Author Topic: Greece's Rasputin?  (Read 4857 times)

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Offline TomS

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Greece's Rasputin?
« on: February 02, 2005, 02:27:52 PM »
The priest, the judge, the ring and the probe

Several judges, prosecutors and a priest are being investigated as possiblemembers of a ring that rigged trials

A SWEEPING investigation of lower and appellate court judges and prosecutors has implicated a Greek Orthodox priest and has shaken the public trust in the Greek justice system.

The priest, Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis, is suspected of involvement with an alleged ring that rigged court cases. Giosakis, no stranger to controversy, is also under investigation.

Greek Supreme Court prosecutors are carrying out a review of cases ranging from the freeing of charged drug dealers to insurance. In a number of the cases under review, the litigious priest himself was either plaintiff or defendant.

Greek state television reported that Giosakis flew to Lebanon on January 25, immediately after his bank accounts were ordered opened, and quoted sources close to the priest that he would return to Greece in ten days. No charges have yet been filed against Giosakis, and hence there are no legal restrictions on his movement.

Forty-three percent of Greeks said that they do not have trust in the criminal justice system, according to a Kappa Research poll conducted after the scandal broke out.

Widening investigation

Supreme Court prosecutor George Sanidas has ordered the opening of bank accounts in the Commercial Bank of Greece belonging to Giosakis, lower court prosecutor Antonia Ilia and chief lower court judge Leonidas Stathis.

Sources close to the case told the Athens News that the number of judges and prosecutors involved continues to grow. An appellate court deputy prosecutor, an appellate court prosecutor and a female appellate court judge are also currently under investigation in the case. It is believed that as many as ten judges could be expelled from the judiciary by the time the investigation is over.

Lower court judge Panagiota Tsevi-Raftopoulou is under investigation in two slander cases in which she ruled in Giosakis' favour. The first was against Athens University theology professor Xenophon Papaharalambous and the other against Metropolitan Germanos of Ilia.

The ongoing probe is investigating whether three female judges, including Ilia, received bribes from Giosakis to rule in his favour in about ten cases, including the two slander suits.

Strange circumstances

Some of the facts and allegations the Supreme Court prosecutors must look into are, to put it mildly, bizarre.

For instance, Germanos reports receiving a prank call evidently designed to keep him out of court on the day of the Papaharalambous trial, in which he was a witness for the defence. The caller claimed that the French ambassador wanted to visit Germanos' diocese on that day. When Germanos telephoned the number left by the caller, he found that it belonged to the office of a deputy prosecutor.

Giosakis sued Germanos after the latter wrote a letter advising Archbishop Christodoulos against the appointment of Giosakis in the powerful position of chief secretary of the synod. Giosakis was also a candidate to fill the influential position of head of the Apostoliki Diakonia (apostolic ministry).

Another curious allegation is that in several cases involving Giosakis, the judges who were initially chosen by lot were later replaced without explanation by judges now suspected of corruption.

Supreme Court Chief Justice George Kappos ordered an investigation against Tsevi, who judged the Germanos-Giosakis case, for alleged bias.

Never a dull moment

For over 15 years, the name Giosakis has spelled trouble in the ranks of the Greek Orthodox Church. In the late 1980s, the late metropolitan Panteleimon of Limnos appointed Giosakis as chancellor of his diocese. A rift between Giosakis and two other priests resulted in ousting of the metropolitan in 1989 after 39 years on the throne, following popular outcry.

Giosakis cared for Panteleimon in Athens for the remaining decade of the metropolitan's life. A source at the Limnos diocese confirmed that Panteleimon had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease even before the arrival of Giosakis. Giosakis obtained from the metropolitan a power of attorney, which enabled him to sell 11 prime pieces of property owned by the metropolitan between 1989 and 1993.

An employee at the Kranidi land registry confirmed the sales to this newspaper, which included six properties totalling almost four acres, a rural lot with a house and a seaside property in the Mandraki region of Ermioni.

Giosakis later went to the Diocese of Kithira, where he had served before going to Limnos. He was implicated in a scandal involving the theft of icons and a homosexual scandal that led to the resignation of the island's metropolitan, Iakovos. Giosakis was never convicted of any crime.

The Greek Supreme Court is now seeking judicial assistance from the United States to investigate Giosakis' activity in Chicago, where he repaired after the Kithira scandal. While serving at the Church of Saints Athanasios and John, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Giosakis was accused of having embezzled between $500,000 and $1 million, partly from the Philoptochos charity fund.

According to a church source, police confiscated Giosakis' passport, but he managed to travel to Mexico, where patriarchal Metropolitan Athenagoras of Panama interceded with Greek consular authorities to issue a new passport. Athenagoras also issued a letter releasing Giosakis from his diocese and enabling him to be taken in later by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Attica.

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos issued a stern letter rebuking Athenagoras in 2002. According to church sources, Giosakis was about to be defrocked by the patriarchate when the powerful chief secretary of the patriarchal synod interceded on his behalf.

ATHENS NEWS , 28/01/2005, page: A04


Priest Iakovos Giosakis reportedly fled the country to evade investigation into his involvement with a group alleged to have rigged court cases 

Offline prodromos

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2005, 03:27:57 AM »
I have not been keeping up with current affairs so I've only just heard about this chap. Archbishop Christodoulos has vowed to clean up the corruption in the church but according to reporter Triantafyllidis, the Archbishop himself was involved in a similiar scandal years ago.

I have been blessed only to have been involved with priests striving for holiness in the church here in Greece, but I am not so naive that I am unaware of the fact that there are also many corrupt individuals as well. Lord have mercy on them that they may repent of their evil ways and be saved.

Offline TomS

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2005, 09:23:43 AM »
Trial-fixing scandal balloons

Two bishops now in hot water; some 20 judges are under investigation or face disciplinary action

Top Church of Greece officials yesterday added two bishops to some 20 members of the judiciary who are under investigation or face disciplinary action in connection with a broad-ranging trial-fixing scandal that allegedly intertwines corrupt judges and churchmen.

The Church’s ruling body, the Holy Synod, summoned Panteleimon, Bishop of Attica, to appear today before the 13-member body — chaired by Archbishop Christodoulos — to answer charges of having “scandalized the Church.” This refers to taped conversations made public recently in which the bishop appears to be interceding with judges and lawyers to affect the outcome of pending cases. Panteleimon has admitted to making such calls but claims that he was just trying to clarify his views on the cases in question.

However, the bishop of Attica has denied the authenticity of a separate series of recorded phone calls in which he allegedly made lewd suggestions to a male interlocutor.

If Panteleimon fails to sway the Holy Synod today, he faces an immediate six-month suspension and further investigation that could lead to his dismissal. However, sources yesterday indicated that he might prefer to resign.

The second senior churchman in hot water is Theoklitos, Bishop of Thessaliotis, who was summoned to defend himself in writing, by Tuesday, against allegations by his predecessor that he was detained by police in a dodgy club on suspicion of drug offenses, and that the matter was subsequently hushed up.

The Holy Synod also instructed Panteleimon to suspend a priest under his jurisdiction who is allegedly at the heart of the trial-fixing scandal, and to launch disciplinary proceedings against him.

Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis is also in trouble with the law over a case of suspected antiquities theft. He is due to appear before an examining magistrate today — though his whereabouts were unknown yesterday with police looking to arrest him on the basis of a warrant issued Wednesday in fear he might try to flee the country.

The Synod asked the government to revise the law on the prosecution of clergymen, and called on lay members with incriminating information regarding churchmen to notify Church authorities.

“The Church, as an institution, faces no threat from the errors of its clergymen,” a Synod statement added.

Meanwhile, a fifth judge is expected to face disciplinary charges for trial-fixing today. A total of about 20 are under investigation.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2005, 09:24:05 AM by TomS »

Offline TomS

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2005, 09:25:49 AM »
Bribery scandal engulfs Greek church
By Daniel Howden
04 February 2005

Greece's top Orthodox clerics were in an emergency meeting last night aimed at limiting the fallout from the biggest scandal to engulf the church in decades.

Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for at least one senior cleric as the Holy Synod called for an internal inquiry into a ring of priests accused of bribing top judges and lawyers in return for favourable rulings. The scandal, involving payoffs, secret funds and sexual favours, has shocked the faithful in a country where the overwhelming majority are Orthodox Christians.

The cleric at the centre of the affair, Iakovos Yiossakis, a close associate of Greece's firebrand spiritual leader, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, was being sought by police after prosecutors decided there a risk that he might go missing.

A number of judges, lawyers and priests are under investigation for helping get suspected drug dealers acquitted, involvement in prostitution and influencing church elections.

Archbishop Christodoulos, who has earned a reputation for outspoken involvement in political affairs, made a desperate attempt to distance the church from the furore. "We must protect it [the church]. Cleansing the church must go ahead without any compromise," he said.

His call for a purge was echoed by George Kapos, the supreme court president: "I don't have any problem if there are 13 or 20 judges who will be prosecuted because what I want is to clean the judicial system."

One of the key witnesses in the investigation, Stelios Vorinas, a reporter, has submitted audio tapes and other documents relating to one of the judges under investigation.

Metropolitan Bishop Ieronimos said in interviews this week that he had been discouraged from running for the archbishopric in 1998 by a senior judge and threatened by one of the ring of priests under investigation. Ieronimos has accused Christodoulos of using Yiossakis to blackmail him so that he would not stand against him in the ecclesiastical elections. The Archbishop denies the claims.

Four top judges linked to the priests have been charged with serious disciplinary offences and at least another nine senior judges and several prominent lawyers are under investigation.

"This is only the start of our problems," Metropolitan Bishop Ambrosius said. "There will be more developments and earthquakes and I ask you not to be scandalised by them."

Sources close to Archbishop Christodoulos said the controversial spiritual leader, who enjoys considerable support among Greece's 95 per cent Orthodox population, was "angered and disappointed".

4 February 2005 08:24

Offline Columba

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2005, 11:32:23 AM »
Well this whole thing just leaves  one gobsmacked, no?

Offline TomS

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2005, 08:49:14 AM »
Church sinks deeper in scandal

Bishop suspended for alleged trial-fixing; questionable letter turns up from archbishop’s past

The Church of Greece's ruling body yesterday suspended Panteleimon, Bishop of Attica, for six months, pending an investigation into claims he was part of an alleged trial-fixing ring composed of judges and churchmen that aided suspected drug dealers.

Meanwhile, a prominent priest suspected of acting as a middleman in the ring was arrested yesterday - minutes before he began testifying before a Piraeus examining magistrate regarding charges he stole precious icons from a Kythera monastery in the 1990s - following fears he might flee the country. Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, who is also allegedly involved in embezzlement, comes under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Attica, who suspended him on Thursday under strict orders from top Church authorities.

Panteleimon came under considerable pressure yesterday from the 13-member Holy Synod - which is chaired by Archbishop Christodoulos - to resign, but refused to do so. The bishop has protested his innocence in the face of charges, based on taped phone calls, that he spoke to senior judges and lawyers in an attempt to influence the outcome of specific court cases. He only admitted to having spoken to a lawyer. Panteleimon has also denied accusations, also deriving from recorded telephone conversations, that he made lewd suggestions to an unidentified man.

The Church officially abhors homosexuality, which Christodoulos condemned in November as -½a blatant, crying sin.-+

According to the Holy Synod spokesman, Dorotheos, Bishop of Syros, Panteleimon will now have to prove his innocence.

-½If he proves that what is being said and written against him is untrue, and the furor settles down over [the next six months] then the Synod will re-examine its decision,-+ he said. Otherwise, Panteleimon could be stripped of his see.

Sources said that yesterday's Synod session also saw the head of the Greek Church - who has vowed to crack down on corruption in the clergy - protesting that he himself has become a prime target for false allegations in recent days.

Late on Thursday, a TV journalist whose allegations sparked the trial-fixing investigation published a letter Christodoulos had written to an examining magistrate while still the Bishop of Demetrias, in which he sought the release of a young Albanian man suspected of drug dealing and claimed another Albanian was in fact culpable.

Yesterday, Christodoulos's spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which he described as a -½humanitarian act.-+

Church sources, however, said the youth in question was very close to the current Bishop of Thessaliotis, Theoklitos, who at the time was a top aide to Christodoulos.

Theoklitos has also been summoned by the Holy Synod to defend himself in writing, by Tuesday, against charges - by his predecessor - that he was detained by police in a dodgy club and that the matter was subsequently hushed up.

While the Synod did not discuss the matter of the Albanian suspect - who was jailed for six years - dissident bishops yesterday said this offered Christodoulos a good opportunity to fully apply his previous pledges to clean up the Church.

AFP (l), ANA
Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis (l) was arrested yesterday shortly before he testified regarding charges of antiquities theft. Yiossakis was allegedly a middleman in the trial-fixing ring.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2005, 08:50:19 AM by TomS »

Offline TomS

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2005, 09:19:46 PM »
Audit the church

The church is a perfect example of the dishonesty and inefficiency thatexists throughout the state because it is an extension of the state

THE CHURCH of Greece fully deserves the crisis in which it finds itself. For years we have heard about sexual depravities and property scandals unbecoming to the purported ambassadors of God on Earth. Now a new ring of corruption is unveiled, involving some of the highest enforcers of secular law in connection with at least one of the interpreters of divine will. The Holy Synod's recommendation that Archmandrite Iakovos Giosakis be suspended is welcome, but it is not nearly enough.

The problem the church faces today is its complete unaccountability, not only to anyone else but even to itself. Each of 100 metropolitanates nominally reports to the Archbishop in Athens, but in reality these administrative regions are run as autonomous Ottoman cifliks. This means that financial accounts and property dealings are difficult to centralise and monitor.

Archbishop Christodoulos now faces an enormous problem in disciplining his ranks. The truth is, he cannot do it alone. He needs the help of the state, which is, in turn, hobbled by the fact that it is inexorably fused with the church.

Priests are only spiritually beholden to the church. Their real employer is the state, which will this year spend 157 million euros on their salaries and pensions. They are, by law, civil servants, and poorly performing ones at that. Churches charge for their services, although they are supposed to be free. It goes beyond the big three, baptism, marriage and the Great Ushering Off: individual priests illegally charge to perform blessings, exorcisms and other indispensable services. In the countryside, itinerant priests who are supposed to service more than one village often refuse to do their rounds without inducement. Across the country, services are poorly attended because they are poorly performed. The Greek Orthodox liturgy, founded on the mystery of faith, the power of church theatre and a musical tradition going back to ancient times, is today mumbled out of tune, in neon-lit domes. In short, people aren't getting their money's worth, and are in the process losing the beauty of their tradition.

The church is a perfect example of the dishonesty and inefficiency that exists throughout the state because it is an extension of the state. Unfortunately, this fusion is not a political decision that can be easily undone; it is an expression of our culture.

Greece is living in a continuation of Byzantium. We are in arrested development as a modern nation because the image we have of ourselves is the last one of any consequence to the world - as the empire that legalised Christianity and made it a state religion. In Constantinople, the Greeks made a potent mixture of secular and religious power in Patriarch and Emperor long before the Ottomans made Caliph and Sultan.

Whereas the hero worship of Kemal Ataturk replaced Islam as the state religion in modern Turkey, here in Greece we have perfectly embalmed the rule of church and state. The Archbishop swears in governments; his officers bless military missions abroad, and the hulls of military ships know holy water before brine. Early each year, a Greek house invites a priest to perform a blessing; the cross hangs in all our courts of law; icons adorn the nation's police stations, as though the saints were somehow engaged on the side of the law; the nation's classrooms are adorned by Christ; each session of parliament begins with a dais-full of raven cloaked priests.

In an unnoticed and tacit fashion, therefore, we are a kind of theocracy. It is time for Greece to stop cleaving to the church as its main distinguishing characteristic in the airport culture that is globalisation. We need to find our identity in what is still the world's most distinguished bibliography of secular literature, and see the church for what it really is - a human institution made to serve man; and let us ensure that it does so. We need to finally turn this country into a secular democracy with true separation of church and state.

It is no longer tolerable for the church to draw its salaries from taxation like the civil service, or to insist on playing a part in politics, as it tacitly does to support the conservatives, because Pasok is the only party ever to have challenged it. It is not tolerable for the church to prevent the teaching of other religions in secondary schools. And it is not tolerable that the church should hide among its black cloaks crooks and men of worldly ambition, while denying accountability to any earthly power.

Everyone, from private individuals to corporations and charities to government itself, sooner or later is called to account. The church should be no exception. It is an earthly institution with earthly possessions. New Democracy should now put its money where its mouth is and be a party of reform; it should seize the current scandal to table a bill in parliament that would force the church to present a full accounting of its holdings, income from donation boxes and larger bequests, as well as its expenditures. The church need not lose its tax-exempt status, but it can thus acquire a transparency that will assist its leaders in the exercise of management, allowing clerics to focus on doctrine and what ought to be the church's wider social role.

If this process is not begun, the materialism and spiritual corruption of the church will only worsen, and the laiety will one day discover that what lies hidden behind the iconostasis is not a sacrificial altar, but a sack of loose change.

ATHENS NEWS , 04/02/2005, page: A99
Article code: C13116A999

Offline TomS

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Greek Church crisis deepens

The church was spinning in a whirlwind of scandalous allegations made by clerics and a drug dealer last week. So damning are the mounting charges against high church officials, all the way up to the Archbishop of Athens, that the Holy Synod, the church's governing body, has banned priests from speaking publicly to the media...

THE ORTHODOX Church of Greece placed a gag order on all clergy, just two days after press revelations linking Archbishop Christodoulos to a man arrested for heroin dealing one year later. The mounting church crisis, with daily revelations of bishops' scandals, is widely considered Christodoulos' greatest challenge in his seven-year ministry, and some believe it could even jeopardise his position at the church's helm.

The man - who is named Apostolos Vavylis and used the alias Apostolos Fokas - in a sworn affidavit submitted to Israeli authorities said that Christodoulos sent him as an envoy to help secure the election of Patriarch Eirinaios of Jerusalem in 2001.

Vavylis had been placed on an Interpol wanted list by Italian authorities in 1994 for drug trafficking. He was convicted in Larissa in 1991 for transporting over one kilo of heroin, for which he received a 13-year sentence. Two years later, the sentence was suspended for 15 years, reportedly after he offered information leading to the arrest of other dealers.

In Jerusalem, Vavylis said he was accompanied by retired Greek policeman Yannis Triantafyllakis and priest Nikodimos from the Chrysopigi monastic brotherhood of which Christodoulos was a member.

The Athens lower court prosecutor's office ordered an emergency investigation on February 10 to probe how Vavylis was able to cross borders and sell armoured cars and bullet-proof vests in 1996 to the public order ministry and the state Postal Savings Bank while he was on the Interpol list.

Christodoulos' 'spiritual child'

In a statement issued on February 8, the archdiocese categorically denied that Christodoulos had sent anyone to help elect Eirinaios. Spokesmen for the archbishop defended his recommendation for Vavylis, in which Christodoulos praised his "Christian ethos" and "Greekness", indicating that it was written in 1987, one year before the trial and conviction and suggesting that Christodoulos had broken ties with Vavylis.

But Abbott George Kapsanis of Mount Athos' Grigoriou Monastery told ERA state radio on February 10 that Christodoulos personally called him to receive Vavylis for confession and spiritual guidance in 1998, when he was already a wanted man. The abbott proceeded to give Vavylis another letter of recommendation.

The Jerusalem Patriarchate's Archbishop Alexios of Gaza told state TV that Christodoulos met with Eirinaios and Vavylis at an Athens hotel in 2001 and instructed Vavylis to go to Jerusalem to help elect Eirinaios, describing the mission as one to promote "national interests".

Christodoulos' spokesman, Father Epiphanios Economou, told the Athens News that the archbishop has not seen Vavylis since 1987 and that the recommendation was made at the request of his parents - "respectable citizens of Volos" - as part of Christodoulos' pastoral duties.

A VPRC poll showed that Christodoulos' negative ratings were 47 percent, versus 43 percent positive, a nose-dive since May 2004, when his positive ratings were at 68 percent.

Eirinaios, whom Vavylis accuses of having formed a "criminal group" to defame his rivals for the patriarchal throne through illegal means, denies that Vavylis ever worked for him and attributed the allegations to a plot to harm the patriarchate. But evidence has emerged that in 2002 Vavylis was part of a Jerusalem Patriarchate mission to the Vatican, where he went as "Rev Fr Rafaele Apostolos Anagnostakis".

But Greece's consul-general in Jerusalem at the time, Petros Panagiotopoulos, told state TV that Vavylis was so close an aide to the patriarch that one had to go through him to speak with Eirinaios. Panagiotopoulos said he expressed reservations about Vavylis to Eirinaios, who said he could do nothing because Vavylis was Christodoulos' "spiritual child".

There has been speculation in the Greek press that Vavylis was a secret service agent of Greece, Israel, or both.

Gag the clergy

The public uproar has led to mounting calls for the separation of church and state, from politicians ranging from Pasok leader George Papandreou and Left Coalition leader Alekos Alavanos to prominent conservative politicians like Ioannis Varvitsiotis. But the government so far categorically rejects such a prospect.

But the crisis has also led the church to hunker down and prohibit clergy from speaking publicly about church scandals.

"The Holy Synod decided that after the creation of a three-bishop investigative committee, to which anyone possessing legal evidence against clergy can submit it for review, it is no longer useful for clergy to participate in public discussions on church improprieties on television, radio or other mass media, except with the special order of the Holy Synod," read the synod's official communique on February 8.

The move raised questions about the church's determination to achieve transparency amidst an avalanche of accusation of judicial and sexual improprieties committed by priests and bishops.

Allegations run rampant

On the same day, the 12-member synod, chaired and controlled by Christodoulos, also cleared the archbishop's close associate, Metropolitan Theoklitos of Thessaliotis, of charges that he had been arrested by police at Trikala bar on suspicion of drug dealing, along with a priest, Seraphim Koulousousas, who resigned recently as director of Christodoulos' office.

Nonetheless, the synod, after it had dismissed all charges, complied with Theoklitos' request to appoint a bishop to investigate the case. The synod ignored the fact that Theoklitos had used a false Piraeus address to try a slander suit there, where the case was heard by a judge implicated in the ongoing judicial scandal.

Theoklitos' lawyer, Alexis Kouyias, told the Athens News that the bishop simply followed the advice of his previous counsel, who was also Christodoulos' lawyer. Kouyias said that the address was chosen because it was the residence of the court secretary, even though the bishop did not know her.

In an effort to bolster his position and build alliances, Christodoulos met with key members of the church hierarchy on February 9 to seek ways to surpass the crisis. The meeting was attended by Christodoulos main rival for the archbishop's throne in 1998, Ieronymos of Thebes.

Ieronymos reportedly pledged support on the condition that Christodoulos would clear his name of charges of financial malfeasance that were raised before the archbishop's election, and of which he was cleared by a Greek court. Christodoulos is expected to call a meeting of all Greece's bishops by month's end.

Meanwhile, the Greek Supreme Court proceeded with further prosecutions against judges, filing charges against lower court president Evangelos Kalousis, who is accused of exploiting foreign women as prostitutes. He allegedly lured the women through newspaper ads and kept only those over 1.80m tall.

The seventh Greek judge facing expulsion, Kalousis was arrested on February 10 after allegedly trying to cash a bad check in a bank. Kalousis claimed he had found the check on the street and was merely trying to ascertain if it was authentic.

A deputy appellate court prosecutor, Nikos Athanasopoulos, who is accused of having participated with priest Iakovos Giosakis in a judicial ring rigging cases, claimed that he was drawn in and deceived by the priest.

ATHENS NEWS , 11/02/2005, page: A05
Article code: C13117A051

« Last Edit: February 15, 2005, 09:31:33 AM by TomS »

Offline jmbejdl

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2005, 09:49:38 AM »

Here's a link to an article on the subject by an English ROCOR priest, which I think is worth reading as it's more about what Orthodox ought to make of such scandals rather than on the details of the scandal itself. I would just note, because I've seen some strange comments from some of the ultra-traditionalist Orthodox on this forum, that despite being from ROCOR, and hence an Old Calendarist, he is not of the 'all of mainstream Orthodoxy is composed of ecumenist heretics devoid of grace' type. Actually, I've never come across such ideas amongst Old Calendarists here (Britain) or in Eastern Europe - maybe it's a peculiarity of American Old Calendarists? Anyway, I digress. The article is certainly not anti-Greek and is quite safe for New Calendarist Orthodox to read without offence.

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Offline Elisha

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2005, 12:31:57 PM »
...ultra-traditionalist Orthodox on this forum...

I do not believe that there are any 'Ultra-traditionalists' on this forum.  Traditional, but not ultra-traditionalists.

Offline jmbejdl

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2005, 04:12:50 AM »

I do not believe that there are any 'Ultra-traditionalists' on this forum. Traditional, but not ultra-traditionalists.

Sorry, I'd just been reading the ROAC status thread when I posted that and had seen some somewhat intolerant sounding posts there. I didn't mean to cause any offence but it does irritate me when I read things suggesting that local churches such as the Greek, Serbian, Antiochian and, though it was never specifically mentioned I guess the Romanian church also, are devoid of grace. I probably shouldn't have let my irritation spill over into another thread, though.

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Offline TomS

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COG warned - State may be forced to intervene in running of Church
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2005, 08:36:05 AM »
Church warned to reform

Official threatens state intervention if today’s meeting fails to deliver

On the eve of a meeting by top churchmen to discuss the alleged trial-fixing, corruption and sex scandals besetting the Church of Greece, government sources warned yesterday that unless swift internal action is taken the State will be forced to intervene in the running of the Church.

“We conveyed the message, by every means, that there can be no leeway whatsoever for delays... and that if the Church fails to act with the required speed and effectiveness the State will be forced to intervene,” the source told Kathimerini.

Meanwhile, reactions grew to an article posted on the official Church website on Wednesday — but disowned by the Church yesterday — bemoaning attacks against the clergy by what it called “a political and journalistic circus.” Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said he did not consider himself a member of any circus, while opposition leader George Papandreou denounced the “libelous” text and called for a referendum on separating Church from State.

Today, the plenary session of the Church’s 80 bishops, chaired by Archbishop Christodoulos, will discuss ways of reforming the Church after weeks of scandalous allegations involving at least three bishops and two priests — Iakovos Yiossakis, who already faces charges of antiquities theft and is allegedly at the heart of a trial-fixing scandal involving several judges, and Serapheim Kouloussousas, a former close aide to Christodoulos who has been linked with a gay sex scandal. Kouloussousas left the Church this week, and is reportedly planning to enter the fashion business in Paris.

The Church has already suspended Panteleimon, Bishop of Attica, for six months pending an investigation of claims he tried to influence judges. Panteleimon, who reportedly came under renewed pressure from his peers yesterday to resign, has also been implicated in a separate gay sex scandal. The Church officially regards homosexuality as an abomination.

Today, Christodoulos — who dissident bishops say should be investigated for his alleged links with shady figures, including former protege Apostolos Vavilis, a convicted drug dealer — is expected to propose allowing state auditing of Church finances.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2005, 08:37:18 AM by TomS »

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Re: Greece's Rasputin?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2005, 12:14:07 PM »
Remaking the Church of Greece
By Costas Iordanidis

In a strong show of solidarity, senior clerics last week rallied round Greek Orthodox Church leader Archbishop Christodoulos.

The unified stand of the clergy during an emergency meeting of the Holy Synod on Friday dealt a blow to enemies of the Church of Greece who had been hoping to force the archbishop from his seat and take away one of the traditional pillars of this country’s society.

For the duration of about a month now, the Church of Greece has come under unprecedented attack that seems to be driven less by religious or moral motives than by political ones.

The intensity of the criticism urged the bishops to back Archbishop Christodoulos, a move that helped ease pressure on the Church.

The point is not to expel the clerics who have been accused of ethical misconduct; clearing out the corrupt clergymen has to be done anyway.

The point, rather, is to reconstruct the Church, empowering it to face up to some very specific challenges.

In reaction to the sex and corruption scandals involving senior clerics, some left-of-center parties as well as some of the most conservative deputies from the ruling New Democracy party have raised the issue of separating Church and State.

Archbishop Christodoulos’s statement that “circumstances dictate that we brace ourselves for a so-called separation [of the Church and State] whenever that is sought,” showed that the Church is mindful of the conundrum.

Should the State stop paying salaries to the clergy, the Church should be ready to take the issue to a local or international court and win back any property that has been seized by the State.

The Church must also put special emphasis on education and the different bishoprics must promote the establishment of private schools, injecting students with the requisite technical knowledge and moral integrity to meet contemporary challenges.

Similar experiments have succeeded in the past.

The clergy must join hands with the laity.

The parish must again become a reservoir of social solidarity while senior clerics must turn their bishoprics into agents of social reform.

The archbishop and the Church are not out to sever the ties between the Church and the State.

Their aim is to consolidate the ties between the two institutions, for it was on the basis of their strong relationship that the Greek State and society were built.

However, as Christodoulos stressed, were there an attempt to separate the two institutions, “the Church will suffer no damage whatsoever.”