A priest from the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has been suspended from all priestly functions after it was revealed that he attended the pro-Trump rally in Washington DC on January 6 that turned into a violent insurrection-attempt against the U.S. Capitol.
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. He has since deleted most of the messages as a backlash unfolds in the OCA.
In one post, he suggested that the rally would be a “Second American Revolution.”
Numerous videos, including this one, show the priest taking part in the march. Faithful concerned with the priest’s rhetoric reported the matter to church authorities.
One parishioner from the parish, speaking to The Pappas Post on the condition we do not reveal her name for fear of retribution to her family, said “Yes, it was about attending this violent insurrection that took place against our democracy, but more so what bothered a lot of us was his rhetoric on his Facebook page. He worshipped Trump more than he did our Savior. It was alarming.”
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.”
The suspended priest also quoted a Tweet from President Trump that told supporters “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
Suggesting, perhaps, that God was on his side, 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.”
A 12/31 Facebook post by the now-suspended priest encouraging his followers to attend the January 6 rally
The Orthodox Church in America, which evolved from Russian roots, has strict guidelines prohibiting clergy from taking political positions on social media. According to OCA’s Social Media Guidelines “Clergy should refrain from making political statements, joining political groups, or ‘becoming fans’ of particular political candidates or political causes on social network sites.”
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.”
Metropolitan Tikhon, head of the Orthodox Church in America, had issued a statement condemning the events on January 6.
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