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Canadian Orthodox Priest Fired For Honoring Israel In Sermon

A Christian Orthodox priest in Nova Scotia, Canada was forced to retire after honoring Judaism and Israel in his sermon, The Canadian Jewish News reported.

Vladimir Tobin, the head priest of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church in Halifax, was told last month in a letter from the archbishop that he must leave the church following the “Jewish twist in your ministry.”

According to The Canadian Jewish News, Tobin spoke generously of both Israel and Judaism during the sermon in question. He asked that congregants pray for Israel and reinforced that Jesus was Jewish.

“I’ve always been straightforward, have always spoken my mind,” Tobin, 77, told CJN, explaining that for years he’s connected Christianity’s roots with the Old Testament’s Jewish background.

He is personally connected to Israel, as well. His grandmother was Jewish, but he was baptized a Christian. He also earned a doctorate in Egyptology at Hebrew University in Israel in 1985. He took a trip to the country in May, his first time back since his graduation.

“I was happy in Orthodoxy, but felt there was some anti-Jewishness there,” he 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.”

Tobin said he had planned to retire in a year or so, on his own terms.

“I would have been sad. The congregation would have been sad, but everyone would have understood,” he said of his initial plan. “This way is not the best thing.”

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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