Elpidophoros and Anargyros Blame Each Other Regarding Saint Demetrios of Astoria

BOSTON – Archbishop Elpidophoros and the presiding priest of the Cathedral of Saint Demetrios of Astoria, Fr. Anargyros Stavropoulos, have reportedly blamed each other for the expulsion of former President of the Parish Council, Stefanos Thomatos, and other members. This affair has caused a disturbance in the community, which is home to the only high school in the Greek-American community, and has led to deep disappointment among the evicted volunteers and their families.

According to information from inside the Phanar in Constantinople, we can reveal that when Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew asked Archbishop Elpidophoros about what was happening at Saint Demetrios of Astoria, Elpidophoros allegedly replied that there was nothing he could do after the presiding priest, Fr. Stavropoulos, asked him to remove those people.

On the other hand, Fr. Stavropoulos reportedly leaked to expelled members of the Parish Council that he himself had no involvement and that it was purely the work of Archbishop Elpidophoros and Fr. Elias Villis, Chancellor of the Direct Archdiocesan District of New York.

The National Herald tried for many days to contact Fr. Stavropoulos through multiple telephone and text messages, as well as e-mails, but he did not respond. The secretaries in the office of Saint Demetrios would tell us that he was either in a meeting or absent.

Archbishop Elpidophoros with Fr. Elias Villis, Chancellor of the Direct Archdiocesan District and Assistant Priest George Kasapoglou. (Photo: GOA)

Elpidophoros invoked Article 24, section C of the Uniform Parish Regulations in the e-mail, which was sent by Father Villis on April 20, 2023 to Thomatos, in which the following is written:

“Mr. Stephanos Thomatos
April 20, 2023

Dear Stephanos,

Christ is Risen! At the direction of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, I write to advise you of your removal from the Parish Council, effective immediately, pursuant to Article 24, Section § (C) of the Uniform Parish Regulations. You are no longer an authorized representative of the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. We expect your full cooperation and compliance with this directive.

Thanking you in the spirit of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.

Faithfully yours,
Protopresbyter Elias Villis
Archdiocesan District.”

Section C of Article 24 of the Uniform Parish Regulations states the following: “If, the respective Hierarch, upon the recommendation of the Priest, or for any other reason, determines that the removal of a Parish Council member is necessary for one or more of the reasons listed in subsections (A) (1) through (6) above, the respective Hierarch shall render a decision regarding the matter and shall notify the Priest and Parish Council of such decision. If any member(s) of the Parish Council is (are) removed, the matter shall not be brought before a Parish Assembly.”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Elpidophoros has not communicated at all with the expelled Parish Council members, who are volunteers, nor with the community in general, as he is still touring with a group of Greek-Americans in Egypt, visiting the Nile river and Sinai. The Archdiocese is being managed in his absence by the Chancellor, Archimandrite Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, former presiding priest of Saint Demetrios.

Τhe National Herald has learned that after the revealing interview of Thomatos with TNH that appeared in the May 5, 2023 edition, many questions are being raised among the parishioners of Saint Demetrios about the assistant priest, Fr. George Kasapoglou, whom Elpidophoros brought from Constantinople, and the means of paying his salary. It is reported that Elpidophoros forces the community to pay the amount of his salary to the Archdiocese, and then the Archdiocese pays him.

We now reveal that the Archbishop plans to transfer Kasapoglou from Saint Demetrios to a community in Connecticut.


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