Russian Orthodox bishop ordered on leave

Author: Elizabeth Bluemink
Date Published: 03/07/2008

National church leaders today ordered the head of Alaska’s Russian Orthodox diocese to take a leave of absence while they investigate serious complaints against his leadership.

Bishop Nikolai Soraich must leave the Alaska diocese immediately, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America announced Friday afternoon.

“Should you not leave the diocese, your failure to comply with the Holy Synod’s directive will be considered willful disobedience,” wrote Metropolitan Herman, the church’s top official in the United States, in a letter dated Friday and posted on the OCA’s Web site.

According to the OCA, the mandatory leave order came only after Bishop Nikolai refused in writing to voluntarily go on leave or to permit “an examination by committee which is neither specified by canon nor permitted to my conscience as an Orthodox bishop.”

A number of Alaska Russian Orthodox priests and church members have complained about Bishop Nikolai’s leadership in recent weeks, alleging abuse, insults and intimidation.

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