I've been researching the story of Fr. John Karastamatis, the Greek Orthodox Priest from Santa Cruz who was murdered back in 1985. And I know that there is very much controversy surrounding him, and much of it relates to the subject of Canonization. Anyhow, I've just been wondering, what really happened and should he be venerated as a Saint at all? Let alone be a "martyr"? For example, the information about him on Orthodox websites seems to conflict very much with what the police reports and newspaper articles from the time say. One such example is an Orthodox website says that there were three murderers and that two of them drank cobra venom to commit suicide and that they were Satanist Priests. The secular sources such as the police report say that there were only two murderers and that only one of them committed suicide, and it was with a .38 caliber gunshot. Likewise, there is nothing to support that they were Satanists--let alone "Satanist Priests." In reality, they were parishioners at his Church. The only evidence I could see to even suggest possible Satanism is that they were both mentally ill. Maybe they had fantasies or bizarre visions that were Satanic, but saying that they were Satanist Priests when both of them were regular members of Fr. John's Church--the woman even a secretary--seems like a huge stretch that isn't sufficiently supported by evidence.
Likewise, was he really "martyred" because of his faith? AFAIK, the perpetrators have never given a motive for the murder, and the secular sources seem to contradict themselves on this part. Some say that they were attempting to rob the Church and Fr. John got in the way, some say that the Church was not robbed at all, and some say that the murder was rooted in a hatred of Fr. John's Orthodoxy. Likewise, another contradiction is that the Orthodox sources say that his blood was used to write Satanic imagery on the wall of the Church, whereas the police reports say that "the Church was not vandalized" during the murder. A vandalism involving Satanic imagery did occur, but it was months before the murder of Fr. John, and there is no evidence that the perpetrators were the same people who killed Fr. John. I see lots of holes, contradictions, and inconsistencies in this story. Even Fr. John's son commented on one of the Orthodox sites that the article was greatly misinformed and wrong on many points.
So what exactly happened here and what is the case with Fr. John Karastamatis? Some Orthodox circles venerate him as a Saint, but is there sufficient evidence and cause to regard him as such? I honestly don't think he was really martyred. He was a good man nonetheless, but a martyr? The evidence is very sketchy. And the awesome details surrounding it seem like myth. If the Church can't get a story right about an event that happened barely 30 years ago, who's to say that our stories about Saints going back over 1,000 years also aren't sketchy or false?