What is the face of institutional corruption?

I’m taking a break for a day or two from dealing with the problems in the OCA. Instead, I’m highlighting an example of what I believe +Jonah has been fighting against. Long-time readers know that I’ve been following another Church scandal in Astoria, NY for the past few months that includes, among other charges, the trafficking of minors for sex.

A little over a week ago, one of the miscreants involved, Bishop Vikentios, was ordered by Istanbul to take a position as an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Imbros and Tenedos, probably to buy his silence (he’s already turned over a lot of evidence to the FBI). I took this as a personal affront because the island of Imbros is where my mother’s people hail from. The indigenous Greeks there have suffered immensely during the last 90 years of Turkish occupation. Sending this yo-yo to “pastor” them would be like feeding stones to hungry children.

The good news however is that when The National Herald first broke the story, it generated substantial outrage. I imagine some of the wealthier Archons made their voices heard. The backlash was significant enough to cause the Phanar to “rethink” the entire situation. As it stands now, Vikentios has been ordered to stay put in the States until they find some deserted island off the coast of Borneo. (Maybe he could serve the Metropolis of Gilligan’s Island, which no doubt falls under Istanbul’s purview under Canon 28.)

Ever wonder what institutional rot looks like? You looking at it now. Usually, this game can be played for several years, decades even. Think of it as musical chairs but for different purposes than fun. You know, move Pederast A to Diocese B, move Pederast B to Diocese C, and so on. Sooner or later though there are no places left to run. Istanbul may have run out of places to dump the bad guys.

My question to all the critics of +Jonah is: how long has this same game been played in the OCA? And who in the old regime has been a party to it?

My question for Istanbul is: why are you taking the two hierarchs at the center of the scandal out of the country? Why not come clean instead?

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From the National Herald | Theodore Kalmukos

Patriarch Tells Bishop Vikentios: Don’t Go

Bp. Vikentios

BOSTON – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has sent a directive to Bishop Vikentios of Apameia ordering him not to depart to the Holy Metropolis of the Turkish islands of Imvros and Tenedos until further notice. Vikentios was getting ready to depart to Imvros to serve for the upcoming holidays of Holy Week and Easter, as The National Herald reported. What prompted Patriarch Bartholomew’s directive was a strong protest by former associates and friends of the late Archbishop Iakovos of America who resisted to the idea of Bishop Vikentios staying at Iakovos’ paternal home in Imvros. Resentment had arisen in the Greek American community and beyond after TNH reported the story. Sources told TNH that Patriarch Bartholomew now either is trying to find another place for Bishop Vikentios to live in Imvros or another solution. The issue will probably be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod on April 8th. In a telephone interview, Bishop Vikentios told TNH that, “Yes, indeed your information is correct about the new development. I received a Patriarchal directive through the newly appointed Chef Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod Archimandrite Bartholomew to postpone the date of my departure to the Metropolis of Imvros and Tenedos and that from now on to communicate with him for dealing with the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery.”

Asked about the reasons, Bishop Vikentios said, “I do not know because no mention has been made in the letter except that I will be informed in the near future of what is going to happen.” Asked if this development has to do with legal issues about the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Astoria, N.Y., Vikentios said, “The interim Abbot Bishop Elias of Philomelion informed me that I will be having a meeting the next few days with the legal advisors of the Monastery so I can submit my resignation from all the Legal Corporations of the Monastery so that they go ahead the Monastery’s issues.” Vikentios added that, “My position was very clear from the beginning that I will never cause any obstacle to the directives and decisions of my Patriarch.” To the question if he is willing to stay as he is at the Dependency of St. Nectarios in Brooklyn and not go to Imvros, Bishop Vikentios said, “My desire is to leave, but if the Patriarch wants to do something else I will obey to him and do whatever he orders me to do.” When asked if he knows anything about resentment from former associates an friends of the late Archbishop Iakovos, he said, “I have already communicated with families here who come from the island of Imvros and attend Services at St. Nectarios and they are willing to provide a space to me to live in. Therefore, let those who were troubled to calm down.” To the question if he has any communication with Metropolitan Paisios from the Chrysovalantou Monastery, he said, “We will only meet in the next life in front of the just Judge, never again.”

Comments

  1. A general question to all who think that Stokoe’s been right on the money regarding corruption in the past (and is supposedly objective now): how come he has studiously avoided any mention of the many scandals involving the Istanbul-dominated jurisdictions? After all, aren’t there more than two jurisdictions in North America besides the OCA and AOCNA?

    Why does he only pick on +Jonah and +Philip? Here’s a hint: because both of these men are known for being intolerant of homosexuality in the priesthood and among the episcopate.

    Does anybody have another reason as to why Stokoe ignores the elephant in the room?

    • Harry Coin says:

      George,

      I’m sure many website authors would gladly refund you and me and everyone else all the readers paid them for all the true happenings they didn’t take their time to report upon.

      While ‘objectivity’ is in the eye of the beholder, even ocanew’s more careful critics observe there are no material mis-statements of fact to be found there. In the world of church news, that’s no small thing.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Harry, that’s not good enough. Stokoe’s kind of “investigative journalism” smacks me of the kind that I F Stone did in the 40s and 50s, when he lambasted the West for its moral failings but ignored everything Stalin did. Yes, I know that what I just wrote is an egregious comparison but the his dissembling lead me to believe that he’s not now, nor ever really was, an investigative journalist.

        Right now, I’d be the farm that most of what he’s written was handed to him by those in the OCA hierarchy who had axes to grind. Was a lot of what he wrote in the past accurate? Yes, but to what end? Why did he go out of his way to ignore the other elephants in the room?

        I know that the above is harsh, but think of it: he certainly took out miscreants (Herman, Kondratick, etc.) but by his own admission he allowed others to remain in place. This is not crusading or muckraking but propaganda, pure and simple.

        And yes, if you look at his latest posting, he completely contradicts himself regarding the SMPAC report, stating that he has both seen and not seen it. (Maybe he’s cousins with John Kerry.)

  2. Lest we forget, Bishop Benjamin of the West, now under vicious attack by retired Bshp. Tikhon of the West (Fitzgerald) and ocatruth, and being accused of being part of the “liberal, pro-gay cabal that’s conspiring against the conservatives in the OCA” was one of four Orthodox Christian bishops signatories to a public statement in support of Proposition 8 in California that supported the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman only.

    California Orthodox Bishops Issue Statement on Proposition 8
    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2008/10/28/california-orthodox-bishops-issue-statement-on-proposition-8/

  3. Chris, I never accused +Benjamin of being “pro-gay” but he is definately part of a “cabal,” that is if Stokoe’s own words are to be trusted (admittedly a tall order these days). So what are we left with? Either Stokoe is lying, or he’s delusional. Which is it?

  4. George, can you tell me more about this trafficking allegation? I hadn’t heard of anything that far gone until just now.

  5. cynthia curran says:

    Anyways, there is a interesting article that was put on the web about child sexual abuse in the byzantine empire from the anicent and medieval sources by a athenian doctor. He stated in spite of rules by the government to combat behavior like boy-sex which was capital punishment and the churchrefusing to give communionthat behavior exist. Also, it deals with the imperial family marry girls off below the age of 12 to form political alliances. Princess Simmoneis married at age 8 to a 40 year old Serba Prince that wanted sex and the girl wanted out but her parents wanted the alliance. Also deals with child prostiution and incest.

  6. cynthia curran says:

    Writing a lot of examples out of history here but really developing an interest in what is called late antiquity. Most folks here know more about the medieval eastern Romans or as us westerners say Byzantines but I’m more interested in the early period. But as we say before some problems are in all places and times.