Father Vladimir Tobin (courtesy: screenshot)
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – A Christian Orthodox priest in Nova Scotia was forced to retire after delivering a sermon that honored Judaism and Israel reported the Canadian Jewish News.
The head priest of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church in Halifax, Father Vladimir Tobin, got a letter from the Orthodox Church in America Archbishop Irénée, the archbishop of Ottawa and Canada, on Aug. 12, letting him know that he is being forcibly retired. The forced resignation was due to the “Jewish twist in your ministry.”
The wording appears to be referencing a sermon Father Tobin gave in which he mentioned Israel and Judaism in favorable terms. He then requested that congregants pray for Israel and reminded the congregation that Jesus was a Jew.
“I’ve always been straightforward, have always spoken my mind,” Father Tobin told CJN from his home in New Germany, about 75 miles south of Halifax.
He also said that over the last several years, his sermons have connected Christianity’s roots and the Old Testament’s Jewish background.
The 77-year-old cleric traveled to Israel in May for the first time in 30 years. In the late 1960s, he visited the Holy Land for two weeks and came back in 1985 to get a doctorate in Egyptology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
A native of Halifax, Father Tobin noted that his grandmother was Jewish. However, he was baptized a Christian. While studying the early Christian era at Dalhousie University, he says that he realized that early Christians were actually Jewish and their scripture was the Old Testament.
The cleric was ordained as an Anglican priest. But Father Tobin felt that something was lacking in the denomination and was compelled to go to the Orthodox side.
“I was happy in Orthodoxy but felt there was some anti-Jewishness there. 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,” he explained.
He initially received a letter from Archbishop Irénée in April, after a written complaint by the assistant priest, Father Alexander Treiger, who accused Father Tobin of including prayers for Israel in his services.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided that effective this date, April 8th, 2019, you are officially retired as Rector of St. Vladimir Orthodox Church, Halifax, NS,” the archbishop wrote.
Father Tobin didn’t take it lying down. The priest replied writing: “It is true that I regularly pray for both Israel and United States, its armies and its president, and for ‘the land of Israel and the armies which protect her.’ What is to prevent us for praying for other countries that need it? The U.S. and Israel are our allies and need our support for peace in the Middle East. There are precedents of praying for other nations within our tradition. My prayers are mainly intended to advance peace in the Middle East .”
The Parish Council was upset at the news of his dismissal and subsequently wrote a penned a letter urging Father Tobin’s reinstatement. Archbishop Irénée agreed, but then reneged on that agreement in August.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
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People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
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A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
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The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.