Priest accused of sex abuse blows off claims in return to pulpit
The Greek Orthodox priest who was allowed to return to his flock despite admitting to “inappropriate” contact with two women casually waved off the charges as he left services at his Brooklyn church Sunday.
“I’m happy I’m back in my church, and I never bothered them,” the Rev. Gerasimos Makris said outside his Holy Cross Church in Bay Ridge.
Makris’ public denial comes after he confessed to “inappropriate interactions with two adult women” to an archdiocese “spiritual court” that decided he should be banned from the pulpit last year.
Makris — an imperious figure who insists parishioners kiss his hand — engaged in “inappropriate” creepy conduct such as hugs that last too long, though it was not overtly sexual.
He was allowed to return to his ministry in October, however, leading two nuns in a Long Island convent — who are technically his underlings — to turn to social media to protest him by posting hashtags such as “#MeToo” and “#ChurchToo.”
Sunday, the priest tried to downplay the allegations against him saying: “People use [the term] ‘sexual abuse’ as if somebody is sleeping with somebody.”
Makris’ return comes after a group of parishioners lobbied the church to reinstate the popular 51-year-old to the pulpit.
“I don’t claim to be perfect. I have my faults,” he said as he hopped into his beat-up red Honda Elantra and quickly tried to leave the services. “I’m saying [the women are] exaggerating things.”
Pressed to clarify exactly what happened with the women who accused him, Makris said, “You have to ask them.”
The two women have yet to be publicly identified, though one is said to live in Brooklyn, while another lives in Massachusetts, where Makris served as a dean at the Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology prior to taking over his Bay Ridge congregation in 2007.
The church was also once led by the Rev. George Passias, who was de-frocked after The Post revealed that he had impregnated a married parochial school principal with whom he’d shared an affair and a “cake-crushing” fetish.
Parishioners on Sunday largely defended Makris and his return — despite the fact that the nuns were waging an online campaign to stop him.
When asked about the movement by the nuns to protest his return, the embattled holy man responded with a shrug.
“I have no idea what the #ChurchToo movement is,” said Makris, who blamed everybody but himself for the fallout, including society — and The Post.
“Your sexual innuendos in your newspaper lead people toward sexuality,” he insisted. “When you guys put and sell women with bathing suits and stuff like that, that’s OK, but when a priest was a human being also … let’s make a newspaper article.”
Ultimately, no matter what you want to say, my conscience is clear.”