Archimandrite Nektarios embroiled in a major investigation including sexual harassment, abuse and money laundering at the Osiou Avakoum monastery broke his silence on Wednesday, saying the developments have “shaken his soul” but not dented his faith in God.

In a lengthy Facebook post, the monk said he never had sexual relations with another monk, and was “illegally kicked out from the monastery.”

Nektarios noted that he and the other monks at Osiou Avakoum “have found ourselves accused of things a person’s mind cannot conceive of” since their life was turned upside down on March 5, which was the day a safe box containing €800,000 was seized from the monastery.

“We unexpectedly saw hooded men invade the monastery, violating the sanctity of its space.”

Nektarios added that from one day to the next, “we found ourselves going from monks that had the love of the people, that worked hard and had the respect of the Bishop, transformed into people who deceive the faithful, who steal from the church and sexually harass.”

The monk added they experienced “inhumane treatment” and forced to sign a false confession.

“Most importantly, all the ‘evidence’ used to level unfair charges on myself and the brothers of the monastery, are illegal,” and were obtained illegally without their knowledge, Nektarios stressed.

The monk did apologise for one thing, namely the ‘every day phrases’ which the monks were heard to casually use in their videos which were leaked online.

“We apologise and ask your forgiveness, to the extent that you deem suitable, that they should not have been heard from the lips of monks. But we are human beings who carry a heavy burden with which we struggle every day.

“Human weaknesses, which we sometimes overcome and sometimes they defeat us. And it is, we repeat, human, that our daily coexistence creates intimacy, trust and closeness between us, which sometimes manifests itself through ‘bold’ jokes, but without any further consequence or implication.”

Nektarios went on to say that “some of us actually have bank accounts and real estate.” This is due to the fact that they are also clergymen, he said.

“As clergymen we are obliged to have a bank account for the payment of our salaries, and we are allowed to own real estate.”

This does not make them thieves of the money people have donated to the monastery, he specified.

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The image shared by Nektarios in his first public statement since the scandal unfolded on March 5

Commenting on the contentious Holy Cross of Saint Porphyrios which was allegedly quipped with a mechanism allowing for it to ‘leak water as a sign of a miracle’, Nektarios said it was never an object of exploitation.

He added that apart from being a sacred relic, it was an inheritance from the “blessed Athena Sideris, spiritual child of Saint Porphyrios.

“So you can understand my respect for this holy relic.”

A six-member team is investigating the slew of allegations against two monks at the monastery.

“We assure you that we will endure this trial, drawing strength from you. And with as much strength as God gives us, we will continue to ask to be tested and judged fairly, hoping for the restoration of our honor as monks and our dignity as human beings.”

The monks were allegedly found with €800,000 in cash, and property in Greece and Limassol. They were also allegedly caught on CCTV footage having sex with each other. A video also showed a monk beating a woman that cleaned at the monastery.