Cyprus Mail

Parents of monk to appeal decision acquitting Limassol bishop of brainwashing him

Bishop Athanasios of Limassol

The parents of a monk are planning to appeal a court decision that acquitted Limassol Bishop Athanasios and others of proselytizing their son about 18 years ago.

The family of Giorgos Theodoulou, 44, are suing the Church of Cyprus for €2m claiming it brainwashed their son.

They are also suing Limassol Bishop Athanasios, Maheras Abbot Epifanios, and the state attorney-general for €2m, after their son Giorgos dropped his studies and became a monk.

The claimed that in 2002, Athanasios, using contacts, promises, and psychological influence, managed to convert their son to monasticism.

The parents claimed that as a result of the brain washing, their son is being held at the monastery against his genuine free will by the defendants.

The monk himself had denied being the victim of indoctrination and says he was acting of his own free will.

He attributed his parents’ angst to the fact that they always had high expectations of him, given his education.

His mother, who “treated me as if I was sick,” at one point taking him to a psychiatrist.

“I was not diagnosed with any psychiatric condition,” he stated. “I have never been under the power of suggestion.”

The defendants rejected the allegations, arguing that the man had chosen this path of his own volition and fully aware of his decisions.

The position was upheld by the court, which said ending up in monasticism “is the result of his own free will and judgement. The course he followed after a lot of thinking, as he said, is the right one and the one that led him to completeness, satisfaction, and joy for his choice.  He still experiences these feelings to this day, without a trace of remorse.”

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