The Rise and Fall and Rise of Bishop Anthimos (Various Newspaper & Magazine Articles)

NOTE: Bishop Anthimos of Olympos has played an interesting role in the history of St. Anthony’s Monastery. He was very close with the late Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco; they both came from Crete. In Arizona, one of the monk’s was ordained a priest by Bishop Anthimos. Though Geronda Ephraim begged Metropolitan Anthony to perform the ordination, the Metropolitan had to leave and told Geronda that Bishop Anthimos would do it. Geronda Ephraim had a lot of anxiety over this as he was not sure if it would be a canonical ordination due to Bishop Anthimos’ past. However, after the ordination, Geronda Ephraim told his monks that he was praying the whole time and saw the angels present and the Holy Spirit come down and  thus it was a blessed and valid ordination. Over time, this narration has split into two interpretations amongst the monastics. 1. Geronda Ephraim prayed and saw via his vision that this ordination was valid. 2. Geronda Ephraim did komboschoini and his prayer is what validated the ordination. Even when Bishop Anthimos has visited other monasteries under Geronda Ephraim the superiors have noted that technically he’s not a bishop, but they still receive and welcomed him with the traditional bells and the monastics waiting to take his blessing.

Bishop Anthimos in his younger years.
Bishop Anthimos in his younger years.

Given the recent forced departure of tenured and other clergy from their teaching posts, and the troubling signing of a contract to buy a house for Archbishop Spyridon by a priest using Church funds without legal authority, we asked the question: “How does it come to pass that a Greek Orthodox clergyman in America can’t finally use the courts if all else fails?”.   Clergy tell us point blank that they fear for their pension and health benefits and being defrocked from the priesthood should they sue.  Searching legal records on the topic led us to the profoundly troubling case of Bishop Anthimos of Olympus.  As a result of a startling accusation of clergy sexual misconduct against Bishop Anthimos by the daughter of a priest whom later Bishop Anthimos made his chancellor in Boston while the alleged affair was yet in progress, the Archdiocese in the late 80’s promugulated a rule which forbade priests from suing the Archdiocese. His Grace Anthimos Bishop of Olymposa A review of the history raised several very troubling questions.  Below is a chronology from June of 86 through December of 97 which completes a cycle wherein at first Bishop Anthimos was so successful as to be the chairman of a clergy – laity congress, then is accused of sexual misconduct splashed all over the national media and removed from service by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to the Archdiocese escaping legal liability only through intimidating the priestly victimized family in to delaying suit until after the legal statute of limitations had passed, following that is a quiet period wherein sources tell us Bishop Anthimos served quietly in  the Archdiocesan offices in New York–until suddenly and amid unanswered questions he left there to be with his Halki schoolmate Bishop Anthony of San Francisco on the other side of the country; and last year completing the circle and acting once again officially as an Orthodox Bishop, disbanding parish councils and acting officially for Metropolitan Anthony.

Archbishop Spyridon with Bishop Anthimos of Olympos Annunciation Cathedral, Boston November 28, 2010

This story has eerie parallel ties to current events regarding the attempt to cover up the sexual molestation at Holy Cross, the intimidation of presbyters to silence amid defrockment threats should the courts be employed, and the pains to which the Church will go to effect the “rehabilitation” of a Bishop or Archimandrite .  The “Reporting” column of the National Herald frequently writes of “the club”, now that meaning seems more evident.    Also, by way of contrast, consider the speed with which a married Presbyter, such as Fr. Anthony Nicklas, who thought due to special circumstances he had permission to remarry from both his Bishop and the Patriarch himself, was bounced from his parish and from his teaching job at Holy Cross into a hotel night clerk for doing so by Archbishop Spyridon and Metropolitan Methodios– and told by Fr. Heropoulos, assistant to the Archbishop, that even though not found guilty by a spiritual court and not assigned to a parish would nevertheless have his due Archdiocesan health benefits terminated both for himself and his family.

Metropolitan Gerasimos and Bishop Anthimos (2008 Dance)

A chronology of the relevant news articles in summary with full text links follows:

Metropolitan Evangelos of NJ assisted by Bishop Anthimos of Olympos
Metropolitan Evangelos of NJ assisted by Bishop Anthimos of Olympos

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