+NIKOLAI TO LEAVE ALASKA
• Controversial Bishop of Alaska Agrees to Leave
• +Herman, +Benjamin To Administer Diocese
• Other Important Decisions Made
The Synod of Bishops, meeting in Syosset today, persuaded Bishop Nikolai of Alaska to agree to a voluntary 'Leave of Absence'. The decision follows an investigative tour of the Diocese, conducted last week, by Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Tikhon at the request of the Synod during its last meeting two weeks ago. (Read that story here) In announcing their decision the Bishops stated:
"His Grace, Nikolai, Bishop of Sitka, Anchorage, and Alaska, after having heard the report of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, and His Grace, Bishop Tikhon; and after the deliberations of the Holy Synod of Bishops, has agreed to take a voluntary leave-of-absence, to be reviewed at the May 2008 Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman takes the responsibility of Administrator of the Diocese of Alaska, effective April 17, 2008.
His Grace, Bishop Benjamin is named to assist Metropolitan Herman in the administration of the Diocese of Alaska."
The Bishop is, in effect, being given a month to clean up his affairs and depart from the Diocese. During that time he will have no authority in the Diocese, as the Metropolitan has assumed all administrative duties. The Bishop is then expected to continue on his 'leave of absence' indefinately, as any return would have to be agreed upon with the concurrence of the full Synod. The decision to voluntarily resolve the controversy in this manner avoids a potentially embarrassing and costly process required to depose a diocesan Bishop, while nonetheless removing +Nikolai from all active involvement in Church affairs.
In other decisions taken today, the Synod announced:
"The Holy Synod received and approved the following recommendations of the Metropolitan Council, made at their meeting of March 31 - April 2, 2008:
• Archpriest Eric Tosi was blessed to be the Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America.
• Attorney Thaddeus Wojcik was blessed to be the General Legal Counsel of the Orthodox Church in America.
•The Holy Synod blessed the formation of a standing Metropolitan Council Legal Committee, consisting of Gregory Nescott, Sergei Givotovsky and Angela Parks.)"
In legal matters, the OCA announced that:
"The recommendation of the Metropolitan Council (concerning certain legal matters regarding the former Chancellor, Robert S. Kondratick) was tabled until the next Holy Synod Meeting, scheduled for May 13 -15, 2008."
In other words, one may reasonably assume the Bishops put off a decision to counter-sue Mr. & Mrs. Kondratick in the face of their (the Kondratick's) pending lawsuit against the OCA.
- Mark Stokoe