Statement issued by Metropolitan Jonah

Date Published: 03/05/2010

SYOSSET, NY [OCA] — After discussions that took place at the joint session of the Lesser Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America at the Chancery here during the first week of March 2010, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah issued the following statement.

”As the Archbishop of Washington, certain matters of the dispute between the Archpriest Raymond Velencia, Pastor of Saint Matthew Church in Columbia, MD, and Kristine Koumentakos fall under our hierarchical/diocesan oversight. This has also been a serious concern within the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America. Complaints from Ms. Koumentakos were brought to the attention of the administration of the Orthodox Church in America in January 2007. An investigation by the Orthodox Church in America took place in the early part of 2007. Ms. Koumentakos protested that the investigation was incomplete and brought her concerns to the members of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council during the summer of 2007. The response to Ms. Koumentakos by the Orthodox Church in America was inadequate. During that time a private letter containing sensitive information was improperly shared with members of the Metropolitan Council.

”I apologize, on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, to Kristine Koumentakos and to her family, for the lack of pastoral attentiveness and sensitivity to the matters at hand. The lawsuits that came about as a result of the disagreement between Ms. Koumentakos and Father Velencia were most unfortunate and should have been avoided. At this time the Orthodox Church in America is in the process of revising and updating its Policies, Standards and Procedures that address questions of alleged misconduct. Together with that there is an ongoing review of how to respond to complicated pastoral issues, conduct pastoral investigations, provide pastoral comfort and address allegations of misconduct. We will do all in our power to insure that the response and intervention in such matters of alleged misconduct will be ethical, professional and proper, as is befitting the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings and canons of the Orthodox Church.”