What Are We Getting for $105? Part I. One Priest’s Question

Monomakhos recently received this unsolicited e-mail from a priest in the OCA who wishes to remain anonymous. It puts a human face on the previous three postings regarding the upcoming All-American Council and the proposed New York Plan (which seems to be gaining momentum). It crystallizes many of the complaints that have been appearing in the commentary section and we offer it in the spirit of free and open debate. If anybody from the present administration would like to counter it, we will likewise make this blog available to him and publish a rebuttal in its entirety.

Also see: What Are We Getting for $105? Part II. Syosset and Salaries: An Analysis

+ + + + + + + + + +

The Occupy Wall Street movement, the idea of the 99% vs the 1% has parallels in the OCA with the Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer making $140K each (two full time and one part time making $70K) reflecting the 1% and the rest of our clergy, indeed the 99% making, well, making at least 50% less if not 90% less than the fat-cat New York barons of Syosset. What do we get for paying such salaries?

Yes, we all know that living in NY is very costly. But, if that is so, why don’t other OCA clergy living in the New York Metropolitan area make as much? The answer is simple, because they live within the reflection and reality of the parishes they pastor, whereas the Syosset barons live off the entire Church, not unlike the Wall Street types who garner huge salaries. But like them, we too can ask what do we get for paying such salaries?

A chancellor, a secretary and a treasurer, all making more than the Metropolitan of the Church. The last time I checked, you can have a church without a chancellor, secretary and treasurer but you can’t without a bishop. But, in the OCA, it appears to be just the opposite and more telling, it appears that the power of the purse strings is used by the Synod and the Metropolitan Council to punish the Metropolitan. So, what do we get for paying such salaries? More dysfunction?

Something is brewing in Syosset and on the Main Street of local OCA parishes. With the Church gathering in Seattle in just 12 days, a full-court press is now on with Syosset emails going out to OCA parishes who have not responded yet to going to Seattle – pleading with them to attend. Could it be that faced with the real possibility that a $50 assessment movement is gaining steam and the Syosset barons seeing their fat cat salaries falling by the wayside starting in 2012, is it possible that they are in a panic? Maybe rather than panic, they should be asking themselves, do we deserve such 1% status? Maybe they should be asking themselves what do we do for such salaries?

I don’t think there are too many in the OCA who would begrudge anyone a fair wage if they saw that they were getting value for their investment. True, some will argue that $105 is not that much money to quibble about, but when we look at the $8.1 million paid to the Syosset in the last three years and what the Synod and the Metropolitan Council has been doing with that money and what they have been doing in the public humiliation of Metropolitan Jonah, it seems that we can still ask the question, what do we get for paying such salaries?

At this point there is little doubt that the OCA is very broken and the job offer to Jillions is a feeble last ditch attempt, to rescue the Stokoe/Wheeler new OCA agenda. A reduction in the assessment to $50 will foil that attempt and cause the OCA to step back and take a cold hard look at what it has become. In Stokoe’s own words, the reduction of the OCA Assessment to $50 would be “the worst thing that could happen to the OCA. It would end the OCA, period.” In fact, what it would end it what the OCA has become and force it to retool. That is something that Stokoe and Wheeler object to, especially now that they have Jillions ready to give them open access to the OCA.

The Synod might overrule our conciliar voice, the voice of the Church meeting in Council, they certainly can do so, but if they do and it is business as usual in the OCA, the way it has been for the last three years, infighting, disrespectful and open contempt for the Metropolitan, one could almost be certain that the drop in financially supporting members to the OCA will be plague-like in magnitude netting the Syosset 1% barons much less than they have now.

We just don’t buy it any longer that those working as officers of the OCA have our best interests in mind. $8,100,000.00 since 2008 sent to Syosset and are we any better off now than we were in 2008 or 2005 or 2002? $8.1 million and we get amateurish work product reports for the Seattle AAC. Tell me, are we getting value for the salaries we are paying?

The 99% would like to know and just to let you know, OCA 1% we are not impressed with what we have gotten and we will not be paying your salaries fat cat salaries starting January 1, 2012.


  1. Alexey Karlgut says

    If one substitutes “health care plan” with CCA Assessments, parallel is clear!

    No one can sum it up better than Trump

    Let me get this straight . . . 
    We’re going to be “gifted” with a health care
    plan we are forced to purchase and
    fined if we don’t, 
    Which purportedly covers at least
    ten million more people,
    without adding a single new doctor,
    but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, 
    written by a committee whose chairman 
    says he doesn’t understand it, 
    passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but
    exempted themselves from it, 
    and signed by a Dumbo President who smokes, 
    with funding administered by a treasury chief who
    didn’t pay his taxes, 
    for which we’ll be taxed for four years before any
    benefits take effect, 
    by a government which has 
    already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, 
    all to be overseen by a surgeon general 
    who is obese,

    and financed by a country that’s broke!!!!! ‘What the hell could possibly go wrong?

    • Fr. Alexey, I wish you could run for president.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr, I like your sense of humor! I have to clean the Coke I laughed up on the keyboard however!

      • I guess Fr Alexey won’t be voting for the incumbent, just like we won’t be paying for the OCA incumbents at the same rate of taxation come January 1.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr, regarding your posting yesterday re the various dioceses of the OCA: are we to understand that the 22,000 number of “dues-paying members” does not include anybody from Canada, Mexico, Alaska, and the ethnic exarchates?

      • Alexey Karlgut says

        Dear George, the answer is yes!

        • If that’s the case, then that number will definately shrink further. I just don’t see how the rest of us who are subject to the Head Tax will go on thinking that the present system is equitable. I certainly can’t see it.

          • Alexey Karlgut says

            — Original Message —–
            From: John Dresko
            To: pastoralcr@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Saturday, October 22, 2011 6:36 PM
            Subject: Re: [pastoralcr] Re: Tithing, etc.

            We are going to a pledge system this year for one reason only. We have gone through a serious instruction period about stewardship and giving and I want parishioners to have to THINK about their giving. A pledge form does that. We probably will not use the pledges for budgeting, as I think we need to budget with vision and try to meet the spending needs rather than “seeing what we get and spending that.” I find that has no vision whatsoever and actually promotes miserliness and a temptation to donate if “I like the way the money is being spent.”

            As regards the assessment, I speak as one who spent ten years trying to get the central administration to move away from the head tax. When we passed “fair share” in Toronto, it was meant to be a bridge to proportional giving at all levels. Unfortunately, as soon as we left Toronto, everyone, including the “powers that be” immediately resumed speaking of it as $105 per person. It (the amount and the language) has remained that since. No effort whatsoever was made in Pittsburgh to continue the move to proportional giving – not even lip service.

            The central administration of the Church will never move away from the head tax until forced to. I have finally been converted (I’m a slow learner!) – I will be supporting the $50 proposal unless a real resolution implementing tithing at the diocesan and central levels of the Church gains traction and passes. My parish has for the past four months had to make a decision – give me my pay check or pay the assessments. Guess what my instructions on this matter were? We have a $4700 mortgage payment and our assessments (both diocesan and central) total approximately $3K per month. For what? At least our diocese does great things such as mission and clergy support. My faithful see that their assessment goes for legal expenses and outrageous salaries and benefits. We have to figure out how to inspire our parishioners to generous and Christian stewardship. We have to figure out how to make our ends meet on what the faithful can provide. Why is it different at upper levels of Church life?

            Finally, I need to speak my horror at receiving a $2000 assessment to pay for the AAC. That is almost 1% of our annual budget! Again, for ten years I tried to get the administration to simply budget the AAC as part of the operating budget of the OCA. I cannot assess my parishioners any amount whatsoever. Why do we continue to allow it on any other level of the Church?

            JD in LV

            • Fr Alexey,

              I am assuming that Fr. Dresko was ok with you reposting his comments on the pastor’s list. I cannot tell you how much I personally agree with Fr John’s reasoned and informed conclusions based on his real life experience as a priest who has consistently taught about Christian Stewardship in his pastorate. He is an important voice to be heard and I hope that he will speak up loud and clear in Seattle and that other clergy and laity will do the same.

              It is very unfortunate that year after year, decade after decade, the OCA has missed chance after chance to move away from the minimalistic approach to funding the work of the central church administration by just kicking the can down the road and defaulting to the course of least financial reistance, the OCA head tax. It has done nothing but cause the CCA to rely on a formula that does nothing to encourage visionary budget construction. Rather, as Fr John said, miserliness.

              I think we need to budget with vision and try to meet the spending needs rather than “seeing what we get and spending that.” I find that has no vision whatsoever and actually promotes miserliness and a temptation to donate if “I like the way the money is being spent.”

              Now, like so many others, it is time to send a clear message that we are not going to wait any longer for Syosset to come to its senses. Until such time that we can see that you are worthy of our support, we are only going to fund the most basic framework of Syosset so that the doors can remain open and no more. That is the new starting point.

              I too am just plain tired of the direction the OCA has taken. It is totally uninspiring and frankly it resembles less of being a Church and more of being a badly managed business with too much “boardroom fighting” as the board of directors try a hostile takeover and removal of the CEO. We are not going to pay for that anymore.

              I too would urge all those delegates going to Seattle to demand that the $50 assessment be discussed on the floor of the Council and that a vote take place. I will be voting along with Fr. John in favor of the $50 assessment. Then and only then will Syosset finally understand that we in the parishes can live without the current administrative model of overpaid staff at the expense of hard-working people in the pews who would rather support the growth of the Church locally and not fund an unsuccessful central church administration.

              My vote in favor of the $50 assessment is a vote against the Metropolitan Council as poor stewards of the money given to them ($8.1 million over the past three years) and against the Holy Synod who spent more time fighting one another and not setting a higher example of co-suffering with each other as patient examples of Christ’s longsuffering love. Too much time blaming and not enough time leading. You are not going to be rewarded for your bad behavior.

              Consider this vote as the Church taking you all “to the woodshed” Do better and we can revisit things in 3 years, but for now, it will be $50 starting Jan. 1, 2012. Start planning for it.

              • Alexey Karlgut says

                Dear Jacob,
                I agree with everything you say and just want to make some historical correction. Although this resolution to decrease CCA assessments became popularly known as “the New York Plan”, as a matter of fact, we can’t take the credit for it. It was presented for consideration to last All American Council in Pittsburgh by Diocese of Western Pennsylvania (and was almost certain to pass), and was only tabled by delegates because of the election of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, and the real sense that Holy Spirit has breathed new life into our ailing OCA. This sense and good will was squandered by Central Administration in last three years. The WPA resolution is still available on OCA website and could be seen at following address (though it’s next to impossible to find):  


                Resolution #4

                Subject of Resolutions: Assessments (Fair Share) Reduction

                Submitted To: Preconciliar Commission Resolutions Committee

                Submitted By: Diocese of Western Pennsylvania

                WHEREAS the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America gives to the All-American Councils, the authority to set the rate of assessments to fund the Church:

                BE IT RESOLVED that the 15th All-American Council fix the fair share amount of each of the participating dioceses at an amount not to exceed $50.00 per capita of the 2009 census of the participating dioceses for the next triennium.

                And BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Metropolitan Council shall develop and prepare its budgets for the next triennium (2009-201 1) at a level which is equal to no more than $50.00 per capita of the 2009 census of the participating dioceses.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Fr Alexey, that’s good to know. If nothing else, to clear up the historical record. However, given that Bishop +Mel is now running things in Syosset, is his Diocese still on board with this? I’d like to think so but I rather doubt it. If that’s the case, then “The New York Plan” will how it be known for posterity.

                  • Alexey Karlgut says

                    Dear George,
                    I believe that NY Resolution will be supported by majority of delegates to 16th AAC as long as they reflect on the waist of $8,100,000.00 in the last triennium by Central Administration, and prayerfully consider this resolution as a beginning of change from a top heavy and dysfunctional superstructure that produces nothing of value to the parishes and dioceses, to the system by which we will refocus our energies and finances to where actual life and outreach ministries of the Church take place – parishes and dioceses. I further believe that it will pass!

  2. It seems to me that the root of the problem within the OCA is a protestant one.

    Either you trust that the Holy Spirit is present and even uses the difficulties that result from human weakness, or you protest that “the Holy Spirit was not present” and then try to listen thru the cacophony to figure out, using protestant ears, who makes the loudest or most compelling argument.

    Those that can’t stand the cacophony stop giving $$ to the mayhem and eventually leave.

    The Holy Spirit was de facto present 3 yrs ago. The chaos that’s ensued has been the result of the HS and MC and Syosset staff going about their business, from day one, as if He wasn’t, as if THEY KNEW BETTER.

    While there’s many things that Jonah could’ve done better, we need to trust that the Holy Spirit didn’t expect him (or very thankfully, us) to be perfect from day one. Theosis is a process. So is becoming a good bishop, much less a great metropolitan.

    Instead of giving Jonah, the Holy Spirit’s choice, a staff that was loyal to him and the room to grow into the job (thru his own human weaknesses), the HS and MC saddled Jonah with a staff that had 3 yr fixed highly paid contracts. Jonah walked into a hostile environment at Syosset and was given zero power by the HS and MC to change it. Using their secure positions of influence Garklavs and Tossi have taken every opportunity to cut Jonah’s legs out from under him and make him look stupid.

    Instead of trusting that the Holy Spirit was present and looking for the good that was to come, they treated Jonah with suspicion, as if the Holy Spirit may not have been present, seeming to relish a parental role of beating sense into a bad child.

    Instead of coming alongside Jonah and helping him while he matures as bishop, the HS listened to those bishops and others with an axe to grind, then made decisions as if they believed the Holy Spirit was not present, empowering the MC and Syosset staff to treat Jonah as if he were the enemy.

    Responsibility for the chaos and bleeding that’s resulted from those decisions is entirely on the HS’s hands.

    Hopefully there are still bishops in Seattle with the guts to admit they made some mistakes and do the right thing. Otherwise the cacophony and bleeding will continue.

    The easiest mistake for the HS to admit in the next two weeks is their choice of Jillions as the new Chancellor. This choice vindicates the “the Holy Spirit was not present” gang and solidifies the fractious culture of Syosset.

    Regardless of the $1.05 vs $0.50 or location of the Chancery, it seems to me that if nothing else happens in Seattle, two compromises could begin the healing process in the OCA:

    1. the Holy Synod accept that the Holy Spirit was present in 2008 by:
    a. retracting their offer to Jillions, and
    b. accepting Jonah’s choice for a new Chancellor and a staff that can work harmoniously with him (not stab him in the back at every opportunity).

    2. Jonah must make his own painful compromise (given his personality) and begin to lead as one who unites rather than as simply a prophetic voice in the wilderness. This can only happen if he establishes and sincerely and regularly listens to a kitchen cabinet of key bishops and others; who understand and can work cohesively to find compromises that bring together old guard and new, NE, South, West & MidWest.

    These two actions will form the foundation for a desperately sick OCA to begin to heal into unity and vigor.
    The alternative is increasing anemia and a collection of polarizing protestants.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      J-Tac, a lot of wisdom here. However I’m not so sure that point #2 is the problem. It’s obvious that in a conciliar organization the heads should be conciliar but what makes you think that some of them are? So far, it’s been obvious that Syosset works hand-in-glove with certain people (some of whom are bishops) to confound +Jonah at every turn.

      You know, I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. If the HS wanted to put a stop to this yesterday, they’d put out this simple statement:

      ‘We, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, decry all of the past unpleasantness. We condemn all those who have actively worked to subvert our Metropolitan. Those priests, deacons, and laymen who have been complicit in these activities shall be given a chance to repent for their activities have caused scandal to many. We support our Metropolitan and he supports us. Furthermore, we believe that in order to make the Church more conciliar, then the bishops, who have been entrusted by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church as servants, shall work towards strengthening the dioceses and through them, the parishes and missions of the Church. As such, all responsibility and all decisions will be performed by the Holy Synod who will be assisted by those priests, deacons, and laymen who are deemed worthy of assisting them in this Mission.

      “To make this transition, we are creating a Financial Transition Board to look into selling the Church assets in Syosset and redirirecting the proceeds thusly:

      1. Setting up a trust fund to assist priests who make below a certain level of income,

      2. Setting up a scholarship so that no student in any seminary has to pay tuition, and

      3. Transferring (and merging) the Central Church Administration with the Archdiocese of Washington, which will be equal to all other Diocesan Chanceries and will only have the additional office of coordinating with the other Dioceses so that the Church will speak with a unified voice. “

    • Please don’t blame all this on Protestants.

  3. Mark from the DOS says

    This is off topic but I do not know where else to post this. I write in concern over what I believe to be the first of many salvos and traps to be laid against Metropolitan Jonah as the AAC approaches.

    As we all know, the intrepid reporter and deposed MC member Mark Stokoe has repeatedly accused Metropolitan Jonah of failing to follow the OCA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. At the same time, he repeatedly warns of dire legal consequences sure to result from HB’s leadership, though of course none have come to pass.

    In the meantime, the State of Missouri has commenced the prosecution of a Roman Catholic bishop for failing to follow state law regarding the reporting of suspected abuse of a minor.

    Enter Fr. Ted Bobosh, pastor to Mark Stokoe and renowned ethicist. Fr. Ted has just penned a three part tirade which is full of outright misrepresentations. Each chapter commences with this false statement: “This is the ___ blog in this series dealing with the effort of the state to hold a Roman Catholic bishop legally accountable for failing to follow church procedure in dealing with the sexual misconduct of a clergyman as reported in the NY TIMES on 14 October 2011″ (Fr. Ted’s Blog) Of course the very article he cites makes clear that “Ms. Baker said the case was not religiously motivated, but was about the obligation under state law to report child abuse. ” (NY Times Article)

    This basic false pretense then is used to justify a three part series on the non-existent criminal liability for failing to follow written church policy. In the third and final part, Fr. Ted lays out the bait for all non-critical thinking readers and OCANews sycophants to chew on. Fr Ted writes:

    Church leaders failing to follow PSP (even on small issues), being too trusting of the accused and not responding to accusations with urgency are going to find themselves facing criminal charges in America. These are all exact issues which the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee (SMPAC) has been endeavoring to make our bishops aware of.

    This is complete and utter nonsense. It is bootstrapping laid on top of a straw man. The state has no jurisdiction to charge any clergyman, bishop, or institution with failing to abide by the ecclesiastical policies of an institution. Fr. Ted knows this. Mark Stokoe knows this. And any half educated delegate to the AAC ought to know this. I have posted to Fr. Ted’s blog but I expect to be moderated out of existence.

    However, the timely prosecution of this RC bishop now appears to have created an opening for Stokoe, Fr. Bobosh and their ilk to cry havoc over a non-existent legal threat they have created out of whole cloth. Let us be clear and let us not be deceived by their fictional scenarios. The prosecution in Missouri follows from the violation of a state criminal statute. It does not follow from the failure to follow an internal church policy. While following policy may have resulted in not breaking the law, it is the law, not the policy that gives rise to the duty to report. Following policy cannot immunize you from criminal acts, if they violate a statute. Not following policy cannot criminalize your conduct if it does not violate a statute.

    Fr. Ted’s ultimate conclusion is that “Churches are expected to have Policy Standards and Procedures which proactively protect children from abuse. Failure to follow these PSP may now lead to criminal prosecution not only of abusing clergy but of the bishops who have the responsibility to oversee them and compliance to PSP.”

    Again, pure nonsense. Let us not wait and see how this plays out. Let us stand together against these blatant deceptions, falsehoods and misrepresentations. That a member of the clergy would so wantonly engage in these sorts of lies and fear-mongering sickens me. Lord, save they people (even, apparently from the clergy) and bless thine inheritance!

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Mark, then let’s play the Stokovite’s game. What about the various sitting bishops who have been coddling priests within their dioceses (out of the reach of the Metropolitan)? Or what about the various bishops themeslves who have have “been found wanting” in certain regards?

      Let’s be honest. Bobosh’s outrage is selective. His own parishioner was a walking embarrassment to Syosset during his heyday as head of the “youth” division of the OCA. He was forced to resign and the entire record of his employment was expunged from all computers and files in Syosset.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        You are right as usual George. I forgot to add the adjective disingenuous in my description of Fr. Ted’s prose.

        • Mark from the DOS wrote “Let us stand together against these blatant deceptions, falsehoods and misrepresentations. That a member of the clergy would so wantonly engage in these sorts of lies and fear-mongering sickens me. Lord, save they people (even, apparently from the clergy) and bless thine inheritance!”

          Blatant deceptions…falsehoods…misrepresentations…lies…fear-mongering…

          Wow. Fr. Ted’s series of articles addressing the very real issue of clergy sexual abuse raises valid concerns about child safety issues. Sure no one disagrees with the need to protect children. I’m saddened that you instead choose to make several overreaching statements about the content of these timely articles, while ignoring the truth of Fr. Ted’s writing about the impact of clergy sex abuse.

          Speaking of issues of honesty though, ‘Mark from the DOS’, would you care to share you last name and what church you attend? I’m Stan Shinn. I attend Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas, TX.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Stan, no one is for the covering up of clergy sexual abuse, especially of children. I have zero tolerance for it. We all know what happened at your parish in Dallas (I have relatives and friends who are members) and how it nearly bankrupted the GOA.

            Our concerns about Bobosh’s apologetic is that it is selective. For example, in what has been leaked out of the SMPAC report (by OCAN, not anybody else [which is itself a travesty]), no mention was made of clergy that were not directly under the purview of +Jonah. Example: the Archdeacon in Miami who publicly “married” another man and who lives with the retired Bishop of Boston.

            Nor was mention made of any bishops who have been arrested and sent to detox/rehab units.

            What am I saying? If we’re concerned about clerical sexual abuse then we’ve got to be honest and not cherry-pick those cases which make Bishop X look bad but give a total pass to Bishop Y.

            In addition, I’m not sure that people who engage in the Bobosh-like outrage (selective as it is) are willing to take this to its logical conclusion, which is the expulsion of ALL homosexually-inclined men from the diaconate, clergy, and episcopate. And the rigorous psychological testing that would be necessary to prevent any such inclined students from entering the seminary in the first place. This of course would mean that open and unrepentant homosexuals among the laity will also have to be deprived of positions of lay leadership and of course, denied the Sacraments of the Church.

            You talk about a witch-hunt, that would be the scenario. Is this what they want?

            • no mention was made of clergy that were not directly under the purview of +Jonah. Example: the Archdeacon in Miami who publicly “married” another man and who lives with the retired Bishop of Boston.

              Actually, the truth is far more damning of the SMPAC report, George. As it happens, the Archdeacon WAS under the direct purview of Met. Jonah at the time the SMPAC report was written and released. Met. Jonah was not removed as locum tenens of the South until a week or two AFTER the report was released.

              So Met. Jonah did in fact make a mistake in how he handled this sexual misconduct case, as he himself has been willing to admit… but this mistake is not included in the SMPAC report, the report that is supposed to detail all of his mistakes in handling sexual misconduct!

              So, why would they leave this out? I can only think it’s because some sexual misconduct is more equal than others. The whole point of the SMPAC report was to detail Met. Jonah’s failure to follow the OCA’s sexual misconduct policy, yet they left out this very prominent case where his failure to follow the policy is really quite apparent.

              Can you think why that might be, George?

              I would venture to guess that it’s because the archdeacon’s sexual misconduct isn’t really sexual misconduct in the eyes of some in the OCA, and that what the archdeacon did deserves to be tolerated anyway.

              And of course, since the initial failing is not in the SMPAC report, they probably didn’t bother including Met. Jonah’s repentance of this failure, and his attempts to fix the problem.

              • It is not clear to me that the SMPAC is chartered to deal with sexual lapses of clergy which don’t involve alleged abuse (for example, homosexual relationships for clergy who are supposedly celibate, etc.).

                cf. http://oca.org/news/archived/charter-of-the-ocas-sexual-misconduct-policy-advisory-committee-posted

                In the GOA, the sexual misconduct policies only deal with situations with alleged abuse, not with sexual misconduct not involving abuse, in which case the SMPAC would not have had within it’s purvue to deal with ethical breaches outside abuse cases.

                I’m not saying that it is or is not in the SMPAC, I’m just raising the question as many of the allegations being made about SMPAC (or SMPAC leaks) double standards are based on this assumption regarding the SMPAC which I have not seen substantiated.

                — Stan

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Stan, that’s an interesting point you raise. However, I’m not sure that these are distinctions with differences. For example, many criminial incidences which have resulted in police involvement involve sexual natures are not crimes against children. For example, Pee Wee Herman masturbating in a XXX theater, or George Michael willfully exposing himself to another man in a public restroom and masturbating. The same thing with a certain priest in another jurisdiction who was recently caught performing sex acts on adult men at truck stops. There was no sexual assault here, certainly not on children (thankfully). Yet all resulted in criminal charges and public humiliation.

                • The SMPAC is chartered to advise on policy relating to sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct as defined by the OCA’s policy includes consensual relationships between clergy. When there’s a disparity between them, or a level of oversight, that’s pastoral abuse, even if the relationship is consensual. That may not apply to the archdeacon’s attempt at “marriage”, but it would apply to his current domestic arrangement, which is also an issue of concern.

                  I still wonder how the DC nuns were ever under SMPAC’s purview when they have done nothing wrong. According to their charter, SMPAC is supposed to be a policy advisory committee and nothing more. The Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations is supposed to handle cases. Instead, they have usurped its authority, and presume to sit in judgment over sexual misconduct cases when they have no such right.

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Helga, as usual, an excellent point. The persecution of the DC Nuns shows to me how selective and egregious the SMPAC report was. What exactly was it that these nuns were accused of? Because the men on this committee had no fortitude, they couldn’t bring themselves to level an actual accusation. They couldn’t even insinuate anything. What a spectacle of spinelessness.

                  • Well, I have read the SMPAC report, and His Beatitude doesn’t come off looking so great in it. I’ll not defend him where he can’t be defended, and he absolutely can’t be defended in how he handled the Miami deacon situation (which wasn’t, as you note, in the SMPAC report). But the SMPAC document is such a cherry-picked and heavily spun document, especially in how it leaves out incidents that can’t be framed to make the Metropolitan look bad, that its value is minimal.

                    It has been a while since I examined the contents, but with the exception of the Abp Seraphim Storheim allegations from a quarter century ago, there is nothing in the report having to do with minors. Nevertheless, even allowing for the spin, it did reveal a Jonah who was insufficiently vigilant, in my view, against sexual misconduct by clergy. The outrageous thing about all this is what the report leaves out, both in terms of specific incidents, and in details that would have made Jonah’s response to the incidents it does report more ambiguous, and easier to give him the benefit of the doubt.

                    Please note too that Jonah, in writing, requested that Bp Nikon as locum tenens of the DOS remove Archdeacon Gregory Burke’s permission to serve at the Miami cathedral altar. Nikon never did it. These bishops don’t really care about sexual misconduct among the clergy, unless they can use it as a wedge to get Jonah.

                    • Rod,

                      It is good that you read the SMPAC report. Someone of your journalistic acumen can see things in that report that others, with a less trained eye might miss.

                      It is simply a scandal that Burke continues to serve. It weakens the fiber of the DOS in its greater duty to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that the next bishop of the DOS will deal with this scandal in a loving but firm way. My greatest fear is that the Synod will only vet those candidates who will swear to not move on Burke as the litmus test to be considered the next bishop of Dallas. God preserve us from such men.

                      This is just another example of people’s skepticism about the OCA as it is currently ordered and constructed. Given that the OCA as a polity has no say about how the Church’s budget is created, the only way that we can influence that budget is by clearly stating that we will only fund it to the tune of $50 per person.

                    • Thanks, Rod – I’m glad to see your input here again. If I might add, your recent article also shows Met. Jonah has been starting to see his mistakes and trying to fix them.

                      Technically, he could still intervene in the archdeacon situation, because as Metropolitan he is able to intervene in other dioceses in certain circumstances. However, the Synod has not been too great about allowing Met. Jonah to exercise his prerogatives lately. They have been forcing him to do things like fire his cathedral dean and release the DC nuns, and preventing him from selecting locum tenentes (which are his right to appoint under the statute). They refused to allow him the authority to fire Fr. Garklavs or remove Bishop Melchisedek as interim chancellor (both of which are his rights under the statute generally, and the human resources handbook specifically).

                      I never got into this thinking Met. Jonah was as pure as the driven snow. I know he’s made big mistakes. But I also knew he is not the man Stokoe portrays him as.

          • Mark from the DOS says

            Stan –

            If all Fr. Ted did was address very real issues of clergy abuse, I would stand right with him. However, he chose not to do that. Instead he chose to misrepresent that nature of the charges against the Roman Catholic bishop, and having done that, went on to opine, with no basis in law or fact, that failure to follow internal operating guidelines (“even on small issues” I believe was his phrase), would lead to criminal charges against priests and bishops.

            Why did he choose to do this (and it was a conscious choice)? Because of the convergence of the OCANews legal catastrophe meme and the selective leakings accusing +Jonah of failing to follow OCA procedures. What a convenient merging of issues right before the AAC.

            If Fr. Ted wanted to truly help, his article would say, in no uncertain terms this – and only this: All clergy, bishops, priests, deacons, and laity alike, must know and scrupulously follow the abuse reporting requirements of their particular state. Failure to do so can lead to criminal liability, no matter what your internal guidelines. If your guidelines are stricter than the state law – follow them and you will be fine. If they are looser, or non-existent – you must conform to the state law, regardless of what your internal procedures are. Otherwise you may, and should be, prosecuted.

            See there is a particular danger to Fr. Ted’s posts. Those institutional guidelines which may not be broad enough to capture all obligations under state law offer the clergy no protection. To read Fr. Ted’s nonsensical, if not wholly fraudulent posts, a clergy member might think that following guidelines immunizes them. Far better they should know and follow the law than some sloppily drafted policy which may or may not match the law of the state in which it is applied.

            I am sorry you disagree with me, but if you are going to question my honesty, please point out a single erroneous statement I make. If you need to know my full name to evaluate my post, please explain why. My name in the church is Mark and I am from the DOS. I have posted here consistently with this name. There is no dishonesty in my use of it.

            • George wrote: “Stan, no one is for the covering up of clergy sexual abuse, especially of children.”

              I wish this were true. Unfortunely, I personally know of several clergy who have in the past actively covered up clergy sexual abuse, including children. One of several examples I personally have encountered:


              Thus my interest in Fr. Ted’s excellent articles on these abuse topics, which have found few words of affirmation on this message thread.

              • Jane Rachel says

                “…have found few words of affirmation on this message thread”…. Probably because Fr. Ted is Mark Stokoe’s priest. Maybe he has an agenda. He posted it now and does that show good timing? I haven’t read Fr Ted’s blog. I have NO TRUST IN THESE MEN. ZERO. He can’t commune known, active homosexuals without permission from the Church. Maybe he stopped doing that now, communing actively married gay folks, in obedience to his new bishop, Bishop Matthias of the Midwest. Archbishop Job blessed Fr. Ted Bobosh to commune Mark Stokoe and Steve Brown, Mrs. Stokoe’s son-in-law according to her obituary. Mark Stokoe and Steve Brown are married. Anybody want to take issue with that? Priests of the Midwest? Anybody want to question the motives of Archbishop Job and his Mark Stokoe? Anybody? Nobody? Does the silence here say anything?

                Why should I read anything Fr. Ted writes when he is in direct opposition to the Church and disobedience to her teachings. He has been supporting and communing Mark Stokoe and Steve Brown for years. And what is Fr. Ted doing writing this on his blog right now? Maybe he is is trying to threaten bishops who are about to tell the truth? Is there a bishop or two out there who knew about clergy child sex abuse but did not tell? I have no idea, really. I’m just thinking out loud. I am so mad. SO MAD.

            • Mark from the DOS wrote: “I am sorry you disagree with me, but if you are going to question my honesty, please point out a single erroneous statement I make. If you need to know my full name to evaluate my post, please explain why.”

              Mark, I’ve already pointed out a list of several of your overreaching statements.

              You wrote characterizing Fr. Ted’s recent three articles on clergy sexual abuse, saying they were full of : “Blatant deceptions…falsehoods…misrepresentations…lies…fear-mongering…”

              The only concrete item you cite is the obligations of state law vs. church policy topic, which you read as something being a blatant deception. Fr. Ted offerered a reasonable clarification after you post if you will visit his blog again.

              Are you so angry at Fr. Ted that you can acknowledge nothing of value in his articles? Do issues of child safety not concern you at all? Do you really disagree with the need to protect children and act to reach out to the victims of sexual abuse?

              Claiming there are deception and lies means you have specific knowledge there is an intent to deceive. Plural means you believe there are multiple ways Fr. Ted is doing this in those articles. Has God given you supernatural revelation into the motives of Fr. Ted’s heart? It seems to me you are judging him and his motives well beyond what you can reasonably claim to know.

              Scripture calls us to speak the truth in love. Yet here I see mixed among some good points, half-truths spoken in anger. So many over-reaching, judgmental statements I hardly know where to begin.

              Mark, I believe your many judgmental, angry, overreaching comments are made in part because you refuse to be honest about your true identity. If you want to editorialize, you should disclosure your full name and location. As it is, you throw darts from the darkness of anonymity. Such anonymous commentary is not persuasive to me, and gives your cause a bad name.

              I have no plans to check this site again as I do not find these sort of anonymous commentary threads full of non-fact-based, overreaching statements and judgmental assertions to be of little value. What good points there may be are being drowned out by such incivility.

              Surely as Orthodox Christians we can do better.

              • Mark from the DOS says

                Stan Shinn wrote –

                Do issues of child safety not concern you at all? Do you really disagree with the need to protect children and act to reach out to the victims of sexual abuse?(emphasis added)

                I do not think I say this at all. I do not think anything in my posts could even be slightly construed as saying this.

                Stan, I have read your posts in other forums, and I know you have a sincere concern regarding this issue born of personal experience in your parish. In other forums I have seen you respond even-handedly to issues on this topic.

                Unfortunately, in your response here, and in the responses of others in other forums, there is a readiness to label all people who question any part of a writer’s position on sexual abuse as unconcerned about the issue or opposed to the protection of children. That is an unfair and unhealthy tactic designed to do nothing but stifle debate. When open and free discussion is stifled, the outcome is a less well thought out, less vetted, and less comprehensive approach to the very concern that is being championed.

                Consider that one reason I will not post with my full name is that frankly, I don’t care to be labeled as Mark ______ who “disagree[s] with the need to protect children and act to reach out to the victims of sexual abuse.” In today’s society that label is intended to intimidate and silence.

                Yes, we can do better. We can do better by allowing debate that does not lead to labeling those who do not affirm your position 100% as enablers of sexual abuse. If you re-read my last post, you will see I wrote a statement that is far more comprehensive and protective of victims than the false premise that Fr. Ted repeats for 3 posts.

                1. If your local policy is stricter than state law, follow it.
                2. If your local policy is less strict or non-existent, follow the requirements of the state law to the letter. Do not hide behind policy to excuse non-reporting.

                Can you honestly say that is a position that is unconcerned with sexual abuse or the protection of children, or have I simply been labeled for daring to call to account the esteemed Fr. Bobosh?

                • Mark from the DOS,

                  You have made your case and maybe like M. stated about another poster, Stan was just having a Troll moment which caused him to lose his more balanced approach to this issue, which, btw has nothing to do with the topic thread – dang I sound like the thread police on here today! Sorry.

                  Nonetheless, you make a good argument and I don’t think you, like Stan, have anything but the best interest of the most vulnerable in our midst who need to be protected by the BEST standards whether secular or church or a higher combination thereof.

                  So, if you all have an argument with Fr. Ted Bobosh, take it up on his blog. That is why he writes and encourages our replies.

                  Hope I didn’t offend anyone.

                  • Mark from the DOS says

                    Jacob –

                    Thank you. As I wrote initially, I posted here because I fear the confluence of these events being used against Metropolitan Jonah. I didn’t know where else to post on this site, but I know many posters share my concern about trumped up and even made up attacks on the Metropolitan.

                    I apologize for hijacking this comment thread and I will stop now (unless I am accused of condoning sexual abuse again!).

                    • Mark from the DOS,

                      Maybe all of the important topics may need an ongoing format under more permanent headings on George’s site, which, if I may say, is the only site out here in cyber land that offers a reasonable unfiltered stage for people to post. You don’t get that on the Orthodox Forum or from Stokoe who only posts what meets his expectations (and we all know what those are related to Jonah) as well as other topics to move the OCA in the direction he likes, including his outright denouncing of the $50 assessment. No wonder, it would make it very difficult for his favorite candidate, John Jillions to be paid.

                      I think Jonah will survive this AAC. His wings have been sufficiently clipped and I think that Jillions offered the appropriate obedience to the MC that they feel he will keep Jonah in check as chancellor.

                      But still, the ONLY central church administration person who has gone on the record about the $50 assessment was Jonah who said that if that is what the Church desired, he would support it. I guess he will be the odd man out again.

                      And the beat goes on.

          • Jane Rachel says

            I believe Mark from the DOS is right and his comments are spot on.

            A person with an agenda will often use a sensitive subject to exploit our sense of outrage in order to turn the crowd in his favor and against those he wants to damage. Subtle. And also, scary. The Fr. Ted apple doesn’t fall far from the OCAN tree.

  4. Geo Michalopulos says

    Mark, you’re too kind. I’m rarely right, perhaps I should be more humble but my temperament is such that I tend to jump to conclusions. One of my defects is that I don’t suffer fools gladly and what Bobosh said was plum foolish.

  5. Jane Rachel says

    I’ve called him Father Robert Kondratick and will continue to do so on the knowledge that he was not fairly tried in spiritual court, my absolute mistrust of Bishop Benjamin, Mark Stokoe, and ocanews.org, and the hope that he is innocent. I’ll still call him Father Kondratick. This just in about Father Robert Kondratick’s son, Bob Kondratick. Sorry to hear about this. Sorry and also, disappointed. I had a hunch about this, I don’t know why. I must have googled his name a few months ago and I saw a few signs that he might be involved in something not above board.

    I feel like renting “Forrest Gump” right now. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to bite into.”

    • [Editor’s Note]: The correspondent has asked me to remove his comment.

    • Jane Rachel says

      I appreciate the comments made here since I posted the links about Bob Kondratick. Had hoped the comments would be fair and balanced. StephenD I’m glad you apologized. There are others who seek to destroy and undermine in every way they can. I wanted to post the links right after I saw them myself, to get that story out without the destructive overtones. Whew.

  6. [Editor’s note]: the correspondent has asked me to remove his comment.

    • Stephen, that’s unfair. Priests have had children who’ve let them down since the time of Samuel. The ony extent that mention of the former Chancellor has been made on this site by me and the various correspondents was historical and to point pit that the mechanisms of the present administration don’t really work. Specifically, that he was deposed by a spirirual court that was hastily assembled, with no oversight and no transparency (i.e. minutes). Plus the fact that when he was bound over for civil prosecution, nothing actionable against him was found.

    • I too was very sorry to hear about the personal decisions that Bob Kondratick made and the very serious situation he now finds himself in with charges leveled against him, but to say such a heartless and uncaring comment only reflects on you, StephenD.

      Folks like the transsexual Stan Drezhlo and the ugly comments on that cesspool of a site the Orthodox Forum, sadly run by a priest, are constant sources of temptation for people like you StephenD who then drop in here and do your drive by shooting. You had a choice to say it or not. So now, since you opened it up, I will have my say.

      You can have your moment of glee at the expense of another person’s misfortune. That is what we all get with free will; you can use it to do good or to do evil. But in the final analysis, comments like yours StephenD only confirm to me that there is a cynical underbelly to the OCA being promoted by sites like VOR and the OF. Maybe it is good that folks who frequent those sites have an outlet for their frustrations.

      The comment by George put things in the correct perspective about Fr Robert Kondratick and how he was scapegoated out of the priesthood. There are those in the Orthodox world, and many who thoughtfully post here, who consider his treatment to be the first real sign of the demise of the OCA as a serious consideration in Orthodoxy. To link what happened to him to the independent actions of his adult son exposes you, StephenD as not a serious and thoughtful contributor to this site. You have mistaken the good-natured bantering between people here and the exchanges between people who may not agree with each other for the dysfunctional hate speech on VOR and the OF.

      I hope you were not sitting at your keyboard just waiting for a chance to spread that hate speech from those sites over here with your little stink bomb. But if you were, I feel sorry for you.

      I must say that even Mark Stokoe has refrained from making such a gratuitous link, so far, because maybe he even realizes that one thing has nothing to do with the other.

      The OF and viewing VOR appear to be more to you liking. Have fun playing in those sandboxes.

      • You may be right and I apologize..its even in Scripture that the sins of the father should not fall upon the son. No matter what Mr.Kondratick has done he is certainly not responsible for his son’s behavior.I would appreciate it if George would please remove my post as it certainly was in poor taste..

        • Monk James says

          As they say in court, the bell can’t be unrung.

          ‘Lord, set a guard before my mouth and an enclosure around my lips.’

          ‘Lord, let my heart not incline toward evil, nor to do wicked deeds.’

          I’m trying to take a lesson from this. So let us entreat the Lord to protect us from writing evil things on the internet.

        • Monk James says

          Stephen D. has this backwards.

          Just to take one example (Exodus 34:6-7 — there are others), when the Lord condescended to give Moses the Law a second time, He proclaimed: ‘The LORD! The LORD! God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and faithfulness, keeping His mercy for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet in no way acquitting the guilty but rather visiting the iniquity of parents upon children and grandchildren for three and even four generations.’

          Here, the only problem is that Fr Robert Kondratick wasn’t/isn’t guilty of the allegations falsely brought against him by his own fellow Christians, laity and clergy, Judases all. May the Lord forgive them.

          So, if FrRK is innocent, then maybe his son is innocent as well. Maybe Bobby was caught up in a web spun by others and couldn’t escape before the law came down on them all. I don’t know.

          This will all come out in the legal wash eventually, so let’s reserve judgement until the court can make its rulings.

          In the meantime, though, I have to say that it’s pretty low of people to take one man’s misery and use it to smear that man’s father with it. Is there not enough trouble in the world, that Stan/Barbara Drezhlo, Nina Dimas, Melanie Sakoda and Nicholas Skovran, Sr must stir it up and magnify it and spread it around?

          And that Drezhlo! What Stan/Barbara wrote on this matter is actionable in law. We all know that truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel, but VOR carries libel against FrRK — among other people.

          Who asked Stan/Barbara Drezhlo’s opinion about anything, anyway?!

        • StephenD, I certainly accept your apology on behalf of all those who through your words were tempted. But as the good Monk said, you can’t unsay what you said. It is there for all to see, but so is your apology.

          God forgives, and I forgive.

          • I have asked George to remove it ,,,hopefully he will very soon

            • Better that your words stand as stated, bad and good, as a record of your repentance. God knows your heart better than I do and He forgives accordingly.

    • Thankyou George