NEWS

Carnival effigy of monk sparks holy row

A Carnival float satirizing a senior monk at the heart of the Vatopedi land exchange scandal has fueled controversy in the port city of Patras, with churchmen demanding its removal from forthcoming Carnival celebrations. A Patras court yesterday was discussing an appeal by a local missionary organization that city authorities be fined for authorizing the float which, it claims, is offensive to religious sentiment. The float, which depicts three cunning-faced monks, is due to appear at the city’s annual Carnival parade on March 1. One of the monks depicted is supposed to be Ephraim, the former head of the Vatopedi Monastery which was implicated in a multimillion-euro land swap with the state. Several monasteries of the northern Mount Athos community which includes Vatopedi have reportedly written to local authorities seeking the withdrawal of the float.