The politics of the recent budget have again put St Nicholas Greek “Orthodox” Church, Thebarton under the spotlight, due to the $5 million grant that they were awarded for sound-proofing their building. This time the spotlight is nation-wide and not just in Adelaide.

For our part, we don’t really have a problem with St Nicholas receiving such funding in principle. The money that is being spent on noise reduction was collected by a special levy placed on airports for that purpose (see the Aircraft Noise Levy Act 1995), and so this seems like an appropriate use of such funds. Many private houses and public buildings under the flight path have received Federal funding under this scheme (including a few other churches in the area – among them St George Greek Orthodox Church, Thebarton). If St Nicholas is under the flight path they certainly deserve to get their fair share of the levy as other churches have. One may quibble about whether the amount of money being spent is reasonable compared with what other churches received (and it does seem a bit high, given that St George apparently received only $3.4 million according to this article from the ABC), but we’ll leave that to the accountants and engineers to figure out for certain.

Of more interest to us is the fact that since the parish of St Nicholas has returned to the spotlight, so has their so-called “priest”, Mr Panagiotis (aka Prokopios) Kanavas, whose litany of unethical behaviour is again being subjected to scrutiny.

Adelaide Now has run a story on him which can be found here. The Australian’s Michael Owen has also run an independent story on him here. Both stories list most of the scandals that he has been involved in over the last couple of years since he arrived in Australia, which we have detailed previously on this blog. However, what is new in these articles is the fact that the police are investigating fresh allegations around St Nicholas church, and while they did not explicitly state what these allegations were or who they involved, the clear inference to be drawn from the articles is that they are again centred on the activities of Mr Kanavas.

Mr Panagiotis (aka Prokopios) Kanavas

Mr Panagiotis (aka Prokopios) Kanavas masquerading as an Orthodox priest (source: news.com.au).

Even more interesting is the fact according to the Adelaide Now article, the allegations apparently came from people within the community of St Nicholas itself – indicating that there is dissent within the ranks. It seems that even the members of GOCSA are becoming concerned about this man’s unethical behaviour – concerned enough to report matters to police (and rightly so). The articles state that the police investigations are only in their initial stages, so we assume that there will be more information to surface in the coming weeks and months.

We pray that the community of St Nicholas and of the wider GOCSA community will respond to their own community’s concerns and remove this man from the position of responsibility for which he is clearly unsuitable. In doing so, they will pave the way to approach the Archdiocese to supply them with properly ordained Orthodox priests as a replacement (as they have already done for the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW), and thereby at long last return them to the Orthodox fold so that we may be united once more.

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