Voices from Russia

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Herman Gives the World His Answer

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox life,religious,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

This is what Herman Swaiko has done by giving Raymond Velencia a church award. What have we come to?

Read the following little post. It says volumes about Herman Swaiko.

You missed this in your news article, although it wasn’t well publicised. In a nutshell, the priest who’s been accused of breaching the secrecy of the confessional, Fr Raymond Velencia, received a clergy award on 10 May 2008, when Metropolitan Herman Swaiko was on hand to consecrate St Matthew Church in Columbia MD.

Melanie Jula Sakoda

Orthodox Christians for Accountability

http://www.ocanews.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/247-News-From-Around-the-OCA.html#comments (in English)

There one has it. Herman Swaiko’s telling the world that Raymond Velencia’s to be praised for his actions, and that he’s placing him as a model to be emulated.


It isn’t conjecture, nor is it internet speculation, it’s a proven fact that Raymond Velencia spread about confidences told him in confession and counselling. He sent these details via e-mail to the members of the Metropolitan Council of the OCA and to Mark Stokoe, the webmaster of the Orthodox Christians for Accountability site. Therefore, one can confidently assume that Herman Swaiko approves of such pastoral shenanigans, for it’s a safe conjecture that his minions keep him informed of the postings on Mr Stokoe’s website. This means that nothing’s held sacred by this man. He spits in the faces of the Koumentakos and Patico families, in public, no less. This man is a bishop? In formal sense, maybe, but not even the worst bishops in the Soviet period did such. This is so noisome it leaves me speechless at the evil involved. If you need proof of the devil and his works, you need only look at this.

Reflect on this, if you would. This man was elected freely by the Synod of Bishops. That means that the problem is systemic, not personal. At the Battle of Jutland, Admiral Beatty turned to his flag lieutenant after seeing several of his battlecruisers literally blown out of the water by the Germans. “There’s something wrong with our bloody ships, today”, he growled. He seemed sunk in thought, and he continued, “…and something wrong with our system”. The British had the will to change their “system”, and the Grand Fleet ended up victorious in the war. Shall the OCA have the will to do what’s right, and abandon its quixotic quest? Schmemann’s opium dream of unity is over, and this nasty episode is a direct result of it. As a very wise old Matushka said to me, “You know, he’s the cause of it all”. Shall we find the courage to go home and cease the hubris and chest-pounding? That’s a question that only you can answer. Ponder it well before answering.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 8 June 2008


Hey, Charlie! Starkist Wants Tunas that Taste Good, not Tunas with Good Taste!

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox life,religious,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Remember the old TV adverts featuring Charlie the Tuna? Those of us “of a certain age” recall the High Brooklyn accent of Herschel Bernardi calling out, “Hey, Starkist, I’m playin’ TENNIS! THAT’S High Class!” Then, of course, the message came down on the hook, “SORRY, CHARLIE!” Flounder would swim up and say sadly, “Hey, Charlie! Starkist wants tunas that taste good, not tunas with good taste!” That’s what the current church situation is like, more or less. Of course, the centrepiece of it all is the dilapidated structure of the OCA, which is ready to collapse at any given moment. The problem is that when it falls (for it’s not a matter of whether the roof shall cave in, it’s a matter of when it shall), what shall the effect be on entire corpus of Orthodoxy in North America? Even at the present moment, there are OCA loyalists in Syosset and SVS who’re busy propping up a sagging Potyomkin village. Everything shall be solved at the AAC. The MC shall pass new statutes. You see, we kicked out RSK. Yadda, yadda, yadda… ad infinitum. It’s truly nothing more than Charlie shouting out about how much “good taste” he has. However, one asks, do they “taste good?” That’s to say, we should ask, is the OCA a basically-healthy body that’s just going through a bad time?

NO. Emphatically not.

For example, the Romanian diocese within the OCA is initiating steps to disassociate itself from the OCA and rejoin itself to the Patriarchate of Romania. This would remove 27,000 of the 115,000 faithful in the OCA, some 24 percent of the total membership. If there was belief in the “vision of Orthodox unity” that Schmemann crowed about incessantly, this wouldn’t be happening. In short, the Romanian faithful have decided that they don’t wish to be tied to the ideology of SVS and Syosset. Syosset is making noises that it has to “approve the deal”, but, what can they do? NADA. Secondly, there’s been almost total silence from official sources on the largest event in the life of the OCA, the annual pilgrimage to St Tikhon Monastery in South Canaan PA. The only reportage has been 10 tightly-focused photographs on the website of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. Attendance was abysmal last year, and it was worse this year. People are voting with their feet. I can assure you that if there was a large crowd present, such would’ve been splashed over the OCA official website. Instead, it’s disappeared down an Orwellian memory hole. Reflect on the fact that attendance was poor, even though Jordanville gave permission for the Kursk-Root icon to be brought to South Canaan for the occasion. Thirdly, Syosset crowed loudly concerning “town hall” meetings to be held across the country. What’s the end result? Such are being held only in a few locations, at inconvenient times, and with a limited agenda. Classic GIGO.

Syosset refuses to issue accurate membership figures, refuses to make public the précis of the investigative commission on the scandals, and it continues to oppose an open accounting of the books of SVS and St Tikhon’s. I’d mention in this connection that when the MP held a similar investigative commission in Britain, the hearings were open to the public, the church used all possible media to encourage people to come and speak, and it issued a précis on a neutral website within days of its release. I ask you, “Which group is healthy?” Is it the one that solved a crisis in 100 days and issued the report promptly or is it the group that still hasn’t resolved a crisis after 3 years (for it started in July 2005) and refuses to issue the report of its investigating commission? Oh, yes… the meetings of the OCA commission were secret, like a star-chamber, the public was forbidden to attend. Hmm…


When you answer that question, you’ll know which one of the two is healthy, and which one of the two we should shoot dead to put it out of its misery.


Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Albany NY

Sunday 8 June 2008

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