Patriarchate Has Defrocked Paisios and Vikentios

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 03/29/2012

CONSTANTINOPLE – The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on March 28 unanimously defrocked Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios of Apameia from the high priesthood, relegating them to mere monks.

Paisios traveled to Constantinople and appeared before the Synod to defend himself, while Vikentios remained in New York and stated that he was unable to make the trip due to health reasons. The Patriarchate made its decision because of serious ethical reasons that took place within the Monastery.

TNH broke the news that morning, minutes after the Synod had reached its decision. A little over an hour later, the Patriarchate issued an official news release, which stated that “it is announced that at today’s meeting of the Holy and Sacred Synod, upon the recommendation of the Canonical Committee and after extensive discussion, the penance of defrocking was imposed unanimously because of the canonical trespasses, to Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, former abbot and his deputy respectively, of the Patriarchal Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, NY. They were relegated to the order of the monk.

“The first, [Paisios] appeared in front of the Holy Body [the Synod] while Bishop Vikentios, [remaining] in America, stated inability to respond to the invitation of the Church and failed to appear in front of the Holy and Sacred Synod.”

TNH was unable to reach Paisios for comment, and Vikentios overtly refused TNH’s request accordingly.

Defrocking is the most severe ecclesiastical punishment for clergy of all ranks. According to the ecclesiastical and canonical rules, the hierarchs relegate to the rank of monks and the married priests to rank of the laymen. From now on Paisios Loulourgas and Vikentios Malamatenios will be recognized as simple monks.

The issue first came to light in October of 2010, when Paisios submitted a letter of resignation as the Monastery’s abbot, citing health reasons. TNH revealed shortly thereafter that a man who lived in the Monastery for 13 years had contacted federal and local authorities about clandestine activities, alleging rampant orgies involving young male and female parishioners, including some who had joined the Paisios Order from the time they were underage. The same person also notified the Patriarchate about the allegations, both verbally and in writing.

Young nun Christonymphi Fitzpatrick took off the monastic vows and cassock and returned to the ranks of the laity, and turned over $280,000 in cash and some golden lire to Astoria police.

The following month, November 2010, the Patriarchate sent a three-person Exarchy, headed by Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanelia, to investigate. The Exarchy conducted a long inquiry, at which both the man and Fitzpatrick were among the dozens of persons who volunteered to offer live testimony while being taped. The Exarchy then presented all of the evidence to Bartholomew.

In an exclusive interview to TNH in December 2010, Vikentios made stunning allegations about Paisios, including charges that the Metropolitan sexually abused the Vikentios’ brother, Spyros Malamatenios, who was 17 at the time.