Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Church won’t Defrock Naughty Archbishop

00 No Tolerance for Child Abuse. 23.10.12

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The Orthodox Church of America (OCA) Archdiocese of Canada won’t defrock a disgraced archbishop recently found guilty of sexually assaulting a Winnipeg boy in the 1980s. Instead, the church quietly retired Archbishop Seraphim Storheim. The decision outraged critics who say the decision to spare Storheim defrocking goes directly against the church’s sexual misconduct policy. Melanie Sakoda, the Orthodox director of SNAP, also known as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said, “I think they’re being very cautious, there’s a lot of sentiment of support for him in Canada. The thing that bothered me is their policy seems to be very clear… if he’s found to have abused a child, he’s to be defrocked”. The archbishop still awaits sentencing after a court found him guilty in January of sexually assaulting a pre-teen boy in the mid-1980s, when he was rector at Holy Trinity Sobor in Winnipeg.

The church’s sexual misconduct policy, updated last fall, states that the church would depose and permanently prohibit from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry any clergy found to have committed child sexual abuse. Officials for the OCA, the parent organisation to the Archdiocese of Canada, said that the decision to retire came from a need to replace Storheim as ruling bishop in Canada and that they haven’t ruled out defrocking the archbishop. Archpriest Eric George Tosi, secretary for the OCA, said per the canons, a final ruling on Storheim’s fate would be in the hands of a 12-member spiritual court. The court can’t convene until the church’s initial investigation is complete. This is an arduous process, which Sakoda says isn’t necessary, noting, “The trouble with that, is unlike the Catholic Church, in the Orthodox Church the canons are sort of guidelines, they aren’t law. If they wanted to do this, whether it is a panel of 12 bishops or not, they could. I think that sends a message and it sends the wrong message”.

In a letter dated 21 March, the church decided that they’d retire Storheim and that he’d continue in the clergy, as a retired member, take communion with the clergy, and worship in his choice of a church in Edmonton AB or Spencerville ON. The church suspended Storheim in November 2010 when the allegations of abuse first surfaced, saying that a commission would decide his fate within the church after the criminal procedures were complete. The court will sentence Storheim sometime in June, and after that, his lawyer said that he’d file an appeal.

2 April 2014

Kristin Annable

Winnipeg Sun

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2014/04/02/naughty-archbishop-wont-be-defrocked

Editor:

Cappy and Mel get a lot of flak from “goodthinkers”… “We shouldn’t complain about the clergy… we should cover up their sins… we have no right to attack such good people”… yadda, yadda, yadda. Let’s be blunt. The OCA First Families apparat doesn’t give a rat’s ass for the victims. It’s one thing to see that Storheim got legal counsel, but I’ll be blunt, I think that his lawyer, Gindin, was an asshole who based his defence on attacking the victims’ sanity and credibility (that’s my opinion, I can state it publicly, and they can’t sue me for so doing). The OCA Holy Synod knew that was Gindin’s defence… they said nothing. Ergo, when Gindin attacked the witnesses’ credibility, the OCA attacked their credibility.

Tosi makes me want to hurl. All that the Church needs is Justice Mainella’s rather long and rather detailed verdict. It’s time for this shit to end. It’s time to depose Storheim, send him to a remote monastery (in foreign parts, if necessary), apologise to his victims, and pay them reasonable compensation for the unnecessarily nasty attacks levelled on them by Gindin (Gindin deserves a good swift kick in the ass for choosing such low and despicable tactics… I know more than one person willing to do the deed… I know some Cossacks willing to give him more than a swift kick). It’s time for the lawyerly shit to end. Real people were hurt; real people had their reputations dragged in the mud… and these jabronies want to spin it out. Pass me the jug… I know that the human race is sinful and full of self-serving tricks, but this is too much. God have mercy on Storheim’s innocent victims… haven’t they gone through enough?

BMD  

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Thursday, 20 March 2014

20 March 2014. OCA Holy Synod Silent on Storheim

01 See no Evil

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Editor:

I’m well aware that the situation in the Ukraine simmers away, and that it’s important. I’m going to get to it after posting some important Church news.

BMD

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The OCA Holy Synod is meeting now in Syosset, having begun sessions on 18 March. It’s released no news, save for announcing the election of the disobedient incompetent Mark Maymon as Bishop of Eastern Pennsylvania. Anyone who disobeyed his earlier bishop openly and without shame deserves deposition, not a diocese. Under its own rules, the Holy Synod has to depose criminal bishops. As all know, a court in Manitoba found former Archbishop Seraphim Storheim guilty of paedophilia. What’s more, the judge involved castigated Storheim in a stinging two-hour verdict, saying that his testimony was utterly without merit or credibility. The OCA Holy Synod is silent… which makes it complicit in Storheim’s felony if they continue to shelter him. What the Church should do is:

  • Depose Storheim as a bishop, reducing him to the rank of an ordinary priest
  • As Storheim is a monastic, to send him to live in a remote monastery
  • Formally assure the Canadian government, both by registered letter and proper public statements that Storheim will have no contact with children
  • Publicly apologise to the victims, both for the abuse and for the inappropriate attacks upon them by Mr Gindin, Storheim’s attorney
  • Make a proper compensation to the victims for what this long legal process did to them
  • Publicly apologise to the believers for wasting their contributions on a fruitless attempt to coverup a bishop’s wrongful actions… an inappropriate use of the “widow’s mite”, if there ever was such (where is Alexander Lebedeff and his “righteous anger” now? Do note his silence when the First Families protect one of the apparat)

I expect NONE of this to happen. I expect Mollard to drool on command and look properly chastened… and do NOTHING. However, he’s a better choice than Peterson or Dahulich (the other two seekers of the white hat at the last Sobor) were… it’s the old Russian saying, “All of the choices are worst”.

Jillions issued personnel changes… for October to December 2013. The Synod should fire Jillions immediately for incompetence and laziness. It doesn’t take three to six months to announce personnel changes. With modern cyberposting, one could do it WEEKLY (no lie… it’d take all of five minutes, if one had the proper template prepped). Indeed, oca.org should post pending ordinations the month before the event so that anyone with a proper complaint could tell the Church authorities. Lacking this, we have a corrupt and bone-idle apparat giving the bird to the believers. “Pay up, you fuckers! It ain’t cheap living on the Island!”

The OCA is trying to “duck” the Ukrainian situation. However, its recognition from the MP DOES carry with it a “price tag”. The OCA will have to cut off all ties with Uniates and support the MP line… the Centre has ways of making its wishes reality (shall Balashov make a visit to Syosset to have a “prophylactic chat” with Mollard?). Watch for Mollard to crumple… the Centre didn’t choose him for nought, y’ know. They know that he lacks the grit and fortitude to resist them. Don’t waste any effort or attack on Mollard… he’s an utter cipher… but he’s a useful cipher, at this time and place. Do bear that in mind.

Pass the jug… covering Orthodoxy is NEVER boring, is it?

BMD

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Beg OCA Holy Synod to Defrock Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

01 hurt teddy bear child abuse

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Storheim was OCA’s Highest Ranking Cleric in Canada: Found Guilty of Sexually Assaulting a Young Boy

SNAP to church officials: “You’re breaking your own abuse policy”

For more information:

Members of an abuse survivors’ group are urging OCA officials to defrock Canada’s highest ranking archbishop, who has been found guilty of molesting a child. Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that the denomination’s panel which is responsible for disciplining clergymen is breaking church policy by not permanently ousting Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was convicted in January of sexually violating an 11-year-old boy.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Archbishop-Storheim-found-guilty-of-sexually-assaulting-altar-boy-241849391.html

The synod of bishops of the Long Island-based Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will begin its spring session in Syosset NY tomorrow. Among the items on their agenda are further “decisions” concerning Storheim.

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/holy-synod-to-begin-spring-session-march-18

http://www.pokrov.org/wp-content/uploads/2014.03.02-Letter-from-Metropolitan-Tikhon-to-SNAP.pdf

The Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct, approved by the OCA’s synod at their Fall 2013 meeting, state that “Any clergy … found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. …”

http://oca.org/PDF/official/2013-10-PSP-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf

Cappy Larson of SNAP said, “This is a no-brainer and should’ve happened weeks ago. Both Archbishop Seraphim’s guilt and church policy are crystal clear. Church officials’ delays and indecision are helping a criminal and hurting his victims”. SNAP is writing to the synod, pleading with them to enforce their abuse policy. Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, said, “Let’s make sure that this convicted child molester can never again use his religious titles or roles to get access to and hurt another child”.

From 1990 until his suspension in November of 2010, Storheim headed the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada, based in Ottawa ON. Prior to that, he worked in Edmonton AB, Winnipeg MB, London ON, Charlotte NC in the USA, and in Finland.

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00 No Tolerance for Child Abuse. 23.10.12

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The text of SNAP’s letter, sent today by fax and email to nine bishops (names at bottom), is here:

Dear Sirs: 

Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was convicted of the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old boy on January 24, 2014. Section 10.05(B) of your newly adopted Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct states clearly that, “Any Clergy who … is found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. …”

Please Gentlemen, Archbishop Seraphim has been found guilty in a court of law of child sexual abuse. Although the judge did not find that there was enough evidence to convict the archbishop of abusing the boy’s twin, his allegation is certainly credible and should also be taken into account.

We know that there is a very active group supporting the archbishop and urging you to hold off taking action until any appeals are completed. As members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the three of us know first-hand the devastating effects of child sexual abuse. We are pleading with you to send a strong message to your flocks. If the sexual abuse of children truly is not tolerated in the OCA, defrock Archbishop Seraphim now.

Policies do not protect children. Actions protect children. The archbishop has been convicted. Do the right thing and follow your own guidelines.

Sincerely,

David Clohessy

St Louis MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

(314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Cappy Larson

San Francisco CA, SNAP Orthodox Director

(cappy@rlarson.com)

Melanie Jula Sakoda

Moraga CA, SNAP Orthodox Director

(925-708-6175 cell, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com)

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00 ALL of our Children are Precious... End Abuse NOW

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Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard

Orthodox Church in America

PO Box 675

Syosset NY 11791

Tel:

(516) 922 0550

Fax:

(516) 922 0954

E-mail: 

metropolitan@oca.org

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Archbishop Nathaniel Popp

PO Box 309

Grass Lake MI 49240-0309

Tel:

(517) 522 4800

Fax:

(517) 522 5907

E-mail: 

nathaniel@roea.org

******

Archbishop Nikon Liolin

PO Box 149

Southbridge MA 01550

Tel:

(508) 764 3222

E-mail: 

bpnikon@aol.com

******

Archbishop Benjamin Peterson

1520 Green St

San Francisco CA 94123

Tel:

(415) 567 9378

E-mail: 

vikenty@msn.com

******

Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera

Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53

Col Penon De Los Banos

Mexico, DF 15520

Tel:

5784-5198

Fax:

5784-5198

E-mail: 

obispoalejo@yahoo.com.mx

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Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

PO Box 1769

Cranberry Township PA 16066-1769

Tel:

724-776-5555

Fax:

724-776-5555

E-mail: 

melchisedek999@yahoo.com

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Bishop Michael Dahulich

33 Hewitt Ave

Bronxville NY 10708

Tel:

(914) 779 6580

Fax:

(914) 779 6581

E-mail: 

bishopmichael@nynjoca.org

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Bishop Alexander Golitzin

519 Brynhaven Drive

Oregon OH 43616

Tel:

419-693-9540

Fax:

419-693-9541

E-mail: 

alexander@bdoca.org

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Bishop David Mahaffey

7031 Howard Ave

Anchorage AK 99504-1899

Tel:

907-538-9318

Fax:

907-677-0646

E-mail: 

otyetz@hotmail.com

17 March 2014

Barbara Dorris

SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

http://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_clergy_sex_abuse_victims_beg_synod_to_defrock_archbishop

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01 child abuse

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Editor:

Do make your voice heard… that’s why the contact info is here. We shouldn’t have a convicted criminal as a bishop. By the way, he wouldn’t be “laicised”; he’d be stripped of the episcopate. The Church only allows “one punishment” per crime. That is, deposition from the episcopate entails reduction in rank to the ordinary priesthood. The Mother Church had an analogous case in Vladimir Oblast (the problem was a priest, not a bishop). It didn’t go to court because the ruling bishop acted with dispatch… you see, the Moscow tabs got wind of it, publicised it, which galvanised the Patriarch into action, who built a fire under the local bishop. The local bishop forbade the priest involved to have contact with children and fired him from his post (which satisfied the Prokuratura, which didn’t bring a criminal case). That is, the Church punished the perp, so, there wasn’t need for a trial. Had the OCA done likewise, there wouldn’t have been all this shitstorm.

Contact the bishops… state your mind… state it clearly… demand that they follow their own rules. Then, they should send Seraphim off to a monastery with no access to children (which is, I believe, what the Canadian government really wants). That’s fair to everybody.

For God’s sake, let it not be “business as usual!” However, the news that the Holy Synod chose the unsuitable Mark Maymon (he disobeyed Philip Saliba’s direct orders… therefore, he’s unfit to serve as ruler of a doghouse, let alone a diocese) as a ruling bishop gives me little hope. If the Holy Synod elevates disobedient and hubristic SOBs to its dioceses (what’s more, someone championed by the questionable Paffhausen and who had an anti-Orthodox un-Christian Evangelical formation)… it’s quite possible that they’d be impervious to reason and logic. However, we MUST make an effort. We shall see…

BMD

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Monday, 17 February 2014

17 February 2014. Whatever Happened to Deacon Andrei Kuraev? What Meaning Can We Pull from His “Fall?”

andrei-kuraev

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In the early 2000s, Deacon Andrei Kuraev was one of the leading lights in the Orthodox cyberworld. Lately, he’s become more and more strident, making all kinds of oddbod statements. I asked around and one source told me:

For years now, Kuraev has gone off. His problem is his self-obsession. Pro-Western media outlets, eager for any scandal, pay him much attention. Moreover, producing scandal so that people quote him consumes him; besides which, he’s obsessed with how many hits he gets. Charlie‘s right… Kuraev’s going Protestant; he’s gone Renovationist. He’s become an enemy of the Church in his egoistic quest for celebrity.

I agree. Deacon Andrei has gone off the rails. Once, he was a “go-to” source… today, he’s an embittered “dissident”. I think that he’s well on the way to being another Gleb Yakunin (who was one of the few people personally anathematised by the Church). I don’t think that he’ll be another Rusantsov, but he does have the potential for being defrocked.

Remember, the Church always does the least-invasive thing to solve a problem. For instance, in this case, the Centre used the least-invasive method of shitcanning him. “He didn’t attend to his duties as an MDA faculty member”. This was like the ROCOR Holy Synod stopping the Toll House Wars about thirty years ago by saying, “There’s not much revealed on this topic. All discussion of it should cease” (they should revisit that decision and muzzle the loud konvertsy who perpetually call the Toll Houses “an important Church Doctrine” (which it isn’t)). In the case of Podmoshensky, the ROCOR gave him the drop for serving under suspension (Lebedeff said that was a great relief; nobody wanted to go near the issue of sexual perversion unless that they absolutely had to).

This first disciplinary action… removing Kuraev from the MDA faculty… was a salutary warning. If he continues to fuck up… well, the Church hopes that he doesn’t. I noted that they said nothing of his connection with PSTGU… I wonder, does such need approval from the Vorobyov Mafia (perspirin’ minds wanna know)? Bear in mind how the Church dealt with the rank heresies of Bulgakov and Florensky… it condemned the heresies, but it showed mercy to the people involved.

For instance, to give a good example of such, the Church should send Seraphim Storheim off to live in a monastery, far from children, without any pastoral role. This would be fair to all parties. It’s fair to the victims… for it’d show that the Church implicitly believes their story by denying Storheim a public role. It’s fair to the believers… for they’d be spared worrying that there’d be a relapse. It’s fair to Storheim… for it’d spare him some shame and pain (look, a court found him guilty… that’s harsh enough for me… it DOES put the “Scarlet Letter” upon him, after all). It shows respect to the Court… it shows that the Church intends doing something to neutralise Storheim, removing the need for further legal action or imprisonment. Last of all, it’s fair to the Church… it means that the issue will die a natural death (that is, it’ll persist for as long as Storheim’s alive…  but after he’s dead, people would say, “Y’know, they did the right thing…”. Shall this happen? I’d truly like to see it happen, but given the nasty-ass attitude of Syosset and the First Families, I expect more legal manoeuvring, obfuscation, and denials… I’m not hoping for such, but that’s what I see.

It’s not just Deacon Andrei… it’s our whole attitude to dealing with dissidence and malfeasance. Frankly, we’d do well to stick to our traditional ways… they work. Take it one step at a time, and don’t dump on someone all the way all at once. Shall Deacon Andrei turn back? I don’t have a working crystal ball, do you? Things are never boring following the Church, are they?

BMD

 

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