Fr. Mark Tyson, rector of the Church of the Dormition in Bluefield, West Virginia, left the Patriarchate of Constantinople and switched to a Russian church, as a sign of solidarity with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Patriarch of Constantinople recently joined himself to a schismatic church group that engages in sacrilegious activities, and he claimed to remove the Ukrainian Church from Russian Orthodox Church authority. Thus the churches in Constantinople and Moscow are now in schism with one another. For these reasons, Fr. Mark has turned his back on Constantinople.
Father Mark wrote the following message to his ruling bishop:
A few days ago, the patriarch [Bartholomew], whom I have devotedly and prayerfully praised for more than two decades, undertook an unprecedented step towards the restoration of canonical status for an undignified rebellious gang of discredited clerics in Ukraine.
Fr. Mark says that “the immoral and non-canonical actions of Patriarch Bartholomew in Ukraine have already contributed to violence against the canonical Church,” and this violence will continue to grow.
He says that Philaret’s schismatic church group in Ukraine is not a legitimate church:
The Church’s civil war unfolds before our eyes . . . and our patriarch [Bartholomew] has given his official approval. This new and independent “Church” that he created consists of idolaters. They worship the Holy Trinity and a false God called “free Ukraine”
Fr. Mark says he decided to leave his parish, because it is a church under the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople:
“I have served the last liturgy there and will no longer honor Patriarch Bartholomew; my conscience will simply not allow it. . . . I decided to simply, but firmly . . . unite in communion with the suffering Ukrainian church, which was marginalized by the incomprehensible actions of Patriarch Bartholomew.”
Father Mark Tyson had been priest at the Church of the Dormition (St. Mary’s) for over 15 years. He was ordained to the priesthood by the late Metropolitan Nicholas (Smisko) on September 10, 1995 and has served parishes in Schererville, Indiana and Bridgeport, Connecticut. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian-Latin American studies from George Mason University and a Licentiate of Theology from Christ the Saviour Seminary. He and his wife Lisa have been blessed with six children.
According to information from the Office of the East American Diocese of ROCOR, Fr. Mark Tyson has already been accepted as clergy, and has been appointed to one of the Russian Orthodox churches in Virginia.
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