Friday, February 15. 2008
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Now this is rich -- Nikolai stands behind his decision to tonsure the reader, even though doing so is in violaton of church canons -- and Nikolai says that Sidebottom's complaint was dismissed based on a report generated by the investigation -- even though the Chancellor stated that he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation and Job stated that no report was ever issued. Rich!
#1 anonymous - but not for long on 2008-02-15 20:27
Bishop Nikolai told the Kodiak Daily Mirror that he has a copy of the report on the OCA's investigation into Paul Sidebottom's allegations, and that the accusations were "unsubstantiated." On the other hand, Fr. Alexander Garklavs told KDM that the investigation was "ongoing." And on the third hand, Fr. Alexey Karlgut said (twice) in the OCANews comment section that the "Holy Synod was not presented a Report of Investigations."
I think I'll just wait for the EEOC report.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
If a reader is "little more than an altar boy" anyways, why defy the canons of the Church to ordain a pedophile a reader?
Nikolai can downplay this till he's blue in the face, but it only serves to raise the question: why do it in the first place? Are there no other Orthodox males in Alaska?
#3 Anonymous on 2008-02-15 21:29
No leadership? No leadership, he says? Especially in the rural villages? Is Nikolai implying that all the priests that graduated from St. Herman Seminary prior to his being assigned to Alaska aren't leaders? Especially the ones who left their villages many years ago and attended seminary at St. Vladimir and St. Tikhon's before there was even a St. Herman Seminary? These priests heeded a calling despite the financial challenges they knew they were going to face in addition to the spiritual struggles that were placed upon them. These men are our true leaders!
According to the State of Alaska the definitions for rural and urban Alaska are:
Urban Alaska is considered as those areas on the road system connected to the Lower 48 through Canada, or those having regular drive on-drive off ferry service.
Rural Alaska is considered as those areas off the road and ferry system.
So according to Nikolai there are now 43 priests ministering to rural Alaska? How can that be when there are 10 priests listed as living in Anchorage according to the official OCA clergy listing? Minus the 4 in Kodiak that are busy defending themselves from their magnified enemies. Then there are 8 more living on the road and ferry system. That's a total of 22. According to the laws of math 43 - 22 = 21. 21 does not equal 26. Looks like we've lost some priests in rural Alaska.
So Nikolai isn't charging students to attend Saint Herman Seminary anymore in order to attract more Native Alaskan students? Personally I think that's wonderful. What I would ask is how many of the students attending St. Herman Seminary are actually Native Alaskans and how many of these students are planning on staying in Alaska after graduation? Granted there are students attending but not all are Native Alaskans and I don't have a problem with that. Students who graduate from Saint Herman Seminary should be able to serve anywhere within the Orthodox Church in America. Didn’t the OCA send students from other Seminaries as part of their mission work? We need students to attend Seminary and we shouldn't let the visions of Bishop Gregory, Father Joseph Kreta, Father Innocent (Ted) Frytzko and Father Peter Kreta along with the faithful and the little old ladies who trusted them to die because our church needs to grow; however, with Nikolai and Isadore in charge, what are these students really learning? Obedience? Obedience to what?
I am very concerned as should everyone in the OCA because according to Nikolai regarding Isadore, “He was cleared of everything — everything,” he said. “I have a copy of the report. (The allegations were) unsubstantiated. They interviewed seven different people.” Seven people? Who were these seven people? Is Paul Sidebottom delusional? Was he having hallucinations? Did the people who watched Isadore swing around the pole in church, were they all delusional? Father Innocent was one of the key witnesses and now he's busy dealing with "our enemies". Father, let's face the truth; Isadore was so drunk that even the airline wouldn't let him on the plane! This is Kodiak which is sometimes referred to as, "a drinking community with a fishing problem." When the airline won't allow you on their plane - you're in bad shape. We in Alaska do not want that type of leadership! Nor do we want priests with domestic violence convictions serving in our parish. Nor do we want perverts being elevated to the ranks of readers. Readers are not glorified "altar boys" especially ones that have been tonsured.
What I would like to know about are what about the priests in Rural Alaska that graduated from Saint Herman Seminary prior to this decision? Have they paid off their student loans yet? And if so, who are these priests, how much do they owe and is it possible to start paying off their loans for them? Also what about the priests in the Lower 48? Do they owe money on loans? Maybe we could start paying off loans for priests that are actually doing some true ministering rather than putting money into coffers that disappear or go toward matching hierarchal vestments and mitres. Besides haven’t our Bishops taken vows of stability, chastity, obedience and poverty? If that’s the case, then they wouldn’t mind if the laity started paying off priests bills directly.
The Seminary was in disrepair? The Seminary roof looks the same as it did when I moved here in 2004 and it is in great shape. When I stayed in one of the single rooms in 2001 it looked exactly the same as when I was in high school. That was in 1986. I think that someone should ask Ben Ardinger as to what the condition the Seminary really was in. Ben served on the board for many years and is an excellent handyman in addition to his knack for finances. If anyone knew the condition of the Seminary, it would be him.
Sure the Seminary needed a paint job. All of us here in Kodiak really appreciate the new cupolas that the monks over on Spruce Island made for the Seminary chapel. The bondo and stars painted gold really jazzed up the building. But this is Kodiak and if you own a house you gotta paint it. If you have children which many of the Seminarians living in the apartments did over the years, you're going to have holes in your walls. Floors will get dry rot in them, even in brand new buildings. When you're attending school and have a family sometimes minor repairs get ignored and then they turn into bigger problems.
Which brings me back to the leadership problem: Well, let's see. I think that this whole mess can be directed back to Washington and Syosset. Some of us in Alaska, especially us divided ones, ask are we hearing the truth when we read about interviews where “a chancellor on the Metropolitan Council said, ‘We are concerned’, church officials are concerned about the Diocese of Alaska run by Bishop Nikolai. Is this really true or are you just saying something to tell this reporter?
The Synod of Bishops needs to take a good hard look at what type of leadership you have sent us. We here in Alaska did not request Nikolai – he was forced on us. We can live with Bishops that we don’t chose but can you, the Holy Synod, honestly and truthfully continue to condone the behaviors of one of your brethren when you know he is not living a life in which he is taking his vows seriously? Of course it’s not my place to question anything that a Bishop does because since here in Alaska where priests are primarily viewed as creatures equal to Jesus, so Bishops must be equal to God the Father and that must make the Metropolitan so close to God that he’s like the Holy Spirit.
I’ve probably just purchased my one-way ticket to hell with that statement but since I didn’t have Nikolai’s sole permission to be married I don’t stand a chance for being forgiven from the sin of fornication; therefore, I’ll probably never even get close to heaven. Even though our wedding sacraments occurred in a canonically recognized chapel by a fully vested Orthodox priest which was okayed by the Bulgarian Patriarchate weeks before we were informed that the said priest couldn’t serve nor even attend our wedding if it were to be held at Holy Resurrection. I guess it just goes to show that in the words of Nikolai himself, “with no hope of redemption, what’s the point?” I guess he figures that there’s just no hope for me.
I apologize if I sound like a disgruntled employee. I guess that I just miss the days when artificial flowers were allowed in our churches and we could decorate Christmas trees during Nativity. Mostly I miss the days when my boys could look forward to sleeping in the church only to wake up when, “Christ is Risen!” was being proclaimed so loudly that I swear the angels themselves could hear us. I miss the days when church was a refuge from the outside atrocities of the world and we could depend on it being a place where a benevolent being resided. Now for some of us divided ones, it has become a place of fear and worry.
Please keep us in your prayers,
#4 Tatiana Berestoff on 2008-02-16 06:33
To read the article in full go to
The Bishop makes no apology for tonsure of Dushkin nor does he address the suspension. In fact, if I were reading this article without previous knowledge of Dushkin's civil convictions, I would assume that the church forgave Dushkin and assume the tonsuring stood. Very misleading.
Also, the Bishop acknowledges an investigation into Paul Sidebottom's allegations and the article says "Nikolai said Isidore has been cleared of all charges in a report written Dec. 12, 2007. "
What does "all charges include?" My guess is that
there must be 2 "Sidebottom' investigations; 1 regarding what Paul accuses Isidore of doing (closed as of Dec 12th)and #2; was the firing of Paul in retaliation for accusing Isidore in the first place? Surely #2 has not been resolved by the Church investigation. Again, misleading.
Does the EEOC investigation dwell on both the harrasment charges and the firing or are they treated as separate investigations as well? just curious....
#5 J Necaise on 2008-02-16 09:02
“The seminary is an important part of my diocese,” Nikolai said.
"The seminary is very important to me.”
...controversy, which Nikolai said isn’t really controversial at all.
“I believe that the message I wanted to send was the fact that there are lots of issues out there, lots of them,”
“He was cleared of everything — everything,” he said. “I have a copy of the report. (The allegations were) unsubstantiated. They interviewed seven different people.”
It seems clear where the problem lies.
#6 Anonymous on 2008-02-16 10:08
"Everyone is praying" states Bp. Nikolai. He has that right, they are praying he gets removed by either the Synod or God Himself before the Orthodox Church is Alaska is nothing but a collection of museum churches.
This article is such a puff piece that I am embarrassed for Ralph Gibbs, KDM reporter, a self-proclaimed atheist, who has fallen for Nikolai's charm as badly as many Orthodox did when NS originally came to Alaska. Maybe Nikolai offered him a job as publicist; Nikolai certain needs one. As Nikolai is a narcissistt, Mr. Gibbs unwittingly allowed the KDMirror to became Nikolai's mirror, reflecting the world as Nikolai sees it. Not to be confused with reality.
Again, the lie is stated that all was disaster at SHS until Nikolai rode in on his white horse. All good comes from Nikolai; the pride and arrogance coming from the mouth of a "Christian" chokes one with its lack of humility.
Fr. Innocent's comments reveal how the current seminarians minds and souls are being twisted. "Our enemies in this community get magnified"...What kind of paranoia garbage is this? These comments are more reminiscent of cult mentality than the Orthodox Church, which is why most long-time Orthodox have zippo trust for Innocent, Nikolai, Isidore, or the rest of that ilk. They have defiled Christianity by their lies and expect us to wear their lies, to be covered in their excretable statements to save us from "our enemies." Guys, perhaps there are a few job openings in North Korea or some other totalitarian state that you can get, you certainly do not cut it as Orthodox Christian priests.
It appears that Nikolai remains defiant of the Metropolitan and Synod regarding Terenty Dushkin. We know Terenty was still serving as a subdeacon with Nikolai and Isidore AFTER the Metropolitan forbade him from serving. Nikolai is completely out of control and must be removed NOW.
Nikolai's lies about Paul Sidebottom's removal are so obvious that it's clear he makes his own reality. Paul was removed by Nikolai, Nikolai's roomie, Nikolai's admin assistant, and one board member who rubber stamps anything...all without the rest of SHS board member's knowledge. "(Nikoli) deferred the decision to do away with Paul's position until he made sure the new dean position would occur." FROM HERE ON THE GROUND IN KODIAK, ALASKA, THERE IS NO DEAN AT SHS. Delusional, absolutely delusional. For the OCA to let a man who is this delusional (wicked?) remain in a position of authority is thoroughly negligent and leaves us all open to liability.
As one priest said, "Who does Nikolai think he's fooling?"
#7 Dear One on 2008-02-16 10:29
One priest wrote: "Who does Nikolai think he's fooling?"
Like all who hold the office of bishop but in fact are not bishops:
They surround themselves with those who want to be fooled.
They keep at a safe distance those who have pension or job safety needs that make it inconvenient to act as if they know the reality that such a high institution has come to such a low place.
They attract those who want someday themselves to do the fooling.
They will be pleased to 'go forward' with whomsoever is willing to suspend disbelief, however few in number they become. If not enough living people come to services they'll simply fill the space with icons propped up on stands and will take relief in the increase in felt approval. (Those pages with the 'great commission' somehow got stuck together so that's a relief too right there).
Unlike the days of old, US law does not permit the people to rise up and eject church wrongdoers, it protects 'heirarchs' and provides no relief to those who built such churches. Other than, of course, freedom to leave.
Unless actual adults step in to save the institution, it will simply dwindle, amid much disapproval by the high office holders in name only. And note: The grass is not greener in the GOA. If the AOA goes the way of the GOA post Iakovos then same boat there, too.
The root of the problem is the present characteristics of those the old rules admit to be bishop candidates. When the rules were made, there were many men eligible as their wives had died or whose wives left purportedly for a nunnery, men who did not seek remarriage. The rules protected the church from property confiscation by bishop-heirs.
Nowadays, we have corporate law and no inheritance problems. More importantly: How many pre-retirement widowers do you know? None? One? That's a real demographic shift those who made our old rules never predicted or allowed for.
Married men over 45 must be added to the ranks selectable as bishops. How many of the present group never was attracted to women in the first place? How can a parish priest claim moral authority or permission to liturgize only through the approval of such a group? Was a time the worst of them would at least sit quietly in a distant office and not waste money or harm growth by making a flamboyant disgraceful show of themsevles. Nowadays, not so much.
Everyone gets excited about Orthodoxy at the parish level, then they get to know the synod. Until that is fixed, what does it matter what else is fixed or broken? Unless, of course, the Protestants were and are right. Starting to look like it isn't they on the wrong side of the 'pruning shears' of the 'true vine'. Notice they don't feel the need to advertise, much less inflate how many are their number.
Senior married bishops. Or a new 'Freedom of Conscience' law allowing parishes to leave a decaying hierarchy in favor of whomsoever they deem wise.
P.S. Yes, I would have been in church now. My excuse is that I'm typing between removing water soaked towels from a flooded carpted basement office the floor beneath a broken kitchen ice maker. I hate it when that happens.
#8 Harry Coin on 2008-02-17 10:06
These are good reflections on how to fight off abuse.
The honors and rights of the Church in Alaska should not be
be sold off for a sexploitation route run as a pipeline to
other places. I believe the concern for those who sacrified for
the vision in Alaska as a total Orthodoxy should find help for
their student loans. Paul Sidebottom has sited the rotten
fish spoiling the great net we are called to repair and send
out again as our calling from God. If the waters are too rough
for the Fishers of Men to do their work in a respectful manner,
we should stay home and pray God for this tempest to cease
and that we not be drowned.
Alaska has a lot to share with us in the lower 48.
Thank you for your prayers and insights.
Matushka Carol Klipa Bacha
Founder "Walk for Alaska" '71 and '72
who St. Herman then directed to go to Florida
#9 Anonymous on 2008-02-17 11:39
If Mr. Gibbs' reporting is accurate (and I have no reason to believe that it isn't), then two possibilties exist:
1. +Nikolai is lying.
2. +Nikolai is incompetent (and/or delusional).
Either one is grounds for him to be deposed and defrocked, immediately.
This interview clearly demonstrates that he is continuing in sinning quite publicly, quite unrepentantly. This interview is more confirmation that he needs to be removed.
Holy Synod of Bishops, what else do you need in order to act? Metropolitan Herman, if you're truly the Head Shepherd of the OCA, then get this wolf out of the flock!
#10 Larissa on 2008-02-17 12:56
To all Orthodox Christians in the United States, and all over the world:
Help us here in this Great Land (that is what Alaska means) by obtaining a copy of the Akathist Hymn to St. Herman and pray it with us here in the saint's land.
By decree, we are to pray this akathist in Alaska each Thursday at 6:00pm. That is all well and good. But now we find ourselves praying to St Herman for relief from the very one who encourages us to pray.
We pray, "Entreat the Lord to keep our Holy Church steadfast in Orthodoxy (NB: Not "Russian" Orthodoxy) and to reveal her to an adornment of our land. May He protect her from all the dard powers of the enemy and drive out all adversaries. (NB: I suppose that his refers to all those who do not agree with +N) May He grant us purity of faith and beauty of soul. Pray He will grant us all the spirit of peace and love, the spirit of humility and meekness and drive out the sin of pride. (NB: the very sin that is causing us to suffer) Save us from self-praise. (NB: Read the KDM interview) Be our guard against false teachings. (NB: bishop-worship) Give healing to the sick; to the sorrowful be a comfort. To those who hunger for spiritual truth, give the heavenly food..."
Holy Father Herman, pray unto God for us!
#11 Anonymous Alaskan, NOT a Native on 2008-02-17 16:04
(Reposted so all can read:)
First, I too ask forgiveness from God. Then from my brothers and sisters here in Alaska, And from all the Bishops, clergy, and laity of the Glorious Church of Christ.
Although, the glorious church here in Alaska, seems to be forgotten, and laid wast to the wolf of souls. The forgotten goal of Salvation is replaced with wonderful, glamourous clothing, Long meaningless services, and graceless sermons by the Bp. here who is supposed to be the representative of Christ himself.
I remember, those pious servers, wonderfully prayerful elders, who knew how to sing the whole services of the year, being blind without the help of a service book, BUT having these salvific prayers burnt into their hearts. Singing along with everyone else in the community, proclaiming the wonderful gift of life and salvation from Christ Himself. Each and every member of the community in the yupik areas, wanting to see the Bishop, and waiting in the hundreds in the smallest villages, travelling even hundreds of miles in rain and cold weather to the place where the Bishop was going to visit. Not caring about the costs or the struggle to get there. For them, seeing the Bishop, was seeing the image and representative of Christ before them. And many, many people would cry seeing their own unworthiness, but God making them worthy to see him.
Now,.. we are ruled by a tyrannical WOLF Of SOULS, who drives even the smallest of little infants out of the church. The villages and people not wanting to know where the next Bishops visit is going to be, the priests being afraid to speak out because of how quickly his temper goes up, and his eyes turn as dark fire as filled with demons because of his rage. Many have gotten in his path, and he has trampled over them one by one. Thousands of souls hurt, crying and lost, elders and Holy Priests belittled and being called names even during the church servies. The most wonderful of priests laughed at and treated as though they were nothing being called names in front their very parishoners. And all this is done by +Nikolai Soriach who is supposed to be the Icon of Christ, leading us to the Kindom of Heaven.
I remember the great 5th year anniversary party he held for himself, the lavish food, and expensive music. And the green vestments and gifts that he received which came from the SEMINARY FUNDS. (YES) He chose the color of the vestments before this party by the way. And most of this was paid out by the seminary funds anyway. I guess he is more important than the seminarians in Kodiak who scrimp and save for thier next meal of their families and children. I know these things, and so do many of the faithful people who have been subjected to all of this, because of the person who wears a crown and sits on a throne. All are subject to Him. So bow low before him, as did one other bishop who was really the one with humility. Imagine how high +N's ego was then, to have a bishop bow down before him. Here in alaska not once, not even on forgiveness Sunday, does he bow down. But, he stands just a little higher on that day.
It is said, that the wolf of souls will come and scatter the flock of Christ. And it is so true here in Alaska. This is the reality we live in here, this is the state of affairs the OCA Bishops leave us in. When, is it the time to act, and who is good enough to save? Does not Christ say, "All have been given to me by the Father," And yet those whom God entrusts to be representatives of Christ, have become complacent, bound by Canons, which have been known to be broken by +N himself.
Here I sit, on the Forgotten HOLY Land of St. Herman and St. Innocent. seeing the deterioration of the Diocese of Alaska.
Christ has said, "the tree is known by it's fruit." And the fruit is not salvation here. It is eternal exile from heaven for those who do not come to church, and do not receive the body of Christ, who were once pious, and prayerful people that have been driven out by the BP. Driven out by long and spiritless services, graceless sermons. All for appearance, and stature. I.E. the Metropolitans throne.
I do not sign this for out of fear myself. but I do speak out for those who cannot, here in Alaska. Please those who are able to speak from this Diocese do so with all haste. POST ON THIS SITE SO THAT ALL MAY SEE> EVEN THE OTHER BISHOPS!!!!! PLEASE!!!
begging your humble forgiveness before Christ..
Anonymous, God knows who I am and and he also knows my sinfulness.
#12 Forgotten Holy land of St. Herman on 2008-02-18 04:38
Harry you are absolutely right. How much great talent is going to waste in parishes with married priests? There are so many talented priests who could step up and lead, but the bishops in power say, "Only celibates can be bishops." This isn't true. In the early church married bishops were common and the church only turned to monastics and celibates due to expediency. The libraries were in the monasteries. Celibates or monastics are not somehow "holier" or more acceptable in the eyes of God than married clerics. It really is time to return to OUR OWN practices of the early church - Married bishops who would be psychologically more stable and very talented. Why do we look under every rock to find a celibate, many who have questionable backgrounds, and promote them to positions of leadership in the church? Why do we wish to pick leadership from a small pool of questionable candidates? Doesn't it make sense to choose the best possible leaders in the entire church? Marriage is not a theological impediment for consecration.
#13 Anonymous on 2008-02-18 09:26
Come on! All you people in Alaska posting on this site: Stop sugar-coating it! Can't you tell us how you really feel?!
#14 C.C. on 2008-02-18 09:38
sorry to burst your bubble, but under Bp. Gregory and group there were many serious situations that were ignored - Alaska has decades of issues that have to be sorted through. It's not a new thing, but has been exacerbated by the current regime. Over the years, the tolerance (and laws) for these situations have changed...making it difficult to ignore them any longer. We're talking clergy domestic abuse, molestation, and even gross financial mismanagement......those who have tried to address these have only been reviled by those who want to continue this perverse way of life. Sad to see who really seems to have the power.....
#15 A Former Alaskan on 2008-02-18 10:16
Where are the grownups?
#16 Symeon on 2008-02-18 10:57
as if married people didn't sin and make mistakes.the church decreed that bishops should be celibate for many good reasons.is not the former chancellor a married man.married men need even more money and thus might be even more tempted.anyway,only a panorthodox council could decide such a matter.if the oca on her own consecrated married men she would be excommunicated.but you are entitled to your opinion,the oca is not truly orthodox anymore,you have a mixture of a little uniate, a little protestant and a little orthodox.we did have truly orthodox luminaries in our oca such as saintly mitropolit LEONTY,archbishops JOHN prince shahovskoy and JOHN garclavs,FRS ALEXANDR shmeman,JOHN meyendorff and others.they all came from europe and most were of the russian aristocracy.they lifted up the then mitropolia and created st.vladimir academy and the autocephaly.they could have never immagined that less then 20 years later the church they loved be in such trouble.as i see the only solution is going back under the mother church and have the moscow patriarchate assign bishops and then may be later give another chance of autocephaly.but you americans would not want that because you want to do "YOUR"thing.well, you have been doing your thing,enjoy!
#17 Anonymous on 2008-02-18 22:47
As reprehensible as many of Bishop Nikolai's actions have been, they pale in comparison to his profanation of the sacraments. To withhold the sacraments for reasons of power and control is high on any list of serious sins.
"Feed my sheep," says our Lord. Not starve, beat and control them, so that you can exalt yourself in some sort of pharisaical fashion over the "unworthy." Certainly, no one is ever "worthy enough" to receive or administer the sacraments, whatever pious rituals they have preformed. We receive them with the grace, and as a gift, from God. To deny them, except in extraordinary circumstances, is the real affront to God.
No wonder so many Orthodox Christians do not regularly partake of the Sacrament when its purpose and use is subject to such misunderstanding and abuse by much of our clerical establishment.
#18 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-02-19 06:11
Interesting about the recent history of the bishops in Alaska. + Gregory did a wonderful job in Alaska and with Fr. Kreta's help, Alaska grew and the seminary grew. There were some problems, but nothing severe. RSK comes in from Syosset and accuses everyone of mismanagement of funds, gets rid of + Gregory and Kreta and causes tremendous turmoil in the Alaskan church - not for any good reason. RSK chooses + Gula from the Carpatho-Russians to run Alaska which turned out to be a great disaster (money missing and sexual issues). RSK again chooses + Nicolai (with + Tikhon's-retired prompting) to run Alaska. Again more money issues, sexual misconduct and the worst general disorder in Alaska in years!
WHEN WILL ALASKA GET A GOOD BISHOP AGAIN LIKE BISHOP GREGORY? WHY WON'T PEOPLE LEAVE ALASKA ALONE? ....
Please, get rid of + Nicolai.
#19 Anonymous on 2008-02-19 08:42
I want to express my profound hope that the members of the Ansonia parish will hold the line on Sunday when they meet with their bishop. It is so heartbreaking (and even embarrassing at some level) to realize that the only thing that brings action from a member of the hierarchy is the decision on the part of a parish or a diocese to withhold money from the OCA. I know many have made this point, but it bears repeating.
You parishioners will no doubt be subjected to a great deal of emotional manipulation on Sunday. I pray you will be able to see this for what it is and remain dispassionately determined to withhold until your terms are met. Perhaps Fr. Hopko would object to me quoting him in reference to this issue, but I know I have heard him say in a lecture that when we are commanded to love God with "heart, soul, mind, and strength," part of what is understood to be our "strength" is our financial means. If that is the only tool that is effective in this struggle for the soul and future of our church, I believe it to be not only permissible—but obligatory—for us to use it.
God be with you in Ansonia on Sunday. We will all be praying for you and for the OCA.
#20 Cathryn Tatusko on 2008-02-19 14:59
This is a reply to C.C and Symeon. Why don't you come to Alaska to see for yourselves. "How do we really feel?" well, if we were raised to be "loud" about everything I'd say, "Enough BS and get Nikolai and Isadore out of here, and send them to where they can reign where these others, maybe like you can put up with them, defend them, sugar coat them. Or better yet to a real monestery where they can be humbled!" There, happy? ....
#21 alaskan on 2008-02-19 19:22
Fr. Thomas Hopko likes to point out in talks that the most frequent message from God to man in the Bible is "Fear not!" Please, our brothers and sisters in Ansonia, don't be afraid.
I do think that +Nikon is one of the few members of the HS that might stand up for what is right. I find it very, very depressing that he was so quick to respond to this financial withholding and has been slow to stand up for what is right in HS meetings.
#22 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-02-19 22:56
To the faithful of the parish of Ansonia
I await the results of Bishop NIKON's visit along with my friend Fr John Kreta; whom I have known since High School in the 70's
I challenge them to be faithful to the cross of St Herman, that same cross that John venerated many times while his father was our parish priest.
That same cross; the first one in this hemisphere - the one that shone forth on this continent; that Christ died for our sins... not that we should be crucified for our faith and belief.
The cross that Bishop NIKON venerated when he visited our parish scarcely three years ago.
Stand now, with that cross which was firmly planted in North America, let all behold and glorify Jesus Christ, singing HIS Holy Resurrection...
The time is upon us when we like Peter are called to proclaim our faith or deny our salvation...
Which is it +NIKON, Fr John... the cross of salvation or bethrothal of our church unto damnation at the hands of fallen men?
#23 Ted Panamarioff on 2008-02-20 00:02
Anyone and everyone is welcome to come to the Ansonia parish on Sunday, Feb. 24th for + Nikon's visit. It would be so nice to have thousands show up for the event. Please come! The Ansonia Church is easy to get to. It is just off Route #8 going North & South through Ansonia/Seymore. You can see the domes.
#24 Anonymous on 2008-02-20 07:46
Your comment re married clergy is certainly true--it doesn't guarantee anything. But you are missing the larger point--neither does celibacy, though in the modern era it greatly limits the selection pool for candidates to the episcopate. It has also resulted in a very unfortunate notion in some quarters that celibacy is spiritually superior. Nonsense!
As to your tired argument that we should return to the episcopal fold of the Russian Church--no thanks. The problems we are facing seem to be endemic to much of Orthodoxy.
I do agree that we should attempt to recapture the Godly vision of some the luminaries you mention in your post. One can only imagine their reaction to what has been done to the Church they helped established in North America.
#25 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-02-20 08:01
Come on, Touchy! How can you miss C.C.'s sarcasm and Symeon's rhetoric?
C.C. rightly guesses that if we put on the screen what was in our minds, our computers might just blow up on the spot.
Symeon, yes, where are the grownups? Not in the Synod, obviously. In the diocese of Alaska, those who acted responsibly (as grownups should) have been targeted. That's a large reason for the huge exodus from the parishes. But I have faith that the Alaskan clergy are not all moral cowards and bishop worshippers. Stay tuned.
#26 Dear One on 2008-02-20 10:33
While I respect Bp. Gregory's accomplishments during his time in Alaska, it was far from perfect. You say "there were some problems, but nothing severe." I beg to differ. SERIOUS situations were left ignored - a priest who regularly beat his wife; a former priest, Eugene Bourdukofsky, who has since been convicted of embezzling $70,000 in church funds - who also has had allegations of sexual abuse - and it can go on and on. These situations were happening under Bp Gregory. When Bp Innocent (whose appointment was initially endorsed by Gregory) stepped in and attempted to address them, with great opposition from those in Alaska, because they involved major players in the Alaskan Dynasty. Though there are all sorts accusations against +Innocent, no one seems to ever look at Fr. Michael Oleksa's short term as dean of the Seminary - where they went into such major debt that local merchants would not grant them credit, dealing with them on a cash only basis.
Business deals during Bp. Gregory's time are also suspect - there have been allegations for years about kickbacks given for favorable deals (such as leasing or selling valuable church lands at far below local rates). The National church stepped in to make sure they got their piece of the lucrative pie......
let's just say that there is a long history, one that is known among Alaskans - and it's time to make a drastic change in the way we do business in the OCA all together.
#27 A former alaskan on 2008-02-20 11:02
Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut
V. Rev. Victor Nick
Russian Mission Yukon Deanery
P.O. Box 32274
Mtn. Village, AK. 99632
To: The Most Blessed, The Most Reverends, The Right Reverends: The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church In America,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I ask for your forgiveness for daring to do the right thing for the sake of the Truth and for the well being of my fellow clergy priests, deacons and their wives and children. More importantly for my brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Alaska under Bishop Nikolai Soriach.
Ever since I opened my eyes before the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, I remember running (with the other children) along the side of Archbishop Gregory Afonsky when he comes into the village as the people sings “Dostoino (It is Truly Meet)”. I also remember children flocking around Archbishop Gregory and later on Bishop Innocent, as their parents watches with happiness. I remember village elders gathering together when the bishop arrives. How Archbishop Gregory looked upon the elderly with much respect, as we where raised to respect them. These elderly helped keep the faith in our villages, and we dared not to see their faces on eye level, because we truly respected and loved them with much affection. I remember everyone cheerfully felt a good purpose because they were treated as important from our beloved Archbishop Gregory, and even though controversies surrounded the departed Bishop Innocent, Bishop of Anchorage, the people still felt important. We had Yukon, and Kuskokwim Conferences and they were big deal for the villages.
Bishop Nikolai Soriach, who is now the Ruling Bishop of Alaskan Diocese came to us. The state of our diocese is now in this condition. St. Innocents Cathedral is practically empty, not like before. My fellow Priests and Deacons and their families, the children and their mothers, the people in the villages who have experiences Bishop Nikolai, and elders are afraid of Him now. Every where He goes the people scatter, the clergy and their wives and children are in trembling with fear.
I have witnessed Him being receive by a young girl, and later hugged her grandmother for being happy to have the courage to greet Him with flowers, only later to witness Him scold the respected elder in the presence of the people gathered. That elder was shaking for doing something he didn’t realize was wrong. It was hard to see an elder experience with the kind of humiliation we dare not seeing our own parents. Later on I had to encourage the starista, choir member and director to be there to help out when the Bishop comes to visit the next time. One of the 5 year old children knew there was something wrong and something bad happening, and there were other children in the church that day.
In the parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Dillingham, people affectionately remember the old priest that labored some 50 or 60 years ago. His name was Fr. Basil Sifsof. The community of Dillingham always remember him dearly. Even priests liked would recall with same affection Fr. Basil. During the potluck when Fr. Basils name was mentioned, Bishop Nikolai mention that Fr. Basil’s lifestyle was not so good. Not only was Fr. Basils Children were deeply hurt, but the community of Dillingham were also hurt. I don’t think they recovered from it. The value of their past was broken and embittered by what Bishop Nikolai said.
The time when Bishop Nikolai entered the parish house, we received blessing from Him. Our daughter who was raised in the village all like the rest of us, stood behind her mother (my matuska) hiding being very shy. His Grace firmly said to her mother, she “she needs to be taught to receive His blessing”! When His Grace walked out with his walking stick, I didn’t realize that my 9 year old was in the bedroom crying, all torn up.
I know of my fellow priest who is assigned to an isolated village parish. He nearly lost his leg by amputation because he finally got to the hospital on time. That same family is located in a village where there is no clinic in the village. That same priest and matuska asked if they can be reassigned to a village or place where there is a clinic so they can bring their sickly child, so something doesn’t happened to the child. They are assigned to the village where there is barely enough children to continue school education funding. Bishop Nikolai said them them, that the childs education is more important then the childs health. One can imagine how far does the sanctity of life reach to be compatible.
When I hear about my brother priests and deacons experiences and my brother and sister Alaskan Orthodox faithful sufferings, I can relate to my own experience. I believe them. I believe what Fr. Micheal Oleksa (Alaska Today) and Fr. Peter Askoar wrote (Feb. 13, 2008 Letter). I believe what my fellow Alaskans wrote in the www.ocanews.org . In the past I wrote to the Holy Synod as a deacon to save my skin. Right know, from hearing about the sufferings from my fellow Alaskan Clergy, and my fellow Alaskan People, I write with much concern. When a small country is over run by a longer country, the people have no choice but to stay on the front line of their soil to defend for their children, and loved ones, their countryman. I have no choice but to write this letter. Many are wounded emotionally and spiritually here in Alaskan Diocese. It is Bishop Nikolai who is causing the harm.
For the sake of St. Herman of Alaska, St. Innocent, and St. Yakov Enlightener of the Native people of Alaska, Holy Martyr Juvenaily and His Companion, and Martyr Peter the Aleut, who have built the faith here in Alaska with the help of God, I submit this letter to Your Most Blessed, The Most Reverends, and the Right Reverends. I too am willing to face the consequences for “this dare” to take this action. I am not worthy to suffer like The Holy Martyr Juvenaily and His Companion, Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut. I know those mothers with their children and others who were told to “get out of the church” for the sake of being “right and appropriate” and the elders who were humiliated in front of those who respected them in their village, suffered. Perhaps I am not worthy to suffer like them as well, because they don’t know about theology. I humbly ask for Gods forgiveness.
I am very much afraid of Bishop Nikolai, because I truly believe He has an iron hand that can crush me. I do not send a copy to Him.
I humbly ask for your Archpastoral Prayers and Blessings, I remain
Your unworthy servant and unworthy to be called a priest:
Archpriest Victor Nick
February 16, 2008
Righteous Simeon and Anna
P.O. Box 32274
Mtn. Village, AK. 99632
The Most Reverend Dmitri
The Most Reverend Nathaniel
The Most Reverend Job
The Most Reverend Seraphim
The Right Reverend Nikon
The Right Reverend Tikhon
The Right Reverend Benjamin
#28 Archpriest Victor Nick on 2008-02-20 13:52
Father, bless! I pray for you and the suffering people of Alaska. I honor your courage in being a true shepherd to your people. May God protect and bless you and your flock. Many, many here in the lower 48 are praying St. Herman to intercede for the church he established through his sweat and blood and tears. Most holy Theotokos, save us!
#29 Scott Walker on 2008-02-21 14:10
As we would expect, i just got a call from Fr.Isidore about a hour ago with an invitation to gather after Great Fast to "iron out the bad feelings of some of the clergy" in the diocese. I hope that my reply was clear enough I'm just looking forward to the invitation that the Alaskan Clergy will be expecting and that is all I agreed upon.
I still stand my ground in what I wrote.
May God Have Mercy.
#30 Archpriest Peter Askoar on 2008-02-22 17:21
p.s. I forgot to ask all those who posted with your appeal to the Synod of Bishops.
My advice is from a fellow clergy: "Beware the lion is circling the herd and is looking for the weak ones." PLEASE stay together as ONE. That way they can't get anyone.
Holy Father Herman Pray unto God for us.
#31 Archpriest Peter Askoar on 2008-02-22 23:30
everybody should start sueing these people in a court of law. everybody meaning laity, clergy, everybody.
#32 Anonymous on 2008-03-03 22:48
Here is a link to the work that was done on the Seminary
As far as the Coupelas (sp?) on All Saints Chapel the old ones were rotten where they connected to the roof and during one of our many windstorms we have they started to blow off the roof. I was in the service when that happened.
Be assured of my prayers Tatiana for you and your family.
#33 Ambrose Stapleton on 2008-03-08 22:34
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