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The Origins of John (LoBue) and the Abbey of the Holy Name

The history of “Metropolitan” John (LoBue) begins with an independent Benedictine monastic brotherhood led by the Old Catholic vagante Bishop William Henry Francis Brothers, who was ordained an Old Catholic bishop in 1934 at St. Nicholas Cathedral, a New York property that was hotly disputed among the Russians. William’s new church, “the Western Orthodox Catholic Church in America,” later joined the Soviet Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in 1962, and the apostate Russians allowed these Benedictine monks, according to their demand, to continue using their “Western Rite” and the Gregorian Calendar.

In 1966, William Brothers left the MP and joined the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church in Exile (in communion with Constantinople) under Archbishop Palladius (Rudenko), one of the founders of SCOBA. Palladius helped Brothers establish his own church structure called “the Synod of Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite,” with parishes and monasteries in America, Great Britain, and Yugoslavia. One of the spiritual sons of Bishop William (Brothers) was John LoBue, a former Jesuit. Father John was a monk at William’s Abbey of St. Dunstan of Canterbury.

On April 14, 1966, Metropolitans Palladius and William ordained as a bishop of the Western Rite Church Joseph (McCormack) for San Francisco. In the meantime, both the Ukrainians and the Synod of the Western Rite stayed with World Orthodoxy even after the “Lifting of Anathemas” in 1965. Only in 1971 did some of the Benedictine brothers of St. Dunstan’s insist on breaking with Constantinople and joining ROCOR. Their abbot, Augustine (Whitfield) favored this plan, but “Archbishop” Joseph (McCormack) wanted to preserve the status quo. At last, McCormack and Brothers broke communion with Constantinople and also became isolated from the Ukrainians (UAOC-E) as well. A year later, the monastic brotherhood split, and most of the Benedictine monks followed Abbot Augustine and left the Abbey of St. Dunstan, settling in the Mount Royal monastery of the Assumption of the Blessed Theotokos (Jacksonville, Florida). John LoBue, however, did not go with them, but stayed with the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Western Rite and Archbishop Joseph. In 1973, with the blessing of Metropolitan William, the brotherhood elected John LoBue as its new abbot. They then transferred the monastery to a new location in West Milford, New Jersey. The same year, their church went into communion with an Old Catholic vagante bishop, Robert Lloyd Williams (1942-2019). In 1977, Brothers and McCormack re-ordained him with the name of Hilarion for the Archdiocese of Texas, where he had a small monastery in Austin.

In 1978, the name of Abbot John’s monastery was changed to the Abbey of the Holy Name. Coincidentally, this was the same year that the ROCOR forbade the use of the Western Rite in their churches.

In 1979, Metropolitan William (Brothers) died, and not long after, the Synod of Bishops of the Western Rite entered into communion with Pancratios (Vrionis), a deposed priest from the Greek Archdiocese.

On September 21, 1980, Abbot John (LoBue) was consecrated Bishop of the Northeast USA by Metropolitan Joseph (McCormack) and Archbishop Hilarion (Williams). In 1990, Metropolitan Joseph died. In 1997, the bishops of this church were received into the reprehensible Milan Synod of Evlogius (Hessler) by chierothesia. Hilarion was installed as Archbishop of Austin, and John (LoBue) was named Archbishop of New York and New Jersey.

In 2011, Bishop Evlogius and the Europeans broke with the other churches in the Milan Synod, including the Americans under Hilarion and John. Thereafter, they called themselves the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles.

“Metropolitan” John has made the claim that St. Philaret the Confessor of New York blessed him to name his monastery “the Abbey of the Holy Name,” although LoBue neglected to mention this fact for 36 years. The story is all the more amazing since his group has never had any connection with ROCOR.

In sum, John LoBue has apparently never been a part of the true Orthodox Church, not even for a single day.

Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
P.O. Box 3177
Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
Contact: Archbishop Gregory
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