Nuns Notified Archbishop Demetrios about Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris Sexual Misconduct

Abbess Foteini and nun Theonymphi at the All Saints Greek-Orthodox Monastery in Calverton Long Island New York. Photo: Facebook

BOSTON.- Abbess Foteini and Sister Theonymphi, nuns at the All Saints Monastery in Calverton, NY on Long Island had notified the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America verbally and also in writing that their spiritual father, Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris, had sexually abused them.

They allege that they had been berated, threatened, and intimidated by Archdiocesan officials whom they named. Archimandrite Makris was the presiding priest at the Holy Cross parish in Brooklyn but he was removed by the Archdiocese and sent to the Saint Luke’s Institute for therapy and a few weeks ago he was reinstated to his previous position at Holy Cross in Brooklyn.

The National Herald reveals today Abbess Foteini sent a letter to Archbishop Demetrios dated February 16, 2018 in which she reveals in detail all that had allegedly transpired and begged for help. The National Herald has verified the authenticity of the letter, which has come into its procession.

Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Archdiocese did not respond to TNH’s written request for comment.

Abbess Foteini wrote in her letter “Your Eminence, I am once again following up with you regarding the abuse suffered by Sister Theonymphi at the hands of Fr. Gerasimos Makris, our spiritual father. As you know, this has been a very traumatic situation for Sr. Theonymphi and myself as well. We first brought this misconduct situation forward, in the appropriate manner, to His Grace Bishop Andonios, Chancellor of the Archdiocese in October 2017.”

She also wrote that “We are hurt, disappointed and emotionally distressed that instead of being treated with love and respect and in accordance with the Archdiocese Sexual Misconduct Policy, we have instead been berated, threatened, and treated like accusers instead of victims of abuse. His Grace Bishop Andonios and his assistant the Very Rev. Chrysostomos Panos have threatened both myself and Sr. Theonymphi with transfer and exile to Greece to “learn how to be good monastics.” This is completely unacceptable treatment from clergymen as it contributes additional spiritual and emotional pain and confusion to Sr. Theonymphi instead of the compassionate love and healing the Church can offer.”

Partial view of the All Saints Monastery in Calverton New York
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She also emphasized that “The Archdiocese has not followed its own policy on misconduct and I implore you to please direct His Grace and others responsible to treat us as any other parishioner or lay individual would be treated. Treating us different because we are monastics is not only un-Christian and unacceptable; I suspect it would be illegal to not follow proper steps outlined in the Archdiocese Sexual Misconduct Policy.”

The letter notes that “The direct contradiction of the GOA’s own Sexual Misconduct Policy in our case of reporting sexual misconduct has been as follows:
On October 25, 2017, after reporting abuse, I was instructed by Bishop Andonios that the monastery was to go to Fr. Chrysostom Panos for spiritual guidance and care. This directly contradicts the Sexual Misconduct Policy which states that victims are not to be referred for pastoral care to any clergy involved in the investigation.
After abuse was reported, Sr. Theonymphi was not interviewed nor was she asked to give a detailed written statement of the abuse. The Sexual Misconduct Policy explicitly states that victims of abuse are to be interviewed and provide a written statement.”
Abbess Foteini also wrote to the Archbishop that “on January 25, 2018, Fr. Chrysostom Panos called the monastery clearly angry and yelled at me over the phone instructing me to ‘make Sr. Theonymphi stop worrying’ as I am ‘her superior’ and that he and Bishop Andonios are considering sending us to Greece to learn ‘real monasticism.’ Again, on February 12, 2018, Bishop Andonios also yelled at Sr. Theonymphi over the phone saying he was going to send her to Greece to a ‘real monastery.’ He went so far as to hang up the phone on her. Both these statements were explicit threats made in anger, and not as a pastoral guideline. This directly violates the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Whistle Blower Policy of the Archdiocese.”
“We humbly ask Your Eminence to please help us and assist Sr. Theonymphi according to the policy and please direct His Grace and his staff to stop threatening us, thereby causing more emotional and spiritual distress, confusion, and anguish. We pray that Sr. Theonymphi will get past this very difficult time and we will continue to serve Your Eminence here at the Monastery,” she wrote.
Abbess Foteini included an itemized chronology of events. Among other things she wrote that on “October 26, 2017, the Chancellor is informed via e-mail that a second woman who was a novice at the monastery was also sexually abused by Fr. Makris.”
Because the Archbishop did nothing the nuns have temporarily left the All Saints Monastery. Nun Eisodia has come from Greece and now resides at the All Saints Monastery while Sisters Foteini and Theonymphi are on sabbatical.
On October 9, 2018, their lawyer, G. Michael Stewart sent a letter to Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology where they both studied, as well as to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese alleging “harassment, intimidation, sexual impropriety, sexual assault, failure to report domestic violence and failure to keep them safe. This representation further includes, but is not limited to, claims of harassment, interference with their livelihood, intimidation and failure to keep them safe against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.”

The National Herald is in a position to know that this issue has reached the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, but it has been ignored thus far.

No reply was issued by Holy Cross School of Theology or the Archdiocese.

24 Comments

  1. This scandal now reaches to the highest levels of our Archdiocese and to the Archbishop himself. He may be excused because his age has apparently left him bereft of his faculties and senses, but it is time for the bleeding to stop. That will never happen while we are ruled by a greedy vain despot from Istanbul. Time for our own authentic Christ-centered American Orthodox Church, free of incompetent despots foreign and domestic.

    1. Don’t think the Archbishop is losing his faculties. On the contrary, he acts concerning this scandal as he usually does, sweeping it under the rug, absolutely refusing to deal openly and honestly with anything which will be conceived as a scandal or impropriety. His narcissism and false piety prevent him from acting differently.

    2. Time for a true autocephalous American Church, one that includes all American Orthodox Christians. Should have happened long ago. OCA!

      The utterly awful news concerning these two wonderful nuns compels me to speak!
      Lord have mercy!

  2. Even if 50% of what is written in this article is correct, we are being lead by a “Mafia in Black Robes”! Clearly the brotherhood is in defense mode and anyone in their path is marginalized. Good help them if they treat any member of my family in that way. Clearly their behavior is tearing the Church apart. When will the Patriarchal Synod do their job and take some responsibility here? When will the Laity leaders of our Church, which is currently replete with sycophants, act like adults and do their job?

    1. You already know the answers to your questions. (Never)

      It’s time for each Orthodox Christian to take responsibility and demand accountability.
      All the whining in the world won’t do any good.

      Starving the beast is only one of the remedies needing to be implemented. Calling them out, to their faces, the hierarchs and the lay ‘leaders’ is another.
      Today.

      1. Immersing oneself in our faith is the true path forward. Praying the services, i.e; Matins, vespers, and compline in small groups is very healthy spiritually…no priest needed.
        Each individual must take ownership of his or her salvation. We need to ensure that Christ is present in the lives of our children and in our immediate communities.

      2. It wasn’t Matins that landed at Normandy and on Iwo Jima. It was soldiers. Ones that had said their prayers and fixed bayonets. That’s the point here. Time for incense is over. Courageous action is the virtue needed this hour.

        Efficient courageousness = stop all money even at parish level.

        Inefficient courageousness = marches and demonstrations, verbal confrontations, nasty postings on TNH, lawsuits.

        The Robes will fold in 30 days. They are sissified girly-men, corrupt, liars and ,above all, LAZY.

        Stop the money.

    1. I’ve said this for years – you want to get things fixed – cut off the money – ALL OF IT.

      Have any of you ever thought about how much time you’ve all given and continue to give to support your churches, AHEPA, other charitable and fraternal organizations, etc…? And why do you all do this – because you all believe in doing good.

      How many priests would show up every Sunday morning if their compensation was zero or say a modest stipend, say $50 an hour for the four to six hours they put in on a Sunday?

      Would they go get regular “9 to 5” jobs to support themselves and still show up on Sunday because they have such a strong calling to serve their church and community?

      Well how it is it that essentially that is what all of us do; we all have jobs, careers, businesses, families, etc… and then give hours and hours of our time for free to our churches, etc… because we believe so much in doing good.

      But hey what do I know maybe lots of you like toiling for hours doing bake sales, running church festivals, dances and other events and then watching priests, hierarchs and “big supporters” eat off of China, drinking “piping hot coffee” and “fresh squeezed juice” and eating specially prepared food while they’re cashing fat paychecks with benefits you could only dream of while we the peons are shooed away from their special table while we are drinking stale coffee out of styrofoam cups and Chexmix.

      1. I know of a priest who was willing to only receive a stipend from his parish,since his parish was having troubles with their books. The parish Treasurer said he would “clear everything with the Metropolitan” Actually, when the priest found a secular job and cut his parish support to next to nothing, the Treasurer then reported the good priest to the Metropolitan as being some sort of renegade. Turns out the Treasurer was part of a faction that wanted to get rid of this motivated priest since he was actually helping the parish turn towards God and away from the world.

        The priest was dismissed even though embers of his parish council wrote letters verifying what was discussed and what happened. Worst thing that I have ever seen within the Greek church…and I’ve seen a lot…and now they are sowing what they reaped.

  3. And in other news local residents complaints to the head of the Gambino Crime Family about the crime families drug dealers standing out on the corners of their neighborhood selling meth also have gone unaddressed.

  4. Why was Fr. Chrysostom Panos placed in the position he had in the Chancellor’s office? He has been a priest for only a few years and he has never been assigned to a parish full time as either assistant or head pastor. One can easily question his credentials to deal with this issue which demands compassion, confidentiality, adherence to the GOA policy and common Christian decency. And then they send him to Chicago as chancellor. Look for him to be made a bishop in the near future.

    1. Did you see the new Chicago bishop’s portrait on another article? His panagia, instead of having an Orthodox icon of the Theotokos, has a copy of the Renaissance paining by Raphael, the Madonna della Sedia. No brains or common sense. Just taking a huge crap on our Holy Tradition.

      1. Nothing new. Many of the panagias have such “icons” but you are right, what’s Holy Tradition or traditions have to do with Orthodoxy?

  5. This crisis is extreme and deep and fatal to
    the entire archdiocese if not to all of Orthodoxy.
    These nuns are products of Demetrios’ reign.
    All of Demetrios’ deacons know them because
    they were classmates with these nuns at the seminary.
    Expect mjanyof the former deacons to be dropping out
    of the priesthood in droves.

    1. @Costas:
      These nuns and many of the deacons you mentioned are the products of faithful homes, not the products of Demetrios’ reign. The Archdiocese has squandered this treasure, for sure. However, I do not believe that the answer is to leave Panayia’s Church. The Church needs the truly faithful to support these brave nuns and to speak out against those who would cover up the actions of misguided clerics.

      1. Leaving the corrupt archdiocese is not leaving the church. It may well be an act of preserving the church. My preference would be a fight to the finish and kicking the bums out and back to Greece. We don’t have to surrender to them, robes and beards are just voodoo.

  6. Ok, so we have this whole big group of people saying that this is all one big misunderstanding and that it was just a misinterpreted hug. I noticed that in the first TNH article upon Fr. Gerasimos’ return to his community he is in a photo where he is in a full contact embrace with a woman at the Philoptochos luncheon that followed Divine Liturgy. Would a man who was pulled from his parish and sent counseling over a “hug” even think of hugging a woman in such a close physical way on his first day back? No. Unless what got him in trouble was more than a hug.Think about it.

  7. Hey Michael , Rapanidi, and Noticed Something Interesting ….. you might want to notice interesting which TNH …does not want you to see!

    In there desire …to again portray Archbishop Demetrios … as an demented and ignorant leader of the Greek Orthodox Church of North America… Mr. Kalmoukos…has slipped up again!

    What Mr. Kalmoukos actually reveals ..is that TNH..has knowingly distorted and manipulated his article to continue to connect the Archbishop to being part of a coverup in not addressing the complaints of Sexual Abuse by his clergy!

    This is kind of like …the watergate narrative …as to when President Nixon ..became part of a coverup in the Watergate breakin of democratic party offices! The questikon that had to be answered …was what did he know …and when did he know it? Which got him impeached!

    Specifically, The New York Post article… highlights exactly …the time line..of the remediation of the complaint and when Archbishop Demetrios was allegedly contacted by these Nuns., and which another misrepresentation using another misleading banner by TNH Editors to suggest that Archbishop Demetrios was fully aware of the Sexual Abuse charges ….and was grossly derelict, or as Michael charged ..’.bereft of his faculties and Senses ‘ or better yet…part of a covernup!

    However ,,,, the following is extracted from the New York Post article…and is much more truthful ..as to what Archbishop Demetrios knew and when he knew …and which Highlights the true facts…that Archbishop Demetrios was never derelict in addressing the concerns and allegations of these nuns!

    AS follows…

    “The allegations against Makris surfaced in the fall of 2017, from a woman who was “made to feel unnecessarily uncomfortable with interactions” with the priest including “hugs lasting too long etc. but nothing overtly sexual,” Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, told The Post.

    He said Makris was told to have no contact with the woman. During a meeting in January, the priest revealed he had relations with two other women “and while they were not of the usual sexual interactions one thinks of, they were inappropriate,” the bishop said.

    “Father was immediately suspended,” he said. He added the women had not contacted the Archdiocese.

    Translation…Archbishop Demetrios was according to the National Herald News… contacted on Februay 16th, 2018….about a month after a convening of a spiritual court… as authorized under Cannon Laws established in 1088 for not only the Greek Orthodox Church but Catholic church..which lays out proper protocal for unethical conduct by the clergy of the church… including Sexual Abuse!

    To this end …an authorized body …under the supervision..of the Chancellor of the Archdiocese …did respond to the complaints and reviewed all information provided by the accusor …a woman who did not even feel it important enough to show up and give testimony…as requested by the Spiritual Court!

    And as the body…. under canon laws…did in fact review , assess , and decreed actions under their authority ..which included Fr. Makris being suspended , on behalf of he archdiocese and Archbishop Demetrios!

    Therefore…Archbishop Demetrios was contacted in February…apparently..by a frustrated and angry accuser …who did not accept the decision of the Spritual Court …under the auspics fo the Archbishop of North America ! Importanlty..it is clear that their objective ..was to demand that Archbishop Demetrios intervene and overturn the rulling of a board of religious members of the Church .obligated to resolve an issue …which related to a clergy member!

    Changing the ruling of this body of arbiters … would equate ..to the chief of Police ..overtuning a Police Board review of an accussed abusive policeman and their collective decisions to appropriate actions, or the Medical Board of hospitals ..in reviewing unethical conduct and practices of a doctor…and recommending actions …and the Chief Medical Officer …unilaterally …changing their decisions!

    TNH knows this ..yet twisted the article …to suggest that Archbishop was again guilty of incompetence and derelict in his administrative duties …just like TNH ..has been btatantly prosecuting the Archbishop for unsupported claims of the embezzlement of Funds from the Church for personal use…and without any criminal charges by any official of the justice system or courts!

    Enough is Enough…TNH is clearly guilty of the worst form of journalism ..in defaming and destroying the personal character of Father Makris and Archbishop Demetrios …and colaborating with those ..including those on this post …to destroy the legitimacy of the Orthodox Church. and its faithful in North America!

    This is predatory conduct… against an organization who on its worst days …is better than anything on this earth… in serving humanity! They are not monsters or freaks …acting like an Orgainized Crime family!

    On its worst day … it is better than the TNH columnist and Editor …who endorse and promote in banner headlines …Robert Menendez…a corrupt member of the U.S senate from New Jersey..and a member of the Secret Society of Ahepa Members found Guilty by the U.S congess fro 18 counts of Bribery, fraud and lavished by gifts from a jewish doctor and member of one the fanmous lobbys …which include providing him for his pleasure and abuse…underage Teenage Prostitutes in the Dominican Republid…all documented by the Glory to America FBI. But don’t worry his bribe partner and friend ..is going to spend a long time in Federal Prison for the failures of Senator Menendez to cover up …his crimes!

    Now you wacko and religious terrorist of the Greek Orthodox Church can go back into your holes… and find a new movement …because your hate in collaboration with the already acknowledged press ..has no place in our community…and the Parishioners of Holy Cross will not allow you the pleasure of enjoying another of the Original Church of Christ to be crucified …as occurred thousands of years ago …to stop the church of Christ!

    By the way …the original copy of this post which you obviously took down ..will be sent to Archbishop Demetrios and Fr Makris with a whole slew of fact checks..for their review. and assessment!

  8. Bottom line: this is not the path of healing…for anyone. So I am left wondering what do those accusers truly desire?

    People who resort to social media often seek 1. Attention and 2. Revenge (under deception from ego they are pleased with amount of “likes” gathered))

    Both quite ugly qualities. Why air your business for the whole world to see?

    It IS possible to confront uncomfortable conduct and find healing through the Sacrament of confession for all involved. If no crimes have been committed, no police involved, there is no reason to defrock or defame either side. Seek forgiveness.

    Why, would supposed spiritual nuns not follow that recipe for healing? Find a good spiritual father or holy gerontissa/supportive sisterhood. Revenge is not healing. Nor will arguing on the internet. Ultimately, this should have been privately healed and because TNH desires attention as well, I believe God will judge the editor for inciting hatred amongst Christ’s holy ekklisia.

    1. @MomforHealing—
      I’m left wondering how much of a mother’s heart you actually have when it is full of so much assumption and judgment. Sounds like you need to take your own advice and seek forgiveness. Don’t assume you understand just because you assume you see. The “ekklesia” deserves better than the corruption of its leaders and the judgement of people like you.

    2. @mom for healing:

      Can’t heal a sickness until the tumor is excised. Furthermore, recall that Christ overturned the tables of the money changers when His temple was being defiled.

      I’m shocked that you would suggest that the victims (not accusers as you called them, since Fr Makris admitted to sexual misconduct) should be quiet.

  9. Our archdiocese is in a sad state of affairs. We have s chancellor who has removed many priests from a parish capacity and has told them to find a parish of their own violating their own regulations. He’s done it without any type of appeal for the clergyman. He’s done it to multiple clergy who one moment they’re serving a parish, next moment they’re struggling to find a job because the chancellor will not assign them and the other bishops are no better. Otherwise if you’ve been accused of impropriety such as taking pictures of your privates as did happen in Hempstead or by being naked in a hot tub and inviting your deacon to join you, you’ll be resigned. There are many good clergy without parishes who irritated parish councils and they no longer serve because the bishop is mad at them. But perform a lewd act that gets them into trouble, that same bishop will reassign them. HYPOCRITES! ALL OF THEM!

    1. You’ve answered your own question: the higher ups are mostly active homosexuals or predators of minors or both. They protect their own. That’s how you keep the perverts in power. Rainbow Power!

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