In a first for an Orthodox publication, the January, 2016, edition of the Orthodox Observer reported that Father Constantine Mersinas was defrocked on July 15, 2014, for “violation of the Archdiocese Sexual Misconduct Policy.” The Observer is the official magazine of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA).
While the reason for the discipline of a priest is obvious in cases which capture media attention, it can remain hidden in those cases which are not in the public eye. In fact, in the September, 2014, issue of the Observer, it was only noted that Mersinas was “[r]eturned to the status of [l]ayman.”
Pokrov.org suspects that the GOA was pressured into revealing the true nature of the Mersinas defrocking. We commend the person or persons who forced the publication of this important information!
The GOA’s sexual misconduct policy, which has been in effect since 2002, promised that “[e]xcept in unusual circumstances … the disciplining of a Clergyman for Sexual Misconduct should be disclosed to the parish of the Clergyman and to the Church community in general.” (Emphasis supplied.) However, this is the first such notification in 14 years!
Pokrov.org is hopeful that this case will sent a new precedent, and that the GOA Faithful will now be routinely informed when a priest is removed for sexual misconduct.