The Holy Archdiocese of Australia in a lengthy announcement, gives more clarifications regarding its priest from Melbourne, Father Eleftherios Tatsis.
It is reminded that a few days ago there was an announcement by the Assembly of the Clergy serving in the Archdiocesan Districts of Melbourne and North Cote.
In the assembly, the Bishops and priests referred to the irregular and improper behaviour of the priest Fr. Eleftherios Tatsis, and they unanimously declared that they disapprove and do not accept what Fr. Eleftherios preaches and acts, and they even requested His Eminence to settle the case of Fr Eleftherios in accordance with the provisions of the Sacred Canons.
Read the announcement of Archdiocese of Australia
In relation to Fr Eleftherios Tatsis, a clergyman of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, the following is announced to all the faithful of our local Church:
Deep disappointment is caused by the belligerent rhetoric, directed mainly towards those within the Church, in which the clergyman in question engages systematically and with ever-increasing intensity, insisting at the same time, during his sermons, on a strategy of exploiting the holy Gospel and the teachings of the Church, towards self-heroization and self-divinization. It is a tactic that occasionally leads him down slippery paths, such as that of identifying himself with Saints of our Church and with the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this clergyman has shown discordant behaviour; in the past, he had clashed with the blessed Archbishops Ezekiel and Stylianos and with the Patriarchal Exarch, Iakovos of Philadelphia, as well as with all the Bishops without exception who served in the Archdiocesan District of Melbourne.
In fact, Archbishop Stylianos of blessed memory had punished Fr Eleftherios for his behaviour and with a document of the Church, dated 28 November 2002, forbade him to preach from the pulpit, precisely because of his problematic, anti-ecclesiastical and provocative positions.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia personally invited Fr Eleftherios and spoke to him with much love and paternity, in relation to the content of his sermons directed against the Church, the Archbishop, the Patriarch, the Bishops, the other clergy, as well as the political leadership of Greece, Australia and other countries.
He pointed out to him that what he is constantly doing—namely, presenting himself as the sole judge of the allegedly bad texts of the Church and the world, together with his belief that he alone is working correctly—is a tactic which is wrong and demonic.
At the same time, our Shepherd urged him to focus on Christ during his sermons, to avoid unrestrained criticism and not to despise the work of his fellow clergymen, reminding him that all the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, each in his own domain, have, throughout the years, always given and continue to give their witness for the good of the local Church and the Greek Nation. And that, in every case, he is not the only one who is correct or the only one who has worked in the Church, while all the rest are useless, as is clearly deduced from his talks.
During the last meeting he had with the Archbishop, which took place on 27 December 2021 at the offices of the Holy Archdiocese in Melbourne, for an hour and a half, he was praising himself and trying to convince that the whole world should applaud him and literally glorify him.
He also referred, with obscene and indecent words, to Archbishop Stylianos of blessed memory, about whom he repeated, many times, that he could not remove him from his position because he “held him captive by the hand”.
In addition, indirectly yet clearly, he threatened Archbishop Makarios that, if he does not tolerate his behaviour, a well-known fringe “journalist”, with whom he admitted to be collaborating, would take issue with him. Characteristic, in fact, of his style andbehaviour is that, if any third party had the opportunity to listen to that conversation, he would not believe that the one speaking with intensity was the subordinate and the one listening, the leader. However, despite what Fr Eleftherios said rudely and impertinently during this meeting, with shouts and indescribable audacity, the Archbishop again showed patience and love.
The specific meeting, which was also the last communication that His Eminence had with Fr Eleftherios, concluded with a plea from the Archbishop, which related to the most critical issue of the pandemic and the need to demonstrate competence on the part of the clergy. It is noted that Fr Eleftherios, through his actions and words, opposed the laws of the State, as well as the encyclicals of the Holy Archdiocese, regarding the measures to limit the pandemic, and without having the right he did not implement the instructions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of our local Church.
In his sermons, he completely disparaged science, rejected doctors, gave advice and conveyed information that had nothing to do with scientific and theological reality. Indicative is the arbitrary claim, which he has repeatedly made during sermons in Church, that “cancers have tripled because of vaccines”. Similarly, that there are vaccines that contain “water” and are used “to compel you to be injected and for the poor world to die”, implying that these were the types of vaccines made publicly available by Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison, the current and former Prime Ministers of Australia respectively.
Unfortunately, Fr Eleftherios used the pandemic to appear again as a hero and a saint, as the only one who worries about the health of his fellow human beings and as the only one who handled the issue spiritually and in an Orthodox manner.
Below, some of his expressions, delivered during sermons, which are entirely indicative of his stance against the Church and the clergy, are the following:
He identified the Bishops with the Scribes and Pharisees of the time of Christ, saying verbatim: “Our High Priests are the Archbishops, right? The High Priests and the Scribes”, while in the same unacceptable sermon he directly and falsely accused the Church of Greece of being inactive and taking bribes in relation to civil marriages: “I am telling you clearly. Bells should have been ringing in Greece, night and day… they have no idea and do not care.
(The Church in question) it is being paid” making a characteristic gesture with the tips of his fingers, that the Church is receiving money and that is why it does not react to civil marriages.
In the same spirit, in another of his talks, he said: “I had confidence in certain people there in Greece, also in Metropolitans, and now I have completely cut them off. “We are civil servants, they say, we have to take the injection”… even if we make the Holy Offering. Even if you make the Holy Offering. And you are a Metropolitan and an Archbishop or a Patriarch. But you don’t believe.”
Addressing young people, he would accuse the Bishops and clergy, saying: “And you come here to find rest, to shout, to gain strength, to recharge your batteries… close to God. What are our priests and Hierarchs doing… Forget them.”
He testified the same, and even worse, on another occasion, stressing: “Priests and Hierarch, politicians have fallen into promiscuity”.
While in another sermon he said: “There aren’t any good politicians. There aren’t any good Hierarchs and priests”.
Referring to His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, he said: “And what did I tell him… I say, you must become—and the other Bishop, the two Bishops—the bridge united with the leader. You must not gossip. You must not say contrary things”, giving the impression to people that he is the honest and virtuous one, while the Bishops gossip, and that he tries to bring them onto the path of God.
In the same spirit, in another sermon, he said about His Grace Bishop Kyriakos: “Bishops are called Bishops, not spies”.
Inside the church, he described—and, indeed, in a bragging manner—a terrifying event, that a supporter-follower of his had threatened a previous Archbishop. Specifically, addressing a member of the church, he said: “When the Archbishop went to expel me then, do you know what he said? If you expel him, we’ll burn you inside. That’s what your grandfather said. We will burn you as you are inside”.
In his sermon during the August Dormition Fast, he considered it appropriate to share with the congregation what Archbishop Stylianos used to say to him: “You have a lot of people behind you, that’s why I fear you”.
In fact, by making the characteristic axe-striking motion with his hand, Fr Eleftherios wanted to inform the congregation, to further strengthen this privilege that he thinks he has. Specifically, he explained to them that “when you see, therefore, that there are people behind you, the axe is unable to cut you off…”; he ended his sermon saying: “We are many, the sheaf, we say, cannot be cut. Sheaf. Together”.
Finally, in a sermon of his, he put forward the obscene claim that Archbishop Makarios is interested in when Fr Eleftherios will pass away, something which he arbitrarily deduced from a conversation that they had had during their first meeting when the Archbishop asked him how old he is.
Specifically, referring to His Eminence in a derogatory manner and characteristically using the phrase “the young cub, a fox… this cannot happen”, he interpreted and imagined the questions that the Archbishop had asked him about the Parish, in the following way: “Are they paid off? I mean, what will he do when I die? … and everyone wanted me to die”.
Given the great number of such provocative statements over a series of months, His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis called Fr Eleftherios to his office three times, while he himself went to the Parish of Panagia Kamariani and met with him, with the aim of discussing the need for his alignment with the spirit of the Church and the Archdiocese. Even though His Grace spoke to him with much love, Fr Eleftherios insisted on the same tactic, essentially separating himself from the Church, from the Holy Archdiocese of Australia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Throughout the entire period, during which the above effort for reconciliation was in progress, both the Archbishop, as well as the other Bishops, had never publicly mentioned the misdeeds and provocations of Fr Eleftherios; in contrast, he appeared in public on a regular basis and, for whatever personal disagreements he had, he condemned—and often in a vulgar way—the Archdiocese, the Archbishop, the Bishops and the clergy, creating negative and false impressions to the faithful.
The anticanonical and illegal behaviour of Fr Eleftherios was not limited to the aforementioned. During the month of June, he decided to abandon his duties for a vacation, without following the formal and canonical procedure that we are all obliged to follow, which is to ask permission for leave from our superior authority.
This is an anticanonical and illegal act, not only in terms of external procedure, but also in terms of its inherent essence, since it shows a desire for separation and autonomy from the body of the Church. The Holy Archdiocese of Australia could certainly have convened a spiritual tribunal immediately; however, the Archbishop’s advice was for the local Bishop to call Fr Eleftherios and speak to him again with love and affection.
This meeting took place at the offices of the Holy Archdiocese in Melbourne, on the 4 July at 11.30 am, in the presence of Fr Kyrillos Zisis, who also kept the minutes of the discussion. Fr Eleftherios accepted the fact that he abandoned his duties without asking anyone and without having requested the legal and canonical permission.
Although one would have expected an apology, he instead declared that from now on he himself would decide when to take leave, without receiving any legal and canonical permission, and that he would arrange which clergymen would replace him when he left, completely ignoring the Archdiocese.
In addition, he declared that he no longer pays attention to the laws of the State on the pandemic, nor to the regulations and encyclicals of the Archdiocese, while, according to his usual tactics, he addressed reproaches and accusations towards the Bishops and clergy, claiming that the Archdiocese is focusing on him and not with other clerics who are worse.
In addition, Fr Eleftherios was summoned to the last Clergy Meeting of priests in Victoria and did not attend, without justifying his absence, even though he was obliged to attend. Similarly, he was not present, nor did he justify his absence,also during the two previous Clergy Meetings.
At the last Clergy Meeting, the issue of Fr Eleftherios was raised by clergy and, in fact, with the question of why the Archdiocese was not proceeding with what the provisions of the Holy Canons prescribe, instead choosing to show so much tolerance. The Archbishop, although there was a proposal from the clergy to depose Fr Eleftherios, emphasised verbatim:
“I do not like to punish clergy. I do not want a clergyman at this age to be deposed”, and all the clergymen present can attest to this. From the body of clergy and the Bishops who were present, it was unanimously agreed to announce that no one agrees with what Fr Eleftherios is preaching, which was stated in the relevant Communiqué, which is issued after every Clergy Meeting.
As a last effort to find a solution, a delegation of clergy attempted to contact Fr Eleftherios; he, however, through his secretary, refused to receive and talk to them. And despite the fact that the clergy set a day and time for the meeting and went to Panagia Kamariani, Fr Eleftherios did not present himself, a fact which indicates that he does not wish to have a dialogue.
Unfortunately, the developments of the last few days and the actions of Fr Eleftherios, culminating in what he announced on Sunday, 14 August no longer make it possible for the Church and His Eminence the Archbishop to show further tolerance. It is obvious that Fr Eleftherios has moved beyond the prescribed bounds and gone astray, apparently confounded by the support of his followers, whom he nurtured, poisoning them every Sunday with teachings against the Church and her institutions, with lies and leveling generalizations, and, finally, by declaring and threatening to create a schism.
It should be noted that neither the Archbishop nor the Bishop of Sozopolis ever told Fr Eleftherios that he would be removed from his position, nor did they ever talk to him about necessarily resigning. He was always advised to comply with the laws of the State and with the instructions of the Archdiocese, but the luciferin egoism of Fr Eleftherios does not allow him to accept that someone can advise him, precisely because he considers himself to be perfect, the hero, the saint.
All this commotion, which has been created by Fr Eleftherios and his associate Ms Glykeria Andriotis, is based on their own thoughts and conclusions, which help Fr Eleftherios to present himself as being persecuted and as a victim, when in reality he is the abuser, and he is the one who for many years has abused the Church and her institutions, the Bishops, the remaining clergy, the Archbishop and the Patriarch. The Archdiocese categorically denies that there was ever any thought to remove Fr Eleftherios from his position.
For any genuine observer of events, a cursory look at the Facebook page of Fr Eleftherios is enough to see how much he has poisoned the people who have trusted him, to the point where they turn in a vulgar way against the Patriarch, the Archbishop, the Bishops and clergy of the Church.
It is obvious that this whole situation—where hatred, slander, falsehood and, finally, absolute deception prevail—is a result exclusively of the pastoral direction of Fr Eleftherios; it has nothing to do with the teaching of our Christ, the Holy Spirit and with the pastoral ministry of the Church. Because, where the Holy Spirit is present, there is peace, love and nobility.
All of this is absent from the teaching of Fr Eleftherios, which is almost exhausted in self-promotion and criticisms against third parties, while the parenthetical appeals to the love of Christ and the Virgin Mary prove, as a result, pretentious.
In the face of this sad situation, His Eminence the Archbishop paternally exhorts those who have been drawn into this error, to moderate the hatred that has found a fond place within their hearts, because this way of dealing with matters is the worst example they are setting for their children, who will respond in the future with the same spirit and with the same tactics towards their own parents.
There is nothing wrong with someone having a different opinion. But using vulgar and hateful expressions is not Christian. Many of the messages that dominate the personal page of Fr Eleftherios against our Patriarch and our Archbishop remind us of the enraged people who shouted, “crucify him, crucify him”. In this spirit, the Archbishop also exhorts all those who surround Father Eleftherios, instead of laughing with him or applauding him, to help him come to his senses and to understand that the extent of his errors is such that, instead of being an instrument of God, he has become an instrument of the devil.
It is not the Holy Archdiocese and His Eminence who decide. His Eminence has shown infinite tolerance, love and patience. The developments are now driven by Fr Eleftherios, who directs things, constantly and persistently provoking the intervention of the Church to stop this unpleasant and anti-ecclesiastical situation.
And certainly, the Church moves forward and is not afraid, nor is she threatened. It would be a heroic act for Fr Eleftherios to leave the Orthodox Church, since he no longer believes in her; nor does he obey Bishops, Archbishops and Holy Canons. Fr Eleftherios has, for some time now, separated himself from the body of the Church. So, if he is honest with himself, let him leave and follow the “Orthodoxy” that he has created in his mind, otherwise let him change his tactics and join our Patriarch, our Archbishop, the Bishops and the clergy.
In relation to his sermon, in which he identified himself with St Nektarios, let it be clarified that St Nektarios never accused any Bishop, Patriarch or clergyman and never turned against the Church. He respected his superiors and always showed obedience even to decisions that were against him. And, most importantly, St Nektarios had not committed any canonical offenses; in contrast Fr Eleftherios, has fallen into a series of canonical offenses, which impose the penalty of his deposition.
Both His Eminence, and all the Bishops throughout Australia, as well as the clergy of Victoria, pray that God may enlighten him and give him understanding for repentance and return.