#ChurchToo nuns threatened with exile for speaking out against ‘abusive’ priest
The #churchtoo nuns who’ve become on-line warriors against sexual misconduct in the Greek Orthodox church were allegedly abused by a Brooklyn priest — and then threatened by church officials for reporting him, a report said.
The whistle-blowing Long Island nuns, whose names are being withheld by The Post, were warned they’d be exiled to Greece, according to a letter penned by one of the sisters and published in The National Herald.
The nun wrote that she told the Manhattan-based Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in October 2017 about the “abuse” suffered by her fellow sister “at the hands of … our spiritual father,” the Rev. Gerasimos Makris.
Makris — an imperious figure who insists on his parishioners kissing his hand — is the pastor of the Holy Cross Church in Bay Ridge and supervisor of their Long Island convent. He was also dean of their theology college in Massachusetts.
“We are hurt, disappointed and emotionally distressed that instead of being treated with love and respect and in accordance with the Archdiocese Sexual Misconduct Policy, we have instead been berated, threatened, and treated like accusers instead of victims of abuse,” the nun wrote in the February 2018 letter to Archbishop Demetrios, the head of the Greek Orthodox church in the US.
The nun wrote that Bishop Andonios Paropoulos and his assistant “have threatened both myself and [the sister] with transfer and exile to Greece to ‘learn how to be good monastics.’”
She added how this added to their “spiritual and emotional pain and confusion.”
Makris is the priest at Holy Cross Church in Bay Ridge and was dean of students at Hellenic College Holy Cross, which both nuns attended, according to The National Herald report. As “spiritual father” to the nuns, he would be their supervisor at the All Saints Monastery in Calverton.
A lawyer representing the nuns wrote to both the Archdiocese and Hellenic College Holy Cross in Massachusetts in October alleging “harassment, intimidation, sexual impropriety, sexual assault, failure to report domestic violence and failure to keep them safe,” the Greek newspaper reported.
The nuns declined to speak to The Post.
Makris was removed from the pulpit early last year in the wake of the October 2017 allegation and after he revealed “inappropriate” relations with two other women, Andonios told The Post.
A church “spiritual court” recommended he be banned from Holy Cross, but Andonios put him back anyway in October, telling The Post that parishioners demanded his return.
The outraged nuns — who are on sabbatical from their convent — began a social media campaign posting messages such as “#metoo” and “silence isn’t spiritual” on the Instagram and Facebook pages of their White Field Farm Soap company.
The sisters sell soap and candles to benefit their work with the victims of human trafficking. The posts hinted that they were victims of sexual abuse but were not explicit.
Makris, who can marry but has taken a vow of celibacy, downplayed the accusations outside his church last Sunday, telling The Post: “People use [the term] ‘sexual abuse’ as if somebody is sleeping with somebody.”
Andonios denied the accusations made in the nun’s letter, saying he had spoken with the sister “numerous times on the phone” and she even thanked him for the conversations because “she felt better.”