To the North American Holy Synod
Re: Resignation from the Office of Metropolitan.
On Feb. 15, 1997 I was elected to this Office. I had turned down the idea when it was previously suggested that I be nominated to be the presiding bishop of this Church. One day I received a phone call and out of the blue I was asked if I would accept the nomination and I believe today that the Holy Spirit guided me to say "Yes".
For over 10 years I have worked to place this historic Church in its rightful place in American Orthodoxy. We have received two concordat's and a Letter of Recognition from the Saginaw (Mi) diocese of the Roman Catholic Church that allows us to offer communion to Roman Catholic's. Our clergy have shared the altar with Roman Catholic clergy as well as with a SCOBA Ukrainian priest in Wilmington, DE. some years ago. More recently we had a former priest accepted into the Episcopal Church USA priesthood without being re-ordained.
As you know we even had to go into court against one troublemaker both individually and in the Church name to close down his website full of proven lies in Arkansas. He defamed this Church, our clergy and directors. The court recognized us as the legal entity contrary to occasional claims we are a re-incorporated group and not the original canonically established Church. We also obtained some copyrights and 2 Registered Service Marks in an effort to get the troublemakers to back down because some even claimed our name. Today there are a few still falsely claiming our short name as listed in the 1927 Constitution of this Church, our Charter or that they are us using another name.
Over the years we were able to get the Church listed in the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches and the Handbook of Denominatons.
There are a few historic matters that will remain unchanged that haunt me personally and probably will haunt this Church and Synod for many years to come. One is the shabby manner in which the so called ethnic orthodox attacked Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh of blessed memory while he was alive and even over 40 years after his repose. They still write their own made up history about him, other synod members and this Church. As I recently stated on our Domain they acted and continue to act in an unchristian manner. They do in fact act like a very private group attempting to be better than others. They do not allow non-orthodox present during communion but worse, depending on their internal politics at the time they even deny communion to some other Orthodox. What these SCOBA clergy claim about the first Synod members of this Church is unchristian and outright lies.
It is our belief they want to be us but in this instance "flattery" is not the reason. They claim we are not who we are so they can claim they are the American Church. In fact by such acts they lie, both about us and who they are, to protect themselves from the truth coming out. Our mother church had the canonical right, authority and jurisdiction when we were chartered in 1927. When they all turned their backs on Abp. Ofiesh in the short time after this Church was established they jumped in to grab territory around the United States. This violated the canons. Since they continue in their unchristian behavior we find no valid reason to seek communion with such groups. We have attempted a few times to contact the Metropolitans of two such jurisdictions and except for a letter from our attorney they do not bother to respond to us. Our Mother church, while under communist rule, violated the canons and chartered a second american church.
Clergy from SCOBA churches continue to attack Abp. Aftimios and even to lie about Bp. Sophronius and one SCOBA group even had his remains removed from the original grave to their cemetery in Pennsylvania. They attack Abp. Aftimios for getting married in violation of the canons and have continued in this unholy assult for 74 years but there are a couple reasons aside from Christian Charity that this needs to end. One SCOBA jurisdiction allowed a priest to remarry and remain a priest - contrary to the canons, so it would appear they decided to change the canons. Also the canon about married bishops was not formally adopted by all Orthodox churches and it is not a canon based on a matter of faith so the Orthodox churches may go back to married bishops at any time. To show you how unchristian these groups are we knew of an old world married bishop who was finally able to escape the communist country he had lived and worked in for decades but when he came to the US these uncharitable SCOBA clergy turned their back on him. He lived in a time and place where bishops, and all clergy were targets and could have died for the Faith at any time. Not one SCOBA church wanted anything to do with him.
We have elevated our Church to a Metropolitanate and in 2003 to a Patriarchate. We are the one and only American Orthodox Patriarchate and we are canonical. Our clergy and members may be proud of this historic Church.
Now the time seems to have come for me to step aside and allow someone else to be elected Metropolitan, someone who will be able to work with Patriarch Nikon. The Metropolitan used to be the Presiding Bishop until 2003 and the Patriarch has since headed the Synod. We have been in and out of the hospital since mid 2000 5 times. We feel its time to relax a little more but we are not retiring from the Church and we shall not stop fighting for the reputation and good name of THEOCACNA.
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist on Saturday, July 7, 2007 (June 24/July 7) will be our last day as Metropolitan. Our advice is that you pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and give serious consideraton to who you nominate as my successor. The task ahead for him will require strength. We also suggest that the North American Holy Synod offer and give our successor great support in prayer and deed for the work and challenges ahead.
Written this First Day of June in
the year of Our Lord, 2007 at Sudan,