Archdiocese Bans Priest for Affair

NEW YORK – Rev. George Passias, 68, presiding priest at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City, is embroiled in a sex scandal with Ethel Bouzalas, to whom he has referred as his “spiritual daughter.” Rev. Passias has impregnated Bouzalas, 45, who has been his close associate for years. Both are married and with children.

Bouzalas’ name was first revealed publicly by the New York Post in a June 1, 2013 article.

TNH has obtained irrefutable evidence that Passias has carried on sexual relations with Bouzalas. Specifically, that they would often frequent the Courtesy Motel in Fort Lee, NJ – as “husband and wife.” Other evidence, including photographs and video footage, shows the couple going to the Countryside Hotel in Cold Spring, NY, and dining at Cliff’s Steak House in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has suspended Passias from every liturgical, pastoral, and administrative ministry.

Archbishop Demetrios of America, expressed to TNH his “deep sorrow for this grievous event” and added that “the Church will take all the necessary measures for this case, according to the law of God.”

Several attempts by TNH to communicate with Passias and Bouzalas were unsuccessful. We called St. Spyridon but we were told that neither Passias nor Bouzalas were there; Parish Council President Steve Papadatos did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.

Rev. Passias was the Archdiocesan Chancellor during Archbishop Spyridon’s tenure, and is the beloved spiritual son of Ephraim, the priest-monk who left Mount Athos to come to the United States in the early 1990s and established monasteries here, essentially creating a fundamentalist movement within the Greek Orthodox Church..

Passias often organized “pilgrimages” with buses going to Ephraim’s monasteries, filled with hundreds of parishioners. He publicly appeared wearing his anteri (inner cassock), with long hair and a long beard, and also a kosposhoini, presenting himself as spiritual and traditionalist.

BROOKLYN BEGINNINGS

Passias met Bouzalas in Brooklyn while pastoring at the Three Hierarchs Church. She was converted to Orthodoxy, and according to the Post article “Passias baptized her while she wore a bikini,” giving her the name Euthalia.

TNH has learned that Bouzalas’ husband is Greek-American, the president of a construction company, and that as of late he has been ill and was hospitalized.

After huge rifts in the Three Hierarchs parish during Passias’ tenure there, the Archdiocese transferred him to St. Spyridon, where he has served for almost ten years.

When he arrived at the Washington Heights church, Passias brought Bouzalas and Papadatos along. The latter became Parish Council President, a position he holds to this day.

Passias appointed Bouzalas Parish Treasurer and also School Principal. No Parish Council elections took place at St. Spyridon – due to lack of candidates.

At Passias’ directive, the parish undertook loans of $3.5 million to renovate its buildings.

Passias, who used the Sacrament of Confession and his teachings about spirituality for many years to attract followers who became his “army of spiritual children,” has already left New York, to visit Ephraim at St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, AZ. Abbot Paisios of the Monastery did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.

PASSIAS’ EMAIL

On September 28, Passias sent the following email to his followers, in which he does not mention the extramarital affair and pregnancy, or his whereabouts.

“My Beloved Spiritual Children in Christ Jesus our Lord:

“Today I share with you a very difficult and trying period in my priestly life.

“The time has come for me to resign from the active ministry for personal and health reasons. Now I will dedicate myself to the repentance that I have tried to preach and share on behalf of our Lord. At the direction of my spiritual father, the Elder Ephraim, I will now fade out of this world for a considerable time according to God’s will. He has chosen for me according to my multitudinous sins and shortcomings, that I should retire and follow the way of silence, prayer, fasting, and utter devotion to our Lord. Please do not ask where I am going and where I will be. Then, it would not be possible for me to fulfill what is my lot.

“It is immeasurably difficult for me to direct you to seek through prayer and vigilance, another spiritual father who will be able to address your needs with love, truth, and conviction for the betterment of your souls. God will provide. But you must also do the due diligence by seeking another Father, and then after prayer, choosing him as your spiritual guide and father. Think not that I will forget you! Never! I have already entered your names to be commemorated every day in the Holy Liturgy forever!

“I am very grateful to the Lord for granting me to be a spiritual father to you, and have tried to do the best that I could to do in that role making myself as available as time and health permitted.

“I will always love you through prayer and in my heart together with your family.

“Please pray for me and Presvytera Mary, and my family, I implore you.

“In His Abiding Love,

“Father George G. Passias.”

5 Comments

  1. “The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has suspended Passias from every liturgical, pastoral, and administrative ministry.”
    Wow!
    Do they do they same for the pedophiles as well??
    I am sure the metropolitan of Denver condemns Fr. George.
    Is stealing a lesser crime in the eyes of the Archdiocese?
    Do they support Fr. Robert Arida’s statements?
    What have they done about it?
    Δύο μέτρα καί δύο σταθμά!!

  2. I think the words of these three brave women sum up everyone’s feelings about the deteriorating condition of the Church and the Metropolis of Chicago. These insightful women said the following in response to the worldwide embarrassment and shame that “Fr.” George Passias and the Hierarchy in Chicago have brought upon the Church:

    “Stella Theodore: When Fr Passias was Chancellor of the GOA under Archbishop Spyridon he had one of Ephraim’s clergy leaders sent to my cousins Parish in the suburbs of Chicago. That resulted in a civil war inside the Parish. A pattern that is now common place within our Church every time they transfer an Ephraimite problem instead of showing these religious freaks the door. Thanks to that one transfer the Ephraimite cancer has spread like wildfire throughout the Metropolis of Chicago.
    Since so many Laity were sounding the warning signs about Passias why did it finally take a confession to bring about the suspension? I have a couple of things for all of us to think about. First, why does our Hierarchy treat the laity like inconsequential beings? Secondly, why is it that we have a large undereducated class of laity that supports these carriers that pervert our Faith in the name of the Ephraimite movement?
    How many canons does a Priest have to violate in our Church before the Hierarchy takes notice and do their jobs? People are leaving as there is a breakdown in respect for the institution. I understand why people leave. I do not blame anyone for getting off the “Titanic” before it sinks. All the wonderful people that have abandon the rest of us are not the guilty parties here. Those that stay and fight for the truly sick (i.e. the Ephraimites for example) are the one’s killing our Church. Passias had a group of young people follow him as he tried to intimidate those that brought up matters to the Hierarchs. Shame on anyone reading this that has perpetuated an Ephraimite Clergyman or a dysfunctional Hierarch!
    September 29 at 4:32pm

    Cleonike Macris Ziogas: You should search for an article in today’s New York Post — what an embarrassment! Fr. Passias gave me the willies 30 years ago. That he was allowed to continue as a priest all of this time is a disgrace and proves that our hierarchy has no desire to fix anything.

    October 4 at 12:16pm

    Artemis Deer: Our churches in Chicago are in apathetic state of turmoil.So many of us have taken to lighting a candle and praying at home.Our young people have turned to unaffiliated christian churches were they feel a sense of community…

  3. Fr. George Passias is an embarrassment to his Elder Ephraim — and to everyone who trusted in him.
    Ephraim does not even believe married couples should engage in sex after children arrive.
    The arrogance of this priest is beyond the pail — it seems he is mentally unstable & no priest who has mental disorder should be allowed to wear the black robe of church authority.

    Sexual misconduct is not acceptable no matter how high ranking a priest may be as was Passias.
    The Archdiocese heard about him for years but did nothing — they deserve the shame & embarrassment now.

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