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Synodal Commission Established to Investigate Charges Against +Seraphim

The Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, acting on a recommendation of the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct, in consultation with the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee, has created a Synodal Commission that will be responsible for an internal Church investigation following recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada. The Archbishop is currently on leave of absence.

The Synodal Commission will be led by Bishops Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania and Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. In addition to the two American Bishops, the Commission will also include 5 Canadian Orthodox members: Archpriest Richard Hawrish, Protopresbyter Mironne Klysh, Dr. Lila Amirali, Dr. Thomas Kolivakis, and Mr. David Grier. Additional members are under consideration.

•Fr. Richard Hawrish is a lawyer and an ordained priest with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He is presently the Rector at St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Windsor, Ontario. Fr. Hawrish has served on the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America (President and Member of Church Court) and on the Metropolitan Council of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States. According to his professional website, Fr. Hawrish was called to the bar in 1969, and has taught business law at the University of Windsor for fourteen years. His emphasis is in the areas of Bankruptcy and Insolvency and Estates. More to the point in this instance, he has also represented clergy and congregations in both the courts and in disciplinary hearings.

• Protopresbyter Mirone Klysh is an OCA priest serving St George Orthodox Church in Winnipeg, a parish of the Romanian Episcopate. He serves as the secretary/registrar of the Canadian Archdiocese’s St. Arseny Theological Institute in Winnepeg. Fr. Mirone is a pioneer in promoting English-language Orthodoxy in Canada.

• Dr. Lila Amirali is a psychiatrist who works with children at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec. You can see Dr. Amirali on YouTube speaking on childhood depression here.

• Dr. Thomas Kolivakos is an adult pyschiatrist on the faculty of McGill University, In 2001 he was honored with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill “Exemplary Psychiatrists” Award during the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans.

• Mr. David Grier is a former government official in Saskatchewan, having served for years as the Director of Business Intelligence at the Saskatchewan Research Council. He is currently a Senior Strategist at Innovation Saskatchewan. Greir is a member of both the Canadian Archdiocesan Council and the OCA’s Metropolitan Council.

The OCA has made it clear that Synodal Commission, given its subject matter, is not a public commission, but will report its findings to the Synod, who will decide what further actions, if any, are necessary.

- Mark Stokoe


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