DAYTON DAILY NEWS REPORTS ON FATHER HODGES’ SUSPENSION, MENTIONS ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE by Chris Stewart

This article appeared earlier today on the Dayton Daily News website under the headline Priest with Ties to Area Parish Suspended after Urging, Joining U.S. Capitol Protest.

Suspended Archpriest Mark Hodges

An Orthodox priest affiliated with a Dayton-area parish has been suspended after he went to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 intending to “stop the steal” of the U.S. election and prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from becoming the 46th president of the United States.

The Rev. Mark Hodges, an archpriest attached to St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Greene County’s Sugarcreek Twp., was “suspended from all priestly functions” effective Jan 12, according to a short notation on the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest website.

“I disagree. I think it’s an unjust suspension,” Hodges told the Dayton Daily News this week.

Hodges, a Lima resident, said a three-month suspension was the direct result of his participation in the rally that saw the Capitol overrun by rioters attempting to halt a joint session of Congress from formally count Electoral College votes.

“My beloved bishop had questioned the wisdom of a priest attending,” he said. “I think part of the problem is I viewed that Stop the Steal rally as expressing extreme concern over voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election.”

Hodges said the call notifying him of the suspension came directly from Archbishop Paul Gassios, who leads the Diocese of the Midwest that includes 21 parishes in Ohio. Hodges said the archbishop could after three months extend the suspension, lift it or remove him from the priesthood.

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IN DEFENCE OF HIS LORD: AN EXAMINATION OF ST JOHN DAMASCENE’S CRITIQUE OF ISLAM by Andrew James Matthews

Orthodoxy in Dialogue is pleased to publish the present essay as part of our Academic Papers series. Check our Call for Academic Papers if you would like to participate in our ongoing project to give both new and more established scholars a wider Orthodox audience for their work.

Introduction

Andrew Matthews

This paper will examine St John Damascene’s famous critique of Islam, The Heresy of the Ishmaelites (hereinafter The Ishmaelites), which is found in his most voluminous work, The Fount of Knowledge. John, who lived c. 675-750 CE, composed his treatise against Islam during the latter half of his life, while living as a monk in the Monastery of St Sabbas in Palestine. Moreover, it is with this work that John became the first Christian theologian in history to explicitly discuss Islam. So in this sense, The Ishmaelites is truly an unprecedented piece.  

It is clear that John wrote The Ishmaelites with the intention of disproving the ‘heresy’ of Islam. However, even though The Ishmaelites is at times somewhat hampered by an overly polemical approach to the Muslim faith, its merits still outweigh its flaws. As this paper will attempt to demonstrate, despite his bias, John’s critique of Islam displays a deep knowledge of the faith. In fact, his work at times offers a stunning view into what appears to be nascent Islamic beliefs and practices. Further, while my paper will not deal with each and every line of The Ishmaelites, it will take an in-depth look at the more prominent and controversial elements of John’s work.

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MARTIN LUTHER KING AND THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION: A SERMON by Priest Aaron Warwick

This video of Father Warwick’s sermon of Sunday, January 17 was brought to Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s attention by one of our loyal readers. Since the video is found in the public domain, and Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese has forbidden his clergy to publish with us, we take upon ourselves the liberty of sharing this eloquent and timely witness to the Gospel with our readers around the planet.

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FATHER MARK HODGES REMOVED FROM OCA CLERGY DIRECTORY

An observant reader informed Orthodoxy in Dialogue yesterday afternoon that Father Mark Hodges has been removed from the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) clergy directory pursuant to our reporting (see the Mark Hodges: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-21). You can see the H section of the directory here.

Later in the day yesterday, a parishioner from the Lima OH mission parish informed us in a letter to the editors that Hodges has been suspended—a decision delegated canonically to his diocesan bishop, Archbishop Paul (Gassios). We are deeply grateful to His Eminence for recognizing the gravity of the situation. (ADDENDUM: An hour or so after we published this report, another observant reader directed us to the formal notice of Hodges’ suspension on the diocesan website. He was suspended swiftly, only two days after our anonymous author’s open letter to the Archbishop.)

Yet another reader informs us of Hodges’ appalling record of pastoral malfeasance over two decades, which led from his being assigned to “attached”—to a parish where he has apparently been forbidden to attend since at least a year ago, so toxic was his presence there. This may explain how a priest found the time to spend the Feast of Theophany at a rally leading to violent insurrection against the US government.

We have invited the Archbishop and Father Paul Jannakos, diocesan chancellor, to issue a public statement on this very public matter.

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