Letter to the clergy of the Diocese of Alaska from Archpriest Alexander Garklavs

Author: Archpriest Alexander Garklavs
Date Published: 03/12/2008

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] — On March 11, 2008, Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, Administrator of the Diocese of Alaska, issued a letter to Alaska diocesan clergy.

The text of Fr. Alexander’s letter is as follows.

To: The Clergy of the Diocese of Alaska

From: Archpriest Alexander Garklavs

Dear Reverend Fathers,

By the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, on March 4, 2008, His Grace, Bishop NIKOLAI has been placed on an indefinite Leave of Absence. After serious consideration, the Holy Synod has decided that a Committee be appointed to investigate many received complaints from the Diocese of Alaska. In order for this to proceed, His Grace, Bishop NIKOLAI has been instructed to leave the territory of the Diocese of Alaska.

In the meantime, His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN will be overseeing the Diocese of Alaska. His name alone should be elevated during the appropriate moments in the Divine Services. His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN has appointed me as the Administrator of the Diocese until further notice. I hope to be in Alaska soon. Should pastoral or other ecclesiastical issues arise, we ask that you address them to our office, until further notice. This can be done through e-mail, telephone or by regular mail.

His Grace, Bishop NIKOLAI is refusing to accept the decision of the Holy Synod and has stated that he does not intend to leave the Diocese of Alaska. He has also written that you should continue to acknowledge him as the Diocesan Hierarch. These uncanonical actions are extremely harmful, for the clergy and people of the Diocese of Alaska as well as for the entire Orthodox Church in America. The decision of the Holy Synod was done with much care and pastoral concern. A Committee is in the process of being formed, from the members of the Holy Synod, which will thoroughly investigate the situation in Alaska. This method is entirely Scriptural and canonical. Neither guilt nor innocence is prejudged, and ascertaining the truth is the only objective. Unfortunately, Bishop NIKOLAI is openly defying the Holy Synod and thus placing himself into a critical situation which may have serious canonical repercussions.

We want to assure you that His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN, the Holy Synod of Bishops, and the entire Orthodox Church in America, are thinking of you at this most difficult time. We know that the Orthodox clergy and people of Alaska have great faith and exemplary piety, and we know that your heavenly intercessors, Saints Innocent, Herman and Jacob of Alaska will not abandon you during this time. Brothers, let us not forget the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: “Aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6.12). We hope to be able to convene the clergy of the Diocese of Alaska in the nearest future, and will be communicating this to you.

Your brother in Christ,
Archpriest Alexander Garklavs