Church defrocks priest

Author: Michael Corkery
Date Published: 01/10/2000

Koveos was convicted for lewd, lascivious conduct

Emmanuel Koveos, the former Greek Orthodox pastor convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct with a girl in his Burlington church, has been removed from the priesthood.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate, the highest administrative body of the Greek Orthodox Church, defrocked Koveos last month.

”This is something the church takes very seriously,” the Rev. Nicholas Krommydas, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston, said Sunday. ”It was a very sad situation for the family and the parish.”

Koveos served a four-month jail sentence after a jury convicted him of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child in February 1998. He was charged with fondling a 12-year-old girl during Greek lessons at the Dormition of the Mother of God Church in Burlington.

Koveos, who lives in Lowell, Mass., said he was saddened by the decision, but maintained his innocence.

”After being brought up my entire life with it, being educated to follow religion and performing sacraments my entire life, I am truly hurt and saddened by this last decision,” he said Sunday in a statement written in response to a reporter’s questions.

A third-generation priest, Koveos was suspended from the priesthood shortly after the criminal charges surfaced in 1997. He said church leaders denied him a chance to defend himself in a spiritual court.

Koveos insisted that ”in my heart, I remain a fully qualified Orthodox priest.” The decision means Koveos can no longer perform church services or other duties of a priest. The diocese notified him of the ruling on New Year’s Eve.

Koveos moved to Vermont in January 1993 with his wife, Joanna, and family, to serve in the Burlington church. He had earlier served in Lowell and Quincy, Mass.; Concord, N.H.; Texas; and Pennsylvania.

”This has not been easy on anyone,” Krommydas said. ”Hopefully, the parish (members) can move on with their lives.”