WHEN the story about the entrepreneurial archimandrites, who set up the start-up monastery Osiou Avakoum in Fterikoudi, broke and there was talk of film of them having sex with each other, I wondered how anyone would have obtained the film of them in the act.

As there is no accounting for sexual tastes, perhaps they got a kick out of filming themselves and posting the video on an adult site on which it may have been spotted by another priest who felt morally obliged to report them. The Holy Synod members were reportedly shocked when shown the film at their meeting to discuss what they should do about the clerical debauchery.

It later emerged that there was CCTV footage of the archimandrites discussing where to hide the 800 grand they had stashed in the monastery safe and preparing to stage miracles. Were they so stupid doing all these things when they knew there was CCTV in their monastery?

The truth is they did not have a clue CCTV had been installed all over the monastery, including their private quarters and was hidden from view. These were hi tech surveillance cameras that had been installed when the two had gone on a trip abroad.

THERE is only one person, who could have given such orders – the Bishop of Tamassos and Orini, Isaias, who did not even bother to pretend he had nothing to do with this. It was Isaias who handed over the CCTV footage of the goings at the monastery to the police and who provided the holy synod with the sex footage.

The bishop’s brother is a surveillance expert working for our secret service Kyp and was perfectly capable of setting up the CCTV network, although there is no evidence he was in any way involved. Isaias also has very good ties with Russian oligarchs who paid for his palatial bishopric, built in the architectural style of Russian churches.

One of the Russian benefactors could have called in the FSB to install the cameras, although this is pure speculation. If the FSB was involved it would probably have recommended the use of Novichok, a more effective way of dealing with the troublesome two.

Nothing was made of the fact that Isaias was secretly filming the activities of Nektarios and Porfyrios, probably because it is not prohibited by the Church.

FOOTAGE of the activities at the monastery were leaked to the media all last week, by the person who was in possession of the CCTV recording but his name was mentioned by nobody.

First we had Porfyrios and Nektarios discussing where to hide the 800 grand; then there was Nektarios giving orders to monks to put myrrh in the cross so it would be secreted and give a pleasant smell to the faithful who would be convinced they witnessed a miracle. There was also film of a monk shouting at a woman and hitting her with a belt.

The funny bit was that the lawyers of the monks would issue a ludicrously lame explanation for each of these. In the case of the myrrh, they provided a “written testimony, with certification for the authenticity of the signature of worshipper from Greece.” The witness was in Nektarios’ office and “saw with his own eyes bottles of methylated and antiseptic which was used with cotton wool to clean all holy relics.”

The witness also said that the head of a baby on which the sign of the cross had been done with the crucifix of Saint Porfyrios smelt of myrrh for five days. This was also in the written testimony.

THE BEST explanation, however was the woman being beaten with a belt, claiming it was her fault. It must have been a holy belt she was hit with to make her take the blame for her beating.

In a post on her Facebook page, the woman, who works at the monastery, said “I am greatly saddened that you were forced to see a specific video which ‘shows’ in a harsh way that I was subjected to a ‘brutal beating’ by a monk of the Osiou Avakoum monastery.” She added that the video had been tampered with.

“Yes, we had a scuffle with the monk, which resulted from a misunderstanding for which I was to blame.” The misunderstanding was sorted, she said, and our relations are “very good.” She also pointed out that the incident took place last August, but she was still at the monastery.

The sinister Isaias had been filming the goings-on at the monastery since August. I can’t help thinking that the recordings he collected could be turned into a big hit as a reality TV show.

YOU DO NOT have to be a detective to realise that the row between Isaias and the monks is all about the moollah. The entrepreneurial monks were making a lot of moollah through the successful miracle business they had set up and claimed they were regularly giving a cut to Isaias. Perhaps they fell out because the bishop wanted a bigger cut.

They claimed to have contributed some 300 grand to the bishop’s election campaign for the archiepiscopal throne and insist they had documentation of money transfers as well as SMS messages from Isaias demanding payment.

It is rather embarrassing for a bishop to be cashing in on a fake miracle business, that so brazenly exploited the weak and vulnerable, but by making the scam public, Isaias may have scripted his own downfall. Unless the Russian patriarch steps in to save one of his own.

THE TIMING of Prezniktwo’s visit to the monasteries of Mount Athos could not have been worse. This was a time to keep a safe distance away from monks and monasteries, but our devout, churchgoing prez could not cancel his visit to the Holy Mount a second time.

He had planned to visit in October, but put it off because of the events in Gaza, his sense of duty preventing him from making the holy trip. But there is popularity to be gained from the faithful by visiting Mount Athos so the visit could not be put off again.

In his address at one church, he beseeched the holy fathers “to multiply your prayers and warm supplications to the Lord and the most holy Mother of God for the passing of the sufferings and sorrows of our country Cyprus…. The Holy Mount teaches that God is present in the shaping of the history of the world.”

What was the point of asking the UN to get involved in the Cyprob when we could pray not just for a resumption of the talks, but also a fair and just settlement that would end our sufferings and sorrows?

SPEAKING of the Cyprob, a few digs against the UNSG’s envoy Maria Angela Holguin have made an appearance. If anything, media attacks on her have been almost non-existent, which is a sad break from a proud tradition upheld for decades. Perhaps it is because after two visits she has said almost nothing in public.

On Monday however, some self-regarding Alpha TV reporter fired the first salvos. First, he said Holguin was being guided by British ideas – the Brits being the anti-christ of the Cyprob. Worse still, one of her chosen associates, a former deputy foreign minister of Colombia, had greeted the Turkish president at the airport in Bogota, emphatic proof she was pro-Turkish.

Clips of the visit were shown, before the reporter ominously stated, “this lady will be the assistant of Holguin.”

DIKO issued a statement to pay its respect to former president Spy Kyp, our establishment’s all-time hero, on the 22nd anniversary of his death last Tuesday. Twenty-two years after the passing of the Diko founder (is that something he should be praised for?), the party “continues his struggle, faithful to his legacies, for a solution that will secure the continued existence of the Cyprus Republic.”

Spy’s only legacy is ‘no solution’ and Diko says as much in its announcement. “He resisted pressures to accept undignified, one-sided, and catastrophic plans for the future of Cypriot Hellenism and the Cyprus Republic.” He should be particularly praised for resisting the catastrophic American-Canadian-British plan of 1978 which would have allowed the residents of Varosha to return to their homes, regardless of the outcome of the peace process that would have followed.

He was a true fighter of the resistance, not to mention his heroic efforts to establish rusfeti.

I APOLOGISE for the heavy reliance on religious content today. Secular services will resume next week.