NEW YORK – Ethel Bouzalas, the woman identified as the mistress of Fr. George Passias according to various sources, including a videotape of their affair, and which resulted in the Archdiocese banning Passias, who was the priest at the St. Spyridon Church in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, from pastoral duties, took $30,000 from the parish before she left, according to documents obtained by The National Herald.
Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, the Archdiocesan Chancellor, emailed Bouzalas urging her to return the money or else the parish will report her to the police.
“On Thursday evening [Oct. 8],” Bishop Andonios wrote, “I had the opportunity to meet with the members of the Parish Council and was informed that you voluntarily told [Parish Council President] Steve [Papadatos] that you took $30,000 in cash, which you felt you were entitled to since it represented funds which you and your husband had given the School to cover expenses.
“Ethel, if indeed these funds were ‘lent’ to the School, then I will be the first to pressure the community to repay you, but before doing so, I need to ask that some backup documentation please be presented. Otherwise, there are those who will accuse you of stealing these funds, which will only compound what has already appeared in the press.
Clearly, this was not your intent since of your own volition you shared that you had taken the monies. Moreover, in my office you stated that of all the accusations (including misuse of funds) that had been made, only the one about your relationship with Father [Passias] was true.”
Andonios also wrote that “I am sure you appreciate that the Parish Council has a fiduciary responsibility and unless this issue is resolved, they will have no option other than to report it to the authorities. Let’s please try to resolve this amicably and before it goes any further.”
Andonios also recommended that Bouzalas seek help and offered the Archdiocese to assume the cost: “We would urge you to seek immediate professional help and, if you wish, we can assist you with locating a counselor and covering the cost. We also strongly encourage you to seek spiritual counseling and are here to help with that as soon as you are ready. In the meanwhile, I will keep you in my prayers.
May our loving Lord bless and lift you up during this most difficult time in your life.”
Papadatos told TNH last week that there are no financial improprieties at St. Spyridon. Bouzalas did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.