Metropolitan Jonah addresses faithful with regard to Investigation
Orthodox Church in America
SYOSSET, NY [OCA] In a letter dated Friday,
November 5, 2010, His Beatitude, Metropolitan
Jonah, addressed issues surrounding the
investigation of allegations made against His
Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada.
The text of the letter reads as follows.
To the Clergy and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
We are taught by Our Lord that the truth will
set us free. We welcome the truth as the only
basis for compassion and the sole means by which
the healing of all those affected may take place.
Love, mercy, compassion and truth are the
fundamental principles of our response to one
another. May we be so graced to seek that truth,
to accept it, and to see in it yet another
opportunity to refocus our attention on the life of the world to come.
As you know, His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim
of the Archdiocese of Canada, is on a leave of
absence. As has been reported by the Church, he
is the subject of a recent investigation into
allegations of events which date back many years.
To date, no formal charges have been filed.
With regard to sexual misconduct, the Church is
clear. It is an aberration, a tragedy that cannot
be tolerated. Our goal as Church is to
investigate all allegations within the
limitations imposed on us by the circumstances of
each case and to cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities.
It is critical for us to focus on pastoral
responses that are free of speculation regarding
the outcome of the allegations. We must show
compassion to all parties the victims and the
accused, their families, and the entire Church
community. We must neither speculate nor prejudge
the results of any investigation. At the same
time, it is essential for us as a Church to focus
on the pastoral care of all parties involved and
all those affected by this situation. Even when
we deal with situations in which various people
in the Church are in adversarial positions, we
must show compassion and love to all parties.
On October 3, 2010, I blessed the Churchs
Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct
Allegations to work in conjunction with the
Canadian authorities and to comply with the
Orthodox Church in Americas policies and
procedures in order to obtain the necessary
information required to bring about a proper
resolution. After review by the Office and in
consultation with its members, the Holy Synod of
Bishops appointed a Commission to devote
particular attention to the specific allegations
against Archbishop Seraphim. The membership of
that Commission have been announced publicly.
Anyone with relevant information will be given
access to the Commission directly. We must be
prepared to receive the results of the
investigation, regardless of what they may be.
And, as Church, we must resolve the matter in a
manner that benefits the salvation of everyone
involved, regardless of the outcome.
Despite the depth of the pain this matter has
engendered throughout the Orthodox Church in
America, we are coming together with faith and
love. I especially want to assure the faithful of
the Archdiocese of Canada that the depth of their
pain is felt by the entire People of God. For a
quarter of a century, the Archdiocese of Canada
has grown spiritually under Archbishop Seraphim.
The unswerving faith of the Archdioceses
faithful, coupled with the Archpastoral guidance
of Bishop Irenee, will only serve to hasten the healing process.
In conclusion, the investigations are in the
competent hands of the appropriate civil
authorities and the Churchs Synodal Commission.
The Archdiocese of Canada is in the good hands of
Bishop Irenee. We pray for the patience required
to allow them to complete their work.
We need to pray for everyone involved for the
authorities, the Commission, the accusers, the
Archdiocese of Canada, Bishop Irenee, Archbishop
Seraphim, the families of all involved and for
each other, that all will be blessed with Gods peace, love and healing.