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Author Topic: An open letter to Archbishop Dmitri  (Read 17331 times) Average Rating: 0
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larsong
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« on: June 02, 2004, 01:45:02 AM »

Protection of the Theotokos

www.pokrov.org

1621 Haight Street #3
San Francisco, CA 94117
Voice mail: 415-820-9645
Date: June 1, 2004

An open letter to Archbishop Dmitri, Diocese of the South, OCA
via fax

Re. Fr. Andrew (AKA Sterling Rayburn, Isaac Melton, Brother Isaac,
Father Andrew Isaac Rayburn, Sterling Melton Peter Rayburn)


Your Eminence:

We have recently posted information on the Pokrov.org web site about the arrest and conviction of Sterling Rayburn AKA Fr. Andrew for multiple counts of child molestation in 1979 involving boys as young as 11 years old.

As you are well aware, Father Andrew was arrested at your chancery in Miami, where he was employed. He then served time in prison and on parole. Father Andrew is now serving at St. Michael's Skete (Canones, NM) in your diocese, the same diocese that he was employed at when he was arrested.

We have been unable to verify whether or not Father Andrew is a priest as well as a monk. Regardless, this man has been leading spiritual retreats for parishes and Orthodox youth for the last several years. In our investigation, we found that other Orthodox priests were aware of Fr. Andrew's background, and were unconcerned because they knew you were aware of the situation. That meant that parents unknowingly sent their children into possible danger.* Not only is this in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Guidelines published by the Orthodox Church in America, it is grossly negligent on your part.

We are including a copy of the letter that you sent to the Dallas Morning News, stating the very simple canonical solution that the Church has for dealing with those who abuse children. You imply that there is no problem in the Orthodox Church, because we know how to deal with abusers.

Your Grace, considering your letter to the Dallas Morning News and your participation in the process of developing and approving the OCA Sexual Misconduct Guidelines, you should be aware that allowing Fr. Andrew to lead youth retreats is not only a violation of these guidelines, but terribly irresponsible. Father Andrew's young victims were under his pastoral care when he was an Anglican Priest. It is common knowledge that pedophiles that act on their impulses are at high risk to re-offend.

On behalf of all those children you should have protected, Pokrov respectfully requests your answers to the following questions:

    1) Why did you knowingly allow Fr. Andrew to be in a position
    of authority over innocent Orthodox youth?

    2) How do you plan on informing parishioners in your diocese,
    and all dioceses and jurisdictions who participated in retreats
    with Fr. Andrew, that their children were subjected to possible
    harm?

    3) How do you plan on warning visitors and/or neighbors of St.
    MichaelGäós Skete of the possible danger to their children?

    4) When people see a man in clerical garb who is called
    "Father" and lives in a monastery, they naturally assume he is
    trustworthy. Do you plan on providing Fr. Andrew with this
    continued position of trust?

We are disturbed because your actions demonstrate that you had no problem with Fr. Andrew's criminal past and no concern for the safety and well being of youth in your diocese.

We await a response from you. We plan to post this letter on the Pokrov web site. We look forward to posting your response as well.

Cappy Larson, Greta Larson and Melanie Sakoda

www.pokrov.org


-----------------------------------------------------
* These retreats were advertised on several web sites including the
OCA web site and on the web site of your Pharr, TX parish where
several children appear in a photograph with Fr. Andrew.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2004, 01:52:23 AM by larsong » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2004, 01:46:27 AM »

Certainly a disturbing issue. Archbishop Demetri is such a wonderful bishop; I wonder what his side of the story is. I hope he responds.

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2004, 09:38:54 AM »

If this issue is not dealt with as it should be, I would propose a day of picketing at the Archdiocese headquarters in New York.


While I think the GOAA does have concerns that definitely need outright answers in this regard, TomΣ, why picket in NY? This letter and the incident cited is to the OCA.

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2004, 09:46:27 AM »

While I think the GOAA does have concerns that definitely need outright answers in this regard, TomΣ, why picket in NY? This letter and the incident cited is to the OCA.

Yes  Embarrassed

I just realized that! It's all those similar foreign names.... And you know how in Greek when I speak of myself I include the "s" but when you speak of me you do not...it's all those crazy foreign langauge rules!!

I saw Demetri and thought that it was Demetrios!

« Last Edit: June 02, 2004, 09:48:16 AM by Tom+ú » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2004, 10:18:30 AM »

I'm the last person to make excuses for this kind of clerical wrongdoing in any church, but I'll second what anastasios said - Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) of Dallas is one of the most respected Eastern Orthodox bishops in the country. If pokrov.org, which has been accused of being anti-monk, is going to publicly accuse him, you'd better back yourselves up with sources available to the rest of us.
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2004, 10:25:56 AM »

Indeed, Serge, I agree 100%.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2004, 10:49:20 AM »

I agree with you, Serge and David.
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2004, 11:21:27 AM »

I'm the last person to make excuses for this kind of clerical wrongdoing in any church, but I'll second what anastasios said - Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) of Dallas is one of the most respected Eastern Orthodox bishops in the country. If pokrov.org, which has been accused of being anti-monk, is going to publicly accuse him, you'd better back yourselves up with sources available to the rest of us.

Please read our report more thoroughly. If you go to the page on Fr. Andrew, we have assemble a very detailed report about the time-line and the charges, etc.
Everything in the letter to +Dmitri is backed by documents.
Before publishing any information, we always order all of the court documents.   We thoroughly researched this case. Not only that, we interviewed priests in the NM area, and people who were in the Miami area in 1979 when Fr. Andrew was arrested.


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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2004, 11:31:41 AM »

Greta,

I am reading over your page on Fr. Andrew now, and I think I have noticed two contradictory statements in the opening paragraph.

Quote
In Ju ly of 1979 Sterling Melton Peter Rayburn, an Orthodox layman
and
Quote
coerced the [14-year old] boy into the act using his authority as the child's priest....

Which is the correct statement?
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2004, 11:36:12 AM »

Also, as far as going by the name "Fr. Andrew" it is the custom for a tonsured monk to be addressed as Father.  You do not have to be a hieromonk(ie priestmonk) for that title.  I am not sure about the pectoral cross though...in my experience that is reserved for hieromonks.  As a struggling person, it is good that he is a monk, but from your sources I agree that he should not be allowed around children.
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2004, 11:42:54 AM »

[Before publishing any information, we always order all of the court documents.  We thoroughly researched this case. Not only that, we interviewed priests in the NM area, and people who were in the Miami area in 1979 when Fr. Andrew was arrested. ]

And just what is your purpose for publically publishing this letter  on the internet before the Archbishop even has a chance to respond?

How many more Orthodox jurisdictions do you have to go thru before you have covered them all?

The Archbishop is one of the most beloved of all the Orthodox Bishops In America.  leave him alone!

Orthodoc




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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2004, 11:46:37 AM »

The Archbishop is one of the most beloved of all the Orthodox Bishops In America.  leave him alone!

I disagree. This is too important of an issue. The documentation supports a public inquiry.
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2004, 12:02:51 PM »

Quote
And just what is your purpose for publically publishing this letter on the internet before the Archbishop even has a chance to respond?

Good point. Doesn't make pokrov.org look too good.

Quote
How many more Orthodox jurisdictions do you have to go thru before you have covered them all?

The Archbishop is one of the most beloved of all the Orthodox Bishops In America.

Also good points.

I'm with Tom on 'leave him alone'. Not necessarily. That's what's got RCs such bad press lately. If there's hanky-panky going on, contact him and let him answer before blabbing all over the Internet.
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2004, 12:10:13 PM »

Quote
We thoroughly researched this case.

You're credibility is rather lacking though considering how POOR your "research" is regarding the information about Elder Ephraim on the pokrov site.  You would do well go and read the readings at Liturgy for this past Monday of the Holy Spirit....
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2004, 12:46:11 PM »

I don't think that Greta Larson's post should be greeted with hostility.  That eerily reminds me of the attitude that many of the "true believers" within the RCC took when their own clerical abuse scandal started to break, and its not appropriate.

These are important matters, they concern the well-being of our children and the Bishop should answer.  I have my doubts that without publicity our hierarchs are much better than the Latin ones at dealing with problems like this in a responsible manner because it is so easy *not* to do so when you are off the radar screen.

So we should let pokrov do their work.  As I have noted before, when Orthodox go off on the RCC about the clerical scandals, they should be more informed about similar issues within our own church.  And if you don't want to take pokrov at its own word, then at least you are pointed in the direction where you can do your own research, make your own inquiries and draw your own conclusions.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2004, 12:47:00 PM by Brendan03 » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2004, 01:36:57 PM »

Quote
So we should let pokrov do their work.  

No one is objecting to finding abuse and reporting it.  The point is that this should first just be sent to the bishop it concerns, IF he ignores it, dismisses it or whatever THEN go public with it.  

And Pokrov has some trouble with getting facts straight and understanding some basics of Orthodoxy as it is.
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2004, 02:25:39 PM »

[We have recently posted information on the Pokrov.org web site about the arrest and conviction of Sterling Rayburn AKA Fr. Andrew for multiple counts of child molestation in 1979 involving boys as young as 11 years old. ]

You make reference to an alleged incident that happened in 1979.  You further claim that you have reseached this matter thoroughly but give no other accusations or incidents since the incident you reference in 1979.

Let's see, 1979 was was 25 years ago.  Ever Hear of words like 'repentence' or 'rehabilitiation'?  You have no idea what went on in the Confessional between this priest and his Bishop.  Yet you have no qualms about releasing your PRIVATE letter to Archbishop Dimitri  on the internet before he even has a chance to reply and/or defend his actions.

You should at least have the decency to give him the opportunity to respond before making this public on the internet.  The fact that you haven't just undermines your credibility.

Your methods are underhanded and do not warrant an attempt to malign such a wonderful and faithful man of God.  And take that from someone who has met and socialized with Archbishop Dimitri on more than one occassion.

Orthodoc


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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2004, 02:53:56 PM »

Another thing.  The information on 'controversial groups' is rather out of date and out of touch with reality with a few of these groups (former EOC and CSB come to mind).  My point being that the info was maybe valid several years ago, but not now.  In any case, an update with qualifications should be made at the very least.  Otherwise, as many others have already said, the sites credibility is further questioned.
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2004, 04:50:00 PM »

"Let's see, 1979 was was 25 years ago.  Ever Hear of words like 'repentence' or 'rehabilitiation'?"

These are the excuses many Catholic bishops offered for letting abusers continue in ministry.  Repentence is laudable, rehabilitation is at best uncertain.  Convicted child abusers can simply not be allowed to minister to children in any capacity and a repentant sinner should be able to accept this.  I am suspicious of any who claim to be cured and insist on contact with children.

The Archbishop's actions do seem to be a violation of the OCA Policy.  The OCA's policy provides a convicted cleric is to be deposed permanently and prohibted form parish ministry. It also provides a convicted layperson can not work with youth in any capacity.  The policy seems unclear as it provides the seeming possibilty for a convicted cleric to serve in some other ministry as the individual in this case is doing.  However, if he is deposed as the policy requires it seems he would then be a layman and should not be involved in any ministry or activity with children involved.  I think Pokrov has a valid complaint although I do believe the Archbishop should have been given the opportunity to respond a a courtesy, he does seem in violation of the policy and should be called to account for it.

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POLICIES, STANDARDS, AND PROCEDURES
OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
ON SEXUAL MISCONDUCT  
Adopted by The Holy Synod of Bishops - April 2, 2003  


10.06. Discipline of Clergy: (a) If clergy are found to have engaged in act of sexual misconduct, the Bishop shall impose appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church.

(b) Any member of the clergy who admits or is found to have committed child sexual abuse shall be suspended by the applicable Bishop, shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. Any report to any law enforcement or social service agency required to be made by reason of the admission or finding shall be made. Such conduct shall be conclusive grounds for him to be deposed as set forth herein.

11.05. Restrictions and Prohibitions on Church Service: (a) Unless approved by the Bishop in writing at the request of the Rector, laypersons who are volunteers should not be considered for work with youth or children until they have been members of the parish for a minimum of six months.

(b) No person who has been convicted or has plead guilty to any violation of law involving child sexual or physical abuse, and no person known to have a paraphilic diagnosis such as, but not limited to, pedophilia, exhibitionism, or voyeurism as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, shall be allowed to work with children or youth in any capacity.

(c) Adult survivors of child abuse must meet with the Rector before being approved to work with children or youth, and a criminal records check must be performed as to such individuals.


http://www.oca.org/pages/ocaadmin/documents/holysynod/040203sexualmisconduct.html#1006

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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2004, 04:55:38 PM »

Another thing.  The information on 'controversial groups' is rather out of date and out of touch with reality with a few of these groups (former EOC and CSB come to mind).  My point being that the info was maybe valid several years ago, but not now.  In any case, an update with qualifications should be made at the very least.  Otherwise, as many others have already said, the sites credibility is further questioned.

The EOC is included, I would guess, as background to the current ongoing problem with the Felton schismatics.

As far as the CSB is concerned, the parishes that were brought into canonical Orthodoxy still exist-they weren't broken up upon being recieved into the Church, so I don't see what the problem is including them. And, of course, there's evidence that the CSB did exist after their entrance into canonical Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2004, 05:17:25 PM »

The EOC is included, I would guess, as background to the current ongoing problem with the Felton schismatics.

As far as the CSB is concerned, the parishes that were brought into canonical Orthodoxy still exist-they weren't broken up upon being recieved into the Church, so I don't see what the problem is including them. And, of course, there's evidence that the CSB did exist after their entrance into canonical Orthodoxy.


CSB still exists. However, "brotherhoods" are not unknown in Orthodoxy.




CSB still exists. However, "brotherhoods" are not unknown in Orthodoxy. I wonder though why anyone would suggest that these parishes should be broken up? These are people who lived and grew together in the same area for many years. Should they all start attending new parishes in the area(if they exist) in an attempt to be less insular?
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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2004, 05:27:26 PM »

Greta,

I am reading over your page on Fr. Andrew now, and I think I have noticed two contradictory statements in the opening paragraph. andWhich is the correct statement?

Rayburn molested the children while he was an Anglican priest. He discontinued his Anglican ministry and converted to Orthodoxy. He began working at the OCA office in Miami, and was an Orthodox layman -- it was at this time that he was arrested .

In response to those who thought we should have contacted +Dmitri privately: Over the past 12 years I know of at least twenty letters sent to +Dmitri about alleged abusers in his diocese and related issues. Two of them were letters I wrote personally. Never has there been a response to me or to others. That is why we wrote an "open letter."

In response to those who don't like our inclusion on Pokrov of certain groups as "controversial:" Whether you agree or not, it is exactly this kind of debate and discussion that we wish to inspire. I just wish people would focus more on the issues we highlight, rather than our alleged "issues" or "agendas." Whether you agree or not, it's important to have information.

Should anyone have updated information for any of those groups, we are always accepting submissions. While I wish I could keep Pokrov completely current, understand that there is a lot going on behind the scenes and some parts of our site don't get constant attention.

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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2004, 05:49:39 PM »

When one turns on the light in a dirty house, the cockroaches scatter.

Rather than scolding the person who turned on the light, we should clean the house and spray for roaches.
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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2004, 05:57:33 PM »

When one turns on the light in a dirty house, the cockroaches scatter.

Rather than scolding the person who turned on the light, we should clean the house and spray for roaches.

+ú++-å+»+¦!
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« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2004, 06:05:01 PM »

I must be intoxicated, I agree with Linus & Tom.

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« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2004, 06:12:57 PM »

I must be intoxicated, I agree with Linus & Tom.

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« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2004, 07:41:29 PM »

[In response to those who thought we should have contacted +Dmitri privately: Over the past 12 years I know of at least twenty letters sent to +Dmitri about alleged abusers in his diocese and related issues. Two of them were letters I wrote personally. Never has there been a response to me or to others. That is why we wrote an "open letter."]

At least twenty letters regarding ALLEGED abusers in his diocese!  No wonder he ignores you!  Who or what makes you think you have the right to harass a Bishop regarding ALLEGED abuses?  What gives you the right to think you are the police sexual patrol of any bishops diocese?  Or have the right to tell him how to run his diocese.  I understand you do the same thing with other bishops within various Orthodox jurisdictions.

Seems to me you should be looking for more productive things to do with your life than harass a Bishop for something that happened 25 years ago before that person was even Orthodox.

If you can come up with some more recent infractions by this Monk state them, if not get a life!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2004, 07:50:16 PM »

Let's face it, folks, Greta, Cappy, and Melanie are doing a thankless job.
When I saw the "Open letter" I immediately thought, "Well, I guess private letters are just too easy to ignore".
I do recall being on the receiving end of some rather sharp replies from one of these ladies over on the Indiana list early last year, but their abrasive style (in my opinion) is probably a reflection of their frustration.
Without the internet and 'open letters', how are we to even know of potential or alleged abuse?

Demetri, a supporter of Fr Ephraim.
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« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2004, 11:10:20 PM »

Unfortunately, people often forget that people are to be considered innocent until *proven* guilty.  This needs to be decided in the courts, not on the internet.  There's a big difference between *potential*, *alleged*, and *proven* incidents of abuse.
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« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2004, 11:51:06 PM »

Unfortunately, people often forget that people are to be considered innocent until *proven* guilty.  This needs to be decided in the courts, not on the internet.  There's a big difference between *potential*, *alleged*, and *proven* incidents of abuse.

I can't disagree with your post above, katherine2001. But how does that relate to the "Open" letter above and situations where abuse has led to convictions?

Demetri
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2004, 12:44:31 AM »

Also it is not known if this priest in question works alone with children or what his exact situation is.  

But we do know that pokrov is uncrediable, spreads lies and slanders etc.   Considering Pokrov lacked the discernment to get their take on Elder Ephraim correct, you have to wonder about their discernment in general.  

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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2004, 12:56:36 AM »

The simple fact, folks, is that Orthodox kids attended retreats with Fr. Andrew. Fr. Andrew pled guilty to multiple counts of having oral sex with children (not teens --children).
Archbishop Dmitri knew about Fr. Andrew's past. Parents of children were not informed. I personally find this very disturbing.

You can argue about my web site or about how we present information about monastacism, etc. but that doesn't mean that we print things that are untrue or lies. I hold my site to a very high level of accuracy. If something is not true, then let me know.

I'm in the business of protecting vulnerable people. That is my goal and if you don't like how I do it, I guess that's too bad.

While I have made an effort to present alternate views of the Ephraim debate, there are a lot of web sites about traditional monastacism out there.  If you disagree with the way that we structure the site, we are always willing to hear your point of view, but if you want to go to a web site with your exact views, then don't visit ours.
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« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2004, 03:21:37 AM »

[There's a big difference between *potential*, *alleged*, and *proven* incidents of abuse.]

That's true and my point exactly.  *potential* and *alleged*  are nothing more than gossip until proven otherwise.

[The simple fact, folks, is that Orthodox kids attended retreats with Fr. Andrew. Fr. Andrew pled guilty to multiple counts of having oral sex with children (not teens --children). ]

But you have yet to connect one with the other.  Father Andrew wasn't even Orthodox when he pled quility (if he pled guilty).  Yet you have no qualms about maligning an Orthodox bishop on the world wide internet based on the filmsy evidence you give by unsuccessfully  trying to tie two separate incidents YEARS APART with each other.

It's nice to know that you are finally giving Bishop Tikhon (whom you have been harassing for years) a little rest.  Get a life already!   And be able to *prove* your accusations before maligning anyone.

[Also it is not known if this priest in question works alone with children or what his exact situation is. ]

Very good point!  But of course, in their haste to malign and gossip these people couldn't care less!

Orthodoc


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« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2004, 08:28:52 AM »

Orthodoc,

It is utterly disappointing that your love of your Church prevent you from having any objectivity about it or any ability for criticism of it.  The individual in question was convicted.  He has no business being around children in any capacity period. The Archbishop is wrong.  Rather than maligning the people at Pokrov you should be thanking them.  Have you learned nothing from my own Church's scandal?

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« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2004, 10:29:00 AM »

Fr Deacon Lance:

You state -

Orthodoc,

It is utterly disappointing that your love of your Church prevent you from having any objectivity about it or any ability for criticism of it.  The individual in question was convicted.  He has no business being around children in any capacity period. The Archbishop is wrong.  Rather than maligning the people at Pokrov you should be thanking them.  Have you learned nothing from my own Church's scandal?

Fr. Deacon Lance

My Response:

You are right in the fact that I do love my church with all my heart and soul.  Because of that great love I will continue to defend it and one of it's most beloved Archbishops against slander based on unproven inuendo.  Accusations are to be proven before they are considered credible.

And the fact still remains that-

1)  There is NO PROOF given that this Monk molested any child since his 1979 conviction.

2  Other than a picture he may be shown on (though not identified), ALONG WITH SEVERAL OTHER PRIESTS, there is no proof that he was the leader of any youth retreat or any series of youth retreats sponsored by either the OCA or the Diocese of the South.  If that is indeed him on the picture, then all it indicates that he was present at a parish function.  Not that he led it.

You state the Archbishop is wrong without giving any substantiated proof that he allowed this person to be a youth coordinatorer in any capacity within that diocese.  Access the Southern Diocese within the OCA and show me where there is any indication this Monk is involved in any way with the youth of the diocese as is being claimed!

Let's be honest Fr Deacon Lance.  If these accusations were brought against you, would you be so willing to accept the flimsy evidence given up to this point?  I doubt it.

Orthodoc
=========

Cliams made in the open letter to Archbishop Dimitri:

[Regardless, this man has been leading spiritual retreats for parishes and Orthodox youth for the last several years.]

[Your Grace, considering your letter to the Dallas Morning News and your participation in the process of developing and approving the OCA Sexual Misconduct Guidelines, you should be aware that allowing Fr. Andrew to lead youth retreats is not only a violation of these guidelines, but terribly irresponsible. ]

Where is the proof?  Where are the facts and list of so called retreats he led?  If this group has researched this incident so thoroughly as they calim, WHERE ARE THE PROVEN FACTS THEY SHOULD HAVE GATHERED BY NOW?  Where are the dates and locations of the youth retreats this Monk led?

[ These retreats were advertised on several web sites including the OCA web site and on the web site of your Pharr, TX parish where several children appear in a photograph with Fr. Andrew.]

Let's be specific here.  Which retreats advertized on the OCA web site are tied into this priest or where does it indicate he is leading them?  Point to the picture where Fr Andrew appears alone with several children or what picture indicates that he is the leader of such a retreat?  In every picture with children there are more than one priest.  

The has been absolutely no proof given that this priest has LED youth retreats now or in the past WHILE BEING WITHIN THE OCA.

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« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2004, 11:12:41 AM »

Orthodoc,

He was convicted once and that is enough.  I don't care if it was 100 years ago.

Let me again state:
HE HAS NO BUSINESS BEING AROUND CHILDREN.

Let me clarify: I don't care if he led, assisted, participated in, or watched from his cell window.  If the monastery is one that sponsors retreats that involves youths he has no business being at the monastery period.  I am sure the OCA has monasteries that don't have youth retreats he should be in one of those.

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« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2004, 11:25:33 AM »

I have to side with Orthodoc on this one, Father Deacon (the Devil must be putting his ice skates on now).  Properly supervised (ie never alone with youths), the monk can be in the same room as children, especially if there are other monks and adults around watching him like a hawk.  Again, properly supervised.
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« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2004, 11:41:28 AM »

Shultz,

You are correct, but a retreat situation at a monastery affords to many opportunities for the monk to not be properly supervised.  Not to mention parents should not be put in the situation of having to worry about their children.

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« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2004, 11:45:05 AM »

I think Orthodoc's point is that there is no proof that he led the retreat other than a picture that shows him with a number of other monks.  He could very well be allowed to be near children during "common" times, but once more one-on-one activity ensues, he's shut away in his cell.

I think we should give this monk the benefit of the doubt that he is being supervised, especially in light of what is going on in our own Catholic church.  I highly doubt Archbishp Dmitri wants that monster on his doorstep.
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« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2004, 12:23:24 PM »

I think Orthodoc's point is that there is no proof that he led the retreat other than a picture that shows him with a number of other monks.  

But to me, and 99.9% of other parents, that is irrelevent.

It is just plain STUPID that the Church would put itself in such a precarious position.

AND unconscionable that it would put its children in the position where there is even a remote possibility that anything untoward should happen to them!

This is totally unnaceptable.

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« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2004, 12:29:40 PM »

Again, Tom, we don't know what the circumstances that this "proof" was taken.

What if this monk is completely and totally shut away from everyone and everything except for this one photo-op?  Locked in his cell, away from children and adults, all the time except for this chance encounter with a camera?

I haven't seen any proof otherwise and until I do, I'm not judging the man anymore nor will I judge Bishop Dmitri.

Quote
AND unconscionable that it would put its children in the position where there is even a remote possibility that anything untoward should happen to them!

Most of secular society would say the same about allowing children in a monastery full of saints who wouldn't dream of touching a child.  There is, after all, a remote possibility that one of those crazy celibate men locked up in that building may get frisky with a little boy!
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« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2004, 12:53:27 PM »

except for this chance encounter...

BINGO! THAT's the problem! What other "chance" encounters could possibly occur.

Why risk it?
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« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2004, 01:03:06 PM »

[Shultz,

You are correct, but a retreat situation at a monastery affords to many opportunities for the monk to not be properly supervised.  Not to mention parents should not be put in the situation of having to worry about their children.

Fr. Deacon Lance ]

Fr Deacon Lance.  Before pontificating, access the website for this so called Monastery.  You will find that it is in fact not a Monastery but a Skete WITH ONLY ONE DEACON (who is not Monk Andrew) ATTACHED TO IT.  Hardly the prerequisites for holding youth retreats as it is accused of doing now isn't it?



http://www.oca.org/pages/ocaadmin/listings/monastics.html#south

(Click on St Micheal Skete)


The Pokrov site states -

Pokrov has learned that Sterling Rayburn is currently residing  at St. Michael's Skete (OCA) in Canones, NM. Although he is apparently not a priest, he is going by the name of Father Andrew and wears a pectoral cross (see picture above). He publishes DOXA magazine under the name of Isaac Melton and Brother Isaac.

The monastery has led several youth retreats in the past few years. Sterling Rayburn is listed as the president of the St. Michael's Skete Corporation, Father George Sondergaard (OCA) is listed as the vice-president and secretary. Fr. John Bethancourt (Antiochian Archdiocese) is also a director of the monastery. Pokrov has been told that Father Andrew was allegedly watched closely by those clerics that knew about his prior conviction, but that parents of children who participated in the retreats were not informed.

Since when is a Monastery or Skete a separate corporation from the diocese it is supposedly under?


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« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2004, 01:08:45 PM »

I guess to me it all comes down to this:

Do you believe that Pokrov attempted to address this issue via private letters or not?

If you DO believe that they did so, and the Bishop ignored those letters, than pokrov has every right, and I would say a DUTY,  to publish an open letter to get this issue addressed.
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« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2004, 01:30:23 PM »

[If you DO believe that they did so, and the Bishop ignored those letters, than pokrov has every right, and I would say a DUTY,  to publish an open letter to get this issue addressed.]

Seems to me the Archbishop has better things to do than cater to the fantasies of three sexually obsessed women.  By their own admission they had sent more than TWENTY letters to him over a period of twelve years regarding what they perceived as abuses within his diocese which they are not even part of.

Without  the Archbishop is not answerable to them.  He is only answerable to the Metropolitan and God.

If you read the whole issue its full of holes from the beginning.

If this so called Fr Andrew is not a priest (as they themselves specify) and only resides at this Skete rather than being assigned to it (as they themselves specify) then -

1)  How does he fall under the authority and responsibility of Archbishop Dimitri to begin with?

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« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2004, 01:50:55 PM »

Without  the Archbishop is not answerable to them.  He is only answerable to the Metropolitan and God.

THAT'S TOTAL BULLSH*T!

And is the type of ignorant attitude that enables Satan to manipulate the weak in the Church to do EVIL THINGS!

YOU need to get your head out of you as* Orthodoc!
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« Reply #46 on: June 03, 2004, 02:04:15 PM »

Quote
He is only answerable to the Metropolitan and God.

I'm going to play the Devil's Advocate here.

Do you feel the same about Cardinal Law?
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« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2004, 02:08:16 PM »

THAT'S TOTAL BULLSH*T!

And is the type of ignorant attitude that enables Satan to manipulate the weak in the Church to do EVIL THINGS!

YOU need to get your head out of you as* Orthodoc!



And perhaps you should  read the whole thread before you go off half cocked.  In all those twenty letters this group has yet to issue PROOF to substiantiate any of their allegations.  

So I repeat -  'WITHOUT SUFFIECIENT PROOF OF ANY ALLEGATION THE ARCHBISHOP IS NOT ANSWERABLE TO THEM IN ANY WAY'.  If they can prove their allegations then he owes them a response.  Not  until or before.  

As has been stated before 'Alleged instances' are nothing more than gossip until otherwise proven.  

This group HAS YET TO PROVE ANY OF THE ACCUSATIONS AND/OR INSINUATIONS.


AGAIN, HOW ABOUT SOME DATES, TIMES, AND SPECIFIC LOCATIONS SO CALLED FR ANDREW (who is not a recognized priest by the OCA)  HELD THESE YOUTH RETREATS?

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« Reply #48 on: June 03, 2004, 02:24:43 PM »

I'm going to play the Devil's Advocate here.

Do you feel the same about Cardinal Law?

Perhaps I used a poor choice of words.  No I do not feel the same about Cardinal Law?  Unlike this incident, there was plenty of proof and  documentation to prove the allegations being made for Cardianl Law to respond.  That plus the fact they were priest under the Cardinals authority.

If the same type of proof and documentation was available in this incident the Archbishop would indeed be answerable to the laity if this man was either a priest or monk under the Archbishops authority.  He is not.  There isn't even any proof or documentation that, as a layman, he was authorized to run youth retreats by the Archbishop.  Other than an incident before he became Orthodoc.

Why these people are harassing the Archbishop when they already know this man is not an OCA priest or monk is beyond me.
Orthodoc

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« Reply #49 on: June 03, 2004, 02:37:18 PM »

Good points, Orthodoc.  

I agree with you that there's no proof other than a photograph that really proves nothing.
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« Reply #50 on: June 03, 2004, 02:49:52 PM »

Quote
Other than an incident before he became Orthodoc.

Now we know why you are defending him so strongly Cheesy
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« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2004, 02:55:15 PM »

All kidding aside, having had dinner with Apb. Dmitri and meeting him several times, being tonsured a Reader by him at the Consecration of our church, I have the confidence that he will address this 'allegation' properly, and that he has handled the issue properly in the past.
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« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2004, 02:55:41 PM »

Orthodoc,

"You will find that it is in fact not a Monastery but a Skete WITH ONLY ONE DEACON (who is not Monk Andrew) ATTACHED TO IT.  Hardly the prerequisites for holding youth retreats as it is accused of doing now isn't it?"

If you visit the monastery's own website you will see they advertise a retreat center.
http://omna.nettinker.com/michaelsk.htm

Also, the OCA site is not an exhaustive listing of every monk in each monastery but often only lists the superior of the community or sometimes the ordained monks.  

"Since when is a Monastery or Skete a separate corporation from the diocese it is supposedly under?"

I don't know current Orthodox procedure but this is the rule in the Catholic Church.

"How does he fall under the authority and responsibility of Archbishop Dimitri to begin with?"

The official OCA policy on sexual misconduct states:

No person who has been convicted or has plead guilty to any violation of law involving child sexual or physical abuse, and no person known to have a paraphilic diagnosis such as, but not limited to, pedophilia, exhibitionism, or voyeurism as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, shall be allowed to work with children or youth in any capacity.

"Why these people are harassing the Archbishop when they already know this man is not an OCA priest or monk is beyond me."

They do not know he is not a monk.  He is in fact a monk.

"Isaac Melton (Brother Isaac) is a member of the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension, Resaca, Georgia, and lives at St. Michael’s Skete in New Mexico, a dependency of Ascension Monastery. Brother Isaac is the editor of DOXA, the quarterly publication of the skete."
http://www.thechristianactivist.com/Vol%207/V7translation.htm

I would not that the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension is under the omophor of the Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Perhaps Pokrov should send a letter to the Patriarch as well.

Fr. Deacon Lance






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« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2004, 03:06:50 PM »

A retreat center for both men and women has recently been completed just across Ca+¦ones Creek on the property, about 5 minutes walk from the chapel. Retreat guests are expected to worship with the monks, but otherwise to care for themselves in the retreat house.

It sounds to me like this is just a separate quarters for any visitors who want to come to the monastery for some quiet time away from the world, and not like any organized "retreat center".

Note it also says "men and women", not "children".  I still think this sounds very much like a little dormitory across the creek to separate guests from the monks.
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« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2004, 03:10:18 PM »

Now we know why you are defending him so strongly Cheesy

Ya caught that slip of the finger!

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« Reply #55 on: June 03, 2004, 03:41:17 PM »

Fr. Deacon Lance,

A few points...

If you visit the monastery's own website you will see they advertise a retreat center.
http://omna.nettinker.com/michaelsk.htm

This is not the site of the monastery this nettinker site is an unofficial site that lists all Orthodox monasteries in North America.  There are many typos on the site as well.  I agree with Schultz about the retreat center.

Quote

They do not know he is not a monk.  He is in fact a monk.

"Isaac Melton (Brother Isaac) is a member of the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension, Resaca, Georgia, and lives at St. Michael’s Skete in New Mexico, a dependency of Ascension Monastery. Brother Isaac is the editor of DOXA, the quarterly publication of the skete."
http://www.thechristianactivist.com/Vol%207/V7translation.htm

I would note that the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension is under the omophor of the Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Perhaps Pokrov should send a letter to the Patriarch as well.

Fr. Deacon Lance


The Monastery of the Glorious Ascension was formerly in the diocese of the South but left the OCA for ROCOR while the abbot and the other ordained monks were under suspension for liturgical violations.  After a few years in ROCOR, they left ROCOR for the JP.  I am not sure if they were under similar suspension from ROCOR when they switched this last time.
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« Reply #56 on: June 03, 2004, 04:23:22 PM »

It is my understanding the monastery received a canonical release to join the patriarchate of Jerusalem. Anyone with questions should email Fr Maximos. His email is listed at www.monastery.org
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« Reply #57 on: June 03, 2004, 04:29:19 PM »

Seems this so called Monk is not now part of the OCA or under Bishop Dimitri to begin with.  He's associated with that group of Episcopal priests that converted to Orthodoxy years ago (Monastery of the Glorious Ascension).  After acting as Orthodox priests for about 20 years they decided they weren't really Orthodox after all and got themselves rebaptised on Mount Athos.  Archbishop Dimitri excommunicated them they then went under ROCOR.  Now they are under the JP.

========

["Isaac Melton (Brother Isaac) is a member of the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension, Resaca, Georgia, and lives at St. Michael’s Skete in New Mexico, a dependency of Ascension Monastery. Brother Isaac is the editor of DOXA, the quarterly publication of the skete."
www.thechristianactivist.com/V...translation.htm

I would note that the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension is under the omophor of the Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Perhaps Pokrov should send a letter to the Patriarch as well.

Fr. Deacon Lance]

Perhaps we can now expect an apology from these Pokrov people for publishing an open letter and maligining a wondeful Bishop.  I would expect that they will also post an open letter of apology to His Grace Archbishop Dimitri of the OCA and post a copy of this letter on the OCNet so we can read it.

And perhaps this will warrant the OCA to update and erase St Michael's Skete from it's website which should have been done long ago.  To avoid confusion.

Maybe Pokrov will also learn to be able to prove all their accusations before maligning hierachs on the world wide web.

Orthodoc


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« Reply #58 on: June 03, 2004, 04:48:33 PM »

Orthodoc, here is the official letter that Abp Demetri sent to the two priests in that incident: http://www.oca.org/pages/ocaadmin/documents/Official/1997-AbpDimitri-on-suspensions-1111.html
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« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2004, 04:48:58 PM »



Let's see, 1979 was was 25 years ago.  Ever Hear of words like 'repentence' or 'rehabilitiation'?  You have no idea what went on in the Confessional between this priest and his Bishop.  Yet you have no qualms about releasing your PRIVATE letter to Archbishop Dimitri  on the internet before he even has a chance to reply and/or defend his actions.


This sounds eerily like it was written by a Roman Catholic Bishop in the US.

If the man was convicted and did time, then he should not have contact with children. Yes it is fine if he is living life as a monk today...but there shold be no contact with children -- period.

As far as keeping accustaions quiet. It is precisely this approach that lead to thousands of children falling victim to RC priests here in the Sates.

If the charge is false though, then I trust the organization will retract as loudly as it charges and it can also be held accountable for civil penalties regarding libel and slander.  

Coming from a RC parish who had a molster as a priest, I was sickened by the rush to doubt and besmirch his accusers. Now that that priest is in prison. No one there has yet to offer a puiblic apology to his victims for not only doubting them, but besmirching their credibility and motives.

The OCA has enough priests that it does not need to use one with a record for child molestation in any capacity where children are involved. In that regard I wait for the Bishop's response anxiously, and pray that this group has got its facts wrong and "Fr. Andrew" has had no contact with children.

It is a great comfort for my wife and I to be comfortable allowing our children to talk to our Orthodox priests in private. This is a facet long gone from the experience of parents in the RC Church in the US today, where all priests are not allowed to be alone with children.

And for the record -- no one can ever be cured of pedophilia, and it is dangerous to think one can be -- part of their "rehabilitation" is never being alone or in contact with children.
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« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2004, 04:51:00 PM »

I trust his Eminence Archbishop Dmitri will deal with this incident as it warrants.  I cannot fault lay groups for wanting more information about the matter.

But, I am very disturbed by the lack of protocol, respect, and basic knowledge of Orthodox practice that Pokrov has shown to our hierarch:  In their public accusations, they speak of his Eminence simply by his first name, without showing normal respect in using his proper title.

They falsely and ignorantly assume that a monk's allowing others to address him as "Father" (as is always done in the Slavic tradition and in the OCA; and isn't it the same with the Greeks?) and wearing of a pectoral cross (as is often worn by igumens, including those who are not priests) is somehow a sign that he is pretending to be a priest.  

They broadcast a "letter" sharply criticizing his Eminence, without, by their own admission, giving him an opportunity to respond personally to this particular accusation before broadcasting it over the Internet.  It is hard to understand how this could be seen as anything other than underhanded.

Adopting a tone of personal attack in addressing his Eminence, they make unwarranted and blatant assumptions such as, " . . . You had no problem with Fr. Andrew's criminal past and no concern for the safety and well being of youth in your diocese . . . ."

How would these people know whether his Eminence had "no problem" with this monk's past admission of guilt and conviction?  They have themselves stated that they are not privy to whether or not his Eminence ever took actions to investigate and respond to the matter.

And, how dare they assume that our archbishop, who meets with the teenagers in his Cathedral parish for a monthly lunch and conversation in his own residence, and who makes a special point of always meeting with children and youth in every parish and mission he visits, often spending more time in conversation with them than with "promiment" lay and ordained folk nearby, has "no concern for the safety and well being of youth in [his] diocese"?

Using such dismissive, unfounded, and ad hominen language, they seem to load the dice, virtually guaranting that the object of their attack will not dignify such calumnification with a response.  The three members of Pokrov can then complain of the hierarch's "unresponsiveness."  How convenient.

Taking those breaches together with the very speculative material Pokrov broadcasts about the monasteries of Fr. Ephraim (I and others from my parish have gone on several retreats at Holy Archangels Monastery here in Texas, and have never found anything remotely "cult-like" about it; unless, of course, one regards traditional monasticism itself as "cult-like," which hardly seems an Orthodox point of view), it is difficult not to take their accusations with anything other than a very large grain of salt.

Which, in cases where some concern might be warranted, is very unfortunate.

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« Reply #61 on: June 04, 2004, 01:09:27 PM »

Orthodoc,

"Perhaps we can now expect an apology from these Pokrov people for publishing an open letter and maligining a wondeful Bishop.  I would expect that they will also post an open letter of apology to His Grace Archbishop Dimitri of the OCA and post a copy of this letter on the OCNet so we can read it.

And perhaps this will warrant the OCA to update and erase St Michael's Skete from it's website which should have been done long ago.  To avoid confusion.

Maybe Pokrov will also learn to be able to prove all their accusations before maligning hierachs on the world wide web."

Neither the Jerusalem Patriarchate site http://jerusalempatriarchate.com/ nor that of the Ascension Monastery list St. Michael's Skete as a dependancy, but the OCA's does and its hegumen is an OCA deacon, so the Archbishop does have a share of the responsibility.

Fr. Deacon Lance

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« Reply #62 on: June 04, 2004, 02:37:25 PM »

[Neither the Jerusalem Patriarchate site http://jerusalempatriarchate.com/ nor that of the Ascension Monastery list St. Michael's Skete as a dependancy, but the OCA's does and its hegumen is an OCA deacon, so the Archbishop does have a share of the responsibility.]

Fr Deacon lance give it up already!  Check the Clergy listing of the OCA -

http://www.oca.org/pages/ocaadmin/listings/clergy.htm

You will not find either a Deacon Henne or this Monk listed.

Obviously it is now some type of corporation.

And what responsibility does Archbishop Dimitri share in?  For not having this so called Skete,  consisting of a Deacon and  bogus monk in residence that some including you have turned into a Monastery & 'youth retreat center', taken off the website after they were excommunicated years ago?  I'm not even sure the Archbishop knows how to access a website.

His grace has been accused of knowling putting the youth of his diocese in danger by approving youth retreats by these same people he excommunicated. Gimme a break!  What responsibility Fr Deacon?  Please explain how an eighty year old man who spends hours with the children of his diocese cooking for them, talking to them, and spiritually guiding them can be maligned publically based on a picture and a website that still lists the Skete as part of his diocese which it isn't.  You will not find the skete listed if you access the OCA portion for the 'Diocese of the South'.  Only when you access the OCA portion for Monastic centers.  Fault seems to lie within the OCA for not properly maintaining that portion of the website.

I spent this Bright Monday along with Bright Monday of last year as an invited guest in his residence  for an Agape meal.  Both times I was amazed at the energy this saintly man has as I watched him, an Archbishop of the Church, personally running around either cooking or serving people food!  I also watched in amazement that as soon as he sat down he was immediately swarmed by the children who so obviously love him by the way they hug him, follow him, and sit intently listen to every word he utters.  that's why this whole thing is disgusting for me.  There isn't a Sunday in Dallas that goes by that his residence isn't full of people parish or visitors.  The Russian Baba's absolutely adore this man!

To have some outsiders who, without doing much research, accuse him of not caring about the youth he cares so much about is down right rotten!

The only accusation I can think of for this man is that he has a sweet tooth for 'Snicker Bars'!  Hand him a Snicker Bar and his face lights up like a Christmas Tree!

You are right.  I do love my Church and will continue to defend both it and its people when necessary when FALSE ALLEGATIONS are made against it.  And, especially a person with the holiness of this beloved Archbishop.  

This year for his 80th birthday he was given a huge banquet by the local Greek Orthodox Church to celebrate.  A banquet that even people from the ROCOR Cathedral in San Francisco flew in to attend.  That is how beloved he is by ALL ORTHODOX OF ALL JURISDICTIONS.

Orthodoc





 


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« Reply #63 on: June 04, 2004, 03:35:58 PM »

Orthodoc is right.  The only fault that seems to lie here is the OCA webmaster's laziness in removing this listing from the website.
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« Reply #64 on: June 05, 2004, 11:00:14 PM »

I applaud Pokrov's work in this area.  Clergy sexual abuse is one of the most heinous acts there is and constitutes a huge abuse of trust and can really adversely affect one's relationship with God and the Church for their entire life.  If Pokrov has prevented further clergy abuse, then kudos to them.  We can't (nor should we) just sweep abuse claims under the rug.

Archbishop Dmitri is one of the most respected Orthodox leaders in America, and probably has a good chance of succeeding Metropolitan Herman.  If he bears no responsibility in this, then that will come out in time.  But we can't tell Pokrov to "shut up" because we don't like what they're saying.  

The stuff they report we might never otherwise hear about, and 21st century Americans don't have the blind trust that people ages ago may have had.  I'm glad of the reports Pokrov has made on Bishop Demetri of the AOAA, for example.  Orthodox Americans should know things like this, and how candid would the "official" statement from the Archdiocese be?  

I wouldn't say that Pokrov is anti-monastic.  I think they're just in favor of "good monasticism," and "good Orthodoxy" for that matter.  Child molesters simply cannot be put in supervision of or authority over children.  Case closed.
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« Reply #65 on: June 05, 2004, 11:56:40 PM »

Quote
I wouldn't say that Pokrov is anti-monastic.  I think they're just in favor of "good monasticism," and "good Orthodoxy" for that matter.

Right..... so the ancient monasticism of the Holy Mountain is no longer "good monasticism" nor "good Orthodoxy"?  

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« Reply #66 on: June 06, 2004, 12:25:24 AM »

I agree with Orthodoc that Pokrov owes Bishop Dmitri an apology for dragging him into this matter when the person in question is not under his authority.  Obviously, their fact-finders did a lousy job on this occasion.  Maybe if they had written Bishop Dmitri directly instead of posting an open letter on the internet, they would have discovered this.    Since they have dragged Bishop Dmitri's name and reputation in the mud, I do think they owe him an apology in another open letter on the internet admitting that they were mistaken in addressing the letter to him.
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« Reply #67 on: June 06, 2004, 07:55:21 AM »


[Case closed.]

No the case is not closed!  Far from it.

Prokov, just like anyone else who makes public accusations against another on the internet, has the responsibility to be able to prove those accusations or provide sufficient documentation to validate their claim.  Just because the 'cause' is good is not sifficient reason try and justify what they have done.

As someone else has already mentioned Pokrov did a poor job of both before maligning this wonderful man.

Until Pokrov makes a public apology to Archbishop Dimitri this case remains open.  Though I won't hold my breath  waiting for this to happen.

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« Reply #68 on: June 06, 2004, 08:13:21 AM »

I think Pokrov could do the church a service if they did things differently.  I've seen both their website and the messages that they post on the Indiana List, and, personally, I am not impressed by their methods.  I feel very sympathetic to anyone who was abused by clergy, but, it's important not to make new victims by maybe accusing people of things of which they may be innocent.

If every single word of the letter can't be proven to be true, then they could be found guilty of libel if they were taken to court.  I would think they would have people who would research very carefully that Bishop Dmitri has authority over them before publishing an open letter to him on the internet.

 

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« Reply #69 on: June 06, 2004, 09:41:30 AM »

Most of the postings on Pokrov's site list newspaper articles, court hearings, decisions, letters from affected family members, etc., to support the claims that they make.  The claims they make are hardly "random."  They could probably do a better job of it, but they do appear to go to some lengths to prove what they assert.  

Child sexual abuse is a lot like killing a developing baby -- we have an obligation to protect the powerless, to protect those who can't defend themselves.  Katherine is right -- if someone is falsely accused of something as serious as child sexual abuse on a public forum like the internet, they could sue for libel and probably win.  If this happened, I'm sure Pokrov would be "out of business."  But we need to have avenues to expose accused child molesters - even within our own Church - rather than sweep it under the carpet and pretend it did not happen.  I would like to think that this doesn't happen in Orthodoxy, but like Christ commands us, we have to deal with reality.
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« Reply #70 on: June 06, 2004, 03:33:21 PM »

[Most of the postings on Pokrov's site list newspaper articles, court hearings, decisions, letters from affected family members, etc., to support the claims that they make.  The claims they make are hardly "random."  They could probably do a better job of it, but they do appear to go to some lengths to prove what they assert. ]

And where are all those newspaper articles, court hearings, etc. concerning the SPECIFIC ACCUSATION they are making against Archbishop Dimitri?  You are mixing apples and oranges Gregory2. We are discusssing a specific accusation.  Not all the accusations made on the site.  Pokrov made it personal when they posted a letter addressed to Archbishp Dimitri.

The only evidence provided was in 1979  which was  25 years ago AND BEFORE THIS GUY START CALLING HIMSELF A MONK AND WAS EVEN ORTHODOX.  That, and a picture  TAKEN AT A PARISH FUNCTION WITH OTHER PRIESTS!  Just because there were children in the picture no way proves it was a youth retreat HEADED BY THIS SO CALLED MONK.

Orthodoc
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« Reply #71 on: June 06, 2004, 04:42:06 PM »

Orthodoc,

I'm just defending what Pokrov does on the whole.  I think it's good for the health of the church.  I like Archbishop Dmitri and think him a great church leader -- he was even my bishop when I lived in San Antonio.  I'm sure he's innocent, but unfortunately sometimes hierarchs of his position get implicated in things they are not directly involved in.  He's a strong man, I'm sure he can handle it, and I highly doubt if it will tarnish his reputation one bit.  

Pokrov does a lot of good, and I can forgive them if they made a mistake here.  And especially if their work saves a child from sexual abuse, I think Archbishop Dmitri forgives them too!

Have a strong vodka before today before the Apostles Fast starts!  I hate to see you so riled up!  It's not good for you!
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« Reply #72 on: June 06, 2004, 08:01:25 PM »

We have had no indication, other than some comments on this forum, that Fr. Andrew is not in the OCA or under Archbishop Dmitri.  A person investigating this case spoke with Fr. Andrew directly and he said he was under Archbishop Dmitri. I personally spoke with Fr. Andrew's confessor who said Fr. Andrew was in the OCA.
Fr. Andrew and his monastery are clearly in the OCA's Diocese of the South. Until someone can provide us with proof contrary to this fact, I stand by our report whole-heartedly.

I agree with Orthodoc that Pokrov owes Bishop Dmitri an apology for dragging him into this matter when the person in question is not under his authority.  Obviously, their fact-finders did a lousy job on this occasion.  Maybe if they had written Bishop Dmitri directly instead of posting an open letter on the internet, they would have discovered this.    Since they have dragged Bishop Dmitri's name and reputation in the mud, I do think they owe him an apology in another open letter on the internet admitting that they were mistaken in addressing the letter to him.

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« Reply #73 on: June 06, 2004, 08:56:44 PM »

There is no question that matters of child sexual abuse need to be taken very seriously, and not swept under the carpet.

But, this does not justify Pokrov's irresponsible, injurious methods:  their use of an "open letter" without having first sent the letter personally to its addressee, giving no fair chance to respond (one thinks of the well-known dynamic whereby those who think of themselves as "victims" so easily slip over into becoming victimizers); their failures to substantiate many of their claims adequately; or, their published innuendo and gossip-mongering against monasteries over nothing more serious than issues such as women wearing head coverings during the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch (this is cause for labeling them "cult-like"?), or the dismay of parents who did not want their adult-aged sons to become monks (a story as old as monasticism itself).

In the contemporary climate of our culture, accusations of child-abuse are the one accusation which the unethical can use with little substantiation, and with little fear of reprisal, when they wish to level false or poorly-based accusations against others.  

Pokrov can wrap themselves in the mantle of "defenders of victims of child abuse," which renders them, in the current climate, nearly untouchable, then lash out widely and with little or no responsibility for any unnecessary and unjust collateral damage.

 Thus, instead of always helping to alleviate the injuries caused by actual child sexual abuse (and I cannot say that they have never succeeded in doing so), they often add damage to an already tragic situation.  How disturbing, and how sad.

Yes, Pokrov's work is important.  But, Pokrov does not appear capable of carrying it out in an ethical and Christian manner.
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« Reply #74 on: June 06, 2004, 11:18:43 PM »

If I am wrong about anything I posted, I apologize.  However, if you didn't get an answer from Bishop Dmitri, did you try going up the chain of command until you did get an answer before posting this letter on the internet?
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« Reply #75 on: June 07, 2004, 09:58:27 AM »

[Yes, Pokrov's work is important.  But, Pokrov does not appear capable of carrying it out in an ethical and Christian manner. ]

EXACTLY!  Apparently they have no quams about destroying a Hierachs reputation based on the flimiest of evidence.  Namely, a few phone calls.


[ A person investigating this case spoke with Fr. Andrew directly and he said he was under Archbishop Dmitri. I personally spoke with Fr. Andrew's confessor who said Fr. Andrew was in the OCA. ]

So all your assertions are based on the words of the very man you are accusing of being a liar, and sexual predator?  Plus some one who claims to be his 'father confessor'?  If this monk was really a priest, wouldn't the Archbishop himself most likely be his 'father confessor'?  Regardless, your  quoted words from the so called 'father confessor' are that he is in the OCA.  Nothing about a priest within the OCA which is backed up by his name not being listed in the OCA clergy list.

Orthodoc

 

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« Reply #76 on: June 07, 2004, 05:27:27 PM »

Thanks Katherine.
Yes, we went up the chain of command.
Greta

If I am wrong about anything I posted, I apologize.  However, if you didn't get an answer from Bishop Dmitri, did you try going up the chain of command until you did get an answer before posting this letter on the internet?
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« Reply #77 on: June 08, 2004, 03:24:36 AM »


Here's is the latest post regarding this subject in another Orthodox site.  Seems Pokrov, if they had taken the time to investigate things more thoroghly, would have been aware of this before they decided to publish their 'open letter'.

---------

It might interest all to know that the latest newsletter from St. Michael's
Skete states that Fr. Andrew will no longer be publishing the news letter;
and that he is retiring to a more ascetic life in the advice of his
spiritual father and his bishop.  Perhaps Ms. Larsen and her compatriots
should have been subscribing to that newsletter.  That might have saved them
some pain.  Of course they could go to New Mexico, find a cave, and wall in
the subject monk (who incidently is not a priest) and feed him little pieces
of cactus until he expires.  Maybe that would make them happy.

----------

Prokov has yet to supply specific dates, locations, or other pertinent facts regarding where this self proclaimed priest/monk oversaw youth retreats with the knowledge of the Archbishop.

How about a retraction Pokrov?

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« Reply #78 on: June 08, 2004, 03:01:44 PM »

I still stand by everything we wrote. If you wish for us to add something, then please mail documents to our PO box.  

I'm guessing Archbishop Dmitri is your bishop, because we really hit a nerve with you. I'm not saying he's a bad man, but I do think he acted irresponsibly and that Archbishop Dmitri has a lot to answer for. Why can't he follow his own guidelines (The ones that he co-wrote, no less?!)

Fr. Andrew gave children alcohol and then orally copulated them -- mulitple children and multiple counts.  According to articles I have read on the subject, unlike people who commit other kinds of crimes like murder and theft and rape, pedophiles tend to become more and more compelled to molest children as they get older. As repentant as they may be, most can not resist their compulsion. That is why they should be kept away from children and that parents and children need to be warned.

Parents who send their children to youth events at the church trust that they are being sent somewhere safe. If they were not warned of the possible danger, then it was not a safe situation. It only takes a few moments to molest a child and scar them for life.




Here's is the latest post regarding this subject in another Orthodox site.  Seems Pokrov, if they had taken the time to investigate things more thoroghly, would have been aware of this before they decided to publish their 'open letter'.

---------

It might interest all to know that the latest newsletter from St. Michael's
Skete states that Fr. Andrew will no longer be publishing the news letter;
and that he is retiring to a more ascetic life in the advice of his
spiritual father and his bishop.  Perhaps Ms. Larsen and her compatriots
should have been subscribing to that newsletter.  That might have saved them
some pain.  Of course they could go to New Mexico, find a cave, and wall in
the subject monk (who incidently is not a priest) and feed him little pieces
of cactus until he expires.  Maybe that would make them happy.

----------

Prokov has yet to supply specific dates, locations, or other pertinent facts regarding where this self proclaimed priest/monk oversaw youth retreats with the knowledge of the Archbishop.

How about a retraction Pokrov?

Orthodoc
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« Reply #79 on: June 08, 2004, 03:11:53 PM »

Quote
I'm guessing Archbishop Dmitri is your bishop, because we really hit a nerve with you.

I'm not Orthodox, so you can't levy that charge against me.  What you did was at best shoddy investigations.  The entire crux of your position rests on the words of this monk and hearsay from his father confessor.  One does not need to have a JD to see that wouldn't hold up in court, especially in the current ecclesiastical environment where all kinds of people say they're in communion with so and so and the other party has no idea what the original group is talking about (I hope that made some sense).

The simple fact is that your "open letter" was irresponsible and you still have shown no proof that the good Archbishop a) knew anything about these retreats, b) that they even happened and c) that this monk is actually one of Archbishop Dmitri's current flock.

It seems you possess at least the ability to scan documents and photographs.  Please, shut Orthodoc and myself up by posting the incriminating evidence.
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« Reply #80 on: June 08, 2004, 03:49:35 PM »

Our investigation consisted of ordering court documents, interviewing people who worked in the Miami Chancery at the time of Rayburn's arrest, speaking with folks in New Mexico, checking the OCA clergy/monastic listings and researching Fr. Andrew's writings.

When I brought up the issue of phone calls, I was talking specifically about the jurisdictional issue that was brought up on this forum.

Maybe the Archbishop didn't know about the retreats, but he certainly did know about the arrest and the guilty plea.  I spoke at length with Fr. Andrew's spiritual father who confirmed Fr. Andrew's participation in the youth retreats. There were also photographs on the Pharr TX parish site.  There were announcements about the retreats on the OCA and Antiochian youth web sites.

I actually don't  have a scanner, but you can order the documents for yourself from the Miami County court house. If you want the documents we ordered from the Miami court house, you can send a self addressed stamped envelope to our PO box and I will send them to you.



I'm not Orthodox, so you can't levy that charge against me.  What you did was at best shoddy investigations.  The entire crux of your position rests on the words of this monk and hearsay from his father confessor.  One does not need to have a JD to see that wouldn't hold up in court, especially in the current ecclesiastical environment where all kinds of people say they're in communion with so and so and the other party has no idea what the original group is talking about (I hope that made some sense).

The simple fact is that your "open letter" was irresponsible and you still have shown no proof that the good Archbishop a) knew anything about these retreats, b) that they even happened and c) that this monk is actually one of Archbishop Dmitri's current flock.

It seems you possess at least the ability to scan documents and photographs.  Please, shut Orthodoc and myself up by posting the incriminating evidence.  
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« Reply #81 on: June 08, 2004, 05:15:37 PM »

[I'm guessing Archbishop Dmitri is your bishop, because we really hit a nerve with you.]

No he is not my bishop.  But I consider him as a friend as well as a wonderful human being and religious leader.  He doesn't deserve the kind of slander that you put forth based on one incident that happened 25 years ago before this man you accuse was even Orthodox and absolutely NO PROOF or DOCUMENTATION that any such things have currently happened with or without the Archbishops knowledge and approval.

 [but I do think he acted irresponsibly and that Archbishop Dmitri has a lot to answer for.]

You have yet to provide any valid evidence  to warrant such a slanderous statement.
'Judge ye not, lest ye be judged'.

[Fr. Andrew gave children alcohol and then orally copulated them -- mulitple children and multiple counts.]

Once again, unless you can prove or give us some evidence or documentation that these allegations happened RECENTLY with this self proclaimed priest while he was either Orthodox or under Archbishop Dimitri's authority, even as a layman (since it has been determined he is not a priest), you have no justification to attack this bishop based on what he did 25 years ago as a non-Orthodox.  

  [According to articles I have read on the subject, unlike people who commit other kinds of crimes like murder and theft and rape, pedophiles tend to become more and more compelled to molest children as they get older. As repentant as they may be, most can not resist their compulsion. That is why they should be kept away from children and that parents and children need to be warned.]

It's nice to see that you have become such expert on this based on a few articles you have read. And based on this you think you have the right to slander a bishop on the world wide internet?   Have any degrees on the subject?

What would you have had the Archbishop do if and when he found out about this man?  Post guards at all the church entrances to stop the man from attending a service because there might be youngsters inside?

Seems to me you should be spending more time studying the Orthodox faith (if you are indeed Orthodox)  and what it believes about Confession, Absolution, and Repentence and less time on pedophile witch hunts from 25 years ago!

[Parents who send their children to youth events at the church trust that they are being sent somewhere safe. ]

Knock it off already!  You have yet to give any documentated source of proof  that either this man ever presided over a church youth event with the knowledge and/or approval of the Archbishop.
Because he appears on a parish picture WITH TWO OTHER PRIESTS along with some children does not prove anything more than he was present at some parish gathering.  It certainly does not prove it was a youth retreat or they he presided over it.  Or that he was ever alone with any of the youths pictured.  


Once again, provide us with CURRENT evidence or documentation or retract your allegations!  That would be the DECENT THING FOR YOU TO DO (since you are so quick to judge what decency is or should be in others).

Ya know Christ forgave the repentant thief on the Cross.  But you are unable to forgive a man for something he did 25 years ago, paid for, and you cannot prove repeated since?  It's dissapointing to know you place yourself and your judgement above that of Christ!

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« Reply #82 on: June 09, 2004, 10:29:15 AM »

You call his Eminence Archbishop Dmitri to task for acting (according to you) irresponsibly, but you refuse to take responsibility for adequately checking your own assumptions.

We have reason to believe that Fr. Andrew and at least some of his fellow monks at St. Michael Skete may well be among the clergy whom his Eminence excommunicated last year (if I remember correctly) for accepting re-baptism without seeking the advice or permission of his Eminence and for refusing to repent.

For all we or you know, the alleged retreats with children and with Fr. Andrew in attendance at the skete may well have occurred only after he and several others associated with the Skete had been excommunicated; in which case, it is doubtful whether Archbishop Dmitri had any authority over such affairs.

All this is just speculation.  Which is the point:  You have not gathered enough hard facts to prove your allegations, but have still spread them all over the web.  This is shameful, unchristian behavior.

I admire your care for protecting children from any future acts of sexual abuse, but caution you of the temptation to become intoxicated with the perceived power of causing hierarchs to "quake in their boots" at your allegations.

When you can prove:

* that his Eminence Archbishop Dmitri was Fr. Andrew's bishop at the time these youth retreats occurred,

* that his Eminence knew, or reasonably should have known, about these retreats, and

* that his Eminence did not act responsably on such knowledge,

then I will understand and share your concern.  As yet, you have failed to do so, and have committed the sin of maligning your brother, and a devoted servant of the Church, in public.
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« Reply #83 on: June 09, 2004, 10:42:14 AM »

larsong,

(Greta)

Did you ever contact the National Director of Communications for the OCA like I suggested in an e-mail to you?

Why would you not contact this person as part of your "investigation" before posting your letter as he is the oficial spokesperson for the OCA?
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« Reply #84 on: June 09, 2004, 12:46:28 PM »

I never received an email from you. Are you sure you sent it to me?

larsong,

(Greta)

Did you ever contact the National Director of Communications for the OCA like I suggested in an e-mail to you?

Why would you not contact this person as part of your "investigation" before posting your letter as he is the oficial spokesperson for the OCA?  
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« Reply #85 on: June 09, 2004, 01:35:32 PM »

I sent it to your group's website....suggesting that you contact Fr. John Matusiak, National Communications Director for the OCA. Fr. John is the official OCA spokesman....a logical point of contact for your questions.

Fr. John can be contacted by e-mailing the OCA's website.
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« Reply #86 on: June 09, 2004, 08:06:53 PM »

SANTA FE REPORTER
JUNE 9-15, 2004

"SINS OF THE FATHER"
Orthodox monk says he would never molest a child again.
By Brendan L Smith
bsmith@sfreporter.com

Since 1993, Father Andrew has followed a path of penance at St. Michael's Skete, a small Orthodox monastery north of Abiquiu, where he prays, dips beeswax candles  and welcomes retreat visitors to worship.

Yet the 65-year old monk's past still haunts him. His conviction for child sex crimes from the 1970s recently resurfaced on a Web site that exposes sexual misconduct by Orthodox priests and monks.

Father Andrew admits he performed oral sex on four boys in Florida when he was a priest in another denomination, but he says he has been chaste since 1992 and would rather die than molest another child.

"I think everything I did was horrible and reprehensible, and I'm repentant," Father Andrew told SFR last week. "This whole thing has been so terrifying, like the past has just loomed up to get you."

Pokrov.org was created by three women in San Francisco. (Pokrov refers to the Virgin Mary and a Russian Orthodox feast day that honors her.) The group has not accused Father Andrew of any new sex crimes. However, the group believes his participation in past youth retreats at St. Michael's Skete violates the sexual misconduct policy of the Orthodox Church in America (an offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church). The policy states no person convicted of child sexual abuse "shall be allowed to work with children or youth in any capacity."

"I think the church is giving him a free ticket," says Pokrov co-founder Greta Larson. "lt's the prestige that he has. He's still called 'father'. He's still around children and youth."

Pokrov protested a three-day Orthodox youth retreat scheduled last December at St. Michael's Skete. In response, the diocese relocated the retreat to the Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church in Santa Fe, and Father Andrew did not participate.

Father Andrew says he has spoken to youth during three or four retreats, but the monastery did not sponsor the retreats and there always were parents or guardians present. "I swear to God there is nothing weird going on here. There never has been," he says. "I, for my own safety, have made sure I'm never ever alone with any child or any young lady."
Father Andrew, who founded St. Michael's Skete, told SFR he will not allow any
more youth retreats at the monastery because of the lingering concerns about his past, It's a past in which he was both a victim as well as a perpetrator of child sexual abuse.

Father Andrew says a teenage neighbor began molesting him when he was 4 years old after his father went overseas during World War II. Later, in the 1960s and '70s, he became an alcoholic and claims some gay friends encouraged him to commit sex acts with boys. "Back then, I thought I was on the cutting edge of the new morality," he says.

In the late 1970s, Father Andrew still used his birth name of Sterling Rayburn. After being deposed as an Episcopal priest in a theological schism, he founded St. Mary's Church in Winter Haven, Florida, a parish affiliated with the Anglican Catholic Church of North America. As priest of St. Mary's Church, he performed oral sex on four boys, ages 11 to 16, after giving several of them alcohol or marijuana. Father Andrew says he was gay, extremely lonely and drinking heavily at the time.

After being convicted of 10 charges, Father Andrew says he spent four years incarcerated in a sex-offender treatment program at a prison hospital in Florida
before completing his probation in 1988. He says he has been sober for 25 years.

Father John Bethancourt, the priest at Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church, told his parishioners about Father Andrew's past in January after the protest by
Pokrov. Bethancourt, who hears Father Andrew's confessions, is convinced Father Andrew is not a danger to children. "He is sober and chaste, both in thought and action," Bethancourt says. "You can be sure that Father Andrew prays with tears for the people he has hurt, weeping prostrate on the ground."

That's not enough reassurance for Larson, who created Pokrov with her mother
and a friend after her sister was molested by a Russian Orthodox parishioner in San Francisco. Larson believes sexual abuse in the Orthodox church is as rampant as the more publicized cases in the Catholic church, but Orthodox church officials "absolutely are covering it up." "The Orthodox church is probably 20 or more years behind the Catholic church on this issue," she says. "The victims are still afraid to come forward."

Bethancourt disputes Larson's characterization and says the Orthodox church
quickly deposes priests who commit sexual misconduct.

Pokrov members believe Father Andrew never should have been allowed to
become a monk, a layman's position which carries some spiritual authority
since monks wear vestments and are called "father".

Archbishop Dmitri, Father Andrew's superior in the Orthodox Church in
America, stationed in Dallas, wouldn't comment to SFR.

Bethancourt says the Orthodox church has a long history of sinners who were
prostitutes, murderers or thieves before being transformed into saints by their
penance and faith, and that Father Andrew, as a monk, is following that same path to redemption.

"I think he is growing in holiness. I know a man who is well on that road,"
Bethancourt says. "Monasticism is the place for people to repent, to take the highest dose of spiritual medicine the church can give."
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« Reply #87 on: June 09, 2004, 08:44:23 PM »

SANTA FE REPORTER
JUNE 9-15, 2004

"SINS OF THE FATHER"
Orthodox monk says he would never molest a child again.
By Brendan L Smith
bsmith@sfreporter.com

Since 1993, Father Andrew has followed a path of penance at St. Michael's Skete, a small Orthodox monastery north of Abiquiu, where he prays, dips beeswax candles  and welcomes retreat visitors to worship.

Yet the 65-year old monk's past still haunts him. His conviction for child sex crimes from the 1970s recently resurfaced on a Web site that exposes sexual misconduct by Orthodox priests and monks.

Father Andrew admits he performed oral sex on four boys in Florida when he was a priest in another denomination, but he says he has been chaste since 1992 and would rather die than molest another child.

=========

And yet the persecution goes on by dragging an Archbishop thru the mud.  You aren't staisfied with 'open letters' on the world wide internet, now you go after both accused and the Archbishop in the newspaper.

And all with no documentation to back up your claims of recent indiscretions.  You release a newspaper interview dated June 9-15, 2004 which you most probably initiated as another response in leiu of the documentation we keep asking for.

How very sad you three are.  Guess you won't be staisfied until the man is stoned to death and the Archbishop steps down.  An Archbisop who, according to the article, has offered spiritual guidance and counselling for a troubled soul. And for what?  Your own paranoia.

Once again, I guess Confession, Absolution, Repentence,  and Penance mean nothing to you.


LET YE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE!


Thank God you weren't around when St Mary of Egypt or St Theodoria were alive!

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« Reply #88 on: June 09, 2004, 08:58:06 PM »

That's not enough reassurance for Larson, who created Pokrov with her mother
and a friend after her sister was molested by a Russian Orthodox parishioner in San Francisco. Larson believes sexual abuse in the Orthodox church is as rampant as the more publicized cases in the Catholic church, but Orthodox church officials "absolutely are covering it up." "The Orthodox church is probably 20 or more years behind the Catholic church on this issue," she says. "The victims are still afraid to come forward."

This is the best part of the article, as it is most accusing BACK to Great and Co.

1) It makes Orthodoc's points valid - turning the situation back on Pokrov.  As if Pokrov has any authority (or should for that matter) or, the OCA or anyone for that matter has to answer to Pokrov.  Roll Eyes

2) Abuses cases being rampant in the Orthodox Church.  Doubtful at worst, laughable and to dismiss w/o notice at best.

3) That the Orthodox Church is 20 years behind the RCC.  Whatever.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #89 on: June 09, 2004, 09:50:12 PM »

However, the group believes his participation in past youth retreats at St. Michael's Skete violates the sexual misconduct policy of the Orthodox Church in America (an offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church). The policy states no person convicted of child sexual abuse "shall be allowed to work with children or youth in any capacity."


I am sorry but there is something seriously wrong with a priest or a monk who has admitted to having oral sex with young boys participating in youth retreats, esp if the parents did not know about his past. I understand he has repented and that he is living a chaste life, and I praise God for this, but his participation in youth retreats does seem to violate the sexual misconduct policy of OCA. But maybe not, because he was not alone with any children, but thats according to him. Anyway, I think if the Bishop knew about his past, and still let him participate in youth retreats, without notifing the parents of his past, he should apologize and not allow this to continue. However I see that Fr. Andrew won't be participating in these events anymore, probably for the best.
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« Reply #90 on: June 09, 2004, 09:51:10 PM »

[2) Abuses cases being rampant in the Orthodox Church.  Doubtful at worst, laughable and to dismiss w/o notice at best.]

What's laughable is the fact that, once again, rather than provide the documentation being asked for, this woman sets up a newspaper interview.  

The interview which does nothing more than once again prints HER OPINIONS & HER ACCUSATIONS.  And, she somehow thinks that if we see it in newspaper print it will be more believable or a sufficient  reply to our requests.

All these three women have done in their quest to destroy the lives and/or reputation of two people, is bring discredit upon themselves & their organization.

Orthodoc

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« Reply #91 on: June 09, 2004, 09:57:33 PM »

Quote
Pokrov members believe Father Andrew never should have been allowed to
become a monk, a layman's position which carries some spiritual authority
since monks wear vestments and are called "father".

<sputters> What would you have had him do, then? The whole purpose of being a monk is to withdraw from the world and repent of one's sins. I can scarcely think of a better place for a former child molester than a monastery. And monks don't wear vestments (unless they're clergy, of course), and carry no more spiritual authority by default than any other layman.
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« Reply #92 on: June 09, 2004, 10:00:25 PM »

Can't monks hear confessions? Even those Monks who are not yet priests? And aren't monks usually spiritual fathers and advisors for many? I think they have a little more spiritual authority than just any layman.
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« Reply #93 on: June 09, 2004, 10:01:41 PM »

Can't monks hear confessions? Even those Monks who are not yet priests? And aren't monks usually spiritual fathers and advisors for many? I think they have a little more spiritual authority than just any layman.

Anyone can hear a confession, but only a priest can give absolution.
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« Reply #94 on: June 09, 2004, 10:03:27 PM »

hmm Monks can't give absolution in Orthodoxy? I remember reading that they can, and I also seem to remember reading that St. Symeon the New Theologian was very much a supporter of the ideas of Monks giving absolutions.
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« Reply #95 on: June 09, 2004, 10:03:33 PM »

Quote
Can't monks hear confessions? Even those Monks who are not yet priests? And aren't monks usually spiritual fathers and advisors for many? I think they have a little more spiritual authority than just any layman.

That's why I said "by default". Obviously if a monk is a priest or has attained a higher level of sanctity, they will have more spiritual authority, but being a monk, by itself, carries no particular authority.
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« Reply #96 on: June 09, 2004, 10:12:09 PM »

..after her sister was molested by a Russian Orthodox parishioner in San Francisco.

I certainly don't mean to minimize the pain that was inflicted -- but it was a PARISHONER - not a member of the Orthodox clergy.

and from THAT example you draw this blanket conclusion:

Larson believes sexual abuse in the Orthodox church is as rampant as the more publicized cases in the Catholic church, but Orthodox church officials "absolutely are covering it up."

Ummm. That is simply not a logical progression.

You are hurting your cause GREATLY by making such blanket accusations!
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« Reply #97 on: June 10, 2004, 12:30:59 AM »

According to Pokrov...

- A priest -  his name is listed on their website-  in GOA is currently being investigated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for allegedly molesting teenage boys in Toledo, OH  when he was a priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

- On April 17, 2004, Bishop Demetri Khoury was sentenced to 28 days in jail for attempted criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree.

Is either one true? If so...comments?
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« Reply #98 on: June 10, 2004, 01:43:24 AM »

I don't know about the first allegation, but we had a discussion on the second.  You can find that here
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« Reply #99 on: June 10, 2004, 07:43:45 AM »

Yo Pokrov,

Let the priest, Fr. Andrew, rest.  You don't know the whole story, and it seems that you just seem to be pushing your own personal vendetta here. The rantings on your website resemble that of the liberal "feminazi" type, and they seem to push your personal agendas rather than address the matter in Christian charity.

Why don't you start a prayer group for these guys who have these problems instead of making a public nuisance?


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« Reply #100 on: June 10, 2004, 10:57:16 AM »

hmm Monks can't give absolution in Orthodoxy? I remember reading that they can, and I also seem to remember reading that St. Symeon the New Theologian was very much a supporter of the ideas of Monks giving absolutions.

Not sure about St. Symeon's opinion, but I've been taught as per the following (from http://www.stgeorgecathedral.net/article_0101.html):

Quote
There is a tradition in the Orthodox Church, however, of lay monks hearing confessions. Where a special gift from God enables a monk to do so, the correct practice is for the monk to hear the confession, but always to refer the penitent to a priest for absolution. Why? A lay monk has does not have the ability to grant absolution, since this grace is only given to those who are ordained by the laying on of hands in the apostolic succession.
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« Reply #101 on: June 10, 2004, 11:03:43 AM »



Why don't you start a prayer group for these guys who have these problems instead of making a public nuisance?




Perhaps working with victims would be better suited.....
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« Reply #102 on: June 19, 2004, 06:19:17 PM »

The regulations for this board, and an extreme effort to preserve Christian politeness prevent me from explicitly stating my opinion of the "Pokrov" website and of the people affiliated with it.  The germ of intent of "Pokrov" IS good and IS important IF it is to prevent abuse and exploitation of Orthodox people (of any age).  Sadly, based on what I have read over the years at their website, on what I have heard from people who have been interrogated by "Pokrov" staff, and absolutely based on what I have read in this thread today, I emphatically cannot like or applaud anything else beyond an "intent" as I defined it in this paragraph.  

Yes, Vladika Dmitri is my archbishop.  Yes, he is loved and respected by many, many (perhaps by most) people.  No, he is not perfect.  And NO, he does NOT deserve the insults and innuendos hurled against him in this thread.  

This is Land of the Internet, where every individual is irredeemably guilty and condemned to Hell until proven innocent.

Sincerely,  

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« Reply #103 on: June 24, 2004, 08:33:36 PM »

Archbishop Dmitri's letter responding to Pokrov has been posted today:

http://www.pokrov.org/Abusers/prayburndmitriresponse.htm

Pokrov will be issuing a response to the Archbishop's letter later on this summer when we are all back from our travels.
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« Reply #104 on: June 24, 2004, 09:20:26 PM »

[Pokrov will be issuing a response to the Archbishop's letter later on this summer when we are all back from our travels.]

So in spite of this response, the so called witch hunt and mud slinging will continue.  How sad you people are!  Any credibility you once had has already been lost and yet you continue.

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« Reply #105 on: June 24, 2004, 10:19:59 PM »

What a great letter by +Dmitri in response to the Pokrov letter.  Pokrov states, "The Archbishop failed to address our serious concerns regarding the safety of children in his diocese."  Well, I fail to see the need to even address the situation any further.   I think Pokrov can "talk to the hand" if it wants to respond anymore.
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« Reply #106 on: June 24, 2004, 10:32:51 PM »

In that the founders of the "Pokrov" website suffered their family tragedies at a parish within the O.C.A. -- and in NO way do I discount the gravity of their horrible pain and suffering -- their particularized hatred of O.C.A. clergy can, at least, be explained.  

My family have been members of Archbishop Dmitri's cathedral parish for a number of years now.  We know and see the consistent and sufficient safeguards in place for both children and adults.  Would that we could implement sufficient safeguards for our beloved clergy, as well, to protect THEM from slander!!  

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« Reply #107 on: June 25, 2004, 10:54:23 AM »

The gracious Archbihop Dmitri answers the contentious "pokrov" protesters:

Diocese of the South
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 191109   Dallas, Texas 75219
(214) 522-4149

June 2004

To whom it may concern,

The following is a response to the letter of June 1, 2004 regarding Fr. Andrew of St. Michael's Skete in Ca+¦ones, NM. In that letter there are assumptions made which need some clarification and/or correction.

First, it should be noted that Fr. Andrew was never employed by the Diocese of the South. While in Miami, he may have volunteered his time at the Chancery office performing clerical duties, but he was never an employee.

Second, Fr. Andrew is not an ordained cleric, nor has he ever been a clergyman of the Orthodox Church in America. He is a layman who has heard the call and chosen the monastic way as best for him to 'work out (his) own salvation with fear and trembling' (Philippians 2:12). Professed lay monks in the Orthodox Church are traditionally referred to as "father." This simply is their title, consistent with their vocation, regardless of past sins. As an example, St. Mary of Egypt, once overcome by sexually related activities before her conversion, is known as our, "Holy Mother Mary." She is referred to as a mother of the Church because of her monastic way of life.

Third, I think it important that readers of the Pokrov website be informed of the conditions under which Fr. Andrew has addressed groups of people. To begin with, neither he nor the Skete has ever sponsored a youth retreat. Furthermore, during the past eleven years only four or five times have parishes initiated contact with the Skete asking if adults, or adults with children, could visit Ca+¦ones for retreats. I have been told that when these groups were welcomed it was never the case that Fr. Andrew was alone with children. They were always supervised by the clergy bringing the group and parents. I also understand that on only a couple of occasions was Fr. Andrew asked by clergymen to speak to gatherings at their parishes. These priests knew Fr. Andrew and of his past, and the talks always took place under the same supervised conditions as described above. These points need to be emphasized because some individuals may have the impression that Fr. Andrew makes a habit of regularly leading retreats, initiates opportunities to do so, and that he is left alone with children at such gatherings. These are simply not the facts. Also, since the opening of the Skete, at Fr. Andrew's instigation, it is a rule that no minors or women are allowed on the premises without parents and/or appropriate chaperones.

Fourth, I would like to stress two things that characterize life within the Church: repentance and forgiveness. I understand and believe strongly in the need to protect the innocent. The desire to safeguard our youth and others is in fact why the OCA adopted the Guidelines for Sexual Misconduct. But I am also concerned with Church members providing people who have gone astray with an opportunity to repent and be shown some measure of compassion. The Guidelines do not negate this Christian responsibility. Somehow we must always find and walk that narrow way that allows for both protection and reconciliation. We may not often see it within society at large, but it needs to be found within the Church amongst the faithful.

Finally, as a summary of what I have already stated: Fr. Andrew is a layman living for the most part, a secluded monastic life with the help of other men who have also heard the call to monasticism; he is not a member of a parish; he is rarely in the presence of children, and when he has been, there have always been adults and/or clergy present; he holds no office or position of authority within the Church; and again he is not an ordained cleric or employee of the Diocese. He lives a simple, repentant life in the desert of New Mexico looking for the consolation of Christ. In addition, it should be noted that all of the clergy in our diocese as well as Orthodox clergy in the surrounding area of Ca+¦ones, were notified of Fr. Andrew's past.

I observed on the Pokrov website a prayer which calls for God to "turn the hearts" of those who have sinned, and "pour forth (His) healing grace upon them, that they may be convicted in their hearts and turn from their evil ways." In Fr. Andrew's case that prayer has been answered. It was answered years ago. I would merely pray that Fr. Andrew be provided the chance, by his brothers and sisters in Christ, to live the new life bestowed upon him by our Lord.

I hope this response serves to clarify and assuage any doubts or fears that some may have with regard to Fr. Andrew. I would ask that although the Pokrov website states that the group's spiritual advisor must remain anonymous, it would be helpful if he could contact my office privately in the near future with any questions or concerns.

To end, I am reminded of a verse from Psalm 130 that we chant at every Vesper service, "If Thou, 0 Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee..."

In Christ,

+Dmitri

Archbishop of Dallas and the South

==========================

God grant you many years, Vladyka.
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« Reply #108 on: July 01, 2004, 02:06:15 AM »

I'm sure Pokrov won't be satisfied with any response from Vladyka DMITRI other than him committing hara-kiri.

At one point I supported the mission of Pokrov, until I realized they use the Entropic Adhesion Method (throw stuff and hope it sticks).  I also see strong themes of anticlerical-ism (as opposed to anti-clericalism), anti-monasticism, and radical feminism.  My view on them also comes from reading their 25/8/366 spamming of Bishop TIKHON on the Indiana List.

Twice, by email, I have suggested to Pokrov that they contact Stephen Brady at Roman Catholic Faithful (www.rcf.org), who has had success in getting priests out who didn't belong.  He doesn't move on anything, however, without solid gold proof - and he posts it (really nasty ugly photos too, edited for propriety).  His approach I like - it's focused, specific, and has concrete, achievable goals in mind.  Pokrov's approach is to tar and feather every Orthodox hierarch in sight and demand they tremble before Pokrov's collective feet.

Hint to Pokrov:  if you're mission is so important, BUY A SCANNER and post the goods on your website.  Telling people to get the documents themselves after you've reported on it says to me one or more of the following (A) you don't have the documents (B) you don't think your mission is that important (C) you have ulterior motives.  My money is on (C).

Final Analysis:  laudable (ostensible) goal, laughable methods.
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« Reply #109 on: July 01, 2004, 02:25:34 AM »

I saw Demetri and thought that it was Demetrios!

You Greeks think the world revolves around you!  Grin  Tongue
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« Reply #110 on: July 01, 2004, 08:51:43 AM »

Nah! A GREEK would have known the difference betweeen Demetri and Demetrios. I'm an American!
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« Reply #111 on: July 01, 2004, 10:44:00 AM »

I applaud Bishop DMITRI's letter.

In the internet world, I believe such a letter would illicit the response of:

PWNED!!!
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« Reply #112 on: July 02, 2004, 12:02:11 PM »

I applaud Bishop DMITRI's letter.  In the internet world, I believe such a letter would illicit the response of:

PWNED!!!

Um...what?

Ms. Larson -- what about the Abp.'s letter did you not find satisfactory?
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« Reply #113 on: July 02, 2004, 02:33:06 PM »

I'm glad the Archbishop replied with such a letter.  In my mind, he would make an excellent Metropolitan after Herman.

It seems to me that Pokrov has forgotten about the importance of forgiveness....  they are addressing an important subject, but are too ideological.
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« Reply #114 on: July 02, 2004, 02:45:18 PM »

Um...what?



I used to spend WAY too much time on the internet.  In 'net-speak, when someone perhaps gets their argument thrown back in their face or proven wrong, especially in chatrooms and messageboards, another person can type "PWNED!", a mis-spelling of "OWNED!".  Many times in excitement people type a P instead of an O but don't realize it until after the enter key has been pressed.  Hence, "OWNED!" becomes "PWNED!" and it's a common enough mistake that it's taken on a life of its own. Smiley

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« Reply #115 on: July 02, 2004, 03:08:42 PM »

I'm glad the Archbishop replied with such a letter.  In my mind, he would make an excellent Metropolitan after Herman.

It seems to me that Pokrov has forgotten about the importance of forgiveness....  they are addressing an important subject, but are too ideological.

Yes he would - and he was the second choice (for lack of a better way to put it, analagous for Bp Seraphim of Ottawa to Met Herman) at the time when +Met Theodosius was  elected.  But he's 80 yrs old!
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« Reply #116 on: July 02, 2004, 04:49:07 PM »

The job candidate is not available.  Before the most recent election, we forbade Vladika to be elected.  We would have gone en masse and yelled "anaxios", in order to keep him with us!

He may be 80, but I sure hope that I will be granted his health and stamina when/if I reach that year-post!
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« Reply #117 on: July 02, 2004, 05:38:02 PM »

I used to spend WAY too much time on the internet.  In 'net-speak, when someone perhaps gets their argument thrown back in their face or proven wrong, especially in chatrooms and messageboards, another person can type "PWNED!", a mis-spelling of "OWNED!".  Many times in excitement people type a P instead of an O but don't realize it until after the enter key has been pressed.  Hence, "OWNED!" becomes "PWNED!" and it's a common enough mistake that it's taken on a life of its own. Smiley



It's part of 733+ ("Leet-speak") too and found in MMOG (Massive Multi-User On-line Games).  I don't write Leet very well but I've leart to read it.  There's an "English/Leet Translator" program online too.

Ebor
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« Reply #118 on: July 16, 2004, 04:36:50 PM »

As one who has worked with those who have suffered abuse; including being the first person they open up to, I can understand the pain and very real concern anyone might have and their need to protect or challenge anyone who they feel is not doing the same. This sin against children and vunerable adults is devastating in its effects and consequences.

Having read Vladyka Dmitri's thougthfully worded and clear response much becomes clear. As the priest who baptised me many years ago was fond of saying all sins may be forgiven. The Church's teaching on offences against children is also clear, it is the gravest sin. This is not the way of the world.

I hope that those who are disturbed by this monk's truly awful past may find peace, and particularly his victim. And that he will spend the rest of his days in repentance and prayer for those that have been harmed by his offence. For the sake of everyone I hope too that his monastic elders too make sure any contact he has with youngsters is always monitored and any chance of misunderstanding is avoided, to avoid - if nothing else - further sins against children and scandal.

There are possible two different problems contributing here. One the strong tendency for a number of denominations to sweep 'abuse' under the carpet or not deal with it at all. Two some people's strong anti-clerical and anti-faith agenda - as have already been mentioned - coming up against something they neither understand nor want to.
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