Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America Suddenly Resigns His Office: Why?
overcome the divisions that separate us, so that we can stand united in one mind and one heart, confessing that God has come in the flesh to raise us to heaven. We must live according to the moral and ethical commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ enshrined in the Gospel, and reject sin and recognize its corruption.
"This is the orthodox faith of the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils and the undivided Church. We will have to accept the scorn and derision of those who are of this world, even those who call themselves brethren, being cast out of their synagogues and ridiculed, sued in civil courts, and count all things as worthless that we have lost for the sake of Christ. This, my friends, is our cross. We have to support one another in bearing it. The closer we come, the greater our mutual support will be, and we will not lose heart, or forget that Christ has already won the victory: He has overcome the world. By accepting to go by way of His Cross, we too will share in His Victory."
Readers of my articles will quickly see why I took such hope in the work of this young Orthodox Metropolitan. You will also see why I am saddened to report that he has resigned his office. Here is the official statement
Metropolitan Jonah tenders resignation
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
In a letter addressed to the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops dated Friday, July 6, 2012, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah tendered his resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. His Beatitude composed and signed the letter at his residence in Washington, DC, in the presence of Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor. On Saturday, July 7, the letter was presented to the Holy Synod in the course of a conference call in which all of the hierarchs participated, except His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo of Mexico City. The text of His Beatitude's letter reads as follows.
"To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,
"As per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment. I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.
"It is my hope that due consideration will be made for my financial situation, both in any interim and in consideration for any future position. I am the main financial support for both my parents and my sister, beyond my own needs.
"I will appreciate your consideration in this, and beg forgiveness for however I have offended you, and for whatever difficulties have arisen from my own inadequacies and mistakes in judgment. Asking your prayers, I remain faithfully yours,
Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop of Washington"
I invite our readers around the globe to pray for Metropolitan Jonah and for the Orthodox Church in America. His letter seems to depict a sadness of spirit. It also raises a number of questions and concerns. I would welcome any further information and insight into this story and what prompted his resignation. I haver reached out to friends in the orthodox Church whom I deeply respect. Sadly, the reports emerging in the blogosphere indicate there may be more behind the former Metropolitan's decision. For example, former Catholic become Orthodox Christian Rod Dreher opined
"They finally got him. What they don't understand is that they probably signed the OCA's death warrant in so doing - not because Jonah was necessarily an exceptional metropolitan (he had his problems as an administrator, and though a very good man, was temperamentally ill-suited for the job), but because the sleazy, corrupt way the Synod has handled this from the beginning shows them to be a pack of ravening wolves."
Those are very harsh words. Pray for authentic peace for the Orthodox Church in America and pray for Metropolitan Jonah. Finally, pray that his successor continues to stand prophetically and courageously in this age which cries out for authentic collaboration between those who bear the name Christian.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Jonah, Manhattan Declaration, ecumenism, unity, orthodox, catholic, culture, abortion, homosexuality, unity, synod, Primate, Deacon Keith Fournier
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