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09.11.06 Latest News

Discontent Spreads

Four public letters written in the past three weeks, from a married couple in New England, a parish in Wisconsin, a deanery in southwest Ohio, and the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians (FOCA, formerly the FROC) in Western Pennsylvania give evidence to growing discontent spreading throughout the OCA. The letters share a common theme: unhappiness with the current administration's failure to be forthcoming about the scandal - and in the case of the parish and the deanery, serious proposals to begin withholding support for the central Administration unless specific, concrete actions are taken. (Read all four letters here)

Of the resolutions proposed, some are new, others long-standing, dating back to the Letter of the 70 Senior Clergy written in February. The Columbus Deanery resolutions, adopted by clergy, most clearly mirror the former; while the Clayton, Wisconsin parish resolutions, adopted by concerned laity, go much further. Indeed, the parish council of Clayton calls not only for full financial disclosure of OCA records for the past 10 years, and the withholding of assessments to the central administration "effective immediately" unless financial transparency is restored, but continues by calling for the resignation of Metropolitan Herman "for the good of the Church". Both the Columbus and Clayton resolutions stress the need for an All American Council to be held soon - and see the restoration of trust and order in the OCA by adherence to the Statute.

The FOCA letter emerges from the Pittsburgh District summer meeting, held the last week of August. It, too, stresses the need for disclosure and reflects some of the influence of the suggestions of Fr. Thomas Hopko, made in his letter of last March in its suggestions for an All American Council sooner rather than later. (Read Hopkos letter here)

Addressed to Archbishop Kyrill, and signed by Serge Daniels, the District Governor, the letter states:

"3. We encourage His Beatitude, the Holy Synod, and the Metropolitan Council to immediately begin planning for an extraordinary All-American Council in 2007, or by 2008 at the latest. (Delaying the next AAC to 2010 is now not an option.) This All-American Council could be stripped of the comforts and attendant length and expense of recent Councils, reduced to a two-day council held at a location such as South Canaan. The agenda should be limited to a frank and open discussion of the most urgent problems facing our OCA.

4. Lastly, we implore you to call on the Metropolitan to act without further delay to make his reports to the whole Church. We all have been told that the Proskauer Rose report should be completed this week. The much-delayed audits should be finished by now. Your Eminence, our people want these matters to be properly resolved. Every day that full reports are delayed is a day that further damages trust, that keeps us from our missionary work and building up the Church."

Writing on OCA.org this week, Protodeacon Danilchik seems to temper hopes that the Proskauer Rose report will ever be released to the OCA. He writes:

"As to the disclosure of the results of the investigation, there are expected to be various levels of disclosure - e.g., the Holy Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council, and the faithful. However, until the investigation is complete, no determination of levels of disclosure can be finalized."

Since neither the Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council or the faithful have been allowed any information about the findings of the Proskauer Rose investigation to this point, it is clear that the Protodeacon is saying that it is the Metropolitan, alone, who will determine what 'level' of disclosure, if any, there will be to anyone else.

Apparently, the answer to the simple question that is at the heart of the scandal that has not yet been answered: "Are the allegation true or false?" is on a need-to-know basis. And sadly, neither his fellow Bishops who are responsible for the OCA, nor the Metropolitan Council who is responsible for defending the OCA legally, nor the faithful who are paying for it, apparently need to know.

It is a sure recipe to deepen and widen discontent.

-Mark Stokoe

 

 

 
     
 

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