Undercurrents of scandal have run through the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) following the investigation into a “staff member”.
A number of emails were sent by an unknown sender to numerous recipients (including Neos Kosmos) featuring “inappropriate content” involving a staff member of GOCSA, which is under the aegis of the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of America and Australia
Neos Kosmos contacted GOCSA President Vasilis Gonis and the General Secretary of the community P. Byro to verify the authenticity of the material we received. Mr Gonis responded with a letter.
“On the 13 November, staff and members of the Community (including myself) received an email from an unknown source, which contained attachments in the form of images and communications,” he said. “The images depicted highly inappropriate content and communications, and as such raised matters for the Community that are taken very seriously.”
Mr Gonis said that the Community have:
- referred the matter to the police;
- commenced their own investigation;
- retained external legal and forensic experts to assist in the investigation.
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“A staff member has stood down until the investigation is complete,” Mr Gonis said. “We hope the investigation will be conducted swiftly. Due to the nature of the matter, no further comment can be made.”
Neos Kosmos asked if the “staff member” in question was Bishop Chrysostomos, however Mr Gonis asked for patience until the investigation is complete. Adelaide’s InDaily news site tried to contact Bishop Chrysostomos by phone and text, however did not receive a response. “I can’t speak right now , sorry,” he texted.
Neos Kosmos has also tried to get in contact with Bishop Chrysostomos in order to confirm the identity of the member being investigated and to find out whether he has stepped down from his role.
At this time, Neos Kosmos has decided not to publish the photographs and footage we have in our possession and believe that the GOCSA will operate with transparency in order to protect the reputation of the organisation while being accountable to its parishioners.
Furthermore, the emails make mention of the former deacon Mark, reportedly ordained a few days ago to the role of archimandrite.
Members of the community are asking to know when he was ordained and by whom.
In reporting on this matter Neos Kosmos does not suggest that any illegal activity has occurred by any member or staff of the GOCSA.