The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia Makarios Griniezakis is suing Alkis Morelas, a Greek-Australian journalist, for defamation in Sydney’s Federal Court.
The Archbishops took legal action against Morelas after the journalist wrote a number of articles alleging that Griniezakis used donated funds meant for charity to purchase a luxury apartment and support a luxurious lifestyle.
Morelas alleged that money donated to the Church to support victims of the wildfires in Australia and Greece was actually used by the Archbishop for his own personal purchases.
The Greek-Australian journalist also claimed that the Archbishop had been covering up allegations of sexual abuse in the Church, as well as accepting bribes.
Greek orthodox Archbishop of Australia sues for defamation
Morelas wrote the articles for his news site Greek Flash News, which contains news from Greece and Australia written in Greek, in August and September of 2021.
In addition to the removal of the articles from the internet, the Archbishop of Australia is also hoping to receive damages from Morelas for defamation.
The Archbishop denies all the claims published by the Greek-Australian journalist and has stated that the articles have severely damaged his reputation.
For Morelas’s part, his defense team has argued in legal filings that the Archbishop’s lavish lifestyle, which includes first-class trips, expensive clothing, and his luxury $6.5 million apartment, speak to the journalist’s claims. They also stated that there is plenty of evidence to support the allegations made in Morelas’s articles.
The Archbishop’s lawyer, however, argued in court on Monday that Morelas has no proof of his claim that the funds used to pay for the Archbishop’s lifestyle were taken from donations to charity.
She also stated that the apartment was purchased months before the Church’s charity appeals for the fires.
ABC Australia article
In 2021, ABC Australia published a similar article about the Archbishop and later apologized.
ABC Australia issued an apology to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and Archbishop Makarios after publishing a report that claimed Makarios had been using taxpayer money meant for old age homes on his own lifestyle.
ABC’s article was chiefly concerned with Makarios’ $6.5 million Sydney apartment overlooking the water, which they felt was a display of wealth unfit for the “vow of poverty” that comes with being a servant of the church.
But the article claims were proven to be unfounded, and ABC stated in its apology that it “wishes to clarify that this story was not intended to suggest that Archbishop Makarios of Australia had personally funneled money from St. Basil’s to the Greek Orthodox Church, or that he had personally spent money intended for aged care on his own lifestyle.”