Synod refers case of ‘saintly’ monk to God

The heads of the Church of Greece yesterday quelled expectations that they would make a deceased monk, whose body had not decomposed, a saint, saying that such decisions should only be left to God. The Church's Holy Synod, which discussed the matter in great detail yesterday, admitted that the state of the monk's body was «a sign from above» and «a message for our people and our age.» But it distanced itself from calls for him to be recognized officially as a saint. Worshippers have been flocking to a small church in Fthiotida, central Greece, since the body of the monk, Vissarion Korkoliakos, was discovered mostly intact last month even though he had been buried for 15 years. Some critics have claimed the Church is exploiting the situation but the Synod insisted that it had exercised «responsibility and consistency.»