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Author Topic: OCA financial crisis coming to a head?  (Read 15396 times) Average Rating: 0
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cholmes
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« on: March 16, 2007, 11:50:16 AM »

I know there was a lengthy thread on the OCA's financial scandal, but that sort of drifted off course so I'm starting this one.  I, like many, have been following the scandal with much interest.  Seems that things are heating up considerably, as evidenced by the events at the most recent meeting of the Metropolitan Council - http://ocanews.org/news/HighDrama.html.

I get the feeling that how this report is handled by the Holy Synod will play a large part in determining the future of the OCA.  Am I reading too much into it?
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 01:16:37 PM »

I agree with you. Let's pray that the bishops have courage to follow the advice of the council.
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 01:19:15 PM »

3.16.07
Unhampered and Unobstructed

The Special Investigating Commission of the OCA Metropolitan Council must continue its work unhampered and unobstructed. The Commission must not only question Metropolitan Theodosius, Metropolitan Herman and Fr. Robert Kondratick about financial matters. It must question all of the church's hierarchs, all who worked at the OCA Chancery, and all leaders of church institutions, including seminaries and monasteries, since 1990. Its goal must not only be an accurate explanation of the financial malaise. It must also be the production of a comprehensive report with specific recommendations for concrete actions. Only in this way will the systemic sickness that caused our present scandal be properly diagnosed and effectively treated. For our present disease, disorder and dysfunction are not simply a matter of personal weakness, incompetence and sin. They are also the result of erroneous theological understandings and misguided practical policies about the nature and operation of Christ's Holy Church.

Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
Dean Emeritus
St. Vladimirís Orthodox Theological Seminary
Crestwood, New York

http://www.ocanews.org/reflections.html
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2007, 01:31:06 PM »

Quote
I get the feeling that how this report is handled by the Holy Synod will play a large part in determining the future of the OCA.  Am I reading too much into it?

I would think it would.  If I was a layperson in the OCA, I don't think I would drop another nickel in the coffers unless I felt like there was accountability for what has happened so it didn't again.

More generally speaking, my impression is the financial crisis has really revealed some deeper issues in the OCA.  Simply having the synod address this particular problem, doesn't make the others go away.  I am not particularly encouraged about the future of the OCA myself.
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2007, 05:34:01 PM »

I would think it would.  If I was a layperson in the OCA, I don't think I would drop another nickel in the coffers unless I felt like there was accountability for what has happened so it didn't again.

More generally speaking, my impression is the financial crisis has really revealed some deeper issues in the OCA.  Simply having the synod address this particular problem, doesn't make the others go away.  I am not particularly encouraged about the future of the OCA myself.

While this situation is indeed shameful and humbling, refraining from giving money to the Church is both un-Christian and not the answer... you are harming your own parish far more than sending a message to Syosset.  While it is a dark period in the history of the OCA, I have faith it will pass and the administration will end up being all the stronger when everything has settled.
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 09:29:44 PM »

I have faith it will pass and the administration will end up being all the stronger when everything has settled.
I agree. Also, addition of Fr. Alexander Garklavs and Fr. Andrew Jarmus to the upper leadership of OCA provide a lot of encouragement. Kevin Kovalycsik also appears to be well qualified and prepared for his new position.

I agree with you. Let's pray that the bishops have courage to follow the advice of the council.
That is a great summary!
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2007, 11:17:49 PM »

The current metropolitan must go. He is a mouse.

It is obvious that the kind of "chuchmen" (people for whom it is all about the institutional health of the denomination, regardless of faithfulness to doctrine, morals or ethics) I despised as a protestant are in power in the OCA. May Bishop Job and other true Christians gain leadership of the OCA.
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2007, 12:01:14 AM »

Quote
The current metropolitan must go. He is a mouse.

It is obvious that the kind of "chuchmen" (people for whom it is all about the institutional health of the denomination, regardless of faithfulness to doctrine, morals or ethics) I despised as a protestant are in power in the OCA. May Bishop Job and other true Christians gain leadership of the OCA.

Amen.

Archbishob Job is my bishop. We are proud of him for being such a beacon of light in these troubled times. I think that the OCA is squandering it's autocephalecy. Perhaps it would be better for the OCA to disolve and go back to the mother churches. Perhaps this is the only way to achieve an American Orthodox church??? Constantinople will never recognize the OCA.  I personally wish that my parish was part of the Antiochan church. The OCA scandal has caused many to become dishearted and synical of our leadership.
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2007, 02:42:37 PM »

While this situation is indeed shameful and humbling, refraining from giving money to the Church is both un-Christian and not the answer... you are harming your own parish far more than sending a message to Syosset.

I meant in the case of if the recommendations of the Metropolitan were followed and essentially the whole scandal was not dealt with.  I would not only stop contributing, I would look for another church at that point.

Quote
While it is a dark period in the history of the OCA, I have faith it will pass and the administration will end up being all the stronger when everything has settled.

Hopefully it will, but what will the OCA bring to Orthodoxy in America.  That to me is the real question.

It is obvious that there are many issues under the surface that this whole event has been bringing out.  I have read some things that I think are encouraging, but a number that I do not.
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2007, 06:25:08 AM »

I had a chance to meet the Metropolitan a few weeks ago when he came to our mission to celebrate its 10th anniversary. He seemed like a very nice man but was very unassuming. I think he may not have been strong enough to deal with the likes of others. Thats not to say he was a bad man just a weak one.

He also saved our mission from closing. Our last Priest tried to close it down for reasons still unknown. He looted the treasury and then claimed we were bankrupt. We appealed to Metropolitan Herman and he gave us money a new priest and allowed us to stay open.

While he may not be a perfect Metropolitan I believe he is a decent man who got caught up in this mess and was not strong enough to end it on his own. I pray he will retire on his own and not be kicked out. I think new leadership is needed but I would really hate to see Metropolitan Herman thrown out.m If it does come to that though he does need to go and Archbishop Job would be a wonderful Metropolitan. Bishop Tikhon (Mollard) would also make a wonderful Metropolitan. I've know him for a few years now.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2007, 08:18:35 AM »

I don't know how much of a shrinking violet he is.  While bishop of Eastern Pennsylvania in the early 80's he decreed that all parishes in the diocese that used the Julian Calendar had to drop it and go to the New Calendar.  It touched off a schism that sent a number of parishes to the ROCOR.
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2007, 05:05:07 PM »

Archbishob Job is my bishop. We are proud of him for being such a beacon of light in these troubled times. I think that the OCA is squandering it's autocephalecy. Perhaps it would be better for the OCA to disolve and go back to the mother churches. Perhaps this is the only way to achieve an American Orthodox church??? Constantinople will never recognize the OCA.  I personally wish that my parish was part of the Antiochan church. The OCA scandal has caused many to become dishearted and synical of our leadership.

From another Russian Orthodox, I'm glad of Archbishop Job as well - and consider him a true pastor of his flock. I think "squandering autocephaly" is a way to put it, but that was also handled poorly from the beginning as it was an autocephaly that did not include the rest of the Orthodox in America. I don't think dissolving OCA is the answer, however - rather, an accountability to the rest of the Church is needed. 'Going back to the mother churches' is only an answer if it does *not* include mere absorption back into the MP. No step backwards should be taken - however, a step *forward* could include a rapprochement with ROCOR maybe to include OCA participating in ROCOR's self-ruled status and also incorporating the MP parishes in North America (IIRC, the Canadian MP parishes were wanting to join OCA anyways?) Also, it is near time for the MP parishes to leave behind the 'dead end' that was left for them some thirty years ago. A unified OCA/ROCOR/ROCUSA presence would not only allow the preservation (and recovery) of the Russian Orthodox tradition, but overcome sins of bickering and fighting over generations. It would also be a step towards Orthodox unity. Just maybe it would be the next step in charity: as the reunification of the two Antiochian Archdioceses was, and now the ROCOR-MP reunion. That next step could even foresee an eventual reunion of GOA with AOA and JPUSA (by man's calculations, impossible - as the Russian and Antiochian situations had been considered in their times of separation), and the Bulgarians and Romanians in America reunited with each other. That is the dual call - not only to unity inside the Orthodox Church, but also to hold fast to the Orthodox faith. 
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2007, 07:25:01 PM »

From another Russian Orthodox, I'm glad of Archbishop Job as well - and consider him a true pastor of his flock. I think "squandering autocephaly" is a way to put it, but that was also handled poorly from the beginning as it was an autocephaly that did not include the rest of the Orthodox in America. I don't think dissolving OCA is the answer, however - rather, an accountability to the rest of the Church is needed. 'Going back to the mother churches' is only an answer if it does *not* include mere absorption back into the MP. No step backwards should be taken - however, a step *forward* could include a rapprochement with ROCOR maybe to include OCA participating in ROCOR's self-ruled status and also incorporating the MP parishes in North America (IIRC, the Canadian MP parishes were wanting to join OCA anyways?) Also, it is near time for the MP parishes to leave behind the 'dead end' that was left for them some thirty years ago. A unified OCA/ROCOR/ROCUSA presence would not only allow the preservation (and recovery) of the Russian Orthodox tradition, but overcome sins of bickering and fighting over generations. It would also be a step towards Orthodox unity. Just maybe it would be the next step in charity: as the reunification of the two Antiochian Archdioceses was, and now the ROCOR-MP reunion. That next step could even foresee an eventual reunion of GOA with AOA and JPUSA (by man's calculations, impossible - as the Russian and Antiochian situations had been considered in their times of separation), and the Bulgarians and Romanians in America reunited with each other. That is the dual call - not only to unity inside the Orthodox Church, but also to hold fast to the Orthodox faith. 

Aristibule,

While it is an interesting thought that OCA/ROCOR/MP could unite, I don't think the MP will allow a self-rule status of any of its churches in the western world with Russian populations. But many of the OCA parishes were never very Russian in character to begin with because they were of Carpatho-Russian heritage. However, many of those original parishes are now full of Orthodox Christians with no connections to any slavic roots. Plus, many more OCA parishes have been started by those who are new to Orthodoxy. Also, many Greek-Americans, Arab-Americans and others left their own archdioceses because they believe in an Orthodox Church that is open to all regardless of ethnicity. I am sure the Romanians and Bulgarians did not join the OCA in order to eventually be united with the MP otherwise they would have joined their own patriarchal churches. The rumor I have heard is that parishes under Bishop JOB wish to join with the Antiochians if the synod fails to do what it is suppose to do. But my hope is the synod will make the right decisions this week just like the Metropolitan council did after the layman, Gregory Nescott gave a very inspiring speech about the truth. I am a believer in the OCA's autocephalous status and I don't think they should give it up.  Having connections to a mother patriarchate is no guarantee there isn't corruption in the other jurisdictions. In fact, some of the mother patriarchates have their own corruption problems to deal with as we have witnessed with the Jerusalem patriarchate.
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2007, 08:33:51 PM »

Quote
While it is an interesting thought that OCA/ROCOR/MP could unite, I don't think the MP will allow a self-rule status of any of its churches in the western world with Russian populations.

Yet - ROCOR does and will continue to have self-rule status. That was never questioned in the negotiations, and is a fact of the agreement. ROCOR already has self-rule status in union with Moscow (formalised on May 17th, 2007). The OCA also does in fact still have a sizeable Russian contingent - not only of Russian Americans particularly in the West, but also most of the recent immigrants from the CIS. Interesting fact about the Carpatho-Rusyns: Jordanville was moved to America from its foundations in what was formerly Czechoslovakia - the St Job of Pochaev Brotherhood in Ladomirovo, Czechoslovakia. Much of ROCOR originally was from Carpatho-Rusyn origins. Met. LAURUS was born in Ladomirovo, Czechoslovakia. The Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic part of the OCA is mostly in the Midwest/Mid-Atlantic States. That the OCA is multi-cultural is true, but so is the MP, ROCOR, Antioch - even the Greeks. The 'Americanness' of OCA is not unique, nor even all that American (I'm old American since Jamestown - and don't recognize much 'Americaness' in the OCA. It looks Russian to me - even when I was around Fr. John Reeves or Fr. John Maxwell, it still looked and felt Russian. So - I wouldn't sell any of them short, nor give in to negative stereotypes of what folk think OCA, ROCOR, or anyone else is supposed to be.

RE: Multiculturalism in the Greek church - ever met any Aromanians? Many in America - speak a Latin language, purer Latin than Romanian without all the loan words from Slavic. They have unique musical, dance, dress and food traditions. Also the Pontic Greeks are different culture than Morean Greeks, or Cypriots, etc. And there are even Hellenic Orthodox Gypsies, Hellenic Orthodox *Turks*, and other cultures in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Antiochians have Arabs, Greeks, Arameans and others in the Old World. Many forget this - and particulary that the Russian tradition is multi-cultural in the extreme: embracing folk from East Asians, Central Asians, Siberians, Turkic peoples, Caucasian folks, East Slavs, Karelians/Finns, Altaic people, Tatars, and many more ethnicities.
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2007, 10:36:18 PM »

I think there are various reasons why Aristibule's scenario would not happen.  The ROCOR will remain self ruling, but their bishops will be confirmed by Moscow and their and their chrism will come from there.  I don't see how either they wouldn't give that up to link up with the OCA, or the OCA would have to reneg their claims to being autocephalous to go the other way.  There are also some sticky practical issues.  There are the parishes in Pennsylvania that left the OCA when the calendar change was forced on them by the current Metropolitan (then the bishop of Eastern PA).  There's also the fact that the OCA took a former ROCOR deacon and made him an Archbishop, the same former deacon who of course has wrote scathing attacks on one of the most prominent members of the ROCOR.

The MP has also shown no signs of interest to depart North America despite their statement that they would.  They have in fact expanded.  If anything happened to those parishes however, the likely scenario is they would go over to the ROCOR.

Lastly, based on things I've seen including some recently, there is still a strongly anti-traditionalist element in the OCA that I don't think would meld well with the ROCOR.
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2007, 06:05:38 AM »

I don't see the OCA joining with the MP/ROCOR anytime soon. I think it would be good for the OCA if it did but I just don't see it happening for the last reason Welkodox stated.

Quote
Lastly, based on things I've seen including some recently, there is still a strongly anti-traditionalist element in the OCA that I don't think would meld well with the ROCOR.

I think it more likely that they would join, as others have stated some parishes want to, the Antiochians. I don't want to see this happen. I stuck it out in the OCA this far but there needs to start being a light at the end of the tunnel. 
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2007, 07:50:21 AM »

The only jurisdiction I think they have a realistic chance of joining with right now is the AOA.  Given the number of times I have run across people in those churches talking about the "sin of jurisdictionalism" (including just the other day), and not the problem of there being multiple jurisdictions, I wish they would hurry up and do it instead of just throwing out statements like that.
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2007, 07:58:32 AM »

I agree with you. I think it is likely that AOA and the OCA will unite soon. For others I know and myself that would force us out of the OCA. To be honest I've been giving serious consideration to leaving the OCA. Between the financial scandal and other trends it may be time for me to go to the ROCOR.

The only jurisdiction I think they have a realistic chance of joining with right now is the AOA.  Given the number of times I have run across people in those churches talking about the "sin of jurisdictionalism" (including just the other day), and not the problem of there being multiple jurisdictions, I wish they would hurry up and do it instead of just throwing out statements like that.
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2007, 08:30:21 AM »

Well, there's still good people and good churches in the OCA.  I think if you like your parish that would be the most important thing.  Ultimately you should go wherever you are most comfortable.  The ROCOR certainly has a number of things going for it.

The OCA in my opinion has very poor leadership at the top, but that was my impression long before this whole mess broke out.  That more than anything else I think needs to change.
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2007, 08:48:03 AM »

The people in the Church I go to is what has kept me in the OCA for 8 years. They are great people and I would not leave them. I've also had the honor to meet some wonderful OCA Clergy and Monastics that have also kept me around. The fact that I will be moving soon is giving me the ability to leave the OCA. I have not decided yet if that is what I'm going to do. I want to see if this recent scandal allows the OCA to change its leadership and right its course. I pray for this to be! If not or they join with the AOA then it will be time for me to leave.

Well, there's still good people and good churches in the OCA.  I think if you like your parish that would be the most important thing.  Ultimately you should go wherever you are most comfortable.  The ROCOR certainly has a number of things going for it.

The OCA in my opinion has very poor leadership at the top, but that was my impression long before this whole mess broke out.  That more than anything else I think needs to change.
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2007, 11:00:43 PM »

I hope the OCA joins with the AOC. Many of us are likeminded in evangelizing Orthodoxy to America. Even though I am part of the OCA, it was through the AOC that I learned about the true faith and discovered that I don't have to become Greek, Russian, Romanian, ect... to be Orthodox. They are good at removing the cultural barriers that hinder many people from joining the church. I am American Orthodox.
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2007, 01:10:27 PM »

I hope the OCA joins with the AOC. Many of us are likeminded in evangelizing Orthodoxy to America. Even though I am part of the OCA, it was through the AOC that I learned about the true faith and discovered that I don't have to become Greek, Russian, Romanian, ect... to be Orthodox. They are good at removing the cultural barriers that hinder many people from joining the church. I am American Orthodox.

But we Antiochians do not have autocephaly yet. The OCA does. I really want to see the OCA survive and then after they have finished cleaning house, I hope in the near future the Antiochians can then unite with the OCA.
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2007, 03:09:23 PM »

I feel real sorry for the OCA and it's people that the problems that the OCA has, Had not been solved. As I have many friends in the OCA bot lay people and clergy, I pray that all the problems will be solved in good time. I for will pray for the OCA and all the people and Clergy.




I know there was a lengthy thread on the OCA's financial scandal, but that sort of drifted off course so I'm starting this one.  I, like many, have been following the scandal with much interest.  Seems that things are heating up considerably, as evidenced by the events at the most recent meeting of the Metropolitan Council - http://ocanews.org/news/HighDrama.html.

I get the feeling that how this report is handled by the Holy Synod will play a large part in determining the future of the OCA.  Am I reading too much into it?
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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2007, 04:02:21 PM »

I had actually never really read the information before, but today I read the summaries, the chronology and some current comments.  I have to say I am actually quite amazed at the scale of this, and they are in way more danger than I had believed.
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2007, 04:37:57 PM »

I had actually never really read the information before, but today I read the summaries, the chronology and some current comments.  I have to say I am actually quite amazed at the scale of this, and they are in way more danger than I had believed.

Even being in the OCA, I was ignorant of this whole sordid affair until around last December.  Imagine my shock and dismay!   Sad
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« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2007, 07:57:18 PM »

The people in the Church I go to is what has kept me in the OCA for 8 years. They are great people and I would not leave them. I've also had the honor to meet some wonderful OCA Clergy and Monastics that have also kept me around. The fact that I will be moving soon is giving me the ability to leave the OCA.

Thats one reason I love the Orthodox Church. You can leave a jurisdiction (in cases like this) if you feel it is not being run correctly, yet still be Orthodox in all aspects of life.
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« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2007, 08:16:58 PM »

Thats one reason I love the Orthodox Church. You can leave a jurisdiction (in cases like this) if you feel it is not being run correctly, yet still be Orthodox in all aspects of life.

But what would you do if you lived in an Orthodox country which only had one synod and corruption was destroying your church? We have Orthodox franchises in this country. One can pick and choose according to one's own desires. But in reality our divisions are illusionary. The OCA's problems effect all of us. We all belong to the same Body and we all drink from the same Eucharistic cup. Don't think for a second that the other jurisdictions are immune to the disease or do not already suffer from it but the symptoms are still well-hidden.
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« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2007, 08:23:58 PM »

Excerpt translated from a very old Greek cookbook I have which belonged to my Grandmother:
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TRADITIONAL METHOD FOR MAKING PROSFORO.
......
3) Sifting the Flour.
This involves at least three sieves of increasingly fine mesh to remove impurities and any chaff.
Place the flour into the first sieve held over a large bowl and repeatedly toss the sieve slightly until all the flour falls through to the bowl. Any chaff with be blown away, and larger impurities will remain in the sieve- throw these out and wash the sieve thoroughly, and allow it to dry in the sun.
Repeat this using the next smaller grade sieve, and again with the next until you have done so with the finest grade.
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« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2007, 10:04:28 PM »

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But what would you do if you lived in an Orthodox country which only had one synod and corruption was destroying your church? We have Orthodox franchises in this country. One can pick and choose according to one's own desires. But in reality our divisions are illusionary. The OCA's problems effect all of us. We all belong to the same Body and we all drink from the same Eucharistic cup. Don't think for a second that the other jurisdictions are immune to the disease or do not already suffer from it but the symptoms are still well-hidden.

Amen Tamara! The divisions are illusionary. I couldn't have worded it better myself. Some Orthodox have a schismatic attitude with their hostility towards other Orthodox bodies which is all really one body. When we practice division, anger, and siding up, we are practicing schisim. Jesus prayed to The Father that we would be as one just as Him and The Father are one.
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« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2007, 12:33:05 AM »

Can we get back to picking on the Antiochians?

Just kidding!  Kiss

In happier news, His Grace Bishop Benjamin was just elected Bishop of Los Angeles, San Francisco and the West for the OCA!  Axios!  Axios!  Axios!
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« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2007, 12:35:07 AM »

In happier news, His Grace Bishop Benjamin was just elected Bishop of Los Angeles, San Francisco and the West for the OCA!  Axios!  Axios!  Axios!

Axios! Axios! Axios! Great news! Thank you, Elisha.
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« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2007, 08:49:34 PM »

Axios to Bishop BENJAMIN and alleluia to the beginning of the clean-up! If the OCA continues on this path they will set a precedent for the other jurisdictions on how to end corruption at the highest levels. With the advent of the internet it will be much harder to hide problems from the laity. In other words, corruption can no longer be swept under the rug.

Holy Synod of Bishops issues archpastoral statement

Article posted: 3/22/2007 7:10 PM
SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] — The members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America issued an archpastoral statement to the clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Church at the conclusion of their spring session held at the Chancery here March 20-22, 2007.

The text of the statement reads as follows.

“To the Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

“Dearly Beloved in the Lord:

“For more than a year, the Church has been preoccupied with allegations of improper financial activities by employees of the Chancery. By now, most are aware that the accusations are focused on three general areas, that:

“1. The processes in place for administrative and financial controls were routinely circumvented;

“2. Monies designated to specific charities were diverted and used for other purposes; and

“3. Church money was used for personal purposes.

“It must be confessed that during early 2006, there were many of us who believed that the allegations were exaggerated, motivated by the personal animosity of the accusers, or that there were simple explanations to these ‘misunderstandings.’ In March of 2006, it became apparent to us that we were wrong in these beliefs, and that there was substance to at least some of the claims. In addition, we realized that we were not equipped to investigate these matters without professional assistance. We solicited recommendations of law firms that had impeccable reputations and expertise to assist us in the investigation, and Proskauer Rose was selected to look into the allegations on our behalf. Their role was simple in concept, though difficult in execution; the firm was to review the allegations, to determine which ones were supported by credible evidence, and to advise us on possible courses of action. Assisting Proskauer in this assignment was our auditing firm Lambrides, Lamos, Moulthrop LLP.

“The investigation consisted of interviewing chancery employees and former employees, collecting and reviewing tens of thousands of documents from a variety of sources, such as the OCA archives, bank records, personal records of the interviewees, and Church financial records. In October of 2006, a representative group of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council met with Sarah Gold (the partner at Proskauer conducting the investigation), to receive the presentation of her preliminary findings. The body of evidence that was presented was detailed and quite frankly, shocking. The confirmed instances of the abuse of Church trust were determined to be centered on one person, the former Chancellor of the Church.

“At its next meeting, the Holy Synod received a detailed summary of the Proskauer and Lambrides investigative work, and concluded that a joint meeting of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council would be appropriate, given the nature and scope of the breakdown of the financial systems. On December 14, 2006, Ms. Gold and Mr. Steve Lamos (named partner of the Lambrides firm), appeared before us to present and answer questions from the Joint Session. At its conclusion, a Special Investigative Committee was appointed to complete the report on the investigation and to provide its recommendations to the Metropolitan Council. On March 13, 2007, the Metropolitan Council heard the result of the considerable amount of work done by the Committee in compiling the outcome of the investigative work done by the respective firms, and received their detailed written report. The report presented reliable and verifiable evidence to support the allegations leveled against the former chancellor of the OCA. The Metropolitan Council voted unanimously to recommend the ‘Immediate suspension of Father Kondratick by his bishop.’ The complete report was submitted to the Holy Synod, and was presented by Archbishop Job and Bishop Benjamin.

“In a letter of March 18, 2007, Archbishop Dmitri forwarded a request by Protopresbyter Kondratick to appear before the Holy Synod to ‘... answer any questions we might have related to the current situation in The Orthodox Church In America.’ After a consultation among the bishops, we agreed to permit him to appear as requested. On March 20, 2007, Fr. Kondratick appeared before us, presented his statement, and answered questions relating to his time as Chancellor. After substantial deliberation in executive session, we concurred that the explanations provided were neither credible nor persuasive, and found ourselves in agreement with the recommendation of the Metropolitan Council.

“At the written request of His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri, and following consultation with the members of the Holy Synod, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman agreed to rescind the transfer of Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick to the Diocese of the South. Further actions appropriate under the circumstances will be initiated by Fr. Kondratick’s Bishop, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman.

“We know that strife and enmity have entered our lives during the course of this past year. Much has been said or written during this time that has added temptation, pain and suffering to so many. During these final days of Great Lent, we ask you to join us as your Archpastors. Let us stand together before our God of mercy, and beg His forgiveness for our sins, known and unknown. Let us re-enter His presence and the joy of His love and choose life, by following Him as the true and living way, our Companion, Guide, and Guardian during our earthly journey. As we celebrate Pascha and sing ‘Let God Arise,” may we accept the challenges contained in the text as we enter ever so deeply into the joy of His Kingdom.”

The statement was signed by Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, chairman; Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and the Bulgarian Archdiocese; Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South; Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest; Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada, secretary; Bishop Nikon of Boston, New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese; Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; Bishop Benjamin, Bishop-elect of San Francisco and the West; Bishop Alejo of Mexico City, Auxiliary to the Metropolitan; and Bishop Irineu of Dearborn Heights, Auxiliary to the Romanian Episcopate.

http://www.oca.org/NewsPrintable.asp?ID=1196
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« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2007, 10:42:12 PM »

I find it hard to believe Fr. Kondratick acted alone, or is the only one complicit in this given the scale and duration of the improprieties.  I also wonder if he is not cooperating, if this will move beyond an investigation by church authorities.  I would assume the IRS would be interested in looking in to this.
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« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2007, 10:08:06 AM »

I find it hard to believe Fr. Kondratick acted alone, or is the only one complicit in this given the scale and duration of the improprieties.  I also wonder if he is not cooperating, if this will move beyond an investigation by church authorities.  I would assume the IRS would be interested in looking in to this.

I don't believe he acted alone either.  I do not wish to commit libel, but I have heard multiple times that a lot of what went on can be directly traced to Metropolitan Theodosius.  I doubt, however, that anything will be investigated on that front.
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« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2007, 10:01:40 PM »

 Undecided
Now. . . if the OCA and the AOC do unite, I wonder what they will call the combined body.

The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in America Huh    Undecided
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« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2007, 10:17:05 PM »

Sheesh, reading OCAnews one day then reading it the next day this week things changed fast. If I were OCA my head would be spinning. The best solution would be for Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman to take the Great Schema (if they do not have it already) for when a bishop takes the Great Schema after he is already a bishop his episcopacy is wiped out and in this way they could retire in peace to do penance and make something good out of this situation.  Fr. Kondratick should be made to do penance and Bishop Nikon of Boston should be the Metropolitan. Just my opinion since I am not OCA (although I saw a lot of these people in action).
« Last Edit: March 25, 2007, 10:17:46 PM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2007, 02:33:30 AM »

I would like to see Archbishop Job, or Bishop Seraphim of Candada become Metropolitain. Preferably nobody who is currently apart of "the good old boys network".

I am really disappointed with our Metropolitian. I agree with Anastasios that both +Herman and +Theodosius should take the great schema. Is the Metropolitian oblivious to the fact that nearly everyone in the OCA thinks that he is corrupt?? Does he not have any shame?? I don't see how the OCA is going to survive.
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Troparion - Tone 1:
O Sebastian, spurning the assemblies of the wicked,You gathered the wise martyrs Who with you cast down the enemy; And standing worthily before the throne of God, You gladden those who cry to you:Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
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« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2007, 10:35:51 AM »

I have tried to keep my focus on Lent these past weeks, and to not worry too much about this scandal.  But after reading of Metropolitan Herman's most recent, mind-boggling actions, I fear that this may be the last Pascha I celebrate as a member of the OCA.  I have not yet made any decisions, but this is all just too much.  I know that no jurisdiction is perfect, but the audacity of those in charge of the OCA is stunning.
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« Reply #38 on: March 26, 2007, 11:42:13 AM »

I have tried to keep my focus on Lent these past weeks, and to not worry too much about this scandal.  But after reading of Metropolitan Herman's most recent, mind-boggling actions, I fear that this may be the last Pascha I celebrate as a member of the OCA.  I have not yet made any decisions, but this is all just too much.  I know that no jurisdiction is perfect, but the audacity of those in charge of the OCA is stunning.

I'm sorry, but all this talk such as your's and others sounds like those liberals that were determined to move to Canada after Bush got reelected.

Things such as, "O ye of little faith..." come to mind.  The Church has weathered FAR worse scandals then this, but members don't just change jurisdictions like shoes.  What - are you just "ashamed" at some actions so you want to leave?  By this same logic, there should have been some mass exodus in the AOA when that bishop had the incident in the casino or when Archbishop Iakovos was forced out or numerous other scandalous things that have happened through the years.

How about this - why don't all of you with these thoughts ask yourselves:  how has this actually affected you (or your parish) at the parish level?  I bet the answer is:  it hasn't affected you one iota.  The OCA hierarchy will move on and things will be fine.   Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2007, 11:57:42 AM »

While I am  not a member of the OCA jurisdiction.  I would dare to say that we have had hierarchs who have erred, sinned, and perhaps even embezzelled money in the History of the Church.  The Orthodox Church is greater than that, it is the true Church of Christ, and as such is above these petty situations.  Discipline who needs to be deisciplined that they may repent and be recnciled to the Church and get on with the  job of the Church, helping its members fiocus upon the Kingdom of God and how to enter it.

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« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2007, 03:13:09 PM »

How about this - why don't all of you with these thoughts ask yourselves:  how has this actually affected you (or your parish) at the parish level?  I bet the answer is:  it hasn't affected you one iota.  The OCA hierarchy will move on and things will be fine.   Smiley

Well for one thing, I stopped offering any money that might have to pass through Syosset.  That includes my yearly assessment. 

I'm not looking for perfection from Church leaders - I made that mistake before and shan't make it again.  But the acts committed by those in charge of the OCA threaten their own future existence.  I know it seems far-fetched, but I've read that one possible outcome of all this is that the OCA could lose its tax-exempt status.  I think that would affect not just my parish, but all OCA parishes.
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« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2007, 03:17:02 PM »

Axios to Bishop BENJAMIN and alleluia to the beginning of the clean-up! If the OCA continues on this path they will set a precedent for the other jurisdictions on how to end corruption at the highest levels. With the advent of the internet it will be much harder to hide problems from the laity. In other words, corruption can no longer be swept under the rug.

I hope you're staying up with ocanews.  Today it says the following:

Quote
• Herman Dismisses Nescott from Commission, Metropolitan Council
• Synod Has 'No Plans' To Release Special Commission's Report
• +Dmitri Now Refuses To Release Kondratick, Says Charges 'Unproven'

The OCA is reeling as the unbelievable news spreads via phone, fax, emails and text messages. Despite the carefully crafted and reassuring words of attorney Jim Perry which the Bishops put forth in their Archpastoral Statement, nothing has changed. The horrible truth is the culture of fear, half-truths and deception continues its reign in Syosset.

Does anyone know who "Nescott" is or why that's significant?

I'm also not seeing evidence of a clean up here.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2007, 03:17:41 PM by welkodox » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: March 26, 2007, 03:39:05 PM »

I hope you're staying up with ocanews.  Today it says the following:

Does anyone know who "Nescott" is or why that's significant?

I'm also not seeing evidence of a clean up here.

Gregg Nescott is (or rather, was) a member of the OCA's Metropolitan Council.  He was placed on the Special Commission tasked with getting to the bottom of this whole mess.  He is an attorney by trade, I believe.  His suspension/dismissal basically signals that Metropolitan Herman will do anything he can to quash the investigation.
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« Reply #43 on: March 26, 2007, 04:43:13 PM »

How about this - why don't all of you with these thoughts ask yourselves:  how has this actually affected you (or your parish) at the parish level?  I bet the answer is:  it hasn't affected you one iota.  The OCA hierarchy will move on and things will be fine.   Smiley

How about the fact that they stopped giving Missions in NY money for 3 years because they were broke? I think that it did effect us!
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« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2007, 04:55:14 PM »

I would be willing to bet giving is down across the jurisdiction.  I bet this is actually affecting everybody, and the money for missions drying up is just evidence of that.

The money being spent on the investigation and any legal issues that arise will affect everyone else as well.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2007, 04:57:33 PM by welkodox » Logged
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