Sons of Job: More Details of the Impending Lawsuit at St. Tikhon’s Seminary

More details are emerging about the discrimination against Dean Alexander Atty by the St. Tikhon’s Seminary Board of Trustees. While Dean Atty still serves the seminary, his contract has been altered so that he will not be returning as Dean for 2013. This is the latest blow to St Tikhon’s Seminary and may serve as it last opportunity to stay operational.

The Sons of Job has learned that at the Board Meeting of August 18-19, 2011, St. Tikhon’s organization hierarchy was changed to subordinate the Dean’s position to the Chair of the Board of Trustees (Bylaws and Board Minutes attached below). Bp. Tikhon served as Rector and President at the time.

Previously the Dean served as the Chief Operations Officer with full voting rights and reported only to the Rector of the Seminary who always is the presiding bishop. If no bishop filled the office, authority passes to the Dean. Under the new bylaws the Dean is no longer Vice President (the Board elects a Vice President) and reports solely to the Board Chairman and Rector. The Board of trustees used the occasion of Dean Atty’s hospitalization to make these changes to the contract under which he was hired.

In effect Dn. Atty becomes an employee of the seminary thereby requiring that his contract be renewed annually. He has already indicated that the Board has not retained his services for 2013 under the provisions of the contract that he agreed to when originally hired. His immediate directors have become Michael Herzak who serves as Chairman of the Board and Bp. Michael who serves as Rector and President.

The Minutes of the August 18-19, 2003 reflect this change:

…The Dean/COO directly reports to the Chair of the Board and of the Board and Rector and President of the Seminary and that the By Laws should be amended to reflect this motion. 

The reason given for the change was Fr. Atty’s illness (cancer). Fr. Atty was not present during the meeting. The changes occurred under the direction and leadership of Bp. Michael who serves as Rector and President.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the US Government has determined that the Board of Trustees and Bishop Michael has committed an act of discrimination on the basis of illness when changes were made to remove Dean Atty from the seminary. If that proves to be the case, St. Tikhon’s faces severe financial penalties and puts its 501c3 status in jeopardy. 

 

Sources close to the Board of Trustees report to the Sons of Job that Dn. Atty was challenging Herzak’s business relationship with the Seminary. Herzak sells insurance products to the seminary and has for many years. The sources allege that the only products the Seminary bought were those offered by Herzak and that no independent review of other products was ever made. Herzak has made no attempt to remove himself from the budgetary process, which then approves the expenditure for the very product he is selling.

These sources also report that other questionable practices have been uncovered at the seminary that will be reported in due course.

If the allegations that Dn. Atty’s contract was changed in part because of his concern of insider sweetheart deals, then Herzak, Bp. Michael and others are in clear violation of Article XIII of the Bylaws that states:

…A trustee shall be considered to have a conflict of interest if such Trustee has existing or potential financial interests, which impair or might reasonably appear to impair such member’s independent, unbiased judgment in the discharge of his responsibilities to the Institution. 

The Bylaw further states:

…no trustee shall vote on any matter under consideration at a Board or committee meeting in which the board member has a conflict of interest. 

If the seminary were to close all land and property would be given to the monastery, which explains the voting of its representatives on the Board of Trustees. Bishop Michael made the motion to adopt the bylaw and Fr. Sergius seconded. This constitutes two conflicts of interest as both would benefit in the removal of the Dean. The bylaw further states that two-week notice must be given for bylaw changes. This also was not done.

Dean Atty was originally hired based on his success as a parish priest taking a 200-member community and building it to over 1000. He has been active in building a senior citizen home, special needs home, a daily use chapel, and renovated all the buildings at the Seminary. Our sources describe him as dedicated, honest and above all transparent. Apparently that is not what we need in the OCA.

Dean Atty would offer no comment when phone calls were made to his office. We are hoping to hear from him sometime in the future.

UPDATE

Our sources in Syosset report that a private memo has been sent to all Board Members with instructions not to publicly discuss the impending EOCC suit. Syosset is worried that the reasoning behind the bylaw change is so transparently obvious that there is little chance they can win any suit the Federal Government may launch. At this stage it appears that even if Syosset manages to avoid a trial, the fines will be hefty and the rescinding of the non-profit status of St. Tikhon’s a distinct possibility.

 

Attachments

St. Tikhon Seminary Bylaws (November 18, 1993 (pdf)

St. Tikhon Board Minutes Authorizing the Bylaw Change (August 18-19, 2011) (pdf)

The Sons of Job

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Comments

  1. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    This is a complete disgrace and an embarrassment for all Orthodox Christians, especially if the secular press finds out about this. I have known Fr. Alexander for 32 years and know that he is honest and is an outstanding Priest and leader. St. Tikhon's was very fortunate to have him. There is no excuse for the way that he was treated. It is un-Christian.

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  2. Priest Leonid Schmidt says:

    Do you even know when this complaint was filed? Are you sure it happened during the time that Bishop Michael has been rector of the seminary (in other words, within the last three months)?

    Or that Mr. Herzak has been on the board for years now? Isn't it possible the board made some kind of provision for this conflict of interest? Can you say with absolute certainty that Mr. Herzak has made "no attempt to remove himself from the budgetary process?" If you can't say that with absolute certainty, you are misleading people.

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the US Government has determined that the Board of Trustees and Bishop Michael has committed an act of discrimination on the basis of illness when changes were made to remove Dean Atty from the seminary. If that proves to be the case, St. Tikhon’s faces severe financial penalties and puts its 501c3 status in jeopardy.

    So, they've already determined this? Or they are currently determining whether there was discrimination?

    Your attempts to discredit our hierarchs by any means possible--including "news gathering" which is, in the end, more rampant speculation and gossip--is pathetic.

    Everyone will know my connection to Bishop Michael. I was his calinic for some time before he ordained me to the priesthood. I know too well that the "defenders" of hierarchs can often do more harm than good.

    What I also know is this: Bishop Michael continues to drive from Bronxville to St T's to teach there--on no salary--and now act as its Rector--again, on no salary--in between administering the OCA--on no salary--and his own diocese.

    There is one thing, at least, that's "transparent" about this latest report from the Sons of Job: its motivation.

    If you don't want the man to be Metropolitan, don't vote for him. The clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey will be grateful.

    And also: be a man. Sign your name.

    Priest Leonid Schmidt

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    • A lot of huffing and puffing there, Fr. Leonid. Sounds like you don't like the same standards of administrative oversight applied to your guy as was applied to Metropolitan Jonah.

      There's a lot of "no salaries" in your commentary too. Not being paid for doing a lousy job does not justify the outcome. You get what you pay for. Administering the diocese of NY and NJ; teaching for free, administrating the seminary for free, administrating the OCA for free.

      Kinda busy, maybe too busy?

      Sounds like Bp Michael is now the rector in name only at the seminary. The absentee admin. Pressed for time, he delegates the administrative oversight of the monastery to a lay businessman with an axe to grind against the Dean. They change the rules - together - so they can fire him, or he's duped into it.

      A real people-person with administrative skills wouldn't get himself caught up in what looks like a back-stabbing revenge-firing. If it turns out to be true, the EOCC is going to see right through it. An effective administrator knows how to treat people; how to encourage their inclusion in his vision; how to garner their support.

      From what I have read about this dean, he did a more than admirable job. What's not to like in that?

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      • Basil Takach says:

        You don't know Bishop Michael if you think he is a figurehead at STS in any way giving authority on a day to day basis to a layman. Those of us who know the man have to laugh at the thought of it. Unless he received a brain transplant upon becoming your Bishop, the Father Michael Dahulich we knew for nearly thirty years was intellectually and physically incapable of allowing any such thing to occur. Enough with rumor about the EEOC and Fr. Atty - if there is any truth here spread it out in the light of day for all to see it. If not - this is just a diversion intended to fire people up more than they are already.

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    • Read the minutes and "man up" the Bishops broke the law----AGAIN. Our motivation is TRUTH. Our purpose is to bring things into the light. If there are factual errors in our reporting we unlike those you defend will correct them. We have threatened no one the same cannot be said of us when we tried the agreed upon protocols to deal with these matters. It is easy to sign a name when you agree with the status quo. So keep working for that darkness, and defending those breaking the laws both civil and canonical. We have been upfront about who we would elect and why. We have no personal axe to grind. We just think that if the synod is to be called holy it should actually act that way.

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      • Also Anonymous says:

        I think this comment shows the ridiculousness of an "us-vs-them" mentality in the current situation of the OCA. As someone who went to seminary with Fr. Leonid, I find the "keep working for that darkness," comment to be silly.

        The fact that someone has had a positive personal experience of another person and is willing to vouch for that person's character doesn't mean that they are an enemy, working to serve darkness. Is it possible that reality might be a little less black and white than that?

        I think almost any one of Bp. Michael's past students would be very happy to stand up and vouch for his character. That Fr. Leonid would do so is hardly surprising.

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    • Basil Takach says:

      I have to put in a few points here....without any inside or outside knowledge other than being a lifelong friend of Bishop Michael. Fr. Atty is a fine man, well known to my family and his health is surely a concern to us all. (One could argue that his health and the predicament of providing affordable health insurance coverage for him under what might have been a preexisting condition is somewhat ironic given the often political nature of comments often expressed on this blog, but that is for another day.) Upon the receipt of a preliminary determination from the state agency which investigates this matters for the EEOC in most states, the parties can attempt to reconcile the matter or the complainant may request a 'right to sue' letter from the state agency and proceed to Federal Court and commence litigation. Has Fr. Atty done so? I personally have no stake in the outcome of OCA's internal problems, but fair is fair and if there is a lawsuit, the filing numbers from the initiating court should be a matter of public record along with any preliminary papers filed there under. Where was this filed ? What are they? What do the papers say? This can be found at any county courthouse in the state, or federal district court if filed under the federal system. And a finding of 'probable cause' by the EEOC or a state agency investigating for them is not the same as a finding of wrongdoing as the threshold for making such a finding is exceptionally low and in favor of the complainant.

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  3. DevilInHerHeart says:

    By-Law changes for corporations require advanced notice, often a minimal number of months, and often require that all voting members be sent notice that changes in the organization's by-laws are being proposed, with the exact language in the advance notice, of both the by-laws as they are unchanged, and the proposed change. This is basic. How can this by-law change be considered legal?

    The conflict of interest is obvious, when a board member sells the organization insurance. It is all the more egregious, when that board member is the chairman. It is a flagrant violation of law when that board chairman votes to change the accountability structure so that he himself is above the dean.

    This was done in August --two months ago. And no one raises a concern about such blatant corruption? Is this really what Syosset and the Synod think -- that they are above the law, unaccountable to the people, and can get away with anything they wish?

    Indeed, the upcoming Robber Council in Parma is a similar attempt to get away with injustice, the injustice of Metropolitan JONAH's forced resignation (by financial blackmail, as well as his vicious slander publicized to the world), and to place before the world the facade of business as usual in The Orthodox Church in America.

    Many, many laypeople and clergy want the corruption to stop. We need a Job, a hierarch or accepted leader, to speak the truth ("Are the allegations true or false?"). May God grant us such a leader!

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  4. It wouldn't be the OCA if it wasn't "Another month, another lawsuit".

    An yep, there's a bishop on the synod right in the thick of it (again). The serialized soap opera continues. This month we have Bp Michael rolling over for a businessman who has a proprietary relationship ($) with his seminary. The man wants to keep it that way - all ($) to himself - but it's not in the best interests of the seminary to do so. Plus it is a clear conflict of interest.

    What to do? Can the hard-working dean who exposed him.

    And be sure to do it while he's defenseless, sick in the hospital, and unable to stand up for himself. If you thought duplicity had an end with these characters, you'd be wrong.

    My question: who is the script writer that keeps coming up with this stuff? These guys are CLERICS.

    * * * *

    I think Dean Atty will like the EOCC. They are very fair. The rules of engagement are spelled out clearly for both sides beforehand. It's submit to abitration and settle, or go for a full-blown court case. What do you think your chances are? They ask you that right up front.

    Maybe this is why employers choose the road most-followed and cave-in. The clock ticks. 60 days of pay plus penalties plus court costs plus lawyers draws nigh. The Feds keep reminding you that the longer you wait (if you are in the wrong) the worse it will be be for you when it's all over.

    My wife challenged something like this recently (with a previous employer). He had pulled a fast one on 6 employees and then pretended it was something legit. They weren't paid.

    We knew nothing about the appeal process, but after a few hours of homework and a grievance letter to her employer (spelled out by the Feds), the check was in the mail.

    If you are a member of the Chamber and an EOCC decision goes against you, you are seen as untrustworthy and an unsuitable employer, one who takes advantage of your employees. Not what a seminary with 503-C status needs.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      What you describe is scary indeed. However it goes much deeper than the simple, unjust firing of Dean Atty. Even if the EEOC forces a quick settlement in Atty's favor, STS still has a whale of a problem assuming the conflict-of-interest accusations against one of the the Board of Directors is true.

      The Sons of Job assure me that there is more to come on the STS front...

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      • Actually George, It's not that scary. Maybe a $5,000 - $8,000 settlement through the EOCC. A bee sting ($) at best. Management may also be trying to ditch Dean Atty's medical plan. Cancer treatments can be expensive. I just hope he's being cared for as he should.

        As for the businessman - board director - chairman - whatever, the settlement would simply be a fee for continuing his business with the seminary. Let's call it a private tax on his future profits at the monastery/seminary's expense.

        But the sexual predation thing. That is another matter entirely. If that happened on the good rector's watch, he eventually could have some questions to answer. Hope not as Metropolitan.

        Isn't it amazing how what goes around comes around? The judges of Metropolitan Jonah now get to bask in their own sunshine. I hope they like the Light. It could be a long long trek across the Sahara.

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    • I wonder what St Paul would think about this ... oh wait, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 comes to mind ...

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  5. The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is not going "from Glory to Glory," is it!

    One may truthfully say that no one is in charge. Fathers Pishtey, Hubiak, and Kondratick always saw to it thet the incumbent Metropolitan was in charge, even when they were personally at odds with the same. From the moment, however, when Metropolitan Herman arbitrarily and ruthlessly ousted his Chancellor (leading to the shameful and uncanonical 'deposition" of him from the Priesthood), No One Was In Charge. The Germans say, "Viele koeche verderben den Brei," and they accurately described what has happened in the OCA. Metropolitan Herman was not up to the job by himself, though he believed he was. The Stokoe-Wheeler-Job axis was the first to grab at the reins, but there was competition from others. Frs. Garklavs and Jillions don't have it---this is obvious. After reading this appalling news about what's being done to fr. Atty, I feel very pessimistic about even the devout but not so energetic Archbishop Tikhon will be able to accomplish. They'll probably not allow him to revisit the proceedings (called, improbably, a Spiritual court) which destroyed the ministry of Protopresbyter R.S. Kondratick and his wife, nor to revisit the sleazy and cowardly way that Bishop Nikolai was ousted from the See to which he'd been elected and installed without ANY attempt to act canonically.
    Either one of them, Father Bob or Vladyka Nikolai, as Chancellor, would need about one year to put the OCA's house in order. This won't happen. Now, especially, but not only, there's no one in charge in the Synod, in the Chancery or in the Metropolitan Council. It's a day by day reinvention of the wheel or of many wheels.The more talk there is of 'vision" the less of it there is. Every one does his own thing: this one is searching for the right combination of a time-and-motion study on the one hand, a business plan and a staff study on the other, while another is determined that we need "vibrant' (what iS THAT?) parish life,another that we act eucharisticly and conciiliarly, while another is sure the answers are all to be found in surveys and statistics, another in greater and more frequent boot camps. No one agrees on what the problems are. Some Orthodox people are even heard to use the words "foreign" and "foreigner" as pejoratives!!! NO Jews or Greeks, right Yeah, right! "Foreign Control!!! Everyone, quick! Make the sign of the Cross. Who the hell cares if those foreigners are Orthodox or not-----they'll destroy All That We Have Achieved!
    "Little children, keep yourselves from idols.".

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  6. Lord Save says:

    Happy birthday to Metropolitan Jonah!

    Many years most blessed master!

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  7. Thomas Paine says:

    First, Fr. Atty has had several surgeries for cancer. How long he could continue as Dean of STOTS remains to be seen. + Michael was an obvious choice to help guide STOTS. Now, where the Board of Trustees may have gotten into trouble is how they have decided to address the situation. I am quite sure that the board could sit down with Fr. Atty and come to some form of agreement. The other issue is, does the OCA really need STOTS as a seminary? It's costly. All the land and buildings of STOTS could keep it as a monastery, a camp, conference center and a retirement center for clergy. Several cluster home developments could be done to accommodate this.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      Regardless of Fr. Alexander's physical condition, the decent and Christian thing to do was for the Board to meet with him to discuss the situation instead of going behind his back the way that they did. They knew of his condition when they hired him, so they have no excuse to do what they have done to him. Besides, there is the whole issue of a conflict of interest, that Fr. Alexander had the courage to point out to them. I know Fr. Alexander well enough to trust his judgment. If he saw a conflict of interest, there is a conflict of interest. Of all places in the world, an Orthodox seminary should follow ethical practices when it deals with the business of the seminary. How can they train men to become priests if the board of the seminary is ethically compromised?

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      • I agree, Fr. John. Fr. Atty is an outstanding priest, and his health status was well known prior to his becoming dean. I remember praying for him fervently when he was diagnosed, there was a prayer group about it on Facebook and everything.

        It is reprehensible that anyone would dare to use Fr. Atty's illness as a means to undermine his leadership. They sure didn't mind Fr. Alexander Schmemann remaining dean of SVS while he was even sicker than Fr. Atty is. Fr. Schmemann was dean of his seminary until the day he reposed in the Lord.

        If STS goes under because of this, I hope something good will come out of it, like its conservative influence flowing south to Crestwood.

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    • Not that again! Why not close down SVS by merging it and moving to South Canaan? To paraphrase Thomas Paine, "Does the OCA really need SVS as their seminary? It's costly and having an Orthodox seminary in WESTCHESTER COUNTY is as puzzling as having the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove (postal district of syosset)! Or they could ask to be merged with Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, no?

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      • Your grace, times have changed. I have heard SVS hardly gets a dime from the OCA today. It draws students from all over the Orthodox world and from other Christian denominations too. They are on their own nickel now, and probably glad of it.

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        • You're absolutely right, Jmical! And I was wrong. SVS is not only completely independent religiously, it's completely independent financially. I think their aspirations have always been for a kind of detached, lofty superiority such as the University of Paris once was, frustrating Rome. They, and their retired protopresbyter Dean TOLERATE the OCA, not the other way around. I remember how, even before I retired, that Protopresbyter published a long condescending essay on the topic of the "duties of the bishops" towards "the" seminary. One of the bishops' duties was (you guessed it) upholding the Teaching of the Faculty!!!!!!!!! It's almost like an enactment of a tendentious old broadside against "Greek Catholics" undermining the Orthodox Church, although, of course, there's nothing "Greek Catholic" about the style and spirituality of that Protopresbyter, is there, right? yeah right.

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      • Thomas Paine says:

        Dear BT,

        SVS originated as an "academy," that is, an institution of higher learning. In 1938, it was established as exactly that while STOTS opened as a "pastoral school." The requirement to attend SVS was to have a BA/BS degree to study for a Masters. STOTS was established to train men of high school training to be good parish priests. Virtually ALL schools of higher learning are located in areas where they are close to other libraries, museums, other institutions of higher learning, etc. Basically, near centers of learning, commerce and the Orthodox Church. NYC is the "Capital of the World" and fits this need. Johnstown does not. Herkimer does not. The mountains of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre does not. STOTS is a great place for a monastery, retreat center, clergy retirement center, camp, etc. Like The Antiochian Village. As a serious place close to a center of Orthodoxy & higher learning, SVS is exactly in the right place. Of course, you were only there for 3 months; you wouldn't know that, would you?

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        • "Thomas Paine." How ironic that you would choose such a pseudonym!
          I'm going to repeat for the third or fourth time here a correction to the misinformation about me you and a couple ignoramuses before you posted here, relative to my education at SVS.
          I matriculated at Saint Vladimir's Seminary from September, 1965 through June, 1966, satisfactorily completing two full semesters/ one academic year of study there. Here are the names of my schoolmates there at that time. Any one of them will be able to verify that; Metropolitan Daniel (Juda Yoshihara) of Tokyo, Bishop Sergius (Black), Bishop Seraphim Segrist, Archpriests Paul Kucynda, Leonid Kishkovsky, Thaddeus Wojcik, Vassily Lickwar, Roman Okawa, Justin Yamaguchi, Lawrence Lazar, Rastko Trbuhovich, Steven Stojsavlevich, Theodore Heckman, Michael Simerick. You may also check with David and Barbara Drillock if you like. If you have the SVS 33-1/3 rpm records you will see me in a photo on the back of one of them. There WAS, Thomas, an SVS before Hopko and Lazor!
          I'll help you out with the word 'academy." In the Russian Church, a theological Academii is a school that requires a SEMINARY degree to enter it: it is a POST SEMINARY school. Indeed, Professor Bensin and others hoped that Saint Vladimir's WOULD become such an academy. It ended up, however, as a "post-graduate school of theology." The Russian Academies were primarily, but not entirely, nurseries for the episcopate, producing 'learned monks.' Such "learned monks" were mightily resented by the "white" or married parish clergy for that. The bitterness toward such "learned monasticism" could palpably be breathed or inhaled from the writings of "the Paris School,' primarily, but not only, Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov and Archpriest Alexander Schmeman. "Uchonie (uchenniye) monashestvo" was not so much uttered as SPAT. SVS is NOT the equivalent of a Russian Theological Academy at all: it's very much like the standard American Protestant Seminary in almost all ways---it has to be in order to be accredited to bestow college graduate degrees.
          A simple call to the Seminary office, or a note, should be enough to verify that you lied about me here.
          But you lie about your name, too. I'm on Facebook. If you'd like to dig a little deeper and know anyone in the higher reaches of the U.S.DOD, you may find that I was granted a Top Security security clearance the entire time I served in the U.S. Air Force, from 1960-1965, and from 1966-1971. I had to fill out a DoD Form 98 to assist those who did my background investigations on which I listed my residence, work and educational histories. The one I completed and that was used in 1966 by the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) clearly shows the period of study at SVS from September 1965-June 1966. You, "Thomas Paine," are not a trained investigator, and I, if interviewed about you by anyone from the OSI, CID or FBI preparatory to your being considered for hire by the government, would reply to the query, "Would you recommend this person for a position of trust" with a resounding "No."
          What are you, a clerk-typist? Don't let it get you down--you share your skills with Metropolitan Herman who held the MOS of clerk-typist in the U.S.Army, a company clerk at a U.S. Army installation at Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada, and he went on to become a Metropolitan. He finished a secretarial school before the seminary, you see.
          Saint Vladimir's Seminary is NOT, as you write, "close to a center of Orthodoxy." What an idea! To be an authentic Orthodox Academy, it should be located at not just a plain monastery, but at a center of Orthodoxy, such as the Lavras of Kiev, St. Petersburg, and Moscow!!!!
          As for its being, as you wrote, "a serious place,' well, that's an "on-again, off-again" thing at SVS. I remember on one visit back there seeing a poster on a hallway bulletin board which was for a Halloween Party. It said, "Come as your favorite heretic." i also remember, when one Octet came to Los Angeles, the seminary octet regaled the Russian Orthodox parishioners in a post liturgy concert in the parish hall with such "numbers" as "Toot-toot Tootsie, good by-y-y-y-e! Toot, toot, Tootsie, dont' cry!"
          Of course this was necessary because seminarians are always insecure about their "normality". They want to show that they are fully in the world, and regular guys....I mean, it's so evangelical, right?
          Why don't you man up and tell us your real name? Won't the Chancelloror your mother protect you?

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          • Thomas Paine says:

            BT,

            Very interesting. Fr. Joel remembers you leaving SVS in a huff after Fr. Fryntsko tried to get you up for Matins and you cursed and threw things at him in Nov. 1965. No one seems to remember you being at SVS after Thanksgiving 1965. Sept - Nov is 3 months. Interesting.

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            • Did you check with" EVERYONE?" This sounds like you and your friend reliving some drama and wishing to slander by it.
              INTERESTING

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            • Thomas Paine, you are a liar, and if Joel McEachen told you that, he, too, is a liar. Shame on you both!
              If you are talking about the nice but not-so-bright Joel McEachen I remember, I'm glad to hear he's still alive. he doesn't have early onset senile dementia, does he?. Ted Fryntzko, a former boys' reformatory warden, who was charitably given a job at SVS after losing his job at the reformatory, called "Furtzko' by Natalia Mitrofanovna Zembara, the cook, was quite a character. The only run-in I had with that tinpot martiinet was one evening when Leonid and David and I were leaving to go up to Nathan's and he tried to stop us, saying it was too late. We ignored him and I might have given him the finger. He did, years later, FINALLY get ordained and sent to Alaska, where he would occasionally beat up a "native" for being drunk, reverting to type. Joel was thought to be kind of slow, though he had served in the military. Please tell us more, and don't forget to call the seminary office to learn that I've told you the truth. The incident you described is entirely a fantasy and a lie. I've never cursed anyone at SVS, let alone that kook Fryntzko! "Threw things at him?"
              Please stop repeating these puerile lies.
              They are slanderous, libellous lies. Does McEachen realize that? Do YOU realize that?

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          • Sean Richardson says:

            Bishop Tikhon, it's so nice to see you set the record straight concerning yourself. For too long I've seen those attacked cower in their closets and refuse to answer back. It's nice to see that you have "manned up" and given a full accounting of yourself (although I wish it weren't necessary). Too often people have expressed a strong sense of judgmentalism and no sense of Christian charity, at all. Good for you! Thank you

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            • Catherine 9 says:

              Bishop Tikhon meant a Top SECRET Security Clearance.

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              • Correct, Catherine 9! Actually, i originally wanted to indicate an enhanced Top Secret clearance, and just typed "Top Security Clearance." If I were to add the various enhancements, they wouldn't mean anything to most everyone here. I don't know how I managed to type "Security" twice, but I did.

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                • Catherine 9 says:

                  Of course, a mere typo.

                  I wanted to draw attention to this so I highlighted it, since most people here
                  would have little clue how remarkable it IS to receive a Top Secret Security Clearance.

                  The govt has to spend something like $30,000 - a general estimate - researching
                  every detail of your entire existence. They have agents go and query every
                  next door neighbor you ever lived next to about what type of person you are.
                  The process takes many months.

                  To get a clean bill of
                  'security health' says a lot about the person's character and dependability.
                  {hee hee, I know because I also was given one !}

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                  • As long as we're highlighting military/DoD practices, then, perhaps, we might as well recognise that in the mid-60s, every enlisted person in the US military was required to complete a DD Form 98 as part of the Military Personnel Security Program. At the time, this form was used as a means of rejecting those military inductees who, by the power of the Attorney General, were deemed "unsuitable" by reasons of personal association with various and sundry groups. It was used until 1973, IIRC. There are other forms used that are associated with higher clearances.

                    Indeed, a Top Secret Security Clearance is time-consuming and expensive, and based on one's AFSC. My late Spouse had several; as did my Cousin, his Wife, his Aunt, three Brothers-in-Law, and a lot of friends, over the years. For some, it's just part of the job. Let's say, Your Grace, your AF specialty was in crypto-linguistics. Then yes, you would necessarily need a Clearance. All this to say, one can later refer to a nice paper trail.

                    BTW, I'll be seeing David Drillock soon. Anything you'd like me to pass along to him? Here lately, when he's in town, we usually host him in our home.

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                    • AG. Not quite.
                      I had meant to refer to the DD398 when I referred to my Personal History Form, of course (I'm almost 80)!
                      Not only in the 1960s, but, I believe possibly even today, EVERY enlisted and officer member of the U.S. Armed Forces was required to sign a DD Form 98, disavowing support , association or allegiance to the organizations on the 'Attorney General's List." ALL employees in the DoD were required to sign/complete that form..
                      In the personnel security programs of the Department of Defense, AG, a distinction has always been made between loyalty and suitabiltity. Membership in organizations, foreign connections and political associations were the main "loyalty" factors, while it was homosexuality, alcholism, divorce, criminal records and so forth that constitute 'suitability" factors.
                      AG I have some experience and expertise in this area. From 1967 to 1971, I was Deputy Chief, Personnel Security Group, HQS USAF. My office was in room 5D466 of the Pentagon. I supervised four GS-12s, four GS-5s, one staff sergeant, and our receptionist/secretary a GS-7. Anyone, military or civilian and of any rank whatsoever, employed by HQS USAF who had a Security Clearance, had one with either my isignature on it or the Chief's. I signed the Security Clearances OF the Dhief of Staff and all the rest of the Air Staff; and of all the military and civilian employees of OSAF (Office of the Secretary of the Air Force). Anyone needing a clearance to be renewed or in order to be hired or assigned in the Air Force at HQS USAF, military of civilian had to be approved by my office. Many resented this. I've retained for my memoirs a letter to me and my reply from a retired general who had applied to work in the office of the Chief Scientist and objected to having to fill out "all those forms", etc. since he had so much service experience. All it took from me was a "No ticket; no laundry" and he submitted his forms. We retained the BIs (Background Investigations by the OSI or CID)and FFIs (Full Field Investigations, by the FBI) on file in the large walk-in vault in my office. We also retained the background investigations of every single general office in the Air Force world-wide, as well as of all those colonels in the zone for consideration for promotion to general, the background investigations of all Air Force personnel employed in or by the White House---the Air Force Band, social aides, the president's personal physician, if he were military.
                      Crypto-Linguists, AG, were few at HQS USAF; however, when I was an enlisted man in the Signal Corps at Camp Zama/Fuchinobe, one of the companies in our Japan Signal Battalion was, in fact, all crypto-sorts, and I was good friends with some. A Top Secret Clearance is nothing to sneeze at, of course, but there are so many specialized programs that need supplemental or deeper backgound investigations than the normal, that it would be hard to list them 'Top Secret-Crypto" is just one such. "Top-Secret 'Q'" (atomic or nuclear) was another..
                      Yes, AG, AFSC is the Air Force equivalent of the Army's M.O.S. (Can't remember if the Navy has a different one or not).
                      By the way, I should point out the basic fact that Clearance and Access are two distinct and different processes. Clearance is only a certification of eligibility: it is the person having custody of classified information who grants access.

                      ALL these clearances, though, have an obvious and major flaw: They are outdated the moment they are issued as reliable certification of anything. "Secret and Confidential" clearances are issued on the basis of a NAC or NACI only (National Agency Check or National Agency check with some additional Investigation.).
                      To me, although no one asked me this time, the idea that the OCA thinks that their Background Checks accomplish anything but to possibly discourage the not-so-clever person from becoming clergy.is funny. It reminds me of the old "security question" at the airport: "Do you have an explosives in your luggage or carry-ons? "
                      Do Dave and Barbara still live in Virginia Beach? That was my favorite weekend and vacation spot when I was in the Pentagon. I passed through there once, a year or two before retiring: it's totally different: antiseptic and staid.

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                    • Thank you, Your Grace; you've brought back a LOT of memories! :)

                      As I said, I only used the idea of a crypto-linguist in relation to your possible AFSC as an example of the sorts of jobs in the AF that would require the sort of clearance(s) you had. I wasn't trying to presume. Please, forgive me, that it came across that way.

                      My late AF Spouse was flight crew, so I am more familiar with those hoops.

                      Yes, David and Barbara are still in Virginia Beach; in fact, they just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on the 19th! And, yes, indeed, Va Beach has changed a lot over the years.

                      Again, thank you for this journey down memory lane. I've enjoyed it. It isn't often I get to talk "Air Force" and I enjoy it.

                      Asking your blessing.

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            • Heracleides says:

              It is hardly a "full accounting."

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          • Bishop Sergios (David Black) says:

            Re Bishop Tikhon's post on October 21 at 11:58 PM - he certainly did complete his year at SVS. At the conclusion of the school year he carefully bade farewell to faculty members, and he and I went for a drive up the Taconic Parkway. Classes and finals were over. The semester was done. He was there. Also - he did not resist Matins (or any other service) and did not need to be harassed by Father Theodore Fryntzko of blessed memory. An ex-military man, Seminarian Steven Fitzgerald knew how to get up in the morning. Seminarian Steven Fitzgerald fulfilled Father Alexander Schmemann's dictum that a seminarian knew "3 itineraries - to the Chapel, to the Library and to the Classroom". It is true that a 4th itinerary - to "Nathan's Famous" - occasionally motivated a number of us. Since Father Alexander usually took each seminarian to lunch at Trocmar's Pizza Restaurant in Tuckahoe every semester, he did not seem to mind the support we also gave to Nathan's. In my day, however, we did not know "Steven Stojsavlevich" other than as "Stevo".

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              Thank you Your Grace for fleshing out the record and laying to rest this calumny against Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald.

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            • Many thanks and a deep reverence, Your Grace!

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            • Thomas Paine says:

              Gee, the "infamous" David Black comes out to support the "infamous" BT. Is there a phone book for Orthodox kooks? Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann never took seminarians to the Trocmar and the Taconic Parkway isn't near SVS. Keep the lies coming. You must be Republicans.

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              • George Michalopulos says:

                Mr Pain, that is so stupid that words fail me. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald is certainly not a Republican. And even if he were, what difference would that make?

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              • Dude (Thomas Paine),

                The pkwy is 30-60 minutes north of St Vlad's ... a straight shot up the freeway.

                You should take the 'e' off your surname.

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              • Someone please get a phone book for Thomas Pain. He's asking for one.
                I owe my 85 year old sister a letter. She lives in Bloomfield Hlls, MI. I'm going to make her day when she opens my letter and reads that her kid brother has been accused of being a Republican. Her husband is the token Republican in my vast, vast extended family. He'll like it, too.
                Thomas Pain keeps demonstrating his ignorance of SVS in general and now, in particular, ever-memorable Alexander Schmemen, who became a Protopresbyter long after David
                Black and Stephen Fitzgerald were seminarians. I wish he were alive. He was a master puncturer of vain men's balloons. I feel, though, that Mark Twain has given us the last word on Thomas Pain: 'Noise proves nothing.Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid!"

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              • M. Stankovich says:

                SVS --> Scarsdale Rd to cross over Central (Park) Ave (Nathan's on the corner), approx 1 mile to entrance Sprain Brook Pkwy N to Taconic State Pkwy N (30 minutes should do it)

                Friday nights, barroom always full of shady thugs who, no matter how many times we'd been there gave us "the eye." The "restaurant" & "dance floor of Trocmar was the exclusive of the denizens of SVS, and at least once every six weeks, in a dark recess near where a band once played, the Protopresbyter, our renowned Dean Alexander Schmemann himself, with a student Admittedly, the student usually was a Russian, but Fr. Alexander greeted each of us coming in or leaving. I remember once he even paid! He always wore a shirt that had a "cassock top" (i.e. finished off with the 2 eye & hooks of a Russian cassock - dark gray - and khakis). Kitty, the waitress, offered the identical deadpan greeting to the Dean as to the students: "You boys havin' pie? Pitcha' of beeah'?"

                Mr. Paine, if you would speak with authority, I suspect you should be one. We used to pass your house everyday in the SVS van. Do you recall where?

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  8. Wow! I wonder if this latest scandal will now taint Archbishop Tikhon and Bishop Michael. If you imagined this as a horse race it would be pretty tragic: "And they're offf ... oops, Benjamin stumbles out of the gate from his DUI, they're coming to the quarter mile pole ... oh no another one goes out, Matthias pulls up with a sexual misconduct, they're rounding the first turn, ... oh no, Tikhon and Michael tangle with one another and drop out with an EEOC complaint ...."

    I wonder if there will be any bishops left when they get to Parma.

    Just another amusing aside, Michael Herzog also writes the insurance for many of the churches in the OCA under a "special" plan he put together where the chancery was to receive a rebate for being in a combined plan. Was the rebate ever paid to the OCA? Was this plan compared to comparable insurance plans? Second, did anyone ever notice that not one dollar of insurance money was ever paid to the OCA over the financial scandal? And would anyone like to take a guess as to whether or not the Directors and Officers insurance is going to cover the Metropolitan Jonah lawsuit? I wouldn't hold your breath.

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    • Basil Takach says:

      I don't know Mr. Herzog, but you all should be careful of spreading allegations of which you have no direct knowledge. He is not a public figure and he is a businessman - the line between honest debate and libel is not all that clear.

      Frankly 'our people' are ridiculous - if they have say an undertaker in the parish and they use him all of the time, people will complain that the undertaker is taking them for a ride- and not to the cemetery. If they don't use him, they will complain and say why not give the business to one of our own? You can't win.

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      • Basil,

        I have no intentions of slandering Mr. Herzog. For the record, he has written a substantial portion of the insurance in the OCA. Also to his credit, it is my understanding that he worked with the insurance company to cover all of the repairs at the church in Oliphant, PA. Kudos to him for doing this. However, it is also clear that it has never really been a competitive bid process. He is an Orthodox Christian and a businessman. I do wish that the administration of the OCA would recognize that fiduciary responsibility means that you separate business and friendship. This seems to be the crux of the rift between Mr. Herzog and Fr. Atty.

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        • Basil Takach says:

          Unfortunately, if every not-for-profit were to follow a 'hands-off' policy regarding friendships and business relationships with board members and the like (including the life-blood of such institutions - contributors), with respect to what would clearly be prohibited business practices in my world (local government administration) it would be revolutionary - and not necessarily an improvement. Most of these 'conflicts' really don't amount to much. In the heat of a passionate argument, they do present the appearance of impropriety which can be blown way out of proportion by one side or the other. Trying to provide 'pro bono' legal or administrative advice to most non-profits - Churches being among the worst of such offenders - is like trying to herd cats. You will get scratched in the process.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      For what it's worth, I've been told by a few that Mr Herzak is a stand-up guy. He's got lots of administrative skills and integrity to boot. The problem as I see it however, is that by being both a Director of, and a vendor to the same institution, it raises the possibility of conflict-of-interest. To an ordinary Joe sitting on a jury it just doesn't pass the smell test even if there is no evil intent or pecuniary profit.

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      • Yes, it's a governance issue, not (yet) an integrity issue, George.
        The proper procedures would preserve the integrity of Mr Herzak's reputation as well as that of the insitution. All should welcome it.
        Lord help them, doesn't the OCA get this stuff yet?

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      • Basil Takach says:

        It is fair to note that if one were say a lawyer or physician, the standards of their respective professions might apply in a situation like the one described relative to St.Tikhon's. At least as applied to attorneys, they are obligated to 'avoid the appearance of impropriety.' Nice words indeed, but, like anything in writing, subject to subjective interpretations. In the case of a Board member have a pecuniary relationship with the institution on whose board he or she may sit, it may or may not be a problem. This depends on the laws of the state in question, the rules and regulations governing the business or profession of the Board member and the nature of the services rendered. In many cases a mere disclosure of the relationship on the record with the acquiescence of the Board may cure any conflict - as long as the fiduciary responsibilities of the Board as a whole are being met.. If the COO, CFO or even the CEO ( or in some cases a finance committee of the entire Board) are of the opinion that no pecuniary benefit other than reasonable returns for services rendered are being received such matters usually end at that point. Now, given the background within the recent history of the OCA, looking in from the outside, I can understand the suspicion and cynicism which many bring to the table upon reading of such matters. However, all of our churches, local libraries, volunteer fire companies, children's museums, local history museums etc... depend to some degree upon the largesse and participation of interested and 'connected' members who truly assist them in surviving the rough seas of the real world. Given what I know to be the case regarding the gentleman in question and his lifelong contributions to the Church (not only OCA I might add) it is patently unfair to tar him with a broadside full of innuendo which fuels itself upon the pre-existing concerns of its intended readership. That is why I mentioned the need to show some proof beyond opinion or even the bare words of by-law changes. We don't know if they were vetted by legal counsel for example. And with proper jury instructions in a court of law, a jury would not be permitted to draw a conclusions not supported by the law and the facts - unless of course jury nullification were the goal of the advocates of one side of the issue.

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      • Fr. George Washburn says:

        Hello friends:

        George introduces his comment with the phrase "for what it's worth," which seems to me like an invitation to look at what it really IS worth.

        The factual backdrop. let us not forget, is the approaching voting in Parma. George and the "Sons of" have come out for a candidate who is NOT Bishop Michael.

        Seems to me that in their eagerness to advance the chances of their choice, George and the "Sons of" decided that it was a good idea to detract from other viable candidates, in particular Bishop Michael. One of the methods that seems to have been selected is to create a negative aura around his name in the "guest editorial."

        That seems to have necessitated, or at least involved, some collateral damage to Mr. Herzack, the man now belatedly mentioned in this latest post as a "stand up guy" in the eyes of a "few." I think I detect between the lines of this post a whiff of grudging "Gee, maybe I dumped on the guy unfairly, or at least prematurely, and I ought to back off a little until/unless it appears there really was some wrongdoing." If so, hurray!

        In the world of secular politics, as I suggested in an earlier message, we are used to people assuming the worst of their opponents and smearing them in every way over any possible faux pas. That's just democracy in action in all its ...."reality," shall we say. Shoot first, ask questions later was the way the fake Hollywood cowboys put it in those movies we watched as kids.

        But nobody has come up with any evidence of actual impropriety on this gentleman's part. Did he sell inferior insurance to the seminary? Nobody has produced facts that so demonstrate. Were the prices inflated, normal market prices, or even discounted? Who knows? Did the gentleman provide personal, superior advice or especially responsive claims service, or otherwise add intangible value that one wouldn't receive by dealing with a miscellaneous stranger to the school? Perhaps, perhaps not. Did the Board and management have better things to do with their time as board members and administrators than conducting annual competitive bidding contests for routine insurance coverage, and instead simply stick with a producer and carrier(s) that had proved reliable in the past? One would certainly hope so. Isn't that what you and I usually do too, year in, year out, with our own personal and professional policies?

        I have been giving legal advice to religious non-profits for over three decades and I can tell you that in my experience competitive bidding on insurance services is seldom a high priority for board or management attention. Why? Because it is usually a rather small part of the budget for one thing, there are almost always much bigger fish to fry, insurance coverage choices often involve long-standing relationships which it isn't worth disturbing except for a good reason, and because board members are usually volunteering their time out of schedules packed with other, seemingly more urgent things.

        And even if one could show that squeezing down insurance costs *might* have been a higher priority for the Board, or even the Rector, I just don't buy the "therefore" that the "Sons of" editorial asked us to accept here: that Bishop Michael is a bad choice for Metropolitan because Dean Atty's contract wasn't renewed after he got sick and called into question the propriety or cost of Mr. Herzack doing insurance business with the institution without at least some competitive bidding. Maybe he was so busy coping with all the higher priority stuff, both good and bad, that wise judgment told him it wasn't worth getting into.

        But now we read that Mr. Herzack has got "lots of administrative skills and integrity to boot." (I bet I know just who he'd like to boot, too, and where!) These ostensibly magnanimous and offhanded concessions to Mr. Herzack strike me, however, as almost the polar opposite of what George and the "Sons of" were implying in the editorial's urgent desire to detract from Bishop Michael, namely that Mr. Herzack was a *bad* administrator as Chair and *lacked* integrity.

        Back to that introductory clause "for what it's worth." The editorial was in fact a sensational, headline rush to judgment fully intended to get the average Joes sitting on the informal internet jury to conduct a biased smell test by association on Bishop Michael, a test that on careful examination was not supported by ANY hard facts of wrongdoing with regard to Herzack's insurance sales and board service. Dabbing this little bit of cologne on it doesn't make it smell better to me.

        In the world of politics this little 180 probably would be viewed as unusually candid and well-intentioned. But coming from people who sit in such severe public judgment on others in matters of ethics, religious truth and values, and the work and will of God, it isn't "worth" as much to me as its author might have supposed.

        sincerely,

        Fr. George

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          Fr George. as I said in the previous "Sons of Job" editorial, I did not necessarily agree or endorse the views of the Sons of Job. Last year before Seattle, I published an editorial from a priest who wrote about the "`1%". As you know may correctly surmise from my politics, I am most definately not in the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd.

          Monomakhos is a forum for free and honest debate in matters that concern me. I have asked, often exhorted those who have a different point to submit essays describing their own views which may be contrary to mine.

          Now that we have those caveats aside, I actually like Bp Michael. There are reasons I haven't endorsed him however, not the least of which is that we have a legitimate Primate. Here are the others:

          1. All of the other bishops on the Synod are morally compromised to this extent at least: they have acquiesced in an uncanonical action against their Primate. Said actions include conspiracy.

          2. Having said that, Bp Michael seems to be the least morally compromised of the lot.

          3. Any endorsement on my part towards him would be the kiss of death for that candidate.

          Hope that answers your questions or concerns.

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  9. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Well, friends, let's not get too carried away with all this axe-grinding! And let's not have any doubt that axe-grinding is what we are watching.

    In early November there is going to be a presidential election. We are not surprised to see partisans of all persuasions playing every angle possible in order to gain or exploit an advantage. Flaps are created, and gleefully magnified by the supposed victims and self-appointed watchdogs, sometimes out of little or nothing of actual consequence, in the hope that a stampede of negativity will engulf one's foes.

    We should be careful to watch this series of articles and posts for signs that the "Sons of" aren't doing the same.

    I first made the acquaintance of Fr. Atty in the summer of 1987. We went to Mt. Athos together in 1992. I have seen little of him over the years, but I have an enduring belief in him as the "real deal," a man's man and a true and able Christian leader. Infallible, no. But honorable, courageous, and dedicated to the best for Christ's Church, yes. Doubtless his illness in God's providence will have its purpose, but it is so sad on a human level.

    But let's not make any mistake about the use to which his sufferings are being put here just now. The "Sons of" have previously announced their agenda and their choice for Metropolitan, and in order to advance that cause they may be willing to grip and wield ...if not wrest ...whatever facts they can.

    I have been an active member of the California Bar since 1979 and have some limited experience with EEOC matters. The EEOC "determination" to which the "Sons of" are referring here is probably nothing more than a preliminary administrative conclusion that yes, if the board is taking adverse action because of a illness, it has the prima facie appearance of being unfair. In my limited experience such preliminary determinations are made by people who are trained and inclined to see such claims from an employee-favoring standpoint, and are made with only limited input from the employer.

    The (perhaps feigned or exaggerated) cries of alarm here about huge judgments and loss of 5013c status in my opinion are rather overblown. Federal agencies and courts hate religious quarrels with a passion, and avoid them like the plague (and usual waste of court resources) they so often are. If some non-compliance with the law is found here it is extremely unlikely to have the dire consequences it now suits the "sons of" for us to fear. An adverse final ruling, unpaid wages or a modest penalty could well be the outcome, but disaster? Hardly.

    With time facts emerge on both sides which tend to move the claim to an objective and fair resolution, which in this case may well be against the employer once all the info and arguments are in. But not necessarily so by any means. As the OT Book of Proverbs says, "he who pleads his cause first sounds right, but then his opponent comes along and searches him out,"

    Why not wait for that to unfold? Why, obviously because throwing dust in the air and crying "the sky is falling" might just influence another November election that the "Sons of" care about a whole lot. It ain't my fight and I don't have a candidate to back, but I hate to see the OCA become more ungovernable than it already seems to be through the casting of premature and potentially slanted aspersions. Time will tell on both fronts!

    love,

    Fr. George

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    • brian Mclacky says:

      Fr George,

      It very well may not be a disaster with the feds, but I wonder how ATS will look upon this. The seminary received only a two year extension at its last ATS visit (by contrast HC received 7 years and SVS 10 years). If ATS pulls accredidation who would want to go there?

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  10. Harry Coin says:

    Earlier this website had content all 'major down' on St. Tikhon's seminary administration on the basis it permitted a gay priest to roam about offering massage services to seminarians.

    Now this website is all down on the idea the person in charge at the time the aforementioned went on is, in due course, going to be replaced.

    If the first is true, why is the second bad? If the second is bad was the first true?

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    • Harry, what do you mean by "all major down"? How many people even noticed, let alone commented on the matter which caught your attention so dramatically? Very, very few, Harry. And where do you get the idea that Fr. Atty is being demoted because of that?

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      • Harry Coin says:

        Seems to me being asked to leave as 'chief operating officer' seminary executive after having overlooked to protect students from (not one-of) joys of in-room massage by a gay priest is apt, whatever the other reasons. Any who had reports about this activity and were in positions capable of correcting it, who did not do so should also be reassigned.

        Unless the whole allegation of the gay priest wandering the halls offering massage was a one-of event, total canard advertised on this website wrongly. So is this website about 'beating down the oca' no matter the news of the day, or was it wrong to complain about this fellow leaving, or was the whole 'overlooked gay clergy massage service for seminarians' false? Is there any way more than one of those can be true?

        Is the 'gay priest who offered massages to seminarians' discussed on this website still a priest?

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        • The predation of young men who in several cases were in fact struggling with same-sex attraction and then were preyed upon or tempted and harassed by some staff (priests), OCA officials, and even a hierarch living on the grounds of the seminary. All of these reported abuses happened prior to Atty being in charge. It is precisely the action of Atty that brought the place back from being on life support to its present state of relative health. The money matters were mostly cleaned up due to Atty's excellent business sence except those we will soon reveal. Some of the necessary changes were being resisted and we will be pointing them out in coming days. The predation had stopped under Atty. The students were being well-educated under Atty. Atty's sickness had not kept him from doing an exceptional job.

          So ask these questions of and to the previous Dean and the previous Rector(s) because they are relevent. Put together the right timeline and you will know the right people to approach with your excellent questions that were asked by some of us over a decade ago.

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          • Ivan Vasililev says:

            For those of us who are exhausted with the guessing game and innuendos, would YOU please put together a comprehensive time line for us? And, if you really know the identities of the persons responsible, spell them out so that we have some idea about where the NEXT lawsuit will be emerging and who it will involve.

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        • Monk James says:

          Harry Coin says (October 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm):

          Seems to me being asked to leave as ‘chief operating officer’ seminary executive after having overlooked to protect students from (not one-of) joys of in-room massage by a gay priest is apt, whatever the other reasons. Any who had reports about this activity and were in positions capable of correcting it, who did not do so should also be reassigned.

          Unless the whole allegation of the gay priest wandering the halls offering massage was a one-of event, total canard advertised on this website wrongly. So is this website about ‘beating down the oca’ no matter the news of the day, or was it wrong to complain about this fellow leaving, or was the whole ‘overlooked gay clergy massage service for seminarians’ false? Is there any way more than one of those can be true?

          Is the ‘gay priest who offered massages to seminarians’ discussed on this website still a priest?
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          This divorced priest didn't teach at St Tikhon Seminary on Fr Alexander Atty's watch, so FrAA can't be blamed for this.

          However, this priest's continual predations were well known to Met. Herman when he was in charge. MetH repeatedly suspended this priest for minimal periods and then reinstated him. This priest is still a priest, but retired and may still officiate as asked. So blame MetH, not FrAA.

          BTW: A recently deceased archbishop did the same thing at STOTS as this priest,did, but was never held accountable for that or for his other shameful behavior.

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          • Monk James,

            I don't suppose that you'd like to name names
            In both those circumstances?

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          • Monk James says:

            Earlier, I wrote:
            However, this priest’s continual predations were well known to Met. Herman when he was in charge. MetH repeatedly suspended this priest for minimal periods and then reinstated him. This priest is still a priest, but retired and may still officiate as asked. So blame MetH, not FrAA.

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            To my astonishment, I just learned that this priestly predator is NOT retired -- he's serving a parish in the eparchy of Eastern Pennsylvania.

            That calamity could be realistically blamed on Bp Tikhon of Philadelphia, who -- even if he had no authority to do anything about it at the time -- must surely have known about the man's hitting on students at STOTS.

            I regret the mistake and I'm not sure why I'm shocked, since it's a move just about on par for our poor OCA's recently crooked course.

            'Convert us, Lord, and bring us back that we may be saved!'

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            • Harry Coin says:

              We see married clergymen who stray sexually on occasion, being allowed to remain upon a repented first mistake if the wife agrees. Here we see that if the sexual mistake is with a male there is no important consequence to the clergyman, notice the case re: Bp. Nathaniel described on Pokrov.

              Most parishes are composed of families with children. What with being called 'parishes' and all. Who will seminaries with this reputation attract? What parish will seek such graduates? Will the church with such policies grow? Is the sexual misconduct committee only for those cases the civil authority needs to be managed?

              Let's not speak seriously of canons and church discipline requirements anymore. Clearly those that apply are only those that serve, or at least don't threaten, control agendas.

              The people are going to have to come together, somehow, and bring about a return to sobriety in high places, without generating victims, without a witch hunt, but clearly calling for some new faces making important decisions. And soon, while we still have enough people around. People who think of all this as different than going to see a play.

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              • Harry, your desire to rid the church of clerics who have deposed themselves by their immoral actions is a fight worth fighting.

                The fact that +Nathaniel has lived a compromised life and now seeks to punish those who speak out is testimony enough that he too does not deserve to stand in judgement of anyone. The Prokrov story you highlight is just one of many this man has tried to suppress.

                When his own auxiliary bishop tried to bring the immoral life of +Nathaniel to the Church, he was told to shut up or face deportation. The clergy in the ROEA know the score and they are sick of it. There are two bishops in the OCA episcopate that have no skeletons in their closets and the Auxiliary bishop in the REOA is one of them. He is a good and honorable man and did not deserve to be treated the way he was.

                +Nathaniel, you may be the locum tenens of the OCA by virtue of your seniority but your past is another black mark on Orthodoxy here in America. How you can stand up in Parma and dare to press the case that the OCA is better off with another Metropolitan after running +Jonah off only shows how deeply corrupt and broken the jurisdiction that has given you cover for lo these many years is doomed if it does not wake up and beg God's forgiveness.

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                • Amos, what has Archbishop Nathaniel personally done to compromise himself? If the locum tenens of the OCA and the Archbishop of the Romanian Episcopate has compromised himself, we need to know this. Similar innuendo was shot onto this website by the so-called Sons of Job. Why not name the auxiliary bishop who has bravely spoken up for the Very Reverend Vasile Susan and the Metropolitan and is thus blameless in the scandals, scandal mongering being a scandal in itself

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                  • here's a start
                    http://pokrov.org/Documents/Articles/1278/Job%20Audience%202006%2012%205.pdf

                    Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • Wow, what a read! Thank you colette. I had always heard only snippits of the Vasily Susan case this really opens it up a bit more. Also very refreshing to hear right from a Bishop's mouth "yes, homosexuals are being covered up by Bishops."

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                • Disgusted With It says:

                  Amos,

                  Are you saying +Nathaniel was a major player in getting rid of Metropolitan Jonah? Was he pushing from behind the scenes? How is it that an archbishop who is half-in and half-out of the OCA could have so much control? What role was he playing in all this? Just when it seems like it couldn't get more complicated it does.

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                  • If his cupability was simply his locking arms with +Benjamin vs. +Jonah, that would be the least of his mistakes. Read the Fetea article. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

                    He is less than 1/2 in when it comes to supporting the OCA financially, but he is 150% in as a member of the Holy Synod. He is a full member with a vote regardless of the topic.

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                    • Disgusted With It says:

                      I have heard multiple times that +Nathaniel is the one pulling the strings in the background in all this mess, together with +Benjamin of course. But I don't know him well enough to assume everything I've heard to be true based on my own first-hand knowledge. I think your input is confirming it more for me. The more we know about who's actually doing what the better. Thank you.

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          • Ivan Vasililev says:

            We have a few recently deceased bishops. Spell out the name(s) so that the memory of those innocent (if any) may not be sullied.

            Like(0)Dislike(0)
          • Knows the Score,

            You indeed know the score. If the walls of STOS could only speak they would tell tales of that archbishop. How he loved his shaving cream.

            Some day the walls will speak for accountability and transparency is the goal.

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  11. The fact of the matter is that the meeting in question took place in 2011 and not as the report says 2012. That means that Bishop Tikhon was involved since he was in charge at the time. It is the power grab by Bishop Michael and Michael that is most interesting. I would expect the Bishop and the Board of Trustees to follow the law. There was a right way of addressing the illness of Atty and there was a wrong way. The Bishops again choose the latter and you keep defending it. If the goal is to eventually close the Seminary then it should be addressed up front. Don't demonize Atty for doing a remarkable turn around that over time may have made St Tikhons an institution of excellence. If I wanted to close the seminary and not let the whole Church in on that decision I would do exactly what the principles in this story have done. All we need is light and trust but they continue to run from it.

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  12. STL Intercept 2.03

    [Disclaimer: I cannot tell you how I came into possession of this confidential email except to say that it was not leaked to me by His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah. Neither did I steal it from any priest’s private email account. I am no bishop.]

    “My Dear Unholy Synod,

    Morons. I’ve got morons for minions. Ever since the July Ambush, you guys have taken one misstep after another. Not that I have any problem with blundering, misguided, cowardly, sexually confused, morally compromised, ethically challenged, historically ignorant, spiritually bankrupt church leaders. Au contraire, mon bozos! I like you. I really, really like you … after a fashion.

    But you’re supposed to be working for ME. Whose side are you on anyway? And what’s up with the armed guards for the AAC? I thought you hired them to intimidate the delegates. The way you’re going you’ll need them for your own protection.

    And how about your so-called vetting process for the delegates? Why would you reject the application of a non-voting delegate? All that did was tip your hand. Between that and barring Metropolitan Jonah from attending, you’ve exposed our strategy of packing the court. Oh sure, we know that you are going to elect whomever you want regardless of the votes. Been there, done that. Twice.

    But now you have removed even the façade of fairness. It would have been better to encourage the dissent, allowed arguments, then wrung your hands while electing your pre-selected Metropolitan. You could even throw in some crocodile tears for effect. I love that animal. Reminds me of my first-born. But I digress.

    Leaping Lucifer, Miss Agnes! Have you lost your minds? On the one hand, you’re dealing with Americans here. Even if they are sheep without a shepherd. Even if you are wolves in shepherds’ clothing, you should know that Americans are a rebellious people. Always have been.

    And on the other hand, many of the Orthodox faithful who you are so cavalier about dismissing are of Russian extraction. They have real experience of recent tyranny. Did you think they would just roll over and play dead?

    You were supposed to be assembling a parliament of apostates, heretics, and whores. Instead, you have summoned the church triumphant. You really don’t want to eff with them. Really.

    So here’s what you do. Cancel Parma. This has become a no-win scenario for us. Cancel the AAC. Give the church a bogus reason for it. Make something up. That’s what you’re good at. Then go back to your rabbit holes, your rat holes, or your hole of preference, and think about what you’ve done.

    Leave the church to ponder and forget their pain. Time is on our side. Stall.

    Meanwhile, tell ET to phone home … FOR HIS BRAIN. It’s a little obvious suddenly discovering that you have almost exactly twice as many registered delegates as there are signers of a petition. Does anyone there even remember what subtlety looks like?

    Now I’ve got to deal with a legion of demons who want to rip your souls out, and I’m seriously thinking of letting them. And you can bet your sweet [moderator deleted expletive] that all the armed guards in the state of Ohio won’t help you if I do.

    You guys are starting to piss me off.

    Your father below,
    S.”

    15 weeks and the beat goes on
    SSDD

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Screwtape, so good to hear from you! Whatever you do, please give the present bunch another chance. You are selling them way too short. Yes, they are morons but on their present course they will surely succeed in destroying the OCA.

      On another note, I know that you don't know him personally, but surely you must have a back-channel to Jack on the other side of the divide. Tell him to please tell Ron that my sons and I are anxiously awaiting the theatrical release of The Hobbit!

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  13. Leaving the OCA is not the same as leaving the HOLY CHURCH. Many people already are and have. The OCA is so caught up in its own propaganda built on the TOMOS that it forgets that people can simply not give tithes to the OCA but can still honor God by giving somewhere else. The control of a base and fraudulent leadership can not be tolerated by well-reasoned people and priests. One can give elsewhere, go elsewhere and still never leave the Holy Church. That is what the jurisdictional situation factually offers Orthodox in America. Many believe that by leaving the OCA they are in fact going somewhere else that is more committed to being Orthodox. Remember "Orthodox" once meant involvement in something called praxsis leading to something called theosis. I guess that is the "not modern" kind of orthodoxy.

    If we reach critical mass (we are not far from it) It is not hard to imagine that parishes, deaneries, maybe a whole diocese will simply go, to let say, ROCOR. The NY centered thinking is their downfall. Very few in the broader context of the church are thinking like they are. Think it's not already being discussed? If lets say 10% of parishes thought ROCOR offered better shepherding for their souls, would the pockets in Syosset be deep enough to fight it out in court 50 times, 10 times, 5 times? Could they even fight twice?

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Steve, you have hit on an important point. One major reason for the clean restoration of His Beatitude would stanch the continued demographic losses that the OCA is currently experiencing. The second reason would be that it would stop the impending lawsuits dead in their tracks. Trust me, I am hearing from priests already that they are ready, willing, and able to do whatever is necessary to leave from the tyranny of Syosset. And scare-talk from Eric Wheeler/Eric Tosi/Diogenes/Phil R Upp/assorted sock-puppet to the contrary, it won't be that hard.

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      • Dear George,

        Somewhat related, this is what happens to me recently when I go to the OCA website. I get a message and I have to override it to visit the website. This happening to anyone else. I was going for some music and a service. Needless to say, I did not continue onto the site:

        This Connection is Untrusted

        You have asked Firefox to connect
        securely to www.oca.org, but we can't confirm that your connection is secure.
        Normally, when you try to connect securely,
        sites will present trusted identification to prove that you are
        going to the right place. However, this site's identity can't be verified.

        What Should I Do?

        If you usually connect to
        this site without problems, this error could mean that someone is
        trying to impersonate the site, and you shouldn't continue.

        www.oca.org uses an invalid security certificate.

        The certificate is only valid for oca.org

        (Error code: ssl_error_bad_cert_domain)

        Like(0)Dislike(0)
        • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

          I'm not getting this with either Safari or Firefox. It could be that the security certificate had expired and they needed to renew it, or there was a hiccup somewhere. Nothing sinister there (now, the management of the website could be a whole lot better, but thats a different story).

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          • Thanks, Lola,

            I was a tad worried and tried to limit going to the website because i got that message a lot of times in Firefox.

            Btw, as a web expert, do you think somehow we could start a website where we collect sermons of the Metropolitan, his talks, lectures, etc.? How hard is it to convert stuff from cellphone recordings that some folks do to MP3 files so that people could share their recordings of bible study lectures and etc.? I imagine that lots of people are holding onto files of the Metropolitan like that and those files could enrich spiritual lives if they were accessible.

            Like(0)Dislike(0)
    • Sean Richardson says:

      steve, thank you for your note. I find it fascinating that you mention the issue of membership retention, the giving of tithes and offerings and the possibility of moving from one church to another, while still remaining in The Church. Too often we seem to fall into the notion that if a church is failing to grow it is either because the demographics of the community have shifted (this is often the case in smaller towns that once were havens for immigrants) or, and this one makes me crazy, a church is losing members because it is adhereing to the Gospel and the Tradition of the Church. In my humble estimation, if a church is truly adhereing to the message of Christ, then the church will grow (barring significant demographic shifts that I have seen make whole towns disapper). If a church is not growing, then something is wrong. I was in an Antiochian parish for a number of years, in a large urban area, and the pastor kept an accurate accounting of how many people were in church each and every Sunday and what the tithes and offerings were. I asked him once why he did this and he noted that he felt that if the church he was pastoring was not growing, then it was the manifestation of a problem. I didn't buy into it at the time, but later I saw that church double and then triple in size, the mortgage get paid off and a building program begun, the church school triple in size, many, many converts were accepted into the church and four men from the church enter the priesthood. The church had a warm and friendly attitude and one could feel the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit in every service. It was a wonderful moment in time. I wish that we had more priests and parishoners, like that pastor, who were willing to hold up their experience to the light of numbers, data and growth. Alas, we must remember that old political science axiom: "Refugees vote with their feet."

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      • Sean Richardson says:

        One additional note: There is an Orthodox parish very close to this Antiochian parish that for years has suffered under one poor experience after another. It hasn't grown and the feeling in it in the dozen or so times I've attended liturgy or vespers there, is one of decay and discouragement.

        Like(0)Dislike(0)
      • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

        There is a parish very near my home that is in a very nice, historical church building. However, because of where they are now and current zoning requirements, they would have to move to a nearby plot with enough space for parking. So, instead, they spin off mission parishes.

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  14. http://www.midwestdiocese.org/files/DOCUMENTS/FS-XeroxScan.pdf

    http://pokrov.org/Documents/Articles/1278/Job%20Audience%202006%2012%205.pdf

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  15. Disheartened says:

    I struggle with all the lawsuits and conflicts within the OCA. I don't understand the clergy not remembering that they will have to stand before the dread judgement seat of God and account for all that they do. Do they remember this at all before acting? Who is Fr Garrettson and what part did he play in securing the resignation of +Jonah?

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  16. Bishop Sergios Black is an absolute phony. See what he did to this man. He banned him from church, even though he was never accused of any sin and never excommunicated.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6bxyvMP2i0

    Sergios homosexual reputation were well known when he was in the OCA,.

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    • Artakhshassa the Great says:

      And you know this how, Michael? it's true that Bishop Sergios, left the OCA and became a Bishop in the GSM (Great Schismatic Miscellany) some time ago, and he remains there; however, no one seems to know who this video character is. is he a hired actor? A jilted "lover" or rejected swain? The actor or whoever he is, just makes a rather amorphous accusation of homosexuality against Bishop Sergios, no? Charges are nothing without specifications.
      By the way if he is not allowed in a church by the bishop, he IS excommunicated, in fact, from the Holy Mysteries. There's no canonical requirement to notify anyone in writing that he or she has been excommunicated, but the Bishop who excommunicated him or her, is obligated to notify any other Bishop who might wish to bring the excommunicated person under his own omophorion.
      It's a no-brainer: if the bishop tells you you may not enter his church or receive the Mysteries there, you are excommunicated.
      How this individual can claim otherwise is astounding! He Is Excommunicated!

      Like(0)Dislike(0)

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