BROOKLYN – Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris “had engaged at separate times in inappropriate relations with two women” Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, revealed in a letter dated February 2, sent to “the Beloved members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Cross Brooklyn, NY.”
The entire letter follows:
“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Fr. Gerasimos Makris will not be returning to his assignment at your beloved parish of Holy Cross. Regrettably in a meeting here at the Archdiocese on January 18th, Father confirmed that over the years he had engaged at separate times in inappropriate relations with two women, one in Massachusetts and one in Brooklyn. As per Sexual Misconduct Policy of the Archdiocese, Father Makris was immediately suspended and an investigation is on-going. Please know that we take these incidents and any allegations most seriously and will exercise appropriate action based on the results of our investigation.
:No doubt this situation understandably comes as a terrible and painful shock to your community as it has for us at the Archdiocese. I am sorry that the actions of one of our own clergy is now the source of such pain and scandal. I hope and pray that you will not allow the actions of one person to distance you from your parish of Holy Cross and from the Faith. We are in contact with the President and members of the Parish Council and will assure that the liturgical and sacramental schedule of your church is not impacted. “Moreover, we will work together with them to identify someone to replace Father. We just ask that you all be patient and understanding as this is not an easy task.
In closing, may the Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make His face to shine upon you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26). A blessed and spiritually edifying Great Lent to you all.”
TNH recently reported that a written and signed allegation for “improper behavior” was sent by a woman to the Archdiocese of America against Makris, who suddenly disappeared from the parish last month.
It was also reported that Andonios had conveyed the information during a clergy retreat in the presence of some 42 priests. Andonios did not mention any details, but clarified that nothing unethical had taken place.
According to the same sources, Andonios reportedly told the New York priests at the Retreat of Prayer and Recollection that he had placed Makris on liturgical suspension, sent him for psychological evaluation to the Institute of Saint Luke in Maryland, that Makris would not return to Holy Cross, and that the Archdiocese was investigating the matter.
As TNH also reported recently: “Bishop Andonios, Rev. Makris and Holy Cross Parish Council President Demetrios Kalamaras did not respond to TNH’s numerous requests for comment. The latter also did not allow TNH photojournalist Costas Bej to enter the Holy Cross building or to speak to any parishioners there.
“Priests present at the Retreat spoke warmly to TNH about Makris. They consider Makris to be of impeccable character and ethos, and that he lives an ascetic life to the extent that he doesn’t sleep on a bed but on the floor, and he is always accompanied by his mother everywhere he goes.
“There are also several parishioners, male and female, who spoke with TNH with request for anonymity, who explained a strange climate of mutual suspicion and mistrust at the parish about the whole issue. Many spoke negatively about the way the Archdiocese and especially Andonios treated the issue without informing the parish and the broaden Greek-American community. Many believed that the whole issue was fabricated in order for Makris to be excluded from the List of Candidates to the episcopacy.
“In 2017, Rev. Makris completed ten years of pastorship at Holy Cross and is well-liked by the vast majority of parishioners.”
TNH’s sister publication, National Herald-Ethnikos Kyrix, had dedicated an issue of its weekly magazine Periodiko to Holy Cross’ philanthropic outreach and to Makris.