Ever since the forced, uncanonical, and illegal resignation of His Beatitude, it has become clearer each day that the official story has not held up very well. As a result the blowback against Syosset has not abated. In fact, it has gotten worse.
Now comes the official report from the Special Investigation Committee (published on Pokrov, .pdf file). It reveals that most of the charges against His Beatitude in the unsigned letter which the Holy Synod put out the day after his “resignation” were false.
Even more troubling, the Synod, as well as the rest of the OCA Apparat, knew that the charges were false for quite a while since the report was issued in November of 2010. This means the letter was a fraud. The OCA Apparat, it seems to me, has exposed the Church to civil liability. From the viewpoint of canon law, the “resignation” and everything that proceeds is null and void.
The American sojourn of the priest-monk while in question is uncomfortable to read. It might be time to stop playing social worker for troubled monks and priests. Nevertheless, the allegations that His Beatitude was in any way covering up for the miscreant are flat-out lies.
The following facts are contained within the Report itself:
- FACT: The report clearly states that the priest was “…not now, nor has ever been, a cleric of the Orthodox Church in America.”
- FACT: The report clearly states that the entire Holy Synod was aware of some allegations of “…misconduct or disorderly conduct committed by this monk, possibly even rape.” [Paradoxically, the report then contradicts itself on page 6: “The level of abuse did not rise to the level of physical contact…”]
- FACT: The report clearly states that the OCA had no jurisdiction over this priest but “…it was deemed necessary to conduct an investigation inasmuch as he was ‘clearly associated’ with both Metropolitan Jonah and St Nicholas Cathedral.” Moreover, “…by the middle of July 2010, the SMPAC began notifying His Beatitude and the Holy Synod about the need to initiate a proper investigation as mandated by the OCA’s policies and procedures regarding allegations of such misconduct.” At no time did Jonah impede this. In fact, “…with the blessing of the Metropolitan and the consent of the Holy Synod, the Special Investigation Committee was officially formed on July 25, 2010.”
- FACT: The report clearly states that even though this priest was not under the omorphor of Jonah, Jonah “recused” himself from the invesigation in order to let it proceed according to the proper procedures as mandated by the OCA.
- FACT: Because His Beatitude recused himself from the investigation, the Holy Synod was charged with the responsibility for the investigation and “…became the’ supervisory’ body of this investigation.”
- FACT: As can be seen from this Report, at no time did His Beatitude act “unilaterally.”
What can we conclude?
Clearly, the interpersonal relationships that are necessary for a synod to function are irretrievably broken and have been for quite a while. Whether His Beatitude is going to be restored to his primatial throne is not at issue here. At stake is the truth. The good people of the OCA need to be aware that a fraud was perpetrated with the connivance of a vast part of the Apparat that governs the OCA.
While I believe it is possible that individual bishops were hoodwinked into accepting a false narrative about their Primate, the fact remains that it is the bishops who bear the ultimate responsibility for the Church.
They will answer before the Lord on Judgment Day for bearing false witness against their neighbor.