Wayward Priests Go Unpunished

By dogcatcher on October 10th, 2015

EXACTLY HOW MANY CANONS AND COMMANDMENTS MUST A PRIEST VIOLATE BEFORE THE CHURCH TAKES ACTION?
(Part One)

Before we tackle the scandal created by Fr. George Passias, let’s examine the actions, or rather inactions of the Hierarchs of our Church. A recent New York Post article clearly states the position of Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, the current Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The New York Post “asked why the Church had ignored the longtime allegations of the affair, the bishop said ‘Lacking any concrete evidence of an affair, there was no responsible way the church could take an further action’” “Kinky Orthodox Priest brought Down by Cake Porn, Sex Tape” The New York Post, 4 October 2015, Print.

We respectfully and strongly disagree with your position, Your Grace! Have you, along with your brethren, completely forgotten how to lead. Leading does not exclusively include attending dinner dances, galas, commemorations or nice little “envelope earning” events. Your role requires you to be proactive to protect the Church and its people by investigating problems. It has become evident to many of us that your first priority for protection is neither the institution of our Church nor its members, but rather, of its men in robes. The Hierarchs’ failure to take action prompted the parishioners of St. Spyridon in Washington Heights to pay for a private investigator to follow Fr. George Passias. They were forced into action when the Hierarchy of the Church refused to take any steps to verify complaints against Fr. George Passias. This same group of Parishioners, or as we see them, HEROES and the real protectors of the Faith, contacted us about Fr. George Passias back in 2009. How many hours have these HEROES spent doing YOUR job? According to our emails, the then Chancellor and you were put on notice of a serious problem back then in 2009, all to no avail.

In fact, in 2013, the New York Post first broke the story of, alleged financial improprieties by Fr. George Passias and an unusual relationship with his goddaughter. We can only imagine how difficult it became for the people of St. Spyridon to listen to the divisive ranting of Fr. George Passias, one of the leading Ephraimite proponents and recruiters extolling fanatic Ephraimite teachings. These teachings include toll houses and that married couples should “live like brother and sister once they stop procreating”. The Hierarchy has failed to stand up to the fanatic teachings and ways of these wayward Ephraimite Clergy. The Hierarchy continues to misunderstand that the cost of inaction far exceeds the price and pain of truly leading action.

Below is a reprint of a post on Facebook, posted by Stella Theodore, who sums it all up pretty well. She is the saying exactly what we have been hearing. Did you catch that word your Grace? The word “hearing”? Here is what she posted:

Stella Theodore: “When Fr Passias was Chancellor of the GOA under Archbishop Spyridon he had one of Ephraim’s clergy leaders sent to my cousins Parish in the suburbs of Chicago. That resulted in a civil war inside the Parish. A pattern that is now common place within our Church every time they transfer an Ephraimite problem instead of showing these religious freaks the door. Thanks to that one transfer the Ephraimite cancer has spread like wildfire throughout the Metropolis of Chicago. Since so many Laity were sounding the warning signs about Passias why did it finally take a confession to bring about the suspension? I have a couple of things for all of us to think about. First, why does our Hierarchy treat the laity like inconsequential beings? …..”

How many canons does a Priest have to violate in our Church before the Hierarchy takes notice and do their jobs? People are leaving as there is a breakdown in respect for the institution. I understand why people leave. I do not blame anyone for getting off the “Titanic” before it sinks. All the wonderful people that have abandoned the rest of us are not the guilty parties here. Those that stay and fight for the truly sick (i.e. the Ephraimites for example) are the one’s killing our Church. Passias had a group of young people follow him as he tried to intimidate those that brought up matters to the Hierarchs. Shame on anyone reading this that has perpetuated an Ephraimite Clergyman or a dysfunctional Hierarch!” Posted on Facebook Concerned Orthodox Laity of America (“COLA”) page September 29 at 4:32pm.

The official response from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is also lame. We have included it for you to read:

GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106 * Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0237

www.goarch.org – Email: communications@goarch.org

Contact: PRESS OFFICE
Stavros Papagermanos
pressoffice@goarch.org

Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ARCHDIOCESE ISSUES STATEMENT ON RECENT SCANDAL

NEW YORK – In recent days, with heavy heart we have been confronted with a most regrettable matter involving a member of our Clergy, Rev. Fr. George Passias, and an adult female parishioner. We acknowledge the expected reaction of the faithful to feel deeply hurt and utterly disappointed, and the serious danger of scandalization. At the same time we know that the only one who walked on the face of this earth and was sinless was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We assure the faithful that we are painfully aware of what has occurred and has so grievously impacted the life of our Archdiocese and community. As a result, the Archdiocese has already initiated the ecclesiastically appropriate procedures, starting with the suspension of the involved clergyman from any and all priestly activities.

As with any difficulty, these moments allow us the opportunity to truly demonstrate our Faith in the response we offer. We ought to feel sorry for those who allowed themselves to fall into such a grievous state and pray for them and their families who have been deeply hurt by their actions. We also pray for the faithful, especially the young people of our community, whose faith has been shaken by what they have seen and read in the media. On the other hand we know that our Church in America has been abundantly blessed with devoted and pious clergy who truly labor in a Christ-like manner to proclaim the message of the gospel and to minister to the people of God.

We pray that the almighty God, a God of mercy, justice and truth, will send down His Holy Spirit and grant sincere repentance to those directly involved and healing to those who have been impacted by their actions.

The response from the GOA, leaders of our Church, is lame for several reasons:

1. First, we are not just dealing with a sin or multitude of sins, but a potential crime and/or civil case of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of an adult woman by clergy and abuse of power;

2. The Archdiocese was given notice by the St. Spyridon parishioners at least as early as 2009. It chose to take no action then and for the next six years failed even to investigate if the warnings of people who were on the ground had any credibility. By claiming lack of proof and failing to do anything, they compounded the grievous impact on the life of our community for a period of six years. During those six years, the poisonous teachings of the Elder Ephraim were continually imparted to the youth of that parish and sermons about the “Evil One” were preached by a hypocritical priest who himself was apparently unworried about him. Did the Archdiocese demonstrate their faith in 2009 by the response they offered these same parishioners?

3. The first people they want us to pray for are the people who allowed themselves to fall into such a grievous state. First and foremost we should pray for the victim who was exploited by her clergyman. We should then pray for the families who have been “grievously impacted” by their actions and the failure of the Archdiocese to take action when it was first brought to their attention. Then we can pray for repentance because after all, the Archdiocese enabled this relationship to continue since, at least 2013, when the first article by the New York Post was published.

4. Nowhere in its response did the Archdiocese apologize to its flock, its Church, the victim, the families or the Parishioners of St. Spyridon for failing to take action when it was on notice and with knowledge of clear accusations made in the press and elsewhere.

5.If Father George Passias was suspended, then why was he sitting behind the altar at a Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois in the Metropolis of Chicago on Sunday, September 27, 2015? Many members who were in church that day were very disturbed to learn that he was there. In fact several of our editors were there and saw him.

Do these questions, and their answers, even have any relevance to our Hierarchs? Apparently not. The Editors would also like to offer their opinion to those Hierarchs: Much as you would like to do so, you will NOT be able to pray yourself out of this predicament. Critically viewing this situation as a criminal/civil matter, charges once proven will point the finger at not only those who may be found guilty, but those who were also responsible, permitting this matter to occur initially, and allowed it to continue despite six years of clear warnings that something was wrong.

An excellent article has been written on the Media Circus created by the Archdiocese’s failure to act. We have included a link here for you to access.

https://www.orthodoxreformer.com/media-circus/

We implore the legal committee and all other Archdiocesan Committees to demand that the Archdiocese institute appropriate responses to these kinds of claims, in addition to all other claims which have been identified in articles written and published on this and other websites. Time and time again, we have been contacted by laity members complaining about the sexualization of the ministerial relationship occurring during confessions. The inactions of our Hierarchs and the Archdiocese has “grievously impacted” the lives of its members and the institution of our Church. All of the Hierarchs need to take action and proclaim the faith and lead their flock as upright followers of Jesus or resign.

We will address “Fr. George Passias”, the hypocritical behavior of the Church and that cancer now referred to as the Ephraimites in later articles.

Here are some sources outside the United States carrying the story.

For a link to the article from the website Opposing Views click here:

https://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/greek-orthodox-priest-resigns-over-sex-tape

From the Ireland based website Breaking News click here:

http://www.breakingnews.ie/discover/greek-orthodox-priest-forced-to-resign-because-of-cake-porn-sex-tapes-699243.html

From the Australian based website News.Com.au :

http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/orthodox-priest-suspended-after-his-weird-sex-fetish-is-caught-on-video/story-fn5tas5k-1227557716383

From the United Kingdom based Daily Mail click here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3259947/Top-Orthodox-priest-27-resigns-kinky-sex-tapes-parochial-school-principal-45-sitting-cakes-underwear-rubbing-feet-face-surfaces.html

For a link to the newly released video of the actions that are the subject mate of this article, release by the New York Post October 6, 2015 here is the link:

http://nypost.com/2015/10/06/the-cake-crush-porn-tape-that-brought-down-orthodox-priest/