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Politics

Court Rules in favor of Fr. Nicholas Kastanas

September 15, 2017

BOSTON, MA – The Middlesex Superior Court ruled in favor of Rev. Nicholas Kastanas, who had filed an injunction asking the court to prohibit the Metropolis of Boston to open his computer and also to return it to him along with other personal documents taken from his office by members of the parish council, via a directive of the Metropolis.

Fr. Kastanas was ousted from Saint Athanasius in Arlington, MA by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston on July 27 after almost 28 years of service.

The Court’s ruling was announced to parishioners and Parish Council members in a memorandum on September 8 by Kastanas’ attorney John Sofis Scheft. He wrote: “you should also know that the court recently ordered the Metropolis to return Fr. Nick’s personal property and his personal computer, and established a confidential and fairprocess to review the contents of his computer – so parishioner communications withtheir priest of over 27 years will not be compromised.

“As you know, Fr. Nick was removed as your pastor on July 27th. Although he was toldthat he would be meeting with Metropolitan Methodios, Fr. Nick discovered, after heentered the room at the Metropolis, that the Metropolitan was in Greece. TheChancellor, Fr. Barbas, and two Metropolis attorneys told him that Sunday, July 30thwould be his last service, and he could go to his office the next day to get hispossessions. There was little additional discussion.When the Metropolis published news of Fr. Nick’s removal, reaction was swift. Overtwelve hundred people came to his last Liturgy on July 30th. There were tears, surprise,and disillusionment at the decision. The mainstream media reported about the service and the anguished reactions of manyparishioners.”

Scheft’s message continued: “for Chancellor Barbas, this overwhelming support for Fr. Nick was unexpected andunwelcome. Instead of reassessing Fr. Nick’s situation or understanding that he has nocontrol over what thousands of congregants write and say, Chancellor Barbas sent anincendiary email at 3AM blaming Fr. Nick for what he called a ‘despicable display.’Even though he had promised that Fr. Nick could go to his office at St. Athanasios andremove his personal property accumulated over 27 years of service, the chancellorchanged his mind. He told Fr. Nick that the locks would be changed, his propertyconfiscated and packaged, and his personal computer (filled with private andconfidential communications with parishioners) would be seized and searched.”

Regarding his attempts to communicate with Barbas, Scheft wrote that he called him

twice on July 31 and then sent an email “reminding Fr. Barbas about theimportance of laws relating to priest confidences and computer privacy. I suggested,in conciliatory terms, that we overcome this tense situation with communication.I received no response from the chancellor” – not even acknowledgment of receipt.

Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in a September 9 letter to parish characterized Scheft’s memorandum as “offensive, inaccurate, inappropriate and unprofessional.”

He wrote that “the Court has issued an Order, and the Metropolis shall continue to respect and follow it.”

He also wrote that “my decision to remove him (Fr. Kastanas) was only made after many months of thoughtful consideration, and made in what I firmly believe are the best interests of St. Athanasius community and the Church at large. In my 33 years as shepherd of the Lord’s Church in this Metropolis, I have never removed a priest unwillingly from a parish.”

Methodios emphasized the efforts he made in order for things not to have reached this point. He wrote that “this situation reached a crescendo when Fr. Kastanas filed a complaint against the Metropolis in the Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. This is the first time that the Metropolis has ever been sued by one of its priests.”

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