All you do stirs wonder, Lord, mighty God. Your ways are right and true, ruler of all nations. Who would not be moved to glory your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will gather, bowing low to you, for your saving works are plainly seen.
Just delve into scripture to see the weight and quality of faith. See how much there is, and how little of it we are using in the OCA. Where is the witness? Where are the works? Where have all the shepherds gone?
The fruit is rotten, the shepherds have abandoned the flock and the life of the Church like blood flowing out of a wounded body pollutes the ground. As you bishops gather to meet in NY this week, remember what the Church is, and who you are. Fear death and damnation, it comes to bishops too.
The gates of hell may not prevail, but will the OCA survive? But consider this, in God's mercy, it may not be too late. Where is the love? Where is the integrity? What have you been up to!!!??? Holy Father Schmeman Pray to God for Us!
The OCA Holy Synod must act now to defrock Bishop Nikolai, he has thumbed his nose at the Church and has had the aydacity to seek $41m from the church....It's the faithful and the clergy who should bve seeking payment from him for his behaviour and that of his hencman Stan Brittain (Fr Isadore)......The Serbs would have to absolutley CRAZY to accept this man into their Church. He needs to repent deeply and confess his wrongdoing, he should be stripped of his episcopal regalia and reduced to being a simple monk for a period of at least 6 years just to begin to make up for his 6 years of misrule as a bishop...God knows he probably should be excommunicated...from what I've heard he has run the Serbian Monasetry he was staying at into debt and spent their savings mostly on making a fine new residence for himself!!!!! The bishops must act NOW abd rid the Church of this serial pest.
That letter about Nikolai has NOT been made public by Bishop Irinej in AUstralia. The deacon Panteleimon contniues to serve there ind efiance of the OCA and now the Serbian Synod!!!!!!!!!! Are these bishops Nikolai and Irinej despots who have no respect for church authority????
Nikolai's Presence in Australia Caused Divisions Among Serbs
From The Age, Melbourne's daily broadsheet newspaper:
A SERBIAN bishop who was forcibly retired in the US after a revolt by his clergy is working in Victoria, where his presence has divided the Serbian Orthodox community.
Bishop Nikolai Soraich was removed as bishop of Alaska by the Orthodox Church in America this year after two investigations upheld a litany of complaints, including that he appointed to the clergy in Alaska a man jailed for sexual abuse of minors.
The bishop was forced to cancel his visit to St Stephan of Dechani church at Carrum Downs 10 days ago after members of the congregation protested before the service. And police were called on Sunday after a confrontation between the congregation and members of other Serbian churches who travelled from Greensborough and Keysborough.
Official church investigations in Alaska into Bishop Nikolai found that he repeatedly abused and intimidated clergy and laypeople, violated the church's rules on sexual misconduct and fostered an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. He was also sued by a missionary he sacked after the missionary complained he was sexually harassed by Bishop Nikolai's chancellor, Father Isidore.
Father Isidore, who often referred to himself at Mrs Soraich, complained when drunk that Bishop Nikolai beat him, but retracted the complaint when sober, according to reports from Alaska. There is no suggestion of sexual relations between Bishop Nikolai and Father Isidore, whom the bishop repeatedly and rapidly promoted, but allegations of psychological abuse are cited in the official church report.
Nevertheless, Serbian community sources say Father Isidore is planning to join the bishop in Australia.
Archpriest Michael Oleksa, who is now administering the Alaskan diocese, told The Age that "the last five years under (Bishop Nikolai's) management were some of the most difficult we have endured in our 210-year history". "He was racist, he attempted to redirect our church so as to significantly change its identity, and he was personally unkind to the point of cruelty. Each of these charges could have several pages of testimony. All were upheld by the investigating committee that came from New York after dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints."
Bishop Nikolai was investigated twice, first by the chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, then by two bishops. Both investigations upheld the complaints. Rather than be suspended, Bishop Nikolai agreed to take permanent leave of absence.
Father Oleksa said Bishop Nikolai was extremely charming and intelligent, and he was not surprised the bishop had found sanctuary in Australia. Now Bishop Nikolai is based at the St Sava monastery at Elaine, near Ballarat, and is leading church services and visiting parishioners.
Asked by The Age about the strife in Alaska, he said: "I wouldn't comment on such ludicrous statements. Once you comment on something that's foolish you have to comment on everything that's foolish."
But he said he had not been forcibly retired. "In the Orthodox Church a bishop cannot be forcibly retired. He can retire voluntarily or be removed by a church court, and neither has happened."
He said he would love to stay in Australia, "the people have been absolutely wonderful".
Bishop Nikolai is in Australia "under the hospitality" of the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Australia, Bishop Irinej, who has been overseas. The diocesan office did not return calls.
"Under hospitality" means Bishop Nikolai has no canonical status in Australia and operates as guest of Bishop Irinej. The pair were reportedly friends in the US, and Bishop Irinej notified all Australian parishes that Bishop Nikolai should be welcomed.
The Serbian Orthodox community in Australia is small, but tensions are high after a merger between two branches 15 years ago. Some churches are in dispute with Bishop Irinej and have declared independence.
The parish secretary at Carrum Downs, who did not want to be named, confirmed that Bishop Nikolai's visit had been cancelled after parishioners read about his problems in the US on the internet.
By Barney Zwartz, Religion Columnist for The Age
(Editor's note: this article was first published on September 8, 2008.)
All eyes in the Serbian church in Australia are looking to the oCA synod and praying that Bishop Nikolai will be removed from the ranks of the clergy this week. The letter that appears on this website from the Serbian Holy Synod to Bishop ireney in Australia has been distributed in Australia anonymously....this has caused deep division and concern among the priests and people here.....many are now waiting for word from Bishop Iriney on why he failed to tell us about the status of Nikolai and his friends Isidore and Panteleimon......all we are praying for is for Nikolai to stay in AMerica and NEVER EVER come back here again...he's already spent in excess of $100k of money that wasn't his to spend and we still don't know how many mortgages or loans he has taken out here.....Come on OCA do the right thing and defrock this false shepherd.
Will the Synod look for Fr. Michael's replacement only among the clergy or will they open the search to members of the laity with the proper qualifications? Whether a member of the laity or the clergy, the new Treasurer must follow in the footsteps of Fr. Michael and be a licensed CPA. Let us pray that Metropolitan Jonah and the Metropolitan Council see the wisdom of continuing to have a properly trained financial professional fill the position of Treasurer.
"Are these bishops Nikolai and Irinej despots who have no respect for church authority????"
That's precisely what they are (unless the authority in question is their own, of course). And their despotic diva behavior goes back a long way... all the way back to their seminary days in the '70s, in fact.
How Mirko Dobrijevic got the Serbs to take him back, let alone make him a Bishop, still boggles my mind - considering their long memory when it comes to the split and those who tried to play both sides. Nikolai thought he could pull the same stunt, but no such luck for him.
Given that these are early days in our church's recovery, and that critical work remains to be done...
At this time can we afford to lose Fr. Michael Tassos?
Fr. Tassos has demonstrated his competence, professionalism, and his high standards of ethics.
Today it would seem (to me) entirely reasonable and indeed a necessary use of our OCA resources to support the full employment of Fr. Michael Tassos so that he may continue the excellent work he has begun.