, widely, speaking these days; and all have internet access. I myself corresponded with Metropolitan Jonah while he was an Abbot by email before his ordination to the episcopacy. Our monasteries in this country, as in most in Europe, are not Mount Athos. So, one can attempt to explain and justify actions, well and good. But one can't use that excuse meaningfully.)
#24 Lillian M Blome on 2011-03-09 08:13
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