Letter 6-08

The following letter was sent to Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese. This letter with a few minor changes was also sent to Metropolitan Herman of the OCA.

This letter is send on behalf of the North American Holy Synod of The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America.

The purpose of this letter is to attempt to resolve some matters mentioned below. If there is no resolution be advised that we intend to turn this matter over to our attorneys and to pursue legal action as needed to resolve the matter of lies and defamation about this Church AND the improper and possible illegal misuse of our Registered Service Mark and Copyrighted website. This can be considered as illegal when a Registered Service Mark is used to attack its owner which is what is done on Orthodoxwiki. See: Groups claiming succession from Aftimios Ofiesh where it states the AOCC above under Aftimios Ofiesh has no connection with the AOCC and other groups below. We in fact are the same Church, Church corporation, and owners of the Registered Service Mark (name & Logo).

This makes your clergy appear to be liars when we easily refute such claims. We easily point out your clergy are attempting to rewrite history also.

Then when we point out how Abp. Ofiesh has been dead for almost 42 years and clergy from the ethnic churches continue to attack his good name and memory with lies and the fear of the truth being discovered it also makes your clergy appear to be unchristian.

The links below are to your orthodoxwiki pages and our corrections to said pages.

Your sites make 3 claims (speculation) about Abp. Ofiesh resigning to marry, deposing himself and being suspended by Bp. Sophronius while the site also states Abp. Ofiesh's widow stated he intended to function as a married bishop.

Twice your sites (edited by an Antiochian and OCA priest that we know of) report that Aftimios is the source of numerous lines of succession of Episcopi Vagantes. He was no more responsible for these claimed lines that the Russian Church and Patriarch are. These claimed lines did not come from Aftimios but from mainly Ignatius who left the Church and married. His acts had no mandate from the Church or Synod. Another source claimed is Sophronius who your Church saw fit to remove from his grave in New York and rebury next to St Raphael at Antiochian Village and then claim he was not a good canonical bishop and supposedly took over the leadership of the Church, suspended Aftimios & deposed or excommunicated Ignatius, all contrary to the canons. Why in heavens name would you bury such a bishop, if this were true, next to St Raphael? We of course know this is a false claim based on newspaper reports that Sophronius in fact congratulated Aftimios on his marriage. These same newspaper articles tell of Fr Boris being chased by an angry crowd and his running to Aftimios for protection. Seems he was accused of improper "touching" and he was accepted by your Church I believe it says. It would appear that the ethnic have violated numerous canons in this matter and sometimes it is published on your wiki sites but they (editors) fail to mention certain acts violated the canons.

Your wiki sites also state your clergy came from the old country without authority to raise funds in the new world. It is also stated that suspended clergy were accepted w/o the required letters, parishes were stolen or enticed to leave this Church, and the statement by the Greek Archbishop in North and South America in 1929 claming to have all authority over all Orthodox in North America is what we refer to as the date of the Schism in American Orthodoxy.

The wiki site also publishes a statement supposedly made by our early Synod members regarding the Canon on married bishops showing this church never adopted this canon. That is also supported by statements in other orthodox publications that not all churches adopted that canon.

Since your wiki sites also mention the court case to take the Cathedral from Aftimios it gives us moral and legal authority to ignore the canons on this and to go through the courts if necessary to resolve these problems.

No more lies, no more speculation, no more maybes or guesswork about Abp. Ofiesh. Also no more using our name and then saying these are two separate groups unconnected to Aftimios. You should write the basic facts such as the Church was Chartered, Abp. Ofiesh was appointed to head the Church as a canonical Archbishop,that his jurisdiction was not accepted and recognized by the "ethnic" jurisdictions, that he later married and leave it at that.

Maybe neither side was blameless but there is a lot of documentation and since no tribunal was ever called and his public claims never disputed in an official manner then he is blameless of any action that would be severe enough to have him removed from office in any way.

We often hear of ethnic, and Roman Catholic, bishops who are supposed to be married secretly, have a special companion and so on. If in fact such exists it needs to be resolved in a manner like that of the priest who was allowed to remarry and remain an active priest.

Since Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh has been declared a Martyr for the faith it now makes such attacks appear even worse.

for the Synod I remain,

Most Rev. Leland Lannoye
Metropolitan of North & South America