Greek church to name interim Denver bishop

Author: Virginia Culver
Date Published: 11/18/1987

A temporary successor to Denver’s Greek Bishop Anthimos, who resigned in the wake of an alleged decade-old sexual affair, is expected to be announced soon by church officials in New York.

Anthimos’ resignation, which has been rumored for days, was made official Tuesday by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, which is based in New York.

In a statement issued by Dimitrios I, patriarch of the worldwide Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul, Anthimos declared himself “innocent and never a participant of any wrongdoing.”

Anthimos, Denver bishop since 1983, said he resigned “for the peace of the church.” He will remain a bishop, but without a diocese to head.

Anthimos, a native of Crete, was accused by the Rev. George Gallas, a Greek priest, of seducing Gallas’ daughter, Despina, in 1979 when the family lived in Pittsburgh and Anthimos was bishop of Boston. Gallas said the bishop forced her into a three-year-long sexual relationship.

The story became public in an article Sept. 28 in People magazine. A bishop or other church official could be named to be interim administrator of the sprawling Denver-based diocese, which covers 14 states and includes 100,000 Greek Orthodox. A possible candidate is Bishop Kallastos, who directs the church’s Athenagoras National Institute, a retreat center between Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyo.

Kallastos, who previously has administered the diocese for interim periods, was unavailable for comment Tuesday. It may be as long as a year before a permanent successor is named.

Gallas, who made the original accusation against Anthimos, also was subjected to an undisclosed church sanction, apparently because he publicly accused a bishop of wrongdoing. In the statement from Istanbul, Gallas asked for forgiveness “realizing the harm which he caused to the church through his inappropriate actions