Archdiocese Ignored Spiritual Court’s Decision about Archimandrite Makris
NEW YORK – As The National Herald recently reported, the Archdiocese of America reinstated Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris at the Holy Cross Church in Brooklyn, after he had been removed pending allegations by a woman of his “improper behavior” of a sexual nature. TNH has now learned that the Archdiocese ignored the decision of its Spiritual Court, which recommended that Fr. Makris not be defrocked but not be reappointed, either.
TNH has learned that the Court convened on September 5 at Archdiocese headquarters, and was comprised of the following three priests: Archimandrite Eugene Pappas, Presiding Priest of Three Hierarchs in Brooklyn; Rev. John Lardas, Presiding Priest of the Archangel parish in Port Washington, NY and President of the Clergy Association of the Direct Archdiocesan District; and Rev. Nikiforos Fakinos, Presiding Priest of St. Demetrios in Merrick, NY. All three declined to comment to TNH, citing the policy of confidentiality on Court matters. Archdiocesan Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.
Makris testified before the Spiritual Court, though his accuser did not. TNH has learned that she did not testify because she was not given enough notice and she could not attend on the specific day on which the Court convened. She requested to appear on alternate dates, TNH has learned, but the Archdiocese did not respond to her request.
Priests spoke with TNH on the condition of anonymity, explaining that in March they raised the issue with Bishop Andonios, telling him that Makris is a man of God – innocent, philanthropic, and ascetic, but that Andonios told them it was not their business to inquire and that the Archdiocese was investigating the matter, about which he said there was a file and the matter “goes back some time.”
A Holy Cross parish official knew about the Court session, because the next day he called Andonios’ then-assistant, Archimandrite Chrysostomos Panos, who told him that Makris would be able to return to Holy Cross on the weekend of September 8 and 9, because a decision would have been reached by September 7. Panos also disclosed to the official the three individuals who comprised the Court.
Panos was recently appointed Chancellor to the Chicago Metropolis by Metropolitan Nathanael, and was replaced at the Archdiocese by Fr. Panagiotis Papazafiropoulos.
Makris eventually returned to Holy Cross on October 14, one month after the parish expected him back, on the Church’s feast day (September 14). He was received warmly: the nave was filled to capacity, with many proclaiming “Axios-Worthy!” He joined their annual luncheon at Terrace on the Park.
During his absence, the usually-filled church pews had emptied.
TNH has learned that the issue involving Fr. Makris has reached the Ecumenical Patriarchate.