OCA Bishops Act on SIC Report

If you read the Recommendations of the OCA’s Special Investigative Committee, you know that the SIC recommended that the Synod of Bishops take disciplinary action against Metropolitan Herman and former Metropolitan Theodosius.  Their findings indicated massive failure to exercise “moral, financial and fiduciary responsibilities” on the part of both metropolitans.  The reports indicate millions of dollars went missing or were misused during the administration of these two men.  The OCA leadership for years cried about insufficient funding and was always asking for more money and established numerous and various special charity collections and other fund raising methods all for the purpose of feeding the financial machinations of the church leadership.  Much if not most of those monies, donated to the church by its members in response to the ever growing pleas for more funding, are now unaccounted for.  And the OCA records show that much of the OCA’s money was converted into cash at the direction of the former chancellor and with the full participation of his wife.  All of this was done under the watchful eyes of these two metropolitans.

Today the Synod of Bishops announced at least some portion of their decisions.  I do not know whether they will offer more explanation later or if it is possible that further discipline might occur. 

The Synod “resolved that His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius be restricted to attending, and celebrating the Divine Services, when invited, at the Church of St. John the Baptist, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, henceforth.”  One can ask if this is much of a discipline at all for the man who made possible the robbing of the OCA as well as of orphans and widows.   He is deprived of his ability to make appearances in churches as the former metropolitan.  Seems like a pretty insignificant discipline for a man who either benefited from some of these monies or gave carte blanche to his chancellor to do as he pleased with OCA monies. 

As for Metropolitan Herman, the man who twice appointed the chancellor to his position after knowing the allegations against the chancellor, he offered his resignation effective immediately and the Synod granted him retirement.  What about discipline for his role in the allowing theft and embezzlement to continue for years?   The Synod offered “gratitude for his primatial service and archpastoral labors.”   I guess in the spirit of being forgiving, they made no mention about why they accepted his resignation.  Let us hope that they will not now plan a retirement banquet to honor him.   One need only remember a few years ago in Orlando, FL, when the OCA under the guidance of former chancellor Kondratick and former metropolitan Herman left the OCA a $360,000 debt as a result of the retirement party they threw for the retiring Theodosius.  But that is just another scandal which will probably never be investigated.  But one can be sure that the usual suspects were involved in that shameful waste of money. 

I understand that the Metropolitan Council has endorsed all of the recommendations of the SIC, including turning over their findings to the Nassau County New York Sheriff’s department to see if criminal charges are appropriate.  So maybe we will learn whether the activities of the former chancellor and two former metropolitans were simply moral failure, or whether they were engaged in criminal behavior as well.

It has taken the OCA a long time to get to this point.  And I am grateful that there were those who cared enough about the tiny OCA to persevere in pursuing the truth.   Special thanks to our own Mark Stokoe and his OCANews.org webpage which has been a beacon of light to help the OCA find its way through some very dark times.

Reading the Old Testament to Reveal the Truth

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed”  (2 Corinthians 3:12-16).

In these words St. Paul clearly says that the way to interpret the Torah is Christologically or Christocentrically:  reading the Scripture in relationship to Christ and keeping Christ central to the interpretation of the Old Testament text.   He is saying any method of reading the Old Testament which excludes Christ will in fact never discover the full revelation contained within these Scriptures.  He is faulting the way his fellow Jews read their scriptures saying that the key to unlocking the meaning of the Bible is Jesus Himself; without Christ one cannot fully understand what the scriptures are saying.  In saying this St. Paul would also be criticizing any modern scholars who think the only way to read the Old Testament is to keep it in its own historical context or any who would say the way to read the Old Testament is purely literally.   St. Paul’s exact point is that any effort to read the scriptures without understanding their connection to Jesus Christ is doomed to failure.

In St. John’s Gospel, he has the Lord Jesus saying the exact same thing in a different way: 
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

St. Paul and St. John would agree that one thing Christians must do is move away from a purely Jewish reading of scripture, and avoid the purely literal reading of the bible, and come to read the text in light of Christ –  let Christ give the meaning to the Old Testament and let the Old Testament bring you to Christ.

It is only Christ who lifts the veil of incomprehension which comes with reading the Old Covenant and who reveals the true purpose and full meaning of the Torah.