Metropolitan Jonah removed as leader of the Orthodox Church in America.

The shameful forced resignation of Metropolitan Jonah, leader of the Orthodox Church in America, had heads and tongues wagging in all corners of the globe this week. Considered by some as a jealous “coup” by scheming bishops, the Metropolitan was forced apparently to resign. More from the Chicago Tribune and writer Manya A. Brachear:

His Holiness, Metropolitan Jonah.

The Chicago native elected to the helm of the Orthodox Church in America resigned over the weekend, saying in a letter that he has “neither the personality nor the temperament” to lead the church.

Metropolitan Jonah submitted his resignation during a conference call Saturday with other bishops of the church. In his letter of resignation, he said he was leaving the post in response to the unanimous request of the bishops.

“I had come to the realization long ago that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of primate, a position I never sought nor desired,” he wrote in the letter.

The letter was written Friday in his Washington home and witnessed by the Orthodox Church in America’s chancellor, according to a statement from the church. On Monday, the church announced that Detroit Archbishop Nathaniel would serve as the interim replacement.

Elected in late 2008 to lead one of several branches of Orthodox Christianity in the United States, Metropolitan Jonah had been a bishop for 12 days when he became primate. Parishioners looked to him for reforms after his predecessor retired amid allegations that millions of church dollars were used to cover personal expenses.

“People were looking for that new wind of leadership that he seemed to embody,” said the Rev. John Adamcio, rector at Holy Trinity Cathedral, the seat of the Chicago Diocese. “He was under an awful lot of pressure to right the ship and keep the church on course.”

Metropolitan Jonah, Russia, 2011.

Read more on the Chicago Tribune story here.

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One thought on “Metropolitan Jonah removed as leader of the Orthodox Church in America.

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! Lord have mercy on the Orthodox Church in America!

    Metropolitan Jonah is an exceptionally kind and loving man, a wonderful pastor at the primatial cathedral of St Nicholas here in Washington, D.C. Many of his sermons have deeply inspired me, and his writings have illumined so many of the Church’s teachings and the principles of the Gospel. I have gone before him for confession, where he is a kind and compassionate listener with great wisdom, and I have spoken with him numerous times. He is such a blessing to our parish, such a light to everyone he touches with his presence. I knew the relationships between the Metropolitan, the Chancellery and the Holy Synod of Bishops were often strained, but it seemed like time, mutual forgiveness, and the grace of the Holy Spirit were healing these wounds. We are all so shocked by the Synod’s abrupt decision to request that Metropolitan Jonah resign.

    Thousands of ordinary faithful in the OCA are taking to Facebook and other forms of media to express their love and support for our primate and their dismay at his removal. The outpouring of love for him coming from all across North America truly amazes me! His dynamic vision for the Church’s continued ministry on this continent, and his gentle but committed defense of the moral fullness of all the Gospel teachings (not merely those which are popular or convenient) uniquely suit him to help restore and lead the Church through so many of its difficulties.

    We will always have his example before us, even if he cannot be our Metropolitan. Anyone capable of writing the beautiful thoughts on forgiveness and love which he published in his “Reflections on a Spiritual Journey”, reflections to which he so often gave voice during sermons at St Nicholas Cathedral and around the country, is a person of immense spiritual and pastoral gifts. I pray that the Holy Synod recognizes this evident truth.

    I hope and pray that we hear more soon about what transpired. At present time the Chancery in Syosset, New York and Holy Synod are not releasing any detailed statements explaining why the Synod unanimously requested Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation. All the faithful seek to find out why this has come to pass. Above all, everyone is praying that Metropolitan Jonah will continue to have an active role in the Orthodox Church in America. He has so many gifts as a theologian, a pastor and a bishop. We need him very much. He is one of the most caring, insightful, and loving pastors, a truly Orthodox hierarch in his compassionate but committed defense of the Church’s moral teachings, and truly an inspiration to everyone at St Nicholas. On a personal level, as my spiritual father he played a huge role in my conversion to Orthodoxy. His interest in engaging young Orthodox Christians in their parish life, his offering of retreats and frank discussions with young people about Church teachings, and his compassion, Christian witness, and sense of humor have inspired numerous young people across Orthodox jurisdictions.

    Let us pray for Christian love and understanding in this difficult time of questions and uncertainty.

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us and save us!
    Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

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