Officials of the Orthodox Church in America are investigating the appearance of an anonymous publication titled “The Midnight Son,” which was widely distributed to numerous faithful of the Orthodox Church in America during the third week of October 2001.
“The publication, which bears the logo of the OCA Diocese of Alaska and which contains numerous inflammatory remarks against His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Baltimore, Auxiliary to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius and other members of the OCA Church Administration, was mailed from Anchorage, AK and published by a group calling itself the ‘Council for the Orthodox Truth and Justice in the Orthodox Church in America,’” according to Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor. “The publication gives the appearance of being an official publication of the Church, and it is most unfortunate that the opinions contained therein are portrayed as fact.”
In addition to leveling severe criticism on Bishop Nikolai, who has been overseeing the life of the Diocese of Alaska since June 2001, the publication includes a variety of misinformation on the present situation of His Grace, Bishop Innocent, formerly Bishop of Anchorage, who was relieved of his duties by the Holy Synod of Bishops in March 2001 and given a new assignment as Bishop of Hagerstown, MD while continuing to serve as Auxiliary to Metropolitan Theodosius. Having failed to assume his new duties, Bishop Innocent was subsequently suspended by the Holy Synod, but was reinstated in May after repenting of his actions. Bishop Innocent was suspended by the Holy Synod for a second time in August 2001 and was retired from episcopal ministry by the Holy Synod at its fall 2001 session in October. During that session, the Holy Synod agreed that election of a Diocesan Bishop for Alaska would be held during the Alaskan Diocesan Assembly during the last week of October 2001.
“We take any misuse or misrepresentation of the Church’s communications facilities very seriously,” said legal counsel assisting the Diocese of Alaska conducting an investigation of the publication. “We have retained legal counsel to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of this matter. Based on the results of that work, we will take whatever action is required to protect the Church’s interests and the integrity of its publications.”