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New priest for St. Athanasius the Great installed, on job

Anthony EvangelatosEvangelatos

Some surprised as 'Father Nick' support continues

UPDATED, Jan. 26: In a surprise to some parishioners, the Rev. Anthony S. Evangelatos has been named as the new parish priest of St. Athanasius the Great Church in Arlington.

He succeeds the Rev. Nicholas J. Kastanas, who was removed from his position last July after 28 years and remains involved in a court case with church hierarchy.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston announced the appointment of Father Evangelatos, and it was reported via Greek media last weekend.

The priest, who is coming from a post in Brockton, was installed at the St. Athanasius vespers service on Wednesday, Jan. 17, and is to begin formal duties Thursday, Feb. 1. 

The official Greek Orthodox of Boston website reported: "In the presence of 30 brother clergy from around New England, together with a worshiping congregation of several hundred, Father Anthony listened carefully to the words of Metropolitan Methodios as he instructed him in his new pastoral responsibilities. Father Anthony then responded to the Metropolitan with his own words of thanksgiving, hopefulness, and prayer for the healing and future spiritual growth of the Community."

An earlier undated post at the archdiocese website said: "Father Evangelatos will work closely with his brothers and sisters in the household of God to labor for continued spiritual growth of Arlington's beloved parish," Methodios, head of the Greek church in Boston,. 

The announcement was a surprise to two parishioners, both supporters of "Father Nick" -- Ioannis Moutsatsos, who writes a blog about church issues, and Christina Chalapatas, a member of the parish council.

"I can tell you that the arrival of the new priest will not go down well, especially since there was absolutely no input or discussion on his selection from the St. Athanasius community," he wrote Jan. 10.

Asked whether the new priest might face protests, he deferred to Chalapatas, who said by phone Jan. 10 that she was unsure.

She supported Moutsatsos's comment that the lack of local input. She said she has seen no resume and knew of no selection committee meeting with potential candidates.

She said she received a letter dated Dec. 27 from Methodios that said: "In the New Year before us lies more opportunity for spiritual growth and renewal. Here at St. Athanasius, let us move ahead with a reinvigorated community environment that embodies the teachings of the Gospel. In unity, I pray that each of us will carry this message forward.

"Together we will welcome a new spiritual leader for this parish. I am presently in the final stages of appointing and installing him early next year."

Following that was a Jan. 5 letter from Methodius announcing the new priest.

Before that letter, she said, "I should have been contacted." Yes, she says, she has not been informed about any parish council meeting after the last one she attended, Sept. 26. She was elected to the 19-member council for 2017-18 in December 2016.

She says that St. Athanasius has an estimated 800 families and that more than half continue to support Father Nick.

She says that a bloc of seven or eight council members supported Father Nick's removal. 

Dec. 4, 2017: Parishioners protest in public after celebrating in private
Nov. 27, 2017: Church says resistant priest hid fund; defender explains why 
Metropolitan Methodius' statement, November 2017 >> 
Parishioner Ioannis Moutsatsos' blog "Web of Deceit" 
Sept. 19, 2017: Supporter seeking to return 'Father Nick' lays out way forward
Sept. 12, 2017: Rally held aiming to return 'Father Nick' to Arlington church
OPINION: Aug. 2, 2017: To Greek church leaders: Get past social media, come together
July 30, 2017: At his last service, 'Father Nick' draws strong parishioners' support 

This news summary was published Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, and updated Jan. 26.

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