October 26, 2017
“Metropolis leaves Arlington congregation in the dark over abruptly fired priest”
Parishioners are still in the dark two months after the abrupt dismissal of their priest. Father Nicholas Kastanas of St. Athanasius the Great was last seen in the church on July 30 when he gave his last liturgy and sermon.
Fr. Kastanas had been locked out of his office and the church by the Parish council. Private property has been withheld from his possession. These actions followed a letter Parishioners received from the Metropolis of Boston Archdioceses, stating that Fr. Kastanas had been dismissed on July 27 with the reason for removal unclear.
A turn out of nearly 800 families showed up for Fr. Kastanas’ final liturgy. While Fr. Kastanas is cooperating with the Archdioceses decision, Parishioners are not. They instead question the Archbishop Methodios, demanding answers. Having displayed tears and anger over the priest’s final liturgy, families both old and new to the church are coming together in solidarity for Fr. Kastanas.
“AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!”
The battle cry of the parishioners translates from Greek to “worthy” in English. Along with the phrase on social media “Bring Back Father Nick!” Parishioners have started several online campaigns and GoFundMe pages, peaceful protesting to draw out answers from their Metropolis.
In recent weeks some information has come to light regarding perceived injustices done to Fr. Kastanas. In his letter to Parishioners, Fr. Kastanas lawyer, John Sofis Scheft, disclosed that he has “never heard of a case where a Church authority sought to strip mine a priest’s private and confidential computer as punishment for the love and upset expressed by the congregation he is leaving!” He added that “Priests accused of sexual misconduct and outright theft have been accorded greater respect that Fr. Nick.”
Due to this violation Fr. Kastanas, who wanted to take “the path of least resistance” was forced to take the Archdiocese to court, due to the Priests concern over the potential breach in his Parishioner’s confidentiality. This being private emails about spiritual confession and personal family matters which are considered confidential materials.
After these actions the Archdiocese sent out a press release stating that they have never before been sued by one of their own clergy. Their only other commentary being that they were within their rights to fire the priest. No concrete reason was given.
As of September 25, a seventeen-page official letter of notification was sent out from the St. Athanasius church office to all members of the church. It notified them that several members of the Parish Council who aided in the removal of Fr. Kastanas, had neglected to publicize the minutes of the special meeting held in May 10, 2017 regarding church affairs. Because the parish council board meeting defied by-laws due to requiring disclosure of meeting, etc., to parishioners in good standing, another meeting was in the works so as to release the content of the private meeting.
This special meeting scheduled for October 15, 2017, was cancelled by the Archdioceses. Information will be released in the coming weeks, according to rumors, once the Ecclesiastical council has come to a final decision on the matter. This has created a wildfire spread of rumors ranging from money laundering to a personal grudge the Parish Council had against Fr. Kastanas.
The Metropolis, in order to soothe the scandal around this, has stated that Fr. Kastanas has not been fired due to illegal action. Referring back to the original letter sent to Parishioners, the only confirmed made against the Priest had been fired due to the “St. Athanasius Parish…[being] in a state of tumult as a result of issues revolving, in large part, around Fr. Kastanas.” As of now no new speculations and or concrete answers have been circulated.
As part of protests, Parishioners are calling their local Metropolis individually seeking concrete answers. Yet Archbishop Methodios who is vacationing in Greece and his Chancellor Ted Barbas have continued to refuse to comment. The only information being spread is speculation. The Metropolis has even gone as far as to blacklist phone numbers with the area code of Arlington “617” to cut off parishioners from asking questions.