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Archdiocese Might Appoint Fr. Melackrinos to a Parish Again

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Fr. Luke Melackrinos

Source: The National Herald

Theodoros Kalmoukos

NEW YORK – His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in an interview with The National Herald about Rev. Luke Melackrinos from St. Paul parish in Hempstead, NY did not rule out the latter’s appointment in a parish. Bishop Andonios said that “if the psychologist tells me that Fr. Melackrinos can minister as a priest and there is no danger to repeat the same things again, I will appoint him, why not?”

Melackrinos – who is married and a father of three – was placed on suspension from all his liturgical and administrative duties as presiding priest at St. Paul’s for sending inappropriate photographs of himself to a female parishioner electronically. Melackrinos was serving at the parish since 2006.

The congregants, especially the youth were distressed, because they held him in high respect and esteem.

Melackrinos continues to dwell in the parish home, he works as a salesperson and sees two psychologists. The interview follows:

TNH: Your Grace what is going on with Fr. Luke Melackrinos from St. Paul’s parish? Can you provide an update?

BA: Fr. Melackrinos continues to see a psychologist and I am waiting to see his report. He goes to the psychologist to whom I sent himand he also sees another psychologist.

TNH: Does he see two psychologists?

BA: Yes, yes, for a period of time his presbytera was going as well, if I remember correctly. But Fr. Melackrinos goes once a week to the psychologist, and I am waiting to see his report.

TNH: When is the psychologist going to give you his report?

BA: The psychologist told me it would take at least six months.

TNH: Does Fr. Melackrinos continue to live in the parish home?

BA: Yes he lives in the parish house, but he has found another job to support his family.

TNH: What kind of a job does he do?

BA: I think he is a salesperson, I don’t know exactly. We talk, but I didn’t have a chance to ask him. You know he pains and he is ashamed of what has happened.

TNH: Is there any possibility to appoint him again as a priest to a parish to Liturgize, to preach, to advise children?

BA: If the psychologist tells me that he can be appointed and that there is no danger to repeat the same things again, I will appoint him, why not? He will continue seeing a psychologist often, because we want to be sure that he is not going to repeat the same things again.

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8 Comments

  1. Ross S. Heckmann on

    Unreal. Are there people still out there who are unfamiliar with, and/or have learned nothing from, what happened to the Roman Catholic Church when they deferred to the judgment of psychologists and returned to ministry persons guilty of sexual misconduct? If the same mistakes are made, we may expect the same results.

  2. Anthony Carris on

    Ross S Heckmann, I would ask you to read and digest my reply. I personally know Fr. Luke Melackrinos and at Saint Pauls Church Father was an outstanding fully active Spiritually directed Parish Priest. He is married to a woman who with three children are Christ centered…and with her family Priesthood background she set an example of Piety as well as Humility. They were all loved and respected. The “evil one” who has chosen to destroy so many Bishops and Priest of good intentions set his cross hairs on Fr Luke. Yes Father Luke who was given status and high ratings from all including his Bishop became vain or puffed up. From his lack of humility he fell like the Prophet David with Bathsheeba. St. David suffered with his conscious and through great internal sufferings he reached out to God and truly repented. With repentance comes humility and then forgiveness and forbearance. I also have sinned and I can not throw the first stone; All I can do is forgive the sin and be forbear ant. The good Bishop Andoni with approvals from all including Jesus Christ will give Lukas another opportunity to serve so he may redeem his honor and soul. We all need to love the sinner for we are sinners and his wife Matushka and children need us to forgive the family. Fr. Luke who the Orthodox world now knows will be allowed to Shepard his flock but all will be with love observing his Path to dignity and the Crown. I in my own family have had a fallen Priesthood with great consequences to the family, Church members and a scandal to the Church of Christ. Your brother in Christ, Andoni…acarris@icloud.com

  3. George D. Karcazes on

    Brother Anthony,

    It appears that you and Mr. Heckmann are like the proverbial “two ships passing in the night”. He is talking about an “institutional failure” and you are talking about “forgiveness and personal redemption.”

    We all know that we live in a fallen world and that “Christ alone is without sin.” It is likely true that “every Saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” The convicted and confessed serial killer entering the execution chamber (or spending the rest of his earthly life in prison, without the possibility of parole) may have sincerely repented, and may be judged accordingly when facing “the awesome judgment seat of Christ”. That judgment is not ours to make. That doesn’t mean that the criminal justice system should be abandoned and wrongdoers turned over to psychiatrists and behavioral scientists!

    The issue raised by Mr. Heckmann is whether the Church as an “earthly institution” can maintain.. indeed, deserve to have.. the confidence of the faithful, if it demonstrates an inability (or refusal) to police itself.

    When I graduated from law school in 1960, complaints against lawyers were handled by Bar Association panels composed only of lawyers. Few lawyers were disciplined. The reaction of the public was heard by the profession and as a matter of principle (and self preservation) Independent Commissions, including non-lawyers, were created to hear complaints. Police Review commissions, with non-police members, have been created to hear complaints against police. The Catholic Church (referred to by Mr. Heckmann) suffered, and continues to suffer significant damage from its clergy sexual abuse scandals because it left the discipline of errant priests solely up to Bishops, in a system cloaked in secrecy.

    The issue raised by Mr. Kalmoukos in his TNH article is whether this particular priest [or any priest in similar circumstances] should be returned to the “status of layman” [the euphemism the Archdiocese uses instead of “defrocked”.. which does a disservice to priests who leave the priesthood without having done anything wrong]. Or, should they be allowed to return to active ministry, where they could possibly cause further harm to others. More precisely, the issue impliedly raised by Mr. Kalmoukos is whether that decision should be left solely to the Bishop and the “psychiatrists”?

    The issue here goes beyond the possible harm an errant priest can inflict on others, it goes to the harm that this process has on the Church itself, as an institution. Until a credible, transparent and impartial process is established to deal with clergy discipline the Church will continue to receive “no confidence” ratings from more and more of the faithful. At a meeting with members of OCL’s first board of directors, the Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago said: “If Christ wanted the Church to be perfect, he would have sent Angels to run it!” While we ponder those words, I believe that it is fair to say that neither Mr. Kalmoukos, nor Mr. Heckmann [nor I] expect the administration of the GOA to be “perfect”. We should all just be working to make it a bit “more perfect” than it is right now. Meaningful lay participation and transparency and accountability in Church governance are issues that everyone should support. The Patriarch, Archbishop, Metropolitans and Bishops should want it more than anyone. Hopefully they will realize it.. soon.

    Your friend, and fellow Papou,
    George

    • Pelagia Gilchrist on

      The statement by the Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago makes me wonder. Did not Christ teach, “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect”? Are we not to struggle toward theosis, especially those who are charged with tending the flock? Is not the Bride of Christ, including her “administrators”, to be presented as perfect to Her Groom? If we do not struggle toward the perfection of the Saints and Holy Angels, do we not adulterate the Body of Christ with the passions of the fallen world?
      Lord, forgive me a sinner and have mercy on us.

  4. Pelagia Gilchrist on

    Is not the Church The Hospital for spiritual sickness? Perhaps, I have misread the article. In addition to a secularly trained pyschologists, how is The Church providing spiritual medicine? As a trained counselor, I know that modern psychology has limited efficacy with regard to spiritual passions. Indeed, look around at our increasingly degeneratering culture. Much of what we see has been fomented by modern psychology. Is suspension from clerical duties the spiritual medicine which will help Fr. Melackrinos? He sent inappropriate photos of himself (sexting?) to a female parishioner. Certainly this is uncontrolled lust. Given what Christ said, does it also constitute adultry? Moreover, does not Fr. Melackrinos’s passion/sin impact his entire parish, especially the young people who esteemed him so highly? How is the Church caring for the grave spiritual injury done to them and to Fr. Melackrinos’s family? Using King David as an example: Yes, by his repentance and God’s grace, David was forgiven and restored, but do not forget the death of his infant son conceived in adultry. Such was the consequence to the child as a result of his parent’s sin. And the consequence continue to play out in the lives of David’s other children: rape, murder, rebellion. This curse continued until finally the entire nation fell into captivity. Who am I but a mournful sinner, and I cannot stand in judgement of Fr. Melackrinos. I pray that he completes his life “in peace and repentance with a good defense before the great judgment seat of Christ.” Given the far reaching injury his passion inflicted on the body of Christ, perhaps Fr. Melackrinos’s struggle toward theosis is better accomplished as a lay person, without the added spiritual struggle our priests suffer. As a lay person, Fr. Melackrinos could still do a powerful good work for the body of Christ. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!

  5. Anthony Carris on

    Christ is in our Midst, Pelagia you are truly a woman of God…thank you for your comment of Fr Luke and your Christ centered thoughts. I wish to thank you and William for your efforts to help sustain Be The Bee for the beniefit of my twenty one Grandchildren who are Orthodox Christians struggling in this secular fallen world….I dream of Farther Luke living an Ascetic life on Mt Athos under an Elder who will bring back grace to his heart. May he end first while others will end last. I pray his wfe and family survive this moment and move to a place where emphathy and love abounds. Your brother in Christ, Papou Andoni acarris@icloud.com

    • Pelagia Gilchrist on

      Dear Brother in Christ Papou,
      I am humbled by your kind and gracious words. I pray for the Body of Christ, that as we each struggle toward theosis, we love, help, and pray for each other. I know I need spiritual medicine, and our gracious Lord administers it to me in the form of cancer. The disease of my body humbles me, focusing my attention on the eternal consequence of all my choices and, I pray, heals my soul.
      Glory be to God in all circumstances.
      Unworthy Handmaiden of the Lord,
      Pelagia

    • Pelagia Gilchrist on

      Dear Brother in Christ Papou,
      Glory be to God for the treasures of your grandchildren. As I witness our nation, and, indeed, western culture edge closer to the abyss, it is our children and grandchildren who will suffer great spiritual attacks, if not outright persecution. We must do all we can to strengthen them for the battle. Our church leadership must maintain a Godly, protective hedge around the Body of Christ, even when this means administering strong spiritual medicine which the fallen world would see as “unloving” and “unfair.” I think the medicine you dream of for Fr. Luke is very wise. How wonderful it would be for him to experience such transformation. What a great comfort and healing that would bring to his family, his parish, and the greater Body of Christ. God preserve our monasteries. They shine light against the ever encroaching darkness.
      Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.
      Unworthy Handmaiden of the Lord,
      Pelagia

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