Church ire at bishop’s allegations

In a wrathful statement yesterday, the Greek Church rejected as «irresponsible, unfounded and slanderous» claims by a dissident bishop that all Greece’s senior Orthodox clerics have been blackmailed by journalists and that Archbishop Christodoulos «undoubtedly» knew what was happening. Bishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos made his comments to journalists on Tuesday, a day after testifying to a prosecutor investigating claims that journalists and publishers extorted money from leading industrialists and bishops. Another top dissident, Hieronymos, Bishop of Thebes, has also testified. Christodoulos is understood to disapprove of his bishops testifying on the matter. Yesterday, the Church’s ruling body, the Holy Synod, said Chrysostomos should prove his claims, and decided to send him a strict reprimand. «We strongly deplore the unprecedented and unacceptable content of his unfounded statements, which we condemn,» the Synod said. In 1998, Chrysostomos infuriated the Church by condoning premarital sex in an interview with Penthouse magazine.