Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

SPC Brings “Ecclesiastical Charges” against Schismatical MPC Archbishop

00 Archbishop Jovan in Prison. 06.12

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On Tuesday, the SPC Holy Synod announced its decision to bring ecclesiastical charges against Archbishop Stefan, the head of the canonically unrecognised Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC). The Synod issued a statement, “By its inveterate persistence in schism, the MPC participates in the un-Christian persecution of Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski, the canonically recognised head of the autonomous Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid, its priests, monks, and believers”. At the Holy Assembly in May, the SPC emphasised that it’s ready to start a dialogue “on establishing canonical order, religious peace, and brotherly love with the church in the neighbouring and friendly Macedonia”, stressing that a condition for this is the release of the unjustly imprisoned Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid. The Assembly noted that the arrest of Archbishop Jovan was a result of demands from top MPC figures. The SPC considers the MPC as a schismatical body. It also noted that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis and Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow also sent the same message to the canonically unrecognised MPC.

In July this year, the Macedonian Appellate Court upheld the first instance ruling sentencing Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje to three years in prison for allegedly embezzling 250,000 Euros (12.4 million Roubles. 2 million Renminbi. 19.8 million INR. 324,000 USD. 356,000 CAD. 357,000 AUD. 200,000 UK Pounds). Archbishop Jovan received a three-year prison sentence on 2 July 2013 in Skopje. He appealed this judgment in November, but the second instance court dismissed the appeal as unfounded. In his submission to the Skopje Appellate Court, Vladyki Jovan stated, “In the 12 years since its establishment, the Macedonian authorities have subjected the Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid to persecution, who deny its application for official registration to this day, which would make it a legal religious organisation”.

Since 2003, Macedonian authorities arrested Archbishop Jovan six times on different charges, including public disorder when he tried to conduct a baptism ceremony in a church the MPC claims as its own. They also charged him with “inciting ethnic and religious hatred” for having “slandered the MPC”, spending a total of almost 18 months in prison. His last arrest was on 12 December 2011, upon entering Macedonia from Greece, on charges of embezzling 250,000 Euros. According to his lawyers, he returned to the country to request a retrial, but they arrested him and threw him in Idrizovo Prison near Skopje, where they still hold him under difficult conditions.

The MPC is canonically unrecognised, and the SPC considered it a schismatical body ever since it declared autocephaly unilaterally in 1967. The MPC defrocked Bishop Jovan when the SPC appointed him as its exarch in Macedonia. The SPC believes Archbishop Jovan to be the victim of rigged political trials because of his opposition to the schism, whilst Amnesty International and Freedom House stated that he’s a prisoner of conscience. Two prominent Macedonian bishops, Timotej and Pimen, publicly requested Vladyki Jovan’s pardon. Unofficially, most MPC bishops would support a pardon, except for Archbishop Stefan and Bishops Petar and Agatangel.

27 August 2014

B92

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2014&mm=08&dd=27&nav_id=91416

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dokos Pled Not Guilty to Theft Charge

01 money

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This morning, Fr James Dokos pled not guilty to felony theft charge this morning during his arraignment in a Milwaukee County courtroom. Dokos, who’s on leave from Ss Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview IL pending the outcome of the case, faces charges of improperly spending more than 100,000 USD (3.6 million Roubles. 615,000 Renminbi. 6.05 million INR. 108,400 CAD. 107,200 AUD. 75,800 Euros. 60,400 UK Pounds) from a trust fund intended to benefit Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee WI. Dokos, 62, was the long-time pastor at Annunciation before transferring to Ss Peter and Paul in 2012. In June, authorities in Milwaukee announced that they’d file the charge against Dokos after launching an investigation last year into how the trust fund money was spent. A long-time Annunciation parishioner and his wife established the fund, and whilst the church received 1.1 million USD (39.8 million Roubles. 6.8 million Renminbi. 66.4 million INR. 1.2 million CAD. 1.18 million AUD. 834,000 Euros. 664,000 UK Pounds) from the fund, Annunciation members alerted authorities after finding possible discrepancies in how the rest of the money was allotted. Dokos’ attorneys denied that he engaged in wrongdoing and said that Annunciation members sought the prosecution against him to cover up their own mismanagement of the fund. Dokos is next due in court in December.

26 August 2014

Alexandra Chachkevitch

Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glenview/ct-james-dokos-pleads-not-guilty-met-20140826-story.html

Sunday, 3 August 2014

3 August 2014. One of the Cabinet Speaks Up… It’s a Read n’ Heed Kids…

signing-on-the-dotted-line

The OCA LOVES “confidential settlements”… “We admit no crime or wrongdoing”. It’s time that we held clerics to the same standard that we hold everyone else to (which includes public judgement of criminal matters). In any case, hasn’t Storheim injured the Church’s credibility enough? It’s time to ‘fess up and get down… but will we?

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Editor:

I got this from a Cabinet member a while back… it still has relevance. We have a lot of labour ahead of us… I have a word or two after this.

BMD

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I just can’t wrap my head around why the [OCA] Chancellor posts the Pastoral Changes with a three-month delay. Okay, so maybe the dioceses don’t send in their reports sharp at the end of the month, so it takes, say, a couple or three weeks to extort the data from overworked diocesan chancellors with families, parish assignments of their own, etc. Can’t they have the thing done and posted by the end of the following month, then? Does it really warrant a quarterly posting schedule? Also, note that they’re not posted in a single place on the OCA website; you literally have to search for the press releases and dig them out one by one. It’s maddening.

Speaking of the Pastoral Changes, it hit me that I’d missed the ones for August and September, so I went and looked them up. Guess what I found? Archimandrite Gerasim Eliel assigned to St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas TX effective 1 September 2013!  I knew (and I think you reported earlier) that he’d gone to a parish in the Diocese of the South, but being assigned to the Cathedral there is whole ‘nother story! So, is this how they’re trying to foist him upon the South? Remember, Fr Gerasim didn’t drop out of GTU. No, he dropped out of college at UC Santa Cruz and ended up going off to Platina in 1981. Download a copy of his excruciatingly detailed episcopal search autobiography, which is good for these points here. By the way, Fr David Brum didn’t attend GTU either… he attended St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park CA for his M.Div. and the Catholic University of America in DC for his JCL (a licentiate in Canon Law). Here’s his bio for the details.

Now, speaking of Canon Law, I should add a few words on the Storheim saga. Firstly, in canonical terms, a man is either a cleric or not. When we depose a cleric, we don’t demote him to a lower order, but remove him from the ranks of the clergy altogether. Therefore, we can’t “roll back” Storheim to be a simple priest… we’ve ordained him a Bishop, and he must either remain a Bishop or no longer be a clergyman at all. It’s correct that according to the canonical tradition, we can’t punish someone for one crime twice. What this means is that, if we deposed him for the abuse of minors, then, we couldn’t excommunicated him for that same crime. That would be the double punishment.

Now, presumably, Storheim received monastic tonsure before being ordained a Bishop, so, even if we depose him from the clergy, he’d still be a monk under obedience to whomever his Bishop is unless he asks for a release from that state of life as well. If we depose him, his Bishop (after consulting with the Synod) CAN and SHOULD send him off to a monastery somewhere far away to live out the rest of his days. He seems to like Finland; they should see if somewhere over there would take him.

As for the deposition, note that the canons require a court of twelve Bishops to depose another Bishop. Even with the newly filled vacancies in Alaska and Eastern PA, the OCA is up only to 10 (it’s still down three, with vacancies in the Midwest, the South, and for all practical purposes, Canada). Now, one thing the Synod can do (there’s historical precedent) is to ask another Local Church to provide the missing number of Bishops… which realistically means Moscow in this case. I don’t know if they’ve asked them, but even Moscow might have its reasons not to soil its hands with the OCA’s dirty work, at least not immediately. We’ll just have to see what transpires in the immediate future… I can’t imagine that session of the Holy Synod that considered SMPAC and ORSMA policies and “reviewed a variety of clergy matters, including disciplines” ended without discussing the Storheim débâcle. Anyway, it’s important that the canonical process of deposition is impeccable. This is the first time that the OCA would set out to depose a Bishop, and we should give no excuse to Storheim’s supporters to argue that the deposition wasn’t valid. You remember how JP’s supporters argued that his own resignation was invalid? Imagine some employing the same tactic here, and with a far more unnerving goal.

Regarding Metropolitan Philip Saliba, your correspondent was right. He released clergy to and received them from the ROCOR normally even when they weren’t in communion with anyone else but the Serbs, and he had a beautiful wall icon of St Xenia of Petersburg painted at the Ss Peter and Paul Chapel in Antiochian Village even before Moscow canonised her because the ROCOR had already done it. There’s certainly a debt of gratitude there!

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As for tardy reports of pastoral changes, that’d be easy to fix. Each diocese would report weekly via a standardised computer form. If no changes, they’d simply check the “no changes” box. It’d take five minutes at best. Modern computer technology allows understaffed institutions to be just as efficient as the MP is… and we should use it! If a chancellor of a diocese refused to use it, well, it’d be time to replace the chancellor. “Use modern means or go home”… we don’t use quill pens anymore… ‘nuff said, end of story…

If Eliel is a dropout, we shouldn’t have him on any list for bishop… full stop. That’s the end of the story. David Brum is the author of the notorious (and anti-canonical and anti-Traditional) “Brum Doctrine”… that the Metropolitan of the OCA is a tin-pot dictator who can override the Holy Synod. Of course, that ain’t Orthodox, but what do you expect from someone who lacks a real Orthodox formation? He DOES have a full-bore papist formation. Of course, he doesn’t (and can’t) teach according to Orthodox formulations! Note well, the konvertsy drool over both paladins. The Centre wouldn’t consecrate either one of these champions as bishops… neither should we.

To put it simply, Storheim’s put the Church through enough grief. It’s time to depose him and pack him off to the Mountain, where he can’t bother any more kids. I’d bet even money that the Canadian courts would sign off on that one. It gets rid of a headache for all concerned, it acknowledges Storheim’s guilt, and it means that the Church accepts and respects Mr Justice Mainella’s assessment of Mr Storheim… that he lacks any shred of credibility. Besides, the Church should apologise publicly to Storheim’s victims… not only for the abuse, but also for the unfounded attacks on their credibility by Mr Gindin, Storheim’s legal mouthpiece. Yes, it means that the OCA will have to pony up for the damages caused… but that’s fair. In fact, it’s a licit use for the “widow’s mite”… whereas to use it to savage the victims in court was not.

My Cabinet not only keeps me informed, they keep me grounded. Note well that most of the konvertsy bloggers are “lone wolves”. In Orthodox terms, that’s really beyond the pale. Keep it centred and focused… the times ARE evil… many who look “good” are crook, and many who look “off” are good. Keep the jug at hand… it hasn’t got any less crank in the last 24…

BMD

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ordered to Stand Trial… Fr James Dokos, Accused of Stealing from Church in Wauwatosa

01 throwing away money

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A former Milwaukee-area priest accused of stealing from his church will stand trial. On Wednesday morning, Fr James Dokos was in facing charges of felony theft. Prosecutors say that he took more than 100,000 USD (3.56 million Roubles. 109,000 CAD. 107,500 AUD. 75,000 Euros. 59,000 UK Pounds) from Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa WI when he was priest there. If convicted, Dokos faces up to 10 years in prison. He’ll be back in court in September… when he’s expected to enter a plea.

30 July 2014

Katie DeLong

Fox 6 Now

http://fox6now.com/2014/07/30/ordered-to-stand-trial-father-james-dokos-accused-of-stealing-from-church-in-wauwatosa/

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