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Canonization Commission Responds

to +Arseny Documents

In a press release posted this past weekend, the OCA Commission charged with investigating potential candidates announced that the Commission had been “reactivated” after years of dormancy. In explaining that the Commission has resumed its work, Alexis Liberovsky, the Commission’s secretary, confirmed that Archbishop Arseny of Winnipeg is a candidate for study by the Commission and acknowledged the recent controversy over the publication of court documents relating to an allegation of rape made against the late Archbishop. Liberovsky stated:

“For many years, Archbishop Arseny has been venerated throughout the OCA Archdiocese of Canada, where miracles have been ascribed to his intercession. In response to this popular veneration, several years ago His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada established an Archdiocesan Canonization Committee in Canada, which conducted extensive research.”

He continued: “The Canonization Commission has been aware for some time of the controversy surrounding Archbishop Arseny arising from allegations of serious moral transgression and unethical behavior, which has recently been publicized on the internet...These allegations, which Archbishop Arseny challenged in the courts a century ago, and attendant issues require further study and verification.”

Court transcripts of the criminal libel trial held in 1908 (read them here) end abruptly without a notice of resolution or explanation. Efforts are now underway by independent scholars to recover the transcripts of a later civil lawsuit to help clear up the matter - a move which has been “welcomed” by the Canonization Commission. “Following what is expected to be a lengthy process,” Liberovsky concluded, “the Commission will present its findings and recommendations to the Holy Synod, which has final authority in matters of canonization.”

In addition to +Arseny, the other candidate for canonization currently being investigated by the Commission is the late Metropolitan Leonty (Turkevich).

Canonization Commission members include Liberovsky, Bishops Tikhon and Irineu, Archpriests David Brum, Sergei Glagolev, Joseph Frawley, and Basil Rhodes; Priests Remus Grama and John Hainsworth; Drs. Peter Bouteneff and David Ford; Mr. George Soldatow and Ms. Kathryn Szalasznyj. (Read the full OCA press release here.)


- Mark Stokoe



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