Holy Synod of Bishops issues statement regarding Archbishop Seraphim
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
On Monday, November 21, 2011, the following statement regarding His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim [Storheim] was released by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.
“The Lesser Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, meeting at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove, NY, September 21 – 24, 2010, heard an official report that police in Canada had received a complaint alleging misconduct committed by His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada some 30 years prior. He was placed on leave of absence effective October 1, 2010.
“On October 13, 2010, the Holy Synod appointed a Synodal Commission to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations. The members of the Synodal Commission were announced on October 29, 2010. The Synodal Commission is under the guiding authority of His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania and His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Members are Protopresbyter Mirone Klish, Dr. Lila Amirali and Dr. Thomas Kolivakis. Archpriest Andrew Jarmus was recently appointed to the Commission, replacing Archpriest Richard Hawrish, who remains as a consultant.
“On November 25, 2010, Archbishop Seraphim turned himself in to police authorities in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After posting bail he was released, pending trial. On November 30, 2010, the Holy Synod of Bishops changed his status to ‘suspended’ and he remains in that status.
“While this is a sad and stressful matter for all involved, the legal process must take its course in order to arrive at the truth and eventual resolution. Archbishop Seraphim has retained legal counsel. While taking an active interest in the proceedings, the OCA is not a party to the criminal action and has no information to impart regarding trial progress.
“The Synodal Commission has been in communication with civil authorities and has held its investigation in abeyance so as not to interfere with or compromise the judicial process. Once the court matters have concluded, the Synodal Commission will complete its work and issue a report to the Holy Synod in accordance with the sexual misconduct Policies, Standards and Procedures of the OCA.
“The faithful of the Orthodox Church in America are asked to offer prayers for the accusers, for Archbishop Seraphim, for the civil authorities, the Synodal Commission, and for their brothers and sisters in Christ in the Archdiocese of Canada.”