Lovelorn priest weds in town hall ceremony

Frustrated by his superiors’ refusal to let him marry a young single mother, a retired Cretan priest has done what for most churchmen would be unthinkable: On Tuesday, he wed his second bride in a civil ceremony at the Iraklion Town Hall – dressed in full clerical apparel. Today, senior Church of Crete officials will discuss disciplinary action against Manolis Papoutsakis, a 67-year-old father of two who retired from his parish duties in the spring. Papoutsakis, whose first wife died five years ago, had repeatedly sought permission to marry Maria Levendi, 27, whom he met two years ago. Levendi has a 6-year-old son. When the Church of Crete – part of the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate – ruled out a second wedding, Papoutsakis defied Church tradition and had a non-religious ceremony. He now reportedly intends to join the Russian Church to secure a church blessing on his marriage.