Bishop refuses to step aside despite orders

Author: Maria Downey
Date Published: 03/07/2008
Publication: KTUU (Anchorage AK)
The Right Rev. NIKOLAI, bishop of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska (KTUU-TV)
The Right Rev. NIKOLAI, bishop of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska (KTUU-TV)
The bishop has been ordered to step down by national Orthodox Church officials over allegations about his leadership. (KTUU-TV)
The bishop has been ordered to step down by national Orthodox Church officials over allegations about his leadership. (KTUU-TV)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Tensions are mounting for the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska.

The Right Rev. NIKOLAI says he “refuses” to take a leave of absence after receiving national orders to step aside as Alaska’s Russian Orthodox leader.

The order came down from the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America after Alaska church leaders complained about the bishop’s leadership.

The church first asked the bishop to take a temporary leave of absence while the investigation was underway but he wouldn’t step down.

Bishop NIKOLAI said Friday that even though he’s been ordered to step aside he still will not leave.

The bishop says proper procedures are not being followed by the church in its decision.

He says no one has the authority to remove him since there are no charges or no trial.

Archpriest Eugene Vansuch has been appointed to temporarily run the Alaska diocese.

Contact Maria Downey at mdowney@ktuu.com