An evangelical, charismatic Greek Orthodox priest is disciplined for his practices.

Greek Orthodox priest Eusebius Stephanou has been bumping heads with his ecclesiastical superiors for quite some time. Since 1968, when Stephanou had what he calls a “personal experience of rebirth, he has devoted his ministry to trying to pump spiritual life into what he considers the “dead formalism” of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States.

His methods seem perfectly acceptable to those who consider themselves evangelical or charismatic: an emphasis on evangelism, personal growth, healing, and group Bible study; spiritual retreats that highlight personal testimonies; and raised hands or other spontaneous expressions of joy during worship.

For the most part, however, such practices seem foreign to Stephanou’s superiors in the Greek Orthodox Church. The clerics maintain that Stephanou’s teachings—and his style—represent a departure from Orthodox tradition.

Placed on suspension

Events came to a head October 28 when Stephanou appeared before a “spiritual court” convened by the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Atlanta. In a letter announcing the trial, Bishop Philip of Atlanta informed Stephanou that he had been placed “under temporary canonical suspension” pending his appearance before the tribunal.

Among the issues cited in the letter were Stephanou’s “evangelistic philosophies,” his failure to “demonstrate priestly obedience” to amend his “questionable behavior,” and his conducting of activities “foreign to the Orthodox Christian way of life.”

Stephanou called the two-hour session “a travesty of justice” and a “kangaroo court.” He says, “It seemed like they’d already made up their minds beforehand.” According to Stephanou, the trial consisted ...

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