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.”
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.