From the New York Post:
A nun at a Greek Orthodox church in Queens turned over to the NYPD $260,000 in cash and 100 gold coins mysteriously left behind by the head of the congregation shortly after he left the country, The Post has learned.
Metropolitan Paisios Loulourgas, the abbot of St. Irene’s Church and Monastery in Astoria for more than 30 years, was summoned to Greece earlier this month to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the head of the Orthodox Church, according to parishioners.
When Loulourgas left, he told nuns to safeguard a bag, but didn’t say what was inside, sources said.
Sister Christonymphi Fitzpatrick eventually opened it up, discovered the dough and panicked, the sources said.
On Nov. 6, she brought the stash to the 114th Precinct station house. Cops vouchered the money and still have it.
The sources said no criminality is suspected.
But the Orthodox Church is holding its own probe, according to the National Herald, a paper for Greek Americans.
The Herald reported that a three-person delegation from Istanbul had arrived in Astoria to investigate the situation — and that Loulourgas was meeting with top church officials in Greece.
The delegation ordered that the chambers of Loulourgas, Fitzpatrick and Deputy Abbot Bishop Vikentios be sealed, the paper said.
The report added that Loulourgas has now left St. Irene’s, citing health issues.
A female employee at the church would say only that Loulourgas had left “to talk to the patriarch.”
A parishioner who has been going to the church for about 30 years said yesterday that Loulourgas “is very honest.”
“He’s extremely intelligent. It’s like listening to God,” said the man, who declined to give his name.
When asked about the cash, the parishioner said, “It’s to build the monastery. That’s what we believe.”
Neither he nor the employee had been told that Loulourgas had resigned.