Indianapolis Town Hall Meeting October 29

There was a Town Hall meeting with Archbishop Job at St. John the Forerunner Church in Indianapolis on Wednesday evening.   I estimate about 60 people present and 7 priests.   I don’t think there was anything earth shattering, what follows are  a few notes (not minutes).  Basically the format was the Archbishop answering questions from the crowd  –

Regarding the upcoming ANAC, +Job does not feel any candidate will get the 2/3 vote vote on the first ballot at the ANAC.   So he believes the choice will fall upon the Synod of bishops.  He says canonically speaking it is the bishops who elect the metropolitan not the ANAC in any case.   He does not believe he will be chosen by the Synod as he feels the other bishops are not pleased with him.   +Job is totally opposed to +Hilarion of Vienna  being elected as he does not think a Russian bishop can help our bishops to work together.   It will introduce a new problem into the Synod not a solution.

+Job says the proposed statute change to elect a metropolitan by drawing names from a chalice rather than by voting even if adopted at this ANAC would not take effect this year.   +Job opposes this statute change.

+Job said that Metropolitan Herman did not resign for health reasons even though that has been suggested as the reason.  He said the scenario was the other bishops agreed he had to resign – +Dmitri as the senior bishop was given the task of conveying this message to Metropolitan  Herman and +Dmitri asked Herman to accept the decision of the other bishops.  Metropolitan Herman acquiesced. 

Job was asked if he thought stealing millions of dollars was grounds for deposing a bishop.  He said yes.  He was asked why then has Metropolitan Theodosius not been deposed.   +Job said he is already retired and no longer doing damage to the OCA, and he felt it was wrong to totally disgrace him over the money issue after 25 years of primacy in service to the church.    

+Job was adamant that he will retire in 2 years.   He does not want our Diocese to become obsessed with a vetting process for picking a new bishop.  He believes ultimately God will decide who the new bishop will be.

Though several dioceses have adopted resolutions calling for assessment and budget reductions for the OCA, the synod as a body has not discussed these looming issues.   

Regarding the reported loan to Metropolitan Herman at St. Tikhon’s, His Eminence said it is being investigated.  Though St. Tikhon’s Monastery is supposed to have a 5 member board of trustees made up of monks, apparently Metropolitan Herman some years ago reformed it as a Limited Liability Company with himself as president and his deacon as treasurer.   The Metropolitan then seemingly appointed himself the executor of the monastery and engaged in financial dealings in this capacity.  The investigation into these actions continues.

One  comment the Archbishop  made that seemed incredibly ironic to me.  When one lady asked him about the U.S. presidential election and if he had any words of wisdom about how to think about the election, he replied that he himself had not voted for many years – that years ago he became totally disillusioned with American politics and politicians and so he simply stopped voting or paying attention to the elections.   That comment raised my eyebrows because we have become totally disillusioned with our bishops, should we follow his example and quit giving them money, and not even pay any attention to them?  I wondered whether he realized what his comments sounded like to people who are totally disillusioned with and discouraged as a result of the failure of our church leaders.

Interestingly +Job feels that the bishops have changed so much and are now much more cognizant of the concerns of the membership.   And yet their most recent Pastoral Letter which has received a very  disdainful reception among many with I am familiar and which was rightfully picked apart on  was approved by all the bishops who were very pleased with their efforts,  but who remain out of touch with the rank and file clergy and membership. 

From my eyes, part of the failure of our bishops has been their own passivity in the face of sin and evil.  They responded with timidity at the thought of having to disagree with their fellow bishops even when it came to speaking the truth or defending righteousness.    Their commitment seems  to have been to preserve and protect their bishoprics and nothing more.   Christ said the gates of hell shall not prevail against  His Church (Matthew 16:18), and our bishops seem to have taken this to mean that as long as they can’t see those gates, or talk about them, then the gates don’t exist and the bishops don’t have to worry about their presence.   Jesus of course didn’t say that the gates of hell won’t assault us, just that they will not prevail.   Our bishops chose to ignore the assault and even to cooperate with it.  Now they say they have learned their lesson, but then so have we learned ours.

10 thoughts on “Indianapolis Town Hall Meeting October 29

  1. Hello Fr. Ted, Father bless!

    I just wanted to make a minor clarification/addition to one of your statements about what Archbishop Job said regarding Bishop Hilarion:

    You said, “+Job is totally opposed to +Hilarion of Vienna being elected as he does not think a Russian bishop can help our bishops to work together. It will introduce a new problem into the Synod not a solution.”

    The reason he gave (in the form of a question) as to why he did not want +Hilarion to be Metropolitan of the OCA was this: “How are we supposed to be truly autocephalous when we can’t even bring forth candidates from our own Church?”

    Please feel free to moderate if necessary, I just felt it was critical to understanding Archbishop Job’s statement of opposition to a candidate from outside of America.

    (Fr. Ted’s note: Joel thanks for your comment. You are correct in giving the Archbishop’s immediate reponse. I however was not offering minutes of the meeting as I noted – these are my comments. Later in the meeting and unrelated to the original question the Archbishop did comment that he did not think having a foreign bishop would help facilitate cooperation among the bishops. I conflated the two comments, for as I said I was not writing minutes but pulling together various thoughts form the meeting.)

  2. Alexander Leon, Ph.D (UD by the way)

    Fr. Ted, Let me comment on the last part of your notes, beginning with +Job,s observation that the bishops have changed. It probably is true but what we are talking about are the beginning stages of learning how to act as a synod. The OCA and the former Metropolia has not had the experience of a synod acting in concert to promote the Will of God. It has in our very jaded history be subject to power struggles within and an often tyrannical despotism. I was kidding with a friend of mine Fr. John Klutchko and wanted to know how +Herman’s ruling style was any different from +Irenea’s ending of conversations with the statement “I am the Metropolitan.” +Herman was schooled by his mentor +Kiprian, +Theodosius used Bob Kondratic (who incidently I first met when I was tonsured a reader–he was the sub deacon for +Kiprian). This is deeply ingrained in the unwritten history of OCA administration. Would Bob Kondratic have attempted to acquire such power if he did not grow up knowing how Fr. Joseph Pishtey ran the Chancellory? (A simple example of this is that one day the then Metropolitan Leonty had assigned a priest to a parish. The chancellor had likewise assigned a priest. Both priests arrived on the same day and they called NY to find out what to do. Needless to say, the priest appointed by the Metropolitan was sent back to his former parish.)
    I do not bring up this inorder to give anyone a “pass” on their behaviors. Rather it is to show the enormity of change that needs to be introduced and maintained for the culture, a proper “new” culture to be in place. We are talking a minimum of 10-15 years in cases like these and the “education” of the bishops that are now part of the synod as well as those who will be a part of it in the future will need to continue. If you look at the present composition of the synod you have +Job who is an extraordinary individual and was willing to take on the culture of deceit that existed. And, he had to (he would say humble himself–I would say accept the humiliation of) bow down to the then Bp of Alaska. He also was pressured by the synod into the releasing of funds. Remember, I said that he was extraordinary. The rest are ordinary but some are good men who simply could not find the way to attack the problem.
    Now, more than ever, I would date the start of these problems with the synod to the “suggestion” by +Theodosius that Fr. Alexander’s presence was no longer needed at synod meetings. In fact, he was there as an ombudsman on behalf of the Church. It would in fact be wise to have someone either from another jurisdiction, or maybe the abyss of a monastery to be asked to join them in their meetings. She or they, as Fr. Alexander would have no problems with being able to express themselves since they were beyond facing recrimination.
    Anyway, just some comments from me.

  3. Gene

    I think +Job’s comment about the elections is correct for Orthodox Christians. As both candidates are Freemasons and generally opposed to traditional Christianity – while paying lip service to it – we Christians should see ourselves as separate to it. Getting emotionally involved in the propaganda, thinking that one candidate or another is going to change things and/or will protect real Christian values is simply a delusion. The reality is, we are in the last days, traditional values and traditional Christianity is under assault from many known and unknown enemies, and we only have the time and strength left to protect ourselves.

    There is no longer any earthly power that can restrain the Antichrist since the fall of the Tsar, which is why he was killed. This is a traditional Orthodox understanding, explained time and time again by most of our great church fathers.

  4. Mike Strelka

    Gene: It so wonderful that we have deep thinkers like you to guide us through life. How much change will I need for the toll booths, or will they accept my I-Pass?

  5. Joseph Gingrich

    While most Orthodox outside the OCA in America respect the work she has done to make Orthodoxy “American”, most don’t recognize her autocephaly. At the recent meeting in Constantinople of all the heads of the autocephalous churches the OCA wasn’t invited. When ROCOR went to unite with Moscow why didn’t Moscow atleast send the ROCOR American parishes to the OCA? This would seem to be the logical conclusion since the MP sees the OCA as the autocephalous church of America. Maybe it is time for the OCA to realize she is to young to be in the position she is in and needs the help, wisdom, and oversight of the mother church.

  6. Joe Ostopick

    Criminal charges should be filed against Herman and Theodosius. Disgrace is all these two MEN are about. It’s an absolute shame the damage that has been caused to the Orthodox church.

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