Government to replace controversial charity’s administration

Government to replace controversial charity’s administration

The government said on Monday it will replace Ark of the World’s administration amid a barrage of sexual abuse allegations against the well-known children’s charity.

The decision was announced by government spokesman Ioannis Oikonomou after a meeting at Maximos Mansion focused on ensuring the protection of the children living at Ark of the World (known in Greece as Kivotos tou Kosmou) for the duration of the judicial investigation into allegations of bodily and sexual abuse.

There are three allegations of sexual abuse and four of beatings.

“The case is in the hands of justice. Everyone’s attention must be focused on the safety of the children living at Ark of the World. They must be protected, regardless of how the case turns out,” Oikonomou said, adding that Monday’s decision is based on a law passed in Parliament in April.

On Sunday, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, said that he has launched an investigation on Father Antonios Papanikolaou, the priest who founded Ark of the World and who is also accused of sexual abuse of minors.

Ieronymos said that the Church has banned Fr Antonios from his priestly duties while the investigation is ongoing, adding that the Church has no connection to the charity. 

“The Church and I, personally, will serve the earthly ecclesiastical justice to the highest degree,” he said.

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