Source: National Herald | Theodore Kalmoukos
ASTORIA, N.Y. – After a tumultuous beginning in which Bishop Vikentios of Apameia refused to attend a meeting of the Corporation of the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery because his attorney was barred, the board officially removed him and the scandal-scarred Metropolitan Paisios as officers and replace them with five new trustees. The episodic meeting took place on Jan. 21 at the monastery’s offices in Astoria and resulted in Vikentios’ attorney, George Razis, calling police when he was not admitted because the monastery’s legal counselors would not allow it. Police took reports from both sides and Vikentios, who had served there as Secretary, then declined to appear at the meeting while Paisios, who has been allegedly accused with a series of sexual abuse involving men and women of various ages said to have taken place at the monastery, was represented by the acting Abbot, Bishop Elias of Philomelion.
Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles chaired the meeting, representing by proxy the corporate President, Metropolitan Theoliptos of Iconium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. Five attorneys for the monastery were present. There was reportedly great disappointment in the community of the many members and supporters of the St. Irene Monastery who said they have been completely ignored during this entire process.
The names of those elected members of the St. Irene Corporation are: Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanelles; Dr. Anthony Limberakis, Commander of the Order of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; attorney Nick Matthews, son of Rev. Constantine Matthews from the Annunciation parish in Stamford Connecticut, whose mother comes from the island of Imvros, hometown of Patriarch Bartholomew; and Presbyetera Anthi Katsoulis, whose husband was killed in a car crash a few years ago in Cyprus.
Bishop Vikentios refused to make any comment to TNH and referred questions to his attorney George Razis who said “all our options are open to us, we are going to proceed.”
Razis told TNH that “everything they (corporation) did is illegal” and he said that, “You cannot vote by proxy, you cannot transfer responsibility. The only one who was there was Bishop Vikentios and he was not allowed in.” Razis said that, “The secretary of the Corporation must verify the members who are going to vote, and that was not done.” Sources in the corporate meeting, who spoke to TNH under the condition of anonymity, said: “Our attorneys told us that we had a quorum and that everything we did was legal.” TNH has learned that Razis has already sent a letter to the monastery’s attorneys requesting a copy of the minutes of the special meeting, along with the decisions taken, the names who participated in the meeting and their positions and capacities. Bishop Vikentios seems to be determined to carry on a legal battle. He had told TNH in an interview in December of 2010 that Metropolitan Paisios sexually molested the Bishop’s brother at the age of 17.
Immediately following the meeting, all the monastery officials who attended, except Metropolitan Nikitas, visited the First Central Savings Bank in Astoria where the accounts of the monastery are kept and frozen. They presented the bank with the names of the new corporate members of the Monastery, but were told by bank officials the matter was being referred to its legal department. Also replaced was the Chairman of the Corporation, Metropolitan Theoliptos of Iconium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After Theoliptos learned the news of the removal of his name he sent a letter dated to Bishop Elias telling him that he has not resigned. Metropolitan Theoliptos wrote: “I state to you categorically that I have not resigned as President of the Corporation at least up to now. Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanelles presides at the meetings on my behalf.” Metropolitan Theoliptos requested that Bishop Elias make the corrections “in order new troubles are avoided against our Patriarchate and the Monastery.”