Joint Letter From Former Church Workers in the Diocese of Alaska
Monday 7 April 2008
The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America
Your Beatitude, Your Eminences, Your Graces,
Christ is in our midst!
With heavy hearts during this Great Lent, we would address you concerning the suffering faithful of the Diocese of Alaska. We are all former workers in the diocese, often starting our service in the Church as missionaries, readers, seminary instructors, deacons and priests and their spouses. We represent many who have worked in Alaska for the past forty years and are now senior archpriests and church workers in other dioceses of the Orthodox Church.
Our concern is for the faithful during this time of crisis. Many are friends, spiritual children and co-workers in this diocese that is now in turmoil. We have heard their voices in letters, phone calls, email messages and during visits for the past six and a half years. The public reporting on various websites and media sources is only one source of what is truly happening in the diocese.
You have seen and heard the concerns of senior clergy and laity of Alaska during the past few months. We add our voices to theirs, united behind them and the diocese which we have known and loved.
Many questions need to be answered immediately for the spiritual health and well being of the diocese. We have deep concerns over the conduct and the behavior of the current diocesan bishop, the diocesan chancellor and others. But the most important concern is that our brothers and sisters in Alaska be heard clearly by you and the faithful in the rest of the OCA. Please reread their letters, email messages and correspondence.
These faithful are the direct descendants of the spiritual work of St. Herman, St. Innocent, St. Yakov, and St. Juvenaly that built the diocese of Alaska with the Grace of God. The clergy and laity that have written to you, whom we support, are the children of the Salamatovs, the Kashevarovs, the Belkovs, the Lestenkovs, the Peletins, the Lukins, the Shaiashnikovs and others who cry to us and to you in pain and anguish over the behavior of the diocesan bishop and the chancellor of the diocese. These are not isolated events, nor are the faithful who have written to you vengeful or vindictive people. These are the faithful of our oldest diocese who have built the Church there with the foundation laid by all of those mentioned above.
We humbly recommend as your senior archpriests and faithful laity that have worked and known the diocese of Alaska, to act immediately for the sake of the people who are the diocese. The situation is no longer just a "canonical” or “unlawful” problem but rather an affront to the Holy Tradition of the Church.
Humbly with Love in our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Protopresbyter Joseph and Matushka Marie Kreta
Archpriest Robert and Matushka Susan Arida
Archpriest John and Matushka Lyn Breck
Archpriest Jerome and Matushka Wendy Cwiklinski
Archpriest Paul and Matushka Michelle Jannakos
Archpriest Mark and Matushka Evgenia Koczak
Archpriest John Kreta
Archpriest Nicholas and Matushka Anastasia Molodyko-Harris
Archpriest Timothy and Matushka Christina Perry
Archpriest Gregory and Matushka Alexandra Safchuk
Archpriest John and Matushka Barbara Shimchick
Archpriest Theodore and Matushka Mary Shomsky
Archpriest Chad and Matushka Thekla Hatfield
Archpriest Michael and Matushka Janet Mihalick
Archpriest Paul and Matushka Patty Schellbach
Priest John Filipovich
Subdeacon Mark and Virginia Harrison
Dr. Jeffrey and Caryn Macdonald
Dr. Joost van Rossum
John and Betty Slanta