Constant Scandals and Secrecy Weaken our Church

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 01/24/2009
Publication: The National Herald

It was really sad for our Church in America to say farewell to the old year and to welcome the new one with another scandal involving one of its clergy, specifically that of Archimandrite Gabriel Karambis.

The speed with which Metropolitan Isaiah and Archbishop
Demetrios removed him during the holy period of Christmas, marks the seriousness of the problem. Metropolitan Isaiah’s clarification in his letter to the congregants of the Annunciation Cathedral of Houston, Texas is really of great interest. He wrote:

“His suspension (Fr. Karambis’) does not pertain to any financial improprieties against the parish or to any misconduct involving minors or parishioners. The reason I relieved him of his duties had to do with his own personal life and how it negatively reflected on the holy priesthood.” The innuendos that Metropolitan Isaiah left flowing with his above statement are truly remarkable.

Firstly, we should say that both Metropolitan Isaiah and Archbishop Demetrios did the proper thing to make the issue public, even during the holiest period of the year. At the same time, the speed with which they dealt with the issue shows that we have arrived to a point that the known verse “the one who saves himself, will be saved” is now relevant.

After all, the friendship and closeness of Archimandrite Gabriel Karambis with Metropolitan Isaiah and also with Archbishop Demetrios is widely known. One should recall Karambis’ leading role during the Philadelphia Clergy Laity Congress in the year 2000. Let us also remember that Fr. Karambis had been nominated in the past for promotion to the Bishopric rank, but we are not going to say anymore on that topic.

Let us not forget either that former Archbishop Spyridon was the one who had tucked Karambis to the Archdiocese using him as some kind of “executor” as in the case of the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral of New York, and also for the cover up of the homosexual incident of that tragic Tsiknopempti party at the men’s dormitory of Holy Cross Theological School, which ended up with the dismissal of the professors.

Unfortunately, we were not able to speak with Fr. Karambis despite our many efforts. Nobody at either his former parish or the Metropolis of Denver seems to know where he is. The impression given is that the earth opened up and consumed him! We do believe that Fr. Karambis should speak publicly and tell his side of the story. As far as the hiding game that both Metropolitan Isaiah and Archbishop Demetrios are playing by not responding to The National Herald’s telephone calls, it truly does not surprise us. Perhaps they might have their reasons for hiding.

There are many in the clergy and the laity of our Archdiocese that ask the following very simple but serious question; if Fr. Karambis was a Bishop or a Metropolitan would he had received the same treatment and such an instantaneous finish? If I am reading the signals well, Fr. Karambis is heading towards defrockment.

How come in other vociferous and known cases involving priests and especially Archimandrites some hierarchs protect and cover them up in visibly scandalous ways and also try to promote to the Bishopric rank? It seems to me that the future will be extremely revealing about many men of the cloth and for many things. We have to be prepared.

We want to believe that the person who can really help our Archdiocese in America is Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself, because the events that are taking place daily are very disturbing. Unfortunately, we are today in the early stages that the Roman-Catholics were in five years ago when they were hit with a dual bankruptcy, spiritual and monetary. They were forced to auction huge real estate properties including churches, schools, and monasteries. Have we not learned from them?

We appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew because the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (fortunately) continues to be an Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne and thus Patriarch Bartholomew is the Archbishop per se of the Archdiocese. Patriarch Bartholomew has assigned the pastoral superintendency to Archbishop Demetrios who is actually the only ruling hierarch of the Eparchy of America, due to the “strange” structure of the Metropolises.

We should be careful because our Church has entered a difficult period. The side effects of the scandals are already showing. I am afraid that the congregants will revolt at some point; they will stop giving to the church and consequently all the small and big ecclesiastical officials will go hungry. The signs are already here and visible.

The churches are empty. The youth is becoming more distant everyday because they cannot tolerate the arrogant behavior of some men of the cloth. We are at the point that if the faithful in a parish find out that their Bishop is going to visit their parish, they do not go the church that Sunday. Something should be done today, tomorrow might be too late.