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OCANews: Synod Debates +Nikolai While Alaskan Priests Boycott

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    http://ocanews.org/news/SynodDebatesNikolai3.5.08.html 3.5.08 Breaking News Synod Debates +Nikolai While Alaskan Priests Boycott • +Nikolai Responds In Web
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2008
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      http://ocanews.org/news/SynodDebatesNikolai3.5.08.html

      3.5.08 Breaking News

      Synod Debates +Nikolai
      While Alaskan Priests Boycott

      � +Nikolai Responds In Web Letter
      � Decision Expected This Afternoon

      The Lesser Synod of the Orthodox Church in
      America, meeting in Syosset yesterday, debated
      the situation in Alaska and how best to resolve
      it, while clergy in Alaska boycotted a meeting in
      Anchorage called by Bishop Nikolai to decide the
      same thing. According to reports more than 90% of
      the diocesan clergy did not attend yesterday's
      special deanery meetings, called by the Bishop,
      but at which a facilitator was to preside.

      Following these meetings the Bishop was to have
      met with the clergy face-to-face today. Those
      meetings are now in doubt, given the clergy boycott and events in Syosset.

      In Syosset

      In Syosset, most of the Lesser Synod met,
      reaching out to all other members of the Synod by
      telephone to discuss the crisis. Archbishop Job,
      a member of the Lesser Synod, was not present,
      due to prior commitments in Iowa. Following the
      meeting and telephone exchanges the Synod issued
      the following statement at 4:30 PM yesterday:
      "On Tuesday, March 4, 2008, the Lesser Synod of
      the Orthodox Church in America met in a special
      session at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove,
      NY. The meeting was called to address the current
      situation in the Diocese of Alaska. The matter
      was discussed at length, and in telephonic
      consultation with all the members of the Holy
      Synod. An announcement on their decision will be forthcoming."

      Sources close to Syosset have informed
      OCANews.org that the Bishops have requested
      Bishop Nikolai to take a voluntary 'Leave of
      Absence' and physically quit the diocese while an
      investigation into the situation is conducted.

      The Bishop was given to 12 Noon today to respond.
      The Lesser Synod meeting ends today.

      Around the OCA

      The Bishops are responding to outcries from
      Alaskan clergy, cries that are resonating with the entire OCA.

      On March 1, 2008 the Minneapolis Deanery, in a
      meeting with Archbishop Job, adopted the following unanimous resolution:

      "We, the clergy of the Minneapolis Deanery, are
      deeply concerned about the disturbing and
      heart-breaking situation in the Diocese of
      Alaska. The scandals and accusations of pastoral
      abuse have become very public, both in church and
      secular arenas. These issues are having a
      detrimental impact on all the faithful, not only
      in Alaska, but throughout the Orthodox Church in
      America, including the faithful of our own
      parishes. They are also a cause of scorn of
      non-believers toward our Savior Jesus Christ and His Church.
      Our prayers, love, and support are with the
      clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Alaska as
      they bear this cross that has been placed on
      them. We also unanimously call on our Synod of
      Bishops to act promptly and decisively in
      addressing this situation, in protecting the
      victims of abuse, and in moving to bring a new
      beginning to this distressed diocese as quickly as possible.

      Through the intercessions of our all-holy Mother
      of God and of our beloved elder Saint Herman, may
      our Savior Jesus Christ have mercy on us all."

      And in a posting to OCANews.org, Fr. Vladimir
      Berzonsky, a member of the Metropolitan Council
      and noted columnist for 'The Orthodox Church' writes:
      "This week African-Americans will celebrate their
      victory over a nation that had ignored them,
      treated them as second class citizens, and
      deprived them of their voting rights. In protest
      600 civil rights advocates marched from Selma to
      Montgomery, Alabama, culminating on Bloody
      Sunday, March 7, 1965. The present Obama drama
      would never have come to pass without that triumph over tyranny 43 years ago.

      We are all of us waiting, praying for and
      honoring the brave clergy and laity of our
      beloved Orthodox Church in Alaska as they join in
      a common effort to expel the tyrannical bishop
      Nicolai from his throne and end his domination of
      their parishes and spiritual lives.

      Our brave Alaskan brothers and sisters are not
      marching, but standing in unity behind that
      "Cross planted firmly in America", knowing that
      although a moribund Holy Synod has yet to act
      effectively in dealing with that crisis, it
      doesn't matter. Reluctantly and prayerfully they
      were forced to take the matter into their own hands.

      They are fortified with the Holy Trinity. The
      Father is blessing their good deeds, Christ Jesus
      is with them and the Holy Spirit is filling their
      souls with the grace to conquer their fears and
      inspire them to stand tall yet humble, firm and
      yet remain peaceful. They and we shall look back
      to this moment in their history when they had
      taken ownership of Christ's holy Church,
      returning it to the Lord and restoring dignity,
      integrity and glory to their heritage and their
      precious faith. They shall find new meaning in
      the cry: "God is with us. Who can stand against
      us?" May the good and loving Lord bless them and
      grant them the resolve to pursue this vindication
      of their convictions to its conclusion. This will be their finest hour."

      In Alaska

      In Alaska yesterday, Bishop Nikolai remained
      defiant. Responding to recent criticism the
      Bishop posted a letter on the diocesan website
      entitled: "Remarks by His Grace Bishop NIKOLAI
      concerning recent events affecting the Diocese of
      Alaska". <http://dioceseofalaska.org/>(You can
      read that letter here.) He also published a
      "Timeline" to accompany the letter.
      <http://dioceseofalaska.org/>(You can read that Timeline here.)
      Also in Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News has been
      closely covering events.
      <http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/334967.html>(You
      can read the latest story here.)

      - Mark Stokoe
      ---


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