A woman suing a bishop for allegedly brainwashing her son into becoming a monk, told a court on Monday that she would drop the action if a committee of experts certified that he consciously did what he was doing.
Maria Theodoulou and her husband are suing Limassol Bishop Athanasios, Macheras Abbot Epifanios, the Church of Cyprus, and the state attorney-general for €2m, after her son, Giorgos, 44, dropped his studies and became a monk
“These people managed used illegal methods to corrode all my son’s actions and decisions,” she said. “I don’t want to denigrate my child and I have nothing against my child. If it is scientifically proven – and I ask for the entire family to be examined by a specialist psychiatrist – that my son is acting of his own volition, I am willing to stop here, even going to live at Macheras Monasteri.
Defence lawyer Marios Hardjiotis said neither the lawsuit nor the media would force Father Ioustino (her son) from abandoning the life his chose.
“He will leave if he decides to leave from where he is and no one else can succeed,” the lawyer said.
Theodoulou said if her son thought freely he would not have been where he was.
The defence said if she accepted the situation life would be beautiful. He also suggested to her that what she said about the bishop in her written statement was untrue.
The mother claims her son had been targeted during a series of lectures Athanasios gave at the University of Cyprus around 2001.
Hardjiotis said the speeches Athanasios gave at UCy were about marriage. He submitted to her that her claim her son had broken off a serious relationship at the behest of Athanasios was a figment of her imagination.
Theodoulou claimed that Athanasios says one thing in his speeches and another during confession. She said she does not reject monasticism but this was another thing.
“What I saw in my son was not a path to holiness but a path into darkness.”