Monks embroiled in the Osiou Avakoum monastery scandal have said that the investigative committee’s procedures are illegal, according to a statement from their lawyers on Friday.

Their lawyers, Adrianna Klaedes and Anastasios Vavouskos, said that the church violated its own laws by appointing members to the investigative committee without formally announcing them in the church gazettes.

They highlighted that the church’s 2021 ruling required investigative committees to have three members, while the church’s establishment charter stipulates five members.

The announcement added that the current committee is also made up of members, appointed by the archbishop rather than being elected by the Holy Synod, as is customary.

“Both the Inquiry Commission and the inquiry procedure are completely invalid,” the lawyers asserted. “The inquiry was ordered by a three-member commission instead of the required five-member commission and was conducted by unauthorised clergymen who were never elected by the Holy Synod. Therefore, all actions must be stopped immediately, and the case should be archived.”

They added, “In line with the demand of His Beatitude Archbishop of New Justinia and All Cyprus for a fair trial, we expect the Investigative Committee to align with His Beatitude’s demand and archive the case. A fair trial must adhere to the provisions of the Charter, not violate them. And this, we take it for granted, is what His Beatitude means by advocating for a fair trial.”

Two on the monks, Nektarios and Porfirios were allegedly found with €800,000 in cash, and property in Greece and Limassol. They were also reportedly caught on CCTV footage having sex with each other. Additionally, a video also showed a monk beating a woman who worked as a cleaner at the monastery.

The monks have denied all charges, claiming the accusations are part of a conspiracy against them.

In a lengthy Facebook post last month, Nektarios said the developments have “shaken his soul” but not dented his faith in God.