BEIRUT: A Lebanese abbot who leads a monastery was barred from exercising ecclesiastical duties and sentenced to a life of solitary penitence, according to a statement released by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Byblos and Batroun over the weekend.
Archimandrite Panteleimoun Farah was sentenced to a life of isolation at the Hamatoura Monastery, which he leads in the Koura town of Kousba, based on a decision reached by Orthodox Bishop of Mount Lebanon George Khodr.
The Archdiocese reached the verdict on Nov. 25, building on a decision taken on July 17 of last year.
“Archimandrite Panteleimoun Farah was referred to the Clerical Disciplinary Council at the Archdiocese which summoned him, following a complaint about violations of Christian life and the call for priesthood committed by him,” The Archdiocese’s statement said.
Farah also “deliberately ignored” the disciplinary council, violating seminary and monastic values, the statement added, saying the archimandrite committed “blatant violations of church rules and monastic heritage.”
Farah was stripped of his ecclesiastical duties, which entailed heading monastery matters, and pastoral and social relations, based on article 102 of the rules of the Holy See of Antioch.
According to the statement, Farah is not allowed to practice his monastic duties, including presiding over confession. He is also disallowed from travelling and is forced to reside in the Hamatoura Monastery, with the exception of a medical emergency and with the Archdiocese’s approval.
Priests and students at the monastery have also been forbidden to leave, with the exception of medical emergencies. Visitors are also barred from entering.
Several people protested the verdict outside the monastery Saturday, saying Farah was innocent. Some carried his picture and held banners that read: “Hamatoura is sorrowful.”
The verdict comes a month after news that Lebanese priest Mansour Labaki was sentenced to a life of penitence and isolation in an unknown monastery in Lebanon following being convicted of sexually abusing more than three children, as well as soliciting sex.