Vice Chairman of GOA’s Archdiocesan Council Addresses Status of Monasteries

Date Published: 11/30/2012

In remarks to the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) on October 18, 2012, Michael Jaharis, Vice Chairman, addressed the status of the GOA’s monasteries. In his address, Jaharis mentioned the suicide of Scott Nevins at Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence, Arizona.

The excerpt on the monasteries is pasted below. The complete text of Jaharis’ address is linked above.

“Finally, a regrettable and most distasteful subject i.e the current status of monasteries in their relationship with the US Church.

In the US, the monasteries fall within the scope of the Charter and have certain obligations not unlike those of each Metropolis and each Parish. Over the years, it has become regrettably noticed that with respect to many monasteries, the tendency was to ‘flout’ its obligations under the Charter and to go beyond the traditional role of the ‘monastic ideal.’ Sometime ago, a Committee was formed to review and examine several such matters and persisting rumors. Suspicions, however, of irregularities and of existing improprieties, and lack of cooperation, made it impossible for the Committee to further act beyond initial observations. In the meantime, a monastery situated in New York City and reporting directly to the Patriarchate and the not to the Archdiocese (because it belongs to the category of Stavropegial) was accused of inappropriate, unethical, and disgusting activities. Steps have been taken by the Patriarchate to remove those responsible for such unacceptable and reprehensible misconduct. However, the matter still remains in a (volatile) status of potential danger. We are very fortunate that these incidents have received only local publicity; but while the US Church has no authority nor ability to rectify the deplorable and condemnable matters mentioned in this particular case, it could probably be unfairly cast with the shame of the circumstances alleged at this Monastery – and, not to mention, the traumatic scars inflicted on the alleged victims and their families who are members of our community.

Lastly, as a result of a recent horrible fatality of a young person in the immediate area of a monastery in Arizona, we feel compelled to take extraordinary measures to determine the ‘bizarre’ circumstances surrounding that fatality. Following a complete and objective investigation and in conjunction with the expected report by the local Police, we expect to take severe and appropriate action as required to remedy this existing issue – since not doing so could have long term grave consequences. If we are to ‘bear fruit’ as a faith we have to make certain to guard our garden from disease.”