Paisios Escapes Punishment

Why is Bp. Paissios in Athens when there is an ongoing investigation by the New York State and the FBI? Why did the EP call him back? the EP was correct in removing him, but he should not leave the country until all the facts are in.

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos, 12/10/2010, Source: The National Herald (USA)

BOSTON – Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios of Apameia are officially out as Abbot and Deputy Abbot of the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Sacred and Patriarchal Monastery in Astoria, New York. Bishop Ilia of Philomelion was named Acting Abbot while a group of three monks led by Fr. Prodromos of the Dionysiou Monastery of Mount Athos, Greece have been sent to man the monastery and help Bishop Ilia to carry out his duties. Bishop Ilia of Philomelion also presides over the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America. The decision was made at a meeting of the Holy and Great Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Dec. 2 following a report submitted by a patriarchal Exarchy (delegation) which had come to the United States last month, to investigate the issues of the monastery and its former leadership.

Bishop Ilia of Philomelion

Metropolitan Paisios had resigned from his post in two letters on Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, for “reasons of health” following public criticism made against him by Bishop Vikentios in an interview with The National Herald, concerning the split at the Holy Ascension Dependency in Florida. TNH has learned that the Holy Synod presided by Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew started its meeting on Dec. 2 at 9:30 a.m. and concluded a little before 7 p.m. There were certain members of the Holy Synod who were asking for severe sanctions and even defrockment for Metropolitan Paisios, but finally the Synod decided to apply “ecclesiastical leniency” and simply accept his resignation and remove him permanently from the Monastery.

The National Herald has learned that although the Patriarchal Exarchy did not find during its investigation improprieties against Vikentios, the Synod requested his resignation on the basis that while he knew about Metropolitan Paisios’ alleged doings he did not inform the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Synod did not accept Vikentios’ explanation that for the last12 years he did not dwell in the Monastery. He stayed at the Archdiocesan Cultural Center in Astoria while he was its Director for almost nine years and the last two or three years he stayed at the St. Nectarios Dependancy in Brooklyn pastoring the St. Nectarios and St. Nicholas Dependencies.

The Synod insisted that Vikentios should have been dwelling in the Monastery as a member of the Monastic Community and also as its Deputy Abbot. Both Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios have been instructed by the Holy Synod to remain outside of the United States. Sources told TNH that if either of them defies the decision or attempts to involve themselves in the affairs of the Monastery or the Church in general and create problems, they will be subject to punishments under Canon Law. Bishop Vikentios arrived in New York on Dec. to gather his personal belongings and leave from the U.S. permanently according to the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

During a phone call placed by The National Herald to Metropolitan Paisios at his home in Athens, he hung up the phone as soon as the newspaper identified itself and then refused to answer further calls. Bishop Vikentios told TNH: “No comment from me, thank you.”

The Ecumenical patriarchate issued the following official announcement:

“In its deliberations, the Holy and Sacred Synod revisited the issue of the Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, New York. After examining the report of the commissioned Patriarchal Exarchy, the Holy and Sacred Synod unanimously decided:

• To accept the submitted resignations of the Abbot, His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, and of the Deputy Abbot, His Grace Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, both of whom are henceforth to remain away from America

• To assign as Acting Abbot of the Monastery His Grace Bishop Ilia of Philomelion who serves in America

• To send a small brotherhood of monks in order to assist the work of the Acting Abbot

Late in the afternoon on Dec. 2, during the Synodal meeting, the Chief Secretary of the Patriarchate Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lampryniadis called Bishop Vikentios in Athens and told him that, “The Patriarch and the Synod are requesting your resignation from the position of deputy abbot of the Monastery” and Bishop Vikentios sent his resignation immediately.

Bishop Ilia Katre, who is of Albanian origin, was born in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. He mastered both the Greek and Albanian languages while still in high school. Bishop Ilia graduated from Hellenic College and Seminary at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor in Theology Degree in 1961. He was ordained to the priesthood in Boston in 1962 where he served at Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church until August 31, 1983. He pursued advanced degrees including a Masters of Divinity before being assigned as Dean of Student Affairs at Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology. He remained there until 1988. He also held the position as Vicar General of the Albanian Orthodox Church of America until May 2002.

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected Bishop Ilia Katre as Titular Bishop of Philomelion to lead the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of American in 2002, following the passing of his wife, Helen. They were married for 39 years before her death in 2001. Bishop Ilia has two children, Sotir Mark and Eugenia, and three grandchildren.

Comments

  1. what exactly is paisios guilty of? To be sure if the feds had anything substantiated they would have issued a warrent.

  2. I’m thinking if the authorities had a case they would have.moved ahead with warrants.

  3. Goerge Spirakos says:

    First of all I have to say that this whole story has a lot of holes in it. Let’s be realistic. In the National Herald they wrote some time ago that complaints where made to the FBI over the summer. Correct? And they also wrote there was a few victims. Correct? Well if the F.B.I and local police had
    any circumstantial evidence to go along with the numerous complaints than they would of NEVER let him leave the country. Correct? Or maybe the Greek Abbot has so much political influence he is able to influence the F.B.I.? Anyhow, people are saying that the Abbot fled the country for protection and to escape persecution . Well that’s not true also since both Abbot’s Paisio and Vikentio were requested to fly to Constantinople in order to discuss the internal conflicts at the monastery. Not because an arrest warrant was issued or the local police came barging at the church’s door with hand cuffs. Or that the victims kin were ready to hang him. So for now, lets rule that out. Also, these molestations cases take place over 20 yrs ago and supposedly now the truth has surfaced. Why no recent cases? Since when does a molester go into deep long hibernation? Also, let’s be logical here. The abbot might escape punishment from the Patriarch (if indeed guilty of any heinous crimes) but we know for sure he would not be able to elude the F.B.I. So let’s be patient before we judge. Unfortunately, in the Greek Culture you are “guilty before proven innocent” instead of “innocent until proven guilty”. Let’s wait and see and stop speculating. The unfortunate part in all this is the loyal, honest parishioners who are the true victims. Let’s pray for them and stop spreading further dirty rumors until the facts are clear, circumstantial & incriminating. Also, let’s remember that Paisio resigned and publicly complained that his reason was the Abbot Vikentio. Then later, after he obliged to the Patriarch request and left the country for the meeting all the dirt was spread. Why not before? The abbot resigned in early October and left in early November. That was a whole month and nothing mentioned about molestation. His support was high then. Then the accusations. Suddenly his support is no longer as potent. If the abbot knew of these accusations forthcoming he would of dissapeared rather than make so much noise. It makes sense. Yes/No? I think so! Let us pray for solace from the Lord above.

  4. George Michalopulos says:

    George, all things being equal, you would be 100% correct. However, we do know that the DOJ’s wheels grind very slowly. Also, there are political angles. The Obama administration is very tight with the Phanar, so I can easily see them turning a blind eye for the time being. Just as they seem to be giving Met Philip a pass. The DOD needs Arab interpreters.

  5. Goerge Spirakos says:

    George, let’s not get lost in political conspiracy theories. This is a local Abbot generally servicing a small portion of the Greek Community in Astoria. Not a high political figure. And child molesters in the church are as common these days as is homosexual relationships. Something generally considered unheard of years ago. I personally beleiven if the Abbot is guilty he will be convicted in the near future. If all facts are in, supported by many victims, witnesses etc. it’s only and surely imminent that a arrest warrant will be issued. I have been hearing that the investigation has been ongoing for years now. That means one thing it has yielded very liittle concrete evidence to issue a warrant for arrest. And you have everyone saying it takes time. Yes it takes time if there is a lack of evidence. If the evidence is substantial a warrant would be issued almost immediately. There is no reason for the F.B.I. to leave a Child Molester on the loose when the evidence supports the crime. Doesn’t that make sense. For heaven’s sake there are so called victims who are making their statements public. Look at Spitzer, a governor who fell bc the evidence was made public and was obvious. I am not saying the abbot is innocent or guilty. I am not in the position to make those statements and I believe know one is unless they are either victims or involved in the church somehow. So bold statements should be limited and fair. Furthermore, one more thing I would like to add is that there is no reason for the Patriarch to turn a blind eye on this crisis. It’s all over the newspapers and the Bishop Vikentio had an interview with TNH regarding the Abbot and molestations. If anything, the Patriarch needs to intervene to clean this mess up and are forced to do so publicly in this case….. Anyhow, George we are all sinners at the end. Let’s not worry about other people’s sins and worry of our own. This behavior from both Abbot’s challenges are faith and it shouldn’t. Abbots, priest and laymen are human just like us. Even if innocent on this planet judgement day will follow upon them passing. It was nice writing to you and Have a Merry Christmas.

  6. Bishop Paisios is in Athens in order to prevent his prosecution in the United States.

    This is not the first time a noted American has fled to Europe to avoid a court trial in America. For example, Roman Polanski, a famous American film director, fled to France to avoid his trial for statutory rape some 40 years ago. He has never come back to America — and thus has avoided his trial for rape.

  7. George Michalopulos says:

    George P: excellent example. I wish I’d thought of it myself.

  8. Goerge Spirakos says:

    Actually Mr. George Patsourakos strengthens my argument somewhat. First, Roman Polanski was a convicted Rapist that a “warrant” was issued for his arrest. He escaped the country to avoid a sure prison term. Not the same with the above case. And everybody above makes strong points but are missing the key component. If you are guilty of a crime than a warrant for a arrest would be executed. So far nothing… So the Roman Polanski example not quite what we got here. And if the F.B. I. would go after RP I am sure they would go after Paisios. Until then lets wait.

  9. Goerge Spirakos says:

    One more thing I would like to mention…All these complaints and allegations are being exposed through the Greek mainstream media. Nothing confirmed or discussed (except NY Post regarding the money) regarding molestation/rape orgies etc. from the 114 PCT, F.B.I. or any authorities. Yet when Catholic priest get exposed its all over the news. All we hear are names, complaints etc. Anyone can do that. It does not require any credible evidence to file a complaint. Also, some of these
    names being mentioned are/or where degenarate homeless Greeks who were housed at the monastery. Others who also filed complaints had there children registered to St. Irene’ school. Tell me someting, he who knows that 25 yrs ago they were molested why would they register there kids to the same school under the same abbot? Also, bishop Vikentios (In his interview) claims that he had no idea where his brother was for so long, no relationship, never got married bc of the sexual encounters with Paisios. Well the facts are as follows: Vikentios brother was and probably is still a drug/alcohol addict who moved to Greece for help. That was a key reason why no woman married him. Also, he lived with his Aunt and last time Paisios was in Greece (4 1/2 months ago) he chauffered him around. And Vikentio knew nothing….Truthfully, it;s best both these abbots dissapear for the sake of the church and parishioners. And if you all wondering how I know this I am researching the case (for leisure) and have 2 close family relatives who are close to St. Irene and are supporters of the church and neither abbots.

  10. Goerge Spirakos says:

    Is anyone on this panel from Astoria or NY?

  11. There are many reasons, legal and otherwise, that charges weren’t brought against Paisios in the past. The statute of limitations may have expired on many of the incidents. There were witnesses who, because of guilt or shame, or the threat of blackmail, refused to come forward. We now know that at least three important witnesses have spoken to law enforcement and the Patricarchal representatives: the former nun Christonymphi, Andreas and K.B. (aka Konstantinos). Documents have been posted on websites, and their content was corroborated–and in some ways elaborated upon–in Bishop Vikentios’ interview with the National Herald. I’m sure there are other persons who have come forward whose identity we will learn in time. This is a tangled web, and it will take time to put together a case (assuming there is evidence of Paisios’ guilt). The criminal courts are full of cases that started out as simple misdemeanors but became major felony prosecutions, usually because the ensuing investigation turned up evidence of other crimes. Finally, I read that the Patriarchate has forbidden Paisios to celebrate any sacraments. I doubt they would have done so without strong evidence of canonical and other impediments.

  12. Goerge Spirakos says:

    Dear Thanos well said…..Under normal circumstances I would of agreed with you completely. However, there is something fishy about this case. Nevertheless, time will eventually reveal and confirm the truth….. My pity is with the parishioners since I know a few and they are devastated.

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