Have a care with Paffhausen… he supported (and probably still supports) this nasty jabronie…
Firstly, here’s the official OCA statement and a reply to that statement. Commentary will follow.
During their annual spring (sic) session in Detroit MI on 19-23 October 2015, the members of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops canonically deposed retired Archbishop Seraphim from the status and all sacred functions of the episcopacy, removing him from the ranks of the clergy, and returning him to the status of a lay monk.
PASTORAL LETTER TO ARCHDIOCESE OF CANADA
23 October 2015
To the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Archdiocese of Canada:
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America concluded its Fall Session, held during the past week in Detroit MI. One of the most difficult tasks of that meeting was the convening of the Synodal Court in Windsor ON to hear the case of the former Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada, His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim. After much prayerful and intense deliberation, the Synodal Court determined that Archbishop Seraphim should be deposed from the episcopacy, removed from the ranks of the clergy, and returned to the status of a simple monk.
The Holy Synod made this decision with much sorrow, but with the conviction that it was a necessary action both for the salvation of the now Monk Seraphim and for the preservation of the good order and stability of the flock of Christ. At the same time, we offer our prayers for the victims, their families, and all those who have been affected by the events surrounding this case. We acknowledge the anguish that has been expressed by many who love and support their former pastor and understand that some may feel that our actions were unfair. Nevertheless, every bishop, as the shepherd of his flock, is called upon to place his own needs in the second place and to provide care to all, especially those who have been wounded or hurt in any way. Sexual abuse is a sad reality of our fallen world, one that destroys the lives of many victims and is a manifestation of the brokenness of our world that is in need of healing.
The bishops have a God-given responsibility to address the wounds of those suffering and to help bring them to healing. We are bound to this primarily by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by the canonical tradition of the Church. Therefore, we must always take allegations seriously and respond in the proper pastoral way for all concerned. We express our love and concern for all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Canada, which has endured much turmoil over the past several years because of this difficult situation. We ask you to exercise discernment in processing these events and, above all, to have recourse to prayer, so as to not be weighed down with emotion, but rather seek to attain the peace of Christ.
May our merciful and loving God strengthen all of us to do His will in all things and to preserve in our hearts the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is everywhere present and fills all things.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of all America and Canada
24 October 2015
Canada: Convicted Orthodox Archbishop Defrocked; Victims’ Group is Grateful
Finally, his synod defrocked a Canadian archbishop criminally convicted of child sexual abuse. As a support group for victims, we’re grateful for this decision, but we’d like to see the bishops do more. According to the OCA official website, this past week, the OCA Holy Synod removed Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, once the highest-ranking clergyman in Canada for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), from the priesthood.
As leading figures in SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), we’re grateful that the OCA finally applied the mandates of its sexual misconduct policy to Storheim.
However, the victims’ group wants church officials to do more. Melanie Jula Sakoda, the Orthodox Christian Director for SNAP explained:
I’m grateful that the OCA has permanently removed Archbishop Seraphim from ministry. It was the only option according to their guidelines. However, I think the faithful and the public need more from the synod.
Sakoda pointed out that SNAP wrote to the bishops on 23 July 2015, following Storheim’s release from prison. In that letter, the group not only asked the synod to defrock Storheim, they also asked them to:
- Inform the faithful and the public of the archbishop’s current whereabouts and any restrictions imposed by the Canadian government
- Use their authority to restrict Storheim’s access to children and parishes
- Caution and alert families at risk, particularly, those who believe the archbishop was wrongfully convicted and who may put children at risk to demonstrate their trust in Storheim.
Cappy Larson is the other Orthodox Christian Director for SNAP. She added:
The synod still needs to make public what they know about the conditions of the former archbishop’s release from prison. If Fr Seraphim, as monks are addressed in the Orthodox Church, is residing in an OCA facility, the bishops need to make sure that he’s forbidden to be alone with minors and that he only attends services where authorised. Even if the Canadian government didn’t impose any restrictions on the former archbishop, the Church can go the extra mile to protect kids who may not understand the significance of his change in status… “Fr Seraphim” is still a potent title to a child.
Finally, the Executive Director of SNAP, David Clohessy, urged the bishops to have church officials reach out to every parishioner in Canada, reminding them that they mustn’t put children at risk:
There are people in the archdiocese who believe that the former archbishop was wrongfully convicted. These “true believers” may not see any danger in allowing their young ones to interact with Fr Seraphim, but the bishops have a responsibility to do what they can to prevent this from happening.
The OCA has a moral duty to continue to monitor Fr Seraphim and to alert and caution families who may be at risk.
26 October 2015
Melanie Jula Sakoda
SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
This is a colloquy between a respected Cabinet Member and me (I’m in plain type):
This smells like the Centre’s doing… he’s not a “retired bishop” or other such rot. Moscow said, “He’s out”, and Tikhon thumped his forehead and said, “Your wish is my command”. That’s why he got the white hat… he’d do as they told him, without trouble. A secular court convicted him of a felony, which are grounds for deposition. Gnarly world, ain’t it? The older I get, the less it surprises me, but, by God, there’s a lot of repeated bullshit, isn’t there? Now, the question is, where is Storheim going?
I don’t think Storheim is going anywhere. He’s been living somewhere now, and I’m sure he still has supporters who will continue their support. Don’t know if, as a Canadian, he contributed to the OCA Pension plan. If he did, he most likely will get those benefits. We don’t have numerous monasteries around, so that’s no choice. Moreover, since we do have “unaffiliated” monks running around, my guess is that he’d just continue as a private citizen in Canada.
Here’s a FB colloquy (I’m in plain type):
They didn’t answer any questions… where is he going to live? Shall he have access to kids?
There are too many “hyperclericalists” out there. The priests I know aren’t like that… but there are those who encourage it… they’re usually bad to the bone…
Yes, it’s usually a danger sign for a priest to encourage this behaviour.
(Serious proposal, not a joke) Perhaps, we should give him a one-way to the Mountain… that would solve it neatly. Ergo, it won’t happen. If I remember rightly, that’s how ROCOR handled a distasteful situation in the 80s.
I agree… send him to Mt Athos… but please keep him away from kids… I’m not saying any of this to be nasty or punitive, but we should keep him away from children for their sake and for his sake too. Since he’s a convicted sex offender, he may have restrictions put upon him by the Government of Canada.
In short, the OCA answered NO questions, save for announcing his deposition from the clergy. It’s the usual muddle and kerfuffle… I’ll say that the ROCOR hasn’t a better track record… Sam Greene and Podmo, anyone? The OCA should have announced:
The Canadian government put the following restrictions on Seraphim Storheim:
(list of restrictions)
To comply with the spirit of these restrictions, We order that Monk Seraphim live at X Monastery in X. We order that he have no contact with minors. We order that Monk Seraphim spent the rest of his life in prayer and repentance.
This didn’t happen. The OCA didn’t announce where he’d be, what restrictions he’s under, and it didn’t order him to avoid contact with minors EXPLICITLY. Jillions is an incompetent boob… but he has First Family connections and he’s sweet in Lyonyo’s circles. I just hope that no minor child gets hurt. That’s the real world consequence of such shit.
Pass me the jug… the world is gnarly, I know, but must it be such so often and so blatantly?