A Chronology of Events
Leading up to the
In January 1986, several former members of HTM charged Fr. Panteleimon with sexual perversion. A special commission was appointed: Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles (who like Met. Vitaly were considered to be among the staunch conservatives of the Synod of Bishops) and Bishop Alypy were selected.
Just before things came to a head (with regard to the accusations about him), Fr. Panteleimon had this to say:
“The Synodal Church [the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad] is a real standard of Orthodoxy.... Therefore, discerning where the Truth is found, we remain in unity under our bishops in the midst of many trials and temptations...because grace abides in the Synod.... We uphold our Synod primarily and foremostly as a standard of Orthodoxy. All others have betrayed the Truth. This was demonstrated of late by the election of our new Metropolitan [Vitaly]....” (Fr. Alexey Young, The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: A History and Chronology (San Bernardino: The Borgo Press, 1993), p. 77f. Original source: A personal letter from Fr. Panteleimon to Fr. Alexey Young, dated February 10, 1986 -- a month after the first accusers came forward.
The commission presented its report to the Synod in May of 1986, having interviewed both the accused and the accusers before the Gospel and Cross. At this meeting, two additional accusers also came forward -- Monk Menas and Monk Eugenios (having left HTM several weeks previously). The written testimony of two other former members of HTM were read, and two previously interviewed give oral testimony.
The dean of the New England Deanery and Monk Ephraim spoke in defense of Fr. Panteleimon. Fr. Panteleimon was extensively questioned, denied the charges, but asked to be relieved of his duties as abbot. The Synod granted this request on May 16/29, and decreed that Fr. Panteleimon was retired -- this decision was relayed to him by Met. Vitaly personally. Archbishop Anthony was appointed by the Synod to oversee the Monastery, and Heiromonk Isaac was given temporary charge pending his arrival. Instead of obeying the Synod, HTM elected Fr. Isaac as it’s new abbot, despite being told that neither he nor the Monk Ephraim could be considered until charges against them had been cleared.
The Synod met again on Nov 12/25 and decided the following:
1) Fr. Isaac was to be relieved of his duties as administrator.
2) To suspend both Fr. Panteleimon and Fr. Isaac from serving in accordance with rule 159 of the Regulations of the Spiritual Consistories which states: “A clergyman who has been accused of a crime is to be suspended from serving.... the order for this to be done is entrusted to the local bishop, who is obligated to take care of those who are accused of grave violations of good conduct according to God’s laws not approach to serve before the Altar of the Lord.”
3) To appoint a commission to investigate charges against Fr. Isaac.
4) To appoint Fr. Justin as temporary administrator.
5) To direct the commission to investigate various questions arising about the monastery.
Met. Vitaly, as diocesan hierarch of Eastern America fulfilled the recommendations of the Synod (of Nov 20/Dec 3) and suspended both Fr. Panteleimon and Fr. Isaac. On December 12, 1986 Met. Vitaly received a letter from HTM informing him that they had left the ROCA because of its Modernism and Ecumenism.
In response to the question of why Fr. Panteleimon’s perversions are significant to a discussion of the “stand” of the “HOCNA” Panteleimonites, let me point out the following:
1) Fr. Panteleimon was suspended and being investigated by the ROCA for these perversions when suddenly the ROCA ceased to be the last refuge of pure Orthodoxy, and overnight, Metropolitan Vitaly became a liberal Ecumenist.
2) The Panteleimonites then came under two Vagante Bishops, Gabriel and Akkakios -- bishops previously trashed by them -- but they also left when these charges of perversion resurfaced.
3) They then came under Archbishop Auxentios, who had been deposed by the Synod he had formerly headed for ordaining a “notorious person” (i.e. a homosexual). Archbishop Maximos replaced him upon his death, and he began a new investigation of HTM -- and so this “Old Calendar confessor” became a modernist overnight.
4) Countless examples of how those who flee Fr. Panteleimon’s blasphemous perversity are smeared and lied about can be cited. They are also subject to other forms of threats and intimidation.
If Fr. Panteleimon is really such a prescient “holy elder”, one might reasonably wonder why he has surrounded himself with so many “liars”, and “disreputable” persons who would later come out and accuse him of perversion. One might also wonder why he has had such sorry luck with trying to find a bishop who was not a secret modernist and Ecumenist. In short, all the claims which seek to justify HTM schisms are smoke screens and red herrings. The reason for their schism is their unwillingness to submit their false “elder” to the discipline of the Church.
It was a significant amount of time after the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Vitaly (which supposedly sparked HTM’s flight as being heretical) was published that Fr. Panteleimon still was able to write:
“The Synodal Church [the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad] is a real standard of Orthodoxy.... Therefore, discerning where the Truth is found, we remain in unity under our bishops in the midst of many trials and temptations...because grace abides in the Synod.... We uphold our Synod primarily and foremostly as a standard of Orthodoxy. All others have betrayed the Truth. This was demonstrated of late by the election of our new Metropolitan [Vitaly]....” (Fr. Alexey Young, The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: A History and Chronology (San Bernardino: The Borgo Press, 1993), p. 77f. Original source: A personal letter from Fr. Panteleimon to Fr. Alexey Young, dated February 10, 1986.
So unless one is prepared to accuse Fr. Panteleimon of complicity in selling out Orthodoxy, this line of argumentation needs to be abandoned.
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