Bishop Diomid Dzyuban of Anadyr and Chukhotka (1962- ), removed by the MP Archpastoral Council in 2008… yes, the Local Church DOES have “supervisory control” over its dioceses… the OCA is lying with full malice aforethought here.
Firstly, there’s no surprise here… the exact same thing was seen in a case out West (I don’t have details, ask Mel and Cappy at http://www.pokrov.org/contact.asp ) and in the Koumentakos case (hey, the case is a matter of public record, and there were other people in the courtroom besides the Koumentakos and Patico families, not everyone who was in the courtroom is bound by the OCA-imposed secrecy agreement). I was told, “The lawyer for the OCA actually stood up in court and said that the diocese is like a Holiday Inn franchise, nothing more, and that the OCA has no supervisory control over it”.
This is arrant nonsense, it spits on the Orthodox conception of ecclesiology, and it flies in the face of lived practise in the Mother Church. There are two relevant cases to cite in this instance. Firstly, in 1999, there was a flap in the Diocese of Yekaterinburg (the third-largest diocese in the Russian Federation). The local ruling bishop faced charges of simony, extra-legal conduct, and homosexual conduct. The MP Holy Synod intervened, investigated, and removed Bishop Nikon Mironov, and replaced him with Archbishop Vikenty Morar (the present ruling hierarch), whilst it rusticated Nikon to repentance as an ordinary monk at the Pskov Pechersksy Lavra (where he remains).
Secondly, there was the kafuffle in 2008 surrounding Bishop Diomid Dzyuban of Anadyr and Chukhotka. Let’s keep it short and focused… the MP Archpastoral Council (the assembly of ruling bishops sitting as the highest assembly of the Local Church, it can overrule the Patriarch) investigated Diomid, found him guilty, stripped him of his office, and defrocked him as a clergyman. Here’s an Interfax article confirming this:
In short, the OCA contention, “The diocese is like a Holiday Inn franchise, nothing more, and that the OCA has no supervisory control over it”, isn’t Orthodox in the least. These two cases show that, according to our conception of “Church”, the Local Church as a Whole DOES have “supervisory control” over the bishops. The removal of these two bishops “for cause” shows that the Holy Synod (or its delegated nominee) has oversight responsibilities over the various dioceses, it can investigate charges that arise, and the Holy Synod of, or the Local Church’s designee, can remove or otherwise discipline errant bishops (or anyone else, for that matter).
The OCA’s lawyers lied… not only to the magistrate in Winnipeg, but in previous cases in the USA. There’s a reason why their fib flew in America… it fit in with Proddie notions of “Church”. That is, the Church is a notional assemblage of people who “love Jesus” and that “denominations” are nothing but different labels. We don’t believe this at all… Russian Orthodoxy and Greek Orthodoxy are REAL things; in philosophical terms, they’re “really real”. To use the ten-dollar definition, they’re “discrete and substantial objective ontological entities with an independent, self-sufficient, and unconstrained existence rooted in and beyond all spatio-temporal reality”. Whew! That was a MOUTHFUL! Yet, that’s what the Church is, “covering all the bases”.
Besides all this, the OCA boobs aren’t taking into account the fact that Canada is DIFFERENT (and radically so) from the USA. There are deep differences between US and Canadian legal procedure. For instance, all criminal law in Canada is federal, not provincial (you can’t shop around for a “friendly jurisdiction” like you can in the USA). Evidentiary rules are less arcane and lawyerly. In most cases, there’s no jury. In addition, the Canadian mentality is FAR different, it’s less “individualistic”, more “collectivist” (Catholics played a larger role in Canada; sectarians are virtually non-existent; the First Nations weren’t treated as badly). In short, the OCA defence was shaped for an “American” venue… it shall not “play” as well in the Great White North.
In fact, Manitoba is run by the NDP (New Democrats), so JP’s “conservative” teabagger bleats wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell (hey, Manitoba was the home of the United Farmers, it was, and is, fairly radical in politics (yet socially conservative, go figure)). Yes… the rightwing PCs under Harper (who’s from Alberta, mot Manitoba… not the same) have more seats in the Federal Parliament (the PCs are running a “minority government”, so that ties their hands… good), but that’s not due to Manitoba having a reactionary mindset like that of the American South (Gingrich, DeMint, Paul, and Limbaugh wouldn’t be welcome on the Prairies)… it was due to voter dissatisfaction with the Liberal Party (not to be confused with the NDP, which is further to the left).
There’s another wrinkle… Manitoba is the “Prairies” writ large. Don’t forget, Hilarion Kapral is from the Prairies, he grew up in rural Alberta, in the heart of “Socred” (Social Credit… a Canadian political movement) country… progressive politics melded with social conservatism. That makes him FAR different from JP, who’s part of the California Suburban Affluent Effluent. Another reason why the OCA bullshit may not fly is the racial composition of Manitoba… 12% is Francophone, 15% are First Nations, and 14% are Ukrainian. Anglo-Saxon horseshit doesn’t have the preponderance that it has in the USA. Lastly, not unimportantly, Canada is the home of the Loyal Americans… don’t forget, the genesis of the English-speaking community in Canada was the expulsion of the United Empire Loyalists by the American Radical Republicans after their victory in the American War of Secession in 1783 (the only difference between the American War of Secession and the War Between the States is that the secessionists won the first one and lost the second one).
That is, arguments based on “Radical Neoliberal Individualism” won’t fly in Canada, not only for legal reasons, but for deep cultural ones as well. After all, Canada is full of SOCIALISTS. Oh, dear, what can the matter be! The OCA has given a definitive answer to “Am I my brother’s keeper?” If the person in question is a priest, bishop, or other member of the apparat, association with whom might expose them to any kind of legal hazard or liability, the answer is a resounding “NO!” We can only imagine what the answer might be if the parties in question were mere laypeople.
Someone should point this up to the examining magistrate in Canada; they might find it interesting.
Sunday 24 October 2010