Nuns start social media campaign using #ChurchToo hashtag after their priest returned to Brooklyn pulpit despite admitting to ‘inappropriate’ encounters with women
- The two Greek Orthodox nuns began their social media campaign in October
- It came as Rev. Gerasimos Makris returned to Holy Cross Church in Bay Ridge
- Makris came back despite a ‘spiritual court’ recommending he be banned
Two nuns have become #ChurchToo activists after their supervisor was allowed to return to his Brooklyn church despite admitting to ‘inappropriate’ interactions with women.
The Greek Orthodox nuns, who have not been named, began their social media campaign in October when Rev. Gerasimos Makris was reinstated at Holy Cross Church in Bay Ridge, the New York Post reports.
Makris admitted to ‘inappropriate interactions’ with two women and was allowed to return to his post despite a ‘spiritual court’ recommending he be banned, according to the newspaper.
On October 10, as Makris was returning, the two nuns began their social media campaign.
Wearing their habits, they posted pictures of themselves on Instagram holding signs saying #ChurchToo, #silenceisntspiritual and #endrapeculture among others.
The most recent post, shared on Sunday, showed one of the nuns holding a sign saying #challengethestatusquo.
‘It’s time for us all to challenge the corruption that has become status quo in our country, local communities [and] especially our faith communities,’ the caption added.
‘Many will try to silence those of us who rightfully stand up for truth, who stand for [and] with the abused, exploited, neglected ones, but we will never stop!’
In a post shared in November, the two nuns are seen holding up a sign saying #ChurchToo.
‘Fact: sexual abuse is real,’ the post’s caption said.
‘It happens in our families, our local communities [and] even our faith communities, in every Christian denomination including the Orthodox Church.
‘You don’t believe it? Then open your eyes, ears, heart [and] if you’re brave enough, stand up [and] open your mouth!’
The posts were shared on the Instagram page for White Field Farm Soap Co. – an enterprise where the nuns work to train and provide employment to female survivors of human trafficking.
The allegations against 51-year-old Makris, who insists on his parishioners kissing his hand – surfaced in 2017.
A woman said she felt ‘unnecessarily uncomfortable’ with her interactions with the priest because of ‘hugs lasting too long etc. but nothing overtly sexual,’ Bishop Andonios Parapoulos, the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Church, told the Post.
The bishop added that Makris was ordered to have no further contact with the woman.
But then, in a meeting, Makris revealed he had ‘inappropriate’ interactions with two other women and was immediately suspended.
Parapoulos said he told the Holy Cross community that Makris wouldn’t return after admitting to ‘inappropriate relations’ with two women. He didn’t mention the third woman, according to the Post.
But the bishop claimed Makris was reinstated because the parishioners demanded his return.
‘I would not have returned a clergyman to his former parish after what transpired but out of pastoral sensitivity to the desires of the overwhelming numbers of parishioners who sought his return,’ he said.
The bishop also claimed he had not seen the nuns’ social media campaign.
And it’s not the first scandal to hit the Holy Cross Church.
The church’s former leader, the Rev. George Passias, was defrocked after his affair with a married school principal he impregnated was revealed by the Post.
The #ChurchToo hashtag is an offshoot to the #MeToo movement, a global reckoning of alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men against women.