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Arlington Church Petitions To Keep Priest After Accusations Of Causing 'Turmoil'

ARLINGTON (CBS) -- The Saint Athanasius Greek Orthodox Parish in Arlington seemed more like a day ball park than a church service on Sunday. Parish members that were gathered there were holding up signs and shouting chants.

Rev. Nicholas Kastanas, also known as Father Nick is being forced out after 27 years with the parish.

"He's getting laid off, fired-- not even laid off. Fired," said one parishioner.

Father Kastanas is being relieved of his duties by the Greek Metropolis of Boston who released a statement saying, "The spiritual environment in the Community has been severely damaged by behavior that is wholly contrary to Christian values, which has resulted in, among other things, the distribution of hurtful and destructive communications throughout the Community. While the turmoil is not totally Fr. Kastanas' fault, nevertheless, he bears the greatest responsibility."

The statement has left some parishioners uncertain of why Father Kastanas is leaving.

"It's very sad because I come here all the time just to listen to him," parishioner Despina Spyridonides said. "I don't know why they are doing this. It's a shock to me."

Another woman added, "He's such a tribute to the parish and an unbelievable person in the community."

Despite the Saint Athanasius Greek Orthodox Parish petition to keep him, Father Nick's final sermon was on Sunday.

Fighting back tears, he said "It's been my honor and privilege to celebrate your weddings, to baptize your children and serve God and you...Yes, we may be hurting but everything works out to the glory of God. One door closes another one opens."

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