Orthodox U.S. Bishop Out in Harassment Scandal

Surprisingly few details are available about the nature of Bishop Matthias’ wrongdoings. The case involves harassing emails and text messages he sent to a female follower, but the church has managed to keep it all under wraps. Apparently, though, the bishop’s misconduct was grave enough that Church authorities forced his ouster.

Unable to overcome the disgrace of a sexual misconduct accusation, Bishop Matthias, head of the local diocese for the Orthodox Church of America, has announced he will step down Monday, leaving a vacancy in Chicago just weeks before Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on May 5.

On a leave of absence since allegations of inappropriate communication with a woman surfaced in August, Matthias, 64, would have celebrated his two-year anniversary as leader of the church in Chicago and the Midwest this week. In a letter to parishioners Sunday, the bishop asked for forgiveness. ….

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When he was placed on administrative leave last year, Matthias said he had been accused of “unwelcome written and spoken comments to a woman that she regarded as an inappropriate crossing of personal boundaries.”

A national church investigation did conclude that Bishop Matthias had committed sexual harassment.

The accusation also generated an outcry from a number of clergy’s wives in the diocese. About 30 women signed a letter to the Holy Synod expressing concern about the bishop’s behavior.

[image via aoiusa.org]

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