March 02, 2005

Call to prayer as scandal balloons


Top churchmen yesterday summoned the faithful to a nationwide, all-night prayer next week for the scandal-mired Church to overcome the ballooning crisis, as a bishop forced to resign for corruption implicated politicians in the alleged trial-fixing ring thought to have comprised clerics and judges.

Meanwhile, criminal charges for concealing assets were brought against three judges suspected of involvement in the ring, while a fourth member of the judiciary faced disciplinary action for allegedly refusing to repay a 2,000-euro loan to a New Democracy MP.

The Church of Greece’s ruling body, the Holy Synod, yesterday accepted the resignation announced on Friday by Theoklitos, Bishop of Thessaliotis, who is alleged to have maintained ties with the trial-fixing ring. Theoklitos is also accused of having been detained by police on suspicion of drug dealing in a dodgy bar, and of homosexuality — which the Church officially abhors.

The Synod also decided to summon two more bishops to provide explanations today regarding allegations of misconduct, and to dismiss an unmarried priest serving in the archbishopric after video tapes of a sexual content in which he allegedly appeared were made public. The priest was dismissed on the evidence of the tapes, although the Synod had previously refused to take similarly stringent action against Panteleimon, Bishop of Attica — who has been suspended for allegedly seeking to influence senior judges — after audio tapes surfaced in which he apparently had a lewd conversation with a male lover.

Posted by kshaw at March 2, 2005 08:42 AM