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12642Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: "Fr. Nikita Orloff - Now a Bishop?"

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  • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
    Oct 13, 2004
      Irina Pahlen wrote:

      >Dear List,
      >I think that in due honesty, the following mail below should be
      >published on this list. It is an answer to Father Alexander's and
      >Nicholas Zakharov accusations. This will allow to have a more
      >objective and clear view of the matter.
      >In Christ
      >Irina pahlen

      (John Chaplain's post entitled "Newly Consecrated Bishop Antony Slandered
      by Protopriest" follows.

      Irina Pahlen's post is an excellent example of how some place trust in
      people who have no real knowledge of the actual circumstances.

      Irina should be made aware of the fact that John Chaplain is not a member
      of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral and does not live in Los Angeles. He
      lives in Fresno, California, which is some 300 kilometers away. For his
      ability to speak accurately about things that occurred at the LA Cathedral,
      he might as well be in Belgium.

      On the other hand, I am the Rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, and
      have served there as a priest for the past 22 years. This is also my home
      parish, where I grew up, where I served in the altar, where I attended the
      Russian Parochial School, where I was tonsured Reader, where I was married,
      where my son was baptized.

      Nicholas Zaharov has been at Holy Transfiguration Cathedral all his life,
      as has his father, who was in Russian School together with me.

      So--who is more qualified to speak authoritatively about events at Holy
      Transfiguration Cathedral?

      John Chaplain, who was never anywhere near when the events described took

      Or those who were here.

      A couple of points in rebuttal to John Chaplain's response:

      1. Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote in part, that Fr. Nikita, after the
      repose of A/B Antony+ of Los Angeles, had received permission to
      remove Vladyka's personal belongings from his apartment under the
      cathedral. He said Fr. Nikita parked a tractor trailer on church
      property and also removed all of the contents of the parish and
      diocesan office.

      MY (John Chaplain's) response: Fr. Nikita, had a freight container placed
      on the
      parking lot of the cathedral and on several occasions, sorted and
      loaded the contents of Vladyka A/B Antony"s apartment into the
      container. There were many water damaged items that were discarded.
      This was the result of a water pipe that had broken and caused
      flooding, during an earthquake as I understand it.

      Fr. Alexander now responds: 1. It was not a container--it was Nikita
      Orloff's tractor trailer--the same one he used for transporting goods for

      2. The parish and diocesan offices were **in** the apartment used by
      Archbishop Antony. So all of the parish documents and records **were**
      taken by Nikita Orloff. The idea that they were all water damaged is
      ludicrous. The apartment and offices are on the same level as our parish
      hall under the church, where we have a fellowship luncheon every Sunday
      after Liturgy. Never has there been a pipe burst flood of that level. Now,
      there have been minor floods, such as when the dishwasher hose blew, but
      none of this was serious and was easily mopped up.

      But more importantly, the apartments and offices of Archbishop Antony had
      many bookcases, desks, standing cabinets with shelves, and four-drawer
      filing cabinets, where parish documents were kept. I would like to have
      John Chaplain explain how documents in desks and filing cabinets would have
      been destroyed or damaged, unless the whole place was under water, which,
      having been there on almost a daily basis for the past twenty-two years I
      can categorically state did not happen.

      I have a videotape of the offices and the apartment of Archbishop Antony,
      which was taken under my supervision soon after his repose, that shows the
      desks and filing cabinets--with no water damage.

      3. During the last two or three years of his life, before he became too ill
      and was taken to live with Dr. Kurtzner (when he was not in the hospital),
      Archbishop Antony did **not** live under the Church in his apartments
      there. After two years of living like a homeless person in his van behind
      the Church, Archbishop Antony moved into the vacant front house of the then
      Church Warden, Ivan Sorokin on Robinson Street, several miles form the
      Church. He had three rooms there and a kitchen.

      After Archbishop Antony's repose, Bishop Kyrill, then temporary
      administrator of the Diocese, and I went to the house on Robinson and
      inspected the contents of Archbishop Antony's apartments there. All three
      rooms were full of papers and documents, including many files, most of
      which concerned parish matters. We found one of the older Metrical Books
      (up to 1951), which we took. None of the other papers were ever returned to
      the parish. And--there is no excuse of a flood there at all.

      John Chaplain wrote:

      On one occasion while working at Vladyka Antony's + apartment, Fr.
      Nikita was physically punched several times while getting beat up in
      the church hall and was literally airborne, when thrown out by two
      soviet thugs and there mother thug. The worst part of this was that
      Fr. Nikita was wearing his riassa and pectoral cross. The two Soviet
      men, after being interrogated by the police (Fr. Nikita did not file
      charges) proceeded to go into the altar to serve vigil with Fr.

      Fr. Alexander's new comments.

      Here again one needs to look at the facts based on evidence (not just the
      word of Fr. Nikita or his son or daughter.

      The facts are that Fr. Nikita staged a confrontation in the Church Hall,
      when he found out that at the direction of Bishop Kyrill, the locks to
      Archbishop Antony's apartment were being changed.

      This happened to be on December 7, 1996, a Saturday when we had a "general
      cleaning" of the Church and the altar--which we do a couple of times a
      year, inviting all of the parishioners to come with their brooms, mops, and
      cleaning utensils to do a thorough cleaning of the Church.

      There were some 20-30 people there in all, so there were plenty of unbiased
      witnesses to what occurred, including almost all of our Parish Council and
      many from the Parish Sisterhood. A young man in his twenties, named Misha,
      who had been serving in the altar for several years, was helping to clean
      in the altar.

      An confrontation ensued between Fr. Nikita's son, Sergei, and Misha's
      mother, who was already a grandmother. Sergei began beating the woman over
      the head with a video camera, swinging it by its straps. Fr. Nikita, in
      robe and cross, joined in, threw the elderly woman to the ground, and began
      to pummel her. This was all in front of some ten witnesses, who came out of
      the church when they heard the sounds of the altercation. One of the
      parishioners ran toward the altar and told Misha that his mother was being
      beaten up. Misha ran out of the Church, knocked Fr. Nikita off his mother,
      and, yes, roughed him up--although, I don't know what others would do if
      they saw their elderly mother being beaten up.

      I had been at the Church earlier, but was not present myself during the
      altercation, which took place in front of our church in the parking lot. I
      was paged on my beeper, and rushed back to the Church, arriving some
      fifteen minutes afterwards.

      A police car was in the parking lot and two policemen were interrogating
      the participants and the witnesses.

      The police wanted to take Fr. Nikita and Sergei into custody for beating
      the woman, although they were tryng to say that the woman had been beating
      them, which the police weren't buying at all, since they could see a pretty
      severly beaten elderly woman, who must be all of 4 feet 10, while Nikita
      and Sergei looked to be in pretty good physical shape.

      Finally, I was able to persuade the police not to arrest anyone so as not
      to cause a scandal for the Church, and they left.

      The woman was taken to the hospital, and found to have multiple contusions
      on her face and upper arms, consistent with being "defensive" wounds, when
      a person is trying to fend off an attack by protecting her head with her arms.

      Now--as to the veracity and credibility of the two stories.

      John Chaplain's has his information from Nikita Orloff.

      On the other side is a police report, a hospital report, polaroid pictures
      of the severely bruised woman taken the day of the attack, and five sworn
      written affidavits by witnesses, who state that they saw Nikita Orloff
      throw the elderly woman to the ground and pummel her.

      In fact, I have witness statements from **nine** witnesses.

      So, whom are you to believe?

      In fact, I will even make a challenge to John Chaplain.

      I challenge him to come to Los Angeles and speak with the witnesses himself.

      He is free to talk to the woman who was beaten, the woman's husband, the
      woman's son, as well.

      I'd love to see you, John, accuse me again of "slander" in the face of at
      least nine corroborating witnesses, the police and hospital reports,
      photographs of the injuries, and the victim herself.

      Sorry, John, in the United States, it's not slander if it's true.

      For some reason, in all of your attempts to explain the situation
      attempting to show that Fr. Nikita was the victim of a vicious attack by a
      Soviet "thug" (now you've changed the story to "thugs"), you are still
      incapable of explaining how the woman ended up seriously beaten.

      There were only four participants in the altercation: Fr. Nikita and his
      son, Sergei, on one side--and the elderly woman and her son, Misha, who
      came to her defense, on the other.

      So--John, who beat up the woman?

      I'll give you a hint: it wasn't her son. . .

      So--a final caution to listmembers: be careful in assessing statements or
      versions of events that are produced by someone who was not there, when
      there are plenty of people who **were** there and saw what took place.

      And they sae, no question about it, Fr. Nikita, throwing an elderly woman
      to the ground and pummeling her.

      With love in Christ,

      Prot. Alexander Lebedeff

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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