New York, February 27, 2020
Former Archimandre Alexander served with his new hierarch, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese, on the feast of Theophany Meeting at the Synodal Headquarters in New York on February 5/18, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia came to a decision in the case of Alexander (Belya), the archimandrite who left the jurisdiction without a canonical release after failing to get himself elected as a bishop.
The ROCOR Eastern American Diocese announced in October that Fr. Alexander was suspended from his priestly duties for “[leading] the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow in Dania Beach, FL, and St. Nicholas Monastery in North Fort Myers, FL, out of the structure of the canonical authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
At that time, it was also noted that Fr. Alexander and his younger brother Ivan refused to submit and ignored summons to be questioned by a diocesan investigative committee.
The investigation against the Belyas involved, among other things, the strange situation when Archimandrite Alexander managed to get his name sent to Moscow as a nominee for vicar bishop of Miami in ROCOR, despite the fact that he had not been nominated. Elections to the episcopate for ROCOR must be confirmed by the Holy Synod in Moscow, and the matter caused no small amount of confusion when the Synod met on August 30 to confirm the election of Archimandrite James (Corazza) as bishop of Sonora and also had the name of Belya before them.
At its most recent session, the Synod heard an appeal from the Spiritual Court of the Eastern American Diocese and resolved to laicize Archimandrite Alexander. The statement reads:
At the February 5/18, 2020, session of the Synod of Bishops, which was held at the Synodal Headquarters in New York City, an appeal was heard from the Spiritual Court of the Eastern American Diocese regarding the activities of Archimandrite Alexander (Belya) who, while under suspension from serving, wrought disturbance in the church life of several diocesan parishes. Having discussed the appeal and the circumstances of this case comprehensively, as well as the violations of the terms set forth in his suspension that have been a cause of temptation for both clergy and flock, to the point of fleeing beneath the omophorion of a separate jurisdiction without a release from his ruling bishop, it is with sorrow that the Synod of Bishops adopts the following resolution, provided here in brief:
To ratify the resolution of the Spiritual Court of the Eastern American Diocese regarding the laicization of the former Archimandrite Alexander (Belya), in accordance with the determination of his ruling bishop.
About a month after Alexander Belya announced that he had joined the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Patriarchate of Constantinople), his father, Archpriest Alexander Belya, rector of the ROCOR St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, also departed for the Greek Archdiocese without a canonical release from his hierarch. He is currently under suspension.
Both Belyas had been diocesan deans—Archpriest Alexander of the NYC Deanery and Archimandrite Alexander of the Florida Deanery.