St. Irene Chrysovalantou Gets New Leadership, Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios Out

From the National Herald

By Theodore Kalmoukos

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, NY.

Bishop Ilia of Philomelion was named acting abbot while a group of three monks have been sent from Mt. Athos to man the monastery.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Holy and Great Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Thurs. Dec. 2, 2010, following a report submitted by a patriarchal delegation which had come to investigate the monastery last month.

Metropolitan Paisios had resigned from his post back in October, following public criticism made against him by Bishop Vikentios in an interview with The National Herald.

Bishop Ilia of Philomelion also presides over the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America.

During a phone call placed by TNH to Metropolitan Paisios at his home in Athens, the latter hung up the phone as soon as the newspaper identified itself. He subsequently refused to pick up the phone.

Bishop Vikentios told TNH “no comment from me, thank you.”

Both Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios have been instructed by the Holy Synod to remain outside of the United States from hereon in. Sources tell 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, they will be subject to punishments foreseen by canon law.

Bishop Ilia of Philomelion

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 beloved wife, Helen. They were married for 39 years before her death in 2001. Bisop Ilia has two children, Sotir Mark and Eugenia, and three grandchildren.

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  1. Goerge Spirakos says

    The National Herald and Mr. Kalmoukos are horrible. It seemed from the start that TNH had something personal with the abbot and St. Irene. They were responsible for spreading rumors that the abbot was a molester or in their words ” innapropriate relations with kids” but had no hard evidence to back the claim. As journalist its your duty to have conclusive facts before you spread rumors such as they did. Unless concret evidence surfaces to back their stories they should be held accountable. Mr. Kalmoukos is probably on cloud eleven because he was able to assist in de-throning the abbot. Maybe their was an issue with money that TNH was deprived of? Only God knows. Anyhow, what goes around comes back around.

    • With the most recent allegations coming out. I think TNH nailed this one right on the head. If the FBI and CIA are also investigating these are some serious allegations.

      Lord have mercy on all his children!

    • Sophia Andrakis says

      Well said. He’s paid under the table. That’s why his reporting on the issue is so intense. Poulimenoi.

  2. Dear George,

    While my heart goes out to the community, I think you are blaming the wrong people. In my experience, Ted Kalmoukos is not a rumor monger…he generally has his facts down pretty convincingly. I don’t agree with him all the time, but I think his credentials as a journalist are pretty good.

    Further, given the recent removal of the metropolitan, it would appear the facts of the investigation bear out TNH and Kalmoukos…otherwise, why would the metropolitan have been removed?

    In short…to quote Sophocles, “”No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.”

    Don’t blame Kalmoukos; blame the perpetrators.

    Best Regards,
    Dean Calvert

    • Goerge Spirakos says

      Dear Dean,

      May God shine the truth for the sake of the people. I personally do not attend St. Irene. However, TNH in my perspective are a bunch of dirty journalist.

    • Sophia Andrakis says

      He is a rumor monger. It was a personal issue with him and Paisios. If he’s such a wonderful reporter why is he one sided on the issue? Coward.

  3. Goerge Spirakos says

    If one thing the media has taught us is that it’s dirty. Where are the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Journalist live off opportunities, it’s what sell’s papers and preserves there job. Many dislike priest and will believe anything negative written about them. It’s funny though, Paisio is the culprit and Vikentio is disregarded of any wrongdoing? (at least in the papers) How is that remotely possible? “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”. Did anybody ever say to themselves if so much dirt was written on Paisios in TNH and the NY Post caught wind of it why did they not mention any “criminal activity” when they wrote their article on the nun and the money. Let’s not be bias and want to believe what we regard as right. We did not live in church or amongst these priest and if we did so and witness such crimes we should be at the feds not on some peronal website. Let the investigation take its course and let the facts yield the truth.

  4. Harry Coin says

    In my experience, which for a few years there was active daily interest and checking, what Ted Kalmoukos reported has always turned out to never to be contradicted either in main point or even most detail.

    As many of us do, he too does not print much of what he could. If there is a charge that can be laid against Ted, it is that he knows much that could meet tests of journalistic quality but does not publish it.

    INotice for ‘those with eyes to see’, that the most informative part of the stories Ted reports on are in the photographs.

  5. Sophia Andrakis says

    To the so called victims of “child abuse”…. Why wait so long to speak out? And so many came out of the woods.. Why didn’t at Least one person say one thing all this time? No one said a word until now. Nothing but a pack of lies. What a scandal! Nothing but a bunch of liars! Where’s the proof? Why aren’t the police issuing a warrant for his arrest and extraditing him? Nothing but lies. Axios o PAISIOS forever! Se stavrosan adika. Krimas

    • George Michalopulos says

      Sophia, this is a question I’ve often asked myself on more than one occasion. I don’t know. For men I can say this: being penetrated as a child or adolescent is a painful memory that calls into question your masculinity. Indeed, the majority of homosexuals can trace their descent into this “lifestyle” because of abuse when they were young. In addition, the embarrassment that this brings on the family can be profound. In Roman times, an honorable wife would commit suicide by stabbing herself in the chest if she were ever raped. Only in this way could a family’s shame be expunged.

    • Michael Bauman says

      As one who has witnessed the after effects of sexual abuse on children by authority figures I am amazed that any of it gets reported. As long as the abuser is seen as having power and authority, the fear mixed with the child-like ability to really submit to that authority binds many of the abused people to the abuser in horrific ways. Combined with the horror most folks feel when someone they know is accused of child sexual abuse there is a perfect storm of conditions that almost forces the abused to be silent. At some level, they don’t really see that what the abuser did was actually wrong and they certainly don’t want to face the condemnation that will follow any revelation. The victim is ALWAYS blamed by many people.

      A couple of cases in point: a dear friend of mine had a husband who sexually abused his own daughters. As long as he was in the home, the daughters never said a thing–they were afraid, confused and guilty. When their mother tossed the man out (for other reasons), then they were freed to tell the tale, later substantiated by the SRS but not prosecutable since the abuse occurred so young.

      The two oldest victims (24 and 21) are still suffering physically and emotionally from abuse that occurred many years ago before they hit puberty but only came out about 5 years ago. The oldest daughter suffers from heart problems, anxiety problems and occasionally has regressive nightmares in which she relives the abuse. I witnessed one of these and it is difficult to bring her out of them. She is a wonderful young woman, intelligent, loving, moral, upright and faithful to the Church but she will still say that she is not really sure what her father did was wrong. The next oldest has had flashbacks that put her life in danger as well as sucidal ideation and a tempation to lesbianism. All of the children including the two boys have gone through years of counseling to help overcome the effects and will likely need years more.

      The family was Roman Catholic at the time the abuse was being revealed. The reaction of the RCC community up to and including the local bishop was–“oh, the husband could not have done such a thing–he’s a good Catholic. You (the wife) are simply fabricating the stories so that you can divorce him and get remarried.” They all bought the man’s story without question.

      My friend and her children are now all Orthodox, but the abuse has not stopped. People in her own parish who know her ex-husband still believe the lie because that is easier than facing the truth that the man they know is an incestuous pedophile rapist. The man is an expert liar, charming and disarming but still an incestuous pedophile rapist. He taught catechisis classes in his church and was quite active in other ways, but he is still an incestous pedophile rapist.

      In another case in which a married Orthodox priest sexually abused some of the altar servers, the young man left the faith and his entire family was left in tatters. This abuse occured about 20 years ago and the family dynamics are still under a great deal of tension because of what happened and what the family was required to do. They were Greek Orthodox at the time and are now Antiochian, but only barely. The anger, the guilt and the shame in the lives of the parents who failed to protect their son that the emotional fall-out that followed continue to devastate. There are still folks in her old parish (what is left of it) who won’t talk to the parents.

      That is why children wait so long and why once one comes out, a whole slew of others often follows. Sexual predators are rapacious and incapable of having their demonic appetites for power and perverted sexual pleasure satisfied. They are experts at controlling their victims and convincing their victims of the rightness of what they are doing. They prey on innocence, the trust and virtue of others. They suck the life and the soul out of people and expect to be praised for it because they are really ‘good people’.

      I don’t know if Paisios is such a man, I pray not, but just because he seems nice, just because he has a form of Godliness dosen’t mean he is not the predator that is described in the reports. The multiplicity of reports only strengthens the likelyhood in my mind–and Sophia so does your defensive anger.

      God forgive us all for failing to see.

  6. Panagiotis-Peter H Dragonas, MD says

    Dear Friend and Bishop, National Herald Editor Antonios Diamantarisn
    .And Staff, Your Grace and Mr Editor, One year later, both the Bishop and TNH Continue to stand TALL. Man is still in denial that The Omnipotenece of The Almighty Reigns Supreme. Both His Grace and the MIssion of MR DIAmantaris continue to thrive as we serve Our Christian Forefathers Legacy. BEWARE the Doudting Thomas, always serving the antiCHRIST. AXiOi kai n duo!