7 Greek bishops injured in acid attack

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A Greek Orthodox priest appealing his dismissal from the ministry threw acid in the faces of the judges hearing his case today, causing severe injuries to seven bishops, a policeman and two lawyers. The priest, who has not been named in the initial Greek news reports for legal reasons, had been suspended from the ministry after having been found to have been part of a narcotics peddling ring. The panel was to vote on defrocking the priest, permanently removing him from holy orders.

As the panel was deliberating,the priest stood up and took two vials containing a red liquid from his briefcase. He then threw the acid into the faces of the panel members hearing his case at the Petraki Monastery in Athens — the seat of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.

The priest’s lawyer told the Protothema newspaper that as the judges were conferring, his client approached the bench, and asked if they were acting in collusion with the Bishop Veria to have him removed from office. He again shouted, “has the bishop of Veria talked to you?”

As he was haranguing the judges, the priest took two large vials of red liquid from his briefcase and threw the acid in the faces of the panel. Kyrillios, Bishop of Kifissia, has been taken to the Gennimatas Ophthalmology Clinic to undergo surgery to save his sight. Antonios, Bishop of Glyfada and Dionysios IV, Bishop of Zakynthos were also reported in serious condition, while Bishops Nikodemos of Kassandreia, Kallinikos of Arta, Andreas of Drinoupolis and Demetrios of Goumenissa where taken to the Laiko General Hospital’s burn unit for treatment, along with two lawyers. The policeman who subdued the priest, was also injured in the acid attack and was taken to a military hospital for treatment.

The press office of the Church of Greece reports Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, has gone to the hospital to pray with the bishops injured in the attack. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has condemned the attack and offered the government’s help in caring for the injured.