Certain procedures were initiated in the late summer of 2015 against then-Bishop Irineu (Duvlea), at that time the Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (ROEA) and Abbot of Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Monastery (later renamed Holy Ascension Romanian Orthodox Christian Monastery [unauthorized change]), as a consequence of oral reports made to me in my capacity as Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America regarding possible sexual and other misconduct on the part of then-Bishop Irineu. In the course of these procedures, then-Bishop Irineu was officially put on leave of absence which restricted the performance of his clerical and administrative duties pending the investigation of these allegations by a letter dated August 25, 2015, forwarded to me by Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and by a letter from the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (ORSMA) of the Orthodox Church in America, dated August 25, 2015, which was addressed to then-Bishop Irineu. On September 1, 2015, a Response Team was appointed to investigate these matters.
On January 25, 2017, a certain final Report of this Response Team was submitted by the Response Team appointed under the provisions of the Policies, Standards and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct (“PSPs”) of the Orthodox Church in America. This Report addressed its findings of fact and recommendations regarding nine (9) allegations of misconduct (including certain allegations regarding sexual misconduct and certain allegations regarding violations of canonical duties respecting a superior hierarch) on the part of Bishop Irineu (Duvlea), at that time the Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America and Abbot of the Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Monastery in Clinton, Michigan. At the time of the submission of this final ORSMA Report on January 25, 2017, then-Bishop Irineu was already in a status of involuntary leave of absence and suspension from all of his former clerical and administrative duties.
This Report of January 25, 2017 determined that five (5) of these allegations investigated, relating to sexual misconduct, and one (1) of these allegations investigated, regarding his violation of canonical duties respecting a superior hierarch, were substantiated. As a consequence of the findings and recommendations of this Report, then-Bishop Irineu’s suspension was extended by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America from the performance of all duties of his office, whether religious, clerical, administrative, or otherwise, which he had formerly exercised within the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America; this in accordance with the binding provisions of the Policies, Standards and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct of the Orthodox Church in America. In addition to this suspension from all functions of every kind within our Church, then-Bishop Irineu was referred to a Synodal Court of the Orthodox Church in America which was convened at Saint Demetrius Church, Jackson, Michigan, on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
At 10 AM on June 21, 2017, the Synodal Court consisting of 12 bishops of the Orthodox Church in America convened at Saint Demetrius Church in Jackson, Michigan, and reviewed substantial documentation and heard extensive evidence by witnesses adduced by then-Bishop Irineu. Following the close of the hearing held before the Synodal Court, the member-bishops of the Court thereafter determined that then-Bishop Irineu should be, and was, deposed from his episcopal rank in the Church and reduced to the status of a lay monk, having no administrative, clerical, religious, liturgical or official authority of any kind within the Orthodox Church in America or the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, including the Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Monastery in Clinton, Michigan.
By a letter from Archbishop Michael (Dahulich), the Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America dated June 29, 2017, Monk Irineu was informed that he remained under the canonical and hierarchical obedience of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate and that, as a lay monk with no office within the Church, was to submit in all matters to the authority of Archbishop Nathaniel as his Hierarch. This letter of Archbishop Michael further reminded Monk Irineu of certain matters by stating:
… For the immediate future, you are to remain and reside at the Monastery of the Ascension of the Lord in Clinton, Michigan, which is now and always has been an affiliated institution of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America under the hierarchical jurisdiction of Archbishop NATHANIEL. You must notify His Eminence whenever and wherever you are traveling outside of this monastery, seeking the Archbishop’s permission even to visit family members.
As a lay monastic, you are invested with and possess no spiritual, canonical, secular or material authority of any kind or character. Without limiting the scope of this broad and unlimited prohibition, you are not allowed to visit parishes within the Episcopate or the Orthodox Church in America; nor are you to involve yourself in any way in the material or spiritual affairs of those parishes. More specifically, you are forbidden to involve yourself in any way, directly or indirectly, in the internal or external matters of the Episcopate or its subordinate parishes; of any other Orthodox jurisdiction or parish; of the Monastery of the Ascension of the Lord; or in the lives of any parishioners of the Episcopate or of any other Orthodox jurisdiction, directly or indirectly. These prohibitions extend to any participation on your part in any and all administrative, fiscal, or spiritual matters of the Monastery of the Ascension of the Lord. You are reminded that the real and personal property of the Monastery of the Ascension of the Lord is, as stated in the applicable and binding Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, God’s property and not that of man. You are to remove no property of the Monastery from its premises, a prohibition which extends to all records of the Monastery, as well as all of its other personal property, i.e., its sacred objects, its vehicles, its equipment, its bank accounts, and all records and documents of any kind or character pertaining to the spiritual or material affairs of the Monastery. Nor are you to destroy any such property or to make it otherwise inaccessible to proper authority. As one deposed, you should not offer spiritual advice to anyone and should have no contact with parish clergy without the express permission of your Hierarch. Your conduct going forward must in all respects demonstrate the fidelity and obedience expected of a monastic in our hierarchical Church.
As a lay monk, you are not allowed to celebrate any liturgical services.
Incontrovertible evidence has now come to my attention that, since his initial suspension from all official, administrative, and priestly and episcopal authority and functions imposed on him by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on August 31, 2015, and his subsequent deposition from episcopal rank within our Church and his reduction to the status of a lay monk with no administrative, priestly, episcopal or other religious or clerical authority, Monk Irineu has incontestably embarked on a pattern of conduct in full disobedience of all of the suspensions, restrictions and limitations placed upon him as stated hereinabove.
Certain incontrovertible evidence establishes beyond all doubt that Monk Irineu, although having nothing more than lay status in our Church and no sacerdotal or episcopal authority of any kind, now continues to mock the Holy Mysteries of our Church by pretending to celebrate these as a cleric of episcopal rank, wholly without any suggestion or pretense of canonical authority to do so.
Certain other incontrovertible evidence also establishes that Monk Irineu has in recent days undertaken certain administrative measures to bring into being a certain civil corporation styling itself as “Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Monastery.” Certain documents filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Services (Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau) on or about July 10, 2017, would indicate that the “registered agent” of this corporation is “Right Reverend Bishop Ioan Irineu Duvlea” and that its registered office is at “15143 Sheridan Road, Clinton, MI 49236.”
In light of the foregoing incontrovertible facts and in the exercise of my hierarchical authority as Archbishop of Detroit and of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and in the exercise further of my hierarchical and canonical authority under the Holy Canons of the world-wide Orthodox Church; the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America; and the Constitution of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, I now order, adjudge, and decree as follows:
- That the purported celebration of the Holy Mysteries of our Church and of other Divine Services of the Church undertaken by Monk Irineu (Duvlea) from the time of his suspension from the exercise of all clerical and episcopal authority by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on August 31, 2015, and more particularly since his deposition from episcopal rank and his reduction to the status of a lay monk by that Holy Synod on June 22, 2017, are canonically and sacramentally invalid, null and void; wholly without canonical authority of any kind or character; and are further entirely devoid of and lacking in all sacramental and soul-saving Grace; and further
- That the established and incontrovertible acts shown to have been undertaken by Monk Irineu (Duvlea), in this connection styling himself as “Right Reverend Bishop Ioan Irineu Duvlea,” with respect to the bringing into being on or about July 10, 2017, of a civil corporation styling itself as “Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Monastery,” and having its registered office at 15143 Sheridan Road, Clinton, Michigan 49236, were undertaken by Monk Irineu (Duvlea) without the knowledge or consent of any competent canonical or hierarchical authority; in a complete absence of all canonical or hierarchical authority of the Orthodox Church in America; in a complete absence of all canonical or hierarchical authority of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America; and in contravention to the strict requirements of the Holy Canons of the world-wide Orthodox Church; the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America; and of the Constitution of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
I direct that the Chancellor of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America publicize and distribute this Order, Judgment, and Decree by appropriate means to the Faithful of our Romanian Episcopate and to those monastics of the Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Monastery who remain steadfast in their loyalty to and love for our Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. As the constitutional, canonical, and hierarchical head of Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Monastery, I pray fervently for the souls of all of our Faithful and of the loyal monastics of the Monastery who remain steadfast in its mission to advance within the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America the Gospel of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This Order, Judgment, and Decree is entered at the Chancery Office of the ROEA in Grass Lake, Michigan, on this, the 27th day of July, 2017.
+NATHANIEL, Archbishop of Detroit
and of The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America
Orthodox Church in America