Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

27 October 2015. Seraphim Storheim Out as Bishop… OCA Dithers and Does Nothing Further

00 seraphim storheim 15.12.2011

Have a care with Paffhausen… he supported (and probably still supports) this nasty jabronie…

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Firstly, here’s the official OCA statement and a reply to that statement. Commentary will follow.

BMD

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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,

Tikhon Mollard

Archbishop of Washington

Metropolitan of all America and Canada

24 October 2015

OCA.org

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/holy-synod-renders-decision-concerning-archbishop-seraphim

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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.

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/holy-synod-renders-decision-concerning-archbishop-seraphim

http://oca.org/PDF/NEWS/2015/2015-1024-canada-pastoral-letter.pdf

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.

http://oca.org/PDF/sexual-misconduct/2014-04-PSP-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf

Section 10.05(B)

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.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_convicted_orthodox_archbishop_released_from_prison

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.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/

Sakoda concluded:

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

http://www.snapnetwork.org/convicted_orthodox_archbishop_defrocked_victims_group_is_grateful

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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?

Exactly.

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?

BMD

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Court Orders Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers to Resume Paying Pensions to Donbass Pensioners Immediately

00 Old New Year 2012 10

The babas won!

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Today, Irina Khizhnyak, the advocate representing Donbass pensioners told us that the Ukrainian Supreme Administrative Court ordered the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers to resume payments to residents of the region, starting today, saying:

We won. Today, the Supreme Administrative Court of 25 judges decided that upheld all previous decisions, where we won in the first and second instance. Thus, the court lifted the ban on paying pensions to Donbass recipients ordered by a ukase of the Ukrainian Cabinet of dated 7 November 2014. This means that the Cabinet is now obliged to resume paying pensions, the decision shall enter into force immediately, and it removes all suspensions. Under the court’s decision, cabinet officials and the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance shall be criminally liable under articles “Deliberate failure to fulfil the court’s decision” and “On default of payment of pensions”. However, payments to pensioners, orphans, single mothers, war veterans, the liquidators of the Chernobyl accident, children with disabilities, and other socially vulnerable citizens would begin in 2016, as the budget for this has already been drawn up.

Today, the Ukrainian Supreme Administrative Court upheld the decision to cancel a Ukrainian government decree to freeze pensions, wages and social benefits to those who living in the LNR and DNR. In December 2014, Donbass pensioners sued in Ukrainian courts to overturn Cabinet Resolution 595 of 7 November 2014 “Financing of public institutions, implementing social payments to the population, and providing financial support to businesses and organisations in Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts (sic)”. This was vastly unpopular, as it obliged pensioners the elderly (including the bedridden and mobility-impaired) to leave the LNR and DNR to receive social payments. On 1 December 2014, the Pension Fund of the Ukraine stopped operations in the DNR. In fact, the most recent pension payments came in Donetsk in August 2014 and in other localities of the Republic in June and July 2014. To get out of the situation, pensioners re-registered in Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhe, and other Ukrainian cities.

16 October 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency

http://dan-news.info/obschestvo/sud-obyazal-kabmin-ukrainy-vozobnovit-vyplatu-pensij-v-donbasse-nemedlenno-advokat.html

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Unrepentant: Parents and Parishioners Beat Teen to Death in Upstate New York Church

church mice

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In New Hartford NY, members of the World of Life Christian Church (including their parents) beat two teenage brothers, one died as a result. Police continued their investigation amidst locals’ reports that the church, located about 250 miles (@400 kilometres) northwest of New York City, could be a cult. On Wednesday, New Hartford Police Chief Michael Inserra told reporters:

The [church] session turned physical. Both brothers were continually subjected to physical punishment over the course of several hours in hopes that each would confess their prior sins and ask for forgiveness.

The assault took place on Sunday. On Monday, family members took one of the brothers, 19-year-old Lucas Leonard, to hospital and doctors pronounced him dead later in the day. Police said that Lucas’s brother, 17-year-old Christopher, went into hospital later on Monday and remains in serious condition. The teenagers’ parents, Bruce and Deborah Leonard, face charges of first-degree manslaughter. Cops also arrested the victims’ 33-year-old sister, Sarah Ferguson, along with three other church members. All those arrested gave “not guilty” pleas. Bruce and Deborah Leonard are in the Oneida County Jail, as they were unable to pay 100,000 USD (6.14 million Roubles. 636,000 Renminbi. 6.5 million INR. 128,800 CAD. 137,100 AUD. 87,900 Euros. 64,700 UK Pounds) bail.

15 October 2015

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/us/20151015/1028545854/new-york-church-child-assault.html

Editor:

Paffhausen and the konvertsy want to ally the Church with this sort of goofballs. Make no mistake; “Evangelicals” are anarchic sectarians with no ties to real Christianity. They’re a product of the so-called “Second Great Awakening” of the early 19th century… most have no ties with real Christian groups in the Old World. Indeed, their “theology” bears little resemblance to that of Classical Reformation Protestantism. They practise such Antichristian lunacies as public confession and obligatory tithing (if one doesn’t pony up a set amount of cash, one is cast into the “outer darkness”). Beware former “Evangelicals” (with apologies to the REAL Evangelicals, the “Lutherans”)… especially, loudmouthed half-baked Antiochian Konvertadox such as Thomas Zell and Andrew Stephen Damick. They’re not representative of our real grounded clergy. None of the ungrounded Halfodox are. There are three hallmarks of these gents:

  • Obsessed with abortion and homosexuality
  • Trying to bring ungodly “Evangelical” practises such as obligatory fixed tithing into Christ’s Church
  • Making up new “rules” such as forbidding the use of artificial contraceptives (allowed via oikonomia, a real spokesman such as Archpriest V A Chaplin said so)

Have a care… these jabronies pass themselves off as expert and authoritative Orthodox clergy (none have any advanced study in Orthodox academic faculties (that is, none have the kandidatura or its equivalent), many lack basic seminary formation under real Orthodox auspices (that is, often only a MDiv, and that often is a distorting alien formation under heterodox auspices))… the times are evil, and Satan knows how to put on a pretty face. You forget that at your peril. All clergy who are former “Evangelicals” are “off” to some degree or other. Don’t argue with them, either in-person or online. All-too-often, they’re ignorant, vicious, pig-headed, and mean-spirited (they’re “know-alls”… you can’t have a discussion with such). I wouldn’t want to see you hurt. Leave them be, let God sort it out.

BMD

Friday, 9 October 2015

9 October 2015. Moriak Suing OCA… Does Fatso Have a Finger in This Imbroglio? It Has His Fingerprints All Over It…

01 the judge

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Bishop Matthias Moriak, the former Chicago bishop of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), who had to retire amid allegations of sexual misconduct two years ago, sued church leaders for breaching his retirement contract. He filed the lawsuit against Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard, First Hierarch of the OCA, and Detroit Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, leader of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate, in Cook County Circuit Court last month. Both defendants received papers served during the national Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Chicago. Bishop Matthias alleges that church leaders violated the terms of his retirement and a recent employment agreement when they terminated a parish assignment in response to complaints from the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. The suit alleges, “This is a case about broken promises and the repeated failure to honour one’s legal obligations. The legal questions involved aren’t complex. Indeed, they require only a straightforward application of civil law”. OCA officials didn’t return requests for comment. Bishop Matthias’ assignment to a parish in Pennsylvania angered victims’ advocates, who said allowing the ousted bishop to return to any form of active ministry violated the church’s zero-tolerance policy.

Bishop Matthias, born David Lawrence Moriak, stepped down from his post as head of the Midwest diocese in April 2013 after the church determined that remarks to a female parishioner in Ohio qualified as sexual misconduct. Matthias said at the time of his ouster, “I do repent of using poor judgment, 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”. Terms of the retirement package included permission to serve in any parish, as long as he has the blessing of the local bishop. That agreement included the parish in Columbus OH, where his son serves as a priest. Although the Orthodox Church allows its priests to marry and have children, married priests cannot become part of the hierarchy. As a widower who didn’t remarry, Bishop Matthias could become a bishop. After his retirement, Bishop Matthias moved to West Virginia where he purchased a home and secured a retail job to make ends meet. According to the suit, Archbishop Nathaniel, the most senior OCA bishop and leader of the Romanian Episcopate, contacted him in November 2014 to fill temporarily a parish post in Hermitage PA. Because of the temporary nature of the job and the move required, Bishop Matthias initially declined the request. Archbishop Nathaniel returned six months later to offer a guaranteed one-year appointment approved by Metropolitan Tikhon and other bishops. Bishop Matthias quit his retail job, leased his house, and moved to Hermitage.

According to the suit, after victims’ advocates aired their concerns in the media in July, Metropolitan Tikhon told Bishop Matthias he could continue to serve with his blessing, but the parish had to remove any references to his position from its website. Bishop Matthias declined. In August, according to the suit, Metropolitan Tikhon proposed removing Bishop Matthias from the Pennsylvania parish and moving him to a monastery for three months with a 7,000 USD (430,000 Roubles. 44,500 Renminbi. 454,000 INR. 9,080 CAD. 9,620 AUD. 6,200 Euros. 4,560 UK Pounds) stipend. He also acknowledged in that email that Bishop Matthias had “acted in good faith in all of this”, and admitted that he and the bishops “failed in fulfilling” their “responsibility”. In the suit, Bishop Matthias seeks damages, including lost wages and expenses incurred from the move to Pennsylvania. The suit also claims Bishop Matthias suffered emotional distress. The suit said, “After losing his beloved wife, the church was his entire life. Now that, too, was being taken away from him”. The OCA, one of several branches of Orthodox Christianity in the USA claims about 100,000 adult members nationwide, with about 5,000 in the Midwest.

8 October 2015

Manya Brachear Pashman

Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-bishop-sues-american-orthodox-church-met-20151008-story.html

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