The Orthodox Church in America this afternoon elected as its leader a monk who had been consecrated an auxiliary bishop just 12 days ago.
Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada, who had been until recently the abbot of a monastery in San Francisco, was chosen at a gathering at the Pittsburgh Hilton.
He had been considered a candidate for the vacant diocese of Pittsburgh until he was made an auxiliary bishop of Dallas on Nov. 1.
Metropolitan Jonah, 49, takes the helm of a church body that has been rocked by a multi-million-dollar financial scandal. His predecessor resigned in September.
Born in Chicago and raised in Southern California, Metropolitan Jonah was brought up in the Episcopal Church but converted to Orthodoxy in 1978.
The Orthodox Church in America has its roots in Russian Orthodoxy but is multi-ethnic. It claims 1 million members.
The new leader was chosen after two ballots and a vote by the synod of bishops.
The session at the Hilton included all the bishops and about 600 clergy and lay delegates.