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17 June, 2024
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Monastery in Cyprus under fire for misconduct

Monks deny financial wrongdoing

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

Immediate was the response of the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus to the developments concerning monks of the Monastery of Saint Avvakoum in Fterikoudi. Allegations of moral and financial misconduct among monastery members have stirred controversy within Cypriot society, placing the Church amidst a scandal. Hierarchs at Friday's assembly will be briefed by the respective Bishop, Metropolitan of Tamasos and Oreinis Isaiah, and subsequently decide the fate of the monks implicated in the scandal. According to the procedure outlined in the Church's Charter, Isaiah of Tamasos will present the evidence to the Synodal members, who will then deliberate on the course of action. Ecclesiastical sources informed "K" that Archbishop Georgios is determined not to allow the lingering of this issue, especially as the Church of Cyprus has left serious ethical and financial matters behind for many years.

The two scenarios

Based on information available to "K," the Synodal members have two options. One is the direct removal of the monks from the Holy Synod, while the other is to activate the relevant article of the Charter, referring the matter to the Ecclesiastical Court, which will conduct investigations. As noted by ecclesiastical sources to "K," the monks' response through their lawyers, denying the allegations of financial misconduct, might prolong the process and lead the matter to the Ecclesiastical Court. However, the decision of the Holy Synod during Friday's session to proceed and determine the fate of the monks remains open. As the same sources pointed out, this will depend on the information and evidence presented by Isaiah of Tamasos to the Synodal members. If these are compelling, as claimed by sources from the Archbishopric, then the Synod will bring closure to the entire issue.

The archbishopric

While information circulated, the only official reaction came from the Archbishopric's representative on ANT1, confirming allegations of moral, sexual, and financial misconduct that could border on scandalous. Currently, the revelations remain within the ecclesiastical sphere, but police involvement is not ruled out if criminal offenses are proven.

The monks

In response to the unfolding events, the accused monks have also reacted. Through their lawyers, they reject the allegations brought to light and requested that the Synod refrain from their removal. They also demanded to be summoned for a hearing and to appear in person for an auditory process. Additionally, they urged the Holy Synod to faithfully enforce the rules of ecclesiastical penal procedure since the aforementioned clerics categorically deny involvement in any wrongdoing. They underscored that their removal without due investigation and an auditory process would contravene the Regulations and the Charter of the Church of Cyprus.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  monks  |  monastery  |  economy  |  misconduct  |  church

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