According to the Orthodox Church in America’s web page, Metropolitan Jonah tendered his resignation as Metropolitan on Saturday, July 7. According to the letter published on the web page, Metropolitan Jonah asked to be reassigned as bishop citing his need to financially support his sister and parents. The Metropolitan admitted that he had “neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate.”
Metropolitan Jonah was elected as the Primate of the OCA in 2008 at the All American Council in Pittsburgh with a tremendous amount of hope and good will in what was hailed in the press as the “Miracle in Pittsburgh.” It was thought his election signaled a new page in the OCA’s history – leaving behind a financial scandal that had rocked the church, and the election of the first convert to the office of Primate of the OCA.
According to the OCA webpage, the Synod of Bishops will meet in a teleconference on Monday, July 9, to discuss the tendered resignation. The web page says a further announcement will follow that meeting.
As with any unusual change in leadership, there will be talk and discussion about the “why?s” of this situation. Why is he resigning? Why now? etc.
Prior to the OCA’s own official statement, Rod Dreher had already posted on his blog an announcement that Metropolitan Jonah had been “ousted.” Dreher calls the Synod of Bishops “ravenous wolves” and “wild dogs” but offers no explanation for his derogatory comments. That the Metropolitan and Synod had been in contention over issues has been well known. The Synod itself is not known for making rapid decisions. And since there were well known disputes between the Synod and the Metropolitan, and between the staff and the Metropolitan, and between the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan, none of this occurs without context. What the Synod will choose to reveal about its decision making remains to be seen. But Dreher’s characterization of the on-going events seem pretty one-sided, and seem to lack that context which has been an on-going tussle within the OCA’s administration. The OCA’s Synod has in fact demonstrated a rather patient attitude with the administrative problems and seemed to have been trying to help him with his office recognizing the truthfulness of the Metropolitan’s own statement that he was personality-wise ill suited for the position of Primate.
My prayers go out to all the Members of the OCA’s Synod (of which Metropolitan Jonah is one member) who again have to wrestle with such tumultuous events.
See also a few comments by Bishop Matthias of the Diocese of the Midwest on this news at The Resignation of Metropolitan Jonah and OCA Appoints Archbishop Nathaniel as Locum Tenens.
See also the OCA Synod’s Statement on the Resignation.