Christian Orthodox priest is ‘suspended from all priestly functions’ for attending Trump rally moments before rioters stormed the Capitol
- Christian Orthodox priest Mark Hodges was ‘suspended from priestly functions’
- His three-month suspension went into effect on January 12 after a church member reported seeing him in a video at the ‘Save America’ rally on January 6
- Hodges claimed that he wasn’t a part of the violence and never entered Capitol
- He said he attended the rally to ‘stop the steal’ of the election and prevent Joe Biden from becoming the 46th president of the US
A Christian Orthodox priest in Ohio has been suspended from his duties for three months for attending the ‘Save America’ rally just before dozens of rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6.
According to the website of the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest, archpriest Mark Hodges was ‘suspended from all priestly functions’.
The suspension for Hodges, who is affiliated with St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Greene County’s Sugarcreek Twp, Ohio, took effect on January 12.
Orthodox archpriest, Mark Hodges (left, and right at the ‘Save America’ rally), has been suspended from his duties for three months for attending the rally just before dozens of rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6
His suspension came after it was revealed that he had attended the rally to ‘stop the steal’ of the election and prevent Joe Biden from becoming the 46th president of the US.
Hodges, a married father-of-eight, told the Journal News that he disagrees with the three-month suspension.
‘I think it’s an unjust suspension,’ Hodges said.
Hodges said while his bishop questioned ‘the wisdom of a priest attending,’ he personally viewed the rally as an expression of ‘extreme concern over voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election’.
According to Hodges, Archbishop Paul Gassios, who leads the Diocese of the Midwest that includes 21 parishes in Ohio, could lift the suspension, extend it after the three-month period or remove him from the priesthood altogether.
Gassios reportedly told Hodges that he was ‘guilty by association’ for attending the rally, according to Lima News.
Before the January 6 insurrection, Hodges (pictured) had previously urged others on Facebook to join him at the ‘mega MAGA rally’ in DC
‘Whatever happens on that historic day, it will be an event to remember,’ Hodges wrote (above) on December 31, 2020
Hodges said he did not enter the Capitol building. Dozens of people have been charged in connection to the Capitol riot (pictured) that saw several MAGA supporters unlawfully enter the building and launch violent assaults on law enforcement
Hodges also claimed that he never entered the Capitol and wasn’t apart of the violent siege that took place on January 6.
‘I heard the young men cursing and taunting the police. When I finally realized these guys were intending to violently antagonize the police, I went up to the police, shushed one of the yellers and thanked the police for protecting the people of Washington, DC and for showing restraint and I apologized for the handful of screaming young men not showing restraint or self-control. Then I began to leave,’ Hodges told Lima News.
Hodges also said that the media coverage of the riot angered him because ‘Trump incited no violence’.
‘To me it’s not about Trump vs. Biden, or Left vs Right, but is about free and fair elections. I honestly believe we have lost our democratic republic,’ he said.
Before the January 6 insurrection, Hodges had previously urged others on Facebook to join him at the ‘mega MAGA rally’ in DC.
‘Whatever happens on that historic day, it will be an event to remember,’ Hodges wrote on December 31, 2020.
‘You can tell your grandchildren that you were on the front lines in the Second American Revolution, where you fought to save the Republic.’
Hodges was suspended after he was spotted by a church member in a video that was shared on social media. The church member alerted the bishop to Hodges, who was wearing an Orthodox cassock during the rally.
Dozens of people have been charged in connection to the Capitol riot that saw several MAGA supporters unlawfully enter the building and launch violent assaults on law enforcement.