Monday, March 28, 2005

Possible Simony?

New accusations are out against Irineos I, Patriarch of Jerusalem:
"Patriarch Irenaios, the beleaguered head of the Greek Orthodox Jerusalem Patriarchate, came under increasing pressure yesterday after the publication of allegations that he offered to pay fugitive drugs smuggler Apostolos Vavilis a large sum of money to help him get elected and that he played a key role in the controversial leasing of Church land to Jewish investors.

"Vavilis claimed that Irenaios had offered him $400,000 if he helped him win the 2001 election for Jerusalem Patriarch, during a meeting which was also attended by the head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, according to an interview published in Proto Thema weekly yesterday. Vavilis, who is wanted by Interpol, said that he never received the money."

I'm not sure if the Vavilis character is really credible, but these accusations will only further fuel calls for the patriarch to step down. Meanwhile, at least on Palestinian diplomat is assuring Greeks this is not a plot to Arabize the church.


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