Friday, March 4, 2011

Met. Jonah, Fr.Alex Garklavs, Paul Bodnar, Fr. Andrew Jarmus, Fr. Michael Tassos, Fr. Dennis Swencki

The reading is from Zechariah 8:15-17

"...These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, says the Lord."

The OCA has never acknowledged that it needs to regularize its protocols traditionally in accordance with the rest of the Orthodox world. If you don't look within there is no healing and no correction. In the case of Church leadership that means that there is a wake of untold destruction in the lives of real people, actual families with cosmic results.

Moving on and attempting to provide another narrative is no way to take corrective action for the betterment of the Church. The reality of what is and has been is discrediting, unseemly and grotesque. The repeated inclination to look to stuff the past down the memory hole is unacceptable. Pretending that all is well or that no actual "wrong doing" to actual people has happened is not repentance and not forgiveness. The crux of the matter the corporation that is the OCA is riddle with corruption. All the corrective action in the world, all the formal reprimands, bailouts, payoffs and hush money with their backdoors deals doesn't fix anything. These approaches with teh golden parachutes perpetuate scandal while increasing the carnage.

The OCA as an organizational body (pun intended) has deep seeded pathologies which need direct counsel and assistance. It is time that the people sanctioned the business of the church. Can you imagine tolerating another corporation to function in this way? Can you imagine tolerating it and not objecting? Can you conceive of anything more vile then a group of churchman hiding their corruption behind a veneer of holiness?

Be very cautious of the advice that we the faithful should  avert our eyes for pious reasons. Quite the contrary we should seek to root out evil where we find it. If I sin I hurt myself and a very small circle of people if the Synod sins and manipulates the broader church then the destruction is greater. Everyone who has tried to censure me and my news discovery wish to either bury their heads in the sand or desire to pursue ungodly ends behind closed doors in private meetings.

Review the executive position turnover rate within the previous four years. Chancellor (Fr. Alexander Garklavs) "resigned"; Secretary (Paul Bodnar) dismissed; Treasurer (Fr. Michael Tassos) resigned; Director of Communications (Fr. Andrew Jarmus) position eliminated; Controller (Fr. Dennis Swencki) position eliminated; Met. Jonah on (administrative) leave of absence; the only remaining active officer: Fr. Eric Tosi, Secretary (who during a telephone conversation with me had no words to explain the current situation the morning Greek news broke the story).

The initial criticism of my reporting regarding the current course of events proved not to be so incorrect. In actuality I under estimated the brokeness, the conflict and the chaos. The meat of the matter is that many have vowed their loyalty to one side or the other and to that extent that they may have "perjured" themselves. Scape-goating the Greek press or the blogosphere won't change what is wrong. A open and public confession is the only way to out the prideful power hungry demons.

When you constantly re-draft the map you eventually end up on the wrong course knowingly or unwittingly. This debacle should be celebrated and we should not kick a gift horse in the mouth. The fact is that there is so much going on that is unbecoming and poisonous to the flock. The hierarchs in this instance would be hard pressed to demonstrate how their personal  ambition reflects their pastoral care for the flock. While hierarchs push and shove each other with their self righteous indignation the flock is left unattended. The gig is up boys. How will the OCA continue amidst the scandal the law suits the glossing over all the unrighteousness. There is a systemic problem with this which can be traced back to its indolent inception. Thankfully I don't have a horse in this race. I do wish all the faithful of the OCA the very best and I hope that God cleans house truly.


Jeremiah said...

A couple of things that Elias replied to my comments with would seem to apply to this post as well. Those two ideas are that there are really no "others" when it comes to the life of the Church. The second idea is that the Church is truly one. Even though we have jurisdictional boundaries, we are one Church.
What I mean by that is, the "sins of the OCA" are really all of our sins. You are correct that this is a systemic issue. But it is an issue that in every Episcopacy. You made a brilliant observation (no sarcasm or pun) that until bishops stop trying to shove each other around, nothing good is being done. If every patriarchate was focused on feeding Christ's sheep and not "sovereignty" or "power", then things would be quite different.
I don't think the issue of corruption goes back to the inception of the OCA, but to the Emperializing of the Episopacy. It's nothing new, but that doesn't make it acceptable.
I have been thinking about some steps all Orthodox could take in addressing these issues. There is a fine line between being what Elder Paisios described as a "fly" or a "bee"; the first being attracted to dirt, and the other to beauty. So the issue should be handled humbly and prayerfully.
First would be to pray as the Prophet Daniel did for Israel. He prayed for the sin of the nation as though he were complicate in it. We should pray the same for one another and our leaders, for none of us sins in a vacuum.
Second would be a humble entreaty directed to the person. As you have stated, the clergy and episcopacy are not off limits. Was it not the laity who spoke out against a compromising reunion with Rome in the 13th century?
This would be to follow the algorithm of Christ for Church discipline, which I know was intended for one-on-one application, but seems to fit here too. This would also be to follow the exhortations of Paul and the Apostles to restore one another in the spirit of humility, considering ourselves capable of such sin before we go to them.
Let's broaden our focus, and work for healing of our One Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church. And let's continue our work to bring the light of Christ to our perishing world.

Isa Almisry said...

"The OCA has never acknowledged that it needs to regularize its protocols traditionally in accordance with the rest of the Orthodox world."

What "prottocols" are you talking about?