Fr. Michael Azkoul
From: “Michael Azkoul”<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 1:25 PM
Subject: Spiritual Problem
I have been profoundly disquieted by the desperate plight of..... He spoke to me several times on the telephone to seek my advice, and my intercession.
His wife was guilty of adultery with another HOCNA priest in Oregon. He and his wife separated, he lost his family, he was homeless for months (living out of his car), and worst of all, our Church has done nothing to help him. He tells me that his bishop has shown him neither mercy nor justice, even to ignoring his canonical request for a spiritual court to judge his innocence in this matter. Only in this way will the whole truth come out.
Dear Despota, he asks only that his name and his honor are restored. In any case, violation of the canons and the moral laws cannot go unpunished. The couple (the priest and man’s wife) accused of adultery * his wife has admitted her guilty –continue to live in the Church as if nothing has happened –the woman continues to take Communion and the priest continues to offer it.
It falls to you, as his bishop, to clarify this matter. If there is no spiritual trial, there will be an ugly civil trial. The name of HOCNA will be blackened once more, you and Bishop Moses will be called to testify, a priest and the wife of a priest will make their confession before a cynical public. There will be a scandal that will injure the name of Christ and Orthodoxy once more. I can just imagine the newspaper headlines.
I urge, if only out of Christian love, that this regrettable incident find a just and immediate resolution. Whatever may be your “side of the story”at this juncture is irrelevant. We do no want to become involved, via the civil courts, in more trouble, more harm to our people, more public scandal. Once more will HOCNA be subject to ridicule, and the Body of Christ to public mockery. What, indeed, will be the judgment of God.
Fr Michael Azkoul
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