OCANews: Synod Debates +Nikolai While Alaskan Priests Boycott
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, 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 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.
can read the latest story here.)
- Mark Stokoe
Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your home page.
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