Connecticut Priest Placed on Sabbatical by Metropolitan Methodios After Alleged Inappropriate Behavior to Deacon
A Greek Orthodox priest from St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in New London, CT was placed on a three-month sabbatical following an alleged incident that took place at his home with a newly-ordained deacon.
According to sources, the incident was reported to Metropolitan Methodios by Deacon James Whittaker, who visited Fr. Dean Panagos at his home.
When Whittaker arrived, Panagos allegedly stripped nude and got into a hot tub and suggested inappropriate things to the deacon, while inviting him to join him.
On September 13, Panagos sent an email to his parishioners notifying them that he would no longer be serving the parish:
“Dear Parishioners, after deep prayer, discussion with my family and in consultation and with the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios I asked for and have been granted a three-month sabbatical for time in prayer and study. I am leaving the parish of St. Sophia effective September 30th. I will celebrate for the last time at the altar on September 24.
“My time serving you has been most fruitful and a blessing as we have accomplished many beautiful things for the glory of our Lord and our Holy Orthodox Church. May God bless each of you. I will continue to pray for this parish as you strive forward in serving God.”
To date, pending further investigation, Panagos will continue to receive his salary and benefits from the Archdiocese as Methodios did not suspend him, choosing only to grant a 3-month sabbatical instead.