Ad Calls for Bishops to Account In Case of Defrocked Priest

Author: Paul Cromidas
Date Published: 07/16/2005
Publication: Pokrov

Seven Orthodox Hierarchs Named

The web site Pokrov.org has taken out an advertisement in a Greek-American newspaper calling for accountability by bishops in the case of a priest defrocked for sexual misconduct.

The ad called for bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese(AA) to explain how Gabriel Barrow, who had been previously suspended by the Antiochian church, was allowed to become a priest in the GOA. The quarter-page ad appeared in the July 2 issue of the English edition of The National Herald, a prominent ethnic paper published in New York. This is perhaps the first time such an ad has appeared in Orthodox circles, and it comes at a time of increased concerns being expressed on this issue in Orthodoxy.

The Pokrov.org web site is a six-year-old service created to assist people who have been abused in the Orthodox Church. Barrow had been defrocked earlier this year by the GOA, after having served in a parish near Houston.

The ad also praised alleged victims who came forward and testified in Spiritual Court against Barrow. It gave background about the case, in part because the Greek archdiocese had said it would only announce the action in its official newspaper, the Orthodox Observer. The listing in the Observer turned out to be a brief, two-line mention that Barrow was “Returned to Status of Layman”, and did not even say that he had been defrocked, or the reason for it.

Finally, the ad message urged church members to “Make Your Bishops Accountable”, and named seven hierarchs who, it said, “had knowledge, accountability and responsibility in this case.” The seven bishops listed, with their addresses, were:

In the GOA:
Archbishop Demetrios, primate; Metropolitan Maximos of the Pittsburgh diocese; Metropolitan Isaiah of the Denver diocese, who was Barrow’s superior; and Bishop Savas, who is the chancellor of the archdiocese.

In the Antiochian Archdiocese:
Metropolitan Philip, primate; Bishop Antoun of the archdiocese office; and Bishop Basil of the Wichita diocese.

A list of questions that could be asked of the bishops was suggested. These included: