(Ipswich – 9.24.05) Almost 20 years after the first major renovationist schism from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) centered in the Boston area, the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church in America faces a new schism from members of the original 1986 schism who joined our Church in 2004. This time the architects of the schism, Fathers Spyridon Schneider, Victor Melehov, Christopher Johnson, and Dionysi McGowan have begun calling upon Metropolitan to choose “worthy episcopal candidates” and have attempted to silence ROAC’s internet presence in America.
Subdeacon John Phillips, on the new ROAC Google list, reports that he had originally moved with Fr Dionysi to Ipswich only to find that the priests had ceased commemorating their local Bishop, and so joined the Administration parish in New Jersey. Attempting to join the ROAC-Yahoo list for news purposes, Subdeacon John was rejected. When the list owner, Fr Deacon Nikolai Stanosheck, attempted to find out why, he was told that the Subdeacon and family had moved to the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Vitaly. A few phone calls later, the truth was revealed when suddenly it was discovered that Fr Dionysi had removed the list owner and Metropolitan Valentine’s choice for the list ownership, the billingual Archimandrite Andrei of New Jersey from the list. The motivations on the part of the would-be-schismatics had become clear– to silence the Sobor’s internet presence in America.
Fr Spyridon Schneider is known for his vocal involvement in the 1986 schism until his repentance and return to the ROCOR a few years later. He then joined three other jurisdictions before settling in ROAC in 2004, claiming to be proud to “have returned to the Russian Church”. Fr Dionysi’s decision is a surprise, considering his involvement and separation from a previous schism in our Church, which he discussed in an interview with NFTU last year. NFTU