Monday, October 10, 2011

Update on the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery scandal

For some background you can read a previous post (see here) or search for "Chrysovalantou Monastery" in the search field on the sidebar.

BOSTON, MA (TNH via – Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios of Apameia – the former abbot and deputy abbot, respectively, of the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Astoria – will be sent into retirement to monasteries in Kalymnos and Patmos by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The decision was reached during recent Patriarchate’s Holy Synod meetings, over which His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided.

TNH has learned that the penance of liturgical suspension, which was placed on both hierarchs in December 2010, will remain in effect. Essentially, they will not be allowed to perform liturgies or to celebrate any other services or sacraments.

The issue first came to light last October, when Paisios submitted a letter of resignation as the Monastery’s abbot, citing health reasons. TNH revealed shortly thereafter that a man who lived in the Monastery for 13 years had contacted federal and local authorities about clandestine activities, alleging rampant orgies involving young male and female parishioners, including some who had joined the Paisios Order from the time they were underage. The same person also notified the Patriarchate about the allegations, both verbally and in writing.

Young nun Christonymphi Fitzpatrick took off the monastic vows and cassock and returned to the ranks of the laity, and turned over $280,000 in cash and some golden lire to Astoria Police.

The following month the Patriarchate sent a three-person Exarchy, headed by Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanelia, to investigate. The Exarchy conducted a long inquiry, at which both the man and the nun who initiated the allegations were among the dozens of persons who volunteered to offer live testimony while being taped. The Exarchy then presented all of the evidence to Bartholomew.

Prior to the Synod meeting, the Committee of the Patriarchal Institutions met and reviewed the case, which implicated both Paisios and Vikentios. Metropolitan Athanasios of Chalcedon chaired the Committee, and its members are Metropolitan Iakovos of the Pringiponisos, Metropolitan Demetrios of Sevasteia, and Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia. The Committee recommended to the Synod that both hierarchs should face mandatory retirement for life; the Synod implemented the Committee’s recommendation.

Vikentios, who continues to reside at St. Nektarios Church in Brooklyn did not respond to TNH’s request for comment. Paisios has resided in Athens since last October.


  1. My first reaction is "whisked away before they could be indicted". If the participants were under age this is a travesty.

  2. Nothing was said that would indicate there had been underage orgy participants. If this was the case, additional criminal charges ought to follow.