Parishioners petition firing of Greek Orthodox priest in Arlington

ARLINGTON, Mass. — Parishioners at a Greek Orthodox church in Arlington are in turmoil after their longtime priest was abruptly let go. A letter went out to the church body citing “unchristian behavior” but nobody knows exactly what happened.

A letter from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston went out Friday night, striking an unexpected blow to the community – after nearly 28 years at Saint Athanasius the Great, Father Nicholas Kastanas will deliver his last sermon Sunday. The damning letter doesn’t get into specifics, but says the church has been in turmoil because of Father Kastanas and states he will be relieved of his duties following his final services.

It reads, "the spiritual environment in the community has been severely damaged by behavior that is wholly contrary to Christian values, which has resulted in, among other things, the distribution of hurtful and destructive communications throughout the community."

For Spiroz Drizos and his fiancée Emily Dickie, it seems literally unbelievable.

“Everybody that we talk to loves going to church, loves Father Nick. That’s completely out of right field, we don’t know where it came from.”

The couple had planned to be married at Saint Athanasius in April. Emily converted to the faith in large part because of the beloved priest’s teachings.

“It really hurts to not be able to have him there on that day,” said Dickie.

Now, they say their plans are hanging in limbo, but the community is lobbying for the final say. A petition exceeded its signature goal in under 24 hours and a fundraiser now gaining steam.

“It should be the community’s decision.”

Boston 25 News reached out to Father Kastanas and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston for comment, but didn’t hear back. Final services will be held on Sunday.