Letter From Met. Gerasimos to Clergy of the Metropolis of SF

Author: Metropolitan Gerasimos Michaleas
Date Published: 08/31/2007
Publication: Pokrov

[On Letterhead]

Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco

August 23, 2007

To the Reverend Clergy of the Holy Metropolis of San Francisco:

It gives me great pain and sadness to inform you that I have placed the Rev. Michael J. Pappas under suspension for canonical offenses of a serious moral nature, pending an inquiry of the Spiritual Tribunal of First Instance. I know that this news comes as a terrible shock, and I ask that you offer prayers for Fr. Michael, but also especially for the well-being and support of Presvytera Alexandra and their children.

Any time that one of our brother clergy stumbles, we ought to take stock of our own spiritual condition and the health of our relationships, especially our relationship to our spouses and children. I am reminded of the words of our Lord to the people of his day: ”Let the one without sin cast the first stone.” In other words, such occasions represent a call for introspection, not judgment. We must take care not to slip into the sin of pride, believing ourselves impervious to the temptations to which others have succumbed. We must ask ourselves whether we are not liable to fall into the same pit, or into others no less dangerous. And we must look deeply enough to see the ways in which we ourselves have been complicit in the sins and failings of others, whether through our own actions, or through inaction, silence and neglect.

I am therefore writing to implore you that, as you labor in the Lord’s great field, you take care not to neglect to cultivate the garden of your own family. The Lord has not given us to cast Judgment upon others, but rather to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, continuing his work for the salvation of the world. And this work begins, not in the parish, but rather in our own homes. I am certain that you know this well, but I am writing to you as an elder brother to remind you of what you already know, so that we may all bear it mind together. Let us be certain that we support and uphold one another as brothers and coworkers, as we labor together in this most awesome ministry to the people of God.

Please pray for all those affected by this terrible situation, including the members of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of San Francisco, who are devastated by the events that have transpired. And remember me in your prayers, as I also remember each one of you.

Wrth Love in Christ,

[Signed]

+Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco