CORRECTED: 13 Monks, 2 Laypeople Leaving HTM “On Good Terms”

HOCNA: St Mark of Ephesus Cathedral Votes to Leave- What’s the other side of the Story?
September 17, 2012
MP Joint Prayer Service with Other Religions
September 18, 2012

CORRECTED: 13 Monks, 2 Laypeople Leaving HTM “On Good Terms”

Correction: We have been informed by official sources that the authors of the letter are incorrect in stating that Bp Demetrius has been installed. The Synod of the GOC-Kallinikos is considering Bp Demetrius’ petition.

A forwarded email listing the monks who are leaving HTM has been made public. It appears the letter may have been written earlier this week. According to the letter, which names all the departing parties, the writer mistakenly stated that Bp Demetrius was to be installed as Bishop of New York for the GOC-Kallinikos this Sunday as a suffragan Bishop– in fact, the GOC-Kallinikos is only currently considering his petition. It also appears that HTM is allowing the sale of a property for $2 Million to facilitate the move. The monks will be moving to the Ascension monastery in Bearsville, NY and it appears the move will take place by the end of the week.

The letter in full is below.

Forwarding:

We are definitely leaving…and it seems on fairly good terms.

One. We should be starting the move on Wednesday or Thursday of next week (Sept. 19-20).

Here is where we are going:

Holy Ascension Monastery
521 Coldbrook Road
Bearsville NY 12409
845-679-0600

http://www.ascensionmonastery.org

They currently have four monastics. One priestmonk (Fr. Maximos) and two monks and a novice.

List of fathers leaving HTM:

Bishop Demetrius – he resigned from our Synod today and is going to Greece (this Sunday, Sept. 16th) to be installed as the Bishop of New York (not sure of his title, nor his diocese) for the Old Calendar synod called GOC – Kallinikos Synod.
Fr. Anthony – he is going to a monastery in California (St. Gregory of Sinai).
Fr. Nicholas
Pater Seraphim (the Greek)
Fr. Sergius
Fr. Barsanuphius (hierodeacon)
Fr. Parthenius (priestmonk) – he will be going to New York with us, but may eventually go to the monastery in California (St. Gregory of Sinai) since he is a priestmonk…and they do not have one at the monastery.
Fr. Samuel
Fr. Theologos
Fr. Ignatius (priestmonk)
Fr. Michael
Fr. Agathangelos (hierodeacon)
Fr. Menas (priestmonk)
David (Chadoin) – he will be answering the phones there, too.
Nicholas (Snogren) – who currently lives at the Diocese House.

Two. Fr. Isaac has acted honorably in dealing with our leaving and what we can take with us. He has gotten permission from the monastic community to sell a property in Maine, which will probably sell for 1.5 to 2 Million dollars. Also, he is giving us one of the vans from the monastery. Also, he is allowing us to take what is in our cells and the computers that we use.

  • Athair Ambrois Maonaigh

    Who wrote the letter?

    • NFTU

      I don’t know. I am pretty sure that they won’t reach out to the RWRV, however.

  • John Collis

    It is unprecedented for anyone breaking communion with HTM to receive funds. Or have Akakios/Gabriel, Maximos, Fr. Anthony, Fr. Melehov, Portland, and/or Toronto simply forgotten to cash their cheques? Every split has been acrimonious.
    This is “shut-up” money for sure. If the rumours of an overt confession by Fr. Isaac about Fr. Panteleimon’s indiscretions and cover-up are true, then the last thing HTM needs are willing witnesses for a class-action lawsuit by the victims of HTM. While Church doctrine prohibits such civil action, do the same rules apply to those un-canonically entering into schism to cover up an Elder’s indiscretions?
    Grab a seat and bring your popcorn; HTM’s spin on how bad monks get good money will be quite a show.

    • NFTU

      I think you’re wrong. And it sounds to me like a real gripe against HTM.
      They aren’t that evil.

      • John Collis

        NFTU-MOD
        Thank you for your comments.
        I am part of the former Toronto HOCNA group that re-connected with the GOC. This was a very difficult time for all of us up here. My gripe isn’t against HOCNA members, or even HOCNA leadership – I am hopeful about the eventual repentence, reconciliation, inter-communion and salvation for all. I have a huge gripe with the decisions that the HOCNA leadership has made. If the allegations against Fr. P. are true then those actions and decisions made to enable Fr. P.’s activities, and by doing so, taking many good people into schism threatening their salvation, are evil. That many of these leaders are well-mannered, well-loved, and nice is hero-worship “lipstick” on the “pig” of what their decisions have brought about. In Toronto, it was very frustrating to see the calamity arising from “Awake, Sleeper!” be blamed on the personalities of the Toronto clergy, rather than the issue itself. Now that the “troublesome” Toronto clergy are gone, who is to blame for name-worshipping? Really, isn’t there enough in two millenia of Christianity to dwell on for HOCNA to just avoid these contentious and heretical beliefs? It would have been enough for Bp. Makarios to make a stand for the Faith and the Toronto community to insist that “Awake, Sleeper!” be dropped. Instead, he followed HTM dictates. Similarly, from what I have heard, on a 2012-09-16 HOCNA parish meeting at St. Nicholas in Toronto, he was unable to take any position on name-worshipping, until he had spoken with his “theologians” two weeks hence. However, in the interim, he had signed a number of documents/protocols about name-worshipping. This absurdity, and that many choose to continue to follow him blindly, is a another gripe I have.

        • NFTU

          John: The only problem I have with your argument is that the HOCNA people– in regards to the ROCOR– were, on the matter of ecumenism, actually right. One could argue that had they stayed the union wouldn’t have happened. However, in too many cases ROCOR managed to get rid of the very people who were trying to keep it alive.

          Which is why it’s only part of the MP now, and we have HOCNA, ROAC, ROCIE, RTOC, and the ROCOR-A, and their respective divisions. That’s a reconcilation we should consider.

          If Fr P is guilty– and I have no formal confirmation on these things– yes, these things need to be acted upon immediately. But from my perspective, HOCNA has way more theological problems than just Imyaslavie or “Awake Sleeper”. You have the Romanidean-Kailomirite positions that lead to removing icons of God the Father, denying the traditional teachings on the atonement and toll-houses, and striking pre-schism Western saints out of the calendar centuries after the fact. From my perspective, it leads to a slippery slope.

          I remember years ago a father at HTM told me (it may have been one of the Bishops, I forget) that “schism always leads to heresy”. So it doesn’t surprise me that– and my *personal* position is that the real “schism”, or cleavage, in HOCNA, regardless of what happened with other bishops of the Auxentios Synod, began in 2001– that this has become a schism over actual doctrine.

          In this, Fr P’s sins are now a secondary issue, and using it as a rallying cry is wrong as far as I can see it.

          • John Collis

            NFTU-MOD
            HOCNA was right 8 years before ROCOR got serious about Ecumenism; the crime hadn’t yet been committed, and it is anachronistic for them to take this credit. Years later, when others left ROCOR because of Ecumenism, NONE, joined HOCNA, because we were not the pioneers of anti-ecumenism as we believed ourselves, but schismatics covering for their sodomite ‘Elder’. Conversely, I have no illusions that KGB were active in ROCOR at that time and would have greatly relished to destroy HTM.
            For me, the recent credible allegations against Fr. P. coming from within HOCNA are not a rallying cry, but a catharsis. I left ROCOR with HOCNA as an ignorant teenager. Later, what I read about was very disturbing to me, and filled me with much doubt and grief. There was too much smoke for there not to be fire. From the Lives of the Saints we have many examples of those facing false trial, censure, and punishment for the Faith. Why didn’t Fr. P. do the same?

          • EJ

            John people did leave ROCOR because of its ecumenism in western europe before HOCNA such as Fr Basil Sakkas and Vladimir Moss, HOCNA was able to present a valid canonical case for breaking with ROCOR so while Fr P maybe judged by God if the reason he broke was trying to hide his sins I cant see the people who left with him being judged- as for the reason that people didnt join when they left ROCOR later a lot of that has do with HOCNA’s theological approach to various issues which many people have serious problems with (I would go so far as to say with certainty that HOCNA are heretics) and also you have to feature in Russian nationalism- people wanting to belong to a Russian Church!

        • dgs

          “My gripe isn’t against HOCNA members, or even HOCNA leadership…”


          “…. that many choose to continue to follow him blindly, is a another gripe I have.”

          John, which of these statements is correct? The disparity is clouding your hatred.
          “Similarly, from what I have heard, on a 2012-09-16 HOCNA parish meeting at St. Nicholas in Toronto, he was unable to take any position on name-worshipping, until he had spoken with his “theologians” two weeks hence.”

          Unfortunately John, you are twisting his sentences and half-quoting him to serve your purpose. You were not there, so how do you know what was exactly said, and was not reworded before being delivered to you?

          So to use your words, who exactly are you expecting to repent, reconcile and inter-commune? Yourself?

          With vitriol like this, I suspect no one.

          • John Collis

            Brother/Sister:
            This is the distinction between the Person and their Action, like sinner/sin.
            You are right that I wasn’t there – I did hear things 2nd/3rd hand, but I only related what I heard and didn’t distort things. Here is what I heard:
            1) Bp. Makarios didn’t issue a clear statement on name-worshipping (yet signed many documents in the interim);
            2) It was denied that name-worshipping was the reason Bp. Demetrius left; and,
            3) Someone commented that they would rather convert to Judaism than return to St. Nektarios church.
            You are correct that this is hearsay, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t true. Since you were there, and can relate clearly 1st hand, please enlighten me:
            1) What was Bp. Makarios’s position on name-worshipping?
            2) How was Bp. Demetrius departure explained?
            3) Previously, were parishioners not given a blessing to discuss/read about current events?
            There was no vitriol in my note, and I hate nobody, because of this division – if you know me, then you know this is true. Honestly, every chance I get with our priests and laity, I have been pushing for reconciliation with anyone that decides to return to St. Joseph/St. Nektarios.
            Furthermore, why is HOCNA doing this to itself? I mean there are 2000 years of the Faith they can dwell on, so why did they suddenly decide to pick-up the name-worshipping heresy. Common sense would be to avoid any such controversy. Weren’t last year’s tribulations enough for all of us? The worst I would have expected was an “Awake, Snorer!” or “Awake, Snoozer!” innovation, but never this.
            Finally, please get my telephone number or email from a fellow parishioner at St. Nicholas parish – if you like, we can discuss this offline, “dgs”.

          • John Collis

            DGS! I don’t know who you are, but thanks for putting this in my Inbox! Ok, your official notes set a few me straight on a few things. Here’s the note and my commentary at the end (I hope you don’t mind me sharing).
            Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2012 21:31:23 -0400
            From: communications@homt.ca
            Subject: UPDATE from the Board of St Nicholas Cathedral
            This past Sunday, September 16/3, we held a special parish meeting with over 150 parishioners in attendance to hear a report from Metropolitan Makarios regarding current matters of our Synod. This communique is to provide you with a summary of that meeting, and an update in our objective to keep you as informed as possible on these matters.
            The Metropolitan’s report included:
            1) The topic of “name-worshipping” and its impact throughout our Synod. Further research was prepared for review at the upcoming October Synaxis, however, due to continued exchanges, the Synod issued a Protocol more immediately to clarify and reduce confusion. Resolution: HOCNA Protocol 2917 has addressed this further. “We are not “name-worshippers”; therefore, we reject the false teachings ascribed to them.”
            2) There is a change in leadership in our Synod; specifically, Bishop Demetrius of Carlisle has resigned from our Synod.
            Resolution: On a statement from the Synod on September 11 – “…the Holy Synod has resolved to begin the process of considering the candidates for ordination to the episcopacy.”
            3) It is our understanding that certain moral indiscretions have occurred by Fr. Panteleimon of Holy Transfiguration Monastery. These actions and behaviour are not acceptable and not appropriate within our Church.
            Resolution: Father Panteleimon has resigned from the priesthood, is under a penance and living in solitude. He can no longer function as a priest within our Synod.
            In these difficult times, it is easy to fall into temptation, draw conclusions with misinformation and then make wrongful accusations. Please try and resist this as we navigate through these matters and come to a truthful and peaceful solution, always keeping in mind our salvation, and the good of our Saint Nicholas Parish. Our Metropolitan and the Board continue to take these matters very seriously and are looking for a responsible resolution to these matters. We are extremely concerned these matters distract us from continuing to grow and cultivate the great blessing that our Lord has given us – St. Nicholas Parish. We are dedicated to keeping our Parish informed as we corroborate facts of recent events. We are in continuous communication with the Metropolitan and each other to discuss and ensure we find long-term stability and continue on our path to build our Church, grow our parish, and worship according to the traditional practices of our Orthodox Faith. As you all do, we seek the truth in these matters and for our salvation. We are also mindful, that an important truth for us at St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Metropolis of Toronto, is that our Metropolitan Makarios received his consecration as bishop with the confirmation and direct descent from Archbishop Auxentios of Athens who was present and
            blessed our Metropolitan on January 16/3, 1991 at St. John the Theologian Monastery in Petroupoli in broad daylight with approximately 1000 people present as he was raised to the rank of Bishop. This is at the core of our community. As a Board, we are focused on preserving this in our Parish, Diocese and Synod. We ask that you continue to pray to Our Saviour to give our Metropolitan, our Board, and Synod strength and wisdom to guide us on the true path of salvation.
            Board of Saint Nicholas Cathedral
            Ok, now my questions to you:
            1 – Was causality from (1) & (3) on (2) ever discussed?
            2 – If, as we suspect, (3) also relates to the accusations brought against Fr. P. for which we left ROCOR, isn’t a basic re-think of HOCNA required? This issue was brought out into the open by the allegations brought forth by departing Bp. Demetrius and monks, not by the sincere unprovoked repentence of Fr. P., Fr. I., and Bp. E.
            3 – If an uncanonical schism (endangering our salvation) was undertaken to protect Fr. P. from censure, and his enablers have been protecting him for 26 years, how can you trust in that same leadership going forward?
            4 – Has any pause, reflection, or prayer been given to the victims of Fr. P., many of whom left monasticism, and even abandoned the Faith?
            5 – Is this carefully worded admission enough to protect HTM from a class-action lawsuit by the victims of Fr. P.’s decades-long indiscretions?
            6 – Is there understanding, that while the personal struggles of homosexual activities are between a layperson and their Father Confessor, that someone engaging in these activities should not be allowed to serve Holy Communion, and that Church Canons take very seriously these activities amongst those in positions of authority?
            Dude, just to be clear, I am talking about the issues here and the decisions people had made, not condemning the people. I hope and pray that we all (including HOCNA leadership) gain salvation and will rejoice together in heaven. I think that it is time for many to re-think their hero-worship and how much “faith” they have placed in men, instead of God.
            I didn’t get your email exactly (I received this on some mailing list), so please once again, email or call me directly.

    • NFTU

      It’s made up by Shaw-world.

      None of that is true

  • What is the *RWRV?*

    • NFTU

      Bp Jerome Shaw’s Russian Western Rite Vicariate, which allows people to celebrate according to Roman Catholic and Anglican norms. While it is slightly more “traditional” than the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, the mindset (“let’s just adapt these Western liturgies, put in our sacred hearts and we’re just ok”) is precisely the same.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if the Fathers will be happy with their new synod or the monastery in Bearsville. It was said they will be building a byzantine monastery. I don’t know if that just means they will build a new building on the property now or start a new one for the former HTM monks someplace else. I wish the former HTM monks well.

    • Euthymios

      How could anyone be happy about going under a Metropolitan (Pavlos) who not only himself gives Communion to heretics, but allows his clergy to do the same?