Cyprus Mail

Families of monks defend monastic life in wake of lawsuit

Machairas monastery

The Association for Relatives of Cypriot Orthodox monks has hit back a a lawsuit filed by a Limassol family who say their son was brainwashed into joining the Church.

According to Phileleftheros, a statement issued by the association, expressed its sorrow over the lawsuit saying it appeared to be driven by a misperception of monastic life, or an attempt to denigrate the Church.

“The distorted views and positions serve to misinform public opinion, hurting both the institutions and people of the Church,” the statement from the association said. “We are being insulted because our children are monks”

The families involved in the association say they respected the decision of their children to join the Church and stand beside them.

It invites all those who are “bothered” because a young person became monk, to turn their attention to those young people in society who are in trouble, and the people that lure then into trouble and in so doing, destroy the family and erode society.

The association is composed of 170 families who have sons living in 46 monasteries in Cyprus, Greece, Mount Athos, Jerusalem, UK, France and the US.

The mother of a monk at Machairas monastery told the court on Thursday she fears for her son’s mental health, insisting that her son has been brainwashed into leading a monastic life.

In a first-of-its kind case now being heard at Nicosia district court, the young man’s family are seeking general damages of up to €2 million from Machairas monastery in Limassol, abbot Epifanios, current Limassol bishop Athanasios, and the Archbishop in his capacity as the head of the Church.

The plaintiffs are also suing the attorney-general (the Republic) for failing to institute laws protecting family life.

The family of the monk, Giorgos Theodolou, claim that Athanasios proselytized their son beginning in 2001. As a result of the indoctrination, Giorgos, now aged 43, was completely changed as a person.

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