by Nick Stamatakis

The crisis in the GOA (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) has just entered a new phase. Two days ago, on St.Nicholas Day (the coincidence is ominous!), two major newspapers in Athens, Greece, published two almost identical articles with remarkably loud headlines. In the fist one from “Protothema” the headline reads “U.S. authorities investigate a ring which was ravaging the Archdiocese’s coffers”, and refers mainly to the widely known scheme related to the invitations for the annual celebration of the Greek Independence Day at the White House (handled exclusively by Father Alex for decades) but also to the “one time event” of the enthronement of Elpidopforos, where “the ring” was also active (note: this event produced a very slim profit despite having revenue of $1.7 million!) It also makes a reference to “lobbying services” sold by “the ring” to U.S. and Greek business people and notes both the debacle of St.Nicholas at Ground Zero project and the arrests of George Papadakos and Jerry Demetriou.

The headline of the second one in the daily “Ethnos” is even louder: “Archdiocese of America: A Scandal of Megatons by Manhattan rats”, and is almost identical.  Both articles present as the main figure of the “ring” a Greek man known as “John H” or “John John” but they also make reference to “powerful officials who were acting behind the back of Archbishop Demetrios”.  After a short research, it turned out that “John H” is actually John Horozoglou: a shadowy figure closely related to Father Alex Karloutsos.

Who is then John Horozoglou?  A search online reveals very little: “marketing” specialist, lobbyist, owner of a travel agency in Athens, very well “networked”.  More is revealed by a few “intimate” sources in the wealthy circles of “high society Greek-americans” of Manhattan.  Horozoglou was telling everybody that father Alex “treated him like his own son”: he actually seemed to deserve this title.  When he visited New York, he stayed at the famous “Four Seasons” hotel, at the same time as he was witnessed to be strapped for cash and not to be able to get even $20 from an ATM.  He was once seen to land by helicopter in Washington DC for the annual ceremony at the White House, accompanied by a lady, named Irene, whom he obviously wanted to impress… Coincidentally, Irene was generously supported in her professional career by the Archdiocese and received hospitality in a Hamptons Hotel at least once… Father Alex was very supportive of John Horozoglou’s affair with Irene and was even heard to say: “one day I will marry you two…”   The affair had its ups and downs and was finally ended by Irene, as she probably saw the “empty suit” she was dealing with.  But Horozoglou soon found the “love of his life”, Athanasia Gafas, and the affair soon ended at a very well publicized wedding ceremony, performed of course by Father Alex, at his opulent Hamptons Church.

John Horozoglou was a classic case of what we call in English a “trickster” or a “used car salesman”, while in Greek the perfect adjective is “fresh air salesman” («αεριτζής»).  Sources tell us that he usually introduced two business people and not long after the introduction he returned with demands for a “commission” for his services.  He was sharply rebuked repeatedly with the explanation that “no payment for any services is due unless real results are produced”.

In essence the real role John Horozoglou performed was to act as “front man” for Father Alex, who was very busy with his many “projects” and occupations and, most importantly, wanted to cover his own tracks. There was no appropriate way for him to be seen as “peddling” invitations to the White House annual ceremony and also getting paid for “lobbying” for various Greek and U.S. business people who wanted to get access to power in both sides of the Atlantic; this job was done by John Horozoglou. Apparently it was done quite well as their relationship lasted for many years.  It was also evidently paid for lavishly, in cash and in kind… Father Alex could afford to have him “unofficially” in his staff…

The fact that the two articles referred to above are almost identical and were published simultaneously in two different main newspapers in Athens (the first of which, “Protothema”, is leading all newspapers in circulation and has a very wide readership online), reveals that in all likelihood these articles were “planted”.  Who then planted them?  The primary possibility coming to mind is the American Embassy in Athens, known to be very influential in the Greek media.  It is very likely that this operation was done under the instruction of federal prosecutors who are involved in the cases of Papadatos and Demetriou. Both of them have signed “plea bargain agreements”: As it usually happens, they have started “singing”.

But why the U.S. justice system goes to such an extend in pursuing this case in Greece, one may ask.  First, it is standard practice by American prosecutors to publicize major elements of an alleged crime, in order to collect more evidence and witnesses; this is certainly a very efficient way of collecting evidence… It is also intended to create “shock and awe”: Panic makes all the “rats” get out of their holes, as they jump from the sinking ship.

Second and most importantly, this case goes at the heart of the American political system. When two “cheats” like Father Alex and John Horozoglou, are able to humiliate the highest office in the land by selling tickets to a White House ceremony, then this is like spitting in the face of all of us, American citizens.  Turning an American president to a “clown” so that Greek and Greek-americans, so-called “leaders”, have photo-ops with him – and in the process lining their pockets with cash – in the kind of crime that a career federal prosecutor is dreaming of bringing to justice all his life…

Finally, the ultimate question at this moment is regarding Father Alex himself.  Will his connections in very high places help him escape?  The answer to this question is “very likely not”.  This whole case is now beyond the reach of his supporters and has become an issue of very great public concern.  The “lid has been lifted” and the stench from decades of malpractice and abuse of power is now spreading very quickly.  The absolute arrogance displayed by Father Alex, which this author has analyzed numerous times, can be best described by the classical Greek notion of “hubris”, with the note that we have now entered the final stage of hubris, “nemesis”. In my personal opinion there is nothing that can stop the flow of events which will finally lead to Father Alex’s arrest and prosecution.

December 7, 2019 n.stamatakis@aol.com