The mother of a monk, 44, who is suing the Church of Cyprus for €2m claiming it brainwashed her son, told a court on Tuesday that his human rights were being violated.
Maria Theodoulou and her husband are suing Limassol Bishop Athanasios, Machairas Abbot Epifanios, the Church of Cyprus, and the state attorney-general for €2m, after their son Giorgos, 44, dropped his studies and became a monk.
Theodolou said that according to her son, he even needed permission to drink water, and to leave the Machairas monastery.
She also claimed that the monastery was recording all phone calls.
“I don’t even know if he eats, or sleeps, or bathes,” she said. “He has not been to our house in 10 years, telling me that first he must receive a blessing.”
She accused the abbot of telling monks that God wanted them there and “anything else was spiritual adultery.”
“Even his desire to see his parents. Because God is a zealot. Jealous. And he doesn’t tolerate the monk having a relation with anything else,” she said. “Not only must a monk rid himself of the desire to see his parents, but he must hate it. The strength of the desire must become strength of hatred. That is why is it called holy hatred.”
The defence suggested to Theodoulou that none of her son’s rights were violated and that he was happy at the monastery.
He added that it was her selfish stance that drove her son away from his family.
The mother retorted that her son was unhappy with his life and asked for an expert view.
“I believe that my son has a condition. Assure me that he hasn’t. Let me be sure he is okay and I will leave him alone,” the woman said. “I just want a scientific opinion by an expert.”
The case continues next Tuesday.