An Orthodox priest from Ohio was suspended by his diocese and faces “possible defrocking” after he traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The Rev. Mark Hodges, a “supply priest” who travels around to different parishes when needed, was “suspended from all priestly functions” effective Jan. 12, according to a one-sentence notice from the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest website.
Hodges told The Lima News on Wednesday that the suspension could be extended after three months or he could be removed from the priesthood. He said the punishment was handed down by Archbishop Paul Gassios, who accused Hodges of being “guilty by association.”
“And I disagree, you know, I think it’s an unjust suspension,” Hodges said.
Gassios, who leads the Diocese of the Midwest that includes 21 parishes in Ohio, confirmed the suspension to the outlet and said he would not comment on the details.
Hodges told the Dayton Daily News that he had traveled to the nation’s capital for the “Stop the Steal” rally organized by supporters of former President Trump outside of the White House.
Trump spoke to the crowd prior to the riot and encouraged them to march to the Capitol to urge lawmakers not to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory. Following Trump’s remarks, the mob approached the Capitol, toppled barricades, overwhelmed Capitol Police and caused mayhem throughout the building.
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Source: the Hill