OH--Ousted abusive bishop back on the job

For immediate release: Monday, June 29, 2015

For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda ([email protected], 925-708-6175 cell), Cappy Larson ([email protected], 415-637-2006)

Bishop retired for sexual misconduct is quietly reinstated

He now works as a “parish priest” in a Pennsylvania church

Victims say it’s an “dangerous, deceptive and callous” move

SNAP wants Orthodox Church officials to take immediate action

A support group for survivors of sexual abuse recently received a phone tip that an Orthodox bishop retired for sexual misconduct was now working as a “parish priest” in a Pennsylvania church.  

Bishop Matthias Moriak was retired by the synod of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) on April 15, 2013, after he was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct.



However, on June 26, 2015, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) received a phone tip that the bishop was working at a parish in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. While there was no indication that Moriak was working at the parish on the OCA’s website, the contact page for Holy Cross Orthodox Church directed emails to “Bishop Matthias – Parish Priest.”



The parish belongs to the Romanian Episcopate of the OCA. That diocese is led by Archbishop Nathaniel Popp ([email protected], 517-522-4800). Popp is the longest serving hierarch on the OCA’s synod.

Melanie Jula Sakoda of SNAP was appalled to learn the tip was verified. “It’s outrageous and reckless for Archbishop Nathaniel to allow a cleric who the Church determined to have engaged in sexual misconduct to be reinstated as a parish priest.”

“Even when a clergyman engages in sexual misconduct with an adult, the resulting damage can be serious,” added Cappy Larson, also of SNAP. “In the 16 years I have been working with Orthodox victims, two who were abused as adults were in such pain that they chose to end their own lives.”

“The OCA synod needs to put a stop to this,” concluded Sakoda.

The OCA had earlier considered returning Moriak to active ministry, and SNAP had objected at the time. The group had assumed that the synod had reconsidered the wisdom of this move when they retired the bishop.






Showing 2 comments

  • Elaine Manning
    commented 2016-01-01 23:36:55 -0600
    I found your page when I was doing an online search for Father David Moriak. And it is my humble opinion that you people are SICK!!

    Sexual misconduct?? I think whoever the lady was that started this whole mess must be mentally ill. Either that or she has no clue as to what humor and teasing are all about.

    Info on me. My name is Elaine Fisher Manning. I was baptised in St. Michael’s Church, St. Clair, PA in 1957 as a baby. My mother and her family were members of the church.

    I personally wasn’t interested in the Orthodox religion, so I went to a local Protestant church in town during the 70’s. My mother passed away in 1978.

    Fast forward many years to the 1990’s. I was in Pennsylvania visiting some family, and I decided to speak with the local priest about possible becoming a member of the church (for donation purposes only). The priest was FATHER DAVID MORIAK. I made an appointment to speak with him at his home office.

    I found him to be warm, friendly, humorous, and very down to earth. He asked me many questions about “why I wanted to join the church” (especially since I lived in San Diego, CA) and was in the military. I was very candid with him about not particularly believing in the orthodox religion, and preferring a simple Protestant church way of praising God. I told him basically I wanted to join the church, pay my dues (a very big deal in St. Mike’s), so I could be buried in the family plot in St. Michael’s Cemetery next to my mom when I died. I was pretty young at the time – in my 30’s.

    Now MOST of the priests in town would probably have said SURE, NO PROBLEM, YOU CAN JOINGIVE US YOUR MONEY – NO PROBLEM!! But NOT Father David. He gently, but firmly told me that I needed to learn more about the orthodox religion and decide if maybe I was willing to accept it. He recommended that I find an orthodox church in San Diego to attend to familiarize myself with the prayers / rituals / etc. He gave me some books on the church. We prayed.

    I was UPSET because I didn’t get what I wanted – BUT I was extremely impressed with his faith and honesty. He didn’t want a due’s payer – he wanted someone who BELIEVED.

    I met him a few times after that meeting during vacations. My Aunt Eleanor & Uncle Chip were members of the church, and when he’d visit with him he often asked about me. As my aunt said, “I think he likes you”. But I knew she meant in a FRIENDLY WAY. I wrote some letters to him over the years, sent donations for special services for my mom. I was very saddened when his wife died – he was a devoted husband.

    Anyway. Father David may have made a MISTAKE by using the wrong words with some lady, but I’d be willing to bet my LIFE that he never meant any harm. He loved to joke around.


    Elaine Manning
    6279 Lenaking Ave
    Las Vegas, NV 89122
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