Archimandrite Makris Reinstated at Brooklyn’s Holy Cross (Vid)

Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris was warmly welcomed back to his parish by the members of the Philoptochos Organization of Holy Cross Community of Brooklyn. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

BROOKLYN – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has reinstated Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris as Presiding Priest of the Holy Cross Church in Brooklyn, from which he was removed in January.

Neither Fr. Makris nor Archdiocesan Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, responded to The National Herald’s request for comment prior to or since the reinstatement, except that Fr. Makris told TNH photographer Costas Bej that he did in fact liturgize on October 14, which the parish office also confirmed, and added that Fr. Makris then attended the 56th anniversary of the celebration of the parish’s local Philoptochos chapter.

In January, Fr. Makris suddenly disappeared from the parish with no explanation. On February 18, TNH reported that “a written and signed allegation for ‘improper behavior’ was sent by a woman to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America against Very Rev. Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris, Presiding Priest of Holy Cross parish in Brooklyn.

The news had come from the Archdiocesan Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane who conveyed the information during a clergy retreat in the presence of some 42 priests. Bishop Andonios didn’t mention any details, but he clarified that nothing unethical had taken place. Also, a similar allegation arose from the Nunnery of All Saints in Calverton, NY.

Andonios had told the New York priests at the Retreat of Prayer and Recollection that he has placed Fr. Makris on liturgical suspension, has sent him for psychological evaluation to the Institute of Saint Luke in Maryland, and that Makris will not return to Holy Cross, and that the Archdiocese is investigating the matter.”

On February 24, TNH reported that Bishop Andonios in a letter dated February 2, 2018 sent to “the Beloved members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Cross Brooklyn, NY” stated that Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris “had engaged at separate times in inappropriate relations with two women.”

Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris surrounded by Martha Michalakos-Panagakos, Joanne Tsevdos-Esposito, Athina Giakoumis, Eleni Psaras president of the Philoptochos, Fr. Makris, Eleftheria Oikouta, Georgia Vitas, and Maria Skiadas. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

Andonios had written that “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.”

In the interim, a large number of parishioners spoke of Makris fondly, and on October 14, greeted him warmly; the congregation was filled to capacity.

In 2017, Makris completed ten years of pastorship at Holy Cross, where he is largely considered 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.

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.

The Philoptochos of Holy Cross parish 56th anniversary luncheon at the Terrace on the Park, where Fr. Makris was warmly welcomed. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

47 Comments

  1. FATHER MAKRIS IS AN ADMITTED SEX OFFENDER!!!!

    Shame on Bishop Andonios for not following the Archdiocese sexual misconduct.Shame on him for discarding harmful acts to women! Shame on him for proving the power of the collar can do no wrong. Do you not have any women in your family? What if this was your mother,cousin, sister or nieces? Then what would you have done? Stand up and do what is right!

    How does the Archbishop of America, Bishop Andonios and the powers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America handle this sexual misconduct offense? The Priest is rewarded by being reinstated, given a pat on the back and returned to his original parish.

    Who is enforcing the sexual misconduct policy in place at the Archdiocese? Where is the legal team? Have you not learned from past clergy sexual misconduct cases? Have you not learned from the Catholic Church issues? You will be held accountable for your pathetic and disgraceful actions.

    Kudos, Bishop Andonios. You and all parties involved sunk to a new low. The Greek Orthodox Hierarchy of America demonstrated women’s lives DO NOT MATTER in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

    I hope you and your admitted sex offender brother clergymen are proud of yourselves and your deplorable actions.

  2. So true, Anonymous. This is DISGUSTING. It literally turns my stomach.

    As inadequate and poorly-written as the GOA sexual misconduct policy is, they STILL couldn’t bother to follow it! Unbelievable. Why not just rewrite it to be more accurate? Try this: “We will protect the clergy (i.e. each other) at all costs- especially when they admit to being sexual predators, rapists, and pedophiles- because the laity are worthless and deserve to be victims.”

    Putting aside anger for a moment (and you better BELIEVE I’m angry!!!!), my heart weeps for these men in power, because they will have to answer for their actions in front of God.

    1. I agree, rewrite the policy to clearly protect all clergy as this is what is the true policy. How can anyone kiss his hand or receive communion from this admitted sex offender.

      What transpired is sadly a sign of how our clergy leadership believe they are protected and above the law.

      Now that the Archdiocese has set this precedent will former clergy who were suspended for sexual misconduct be embraced and assigned to their former parish or any parish? Is the new motto “Our arms are opened for our brother sex offenders. We’ve got your back!”

      Where all the Metropolitans involved in the decision to reinstate?

    2. If our Bishops and Priests were worried about the damage they are causing to the Ecclesia – knowing that they will one day stand in the presence of Almighty God to answer for such damage and deception – they simply would not behave in such a manner. The fact is ~ they do not care ~…
      This kind of behavior has been going on since the inception of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States of America. Us faithful were simply not paying attention. Our love and obedience to the ecclesia has obscured our vision like an early morning mist obscures a swamp. If each and everyone one of us Focus on Jesus Christ and His teachings we will have the kind of lives and communities we desire.

  3. Disgusting doesn’t cover this pervert, hypocrisy has no limits with this situation, and then the people give Him a dinner and applaud this pervert, sleeping on the floor, give me a break, as if this is his only spiritual practice beside sexual deviancy!!!!

    1. Plug his name into the state’s sex offender registry. If he’s a Level 2 or 3 offender, he’s required to register. When this was mentioned, I checked up on it superficially.

  4. After further thought, I am reminded of something Luther wrote in the 16th Century, “The Church has become the Babylonian Whore”. What a shame

  5. At this point in time we must recognize that those who represent the Laity are complicit in the decline of our Church. Where is the strength of character of these people who we call our Lay “LEADERS”? We deserve something better, yet they are nothing more than courtiers and sycophants! Take the legal committee for example, where is their voice in this and all the other out of control messes that are killing our Church? These people are happy as members of one giant dysfunctional “prom committee”! ROME BURNS WHILE NERO FIDDLES.

    1. When you see a real lay leader, let us know. Hint: there are none. No one will speak truth to power. Everyone was compromised with awards, medals, icons, and special dispensations to be married on the beach. Fake councils, boards, and committees. You are right. Laity equally culpable. They should be sued too.

  6. I’m sorry but maybe i’m missing something. I really don’t know the history here or the charges brought against this priest. Did he have an affair or affairs with women and were they consensual? Or did he sexually assault these women?

      1. @Jeffdiner it has been publicly stated that this priest admitted to sexual misconduct with two women (the details of which are not public).

  7. So this guy was just eight months ago credibly found to have been banging a lay woman as well as a nun.

    And eight months later he is miraculously cured and back in place leading the same parish.

    Do our leaders have no shame? Of course we all know the answer to that question.

      1. You can read the details and what he admitted to in the February 18 National Herald story. I believe you can get to an unlocked version through the Pokrov.org website.

        We should pray for this man. But he does not belong leading a parish!!! The GOA is making itself a joke.

      2. It was reported in the original February 2018 reporting in the National Herald. I would not joke about such a matter. Read the old articles and week. Nothing to joke about here but much to cry about.

  8. Let’s be honest here…what do you really know? What crimes were committed? Were you on the investigation committee??? “inappropriate behavior” but not unethical….. That could have been a “hug” for all we know. If we were acting like true Orthodox, we’d say it’s none of our business to know the details. In fact, anyone with a guilty conscience goes to Confession, they don’t call or write the newspapers. Did you read the thousands of letters from HC parishioners who wrote the Archdiocese to bring this priest back??? Move on….stop looking for drama, oh wait, that’s what Greeks do best!

    1. @NoExpertHere I don’t understand the need for a distinction between “inappropriate” and “unethical” when *neither* should happen. I must disagree with you: “if we were acting like true Orthodox” then we would *not* dismiss it as “none of our business”, we would listen to and protect the victims instead of bullying them into silence to protect their abuser. Thousands more letters can be written, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is guilty of sexual misconduct and admitted it. We are not “looking for drama”, we are looking for church leaders to do the right thing.

    2. @NoExpertHere, clearly the “inappropriate behavior” was not simply a “hug”. In the lead photo, the Archimandrite is seen giving a full frontal hug to a female. If the Archdiocese suspended, sent to St. Luke’s, and required rehabilitative therapy for priests who gave hugs, we’d be out of available clergy. This archimandrite admitted to sexual misconduct as the Bishop mentioned in his letter published by this newspaper. It does not matter how many letters were written by parishioners, how many times one goes to confession, etc. We the laity must protest putting an admitted sex offender back in ministry because we pay the price when they are put back. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing that prey on our communities and destroy souls. If we don’t protest, our children and families could be their next victim. True Orthodox stand up for the Canons and teaching of our Church and the Gospel. Our Canons are clear that priests who engage in sexual misconduct are not to be placed in ministry. No exceptions. Confession and repentance do not apply to being returned to ministry after betraying the holy office of the priesthood.

    3. Comments like yours are the exact reason people don’t come forward. The committee didn’t approve of his reinstatement!

    4. The sheeple that wrote those letters do not know the truth. And they are exactly that. If they actually knew what he did they would be horrified but they were not told. And many believe bc he sleeps on the floor he is some holy man. Please!

  9. Why on earth is he still permitted to serve as a priest? Yes, of course the Church preaches forgiveness – but nowhere does the Church teach that we are to continue to enable people in their sins!
    In society, a pedophile can serve a prison sentence for his crime and then be released and start his life over…but we don’t then give him a job at a school or near youth, right? Why for clergy, then, do the bishops decide it’s perfectly safe to keep them in parish ministry?
    Perhaps we have such a misguided and twisted sense of “piety” that the mere fact that once upon a time someone placed hands on his head means that he is permanently “above the law” (law of God, not to mention laws of men) and must not be held accountable for his actions.

  10. St. Luke’s in Maryland is a very expensive Catholic run facility for rehab of drugs, alcohol, and sex addictions. Who paid for that ?

    “Always goes everywhere with his mother”, troubles me as a man. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a pious, protective optic; but who is making decisions to ordain guys like this ?
    Seems weird.

      1. Yup the same folks who paid for the bogus PWC report which says nothing and tries to give people the warm and fuzzy feeling. Actually we are paying for it. Just disgusting!!

  11. Are folks comprehending that he admitted to having inappropriate relations with two women, one of whom is a Greek Orthodox nun??!

    This is serious stuff. I am also a sinner and don’t hold myself up as better than anyone else but I acknowledge I am too great a sinner to be a parish priest.

    Eight months after an inappropriate relationship with a Greek Orthodox nun he is cured and right back in his old post? Bishop Andonios you have made our Church a joke. You should hang your head in shame for what you have done. But you are the same bishop who for years ignored credible stories about the cake-crush-fetish priest so why am I not surprised??? Lord have mercy!!!

  12. Why isn’t the Archdiocese telling us about the allegations concerning Archimandrite Gerasimos and the nun Theonymphi when he was dean of students and she a student at HC/HC? Apparently it was enough to have him removed from his parish according to Bishop Andonios in January. But it is now miraculously no longer an issue with no explanation to the faithful. We are not a stupid people. We deserve answers. We deserve explanations. We deserve truth.

    1. @Michael What you should also ask Bishop Antonios, Fr. Chrysostom Panos, and Archbishop Demetrios to tell us is why they have treated the nuns so horribly. Besides the horrificly abusive behavior of this “priest”, the nuns have now suffered from the horribly abusive behavior from the church “leadership.”

    2. @Michael Why are you expecting the Kings of Cover-up to be transparent now? All they do is cover up evil with the cloak of looking like they’ve followed their protocols and “spirituality”, claiming they know best and have the position and “grace” to do so.

  13. We should all refrain from jumping to conclusions and causing more scandal because the evil one enjoys division. Father Gerasimos did not admit to ‘sexual misconduct,’ nor to ‘sexual offenses’, nor to being a ‘sexual offender’. Inappropriate relations but not unethical were the precise words chosen. The Bishop did not say there was proof of sexual misconduct, nor was Father Gerasimos sent for therapy for sexual misconduct, nor did his actions warrant arrest, or defrockment for sexual misconduct. He was sent for psych evaluation, temporarily on leave, and an investigated conducted as protocol.

    1. @NoExpertHere so, you think that believing women when they report misconduct by a priest is “jumping to conclusions”? Let me guess, next you’ll say that the women were asking for it, and this poor priest is the real victim here? Please stop perpetuating rape culture. See Bishop Andonios’s letter- this priest *admitted* to wrongdoing!!! How much plainer does it need to be?!

    2. Please outline said protocol and then procure evidence that it was followed to a T. As much as you call for no divisiveness, your comments don’t seem to be without bias.

      1. Yes Michael. Sound about right. The @NoExpertHere maybe a lawyer and one who likes to play with words. The truth of the matter is that the parish was not told the truth but instead the same words of @NoExpertHere were fed to them to be ambiguous.

    3. He admitted to inappropriate behavior with two separate women, one of whom is a nun. That is pretty clear even in Greek Archdiocese double speak. What friggin more do you want? Graphic pictures like the cake crush fetish priest? Because that is what it took to get the Archdiocese to take the credible allegations against him seriously. Lord have mercy!!

  14. @NoExpertHere
    Inappropriate relations, while a nice, polite choice of words, is still a violation of the archdiocese sexual misconduct policy. According to the Bishop, he was suspended per the Archdiocese Sexual Misconduct Policy after he met with the Archdiocese. The protocol to which you refer (ie the Archdiocese Sexual Misconduct Policy) clearly states that if a clergyman admits to misconduct he will be suspended–which he was. So clearly there was sexual misconduct.

  15. @noexperthere So are the official expert on this case? There is a lot that is unknown and no one was asking you to lecture us.

    1. Also, let me quote the letter that Bishop Anthonios sent to the Holy Cross Parish on Feb 2, 2018: “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.” Nowhere in this letter does the bishop say this wasn’t unethical. He may have said this in conversation, but no matter the case, he needs to get his story straight.

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