On the evening of June 4/17, 2004, Archbishop Gregory communicated by telephone, by fax, by e-mail, and by air mail the following formal accusations against Metropolitan Valentine to the Synod:
1. Illegally receiving 180 Haitian people into the Church without their having ever received even the form holy Baptism, and thus introducing an unacceptable tradition into the Orthodox Church, contrary to the Canons;
2. Maintaining Father Vladimir Shiskoff as Administrator of North America, when it is manifestly proven by the testimony of Father Dionysi and Father Fotios that he is a crypto Cyprianite, an ecumenist;
3. Having withdrawn my petition for Father Andrew to be ordained a bishop, the Metropolitan is illegally taking him. He is one of my monks, who lives in my monastery, and to do this, is against the holy Canons.
4. And the most important, which resulted in all the above, is that Metropolitan Valentine, even though he does not live here or speak the language, wants to rule America from a foreign country.
In brief, the accusations may be defended and proven by what follows:
Accusation #1: “Illegally receiving 180 Haitian people into the Church without their having ever received even the form holy Baptism, and thus introducing an unacceptable tradition into the Orthodox Church, contrary to the Canons.”
Explanation: On the feast of St. John the Russian, 2004, Metropolitan Valentine received with no rite of reception, but only an ukaz and a concelebration, ‘Archimandrite’ Michael (Graves) of Petion-Ville, Haiti, along with his 180 associates who remained in Haiti. According to the testimony of both Archimandrite Michael himself and his then-spiritual father, Archimandrite John (Lewis) of Ft. Meyers, FL, both he and those with him have never received a canonical, Orthodox-style baptism, but only a triple-pouring by a heretical priest (for instance, ‘Archimandrite’ Michael wrote to Archimandrite George of Dormition Skete: “...we Baptized persons by having them stand in a large drum while we poured a bucket of water over their heads three times in the name of the Trinity. This was surely acceptable to God...and to all of the jurisdictions of Orthodoxy I know. [E-mail of July 20, 2004 6:31:02 PM]). Moreover, according to their testimony, ‘Archimandrite’ Michael and his associates joined ROAC from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. (For the sake of not repeating the same material twice, the rest of the testimony of Archimandrite Michael is given only in the Reply to Accusation #1 of Metropolitan Valentine below.)
In receiving 180 people, without their ever even having received the form of canonical Orthodox Baptism, Metropolitan Valentine has violated Canons 49 and 50 of the Holy Apostles, and 91 of St. Basil the Great, as well as Canon 7 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council (cf. the authoritative interpretations of the famous Byzantine canonists John Zonaras, Patriarch Theodore Balsamon, etc.), all of which state that the only acceptable form of Baptism is by triple-immersion in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that the economy of not baptizing those who convert from heresies can only be applied to those who have kept the exact same essential form of baptism as the Orthodox.
Apostolic Canon 49
“If any Bishop or Presbyter baptize anyone not into the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Lord’s ordinance..., let him be deposed.”
Apostolic Canon 50
“If any Bishop or Presbyter does not perform three immersions in making one Baptism, but a single immersion...., let him be deposed....”
Canon 91 of St. Basil the Great:
“Of the dogmas and preachings kept safely in the Church, we have some from written doctrine, and some, from tradition handed down to us by the Apostles, we have received in mystery, both of which have the same validity and force as regards piety (i.e., the religion); accordingly, no one gainsays these, at least no one that has any experience at all in ecclesiastical matters. For if we should undertake to discard the unwritten traditions of customs, on the score that they have no great force, we should unwittingly damage the Gospel in its vital parts, and should rather be left with preaching confined to the mere name...And whence comes the form of immersing three times in Baptism?...From what Scripture is it? Is it not from this unpublished and confidential teaching which our Fathers have kept?”
Canon VII of the 2nd Ecumenical Council:
“As for heretics who convert to Orthodoxy...we receive Arians, Macedonians,...Tetradites, and Apollonarians...when they submit written statements, and anathematize every heresy that does not believe as the holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church of God believes, and are first sealed, i.e. chrismated, with holy Myron on the forehead, and the eyes, and the nose, and the mouth, and the ears; and in sealing them we say: “Seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” However, as for Eunomians (a sect of Arians), who are baptized with one immersion, and Montantists...and Sabellians..., and any other heresies....all of them that want to join Orthodoxy we receive like pagans...and we baptize them.”
In explaining why the holy Fathers of the 2nd Ecumenical Council decided it was permissible to allow, if expedient, the reception of some of the aforementioned heretics by Chrismation, rather than Baptism, the most eminent of the authoritative Canonists, John Zonaras, writes: “These persons, therefore, are not rebaptized, because as respects holy Baptism, they differ in nothing from us, but are accustomed to be baptized in the exact same manner as are the Orthodox.” As to why this option was not offered to “Eunomians, who baptize with one immersion”, and other heretics mentioned in the Canon, Zonaras explains: “As for these, then, and all other heretics, the sacred Fathers have decreed that they are to be baptized. For whether they received baptism or not, they have not received it correctly, nor in the form and style prescribed by the Orthodox Church. Therefore they were regarded as not baptized.” Patriarch Theodore Balsamon of Antioch (A.D. 1203), the famous canonist, also states that “those baptized with a single immersion must be baptized again.” The other leading Byzantine canonists, Matthew Blastaris (13th century) and Joseph Bryennios (A.D.1450), explained the canonical law on Baptism and economia in the same way.
This is the canonical boundary for the use of economy: [Saint John Chrysostom: “Economia is permissible only as long as it involves no transgression of the law.” [Cited in “The extant ecclesiastical writings of Constantine Presbyter and Oikonomos of the Oikonomoi” (pub. Soph. C. of the Oikonomoi), vol.1, (Athens, 1863) pp. 433-434 (and note 1); cf. St. Eulogios of Alexandria, PG 103:953]. But the law of the holy Apostles says that Baptism must be administered by three immersions in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; therefore, anything differing from this, such as baptism by single immersion, is an incomplete baptism and is a transgression of the Apostolic Law and cannot be permitted or accepted, even by economia. The parameters of economy, in fact, were also given by the holy Apostles, the practice being based on the example of St. Paul’s laying hands on those baptized by St. John the Baptist and their receiving the Holy Spirit that way, as was explained in his canons by St. Timothy, Patriarch of Alexandria. However, the Baptism of John, according to Tradition, was like that of the later Apostles; and, as we have already seen, triple immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is required for the use of economy, for anything else is not a baptism.
To this may be added the consistent testimony of the holy Fathers that a baptism not given in accord with the requirements of holy Tradition is not a baptism. For example St Basil the Great teaches us:
“Whether a man has departed this life without Baptism, or has received a baptism lacking in some of the requirements of the tradition, his loss is equal...For the tradition that has been given us by the quickening grace must remain forever inviolate. He who redeemed our life from destruction gave us power of renewal, whereof the cause is ineffable and hidden in mystery, but bringing great salvation to our souls, so that to add or to take away anything involves manifestly a falling away from the life everlasting...In three immersions and an equal number of invocations (of the individual Persons of the Trinity) the great Mystery of Baptism is made complete.” (On the Holy Spirit [10, 12, 15].)
St. John Chrysostom likewise instructs: “In Baptism...all these take place at once: death, burial, resurrection and life. For when we immerse our heads in the water, the old man is buried as in a tomb below, and completely submerged forever; then as we raise them again, the new man rises in turn. Thrice is this done that you may learn that the power of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit fulfills all these things.” “The complete immersion or submersion of an individual in Baptism is the figure of the death of the old man, and his emergence from the water as reborn is a figure of the renewal and consecration of a new life in the figure of the Resurrection. We do not bury people by sprinkling a handful of earth over their heads or by shaking a little shovel full of dirt over them. No, we bury them completely, deep in the earth. Immersion, that is, Baptism is one thing and sprinkling is another. They are not the same, and that is why the holy Scriptures make a point of telling us that Saint John the Forerunner was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, “because there was much water there.” Indeed, why should St. John the Baptist, or our Savior, take the trouble to go all the way down to the Jordan River if any little washbasin elsewhere would have served the same purpose?” [Hom. 25, P.G. 59:146 (col. 151); and Hom. On the Holy Pascha, P.G. 50: 437.]
Therefore, as St. John Chrysostom admonishes us, every Bishop has a strict duty to see that no believer departs this life without Baptism, or else both his and that bishop’s soul are lost:
“I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish: and the reason is, that it is an affair that requires a great mind [attention]...Do you not see what a number of qualifications the Bishop must have?...What trouble and pains does this require! And then, others do wrong, and he bears all the blame. To pass over everything else: if one soul departs unbaptized, does this not subvert all his own prospect of salvation? The loss of one soul [which is lost because it was not baptized] carries with it a penalty which no language can represent. For if the salvation of that soul was of such value, that the Son of God became man, and suffered so much, think how sore a punishment must the losing of it bring! And if in this present life he who is cause of another’s destruction is worthy of death, much more in the next world. Do not tell me that the presbyter is at fault or the deacon. The guilt of all these comes perforce upon the head of those who ordained them...When you covet the episcopal rank, put in the other scale, the account to be rendered after this life...I mean, that even if you have sinned, but in your own person merely, you will have no such great punishment, nothing like it: but if you have sinned as a bishop [e.g., by permitting a believer to die unbaptized], you are lost.” [3rd Homily on the Acts of the Apostles III.]
Consequently, the Metropolitan has committed a very great sin against the Church and against those 180 souls, in trampling upon the sacred Tradition and canonical law of the Church by ‘receiving’ people who are unbaptized as members of the Church.
But, by necessity, this grave sin is doubled; for the Metropolitan, in receiving and concelebrating with “Archimandrite” Michael, without any rite of reception, both overlooked his lack of Baptism and lack of priesthood, but actually recognized the validity of his heretical, uncanonical, Episcopalian affusion, and his heretical ordination by the Ecumenist Antiochian Patriarchate. He served with a pseudo-priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This is a most serious sin and violation of the holy Canons: Canons 10, 45, 46, 47, and 68 of the Holy Apostles; Canons 33, 34, and 37 of Laodicea; Canon 9 of Carthage; the Canon of the other Council of Carthage under St. Cyprian, Canon 1 of St. Basil the Great, etc.] The holy Apostles, Fathers, and Councils order severe punishments for this transgression: excommunication, deposition, etc. Moreover, by recognizing and concelebrating with a heretical priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Metropolitan has violated the 1983 Anathema Against Ecumenism by the ROCOR, which anathematizes all those who teach or support the heresy of Ecumenism, or who recognize the mysteries of the heretics or schismatics, or who have communion with them.
APOSTOLIC CANON X
The one, who prays with the excommunicant, shall himself be excommunicated.
APOSTOLIC CANON XLV
Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed (sc. from office).
APOSTOLIC CANON XLVI
We order any Bishop or Presbyter, that has accepted any heretic’s baptism or sacrifice be deposed; for “what consonance has Christ with Belial, or what part has the believer with an unbeliever?”
APOSTOLIC CANON XLVII
If a Bishop or Presbyter baptize anew anyone that has had a true baptism, or fail to baptize anyone that has been polluted by the impious, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is mocking the Cross and death of the Lord and for failing to distinguish priests from pseudo-priests.
APOSTOLIC CANON LXVIII
If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon accepts a second ordination from anyone, let him and the one who ordained him be deposed. Unless it be established that his ordination has been performed by heretics. For those who have been baptized or ordained by such persons cannot possibly be either faithful Christians or clergymen.
CANON XXXIII of Laodicea
That one must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics.
Accusation #2: “Maintaining Father Vladimir Shiskoff as Administrator of North America, when it is manifestly proven by the testimony of Father Dionysi and Father Fotios that he is a crypto Cyprianite, an ecumenist.”
Explanation: As will be more fully discussed below in the Reply to Accusation #5 of Metropolitan Valentine, Fr. Vladimir Shishkoff was witnessed last year by Priest Dionysi McGowan and Deacon Fotios Roseboro giving communion to a priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Fr. Peter LaGruta) in the altar of his St. Nicholas Church in Staten Island, N.Y. Also, after the service, the aforesaid priest and deacon learned that he routinely gives communion to people from the New-Calendarist Greek Archdiocese. On the evening of Thomas Sunday, 2004, the written testimony of Priest Dionysi and Deacon Fotios was submitted to the Metropolitan at Dormition Skete, where the clergy had congregated to see the Metropolitan, and a formal accusation was made against Fr. Vladimir Shishkoff. If there are at least two witnesses to the canonical crime, who are Orthodox and not already under canonical punishment or accusation, then an ecclesiastical court of the canonical number of bishops *is required* to be convoked to try the case, according to Apostolic Canons 74 and 75; Canons 27, 28, and 12 of Carthage; Canon VI of the 2nd Ecumenical Council, etc. According to Canons 10, 45, 46, 47, and 68 of the Holy Apostles; Canons 33, 34, and 37 of Laodicea; Canon 9 of Carthage, etc., this is a very serious crime and the Church orders the carrying out of serious punishments for it: deposition, excommunication, etc. Furthermore, the 1983 Anathema against Ecumenism anathematizes, not only Ecumenists as heretics, but also anyone who has communion with Ecumenists, recognizes the mysteries of heretics or schismatics, or believes that the Church is or can be divided among Orthodox and heretics or schismatics. However, the Metropolitan remained non-committal, and then, after Pentecost and his recovery from his heart surgery, the Metropolitan began to openly refuse to correct Fr. Vladimir. It was then learned and brought to the attention of the Metropolitan, that Fr. Vladimir had also “blessed” people converted by Archbishop Gregory to take communion in churches of ROCOR (Laurus) and ROCOR (Vitaly) [e.g. Susanna Maklakov (who refused), Vladimir and Anna Mskhiladze and Maximos Kotyarov (all three of whom joined ROCOR (Vitaly) because of Fr. Vladimir’s advice), etc.]. Even after all of these revelations, the Metropolitan promoted Fr. Vladimir to the rank of mitred protopresbyter and confirmed his uncanonical position as “Administrator of North America”. Prior to this, and since that time, Fr. Vladimir has attempted and now succeeded in bringing into ROAC several heretically-minded and/or uncanonical priests and parishes (which will be discussed more fully below in Reply #5), thus doubly making his uncanonical “Administratorship” a disaster for the Church. However, the Metropolitan has not convoked the required ecclesiastical court to judge Fr. Vladimir, nor punished him in any way as the Canons demand, but has only raised up a fierce and slanderous persecution against the accuser of Fr. Vladimir. Not coincidentally, Fr. Vladimir has been a large financial supporter of Metropolitan Valentine for almost a decade now. Thus, the Metropolitan has become a supporter of Ecumenism in practice and a persecutor of the Orthodox who seek to defend the Church against it.
Accusation #3: “Having withdrawn my petition for Father Andrew to be ordained a bishop, the Metropolitan is illegally taking him. He is one of my monks, who lives in my monastery, and to snatch him away is against the holy Canons.”
Explanation: During the Metropolitan’s prolonged recovery from quintuple by-pass heart surgery, Archbishop Gregory, out of care for the Metropolitan, had given his monk, Hegumen Andrew Maklakov, the obedience to attend to the Metropolitan and to be his translator as long as the Metropolitan remained in Colorado. However, being ungrateful and guileful, the Metropolitan conceived the plan to take Fr. Andrew away from the Monastery and give him to Fr. Vladimir Shishkoff as an assistant, and perhaps, ordain him a bishop at some point. He approached Archbishop Gregory with a document recommending to the Synod that Fr. Andrew should be made a Bishop to help in the administration of ROAC in America, telling him to sign it now and he could always withdraw it if he changed his mind. Archbishop Gregory was persuaded to sign the document with the proviso that Fr. Andrew, who has very poor physical health and was only recently tonsured, needing more spiritual development, would remain in the monastery until suitable living conditions, acceptable to Archbishop Gregory and himself, would be found wherever he might be appointed to have his diocese. However, a short time later it was discovered that the Metropolitan was immediately sending Fr. Andrew off to New Jersey to be Fr. Vladimir’s assistant, to live in the world (in the upstairs bedroom of Fr. Vladimir’s home), to get a secular job to support himself, etc. Having considered the matter again, this time with the entire monastic brotherhood, it was decided that because of Fr. Andrew’s increasingly apparent spiritual deterioration, living in the world already and the dangers to his physical health, the recommendation should be withdrawn. Moreover, it was decided once the Metropolitan left Colorado, that Fr. Andrew should return to Dormition Skete immediately. Archbishop Gregory communicated his withdrawal of the recommendation to the Metropolitan, who then began to heap up threats against Archbishop Gregory to make him yield -- the removal of all awards from all the American clergy and Archbishop Gregory’s forced resignation from the Archbishopric, as well as the ending of Archbishop Gregory’s episcopal “career”. However, Archbishop Gregory accepted this and offered to resign if that would be what was required to protect one of his monks. At this point, the Metropolitan changed tactics which led him to hastily draw up Ukaz #114, dated May 21/June 3, 2004, in which he declared that “by my decision, for the good of the Church”, Fr. Andrew was no longer a priest of Archbishop Gregory’s diocese and no longer a monk of Dormition Skete, but was now in the hands of the Metropolitan who ordered him as soon as possible to move to New Jersey and become Fr. Vladimir’s assistant until he received further instructions. He deceived Fr. Andrew to think that he had this authority and that he could either “go back to that monastery and rot” (so said the Metropolitan) or follow the Metropolitan’s directive and have a glorious career as a bishop ruling Eastern America. Unhappily, for himself, Fr. Andrew broke his monastic vows and chose to follow the Metropolitan, and is now in New Jersey in disobedience to his abbot and lawful Archbishop. By his uncanonical Ukaz #114, the Metropolitan is guilty of violating the following canons: Canons 63 and 88 of Carthage; 15 and 16 of the Holy Apostles; 15 and 19 of Sardica; 17 and 18 of the 6th Ecumenical Council; 3 and 7 of Antioch; 15 and 16 of the 1st Ecumenical Council; 13 and 20 of the 4th Ecumenical Council; 41 and 42 of Laodicea, etc. as well as 34 and 39 of the Holy Apostles. These all state that no hierarch may take or accept a monk or priest from another hierarch’s diocese or foreign abbot’s monastery, nor let him serve, without a written dismissory letter blessing this from his diocesan bishop, nor in general may a Metropolitan do anything outside of his own diocese without the blessing and consent of all the bishops. According to these canons, which were written to control the avarice of bishops and priests, the Metropolitan shall be excommunicated, deposed, etc. and Fr. Andrew has no authority to serve and should be forced to come back, which if he resists, he is to be excommunicated, deposed, etc. as well.
Accusation #4: “And the most important, which resulted in all the above is that Metropolitan Valentine, even though he does not live here or speak the language, wants to rule America from a foreign country.”
Explanation: According to the authoritative decree of the Autocephalous Russian Church, Ukaz #362, Nov. 7, 1920, in the event of their ceasing to be a lawful Patriarch and Highest Church Administration or if communication with these became too difficult or impossible, the bishops are commanded to either form temporarily autonomous synods with bishops of neighboring dioceses in similar conditions or if that is not possible to operate autonomously by themselves, in all cases in accordance with the authority and direction given by the holy Canons, until such time as a lawful Patriarchate and Highest Church Administration could be restored and judge, confirm, or reject and annul all actions taken in the interim, which may have a protracted or even almost permanent character. According to Ukaz #362, in the present situation with Archbishop Gregory as the only bishop of the Russian Church in North America, and all others thousands of miles away, all the children of the Autocephalous Russian Orthodox Church in relation to whom he is the ruling bishop nearest or most accessible as regards convenience or relations, are to submit to his episcopal authority. In accordance with this decree, Metropolitan Valentine originally confirmed that all those who initially asked to be under Archbishop Gregory would be subject to him and commemorate him, until the native episcopate became multiplied in North America and more dioceses were formed. However, without revoking his previous agreement, upon the suggestion of Fr. Vladimir Shiskoff, who slandered the Archbishop as being incompetent, Metropolitan Valentine attempted to also introduce Fr. Vladimir as his representative for administering the North American parishes, outside of Colorado, in direct contradiction to Ukaz #362. (The details of Ukaz #362 are more fully dealt with in Reply #6 below.) This uncanonical act resulted in the formation of two parallel administrations in North America, a local one and an absentee, foreign rule. The situation was almost immediately taken advantage of by anyone who wanted to rebel against the Archbishop’s decisions, or subvert ecclesiastical discipline, etc., or to be admitted in an uncanonical way, to teach heresy or concelebrate with heretics, to violate the canons, to ignore suspensions, etc., and, in general, have nothing to do with the Archbishop. Much rather, they preferred no episcopal oversight of their unworthy lives, since the only authority they ostensibly acknowledged was confined in Russia thousands of miles away. Such a foreign authority knew nothing about them or the situation in America, nor did any Russian bishop speak the English-language so as to be able to have any significant contact with them whatsoever. (Some, not all, examples of this are discussed in Reply #5 below.) As one may see, upon reading all the facts and records presented in this document, this last canonical violation was the foundation and well-spring of all the others, for only because of this transgression could all of the others take place.
On June 4/17, these accusations, with more evidence and history not mentioned here for the sake of brevity, were received by Archbishop Theodore in Suzdal. By the next morning, he had forwarded this information to Metropolitan Valentine, who was then residing in Colorado Springs, CO. Metropolitan Valentine, seeing himself condemned and in a difficult situation, resolved to distract attention from himself and to destroy the Archbishop (“I will behead him”, he is reported as saying later on by several witnesses), by compiling a slanderous set of charges against the Archbishop (which we have conclusively refuted below). The Metropolitan declared him unworthy of the episcopate, forcibly retired, suspended from serving, and confined to his monastery, until the Metropolitan returned to Russia and the Synod met to determine how to punish him further. The Metropolitan then moved to New Jersey on his way back to Russia, where he completed and published Ukaz #130, which despite its being issued only weeks afterwards, he back-dated to June 16, 2004, so that he could claim that his accusations were prior to those of Archbishop Gregory and, therefore, Archbishop Gregory could be tried by him and the Synod without hearing Archbishop Gregory’s accusations and trying the Metropolitan first as required by the canons (e.g. Canon 6 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council). However, he made a fatal mistake in his Ukaz which reveals his false dating of it to June 3/16, 2004. He referred to Archbishop Gregory’s letter of accusation to the Synod of June 4/17, 2004. Archbishop Gregory, over a week later, obtained a written, certified copy of the Ukaz. He immediately wrote a letter to the Synod formally adding the accusation of false witness and slander to the Metropolitan’s crimes (which crime is punishable by deposition; cf. Apostolic Canon 25; and Canon 6 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council). In spite of this, Metropolitan Valentine returned to Russia and it was alleged on the internet, and by e-mail, that he presided at a Synod meeting, presenting accusations against Archbishop Gregory. This was followed by an e-mail of the minutes of the meeting, including four slanderous accusations against the Archbishop (listed and refuted below). With the document was a decree that if the Archbishop did not repent or defend himself in one week, then he would be cut off from communion with ROAC and, even if he repented, a separate decision would be taken respecting his future status in the Church as a bishop [i.e., deposition]. Archbishop Gregory communicated to Suzdal his protest and that the proceeding against him was unlawful in every respect, as follows: (1) Archbishop Gregory’s prior accusations against the Metropolitan were ignored; (2) the Metropolitan, his accuser, was the Archbishop’s judge; and (3), that Archbishop Gregory had been tried without an ecclesiastical court, etc. Without receiving any response, the next e-mail announced that for the previously mentioned and other new charges (refuted below) he had been cut off from the communion of the ROAC and left to the judgment of God. However, when the Archbishop wrote to request that copies of the decisions with the alleged participating bishops signatures be faxed and mailed to him, because he had received nothing but a plain text e-mail version of the decisions, he received no answer. This failure to send an official signed notice calls in question the entire validity of the decisions. Be that as it may, here follows a conclusive refutation of the ridiculous and slanderous accusations recently sent to us as “Protocols” of the Synod, again by e-mail.