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Cyprus

Monk’s parents restart efforts to prosecute bishop

Bishop Athanasios of Limassol

The parents of a monk have filed an appeal with the supreme court against a prior court decision that had acquitted Limassol Bishop Athanasios and others of proselytising their son some 18 years ago.

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

They were 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.

They 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 brainwashing, their son is being held at the monastery against his genuine free will.

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

Nicosia district court had earlier ruled against the parents, finding that the monk’s decisions and actions were his own.

In their appeal now, the parents’ lawyers are citing 22 reasons why they think that ruling was wrong. They are essentially arguing that it was a mistrial, as the district court had not admitted evidence that was vital to the case at the time.

The parents also claim they did not receive a fair trial, owing to the fact that the hearings took about eight years to start after filing the petition, whereas once the trial did get underway there occurred delay after delay until the final ruling.

Their lawyers also argue that the district court had made the wrong decision on legal grounds.

In their appeal before the supreme court, the parents are being represented by the law firm Phoebus, Christos Clerides & Associates LLC.

 

 

 

 

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