Voices from Russia

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Nikolai Remains Defiant… He refuses to admit that his Ordination to the Clergy of a Known Convicted Sex Offender is Evident Grounds for Dismissal

Nikolai Soraich, suspended OCA bishop of the Diocese of Alaska, he ordained a sex offender knowingly to the minor clergy

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Firstly, as per usual, let us set the stage by giving a quotation from the press.

Nikolai to Attend Synod

In a story published yesterday in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, Bishop Nikolai announced he would attend a special meeting of the Synod to be held next week.

Alaska Diocese Official Visits Kodiak as Worshippers Continue to Commemorate Bishop put on Leave

Orthodox Church in America officials confirmed Wednesday that Archpriest Alexander Garklavs is now in Alaska and one of his first stops was Kodiak. Church leader Metropolitan Herman appointed Rev Garklavs administrator of the Alaska diocese on 8 March, after Bishop Nikolai Soraich was put on mandatory leave for refusing to depart Alaska during an investigation into alleged charges of abuse. The bishop, who still refuses to leave, said on Wednesday that he would be happy to meet with Fr Garklavs, but hasn’t as of Wednesday. Rev Garklavs likely stopped in Kodiak first because the island is one of the few Orthodox parishes in Alaska that defied Metropolitan Herman’s order to stop commemorating Bishop Nikolai in services. In a recent letter addressed to his congregation, Rev Innocent Dresdow said he’d continue to commemorate Bishop Nikolai because he’s been offered no canonical reason or official notification to do otherwise. “Although it’s true that various communiqués have been posted on various websites, including the OCA website, I’ve received no official instructions from The Holy Synod”, Innocent wrote in the letter. “All of the official directives of the OCA, as it impacts this parish, have come to me in the mail and in hard copy. Therefore, I assume that something so significant as ceasing to commemorate a bishop would be afforded at least the same level of orderliness and decorum”. Fr Innocent said he’d defend his stance even at the cost of his priesthood. “I’ve been willing and am willing to suffer slander, insinuation, false accusation and potentially the loss of my priesthood in order to defend the integrity of the church”, he wrote. “What’s at stake here isn’t a war between personalities or bishops. What’s at stake here is whether or not the church will function as it has functioned for 2,000 years or whether it’ll decline into the ordinary and ungodly”. It’s unknown if Rev Garklavs delivered written orders to Fr Innocent. Fr Innocent didn’t return phone calls and Rev Garklavs couldn’t be reached Wednesday.

In other developments, the Holy Synod of Bishops will hold a special session on 27 March in New York (sic) to address the situation in Alaska. Bishop Nikolai, who feels angry and betrayed by the actions of his fellow bishops, said he welcomes the meeting and confirmed he’ll attend. “I sent a letter asking for the bishops’ help (regarding the situation in Alaska) and their response was to tell me to get out of town”, the bishop said. “I think (the meeting is) important and things need to be discussed in my presence to talk about all of these things”. Bishop Nikolai reiterated that he has no plans to step down and that the church has no grounds to remove him. “You have to follow the rules with how they’re written”, Bishop Nikolai said. “If I was to comply with something that wasn’t right, then I’m accepting the fact that we’re breaking the rules and that every other rule can be broken, too”. He said there is a process and he’s happy to follow the process “in every detail”.

20 March 2008

Ralph Gibbs

Kodiak Daily Mirror

As cited in Orthodox Christians for Accountability

http://www.ocanews.org/news/KodiakMirrorNikolaiStays3.21.08.html

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There one has it, emphatically and without ambiguity! Nikolai believes that everyone has to applaud his ordination to the clergy of a known, convicted, and registered sexual offender. There aren’t only canons, but also well-known traditions, customs, and established practises of the Church that forbid such an action clearly, without a doubt, and with categorical precision. For Nikolai to feign ignorance of such is truly breathtaking and beyond the pale! Nikolai is counter-attacking vigorously, and he has a veritable consilium of spin doctors pleading his cause. This case is virtually a repeat of the sordid situation in Yekaterinburg in 1999. Nikon Mironov spread abroad his individual notions on theology and church life, as has Nikolai. There were protests of high-handedness and corruption on the part of Nikon, as there are of Nikolai. There were reports of homosexuality in high church places in the case of Nikon, and the same is true in the case of Nikolai. Courageous clergy put their careers, reputation, and priesthood on the line to oppose an evil bishop in the Diocese of Yekaterinburg, and gutsy clergy are doing likewise in the Diocese of Alaska. There’s a VERY good thing that comes out of such troubles. The sheep are separated from the goats; with no doubt of who’s of what sort. Let’s remember the Church definition of the word “confessor”. A confessor is one is who stands for the Faith in times of difficulty and confusion, and who isn’t afraid to pay the cost, if necessary.

Recall Athanasius contra mundum (Athanasius against the world)… look at the price that St Maximos the Confessor paid… see the resolution of St Mark of Ephesus. Bring to mind the firmness of the opposition of Bishop Pyotr Mogyla to the Jesuit-imposed Unia… Don’t forget the penalty that the late Fr Dmitri Dudko suffered for his allegiance to Christ and his Church… the priests in Alaska are cut from the same cloth. They deserve our prayers and support. They are CONFESSORS. Their voice not only deserves to be heard, it has the full force of the tradition, history, and convention of the Church behind it. As an old friend of mine is fond of saying, “No matter if you slice it thick or thin, baloney is still baloney”. Indeed! Nikolai ordained a known sex offender to the clergy. This alone is grounds sufficient for his dismissal in ignominy. The Holy Synod of the OCA has a definite choice to make in this matter. It must either remove Nikolai immediately from his position as ordinary of the Diocese of Alaska or stand exposed as a group of weaklings unable and unwilling to apply the standards of the Church. If Nikolai isn’t removed, it may be the beginning of the final act for this sickly organisation. Why must we live in “interesting times?” May God have mercy on us all.

Vara Drezhlo

Saturday 22 March 2008

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