Archbishop Christodoulos promises clean up within the Church in press
Athens, 2/2/2005 (ANA)
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, the head of the
Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church, called an emergency press conference
on Tuesday and pledged a major clean up within the folds of the Church.
The move follows a series of revelations in the media concerning corrupt
clerics allegedly involved in judicial scandals, dealings with drug
traffickers and the smuggling of antiquities.
Christodoulos said he had been closely following the news reports over
the past few days concerning the Church, which he stressed was the support
of the Greek people.
"We are obliged to protect it in a positive way. I have a single duty: to
proceed with a clean up without any compromise, with a sense of justice,
transparency, responsibility and decisiveness," he stressed.
A meeting of the Permanent Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece
has been called for next Thursday to examine all the issues that have
recently come to light in the press.
2005.02.04 Independent: Bribery scandal engulfs Greek church
Bribery scandal engulfs Greek church
By Daniel Howden
04 February 2005
Greece's top Orthodox clerics were in an emergency meeting last night
aimed at limiting the fallout from the biggest scandal to engulf the church
Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for at least one senior cleric as the
Holy Synod called for an internal inquiry into a ring of priests accused of
bribing top judges and lawyers in return for favourable rulings. The
scandal, involving payoffs, secret funds and sexual favours, has shocked
the faithful in a country where the overwhelming majority are Orthodox
The cleric at the centre of the affair, Iakovos Yiossakis, a close
associate of Greece's firebrand spiritual leader, Archbishop Christodoulos
of Athens, was being sought by police after prosecutors decided there a
risk that he might go missing.
A number of judges, lawyers and priests are under investigation for helping
get suspected drug dealers acquitted, involvement in prostitution and
influencing church elections.
Archbishop Christodoulos, who has earned a reputation for outspoken
involvement in political affairs, made a desperate attempt to distance the
church from the furore. "We must protect it [the church]. Cleansing the
church must go ahead without any compromise," he said.
His call for a purge was echoed by George Kapos, the supreme court
president: "I don't have any problem if there are 13 or 20 judges who will
be prosecuted because what I want is to clean the judicial system."
One of the key witnesses in the investigation, Stelios Vorinas, a reporter,
has submitted audio tapes and other documents relating to one of the judges
Metropolitan Bishop Ieronimos said in interviews this week that he had been
discouraged from running for the archbishopric in 1998 by a senior judge
and threatened by one of the ring of priests under investigation. Ieronimos
has accused Christodoulos of using Yiossakis to blackmail him so that he
would not stand against him in the ecclesiastical elections. The Archbishop
denies the claims.
Four top judges linked to the priests have been charged with serious
disciplinary offences and at least another nine senior judges and several
prominent lawyers are under investigation.
"This is only the start of our problems," Metropolitan Bishop Ambrosius
said. "There will be more developments and earthquakes and I ask you not to
be scandalised by them."
Sources close to Archbishop Christodoulos said the controversial spiritual
leader, who enjoys considerable support among Greece's 95 per cent Orthodox
population, was "angered and disappointed".
© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
2005.02.01 ANA: Cleric linked to judicial corruption probe called to
provide statement on antiquities smuggling case
Cleric linked to judicial corruption probe called to provide statement on
antiquities smuggling case
Athens, 1/2/2005 (ANA)
A high-ranking cleric at the centre of a national investigation into
judicial corruption requested and received a 48-hour extension on Monday to
prepare his statement before a Piraeus magistrate.
Iakovos Yiosakis, who holds the ecclesiastical title of archimandrite,
was subpoenaed in order to provide information over an antiquities
smuggling case on the Kythira.
Yiosakis recently returned from Lebanon, where he traveled last week.
2005.02.03 ANA: Warrant for the arrest of Archimandrite Yiossakis issued
Warrant for the arrest of Archimandrite Yiossakis issued
Athens, 3/2/2005 (ANA)
The Piraeus prosecutor's office on Wednesday issued a warrant for the
arrest of Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, who is considered to be a fugitive.
The police tried to arrest Yiossakis, but he could not be found at his home.
Yiossakis is being investigated for his alleged involvement with numerous
judges and lawyers in helping crime suspects and for his involvement in an
antiquities smuggling case.
2005.02.04 Kathimerini: Trial-fixing scandal balloons
Trial-fixing scandal balloons
Two bishops now in hot water; some 20 judges are under investigation or
face disciplinary action
Top Church of Greece officials yesterday added two bishops to some 20
members of the judiciary who are under investigation or face disciplinary
action in connection with a broad-ranging trial-fixing scandal that
allegedly intertwines corrupt judges and churchmen.
The Church's ruling body, the Holy Synod, summoned Panteleimon, Bishop of
Attica, to appear today before the 13-member body - chaired by Archbishop
Christodoulos - to answer charges of having "scandalized the Church." This
refers to taped conversations made public recently in which the bishop
appears to be interceding with judges and lawyers to affect the outcome of
pending cases. Panteleimon has admitted to making such calls but claims
that he was just trying to clarify his views on the cases in question.
However, the bishop of Attica has denied the authenticity of a separate
series of recorded phone calls in which he allegedly made lewd suggestions
to a male interlocutor.
If Panteleimon fails to sway the Holy Synod today, he faces an immediate
six-month suspension and further investigation that could lead to his
dismissal. However, sources yesterday indicated that he might prefer to resign.
The second senior churchman in hot water is Theoklitos, Bishop of
Thessaliotis, who was summoned to defend himself in writing, by Tuesday,
against allegations by his predecessor that he was detained by police in a
dodgy club on suspicion of drug offenses, and that the matter was
subsequently hushed up.
The Holy Synod also instructed Panteleimon to suspend a priest under his
jurisdiction who is allegedly at the heart of the trial-fixing scandal, and
to launch disciplinary proceedings against him.
Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis is also in trouble with the law over a case
of suspected antiquities theft. He is due to appear before an examining
magistrate today - though his whereabouts were unknown yesterday with
police looking to arrest him on the basis of a warrant issued Wednesday in
fear he might try to flee the country.
The Synod asked the government to revise the law on the prosecution of
clergymen, and called on lay members with incriminating information
regarding churchmen to notify Church authorities.
"The Church, as an institution, faces no threat from the errors of its
clergymen," a Synod statement added.
Meanwhile, a fifth judge is expected to face disciplinary charges for
trial-fixing today. A total of about 20 are under investigation.
© 2005 Kathimerini
2005.02.04 News24: Greek church suspends bishop
News24, South Africa
Greek church suspends bishop
04/02/2005 21:56 - (SA)
Athens, Greece - Greece's Orthodox Church suspended a senior bishop on
Friday as it struggled to deal with growing corruption scandals that have
brought deep embarrassment to the institution.
Metropolitan bishop Panteleimon of Attica was suspended for six months
pending a church probe into alleged embezzlement of parish funds and
The church's governing Holy Synod, which made Friday's announcement, also
suspended a priest on Thursday who has been charged with antiquity
smuggling and is under investigation in a major trial-fixing scandal.
The priest, archmandrite Ioakovos Giosakis, was arrested early on Friday
after a prosecutor listed him as a flight risk.
Thirteen judges and judicial officials have been summoned to testify at a
Supreme Court investigation into the trial-fixing charges, and face dismissal.
"The church is facing a crisis on an unprecedented scale with daily
revelations of involvement of the clergy in all kinds of scandals," the
Athens daily Ta Nea commented.
"This requires radical changes within the church, including the way its
finances are managed."