Voices from Russia

Saturday, 18 July 2015

18 July 2015. Seems to be a Busy Day for OCA Retired Bishops!

01 woman on phone


A friend wrote me, “Seems to be a busy day for OCA retired bishops!” and sent me this (another friend sent me the same thing… thanks to both of youse… this site wouldn’t be half of what it is without both of y’all):

Ousted Orthodox Bishop Serving in Pennsylvania Parish: Bishop Ousted Amidst Sexual Misconduct Allegations Returns to Ministry

The former Chicago bishop of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), asked to retire amidst allegations of sexual misconduct two years ago, is now serving as a parish priest in eastern Pennsylvania without permission from the national church. A church official said that Bishop Matthias, born David Lawrence Moriak, serves at the parish in Hermitage PA at the request of another bishop. He stepped down from his post as head of the Midwest diocese in April 2013 after the church deemed sexual misconduct what he described as “unwelcome written and spoken comments to a woman that she regarded as an inappropriate crossing of personal boundaries”. At the time of his ouster, Matthias said, “I do repent of using poor judgement, of using inappropriate words that I thought were being received as humorous. It was never my intention to cause a complaint of any harm or discomfort. In fact, I was quite concerned for her health and well-being. I’m sorry that my kindness and generosity to this person was viewed with suspicion and ulterior motives”.

At the time, Metropolitan Tikhon, leader of the OCA, said Matthias wouldn’t return to his leadership post in Chicago. Whether he’d allow Moriak in a ministry role during his retirement was unclear. In a statement at the time, Metropolitan Tikhon said, “The healing of the diocese and of the complainant as well as Bishop Matthias’ own healing wouldn’t be possible should he be returned to the diocese as a ruling hierarch. The Holy Synod offered him some time to reflect upon this action and to plan for his transition”. However, victims’ advocates say allowing the bishop to return to any form of active ministry violates the church’s zero-tolerance policy. Melanie Sakoda, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said, “They’ve done a good job as an Orthodox Church in trying to get a handle on it. It’s not perfect, but they’ve done a good job of trying to change their ways”.

The Rev John Jillions, OCA Chancellor, said the national church’s leaders are reviewing the conditions of Bishop Matthias’ retirement, saying, “The fact is that no such assignment has been made. Bishop Matthias continues to hold the office of a retired bishop in the OCA. Another bishop did ask Bishop Matthias if he’d be interested in the pastoral position in Hermitage. However, the matter hasn’t been fully discussed or approved by the Holy Synod of Bishops, nor has Bishop Matthias been released to assume any church positions”. Bishop Matthias didn’t return calls for comments. The OCA, one of several branches of Orthodox Christianity in the USA, claims about 100,000 adult members nationwide and 5,000 in the Midwest.

17 July 2015

Chicago Tribune



MP Holy Synod Established a day of Special Prayers for God’s Creation

00 Vlad Sokolovsky. A Little Waterfall in Podkarpatskaya Krai. 2015

A Little Waterfall in Podkarpatskaya Krai

Vlad Sokolovsky



The MP Holy Synod meeting on 13 July 2015 in St Petersburg (zhurnal nr 41 ) set aside a special day of prayer for God’s Creation. The members of the Synod approved the Synodal Commission of Liturgical Rites text of a Molieben for the Preservation of God’s Creation, which all parishes should serve on the first Sunday of September. The Synod also moved that archpastors and pastors should devote their sermon on the first Sunday of September to the care of God’s Creation.


The Russian Orthodox Church takes special care to preach that mankind should relate to God’s Creation… the world around them. At the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, this led to the creation of a number of church documents stating the Church’s position on environmental issues. In particular, the Archpastoral Council in 1997 raised the topic of ecology, developing it in the document Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopted by the Jubilee Archpastoral Council in 2000. In 2008, we raised this issue in the document Basic Teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church on Human Dignity, Freedom, and Human Rights. In the same year, a meeting of the First Hierarchs of the Local Orthodox Churches in Turkey resulted in a final document in Message of the First Hierarchs of the Orthodox Churches, which highlighted the topic of ecology. In this document, in particular, it stated, “In this regard, we reaffirm the previously set [by the EP] day of special prayers for the Protection of God’s Creation on 1 September at the beginning of the Church Year. We support the introduction of the topic of environmental protection in catechesis, preaching, and pastoral work of our Churches, as is already happening in a number of them”.

Keeping our commitment to all-Orthodox decisions, the Archpastoral Council in 2013 adopted a working document The Position of the Russian Orthodox Church on Important Environmental Issues. This document stimulated activity by clergy and laity in environmentalism. In its meetings of 17 February, and from 25 June 2015, the Supreme Church Council proposed a public environmental organisation with the Synodal Department for Church and Society, to develop the intentions expressed by the 2013 Archpastoral Council document. In particular, it proposed to establish a special day of prayer for God’s Creation. As regards the decision of the meeting of the First Hierarchs of the Orthodox Churches in 2008, on the date of 1 September, the canonical Russian Orthodox Church marks the beginning of the school year in church and secular schools, with special moliebens for students, so, the conflation of these two significant themes wasn’t thought appropriate. We also noted that there are substantially more people at services on Sunday, so, such a commemoration and molieben would have a wider resonance. In this regard, we proposed to establish a special day of prayer for God’s Creation of the first Sunday of September.

14 July 2015


Official MP website


18 July 2015. Storheim Appears to be Out of the Slam



I got this in my mail:

There seems to be another chapter in the Archbishop Seraphim (Kenneth Storheim) saga; does anyone know what the now cancelled restrictions were? See this. “On 7 July 2015, Archbishop Seraphim was released from the provincial gaol, in compliance with the Statutory Earned (early) Release. Upon his release, the previous conditions and restrictions that had accompanied the release on bail were cancelled. There were, thus, no conditions or restrictions remaining”.

Posted by Patricia Collins

I googled “Storheim released” and several similar searches, all turned up no further evidence. It doesn’t mean that he’s not out of the slam; it does mean that it didn’t merit a news story. However, I do know that convicted sex offenders in Canada are on a registry:

Canada’s National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) came into force on 15 December 2004, with the passing of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIR Act).[18]The public does not have access to the registry.

Since 2001, the Province of Ontario operates its own sex offender registry concurrently with the federal registry. Unlike the federal registry which has an opt-out provision if an offender can convince a judge they are not a threat, the Ontario registry has no such provision. As a result, individuals who have been convicted of a designated offence at any time after 2001, and relocate to Ontario, are obligated to register for a period of at least 10 years. The registration period begins on the day the ex-offender relocates to Ontario.[19]


The source for the Storheim story appears to a badly done knockoff of the konvertsy rubbish OrthoWiki. Have a care with it. Until further notice, we’ll have to assume that Storheim’s out of the Big House, but I doubt that he walked scot-free, not after Mr Justice Mainella trashed (rightfully) his creds at the trial. We’ll have to see if a more reputable source posts on this.


US State Department Urged US Citizens to Leave the Crimea and the Donbass

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. From the Crimea, With Love! 2014


TASS reported that the US State Department encouraged American citizens to leave the Crimea and the “eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk” and “postpone any trips” there. The State Department also alleged, despite the agreements reached earlier between the Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE, clashes in the “southeastern Ukraine” (sic) continue, “resulting in thousands dead and wounded”. The State Department claimed that it based its stance on cases where people, including US citizens, had long delays for inspections “at separatist (sic) checkpoints”. The US agency added, “The Ukrainian government announced that foreigners, including US citizens, entering the Ukraine from Russia through the territory occupied by the separatists (sic) won’t be allowed through security checkpoints. The situation in the Ukraine is volatile and can change quickly. We recommend that US citizens avoid large gatherings of people, and be vigilant in public places in Odessa and Kharkov Oblasts”.

16 July 2015



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