Sentence announced in Archbishop Seraphim case

The Orthodox Church of America has learned that the retired Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) was sentenced today—Wednesday, July 9, 2014—to eight months in prison following his January 24, 2014 conviction for one count of sexual assault.

Speaking on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, said, “We ask, first and foremost, that everyone keep the victims and their family members in their prayers, as well as praying for healing and peace in the Archdiocese of Canada. May God’s mercy be upon all of those involved in this painful case.”

Archbishop Seraphim was placed on leave of absence on October 1, 2010, with restrictions on Church activities. On November 30, 2010, he was suspended by the Holy Synod of Bishops. He was subsequently retired by the Holy Synod of Bishops on March 21, 2014 with additional restrictions. The Archdiocese of Canada was declared vacant at that time. The Holy Synod issued a statement on June 27—see related story—announcing that it will convene a Spiritual Court whose process will begin after the announced sentence. It will strictly adhere to the requirements of canon law as applicable to an Archbishop. The Synodal Commission has issued an interim report, and also has been asked to provide input to the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (ORSMA) as part of the continued development of policies, procedures and educational materials.

The Synodal Commission was requested by the Crown Prosecutor and by Archbishop Seraphim’s attorney to refrain from interviewing current or potential witnesses for the near future as there is an expected appeal. However, the Spiritual Court process will continue.