Orthodox Church deciding fate of Alaska bishop

Author: Elizabeth Bluemink
Date Published: 03/04/2008

The leaders of the Orthodox Church in America announced today that they are getting ready to issue a decision on a major conflict involving the leadership of the Alaska diocese, according to the church’s official Web site.

In recent weeks, Russian Orthodox priests from around Alaska have been petitioning national church leaders to remove Bishop Nikolai Soraich, the top church official in Alaska. The priests accuse Bishop Nikolai of abuse, intimidation, hurtful comments about Native culture and barring the baptism of babies whose legal names are not Orthodox.

Bishop Nikolai said last week he was dumbfounded by the criticism and he didn’t plan to step down voluntarily.

The Lesser Synod of the national church gathered today for an emergency meeting on Long Island in New York.

All members of the Holy Synod, the church’s governing body, attended the meeting by phone, according to the church Web site.

“An announcement on their decision will be forthcoming,” the posting says.

Find reporter Elizabeth Bluemink online at adn.com/contact/ebluemink