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Sminiski Jane - January 31, 2014

Annunciation Cathedral, Ottawa, ON

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Tikhon:

I am writing to express my concern and support for Archbishop Seraphim and to urge that no further disciplinary actions be taken against him on the basis of the recent provincial judge's ruling.
I have lived in Ottawa since 1971 and been an active member of the OCA parish St. Nicholas / Transfiguration Mission / Annunciation Cathedral.

When the accusations against Vladyka Seraphim first surfaced we were stunned and incredulous. Was this possible? Of course it's possible, because we are all sinners. But--was it likely? I searched my heart and mind, and spoke to others, old and young, including my own son (now 35).

My questions: "Have you ever had any cause to distrust him, or to feel uncomfortable around him? Would you ever believe this of him?" Universally the answer was NO. There was consistent disbelief that such abuse was possible.

This is not a matter of the seemingly nice stranger next door who turns out to be a mass murderer. We have known Vladyka Seraphim as family; we have lived, worked, and traveled with him. Entrusted our souls and our children to him. And in no instance has he betrayed that trust; on the contrary, our love and respect for him have grown.

My hope is also that when an ecclesiastical tribunal is convened, it will not be bound by the findings of a secular court or the opinion of one provincial court judge; that its goal will be to discern spiritual truth, not juridical.

I am sick at heart from following the court proceedings and the terrible accusations that have been made. To hear our Vladyka deemed to be "untrustworthy," "evasive" and "not credible"? To hear a verdict based on the testimony of a "successful businessman" who "had no reason to not tell the truth"? [Quoting from published news sources.]

We who have been Vladyka's parish family for decades and know him well (young and old alike) know that these obscenities are simply not possible; this is NOT who he is. Nor, I firmly believe, who he ever was.

Your daughter in Christ,
Jane (Mary) Sminiski
(expressing sentiments shared by my husband and son)