Religious Freedom Advocate Johnnie Moore Condemns Orthodox Church for Punishing Priest Who Prayed for the Jews

A priest in Halifax, Nova Scotia, says he was forced to retire by the Orthodox Church in America because he gave sermons honoring the Jewish roots of Christianity and encouraged his congregants to pray for Israel.

Canadian Jewish News reports that Father Vladimir Tobin of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church received a letter on Aug. 12 from Archbishop Irénée of the Archdiocese of Canada informing him that he must retire from the Eastern Orthodox denomination because of a “Jewish twist in your ministry.”

News of Tobin’s forced retirement drew the ire of American evangelical leader and religious freedom advocate Johnnie Moore, who also serves as a commissioner of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom.

“To be clear, this is church-sanctioned anti-Semitism and they ought to be absolutely ashamed of themselves,” Moore, who also serves as president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, told The Christian Post in an email.

In an interview with Canadian Jewish News, the 77-year-old religious leader said some of his sermons over the last few years have tied in Christianity’s roots and the Jewish background of the Old Testament.

Since his studies at Dalhousie University, Tobin said he has been well aware of links between Judaism and early Christianity. Although he was originally ordained as an Anglican priest, he was urged to embrace the Orthodox tradition.

“I was happy in Orthodoxy, but felt there was some anti-Jewishness there,” Tobin said. “I wrote a piece for publication, but was told by my superiors that it was ‘too Jewish.’ That increased my determination that Christianity grew from Judaism. My own theology recognized a faith that started with Abraham and grew through the centuries through Christ.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith