A post on social media by a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Panagia Kamariani in Red Hill went viral amongst members of Melbourne’s Greek Orthodox Community on 15 August, causing turmoil.

According to a Facebook user, Father Lefteris Tatsis allegedly turned his Tuesday celebratory sermon into anti-gay marriage hate speech saying that he himself “would shoot dead anyone who is gay and wants to get married with a shotgun he keeps in the back”.

The post that has now been taken down was shared by numerous members of the Greek community asking for an apology or an explanation.
Neos Kosmos contacted both the priest and the archdiocese spokesperson yet we received no answer.

Father Lefteris, however, gave an interview to SBS Greek on Thursday evening addressing the accusations.

Speaking to SBS radio journalist Alexandros Logothetis he said: “Well, I don’t remember. If people say I’ve said that it’s false. But if someone recorded me saying this, then I apologise a thousand times. I do not remember saying this, but if I did I’m sorry. It must have been on the spur of the moment. I wouldn’t kill anyone; I wouldn’t hurt a bird. (. . .) Gay people have this habit. Say if I have a habit, am I allowed to give it to other people? These people are in the gutter. (. . .) My own granddaughter tells me ‘they are people, too’ and yes they are, and I love them but say you have a hamper full of oranges and one of those is rotten, all the oranges are going to rot.”

Neos Kosmos is still waiting on a response from church officials.