On Unordained Monastics Hearing Confessions (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

NOTE: The following article is excerpted from the First Epistle of St. Symeon the New Theologian, entitled A Treatise to a Spiritual Child about Confession and who they are that have received authority to bind and loose as regards:


…The possibility of making our confession to a monk who has not received the order of priesthood, ever since the vesture and clothing which is the mark of repentance was given by God to his inheritance and they were called ‘monks’, this you will find to have been open to everybody, as is written in the divinely inspired writings of the fathers. If you study them you will find that what I am saying is true. Before there were monks, bishops alone used to receive the authority to bind and loose, by right of succession, as coming from the divine apostles. But with the passing of time and with the bishops becoming good for nothing, this awe-inspiring function was extended to priests of blameless life and accounted worthy of divine grace. And when these also were infected with disorder, priests and bishops together becoming like the rest of the people, and many of them, as is also the case now, falling foul of spirits of deceit and idle chatter, and perishing, then this function was transferred, as I said, to the elect people of Christ, I mean the monks. It was not withdrawn from the priests or bishops, but they deprived themselves of it. ‘For every priest is appointed as a mediator between God and men in things pertaining to God,’ as Paul says, ‘and he is bound to offer sacrifice, as for the people, so also for himself.’ But let us start our discourse further back, and observe whence, and how, and to whom, this authority to perform sacred rites and to bind and loose was originally given. And thus step by step the solution which you asked for will also become plain, not for you alone, but for everyone else as well.

…They were the specially chosen eleven, and when the doors were shut, and they were assembled together within, he came and stood in the midst of them. He breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whosesoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; whosesoever sins you retain, they are retained. And at that time he enjoined nothing on them as to penances, for they were to be taught by the Holy Spirit. As then I have already said, the holy apostles in succession passed on this authority to those who were also the occupants of their throne, while none of the rest dared even think of such a thing, thus did the Lord’s disciples scrupulously guard the right to this authority. But as we said, with the passing of time the unworthy were mixed and mingled with the worthy, and they strove for pre-eminence one against another. Indeed, after the occupants of the apostles’ thrones showed themselves to be carnal men, lovers of pleasure and glory, and after they fell away into heresies, the divine grace abandoned them as well, and this authority was withdrawn from such men. Accordingly, as they have given up everything else which those who perform sacred rites ought to have, what is demanded of them is merely this one thing, orthodoxy—and not even this, in my opinion, since someone who in modern times refrains from surreptitiously introducing a dogma into the Church of God is not thereby orthodox, but an orthodox is someone who has achieved a mode of life consistent with right doctrine. And it is he or a similar man whom the patriarchs and metropolitans down the ages either were looking for but never came across, or in place of whom, if they did find him, they preferred an unworthy man. They demanded only this of the man, that he should produce the confession of our faith in writing, and in him they welcomed only this, his being neither zealous on behalf of goodness, nor as regards evil an opponent to anybody—as if thereby they were securing peace for the Church, when that state of things is worse than all hostility and a cause of great confusion.

As a result of this, then, the priests became good for nothing, and as the Lord said, they have become like the people. For they did not reprove, hold in, and restrain, but rather they excused and covered up one another’s passions, and the priests themselves became worse than the people, and the people worse than the priests. Yet some of the people were even revealed as better than they, being seen as burning coals in the gloomy darkness round the priests. If indeed the priests had, in accordance with the Lord’s word, been shining like stars through their mode of life, and like the sun, the burning coals would not have appeared resplendent but would have looked dim by reason of that stronger light. But when only the clothing and vesture of the priesthood was left amongst men, the gift of the Spirit passed to monks and was disclosed by miraculous signs, because through what they did they were following the apostles’ mode of life. Yet there too the Devil again performed his characteristic work, for when he saw them, how they were proclaimed in the world as new disciples of Christ once more, and how they shone both through their mode of life and through their miracles, he mingled false brothers amongst them, his own tools. And having little by little increased in number, they became good for nothing, as you see, and they have come to be monks who are not really monks at all. So then the right to forgive sins has not been granted by God either to those who are monks in virtue of their habit, or to those who have been ordained and included in the order of priesthood, or to those honoured with episcopal rank—I mean patriarchs, metropolitans, and bishops—simply in this way and by reason of their ordination and the dignity it confers. Far from it! For it is only the performance of sacred rites which has been conceded to them, and I think not even that to most of them, in order that thereby they may not be burnt up, being grass, but [the right to forgive belongs] only to those amongst priests, bishops, and monks who can be numbered with the companies of Christ’s disciples because of their purity.

By what then will those who are included amongst the men previously described recognize themselves with certainty, and those searching for them do so? It will be by what the Lord taught us when he spoke as follows: These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues—this is the divinely inspired teaching of the Word—;they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them;and again: My sheep hear my voice; and again: By their fruits you will recognize them. What fruits? When Paul reckons up the greater number of them, he speaks thus: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, temperance, and together with these there is compassion, brotherly love, mercy, and the qualities that accompany them, and besides them a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, endowments with power to perform miracles and very many others, which are all the work of one and the same Spirit, distributing them to each person as he wills. So then those who have come to have a share in these endowments, whether in them all or partially, as is expedient for them, those were included in the company of the apostles, and there also those like them now being made perfect are included. However, it is not only by these endowments that such people can be known, but also by the way they live their lives, for it is thus that with greater certainty both those seeking such a man will recognize him, and also each person of this kind will recognize himself: for example, if in likeness to our Lord Jesus Christ they considered being made contemptible and humiliated not shameful but the greatest glory; and if, like him, they displayed obedience to their fathers and guides with no dissimulation, and even more to those giving them injunctions in spiritual matters; if from their very soul they loved dishonour, insults, reproaches, and abuse, and welcomed those who inflicted these upon them as people supplying them with great benefits, and from their very soul prayed for them, with tears; if they considered all glory in the world worth nothing, and everything in it refuse;—and why prolong my discourse by saying many things?—if he has practised every virtue designated in the holy Scriptures, and likewise every good work, and has recognized his progress as regards each one of them, and the level he has reached, and if he is being raised to the height of divine glory; it is then that he both knows himself to have become someone who participates in God and his endowments, and he will be known as such by those who are clear-sighted, or even by those who are half-blind.

And thus men of this kind would confidently tell everyone: We are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as if God were appealing to you through us, Be reconciled to God. For all such men have kept God’s commandments unto death, they have sold their possessions, distributed them to the poor, and followed Christ through their patient endurance of temptations, and for love of God they have lost their souls in the world and found them again for eternal life. And finding their souls, they have found them in a light which is spiritual, and in this light they have seen the light unapproachable, God himself, according to that which stands written: In thy light we shall see light. How then is it possible for someone to find the soul that he has? Pay heed. Each person’s soul is the silver coin which was lost, not by God, but by each of us, because he immersed himself in the darkness of sin; and Christ, who truly is light, has come and, in a way that only he knows, has met with those seeking him, and allowed them to see him. This is what it means for a man to find his soul: to see God, and in his light to become higher himself than all the visible created universe, and to have God as his shepherd and teacher. And in the power of God he, if you like, will both know how to bind and loose, and also because he has certain knowledge of this, he will worship the Giver, and he would impart the benefit of it to those needing it.

I know, my child, that to such men authority to bind and loose is given by God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, to those who are God’s sons by adoption and his holy servants. I was also myself the disciple of such a father, who had received no ordination from men, but who, by the hand of God, or that is to say, by the Spirit, admitted me to discipleship, and who /ordered me to receive in the right way, by means of the traditional form, the ordination which is from men. And let us pray, brothers, that we also may become men of this kind, in order that we may be participants in God’s grace and receive authority to bind and loose sins, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom it is right to ascribe all glory, honour, and worship, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

…ordered me to receive in the right way, by means of the traditional form, the ordination which is from men, being moved for a long time by the Holy Spirit towards this by his vigorous love. Therefore, brothers and fathers, let us pray that we may first become men such as this, and thus speak to others about deliverance from passions and receiving the disclosure of logismoi. Let us seek for a man of this kind as our confessor, or rather let us seek for diligent men such as this, men who are disciples of Christ, and with heart-felt anguish and many tears, for a specified number of days, let us beseech God to open the eyes of our hearts so that we may recognize one, if someone such as this is to be found in this evil generation. Let us do so in order that, having found such a man, we may receive forgiveness of our sins through him, while obeying his precepts and commandments with all our soul, just as he, by giving heed to those of Christ, has come to share in his grace and his gifts, and has received from him the authority to bind and loose sins, being inflamed by the Holy Spirit, to whom it is right to ascribe all glory, honour, and worship, with the Father and the Only-begotten Son, throughout the ages. Amen.

St Symeon the New Theologian

Additional note

Here and elsewhere Symeon fails to distinguish between two different kinds of succession: that which is ecclesiastical and authenticates contemporary bishops as rightful official successors of the apostles, and the different kind of apostolic succession which is manifested in personal holiness and is the mark of genuine spiritual fathers, ordained or unordained.

St. Symeon is convinced that without a personal experience of Christ, no one should dare to give absolution. Similarly, if one has not been enlightened by divine light, one should not presume to listen to other people’s disclosures of their logismoi, and teach and guide them.

St. Symeon does admit that priests have authority to forgive sins. Rather inconsistently, however, he then at once maintains that this is given only to those whom he is prepared to call really good priests, giving a detailed description of their character and behavior. It is they who have this authority, ‘and not those who obtain from men merely their election and their ordination’.

In his Catechism, St. Symeon says priests that live holy lives certainly have authority to pronounce absolution, while he explicitly denies that ordination could just by itself bestow this qualification. While bishops and priests were intended to have the authority, Symeon says in this letter that they deprived themselves of the right. On the other hand, he was convinced that all genuinely spiritual men do have the necessary qualification for giving or withholding absolution. St. Symeon declares that since many bishops and priests had been found lacking in spirituality, authority to absolve has been extended to monks, but only, of course, to such as are truly spiritual.

In spite of his severe criticism of unworthy priests and bishops and of his assertion that unordained monks, if truly spiritual men, might give absolution, St. Symeon was himself a priest.

The typikon of the monastery of Theotokos Evergetis, founded in 1048 or 1049, provides for the hegumen to authorize some of the priests, deacons, or pious brethren to receive the confessions of their logismoi made by the less educated monks and to forgive them. And an apparently unordained monk who heard confessions appears in The Life of St Andrew the Fool.

Krivocheine remarks that Symeon’s position ‘was never officially approved by the Orthodox Church and was practically forgotten over the centuries . . . However, it was never condemned by the Church, directly or indirectly, nor was it rejected by clerical opinion, particularly in monastic circles . . .’ (In the Light, p. 139).


Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick, Priest at St. Irene Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Monastery (NY)

NOTE: The following article is taken from the Paisios Scandals blog and St. Nektarios Monastery Tumblr page

Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick
Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick

As a father to his daughter how can he stand by and not only watch, but allow Metropolotan Paisios get away with all of his horrendous actions?

Father Iakovos’ daughter was once a nun at Saint Irene Chrysovalantou. She became a nun at the young age of 14 and one must wonder if as a father he ever wondered about her decision and whether it was truly her own decision or not. Fast forward many years later as all this controversy surrounds the ex abbot of Saint Irene (Metropolitan Paisios) and Father Iakovos’ daughter (formerly Sister Chrystonymfi), one continues to wonder how much he really knew and whether he has acted in the best interest of his daughter or not.

[Note: Young nun Christonymphi Fitzpatrick took off the monastic vows and cassock and returned to the ranks of the laity.].

See: Nun Charges Paisios Abused Her Daughter and Bishop Vikentios Levels Shocking Charges Against Metropolitan Paisios and Predators in Our Midst

Fr. Iakovos daughter, Catherine, became a nun at 14 (she is now a lay person).
Fr. Iakovos daughter, Catherine, became a nun at 14 (she is now a lay person).

Father Iakovos continues to serve at Saint Irene Chrysovalantou, however not once has he openly confronted the situation regarding his daughter and the former abbot. He is as human as the rest of us though and it can be said that every individual might handle such a situation differently than the next. One way to handle this would be to channel the hurt and anger the ex abbot has brought upon his daughter, his family, himself, and the surrounding community by coming forth in acknowledgment of the situation and outwardly speaking up and leading the community in fighting against the ex abbot. Someone else however, like Father Iakovos in this specific situation has done, might handle it in a much quieter fashion, choosing to avoid the topic almost as if ignoring it ever happened.

The big question though is, how could Father Iakovos possibly continue to show up and serve in front of the very community that knows very well what has happened as they were also affected by it? How can he show up and continue to completely ignore the disgraceful events that transpired and rocked this community and this church and his family to its core? As a father to his daughter how can he stand by and not only watch, but allow Metropolitan Paisios get away with all of his horrendous actions??

One is left only to wonder what kind of a force could cause a man to keep such silence. I could think of a few things in this world that has made many a man make some pretty bad decisions, but the very first assumption that comes to mind is unfortunately money.

Fr. Iakovos Censing (Palm Sunday 2013)
Fr. Iakovos Censing (Palm Sunday 2013)

NOTE: Fr. Iakovos use to bring his family to St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY. The writer of the above piece makes an accusation of money buying silence. At the time when Fr. Iakovos visited the monastery (early 2000’s), he and his family lived in abject poverty. They were essentially off the grid, used solar power for their energy, etc. They lived a very Bohemian lifestyle.

The abbot of St. Nektarios Monastery once visited their property and was horrified as he had never seen anything like it before. He felt very sorry for the children who were subjected to  live in such squalor and poverty. Thus, he would always make an effort to give the children sweets when they visited the monastery, as well as alms of basic surpluses to the Fitzpatrick family in general. 

Fr. Iakovos also introduced another priest to the St. Nektarios Monastery, Fr. P. He was later defrocked for having carnal relations with some of the young women who went to him for confession. The monastery had hired this priest to do some carpentry work but did not pursue his services afterwards.

On December 19, 2013 Fr. Iakovos and Presbytera Deborah, along with 7 (of their 11) children, lost their home and all their belongings in a terrible home fire. By the grace of god, no one was hurt. A GoFundMe was created on January 19, 2014 in an attempt to raise $50,000 to replace the Fitzpatrick home.

Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick with fireman


“Weeping” Icon in Toronto Greek Schismatic Church Exposed as Fraud (Joe Nickell, 1996)

On September 1, 1996, an icon in a non-canonical, schismatic Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto[1], Ontario, Canada, began to “weep.” CSICOP paranormal investigator Joe Nickell was invited by the Toronto Sun to the site for a promised opportunity to examine the “miracle.” However, permission to conduct an examination was subsequently withdrawn, but Nickell’s observation of the icon (actually a color photographic print) persuaded him that the substance was probably a non-drying oil (e.g., olive oil) applied to the surface. It was not freshly flowing and did not emanate from the eyes.

From the Toronto Sun, September 4, 1996 article, entitled, Expert unmoved by crying icon’s tears: 

Dr. Joe Nickell of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, came here from Amherst, N.Y., to study the phenomenon in an East York Greek Orthodox church at the request of The Toronto Sun.

“It’s a far cry from anything looking vaguely like a miracle to me,”  said Nickell, whose group was founded in 1976 by Carl Sagan and other leading scientists.

“I’m troubled by the fact I was not allowed to get close to it and the fact I was refused a sample of the tears,” he said, after spending 15 minutes inside the Glebemount Ave. church run by controversial priest Father Ieronimos Katseas.

Church officials had earlier promised The Sun a chance to remove the Madonna print from the wall so it could studied, but at the last minute changed their minds – saying they would only agree to do so on live TV.”

The icon of the Virgin Mary which had been “weeping” from the crown area of the head since September 1996.
The icon of the Virgin Mary which had been “weeping” from the crown area of the head since September 1996.

As it happened, the priest had formerly preached at a church in Queens, New York (St. Irene Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Church), which had also been embroiled in a controversy over a weeping icon[2]. Worse, he had been defrocked for having worked in a brothel in Athens, Greece[3].

Subsequently, Nickell was re-invited to Toronto— this time by the Greek Orthodox parent church authorities who had regained control of the church. With a police fraud squad detective standing by, and two constables posted outside, Nickell examined the picture and took samples for the lab to analyze. He told the media, “There is nothing that distinguishes this icon from a fraud.” (See Joe Nickell, “Something to Cry About: The Case of the Weeping Icon,” Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 1997, pp.19-20.)

This display shows photographs from that event. At the left is a votive candle and at right some oil-soaked cotton recovered by Nickell from the site.


Also see Joe Nickell’s video.


1. The Holy Synod in Resistance, of which this parish was a part (under the Archdiocese of Etna (California)), united itself to the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece and formally ceased to exist.

2. An icon of St. Irene began crying and drawing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, some as far away as India and Japan. More than a year later, after that icon had been investigated by NY Area Skeptics who concluded that the phenomenon was bogus, the icon was stolen at gunpoint. Supposedly, Fr. Ieronymos Katseas refused to cooperate in producing the key to the Plexiglas case that housed it and was pistol-whipped, after which the bandits broke the lock and made off with the “miraculous” icon. It was subsequently returned— minus $800,000 in gems and golden jewelry that decorated it—under conditions that still remain controversial (Christopoulos 1996).

3. Fr. Ieronymos Katseas was also defrocked in 1993 when it was learned he had previously worked in a brothel in Athens. A church document on the priest’s excommunication states that a New York ecclesiastical court found him guilty of slander, perjury, and defamation, as well as being “in the employ of a house of prostitution” (Goldhar 1996). In fact, in 1987 sworn testimony before a Greek judge, Fr. Ieronymos Katseas admitted he had been so employed (Magnish et al. 1996).

Also,  shortly after this 1993 excommunication, he refused to leave the parish in Toronto to which he had later been assigned. This parish was in the midst of financial difficulties when the icon began to weep as well, and was also attacked by Greek Orthodox leaders. Fr. Ieronymos Katseas also owed C$95,000 in back taxes and mortgage payments.

Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas, & Irene in Toronto, Canada.
Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas, & Irene in Toronto, Canada.

Also see:

Connie Hargrave, Visit to the Weeping Madonna Icon in Toronto, (March 1997)

Joe Nickell, Adventure of the ‘Weeping’ Icon (2001)

Toronto Star, Church of ‘weeping’ Virgin headed by defrocked priest (September 4, 1996)

Toronto Sun, Icon of Virgin Weeps in Toronto (September 1, 1996)

Toronto Sun, Priest’s 2nd ‘Miracle’; $800Gs From ‘Crying’ N.Y. Icon Stolen (September 8, 1996)


Figure 10.1


Saint Irene Chrysovalantou Icon in Queens, NY (Joe Nickell)

Joe Nickell is an expert in exposing and debunking "paranormal" and religious frauds.
Joe Nickell is an expert in exposing and debunking “paranormal” and religious frauds.

Another Greek Orthodox icon seems to have caught the weeping condition while on loan to the Chicago Greek Church of St. Athanasios and John the Baptist. This began on October 17, 1990, when the icon of St. Irene Chrysovalantou, patron saint of the sick and of peace, supposedly began to cry immediately after a service for peace in the Persian Gulf. Returned to its home (the church of a breakaway Orthodox faction) in Astoria, Queens, New York, on October 23, the icon attracted additional thousands of pilgrims over the following days as it was reputed to continue weeping.However, the tears dried after the Gulf War ended.


Although an investigation was refused at the time, on May 11, 1991, I was able to examine the icon, under rather limited conditions, in company with members of the New York Area Skeptics (NYASk). A previous NYASk ultra-violet examination had revealed only some streaks and markings that were clearly not the result of weeping. Our examination included stereo-microscopic viewing which also failed to show traces of any tearstains.Subsequently, forensic analyst John F. Fischer and I obtained a videotape of the earlier, October 1990, phenomenon. At first we regarded the evidence as too ambiguous to assess, but further study indicated that there were wet-looking streaks that seemed to have been on the painted panel rather than the clear plexiglass cover. It appeared to us that the two “rivulets” flowed down the face just to the outside of the eyes and that the scale of the “tears” was greatly disproportionate to the diminutive size of St. Irene’s face. These observations suggested to us a rather crude hoax.4


A curious sequel to the story of the St. Irene icon came just before Christmas 1991. On December 23, three armed men and a woman burst into the church, forced two priests and four others to lie on the front altar, pried the icon from its case, and fled. Whether they sought the icon for its alleged powers, or for the estimated $800,000 value of its gold frame encrusted with jewels, could only be speculated upon. Said Bishop Vikentios:

Only we need the icon back, we don’t care for the gold of the jewels. It is a holy icon, it is a miracle icon. She is the patron saint of peace. We don’t know why the Lord allowed this to happen.6

Within a few days, however, the icon was returned—although missing the frame and most of its jewels—anonymously through the mail.

A final (?) episode in the icon saga came when representatives of the mainstream church—the traditional Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America (mentioned earlier in the stonewalling of the 1986 Chicago weeping-icon case)—suggested that the breakaway faction that owns the icon might have staged the theft as a hoax. “We have doubts about the tears and so on,” added the archdiocese’s press officer. To what appeared as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, members of the breakaway Greek Orthodox Christians of North and South America, responded that the other church was simply envious of the icon.7

…I witnessed a different illusion when I examined the St. Irene icon in Queens, New York. The glistening varnish and certain surface irregularities created a play of light that produced the appearance of weeping. A religious supplicant predisposed to see tears could, especially if carrying a candle, see in the resultant glimmering in the tiny eyes, aided by vertical cracks and other streaks, the effect of tears.Aided in part by the sad expression of St. Irene, we easily experienced the illusion of seeing tears welling up in the saint’s eyes, although a low-power stereo microscope showed us the true state of affairs.9



Nickell, Joe, “Magical Icons.” Chapter 3 of Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures, 1993, pp. 54-55, 57.

Mireya Navarro, “Saint’s Weeping Portrait Draws Curious and the Faithful,” New York Times, November 5, 1990.

See Joe Nickell, “Weeping Icon Revisited—Still Dry-Eyed,” The New York Skeptic (Newsletter of the New York Area Skeptics), Summer 1991, pp. 6-7.

Examination of St. Irene videotape, conducted at Gotha, Florida, by Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer, August 6, 1991.

“Congregation Prays for Return of Stolen Icon,” Newark Star-Ledger, December 24, 1991.

“Greek Factions Duel over Theft of the Icon,” Newark Star-Ledger, January 2, 1992.

Nickell, “Weeping Icon Revisited,” p. 7.



"Looking for a Miracle" exposes religious frauds mainly in the Catholic Church, though it has a section on Orthodox icons mainly from Old Calendarist factions.
“Looking for a Miracle” exposes religious frauds mainly in the Catholic Church, though it has a section on Orthodox icons mainly from Old Calendarist factions.

See also:

November 20, 1990: N.Y.’s weeping icon draws area faithful http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-11-20/news/1990324110_1_greek-orthodox-church-weeping-icon-irene

October 31, 1990: St. Irene: Looking For A Miracle http://www.qgazette.com/news/2007-06-27/features/089.html

December 24, 1991: Queens Church Robbed of ‘Weeping’ Icon http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/24/nyregion/queens-church-robbed-of-weeping-icon.html

1991 Dec. 24, St Irene Icon

December 25, 1991: Faithful Pray for New Miracle To Aid Stolen ‘Weeping’ Icon http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/25/nyregion/faithful-pray-for-new-miracle-to-aid-stolen-weeping-icon.html

December 28, 1991: Church Robbed of Icon Gets Prank Calls http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/28/nyregion/church-robbed-of-icon-gets-prank-calls.html

December 29, 1991: Astoria Sings Joyful Praises as a Lost Symbol is Found http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/29/nyregion/astoria-sings-joyful-praises-as-a-lost-symbol-is-found.html

December 29, 1991: ’Weeping’ Icon Returned to New York City Church http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/29/nyregion/weeping-icon-returned-to-new-york-city-church.html

1991 - St Irene Icon

December 30, 1991: ’Weeping’ Icon Returns To Prayers of Celebration http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-07-17/news/9407170365_1_icon-church-sanctuary-cigna

January 1, 1992: Story of the Weeping Icon Divides Greek Orthodoxy http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/01/nyregion/story-of-the-weeping-icon-divides-greek-orthodoxy.html

January 1, 1992: Doubt Cast On Story Of `Weeping Icon` http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-01-01/news/9201010099_1_st-irene-chrysovalantou-bishop-vikentios-greek-orthodox-archdiocese

July 15, 1994: Questions of Belief Arise Once Again Over `Weeping Icon’ (WSJ) http://www.skepticfiles.org/skep2/iconstol.htm

July 17, 1994: `Weeping Icon’ Goes To Court, Church Sues Insurer For Refusing Its Claim http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-07-17/news/9407170365_1_icon-church-sanctuary-cigna

December 23, 1996: Relic Brings Clout and Miracle Seekers to a Queens Church http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/23/nyregion/relic-brings-clout-and-miracle-seekers-to-a-queens-church.html

August 12, 1998: Church Says Burglar Sought Saint’s Icon http://www.nytimes.com/1998/08/12/nyregion/church-says-burglar-sought-saint-s-icon.html


February 1, 2001: Astoria Greek church’s icon recovered after theft http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2001/5/20010201-archive65.html

November 9, 2010: Sister Christonymphi Speaks to Police Regarding St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Astoria http://www.monomakhos.com/sister-christonymphi-speaks-to-police-regarding-st-irene-chrysovalantou-monastery-in-astoria/

November 16, 2011: Burglary at St. Irene Chrysovalantou Church in Astoria http://ocl.org/burglary-at-st-irene-chrysovalantou-church-in-astoria/


Paisios Loulourgas, Metropolitan of Tyana and Vikentios Malamentenios, Bishop of Apameia (NY)

NOTE: Metropolitans Paisios and Vikentios and their monastery, St. Irene Chrysovalantou, were not part of Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries. However, after they were received into the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America—it is rumored that they paid the Patriarch a large sum of money for the privilege—the two started to visit St. Anthony’s Monastery periodically. When they visited St. Anthony’s Monastery, they would also give sermons in the main Katholikon after a service (even Vespers). The speeches were always the same: Zionists, Freemasons, New World Order, Jewish conspiracies of world domination and destroying Greece and the Orthodox Church. The same rhetoric they used in their newsletters. Interestingly, shortly after their re-ordinations in 1998, the two Metropolitans apologized to the Jewish community for their anti-Semitic publications (see below). Yet, throughout the 2000s, they preached the very things they apologized for in the main church at St. Anthony’s Monastery.

Orthodox Observer May 1998

The following article is taken from: http://stnektariosmonastery.tumblr.com/post/102741630916/paisios-loulourgas-metropolitan-of-tyana-and

AJC Welcomes Statement By Greek Orthodox Old Calendarist Church Repudiating Anti-Semitism

The American Jewish Committee welcomes the recent statement by leaders of the Greek Orthodox Stavropegial Church and Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou which expresses regret for the use of anti-Semitic remarks and stereotypes in its Church body newspaper, The Voice of Orthodoxy.

The May 21st statement of Metropolitan Paisios, whose group is based in Astoria, New York, noted that in 1993 and 1994 “our publications did indeed reflect an unenlightened attitude toward Jews, perpetuating some anti-Semitic myths whose origins extend back to medieval times. We categorically deny these lies, and genuinely seek forgiveness for having communicated such un-Christian sentiments. We categorically reject all forms of anti-Semitism.”

Bishop Vikentios, another leader of the group also known as the Old Calendarist Church because it follows the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar, echoed the Metropolitan’s views. “We are saddened and deeply ashamed by these past statements regarding Jews. We not only repent these statements,” the Bishop said, “but understand the true nature of our relationship to Jews and to people of other faiths.” He further acknowledged that his Church body has expressed views about Jews and Judaism “which we now know to be false.”

Commenting on these statements, Rabbi A. James Rudin, National Interreligious Affairs Director of the American Jewish Committee, said: “The expressions of regret on the part of Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios represent a necessary first step in purging their group of the ugly pathology of religious anti-Semitism.

“What is needed now, after public repentance, is to translate the message of these statements into the daily spiritual life of the Old Calendarist Church and all its members. This is especially true in areas of preaching and teaching on the local level. Such statements issued by church leaders, welcome as they are, must always be followed by concrete actions and full implementation in all aspects of church life.”

Rabbi Rudin added: “The American Jewish Committee recalls with deep appreciation the powerful words spoken last October at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, when he repudiated anti-Semitism and called the Holocaust an ‘icon of evil.’”

An AJC Leadership Delegation met with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul last February.

Rabbi Rudin concluded: “The AJC also appreciates the vital efforts of Archbishop Spyridon, the Primate and spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, to build mutual respect and understanding between our two faith communities. For its part, the AJC looks forward to continued cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Church in the future.”


The Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox  Church procession led by BishopVikentios of Apameia.
The Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox
Church procession led by BishopVikentios of Apameia.

Below is a brief, albeit incomplete, chronology of the “feats” of these two Metropolitans:

April 23, 1998: Archbishop Spyridon officially receives Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios https://web.archive.org/web/20100613060136/http://goarch.org/news/goa.news617

May 4, 1998: One Calendar or Another, Greek Orthodox Heal Rift http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/04/nyregion/one-calendar-or-another-greek-orthodox-heal-rift.html

October 11, 2010: Was Metropolitan Paisios’ Resignation from St. Irene Monastery Forced? http://elgreca262.blogspot.ca/2010/10/was-metropolitan-paisios-resignation.html

October 28, 2010: Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana Said to Be Under Investigation by FBI and Local Police http://www.jlaforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=57116189

Oct 30, 2010: Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana Said to Be Under Investigation http://nftu.net/metropolitan-paisios-of-tyana-said-to-be-under-investigation/

November 5, 2010: New York monastery scandal hits Greek Church http://byztex.blogspot.ca/2010/11/monastery-scandal-hits-greek.html

Nov 5, 2010: Metropolitans Paisos and Vikentios on Trial http://nftu.net/metropolitans-paisos-and-vikentios-on-trial/

November 7, 2010: Patriarchate Sends an Hexarchy to Chrysovalantou Monastery http://www.greeknewsonline.com/patriarchate-sends-an-hexarchy-to-chrysovalantou-monastery/

November 8, 2010: Astoria Nun Alleges Sexual Harassment, Hands Over $500,000 http://usa.greekreporter.com/2010/11/08/greek-nun-makes-sexual-harassment-allegations-hands-500000-to-the-police/

November 9, 2010: Met. Nikita Leads Investigation: Fox Guarding the Henhouse? http://www.monomakhos.com/met-nikita-leads-investigation-fox-guarding-the-henhouse/

December 2, 2010: Fanar accepts resignations of Paisios and Vikentios, appoints acting abbot http://www.greeknewsonline.com/fanar-accepts-resignations-of-paisios-and-vikentios-appoints-acting-abbot/

December 19, 2010: Bp. Vikentios accuses Bp. Paisios of perversion (Are they even real Bishops?) http://www.monomakhos.com/bp-vikentios-accuses-bp-paisios-of-perversion-are-they-even-real-bishops/


December 21, 2010: Accusations fly after New York monastery scandal breaks http://byztex.blogspot.ca/2010/12/accusations-fly-after-new-york.html

January 1, 2011: Patriarch Bartholomew Gets Letter of Complaint on Paisios Conduct http://christianchildabuse.blogspot.ca/2011/01/law-firms-letter.html

January 5, 2011: Patriarch Bartholomew to Bishop Vikentios: Leave the U.S. Now http://www.monomakhos.com/patriarch-bartholomew-to-bishop-vikentios-leave-the-u-s-now/

January 13, 2011: Nun Charges Paisios Abused Her Daughter http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/01_02/2011_01_13_Kalmoukos_NunCharges.htm

January 30, 2011: Paisios, Vikentios Out, New Trustees in, Legal Battles Loom – Updated http://www.monomakhos.com/paisios-vikentios-out-new-trustees-in-legal-battles-loom-updated/

February 23, 2012: Paisios and Vikentios are Summoned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate – New Abbot Elected http://www.jlaforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=129769707

March 22, 2012: Met. Paisios’ Accuser Tells TNH His Story http://www.monomakhos.com/predators-in-our-midst-2/

March 29, 2012: Patriarchate Has Defrocked Paisios and Vikentios http://www.pokrov.org/patriarchate-has-defrocked-paisios-and-vikentios/

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously defrocked Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikenios of Apameia from the priesthood, relegating them to mere monastics.
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously defrocked Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikenios of Apameia from the priesthood, relegating them to mere monastics.