Bishop Nikolai supporters respond to criticism

Author: Ralph Gibbs
Date Published: 03/18/2008

Disputed Alaska diocese leader Bishop Nikolai Soriach has received a lot of bad press lately, rightly deserved, his critics say.

However, slowly his supporters are standing up becoming just as vocal as his detractors.

In Kodiak, freelance writer Judy Fulp sent in a letter in support of Bishop Nikolai to the Orthodox Church’s leader, Metropolitan Herman.

“I have covered many stories about the seminary and the pilgrimage every year since Bishop Nikolai was installed,” she said. “He has been very gracious to me and many, many others in Kodiak and around Alaska. He is a good bishop and has done amazing things for Alaska and has many friends and a few enemies.”

She does admit that Bishop Nikolai can be abrasive sometimes and has done a few things that were clearly wrong but, overall, he has been a boon to the Alaska diocese.

It does not end there.

In an effort to counter the unfavorable speech published on the Web site ocanews.org, where a lot of criticism has been made public, the bishop, has begun publishing his own opinion using the Alaska diocese’s official Web site at dioceseofalaska.org.

He has been using his Web site to answer questions about the current crisis in an attempt to explain himself and to show others all the news coming out of Alaska isn’t bad.

It’s working.

His supporters are posting in greater numbers on ocanews.org, where before they have been mostly silent. Postings range from full support to accusing Mark Stokoe, creator of the Web site, of trying to destroy the OCA.

Even some detractors are starting to look at this more critically.

“It is in any event, not in dispute is that he is now being ordered to go on a