Metropolitan Jonah rejected rumors of his Forced Leave


Moscow, March 1, Interfax – Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada made a statement to clear out reasons of his 60-day leave and rejected rumors of its forced character.

“I am still your Metropolitan. I am still your diocesan bishop. I am still the active primate of the Orthodox Church in America. The reports are not true. I am merely taking a retreat, a time for reflection,” he said speaking at St Nicholas the Wonderworker Cathedral in Washington.

The metropolitan noted that the necessity to make such an address cause “sadness” and called Internet reporting that he had been deposed and resigned “inaccurate.”

“I had intended, and still plan on doing so, to rest as much as possible during the Great Fast, spending time with loved ones and celebrating and attending the Divine Services at my Primatial Cathedral of St Nicholas in Washington,” he said.

According to the Primate, “in line with the Holy Canons, the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, and the good order of the church, no major decisions will be made” without his “knowledge and consent”.

Unofficial OCA website of Orthodox Christians for Accountability posted a report saying that Metropolitan Jonah was placed “on leave of absence.” Earlier retired Bishop of Los Angeles Tikhon also reported in the Internet about Metropolitan’s Jonah leave.

Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. James Paffhausen, Bishop Jonah to be, was born in Chicago, IL, into a Protestant family. He was received into the Orthodox Church in 1978 at Our Lady of Kazan Moscow Patriarchal Church, San Diego, while a student at the University of California, San Diego.

In early 1990s he worked at the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarchate. The spiritual father of the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Laura Elder Kirill (Pavlov) blessed James to become a monk.

The Moscow Patriarchate referred to the election of Bishop Jonah as an event opening a new page in the history of the Orthodox Church in America that received autocephaly from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970.