Father Hilarion Heagy, a well-known Eastern Christian priest who resides in California, renounced religion and later became a Muslim.
Who is Hilarion Heagy?
Hilarion Heagy is a former American Priest and Russian Orthodox monk who converted and became a Muslim in February 2023. He changed his name to Said Abdul Latif.
He joined the Antiochian Orthodox Church in 2003 but left in 2007 to join the Catholic Church of the East. He recently announced plans to establish an Eastern Christian monastery in California after graduating from the Convent of the Holy Resurrection in St Nazianz, Wisconsin.
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Said Abdul Latif. announced his conversion to Islam in a blog post, describing his decision as a ‘reversion to Islam’ and saying it felt ‘like coming home’.
“After decades of feeling drawn to Islam in varying degrees, I had finally decided to take the plunge. It really does feel like coming home. My first-born belief. Since before we were even born, we worshipped God alone and submitted to him, according to the Qur’an,” he stated.
He acknowledged that he had been exposed to Islam for 20 years, but claimed to have genuinely accepted it at the time.
“One simply can’t be a priest and monk publicly, and a Muslim privately,” he added.
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Abdul Latif explained his conversion by citing the Holy Quran, claiming that it was a “return to the East” and a return to his “primitive identity.”
“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.”
“The future is uncertain for me. There are always fears when you take a leap in the dark. And yet, I feel such a peace. A joy. A relief. My pull towards Islam over twenty years has finally led me home. Now begins the work of entering deeper into the faith. A deeper learning. A love for the Deen. A love for the Ummah. A love for the Prophet ﷺ,” he concluded.