The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia welcomed the news that the ABC had issued an apology to Archbishop Makarios following an article it published in April concerning Archbishop Makarios. At the time, the ABC had claimed that a group of taxpayer-funded aged care homes – including St Basil’s in Faulkner – funnelled $31 million back into the coffers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia in order to maintain the archbishop’s lavish lifestyle. The investigation pointed to the purchase of a $6.5 million Sydney apartment with harbour views, and claimed that the archbishop’s lifestyle seemed “excessive” for a man who had taken the vow of poverty.
The Archdiocese said it welcomed the ABC’s belated apology “for all the distorting and ultimately slanderous lies it had published in April of this year at the expense of His Eminence, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Greek faithful of Australia”.
In its apology, the ABC stated that it “wishes to clarify that this story was not intended to suggest that Archbishop Makarios of Australia had personally funnelled money from St Basils to the Greek Orthodox Church, or that he had personally spent money intended for aged care on his own lifestyle”.
In a statement issued by the Archdiocese it is stated that by this apology “the ABC confirmed very distinctly the absurdity and unfoundedness of the correlation between both the dire situation which the pandemic caused in 2020 at St Basil’s Homes in Melbourne, and the news agency’s details regarding the financial management of previous years, with the person and mindset of His Eminence, Archbishop of Australia.”
READ MORE: ABC apologises to Archbishop Makarios
The Archdiocese said that the article published by the ABC is now “rendered void in its substance and entirety, since a structural element of its content – from its title even to its final claims – was the unmistakeable correlation of matters unrelated between the events and circumstances, with the reproduction and invocation of rumours and anonymous information”.
The statement printed by the Archdiocese states that the report was based on rumours propagated by “the well-known group of opponents of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, of its institutions, and of Archbishop Makarios personally”.
“This group has, for months now, been engaged in a slander campaign against the local Church and its Archbishop, in a systematic and organised way, because its members have either lost acquisitions or are now deprived of illicit privileges which they had in the past,” the statement said.
Archbishop Makarios, with a “spirit of understanding and forgiveness”, has stated that he accepts the apology of the ABC.
The state broadcaster, funded by Australian taxpayers, will also pay for the legal expenses incurred so far by Archbishop Makarios in an effort to clear his name.
Archbishop Makarios thanked parish presidents, community associations, school principals and all others who wrote to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and other stakeholders within the ABC requesting for the article to be retracted. He also thanked lawyers Sue Chrysanthou, Senior Counsel and Goerge Anton who took on the case and settled the dispute out of court.
Feeling vindicated, Archbishop Makarios, used his position as a church hierarch to wish “enlightenment to the executives and staff of the ABC News Agency, that they may serve the goal of journalism and truth in an efficient manner.”
Neos Kosmos reached out to the ABC for a comment regarding the article, legal costs incurred by the broadcaster and whether the article has been retracted in its entirety, as the Archdiocese suggests, or in part.