Bishop Nikolai retired by church leadership

Author: Angela Blanchard
Date Published: 05/14/2008
Publication: KTUU (Anchorage AK)
The Holy Synod decided to retire Bishop Nikolai from his post as leader of Alaska's diocese, although he retains the title of
The Holy Synod decided to retire Bishop Nikolai from his post as leader of Alaska's diocese, although he retains the title of "Former Bishop of Sitka." (KTUU-TV)
Bishop Nikolai was ordered to step down in early March after clergymen and church members spoke out, accusing him of verbal and emotional abuse. (Shawn Wilson/KTUU-TV)
Bishop Nikolai was ordered to step down in early March after clergymen and church members spoke out, accusing him of verbal and emotional abuse. (Shawn Wilson/KTUU-TV)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The leadership of the Orthodox Church of America, which oversees the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska, has decided to retire Bishop Nikolai.

Leaders from the Holy Synod of Bishops came to the conclusion at a meeting in Oyster Cove, NY, over the last two days.

Nikolai had requested the leadership review his leave of absence in a special May session rather than waiting for a scheduled October hearing.

Leaders decided yesterday to retire Nikolai, effective immediately. However, even in retirement, Nikolai will remain a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Holy Synod released the following statement regarding Bishop Nikolai’s retirement:

“The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America declared May 13, 2008, that the Diocese of Alaska is vacant.”

Bishop Nikolai has already stepped down as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska and left the state.

Nikolai voluntarily went on leave of absence nearly two weeks ago and has since left Alaska, as was requested of him by the Holy Synod of church leaders.

His decision came after months of turmoil in the church, including accusations that he was verbally and emotionally abusive to some of his clergy and parishioners.

Nikolai served in Alaska for the past seven years.

Contact Angela Blanchard at ablanchard@ktuu.com