At a recent meeting of the Serbia Synod no decision was taken. The Bishop, appears, however, to have received an invitation to resettle to the Diocese of Herzogovina in that Church.
Deacon Panteleimon (Erickson), Bishop Nikolai’s assistant, has left the monastery of St. Sava’s near Melbourne, and also arrived in the United States. These same sources relate the following disturbing story:
Deacon Panteleimon “… originally had a ticket for July 9, however it seems he was beginning to feel anxious after hearing one monk mentioning police intervention, or something to that effect….Before dawn, (name omitted by author’s request) happened to notice someone carrying three bags to the garbage container about 15 minutes before he left for the airport. Shortly after his departure, the garbage collector arrived to empty the containers (obviously Fr P had arranged this beforehand). The man who had already searched the containers prior to the arrival of the garbage collector, found the three bags and removed them. Luckily, someone had borrowed the paper shredder from Fr P a while ago and had not returned it, otherwise all the evidence found in the bags would have been destroyed. In the bags were many unpaid phone bills, fuel bills, speeding fines (~ $10,000 worth), disconnection warnings, etc. There are so many that it will take several days to piece together, as they are all torn up (roughly). In order to cause as much trouble for the monastery as possible (why?!) he even arranged for the apiarist, from whom he has been ordering wax for the candles and who has been waiting months to be paid for wax that Fr P has taken from him (the monastery owes him about $7000) to come to the monastery that very day to be paid. When he arrived (after having travelled 2 hours or more) nobody at the monastery had been expecting him, nor were they able to pay him, as Fr P had sole control over finances, You can imagine what an awkward situation this must have been.
….. It is inconceivable that they had no qualms whatsoever spending so much money on themselves, living so lavishly and in a manner unbecoming of their vocation, and yet refused to pay anything on behalf of the monastery with the monastery’s own money, and in the end left the monastery in such debt. ….A few months ago Bishop Nikolai forced the abbot (who speaks no English) to sign a piece of paper, enabling +N to borrow $23,000 from a bank. It is thought that this was not an isolated case. Furthermore, it appears they did not deposit ~$40,000 from the total amount raised at the St Sava picnic in January. As you know, they spent close to $100,000 renovating the bishop’s residence (including $8,000 just for drapes). God only knows how much it all adds up to. They even bought themselves some fancy bikes to ride in their leisure time, but the monastery didn’t even deserve to have a pair of bikes left as a reminder of their ignominious rule. Instead the bikes were entrusted to someone else to be sold on their behalf. Imagine! Need I go on?”
The Australian dollar is currently trading at $.80 to the USA dollar. According to Bishop Benjamin, Bishop Nikolai’s successor in Alaska, the former hierarch left that diocese some $900,000 in debt.