Friday, November 5, 2010

New York monastery scandal hits Greek Church

Here are two posts on the monastery investigation.

From Orthodox Christian Laity
BOSTON (TNH via OCL) – Federal and local authorities in New York have received public complaints against Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana. The National Herald has learned that these allegations, made to the FBI’s central New York office in Manhattan and the local 114th Police precinct in Astoria, involve serious charges, which if proven true may even be subject to criminal prosecution. At least one of the accusers who testified to the authorities has lived for years at the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stravropegial Monastery, where Metropolitan Paisios was the Abbot, claims to hold great knowledge of the events in question. TNH contact one of the persons who filed claims, with the FBI and the Police in Astoria stated that “I gave an account of everything,” after claiming to be an eyewitnesses to several events and situations. This individual did not want to go into details to ensure that “the investigation would not be compromised,” and spoke to TNH under the condition of anonymity, for the time being.

This latest turn of events came to the attention of Metropolitan Paisios, and according to observations made by people who are aware of the events this appears to be one of the primary reasons that led him to submit his resignation.

The complaints with the FBI were filed over the summer, while the complaint to the 114th precinct in Astoria was made ten days ago, when news broke of Metropolitan Paisios’ resignation and ensuing decision to leave permanently for Greece. Metropolitan Paisios had cited “health reasons” and his “protest” over the fact that his associate Bishop Vikentios of Apameia criticized him in an interview with TNH and distanced himself from the Metropolitan’s handling of administrative matters in the Monastery’s Dependency in Florida, where a split occurred.

The same source report that the cases being investigated by the FBI and the Police involve young adult males and females who have been parishioners at St. Irene’s since childhood, had Metropolitan Paisios as their confessor, and enjoyed close relations and nearness with the Monastery. Members of the St. Irene’s Monastic Community who joined the Paisios Order ever since they were children are also said to be involved.

TNH contact the Office of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, where we spoke with the Monastery’s chief secretary Dr. John Kotsaridis, who stated that “Metropolitan Paisios is in Greece,” and agreed to pass along TNH’s message to him. Metropolitan Paisios did not return TNH’s phone call.

In a statement to TNH, Deputy Abbot Bishop Vikentios said that “the matter is personal and it concerns the Abbot. I have no comment.”

TNH has also learned that the individuals who filed claims with the authorities have also informed the Ecumenical Patriarchate in great detail, and Patriarchal Officials. In the Phanar are already talking about a major scandal that is about to break.

There are also reports that Sister Christonymphi, one of the younger nuns in the Monastery, is planning to resign as director of the Kindergarten, and will proceed to leave the Monastery altogether in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Paisios and his Deputy Abbot Bishop Vikentios have left to Constantinople to attend a meeting at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Metropolitan Paisios left for Constantinople via Athens on Wednesday evening, while Bishop Vikentios left directly from New York for Constantinople on Thursday. On Monday Nov. 1 they are set to appear before the Committee for the Patriarchal Institutions, which is chaired by Metropolitan Athanasios of Chalcedon and included Metropolitan Iakovos of the Pringiponisos, Metropolitan Demetrios of Sevasteia, and Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia as members.

On Tues. November 2nd the matter will be discussed at the Holy Synod, which will reach a final decision. Neither Metropolitan Paisios nor Bishop Vikentios will participate in the Synod, but they may be summoned to appear and give their accounts of the events that transpired and put the Monastery in such a serious crisis. The Holy Synod, which is chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, includes the following hierarchs as members: Athanasios of Chalcedon, Germanos of Theodoroupoulis, Germanos of Tranoupolis, Kyrillos of Imvros and Tenedos, Theoleptos of Iconium, Apostolos of Moschonision, Panteleimon of Tyroloi and Serention, Nicholas of Detroit, Tarasios of Buenos Aires, Andreas of Arkalochorion, Kastellion, and Viannon, Polycarpos of Spain and Portugal, and Nathanael of Kos and Nisyros.

From El Greca:

Pending a full investigation and comprehensive report the Ecumenical Patriarchate has remanded Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios to Greece. Apparently the two hierarchs didn't see this coming. Metropolitan Paisios showed up at the Phanar with his billionaire brother perhaps in some fained attempt to sway the Synod's recommendations. Bishop Vikentios was not able to distance himself from the scandal as he had wished when initially reporting to the press his concern. Likewise, red herrings about fiscal improprieties where not front and center which has proven to be more manageable for this demonic duo.

Rather the focus of inquiry, the more grotesque allegations of what amounts to human sex trafficking of financially disadvantaged youth, from the congregation, some of whom reportedly 'joined' the monastery as minors and remained sequestered within the walls. I have hesitated to report speculation which has circulated but currently the reporting is vast and the investigation by the feds and local law enforcement indicates just cause. That being said this stinks to high heaven.

It appears that Met. Paisios wishes to retire in Greece to avoid federal indictment and incarceration. While Bishop Vikentios wishes to remove himself entirely from the abuse. Apparently the Monastery of Saint Irene has been converted into a feeder system for the sexual exploitation of boys and girls. (Perhaps the weeping icon as been grieving for the victims at her monastery and not the far off Gulf War). These allegations are being reported by press nationally and internationally. According to reports there are affidavits and witnesses and victims who are talking to the NY police and the FBI.

His All-Holiness is leaving no stone unturned and is sending a top notch investigative team to assess the scope of this alleged abuse. As already mentioned the Ecumenical Throne has forbidden the two hierarchs to return to the United States to limit tampering and intimidation of witness and victims. My prayer goes out to all the victims and their families. I understand that the Church in her wisdom has protocol with addressing such cruelty. I also hope that independent of such corrective measures that the federal investigation move ahead and that all who are liable are held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


  1. Lord have mercy. It makes you wonder how many "faithful" knew about all this for years and didn't speak up.

  2. My concern is that, for as many scandals as have been local to me (Texas) that have involved Catholics, I can name an equal number of Orthodox scandals (fake icons, child pornography, sexual abuse, stealing money, to name a few) in my home state. The Latin discipline of celibacy doesn't seem to be the cause to these abominations as much as mass media would like it to be.

  3. How sad :-(. By way of clarification, St. Irene's Monastery isn't part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It was received into the Ecumenical Patriarchate from one of the Old Calendrist synods and became a stavropeghial monastery so that it could retain the Julian calendar.

  4. A "fake icon?" what is that? For instance, I purchased a sticker of the Theotokos (and was given one of ICXC for free) meant to be used for a car, but have put them in my icon corner until I get better ones. Are those fake?

  5. By fake I meant an icon said to stream myrrh and work miracles. The particular icon I mention was found to be fake, run by monks who stole money, and who sexual violated people. So I guess they hit the trifecta of offenses against the Church. As to icon stickers used in such a way... I don't think I'd call that fake at all.

  6. Andrew Papandrew created Paisius to disable Iakovus, then when Iakovus was gone, merged him in.