Blanco Monk Found Dead
I couldn't sleep tonight and couldn't figure out why I was still online in the middle of the night. Then a few minutes ago, Fr. James Deschene sent me a message saying that Samuel "Fr. Benedict" Greene of the infamous Christ of the Hills "Monastery" in Blanco, Texas, had been found dead in a double-wide trailer on the property Monday morning. On Friday, Greene was scheduled to face his day in court. The prosecutor was seeking to revoke Greene's probation, and he would likely have returned to jail, possibly serving 99 years-to-life. Blanco County Sheriff Bill Elsbury assumes it was suicide but is awaiting an autopsy and has not ruled anything out.
There is no need to review the specifics of the crimes Blanco's "monks," including Greene, committed through molestation, faking a "weeping icon," and bilking the devout out of nearly a million dollars a year (and raking in more cash by posing as Orthodox liturgical scholars and publishing books via New Sarov Press). This is also not the time for word games, blame-shifting, or calling Christ of the Hills a part of "the Texan Thebaid" (!) — that would never be appropriate. At this point, Greene has escaped justice on earth, and Orthodox Christians are commanded to demonstrate enough charity for the image of God remaining within him, however obscured, that we must now pray Greene will escape justice in eternity, as well. Indeed, if we take St. Paul's words to heart, we must esteem Greene better than ourselves. And if one better than me goes to Hell, then truly my wretched soul has no hope.
I could do no better than to echo Fr. James' words: "May God have mercy on his poor soul!"
(After you pray, please scroll down; this disturbing news should be balanced by a meditation on the feast of the Holy Cross.)