Priest in probe over Facebook claims

Reverend  Prokopios Kanavas's background is under scrutiny. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

Reverend Prokopios Kanavas's background is under scrutiny. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

Nigel Hunt /Sunday Mail (SA)

A GREEK priest will be asked to produce evidence to substantiate claims he has made on his Facebook page.

Reverend Prokopios Kanavas has been called to a meeting of Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia council leaders on Tuesday to discuss the revelations, which could lead to his sacking.

On Facebook, Rev Kanavas claims he completed a degree of theology and international law at Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem, represented the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at conferences.

Rev Kanavas also claims that he restored a monastery at his own expense.

However, the university has stated it has no record of him studying there.

His other claimed activities have been strenuously denied by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in a letter sent to Bishop Nikandros, the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in SA. Now several Greek community members have expressed their concern regarding Rev Kanavas’s ability to continue in his role with the church following the latest revelations.

They come a year after he was sacked as an SA police chaplain when SAPOL was made aware of information that allegedly affected Rev Kanavas’s “suitability” for the role.

It is understood that information was contained in a letter that was sent to members of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The letter contained information on Rev Kanavas’s background that led to him being defrocked as a priest in 2008.

After being defrocked and reverting to a layperson, he joined the Greek army and later joined another faction of the church.

He was again ordained and made his way back to Adelaide in 2010.
He is currently based at the St Nicholas parish, which is part of the Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church. Community members said Rev Kanavas needed to explain why the allegedly false information was used in his Facebook profile.

One member of the community, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Sunday Mail : “If he has done all these things he claims, he needs to produce evidence. This goes to the heart of honesty, ethics and character.”

The chairman of the Federation of Greek Communities in Australia, property developer Theo Maras, yesterday said he was “concerned” about the allegations.

He called on the council to “deal with this quickly and ensure that the communities’ concerns are allayed”.

Greek Orthodox community president Nick Portellos, meanwhile, declined to discuss the matter at length this week.
However, he revealed that the council was “concerned” at the situation.

“The matter will be investigated and the members of the community will be advised accordingly,” Mr Portellos added.

Rev Kanavas could not be contacted by the Sunday Mail for comment.