A priest from the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has been unjustly suspended from all priestly functions, merely because he attended the pro-Trump rally in Washington DC on January 6.
Even though he never entered the capitol building and never performed any illegal activities, he is suffering this injustice because he was merely present at the rally.
Fr. Mark Hodges, a priest who was serving a parish in Dayton, Ohio, had been sharing numerous pro-Trump and anti-Biden messages on his personal social media pages and encouraging his faithful to attend the rally.
A post from December 31, 2020 on Hodges’ Facebook page which hasn’t been deleted yet, encourages faithful to attend the march and contains strong language against President-elect Joe Biden and his incoming administration, while praising the Trump as “the most pro-life President in American history.”
Hodges also stated in his post that “I would also note that January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany. I never count The Holy Trinity or Our Lady out.”
According to an official statement from the OCA’s Diocese of the Midwest, Hodges, who had a rank of an archpriest in the church, was “suspended from all priestly functions, effective January 12, 2021.”
It is a sad day in the Church, when a good priest can be suspended from his duties, merely for peacefully attending a political rally. He did nothing illegal, and he did nothing unbecoming for a priest. He should not be blamed for the indiscretions of others. We pray that the OCA will do the right thing, and restore Fr. Mark to his priestly duties immediately.
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