by Fr. Ioannes Apiarius –
Puhalo is an impostor and illegitimate hierarch of the Church. His views are not only not Orthodox, they are not even Christian.
Retired “Archbishop” Lazar Puhalo is not a canonical bishop of the Orthodox Church. Puhalo remains a deposed deacon (Lev Puhalo) who was defrocked in 1981 for heretical teaching and rebellion against his bishop. He was found guilty of multiple violations of Church canons and laicized by the Synod of ROCOR. Puhalo was never canonically reinstated as a deacon, or rightly ordained a priest, or properly elevated as a bishop by any canonical Orthodox Church or legitimate Orthodox jurisdiction anywhere.
Lazar Puhalo was originally a deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). He was deposed in 1981 for violating multiple canons of the Orthodox Church. “From 1981 until he was received as a ‘retired’ bishop by the OCA, he was in a series of vagante jurisdictions where he was ordained a priest, then a bishop, and then raised to archbishop. He is referred to as a retired OCA bishop, but this gives the false impression that he was once an active OCA bishop, when in reality, he has never been an active priest or bishop of any legitimate Orthodox jurisdiction,” writes Fr. John Whiteford.
As documented by Orthodox Wiki, on November 24, 1981 Lazar Puhalo (then Dcn. Lev Puhalo) “was suspended for disobeying his bishop.” On December 23, 1981 Puhalo was deposed “because he had ‘disregarded’ the written admonition given him in writing and persists in his sin. Having cut himself off from his bishop, Lev Puhalo has violated a number of the canons of the Church: 15 of the Holy Apostles, 17 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, 3 of the Council of Antioch, 15 and 16 of the Council of Sardis.”
Therefore, the Synod of Bishops [ROCOR] determined:
(1) To declare the monastic tonsure and priestly ordination of Lev Puhalo illicit and invalid…
(2) For breaking with his bishop and uncanonically receiving ordination from an uncanonical bishop, the Deacon Lev Puhalo is deposed from his clerical rank and returned to the lay state.
(3) Lev Puhalo must not be permitted to lecture in our parishes, and his publications should not be disseminated among us. (Orthodox Wiki)
Puhalo never repented of his rebellion against his bishop and the Church, and he never stopped spreading his false and heretical teachings. Using his air of legitimacy and abusing his misbegotten title, Puhalo continues to “promote all sorts of strange ideas, including his view that transgenderism is acceptable. He is a regular contributor to a pro-homosexual Facebook group, where the only views he sees a need to criticize are the views of those who defend the traditions of the Church which condemn homosexuality. It is this advocacy of moral perversion that lies behind his desire to dismiss the moral law of the Old Testament,” warns Fr. John Whiteford.
There’s a sampling of a growing list of articles and essays that expose the many false and heretical teachings of Lazar Puhalo:
Lazar Puhalo: “Ten Commandments Not Terribly Significant or Unique”
Mar 27, 2021 – https://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2021/03/lazar-puhalo-ten-commandments-not-terribly-significant-or-unique/
“It is interesting to me how the ’10 Commandments’ have become such a fetish piece among so many Christians. The ‘10 Commandments’ are not terribly significant and certainly not unique…. If we think about it, the 10 Commandments have almost nothing to do with Christianity.” – Vladika Lazar Puhalo
Puhalo Strikes Again
Jun 7, 2015 – https://www.monomakhos.com/puhalo-strikes-again/
“I salute Caitlin Jenner for having the courage and endurance to undergo the process and gender harmonisation surgery. Ms Jenner had the courage to strive to become a ‘whole’ person by bringing her body into conformity with her actual gender.” – Vladika Lazar Puhalo
Puhalo rants again… on Transgenderism and Intersexuality
Dec 11, 2013 – https://www.monomakhos.com/puhalo-rants-again-on-transgenderism-and-intersexuality/
A few years ago I ran across a Facebook posting of his in which he counseled a homosexual couple to start attending church in one of three OCA parishes on the west coast which were more “inclusive” and “accepting.” Rather than name the parishes and risk their exposure, he instructed them that they would find out soon enough the identities of these parishes. (This posting, like so many others, was taken down in order to deflect attention from Puhalo.)
Lazar Puhalo spouts blatant heresy… again
Jan 15, 2012 – http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2012/01/lazar-puhalo-spouts-blatant-heresy.html
We have already noted Lazar Puhalo’s advocacy of transgenderism, homosexuality, and his hostility to the Old Testament, but now he has espoused a new heresy. In his latest video, at about the 13:00 minute mark, he states that the Bible is “a book that was written by men that was sometimes inspired by God and Sometimes not.” This is an incredible statement.
The Continuing Validity of the Moral Law of the Old Testament
Oct 29, 2011 – http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2011/10/continuing-validity-of-moral-law-of-old.html
In this video, Lazar Puhalo claims that the moral law has been “done away with”. He claims, for example, that Christ “absolutely contradicts” the law against breaking the Sabbath, but what do the Fathers say? St. John Chrysostom says “Did Christ then, it will be said, repeal a thing so highly profitable [the laws concerning the Sabbath]? Far from it; nay, He greatly enhanced it” (Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew 39:3).
Many of Puhalo’s corrupt ideas distort and directly contradict the right theology of the Orthodox Church and the proper Orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures. His views are not only not Orthodox, they are not even Christian.
Decades ago, Fr. Seraphim Rose – showing his godly wisdom and priestly calling – warned Fr. Alexey Young about Lev Phulao, writing: “The letter (you received) from Fr. Lev is similar to his last letter to us, though much more detailed. I wouldn’t answer it. The man is deeply sick, and no matter what you say he will respond in a sick way.” (Letters from Fr. Seraphim Rose to Fr. Alexey Young, page 185, Nov 3/6, 1977).
Puhalo is an impostor and illegitimate hierarch of the Orthodox Church. He teaches falsehoods and deceives the faithful. Puhalo has not earned and does not deserve the title or the authority of “Archbishop” because he isn’t one. He is and continues to be a defrocked and unrepentant former deacon, in other words he is an ordinary layman.
– Fr. Ioannes Apiarius
Documentation and Resources
(Minor organizational edits and bolding of key words and/or phrases done by blog editors done to enhance readability.)