OCA leader calls for April meeting to discuss Alaska diocese

Author: Ralph Gibbs
Date Published: 04/08/2008

The Most Rev. Nathaniel, archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, and the Right Rev. Tikhon, bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, returned to Anchorage over the weekend.

Both visited Kodiak over the weekend continuing their investigation into allegations that Alaska diocese leader Bishop Nikolai Soraich has ruled in Alaska for the last seven years under a blanket of intimidations and abuse.

Bishop Nikolai denies the charge, although he does acknowledge on his diocese Web site that he needs to become a better leader.

“Believe me, I have shortcomings and one of them is that (it is) necessary for me to improve how I’m perceived as (being) too strict,” he said in answer to a question from a supporter.

Whether he will be allowed to overcome those shortcomings in Alaska may be answered sooner rather than later.

Orthodox Church in America leader Metropolitan Herman, under increasing pressure from within, moved up the Holy Synod of Bishop meeting in order to discuss the situation in Alaska. The meeting will now take place at the end of April instead of the end of May.

Last week, the OCA Metropolitan Council, the permanent executive body of the church, voted unanimously to ask the Holy Synod of Bishops to reverse its decision to lift Bishop Nikolai’s suspension.

“Taking account of the anxieties, fears and pain of the Orthodox faithful of Alaska, and the deep concern expressed by all the faithful of the Orthodox Church in America, the Metropolitan Council is profoundly disappointed by the Holy Synod’s decision to lift the leave of absence of His Grace, Bishop Nikolai before a proper solution has been determined, and respectfully asks our hierarchs