Karambis Suspension Rescinded

Date Published: 07/27/2010
Publication: Pokrov.org

According to the June-July 2010 issue of the Orthodox Observer, the suspension of Archimandrite Gabriel Karambis was rescinded as of May 12, 2010.

Karambis was assigned to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston, Texas, when he was suspended from the priesthood on December 12, 2008, by Metropolitan Isaiah Chronopoulos. Chronopoulos sent the Karambis case on to the spiritual court of the Metropolis of Denver.

This spiritual court of the first instance sat on December 23, 2008, and concurred with Chronopoulos’ decision to suspend the archimandrite. The court further recommended that the case be reviewed by the spiritual court of the second instance, the synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

According to the letter sent out by Chronopoulos to Annunciation parishioners on December 26, 2008, this suspension “had nothing to do with the parish or the parishioners. His suspension does not pertain to any financial improprieties against the parish, nor to any misconduct involving minors or parishioners.” The metropolitan went on to say that “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.”

As to what aspects of Karambis’ personal life negatively reflected on his position as a clergyman, the National Herald reported that Karambis had three massage sessions at his residence. Shortly thereafter, he was allegedly blackmailed by the masseur over some photographs. A little later a former Antiochian priest also allegedly blackmailed him. Karambis allegedly paid $38,000 to these two blackmailers. The Herald also reported that it was suspected that the former Antiochian priest and the masseur knew each other.

On February 18, 2009, the synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America sat as the spiritual court of the second instance in the Karambis case. The synod confirmed the decision of the spiritual court of the first instance to suspend Karambis from the priesthood. According to the Herald, the synod did not recommend that Karambis be defrocked as was expected, despite the fact that photographic evidence was presented and that Karambis admitted to the events.