A Tragic Division Liturgical schism splits Ben Lomond orthodox church
Rift pits longtime parishioners against each other by May Wong
Sentinel Staff writer

Sunday August 30.1998

They worshiped together under the same gold dome for decades. Not anymore.
They are a church divided. What started as differences over litugical style
at the St Peter and St Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond has
snowballed into a bitter dispute over power and money. The imbroglio has led
to massive dissension, ex-communication of priests, and uncharacteristic
visits by sheriff’s deputies as members squabbled over ownership of icons. It
has pit godchildren against godfathers, and neighbors and friends against
each other. In one case, a husband and wife are on different sides. The
struggle has even spilled into the courts and resulted in a ruling that says
the church’s roof and the rest ofits buildings no longer belong tothe
parishioners and priests who poured over 1$ million into the property over
the past two decades. The court battle ended last week with the smaller,
so-called loyalist faction backed by the New Jersey-based archdiocese
winning. In a case that raised constitutional, property rights and seperation
of church-and-state issues, Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Samuel
Stevens ruled that the church off Highway 9 and its rellated properties
ultimately belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North
America. “It’s really sad,” said Sophie Majmudar, a Ben Lomond resident who
grew up in the church built now worships elsewhere because of the court
order. “All our tithe money has gone into this property.” (more…)

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Thursday, August 27, 1998Author writes: Feel free to forward, post, print, e-mail or paper mail to anyone you
think might be interested. Thank you.

BRIEF SUMMARY: Due to the legal and ecclesiastical conflicts at
Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond, the St. Theophan
Academy, which serves students from first grade through high
school, is in urgent need of financial assistance in order to
continue its operations for the fall academic semester. This is
one of the few grade 1-12 Orthodox schools in the country, and
enrollment of 50-60 students is expected when school begins in a
few weeks. To make a contribution, see the information at the end
of the following letter.

Dear friends,

Some of you have been following the controversy surrounding Saints Peter
and Paul Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond, California, for the last six
months. One of the “untold stories” behind this tragedy is the status
of the parish school which has served many of the children in the parish
for the past seven years. (more…)

G.O.PAT.ANTIOCH.DAMAS. Fax.963-11-542440414 Jul ‘9S 17:45 P.01 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the East .July 14, 1998

To : The Accused Fr. Terry Somerville

From: Bishop George Abou Zakhem

Re : July 28, 1998 Hearing in the matter of Weldon Hardenbrook, et al.

Enclosed is the notice of Hearing. Please inform me by July 20, 1998, of the names of all persons who will be present at the hearing, and how much time you will need for your case.

Fox No.:00963-11-5424404- P.O. Box (9)- Damascus – SYRIA


G.O.PAT.ANTIOCH.DAMAS. Fax.963-11-542440414 Jul ‘9S 17:45 P.01 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the EastJuly l4, 1998To: Fr. Terry Somerville, Advocate for the accused and excommunicated Clergy and laity of St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, Ben Lomond California, U.S.A (Fax: 408-336-3648) or (Fax: 408-336-1820)From: The Clerical Disciplinary Appeals Council of the Patriarchate of Antioch – Syria – Damascus (Fax 963-11-542-4404)

Re: Appeal Hearing Request

You are asked to appear on July 28, 1998 at 10 A.M. Damascus time, at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Damascus – Syria to hear your appeal before the Clerical Disciplinary Appeal Council. In case you do not appear the Court will judge the matter.

Bishop George Abou Zakhem

(signed)

The Secretary of the council

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: (more…)

before the Spiritual Court of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA May 26, 1998
+++++++++
[Fr. John Hardenbrook]

Esteemed members of this spiritual court. I, Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook, the laicized Archpriest of Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church of Ben Lomond, California humbly present to you the defense for my actions and the actions of my fellow disciplined clergy.

I begin with some most serious questions: (more…)

at the Spiritual Court of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at
St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA.
May 26, 1998
In the midst of all this, I found out that I had other things to deal with. I had a brain tumor and malignant cancer. If this Court were to meet another year or two from now, I probably would not be with you. I have no positioning to do. Life is short, and I want to speak nothing but the truth, as I see it, from my heart.

I do not think that I am above the bishops. I do not think that any of these men here think that they are above the bishops. We have never taken, from our perspective, issue with the authority of the bishops. This matter has been the way in which that authority has been exercised in matters that relate to us during the last three years.

I do not like standing before you and saying that Bishop JOSEPH has lied to us. Bishop JOSEPH has lied to us. I have witnessed it firsthand. And I cannot stand here, and because His Grace is His grace, pretend that it didn’t happen, because it did. (more…)

at the Spiritual Court of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA. May 26, 1998

The purpose of this Court today, as I understand, is to fairly and objectively investigate the charges brought against 20 priests and deacons.

Not stopping at mere investigation, the chairpersons assembled here are to make a recommendation, as I believe, to our Bishop Metropolitan Philip concerning, I quote here, “our future as Orthodox Christians”, with punishments as severe as being laicized or, even worse, excommunication as options for disciplinary action?

Would we the charged want either of those as our future as Orthodox Christians? I think I can speak for all of us in saying no, we don’t. But a lesson must be learned here, right?

Yes, a lesson must be learned here, but now I ask you a rhetorical question, and I think it’s a good question. Why has God permitted this to happen? Is it only to teach these 20 clergymen a lesson on the penalties of the alleged disobedience? What are the other lessons to be learned here? Who else is God speaking to? I wonder if Bishop Joseph has any lessons to learn from all this. I wonder if Metropolitan Philip has any lessons to learn from all this. (more…)