Bishop of OCCLS, who served with Dumenko, tries to seize parish in Brno

03 March 2021 18:09
Bishop Isaiah of Sumperk (left) hands over to Epiphany Dumenko the relics of the holy Martyr Wenceslaus. Photo: Bishop Isaiah of Sumperk (left) hands over to Epiphany Dumenko the relics of the holy Martyr Wenceslaus. Photo:

The pro-Phanar Czech hierarch Isaiah (Slaninka) arbitrarily appointed himself the leader of the community in Czech Brno, ignoring the ruling bishop and the faithful.

Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) of Sumperk, who in 2019 co-served with the OCU despite the ban of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, dismissed the rector of the church of St. Wenceslaus in Brno and appointed himself the leader of the community, according to the website of the parish of the OCCLS in Brno.

Isaiah (Slaninka), vicar bishop of the Olomouc-Brno diocese, was ordained in 2015 during the crisis in the Czechoslovakian Church. Phanar then tried to create an alternative synod in the OCCLS. This hierarch promotes the interests of Phanar in the Czech Republic and concelebrated with Dumenko in 2019 despite the ban of the Primate of the Church.

Archpriest Joseph Faisak, who officially heads the community of the Holy Martyr Wenceslaus in Brno, completely fulfilled his duties as a spiritual leader, conducted successful missionary activities and continues to enjoy authority with worshipers. This is evidenced by his parishioners, believers of the Greek and Serbian communities, and even the hierarch of the Polish Orthodox Church, who addressed the OCCLS Primate in his personal letter.

Despite the above, on December 10, 2020, Bishop Isaiah, by his decree, dismissed Father Joseph from the administrative position and appointed him “assistant”. According to the decree of the Bishop of Sumper, he is supposed to lead the parish single-handedly.

The community members opposed this decision of Bishop Isaiah. The believers turned to the ruling bishop (Isaiah – vicarious), to the Primate of the OCCLS and drew up a petition, which was signed by more than 1,500 believers. The response to the protection of the community members of their rector was the dismissal of Father Joseph from the position of spiritual leader of the parish in Žďár nad Sázavou.

“We can say that an attempt was made here to forcibly take control of our parish in Brno,” says the community of St. Wenceslaus.

According to a UOJ source, Archbishop Simeon, in whose diocese Brno is located, reinstated Father Joseph in his office, but Bishop Isaiah ignores his ruling bishop. The situation has not been resolved until now and there is a threat of schism, since the Bishop of Sumper has support among some priests.

One can only guess about the motives of Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) in this matter from his previous activities. For example, he is the vice-chairman of the “Holy Patriarchal Stauropegic Monastery of the Assumption of the Most Holy Theotokos, registered society”. This organization was registered in 2019 without the knowledge of the Holy Synod of the OCCLS and is subordinate to Phanar.

According to Doctor of Theology Jakub Jiří Jukl, the creation of the Stavropegic Monastery threatens to establish a parallel church structure under the omophorion of Phanar on the canonical territory of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. In addition to the “monastery”, the charter of the society provides for the creation of “contact spiritual centers (sketes)”.

The Czech theologian suggests that such "sketes" can be organized in monasteries under the supervision of Bishop Isaiah. "Spiritual centers" can probably be created on the basis of the parishes in which he has authority.

Interestingly, Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) is already included in the statutory body of all monasteries in the Olomouc-Brno diocese and three church communities, besides Brno.

As reported by the UOJ, Phanar threatens the Metropolitan of Prague for insubordination with "strict interference". 

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