Here is a quote
from Bishop Tikhon on the Retired Archbishop:
Yes, Ron Haler, alias Ron Buehler, alias Lev Puhalo was ordained a Deacon in the ROCOR. There was at that time a well-known Priest in ROCOR, a convert, Father Seraphim Rose who is now WIDELY venerated as a Saint in various Local Orthodox Churches. Father Seraphim was traditionally pious and conventionally so, except in the degree of his piety which was limitless. In the course of his life and teaching he displayed the conventional prayerbook belief in the so-call Toll Houses.
The Deacon Lev Puhalo, fastened on this as a weakness which might allow him to replace Father Seraphim as a leading light of the Church and he initiated a fierce and never ending battle against “belief in Toll Houses.” He branded such a belief “heresy.” “There began a struggle in letters and otherwise in print, and a division amongst believers hitherto unseen. The Synod of Hierarchs of ROCOR took an interest. Both Deacon Puhalo and Father Seraphim were directed to refrain from public disputation on the topic. The whole concept of Toll Houses was a matter of the Prayers of the Church, but such details of the Afterlife had not come down to us in the Holy Tradition and could not, therefor be affirmed or denied with authority.
Deacon Puhalo, however, continued (as he still does today) to speak “with authority” and to deny authoritatively that the Toll Houses exist and “Belief In” them is a heresy. He did not exempt Jordanville’s Professor of Dogmatic Theology from his doctrinal condemnations of heresy. When he wouldn’t stop, he was directed by Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) to cease, to repent, and to enter the Holy Transfiguration Monastery (then still a monastery in good standing in ROCOR). Puhalo, obviously and patently could never submit to any higher ****spiritual***** authority than himself. He was deposed by the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR. He took refuge under the omophorion of the then schismatic Primate of the Free Serbs, Metropolitan Ireney. He told that Metropolitan that he had to leave ROCOR because Bishop Grabbe was trying to turn him into a homosexual by sending him to that monastery for that very purpose. (“To turn him into a homosexual…” it has a certain ring to it, no?) Then, according to Puhalo’s OWN narrative, submitted to the OCAs synod, ireney agreed that since ROCOR was a non-canonical and schismatic group it couldn’t depose Puhalo (but could ordain him?
). so he received him and immediately ordained him to the (schismatic) priesthood.. Unfortunately Puhalo, however, the schismatics were received back into the Church of
Serbia through Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory.
Since the Serbian Church had always been in full communion with ROCOR, Puhalo had to find another place FAST. The only place available was the schismastic ‘Synod of Milan’ whose Primate was a certain Evloghios and who had two other hierarchical cohorts at that time. (Hearing the names of Euloghios and the others at an OCA Holy Synod session, Archbishop Peter burst out with: “But I know them! I know them all! They are all homosexuals. Euloghios was deposed himself as a Deacon! They are all the same!’”
No one questioned Archbishop Peter’s assessment due to his long service and former life in Europe. Every member of the Holy Synod at that time heard Archbishop Peter: Metropolitan Theodosius, Archbishop Kirill, Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Dmitri, Bishop Gregory (Afonsky), Bishop JOB, Bishop SERAPHIM, Bishop Boris, Archbishop Herman. Every one of them. It was years after that, when Metropolitan Herman had become First Hierarch, that Archbishop Job, Bishop Seraphim again raised Puhalo’s banner in the Synod with the claim that “He’s a widely read Bishop, and he has a flourishing monastic community in western Canada, and it would be a great achievement in overcoming schisms if we would receive him into the OCA. He doesn’t want a diocese; he’s not interested in that. He just needs to be “brought home” (Seraphim) to the canonical Church!”
By the way, by this time, Puhalo’s Milan Synod had made him an Archbishop in Canada, after having merged “canonically” (!!!) with “The Patrarchate of Kiev.” I rather forcefully opposed that, and I thought it had been put behind us. No action was taken whatsoever. However, the next Holy Synod meeting took place at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary (from where Metropolitan Herman ruled the Diocese of New York and WSAHINGTON ).
On my way to my car to drive myself (as I always did) to the airport, I had an attack of vertigo and fell down. I went back in the house and lay down for a while before calling the Chancery to ask them to let His Beatitude know I was indisposed and would not be attending that meeting of the Holy Synod (we didn’t have smart phones with Holy Synod Meeting apps then).
I was literally horrified when I read that the Holy Synod had received the Puhalo as a ‘retired bishop.” I called Metropolitan Herman and asked him, begged him, to at least not concelebrate with that person until I had a chance to present all the evidence which showed such a reception to be wrong. I said I would not go into schism if, after my presentation, the Synod did not agree with me. He agreed. At the next scheduled meeting of the Synod at Syosset, I presented the case. There were about ten pages of documents, many of them authored by Puhalo, and evidence (including photos of him serving with non-canonical entities such as “Metropolitan Stephen of Cleveland and Mississaugua” who heads a gay-friendly pseudoChurch. (A married deacon, wanamaker, who with wife and children served at Father Gregory Safchuk’s parish, had announced he was gay and had left his wife for a man. He and Father Gregory came to me and asked what could be done (!!!!!!!!).
Father Gregory finally said, “So, NOTHING can be done, Your Grace?” Later I was informed by that Wanamaker that there was nothing to worry about: he had been received by Metropolitan Stephen and “they have no problem with gays.”) After I had presented the case in full the hierarchs were excited and seemingly dismayed. So much head-shaking! So much “Well, we never knew about all that” and so on and so on.
Then Archbishop Kirill, while Archbishop Peter nodded his head, said that the problem was that the announcement had been made. We could not reverse such a synodal decision without causing an uproar against the Synod and a scandal in the Church. Everybody looked at me. Metropolitan Herman said to me, “You said you would not go into schism if we did not reverse our decision, right?” I said “yes.” “Well, then,” says Herman, “That’s it.” I went around an picked up all the materials I had passed out. Perhaps they’ll go into an appendix to my memoirs-in-progress, I don’t know.
Puhalo’s crusade against Toll Houses continues. By the way, I forgot to mention that Metropolitan Herman said he had asked someone from SVS to give us an opinion on Puhalo’s canonicity or lack of it. This turned out to be Father Alexander Rentel, a liturgical specialist and NOT, then, a canonist. When Metropolitan Herman turned to him for his opinon, he deigned to inform us that he had been over Puhalo’s entire record, and there was “nothing heretical in any of his teaching.” The others seemed to like that. I believe he had a child as Haler or Buehler, and the child may be buried at the monastery seminary
He’s not a bishop. He’s a Deacon, deposed by the same Hierarchy that ordained him to the Diaconate.
Ireney ordained him to the presbytery without ordaining him even to the schismatic diaconate, but accepting the ordination of ROCOR which he labelled schismatic and uncanonical.
From that date until now, there have been no signs of God’s favor in the life of the OCA; in fact, in that connnection, one of the most vehement and persistent, forceful voices FOR receiving Puhalo was that of EVER-MEMORABLE Archbishop Job, second only to that of Bishop Seraphim (Storheim).