February 22, 2005

Church tries to clean house

Athen News


GREECE'S embattled Archbishop Christodoulos has called a synod of the full church hierarchy in an effort to convince the public that he is intent on purging the church of sexual and financial scandals.

The synod's spokesman, Metropolitan Dorotheos of Syros, announced that the archbishop would give the sole presentation at the February 18-19 meeting, where he would propose a series of measures intended to implement transparency.

These included speedy church trials for ethical transgressions by bishops and lower clergy and various vague measures, such as "further utilisation of clergy and laity in church administration", instituting additional financial review mechanisms, and "elevation of the holy clergy". In addition, reports indicated that completion of military service will be required to be ordained a priest.

But with Christodoulos setting the agenda, the meeting of the hierarchy would not examine serious allegations against the archbishop himself. ...

Two other members of Christodoulos' innermost circle are also under fire. Metropolitan Theoklitos of Thessaliotis (Karditsa) is under investigation by a three-member committee of bishops. In a sworn affidavit, Theoklitos' predecessor, Metropolitan Constantine, alleged that Theoklitos was arrested in a bar on suspicion of drug dealing, along with priest Seraphim Koulousousas, who later served as Christodoulos' private secretary for two years.

The tabloid Avriani on February 15 ran a front-page story reporting that Koulousousas attempted suicide with an overdose of pills after breaking up an affair of several years with Theoklitos. The paper attempted to link Koulousousas with the ongoing crisis in the Greek judiciary, noting that the priest is a cousin of Judge George Kalousis, whose expulsion on charges of bribery and running a prostitution ring has been proposed by the supreme court.

Posted by kshaw at February 22, 2005 09:19 AM