Bishop subjected to N17 ploy

A dissident bishop, who annoyed Archbishop Christodoulos last week by claiming that all Greece’s senior clerics had at some point been blackmailed by corrupt journalists, in a weekend interview accused a publisher at the center of an extortion probe of having repeatedly asked for money to get him off the November 17 terrorist group’s hit list. In an interview with Saturday’s Ta Nea daily, Chrysostomos, Bishop of Zakynthos, said he only once gave money to Grigoris Michalopoulos, who publishes the small-circulation, far-right Eleftheri Ora paper, «to prove that all this was going on.» Chrysostomos – who outraged Church conservatives in 1998 by advocating premarital sex in an interview with the men’s magazine Penthouse – claimed to have sated Michalopoulos’s avarice with the puny sum of 30,000 drachmas (29.34 euros). He did not say when this occurred. «He immediately wrote the opposite of what he had published before,» Chrysostomos said, explaining that Michalopoulos had approached him after publishing defamatory articles about him. «It should not seem remarkable that he took such a small sum. He believed that as I had caved in once, I would go and give him more money. I did not, and he started to get nastier… He told me that I was a target of November 17. Of course, I ignored all that.» Last month, an Athens prosecutor launched an investigation into claims by leading industrialist Theodoros Angelopoulos that Michalopoulos had taken money from his uncle Dimitrios in 1985 to get him off N17’s hit list. Dimitrios Angelopoulos was killed by N17 in 1986. Several people have testified so far, including leading businessmen. On Saturday, the widow of former National Bank governor Michalis Vranopoulos testified. He was killed by N17 in 1994.