Former Greek Orthodox Priest Nicholas Katinas Passes Away at 75

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 06/06/2009
Publication: The National Herald
Nicholas Katinas, former pastor of the Holy Trinity Greek Chruch.
Nicholas Katinas, former pastor of the Holy Trinity Greek Chruch.

BOSTON – Nicholas Katinas, the defrocked Greek Orthodox priest and former pastor of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas, passed away on Monday, June 1 at the age of 75. He was at the center of one of the most serious child sexual abuse scandals of recent years in the Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese of America and the Greek American Community.

Mr. Katina’s death was made known late in the evening on Monday, June 1 by an e-mail which was send by the Holy Trinity parish. The message read that “The entire Holy Trinity family would like to expresses their heartfelt sympathies
and condolences to Presbytera Angela Katinas, Manuel Katinas, Father James Katinas, Stephen Katinas, Matthew Katinas and Maria Fotopoulos along with their families on the falling asleep of our past priest, Nicholas Katinas, who fell
asleep in the Lord June 1, 2009. Trisagion and Funeral information will be forthcoming. May His Memory be ever Eternal.”

A telephone call was made by The National Herald to Rev.
Christopher Constaninides, current pastor of the Holy Trinity parish. Fr. Constantinides refused to speak and hung up the phone. He had served for many years as the assistant priest under Katinas at the Holy Trinity Church and had provided a deposition about Katina’s alleged activities involving pederasty.

Fr. Constantinides, however spoke to the “Dallas Morning News”, and said “I have no details as to how he passed away or where,” adding that “funeral information would be forthcoming once he consulted with the family.”

There was no information immediately available about where
Mr. Katinas died. Some sources reported that he was living for a period of time on the island of Rhodes, where his family has its roots. There were also reports that he was living in Florida.

The sexual misconduct case against Mr. Katinas began to unfold early in 2005 when one of his victims called the hotline of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and reported that his former priest had engaged in pederasty. The then-chancellor
of the Archdiocese, Bishop Savas of Troas, initially handled
Katina’s case.

The issue became public in 2006, when Mr. Katinas was forced
into retirement for “reasons of health.”

He was removed from the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Denver under Metropolitan Isaiah and was transferred to the Direct Archdiocesan District of New York under Archbishop Demetrios of America.

Rev. Michael Kontogiorgis, Assistant Chancellor of the Archdiocese, visited the Holy Trinity parish in Dallas, Texas on February 21, 2007 and told the congregation in his sermon about Mr. Katina’s alleged sexual abuse of minors, leaving
the congregation in shock. Mr. Katinas had served the parish for 28 years.

Two days later, on February 23, 2007, the Archdiocese issued an official news release calling the situation “tragic” and stating, among other things, that “the Rev. Fr. Nicholas Katinas, formerly the pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox
Church in Dallas, Texas, has been suspended from all priestly functions, effective July 5, 2006.

After a thorough investigation of allegations of serious misconduct involving minors, Fr. Katinas was suspended in accordance with the Archdiocese’s Statement of Policy
Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy. As a result of the suspension, Fr. Katinas can no longer perform any liturgical, sacramental or other priestly functions. The suspension,
in accordance with existing Canon Law practices, is valid
for all Orthodox Christian jurisdictions.”

The Archdiocesan news release also stated that “parish administrators of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church were notified of the suspension in July 2006. On February 20
and 21, 2007 further information regarding the suspension was communicated to the Holy Trinity community during an official visit by the Rev. Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis, Assistant Chancellor of the Archdiocese.”

The news release included a statement by Archbishop Demetrios stating that “this necessary disciplinary action was taken with deep sorrow and pain.” The Archbishop also stated that “we grieve for those who were affected by the misconduct. We also grieve with Fr. Katinas, his family and
with those whose lives were positively influenced by his priesthood. We fervently pray for healing for all involved in this tragic situation.”

During that time, Archbishop Demetrios refused to send Mr. Katinas to Spiritual Court in order to start the process of defrocking, saying that Mr. Katinas’ wish was “to be buried as a priest when he departs from this life.” The Archbishop, however, relented and finally sent Mr. Katinas to Spiritual Court after feeling pressure as a result of statements and interviews made to The National Herald by clergy and laity of the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Demetrios convened the Archdiocese’s Spiritual Court of the First Instance, which recommended that Mr. Katinas be defrocked. Bishop Savas of Troas, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, chaired the spiritual Court at the Archdiocesan headquarters in New York on June 15,
2007. Its members were Assistant Chancellor Rev. Michael Kontogeorgis, former Executive Director of Communications for the Archdiocese and current Dean of the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral of New York, Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos, Rev. George Stavropoulos of the Holy Trinity Church in Hicksville, New York, and Rev. James Moskovitis of the Annunciation Church in Manhattan.

Mr. Katinas did not attend the Spiritual Court.

On July 11, 2007 the Ecumenical Patriarchate defrocked Katinas and returned him to the ranks of the laity.

As the National Herald has stated in many of its articles, Katinas was considered one of the most prominent and successful priests of the Archdiocese. He had served initially
for nine years as a priest at the Dormition of the Virgin Mary
Greek Orthodox parish in Olympia Fields, Illinois before he was transferred to Holy Trinity Church in Dallas, Texas.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has entered into an out of
court settlement with five of Katinas’ alleged victims. Other cases were filed pertaining to the Olympia Fields parish. The settlement amount was not made public, but officials of the Archdiocese said that “it is in the millions.”