TORONTO – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto released an announcement regarding the allegations that were made by the Greek Community of Toronto.
The full text of the announcement:
“In response to recent false and misleading media reports, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada) categorically and confidently asserts that the statement of claim filed by the Greek Community of Toronto (GCT) is baseless and wholly without merit.
The latest attempt by the GCT against our Metropolis is recognized by all for what it is: yet another desperate attempt to divert attention from the issues it faces and discredit our Metropolis.
The spurious allegations made against our Metropolis are not grounded in fact and we eagerly await the opportunity to zealously defend ourselves using the appropriate process through Canada’s justice system.
As we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of Christ, our Metropolis remains unwavering in its commitment that the truth will prevail; we will continue to advance the spirit of love and unity that characterizes this time of year and ask the Greek Orthodox faithful to do the same.
Metropolitan Sotirios has never appointed sex abusers as clergymen, as is claimed by the GCT and in media reports. Moreover, Demetre Tsevlikos was appointed by the late Archbishop Iakovos in 1975 to the Church of St. Irene Chrysovalantou, which was not a GCT-administered parish at that time. Once allegations against Demetre Tsevlikos were received, Metropolitan Sotirios immediately relieved him of his priestly duties.
Ioan Popp has never been appointed a clergyman in any parish of our Metropolis, as is claimed by the GCT and in media reports.
Bishop Georgije Djokic has never been defrocked, as is claimed by the GCT and in media reports. A statement by the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Canada issued on December 15, 2017, confirms this. (Read original letter.)
Our Metropolis has always followed and adhered to the highest financial accountability and transparency requirements consistent with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Neither the Metropolitan nor the four priests assigned to GCT-administered parishes have ever personally benefitted from donations made to the community, as is claimed by the GCT and in media reports.
The four priests (Rev. Frs. P. Philippou; P. Avgeropoulos; K. Pavlidis; and, S. Vitouladitis) assigned to GCT-administered parishes are exemplary clergymen, married with children and wonderful families who selflessly serve our communities with dedication.
Our Metropolis paid the agreed upon $10,000 to the Global Angel Charitable Organization for the transportation of baby Alexander Karanikas from Greece to Canada, which has been confirmed by the charitable organization.
In an April 13, 2011, letter from the GCT, signed by its executive (President N. Georgakopoulos; Secretary-General G. Kakarelis; and, Vice President G. Nikopoulos), the GCT agreed to pay its debt to the Metropolis and from then on would contribute to the Metropolis as all parishes do according to the decisions of the Clergy-Laity Assembly, which is the highest legislative body of the Metropolis for non-theological issues. (Read original letter.)
Members of the Philoptochos (women’s auxiliary) who did not keep their oath of office have never been excommunicated, as is claimed by the GCT and in media reports. According to the Holy Canons of the Church, they should go to Confession and only then receive Holy Communion.
Our Metropolis will vigorously defend itself and its reputation in court, and request media organizations retract the false allegations published against our Metropolis, Metropolitan Sotirios, and others”.