- Samuel A. Greene, Jr.
Samuel A. Greene, Jr., founded the Christ of the Hills Monastery (COTH) in Blanco, Texas in 1972.
In 1981, under the guidance of Archbishop Theodore Irtel, an archbishop in the vagante Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis, Greene and the other monks, among them William Hughes, who later became the abbot the COTH and was known as Vasili Hughes, became Orthodox. The monastery also relocated to the Blanco site around the same time.
After Irtel’s retirement, Greene succeeded him as bishop. Greene, along with Father Herman Podmoshensky and Metropolitan Pangratios Vrionis, began to train men from the Holy Order of MANS (HOOM) to become Orthodox priests at COTH’s New Valaam Theological Academy. However, Greene left Vasiloupolis just as the first Order converts were ready to be baptized and the priests to be ordained.
After operating independently for a few years, Greene and his monastery were accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in 1991. Greene was received as a layman, was later ordained, although he did not become a bishop in ROCOR.
Greene and another monk at COTH, Father Jeremiah Hitt, were indicted for indecency with a child in 1999. The charges were that the two men had sexually abused an 11 year old novice at their monastery.
After the charges surfaced Greene and Hitt were suspended by ROCOR.
In 2000 Fr. Benedict pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of the minor and was placed on 10 years probation and fined $10,000.
In 2006 Greene and Hitt were faced with new charges of child sexual abuse. In addition, allegations were also made against three additional COTH monks — Hughes, Father Tikhon Fallon, and Father Pangratios Christley.
Following these new charges, the state of Texas also sought Greene’s imprisonment for violating the terms of his probation.
Greene died on September 16, 2007, a few days before the hearing on the probation violation. His death was ruled a suicide on November 28 of that same year.