Name: Entry #39: Deb Pendleton, LCSW
I think it's a wonderful thing to have a site devoted to this cause. As a social worker, I know that secrecy is a poison that destroys. Speaking out, as painful as it is, is the only answer. It takes a great deal of courage. It must be a positive dialogue. I find your forum very positive.
Name: Entry #38: For the Good of the Cause
It was July, 1979: I remember the day when Sterling [Rayburn] was arrested. I stood on the steps of the church owned duplex at 1180 NW 99th Street, Miami, Florida 33150 that served as Christ the Saviour Cathedral Office and our Orthodox Book Center.
Bishop Dmitri opened the door half way from the adjacent side of the duplex and poked his head out as the police opened their car door and came to the steps of the office and knocked on the door. I opened the door for the police to enter on my side as Bishop D. closed the door on his side. In his white relaxing cassock, he retreated into his kitchen leaving the odor of his pipe smoke still in the air when I opened the door again for the police to leave with Sterling in handcuffs.
Name: Entry #37: +The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Gregory
Administrator, Belarusian Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Dear Greta and Cappy,
+The LORD bless you! Many of us are supportive and have BEEN supportuve of your efforts to speak out for those abused...however NO Orthodox Christian would be found OUTside of an Orthodox Church during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on a Sunday---when the ONLY victim that we are to remember on THAT day is the Lord Jesus Christ---who suffered for our sins! It seems to me that you are NOW making ”sexual abuse” your religion and the focus of your entire spiritual lives---and THIS is a VERY dangerous and soul-destroying focus for anyone. Of all those listed on your web-site, I have counted only THREE canonical Orthodox priests in this country who have been guilty of any wrong doing (and one of these---Damian Messires---was a suspended priest at the time of his entrapment!). THREE priests! The rest are at best autogenic (self-consecrated) Orthodox 'clergy' and those that are not autogenic...are uncanonical with little or no connection to the Orthodox Church of Christ. I would humbly suggest an alternative web-site should be established also for the thousands of clergy, who over the last two hundred years have been abused by the laity in America? Bishops and priests, who have been given so little support that they have had to subsist on food-stamps and welfare and the many who have been struck, spit upon, and paid so little---that they have had to seek secular employment just to live. Others who have been turned-out of their rectories into the streets with families and had no roof over their heads. I feel that your time and efforts to try and protect children and the young are most worthy, but that any of these efforts that are undertaken needs to be completely honest and show our FULL problem in this country. The reality is that, although we have had some tiny incidents of abuse BY clergy---we have had MUCH greater abuse TO clergy by the lay-faithful and this has NEVER been addressed by anyone. If you wish to show the FULL honest picture, then by all means do, but make sure that it includes the total problem of abuse BY the laity also (which is a particular form of abuse unique to us Orthodox in this land!). Three or four priests abusing young people is still too many, but hundreds of parishes abusing the clergy of our Church is not acceptable or Christian behavior either. In one local parish I know of---two monastics (one priest and one deacon) are paid $50 a piece each week with NO housing, NO insurance, and NO retirement---and that is not abusive? In another parish recently, a married priest with a matushka and several children was dismissed by his parish without any substantial reason in the cold without even a day's notice. (The bishop had to put them up in a hotel temporarily!) Is that not abusive?
Three or four priests who have abused is still too many, but to imply that we have a deep-rooted problem like the Roman church is simply NOT true. If you are going to show the total picture---then by all means do, but include ALL the reality. And after you do this---my only question is: Who will be brought closer to the Lord---who will be holier because of this information? If you think the entire Church---then I pray to God for you---that you are right.
In Him Who calls us, +The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Gregory, Administrator, Belarusian Eparchy/Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
P.S. I challenge you to print THESE comments on your web-site!
Name: Entry #32: Fr. Vasile Alin Campean
Thank you for this page. God bless you!
Location: Toplita, Romania