Translated from the Original Greek
BOSTON, MA – Christine Stavropoulos, a graduate of Hellenic College, sent a strong complaint to the Archdiocese of America in New York and the Metropolis of Boston alleging that Rev. Anthony Evangelatos of the Annunciation parish of Brockton, MA ruined her son’s wedding with his unholy and unbecoming behavior.
In a letter dated October 11, to Metropolitan Methodios of Boston with copy to Archbishop Demetrios, Stavropoulos began by writing that “I am sending you a hard copy of this letter (previously sent to Father Ted [Barbas] as an email), as I have not received a response from prior attempts to contact your office regarding this matter. My family and I are disturbed that our emails and calls have gone unanswered, and so we have decided to try and contact you by writing. We believe we deserve a response and a resolution to this matter.
“Originally, this letter was written the day after my son’s wedding, which took place on September 15 at the Annunciation Church on Oak Street in Brockton, MA. Father Antonios Evangelatos performed the ceremony. My husband, my children and I have been parishioners at Greek Orthodox churches in Massachusetts all of our lives, and we have never witnessed such a rushed, cold, and impersonal wedding. I do not say this lightly, but I truly believe that my son’s wedding was ruined, and we are seriously considering repeating the ceremony at a church in Greece.”
Stavropoulos acknowledged that “my son and his wife were late (30-40 minutes) to the ceremony. I have never in my life been to a wedding that started on time, and I have never seen a priest react in such a way to a bride’s tardiness. First, he humiliated the bride’s father in front of the whole congregation. The father approached the priest to apologize for his delay which was due to traffic, and Father Antonios sarcastically berated him in front of everyone, from the altar, saying: ‘I suppose traffic was only a problem for you and not for everyone else who is already here.’ How embarrassing! Father Antonios proceeded to lecture the congregation about traffic and being on time as we waited for the bride.”
Evangelatos was in a hurry to finish the wedding because he had to attend his own family obligation. Stavropoulos wrote that “a Greek Orthodox wedding usually takes about 45 minutes. Father Antonios rushed through the ceremony so quickly, that we ended in 25 minutes. He cut prayers, interrupted the chanter, and even went so far as to physically pull my son around the table during the Dance of Isaiah, to the point where his crown repeatedly fell from his head. This made the best man very nervous, and the bride nearly tripped over her dress. Father Antonios’ curt demeanor and indescribable coldness towards the newlyweds made for a very awkward ceremony. My son even complained to me afterwards: ‘Mom, the priest didn’t look us in the eye even once the whole time.’ What mother’s heart wouldn’t break upon hearing that?
“After the ceremony was over, the priest did not bless the couple, did not wish them happiness and prosperity, and just didn’t say a single thing to them or to the congregation as closing remarks. As my son and his wife turned to leave the altar, there was some clapping in the church, and Father Antonios descended the steps and proceeded to yell at us. I understand that clapping is not generally acceptable in a church (and I don’t believe it’s appropriate myself), but that is no way to address it. To end a wedding on that note is despicable. Instead of some warm remarks from their priest, my son and his wife basically got shoved out with no parting words of wisdom or God’s blessing, but with words of hate.”
Stavropoulos wrote to Methodios that “when the couple and the parents formed a receiving line after the ceremony, Father Antonios interrupted it in the middle to get the couple to sign their certificates, because he was in a hurry to leave. Apparently he had planned some kind of family event after the church ceremony, and we were getting in the way of his plans. He did not even come to the reception after the church to do the blessing, even though he was invited. Again, this has never happened to me, and it left a bitter taste in my mouth that my son was treated this way.”
When Stavropoulos approached Evangelatos after the ceremony to ask him about all of that, he was sarcastic to her. She wrote that “I, of course, approached the priest in private after the ceremony to ask him why all of this happened, and I confronted him with what I think are very valid complaints. I cannot begin to describe his rudeness and the sarcasm that was dripping from every word that came from his mouth. Meanwhile, he kept walking and telling me he was busy and had to leave, and if I didn’t like it I should have gone to my own parish. I understand that we were late, and this can be frustrating. But a priest is supposed to be a patient character, a role model, and someone to whom a young couple looks for advice when starting their new lives. Father Antonios, through his unacceptable behavior, shattered this perception.”
She wrote that “Father Antonios accepted double payment for his ‘services’…the best man after the ceremony approached the priest and paid him an additional $100 for the ceremony, plus $50 each for the chanter and the sexton. The priest took the money saying: ‘They already paid me, but I’ll take that.’”
Initially, Stavropoulos had sent a letter to Fr. Theodore Barbas, Chancellor of the Boston Metropolis, who ignored her completely. A month later she sent the letter to Methodios with a copy to Demetrios. Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Archdiocese in a letter October 22 wrote that “since this involves a clergyman in the Metropolis of Boston, Church protocol dictates that this matter be investigated and handled by the local Metropolis, which will respond accordingly and take appropriate action if warranted. In any case, I am sorry that your experience on what should have been a joyful event has caused you so much concern.”
Metropolitan Methodios told TNH that “I took all the necessary action. We are trying to communicate with the family and I am willing to personally go to their home to talk to them.” Evangelatos declined TNH’s request for comment.
After Methodios’ directive, Evangelatos attempted to communicate by phone with the newlyweds and Stavropoulos but they were so disappointed that they had nothing to tell him. Evangelatos sent a letter to Stavropoulos on November 12 stating among other things that “I extend my apologies to you and your family if the wedding was not as you had expected.” He also returned the extra money that the best man had given him.
TNH was told from sources within the Brockton parish that this was not the first time that Evangelatos had behaved in unbecoming way. The membership of the parish, sources said, has declined to low numbers while a few years ago a massive exodus of six members of the parish council took place because of Evangelatos.