Archimandrite Giosakis in Custody

Author: Mary Lou Tzempelikou
Date Published: 02/08/2005
Publication: The Hellenic Radio

After a marathon session, the Piraeus Court in Chambers decided on Tuesday morning to remand Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis in custody. Within the day the Archimandrite will be taken to Korydallos prison for the case of illegal antique trading of more than 100 Byzantine icons from a monastery in Kythira, where he served in the 90s. In the meantime, the Continuous Holy Synod has been convening since early morning in the light of continuous charges against senior clergymen. The meeting is also expected to focus on the second recommendation letter of Archbishop Christodoulos to judicial authorities, while he was still a Metropolitan Bishop, with which he defended drug dealer Apostolos Vavilis. Evangelos Antonaros, deputy government spokesperson, referred to the crisis in the Church and commenting on European Parliamentarian Mr Varvitsiotis proposal to separate the Church from the State, he said ”there is no such question for the government.”

Examiner Appointed for Theoklitos

The Synod has proceeded with the appointment of an interrogator for the case of Metropolitan Bishop Theoklitos of Thessaliotida, despite the fact that they considered the explanations provided as sufficient. Xanthi Metropolitan Bishop Panteleimonas has been appointed examiner and he will soon proceed with relevant interrogations that will shed more light on the case. Metropolitan Bishop Stefanos of Trifyllia has also been asked to submit a written statement regarding the indecent photographs published in the Press.

At the same time, the Holy Synod forbade the clergy to appear in public discussions.

A strong reaction to the ban came from the Metropolitan Bishop of Zakynthos.

In a written statement, the Bishop accuses the Archbishop of despotic views.

”It is undisputedly proven that during the years of the dictatorship, the archbishop did not only study his lessons, but also how to gag the freedom of the individual,” he states in his letter and wonders if the ban will apply to the Archbishop and his spokesmen. At the same time, he asks Christodoulos ”how many certificates of good morals for drug traffickers and Satanists can be given out by us annually, and perhaps the immediate convocation of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece is now a one-way path.”

Vavilis Under the Microscope

Today, Apogevmatini newspaper published a copy of Vavilis’ document submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court, in which he stated that he was Erineos’ supporter prior to his election ”on demand of the supreme Greek religious leader, whom he respected and admired.”

Vavilis had been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for import, trafficking and possession of 1.5 kilos of heroine, although his sentence was suspended for 15 years. Since then, he has skipped bail and is wanted by Interpol.

The Assistant Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court is carefully examining the case and will look into the reasons behind his suspended sentence.

It should be noted that Giosakis has been detained since Friday because of the dispute over his custody between examiner Antigoni Tzelepi and first instance judge Grigoris Peponis, who wanted to detain Giosakis. Mr Peponis stated his case with a 20-page letter addressed to the three judges of the court.

In the meantime, this evening Archbishop Christodoulos recommended that his listeners pay attention to whom they help. This came in his address to the chairpeople and members of diocesan Poor Funds in the Athens Archbishopric.

”Be careful of whom you feed, whom you help, because if in the future they turn out to be criminals, they will ask you for guarantees,” he stressed.

Moreover, he described the events of the last few days as ”an illogical theatre,” and went on, speaking to the guests at the event, stressing that some people have targeted the Church. ”Nasty people dug out evidence and letters from the past, but they are being made ridiculous, because we have our embrace open and give love,” he said and added ”I have my conscience clear, because I have learnt how to give, like the rest, and help people,” underlined the Archbishop.

At the same time, as she came out of Parliament after the election of the President of the Hellenic Republic, the Minister for Education Mrs Giannakou stated that ”instances of corruption in various countries are nothing new, especially in closed systems, and of course the relation between State and Church does not mean that the scene would change. Generally in a democracy all can be discussed at the right time.”

Translated by Sofia Soulioti