Revelations in Bishop Andonios’ Letter about Fr. Makris

FILE - Fr. Gerasimos Makris was honored on his tenth year pastoral anniversary at Holy Cross parish in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by TNH/ Kostas Bej

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:

“Dearly Beloved,

“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.

Copy of Bishop Andonios of Phasiane letter to Holy Cross Brooklyn parish about Fr. Gerasimos Makris

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.


  1. He “confirmed that over the years he had engaged at separate times in inappropriate relations”. Can we stop victim-blaming, then? Stop pretending that this is all a big conspiracy? Stop defending the abuser and attacking those who had the courage to speak up?

  2. …”and he is always accompanied by his mother, she’s with him everywhere he goes”. That’s hilarious – somehow mama wasn’t around when Fr. Gerasimo truly needed her … OR maybe, it’s precisely mama, who he was acting out in defiance from?
    Over years, I knew him at a distance as I’m from Manhattan; a perfect brother friend; over phone, I appreciated our deep spiritual discussions. Last Summer while visiting a friend at his church we took photos together; when he saw one shot he scolded me for “looking like a pin-up girl + be mindful of our image”…
    Such was his ascetic personality.

    I wish him the best – most of all, I wish him to be his own man –
    We cannot allow the church, or our mother, or our spouse or anything to become an ‘IDOL’ …look at St. Paisios who said NO every time they offered him to be a priest or bishop. Even Kierkegaard said, ‘the crowd is untruth’.

    Perhaps, Fr. Gerasimo’s act of defiance is a desperate cry for solitude – a cry for space – from corporate church & mother too.

    1. There is a difference between defiance and violating the vows you made to God. Saying no to becoming a bishop is different than abusing souls entrusted to your care. Desperately wanting solitude is different than sexually abusing your spiritual children. Saying no to becoming a bishop is not a violation of the vows you made to God to remain celibate. Wanting solitude is quite different than cultivating inappropriate relations with multiple women. Hopefully this time of forced
      solitude will bring Fr. Makris some much needed repentance and our Church leaders will work to ensure that sexual predators are not in ministry.

    2. The tone of your comment seems to indicate that you are excusing his behavior and implying that he is not accountable. That is shocking to me. He is not a little boy who acts out because he doesn’t know better yet. He is a grown adult, and 100% responsible for his own choices. It is not his mother who is responsible, not his victims, and not his church- he IS his own man, and HE chose to do this. Your notion that a desire to find solitude, or get away from his mother, or whatever else you imply, makes it OK to abuse women is appalling.

  3. Excuse me people – I’m not saying Fr. Gerasimo was ok to break his vows!
    I’m only psychoanalyzing him with little information we have. Were you there? How can you know what his attitude was? Only God knows…
    I know this much, when you compare what Fr. Gerasimo did with many other priests who’ve done such degenerate things, he comes out as a rose ?!
    Yes indeed – after all, he’s a real male, not a robot, he wanted to be with a female – how he conducted himself is unknown… I just sense he’s got a good heart as much as he’s sinned. I forgive him. After all, He’s no Fr. George Passias! What a disaster; he
    was a high ranking clergyman – ended up on front page of NY Post.
    Archdiocese took too long to defrock him – a cult leader…I can’t stand him.

    Perhaps monk priests should not be serving in public- it’s radically different from the monasteries they’re used to; sheltered so long & then thrust into a secular world too challenging for them to handle?

    Try reading up on other priests kicked out last 6 years – such low life’s- one degenerate bishop held a gun to his girlfriends head & wrecked her life; another, a closet homosexual while married to an unsuspecting wife in CT; another a pedophile molesting seminary students& on & on it goes.., a theology degree is Not proof of being fit to minister to flock – they need to be vetted & take psychology tests.

    1. Yes, apples, you are correct that there should be more screening and evaluation of monk priests serving in public. It is a strange practice we have here in America and often results in disaster.

      How Fr. Gerasimos conducted himself is not unknown. It was sexual misconduct plain and simple with several women. He not only admitted to misconduct, the bishop suspended him for it and put it in writing. We don’t need the salacious details to discern Fr. Gerasimos’ heart because his behavior speaks for itself. One doesn’t need to be in the secular papers in order to a sexual abuser. Sexual abuse of one’s spiritual children is an extremely degenerate and disgusting disaster: tantamount to incest in the Church’s eyes and that is exactly what Fr. Gerasimos and Fr Passias did. If the NY Post new about the allegations, Fr. Gerasimos would also be on the front page, just like Passias was. In this case, the victims of his sexual abuse are giving the Archdiocese a chance to do the right thing and remove him from ministry instead of going to the secular papers and embarrassing the Church and Fr. Gerasimos.

      We can only pray that our bishops in turn do the right thing and remove from ministry sexual predators who use the office of the priesthood to gain access to vulnerable people.

    2. Wow Koukla – had no idea the archimandrite was that chaotic & untoward in his behavior; mystery remains, how could Archbishop Demetrios knowing already these complaints keep him as candidate for Bishop of Chicago??
      Frankly, as much as I’ve honored AD for years + always brought him a rose ? for his name-day, I’m astounded… + that he never mentioned Jesus at Trump’s Presidential Inauguration – while Protestant Paula White did! Yea, I get it now; Patriarch Bartholomew is on to AD, asking he resign?

      What’s laughable with Fr. Gerasimo, is upon confessing my Sin to him last last year [ I had allowed a monk-priest I knew from afar + talked to on?very often, to kiss & embrace me once he got me alone in church bell tower]; he got apoplectic hearing my fling & told me “don’t you know a man of God is like a married man? He’s church property!”

      Hilarious coming from Gerasimo indeed, but I realize now, I made excuses for my ex- the monk-priest for abusing his position – (despite not being my personal priest… ).
      Nevertheless, I’ll forever protect his name – he deserves credit for never pressuring to bed me, though he visited my home … like I said before: in comparison to degenerate clergy we’ve heard about… some come out a rose ?.

    3. Apples, I don’t understand your insistence that Fr. Makris’s behavior is more acceptable, or not as wrong as what other “degenerate clergy” have done. This is the Pharisee’s error- justifying himself because, compared to the Publican, he too thought he “came out as a rose”, as you say.

      Wrong is wrong. Sin does not become less sinful by comparing it to worse transgressions; it’s still sin.

      If I am understanding you correctly, it sounds like you yourself were abused by another priest. I am saddened to hear about that, and pray that you will find healing.

  4. The qualifications for bishops and Presbyters are in 1 Timothy 3,1-9 and their first requirement is to be married to only one wife and to have pious children. Even patriarchs such as St Photios the Great were married. The monastics hijacked the episcopate. Hieromonks are to serve in the monasteries and for new missions where married men would be hindered by their family. For monastic episcopate there is not place, unless the monks are exceptional as St Basil or St John Chrisostom. A parish priest must be married and be an example. Bishops must be elected only from married priests and very holy monks.
    I am not surprised of celibate clergy behaving badly because they are not even real monks but an aberration celibate clergy nominally monastics.

  5. Carmen, appreciate your sentiments; perhaps it’s true – I’m somewhat in denial excusing my Monk-priest experience – yup, he abused his position; winning my trust, talking on phone at nights for months, initiating kisses + declaring he *loved me – but lead me to No ‘promised land’ …

    only to utter confusion ?‍♀️ wondering what’s going down – he’s the leader here, I believed, & after questioning “what’s his plan” to his face, I got a loud explosion?of a scream: “Don’t pressure me!” …
    Really, he should have gone to Shakespearean stage instead of holy priesthood. Believe me, no demands were ever made of him – he proved to Not be resolute…Neither to me nor his Orthodox faith.

    Suffice to say, after deserting me in cold silence, he calls to reconcile & dine me, & finally I see the Light? !… he was never a solid tree?to lean on… there was nothing Outside myself to look up to here – I was free at last.

    My compassion stems from perceiving it’s Parents of these clergymen who put intense pressure on them to go into an institution they’re not equipped for – it becomes a prison.
    May It Be Blessed!

    1. Apples, my heart goes out to you. You are in my prayers. I am sorry for what you experienced. Your observation that he was not resolute to you or the Orthodox faith is very perceptive. If you need a safe person to speak with, the women at Pokrov (a resource for survivors of abuse in the Orthodox church) have a lot of compassion and can point you to resources that can help. You can reach them here:

  6. ?Thanks Koukla – but my fiasco fling with Heiromonk was last year + it enlightened me – it was the halo effect of monkhood that got me; now I’m peachy-keen, a bowl of cherries,?I’m Apples!
    & I’ve a genuine spiritual father.

    I give him slack cause he respected my boundaries when we were alone; & frankly, for a grown man of 56 he admits never to have had a girlfriend – that’s how sheltered some Monks are – believe me folks – It Showed…
    at end of it all, he dramatically screams?he “can’t handle it”! He was emotionally violent + suspected other priests liking me. (Never happened).
    But the little he had of me must have rocked his world — for him, this was phantasmagorical! ⚡️

    But seriously, I agree with Joseph’s comment: Priests should be married – despite fact Orthodox Church had unseemly, married George Passias + Fr. Luke types brazenly self destruct. Monks becoming clergy doesn’t make spiritual sense. Would be meaningful for Joseph to send letter to Archdiocese on this salient point – changes are needed.

    p.s. read up on horrific tragedy done by late Bishop Anthimos Draconakis many years ago – this degenerate, pledged to celibacy put a loaded gun to his girlfriend’s head & synod couldn’t get rid of him!!

    1. Apples, I agree with you and Joseph that parish priests should be married and not priest monks living outside a monastery. I’m glad you have found peace. We must all speak up and write the Archdiocese or speak to a reporter from The National Herald. This situation is not okay and causes too many problems. Changes won’t happen unless we start speaking up.

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