Greek Orthodox Priest Arrested In Athens Following Acid Attack On Seven Bishops
A Greek Orthodox priest has been arrested after throwing acid on the faces of seven senior bishops in the Greek capital, Athens.
Police say the incident took place on Wednesday afternoon, June 23. In addition to three bishops still in hospital as a result of the attack, two lawyers are also being treated for burns on their faces and hands, as well as a police officer who rushed to help and arrest the suspect.
Three of the clerics are said to be in a serious condition, with the country’s health minister Vasilis Kikilias describing it as ‘unprecedented and tragic’.
As reported by The Guardian, the bishops were in session as part of disciplinary proceedings against the 37-year-old priest, who had been accused of hiding 1.8 grams of cocaine under his cassock ‘in the area of his genitals’ back in June 2018.
He was facing defrocking, which would have seen his priesthood stripped. As per Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea, he admitted to having the drug for ‘personal use’ and was identified as a hieromonk or preaching monk.
Ahead of yesterday’s session at the Petraki Monastery, the priest brought a ‘large bottle of corrosive liquid’ later used to inflict burns on a total of 10 people, police say. It’s believed it was filled with sulphuric acid, as per a spokesperson for Greece’s Orthodox Church.
According to DW, Kikilias visited the victims in hospital, with one of the injured being transferred to the plastic surgery unit of another hospital. However, doctors have said the injuries aren’t life-threatening to anyone involved in the incident.
Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Greek church, thanked those who helped them ‘avoid the worst… the situation is difficult and we hope that with the help of our doctors the situation will be addressed’.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the incident was ‘despicable’, adding that it was ‘deeply sad’ while assuring the archbishop ‘the state will offer all possible medical assistance for the victims’ speedy recovery’.
President Katerina Sakellaropolou also tweeted in support of the priests and others attacked, writing, ‘I have just spoken with his holiness [Archbishop Ieronymos], who informed me of the attack on members of the Synodal Court of the Petraki Monastery. I express my disgust for this unprecedented incident and wish the victims a speedy recovery.’
It’s unclear which charges the priest will face at the time of writing, nor is it known if he’s now been defrocked following the attack.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Most Read StoriesMost Read