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Letter to Metropolitan Tikhon

Here we publish Email From Dianne Julianna Storheim-Hill to Metropolitan Tikhon (Mon, 16 Mar 2015)

Master bless

It has been brought to my attention that the Synod meets this week and my brother is one of the topics, and it has also been suggested that I share with you some of the comments I have received since February 5th and encourage you to read and keep them in your hearts. I am blind copying my entire contact list and encourage them to add their thoughts if they feel lead to do so.

By canon law he is entitled to a spiritual court with the possibility of justice within the Church even though he did not get it from a corrupt and political worldy court. By your internet pronouncements you appear to have made your decision with the world but we still hope against hope that someone would have the wisdom of Solomon for a Godly solution. We are all praying for you. Lord, have mercy.

Dianne Julianna Storheim-Hill

As always, we are grateful for your updates. The latest is particularly hard to take, but we must remain steadfast in our love of God and in our dear archbishop. – B

I should more be asking +His Eminence's prayers for me than offering mine own for him...
He truly is following the course of St. Nektarios of Aegina, in his own way, though all along the way I prayed he would be spared that indignity. – T

May the +Archbishop's prayers provide firm foundations for any building in which He may be housed. – PD

This is such heartbreaking news and so unjust of this world. But, we must continue to trust in the Lord and do what we can here. – S

May God bless and His love and protection be tangibly present with you and our dear Vladyka and all of us who are feeling the sting of this bewildering and unfathomable result.
We all know our courts often come to conclusions that are far from the truth, but when this affects our dear Vladyka Seraphim, one who we know lives a life completely given to selflessly serving God and all of mankind, it is difficult to comprehend.
However somehow in the midst of this pain we also know that God's ways are not our ways and the history of the Church is riddled with many thousands of the saints suffering great human injustice - even more incomprehensible and savage and unfair than what has befallen our dear Vladyka Seraphim.
Yet somehow they greet this with joy that they are worthy to be tested for our dear Lord, and are concerned only with keeping their focus on Christ and concern for the lost souls around them.
I see a very similar spirit in our dear Vladyka Seraphim, and take comfort in knowing that whenever he is each day he will be transmitting the light of Christ to those who God brings into contact with him.
The prisons are notoriously full of those desperately needing the love of a father and I know of no-one better equipped to demonstrate that love.

For all of us who know truly know him this verdict will do nothing but strengthen the love we have for your brother as we pray for his protection and for God's will to continue to guide him.– AMS

After initial let-down at the judgement, though I had expected it, I am encouraged that, per the lawyer, much less than the time given for him to serve will actually be required, and that Vladyka will be used by Christ in that setting to His glory, and that soon it will be done and can be left behind while we and Vladyka continue on to build His church and to bear witness to Him, and to expand on the labours of Vladyka, which can now be focused on prayer, intersession and spiritual guidance even more. – E

I pray that he is able to do what he has always done, share the light of Christ with all, that they may be saved! – L

It is funny you should speak of justice or the lack thereof.
A friend from my university years recently finished her dissertation on the theme of justice in Christianity.
She argued that justice is not something Christians should expect, and what's more, is not what Jesus preached.
Anyways, be assured that Archbishop Seraphim and you and the family are in my prayers that you and he will be protected and will know our Lord's love. – P

May our Lord Jesus Christ protect our blessed Bishop His Eminence Seraphim. – A

This is a very sad day for our Church and indeed for Canada in general.
I am not sure what I expected from the appeal, but this is a very bitter disappointment. – V

The essence of sin, in the Bible, is thinking we know better than God -- deciding that that is so.
So, when I (I'll speak for me) decide I don't like somebody and find myself hating them in my heart, I'm deciding that God ain't got it right, but I certainly do (fine fellow that I am!) and it's OK to go on in my hating. – G

The last conversation I had with Vladyka was about 10 days ago...
He felt that the decision would not be in his favour, we spoke about why God allowed this and his view was that God will reveal that in time and that we should remember that whatever God does is for the good! – M

What a terrible shock I got while driving home from work to hear on CBC that our dear Seraphim is convicted!

One can't but feel he has been so badly handled, because he is so clean of heart!

When I was going through dark days he hid my soul through some terrible shoals and kept my Hope aflame! If I have Life, Love and Peace today, it is because he knew how to bring " the Balm of Gilead " to my faltering soul! – R

I am deeply sorry to hear this, but I cannot say that it is unexpected. Since childhood I have always been longing for and even fighting for justice, but when I would talk about this to Vladyka Seraphim, he would always say, "there is no true justice on earth; we will experience it only when we meet the Lord on the Last Day."
How right he was and is. Because Vladyka is truly the most faithful and righteous person I have ever known, I have the deepest belief that the Lord will use him to be a blessing to all who encounter him during the coming months of his ordeal. – R

I am so sorry. He does not deserve this. Someone I know, after seeing him serve for the first time, whispered to me during the service that holiness just poured forth out of him. I truly believe this to be true. Nothing makes me feel more loved and blessed than getting a hug from him. God help you to deal with this unthinkable event. – MJ

Archbishop Seraphim is deeply loved. I have taken great encouragement every time I see Archbishop Seraphim, seeing his calm and hearing his personal words of encouragement and hope....and I’m not facing incarceration, and I am 20 years younger. He is such an example and still my true and dearly loved spiritual father, no matter what the legal system, the OCA or the public says or does. – L

The news is devastating - I am so sorry for you and for your family. Please remember that we think of you and pray to God that he give you strength.

You are right in saying that all is in God's hands - He must need our dearest Vladyka Seraphim for something else -- that's the only way that one can accept this situation – H

Today at Bible study we looked at Romans 8:28, which says "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God."
Well, right at the moment I can't see how; but I don't have to see how, because God already knows how and is already at work making it happen.
And Psalm 56:3 may be of some help: "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." It doesn't tell us "Don't be afraid;" and I'm glad of that, because right now I can't help being afraid for his safety and a host of other concerns.
But it does say to trust in God anyway. – P

There is no justice in this life - it's not just Canada. We pray for mercy - but that frequently seems to show up in the next life, not this. – S

My heart is broken. Please, when you are able, give Vladyka my heartfelt love, and kiss his holy hand for me. – T

May the Light of Christ shine into all the dark places. – M

He is strong. God gives him the way to become more strong and judge people and events more sharp. – A

My heart, my prayers and tears with Vladyka Seraphim and with you. I cannot say that I am surprised.
This was written from day one ... you know who the ruler of this world is.
May God help HIS Church. I know He is weeping over this. – P

God is allowing this to happen to Vladyka, for reasons only known to Him at this time.
Above all, the Lord wants the monk’s heart, truly and completely.
Regardless where Vladyka is, at the monastery or in a prison cell, God will be with him and embrace his heart.
Yes, it is a hard trial to pass through.
Who would have thought a few years ago that should a thing would lie ahead for him? It is very sobering. – K

We love Vladyka Seraphim and know and appreciate how much he has done for the Canadian Archdiocese. He practically built it from ground zero. – T

The more one hears of this case the more troubling it becomes as an indicator of the flaws of a legal system blind to the most basic concepts of justice. Legalities observed; justice denied!

As a result of what is more persecution than prosecution I have lost all trust in our legal system! In my opinion there are two victims in this case - Vladyka and Truth! – C

Know that our thoughts and prayers continue to beg the Lord’s mercy in all that has and will transpire regarding our dear Archbishop Seraphim.
May God in His infinite mercy protect us all from the assaults of the evil one. – BA

We are stunned, heartbroken, and grieving.
Knowing both the FACTS of the case and the LAW, it's inconceivable to us that this shabby verdict was upheld. Lord have mercy on us all. – J

I do not understand. But I know God is in control. God loves us and Vladyka more than we can comprehend. – D

We pray for our dear and holy Vladyka – P

I had hoped that in the end the courts would get this right.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
I don't see how you can send someone to jail based on what the judge says is the believable testimony of one person.
It turns the justice system into thee old TV show "to tell the truth".
How many times was I fooled and chose the wrong person as the believable one?
Justice cannot be based on such guessing games.
If I am accused of such a crime all the other person has to do is sound more believable than me.
Which probably would not be hard to do.
I would give the bishop my monopoly get out of jail free card but I will chose to keep it for myself in case someone makes the same accusations against me.
I will give the bishop my prayers instead.
I will place my hope in the Lord.
I am always amazed at how God can take something that was meant for evil and turn it for my good. – P


There are very few human beings I have ever met about whom, in all truth, when encountering them, I can say with great certainty that "Christ is in our midst!" The Archbishop is one of those handful of persons.

There is a lovely story from the Desert Fathers about a group of stragglers who climbed up a tall hill and entered a cave in order to visit with an aged Gerondas. He received them in the customary way, and then proceeded to return to his personal activities for several hours. After much consternation, one of the group said, "Abba, we have come a long way to receive a word for our salvation! Yet, you say nothing!" Then, with great love in his eyes, the Gerondas turned around to them and replied, "My children, you will not be edified by my speech if you cannot be edified by my silence."

The "Holy Synod" of the OCA has no more power or authority to determine your brother's sanctity than they do to elevate the recently coronated 21 Coptic Neomartyrs of the Islamic Yoke in Libya. I believe the Slavonic expression "Divjen Bokh vo Svjatykh Jego" applies here: "God is WONDROUS in His Saints"... wherever we behold the glory of God made manifest in this world, there is .Christ. The Light of Christ illumines all. – FP

P.S. what I am finding, simply through the e-mails and phones and tasks during the day, is that those I am in contact with are sharing wonderful experiences of Vladyka with me, and his situation has stirred in them a realization of how deeply God has met them through Vladyka's presence. This says a lot to me about how the Lord may use this very troubling situation for good. – FE

There are so many places in the Gospels and Epistles that speak of unjust suffering. While painful, the blessing that it brings to the Christian, draws him/her ever closer to Our Lord.
Many of the email writers have expressed this very eloquently.
We are sure that Vladika is well acquainted with those passages.- though even Christ, himself, wished for a moment that His Father would take the suffering He was about experience from Him.
We will journey with Vladika through these days, knowing that Our Lord has a purpose for him there.
Thank you for letting us know how we may continue to keep in contact with him.
With our love and prayers for Vladika and for you and all those who dearly love him. – CA

I have been praying for your dear brother over these last few days especially.
Despite all the hurts and betrayals he must be feeling, he certainly is in Christ's loving hands. Why these things happen we don't know. I'm reminded of moments in Dostoyevsky's novels and in the lives of saints. Perhaps there's a broken soul he is being sent to comfort. I pray that he is strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Any of us can feel the pain and the burden of life's events. I'm praying today that he is given strength to bear it.
When you speak to him, please send him our love and support. – SM

Treasure all your memories you have of your precious brother Seraphim and continue to uphold him in joy and peace surrounded with God's Love.
Together as we believe and pray we will see miracles manifested in this hour of great trial.
Be encouraged and thankful my dear girl.
God is on the throne. He knows every intent of every heart.
How precious that He says, Vengeance is mine. That looks after anger, worry, resentment, hate and revenge.
When I travelled to Russia with Vladyka Seraphim, his hugs brought tears to an adult woman who was never allowed to touch a Bishop.
He in turn with thankfulness, gave her a Hug and she wept. It was a precious sight.
We Canadians took his love for granted because he gave it so freely.
We are so blessed to have had Vladyka in our midst.
May our Precious Lord minister to his every need. – LC

I just want you to know our Precious Vladyka and all of you, his family, are in my/our prayers.
We love him dearly and pray God's protection on him; may he be surrounded with Holy Angels; be kept in the Love of God, strengthened in heart, soul, body and spirit and may he be filled with Peace.
Some things are not understood in this world but Christ has overcome this world.
May the Theotokos minister to Vladyka's every need and may our Lord continue to use him to His Glory.
He has been a blessing and pillar of encouragement to me, my children and my precious Mom who loved him like a son, praying and respecting him as our Arch Bishop and man of God.
Lord have mercy – LC

So sorry the decision went against Seraphim, but I'm not surprised. What a heartache this must be for your family, and for his many supporters in Canada and elsewhere. I can only hope that he will be completely safe while serving his sentence, and that the Lord will use him to touch the lives of others in there with him. – SB

As painful as it is to think of the suffering our dear Vladyka must be enduring, it is important to remember that God's ways are not our ways.
And as baffling and heart-breaking as this is to all of us, I have no doubt that your beloved brother will use this opportunity to glorify God and to ease the pain of others around him.
I don't know if you noticed, but the same day that this happened, there was an article in our local paper about the complete unreliability of "recovered memories" and relying on memories in judgments - and the necessity to have such "memories" corroborated by at least one other witness in a court of law.
How many people have had their lives, careers and reputations ruined by these pranks? It is so evil.
Anyone who is or has been a teacher, youth worker, sports coach, clergyman, etc. should be shaking in their boots.
Anyone can be taken down by accusations like this. – LF

I do intend to write to him, and want him to know that he is forever my friend, and forever an archbishop, both before God, and in the eyes of all of us who truly know and love him.
With love and blessings – AT

Our hearts reach out to you and to all of your family. There is God's plan in all of this.
We hurt, but are not discouraged. We pray for our dear Vladyka and for all of you.
May God protect Vladyka, bless him, and keep him by His grace.
We look forward to the time when we can be together again. – KM