Sex Allegations Lead to Internal Church Investigation of Canadian Archbishop

Vancouver Sun
October 29, 2010

Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, the Canadian head of the Orthodox Church in America, has taken a leave of absence beginning October 1, 2010 in the wake of a police investigation over accusations of sexual abuse dating back nearly 30 years.
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The Orthodox Church in America has launched an internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against a former Archbishop of Canada.

Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, based in the eastern Ontario rural community of Spencerville, has been on a leave of absence since the start of October after Winnipeg police launched an investigation into sexual-abuse claims dating back nearly 30 years.

The church's Holy Synod of Bishops announced Friday that it had "offered its blessing" during a special session held earlier this month to the formation of a Synodal Commission that will conduct the internal investigation.

"The Synodal Commission is not a public commission and will proceed with the deepest respect for all involved," said the church in a statement. "However, considering the nature of the allegations, the Synodal Commission is required by law to share certain information with the relevant authorities."

The abuse is alleged to have happened in the 1980s, when two then-10 year-old boys were visiting Winnipeg.

Storheim, who was born in Edmonton, began his religious career as an Anglican priest, but later converted to the Orthodox Church and became a monk.

He was ordained as a priest in New York in 1979, and became a bishop in Edmonton in 1989. He became the Archbishop of Ottawa and of Canada in March 2007.

He has also served in Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, Sask., London, Ont., and in locations in Europe and the United States.

The Orthodox Church in America is thought to have more than one million members and is the 24th largest Christian denomination in North America.


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