Priest is Defrocked, but the GOA Doesn’t Really Want Us To Know About It

Author: Paul Cromidas
Date Published: 05/17/2005

The Toledo Blade newspaper reported last week that Fr. Gabriel Barrow of the Houston area had been defrocked by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The article is posted in today’s issue of this website. Fr. Barrow had also been removed as a priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in a Toledo suburb, prior to joining the Greek archdiocese.

It would appear that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) had no intention of saying anything about this action, however, let alone the reasons for it. The article states that the Patriarchal action took place several months ago. A look at the archdiocese’s website shows no press release or other announcement about the defrocking. The archdiocese should have had the decency to inform the faithful of the action and the reasons. A Spiritual Court hearing was held a year ago at which at least two men testified that Fr. Barrow had molested them when they were younger. There have been no public statements from the archdiocese since then. For the GOA to now try to keep this defrocking quiet and “in house” is deplorable and shameful. Had the Toledo paper not contacted the GOA, the news of the defrocking would still be largely covered up. Information is also available on the website, which is devoted to victims of abuse in the Orthodox Church.

The archdiocese seems to be saying, “case closed.” The faithful should be saying, “not so fast.” Having written several articles about the case of Fr. Barrow, I can say that there remain many unanswered questions about this matter, even with the news of the defrocking. These have to do mainly with the role of bishops in having allowed Fr. Barrow to transfer from one archdiocese to another. There still needs to be accountability on the part of the bishops involved, and I, for one, as a member of the diocese that Fr. Barrow served, will be writing further about that issue.

(Before his retirement, Mr. Cromidas was executive director of the Dallas Family Guidance Center.)