Verdict of Spiritual Court Announced in Kondratick Case
SYOSSET, NY-The former chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, who has been accused of longtime financial wrongdoing, has been deposed from the priesthood. The verdict by an OCA spiritual court against Robert Kondratick took effect July 31, 2007. Fr. Kondratick has maintained his innocence. Financial controls in the church had been "circumvented" at least since 1998, according to church leaders, and auditors uncovered a "pattern of personal use of church money" for years. No dollar amount has been given.
The issue became public last year after a former OCA treasurer alleged widespread financial misconduct involving millions of dollars. The treasurer had said that Metropolitan Theodosius, the retired head of the church, was involved. But a church investigation concluded that Fr. Kondratick was solely responsible, said the Rev. Andrew Jarmus, an OCA spokesman. His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, who presided at the spiritual court, presented the court's report and judgment, which recommended that Fr. Kondratick be deposed from the priesthood. After hearing the report and recommendation of the spiritual court, the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops resolved that the suspended Father Kondratick be permanently deposed from all sacred functions of the priesthood, and that his name be removed from the list of clergy of the Orthodox Church in America.
Egypt Christian Activists Held for ‘Insulting Islam'
CAIRO-Two Coptic Christian rights activists have been arrested in Egypt for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed on a British-based Web site, their lawyer and a judicial source said on August 9, 2007. Security forces Wednesday arrested the Egyptian country director of the Middle East Christian Association (MECA), Adel Fawzi, 61, and the association's photographer, Peter Ezzat, 35, according to their lawyer, Naguib Guebrail. "They were arrested at home in Cairo and were still being held Thursday morning," said Guebrail. "We haven't been officially told why they were arrested but security sources told us they are accused of distributing religiously defamatory books that incited confrontation between Copts and Muslims," he said. A source reported that "the Egyptian public prosecutor ordered Fawzi and Ezzat arrested for publishing articles and declarations that are damaging to Islam and insulting to Prophet Mohammed on the United Copts website." "These arrests follow a complaint about the two people who run the site made by two lawyers who felt offended by the publication of these articles." "Police ransacked Fawzi's home and took his computer and his published book. The website says that its aims include "exposing the injustice the Copts suffer" and "promoting constructive dialogue with the Egyptian government agencies and moderate Muslims." Copts are estimated to constitute 6 to 10 percent of Egypt's 76 million population and are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. They frequently complain of discrimination and mistreatment at the hands of Egypt's majority Muslims, especially in cases of religious conversion.