I have some personal experience that is compelling me to comment on the HOCNA schism. When it comes to matters that can affect our salvation, I am supported in the feeling that we must come forward and tell some of what we know.
That said: My association with HTM began in late 1982 and ended in early 1992 when I returned to the ROCOR and the loving arms of Vladyka Antony+ of Los Angeles of blessed memory. Here it is eight years later and my children their children and their cousins and their children are still split apart; some no longer attend church.
About a month ago, yet another victim, after 30 years of silence, came forward, with the intent of helping his fellow victims and bared his soul in a most honest and heartfelt way. I can’t imagine how anyone could not believe this story or at least agree that this man’s testimony merited an investigation into the charges made against his former spiritual father.
On the heels of this confession was an article, “A Call To Repentance” authored by Archimandrite Gregory, a former monk of HTM. This plea was most impressive in that it offered a sound solution to the problem.
Bishop Moses’ twin brother Fr. Elias left HTM after many many years and came to Fresno and told me the details of his long time sexual affair with Fr. Panteleimon, he insisted that I never reveal this in order to protect his brother, (now Bishop Moses) who was still in the monastery. I never agreed to his demands
Every HTM/HOCNA hierarch read Fr. Elias’ related, detailed, 10 page letter, that they all now say never existed. The next day after my two day discussion with Fr. Elias, I called my father confessor, Fr. Nicholas Liberis, who couldn’t deal with this, so he deferred me to my dear friend Fr. Neketas Palassis in Seattle, who, while sounding like he was totally in despair, advised that I should call Bishop Ephriam.
The next morning I called Bishop Ephriam and told him how concerned I was with so many accusers, when he cut me off with, “talk to Fr. Elias.” When I told him what Fr. Elias said, his response was, “He wasn’t a good monk.” Five minutes later I received a call from Fr. Elias in San Jose, screaming at me for what I had done, and while also assuring me that he would lie to protect his brother. Before Fr. Elias called, Bishop Ephriam had warned me that if I didn’t leave this matter alone that he would remove our new priest from us in Fresno. I yelled at him not to threaten me and hung up (I later asked his forgiveness) ; ... he took our priest from us.
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