Nun’s Mother Had Notified Archbishop Demetrios about Fr. Makris

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

BOSTON – The mother Theonymphi, the nun from the All Saints Monastery in Calverton Long Island, New York had notified Archbishop Demetrios of America about the sexual misconduct towards her daughter by her spiritual father Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris.

The lengthy and detailed letter dated August 18, 2018, which was copied to Patriarch Bartholomew., was obtained by The National Herald and the nun’s mother urged both the Archbishop and the Patriarch to intervene.

The National Herald has verified the authenticity of the letter …

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  1. More proof of the dysfunctional mentality that has spread like a cancer at the Archdiocese. Clearly this is additional proof of the “circle the wagons” culture of our dying Church. Here we have another one of the Archbishops former “favorite” students behaving inappropriately and getting away with it! There are only so many mistakes of conscience and character that will allow institutional survival. We are past the tipping point. Where are the Laity? Where are the members of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocese Council on this? What makes me sick is the way the women in the picture are idolizing this Priest. Our Church has become tribal. It is this misplaced tribalism that protects all of them. This Priest is the alleged “spiritual son” of now defrocked former Fr. George Passias. Both of whom can trace their spiritual lineage to our “wonderfully” future saint Elder Ephraim formally of Philotheou and now of Arizona. So let those who have drunk the Kool-Aid and are apologists for all things Ephraimite related attack me!

    1. This is what cults produce. No more no less. Demetrios is vain and senile, a deadly combination. And Bartholomew is too busy stuff his pocket with Ukrainian bribes to know what is happening here in the colonies. The GOA is dead in America. As dead as in Istanbul where the greedy Bartholomew lives in his pretentions of lost grandeur. We need an authentic Christ-centered American Orthodox Church.

  2. Basil,
    first of all, Happy Name Day always with health!
    These 2 priests were the spiritual children of Elder Ephraim but the Elder has no control over what is in their hearts or their horrific actions. I don’t know much about the Elder but I do have close friends who know him well and have nothing but great things to say about him and his works. If these priests are demented its on them!

    1. Jeff the problem in my mind is that the Elder has built a cult of personality and it has taken some darks turns. This would not be possible on a healthier environment. I don’t know the Elder and so I won’t speak against him. But the model he has created is at its core unhealthy.

    2. Jeffdiner thank you for the Happy Name Day greetings.

      I agree if these Priests are demented it is on them as well. However let’s try to remember Matthew 7:18–20 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruit you will recognize them.”
      The key phrase, is, “by their fruit you will recognize them“. I too know many people who have had interaction with the Elder. Many of them left damaged, upset or even left the Greek Orthodox Church. The fruit of this Elder’s efforts in North America has played out at many parishes across the country. He has unleashed a poison into the world of Orthodoxy in North America. Make no mistake about it, there is a correlation here. We are witnessing a perversion of monasticism in North America. The byproduct are the two priests in question. There are also many other priests and members of our own laity that have been affected in a way that harms all of us.

    3. Matthew 7:18–20 says it all. We are either bearing “good” fruit, living a Christ centered life (or at least making an effort), and most importantly – we are radiating a peaceful spirit to every one around us…or we are doing none of these things.
      The laity are charged with a royal priesthood a special ministry that must bear for all.

  3. 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.We also have a nun and her pleading mother saying it was something more and that he should be kept away from women. Look at the second picture, above, where upon Fr. Gerasimos’ return to his community, 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.

    1. That is a great observation. Instead, the Archdiocese remains silent letting rumors circulate that the inappropriate conduct wasn’t that bad (just a hug). Minimizing sexual abuse is reprehensible and certainly not Christian. If a doctor or therapist had any form of sexual contact with a client, they would lose their license. If a priest has sexual contact with multiple women under his spiritual guidance, he goes to therapy for a few months and is returned to the place he abused and is exonerated. Have we not learned anything from the Roman Catholic Church? And we wonder why young people are not interested in our Church…

    2. Koukla you are right and Bishop Andonios speaks out of two sides of his lying mouth. This priest needs to go to a monastery and find his way to repentance, not go back to the same henhouse that got him in trouble to begin with. But if you have the right connections in the GOA click . . .

  4. I’m just sitting here, shaking my head. What kind of upside down world are we living in that a priest who has had multiple inappropriate relationships with women has been returned to the same parish, if any parish at all? These relationships were abuses of power as much as they were sexual in nature. In what world does the Archdiocese indulge this blind cult of personality rather than adhering to the conclusions of the Spiritual Court? Why doesn’t the Archdiocese and the leadership of the community want a new priest to be assigned who can cultivate a healthy, thriving community where the central focal point is Christ and not the priest?? Some of the people wanted him back? Children also want ice cream for dinner. Feeding the homeless? News flash, lots of NYC parishes go on regular, scheduled Midnight Runs.
    If after the 12 years of ministry that Fr. Makris was at Holy Cross, this is the mentality of the majority of the community, Fr. Makris failed the community long before these events. He failed in his teaching ministry to teach people how to differentiate basic right from wrong. To be appalled when people are victimized, especially nuns who are dependent on their Spiritual father and the good will of others to survive. I weep for the Church.

    1. Here’s what all of you fail to see about Makris: Bart is under siege by the Russians. Moscow just opened up Exarchies in Western Europe, Asia, Spain, and elsewhere. They are determined to eat our lunch and franchise their version of Orthodoxy world-wide. Putin is happy to assist because this broadens the intel collectors globally. This is their revenge for Ukraine. Bart is out of combat soldiers for this fight. He has a bunch of losers. Makris is a proven patriarchal combat archimandrite, even if he has a zipper problem. So, Bart overrules the Americans on the charges (they’re too insistant on standards, those pesky Amerikanakia) and puts Makris back in the force. They will eventually make him a Metropolitan and have him posted somewhere to counter Russian expansion. His personal foibles need not be an impediment, you see, because what matters is the combat force and the kills. You have to connnect all the dots to this drama. This isn’t about God. It’s a global chess match.

    2. The difference is Russia actually has an Orthodox Church. Over one hundred million members. Millions of which line up on cold and rain to venerate holy relics. Churches and monasteries opening weekly. Yes Putin from time to time uses the Church in foreign policy but the GOA is the US branch of our Greek foreign ministry, no difference.
      Constantinople is a dead church. Twelve old eunuch Metropolitans sleeping in, smoking cigarettes all day and drinking their little Greek coffees. I am 100% Greek by ancestry but I will take the Russian model of Church any day over what dirty Bartholomew offers.

    3. You ever been to Russia? Your Pollyanna views don’t paint the correct picture. I am no defender of Bart, except against the Russians. Sexual assault? They scoff at that over there and priest, bishops, and the rest do as they please. Did you hear what I said? Russians use their church as an intelligence agency. Do your homework. We need to reform what’s ours and defend it. That’s why a true American Orthodox Church needs to be founded. AMERICAN not RUSSIAN not GREEK.

    4. What kind of upside down world are we living in that allows those who claim to labor for Christ not be held accountable for their actions?

    5. Yes, that’s the point, it’s an upside down world and in chaos. Stop wringing your hands and FIGHT to reform the church and make it an American Church where we can control our destiny, not Istanbul or Moscow. Withholding all money is the start and a parish by parish fight to liberate ourselves from the archdiocese and its extortion and ineptitude.

    6. Bravo, Spiro. Kai “Agapa ton pliseion sou.”

      Centralized power in governments, churches, corporations, etc. yields the most corruption, the abuse of that power, and never having to answer to the people they “serve”.

    1. When all they had to do was follow their own Sexual Misconduct guidelines…oh, and maybe attempt to behave in a pastoral manner to these women.

      You are correct. They have shown themselves incapable of being stewards both financially and spiritually.

  5. The hash tag should be #GreekToo. This is ingrained in Greek culture.Not only the sex, but the hipocrisy, the hiding, as if if you deny it, it didn’t happen. Any daddy who paid for augmentation wants a sample. All the dervederas at Astoria Bouzouki are that way because of they were abused young. And they want to hump every young adonis they teach to overcome their midlife crisis. Every wife who doesn’t drive, speak English or use computers or cell phones has probably been violently abused. Socarides showed the link.

  6. Jason this reply will be out of order to your question about but yes I have in fact been to Greece and Russia and Ukraine many times. My career is in international business and when I travel I try to visit Orthodox holy places wherever I am. I have seen the most genuine piety in Russia. Less in Ukraine and Greece least of all. And when NATO bombed our Christian Serb brothers to hand Kosovo over to radical Albanian Muslims only Russia stood with the Serbs. Russia has its problems and Putin is a mixed bag. But Russia, not Constantinople, is the soul of Orthodoxy in the modern world. My opinion. You are welcome to your own, that is what makes America great.

    1. Michael, The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, we can all do as we please when it comes to worshipping or not worshipping. America is great when we honor the Constitution and not try to create a national ethos other than the Constitution. That’s not true in Russia and elsewhere.

      Russian piety is a slippery slope. It’s unique to their national character and their need to have a Czar in their lives, spiritual and political. They are not like we Americans and neither is their ethos. American Orthodoxy needs to be Orthodox (correct) to be sure, but it doesn’t need the Russian version. Russian parishes are not like American parishes or life. Our church here is not state supported nor is its cheerleader the head of state, like there. We need priests that look like Americans not like Father X of Moscow. We will never have a million people standing in line to venerate an icon because we have competitive, not state-dictated, jobs. Our lives and our ethic and character are not that of Russia. Thank God.

      So, if Russian Orthodoxy is so preferable, why aren’t they growing here? Because, like the GOA, they’re not American. All the Imperial piety and fasting may work in the Old World where it’s state supported. It is not the path to growth and success here and since you said you’re a businessman, you will understand that one business paradigm that fits one industry and one continent doesn’t necessarily fit another nation or culture. Orthodoxy’s magic is that it adopts to the national character, it is not a world-wide monolithic enterprise like the Romans.

      We need to get over this “grass is greener” bs with the state-run, state-supported Russians and get on with making our US church great. And we need to recognize their vindictive national religious character with regard to Bart and not just roll over. I can argue the Ukraine thing both ways and I’m not about to shoot Bart because ex-KGB Vladimir and state controlled Kyrill said so.

      Lastly, when it comes to Serbia, ask the Clintons why they bombed them. She, in particular, has all the answers but may answer “what difference does it make?”, if asked by Congress.

    2. As a Russian priest friend of mine said to me, referring to Putin: no such thing as ex-KGB, once KGB, always KGB.

    3. Jason we agree on a lot of things and I agree we need most of all a uniquely authentic American Orthodox Church. In truth my favorite Orthodox Church in America is the OCA. It is a daughter of the Russian Church but autocephalous and has developed to fit American needs. I was speaking to religious life in Greece and Russia and none of this makes Bartholomew any less of a slimy creep.

  7. I agree Michael…
    Hundreds of churches and monasteries in the last twenty years have been restored and are doing good works, bringing people back to the faith, and “bearing fruit” in Christ’s vineyard in Russia.
    All things are possible when Christ is present.

  8. Regardless of who is more Orthodox , Greece or Russia, we have a bigger problem here in the US. Spiro is correct, we have to reform our Archdiocese here and take control of our churches again. If we refuse to pay the metropolitan, he takes our priest and closes our churches. But if we can get all the churches to agree to this, he is powerless. The late great archbishop Iakovos saw it coming when he tried to unite Orthodoxy in the US but the Patriarch put a stop to it and divided up the archdiocese. The late archbishop Philip of the Antioch Archdiocese in the US even offered to make the American Patriarchate Greek controlled but again we all failed them.

  9. Regardless of who is more Orthodox , Greece or Russia, we have a bigger problem here in the US. Spiro is correct, we have to reform our Archdiocese here and take control of our churches again. If we refuse to pay the metropolitan, he takes our priest and closes our churches. But if we can get all the churches to agree to this, he is powerless. The late great archbishop Iakovos saw it coming when he tried to unite Orthodoxy in the US but the Patriarch put a stop to it and divided up the archdiocese. The late archbishop Philip of the Antioch Archdiocese in the US even offered to make the American Patriarchate Greek controlled but again we all failed them. We lost our best opportunity back then. And we’re still stuck leaderless from an elderly archbishop who is powerless because his metropolitans are bullies.

  10. Let’s face it folks … like it or not … the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, along with many of its Churches still hold on to old world customs and traditions. That may be great ethnically. But, for a so called “Church,” it’s foremost primary function and responsibility should be, to be “Christ Centered!”

    What we seem to have here in the U.S., sadly, is a ethnic/cultural center with a cross slapped on top to fool most people or parishioners in to believing it is a so called “Christ Centered Church!” Let’s not try kidding ourselves for even a moment. It’s Greek language and culture first! Especially in the larger cities and their surrounding suburbs. Then after that … maybe … just maybe … a little of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It really is so sad just how limited the average Greek Orthodox Christian’s knowledge is about Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Bible! We are only fooling ourselves and no one else!

    Say what you will about the Protestants, but, one thing is for sure. They in general know much more about Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Bible than the average Greek Orthodox Christian does!

    1. @ greatly saddened – I agree with you 100%
      The other major problem – besides the lack of knowledge of our Lord and Savior JC, His mission and His word (the Bible) – is the total confusion about our faith. The hours of the church, sacraments, prayers, fasting, and confessing. Most people do not even realize that the Divine Liturgy is not complete unless you participated in the vespers on Saturday evening as well as the matins before the liturgy. Just one example of many.

  11. I’m disgusted beyond words with this situation. What will we the laity do about this?!

    The Archbishop, the clown Bishop Andonios and this offender all need to be removed. Where is our leadership, where is the Archdiocesan council legal team, who now holds the clergy responsible for their sexual misconduct policies? Bishop Andionios couldn’t stand up to a fly unless there is an envelope attached to it! He has a brother on the Archdiocesan council, female family working for St. Michaels and doesn’t have any sense of integrity or any values to protect the innocent and uphold the Archdiocese sexual misconduct policy.

    Makris, the hot tub priest, the let me show you a picture of my private’s priest should all be defrocked.

    Who is helping the nuns and other female victims? What other choice did they have them to turn for legal assistance. Our church abandoned them, tossed them aside and told them to shut their mouths or be banished from the clergy kingdom. What clergyman has the decency to stand up and help them?

    We need to find a way to ban together and help the nuns.

    If the Philoptochos women across the country had the nerve they would stand up and be counted as important voices of the church and protect victims.

  12. Unfortunately, the laity has been and is passive. It seems, for the most part, as long as there is a Church and Priest available to have their 40 Day Blessings, Baptisms/Christenings, Weddings and Funerals, then as far as they are concerned, all is well!

    As for the so called Church institutions at the Archdiocesan, Metropolitan or Parish level. It seems these people are too concerned with losing their position and/or power in these groups to effect any change.

    As long as this malaise or apathy continues, unfortunately nothing will change and things will continue to remain status quo.

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