Groom’s death fails to spoil civil wedding

An investigation has been launched into how a Russian woman officially wed a Greek man one day after the groom succumbed to a terminal disease, a report said yesterday. The mayor of Hortiatis, near Thessaloniki, married the couple on February 21, 2003 but a week later, the groom’s relatives called the Town Hall and informed them that he had died 24 hours earlier, the Eleftheros Typos daily said. The unnamed Russian reportedly met the man when he had already been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but within days they decided to marry and rushed to get a marriage license issued. However, the groom was admitted into the hospital soon afterward and died on February 20. It appears, however, that he had asked a friend to step in on his behalf for the big day – which passed without a hitch. Marriages with elderly Greeks are often used as a way for foreign women to gain residence permits.