The Sheriff Takes Charge of the Greek Church.






What the Youths Studying for the Priesthood Say About Their Tutelage – Inside the Powell-Street Academy.



Bishop Vladimir, known within the domain of the Czar of all the Russias as Basil Sokolowsky, does not appear to be resting upon a bed of roses.

The Examiner yesterday told the story of Dr. Nicholas Russel’s trouble with the head of the Russian Church in this city, growing out of the doctor’s excommunication, and also gave particulars of the suit that has been instituted against Bishop Vladimir by a Russian youth named Boris Levin, who sues through his guardian for the recovery of $1,090, alleged to have been received by the defendant for the plaintiff’s benefit.

For several days the Bishop has been "officially absent from the city" to all inquirers at his residence adjoining the church on Powell street, and as it was understood that he was preparing to leave for Alaska on the steamer Farallon, Levin’s attorney considered it safer to serve an attachment upon him. But the efforts to find him for this purpose were fruitless and yesterday in order to compel him or his attorney to answer the summons, or give bonds for his appearance in court, an attachment was levied upon the contents of the Bishopric and a Deputy Sheriff placed in charge.

The Farallon has been delayed for several days and it is believed that Vladimir will take his leave when she is ready to sail.


Admittance was gained yesterday to the Powell-street establishment, which in addition to its sacred uses is a seminary for the education of Russian youths for the priesthood. The educational portion of the building is composed of four rooms in the basement. Two of these are used as classrooms, one as a dining-room and the other as a dormitory.

Adjoining the classrooms are a number of cells into which the boys are cast for punishment.

During the absence of their attendant the boys – some sixteen in number – talked readily enough of the hardships they endured and of their daily prayers to get free of the institution. But when their caretaker came along they were at once silent and submissive. They said that they were poorly fed, compelled to do menial work about the premises and detained there, not as pupils but as prisoners. They spoke of the punishment they received for offenses against the "laws and regulations" of the place, and shuddered as they recounted the days and nights they have been compelled to spend in the prison cells.


Their case was yesterday reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and steps will be at once taken towards a thorough investigation.

The Bishop himself was met in one of the corridors, and was asked regarding the complaints that were being made against him. He replied that they were mere fabrications concocted by enemies of the Church and ostracized members, renegades and Nihilists. He charged Dr. Russel with the commission of numberless crimes, and declared that there was not a scintilla of truth in any of the charges that were being openly circulated by former inmates of his institution. "When it comes to proving and disproving these charges," he concluded with some warmth, "it will be found that the oath of a Bishop will be accepted in preference to the oaths of any number of renegades and Nihilists."

The San Francisco Examiner, Sunday Morning, May 17, 1891, p. 4:3