I received links to two important primary source documents on the situation in the so-called “Orthodox Church in America” (OCA). Click here for the first, it’s on Pokrov.org, and labelled as an official OCA document (I don’t doubt its authenticity, it’s just that it doesn’t have official confirmation from Syosset yet). Generally, it backs what’s been posted here over the past five years.
Here’s a pass-along sent to me as a “cut n’ paste”… I don’t have a URL, but I don’t doubt its authenticity either. It’s written by Freddie M-G‘s husband (who’s an Angliochian priest in the AOCANA):
Some days ago His Grace, Bishop Thomas announced that we did not have a blessing to visit the Monastery of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Union Bridge MD. The reason for this action was that the jurisdiction which has canonical oversight of the Monastery, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), was investigating a situation involving the Monastery. That investigation has concluded and the ROCOR Metropolitan has decided to relieve the Abbess of her duties and remove the Monastery from their canonical oversight.
As I understand it, this action by ROCOR means that the Monastery is at the moment non-canonical. This does not mean excommunication. As I understand it, the Sisters have three options: join other already-existing Monasteries, return to Greece under the Bishop there, or possibly reorganise under another canonical Bishop here. I imagine that it will be some time before all this is sorted out. In the meantime, we still do not have a blessing to visit.
The details of the findings of the investigation are unknown to most of us. What is known, however, is that much of the trouble centred around a priest at the Monastery who was the subject of very serious accusations. Hierarchs of both the OCA and ROCOR believed that there was enough evidence to dismiss the priest. They apparently also believed that the Abbess was refusing to cooperate with their investigation. Whatever else may have precipitated the investigation has not been made public. In any event, the investigation was launched, concluded, and the ROCOR Metropolitan has made his decision.
Those are the basic facts, as I understand them. There are many rumours abounding and I would urge you not to believe most of them, whatever “side” they represent. I know that this is a deeply troubling, even heartbreaking, situation for many of you, as it is for me. We had prayed for a monastic presence in our area, visited and supported the Sisters, developed relationships, and grown to deeply care for this monastic community. We had dreamed, with the Sisters and others, about the Monastery even being used for summer camps, youth rallies, retreats, schools, and so many other possibilities. Now we have to realise that these things will not happen in the ways we envisioned. But surely God will open other doors.
As we always have, let us pray for the Sisters that our merciful Lord will guide them into all truth. And please know that I am praying also for all those whose lives were touched by the Monastery, and that I would welcome the opportunity to speak with any of you who are struggling to deal with this unfortunate and regretful situation.
The Lord bless you all!
Archpriest Gregory Mathewes-Green
Pastor, Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church
I’ll simply say that both Fathausen and Freddie stood up for this rather squiffy lot of monastics. They should go back to Greece, where they came from; we have enough home-grown scandal to deal with. Nevertheless, it shows that the line spouted by Paffhausen and the konvertsy was total BS, and that decent people were mauled and savaged in the process. I’m thinking, in particular, of Fr Michael Regan, who still sits under the threat of lawsuit from the suspended clergyman Raymond Velencia (who has the consummate gall and audacity to call himself “Fr Raymond Velencia” in official court papers). Velencia was a clergyman under JP, and close to First Family elements. I know this… a priest is supposed to get permission from his bishop to go to court, especially if one of the plaintiffs is an active clergyman in good odour with the Church. Did JP approve this action or did Ray do a “roll your own?” Neither of these scenarios is good, for both would open up the OCA to countersuit if the OCA Holy Synod doesn’t disown this legal action against one of its active and honourable clergy. If it doesn’t act, it implies that the OCA isn’t in control of its own house, which would look bad in any court in the land.
The Holy Synod has an OBLIGATION to speak out and condemn the Velencia lawsuit unequivocally, as he’s pretending to be a clergyman in good standing by use of the term “Father”. If the OCA doesn’t act, then, future courts could conclude that RV had the collusion (at least) of members of the Holy Synod, and they’d really sock it to the Syossetites.
This utterly amazes and stuns me, and I’ve seen quite a bit in 58 years (and counting) of life. The OCA refuses to quash RV… which they could do by deposing him for initiating a legal action against a cleric in good standing without permission of the requisite Church authorities. That would kill the lawsuit, for Needle (RV’s lawyer) would leave a hopeless case, I’m sure. It’s up to the Synod… but I’m not holding my breath, and neither should you.
Saturday 11 August 2012