Father Hilarion Heagy, a prominent US-based Eastern Catholic priest has converted to Islam, describing his decision as a "reversion to Islam" and that it was "like coming home."
The priest who resides in California was previously a Russian Orthodox, having joined the Antiochian Orthodox Church around 2003, before departing in 2007 and switching to the Eastern Catholic Church. He graduated from the Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz in Wisconsin to become a Byzantine Catholic priest and had recently announced plans to establish an Eastern Christian Monastery in California.
Father Hilarion Heagy, a prominent Priest from the USA has embraced Islam! pic.twitter.com/dLSCLA1Evm
— ilmfeed (@IlmFeed) February 25, 2023
However, in his own blog post, Heagy who is now known as Said Abdul Latif said: "After decades of feeling drawn to Islam in varying degrees, I had finally decided to take the plunge."
"For this to happen, however, a physical move was necessary and in order, as I was living in a Catholic monastery. One simply can't be a priest and monk publicly, and a Muslim privately," he said.
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Please pray for Father Hilarion Heagy who has apostatized from the faith and has embraced Islam.https://t.co/n6IrI9IMmO
— Jeff Cassman (@JeffCassman) February 20, 2023
Abdul Latif said of his conversion that it was "Heading back East" and back to his "primordial identity," offering an explanation by quoting the Holy Qur'an:
"And ˹remember˺ when your Lord brought forth from the loins of the children of Adam their descendants and had them testify regarding themselves. ˹Allah asked,˺ "Am I not your Lord?" They replied, "Yes, You are! We testify." ˹He cautioned,˺ "Now you have no right to say on Judgment Day, 'We were not aware of this.'" — Qur'an (7:172)
"It is for this reason that converts to Islam often do not speak so much of 'conversion' as they speak of a 'reversion' to Islam — our primordial faith. A long process of Returning," he wrote.
In response to the blog entry, a recent article by Catholic.com was entitled "Sad Journey of the 'Muslim Priest.' News of the former priest's acceptance of Islam has also been met with mixed reactions on social media, with Muslims welcoming him into the faith and some Christians chastising him for "apostatising."
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