On Sunday, a hugely popular Greek Orthodox priest in Australia announced his resignation from the Archdiocese following a spat with Archbishop Makarios.
Father Eleftherios, commonly known as Papa Lefteris, announced his resignation after his last service at Panagia Kamariani on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Hundreds of people from across Melbourne made their way to the Red Hill Church prepared to farewell and thank the priest, as rumors of his imminent resignation had been circulating over the past week, Greek-Australian daily Neos Kosmos reports.
At the end of the service, which was also live-streamed, Fr. Eleftherios read in both Greek and English the letter of his resignation addressed to Archbishop Makarios of Australia in which he accuses the Archbishop of using the canon laws for his benefit.
“I don’t want to take up much of your time but would like to inform you that the canon laws you are charging me of breaking and the punishments you are putting on me are of your standards,” an excerpt of the letter reads, according to Neos Kosmos.
Greek Orthodox priest in Australia says he won’t be silenced
He also referred to a lack of leadership in the church and extended a warning to Archbishop Makarios that he intends to remain vocal.
The Archdiocese is expected to issue an official announcement over the coming days.
The Greek Orthodox priest has been serving the Panagia Kamariani parish for many years and has been a favorite among Greek-Australians of Melbourne.
The holy Monastery of Panagia Kamariani hosts the icon of Panagia Kamariani, which was discovered in the city of Halicarnassus, now Turkey’s Bodrum.
According to Orthodox tradition, the icon was discovered after the Virgin Mary appeared to a Greek family living in this city in three separate visions.
The name “Kamariani” (from Greek kamara, anything with a vaulted or arched cover; a vault, arched ceiling, or roof) was given since they were advised by the Virgin that they would find her icon in a vaulted room beneath their property.
The icon was stolen a few years ago from the monastery and recovered soon after.