Bishop's Unholy Act

New York Post/April 19, 2002
By Eric Lenkowitz, John Lehmann and Dan Mangan

The archbishop of an Orthodox church in Queens was busted yesterday on child sex-assault charges after a Post story exposed the convicted molester.

Pangratios Vrionis, 58, is accused of molesting a then 14-year-old boy in February 1999 in Sts. Fanourios and Gerasimos Cathedral in Woodside.

Authorities said Vrionis showed the teen - his student - a gay pornographic movie and then "touched the boy sexually by putting his hand inside the youth's pants" before exposing himself.

Vrionis lives in the small church on 48th Avenue, headquarters of his Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis. He teaches children Greek and religion there.

Vrionis surrendered yesterday on charges of third-degree sexual assault and attempted sexual assault. Held on $1,500 bail, he faces three months in jail.

"Justice has to be done," said the boy's mother, who ceased her son's Greek lessons with Vrionis in 1999 after he told her what happened. "I became furious" after reading about Vrionis' criminal past in a March 26 Post article, she said.

The story "sort of gave me the courage" to contact police, she said. "People like that should be caught, and he should be stopped from hurting other children."

In 1970, Vrionis pleaded guilty to sodomizing and corrupting the morals of two 14-year-old boys in Harrisburg, Pa.

He was sentenced to 23 months' probation for the crimes, which occurred when he was a Greek Orthodox Church of America priest. That church defrocked Vrionis because of his conviction.

Vrionis then started his own Greek Orthodox church, but he has been tracked by a Web site - - that targets child-molesting Orthodox clerics.

"I'm just happy to hear that he's been arrested . . . he was a bad-news guy," said Cappy Larson, a San Francisco, Calif., woman associated with the site.

Larson said that several years ago, she alerted Queens prosecutors that the admitted molester was running a school, but "they all said to me, 'We can't do anything about it.' "

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