The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (GOAA) announced in a statement this afternoon that Fr Eleftherios Tatsis (known affectionately by his followers as ‘Papa Lefteris’) has been officially defrocked.

Neos Kosmos was unable to speak directly with the cleric but hope to include his position on the matter of his laicisation in due course.

The announcement of the GOAA states among other things:

“The Holy Archdiocese of Australia informs the holy clergy and the Orthodox people of the fifth continent that, by decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the penalty of removal from the rank of priesthood was imposed on the former cleric Mr Eleftherios Tatsis for a series of ecclesiastical and canonical offences to which he fell.”

“Therefore, the appointed cleric, by decision of the Orthodox Church, returned to the rank of the laity and has lost the privilege of wearing the priestly garb, as well as the right to perform the Holy Mysteries and the Divine Liturgy,” it read.

Photo: Supplied

“The aforementioned development occurred as a result of the long-standing irregular behavior of Mr Eleftherios Tatsis, who, with successive delinquent actions and aggressive public positions, attacked the Orthodox Church, His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop, the Bishops and the brothers of the clergy, even going so far as to create a ‘church’ of his own, officially and voluntarily cutting himself off from the canonical and sole Orthodox Church.”

“Despite our Most Reverend Archbishop Makarios pursuit with sincerity, paternal anxiety and earnestness the pacification of his soul, his repentance and his return to the Body of the Church,” it continued.

“Following this, out Holy Archdiocese is obliged to remind its pious and philanthropic flock that all the Holy Mysteries and every act of service (Holy Liturgies, Holy Masses, Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals etc.) that may be performed irregularly by Mr Tatsis are invalid and to be considered not born of the canonical Orthodox Church.”

“That is to say, nothing more of what Mr Tatsis does will be recognised by the Orthodox Patriarchates, the Archdiocese, the Metropolises, the Monasteries of Mount Athos and the other Monasteries of the Orthodox Church,” it states.

“Also, on the basis of the Holy Canons, those who take part in Mysteries and other acts performed by Mr Tatsis cut themselves off from the canonical body of the Church, that is, they excommunicate themselves and therefore cannot be accepted either for the Mystery of Holy Communion, nor for the other Mysteries, nor certainly for the other Masses, such as the funeral, from the regular parishes and churched of the Archdiocese.”

“Our Reverend Archbishop and the other clergy of our local Church wish and pray for the repentance and return of Mr Eleftherios Tatsis,” it concludes.