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Fr. Paul Harrilchak, in a public letter to his parishoners at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Reston VA on 12 December 2005:
Christ is in our midst!
Enclosed are materials from the internet.  They are self-explanatory.  My intention in circulating them is that movers and shakers in our community be as informed as those in other OCA parishes.  Fr. Milorad and I are always the last to hear thi! ngs, so when Father Milorad tells me a parishioner informed him about this or that, I conclude the information has really gotten around.

Our goal is to inform.  We are not looking for outrage or incense. High dudgeon will be useless.  Leaders are in place to see this business through.  But what they need is courage and encouragement. Naturally enough, the men involved have circled the wagons Cardinal-Law style.  The weapons to hand are intimidation and demands for silence and threats of censure.  (Read the OCA paper; priests are deposed at the drop of a hat.)  The fear is that this business will spill over into the public forum.

Allegations are not condemnations.  St. Isaac the Syrian accused St. John Chrysostom of selling slabs of marble and pocketing the cash. But the Church has known corruption and its daughters from the beginning.

In the Gospel according to Luke the Lord Jesus speaks to his
ministers like this:

"Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamps be burning ready."  In other words be dressed for work day and night. He goes on to say: "Be like men awaiting their master's return from a wedding, so that when he arrives and knocks, you will open for him without delay.  It will go well with those servants whom the master finds wide-awake on his return.  I tell you, he will put on an apron, seat them at table, and proceed to wait on them.  You know as well as I that if the head of the house knew when the thief was coming he would not let him break into his house.  Be on guard, therefore.  The Son of Man will come when you least expect him."  Peter said, "Do you intend this parable for us, [your ministers,] Lord?..." (! Luke 12.35-40)  And the Lord Jesus responds in effect, "Of course I do." And he joins the following parable:

"Who in your opinion is that faithful, farsighted steward whom the master will set over his servants to dispense their ration of grain in season?  That servant is fortunate whom his master finds busy when he returns.  Assuredly, his master will put him in charge of all his property.  But if the servant says to himself, `My master is taking his time about coming," and begins to abuse the housemen and servant girls, to eat and drink and get drunk, that servant's master will come back on a day when he does not expect him, at a time he does not know.  He will punish him severely and rank him among those undeserving of trust.  The slave who knew his master's wishes but did not prepare to fulfill them will get a severe beating, whereas the one who did not know them and w! ho nonetheless deserved to be flogged will get off with fewer stripes.  When much has been given to a man, much will be required of him.  More will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted."  (Luke 12.42+; cf. Matthew 24.43+)

There are numerous canons warning bishops to mind and manage the Church's resources and to avoid confusing them with their own.  When a bishop employs others to help him discharge his responsibilities, the guidelines, naturally enough, apply to them as well.

Bishop Job in Chicago (his diocese is the OCA's largest and probably the wealthiest) seems to be taking the lead in pressing Syosset to come clean.  And we should wait on his efforts.
Lord, help!

Fr. Paul





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