Archbishop suspended over abuse allegations

Author: Kristy Nease
Date Published: 12/02/2010
Publication: The Ottawa Citizen

Orthodox leader on leave of absence since October

The Orthodox Church in America said Wednesday it has suspended Ottawa Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who has been on a leave of absence since October, when he was revealed to be the focus of a police investigation into accusations of sexual abuse going back 30 years.

The decision was reached ”after careful deliberations and in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Orthodox Church in America mandated in cases of allegations of sexual misconduct,” said a release on the church’s website. The decision was made at a special meeting on Tuesday, it said.

Bishop Irenée Rochon of Quebec City has been filling in and was announced to be taking over the role of administrator of the archdiocese.

The church’s Holy Synod of Bishops announced in October the formation of a Synodal Commission that will conduct the internal investigation. Any information will be handed over to the relevant authorities, said an earlier press release announcing the commission. The abuse is alleged to have happened in the 1980s, when two then-10-year-old boys were visiting Winnipeg.

Storheim, who was born in Edmonton, began his religious career as an Anglican priest, but later converted to the Orthodox Church and became a monk. He was ordained as a priest in New York in 1979, and became a bishop in Edmonton in 1989. He became the archbishop of Ottawa and Canada in March 2007.