The Chicago-based bishop of the Orthodox Church in America accused in August of "inappropriate" behavior with a woman has been found guilty of "sexual misconduct" by church investigators, but he will remain at the helm of the Midwest Diocese.
Bishop Matthias (born David Lawrence Moriak) will stay on administrative leave until he meets the "rehabilitative measures" required by the church's Holy Synod. Those measures include directly asking forgiveness from the woman who submitted a complaint, participating in a residential therapeutic program designed for clergy, and undergoing a mentorship with a peer bishop who will then recommend whether Matthias can return to his post.
"I am deeply sorry that I have offended, confused, and caused hurt to this young woman," Matthias said in a letter read to parishioners during worship services Sunday. "I will communicate my apology directly and personally to her."
According to a statement issued by the Holy Synod, Matthias allegedly sent inappropriate text and email messages to a female parishioner in the diocese. She filed a complaint in August, the statement said.
"I wish that I could convince all of you what I am certain of in my heart — that the conscious motives behind my interaction with this woman were not impure," Matthias said in the letter. "But, I know that only active, demonstrated repentance — confession of my sins, pursuit of the means of changing, and a resulting change in conduct — will be convincing."
Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral held a meeting Sunday after services to give parishioners a chance to ask questions about the incident, the Rev. John Adamcio said.
Afterward parishioners seemed comfortable with Matthias' apology and the church's response to the incident.
"We're satisfied with what was read in church," said Bob Yurschak, 72. "We're looking forward to having him come back."