OCA withdraws mandatory leave for diocese leader

Author: Ralph Gibbs
Date Published: 03/27/2008

It was a short meeting this morning, lasting only a few hours, but long enough for the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops to withdraw Alaska diocese leader Bishop Nikolai Soraich’s mandatory leave of absence.

“The Holy Synod of Bishops is aware of the concerns of clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Alaska,” OCA officials said in a statement posted on the OCA Web site. “It recognizes the expressed desire of their diocesan hierarch to address these concerns, and to take whatever action is necessary to restore peace.”

That action will take the form of an official investigation expected to begin next week.

Returning with Bishop Nikolai from the Holy Synod meeting will be Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate and Bishop Tikhon, Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Previously the Synod believed that a fair and impartial investigation could not take place with Bishop Nikolai remaining in Alaska, but OCA officials have accepted the assurances of Bishop Nikolai that he will not interfere.

Once the investigation is complete, Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Tikhon will report to their findings at the next Holy Synod meeting in May.

Mirror writer Ralph Gibbs can be reached via e-mail at rgibbs@kodiakdailymirror.com.