NOTE: Our corrections will be in BOLD type.
Original, unedited, and non-copyrighted version of October 19, 2014 was located at:
The Truth Concerning Our Break With Patriarch Nikon
Published by: Archbishop Dominic Martin on Jul 12, 2012
Copyright: Attribution Non-commercial
THE TRUTH CONCERNING OUR BREAK WITH PATRIARCH NIKON
[According to former clergy wanting to claim they are canonical but outside this church]
Actually the break with this church and an attempt to make said break acceptable
THEOCACNA.ORG website published by Abp. Victor Prentice states that the (a) majority of the Synod “left the church” over an issue of ordination. This is only part of the truth. Now you can read the rest of the story. Since 1998 there has been a policy in place requiring all ordination to be approved by the synod and for a written mandate to be issued. The reason for this is that THEOCACNA had no standardized formation and education program to prepare men for ordination. This situation ceased in 2006 when the synod approved two separate distance based institutions; Holy Apostles School of Orthodox Theology in Titusville Florida and Saint Anthony’s School of Biblical Theology in Nashua Montana. Holy Apostles has been used by other orthodox jurisdictions for students in special circumstances who are not able to attend residential seminary. The original proposals are in black while my comments and supporting information are in blue. [and indented here]
1. A majority of the synod, number wise, left suddenly on their own terms after refusing to leave based on a suggestion made by Archbishop Victor to leave according to canons in an acceptable manner.
2. As a canonically established Orthodox church we have always followed the requirements for ordination based on the requirements of SCOBA Orthodox Churches. Claiming since 1998 that a policy for a mandate has been in place is false. It has been offered as a reminder to our clergy who continued to ignore that requirement.
Proposed Action Items for the Synod 09 November 2009 St Raphael of Brooklyn, Bishop & Confessor
A. Whereas, the Archdiocese of Saint Titus maintains its own seminary, Holy Apostles School of Orthodox Theology, and whereas St. Anthony House School of Biblical Theology in Nashua, Montana has also been approved by the Metropolitan and the Synod, be it resolved that Ruling Bishops may ordain individuals residing within their canonical jurisdiction that have completed an appropriate course of Orthodox studies from either institution
1. Since these "schools" were newly accepted within the church we had not had an opportunity to find out what the quality of their studies was or if their graduates would be acceptable members of the clergy
2. Ordinations are a manner of accepting qualified men into the priesthood for the whole Church, not just for a parish or diocese. To protect the whole church a bishop cannot ordain anyone they want to.
A reasonable proposal that allows ruling bishops to oversee their diocese while maintaining some accountability in non-specific situations. Note that candidates must meet two requirements: 1. Resident within the jurisdiction 2. Have completed an approved program of study. All other ordinations would still fall under the authority and approval of the Synod. FALSE
All ordinations fall under the authority and approval of the Synod.
1. Whereas, the Corporate Board of Directors has been made up of many non-members of this Church and several non-Orthodox due to virtually no active lay membership for a period of years;
Proven and verifiable facts. Up until 2006 THEOCACNA had (maybe) a dozen actual lay members. [FALSE]
2. Whereas, many of these non-orthodox board members are either relatives or family friends of the Corporate president:
True! The reason is to protect the Church corporation from independents who want to take over the corporation in an effort to support false claims of valid and canonical lines.
Proven and verifiable fact. The below corporate board lists the Board of Directors. The two Beard women and Ms. Beddis are "all" relatives of the President [FALSE], and reside in England. All three are members of the Church of England. Julie Clark is a personal friend of the President, resides in the USA and is not a member of the Church. Fr Charles is an ailing and retired member of the clergy living in Arizona. Joan Newman is a Deaconess living in Columbus Ohio who attends the local Roman Catholic parish. She had been offered the services of one of THEOCACNA’s clergy also residing in Ohio, but expressed no interest.
Joan has reposed. The only local clergy from this church is a former member who stole from Joan according to her statements.
Fr. Chuck was semi-retired due to health issues, and was a Mitred Archpriest.
Sue Beddis is not related to anyone in the Church.
Charles Rosencrantz 6-30
Lynda Beard 6-30
Jane Beard 6-30
Sue Beddis 6-30
Julie Clark 6-30
Joan Newman 6-30
3. Whereas, we now have active Orthodox faithful lay members; Be it resolved that beginning in January 2010, non-orthodox members of the board will be thanked and honored for their service and be replaced with elected lay and ordained members of this Church. This will allow Orthodox faithful to be active in the business affairs of their church and will remove any appearance of impropriety that having inter-related board members may present. One of these members will be the Secretary of the Synod so that Board membership will have at least one other full Episcopal ranking member, so that should the President resign, die, or become incapacitated and unable to fulfill his duties, the Synod Secretary can act as president pro-tempore until a canonical election can be held.
What appeared to be an attempt to stack the corporate board with relatives and friends of Mr. Martin
Nowhere does the proposal attempt to undermine the authority of the President/Patriarch. It does however insure that Church business is attended to by actual active and interested Church MEMBERS. It also insures that in the event the President/Patriarch dies, that the Church will continue. FALSE
The Synod would elect a new Patriarch and continue.
C. Whereas, the Constitution of THEOCACNA has not been thoroughly updated since it was initially drafted, be it resolved that a committee consisting of two synod members and two board members shall be seated to review and draft an updated document. This work should be completed by the end of summer 2010.
Some updates had been made over the years. Again this claim is FALSE
Seems to be a reasonable request for the good of the Church. FALSE
Synod will meet in the autumn of 2010 and every other year thereafter.(Even years)
**NOTE: The canons require provincial synods to meet twice per year.
Prior Synod agreed to hold Synods by phone due to frequent E-mail contacts and high cost of travel. Personal meetings would be held as needed.
E. Be it resolved that beginning in the autumn of 2010, the Corporate Board shall meet every four years in conjunction with the Holy Synod and shall serve as a general convention of the Church at which all members would be welcome to attend.
**Part of the responsibility of serving on a Church Board is the ability to attend to various meetings and events. Most lay members willing to serve in such a position are willing to accept the responsibilities of the office.
F. Be it resolved that the titles used by all bishops and/or corporate officers such as metropolitan, patriarchal vicar, as well as the bishops of various cities and sees, shall be approved by the Synod prior to use and/or being adopted.
Victor Prentice “retired” from the Office of Metropolitan and took the monastic name of Nikon upon his election as patriarch. Yet, in correspondence he assumed the title of Archbishop Victor, Patriarchal Vicar. Several people have pointed out that this is confusing and boarders on deception and intentional fraud. Abp. Victor was also known to write to inquirers using the name of “Father Paul” patriarchal secretary. This had caused scandal and concern in at least one clergyman as all three people have the same writing style. The synod felt that in order to protect the Church, such actions needed to be stopped. In spite of prayerful vigorous debate, +Victor refused to compromise, even when all but ONE of the proposals was withdrawn for the sake of preserving peace and unity.
NOTE: We are in the process of compiling the email correspondence during the attempted negotiations in an easily readable format so that an accurate record will exist in our archives.
As a result the following resolution was adopted by the synod in a vote of six to one (6:1) in favor of breaking communion.
1. Nikon in Greek is Victor! Nothing is or was hidden.
2. The title "Patriarch" was not used frequently due to circumstances regarding this church.
3. Abp. Victor has had, over the years, priests and deacons assisting him including writing correspondence. The Abp. used a WebTV/MSNTV box, not a computer and had to cut and paste correspondence from computer emails to send from the Archbishops email. Fr. Paul was one such assistant. Some correspondence transferred to the Archbishops account carried the names of various assistants & secretary's.
SYNOD RESOLUTION: Sent by e-mail
Whereas the North American Holy Synod has reached an impasse in which the President of the Synod and Corporation has stubbornly refused to act upon or discuss reasonable and rational proposals to modify local administrative rules for the good of the Church, in spite of a majority vote of the Holy Synod, we hereby cast a vote of no confidence in Patriarch Nikon, aka Archbishop Victor Prentice (aka Father Paul “patriarchal secretary”): Whereas Abp Victor has maintained total authority and control over the Massachusetts Corporation by insisting that non- orthodox members of his family residing in England (United Kingdom) remain on the Board of directors: We hereby resolve to break communion with Archbishop Victor and establish: The Holy Eastern Orthodox Christian Apostolic Church: North American Synod American Orthodox Christian Communion is, it appears, an attempt to confuse others An act of Service Mark infringement Which will continue to carry out the commission once given to the Holy Confessor Aftimios, Archbishop of Brooklyn, by Metropolitan Platon of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1927: “ the full responsibility and duty of caring and providing for American Orthodoxy in the special sense of Orthodox Catholic people born in America and primarily of whatever nationality or linguistic character or derivation not satisfactorily provided with proper canonical Orthodox Catholic care..., or who may wish to attach themselves by the properly and legally provided means to an autonomous, independent, American orthodox catholic church.”
Upon leaving the Church these individuals left any and all authority to act in the name of the Church. Their taking a name so much like ours and thus infringe our name, part of our registered service mark.
By testimony of our signatures effective this Seventh day of December 2009, the Feast of Saint Ambrose Bishop and Doctor. Metropolitan Leland Archbishop Dominic Archbishop George Michael Bishop Joseph Bishop Augustine Bishop Edward
This led +Victor to post the following declaration in the THEOCACNA.ORG webpage.http://theocacna.tripod.com/synod-dir.html
START OF QUOTED TEXT“
[Note that quotations from websites owned and duly copyrighted by THEOCACNA are quoted herein without permission.]
Dec. 2009 The following clergy left because they refused to follow the canons and the Constitution of the Church as written by the Synod that Chartered this Church. The canons also state a bishop should know the canons. When it was discovered that certain clergy would not obey the canons the Patriarch suggested if they could not obey the canons that they may wish to leave and was advised they would not leave. A few days later they sent a message (by email) that their had been a vote to leave this Canonically established Church. Dominic sent word on behalf of his auxiliary bishops. Geo Michael sent in his resignation by email. Metr. Leland also by email stated he was gone and would be using a name similar to ours. All left without letters because they refused to obey a local canon, the Sacred and Divine canons and the Church constitution. All other claims are just made to make their exit appear to be "orthodox". When it was stated the OCA has a similar local canon the reply was the OCA is not "orthodox". The Local canon, like that of the OCA requires a mandate by the Holy Synod for all ordinations. This canon was intentionally violated. Our synod, in 1998, stated the Archbishop Presidents position was protected in more direct statements than the 1927 constitution, written by the Russian Synod (Moscow Patriarchate) who issued our Charter which states that all acts of the synod must be approved by the Archbishop President. Our presiding bishop has full authority similar to that of Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese today. Abp. Dominic violated the local canon by asking the abbot to ordain without the mandate, and none was ever requested or issued. He also violated the Sacred and Divine canons (c55 of the 85c) by insulting the Patriarch. The Rudder directs the punishment for this. We have not acted in this matter since their actions show they are not truly orthodox. He also attempted to undermine the authority of the Patriarch and makes statements in an attempt to discredit others. We view their leaving as the will of God. We wish to state that by leaving as they have in violation of the canons (Rudder) they have no authority to act in our name and that any ordinations they did in violation of the canons were neither valid or regular. Secret ordinations are not acceptable to us. We feel that by their stated intent to use a name like ours, like a name already in use by a Georgia group, They are proving our claims that they are not orthodox, just acting like independent wanna-bees. Abp. Dominic Bp. Abbot Geo Michael Bp. Joseph Bp. Augustine Bp. Edward - told he was also leaving Abp. Leland - agreed with the above “
END OF QUOTED TEXT
I have been asked by several people to respond to Abp. Victor’s statement regarding act of the super-majority of the Synod to break communion with him and his [the] Massachusetts Corporation. I have reposted the above statement below in full, as it is posted on theocacna.org. My responses are in blue.[and indented here]
(See http://theocacna.tripod.com/synod-dir.html last accessed 13 December 2009) Former Synod Members Dec. 2009
The following clergy left because they refused to follow the canons and the Constitution of the Church as written by the Synod that Chartered this Church. The canons also state a bishop should know the canons.
While we assert that we know the canons, we equally assert that those canons that are of an administrative nature are able to be altered for the good of the local church by the properly seated local synod.
When it was discovered that certain clergy would not obey the canons the Patriarch suggested if they could not obey the canons that they may wish to leave and was advised they would not leave. A few days later they sent a message (by email) that their had been a vote to leave this Canonically established Church. Dominic sent word on behalf of his auxiliary bishops.
Abp. Dominic has no auxiliary bishops. +Edward, +Augustine and +Joseph were all raised to the status of Ruling Bishop with an assigned territory by vote of the Synod. All three responded to a call for a vote on the resolution by the Synod. FALSE CLAIM
Abp. Geo Michael sent in his resignation by email. Metr. Leland also by email stated he was gone and would be using a name similar to ours. All left without letters because they refused to obey a local canon, the Sacred and Divine canons and the Church constitution.
We maintain that we did not “leave” the Church, but unanimously broke communion with Abp. Victor due to his refusal to cooperate with a clear majority (6 to 1) of the Synod. As Abp. Victor has refused to actual “in person” meetings of the Synod, and in recent weeks was refusing to answer the phone. We were left with only the option of notifying him by email. “The Church” is bigger than a paper corporation.
1. "Paper Corporation" statement is like the claim by a deposed independent bishop saying "like God pays attention to a piece of paper!" The so called paper corporation is the legal entity of this Church. Leaving the church and claiming a similar name does not make them canonical and does not provide canonical authority.
2. Leaving by vote because you do not get your way still violates the canons regarding leaving without required Letters.
(our statement) All other claims are just made to make their exit appear to be "orthodox".
We [the authors statement] have retained all of the correspondence on this matter, and will gladly provide a full copy to anyone who inquires of us.
When it was stated the OCA has a similar local canon the reply was the OCA is not "orthodox".
A claim not documented
Not one of the below mentioned bishops have stated that the OCA is not orthodox. However Abp. Victor insists that all members of SCOBA are “in schism”. This includes the OCA. Writing as Patriarch Nikon, he has stated that
This Patriarchate should avoid contact will all Orthodox clergy from SCOBA jurisdictions because they are unchristian in their ongoing attacks on this Church and our long dead clergy! This Church should not offer communion to any SCOBA Orthodox unless they denounce the Schismatic acts of their Church! Our clergy should no longer share the altar with any SCOBA Orthodox clergy. Our clergy may give communion (Sacraments) to Roman Catholics who come to us for any reason, even if their is a Catholic priest a few blocks away.
We have a letter from a Catholic Diocese stating we may offer communion to Roman Catholics within our own Liturgy, nothing more.
See http://theocacna.tripod.com/Letter_7.1.08.htm (last accessed 10:23 pm 13 December 2009)
It would appear that Abp. Victor wants nothing to do with SCOBA jurisdictions unless they have written something that supports his particular agenda.
Abp. Victor wants nothing to do with SCOBA jurisdictions that attack this canonically orthodox church or our Prelates of Blessed Memory. The only wish is that they stop these actions, apologize and act as the Christian clergy they are supposed to be.
The Local canon, like that of the OCA requires a mandate by the Holy Synod for all ordinations. This canon was intentionally violated.
The OCA policy (as I understand it) allows each ruling bishop to ordain any man that has graduated from one of their approved seminaries. If the candidate is not a graduate of one of the approved seminaries, his ordination as a priest must be approved by the synod. It is my understanding this is usually the case with individual clergy converts from Roman Catholicism and various other church bodies who already possess a graduate degree. The Synod to THEOCACNA approved TWO non-residential schools for preparing their candidates for ordination.
As he understands it but not documented. Also from in class schools, not correspondence and untried or untested facilities.
Our synod, in 1998, stated the Archbishop Presidents position was protected in more direct statements than the 1927 constitution, written by the Russian Synod (Moscow Patriarchate) who issued our Charter, which states that all acts of the synod must be approved by the Archbishop President.
The original Constitution states that all acts of the Synod must be approved and signed by the Archbishop President. Abp. Victor, did not write this or have it placed in the Constitution, but he has interpreted this to mean that he has the power of a veto of any resolution he does not approve. This is mentioned a few times in the 1927 Church Constitution.
Our presiding bishop has full authority similar to that of Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese today.
All SCOBA churches have been declared Schismatics based on their unchristian and uncanonical acts
Abp. Dominic violated the local canon by asking the abbot to ordain without the mandate, and none was ever requested or issued.
This was in the case of a monastic sub-deacon. Minor orders are not usually covered by the administrative directive which was intended to cover only the major orders of deacon, priest and bishop. Additionally: Permission had been previously sought and granted to ordain the sub-deacon in question to the order of deacon back in April of 2009.
He also violated the Sacred and Divine canons (c55 of the 85c) by insulting the Patriarch.
I have scoured my email communications of the last month and cannot find where I have insulted anyone. Perhaps my calling certain behaviors into question (such as off color sexual comments, and dirty jokes) has been confused with insulting him. My primary concern has been the protection of the clergy and people entrusted to my care. More than one clergyman has called me after having a conversation with Abp. Victor/Patriarch Nikon with concerns about what he had said to them. One newly received clergyman decided to leave us after having spoken with Patriarch Nikon who made several off color statements regarding women in short skirts. This particular priest was scandalized that a man who claims to be a monastic elder and hermit would talk to one of the lower clergy in this manner. Another clergyman from an overseas mission had been in correspondence with Abp. Victor and his secretary “Father Paul”. This clergyman questioned me about their identical writing styles. Additionally, he stated that the images of Patriarch Nikon and Archbishop Victor look to be the same person. He inquired to determine if they were blood brothers. In all honesty, I had to admit that all three people—Father Paul, Abp. Victor and Patriarch Nikon—are the same person. I have several times attempted to bring this deceitful behavior to the attention of Victor only to be rebuffed and told that using different titles such as patriarchal vicar and secretary were helpful in administrative correspondence. I prefer to think that I was attempting to assist a man, who I once respected a great deal for the personal suffering he endured to protect the legacy of the late Abp. Aftimios, regain and preserve his reputation and personal integrity. Having spoken to him several times privately with no effect, I brought the matter forward with my brother bishops, for the good of the Church. He has refused to address the issue directly and has only posted a statement on the website.
It was easier to ignore the reasons stated than say they did not like the reasons and would do as they wanted
Regarding Patriarchs From the Rudder (Canons)
A Patriarch is the living image of Christ What is said of the Patriarchs in existence (at the time the Canons were written) is also true of the independent Patriarch's, then and now, that is to say, the Autocephalous Patriarch's.
(see www.theocacna.org just above a large image of Aftimios--last accessed 13 December 2009)
I agree that a Patriarch is the living image of Christ. I continue to pray that His Beatitude may one day reach this lofty goal, as we all should strive to as well.
The Rudder directs the punishment for this. [incomplete statement]
The Rudder also directs the punishment for clerics who deceive the faithful. I am of the opinion that the canons need to be applied with compassion for the purpose of correcting the errant behavior thus aiding the individual’s salvation rather than a punitive penalty that might have lasting negative effect on his soul.
We have not acted in this matter since their actions show they are not truly orthodox. He also attempted to undermine the authority of the Patriarch and makes statements in an attempt to discredit others.
A full and proper response to this would only cause further damage to a cleric who already has enough spiritual, physical and emotional illnesses.
We view their leaving as the will of God.
As do we.
We wish to state that by leaving as they have in violation of the canons (Rudder) they have no authority to act in our name and that any ordinations they did in violation of the canons were neither valid or regular. Secret ordinations are not acceptable to us.
It should be noted the Patriarch was not contacted about being part of the ordination, just emailed that it was being planned and no mandate was requested or issued!
Secret ordinations are not acceptable to us either. The ordination took place in the presence of at least two dozen clergy and laity of our Church. We took photographs. We published them on the internet. There was nothing secret about it.
We feel that by their stated intent to use a name like ours [being Service Mark infringement] like a name already in use by a Georgia group, they are proving our claims that they are not orthodox, just acting like independent wanna-bees.
Please note that this response contains the personal and individual thoughts of myself and in no way should be considered to represent the position of the Synod of The Holy Eastern Orthodox " Christian Apostolic Church: North American Synod. The Author is solely responsible for its contents. Official statements of the Synod will bear the signature of all synod members or the Metropolitan or Synod Secretary with written notice that they are signing “on behalf of the Holy Synod”
+Dominic Martin least among bishops