Updated following OCA POst at 5PM EDST
SYNOD DELAYS RELEASE OF
ST. TIKHON'S REPORT
In a posting late this afternoon on the OCA website the Synod announced they would not release the St. Tikhon's Investigative Report at this time. "The Holy Synod discussed in detail the draft of the report of the Saint Tikhon Investigation Committee," the Bishop's stated. "Metropolitan Jonah will chair a committee which will evaluate the report's recommendations. After a full review by the Holy Synod, the final report will be issued." Fr. Eric Tosi, OCA Secretary, relayed the announcement of the Synod in a statement in which he pointed out the 'sensitive' nature of many of the topics discussed by the hierarchs. "Due to the nature of several issues facing the hierarchs, certain sessions were closed," Fr. Tosi stated. "This included Metropolitan Jonah's opening address." (Read the full post by the OCA here.)
The statement by the Synod is disingenuous, and transparent only in its absurdity.
The St. Tikhon's Report offered by the Synod to the Metropolitan Council was hardly a "draft" Report. Aside from some errata and recommendations that some details be excised in the appendices - which could have been easily corrected in the intervening two weeks - the Report was a finished product. No documentation or supplementary materials were missing. To speak now of it as a "draft" is dissembling, and an insult to almost a year's work by the St. Tikhon's Investigation Committtee.
Worse, however, is the prevarication of the statement. All the Bishops have seen the Report, which they received before the meeting. According to the statement of the Bishop's they "discussed in detail" the Report during the meeting. What is then left to "evaluate" in the Report's recommendations, the majority of which are merely technical in nature? It is not the need for "evaluation" that requires delay - it is more likely the Bishop's concern about the consequences of implementing those recommendations, or for not doing so. It would be better to just be honest about it.
The decision to mask their refusal/ hesitation/fear/ disagreement/lack of consensus/ prudence (pick one, or several , or add your own reason) by creating a synodal "Committee" to review the Investigative Committee's recommendations, now called a "Draft", therefore, is no more than an attempt to justify delay in publishing the Report. One may disagree with the recommendations, but facts are facts. One can admit them, or attempt to cover them up. We know the latter does not work. Just publish the facts as we know them and let people know the truth - rather than condemning the St. Tikhon's monastery community, those who love it, and the entire OCA, to months of further speculation and uncertainty. Now the sad truths of the Report will only be exacerbated by slow, slow, slow peeling off of the Band-aide.
The pretense of this charade is so obvious. Consider this: after a "detailed" discussion, we are asked to affirm that nine men must form yet a smaller, unidentified group, to "evaluate" the very recommendations they spent a day discussing? There are only eight hierarchs, and one Bishop-elect, on the Synod at this time. That is a smaller group than the Investigative Committee which wrote the recommendations on the basis of the evidence in the Report in the first place! If eight Bishops could not come to an agreement about those recommendations, why not just say so? If they did, and have decided not to release the full Report as a result, why not just be honest about it?
To suggest that the Report was not complete or clear, or that a "detailed" discussion was not sufficient, such that a "full" review is now required before the "final" Report can be issued is silly and short-sighted. It is short-sighted because it just sets up the fear that the "final" Report promised in some indeterminate future will be incomplete, and that its recommendations were changed. Sorry, "re-evaluated". It is silly, because scores of people have already seen the original Report, and know the original recommendations. The gaps, should any exist in a less-than-complete or changed Report can easily be filled in....
Statements such as the one released today suggest transparency and accountability but evidence none. Statements such as the one released today are long on description but short on content. They are not what the OCA needs. Or deserves.
The truth, warts and all, may be ugly, but it has the virtue of providing solid ground on which to build the future. Anything else is just sand, and we have had enough sand castles to last a generation. If the Synod still does not realize that - then the revelations of yet more misdeeds and how to deal with them - are the least of our concerns.