Romanian Orthodox bishop resigns after sex tape scandal

A bishop in the Romanian Orthodox Church has resigned after a video was released apparently showing him engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old male student from his seminary.

The Bishop of Husi, Corneliu Barladeanu, was suspended when the video was released, and on Friday resigned 'for the peace and the good of the Church,' the Romanian Church leadership said in a statement, according to AFP.

PixabayRomanian Orthodox Church

The Church's ruling body, the Holy Synod, had met on Thursday and Friday to assess the matter for its first discussion of a sex scandal in its 92-year history. The Synod's concluding statement added that a disciplinary process for Barladeanu would have exacerbated 'for a long time the uncertainty within his diocese'.

The footage of the 51-year-old bishop was circulated online in mid-July, sparking scandal in Romania, where 85 per cent of the population are Orthodox Christians and homosexuality remains divisive.

Barladeanu has maintained his innocence and previously said that the footage had been tampered with. Now he has resigned, he will remain a monk with no official Church position, and he cannot celebrate the eucharist. 

In late July, a similar scandal saw a priest from northwest Romania thrown out of the Church after alleged sexual 'corruption' with a 17-year old youth.

Friday's statement added that 'all believers...should respect the discipline of the Church and permanently renew their spiritual lives'.