Holy Synod of Bishops issues statement regarding Archbishop Seraphim
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
On Saturday, January 21, 2012, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America released the following statement concerning His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim [Storheim].
“The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America has been made aware that His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim, the suspended Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada, appeared in a Winnipeg criminal court on January 18, 2012. Archbishop Seraphim is a defendant in a matter involving allegations of sexual abuse toward a minor or minors. The case has been committed for trial.
“Archbishop Seraphim originally was placed on a leave of absence on October 1, 2010, shortly after the Lesser Synod of Bishops had been informed that a police investigation had commenced. On November 30, 2010, the Holy Synod of Bishops changed his status to ‘suspended,’ and he retains that status. The Holy Synod appointed a Special Commission to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations. 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.
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. As is always the case in Canadian criminal matters, he remains innocent unless proven guilty in court.”