Archpastoral Message of Metropolitan Herman, April 9, 2006
Article posted: 4/5/2006 3:33 PM
April 9, 2006
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Saint Mary of Egypt
Esteemed Brother Hierarchs, Devoted Clergy and Monastics, and Beloved Faithful:
The work of resolving this controversy has begun on behalf of our whole Church. A law firm has been retained to undertake an internal investigation of all allegations regarding the finances of the Church that have been brought to my attention. An independent audit of all accounts for the past two years, an examination of the disposition of all monies collected through appeals for the past five years, and an evaluation of chancery personnel and operations have all been initiated and will be ongoing. As Primate of the Church, I pledge to you that my office, the Holy Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council and the Chancery staff will cooperate fully with the auditors and investigators until these issues are resolved. As the independent audits for 2004 and for the special appeals are completed, they will be made available on our OCA website in a manner similar to those of other government-regulated not-for-profit religious organizations. Additional audit reports as well as the results of the internal investigation will also become part of our public records when deemed appropriate to do so by the investigators. The Holy Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council, and then all of you will be made aware of the findings in a timely fashion and with good order.
I have further initiated “Best Practices” procedures in financial accountability and other administrative practices established for not-for-profit religious institutions, in order to insure that mistakes will not be made in the future. I realize that for some, these measures were taken too late; for others, they are too severe. I know that whatever decisions I make, I cannot please everyone.
I wish to state unequivocally that I take full responsibility for what may have happened during my service as Primate of the Church. The Holy Apostle commands me as first hierarch of the Church “that you should set in order the things that are wanting” (Titus 1:5). If I have failed in any way to do that, I ask for your forgiveness and God’s guidance to enable me to undertake whatever corrective measures may still be necessary. To all those who have been scandalized and pained by the weaknesses of the human aspect of the Church, and to all those whose faith has been challenged because of it, I apologize with my whole heart. I beseech the Lord, the divine Head of the Church, to heal and strengthen these members of His Body through His mercy and compassion and love for mankind.
Again, I ask for your understanding and forgiveness, and for your prayers for myself, for the hierarchs of our Holy Synod, for our clergy and for all our faithful. The time has come for us to unite our efforts to restore peace and harmony in our Church. If we are to become the co-workers with Christ that we are called to be, we must place our focus on our Savior, His saving mission and our shared participation in that saving mission. We must direct our energies to the work to which each of us has been called: our own salvation and the salvation of those around us.