March 15, 2007 -- Once again, in its pitiable attempt to slander the hierarchs or clergy of our Synod, VERTOGRAD has succeeded only in solidifying its reputation for having "news" stories that are so outrageous (and unsubstantiated), that it’s now widely read by those in ROAC for entertainment purposes and not for truthful information.

This past week, VERTOGRAD published yet another inaccurate report according to which 3 of our American clergy left our Synod here in the America because of the "unfortunate 'personnel policy' of the First Hierarch of ROAC, Metropolitan Valentine”.

Here are the facts –

• Michael Fresco of St Maximos the Confessor Church in California was deposed 4 years ago by Bishop Gregory, who at the time was still in good standing with our Synod of Bishops.

• Archimandrite Ephraem Bertolette of St. Barbara's Monastery in New Jersey did in fact depart from our Synod recently in order to become a “Metropolitan” accepting a consecration offer in Athens by some obscure, schismatic Greek old calendar group on Clean Monday of this year. Apparently Archimandrite Ephraem planned his deceitful departure last fall when he, in advance, placed his order for 2007 calendars with Mr. Jiffy Printing Center in his hometown in order to publicize his new “elevation”. So, one can readily see that the reason that Archimandrite Ephraem left ROAC was due to his own unfortunate "personnel policy" of promoting himself.

• Deacon Nicholas Stanoschek has not left our Synod, but was reassigned to our Texas parish in January 2007. The listing of the St. Basil of Kineshma Mission in Colorado was simply removed from our "Parish Directory" on our national web site after being non-viable for over 2 years and consquently declared defunct by His Grace, Bishop ANDREI.

These 3 clergyman had nothing more than a house chapel.

Unfortunately, VERTOGRAD stands in the forefront as the shinning example of a journal which disseminates inaccurate information and gossip as it continues to be wholly unconstrained by the traditional assumption, which is de rigueur in traditional publishing, that one should ascertain the facts and educate themselves before offering a report.

And with imprudence rapidly spreading as a spiritual and intellectual disease in our age (as well as with the advent of the Internet), any fool or panjandrum holding an opinion looks for any available forum to spread their gossip and silly chitchat. Regrettably VERTOGRAD through its "investigative efforts” can only expect to extrapolate half-truths from web page deletions which is not comme il faut for ascertaining all the facts.

Finally, those of us of us here in America know all too well the untiring efforts of His Grace, Bishop ANDREI who could hardly be characterized as “inanimate”. As the Administrator of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America, Bishop ANDREI’s boundless energies and contagious enthusiasm continues to be an inspiration to those of us who have “ears to hear” on our journey to salvation.