Archbishop Timothy and Father Anthony and the cleric in charge, Metropolitan Stephen, arrived in Canfield, Ohio last year. In their billowing black robes, they were looking for a new base for the Syro Russian Orthodox Catholic Church. But these monks have credibility issues.
They have left a curious trail across the middle of the U.S. –from Colorado, where their seminary was shut down for handing out mail-order diplomas, to Minnesota, where the church was accused of luring young Africans to the U.S. on the false promise of a religious education. The name of their church has changed numerous times along the way:
The Mercy and Right Greek Catholic Church. St. Michael’s Greek Orthodox Church. St. Mary the Theotokos Orthodox Catholic Church. The Mercian Orthodox Catholic Church. Saints Peter and Paul Anglican Catholic Church. The Michael American Orthodox Catholic Church.
Metropolitan Stephen (Stephen Thomas, really) also ran Notre Dame de Lafayette University in Aurora, Colo., a religious school offering degrees in subjects like “homeotherapeutics” and “psycho-visual therapy.”
The school once awarded a degree in “Christian counseling” to a golden retriever named Samantha who was enrolled in the school by its owner, a television news reporter.