The OCA is out of money… need I say more? It doesn’t come from thin air…
My analysis of JP’s trip to Moscow was not based on thin air… I based it on the facts that surround it. Let’s look at them. I had an enlightening telephone chat on Sunday night with Matushka Nina Stroyen… she is one of the “elders”… she’s been around the block more than once. Her late husband, Fr Basil Stroyen, was the first Orthodox chaplain in the US forces. In short, she’s seen a great deal in her life and her probity is beyond question. One of the major items that she passed on to me was that the OCA was running out of money and that its recent fundraising efforts were fizzling out. Apparently, JP is looking for cash to keep SVS operating… let’s see, he threw Tassos from the train (his Great White Hope treasurer), then, two more operatives bit the dust, including Jarmus, his Director of Communications… now, according to Matushka Nina, he’s threatening to close St Tikhon’s (she is on the Board of Trustees, so, she would know). According to her, the board is looking at the papers of incorporation to see what they can do. In addition, the FOS drive hit a brick wall.
Why has the OCA ground to a standstill? Firstly, the OCA refused to live by the budget that it published earlier this year. There was nothing in that plan for legal fees or for junkets by JP and Lyonyo Kishkovsky (there were three that we know of, to Russia, to Georgia, and to Kazakhstan, not counting the present excursion… not cheap, no?). There was money allotted for a treasurer and for a Director of Communications, both of which have been axed by JP. One of my sources told me that Matthew Tate (a twice-married HOOMie who is now an OCA priest close to JP) reports that JP and Co have wildly overspent their travel budget. In addition, Matushka Nina also told me that the true reason why the OCA has stopped printing its journal is that it lacks money (don’t listen to talk of a $36G surplus… that was only after two paid officials got the boot). This was the background to my analysis, amongst other things.
There were three possible explanations for JP’s jaunt to Moscow. Number One is that the version on oca.org is wholly true. If such was so, why did the trip occur suddenly and without prior announcement? JP was not going to East Podunk… he was going to Moscow, the centre of the Orthodox world. Supposedly, this trip was official. If so, why was there a lack of prior notification on oca.org? Bishops normally publicise their schedules; it’s what’s done. The fact that Alfeyev met him is no indicator of the truthfulness of the oca.org account. Alfeyev is the head of one of the factions in the MP, nothing more. Indeed, HA is not as close to KMG as some others are. Bishops do not travel with only a subdeacon as a companion… that is strange, in and of itself. No… the oca.org account is something that “the apprentice ran up whilst the blacksmith was out”.
Number Two is that this is a “personal trip arranged with Zacchaeus Wood and he went to Moscow to buy vestments”. Actually, I had heard this on Saturday and rejected it out of hand. Why? It’s quite simple… it makes JP look like a feckless and foolish spendthrift, that’s why. Never assume that someone is irrational. The OCA is firing officials for lack of cash (at least Jarmus and Tassos); the legal fees are piling up, and the repayment of the defrauded 9/11 funds has been put on hold. This is not the “least injurious” scenario. To believe this means that one has to conclude that JP is a boob who spends money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Without positive evidence, I shall make no such assertion. Oh… this ISN’T “OCA bashing”. If a group is running out of money, it’s in trouble; I don’t care if it is religious or secular.
Number Three is most probable as it fits all the facts and credits JP with some rationality. It says that Moscow sent him a return ticket so that he could go to Moscow to answer questions. After all, there is a session of the MP Holy Synod this month with an announced agenda… it is going to discuss the situation in the diaspora. JP is a hierarch from the diaspora, so, it is logical to summon him to give evidence. What is JP going to do? Is he going to refuse? I think not… the OCA is a creature of the MP and it is utterly dependent on Moscow’s good will. The fact that material showed up on the official MP website means nothing… HA has members of his faction there and they’ll post what he wishes them to. It went completely unnoticed by the Russian secular media… who’ve given much coverage to such figures as Laurus Škurla and Hilarion Kapral (a visit of a real First Hierarch to Moscow always gets at least a small Interfax item, for instance). So… it DOESN’T come from thin air. Neither does money… something that, apparently, is in VERY short supply in Syosset. Tassos and Jarmus are gone… who’s next? Perspirin’ minds want to know…
Wednesday 9 December 2009