+NIKOLAI TO ATTEND SYNOD
In a story published yesterday in the Kodiak Daily Mirror Bishop Nikolai announced he would attend a special meeting of the Synod to be held next week. (Read the article here or here)
"Alaska diocese official visits Kodiak as worshippers continue to commemorate bishop put on leave
Article published on Thursday, March 20th, 2008
By RALPH GIBBS
Orthodox Church in America officials confirmed Wednesday that Archpriest Alexander Garklavs is now in Alaska and one of his first stops was Kodiak.
Church leader Metropolitan Herman appointed Fr. Garklavs administrator of the Alaska diocese on March 8, after Bishop Nikolai Soraich was put on mandatory leave for refusing to depart Alaska during an investigation into alleged charges of abuse.
The bishop, who still refuses to leave, said on Wednesday that he would be happy to meet with Fr. Garklavs, but hasn’t as of Wednesday.
Garklavs likely stopped in Kodiak first because the island is one of the few Orthodox parishes in Alaska that defied Metropolitan Herman’s order to stop commemorating Bishop Nikolai in services.
In a recent letter addressed to his congregation, Rev. Innocent Dresdow said he would continue to commemorate Bishop Nikolai because he has been offered no canonical reason or official notification to do otherwise.
“Although it is true that various communiqués have been posted on various Web sites, including the OCA Web site, I have received no official instructions from The Holy Synod,” Innocent wrote in the letter. “All of the official directives of the OCA, as it impacts this parish, have come to me in the mail and in hard copy. Therefore, I assume that something so significant as ceasing to commemorate a bishop would be afforded at least the same level of orderliness and decorum.”
Fr. Innocent said he would defend his stance even at the cost of his priesthood.
“I have been willing and am willing to suffer slander, insinuation, false accusation and potentially the loss of my priesthood in order to defend the integrity of the church,” he wrote. “What is at stake here is not a war between personalities or bishops. What is at stake here is whether or not the church will function as it has functioned for 2,000 years or whether it will decline into the ordinary and ungodly.”
It is unknown if Fr. Garklavs delivered written orders to Fr. Innocent. Fr. Innocent didn’t return phone calls and Fr. Garklavs could not be reached Wednesday.
In other developments, The Holy Synod of Bishops will hold a special session on March 27 in New York to address the situation in Alaska. Bishop Nikolai, who feels angry and betrayed by the actions of his fellow bishops, said he welcomes the meeting and confirmed he will attend.
“I sent a letter asking for the bishops’ help (regarding the situation in Alaska) and their response was to tell me to get out of town,” the bishop said. “I think (the meeting is) important and things need to be discussed in my presence to talk about all of these things.”
Bishop Nikolai reiterated that he has no plans to step down and that the church has no grounds to remove him.
“You have to follow the rules with how they’re written,” Bishop Nikolai said. “If I was to comply with something that was not right, then I’m accepting the fact that we’re breaking the rules and that every other rule can be broken, too.”
He said there is a process and he’s happy to follow the process “in every detail.”
Mirror writer Ralph Gibbs can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com."