Met. Paisios’ Accuser Tells TNH His Story
ATHENS – In an exclusive interview with TNH, Spyros Malamatenios revealed new evidence against Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, former Abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, including that he was also sexually abused by him at age 17. Malamatenios is the brother of Bishop Vekentios of Apameia, the Monastery’s former deputy abbot and Paisios’ coworker for more than forty years.
TNH called Paisios twice in Athens, where he has resided since October 2010 – having reached him on both his residence and cellular numbers, but he hung up the phone both times.
Malamatenios, who has just turned 50, said that he challenges Paisios to a polygraph test and to try to dispute the charges in court.
In his interview to TNH in December 2010, Vikentios had made the astonishing revelation that Paisios had sexually abused Malamatenios. He had stated that “while in exile in Greece for a month, I found out even my brother, Spyros Malamatenios, [was one of Paisios’ victims]. He revealed to me everything that had happened to him [since he came to America at 17]. Unfortunately, very bad experiences of sexual harassment by the abbot [is] why he had left after the death of my mother. He had disappeared, and I did not know where he had gone. [When I went to] Greece he told me that he was in Florida and did not want to see and hear anything about the Church and the clergy, nothing whatsoever.”
Malamatenios told TNH about shocking acts of lewdness in which clergy who now belong to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as well as from the Church of Greece had participated.
Malamatenios’ tragic misadventure began in 1979, when his died in Greece and he and his mother moved to the United States to be close to Vikentios – who at the time was an Archimandrite with the Old Calanderist Church. “We lived at 36th Street and 23rd Avenue in Astoria where the offices are today. I was not close to the Church, but my brother, Vikentios, was very strict with me and he wanted me to go to confession to Paisios. He wanted him to be my spiritual father. I had never gone to confession before in my life. Little by little, Paisios approached me during the confession session and said that he wanted to be friends. We sat on the couch and he was drawing near me. Vikentios would go to bed upstairs and I was sitting down stairs in the living room watching TV. Paisios was telling me this is not wrong, that it is not unethical. He was persuasive in brainwashing [to sway you to] his ways.”
Malamatenios, who had been working in the fur business at the time, said that “the first sexual attack from Paisios was in the Spring of 1979. I resisted strongly in the beginning and I pushed him back,” but gradually, he gave in. The sexual activities were taking place in the living room, Malamatenios explained, because his brother slept upstairs and his mother across the hall. “Paisios pressed me to [comply] and threatened me no to say anything to my brother.”
Malamatenios said that other children younger than him were aware of what had happened, “but they did no talk because they knew I was Vikentios’ brother.”
Malamatenios added that a priest currently serving in the Archdiocese would bring young men around in their early to mid-twenties to Paisios, who would pay them to engage in sexual activities. He said that both Paisios and the other clergyman enjoyed watching. Paisios would also encourage him and other boys to have sex with 11 or 12 year-old girls, Malamatenios said. Though Malamatenios declined that prompting, other boys did not.
Malamatenios also recalled when an Archimandrite friend of Paisios had come to New York from Piraeus, and Paisios sent him, the other priest, Malamatenios ,and other boys to see a movie involving homosexual acts.
At some point Malamatenios had left New York. “I had gone to Florida to work because Paisios had become very pressing. I had left the Monastery other times as well, but Paisios made every effort to find me. He was in love with me.”
In 1997 Malamatenios returned to Greece permanently and for some years there was no communication between Paisios and him. Then, “Paisios found in Vikentios’ telephone book the telephone number of our aunt with whom we lived in the same apartment complex, he called and he invited me to go see him in Voula because Vikentios had sent some gifts for our relatives. I went to the apartment and Paisios made advances towards me. We became involved…and Paisios saw that I did not have a permanent job and he paid me…two to three hundred dollars each time that we engaged in …activities.”
Malamatenios added that the former nun Chrystonymphi Fitzpatrick “used to come to Athens and stay with Paisios at the apartment in Voula. I knew her since she was a little girl.”
Malamatenios said that “my life has been traumatized [and] that is why I couldn’t establish a family. My life was taken by Paisios; I did not expect these things to happen to me; I had lost my father, Paisios in the beginning was behaving in a friendly manner. He was telling me that we are friends [and] you can ask me anything you want, but finally everything turned upside down.”
Malamatenios explained that as a minor, he was impressionable and fell for Paisios’ advances, but the relationship that lasted until one and a half years ago was motivated by money – the two or three hundred dollars that Paisios would pay him each time.
He added that he became an atheist “because of the things that I have seen with Paisios and other clergy from everywhere, from Athens too. I know too much.”