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Open Letter to SCOBA

Justice

The so called ethnic orthodox, Greeks, Russians, OCA and Antiochians to name a few, continue to ignore this Canonically established Orthodox Church on the excuse that Archbishop Aftimios married contrary to the canons and that the marriage caused the end of this Church.

This claim is completely false!

In 1933 Abp Ofiesh Archbishop Ofiesh married. This is not denied. What is denied is all the lies put out about this Church by so called clergy of the Antiochian and other Churches who wish to appear better than us and more orthodox. If anything, their lies prove them to be unchristian. They have proven our case by their own writings on the internet Orthodoxwiki pages.

They are afraid of us! We attempted to put up our own page on Orthodoxwiki to respond to their lies and they immediately took the page down because they stated we are not Orthodox! We will disprove their lies and show how their Metropolitan and Patriarch have also been party to the same, or very similar, act that they continue to attack us about. If we are guilty so are they! They cannot have it both ways! If their bishops can ignore or waive a canon they must accept the same for Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh of blessed memory!

Timeline

1927 - THEOCACNA was canonically established
Other than our mother church no other orthodox jurisdiction worked with us from 1927 on. Now they seem to claim they knew in advance that the Archbishop would violate a canon at some date.

1928 - THEOCACNA incorporated

1929 - The Greek Archbishop, Alexander, told Aftimios that he, not Aftimios, was over all Orthodox in America. There was no canonical basis for such a claim thus creating the Schism in American Orthodox. This Schism continues today within America

During this timeline no one but our Mother Church worked with us and they slowly turned their backs on this Church.

1933 - Archbishop Ofiesh Married

Bishop Sophronius congratulated Abp. Ofiesh on his wedding

Bishops Joseph and Ignatius (Auxiliary) stated that the Canon on married bishops was a European and Asiatic canon that had no bearing on the American Church - indicating this Church had not adopted this Canon.

Also, in support of this;

The Book "The Orthodox Church - 455 Questions and Answers states" Not all Churches adopted the Canon on Married bishops...

and it goes on to say "The canon on married bishops is an Administrative canon that can be changed at anytime.

1966 - Archbishop Ofiesh reposed

1995 - New synod seated with the approval of Marian Ofiesh

2000 - Mariam Ofiesh reposed

2007 - Abp. Ofiesh declared a Martyr

~ ~ ~ ~ + ~ ~ ~ ~

The authors of Orthodoxwiki make numerous untrue and undoumented statements about Abp. Ofiesh and this Church.

They state Abp. Ofiesh deposed himself, retired, and more but have no evidence this in fact occured.

Provably false! Since this Church never adopted the canon on married bishops and since no tribunal was even called or formal charges laid against Abp. Ofiesh during his lifetime it appears he committed no crime against the canons.

They state this Church ceased to exist. These SCOBA clergy claim the canons were violated, the Archbishop was deposed - all claims made by priests against a canonical bishop that violate the canons by insulting (the memory of) a bishop. Priests cannot lay such charges against a canonical bishop. We continued to exist both legally and morally.

This Church continues today as the same Canonically established church we were in 1927. Some call us the 1995 church or a copy of the original church. All false claims - efforts to save face by these so called ethnic clergy who by their acts in fact have repeatedly violated the canons.

We are the same Church that was chartered in 1927

We are the same Church Abp. Ofiesh incorporated in 1928

The widow of Abp. Ofiesh sat on the Church corporate board of directors until 1999

We are Orthodox, more so than the ethnic or SCOBA juristictions who would like to do away with this Church and hide the truth.

- - - + - - -

We acknowledge above that Abp. Ofiesh did marry in 1933 but he did not depose himself or retire according to Mariam Ofiesh and Orthodoxwiki who publish many statements that contradict other statements.

The only canon that may have been violated was the canon that states a deacon may not remarry and remain an active deacon if this canon also includes priests and bishops. If this is allowed the Bishop shall be deposed.

Abp. Ofiesh was not a deacon. He was a bishop who stated "God told me to marry" and he did the "Will of God". No one in authority in 1933 or during is lifetime stated he violated a canon, called a tribunal or acted to remove him.

In fact, in recent years the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Ignatius IV (Hazim) permitted, according to published reports, Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese to allow a priest to remarry and remain a priest over the protests of other Orthodox jurisdictions.

It would seem these orthodoxwiki writers (clergy) prefer this double standard -

They act as if it is OK to claim a long dead bishop violated the canons and deposed himself and caused the demise of his Church... but they ignore the fact that their Metropolitan and Patriarch seem to have suported and allowed a similar act to occur within their own church by allowing a priest to remarry and remain active in the ministry. Their Church did adopt the canon on married bishops and the canon on what happens to a bishop who allows a deacon, or maybe someone in a higher office depending on how they intrepret this canon, to remarry and remain a clergyman. It would appear that if the canons can be waived or ignored today that claims Abp. Ofiesh did anything wrong in 1933 are proven false by this same authority used by the Patriarch of Antioch and the Antiochian Metropolitan.

We wonder if this truth might cause them any embarrasment since they either offer a double standard as to what others do and what they ignore within their own church or they just want to attack others and their claims are proven false and unchristian.

+ + + + +

Be it known that the North American Holy Synod does hereby proclaim on this the 8th day of March 2009 that The American Orthodox Patriarchate; The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America; is the one True Holy Orthodox Church not in Schism and with Sacramental Authority in North America.

What would St. Paul say if he could see the direction and influence of the Orthodox Churches today? Would he rebuke them as he might also rebuke us for our tolerance of the many schisms and divisions that invoke the name of Christ and Orthodoxy. Us because we remained silent for so many years allowing this to continue quietly.

St. Paul struggled towards the unity of the Church he helped establish. He strived to unite the Church and to prevent unbearable burdens from falling on the people. According to the example of St. Paul, truth and Church unity are preserved synodically. Unity is "not" just an internal matter of the Church but is linked with the unity of all mankind. The Church does not exist for herself but for all mankind.

Since the historic Orthodox jurisdictions are in Schism with their own canons we must expand from being the American Church to being the Orthodox Church worldwide. We must encourage our missions to expand and to grow. They must one day cover the earth!

At the same time we must be open to reconciliation whenever and wherever it occurs with the schismatic Orthodox. In the meantime we cannot be idle! We must work and grow!

In the whole world we, the American Orthodox Catholic Church - THEOCACNA are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church who faithfully obey's Orthodox canons and traditions without prejudice or greed. We are the poor relation to the worldwide ethnic Orthodox who over 80 years ago violated the "Sacred and Divine" canons for their foothold in the New World. Our mother Church and sister Churches then acted contrary to Orthodox Canons and traditions and attempted to destroy this canonical Holy Orthodox Church and to defame and disrespect the first canonical Archbishop and synod of this Church.

The other Orthodox jurisdictions usually claim unity in faith and sacraments which has led them down the path of schism... according to the canons they claim to follow.

True unity cannot exist until this schism is ended.

A note of correction.

Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh headed this Church until his death in 1966.

Bishop Sophronius did not head this Church at anytime and he did not attempt to suspend his Archbishop contrary to the canons as orthodoxwiki claims.

Bishop Ignatius, an Auxiliary bishop, left this Church in June 1933, was consecrating as an Archbishop of the Holy Orthodox Church in America, an independent and non-canonical jurisdiction, and by 1943 was a pastor of a Community Church in Vermont. He died in 1947 as pastor of that Community Church.

Note of interest:

If, as orthodoxwiki claims, Sophronius excommunicated Ignatius in Oct 1934 any acts after that date by Ignatius were invalid by the 2 different actions.
a. Leaving the Church in 1934 caused Ignatius to lose all authority to act (no sacramental authority) and
b. His later ordination of Alexander Tyler Turner would have been invalid because of "a" above and by the "claimed" excommunication Sophronius issued against him. Thus, any Holy Orders by Ignatius would have been non-existant and the Antiochians would have needed to re-ordain (du novo) Turner to the priesthood when he entered the Antiochian Church. That is unknown but doubtful.

If Scoba recognized us could or would that change Turners status?

+Nikon
Patriarch

Emailed to SCOBA: Dec. 3, 2009
A couple typos corrected after it was emailed and the correction notes were also added since it was emailed

Copyight 2009 - Most Rev. Victor Prentice
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