A Reply to His Enemies by a Church and Society Committee.


A committee of fifteen of the Greek, Russian, Slavonian Orthodox Eastern Church and Benevolent Society, of which E. Stathopulos is Chairman and George E. Dabovich Secretary, has prepared a reply to the charges made against Bishop Vladimir at a recent meeting over which B. M. Gopchevich presided.

The reply denies that the Bishop is a tyrant, or even half of one, and continues:

Every one who is acquainted with the Bishop knows him as an honorable and a righteous man and a most worthy prelate. If he has one fault it is in being too meek, too good, too forgiving.

Next, Mr. Gopchevich speaks about a certain $50,000 being subscribed here for the maintenance and purchase of a cemetery and of his and othersı rights to know wherefore and how this money was spent; also of their right, as well as the societyıs, to control the affairs of the cemetery. In answer to this we will say that no one but the Greek, Russian, Slavonian, Orthodox Eastern Church and Benevolent Society, an incorporation, has anything to do with the affairs pertaining to the cemetery. Anyhow, there never was such an amount of money subscribed as Mr. Gopchevich mentioned for the cemetery. Even of what was subscribed, on paper, a great part was never paid into the treasury of the society. Furthermore, Greeks, Russians and Slavonians may, upon proper application being made and references given, become members of the society and so to take part in controlling the affairs of the cemetery and church. Will Mr. Gopchevich please inform us how much of the $50,000 he subscribed? His name, after a thorough and careful search, cannot be found at all on any of the subscription lists or books of the society. Concerning the remarks of Dr. N. Russel:

Dr. N. Russel claims he has no personal quarrel with the Bishop. This is utterly and wholly false. Even before he was excommunicated from the church, he was secretly working amongst the members of the church, and especially amongst the members of the society, against the Bishop for the purpose of having him recalled by the Holy Synod. The society refused to support Russel and also unanimously expelled him from membership. It was the opinion of the members of the society that Russel was endeavoring to oust the Bishop from control of the church for the purpose of securing control himself. As he was unsuccessful, not having found sufficient support to assist him, he has since then been persecuting the Bishop by all means in his power.

In regard to A. Zinger and the petition which he counseled sending to St. Petersburg, will say they are at perfect liberty to do so; but whether any petition of theirs would receive even a casual recognition from the Russian authorities is another thing. Any petition with the names Gopchevich, Russel, Zinger, Levin, etc., would be at once thrown into the waste basket.

Mr. Zinger mentions in the document he presented, the disgrace brought upon the church and religion by the Bishop. Whatever disgrace was brought upon the church and religion was done not by the Bishop, but by such people as the small Russian colony Zinger speaks of. In all probability Zinger is neither Russian nor a Greek Catholic, and his small, harmonious, respectable, filial-anddutifulto-the-mothercountry Russian colony is nothing more than a dozen or so Russian nihilists and refugees. The Bishop has no quarrel with them or any one; it is their quarrel, originated and invented by them. The Bishop is only defending himself from their unjust, low, scurrilous attacks and accusations; from their unchristian persecutions. If the Bishop was such a man as they say and charge him to be, would the Holy Synod and Russian Government put him in charge of the Greek Catholic religion in the entire Western Hemisphere?

Concerning the anathema, or excommunication placed upon one of the members of the church, Dr. N. Russel, the Bishop was fully justified in doing so, and was sustained by the Holy Synod at St. Petersburg. Had the Bishop not excommunicated Russel he would not have been fulfilling the laws and canons of the church. He was obliged to do so. The laws of the church, as well as the laws and constitution of a country, or nation, have to be obeyed.

Concerning the charges of ³horrors of the school,² "dissipation of church funds,² ³defrauding subordinates,² ³desecrating the cemetery,² ³the fire in the church,² etc., etc. All the schoolboys who were taken to the Youthsı Directory are back at the church again. They could not be kept at the Directory. As soon as they heard that the Bishop had returned to the city, they, singly or in twos, and threes, made their escape from the Directory to the church school. The Bishop, not desiring to be also charged with instigating their escape, desired the boys to go back to the Directory and await developments. The boys, on their knees, with tears in their eyes, implored him not to send them back but to keep them with him.

About the church funds. Upon Consul Artsimovichıs arrival here the Bishop requested him to make a careful and thorough investigation and examination of his (Bishopıs) books. The Consul did so, and found every cent accounted for everything correct. Aside from this every cent of the Bishopıs own salary and private income was spent upon the church, the school or in charity. Defrauding subordinates: The Bishop has a monthly receipt in full from each and every one of his clergy and assistants for he salary which is attached to the positions they occupy. He has, furthermore, very often promoted many of them from inferior to higher positions. Desecrating the cemetery, fires of the church, etc., etc.: These are fabrications of unscrupulous persons, invented to serve their own base and illegal purposes. The cemetery was never desecrated, but improved. Had it been desecrated the Bishop would not have been responsible for it, but the society, as the cemetery is in its and not the Bishopıs hands. Suppose there had been some suspicion about the origin of the disastrous fire at the church, in that case would not the insurance companies have made an investigation? Would they have paid the money as promptly as they have done? It is a fact that the cost of rebuilding the church, replacing the destroyed vestments, etc., was about three times as much as the insurance received and the private collections.

San Francisco Examiner, Sunday, September 27, 1891, p.10:7.

Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 2, No. 1, September 1994.

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Modified 9/15/97-