The Greek Orthodox Community of Tarpon Springs, USA was shocked to discover an e-mail, written by Father Anastasios Gounaris, the top religious leader at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The email explained how the man decided to leave his post but also his priest hood.
“It just came out of the blue. We were not expecting anything,” said the parish council president Nikitas Manias, adding that not even Gounaris’ wife was aware of his decision. “He just resigned.”
Anastasios Gounaris, also known as Father Tasos expressed his hope to one day be forgiven by the Greek Orthodox church members. “After much soul-searching, this led to my decision to relinquish my parish duties and leave the active priesthood. I am convinced that no one benefits when a priest has been stretched beyond his human limits,” he wrote.
Gounaris was assigned to the post in Tarpon Springs in June 2014. Previously, he had served at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York as the dean, and at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Indianapolis as a pastor. While he served in Tarpon Springs he participated in the Epiphany liturgy, noting that it was a dream come true for him.
The Greek Orthodox church members were surprised by his sudden departure. “Tasos was very, very well-liked in the community and we’ve always been very appreciative with his services. We’ll definitely miss him,” said Chris Alahouzos, former city commissioner.