Red Hill priest resigns from Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

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Parish priest at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Kamariani in Red Hill, Victoria, Father Eleftherios (Papa Lefteris), has announced his resignation from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

Papa Lefteris made the announcement in front of a large crowd after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 2.

In a Facebook video, the faithful in attendance could be heard expressing their anger as Papa Lefteris confirmed Sunday would be his last day as parish priest at the monastery following a recent disagreement with the Archdiocese and Archbishop Makarios.

After the Divine Liturgy, Papa Lefteris was also captured in a video saying his final goodbyes to the church he has called home for years, and wished the incoming parish priest well.

“It is my last night here. From tomorrow a new priest arrives and I hope he is… able to work with the youth here, who I love and continue to live for,” Papa Lefteris said.

The priest’s announcement was met with disappointment by some in Melbourne’s Greek community.

Papa Lefteris has resigned.

“Red Hill will never ever be the same. His legacy will live on for forever,” one faithful wrote on social media.

“An absolute legend… Words can’t describe how much this has impacted our lives,” another Facebook user wrote.

Papa Lefteris’ resignation comes after the Archdiocese issued a statement last month expressing its disapproval of the priest for his “belligerent rhetoric” towards the church and Archbishop Makarios.

On Tuesday night, the Victorian Bishops and Clergy of the Archdiocese issued an announcement regarding Pappa Lefteris and expressed their continued support of Archbishop Makarios.

“The announcement of his resignation from duties, as much as it saddens us that a member is removed from the Body of the Church, nevertheless, we consider it to be the most appropriate solution for the sake of peace and for maintaining the spirit of unity…” the statement reads.

“Since in this struggle, no one is spared and no one is excluded, we declare that we will not stop praying for Fr Eleftherios, beseeching God to enlighten him and for his steps to be directed to return to the canonical Orthodox Church, in a spirit of love, unity, and mutual respect.”

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