June 22, 1998

To: The Clerical Disciplinary Appeals Council of the
Patriarchate of Antioch (FAX 963-11-542-44-04)
From: Fr. Terry Somerville, Advocate
for the accused and disciplined clergy of
Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church,
Ben Lomond, California, U.S.A.
(FAX 408-336-3648) or (408-336-1820)
Re: Appeal Hearing Request

By this writing, we, the accused Presbyters, Deacons and laity of Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Ben Lomond, California, formally request a hearing in order to appeal the verdicts and decisions of the Spiritual Court of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, received by each of the accused and dated June 15, 1998.

This hearing is requested pursuant to and in compliance with information received via fax dated May 12, 1998 to Fr. Terry Somerville from Very Rev. Fr. John Badeen re: Spiritual Court, “6. Within ten calendar days after the Metropolitan has sent the relevant party(ies) notice of such final action, the party(ies) sent such a notice has (have) a right of appeal in writing to the Clerical Disciplinary Appeals Council of the Patriarchate of Antioch and/or the Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, with a copy of such appeal to the Metropolitan.”

The reasons and justification for such an appeal are varied and diverse, and include but are not limited to the following:

1. (Canon 5, Nicea, 325), which states, that in reference to clergy or laity who have been excommunicated, “inquiry should be made whether they have been excommunicated through captiousness, or contentiousness or any such ungracious disposition in the bishop.” Further, that “due investigation” may proceed “until it shall seem fit to a general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them.”
2. (Canon 14, Sardica 343 or 344). “Therefore, let him that is cast out be authorized to appeal to the neighboring bishops and his case be heard and examined into more diligently. For a hearing ought not to be denied one who asks it.”

The predisposition and overt bias within the members of the Spiritual Court prevented an objective opportunity for fairness and has resulted in a negative and scandalous opinion against the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

We believe that the disciplines, verdicts, and actions taken against the accused clergy and laity of Ss. Peter and Paul Church are canonically suspect, and severely and demonstrably unjust.

The manner in which such disciplines were communicated, the precipitousness of such decisions and actions, and a clear lack of procedures that would evidence objectivity, fairness and a sincere desire for accuracy and justice—all speak loudly that such an appeal hearing be granted.

Respectfully submitted

Fr. Terry Somerville
Advocate for the disciplined clergy,
Ss. Peter and Paul Church
Ben Lomond, California, U.S.A.

cc. His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch
His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate