The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of America has released a statement explaining its reasons for asking the leader of the Church, Metropolitan Jonah, to step down.
The 17 July 2012 statement accused Jonah of administrative incompetence, but dismissed suggestions he was forced from office due in response to his alleged sympathies in America’s “culture wars.”
At the close of a meeting of the Holy Synod in Syosset, New York, on 7 July Jonah resigned as metropolitan, writing “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,” he wrote, adding “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.”
In their letter, the members of the Holy Synod enumerated Jonah’s failings, stating he had consistently ignored their counsel and ignored the canons governing the ordering of the church. He had also received into the priesthood a man with a history of sexual abuse allegations, and had interfered in canonical and legal investigations into these allegations.
“The extent of the risk of liability to which the Metropolitan has exposed the church cannot be overstated,” the synod statement said.
Jonah had demonstrated his “inability to be truthful and accountable to his peers,” and had to go for the good of the church. Rumors that Jonah was forced out for pursuing a more liberal agenda were “untrue”, the synod said and there had never been any challenge to the church’s “unchanging position on traditional Orthodox views of morality.”
The next steps in this affair will be addressed by the October meeting of synod, the statement said. At this time, however, Metropolitan Jonah has not spoken to the substance of the charges leveled against him by members of the synod.
2012 0716 Holy Synod Statement