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Chicago-born head of Orthodox Church in America steps down

Updated: August 11, 2012 6:14AM

The Chicago-born head of the Orthodox Church in America resigned his post over the weekend, saying he had realized long ago that he had “neither the personality nor the temperament for the position.”

Metropolitan Jonah presented his resignation to church leaders during a conference call Saturday. He wrote that he was stepping down “as per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions,” and he requested “another Episcopal assignment.”

Metropolitan Jonah could not be reached for additional comment, and a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in America said the church had no additional comment.

A replacement has not been announced for Metropolitan Jonah, who was elected in 2008 after his successor Archbishop Herman retired amid allegations he had been using church funds for personal expenses.

Born James Paffhausen in Chicago, Metropolitan Jonah currently resides in Washington, D.C.

He was baptized at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church. But he became interested in the Orthodox branch of Christianity after reading a book that affirmed his concerns about the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church. Metropolitan Jonah converted in 1978.

In the letter, he asked for a new assignment.

“I had come to the realization long ago that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired,” Metropolitan Jonah wrote.

He asked that consideration be given to his financial future in the future, because he is the primary financial support for both his parents and sister.

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