Sexual Misconduct Swept Under the Rug?

By on February 1, 2018

How does a priest, alleged to have had numerous sexual misconduct accusations against him, get his name on the “triprosopon” (list of three names) to potentially take over the largest and wealthiest Metropolis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America?

That’s a question a lot of people are asking, while the pieces of the puzzle slowly come together about the curious case of Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris.

What we do know is bits and pieces coming together from snippets of information coming from Fr. Makris’ home parish in Brooklyn, from those close to him, as well as those closest to the alleged victims of his sexual misconduct.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been completely silent on the matter before, and after Fr. Makris’ sudden disappearance from his parish, leaving even his closest parishioners in the dark.

What we know:

Complaints about Fr. Makris’ alleged sexual misconduct were made to the Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese several years ago, according to those individuals who made the complaints, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of their respective roles in the Church.

The Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Bishop Andonios, informed Archbishop Demetrios about the complaints but they were ignored, violating the Archdiocese’s own policy on dealing with clergy sexual misconduct and contradicting the Archbishop’s own words, according to an interview he gave to The National Herald on September 24, 2009.

In the interview, Archbishop Demetrios was strict in his response to sexual misconduct amongst the clergy.

“We have very strict regulations, which we apply. Many times there is strong opposition by some who say don’t you have compassion [for the priests]? But I reply that for these issues, compassion does not apply,” the Archbishop said in the interview.

In July of 2017, at the Synod meeting presided over by Archbishop Demetrios of America, Fr. Makris’ name was selected as a candidate on the triprosopon for the position of Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Chicago.

When this vote took place, the Archbishop allegedly knew that there were sexual misconduct accusations against Fr, Makris, but he allowed the vote to take place and allowed Fr. Makris’ name to be considered, keeping details about the accusations secret from the Metropolitans of America who participated in the vote.

Immediately after the election of the list of three names, the list was submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Archbishop of America knowingly submitted a list which included a priest who had serious sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Fr. Makris has been accused of inappropriate relations with a parishioner from Brooklyn as well as one other woman who served as a nun from a Greek Orthodox monastery in New York. Both accusations have been verified from people close to the alleged victims.

Fr. Makris has virtually disappeared from his parish in Brooklyn, leaving no trace behind. Even those closest to him have no idea where he has gone.

Sources close to the situation have indicated that the Chancellor and Archbishop tried to stop the information from reaching the public and continue to protect Fr. Makris.

The questions many are asking but not getting answers:

Despite the Archbishop’s promises of transparency in his encyclicals and announcements to the faithful, nothing has been said publicly about the curious case of Fr. Makris.

If there were active complaints against Fr. Makris, why didn’t the Chancellor of the Archdiocese follow the Archdiocese’s own policies and procedures for alleged cases of clergy sexual misconduct?

Furthermore, If there were active complaints against Fr. Makris, why didn’t the Archbishop bring them to the attention of the consultation committee prior to the last election to fill the Chicago vacancy?  

(Note: The consultation committee is required under the regulations of the Archdiocese to vet the list of candidates, perform background checks and provide list of all complaints against a clergyman to the Synod of Bishops.)

Was Fr. Makris investigated and was he cleared of wrong doing?  If so, why is he not serving anywhere now and why was a replacement priest sent to liturgize at his parish?

Was Fr. Makris suspended? If so, why hasn’t this suspension been made public to notify area clergy that he is no longer permitted to serve?

Why was he left on the list of eligible candidates to become a Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church that was submitted TWO TIMES to the Patriarchate?

Did the Chancellor or Archbishop report these complaints to the Synod prior to the first election for the Metropolitan of Chicago? Did the Chancellor report these complaints to the Synod prior to the second election, which is scheduled to take place next week?

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