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St. Nicholas Church
Philadelphia,

More Information:

May 3, 2017

Status of St. Nicholas Independent Cogregation, Philadelphia, PA
According to the Canons of the Orthodox Church
The former parishioners of the parish have excommunicated themselves through schism and are no longer in communion with our Orthodox Church families

To whom it may concern,

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

We are saddened that the leadership of St. Nicholas Independent Congregation in Philadelphia, PA has persisted in its rebellion against proper Canonical order. As the parishioners have chosen schism with the Orthodox Church in America, they have excommunicated themselves from all Canonical Orthodox Churches worldwide and may not receive the Sacraments of any Canonical Orthodox Church, as described in the link below. Their excommunication is hereby affirmed and no other Canonical Hierarch may restore them to communion with the Church. Additionally, all Orthodox faithful are forbidden to participate in the services of schismatics lest they also excommunicate themselves as well.  Should the people repent, the clergy may contact me for further instructions on the process of penance and reconciliation.
As stated in a letter dated December 2016: St. Nicholas’ leadership refused a priest from the Orthodox Church in America, and were warned of the consequences of separating from the Canonical Orthodox Church by having non-canonical clergy or former clergy dressing as priests serving at St. Nicholas and receiving what they believe to be Holy Communion from someone who is not in Communion with the Orthodox Church.
On the parish website, the rector is listed as Mr. Bogdan Zhoba. He is a former priest of the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate under Patriarch Filaret in the Philadelphia area, but formerly from Florida (see this link regarding a lawsuit he brought against a parish, https://www.juralindex.com/civil/pastor-bogdan-zhoba-vs-st-nicholas-ukrainianorthodox-church-inc-et-al-case-details-b4fe37f9014c67ce5e09f5e3c2c95e33.html ). The former priest Bogdan Zhoba was deposed by the so-called Patriarch of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate. In the Canonical Orthodox Church to which we belong the recognized Canonical Orthodox Churches in our Church family are as follows (https://orthodoxwiki.org/List_of_autocephalous_and_autonomous_churches):
 
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Patriarchate of Alexandria
Patriarchate of Antioch
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Patriarchate of Moscow
Patriarchate of Serbia
Patriarchate of Romania
Patriarchate of Bulgaria
Patriarchate of Georgia
Church of Cyprus
Church of Greece
Church of Poland
Church of Albania
Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia
Orthodox Church in America (autocephaly recognized only by Moscow, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, and the Czech Lands and Slovakia)

Any group or person(s) not in communion with the above Churches is not recognized as Canonically Orthodox or as being in Communion with our Historic Orthodox Church. As one will note, there is not a Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate recognized by any of the other Canonical Orthodox Churches.  
Orthodox Christians may only receive the Sacraments from a Canonical priest.  Orthodox Christians who do otherwise, excommunicate themselves. Given that the former priest Bogdan Zhoba was deposed by a group outside of the Canonical Orthodox Church he cannot serve as a priest in any parish under his former Patriarch.
The Orthodox Church of the Seven Ecumenical Council has a very high regard for proper Church Order and a truly Orthodox Church does not shop for priests or Bishops. Likewise, a truly Orthodox Christian Bishop does not steal parishes.

The unworthy servant of the Lord,

+Mark, Archbishop of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania
CC:      His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon; V. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Solak, III, Dean; V. Rev. Fr.
Martin Browne, Chancellor; V. Rev. Fr. Victor Gorodenchuk, Dean; Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States

St Nicholas A Call to faithfulness to Orthodoxy

Canonically Excommunicated

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