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During their annual retreat held in Michigan on June 19-23, 2017, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America held a special session convening the Synodal Court which canonically deposed the Bishop Irineu [Duvlea], Auxiliary Bishop of the ROEA, from the status and all sacred functions of the episcopacy, removed him from the ranks of the clergy, and returned him to the status of a lay monk.

The letter of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America reads as follows.


June 27, 2017

To the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Romanian Episcopate,

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America has concluded its retreat, held during the past week at Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Junction, Michigan. One of the most difficult tasks of that meeting was the convening of the Synodal Court at St. Demetrius Orthodox Church in Jackson, Michigan, to hear certain charges relating to canonical infractions brought against the Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, His Grace, Bishop Irineu. After much prayerful and intense deliberation, the Synodal Court determined that Bishop Irineu be deposed from the episcopacy, removed from the ranks of the clergy and returned to the status of a simple monk. (His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, was excused from participating in the decision of the Synodal Court due to illness and did not vote in the deliberations, placing his trust that the Holy Spirit would guide his fellow bishops. He was notified of the Synodal decision after it was rendered.)

The details of matters which led to the convening of the Synodal Court are confidential and will not be released publicly.

The Holy Synod made this decision with much sorrow, but with the conviction that it was a necessary action both for the salvation of the now Monk Irineu and for the preservation of the good order and stability of the flock of Christ. At the same time, we offer our prayers for the faithful, especially the members of the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America.

The bishops have a God-given responsibility to address the good order of the Church and the continuing leadership and oversight by brother bishops. We are bound to this primarily by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by the canonical tradition of the Church. Therefore, we must always take matters concerning bishops seriously and respond in the proper pastoral way for all concerned.

We offer our love and concern for the faithful of the Romanian Episcopate. We exhort you to pray, so as to not be overcome by divisive emotions, but rather seek to attain the peace of Christ.

May our merciful and loving God strengthen all of us to do His will in all things and preserve in our hearts the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is everywhere present and fills all things.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada