Outrage Committed Against Met. Vitaly†

An Eye-Witness Report
by Fr. Spyridon Schneider

Dear Brothers and Sisters, if you will indulge me a few more words I would like to share with you the truth about the forced incarceration of our beloved Vladika Metropolitan Vitaly by the Canadian Police.

1) A court order was obtained by the Synod of Bishops working through Bishop Michael and his attorneys, requiring that Metropolitan Vitaly submit to a competency test and psychological examination by the psychiatric staff of the hospital in Sherbrooke, Canada. As you can imagine, the incarceration of a ninety-two year old bishop who has not committed a crime and has not exhibited activities either harmful to himself or others is radical and extreme. How could this happen in a free country which honors and respects personal civil liberties? Only by the most extreme and slanderous false testimony! Over the next few days this fact will be demonstrated by attorneys in the Royal Canadian Courts.

2) The order issued by the court only required that the competency and psychological exam be performed on Friday, the second of November. There was simply no need for the police, Bishop Michael and his attorneys to arrive at the Mansonville Monastery at 8:30 PM to take the Metropolitan away. Even the police argued with Bishop Michael and his attorneys that the Metropolitan be allowed to spend the evening resting in his room at the monastery and that he be taken to the hospital early the next morning. However, Bishop Michael and his attorneys would hear nothing of this and demanded that he be immediately removed. Ask yourself why? Because, Bishop Michael wanted to humiliate and exhaust the Metropolitan so that he would be unable to function competently while being examined the following day.
Believe this and weep for this is true.

3) While the Divine service of Matins was being chanted Bishop Michael brought a woman police officer into the sacred altar of the church to take custody of Metropolitan Vitaly. Yes, this is also true. The senior policeman (who is not Orthodox) who had earlier attempted to have the bishop's incarceration put off until the following morning exclaimed to those around him that the arrest in the sacred altar was like the betrayal of Christ at Gethesemane.

4) The Metropolitan was then driven to the Sherbrooke Hospital where he was admitted at 11:30 PM. He was then brought to the emergency psychiatric ward and was given a stall equipped with a bed and steel chair which opened up to a circular room with a nursing station in the middle so that all of the patients could be observed by the staff. This room also had stalls with restraint beds equipped with large tie downs for patients who lost control of themself and became physically violent.

5) In spite of being confined in these most violent and abusive circumstances, and in spite of not being able to sleep, Metropolitan Vitaly remained composed and alert and prayed throughout the night.

6) While I sat with the Metropolitan,[having arrived around 6:30], I prayed reading the Akathist to the Mother of God, to the Sweetest Lord Jesus, the Canon to The Mother of God and other prayers after which I said the Jesus prayer.
During this time the Metropolitan rested fitfully.

7) At 8:45 AM the Director of Nursing and an intern came to the Metropolitan and brought him to an examination room. The Metropolitan's physical health was reviewed and his vital signs were taken and they indicated that he was in remarkable health. After this a several page competency test was administered and this test proved that the Metropolitan had remarkable reasoning capabilities, excellent memory, the ability to understand all of the responsibilities of his life and the ability to make well reasoned judgments about appropriate actions needed in managing his affairs.

In addition, the Metropolitan translated the French physician's statements into English for me as she explained the nature of the test and the remarkable facility with which he had completed its requirements. When we were finished the Director of Psychiatric nursing thanked the Metropolitan for his cooperation and said that she hoped that she lived as long as he has and that, if she did, she would hope to have his remarkable mental health.

8) The Metropolitan and I were then led to the psychiatric examination room where emergency evaluations were made. There was a small waiting room arranged like a large hallway with rooms on either side. On one side there were examination rooms with a small desk and two or three metal chairs. On the other side there were three restrain chambers with hard, low beds equipped with extensive restraints for use with violent patients. There were four other people in the waiting room who were in different states of agitation- two of whom were chain smoking and pacing with obsessive and rhythmic gyrations. The other two were sitting and appeared to be in near catatonic mental states. At this point I asked the nursing attendant if the Metropolitan could wait in a more private area. We were offered use of one of the restraint rooms, which was totally inappropriate. Suddenly another attendant offered the Metropolitan and me chairs and gave us some privacy in the vestibule of one of the restraint areas. The Metropolitan and I sat there for an hour and half. After a few minutes, given our tiredness and anxiety I thought that this wait would be a virtual eternity. Remarkably, however, the Metropolitan began to tell me in exquisite detail (in English) the life of St. Mary of Egypt. As he told me the saint's life and its inner spiritual meaning he also explained the subtleties of meaning that exist in the Russian original of the life which he says was written in non-liturgical old Slavonic. After discussing the life of St. Mary of Egypt we also discussed liturgical language and his preference for the Elizabethan English used by the King James Version of the Bible and urged that we always preserve this beautiful English in our English language Church Services. Finally, the Metropolitan and I discussed the meaning of the betrayal of Christ by the hand of Judas, the true meaning of Gethesemane and how all true Christians must bear the Cross of Christ in our lives.

9) Suddenly, the doctor arrived and asked the Metropolitan to join her in an examination room. I was not allowed to accompany the Metropolitan during this part of the examination. About one hour later the doctor came out of the room with a broad and beaming smile that immediately lifted my spirits. She happily informed me that the Metropolitan was in remarkably good mental health and had the mind of a much younger man.

10) The doctor then asked me to join the Metropolitan and her. When I sat down with them in the examination room she asked me how it was possible that Bishop Michael could have gotten a court order for this examination in light of the fact that the Metropolitan was completely competent and in such remarkable mental and psychological health. I explained that the Church is a Holy Family and that the Metropolitan was the father and elder of the family and, as is true in a family, the Metropolitan, according to Church Tradition and Law was the head of the Church for the entire duration of his life. Moreover, that even if the Father and Elder of the family were to become physically and mentally infirm it was the sacred and holy obligation of the older members of the family to administer the Father's affairs in strict observance of his life long principles without deviation and change. The doctor understood this and agreed that this is exactly what the courts required of the executors of estates.

11) I further explained that the Family members around the Metropolitan (that is the Synod of Bishops) had wanted, for the past several years, to change the direction of the church against the will of their Father and Elder. Ten years ago the other bishops were certain that the Metropolitan would die by the time he was eighty five and he lived on; then they thought that he would surely die by the time he reached ninety and still he lived on strong and vital. In the meantime other members of the family had made secret commitments to their associates outside the church to change the direction of the church. These obligations caused great embarrassment because they were unable to keep their commitments as long as their Father the Metropolitan remained at the head of the family. Finally, at a meeting of the Sobor of Bishops in October of 2000 the Synod of Bishops made decisions in complete opposition to the will of the Metropolitan. And, though they were able to coerce him into going along with these decisions in the intensity of their meetings, after the meetings, when he was alone and could review these decisions in peace and quiet he realized that he had been coerced in his weaker moments of exhaustion. To correct these mistakes he wrote very strong condemnations of the decisions that were made under coercion. The doctor again interjected that of course decisions that were extracted under duress were legally invalid and would be immediately thrown out by the courts. I continued saying that the Synod of Bishops then tried to usurp the authority of the Metropolitan, who is in office for life, by forcing him to retire and after three days of intimidation the Metropolitan signed a letter of retirement which they prepared and forced upon him. Again, after the Metropolitan had rested from the meeting, he reviewed his forced retirement and revoked this decision with a Declaration that the most recent meeting was a meeting of “irresponsibles”.

12) After opening the Synod meeting and refusing to attend the sessions the Synod of Bishops decided to attack the Metropolitan by removing his personal secretary of twelve years. When the Metropolitan refused to accept this and left the Synod headquarters and returned to Canada, the Synod of Bishops became desperate and resorted to court action. First, they went to court in New York City and claimed that the Metropolitan had been kidnapped. When this failed and he arrived safely in Canada, they went to the Canadian courts to have him declared incompetent.

Dearly beloved behold the truth: In their desperation the Synod of Bishops tried to have Metropolitan Vitaly declared incompetent so that they could gain by the civil courts what they were unable to gain by the hand of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

In short the Synod of Bishops sold their Father in God, Metropolitan Vitaly, for thirty pieces of silver and delivered him up to the Sanhedrin for judgment. To the amazement of the Synod of Bishops even the Sanhedrin realized that there was no basis for the charges, the Metropolitan was found to be completely competent and they released him so that he could return to his work as the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.

While on the one hand, I want to show all due respect to the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on the other hand it is necessary to assert the truth so that you can, of your own good conscience and divinely free will, understand that Bishop Gabriel and the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops have launched a campaign of disinformation against the God of Truth, Our Lord His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly and the faithful Orthodox Christians of the Russian Church Abroad. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Asking your forgiveness and prayers, I remain,

Yours in the Truth of Christ

Fr. Spyridon Schneider

source: http://monasterypress.com/eyewitness.html

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