The National Herald - May 24, 2008

Eparchial Synod Meets in New York

By Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON – |Archimandrite John Heropoulos, the top confidant and director of the private office of the former Archbishop, Spyridon, is leaving the holy priesthood. He has already petitioned to be defrocked to the ranks of the laity as was discussed during the recent two day meeting of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese in New York on Wednesday and Thursday, May 7 and 8, 2008. All eight Metropolitans were present at the meetings. Archbishop Demetrios informed the members of the Holy Synod that Archimandrite Heropoulos had requested in writing to leave the priesthood for personal reasons. The Archbishop tried to convince Fr. Heropoulos to reverse his decision, but he sent the Archbishop a second letter telling him that his decision is final. The process for Fr. Heropoulos’ defrockment is already underway at the Archdiocese.

Fr. Heropoulos, who has been a priest for about 20 years, had already left his parish of St. George in Hartford, Connecticut for some months now and currently lives in the Boston area. Fr. Heropoulos had donated one of his kidneys to a young Greek American boy, saving his life five years ago.

The Synod decided the reinstatement of defrocked priest John Theodore to the active priesthood and ministry of the church. Fr. Theodore had been defrocked e few years ago for alleged ethical and sexual reasons. The reasoning behind the reinstatement of Fr. Theodore was that “he has repented” and also “to give him a second chance.” Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver supports him wholeheartedly. The Holy Synod had discussed Fr. Theodore’s case in its meeting on March 2007.

The Synod discussed the recent case of retired priest Fr. Anthony Moschonas from Arizona who was accused by an 18 year-old Ukrainian Orthodox girl of sexual misconduct. Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco assured the Synod that Fr. Moschonas has been placed on liturgical suspension and that the situation is being handled.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate declined a request by the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese to promote retired Bishop Philotheos of Meloa to the honorary title of Metropolitan. The issue was also discussed at the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate a few months ago.

The Eparchial Synod discussed cases of problematic priests who are considered unassigned due to the fact that they create problems in the parishes that they were assigned to in the past.

They discussed the issue of Hellenic Paideia, the seminars in Crete and in Cyprus. Reservations were expressed about the assignment of teachers from Greece. It was said that some of them are positive ideas, while some others are not fitting for the Greek Schools of our communities. Special mention was made about the recent visit of the Minister of Education of Greece Evripides Stylianidis to Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. The Synod also negatively discussed the Teachers Association and its activities under SAE, headed by Mrs. Stella Kokollis. Some hierarchs, among them Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, suggested that Mrs. Kokollis be utilized by the Archdiocese. Metropolitan Alexios spoke positively about Mrs. Kokollis and mentioned that she was the one who organized the successful celebrations and events for the Hellenic Paideia during the late Archbishop Iakovos Archbishopric ministry.

[ The National Herald - May 24, 2008 - p. 4 ]
[ The National Herald - - May 23, 2008 ]