NEWS

Vavilis connection confirmed

The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem yesterday confirmed claims that Archbishop Christodoulos had sent a fugitive narcotics smuggler, Apostolos Vavilis, to help elect Patriarch Eirinaios in 2001. This was another heavy blow to Christodoulos’s credibility, as he has consistently denied involvement in Vavilis’s mission – although he has admitted writing letters of recommendation for Vavilis before and after his conviction for heroin trafficking. A day earlier, court sources leaked the news that a senior member of the judiciary had testified in a Supreme Court investigation that another shady character was close to the head of the Church of Greece. The official, who was not named, reportedly said that Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis (who is in jail pending trial for antiquities theft and is allegedly implicated in a trial-fixing racket) had twice interceded for him to meet with Christodoulos. Yesterday, the Archbishopric acknowledged the meetings, adding that the archbishop was a victim of his good manners as he «did not make clear his displeasure at Yiossakis’s presence and did not tell the judges to send him away.»