Russian Orthodox Church places bishop on leave

Date Published: 03/07/2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The head of Alaska’s Russian Orthodox diocese has been ordered to take a leave of absence.

National church leaders on Friday told Bishop Nikolai Soraich by letter to leave Alaska immediately while they investigate complaints.

Metropolitan Herman, the top church official in the United States, wrote the letter.

The mandatory leave order came Bishop Nikolai refused in writing to voluntarily take leave.

The bishop said he would refuse to permit an examination by committee that was neither specified by canon nor permitted by his conscience as an Orthodox bishop.

Priests and church members have complained about Bishop Nikolai’s leadership in recent weeks, accusing him of abuse, insults and intimidation.