Editorial Note: The anonymous author of Open Letter: OCA Priest Participates in Trump Riot, Reported to FBI addresses this appeal directly to Father Hodges. Although this is not the main point of their appeal, we at Orthodoxy in Dialogue are chilled to the bone that Hodges attracts the sort of followers who would threaten violence against the persons and parishes of their brother and sister Orthodox Christians. We consider this fact alone as necessitating a formal ecclesiastical enquiry.
In this video, referenced in the appeal, Father Hodges first appears at the far right of the frame at about 0:11, comes into full view at 0:22, and assists a Mormon protestor in displaying a flag with a quote from the Book of Mormon beginning at 1:15. Note that he is not wearing a mask. (ADDENDUM 1/20/21: YouTube removed this video today for violating its terms of service.)
Dear Father Mark Hodges:
(This open appeal comes to you anonymously on purpose. Given that there have been threats on social media towards my fellow Orthodox over highlighting your presence at the Capitol Hill siege, I have every right to protect myself and my family from potential harm. If they can threaten harm on the parishes of my brothers and sisters in Christ, they can also come to mine.)
When the Capitol Hill siege took place on the Theophany of our Lord—a day in which Christ was baptized in the Jordan and the light of God shone down upon His Son—it was a stain upon a beautiful feast day in the Church. A feast day that many of us look forward to every year, and anticipate the blessings that come with receiving newly blessed holy water, or gathering at the nearby river to bless it as it flows through our city. A day that was also Christmas Eve for our Old Calendar brothers and sisters, yet could not be celebrated properly due to the unrest.
That day, five people died because of the sins of those who wished to inflict harm upon our civil authorities. There were loaded weapons, words, and thoughts all throughout that demonstration.
Not everyone who was present inflicted that harm directly.
But not everyone who was present also condemned that violence, either.
Some encouraged it, and now people are dead.
We, as lay people of the Church, put a lot of faith in our clergy to do the right thing. And when they don’t, they are an accessory to causing harm to others. So when the FBI encouraged citizens to provide information about people who were present, it was my civic duty to share your presence at Capitol Hill with the proper authorities. It was no different than if I had witnessed you stealing, abusing someone, or committing other grave acts. I did not do so out of political, social, or spiritual spite. I did it out of civic responsibility.
You had every opportunity to do something different, Father Mark. When you were witnessed in a video of “Captain Moroni” [above], trying to make yourself visible to the camera, none of us saw footage of you trying to stop people from going in and hurting God’s children. Instead, we saw one of our ordained men, in priestly garb, trying to get the camera’s attention.
You could have condemned the violence and told people to go home. You have done no such thing on social media. Instead, you have attempted to deflect all responsibility for your presence, throwing out rants about sexuality, social media, and other false news during a time when you could have done so much more as a spiritual father. During one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, at that.
If you are truly innocent, then you will be cleared of all accusations and charges. But if you are not, then you must be responsible and admit your guilt to your community, your spiritual father, and—perhaps hardest of all—yourself.
May God have mercy on us all.