An Ohio priest says he was unfairly suspended for attending the “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the US Capitol siege — but church officials are pushing back on that claim.
Archpriest Mark Hodges, who is affiliated with St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Dayton, told the Journal-News that he was slapped with a three-month suspension and faces possible defrocking for simply attending the demonstration by President Donald Trump supporters.
“My beloved bishop had questioned the wisdom of a priest attending,” Hodges told the newspaper this week. “I think part of the problem is I viewed that ‘Stop the Steal’ rally as expressing extreme concerns over voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election.”
A notice on the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest website shows that Hodges was “suspended from all priestly functions” effective Jan. 12. No additional details were provided, but a spokesman for the diocese disputed Hodges’ version of events when reached Thursday by The Post.
“Fr. Mark was not suspended for his presence at the rally,” Priest Alexander Koranda said in a statement. “This suspension is the result of various circumstances that is currently part of an internal process.”
The facts surrounding Hodges’ shelving cannot be currently disclosed, Koranda said.
“The suspension is not due to one event, but also involves other matters,” the statement continued. “He was not suspended due to his presence at the rally, or due to one specific event.”
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SOURCE: New York Post, Joshua Rhett Miller