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GOARCH elects letter-forging defrocked archimandrite to episcopate

Katechon

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News from one of the Belya Brothers:

OrthoChristian said:
The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has elected Alexander Belya of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate as an auxiliary bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, reports the GOARCH press service.

Belya is, in fact, a defrocked former archimandrite, and the Slavic Vicariate is largely composed of defrocked, suspended, and schismatic clergy.[...]

See also here: http://forums.orthodoxchristianity....astery-clergy-defect-to-constantinople.77060/
 

RaphaCam

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It's interesting how Archbishop Elpidophoros has a pattern of behaving like some spin-off bishop (like vagantes or those of "independent churches"): catch-all politics, open support for politicians (although "spin-offers" rarely manage to do this beyond a local level), open communion, misrepresentation of their denomination as a whole to fit their own agenda (in his case, primus sine paribus and claiming the Orthodox Church is pro-choice)...

The real tragedy is that he's not a backyard vagante, he's the primate of a holy jurisdiction. The only thing they have in common is that they're both less about "Orthodox" and more about "Church". Anaxios!
 

Bizzlebin

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This is troubling. With all the issues that ROCOR had during the 20th century, it was good that they repented and were brought back into communion with many of the other national groups of local Churches. But phrases like "the Sacraments and prayers performed there do not lead to salvation into Eternal Life", from the 2019-10-16 statement which (thankfully) was unsigned by clergy, sound very much like ongoing support of Donatism among some of the people—yikes!

On the subject of the canons more specifically, this is a difficult situation because Moscow cut communion with Constantinople, which, ironically, gives Constantinople the privilege of admitting clergy *without* canonical transfers—canonical releases are not possible from schismatic groups. So, at least from a direct perspective, this is also on the MP—GOArch seems to have acted quite canonically here (minus the later titular Diocese Of Nicopolis game). And having read the 2019-09-14 appeal (by Met Hilarion and Bp Nicholas), this was another strike against ROCOR's canonicity, since there are repeated mentions of vague "ecclesiastical sanction for disobedience", which none of the ECs, local councils, or Fathers I study as a canonist mention; there are simply no canons that require some absolute submission of clergy or laity to a hierarch, outside of *very* specific situations (outlined in canons). Further, there is no ancient canonical process by which a clergy person may be suspended *prior* to a ruling: only serving with heretics or sexually sinning with a woman trigger suspension—but, again, *not before* judgment.
 

Katechon

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Katechon, the use of "retarded" is not acceptable in Christian News as both an ad hominem and a form of polemics/debate. You've received 100 points for 2 weeks. Feel free to appeal via PM. Thanks. --Ainnir
This is troubling. With all the issues that ROCOR had during the 20th century, it was good that they repented and were brought back into communion with many of the other national groups of local Churches. But phrases like "the Sacraments and prayers performed there do not lead to salvation into Eternal Life", from the 2019-10-16 statement which (thankfully) was unsigned by clergy, sound very much like ongoing support of Donatism among some of the people—yikes!

On the subject of the canons more specifically, this is a difficult situation because Moscow cut communion with Constantinople, which, ironically, gives Constantinople the privilege of admitting clergy *without* canonical transfers—canonical releases are not possible from schismatic groups. So, at least from a direct perspective, this is also on the MP—GOArch seems to have acted quite canonically here (minus the later titular Diocese Of Nicopolis game). And having read the 2019-09-14 appeal (by Met Hilarion and Bp Nicholas), this was another strike against ROCOR's canonicity, since there are repeated mentions of vague "ecclesiastical sanction for disobedience", which none of the ECs, local councils, or Fathers I study as a canonist mention; there are simply no canons that require some absolute submission of clergy or laity to a hierarch, outside of *very* specific situations (outlined in canons). Further, there is no ancient canonical process by which a clergy person may be suspended *prior* to a ruling: only serving with heretics or sexually sinning with a woman trigger suspension—but, again, *not before* judgment.
I don't know where you get the beyond retarded and brazen opinion from that either the MP or ROCOR are in schism. Not even the Phanar considers them as such, so your ridiculous assessment falls apart.
 
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I guess there is dirt to be had on the selected so these people will make useful servants, henchmen etc.?
 

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@Katechon, can you clarify what you mean? The MP broke communion with the EP on 2018-09-14, though they tried to use a seemingly non-canonical half-measure to do this in such a way as to break communion only with hierarchs, not with laity; I cannot figure out which canon remotely justifies such a thing. On 2018-10-15, they issued a more normal decision that made the schism more canonical, extending the break to laity. This fits pretty solidly with St Basil's definition of schism, even if certain hierarchs wish to play word games. Has there been a change in status I've missed that has restored communion between the MP and the EP?
 

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You talking about a priest, if he was chosen for a higher position by clergy of greater repute then yourself maybe you should hold you mud least people think less of you,,,
 

ilyazhito

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ROCOR defrocked the man for forging a letter allegedly appointing him as bishop of Miami and then for refusing to appear before an investigative committee of the Eastern American Diocese, but instead fleeing without proper release to another jurisdiction. The link below explains why Alexander Belya was.defrocked in the first place. The second link is the official resolution where Alexander Belya was defrocked.

 

Opus118

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Are there reasons it should not be trusted?
There have been misinformation (errors, that are sometimes corrected) in the past. I read the site with caution. I am already acquainted with the topic and tried to make sense of it in this thread:
 

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There have been misinformation (errors, that are sometimes corrected) in the past. I read the site with caution.
Okay, thanks. I'm not very familiar with that site so it's good to get some feedback about it.
 

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To acknowledge an elephant in the room: this may be a justified effort to create home for people drawn to Russian Orthodox tradition who nevertheless can't stomach falling under Partiarch Kirill, a war monger and, by some estimates, a heretic . As colorful as Archimandrite Alexandr appears to be, you guys seriously think his ethical failings are any greater than those of, I don't know, any other MP hierarch in good graces with their Great Master and Father the war-monger? And what would you advise those who disagree with this?
(not asking for myself; personally I am seriously considering UGCC right now. Can't honestly reject any one side of the Great Schism as "not the real Church", and if so, rejecting the West while in the West becomes unsustainable).

P. S. Fr. Kirill Govorun would be a logical choice for a head of such a structure, he recently mentioned he's transferring to EP. REALLY doubt he'd want to be a Bishop, though.
 

LizaSymonenko

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ASSEMBLY OF BISHOPS REBUKES PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW, ARCHBISHOP ELPIDOPHOROS IN DISPLAY OF UNITY

"There are those of us who... find it impossible to concelebrate with him and the vicariate. Naturally, then we cannot continue participating in the Assembly itself if this man is elevated to the episcopacy....

Your Eminence, beloved brother in Christ, we worked so hard to increase our unified witness during the days of the pandemic, and because we do not want to take a step back from this, we are compelled to express our unanimous concerns regarding this intended consecration. As we approach the Feast of the Holy Apostles, having celebrated the bestowal of the Holy Spirit - the Paraclete that calls us to unity - we respectfully entreat you and the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reconsider this decision, which imperils the unity for which we yearn."

 

IreneOlinyk

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Where did Orthodoxyindialogue get that since it's not on the Assembly of Bishops website with all their other released statements?

Good for you for catching that. You are right. I am not very computer-literate but I can't find a link in the article to the web source of the letter.
I just noticed the letterhead. But why is the letter only signed by 5 members?
From the internet chatter the letter appeared on the pro-Russian site first yesterday. Just reading the letter gain I notice the 5 hierachs are writing to Abp. Elpidophoros: as Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops.
" We, presiding hierarchs of member jurisdictions of our Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America, write to you as Chairman of the Assembly, to express our grave concern..."
I agree with what the hierarchs have written especially regarding the moral character of Belya with all unethical dealings. It looks like the first time this letter came up on the internet was on the pro-Russian web site: June 27 Jurisdictions unite against GOARCH plans to make defrocked archimandrite a bishop / OrthoChristian.Com a day before Orthodoxy in Dialogue posted it June 28.

I hope the is still time to prevent the consecration scheduled for July30th.
And I advised everyone to read the article by Svetlana Vais to understand why Belya moral character precludes him from being a bishop. МЫСЛИ: Светлана Вайс. МАТРОНА МОСКОВСКАЯ, В ЗЕМЛЕ АМЕРИКАНСКОЙ НЕ ПРОСИЯВШАЯ. Новая «православная бизнес-схема» в Майями: от семейных приходов – к семейной епархии! — Credo.Press (archive.org)
 

LizaSymonenko

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I think only 5 hierarchs signed because maybe they are the ones who sit on the "board" of the Assembly. All hierarchs are members, but, there are always one who is president (or whatever term they use), treasurer, etc.

EDIT: or maybe not... I looked up their Leadership... and some of them are simply "members".

Perhaps they knew the man personally, or the situation??
 

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A letter signed by 5 bishops certainly beats the recent statements signed by 0 . But without analyzing every bit of the minutiae here (it's some real 4D chess), a few things I notice. First, it's clear the canons are not the issue here: there is no mention of specific canons (the deposition can be overcome—only a few violations lead to permanent deposition), just vague talk about "canonicity" (while most of the signatories are in an almost hopelessly-uncanonical situation, jurisdictionally speaking), "character" (no inside knowledge here, but if there is a canonical impediment then why not raise it?), and "unity" (which leads to point #2). Second, there is no desire left for bringing America to Orthodoxy: all that is desired is a return to the "old ways", where the "right" local Churches/bishops/whatever get to stand together in false unity as another *denomination*, rather than paving the way to evangelize, teach, and bring in millions—including other bishops—into the communion and grow the orthodox Church founded by Jesus Christ. Third, this may be the "straw" that finally breaks the AOB, which is canonically questionable (at best) at pretty much every level, has become a opaque den of politics, personalities, and power, and may have perhaps become the single largest US-based *impediment* to unity that we now have.
 

StanislavU

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The article is sharply critical of both ROCOR and Belyas Inc. As would be expected on Credo, a True/Alt Orthodox resource (I am not saying they are actually wrong in anything). Notably, it does not accuse the Belyas of any actual misconduct other than unspecified money laundering (very believable, but with no actual proof) and cultivating their kitchen mafia defenders (ditto). It seems like the clan tried to operate like it was the Mother Church and got burned. Their moral fiber is not any worse than that of the dozens of the newer Bishops back in Russia, or Ukraine (all branches). In fact, their business focus may make them more predictable - they are building a business, not a cult.
Again, personally, I'd avoid dealing with both the Slavic Vicariate and certainly ROCOR, but all the best and eternal salvation to all in these structures.
 

StanislavU

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Where did Orthodoxyindialogue get that since it's not on the Assembly of Bishops website with all their other released statements?

Off topic: I haven't paid much attention to that website. Wow, do they have a lot of critical things to say about MP, OCA, and especially ROCOR! My, oh my! Some disturbing things, too.
 

kijabeboy03

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There is irony here given the thread's talking in part about the ROCOR, which has over the years received so very many people without canonical release (in the case of the already ordained, Orthodox ones) or doing proper, in-depth background checks to see if they were abusers, unstable, et cetera (which many of them were/are). But to be fair, people are people no matter what "holy jurisdiction" they belong to...

It's interesting how Archbishop Elpidophoros has a pattern of behaving like some spin-off bishop (like vagantes or those of "independent churches"): catch-all politics, open support for politicians (although "spin-offers" rarely manage to do this beyond a local level), open communion, misrepresentation of their denomination as a whole to fit their own agenda (in his case, primus sine paribus and claiming the Orthodox Church is pro-choice)...

The real tragedy is that he's not a backyard vagante, he's the primate of a holy jurisdiction. The only thing they have in common is that they're both less about "Orthodox" and more about "Church". Anaxios!

It's an unofficial Russian/English propaganda page for the Moscow Patriarchate and the current regime in Moscow.

Are there reasons it should not be trusted?
 

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Good for you for catching that. You are right. I am not very computer-literate but I can't find a link in the article to the web source of the letter.
I just noticed the letterhead. But why is the letter only signed by 5 members?
From the internet chatter the letter appeared on the pro-Russian site first yesterday. Just reading the letter gain I notice the 5 hierachs are writing to Abp. Elpidophoros: as Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops.
" We, presiding hierarchs of member jurisdictions of our Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America, write to you as Chairman of the Assembly, to express our grave concern..."
I agree with what the hierarchs have written especially regarding the moral character of Belya with all unethical dealings. It looks like the first time this letter came up on the internet was on the pro-Russian web site: June 27 Jurisdictions unite against GOARCH plans to make defrocked archimandrite a bishop / OrthoChristian.Com a day before Orthodoxy in Dialogue posted it June 28.

I hope the is still time to prevent the consecration scheduled for July30th.
And I advised everyone to read the article by Svetlana Vais to understand why Belya moral character precludes him from being a bishop. МЫСЛИ: Светлана Вайс. МАТРОНА МОСКОВСКАЯ, В ЗЕМЛЕ АМЕРИКАНСКОЙ НЕ ПРОСИЯВШАЯ. Новая «православная бизнес-схема» в Майями: от семейных приходов – к семейной епархии! — Credo.Press (archive.org)
I read the article by Svetlana Vais, and was in shock that such a person could even have been considered as a bishop. The other allegations that I have seen against him, by themselves, should be enough to disqualify him. First, he brought clergy to America without approval. Vais herself calls the priests who served with him "invited Trans-Carpathian and Moldavian priests" who "complained about their modest pay, yet understood what the difference is between Miami and Mukachevo". This would indicate that the invited priests were in a subordinate position, and did not feel that they could appeal to Metropolitan Hilarion for redress. Second, he forged the letters sent to Moscow indicating that he was a candidate for the episcopacy from the ROCOR Synod of Bishops. Because his name was on the letters together with Archimandrite James (Corazza), a long-time cleric of the Western American Diocese who later became Bishop of Sonora and a vicar of the Western American Diocese, the fact that the letter was forged held up Archimandrite James' consecration. I've also read accusations that Ivan Belya, his younger brother, was involved in trafficking women. Vais' article actually explains how the scheme worked: bring pregnant women over to the US so they could have American citizen children, give them somewhere to stay, and the money went into Ivan's pocket. That is why the ROCOR Synod of Bishops officially removed his candidacy from consideration, placed him and Ivan under a ban from serving, and began an investigation. They also ensured that the imported priests, Archimandrite Siluan Lembei, Archpriest Sergei Prisacaru, and Archimandrite Stefan Khilchuk could continue to serve, because they had no involvement in Alexander Belya's scheme.
 

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ROCOR has also been known for kicking out people once they found out they were fake. Nathan Monk was defrocked, Bishop Jerome was told to retire after a number of questionable ordinations, Alexander Belya was defrocked for forgery and refusing to answer summons by the Investigative Committee, and Ramzi Musallam (a.k.a. Hieromonk Ilia), now known as Metropolitan Archbishop Melchisdeck, was dismissed once ROCOR found out that he was vagante and had no intentions of staying in the canonical Orthodox Church.
 

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I read the article by Svetlana Vais, and was in shock that such a person could even have been considered as a bishop. The other allegations that I have seen against him, by themselves, should be enough to disqualify him. First, he brought clergy to America without approval. Vais herself calls the priests who served with him "invited Trans-Carpathian and Moldavian priests" who "complained about their modest pay, yet understood what the difference is between Miami and Mukachevo". This would indicate that the invited priests were in a subordinate position, and did not feel that they could appeal to Metropolitan Hilarion for redress.
Yes. This is how many workers on temporary visas feel; welcome to our world.

Second, he forged the letters sent to Moscow indicating that he was a candidate for the episcopacy from the ROCOR Synod of Bishops. Because his name was on the letters together with Archimandrite James (Corazza), a long-time cleric of the Western American Diocese who later became Bishop of Sonora and a vicar of the Western American Diocese, the fact that the letter was forged held up Archimandrite James' consecration.
I have not seen proof of forgery, nor, really, an official accusation. I think more likely, Belya used some "intermediary" within ROCOR to secure the Archbishop's signature or inclusion of his name on a signed letter. I speculate, of course. In this case, the Belya clan might have honestly thought that "this is how things are done". Cultural clash.

I've also read accusations that Ivan Belya, his younger brother, was involved in trafficking women. Vais' article actually explains how the scheme worked: bring pregnant women over to the US so they could have American citizen children, give them somewhere to stay, and the money went into Ivan's pocket.
This is called "maternity tourism". You could have noticed that the article mentions Miami Mama as a big sponsor of the whole enterprise. Miami Mama, for all its scandals, is prominent in the business of maternity tourism, legally. Now, if Ivan Belya brought women for a "pilgrimage" specifically so they would deceive a visa officer about the purpose of their trip, that would be illegal (but very hard to prove). In any case, I fail to see how this is "trafficking".

That is why the ROCOR Synod of Bishops officially removed his candidacy from consideration, placed him and Ivan under a ban from serving, and began an investigation. They also ensured that the imported priests, Archimandrite Siluan Lembei, Archpriest Sergei Prisacaru, and Archimandrite Stefan Khilchuk could continue to serve, because they had no involvement in Alexander Belya's scheme.
Good to know.
I would say that if the jurisdictions want to accommodate communities like Russian Miami (and why would they leave them out?), they will have to learn to live with people with this kind of mentality. I can see why you wouldn't want to give them their own uncontrollable eparchy, soo... let's hope GOARCH knows what they are doing.
 

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Where did Orthodoxyindialogue get that since it's not on the Assembly of Bishops website with all their other released statements?

I imagine one of the signatories or their secretary.

The website states:

This letter was handed over to Orthodoxy in Dialogue by a source who wishes to remain unnamed. It seems that it was never intended for public view.
 

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But to be fair, people are people no matter what "holy jurisdiction" they belong to...
If by the quotation marks you wish to insinuate a jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church isn't inherently holy, maybe you should seek and pray more about the mystery of the Church before bothering yourself with the technicalities of ecclesiology. It was very hard for the apostles to remember Christ's miracles when they saw him on the cross.
 

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If by the quotation marks you wish to insinuate a jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church isn't inherently holy, maybe you should seek and pray more about the mystery of the Church before bothering yourself with the technicalities of ecclesiology. It was very hard for the apostles to remember Christ's miracles when they saw him on the cross.
Who are you referring to in this post?
 

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This letter was handed over to Orthodoxy in Dialogue by a source who wishes to remain unnamed. It seems that it was never intended for public view.
That is concerning. We have statements being released with no signatures, as if from a the administration of a faceless *denomination*, which are (allegedly) supposed to be public. Then we have letters from bishops of the faithful, with actual signatures, which are not supposed to be seen? Why are we not supposed to see or hear or know what our bishops are doing, precisely when they are supposed to be "ecclesial persons" open to everyone and the canons all but mandate much of their work being done in full view of the faithful? I get the issues with this particular letter (eg, the now-public unmasking of some more big names as being behind some of the "crises" and schisms and who are heavily pushing for more of said schisms), but this overall pattern of seeming to attack the traditional canonical order and turn orthodoxy Christianity into one more denomination is perhaps the most troubling aspect of all of this to me.
 

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ROCOR has also been known for kicking out people once they found out they were fake. Nathan Monk was defrocked, Bishop Jerome was told to retire after a number of questionable ordinations, Alexander Belya was defrocked for forgery and refusing to answer summons by the Investigative Committee, and Ramzi Musallam (a.k.a. Hieromonk Ilia), now known as Metropolitan Archbishop Melchisdeck, was dismissed once ROCOR found out that he was vagante and had no intentions of staying in the canonical Orthodox Church.
Not to mention both the Blanco and Boston monasteries, which were dealt with as soon as complaints were made.
 

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Archbishop Elpidophoros and the Patriarchate of Constantinople consider that the allegations against Alexander Belya, a defrocked former archimandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, lack any proof, and thus they intend to proceed with his consecration to the episcopacy later this month.

Pretty bizarre read. "We didn't find the original forged letter and there's a new letter, so it's okay."
 
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