February 25, 2005

Pressure on archbishop


The head of the Church of Greece came under increasing pressure to step down yesterday after the emergence of claims linking him closer than ever before to a fugitive drug dealer and a priest alleged to be at the center of a trial-fixing ring, but the government refused to join in the calls for his resignation.

Archbishop Christodoulos’s press office issued a statement late Wednesday denying claims by Kyriakos, Bishop of Nazareth, a spokesman for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, that Christodoulos had sent Apostolos Vavilis, a convicted drug smuggler wanted by Interpol, there in 2001 to help with the election of Patriarch Irenaios. Wednesday’s accusations came just a day after a senior member of the judiciary reportedly said that Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis — who is in jail pending trial for antiquities theft and is allegedly implicated in a trial-fixing ring — had helped him meet Christodoulos twice. The archbishop subsequently acknowledged the priest’s presence at the meeting, having previously denied knowing him.

Posted by kshaw at February 25, 2005 07:09 AM