+DMITRI Confirms Fr. Kucynda Out,
Affirms Kondratick's "Innocence"
The latest Archpastoral letter from Dallas offers the first testimony of what occurred in last week's Synod meeting in Syosset. But it was the Archbishop's remarks to the the Dallas cathedral congregation after the letter was read yesterday, that dropped jaws.
The Synod's Decisions
Describing the meetings as "difficult and confrontational", the Archbishop's letter confirmed that "a necessary personnel change took place", but it was not the resignation of the Primate as he had called for a week earlier. (Read that letter here) Instead the Archbishop noted the change was to "strengthen the position of OCA Treasurer". In other words, the Archbishop confirmed the story first published in OCANews. org that Fr. Paul Kucynda, the Acting OCA Treasurer since October 2005, was being removed from office. The transition has begun, pending the announcement of a new, full-time OCA Treasurer in a few weeks. (Read that story here)
More importantly, the Archbishop spoke of the appeal process regarding the deposition of the former Chancellor, Robert Kondratick. Totally ignoring the release of the Summary Report on October 16th on OCA.org, (which Kondratick supporters angrily denounce as a 'drive-by posting') a report which summarized financial misconduct involving $3.25 million for which Fr. Kondratick was convicted in a church trial this past summer, the Archbishop stated that a final decision in the case would be rendered by the Synod in December. Archbishop Dmitri t revealed that each member of the Synod had been charged to review the appeal (some 60+ pages in length), point by point, and offer opinions at their December 12-13, 2007 session.
Unexpectedly, the Archbishop then offered his own opinion on the case. Following the reading of his letter, the Archbishop told the assembled worshipers in his cathedral that he "was pleased to report" that "the troubles" were the result of "innocence and neglect, rather than any kind of malice."
The Archbishop has always been a defender of Kondratick - offering him a parish in Florida when he was under investigation, and then allowing him to continue in place as a 'parish outreach coordinator' after being deposed but while his appeal was pending. But this is the first time the Archbishop has publicly proclaimed Kondratick innocent of wrongdoing, merely guilty of neglect. If the defense has a familiar ring to it, a similar defense was used by Metropolitan Herman in his interview with Protodeacon Danilchik in September, 2006. (Read that here)
The Text of the Letter
The Archbishop's letter, posted Saturday, October 20th, to be read on Sunday October 21st, throughout the Diocese of the South reads:
"To the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Diocese of the South:
I wish to thank you for your prayers, especially on the Day of Prayer and Fasting held in the Diocese of the South on October 16 during the meeting of the Holy Synod. I believe that in many ways our gracious Lord heard our prayers and assisted all those working last week in Syosset.
I consider the meetings to have borne some important fruit as we all do our part to steer the ship of our beloved Orthodox Church in America through the stormy seas we find ourselves in. Continued cuts in spending were made in what I believe is a necessary course to reduce the size and scope of the central church administration. Additionally a necessary personnel change took place to strengthen the position of OCA treasurer with a person of competent credentials.
The appeal of the former chancellor was also heard and it is being taken under consideration. Each member of the Synod has been charged to review the appeal, point by point, and offer opinions so that when the Holy Synod meets again in December we may render a decision on the merits of the appeal.
I also consider the new attempt to assemble an unhindered special investigation committee answerable only to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council an important step. If this new committee can ask any question of any person about any subject related to the previous work of the central church administration under review with full access to all documents, then there can be a reasonable expectation that such an investigation will put all of these events into their proper context so that we may learn what occurred, why it happened, and how we can try to avoid any defects in policy and judgment in the future.
Such difficult and confrontational meetings are not something that any of us look forward to. They take their toll on all who participate, but when we fall short of the glory of God, they become a necessary duty of those called to positions of leadership in the Church. Especially in challenging times we must face such tasks with prayerful resolve and determination so that we may demonstrate our love for God, one another, and His Church.
As the senior hierarch on the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America and your diocesan hierarch in the God-protected Diocese of the South, I ask for your continued prayers for me and for all the clergy, monastics, and faithful in this diocese and throughout The Orthodox Church in America. I ask that we keep a steady and open hand and a patient and loving heart as we, hopefully, and finally, resolve the outstanding questions and lingering issues that still confront us. We are a young Church and an even younger diocese but we are also a Church populated with talented and spirit-filled clergy and laity who truly desire to learn the necessary lessons from this chapter in our history and move forward reunited in a renewed spirit of cooperation, dedication and sacrifice so that the great mission of The Orthodox Church in America may continue.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Dallas and the South"
Wednesday: Part Two of Three Days in October