Voices from Russia

Saturday, 22 May 2010

K Plus One…

Go to liturgy tomorrow… light a candle… say a prayer… then, and only then, make up your mind

I was rereading the OCA handout of yesterday concerning Kondratick… for those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s the URL:


Within less than two months, the OCA has had two publicised out-of-court settlements. Firstly, there was the settlement in the Koumentakos case, and, now, there is this settlement for 250,000 dollars in the Kondratick case. Mr Kondratick was defrocked. He was defrocked for cause. He was defrocked for abusing his fiduciary obligations. Credit card fraud, for instance, is a federal offence. “The records simply don’t exist”… that is despicable.

In November of 2008, many people thought that the election of Jonas Paffhausen would usher in an era that wouldn’t be perfect, but certainly better than the administration of Herman Swaiko. Those hopes were dashed. At present, a man that defends the “Orthodox Feast of St Francis”, a man who defends the mass reception of cultists from Christ the Saviour Brotherhood in 2000, and a man who has a former cult guru, Matthew Tate, as one of his main advisors, heads the OCA. However, the thing that struck me hard upon rereading the OCA press release is that the entire Metropolitan Council knew of this payoff for three weeks and told the faithful NOTHING. Let that sink in… They told us nothing for three weeks. If Herman Swaiko had done this, Mark Stokoe would have been livid… all of his lapdogs in the comboxes at ocanews.org would have been shouting and gesticulating, calling for Herman’s head. As this situation progresses, I’ll admit to something… I feel sorry for Herman… he was a victim of the ambition of people like Mark Stokoe, Robert Kondratick, Benjamin Peterson, Joseph Fester, and Jonas Paffhausen. He did wrong, but Matushka Nina Stroyen is right, “Herman did wrong, but he was one of us… he had an Orthodox heart”. She didn’t say anything about JP… but the comparison is clear.

That I think is the most galling part of this episode. When all was said and done, when the sums were toted up, we found out that we kept in the dark, yet again. What is worse, we were kept in the dark by those who promised us openness and honesty. I shall NOT tell anyone what to do… there are landmines and cowpies all over this field for the unwary. I shall say this to you… go to liturgy tomorrow… light a candle and say a prayer. Reflect on what has been done to you. Then, and only then, make up your mind. That is something that I cannot do for you.

However… there is no easy way out of this. Every path is difficult and painful. I can’t lie to you. What is my opinion? For me (and I speak ONLY for myself here), there is only one way out… “There’s no place like home”. We Russian Orthodox in the USA and Canada should put aside our differences and unite in a Russian Orthodox Church in the USA, a Russian Orthodox Church in Canada, and a Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska, all of which would be under the MP. That’s what I believe.

Don’t make up your mind until you go to liturgy tomorrow… then, cross yourself, and commit yourself. God will bless you for it.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 22 May 2010

Albany NY


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