Nikolai heads to synod meeting where officials will decide his fate

Author: Ralph Gibbs
Date Published: 04/16/2008

Pokrov Note: The author of this piece, Ralph Gibbs, confused the retired Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) with Bishop Tikhon (Mollard), who was sent to Alaska to investigate the charges against Bishop Nikolai (Soraich). The article on the Alaskan website was written by the former, not the latter.

Alaska Diocese leader Bishop Nikolai Soraich won another round with Russian Orthodox Church leader Metropolitan Herman this week, and on Thursday he steps in the ring for what could be the knockout round.

But the fix may be in.

In private correspondence earlier this week, Metropolitan Herman requested Bishop Nikolai not attend Thursday’s meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops convened in special session to decide his fate in New York.

Bishop Nikolai dissented.

“You can’t have a Holy Synod without inviting every member of the synod,” the bishop said.

Bishop Nikolai said what he has been saying throughout the church crisis: “Procedure must be followed.”

In early March, when Bishop Nikolai refused to recognize his mandatory leave of absence, he said he did so because proper procedure had not been followed. He argued the point at a special meeting of the synod last month, and won. The bishop returned to Alaska reinstated.

“We’re still in a country where you’re allowed to have certain rights,” the bishop said. “They shouldn’t be taken away from you.”

This week, Bishop Nikolai, in a letter to the metropolitan again argued that procedure must be followed and again, he won.

This morning, Bishop Nikolai boarded a plane for New York and his fate is expected to be decided on Thursday.

An indication of how that decision could end may have been revealed in a recent letter from the Right Rev. Tikon to Bishop Nikolai, posted on the Alaska Diocese’s Web site.

Bishop Tikon was one of two bishops who came to Alaska to investigate allegations that Bishop Nikolai has been ruling the diocese by fear and intimidation.

Bishop Tikon is a supporter of Bishop Nikolai.

In his letter to Bishop Nikolai, he criticized the church’s leader for trying to keep Bishop Nikolai from attending the synod meeting.

“I contemplated the recent letter you got from the Metropolitan Herman in which he rather haughtily told you that while the Holy Synod would be meeting for a second