Author Topic: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment  (Read 11419 times)

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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #90 on: October 25, 2018, 12:08:01 PM »
It's possible that they could be taking a while to think it over, discuss it, etc before they reply- it hasn't been that long. We're talking about administrators here. Not that I would hold my breath.
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Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #91 on: October 25, 2018, 12:47:40 PM »
Metropolitan Hilarion responded almost immediately, and told me that a complaint must be forwarded to Archbishop Gabriel, as it falls within Canadian jurisdiction. I am very, very concerned about that.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #92 on: October 25, 2018, 01:01:10 PM »
Had you already sent these e-mails before you posted here about it last Tuesday? I mean, you're exposing a very serious problem to busy people, it could take more than two days for them to come up with a reasonable answer.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 01:03:45 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #93 on: October 25, 2018, 01:40:42 PM »
Multiple emails to the Canadian hierarchy and the Eastern Diocese have been ignored. I have now emailed Metropolitan Hilarion directly. Very disappointing but not surprising.

You should not expect a quick reply.  Nothing against ROCOR in particular, most jurisdictions will simply not respond so quickly as you seem to want.  It’s not necessarily ignoring you, either.
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #94 on: October 25, 2018, 01:43:58 PM »
Metropolitan Hilarion responded almost immediately, and told me that a complaint must be forwarded to Archbishop Gabriel, as it falls within Canadian jurisdiction. I am very, very concerned about that.

He's not wrong.
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Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #95 on: November 11, 2018, 12:37:10 AM »
I stopped waffling and finally submitted the complaint. We'll wait and see.

I have also begun attending a local OCA parish. I emailed the priest and explained my story from start to finish. We met for coffee and spoke for several hours. It was a very constructive and comforting conversation. I felt that he effectively put into context why I never grew spiritually in my former parish, why my marriage failed and why I acted as I did. I felt very, very awkward attending church for the first time since all this happened, but he has been very supportive and assured me that I'm not beyond redemption and, for the first time since this nightmare started, I'm feeling some hope. I purchased some more icons and have actually started praying again. It's still a "one day at a time" kind of thing, but hopefully with some impending closure from my old priest and a promising path ahead, things will get better.

Offline JTLoganville

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #96 on: November 11, 2018, 12:51:04 AM »
Glory to Jesus Christ!

Offline hecma925

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #97 on: November 11, 2018, 12:54:23 AM »
Glory to Our God.  One day is all we have. 
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Offline FinnJames

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #98 on: November 11, 2018, 02:32:18 AM »
May your new church home be the home you need for growth and acceptance! So glad to hear your troubles are reaching a satisfactory ending.

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #99 on: November 11, 2018, 09:39:12 AM »
Slava Bogu! (Glory to God!)
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Offline IXOYE

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #100 on: November 11, 2018, 10:25:16 AM »
I stopped waffling and finally submitted the complaint. We'll wait and see.

I have also begun attending a local OCA parish. I emailed the priest and explained my story from start to finish. We met for coffee and spoke for several hours. It was a very constructive and comforting conversation. I felt that he effectively put into context why I never grew spiritually in my former parish, why my marriage failed and why I acted as I did. I felt very, very awkward attending church for the first time since all this happened, but he has been very supportive and assured me that I'm not beyond redemption and, for the first time since this nightmare started, I'm feeling some hope. I purchased some more icons and have actually started praying again. It's still a "one day at a time" kind of thing, but hopefully with some impending closure from my old priest and a promising path ahead, things will get better.

Sounds like good news with a fresh start at a new parish.  Hope all goes well for you, Saxon!  God bless!

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #101 on: November 11, 2018, 06:10:28 PM »
Praise God. 
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #102 on: November 12, 2018, 01:50:01 PM »
Saxon:
    The posters have given good advice, but the forum can only go so far.  I hope you find a live person/persons who can help you with this.  You have been through some serious stuff.

Thanks, everyone has been very helpful and supportive and I greatly appreciate it. I'm in the system now and waiting to see where my inquiries go within ROCOR. I'm also readying a physical letter with printouts of screenshots of conversations with the priest and his family admitting the assault which I'll mail to Metropolitan Hilarion. I'll post updates if anything happens.

Have you reported this to the police?  I feel like you should have done that when he gave you the concussion, and hired a lawyer.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #103 on: November 12, 2018, 02:08:46 PM »
Saxon:
    The posters have given good advice, but the forum can only go so far.  I hope you find a live person/persons who can help you with this.  You have been through some serious stuff.

Thanks, everyone has been very helpful and supportive and I greatly appreciate it. I'm in the system now and waiting to see where my inquiries go within ROCOR. I'm also readying a physical letter with printouts of screenshots of conversations with the priest and his family admitting the assault which I'll mail to Metropolitan Hilarion. I'll post updates if anything happens.

Have you reported this to the police?  I feel like you should have done that when he gave you the concussion, and hired a lawyer.

I didn't go to the police as his primary job is as a carpenter and criminal charges would result in the loss of that, and as much as I've finished any association with him and his family, I would feel sorry for his wife and children as I know they're not financially well-off. That, and at the time I was still trying to make my marriage work, and had I even complained about him to the church hierarchy my wife would have left. The sticking point for me is that this and other behaviour I witnessed from him is horribly unacceptable for the leader of a church community. I received a rather encouraging email from the Archbishop this morning, stating that the incident was unacceptable and that a meeting is being called.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #104 on: November 12, 2018, 02:10:38 PM »
That's good to hear.
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Offline Sethrak

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #105 on: November 12, 2018, 09:41:47 PM »
Saxon ~ this is a terrible turn of events ~ I truly feel your pain and frustration ~ I have reread your posts ~ you've been put in an very bad position with no help or understanding given but instead it sounds like openly hindered ~ how alone you must feel ~ I feel with you ```

May Our God come to your side and strengthen you in this road and trial ```

I will ask the Lord right now in prayer to aid you brother ```
Իմաստութիւն Հոր Յիսուս՝ տո՝ւր մեզ իաստուփին՝ զբարիս խորհել եւ խոսել եւ գործել առաջի Քո յամենայն ժամ : եւ ի չար խորհրդոց ի բանից եւ ի գործոց   փրկեա  զմեզ՝ ամէն:
Jesus, Wisdom of the Father, give us wisdom, to think, speak and do what is Good before you at all times. And save us from evil thoughts, words and deed, amen.

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #106 on: November 26, 2018, 04:13:36 PM »
Apparently he received a telling off and nothing more. Although apparently it was sufficient for the rest of his family to block me on Facebook. The parish hosted a miracle-working icon this past weekend with the priest front-and-centre. Prayers for that parish, I suppose.

Offline Agabus

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #107 on: November 26, 2018, 04:34:24 PM »
Apparently he received a telling off and nothing more. Although apparently it was sufficient for the rest of his family to block me on Facebook. The parish hosted a miracle-working icon this past weekend with the priest front-and-centre. Prayers for that parish, I suppose.

Remember, even if you didn't get a desired outcome, you're a report in the log. If there is another victim to come forward, it will be noted that it isn't the first complaint.
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Offline Sethrak

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #108 on: November 26, 2018, 04:40:00 PM »
This is such a rotten thing to have happened ~ the parish of course has never been on the end of that club this abush (fool) pretend priest ~ and see him as a man of God with the best of intentions ```

My prayers are for you ~ having been handled badly by this bully and others around him ~ God be with you Saxon ~ may He reward you with good ~ true friends and send help in the person of one who has your best interests at heart ```

I know a lady who was in kind of similar trial ( in a protestant community ) she lost her faith over the treatment she received ```

Again ~ God be with you brother ~ Lord please send help to our brother ```




seth
Իմաստութիւն Հոր Յիսուս՝ տո՝ւր մեզ իաստուփին՝ զբարիս խորհել եւ խոսել եւ գործել առաջի Քո յամենայն ժամ : եւ ի չար խորհրդոց ի բանից եւ ի գործոց   փրկեա  զմեզ՝ ամէն:
Jesus, Wisdom of the Father, give us wisdom, to think, speak and do what is Good before you at all times. And save us from evil thoughts, words and deed, amen.

Offline IreneOlinyk

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #109 on: November 26, 2018, 04:52:59 PM »
So sorry Saxon.  Remember we are praying for you here.  We pray that you will find a parish and be fed spiritually and also make some new Christian friends who will support you.

Offline IXOYE

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #110 on: November 26, 2018, 09:38:27 PM »
Apparently he received a telling off and nothing more. Although apparently it was sufficient for the rest of his family to block me on Facebook. The parish hosted a miracle-working icon this past weekend with the priest front-and-centre. Prayers for that parish, I suppose.

Remember, even if you didn't get a desired outcome, you're a report in the log. If there is another victim to come forward, it will be noted that it isn't the first complaint.

^ This.

Offline Sharbel

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #111 on: November 27, 2018, 12:27:20 AM »
Shake the dust off your sandals, move on and do not look back.
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Offline Sethrak

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #112 on: November 27, 2018, 07:22:06 PM »
Much easier said than done ~ what a blow ~ yes, get yourself together ~ move into where your can smile and be smiled at ~ in some way get a note of love to your woman ~ saying only good ~ that you will always care ~ don't beg ~ that you'll put your life together ~ and Say something like " Thanks for a crazy, wonderful time "

I truly feel your hurt and worry ~ ask our Lord to send help ```

God love your brother ~ I will now and then when talking with him ~ refer to you ```

I'd like to be in the loop ~ say how it is going ```

seth
Իմաստութիւն Հոր Յիսուս՝ տո՝ւր մեզ իաստուփին՝ զբարիս խորհել եւ խոսել եւ գործել առաջի Քո յամենայն ժամ : եւ ի չար խորհրդոց ի բանից եւ ի գործոց   փրկեա  զմեզ՝ ամէն:
Jesus, Wisdom of the Father, give us wisdom, to think, speak and do what is Good before you at all times. And save us from evil thoughts, words and deed, amen.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #113 on: November 28, 2018, 07:39:40 AM »
Apparently he received a telling off and nothing more. Although apparently it was sufficient for the rest of his family to block me on Facebook. The parish hosted a miracle-working icon this past weekend with the priest front-and-centre. Prayers for that parish, I suppose.

Remember, even if you didn't get a desired outcome, you're a report in the log. If there is another victim to come forward, it will be noted that it isn't the first complaint.

^ This.

I agree. I’d say it’s a minor win, considering that some people in similar situations find themselves put on trial instead of the abusers. That priest is on notice now and had better be careful in the future.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

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Offline IXOYE

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #114 on: November 28, 2018, 10:10:08 PM »
Apparently he received a telling off and nothing more. Although apparently it was sufficient for the rest of his family to block me on Facebook. The parish hosted a miracle-working icon this past weekend with the priest front-and-centre. Prayers for that parish, I suppose.

Remember, even if you didn't get a desired outcome, you're a report in the log. If there is another victim to come forward, it will be noted that it isn't the first complaint.

^ This.

I agree. I’d say it’s a minor win, considering that some people in similar situations find themselves put on trial instead of the abusers. That priest is on notice now and had better be careful in the future.

I agree with what you wrote.  It could have been turned and gone worse.  It also could have been dismissed or wrote off.

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #115 on: January 29, 2019, 10:30:08 AM »
Apologies in advance for dredging this subject up again, but I’ve been made aware of some things that are making me extremely irritated that no action was taken. The former junior priest from this parish, a convert who was subordinated to my former priest during training, has started up his own mission parish out of his home and has been released from obedience to him as of the start of this year. His son texted me to invite me to a service at their home, so I went for Vigil and stayed for tea and conversation afterwards. This priest has a role in the treasury of the diocese and told me that my former priest was demoted and removed from his old parish, and shifted to a small parish in the middle of nowhere in Alberta, as a punishment after he was implicated in some “financial irregularities”. When he was later moved to my former parish, he was told by Archbishop Gabriel that this was his “last chance”. This priest also told me he had seen my former priest showing drunk or smelling of alcohol to Liturgy on multiple occasions (including on New Years Day two years ago, when he and his family had been at my house and got fall-down drunk with my wife) and that he and his family are very “poorly-regarded” in the Russian Orthodox community. Apparently, since I left, the church is down by an average of nearly 20 parishioners.

Around the same time, I started going to a Friday night akathist that’s served at my city’s main Serbian church. I ran into a former parishioner from my old church, a Russian-Kazakh immigrant who’s a convert from Islam. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him since my wife and I split up and all this happened, and he was shocked when I told him. Then, he told me he had a similar issue with this priest and also no longer goes there. To summarize, he told this individual to “shut up” during a confession, made a racist remark to him (calling him some word in Russian that means “savage” which is apparently used in Russian to refer to central Asians), and also smelled of alcohol during confessions. He said he thought about complaining to Archbishop Gabriel but didn’t think it would be taken seriously and has since been looking for a new parish. I’ve been bringing him to my new OCA church and he even remarked on what a contrast there is in atmosphere.

Had I known these things two-and-a-half years ago when I first came into Orthodoxy, I wouldn’t have gotten involved with them or the church. No, I wouldn’t be in the faith, but I also wouldn’t have had my relationship and my life wrecked by this degenerate. Why is ROCOR allowing someone like this, who has had punitive action taken against him in the past, and who has since had further complaints issued against him, to continue running this parish? I’ve now been told by someone privy to this situation that Archbishop Gabriel is perfectly aware of what’s happening with that priest and had already put him on notice. Had this information been in the open or had proper action been taken in the first place, he wouldn’t have been able to impact my life. It’s made me bitter and angry once against and regretful of ever getting involved with Orthodoxy.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #116 on: January 29, 2019, 10:43:41 AM »
Yeah, I would be infuriated. And I certainly can't fault you for thinking it would be better if you hadn't gotten involved in the church. I'm glad the other parishioner shared his experience with you... I hope you find healing at your new parish.

I understand a bishop's desire to give his priest another chance, but moving people around and keeping parishioners in the dark is a well-worn road to disaster.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

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Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #117 on: January 29, 2019, 10:49:29 AM »
The problem is that your very way of thinking is wrong, you should be praying for your priest instead of talking about how much wine he drinks on the internet.

Are you aware for example that God gives priests to people according to their hearts ? And that unless your justice exeeds that of the pharasies, you will not enter the kingdom ?

Your "way of thinking is wrong" is ignoring the issue of alcoholic priests in our midst.  Your priest's behaviour is just wrong, wrong, wrong.  You have to find another parish with a priest who puts Christ first in his life and ministry.

Indeed.  This is why I advocated elsewhere for supervision and mandatory rehabiliation of priests who are alcoholic.

Regarding the issue of the theft, you perhaps slightly compounded that by not stopping him from removing the corkscrew or alerting management.  This could have been done non-confrontationally, e.g. you could have said to your boss “a regular customer who just bought a large quantity of wine is wondering if we could throw in a corkscrew.”  In my opinion, your priest is not fully morally culpable for the theft, because his actions suggest he was with a gesture asking you for permission to take the corkscrew as a freebie, which by the way, is the sort of thing good businessmen do throw in for good customers, and your not stopping him or shaking your head, unless you did attempt to signal “no”to him and he walked off (in which case you should have told your boss and perhaps the police should have been called), would make him think he had legitimately acquired the item in question as a freebie.

Given this priest and his family is close to your family, I think you really should try to save the friendship and have a heart to heart with him, explaining your concerns, but regarding the shoplifting element, I don’t see it; it looks to me like he was asking for a “comp” and thought he got it, and it would be good business to provide it.  After all, at tradeshows, corkscrews and bottle openers are given away en masse as one of the most common forms of “schwag,” almost as popular as T shirts and branded mugs.

I agree with alpha.

Try to reconcile the relationship, ans mention his drinking as a concern for his health and wellbeing.
Friends tell their friends when they've messed up, and try to help them. Dont simply walk away.

He may be looking for a way out, or a reason to change.

God bless

Offline Arachne

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #118 on: January 29, 2019, 11:13:35 AM »
The problem is that your very way of thinking is wrong, you should be praying for your priest instead of talking about how much wine he drinks on the internet.

Are you aware for example that God gives priests to people according to their hearts ? And that unless your justice exeeds that of the pharasies, you will not enter the kingdom ?

Your "way of thinking is wrong" is ignoring the issue of alcoholic priests in our midst.  Your priest's behaviour is just wrong, wrong, wrong.  You have to find another parish with a priest who puts Christ first in his life and ministry.

Indeed.  This is why I advocated elsewhere for supervision and mandatory rehabiliation of priests who are alcoholic.

Regarding the issue of the theft, you perhaps slightly compounded that by not stopping him from removing the corkscrew or alerting management.  This could have been done non-confrontationally, e.g. you could have said to your boss “a regular customer who just bought a large quantity of wine is wondering if we could throw in a corkscrew.”  In my opinion, your priest is not fully morally culpable for the theft, because his actions suggest he was with a gesture asking you for permission to take the corkscrew as a freebie, which by the way, is the sort of thing good businessmen do throw in for good customers, and your not stopping him or shaking your head, unless you did attempt to signal “no”to him and he walked off (in which case you should have told your boss and perhaps the police should have been called), would make him think he had legitimately acquired the item in question as a freebie.

Given this priest and his family is close to your family, I think you really should try to save the friendship and have a heart to heart with him, explaining your concerns, but regarding the shoplifting element, I don’t see it; it looks to me like he was asking for a “comp” and thought he got it, and it would be good business to provide it.  After all, at tradeshows, corkscrews and bottle openers are given away en masse as one of the most common forms of “schwag,” almost as popular as T shirts and branded mugs.

I agree with alpha.

Try to reconcile the relationship, ans mention his drinking as a concern for his health and wellbeing.
Friends tell their friends when they've messed up, and try to help them. Dont simply walk away.

He may be looking for a way out, or a reason to change.

God bless

Helps if you read the latest update.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #119 on: January 29, 2019, 11:52:24 AM »
Apologies in advance for dredging this subject up again, but I’ve been made aware of some things that are making me extremely irritated that no action was taken. The former junior priest from this parish, a convert who was subordinated to my former priest during training, has started up his own mission parish out of his home and has been released from obedience to him as of the start of this year. His son texted me to invite me to a service at their home, so I went for Vigil and stayed for tea and conversation afterwards. This priest has a role in the treasury of the diocese and told me that my former priest was demoted and removed from his old parish, and shifted to a small parish in the middle of nowhere in Alberta, as a punishment after he was implicated in some “financial irregularities”. When he was later moved to my former parish, he was told by Archbishop Gabriel that this was his “last chance”. This priest also told me he had seen my former priest showing drunk or smelling of alcohol to Liturgy on multiple occasions (including on New Years Day two years ago, when he and his family had been at my house and got fall-down drunk with my wife) and that he and his family are very “poorly-regarded” in the Russian Orthodox community. Apparently, since I left, the church is down by an average of nearly 20 parishioners.

Around the same time, I started going to a Friday night akathist that’s served at my city’s main Serbian church. I ran into a former parishioner from my old church, a Russian-Kazakh immigrant who’s a convert from Islam. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him since my wife and I split up and all this happened, and he was shocked when I told him. Then, he told me he had a similar issue with this priest and also no longer goes there. To summarize, he told this individual to “shut up” during a confession, made a racist remark to him (calling him some word in Russian that means “savage” which is apparently used in Russian to refer to central Asians), and also smelled of alcohol during confessions. He said he thought about complaining to Archbishop Gabriel but didn’t think it would be taken seriously and has since been looking for a new parish. I’ve been bringing him to my new OCA church and he even remarked on what a contrast there is in atmosphere.

Had I known these things two-and-a-half years ago when I first came into Orthodoxy, I wouldn’t have gotten involved with them or the church. No, I wouldn’t be in the faith, but I also wouldn’t have had my relationship and my life wrecked by this degenerate. Why is ROCOR allowing someone like this, who has had punitive action taken against him in the past, and who has since had further complaints issued against him, to continue running this parish? I’ve now been told by someone privy to this situation that Archbishop Gabriel is perfectly aware of what’s happening with that priest and had already put him on notice. Had this information been in the open or had proper action been taken in the first place, he wouldn’t have been able to impact my life. It’s made me bitter and angry once against and regretful of ever getting involved with Orthodoxy.

I'm not sure that it helps stressing over the things that are outside of your control - like what you knew or didn't know at a particular time.  For the most part you did your best with what you had; you've paid for your mistakes, and you've paid for others' mistakes.  Moving forward with the healthier community will allow your heart to heal more from the wounds that were inflicted on it.

There are many diocese where compromises are made for various reasons; when these compromises are made, there are typically two outcomes: one, the priest reforms, or two, he doesn't and more lives are hurt.  I'm not sure that the possibility of the first-case (best-case) justifies taking the risk with the second-case; leaders are supposed to be held to a higher standard of conduct as representatives of Christ (we are only rightly called "Father" insofar as we're able to imitate God's Fatherhood) and while perfection is unattainable for most, what you've described is uncalled for.  Keeping problematic clergy in parish ministry somehow hoping that they're going to turn their lives around isn't beneficial.
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Offline Sethrak

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #120 on: January 31, 2019, 06:52:16 PM »
I'm glad you took the time to update us ~ you have been given some good advice ~ I feel you hurt ~ how could this that has happened not embitter you ~ but the word to the contrary do make sense ~ God be with you brother ```





Well said Father ```
« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 06:54:10 PM by Sethrak »
Իմաստութիւն Հոր Յիսուս՝ տո՝ւր մեզ իաստուփին՝ զբարիս խորհել եւ խոսել եւ գործել առաջի Քո յամենայն ժամ : եւ ի չար խորհրդոց ի բանից եւ ի գործոց   փրկեա  զմեզ՝ ամէն:
Jesus, Wisdom of the Father, give us wisdom, to think, speak and do what is Good before you at all times. And save us from evil thoughts, words and deed, amen.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #121 on: January 31, 2019, 08:52:14 PM »
The problem is that your very way of thinking is wrong, you should be praying for your priest instead of talking about how much wine he drinks on the internet.

Are you aware for example that God gives priests to people according to their hearts ? And that unless your justice exeeds that of the pharasies, you will not enter the kingdom ?

Your "way of thinking is wrong" is ignoring the issue of alcoholic priests in our midst.  Your priest's behaviour is just wrong, wrong, wrong.  You have to find another parish with a priest who puts Christ first in his life and ministry.

Indeed.  This is why I advocated elsewhere for supervision and mandatory rehabiliation of priests who are alcoholic.

Regarding the issue of the theft, you perhaps slightly compounded that by not stopping him from removing the corkscrew or alerting management.  This could have been done non-confrontationally, e.g. you could have said to your boss “a regular customer who just bought a large quantity of wine is wondering if we could throw in a corkscrew.”  In my opinion, your priest is not fully morally culpable for the theft, because his actions suggest he was with a gesture asking you for permission to take the corkscrew as a freebie, which by the way, is the sort of thing good businessmen do throw in for good customers, and your not stopping him or shaking your head, unless you did attempt to signal “no”to him and he walked off (in which case you should have told your boss and perhaps the police should have been called), would make him think he had legitimately acquired the item in question as a freebie.

Given this priest and his family is close to your family, I think you really should try to save the friendship and have a heart to heart with him, explaining your concerns, but regarding the shoplifting element, I don’t see it; it looks to me like he was asking for a “comp” and thought he got it, and it would be good business to provide it.  After all, at tradeshows, corkscrews and bottle openers are given away en masse as one of the most common forms of “schwag,” almost as popular as T shirts and branded mugs.

I agree with alpha.

Try to reconcile the relationship, ans mention his drinking as a concern for his health and wellbeing.
Friends tell their friends when they've messed up, and try to help them. Dont simply walk away.

He may be looking for a way out, or a reason to change.

God bless

I disagree with my earlier post on the basis of the update provided.  If this priest is showing up drunk for the divine liturgy and making racist slurs against converts from Islam, that is pretty much the sort of thing that warrants being deposed.  There are lots of pious Christians in ROCOR and other jurisdictions who would love to be priests and who could do a very good job; if the accusations against an abusive priest like this can be verified, its best to send them to a monastery or strip them of their benefice or regular assignment, sanction them, turn them into auxillary priests or just sack them, and thus make way for new priests who aren’t going to abuse the laity.

My own view is that the best disposition for problem priests like this who can’t be trusted with a parish is to offer them assignments as assistant priests in cathedrals, where they can be closely supervised, or to assist older archimandrites, and to strip them of their permission to hear confessions.  These priests, still being ordained, can be useful if they agree to work for a nominal sum in allowing for a more complete cycle of services to be observed; more liturgies can be served, and older priests or priests particularly good at hearing confession can be assisted by having the inferior-quality priests perform important and physically demanding behind-the-scenes work, such as the Liturgy of Preparation.  And in such a scenario, the chastened cleric wouldn’t dare turn up at church smelling of alcohol.  There is a lot of work that occurs in the Orthodox Church in terms of celebrating the Liturgy and the Divine Office where you have little or no interaction with the laity beyond administering communion and leading the service, and putting problem priests on that sort of restricted duty, and reducing their pay to say, $800 or $900 a month, is the ideal way in my opinion to facilitate the kind of hoped-for reform that Fr. George speaks of.

The priests who are motivated by pride and are thus unsalvageable will take such a reassignment as a huge insult rather than an act of grace and will resign or be in a position where deposition becomes the obvious course of action, whereas those who submit with humility to restricted duty are potentially salvageable.

Of course if the priest has a family and his livelihood is an issue, that further complicates things, but in that case, you could have such a priest pursue secular employment while remaining on the books as an auxilliary or assistant priest for Sunday services.  There is also great demand for substitute priests when you have the main parish priest fall ill, but in the case of a priest who is pastorally abusive, their utility for such duty is limited if they cannot be trusted to hear confessions.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #122 on: February 01, 2019, 12:21:41 PM »
The problem is that your very way of thinking is wrong, you should be praying for your priest instead of talking about how much wine he drinks on the internet.

Are you aware for example that God gives priests to people according to their hearts ? And that unless your justice exeeds that of the pharasies, you will not enter the kingdom ?

Your "way of thinking is wrong" is ignoring the issue of alcoholic priests in our midst.  Your priest's behaviour is just wrong, wrong, wrong.  You have to find another parish with a priest who puts Christ first in his life and ministry.

Indeed.  This is why I advocated elsewhere for supervision and mandatory rehabiliation of priests who are alcoholic.

Regarding the issue of the theft, you perhaps slightly compounded that by not stopping him from removing the corkscrew or alerting management.  This could have been done non-confrontationally, e.g. you could have said to your boss “a regular customer who just bought a large quantity of wine is wondering if we could throw in a corkscrew.”  In my opinion, your priest is not fully morally culpable for the theft, because his actions suggest he was with a gesture asking you for permission to take the corkscrew as a freebie, which by the way, is the sort of thing good businessmen do throw in for good customers, and your not stopping him or shaking your head, unless you did attempt to signal “no”to him and he walked off (in which case you should have told your boss and perhaps the police should have been called), would make him think he had legitimately acquired the item in question as a freebie.

Given this priest and his family is close to your family, I think you really should try to save the friendship and have a heart to heart with him, explaining your concerns, but regarding the shoplifting element, I don’t see it; it looks to me like he was asking for a “comp” and thought he got it, and it would be good business to provide it.  After all, at tradeshows, corkscrews and bottle openers are given away en masse as one of the most common forms of “schwag,” almost as popular as T shirts and branded mugs.

I agree with alpha.

Try to reconcile the relationship, ans mention his drinking as a concern for his health and wellbeing.
Friends tell their friends when they've messed up, and try to help them. Dont simply walk away.

He may be looking for a way out, or a reason to change.

God bless

I disagree with my earlier post on the basis of the update provided.  If this priest is showing up drunk for the divine liturgy and making racist slurs against converts from Islam, that is pretty much the sort of thing that warrants being deposed.  There are lots of pious Christians in ROCOR and other jurisdictions who would love to be priests and who could do a very good job; if the accusations against an abusive priest like this can be verified, its best to send them to a monastery or strip them of their benefice or regular assignment, sanction them, turn them into auxillary priests or just sack them, and thus make way for new priests who aren’t going to abuse the laity.

My own view is that the best disposition for problem priests like this who can’t be trusted with a parish is to offer them assignments as assistant priests in cathedrals, where they can be closely supervised, or to assist older archimandrites, and to strip them of their permission to hear confessions.  These priests, still being ordained, can be useful if they agree to work for a nominal sum in allowing for a more complete cycle of services to be observed; more liturgies can be served, and older priests or priests particularly good at hearing confession can be assisted by having the inferior-quality priests perform important and physically demanding behind-the-scenes work, such as the Liturgy of Preparation.  And in such a scenario, the chastened cleric wouldn’t dare turn up at church smelling of alcohol.  There is a lot of work that occurs in the Orthodox Church in terms of celebrating the Liturgy and the Divine Office where you have little or no interaction with the laity beyond administering communion and leading the service, and putting problem priests on that sort of restricted duty, and reducing their pay to say, $800 or $900 a month, is the ideal way in my opinion to facilitate the kind of hoped-for reform that Fr. George speaks of.

The priests who are motivated by pride and are thus unsalvageable will take such a reassignment as a huge insult rather than an act of grace and will resign or be in a position where deposition becomes the obvious course of action, whereas those who submit with humility to restricted duty are potentially salvageable.

Of course if the priest has a family and his livelihood is an issue, that further complicates things, but in that case, you could have such a priest pursue secular employment while remaining on the books as an auxilliary or assistant priest for Sunday services.  There is also great demand for substitute priests when you have the main parish priest fall ill, but in the case of a priest who is pastorally abusive, their utility for such duty is limited if they cannot be trusted to hear confessions.

I was unaware that he had previously been demoted and removed from a parish for being implicated in “financial irregularities”, but I find it interesting that the Archbishop has taken no action when he allegedly told this priest that he was on his last warning. What the other priest told me is that if I had pressed charges, and particularly if there had been a conviction, then something might have been done.

I should add that this priest has a full-time job as a carpenter for a yacht company, and as a result, doesn’t offer church services on weekdays. When he was transferred here he borrowed money from the parish for a downpayment on his house, and is paying it back by forgoing most of his yearly salary. I was on the parish council for two years and know that this church is in financial ruin and that it isn’t meeting its contributions to the diocese, and since I’ve left they’ve lost more than a dozen further parishioners and any money that goes with them. Not only is he a known drunk who verbally and physically abuses parishioners, but he’s literally ruining the church by driving away the congregation and bankrupting it. I’m not vindictive and don’t find that funny or satisfying. I don’t like corruption. I came Orthodoxy, in part, to get away from that in my spiritual life. That ROCOR leadership is sitting back and letting this happen shakes my faith in Orthodoxy.

Offline platypus

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #123 on: February 02, 2019, 03:34:55 PM »
… reducing their pay to say, $800 or $900 a month...

This is ROCOR we're talking about, so that may be a hefty raise.

I don’t like corruption. I came Orthodoxy, in part, to get away from that in my spiritual life. That ROCOR leadership is sitting back and letting this happen shakes my faith in Orthodoxy.

You reminded me of an article I read recently:

Quote from: Fr. John Cox
God told Noah to build a very large boat. God told him to build it because He was going to flood the entire earth with water.  The instructions God gave Noah required that the inside and outside of the boat be coated with tar. The usual renderings of Noah’s ark do not include this detail and I think it’s because no living soul would want to get into a sticky, black, nearly windowless box with wild animals and stay there for God only knows how long. It doesn’t sound like fun. It doesn’t even sound pleasant. Some folks might call it nearly unbearable. And yet, it was salvation... Even if the boat doesn’t seem that beautiful to you; even if it doesn’t sound like a good time; even if you don’t relish the company; stay in the boat. You’ll be glad you did. Someday.
From https://frjohncox.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/stay-in-the-boat-a-post-for-stickers/

I know it's not much consolation after what you've been through, but I hope it helps.
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #124 on: February 02, 2019, 05:04:36 PM »
Similar to an anecdote Fr. Thomas Hopko liked to quote:  "The Church is like Noah's Ark.  It's filled with animals and it stinks to high heaven, but it saves you."
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Offline Jude1:3

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #125 on: February 03, 2019, 11:11:16 AM »
Similar to an anecdote Fr. Thomas Hopko liked to quote:  "The Church is like Noah's Ark.  It's filled with animals and it stinks to high heaven, but it saves you."

LOL

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #126 on: February 08, 2019, 01:30:17 PM »
I’m in a slump again. I met with the former junior priest yesterday who had requested a copy of my medical report from the hospital. I hoped this meant some action was finally being taken. However, during the conversation, I was told they need it for their files because his behaviour as of late has been atrocious and they suspect he’s going to “cross the line” line soon, and when he does, they want evidence to throw the book at him. The Metropolia is afraid he’ll sue for wrongful dismissal if they act now. I was also told that if the incident had occurred inside the church then they could have punished him, but since it was at his home, their hands are tied. Everyone I’ve spoken to outside of the Canadian Metropolia has said this is nonsense and he should have long since been defrocked. He’s also blacklisted from ROCOR Western Diocese, is on record as having given a parishioner a brain injury, driving a dozen families from the parish, turning up drunk for services, and verbally and racially abusing parishioners. So just what is the definition of “crossing the line” in ROCOR?

I’m back where I was last summer/fall in terms of the faith. I’m disgusted. I feel embarrassed for Orthodoxy that someone like him is in the priesthood and my faith is at a low. I’m not a fairweather believer, and it’s all well and nice for my current spiritual father to tell me that I need to pray, forgive, move on, etc. But that’s not exactly comforting in present circumstances. Right now I only haven’t left because there’s nowhere else to turn.

Offline IreneOlinyk

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #127 on: February 08, 2019, 04:50:09 PM »
Look, if you have a medical report from the hospital take it with you to your family doctor.  Tell your doctor about the break down of your marriage and how the injury by this priest has affected your life psychologically not just physically. 

I am sure your doctor can provide help with further advice for counselling.  The ROCOR is not going to give you solve the problem no matter how many people you tell in person or on the internet. 

You have a new church, a new priest so go get the psychological help you need to deal with this.   

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #128 on: February 08, 2019, 05:14:48 PM »
Look, if you have a medical report from the hospital take it with you to your family doctor.  Tell your doctor about the break down of your marriage and how the injury by this priest has affected your life psychologically not just physically. 

I am sure your doctor can provide help with further advice for counselling.  The ROCOR is not going to give you solve the problem no matter how many people you tell in person or on the internet. 

You have a new church, a new priest so go get the psychological help you need to deal with this.   

I don’t need “psychological help”, thank you, nor do I need to feel wrong for being irritated about a religious institution that, while remarkably self-righteous, ignores a violent drunk who they certainly took action against when he was involved in financial irregularities. If only the Orthodox Church was as concerned about violent conduct by priests at it is about bearss, fasting, and headscarves...

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #129 on: February 08, 2019, 08:29:15 PM »
This is all so sad... I hope you can restore your faith on the Church. It's easy to recall the words of the antiphon: "don't trust in princes or sons of men, in whom there is no salvation", but in practice the bad actions taken by men inside the Church, specially from the very clergy, are difficult to swallow.

I recommend you to read the historical books of the Old Testament. They have a lot of ugly stuff about those who should be leading their people to holiness, but still they're part of God's salvific plan.

The Church is the New Israel, and this means having New Ahabs and New Jephthahs.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 08:30:34 PM by RaphaCam »
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May the Blessed Light shine Forth

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #130 on: February 08, 2019, 09:43:41 PM »
I’m in a slump again. I met with the former junior priest yesterday who had requested a copy of my medical report from the hospital. I hoped this meant some action was finally being taken. However, during the conversation, I was told they need it for their files because his behaviour as of late has been atrocious and they suspect he’s going to “cross the line” line soon, and when he does, they want evidence to throw the book at him. The Metropolia is afraid he’ll sue for wrongful dismissal if they act now. I was also told that if the incident had occurred inside the church then they could have punished him, but since it was at his home, their hands are tied. Everyone I’ve spoken to outside of the Canadian Metropolia has said this is nonsense and he should have long since been defrocked. He’s also blacklisted from ROCOR Western Diocese, is on record as having given a parishioner a brain injury, driving a dozen families from the parish, turning up drunk for services, and verbally and racially abusing parishioners. So just what is the definition of “crossing the line” in ROCOR?

I’m back where I was last summer/fall in terms of the faith. I’m disgusted. I feel embarrassed for Orthodoxy that someone like him is in the priesthood and my faith is at a low. I’m not a fairweather believer, and it’s all well and nice for my current spiritual father to tell me that I need to pray, forgive, move on, etc. But that’s not exactly comforting in present circumstances. Right now I only haven’t left because there’s nowhere else to turn.

The Bulgarians in North America, who are tiny and have just two bishops, correctly deposed and reported to the police a convert priest, who was an Italian American member of the HOOM cult which “converted” to Orthodoxy, who was pscyhologically abusing his charges at a home for troubled teenaged youth he and his wife ran in Alaska.  There was no sexual abuse, but there was emotional abuse, and the Bulgarians handled it.

As far as the specifics of your problem with ROCOR, I don’t know the details, but there is a very good ROCOR priest you should reach out to, that being Fr. John Whiteford.  He is a thoroughly decent man and may be able to provide you with advice and assistance.

~

All churches have ugly ecclesiastical politics, by the way, and in the Orthodox Church these can seem particularly distressing, but I think it is because the devil attacks us in the Orthodox Church and makes these incidents distort out of proportion.  If you look at the historic record of most of the Orthodox churches however, you will find that we are a community that historically has been on the receiving end of persecution, and seldom the instigator thereof (with a few infamous exceptions which continue to cause us shame).
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 09:44:21 PM by Alpha60 »

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #131 on: February 11, 2019, 11:08:17 AM »
I’m in a slump again. I met with the former junior priest yesterday who had requested a copy of my medical report from the hospital. I hoped this meant some action was finally being taken. However, during the conversation, I was told they need it for their files because his behaviour as of late has been atrocious and they suspect he’s going to “cross the line” line soon, and when he does, they want evidence to throw the book at him. The Metropolia is afraid he’ll sue for wrongful dismissal if they act now. I was also told that if the incident had occurred inside the church then they could have punished him, but since it was at his home, their hands are tied. Everyone I’ve spoken to outside of the Canadian Metropolia has said this is nonsense and he should have long since been defrocked. He’s also blacklisted from ROCOR Western Diocese, is on record as having given a parishioner a brain injury, driving a dozen families from the parish, turning up drunk for services, and verbally and racially abusing parishioners. So just what is the definition of “crossing the line” in ROCOR?

I’m back where I was last summer/fall in terms of the faith. I’m disgusted. I feel embarrassed for Orthodoxy that someone like him is in the priesthood and my faith is at a low. I’m not a fairweather believer, and it’s all well and nice for my current spiritual father to tell me that I need to pray, forgive, move on, etc. But that’s not exactly comforting in present circumstances. Right now I only haven’t left because there’s nowhere else to turn.

The Bulgarians in North America, who are tiny and have just two bishops, correctly deposed and reported to the police a convert priest, who was an Italian American member of the HOOM cult which “converted” to Orthodoxy, who was pscyhologically abusing his charges at a home for troubled teenaged youth he and his wife ran in Alaska.  There was no sexual abuse, but there was emotional abuse, and the Bulgarians handled it.

As far as the specifics of your problem with ROCOR, I don’t know the details, but there is a very good ROCOR priest you should reach out to, that being Fr. John Whiteford.  He is a thoroughly decent man and may be able to provide you with advice and assistance.

~

All churches have ugly ecclesiastical politics, by the way, and in the Orthodox Church these can seem particularly distressing, but I think it is because the devil attacks us in the Orthodox Church and makes these incidents distort out of proportion.  If you look at the historic record of most of the Orthodox churches however, you will find that we are a community that historically has been on the receiving end of persecution, and seldom the instigator thereof (with a few infamous exceptions which continue to cause us shame).

Thank you for the advice. Would you happen to have contact information for Fr. John? A friend of mine from the church put me in touch with a couple of ROCOR priests in the US and they were horrified at the incident and stunned that the Canadian Metropolia won't (and claims it can't) take any action at present. There seems to be something institutionally rotten here.

Offline Bob2

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #132 on: February 12, 2019, 12:24:01 AM »
Thank you for the advice. Would you happen to have contact information for Fr. John? A friend of mine from the church put me in touch with a couple of ROCOR priests in the US and they were horrified at the incident and stunned that the Canadian Metropolia won't (and claims it can't) take any action at present. There seems to be something institutionally rotten here.

frjohnwhiteford@yahoo.com

Offline Saxon

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #133 on: March 09, 2019, 11:48:05 AM »
Several people from this parish, who I have met with repeatedly since all this happened and who have invited me to their homes for Orthodox holidays knowing I no longer had anywhere to go, and who denounced this priest as a drunk and a nutcase and offered to help me pursue disciplinary action, went to the priest's home last night for pre-Lenten blini. Some photos appeared on Facebook and it's a who's-who of people who said they were distancing themselves from him, yet are toasting him at his house (appropriately, copious amounts of wine are visible in all of the photos). I can take degenerates like this priest - you get them anywhere and everywhere - but I won't suffer hypocrites. When I went to the home of one of the families in question for Christmas and blini last week, they specifically asked me not to mention anything about the fact they had me over anywhere on social media so the priest wouldn't find out they're still associating with me.

This is sort of the Orthodox Church in a nutshell, at least from my perspective. Hypocrisy. Self-righteousness. This attitude that wearing a headscarf, crossing yourself correctly, not eating meat and dairy for a few weeks out of the year, somehow equates to a Christian lifestyle. A fixation on the superficial, the outward, the rules. Meanwhile the church hierarchy makes excuses for a known violent drunk and people who are well attuned to what he does go to dinner at his house while denouncing him behind his back. And the reason they went is less to do with it being an Orthodox event and more about the fact that they're Russians engaging in a Russian tradition. That's all Orthodoxy is, really; a failing ethnic club.


Offline Volnutt

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Re: Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment
« Reply #134 on: March 09, 2019, 12:52:33 PM »
I can't dispute any of that, I don't have the experience to and likely wouldn't want to even if I did, but the question I want to ask you is- is there anywhere better?

Is there any denomination, any religion, any worldview that doesn't often wind up putting cultural or political aspects ahead of its loftier teachings and aspirations? Isn't that just part of life among frail humanity?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 12:53:11 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.