A high-ranking Greek Orthodox priest starred in kinky sex tapes with his much-younger parish-school principal and was forced to resign after the affair — which he’d denied for years — was confirmed by church elders.
Father George Passias, the married, 67-year-old pastor of St. Spyridon Church in Washington Heights, even impregnated his married lover, 45-year-old Ethel Bouzalas, according to sources.
Passias was once the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in charge of all of the religion’s US priests.
An adherent to a fundamentalist faction of Greek Orthodoxy led by a controversial cleric in Arizona, he took the helm of St. Spyridon nine years ago — and immediately ordered female worshippers to cover their heads during confession.
But there was no such nod to modesty in the shocking sex videos viewed by The Post.
In one scene, the bearded cleric, wearing only a white T-shirt, watches his long-haired brunette lover plant her thong-clad bottom on a piece of banana bread wrapped in cellophane.
Bouzalas, wearing stiletto heels, oddly wiggles on the loaf until it is flattened — apparently a fetish known as “cake crush” or “cake sitting.”
In another video clip, the pretty Peruvian rubs her feet on the priest’s face as they lie under a mirrored ceiling and she records his ecstasy at the encounter. In another tape, the priest performs oral sex on his lover while she is still clad in sheer pantyhose.
The videos and photos of the pair were provided anonymously to The Post last week with a letter saying they were downloaded off a computer in Passias’ church office. The sender wrote that a private investigator had been hired to tail the couple to their rendezvous in motels in New Jersey and upstate Cold Spring.
The scandal blew up in early September when Tom Bouzalas, Ethel Bouzalas’ husband, emailed Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox church in the United States, and disclosed the affair, the bishop told The Post.
The bishop, known in the church by his first name, said that both Passias and Ethel Bouzalas then came to see him and that Passias was suspended on Sept. 16 “as per the sexual-misconduct policy of the archdiocese.”
Andonios said he had not seen the sex tapes but “learned of their existence during our meetings with both parties.”
After a weeks-long absence from the pulpit, Passias told his St. Spyridon flock in an email last week that he was leaving for “personal and health reasons,” and confessed to “multitudinous sins and shortcomings.”
“I will now fade out of this world for a considerable time according to God’s will,” he wrote. “He has chosen for me . . . that I should retire and follow the way of silence, prayer, fasting, and utter devotion to our Lord.
“Please do not ask where I am going and where I will be. Then it would not be possible for me to fulfill what is my lot.”
But Passias, who lives in Flushing, Queens, is not in an isolated monastery self-flagellating. Instead, he went to his daughter’s home in Chicago, a church official said. Messages left there were not returned.
He asked his parishioners to pray for him and his wife. He has four grown children. Bouzalas, who lives in Brooklyn, has three kids.
The Post in 2013 broke the story about the unorthodox relationship between Passias and Bouzalas and alleged fiscal wrongdoing at the church, which has nearly 200 families and was established in 1931 when the neighborhood was a Greek stronghold.
When Passias took the helm of the Wadsworth Avenue church in 2006, Bouzalas came with him as his assistant. He called her his “spiritual goddaughter,” and they arrived and left together every day. A church handyman said he once saw her sitting on the priest’s lap.
Baptized in a bikini
Bouzalas told parishioners that she converted to the Greek Orthodox faith and that Passias baptized her while she wore a bikini. The conversion apparently came before she was to marry her husband, a follower of the faith.
Greek Orthodoxy has 24 million followers worldwide. The seat of the Christian church is in Istanbul, Turkey, presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Priests can only be men but are allowed to marry.
With his flowing black robes and oversized cross around his neck, Passias cut an imposing and authoritative figure. Bouzalas, meanwhile, favored short skirts and high heels.
Bouzalas, who had no education credentials, was soon promoted to be the volunteer principal of the St. Spyridon Parochial School, which serves kindergarten to eighth grade and has a taxpayer-funded pre-kindergarten program. She also became church treasurer and a signatory on bank accounts.
In addition to imposing the conservative rules, Passias ruffled longtime congregants who said he removed controls over church spending and questioned why money was being poured into repairs at the school.
Management of four church-owned apartment buildings was given over to a company tied to Alma Bank, which also provided cash and mortgage refinancing. Renovations of the buildings was then done by two firms tied to principals at Alma Bank.
In 2013, Passias told The Post the allegations were cooked up by a group of “evil-minded people” — parishioners who wanted him gone.
“They have been saying I’m having a private affair with her,” he said. “She is a goddaughter to me. That’s it.”
Steve Papadatos, the Parish Council president, at the time called the allegations against Passias “lies,” then blasted The Post for publishing a story that he said was “replete with slander” and innuendo. He called the church “eternally grateful” to the priest and Bouzalas, according to The National Herald, a newspaper that covers the Greek community.
Papadatos last week said that he wouldn’t comment on the scandal, but that he stood by Passias and Bouzalas and wanted people to pray for them.
The bishop said that the misconduct was brought before a “Spiritual Court of the First Degree” last week and that a council of church leaders — including the head of Greek Orthodoxy in the United States — will review the findings. Any punishment, including possible defrocking, will be decided in Istanbul.
Asked why the church had ignored the longtime allegations of the affair, the bishop said, “Lacking any concrete evidence of an affair, there was no responsible way the church could take any further action.”
He said an audit a few years ago found no misuse of funds, but another investigation would take place “to assure that between that time and now, nothing has changed.”
Bouzalas packed up her school office last week. A moving van carted off a desk, filing cabinet, table and shopping bags with her belongings. A new principal has been assigned to the school.
Her husband refused to comment on the affair or the pregnancy but said the couple was still together. He confirmed he knew of the sex tapes.
Passias, in his farewell note to parishioners, said he was following the direction of “my spiritual father Geronda Ephraim.” Ephraim presides over St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox monastery in Florence, Ariz. The family of a young man who lived there and committed suicide in 2012 contends the death was the result of “six years of physical and psychological abuse” at the monastery.