Scandal erupts over Greek Archdiocese of Australia’s purchase of $6.5 million apartment

Sydney, June 19, 2020

Abp. Makarios of Australia. Photo: Abp. Makarios of Australia. Photo:     

A scandal has erupted within the Greek Orthodox community of Australia after it became known that the Archdiocese purchased a 3-bedoroom $6.5 million apartment in Sydney, reportedly to serve as the Archbishop Makarios’ new residence.

However, the Archdiocese has responded that Abp. Makarios continues to live in much more modest accommodations at the Archdiocesan headquarters, though he may live in the Sydney apartment temporarily when the offices in Redfern undergo renovations.

On June 16, reported that “a luxury Sydney apartment, with stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, a concierge and a heated indoor pool, is the new residence of the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church of Australia,” which is “an unlikely home for a man of God who has taken a vow of poverty, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.”

The report was cause for great concern among the Greek Orthodox faithful in Australia, who emphasize that the former hierarch, Archbishop Stylianos, lived much more frugally, and that the new purchase was supposedly done in secret. There have been threats to stop donating to the Church.

Property records confirm that the apartment was purchased by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia Consolidated Trust just before Christmas, according to The stamp duty alone cost nearly $400,000, while the strata fees are an extra $20,000+ a year.

The Honorary Secretary & Trustee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia Consolidated Trust, Nicholas G Pappas AM, told that the apartment was purchased by the Trust as an official residence for Abp. Makarios, emphasizing that the property belongs to the Trust, not the Archbishop.

The scandal over the apartment comes at the same time as revelations that Senator Andrew Bragg, the former Liberal Party director and gay marriage campaigner, was proclaimed a Grand Commander and a member of the Order of the Christ-Loving by Abp. Makarios on January 20 after he helped the Archbishop receive permanent residency in Australia.

Abp. Makarios praised him for “finding solutions” during the awards ceremony.

Two days after the report, the Archdiocese published a “MEDIA RELEASE in relation to the purchase of a property by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.”

The inside of the Archdiocese's apartment. Photo: The inside of the Archdiocese's apartment. Photo:     

The Archdiocese contends that an apartment was sought to house the Archbishop and the Archdiocesan offices during the upcoming renovations to the offices in Redfern. However, due to high rental costs in Sydney, the Trust decided to purchase an apartment.

The $6.5 million apartment “was identified, both for its suitability for the specific purpose, and as an excellent investment opportunity for the Archdiocese.” Renovations to the new apartment were completely funded by a private benefactor, the Archdiocese reports.

The acquisition of the property was completely legal and the Archdiocese has no outstanding debt on the property, the report continues.

Further, “The Archdiocese unequivocally refutes any suggestion that the Archbishop currently resides in this particular apartment, or that he has stated that he will reside there and places on record that, up to this point, no such decision has been taken by him.”

And regarding the media furor over the issue, the Archdiocese states: “Regrettably, certain persons, lacking both competency and any legal responsibility, are stirring up the issue relating to the purchase of the property in question, by publishing letters and promoting media articles, with a view to harming the good reputation of the Archdiocese and Archbishop Makarios.” then characterized the Archdiocese’s statement as a “bizarre backflip with the new Archbishop Makarios now claiming he no longer wants to live in it permanently.”

“Sources close to Archbishop Makarios” told the Greek newspaper Neos Kosmos that the Archbishop’s popularity and his efforts to unite the community stand in the way of certain factions that have their own interests and are thus using the purchase of the apartment as part of a coordinated attack.

Meanwhile, yesterday, June 18, marked the first anniversary of Abp. Makarios’ arrival in Australia to serve as Archbishop of the Greek Archdiocese.

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Cian Moriarty2/11/2022 11:37 am
So do you Greek orthodox church going people prefer your Arch Bishop to live in rags and a tiny cell, and your church to be impoverished, or to wear majestic robes celebrating the glorious Bride of Christ and to live in an office mostly but to occasionally live in a comfortable three bedroom apartment when his office and bedroom are being renovated or when he presumably is having a sabbatical. Which is another thing an archdiocese needs, places to house visiting clergy. Like seriously what is thr problem with this? I didn't hear anything about the Arch Bishop not helping the poor and sick, that is a completely different proposition and not one this article contains any information about. Asking for a friend ????
Anthony Porens4/22/2021 1:10 am
I am sure the Archbishop prefers the monastic chant to the sounds of partying at a luxury appartment on the river. I am sure he prefers to embrace a leper in the street in the middle of a pandemic than presenting icons to prime ministers. I am sure he prefers to clothe the poor than to wear gold vestments. And if he doesn't I am sure Christ, who loves him will correct him. Axios! Anthony, your brother from the eastern greek catholic church.
Aleksandr6/22/2020 5:11 pm
I hope this site will publish comparable reports and criticism when Russian hierarchs (including the Patriarch of Moscow) spend lavishly and live in luxury. This is an area in which we Russian Orthodox Christians cannot throw stones.
ACatharina6/22/2020 12:35 pm
Should the Archdiocese be concerned with "excellent investment opportunity"? Are they priests or businessmen? Disgraceful.
Michael B6/22/2020 6:22 am
How insightful of all those who blame all Greeks without hearing both sides of the story. Thanks for the comments guys.
Kostya Demas6/21/2020 9:49 am
With wealth, splendor, and earthly glory spread before them, Satan said unto him, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matt. 4:9.)
A Greek of Constantinople.6/20/2020 7:27 am
Is this really news? Common, this is not news. If anyone does not know that this is very Greek behavior by now, you have been living under a rock. The Greeks love to spend money on luxury, fine life, and women. But the best part is doing it with someone else's money. That is the sweetest part and the essence of the whole game. If you ever wonder why the Byzantine Empire and later the Ottoman Empire collapsed, look no further. When there is a Greek, there is a way.
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